Aussie (Not So) Success Stories
All too often we celebrate the achievements of Aussie artists in this column. This month however, we take a look at some of the artists that have failed to set the world alight with their latest releases. She won Australian Idol, but now Casey Donovan looks set to take home another crown - that of one of the biggest album flops of recent times. Her debut album For You has so far struggled in the charts after much media hype and TV exposure. At the time of writing, the album had dropped to #42 on the National ARIA chart after just 6 weeks. Over 210,000 copies of the album (equating to triple platinum status) were shipped to record stores around Australia in its first week of release, but sales have been so poor that it's questionable whether it is yet to achieve platinum status at all (ie, 70,000 units). This is in stark contrast to 2003's winner, Guy Sebastian, who sold triple platinum in the first fortnight! In another blow, her single “Listen With Your Heart” keeps tumbling down the chart while Australian Idol runner up Anthony Callea looks set to have the biggest selling single of 2005 with his quadruple platinum selling “The Prayer.”
In other news, Regurgitator's Mish Mash album has failed to reach the Top 50, quite disappointing considering that all of their previous albums have reached the Top 10. Despite all of the exposure from the “Band In A Bubble” project, the album has failed to take off in the record stores. And finally, Delta Goodrem’s “Mistaken Identity” single has failed to reach #1, ending her 6-in-a-row streak of #1 singles that started back in 2003 with “Born To Try.”
THE PRODIGY DOWNUNDER
Electronic punk pioneers The Prodigy are coming back to Australia in 2005 to unleash some of their phat beats to the masses. Liam Howlett and cohorts will play a huge chunk of tunes from their latest masterpiece of an album, Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunne, as well as many of the classics that put the band at the forefront of their genre. Of the new album, main man Liam Howlett says, “I wanted to make the most honest an album that totally represented what I was about. I’m still drawing on the same inspirations as when I was kid, Public Enemy and The Sex Pistols. It had to be about the music. And I knew I had to get back to doing stuff for myself.” Howlett wrote the entire album on his laptop after scrapping a year’s worth of material after the disastrous comeback single “Baby’s Got A Tempe”’ in 2002. He says of the process, “I’d find a place I’d be happy in, usually in my bedroom, usually at about midnight, usually with a couple of glasses of wine, James Bond on the DVD… you know what I mean. I was writing for the fun of writing again.” Although original band members Keith and Maxim don’t appear on the album, the lads will certainly be joining Liam for the upcoming live shows around the country. You can catch the band, as well as special guest Adam Freeland, at The Riverstage in Brisbane (March 8), The Hordern Pavilion in Sydney (March 9) and The Metro in Melbourne (March 10). If you happen to miss out, you can also catch the them performing at Two Tribes along with Armand Van Helden, Grandmaster Flash, Rank 1, Jan Johnston, Richie Hawtin, Dave Seaman and many more at Sydney Superdome (March 5), Mulbury on Swan, Perth (March 6), Royal Adelaide Showground (March 12) and Melbourne Park (March 13).
JACK AWARDS 2005
Launched in 2004 as part of Jack Daniel’s ongoing support for Australian live music, the Jack Awards returns in 2005 with the announcement of this year’s nominees. The nominees for each of the 12 categories were compiled by a panel of over 40 judges from the music industry. Nominees for the Best live band this year include: Dallas Crane, Eskimo Joe, Jet, Powderfinger, The Casanovas, and Wolfmother. Nominees for the Best Male and Best Female performers include: Bernard Fanning (Powderfinger), John Butler, Luke Steele (The Sleepy Jackson and Nations By The River), Nick Cester (Jet), Pete Murray and Phil Jamieson (Grinspoon) for the males while Adalita (Magic Dirt), Ella Hooper (Killing Heidi), Janet English (Spiderbait), Kasey Chambers, Katy Steele (Little Birdy), and Sarah Blasko have been nominated for the females. Other categories include Best Lead Guitarist, Best Bass Guitarist, Best Drummer, Best Live Newcomer, Best Tour Art, Best Live Rock Photography, Best Live TV Appearance, Best Live Venue and the panel voted Gentleman Jack Award. Sydney three-piece Wolfmother have scooped the pool with four nominations. Could this be their year? All will be revealed when the Jack Awards presentation ceremony takes place in Sydney on May 10.
