The FBI Has Released Its Archival File on Kurt Cobain

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has released an archival file relating to the death of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, 27 years after the rock icon died by suicide. The records, now publicly accessible, contain two letters sent to the Bureau requesting that they reopen the investigation into Cobain’s death in 1994.

One claims that the police involved in the investigation into Cobain’s death were “never very serious in investigating it as a murder,” and says there is “more than enough evidence to reopen the case and change the cause of death from suicide to murder.”

Another, sent in 2003, comes from an individual who believes “a great injustice might have been committed” in Cobain’s case, requesting a “reexamination” of his death.

“Millions of fans around the world would like to see the inconsistencies surrounding the death cleared up once and for all. It is sad to think that an injustice of this nature can be allowed in the United States.”

There are also three letters the FBI sent back to those who requested a reinvestigation into Cobain’s death, explaining that homicide investigations are generally within the jurisdiction of state and local authorities.

“In order for the FBI to initiate an investigation of any complaint we receive, specific facts must be present to indicate that a violation of federal law within our investigative jurisdiction has occurred,” they read.

“Based on the information you provided, we are unable to identify any violation of federal law within the investigative jurisdiction of the FBI. We are, therefore, unable to take any investigative action in this case.”

The file ends with a fax sent to the FBI in 1997 by Cosgrove/Meurer Productions, a production company who helmed the documentary series Unsolved Mysteries, which featured an episode on Cobain the same year.

“At least one investigator, Tom Grant, a Los Angeles based private investigator and former L.A. Country Sheriff’s deputy, is convinced that the official ruling of suicide was a rush to judgement,” it reads.

“The Seattle police are confident they made the correct ruling. They consider the case closed. Tom Grant does not. He believes the investigation should be re-opened and the inconsistencies resolved once and for all.”

You can read the file in full here.

girl in red: “It’s Important To Me That My Music Means Something”

Norway’s girl in red, aka Marie Ulven, is the indie-pop star the world needs in 2021. The 22-year-old prodigy has delivered a much-anticipated debut, if i could make it go quiet, of expressive queer emo-pop songs that have Suzi Quatro’s rock clout, Avril Lavigne’s punk verve, and AURORA’s Scandinavian spaciness. Marie has already found a super-fan in Taylor Swift, who declared the album “spectacular” in her Instagram Stories.

i will never be able to recover from taylor swift saying my album is spectacular

— girl in red (@_girlinred_) May 1, 2021

The neo-rocker grew up in sedate Horten, her parents divorcing when she was five. Marie started composing bedroom songs seriously as a teen after being presented with a guitar by her grandfather one Christmas. Initially, she uploaded material on SoundCloud, using aliases and singing in Norwegian. However, the openly gay musician would go viral with 2017’s anthem ‘i wanna be your girlfriend’, about an unrequited crush on a straight bestie, under her new project name, girl in red. Marie became a streaming phenomenon, airing multiple singles and two EPs (chapter 1 and chapter 2). She even contributed ‘kate’s not here’ to the curated soundtrack for The Turning, Floria Sigismondi’s gothic horror. Marie has established a dedicated fanbase by candidly chronicling her anxiety, desire, conflicted emotions, and existential panic – all with a droll and dramatic flair (cue: ‘dead girl in the pool’).

Now living in Oslo, Norway’s capital, Marie began cutting if i could make it go quiet in late 2019 – continuing as COVID-19 shut down Europe and the music industry (she missed Coachella and stalled her planned album release). In many ways, if i could make it go quiet is a coming-of-age record, but it feels zeitgeist. In a presser, Marie describes her debut as “me simply trying to understand what the fuck is going on.”

Though previously self-contained as a singer, songwriter, instrumentalist and producer, Marie worked on the album externally with Matias Téllez (who was once signed to Modular Recordings as Young Dreams). She made eight-hour road trips between Oslo and Téllez’ base in Bergen, Norway’s music hub. A guitar pop boffin, Marie creates a bigger, more expansive sound for her happy/sad bops – the first single ‘midnight love’, in which she empathises with a neglected partner, featuring her piano and a quiet storm balladic vibe. But the opener ‘Serotonin’, a dynamic trap banger about OCD and intrusive thought patterns, also has input from the Grammy-winning producer FINNEAS, Billie Eilish’s older brother.

While today Marie is a Gen Z LGBTQIA+ icon, inspiring the coded phrase “Do you listen to girl in red?” as a communal identifier on TikTok, she’s challenged those labelling her music as ‘queer’, determined to normalise queerness in pop culture (“MY BOPS ARE FOR EVERYONE”).

also, recently i’ve noticed a lot of queer ppl being like “lmao why this straight couple using ur music in their tik tok?” CAUSE feelings are universal. music doesn’t have a sexuality. YES i like tits but jeez MY BOPS ARE FOR EVERYONE

— girl in red (@_girlinred_) March 20, 2020

Gigging internationally, Marie hit Australia three years ago, performing a Sydney show ahead of Spotify’s Front Left Live in Melbourne alongside Sweden’s Tove Lo – and it was here she resolved to prioritise self-care. Still, Marie, leading her own “World In Red” movement, will return to the road in April 2022 for a sold-out European tour.

Music Feeds spoke to Marie via Zoom on the eve of her album roll-out and major TV premiere on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (https://youtu.be/d4IoZuP5mCw).

Music Feeds: It must be quite early in Oslo – I think it’s 9.30am or close to that. Are you a morning person?

Marie Ulven (girl in red): I’m definitely not a morning person. If it was up to me, I would be sleeping a long time. But I have a dog [Luna, her rescue Bernese mountain dog] now, so I kind of have to wake up. Yeah, actually, I like the idea of waking up early, though, ’cause then I can be a part of the world and not just be a zombie all day.

MF: Congratulations on your debut album, if i could make it go quiet, coming out in just a couple of days. It must feel incredible to be this close.

Marie Ulven (girl in red): Yes – I’m so, so nervous. Thank you so much. I’m very nervous. But I’m also really excited. I don’t even know what to do with myself at this point, other than not cry – ahhh… OK, sorry.

MF: Well, you signed a worldwide deal with the UK distro co AWAL Recordings in December 2019, just before the pandemic hit. But I wondered if this era has seeped into the album in any way, just the turmoil and the fact that people were locking down?

Marie Ulven (girl in red): I don’t think it has fed directly into my music – like how it sounds. But, then again, I think it has because I don’t think I would be able to make this music if it wasn’t for the lockdown – because I was supposed to be travelling. So the fact that I was in one place, making it all, I definitely think had a lot to say.

MF: You travelled between Oslo and Bergen to record. What were you thinking about on those long road trips? How important was it to have that time to yourself when making this album, just being away from other people – unless, of course, you had a travelling companion?

Marie Ulven (girl in red): I was just travelling with my dog mostly. But, you know, she hears it from me, ’cause I’d be talking to her like she’s a person sometimes… But, yeah, I was thinking about a bunch of weird stuff. I was just paying attention to the road, I was thinking about my future, I was thinking about the songs. I was listening a lot back to the songs and coming up with new things I wanted to fix and things I wanted to write and stuff like that. So I feel like it was actually quite an essential part to always start the trip with this long journey, but then also end the trip with a long journey. I kinda like being in my own headspace. I love driving – driving is the best. I love cars; I love driving – it’s really great. So just doing something like that for many, many hours – that’s like meditation.

MF: I was actually quite surprised because I thought Oslo would have studios – though we hear a lot about Bergen, when we read about music in Norway. But what did Bergen have that Oslo didn’t?

Marie Ulven (girl in red): Bergen had Matias Téllez, who I met for the first time last year in February-ish or end of February, beginning of March. I absolutely fell in love with that man – in a friendly way. Yeah, I really love that dude. We got chemistry right away. You know like sometimes you just meet someone and you’re instantly comfortable around them? He was one of those of people. We had great creative chemistry. He understood all of my ideas. We got along very well. He had a lot of respect for me; I had a lot of respect for him. It was just a really good collab.

MF: I wondered what the process was in developing your demos into such spacy, big pop songs, because this album is so atmospheric. It really feels like something you’d listen to driving on a long road trip. Did you have a specific sound – or aesthetic – in mind as you were writing or was that something that came later?

Marie Ulven (girl in red): I’ve been producing all the demos in my apartment. I was also working on the road while I was on tour. I had my computer with me all the time. I’ve been working all over the place, really. I was left with 11 to 12 demos, but I was like, “I wanna work on these more.” Then I worked on all the verses and choruses and kind of finding the song ideas and the DNAs. And then some songs were more finished; some songs were just the core idea. But I brought those to the studio. And, since I’m a producer, I’ve just been producing individual tracks that have their own direction. So the songs all stand on their own but, soundscape-wise, they all have a little bit of different energy. But I think they sound really well together. Yeah – I feel like I’m rambling right now, I’m sorry!

MF: Not at all. Your lyrics are so clever and observant. What did you learn about yourself while making this music? Because I imagine it was a reflective process. Did you have any interesting insights?

Marie Ulven (girl in red): Mmm. I feel like lyrically on this record, I’ve really been elevating – I don’t know, I feel like it’s really been some craftsmanship in the songwriting process. I feel like, because of the way I’ve sort of evolved emotionally, my songwriting has also matured in a way on this album.

