Wednesday, December 15, 2004

And I know I can't live without my radio...

After being back home in Australia for a week now, I'm beginning to see the differences between the musical landscapes in Britain and Oz. Sure, the tunes heard during Saturday night's outing in Wagga Wagga (where country is king) were to be expected. When you a working farmer or land owner out in the country then songs about 'utes and sheilas' are to be expected. Although I'm sure they don't listen to as much Dolly Parton since she decided to go bluegrass years ago.
However, what I was pleased to hear was the amount of hip-hop played on the country's 'youff' radio station, Triple J. When I left Australia three years ago, the J's (as the station's affectionately known as) was starting to lessen it's American output and concentrate on increasing the amount of airtime given to Australian artists. A noble move indeed, especially in a time of downloading, label mergers and store closures. In the last week I've heard some good music by the likes of Missy Higgins, Youth Group, Dallas Crane and Clare Bowditch. Also, I've heard new songs from great bands such as Eskimo Joe, Art Of Fighting and Machine Translations that don't get any exposure whatsoever in the UK, and unfortunately, apart from Art Of Fighting, probably never will.

But the thing that's impressed me most is the amount of Australian hip-hop being played. Now, being a Canberra lad and all, I was quite pleased to see the Koolism lads pick up an ARIA recently as they fully deserve the praise given to them. Hearing artist such as Downsyde, Hilltop Hoods, The Herd (you didn't think I'd forget them did you Calico?) and Scribe (well, it's NZ hip-hop, but in the grand tradition of claiming Kiwi artists as our own...kidding!) shows that there's a flourishing scene down here.

UK hip-hop and Aussie hip-hop are certainly differnt beasties though, with the Oz scene more light-hearted and less street inclined. Now, that's not to be seen as a bad thing, or a good thing, just simply, as Mr Don Henley once laid down, the way it is. You can easily compare artists like Klashnekoff to Downsyde, but that would be missing the point. Different backgrounds, different experiences, different vibe. Both artists though are making top-class music and rhymes that shouldn't be slept on.

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