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Sydney Unleashed: News & Gossip
2005 ARIAS Nominations
By Danny Canak,
(more articles from this author)
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Vocalist, pianist, composer, performance artist and diva sine qua non Diamanda Galás will tour Brisbane, Adelaide and Sydney this month for the Australian premiere performances of Guilty Guilty Guilty. Dubbed “the original badass musician,” by the LA Weekly, Diamanda Galás is an exceptional talent with an extraordinary explosive technique and a quintessentially theatrical performance style. With her inimitable four octave operatic voice , which inspires both angels and demons, her theatrical power transcends singing as we know it.

Her work has evolved around an impassioned, existential exploration of the poet in exile over generations. Accompanying herself on a concert grand piano, Galás brings an astonishing array of moods and associations to her performances. Her solo concerts for voice and piano incorporate blues, jazz, world music and song spiel techniques to explore the darker side of life at the root of all soul and blues music.

In Guilty Guilty Guilty, Galás will perform a brilliant program of tragic and homicidal love songs and death songs, ranging from O.V.Wright's “Eight Men And Four Women” to Timi Yoru's “Time”; from Johnny Cash's “Long Black Veil” to Edith Piaf's “Heaven Have Mercy.” The concert will also include 'Burning Hell' by John Lee Hooker, and “I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry” by Hank Williams. You can catch the captivating and compelling Diamanda Galas at QPAC Concert Hall in Brisbane on October 13, Adelaide Town Hall on October 16 and the State Theatre in Sydney on October 21.


After a phenomenal year, Missy Higgins' year has just gotten even better with the news that she has been nominated for seven gongs (plus an Artisan nomination) for the upcoming ARIA Awards on Sunday October 23rd. With the success of her half million selling debut album, The Sound of White, Higgins is tipped to rule the class of 2005 a la Jet in 2004 and Delta Goodrem in 2003. But it's all a bit surreal for the former Triple J unearthed winner.

She says, "The last twelve months have been full of amazing things, but these nominations feel particularly special and, frankly, just a bit weird. I've spent so much time on the road this year that everything that's happened doesn't quite seem real - it's almost like it's happening to someone else who just happens to have the same name as me. Maybe the penny will finally drop when I'm at the ARIAs."

Not far behind Higgins is local music maestro Ben Lee. The success of his independently released, platinum selling Awake Is The New Sleep album has earned him five nominations (plus one Artisan nomination). Evermore have also earned 5 nominations after the success of their debut album, Dreams, and Universal Music artist Sarah Blasko has received 4 nominations for her long player, The Overture & The Underscore.

First timers receiving nominations this year include Thirsty Merc (3 nominations and 1 Artisan nomination), Wolfmother (2 nominations), Joel Turner and The Modern Day Poets (3 nominations), Architecture In Helsinki (2 nominations and 1 Artisan nomination), Anthony Callea (3 nominations), Lior (3 nominations), Mia Dyson (2 nominations), Casey Donovan (2 nominations), End of Fashion (1 nomination and 1 Artisan nomination), Jade MacRae (1 nomination), Kisschasy (1 nomination and 1 Artisan nomination), The Veronicas (1 nomination), Deepface (1 nomination), and Bodyrockers (1 nomination). Firmly established artists with nominations include country superstar Keith Urban (3 nominations), plus Grinspoon, Renee Geyer, Paul Kelly, The Wiggles, Hi 5, Adam Harvey, Slava Grigoryan, Paul Grabowsky, Andrea Keller Quartet, Jimeon and many more.

The 2005 ARIA Awards will be held on Sunday October 23rd at the Sydney SuperDome and will be broadcast on Network Ten from 7.30pm. General public tickets are on sale now!


On the record company front, Warner Music earned a prestigious 18 nominations, equaling their best ever record set in 1998. But it was EMI that topped the list with a whopping total of 31 nominations across 28 categories. Managing Director John O'Donnell is understandably chuffed.

He says, "We are incredibly excited by this fantastic result for our artists. We continue to sign and develop real artists who have long-term careers, not here-today-gone-tomorrow pop-lite pretenders, and we're excited that real artists are the ones that are connecting with the public and the industry. True artist development is alive and well at EMI Australia and we see this as a real victory for real artists. Congratulations to them all."