I have a better understanding of like, “How can I make words rhyme that don’t rhyme at all?” That was something I always thought of when I was writing this album. I feel like I just had this better understanding of how you can have something sound like it rhymes with something. I don’t even know what that’s called – but maybe ‘near-rhymes’… Anyways, yeah, I’ve just been geeking on words for this album. In one song [‘Did You Come?’], it’s like, “I’m not upset, I’m fucking pissed” – I spelled it out, “You’re illiterate.” That blows my mind. That “fucking pissed” and “you’re illiterate” rhymes in a song is really cool. I just have to say that – sorry!

MF: It’s funny because I was going to ask if there was a song on this record that you were especially proud of or if you were even close to a particular song. Maybe that is the song. But is there one that you’re really looking forward to performing live?

Marie Ulven (girl in red): Oh, I’m really excited to play ‘Serotonin’ live, because I just feel like it’s gonna go hard. I’m so stoked to see how everyone is gonna be in the crowd. Honestly, I was thinking of myself: “How am I gonna be on stage?,” when I step on stage, because I really don’t even know how to be on stage anymore. Hopefully, that’s like riding a bike and it’s just gonna come back instantly, but I feel like I’m really gonna need some practice. Yeah, ‘Serotonin’ probably.

MF: You worked with FINNEAS on ‘Serotonin’. How did you hook up with him? Because I know you’ve met Billie Eilish and she’s a fan of yours. But what made you decide to work with FINNEAS? Was it just an organic thing? Or was it something you sought out?

Marie Ulven (girl in red): I was working on ‘Serotonin’ and I had this really great song – like I had really cool guitars, I had a really cool rap part, and this chorus. It was a strong song. But I felt like I needed a new set of ears on it. I think we sent it to a few people, but we decided to work with FINNEAS, ’cause he had heard the song and he absolutely loved it. He was like, “This is so cool.” And it is really cool to hear that from someone you look up to and admire. So that’s just how it happened. We sent the song and he said, “I want to work on this.” Then we did a few Zoom calls – just like this, back and forth – and sent the song back and forth. And we just ended up with what it is right now. So it was a very remote process, but it was still very cool.

MF: You have an incredible fanbase and your songs are just so relatable – even a 60-year-old could listen to your music and it’ll put them in a certain headspace, they’d be able to relate to something. How important do you feel it is to represent and give visibility to young queer people, but also to reach a wide audience and bring them into your world?

Marie Ulven (girl in red): I think that is really cool, because my grandpa really likes my music – and my grandma really likes it. I actually have a lot of older people listening to my music as well, which I think is really interesting. For me, it’s just about making the best music I can make. Anyone can listen to it and anyone can like it, regardless of their age or their sexual orientation or anything like that. I just wanna make music for people who can hear, really! That’s unfortunately not everyone… Also, honestly, I could make music for people who can’t hear, either, because maybe they can [feel] the beat and they’re like, “Yo, this beat is fire,” because they could feel it in their chest. But, yes – I do not know what I’m saying right now! Other than that, it’s just really important to me that my music means something.

MF: You’ve performed in Australia in the past – in 2019. You played a Spotify event. What memories do you have of that time? It seems like a lifetime ago now!

Marie Ulven (girl in red): Yeah, that feels really, really long ago. That was for the Spotify Front Left [Live] and then I did a little show in Sydney. I was really ill when I was in Australia. I had just been on a month-[long] tour in the United States and I was really, really exhausted. Then we flew to Australia – and that trip over to Australia really killed me. So everyone was out; my friends and my band went out and saw the koalas and shit. [But] I just had the longest Harry Potter marathon in 2019 that week and watched all the movies and I ate Coles’ Australian liquorice. That’s literally all I ate. You know that one? That is so good!

MF: I didn’t think you could get good liquorice here, so I’m really pleased to hear that. I’m sorry that you weren’t well, though. It’s a long trip – very long.

Marie Ulven (girl in red): It is a long trip… So I can’t really remember much from that trip. I just remember being in a hotel room, crying, having to get my bandmates to sleep in my bed with me – because I was too scared. I was about to have a breakdown at that point… But I’m really excited to go back and then be happy and be stoked about being alive and stuff. That’s gonna be great!

MF: You do have a huge European tour – it’s about a year away. But people are already looking forward to that. Have you missed touring? Because you can go from one extreme to another, in a way. It sounds like you’ve experienced that: really intense touring and then really intense lockdown.

Marie Ulven (girl in red): Yeah, I definitely felt that at the beginning of last year and that things were very, very slow for me. But there’s so many weird, intense feelings in this life. I’m trying to figure out how to deal with ‘the middle thing’. Even from when I was not touring, life kind of felt like lockdown here in Oslo, because it was so slow – and I was here before lockdown even existed… I’m fading out right now – sorry! Can you help me back on track?

MF: Oh, you’re good. We were just talking about how you could go from one extreme to another with a very hectic tour schedule and then suddenly nothing on the live front. It must be a strange feeling.

Marie Ulven (girl in red): Yeah. OK. That’s good… But I honestly think [the change] was a little bit needed. It’s weird how the industry doesn’t value breaks as much for the musicians – because it’s obviously like you want to tap into all the different touring markets all the time to stay relevant and stuff. But it’s definitely a very, very intense experience. If it was up to the industry, how everything works, an artist would never stop touring, you know? But I think this year was really important for me, at least, to take care of my mental health and to become happy and to make more music and get inspired, I guess.

MF: I’ve got one minute, but is there anything else you’d like to add, Marie – anything I haven’t actually covered?

Marie Ulven (girl in red): I mean, not really – just world domination! And I hope people like my album. That’s all.

‘if i could make it go quiet’ is out now. Stream or download here.

Majority of COVID-19 Restrictions Extended in Greater Sydney Area

Social distancing restrictions announced for the Greater Sydney area last week after a man in his 50s from Woollahra and his wife tested positive for community-transmitted COVID-19 will remain in place for at least another week.

While the state has gone three days without experiencing any recorded community transmission, NSW Health expressed concern that the “missing link” had not yet been identified between a case in hotel quarantine and the recent case.

“Despite extensive investigations to date, NSW Health has not identified how the initial case, the man in his 50s, was exposed to Covid-19,” NSW Health said on Sunday.

“[This] suggests he acquired the infection through brief contact with a currently unidentified person who was infectious in the community.”

As such, the majority of restrictions will remain in place until 12.01am on Monday, 17th May. Households will be limited to having 20 visitors, and masks will remain compulsory on public transport and in indoor public venues.

Patrons at pubs and other venues will not be able to stand up while drinking, and singing and dancing will still be prohibited outside of weddings. Visitors to aged care facilities will remain limited to two people per day.

The exception to the extended restrictions is that retail customers will be able to shop without wearing a mask, though retail staff will still be required to wear a mask.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian thanked residents for their patience on Sunday, saying that, given the “missing link” case had yet to be identified, continued restrictions were necessary to “prevent a super-spreading event.”

Artists Call Out QLD Premier After Tweet Celebrates 41,637 Fans At Suncorp Stadium

Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk has received backlash on Twitter from local artists after celebrating the Queensland Reds’ win last night at Suncorp Stadium.

“Queensland are the comeback kings!” she tweeted. “What a win [QLD Reds] in front of 41,637 fans at Suncorp Stadium.”

Queensland are the comeback kings!

What a win @Reds_Rugby in front of 41,637 fans at Suncorp Stadium

#WeAreQueensland #SuperRugbyAU #REDvBRU pic.twitter.com/SGSkctvmQP

— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) May 8, 2021

Artists were quick to criticise Palaszczuk, pointing out the differences in support for sporting events, when compared with the arts.

Ball Park Music quote tweeted the premier saying, “Yeah this is fucked, do more for the arts.”

Yeah this is fucked, do more for the arts https://t.co/ByDGph7I5F

— Ball Park Music (@ballparkmusic) May 8, 2021

“I wish you’d support the music industry like this,” tweeted Amy Shark. “We need help x”

I wish you’d support the music industry like this @AnnastaciaMP we need help x https://t.co/XINspL5tCv

— Amy Shark (@amyshark) May 8, 2021

Eves Karydas shared the premier’s tweet, adding, “You can boast about your footy numbers, but do you realise how heavily the music and arts industry feels let down [Annastacia Palaszczuk]?”

“Please allow music venues to increase their capacities,” she later replied to the tweet.

“It’s insulting seeing the number of people allowed to cram into sports stadiums while we are left with half capacities and no wriggle room. Music saves people’s lives. Give it the support it deserves.”

Please allow music venues to increase their capacities. It’s insulting seeing the number of people allowed to cram into sports stadiums while we are left with half capacities and no wriggle room. Music saves people’s lives. Give it the support it deserves.

— Eves Karydas (@eveskarydas) May 9, 2021

Aaaand, Max Quinn quipped, “Meanwhile Australian music out here like: An incredible sold-out gig in front of the legal maximum of 17 adoring fans safely social distanced at Qudos Bank Arena.”

Meanwhile Australian music out here like:

An incredible sold-out gig in front of the legal maximum of 17 adoring fans safely social distanced at Qudos Bank Arena https://t.co/5SDhEMnHMn

— Max Quinn (@Maxquinn) May 8, 2021

The calls come after Brisbane’s The Triffid owners, John Collins and Brett Gibson started a petition to the premier.