The 7th Australasian Music Business Conference has been announced for August 11-13, 2005 at Sydney's SuperDome. The conference, produced by IMMEDIA! every 2nd year over the past the past decade, will cover a broad range of topics over the three days with over 50 speakers planned to participate. Speakers will include top record company CEOs, leading music managers and industry leaders. Some of the speakers confirmed so far include Domenic Carosa (CEO DestraMusic.com, MP3.com.au and MusicPoint), Marshall Cullen (Artist Manager, Studio Operator & Record Label Owner), Catherine Haridy (A&R Manager of FMR), Clive Hodson (Head of ABC Music), Chris Moss (Managing Director of Warner), John O'Donnell (Managing Director of EMI) and many more. The Early/Early Bird rate for all three days is just $385 (half the walk-up rate). To register or for further information, visit www.immedia.com.au/ambc
Kylie’s back and no we’re not talking about her prized derriere. Australia’s premier pop icon Kylie Minogue has confirmed that she will be back in Australia for a ‘Greatest Hits’ tour this year. She said, "I’m very excited to be coming home to tour in May and June. This is my most ambitious show ever - it needs to be in order to do justice to all the hits. It will be two hours of music and memories - and I promise some surprises!” Unsurprisingly, Kylie holds the record for the biggest selling female artist in Australian concert history with ticket sales in excess of half a million.
SYSTEM OF A DOWN TO MESMERIZE
Another band that were recently down under, System Of A Down, will release their eagerly anticipated follow up to their multi platinum Toxicit’ album in April. The good news for fans is that there will be another brand new album released six months later. To be titled Mesmerize/Hypnotize, the 2 disc set will be released individually to give fans time to get into the material of Disc 1 before plunging into the 2nd disc. Both will be completely recorded, mixed, and sequenced at the same time. The albums are said to include a lot of emotional material in response to the great deal of upheaval that the world has suffered over the past year. According to vocalist Serj Tankian, there’s a good amount of social commentary in the new songs as well as songs where they deal with love, reminiscing, relationships, politics, and funny experiences. Guitarist Daron Malakian, who wrote most of the new songs and is producing the album with Rick Rubin, explained, "When we started recording, we were focused on making every song the best it could be, to really give a thousand percent to every single track. Doing a two-album set never entered into our thought process. But when we looked at all the songs we had and arbitrarily tried to choose 'the best' fourteen for one album, we realized we had two album's worth of really great songs and that they all connected with each other. We didn't chase this idea, it chased us."
Congratulations to Franz Ferdinand who scored the #1 position with their track “Take Me Ou”’ in the world’s biggest countdown - Triple J’s Hottest 100. The song was so popular that it received more than twice as many votes as the #2 track which was the Missy Higgins hit “Scar.” Australian artists featured prominently in the countdown with Higgins, The John Butler Trio, Jet, Eskimo Joe, Little Birdy, Powderfinger, Spiderbait, Grinspoon and Regurgitator, all scoring multiple inclusions in the list. The top 10 was:
1. Franz Ferdinand - Take Me Out
2. Missy Higgins – “Scar”
3. Eskimo Joe – “From The Sea”
4. The Killers – “Somebody Told Me”
5. Spiderbait – “Black Betty”
6. Missy Higgins – “Ten Days”
7. John Butler Trio – “Something's Gotta Give”
8. Little Birdy – “Beautiful To Me”
9. Powderfinger – “Bless My Soul”
10. The White Stripes – “Jolene” (live)
Beck will finally release his 8th studio album, “Guero” on March 29. The album, featuring production by the Dust Brothers, Tony Hoffer and Dan the Automator, is said to be a lot more aggressive than last album, “Sea Change,” with loud guitars featuring throughout. First single will be “E-Pro.” Noel Gallagher has also confirmed that Oasis will be releasing their new album with the current working title of “Don’t Believe The Truth” in May. According to Gallagher, the band have written 66 tracks, 11 or 12 of which will end up on the album. Finally, Portishead are currently working on their first album in eight years! The band, who have never actually broken up despite years of rumours, will release the album later this year.
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