The ARIA Artisan Awards have also been announced. Congratulations to David Nicholas who won the Producer of the Year award for his work on the Drag album The Way Out, Matt Lovell who won the Engineer of the Year award for The Mess Hall debut album Notes From A Ceiling, and Ben Quinn who won the Best Video category for the amazing clip 'O Yeah' by End of Fashion. The multi-talented Ben Lee (along with Lara Meyerratken and Dan Estabrook) also won the ARIA Award for Best Cover Art for his album Awake Is The New Sleep.

Winners of the Best Classical, Best Jazz, Best World Music and Best Original Soundtrack / Cast / Show Recording will be announced at the ARIA Fine Arts Awards on Tuesday October 11th.


More than eight years since the release of their last album, INXS have been revamped with the addition of new lead singer JD Fortune from Canada. Guitarist Tim Farriss couldn't be happier with the new frontman. He says, "JD has a slightly dangerous edge and will bring a sense of spontaneity to our live show. In addition, he has both the star quality we were looking for and is an inspired lyricist. I think he'll grow with us on all levels. We're a complete band once again." The final episode of 'Rock Star: INXS' on FOX8 was subscription television's most watched program last month with almost 500,000 viewers seeing Fortune take out the crown.

The new frontman says, "It's an understatement to say that this is a dream come true. Growing up, INXS albums like Shabooh Shoobah, Listen Like Thieves and Kick were a huge musical influence on me. I'd listen to their songs and wonder what it would be like to be in this band. That they've chosen me to be their new lead singer is just mind-blowing." The brand new single “Pretty Vegas” is currently all over radio while new album Switch hits the stores on November 29.


Speaking of comebacks, Simple Minds are back with a new album after a three-year hiatus. Being hailed as one of their greatest albums to date, Black & White 050505 sees the band recall the sweeping, vast sound that characterized their biggest hit albums, Sparkle In The Rain, Once Upon A Time and Street Fighting Years.

Says frontman Jim Kerr, "We wanted to make an album once again that was full of dramatic and atmospheric pop music. We felt that we needed an album that proved as much to ourselves as anyone else, that the big beating heart of Simple Minds was very much alive and driving us on once again. Having delivered Black and White 050505, an album that we believe is 'classic Simple Minds,' albeit with a whole new energy."

The Scottish four-piece have scored over twenty Top 20 hits in a career spanning nearly three decades, and have sold over twenty million records. The new album sees the band revitalized and ready to conquer a whole new audience. Kerr adds, "In the tradition of all great rock bands, we are extremely excited at the prospect of playing this album live on stage and look forward to doing exactly that in the near future." Black & White 050505 is out now.


It has been one amazing month for identical Aussie twins Jess & Lisa, better known as The Veronica's. After performing to a sold out NRL Grand Final, comes the news that their debut single has not only surpassed Gold status (sales in excess of 35,000), but it has also earned them their first ARIA Award nomination for Breakthrough Artist. Initially signed to an exclusive production deal with Engine Room on the strength of their very first demo, the girls went on to work with some of the industry's finest hit makers before signing a major deal with Sire Records. And now they're ready to unleash their debut album, The Secret Life Of'. Tough and edgy with hooks and harmonies to spare, the album will be available on October 17th.


Australian Idol 2004 winner Casey Donovan is back in the news and this time for all the right reasons. The 17 year old was the proud recipient of the Single of the Year and Artist of the Year awards at last month's inaugural Deadly Awards. And this month, she is in the running for Highest Selling Album and Highest Selling Single at the ARIAs. But she faces stiff competition from Idol runner up Anthony Callea and Missy Higgins in each category. You can catch Donovan performing around Sydney over the coming months.

In other news from Idol's batch of talent from 2004, fans may recall Marty Worrall (dubbed "the bald, rock guy") whose performances on the show famously moved a certain young boy to tears each week. Well, that young boy's parents must have faith in their son as an A&R rep in the making as they have signed Worrall to their independent label, Style Music. Ever since, Worrall has been focusing on songwriting and recording and is now set to unleash his debut single, “One Day.” The emotion-filled track highlights the versatility and quality of Marty's vocal capacity as well as his strength as a songwriter. The single is out on October 24th.