They wrote, “While strict rules have been relaxed for Suncorp Stadium to host State of Origin with 50,000 people packed in, music venues are STILL only allowed to operate at a reduced capacity with heavy social distancing restrictions. Venues can’t even breakeven, let alone pay artists and other staff.”

The petition has 18,936 signatures at the time of writing.

Mac Miller’s Family Share Disappointment In Unauthorised Biography, Urge Fans Not To Buy It

Mac Miller’s family has shared a statement expressing disappointment in an upcoming biography based on the late rapper’s life. His estate is urging fans not to purchase Paul Cantor’s Most Dope: The Extraordinary Life of Mac Miller.

They released the statement, saying they’d recently discovered the book has been made available for pre-order.

“This book is not authorized or endorsed by Malcolm’s family and has been written by a writer with whom Malcolm did not have a relationship,” they write.

“Furthermore, the writer had no meaningful access to those that were closest to Malcolm—friends, family, collaborators etc.

“In fact, the writer of this book was made aware at the outset of the process of writing this book that the family and friends of Malcolm were uncomfortable with him authoring this biography, yet he chose to proceed against our polite insistence that he not do disservice to Malcolm’s legacy through writing a book without legitimate primary sources.”

They acknowledge that they don’t totally understand the author and publisher’s intention with the book. But they say they’re suspicious of their motives. Particularly, the choice to make the book available for pre-order the day before Mac’s birthday.

They also express concern that the book’s pre-order date purposely coincides with the announcement of Donna-Clair Chesman’s The Book of Mac. The family thinks it may be an attempt to attract pre-orders from fans who’ve mixed the two biographies up.

On The Book of Mac, the family say it has, “the support of the estate, and includes extensive interviews with the people whom Malcolm held dear.”

“We have been consistently disappointed by the author and publisher’s decision to pursue this book given their full understanding of our discomfort with the circumstances under which it was authored, but utilizing Malcolm’s birthdate as a marketing tool is exploitative and incredibly disappointing.”

You can read the statement in full below.

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Watch Miley Cyrus Team Up With The Kid Laroi For ‘WITHOUT YOU’ Performance On SNL

Blessing the SNL studio yet again, Miley Cyrus appeared as a musical guest last night. She took Aussie export, The Kid Laroi along with her to deliver a stripped-back version of their collaborative remix effort, ‘WITHOUT YOU’.

The pair’s incredibly raw set has fun singalongs, grooving, and is filled to the brim with wholesome energy.

Miley Cyrus also delivers ‘Plastic Hearts’ taken from her 2020 album of the same name. It’s a stellar performance, as is Cyrus’ choice of dress.

To open the episode, Cyrus covers Dolly Parton’s ‘Light of a Clear Blue Morning’. It opens the ‘Mother’s Day Message” where members of the cast appear with their Mums while Cyrus soundtracks their introductions.

Closing off the segment, Cyrus says, “Happy Mother’s Day to my godmother, Dolly Parton and to my Mum, Tish.”

The episode was hosted by Elon Musk, to a lot of people’s disappointment after Twitter had largely called for Cyrus to just double duty it.

Musk revealed he has Asperger’s syndrome in his opening monologue.

“It’s an honour to be hosting Saturday Night Live. I mean that,” he clarifies in his monologue. “Sometimes after I say something, I have to say I mean that.”

“I don’t always have a lot of intonational variation in how I speak, which I’m told makes for great comedy.

“I’m actually making history tonight as the first person with Asperger’s to host SNL.”

“Or, at least the first person to admit it,” he adds.

Viewers were quick to point out this isn’t true. Dan Akroyd hosted the show in 2003, and had been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome in the early ’80s.

You can watch each of the segments below.

J. Cole Shares New Single ‘I n t e r l u d e’ From Forthcoming Album ‘The Off-Season’

J. Cole announced earlier this week that he’d be dropping his sixth studio album, The Off-Season next Friday, 14th May. Now, he’s shared a taster: ‘i n t e r l u d e’.

Announcing the drop of the new single, J. Cole said he’d initially planned to drop the album all at once. “Sometimes you gotta say fuck it tho,” he posted ahead of the single’s release.

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‘I n t e r l u d e’ sees Cole touch on the United States’ gun crisis. “Just last week, seen yo’ mama weep / Crying ’cause she don’t wan’ bury your brother / The blood lеaks while the EMTs gotta carry her baby likе surrogate mothers,” he raps.

On the new album, J. Cole simply said, “Just know this was years in the making.”

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You can listen to ‘i n t e r l u d e’ below. It’s taken from the rapper’s soon-to-arrive album, The Off-Season, due out next Friday, 14th May.

Watch Hiatus Kaiyote & Emma Donovan Cover Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’ On The Set

Hiatus Kaiyote and Emma Donovan were rounded up for this weekend’s instalment of ABC’s live music show The Set.

Hiatus Kaiyote spoils us with a special preview of two unreleased tracks from their forthcoming album Mood Valiant and join Emma Donovan & The Putbacks for a cover.

They team up for an absolutely joyous rendition of Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’. It sees Emma Donovan and Hiatus Kaiyote vocalist, Nai Palm’s vocals contrast amazingly while swaying pretty closely to the original.

It’s a super fun cover.

While on The Set, Hiatus Kaiyote performed their 2021 single, ‘Get Sun’, taken from Mood Valiant.

Aaand they perform those two unheard tracks: ‘Sip Into Something Soft’ and ‘Chivalry Is Not Dead’.

The album is due for release Friday, 25th June. Hiatus Kaiyote are taking Mood Valiant around the country in July.

You can watch all of the performances below.

NEW AUS MUSIC PLAYLIST: Our Favourite Tunes Of The Week

Happy Friday and Happy Music Feeds’ New Aus Music Playlist Day! This is where we put all our favourite new Australian music from the week that’s been. Alongside those from weeks prior.

It’s the perfect chance for you to brush up on your local music releases, discover new artists, and support our industry. Grab your headphones, sit down, and chill out while we take you through the must-listens from this week.

Head here to see last week’s releases.

And make sure to follow us on Spotify for more curated playlists!

Click through to Spotify for the updated full monthly playlist.

New Aus Music Playlist — 07/05/21

Cat & Calmell – Jorge
Eves Karydas – Freckles
Hayley Mary – Young & Stupid
Eliza and the Delusionals – You
Remi, Sensible J, Tyler Daley – The Times
Nerve, JK-47 – One In A Million
Babe Rainbow – Ready For Tomorrow
Ben Abraham – War In Your Arms
Alice Skye – Party Tricks
Flight Facilities – Lights Up ft Channel Tres
Alex Lahey – On My Way
Day1 – King Of My City
Genesis Owusu, Harvey Sutherland – Gold Chains (Remix)

Love Letter To A Record: Emalia On Taylor Swift’s ‘Speak Now’

Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become. 

In this Love Letter To A Record series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

Emalia – Taylor Swift, Speak Now(2010)

There are a lot of albums that have had a huge impact on me and my life over the years, but none more so than Taylor Swift’s Speak Now. Yup, I’m a hardcore swiftie (represent!). A lot of people find that surprising, which I can understand seeing as we are quite different artists in terms of our sound, branding and all the rest, but it was listening to Speak Now that inspired me and taught me to write songs. Taylor has always been honest, vulnerable and straight forward in her writing and that’s what spoke to me when I first heard this album. I was already a fan of hers after my cousin had played me some songs off of Fearless, and I eagerly awaited her next one. It did not disappoint. In my opinion, every song on Speak Now is a great one. From the melodies to the instrumentation, to the vocal performances, to the lyrics; it’s super polished, catchy and emotive. When I found out it was the first album where Taylor had written all of the songs herself, I was enamoured.

I have been singing and performing since I was 5, and had written little acapella songs here and there over the years, but it was only after hearing this album at about 12 years old that I was inspired to learn an instrument and really pursue writing as a main aspect of my artistry. I was also lucky enough to see Taylor in concert on her Speak Now tour, and watching her diversity from the way she could perform so magnetically alongside this incredible production with dancers and the band etc, and then still hypnotise an audience with solely her guitar and her voice – it totally blew my mind. I picked up the first guitar I could get my hands on, learnt my first four chords, and wrote a song with them. I would sit on my bedroom floor listening to Speak Now on repeat for hours – writing out the lyrics, studying her lyrical and chord structures and trying to replicate them in my own music. I love how she essentially writes open letters in song form – it feels so direct and raw. My writing style (and my approach to my art as a whole) is still influenced by Taylor, even now. Without Speak Now, I don’t think I would be the songwriter I am today.

It’s always been my favourite TS era, as it brings back so many memories and a huge sense of nostalgia whenever I hear it. My best friend Olivia and I would learn our favourite songs, duet and upload covers of them to YouTube. I would stay up watching her music videos, interviews and behind the scenes videos completely enthralled by the world she’d created. It was magical and beautiful, and all the easter eggs and attention to detail through every aspect opened my mind to a whole new level of creativity that I’ve carried with me since. The music also helped me through some of my hardest times growing up. ‘Mean’ is a song on the album that I hold so close to my heart. I was bullied a lot in school, and it really helped me through it all. It gave me strength and a belief in my future dreams. I felt less alone. And ultimately, if Taylor Swift could do it, so could I.

