Articles on Music

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Frankie wants us to relax, but is he asking or telling? chrisjohnbeckett

Get Back, Light my Fire, Do it Again: why is pop so pushy?

Rock and roll has always been a great liberating force in our culture. For many it has provided the soundtrack for all manner of acts of political rebellion and personal liberation. This spirit is captured…
Under the baton of Valery Gergiev. Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest

Explainer: what is conducting?

Conducting is essentially a phenomenon associated with Western classical music. As a rule, rock and jazz bands do not employ a conductor unless they are teaming up with a symphony orchestra. Conductors…
The Necks combine sparkling surfaces with ominous undertows. Holimage

Are The Necks the best band in the world?

Australian improvising trio The Necks – pianist Chris Abrahams, drummer Tony Buck and bass player Lloyd Swanton – recently released their 17th album, Open. Although the three began playing together in…
Blur recently pulled out of the Big Day Out, citing problems with festival organisers. EPA/Britta Pedersen

Music festivals are in trouble but the shows must go on

It’s no secret that the music festival scene in Australia has recently hit some troubled waters. Harvest festival has been cancelled this year, unpaid performers are still chasing the organisers of the…
Music therapists work with people of any age and ability, culture or background. flyzipper

Explainer: what is music therapy?

Defining music therapy is challenging because the practice is so diverse; but the Australian Music Therapy Association (AMTA) uses the following definition: Music therapy is a research-based practice and…
PSY is far from the only player in the global rise of K-pop. Michael Nelson/EPA

Explainer: what is K-pop and J-pop?

A little over a year ago, South Korean singer PSY galloped onto the global pop circuit singing about “sexy ladies” in the Seoul suburb of Gangnam. What followed were a flurry of articles (some going as…
Jessica Mauboy performs on stage at the 27th ARIA Awards in Sydney, Sunday. Do we expect too much of what is, essentially, an industry love-in? AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

The 2013 ARIAs: another year of industry self-congratulation

After weeks of hyped-up national pride, the halting speeches are over and the awkward presentations made. The 27th Australia Recording Industry Association Awards (the ARIAs) have passed away, marooned…
Fans love live music – but what does it take to keep venues open? Erik Anderson

A live music scene needs a live music policy

The Bendigo Hotel, a live music venue in the Melbourne suburb of Collingwood, is facing closure after complaints about noise. As an online campaign mounts to stop the Bendigo being closed down, cities…
Not everyone can be a superstar – and very few can truly innovate. Mait Jüriado

Music is the loser in the quest for ‘innovation’

Innovation is much sought after in music – by musicians, often, by the federal government, increasingly. But could the pursuit of the slightly nebulous-sounding “innovation” be driving music in the wrong…
We’re still not very good at acknowledging the importance of television sound. ABC

The Australians who created the sonic world of Doctor Who

It’s 50 years since the first episode aired on the BBC on November 23 1963 – and now Doctor Who is in promotion overdrive. We’ve been treated to online snippets of the 50th-anniversary special, pre-anniversary…
Even the most self-avowedly “unmusical” among us treasure their music collection.

Music is our GPS, so we need to keep supporting it

Music is not essential for humankind. Unlike air, food, physical safety or reproduction, music is not a precondition for survival of the species. We are unlikely to ever read that the cause of death of…
“Lou Reed had always been good at stories. Plots. Characters. Tiny novels put to music.” Frank May/EPA

Punk’s fairy godfather: Go-Between John Willsteed on Lou Reed

On the way in to work, I heard someone on talkback radio, sharing about Lou. He had driven Mr Reed around Brisbane when he was there in 1974. All Lou wanted to do was to go shopping. Record shopping. What…
Reed, who died today, knew how to place himself at the centre. Mick Tsikas/AAP

Transformer: the other faces of Lou Reed

The plaudits have arrived very quickly for Lou Reed, who has died aged 71. He is clearly regarded as a towering figure, credited with playing a central role in creating one of the most influential albums…
Reed’s death – like his life – is generating headlines and strong emotions. appelogen.be

The art of rock remembrance: RIP Lou Reed

The death of Lou Reed today, aged 71, is unquestionably a sad day for popular music. Already Rolling Stone has compiled a genre-defined obit focusing on how Reed worked as a Transformer (pun intended…
If there’s a formula to pop success, artists such as Jessica Mauboy aren’t bound by it. Gaye Gerard/AAP

Best song ever: in search of the perfect pop hit

When I was a kid way back in the dim, dark 1960s, I collected radio Top 40 charts obsessively. What struck me then – and still strikes me now (yes, I kept the charts) – was the sheer diversity of songs…
A twerking, tongue-poking Miley Cyrus at the Video Music Awards in Brooklyn earlier this year. Does the pop singer represent third wave feminism? EPA/Jason Szenes

Miley Cyrus, Sinéad O’Connor and the future of feminism

Since her tongue-poking and “twerk”-filled performance at the American Video Music Awards, Miley Cyrus has been the subject of intense media discussion. This has only magnified in the past week, after…

Most musicians suffer pain: study

Australia’s orchestral musicians are suffering for their art, according to new research. Psychologists found that 84% of…

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