Just when you thought that nu-metal was dead and buried comes the news that KoRn have signed a new agreement with EMI's Virgin Records. In what many are calling a brave move, the innovative deal will not only include a recording contract but KoRn and EMI will also partner in and share in the results from the band's overall career. This includes their recording, music publishing, touring, merchandising, sponsorship and any other activities, such as film, TV, book or video game projects.

The band that redefined the parameters of heavy music will have a unique relationship with the record company allowing EMI to work more closely with the band and their management on all aspects of their business. KoRn lead singer Jonathan Davis says, "I always felt like I was working for a record company. Now I feel like we have a true partner. I'm looking forward to this new chapter in our career." The new agreement with EMI commences with KoRn's first Virgin Records release, an as yet-untitled record and the band's first studio album since their 2003 platinum selling Take a Look in the Mirror. First single is “Twisted Transistor,” while the new album is slated for release on December 4th.


Australia's #1 rock chick, Sarah McLeod, this month offers us an insight into what really went on behind the scenes at the Benefit Concert for Pete Wells (Rock N Roll Outlaw) at the Enmore Theatre last month. She says, "So I got up on stage to a packed Enmore Theatre and sung a song with Rose Tattoo the other night. Holy f**kin' s**t balls. It was so unreal, I was in my element.

"Initially I was to sing “Bad Boy For Love” and then at the last minute, I got an email from Billy Thorpe saying that Angry Anderson had changed his mind and wanted to sing it himself, and could I do “Nice Boy's” as a duet with him. I had already learned all the words to “Bad Boy” and then I downloaded the words to “Nice Boys” and realized how f**kin' many of them there were! I had a minor panic attack as it was only a few days out of the gig and I was in the middle of moving house and doing press and all sorts of s**t and knew that I would just have to wing it. There were no rehearsals, I only met the band at sound check and Angry wasn't even there. They told me to bash through it alone with the band and work out on the night who was to sing what.

"When I met Angry later and asked what he wanted to do he said that the boys had told him that I had cut it at sound check and he could relax, so he let me sing it alone. I was madly learning words seconds before I went on, standing in the wings of the stage with my cheat notes. Anyway, it turned out unreal, I went on and the band kicked in and it was just a pure rock moment! One of the highlights of my career I reckon - they're a great band. A sweaty tattooed Angry Anderson came into my dressing room at the end of the gig and kissed me on the hand and told me that I 'wasn't too f**kin' bad'. Quite the compliment I thought, it was very surreal and very f**kin' cool." More rock moments such as these can be found on Sarah McLeod's debut album, Private School Kid which is out now.


With rumors floating around about the demise of Garbage, the band have decided to address the issue by posting a statement on their website. It says, "Dear worried and confused. After reading all the bullshit out there about the future of Garbage, we felt compelled to write a few lines here to address the issue and set the record straight. Certain journalists have taken the liberty of running wildly inaccurate stories in recent days about our so-called 'break-up'. Made up out of cobbled together, out of context quotes to feed some perverse agenda of their own, these stories are nothing more than idle speculation and are completely inaccurate.

"The truth of the matter is really simple and surprisingly hard to misconstrue. For more than ten years, we have been in a cycle of album making and touring and for the first time in our history, we have made a decision to break that cycle and take some time off. What does that mean? We are NOT breaking up. However, we ARE taking some much-deserved time off to spend with our families and friends. How much time? We don't know.

"This decision came as a difficult yet necessary one in order to preserve something we hold very dear. The last ten years have been an incredible experience for all of us and we appreciate all the freedom, love and support you have so generously given us during that time. We are eternally grateful to you all and we look forward to the next chapter in all of our lives with great excitement and enthusiasm. True Love Forever, Garbage." In the meantime, pick up a copy of their Gold accredited latest album, Bleed Like Me.


Epicure have announced their plans to tour the country this November in support of their brand new album, Main Street. The follow up to 2004's The Goodbye Girl boasts the moody melodies, beautiful layers of sound and emotive lyrics that Epicure fans have grown to love. Typified by the haunting, first single, “Tightrope Walker,” Main Street presents a more laid back, beautiful sounding Epicure that will throw you into the deepest thoughts and spine tingling memories upon reaching your ears. It hits the stores on October 17. The national tour kicks off on November 4 with Sophie Koh confirmed as the special guest. Tickets are on sale now.

For more information and to contact the author, click on the author’s name at the top of the page.

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