Speak Now sparked a fire in me that never went out. It ignited a part of me that I don’t think I would have discovered in quite the same way if I’d never heard it. I am forever grateful to Taylor and Speak Now, an album that, ironically, encouraged me to do just that through music.

Homegrown RnB artist Emalia has just unveiled her new EP ‘Unmuted’. It features previously released tracks ‘Suga Rush’ and ‘IOU’ featuring US rapper Guapdad 4000. Listen here.

Watch Hope D Cover ‘Toxic’ by Britney Spears for Like a Version

Hope D was this morning’s guest on triple j’s Like a Version segment, with a powerhouse rendition of Britney Spears‘ ‘Toxic’. Band in tow, the Brisbane singer-songwriter delivered an energetic, guitar-heavy cover of the 2003 In the Zone classic.

Much darker in tone than the original, the cover goes to some very interesting places sonically, with each of the five performers playing off each other and totally leaning into the dramatic performance. One of the most interesting moments comes when the new rendition’s woozy, extended bridge ramps up into a big, cathartic final chorus. It absolutely rips.

“I really wanted to make it really dark and moody, and it was very much a collaborative process with the band,” Hope D explains in an accompanying interview. “We all had so many ideas and everyone had their own parts to put in.”

In addition to ‘Toxic’, Hope D also gave a killer performance of ‘Addict’, the opening track to newly-released EP Cash Only. Check out both below.

Watch Middle Kids Perform ‘Questions’ on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’

Sydney’s own Middle Kids were the latest musical guests on Jimmy Kimmel Live, where they delivered a stirring rendition of their Today We’re the Greatest single ‘Questions’.

The remotely-filmed performance opens with frontwoman Hannah Joy sitting on the floor and playing the song’s opening synth lines, before a curtain pulls up to reveal the rest of the band along with a slew of backup singers.

As the song reaches its triumphant crescendo, another curtain lifts to show a small horn section, who begin wailing away amid a burst of confetti. It’s exactly as joyous as it sounds – check it out below.

Today We’re the Greatest, the band’s second album, arrived back in March. In our interview with Joy earlier this year, the singer and guitarist explained that she hoped the record would help people “connect tot heir won story, and their own deeper parts of themselves.”

“When I think about the music that has impacted me, the music that has really helped me, it’s when I can hear my own voice through their voice. Part of them sharing their story helps me see my story in another way… We feel really passionate about trying to make music that kind of cuts to the guts. If people can find their own voices through it, that’s probably the desire.”

Watch Middle Kids performing ‘Questions’ on Jimmy Kimmel Live below. The band kick off an Australian tour this month – head here for dates and details.

Listen To REMI’s Third And Final Album Together, ‘Fried’

It’s the end of an era. Earlier this week, we were met with the unfortunate news that REMI – consisting of Remi Kolawole and producer Sensible J – were disbanding.

But, before they leave us, they’re delivering their swan song in the form of their final album together, Fried. It’s out today, and includes features from the likes of Silentjay, Whosane, Tyler Daley, Lori, Konny Kon, Baasto and Jace XL.

The album was recorded at House of Beige Studios, and is their third overall, following 2014’s excellent Raw x Infinity and 2016’s Divas and Demons.

In a statement released today, Sensible J showed his appreciation for everyone who has supported the duo over the past decade.

“Thank you to everyone over the last 10-11 years who have listened and supported the music, bought a ticket to a show, bought merch, told a friend. Thank you to all the radio stations and presenters, records stores, blogs, media and writers, booking agents, publicists (esp Thinking Loud and Aniela), photographers, venues and festivals for your support,” he said.

“Thank you to all the artists who shared the stage with us,” he added. “Grateful for the all the experiences and the whole journey. Thank you Remi.”

Listen to Fried in full below.

Alice Skye Announces New Album ‘I Feel Better But I Don’t Feel Good’

Wegaia/Wemba Wemba songwriter Alice Skye has announced she’ll release her second album I Feel Better But I Don’t Feel Good this July.

Produced by Jen Cloher, the follow-up to 2018’s Friends with Feelings will feature previously-released singles ‘Stay in Bed’, ‘Grand Ideas’ and the album’s title track.

To coincide with the news, Skye has shared new single ‘Party Tricks’, a slow-burner that opens with Skye’s gossamer vocals gliding above brooding, understated keys – all before leading into a cathartic crescendo of distorted guitars. Listen below.

“The chorus kind of says it how I felt. I was stuck in a situation that was just adding to my already warped sense of self. It can be easier to end up in bad relationships that feel comfortable because it’s familiar, than get used to the idea that you deserve more,” Skye says of the song.

“It takes work to see an out and I definitely wrote this song when I was sitting deep in that place. I just wanted a song to wallow in and play really loud.”

The new single and album announcement follows hot on the heels of Skye’s announcement that she’ll head out on a co-headline east coast tour with Elizabeth next month, performing in Adelaide, Sydney, Queensland, Melbourne, Castlemaine and Ballarat.

I Feel Better But I Don’t Feel Good culminates a huge year for Skye, releasing two singles and appearing on Midnight Oil’s Makarrata Project track ‘Terror Australia’. She went on to tour with the Oils in support of the album earlier this year.

Listen to ‘Party Tricks’ and check out tour dates below. I Feel Better But I Don’t Feel Good  is out Friday, 23rd July via Bad Apples.

Alice Skye/Elizabeth East Coast Tour 2021

Saturday, 19th July
The Grace Emily, Adelaide
Tickets: Oztix

Thursday, 24th June
The Vanguard, Sydney
Tickets: Moshtix

Friday, 25th June
Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane
Tickets: Eventbrite

Saturday, 26th June
Solbar, Maroochydore
Tickets: Oztix

Friday, 2nd July (early session)
The Curtin Hotel, Melbourne
Tickets: Oztix

Friday, 2nd July (late session)
The Curtin Hotel, Melbourne
Tickets: Oztix

Saturday, 3rd July
The Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine
Tickets: Oztix

Sunday, 4th July
Volta, Ballarat
Tickets: Eventbrite

Julia Michaels Steps Into The Limelight: “I’ve Never Been Shy To Talk About How I Feel”

Out of the spotlight, singer-songwriter Julia Michaels has helped shape the face of pop music over the last decade. The Grammy-nominated wordsmith has penned hits for the likes of Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez and, our lord and saviour, Britney Spears. But the Iowa-gone-Cali girl is finally wielding her razor-sharp wit and lyrical chops to tell her own story on the debut album Not In Chronological Order.

Years after releasing her 2017 EP Nervous System, the pandemic presented the 27-year-old with the perfect opportunity to finally dedicate her energy to a body of work that she can call her own. With an intimate trust circle of collaborators (including her boyfriend JP Saxe) around her, Michaels spent months threading together defining moments of her life through music.

Inspired by songstresses of the nineties, she writes with the meticulous and unabashed sincerity of an open book over the 10 tracks. It’s not a breakup album, a new romance record or a declaration of self-discovery. It’s actually all of the above. She sings of identity on ‘That’s The Kind of Woman’, insecurity and fiery jealousy on ‘All Your Exes’ and a blossoming love on ‘Little Did I Know’.

Through the lens of a healthy relationship and a new understanding of romance, it’s a non-linear chronicle of the moments that moulded her twenties and the woman she is today. The record has also given Michaels more creative control over her songs beyond the lyrics. The tracks ebb and flow between electro-pop and acoustic slow jams to reflect her sonic influences.

She flashes her sense of humour in music videos like ‘All Your Exes’, where she slays her lover’s past dalliances with a chainsaw in a campy ode to ’80s slasher films. And on social media, she encourages fans to share their own remixes and recreations. Michaels is finally riding solo in the driver’s seat and it suits her well.

On the eve of the album’s release, Music Feeds caught up with Julia Michaels over Zoom to chat about the record, the power of writing for herself and being present in 2021.

Music Feeds: Your first record is almost here! How are you feeling ahead of the release?

Julia Michaels: I’m feeling good. Now I’m 90% really excited. And then 9% nervous and then 1% really nervous, but overall very excited.

MF: After such a long time writing for others, what was it like creating a full-length record for yourself?

JM: It was pretty surreal. It was surreal too because I made most of it in 2020 in quarantine, socially distanced. I was going to do a couple of sessions on Zoom. And I did one and I was like, “I’m never doing this again.” Like literally fuck this box [points to Zoom window]. I got a group of people together that I really loved, that have known me for a really long time and that I trusted with the whole journey and process. And they were gracious enough to lend me their time and it’s a scary time. We got to make this album together in the room together, but you know, six feet apart. That was so, so weird. But yeah, it’s my first album. I put out my first single four years ago. You’d think I’d have an album by now but I don’t (laughs). My fans have been waiting a really long time. And I’m excited that they’re gonna hear one finally.

MF: How have the fans been reacting to the tracks you’ve dropped from the album already?

JM: They’ve been so wonderful and so supportive. I mean from Twitter, to Instagram to TikTok, the videos and all the comments and all the pictures that they’re posting. When I put out ‘All Your Exes’, there were so many people posing with fake chainsaws and stuff. It was so funny.

MF: That music video is everything! You must have had the best time working on that?

