So, Dicta License released another single a few days back. At this rate, I won’t be surprised if there’s an album in the offing. We need them back, God knows we need them back: a group who’s not afraid to be political, in times like these when musicians would rather play it safe to please everybody. But then, I’ve been thinking about how their popularity came at a time when we were generally more receptive to local alternative. I mean, we are still that now, but we’re fragmented, and we pay attention to our niches, and also, whether we admit it or not, we shut out anyone whose opinions diverge from ours. If ever they release an album, I feel it won’t make the impact I hope it would. But does it matter?
It’s become clear to me that this column is badly timed. I arbitrarily scheduled it for the last Thursday of the month, not really thinking much about it, but in the past few months there’s always a flurry of new single releases – from acts I would’ve otherwise missed – happening at around this time of the month. Well, it’s good that more are starting to toot their horns about local independent acts, but is it too much to wish that they get scattered across the month? Yeah, because who am I anyway? Just a so-called music blogger who’s always late. But then, that is the point of this column. I have to remind myself that.
It’s our very last post for 2018, which means it’s time to reveal my ten favorite songs of the year – although chances are, if you’ve been reading this blog more religiously than most, or have a good idea of what I am into, then you’d have guessed some of the songs on this list. For this year, I decided not to have a massive reckoning some time from the beginning of December (too much pressure, that) but instead made up this list as the year went along. It didn’t make it easier: the tenth song (again, this list is in alphabetical order) was added just a few days ago, and that was a song I actually took off the list. I won’t tell you what that is… [NB]
We tend to think of country music as a domain of the Americans. The imagery it evokes – the vast landscapes you see, the families you come home to, the beliefs you hold dear – seem to be distinctly American. It was a bit of a surprise to me, then, to realize that the Australians also have a very strong country scene, and one that isn’t exactly a beat-for-beat copy of what their neighbors an ocean away do. Unlike with most of the country’s pop music, country music down under has developed on a track of its own. While music from other parts of the world also served as an inspiration, the country’s idyllic landscapes – and sometimes harsh conditions – informed and developed the movement as much.
It was inevitable that hip-hop would be bubbling under in Australia, as it had around the world. As with most music movements down under, hip-hop there also took a nudge from its popularity in the United States and the United Kingdom in the 1980s. But here, it took just a little bit longer. We’ve talked for the past few weeks about how the development of Australian music centered around bands performing in local venues, and how they grew after some sort of national infrastructure – critical support on radio and TV – was locked into place. Well, that infrastructure got complacent for a while – then again, the 80s were big for many of these bands – and hip-hop barely got a look-in, even by the time the 1990s came in and tastes were starting to shift all over.