JM: So much fun. It was the first time I really got to collaborate on a music video. I think I always thought of that phrase “you have one job”. Like stay in your lane kind of vibe. I was like, “Oh, I’m the songwriter. I’m not a director. I’m not allowed to have input on my own music video”. 2020 was a time for self reflection and a time to be like “no, I should be able to talk about things with somebody”. I met this wonderful woman named Blythe Thomas, who directed the video and I told her my ideas. And she just enhanced them entirely and put her own really cool spin on the whole music video and it was just awesome. JP says he’s pretty sure I wasn’t acting. I think he might be right. I think that might have been like an undercover true form.

MF: You can just send him the link to the music video any time he steps out of line.

JM: Yeah, absolutely (laughs).

MF: You have so much songwriting experience, but is a little bit more daunting or liberating writing these songs under your own name?

JM: When it comes to writing for myself, I have a lot of wonderful people that worked on this album with me but the core is my memories, my thoughts, my feelings, my perspective, and I can get as specific with it as I want. I really don’t give a fuck. And I’ve never been shy to talk about anxiety, depression, how I feel about my body, how I feel in love, how I feel heartbroken, how I feel just in any certain situation. I’m grateful that I even have that outlet to do it. It’s awesome.

MF: The album is called ‘Not In Chronological Order’. Can you talk about the significance of that title, the tracklist and how it tells your story?

JM: It’s funny you say that because it kind of had the opposite effect with the album title. I think because I’m a songwriter, people always expect me to have some deep, hidden meaning behind everything. And when it came time to do the tracklisting, the feeling just felt better. The feeling felt better in chronological order than the story did to me. I didn’t want to put all my heartbreak songs at the top. I didn’t want to put all my love songs at the bottom, I didn’t want to put my insecurities at the beginning. I wanted it to space out, and I wanted you to feel everything as sort of situational. So that’s what it is, it really is not in chronological order. Just in terms of life events.

MF: I love it because it takes you on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, just like in real life.

JM: Thanks! That’s what I’m going for. Cuz I am an emotional roller coaster. Let’s go [laughs].

MF: Was that something you were really deliberate in channeling when you were writing the songs or was it a bit of a happy accident that you realised in retrospect when it started to come together?

JM: Honestly, with me, and songwriting, it varies. Some days, I’ll go in, and I won’t know what I want to talk about. And I’ll hear chord progression. And sometimes when I hear a chord progression, certain chords will resonate with me differently. And I’ll see a word in my head, or a memory will pop up and I’m like, “Okay, do I have enough information and inspiration to make a song out of that memory?” and sort of go from there. Or if it’s something that’s happening currently, in my life, I’ll talk about it. Or, for instance, I was in the bathtub when I got the idea for ‘That’s The Kind of Woman’. I was sitting in my thoughts, thinking about the kind of woman that I am and if there was anything about me, I could change what would that be? And just making the list and then again, I think that would be the kind of woman that I could see myself leaving myself for, you know? So it depends. Much like the songs are situational, the way that I write is situational.

MF: Are there any songs that you or that you’re especially proud of, like “I did that. That’s a banger”?

JM: I don’t have that kind of confidence (laughs). So no. But I think one of my favourite songs to write was ‘Little Did I Know’. I wrote that with my boyfriend JP and it’s a really beautiful love song. I think for me in the past, I’ve always thought that I had to create some sort of melodramatic situation to have this beautiful song, and I was so wrong. And being with him and writing with him has changed that and I’m really proud of that song.

MF: Yeah, it’s beautiful. What was it like writing with JP on this record? You’ve written together before but what was it like working on your debut album with him?

JM: Well, we figured if the first time we ever wrote together got us a Grammy nomination, we should probably not NOT write together (laughs). So he was very gracious with his time. And I’m grateful that we still can write together and not take things personally. I can be kind of aggressive and very intentional in the studio. And sometimes if you don’t understand me or my personality, it can be like, “whoa”. So I am just so happy that he has not stormed out or taken anything to heart too much (laughs). And that he listens to me. I’m like, “I have this idea of this idea”. And he’s like, “Okay, cool. Let’s figure this out”. We write really well together. And I hope we can continue doing that in the future because it has been very fun. I get to have sex with a man that I write songs with. It’s fucking great (laughs).

MF: It’s the best of both worlds. You’re living the dream.

JM: (Laughs) Exactly! It really is the best of both worlds.

MF: The record is a really interesting balance of songs made for the dancefloor and tender, acoustic moments. Who or what were your sonic influences for the album?

JM: Well, I’ve always been very inspired by 90’s music. And 90’s female singer-songwriters in particular. I think it’s where I get my honesty, my true to myself, unapologetic, write what she wants, speak up for yourself songwriting mentality. And I’ve always just loved the rawness and the edginess of the lyrics and the music in it. It feels put together, but it also feels a bit blurred, and a bit distorted. And I’ve always found that so, so nice. That beautiful chaos. And I really wanted to incorporate that feeling in this album.

MF: There’s a song for every moment and emotion.

JM: Yeah, if you want to be sad, sassy and sexy or spiteful and revengeful. There’s a song for that.

MF: If and when the world gets its shit together, do you have any plans to tour the album?

JM: I don’t right now. I want to, but I’m really nervous. I’m nervous to know what it’s gonna be like. I kind of watch what other people do to do it, so I know what it’s gonna be like. I’m mentally preparing myself for it. Because if it’s gonna be all boxed out, and everyone’s gonna be seated and stuff like that, it is going to be such a weird transition for me because I’m so used to being in there. Literally in my show, I get in the crowd, and I sing in the middle of everybody. So having those elements taken out of my show are going to be really weird, because those are so important to me. So not yet, but I hope soon.

MF: Yes, fingers crossed. I mean, you should just come down to Australia, gal. Things are starting to open up down here.

JM: I heard! It’s incredible. I’m so happy for you guys. Someone’s doing it fucking right.

MF: It has already been a wild 2021 for you, but what else do you have planned for the rest of the year?

JM: To be honest, I’m just super focused on this album. These days, we’re so used to moving from one thing to the other. And I am too. I’m so guilty of that. And I just think, with the perspective and self-reflection of 2020, I really want to be present in this album. It’s my first album. You only do your first once and I really want to enjoy every single second of it.

Julia Michaels’ debut album, ‘Not in Chronological Order’, is out now.

Listen to Coldplay’s New Intergalactic Synth-Pop Gem ‘Higher Power’

Coldplay have shared the first song from their forthcoming ninth studio album, releasing ‘Higher Power’ today. Produced by hit machine Max Martin, it’s a euphoric, high-energy bop anchored by buoyant rhythms and glistening synths.

It was premiered via a link-up to the International Space Station, first broadcast as a dispatch via “extraterrestrial transmission” to French astronaut Thomas Pesquet, who is currently onboard the station. It arrives alongside a Paul Dugdale-directed music video that sees the band performing the song alongside dancing alien holograms – check that out below.

“‘Higher Power’ is a song that arrived on a little keyboard and a bathroom sink at the start of 2020. It was produced by Max Martin who is a true wonder of the universe,” the band say.

‘Higher Power’ marks the first new music from the band since their last album, 2019’s Everyday Life. It likely serves as the lead single to their forthcoming ninth LP – details of which are relatively scant at this point.

In April, it was announced that Coldplay would headline UK festival Glastonbury’s forthcoming Live at Worthy Farm livestream event, which takes place later this month and will also feature performances from HAIM, Damon Albarn and more.

Watch the music video for ‘Higher Power’ below.

Hilltop Hoods Have Announced Their First Comic Book, ‘Noctis’

Hilltop Hoods have announced their first foray into the world of comics, teaming up with Z2 Comics for a new title, Noctis. Available this October, Noctis sees Pressure, Suffa and DJ Debris navigating a sci-fi world where demonic aliens from another dimension have invaded their home base.

The book was written in partnership between the band themselves alongside comedian and New Yorker comics writer Scott Dooley and The Tokyo 5‘s Andrew Archer, with art by The Tokyo 5‘s Jeff Nice. It’s available for pre-order now in a range of options.

“Getting to work with Z2 on a comic is the realisation of a childhood dream. I grew up reading Deathlok, X-Force, Spawn and a host of others, I never thought I’d be able to play a part in putting a comic together, and Z2 have been so generous with their knowledge, resources and time,” says Hoods MC Suffa.

“I’ve been a fan of Tokyo 5 since its inception, Nice’s artwork is stunning, and Andrew Archer writes like someone who really understands how comic book universes should be constructed. Teaming them up with comedian Scott Dooley, who injected his sense of humour throughout, has resulted in a really exciting comic that everyone’s really proud of.”

Noctis marks the latest in a string of collaborations between Z2 and recording artists, having previously worked with the likes of Gorillaz, Yungblud, Babymetal and Jimmy Eat World.

Spacey Jane – Civic Theatre, Newcastle, 5/4/21

It still feels bizarre having live music back as an acceptable form of entertainment. After a year(ish) without it, entering into a packed theatre to watch a band plays feels like an out-of-body experience. As people pile in, your body goes through a bizarre mix of euphoria and reluctance.

“I can’t believe I’m getting the chance to see live music again!” clashes with silly internal questions like “How do I dance?” or “What if my legs give way after a year of sitting on the couch?”

But both the euphoria and reluctance came second to the overwhelming anticipation Newcastle fans of Spacey Jane had for this tour. It was cancelled and rescheduled on two separate occasions, so the fact it was happening at all was almost too hard to believe.

Luckily, Spacey Jane made sure to take the opportunity by the horns and play as if it was their last ever show – and suddenly that reluctance shedded away.

Photo: Dan Lynch

To say Spacey Jane had a profound impact on Australian music fans in 2020 would be an understatement. In a year where music was restricted to our headphones and to our speakers, Spacey Jane delivered their debut album Sunlight and made it feel like fans had something to look forward to once restrictions lifted.

As Caleb, Peppa, Ashton and Kieran walked out on to the stage, to ear-shattering screams from a packed out Civic Theatre, it was hard to distinguish who was happier to be there – us or them.

Maybe that’s why, as they unleashed with opener ‘Skin’, it felt like they were playing like they never have before. As Kieran held down the fort with the drums, Caleb, Ashton and Peppa flailed around the stage like kids with toy instruments – except these were real, and translated perfectly to a live setting. ‘Skin’ set the tone for the show ahead.

This was going to be nothing but a Spacey Jane jam session, except with 1,400 onlookers.

Photo: Dan Lynch

The energy continued through songs from the band’s relatively short discography, but fans were belting out every word as if they were modern classics – and who’s to say they won’t become that? Each member of the band gave their all every single track, from ‘Sawteeth’ to ‘Weightless’ to ‘Good Grief’.

Even better is the electricity they imbued the theatre with paled in comparison to the sparks they shared with one another. Any time vocals weren’t required, Caleb, Peppa and Ashton were running up to one another – still strumming – and dancing back and forth with one another. At one point, Ashton and Peppa – standing at either side of the stage – were literally running to and from the opposite side of the stage. They were relentless.

In fact, Ashton’s energy in particular was hard to ignore. As Caleb sang his way through the words he penned and Peppa bopped along with her bass strums – never not smiling – Ashton looked as if the music had possessed him. You’ve heard of Este Haim’s bass face, now get ready for Ashton Hardman-Le Cornu’s guitar grimace (it’s a working title). He would hiss, have his mouth agape, stick his tongue out and more, feeling every element of the music flow through him – which in turn helped all of us let loose ourselves.

Photo: Dan Lynch

There were tender moments in the set too. The band had no problem establishing a rapport with the crowd, who would scream at their every word. Not too sure Kieran knew what he was in for when he asked the crowd “what’s there to do in Newy on a Wednesday night?” and was met with a barrage of unintelligible shrieks, the only discernible word he got away from it being ‘KFC’.

But, perhaps the most tender moment of the set came during one of Caleb’s brief adresses to the crowd. He said, “Newy feels like home to us”. And this is from a Perth band whose first major headlining show in the city was only the night before.

Yet, as they belted their way through ‘Straightfaced’, the incomparable ‘Booster Seat’ – shout out to the guy who wrote “shoulda been #1′ on his phone and displayed it to the crowd – and the crunchy closer ‘Good For You’, it did feel like a sort of homecoming.

It might have been because the Newcastle shows in particular were postponed so many times. It might be because Newy fans go notoriously hard and Spacey Jane could match that energy. Maybe they say that to every crowd they perform in front of. Maybe it’s none of the above.

What’s certain, though, is that Spacey Jane made the Newcastle crowd feel special, loved and worthy, and – judging by the smiles that graced each member of the band’s face at each applause – it might be safe to say that we made them feel the same way.

 

Hayley Mary Announces New EP ‘The Drip’

Hayley Mary‘s solo career has been going from strength to strength, and now she’s already giving us news of her second EP, The Drip.

This EP from The Jezabels frontwoman is due out on Friday, 18th June – just over a year since the January 2020 release of her debut EP The Piss, The Perfume.

In addition, she’s also given us the EP’s third single ‘Young & Stupid’. In a press statement, she explained the song was born from visiting the family home of her partner – DMA’S member Johnny Took – and hearing their landline phone ring.

“I hadn’t realised they even had a landline. It was like a ghost calling through the hallway with that old school ring. ‘Who the hell even calls you on that?’ I asked. ‘Only Nana,’ my partner replied.

“As it was in the middle of the worst part of covid, there was a certain vibe around; of everything that had been taken for granted; of the preciousness of life and the fragility of the old, mixed with a pronounced concern with where technology was going to take us.”

“We reflected on the probability that when the last landlines in the world stopped ringing,” she continued, “it would only be because a certain generation was gone.”

The release of ‘Young & Stupid’ follows on from the release of previous singles ‘The Chain’ and ‘Would You Throw A Diamond?’

The Drip is out Friday, 18th June.

Watch the video for ‘Young & Stupid’ below.

Love Letter To A Record: Homeschool On Built to Spill’s ‘Keep It like a Secret’

Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become. 

In this Love Letter To A Record series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

Homeschool – Built to Spill, Keep It like a Secret(1999)

Dear Keep It like a Secret,

I don’t remember the precise moment I met you, but I remember the precise feeling. An immediate exhilaration mixed with deep understanding. This unspoken, irrational kind of knowing that crawled up and absorbed into my skin – rapturous, angular, pulsating – before being exhaled through smiling cigarette smoke.

I was about 15 years old when we met and you shaped everything that came afterwards. I grew up in a small town called Hastings on Hudson, New York. Around 2010, which was the start of my Sophomore year of high school, music taste was a valued currency among certain groups of friends. I loved classic rock music, alternative rock music, pop-punk, experimental music, folk music and was just getting exposed to the notion of “indie rock” bands – groups of musicians that seemed to write songs that were just as catchy as Blink-182 or Sum 41, but not as embarrassing to admit that I enjoyed. There was more character, more nuance and intellect behind bands like Modest Mouse, Grandaddy, Pavement, and I was in love with their sounds, their attitudes, their weirdness, but I wanted the undeniable earworms that the pop-punk bands were churning out. I wanted that fast food satisfaction but made with real ingredients, prepared by real chefs. Then one of the kids in a group of older boys that I recently started hanging out with asked me if I liked Built To Spill.

Built To Spill. That’s a sick name, I thought. That’s the kind of name that you think you’ve heard before but then when you actually examine the individual words, the letters, you realize it is entirely new to you even though you feel a connection to it. Instantly, both name and music spoke to me and welcomed me in.

Then, “Let me show you one of their albums,” was undoubtedly said to me as a joint was passed around and then I finally heard you. I heard you. Keep It like a Secret, you simply never stopped being awesome. You start with a big ol’ swing on ‘The Plan,’ just a straight-up banger that overflows with riffs, each one more interesting and more “of course, that’s exactly what should be played,” than the next. Song after song just builds off the already successful first track – and that’s the thing about this album, you don’t delay any gratification, you don’t make us wait for some well-deserved payoff. Every song is a payoff. Every movement within every track. So much so, that by the time my friend showed me ‘Time Trap,’ about halfway through the record, I remember thinking: “You gotta be kidding me.” I could not believe something that perfect and that epic was just plopped on the middle of the album.

But then, I thought, of course it is. Where else is it going to go? All of these songs are gold. It was almost like BTS was messing with us. Every beautiful and imaginative lyric was mirrored and reinforced by an even more magical guitar line, almost randomly, but never out of place, always correct, like an unconscious, primordial kind of correct, like an everything-is-right-in-the-world-right-now-because-of-this kind of correct.

Every other guitar band I had heard before you was missing something. They were missing hooks, or they had sick hooks but were missing dimension and complexity, or they had all the complexity in the world but eventually became too pretentious, too self-involved to remember to give the listener the treat that music can be.

Not this band. Not this record. You are the centre of the universe, as your second track suggests – containing all of the elements that are needed for space, time and life to flourish. You are relentless. You are inevitable. You changed my life and I love you so fucking much.

Love,
Tom

In April, NYC indie singer/songwriter Tom D’Agustino’s solo project Homeschool released debut EP, ‘Homeschool: Book I’. “Homeschool: Book I is the first episode of what I hope will be a long series of open questions, thoughtful exercises and weird experiments about how I see the world, and the desperation with which I seek out other voices and ways of knowing,” notes Homeschool on the release. Listen to the EP, here.

Watch Willow Smith Front Mum Jada Pinkett Smith’s Old Metal Band Wicked Wisdom

Willow Smith has surprised her mother, actress and metal frontwoman extraordinaire Jada Pinkett Smith, reuniting mum’s old metal band Wicked Wisdom for a performance of their song ‘Bleed All Over Me’ with Willow up front delivering vocals.

The unexpected reunion took place for the Mother’s Day edition of the family’s Facebook series Red Table Talk, and was orchestrated by Willow herself.

“Wicked Wisdom was lit. This is the music that I grew up around. My mother was superwoman, she was a rock star, warrior and nurturer all in one. So unapologetically badass… I was my mom’s biggest fan,” Willow explains during the episode. “I felt like it was only right for me to pay homage to a time in her life because she showed me what womaning up really is about.”

Unbeknownst to Pinkett Smith, Willow had invited original Wicked Wisdom members Pocket Honore and Taylor Grave, along with other musicians, to set up outside the family’s home. It marked a reunion of sorts for the band – Wicked Wisdom released their second, self-titled album in 2006, but have been largely inactive for some years.

Willow eventually walks her mother outside the house to see her bandmates waiting, before she hopped on stage to join the band for a performance, singing and playing guitar while rocking a Mastodon tee. Pinkett Smith is visibly stoked by the surprise, singing and headbanging along.

Check out the performance below, and watch the whole episode here.

Singing and Dancing Banned in Greater Sydney, Masks Made Compulsory Following New COVID-19 Cases

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced snap restrictions for the Greater Sydney area after a Sydney man tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, and an additional case of community transmission – the man’s wife – was recorded overnight.

From 5pm today (Thursday, 6th May) until 12am on Monday (10th May), singing and dancing will not be permitted in indoor venues, including places of worship and entertainment venues – weddings are excepted.

Additionally, masks will be compulsory within all indoor venues, including retail, theatres, public transport and supermarkets. Patrons will not be required to wear masks within hospitality venues while eating or drinking, but will be required to remain seated.

Additionally, no more than 20 people will be allowed inside a home. The restrictions apply to those in the Greater Sydney area, including the Central Coast, Illawarra and Blue Mountains regions.

“Maintain your good social distancing. Make sure you avoid large events if you’re vulnerable and make sure you exhibit good hand hygiene and most importantly make sure, if you have the mildest of symptoms, you come forward and get tested,” Berejiklian advised Sydneysiders today.

Adding that the state government was telling businesses to “keep doors open”, Berejiklian also stressed the importance of checking into venues using QR codes, saying the practice is allowing New South Wales to have a “proportionate” response to the new cases.

Former Little Mix Member Jesy Nelson Opens Up About Her Departure from the Group

Former Little Mix member Jesy Nelson has opened up about her decision to leave the British pop group late last year, describing the ways performing in the group was negatively impacting her mental health.

In a new interview with Cosmopolitan, the singer revealed that filming the video for 2020 Confetti single ‘Sweet Melody’ prompted her exit from the group, describing it as her “breaking point.”

“We’d been in lockdown, and [that had been] the first time time I could have a break and be at home around people that I love. It was the happiest I’d ever felt, and I didn’t realise that until I went back to work,” Nelson said.

“I immediately became a different person. I had anxiety. Whenever we had a music video, I put an enormous amount of pressure on myself to try and lose weight. I have a fear of looking back on the camera. If I don’t like what I see, I find it so hard to be in front of the camera and feel amazing and perform.”

Jesy Nelson reveals that being on set of the music video for “Sweet Melody” after lockdown was her breaking point:

“I immediately became a different person. I had anxiety. Whenever we had a music video, I put an enormous amount of pressure on myself to try and lose weight.” pic.twitter.com/Z9lzftSC3u

— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) May 4, 2021

Nelson goes on to say that when she was informed that filming would commence for the ‘Sweet Melody’ video in a matter of weeks, she “panicked.”

“I went on this extreme diet, with bloody shakes, and tried to eat as little as possible. On the day of the ‘Sweet Melody’ video I had a panic attack on set because I didn’t look how I wanted to look and I found it so hard to just be happy and enjoy myself,” she said.

After “sobbing in the dressing room” during the shoot, Nelson says she was advised by a close friend to quit. Nelson announced her departure from Little Mix in December of last year, citing the pressure of being in the group and the toll it was taking on her mental health.

“For so long I worried about other people and letting people down. The only person I should have been trying to make happy was myself and I wasn’t doing that. I needed to do it for my mental health,” Nelson explains in the new interview.

Nelson is now planning to release solo music, while Little Mix have continued on as a three-piece.

Richard Clapton Announces 2021 National Tour

Richard Clapton is going on tour this June!

The ARIA Hall of Fame inductee is set to perform headline dates in Melbourne, Brisbane, Thirroul, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth next month. The Music Is Love tour will see the revered songwriter take to the road alongside his band for these very special double-set theatre shows.

Hot off the back of his 16th record, Music Is Love (1966-1970), the first set of the show will see Clapton playing songs from the record. The second set will see him performing some of his best and biggest hits.

“I am so looking forward to this tour,” said Richard. “This is a very rare event so come on down and hear some of the world’s greatest songs played by a great band.

“And yeah – I will be playing a lot of my old songs as well, so all in all it’s gonna be a lot of fun! This is gonna be a real trip!”

Music For Love is Clapton’s first covers album, which was inspired by a visit to San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury two years ago. Looking back to his roots, the record sees Clapton taking on some of his favourite tracks from the likes of Bob Dylan, The Byrds, David Crosby, Neil Young and more.

He was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame back in 1999. The songwriter is responsible for tracks like ‘Girls On The Avenue’, ‘Deep Water’ and ‘Capricorn Dancer’, among others.

The Frontier members pre-sale will open for 24 hours prior to general release, from Wednesday, 12th May at 12PM AEST.

General tickets go on sale at 12PM AEST on Friday, 14th May.

Richard Clapton’s Music Is Love Australian Tour 2021

Friday, 18th June
Palais Theatre, Melbourne VIC
All Ages
Tickets: Ticketmaster

Sunday, 20th June
QPAC Concert Hall, Brisbane QLD
All Ages
Tickets: QPAC Website

Tuesday, 22nd June
Anita’s Theatre, Thirroul NSW
All Ages
Tickets: Ticketmaster

Thursday, 24th June
State Theatre, Sydney NSW
All Ages
Tickets: Ticketmaster

Saturday, 26th June
The Gov,  Adelaide SA
18+
Tickets: Oztix

Sunday, 27th June
The Astor Theatre, Perth WA
All Ages
Tickets: Ticketek

Conan O’Brien’s Final Late Night Show Date Announced

After almost 30 years doing late night TV, Conan O’Brien is hanging up his dancing shoes. Or maybe more appropriately, his after hours microphone. This week he shared that his show on TBS, Conan, will finish up on Thursday, 24th June.

He announced the news during Monday night’s show, saying “We are winding down our TBS show. The plan is to re-emerge on HBO Max sometime in the near future with I think what will be my fourth iteration of the program. Imagine a cooking show with puppets, and you’ll have the wrong idea.”

The final weeks of the show, as you can imagine, will be filled with all sorts of nostalgia. The show will include clips of some of O’Brien’s favourite moments from the past 11 years. There will also be a stellar lineup of guests throughout the weeks. He’ll be capping off his TBS run with an hour-long finale.

But, as mentioned, he won’t be straying too far. He’ll be hosting a weekly variety show on American streaming service HBO Max. There are currently few details of what this show will entail.

O’Brien first entered the late night game back in 1993, when he became David Letterman’s successor on NBC’s Late Night. In 2009, he famously landed the hosting position on the Tonight Show, where he was ousted by Jay Leno after only a year in the position. Conan then began on TBS back in 2010.

Red Hot Chili Peppers To Sell Catalog For Upwards Of $140M USD

As noted by Variety, Californian rockers Red Hot Chili Peppers are penning a deal to sell their entire catalog of music to Hipgnosis Songs for upwards of $140 million USD – which in AUD, is over $180 million.

This sale puts them among a growing list of artists who are selling their works in order to benefit from the intellectual property marketplace, which has already seen artists like Bob Dylan and Stevie Nicks cashing in on their work. Dylan sold his catalog for $300 million Universal Music late last year, while Nicks sold hers to Primary Wave for $100 million.

The band first formed in 1983, so their catalog boasts almost four decades of music, spanning 11 records (with a 12th on the way), 12 compilations and five EP’s. The bulk of the band’s material was written by singer Anthony Kiedis, bassist Flea, drummer Chad Smith and on-again-off-again guitarist John Frusciante.

It is unclear whether or not a deal has been closed yet, but it’s expected to include all material, including the band’s biggest hits like ‘Under The Bridge’, ‘Give It Away’, ‘Dani California’ and more. It is not yet certain whether the purchase will include the purchasing of future works.

Hipgnosis Songs, founded in 2018, have been on one hell of a shopping spree since their inception. In just two weeks earlier in 2021, they bought half of Neil Young’s catalog, as well as the works of Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac, Shakira and producer Jimmy Iovine, among others. Previous to those sales, they purchased the catalogs of Timbaland, Blondie, Wu Tang Clan’s RZA and many more.

The forthcoming album from RHCP will be Frusciante’s first with the band since 2006’s Stadium Arcadium.

Wavves Announces New Record ‘Hideaway’, Shares New Single

LA surf-rocker Nathan Williams AKA Wavves has today announced the band’s seventh record, Hideaway. Due to land via Fat Possum Records on Friday, 16th July, the nine-track record will be “brief, but impactful”, according to the official press release.

Produced by TV On The Radio’s Dave Sitek, the record “is about what happens when you get old enough to take stock of the world around you and realize that no one is going to save you but yourself, and even that might be a tall order.”

“It’s real peaks and valleys with me,” Williams said. “I can be super optimistic and I can feel really good, and then I can hit a skid and it’s like an earthquake hits my life, and everything just falls apart. Some of it is my own doing, of course.”

The announcement comes with the record’s second single release in ‘Help Is On The Way’, which follows ‘Sinking Feeling’. Listen to the new tack below.

Wavves King Of The Beach 10 Year Anniversary Tour was meant to take place in 2020, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, has been postponed to sometime in 2021 when touring permits.

Hideaway Tracklist:
1. Thru Hell
2. Hideaway
3. Help Is On The Way
4. Sinking Feeling
5. Honeycomb
6. The Blame
7. Marine Life
8. Planting a Garden
9. Caviar

Watch Foo Fighters & AC/DC’s Brian Johnson Perform ‘Back In Black’ Together

In an absolute meeting of the gods, Foo Fighters enlisted AC/DC‘s Brian Johnson to help them cover the legendary Aussie band’s track, ‘Back In Black’.

Dave Grohl and co. took to the stage as part of Global Citizen’s Vax Live event, which is set to stream globally later this week. Eddie Vedder, J. Balvin, H.E.R. and Jennifer Lopez also played the event.

Taking place at Los Angeles’ SoFi Stadium, the band played to 27,000 people – most of whom work on the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis. The stadium usually holds a capacity of 70,000.

Foo Fighters performed a six song set, opening with ‘All My Life’, closing with ‘Best of You’ and including their other hits ‘Everlong’, ‘Times Like These’ and ‘Hero’.

But, for their third song, they brought Johnson on stage for an absolutely sweltering rendition of AC/DC’s seminal song.

Now, official footage won’t be shared until the livestream, but an attendee at the event managed to capture a clip of the performance before uploading it to YouTube. It’s truly glorious.

Watch the clip below.

 

“It’s Our Purpose”: The Rubens On The Joys Of Playing Shows Again

Originally from the small town of Menangle in NSW, The Rubens have become renowned for their catchy hits over the past decade. Their debut single ‘Lay It Down’ was voted 57th in the triple j Hottest 100 of 2011, before follow-up single ‘My Gun’ came in at number 10 in the Hottest 100 the following year. 2015 single ‘Hoops’ came in 1 st for the triple j Hottest 100 for 2015, got stuck in all of our heads, and currently has around 44 million streams on Spotify.

In 2019, the band released the single ‘Live In Life’ which received multiple ARIA nominations, and has since amassed over 37 million streams on Spotify. Following up on the success of this single, The Rubens released their fourth studio album, 0202. The release of the album, plus the tour to accompany the ‘Live In Life’ single were delayed due to COVID-19, however, this month the band has headed back out on tour to bring their music to fans across the country.

Recently, The Rubens joined a whole host of artists including Delta Goodrem, Crowded House, Amy Shark, Ben Lee, and Jimmy Barnes in performing at Sidney Myer Music Bowl as part of the nationally broadcast Music From The Home Front event.

We caught up with the keyboardist for The Rubens, Elliot Margin to have a chat about how their latest record came together and why he’ll never take crappy hotel rooms for granted again.

Music Feeds: The Rubens released their latest album 0202 in February this year. What was the recording process for the album like, and did it differ from previous albums?

Elliot Margin: Yeah, so we took on the initial production of this record ourselves, which is something we’d never done before, kind of just out of accident, really. In 2019 we were doing a lot of regional touring and we were in between records and we had a bunch of demos and we kind of, we had the conversation like, we’ve got all this touring coming up, we don’t really know what the next record is going to be, should we just record a song ourselves and put it out to tie people over until whatever the next record is going to be? We decided to do that, so we listened through our demos in the touring van and we picked ‘Live In Life’, and decided to go back to the studio mid-week and record that. So, we recorded that in Will’s studio, like, The Bunker in Camden, and did that ourselves and all the initial production ourselves in two days and then sent it over to Konstantin Kersting for final production and then mixed it and put it out there, you know, in our minds thinking that would be a standalone single. And then people actually responded to it really well and it kind of was the model that we based off recording the rest of the record that way. Which we didn’t expect, you know.

Every other record, we’ve brought in producers and worked with them on music, but this time it was kind of us backing ourselves and saying well, maybe we can play that role and see how we go. So, that’s what we did for the rest of the record. It was pretty much we would be touring and then pick a song while we were on the road to then record once we were back at home, mid-week. And then do that and then hit the road again, and it kind of tricked us into not psyching ourselves out of being in record mode. We didn’t put too much pressure on ourselves, which I think was really beneficial for us. There was no stress.

MF: Yeah, cool. That’s a really different way of doing it, a bit at a time like that – I love that!

EM: Yeah, and the funny thing is, the producers that we worked with – for most of them, we hadn’t even met them before, which was a funny thing. Like, we could just send them tracks and then send them our ideas and they would do their thing and we’d send notes and then it’d be all fine. A funny way to do it, like, the Internet Age.

MF: I noticed that 0202 has a real… I don’t know quite how to describe it, almost like a modern production vibe to it that’s really cool. Were you listening to any different artists while making this record, compared to previous records?

EM: Honestly, like, personally I wasn’t listening to much music at all during the making of that record. Just because like, when we are working on music it’s like your whole day is music and then you go home and the last thing you want to do is listen to music, well, the last thing I want to do is listen to music ‘cause I feel like it’s all-encompassing. Honestly, for me, it would be either no music or a podcast or something. So, I can’t really explain what influences might have crept in there apart from us just being influenced by where we’d been before and where we wanna go now.

You know, we’re always trying to experiment and try new sounds just because for us it keeps it interesting and I think, as the by-product of us keeping it interesting for ourselves, it also keeps it interesting for the listeners. So, it’s not like we’re gonna make the same record every time, I think, which is a good thing, which has kept us going all these years, you know? It’s exciting for us to jump into the studio and try something new each time we’re going in to do a new record because that’s why we play music, we’re excited by doing new stuff.

MF: Awesome. You mentioned podcasts; do you have any podcast recommendations?

EM: Oh man, I have a lot! There’s one called The Dollop that is like, an American podcast with two comedians. One comedian reads out a weird story from American history to his friend, and his friend has no idea what it is about, and then it’s just kind of like, bogus, bullshit, weird, funny stories that come out of that that are hilarious. I don’t know what else I listen to… I’m in the market for recommendations if you have any?

MF: Hm, I’m trying to think of what I listen to… There’s one called Lore that I really like, which is basically just this guy talking about all these different mysteries and things from the past, which is cool. I’m not doing a very good job describing it, but it’s definitely worth checking out. They’re pretty short and kind of like, mysteries, if you’re into that kind of stuff?

EM: I do love that stuff. Oh, you ever watch Workaholics?

MF: No…

EM: Ah, okay. So, the guys from Workaholics, the Comedy Central show, they’ve also got a podcast now that, I mean, I’m a fan of the Workaholics show so I’m probably biased, but I think it’s hilarious. It’s just pretty much buddies just talking shit and hanging out.

MF: That’s always nice, I’ll have to check that one out! So, this past year has seen most of us living pretty different lives than what we’ve been used to. What have you learned about yourself during this time?

EM: I’ve probably learned that… I took touring for granted I think, really. I think, like, now that we as a band have been back on the road, we’ve realised how much we love it and how much we need it to just… it’s our purpose: hitting the road and playing shows and meeting fans and just seeing new places. The fact that we couldn’t do it for so long meant we realised that we’d been taking it for granted. We kind of realised that, let’s never complain about lack of sleep and crappy hotel rooms or crappy food or early lobby calls, because it’s like, that’s all just part of what we do and what we love and we realised that we’re babies and we need that to survive, really.

MF: Yeah, that’s fair. I feel like a lot of people sort of felt that about travelling and stuff as well.

EM: Yeah, totally! It’s like, I’m not going to complain about those crappy parts of travel because I miss all of travel now.

MF: It’s hard to ask this question at the moment, but do you have any plans for playing more shows this year?

EM: Yeah, we’re actually… we’ve only just begun the tour for our record 0202, so that’s happening at the moment. We’ve already done some South East Queensland shows, we’ve done some New South Wales, some Victoria shows. This tour was actually planned for this time last year, it’s been rescheduled twice. So, it’s been on the cards for so long and now we’re actually doing it, which is amazing. And it’s 30+ dates, so it goes until the middle of the year, so that’s gonna be our next couple of months which is super exciting.

MF: Wow, that’s great! And final question, what’s in store for The Rubens for the rest of 2021?

EM: Hopefully a lot of touring. Now that it’s back on the cards and now that festivals look like they could be coming back, we, like everyone else is hoping that they come back and hopefully, you know, we’re crossing our fingers we can be a part of that. Keep hitting the road and keep reaching people in places that we haven’t played before or in a long time. As well as, behind the scenes working on new stuff like we always do, so we’re very excited.

The Rubens’ massive national and regional tour continues this week. Head here for dates and ticketing details. 

Flight Facilities Return With First Song In Over A Year, ‘Lights Up’

Beloved electronic duo Flight Facilities have been keeping things on the down low for a while, but now they’ve returned in mighty form with new track ‘Lights Up’, featuring rapper Channel Tres.

The song is smooth and cinematic, blending the restrained and evocative take on electronic and house music that Flight Facilities are known for with Channel Tres’ silky and sensual vocal delivery.

“We’ve always loved the sound of the early Detroit House scene that crossed over with the Paradise Garage era. Combined with our love for Channel’s voice, it seemed like a perfect fit,” the duo, consisting of Hugo Gruzman and Jimmy Lyell, said in a press statement.

“His voice has a magical ability to make songs that are made for strutting. We felt it was important to keep enough of our sound and influence in the track, to avoid it sounding too derivative, so we wanted to include some 90s and 00s elements to give the song its own character.”

Listen to ‘Lights Up’ below.