Monday, November 24, 2014

ALBUM REVIEW : Mary J Blige - The London Sessions

Thirteen is an unlucky number for most people, but for Mary J Blige, it’s a fresh of breath air.
Her 13th studio effort ‘The London Sessions’ sees Mary team up with some of the hottest artists from the UK, including Naughty Boy, Disclosure and Emeli Sandé. The most obvious contributor is Sam Smith, who injects his DNA into a number of tracks.
First cut ‘Therapy’ is a deep soul doo-wop number with Sam on backing vocals whilst ‘Not Loving You’ is a straight-up re-write of ‘Lay Me Down’.
‘When You’re Gone’ also has the makings of a Sam Smith ballad with its stirring guitar, but Mary’s delivery unearths a searing vulnerability that we rarely see from the diva.
It’s not all about chasing trends though, with a smattering of 1990s pop disco on ‘My Loving’ and ‘Pick Me Up’ that work surprisingly well. The latter even plays with genres by combining disco references with a jazzy sax solo.
The Emeli Sande-co written ‘Whole Damn Year’ slows things down with its simple arrangement and haunting lyrics.
But soon Mary is back in the club for ‘Follow’ and ‘Nobody But You’, illustrating her canny ability to make her voice shine amongst the busiest of dance beats.
Our favourite track is the funky pop goodness that is ‘Right Now’ which is catchy as hell. It manages to sound like home both amongst her ‘No More Drama’ heyday and the current musical climate.
Earlier this year, we elected not to review Mary’s ‘Think Like A Man Too’ soundtrack album because it was underwhelming in both style and substance.
Thankfully ‘The London Sessions’ has renewed our faith in the enduring R&B icon.
By proving she can play amongst the heavy hitters of the current dance soul scene, Mary has re-invigorated her career. This is the best and most relevant she has sounded in years.

Download : Right Now, Nobody But You


Could that long-awaited debut artist album from Samantha Jade be just a few short months away from release? If rumours are to be believed, yes.
New music from the former 'X Factor' winner has been a bit light on the ground throughout the year, but she's gifted us a delicious new pop nugget just in time for the silly season.
The mid-tempo tune is pure pop saccharine, with super-sweet vocals and a pastel-perfect studio-based video clip (below) that sees Ms Jade pouting, purring, flirting with the camera and even busting some choreography to keep the purists happy.
She's got the look, she's got the sound, she's got the moves. Now all Sammi Jade needs is for the public to reciprocate and give her a big, fat hit.

ONE DIRECTION : Night Changes

The One Direction chaps have, over the weekend, scored their fourth No.1 album in four years here in Australia. Single number two from album number four is 'Night Changes', which has been released to capitalise on the album release. It premiered at a lowly No.49 on the weekend's single chart, so the hope will be that it rises now that there's a video floating around to help promote it.
It's a little voyeuristic too, as we the viewer play the role of the respective boys' dates as Zayn takes us out to a fancy restaurant, Liam tries to seduce us with a toffee apple at the carnival, we join Harry for a spot of ice skating, Louis takes us for a ride in a vintage convertible and Niall keeps it simple, curling up in front of the fire with us to play a game of Monopoly. How romantic. But oh, how the night (or in some cases day) changes.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

JOELLE : Balance

2013 'X Factor' finalist Joelle Hadjia did rather nicely for herself with her debut single 'Save Me' earlier in the year.
The track rocketed into the upper reaches of the iTunes chart on its release back in April and gave us a quick glimpse into the quality pop she was capable of.
'Balance' continues the quality pop trend. It's an assured, polished pop ballad with some pretty decent vocals and it's coupled with a video (below) that, while simple, is given a little white-wash effect to create a heightened sense of elegance and grace. While 'Balance' might not pack the knockout punch of its predecessor, it's still an entirely decent home-grown single that deserves to be heard.


Just days out from the release of the band's forthcoming mixtape 'Vs. : Other People's Heartache Pt.III' (this Friday for the slow ones), British outfit Bastille has unveiled the morph-a-licious video for the lead single for the project.
The collaboration with London producer Grades is all about love. All different forms of love. And the video features a huge assortment of characters in all shapes, colours and sizes, all morphing into each other as they perform an interpretative routine around a home.
It's interesting. A little creepy in parts, yes. But interesting.


Just three more sleeps 'til the 2014 ARIA Awards take over Sydney's Star Events Centre and the team from ARIA has unveiled the final list of performers and presenters for Wednesday night's proceedings, at the same time confirming that the awards will be hosted by former 'Australian Idol' presenter Osher Günsberg (aka Andrew G).
There'll be live performances from locals 5 Seconds Of Summer, Chet Faker, Dan Sultan, Hilltop Hoods, Jessica Mauboy, Melbourne Ska Orchestra, Neil Finn and Paul Kelly
 and Sheppard, along with some live love from British superstar group One Direction.
Sydney duo The Faders will be the house DJs for the night, while the list of presenters is extensive and includes international pop stars Katy Perry and Charli XCX, along with some of our own pop royalty including Delta Goodrem, Samantha Jade, Nathaniel, Marcia Hines, Havana Brown, The Veronicas, John Butler, Illy and more.
News also through today is that ARIA Chairman and Sony CEO Denis Handlin will be presented with the ARIA Icon Award "in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the development of the Australian music industry, in particular Australian artists and industry copyright and reform matters".
You can catch the 2014 ARIA Awards on Channel 10 across the country from 7:30pm this Wednesday.



Monday : America (Nationally)
Monday : Anastacia (Nationally)
Monday : Julian Casablancas & The Voidz (Sydney, Melbourne)
Monday : Chet Faker (Melbourne)
Monday : FKA Twigs (Sydney, Melbourne)
Monday : Leo Sayer (Nationally)
Wednesday : Leo Sayer (Sydney)
Thursday : The Veronicas (Nationally)

Nov 24 : ROOTY HILL – Rick Astley (Rooty Hill RSL)
Nov 24 : SYDNEY – Katy Perry (Allphones Arena)
Nov 25 : BRISBANE – Agnes Obel (Old Museum)
Nov 25 : MELBOURNE – Kongos (Ding Dong Lounge)
Nov 25 : SHEPPARTON – Violent Soho (Yahoo Bar)
Nov 25 : SYDNEY – Rick Astley (Enmore Theatre)
Nov 25 : SYDNEY – Katy Perry (Allphones Arena)
Nov 26 : BENDIGO – Violent Soho (Star Bar)
Nov 26 : BONDI – Millions (Beach Road Hotel)
Nov 26 : BRISBANE – Hamish Anderson (Bearded Lady)
Nov 26 : CANBERRA – Rick Astley (Canberra Theatre)
Nov 26 : CRONULLA – Tim Chaisson (Brass Monkey)
Nov 26 : LAUNCESTON – Husky (Hotel New York)
Nov 26 : MELBOURNE – Broods (Forum Theatre)
Nov 26 : SYDNEY – 2014 ARIA AWARDS
Nov 26 : SYDNEY – Hurray For The Riff Raff (Newtown Social Club)
Nov 27 : ADELAIDE – The Delta Riggs (Uni Bar)
Nov 27 : ADELAIDE – Ezekiel Ox (Grace Emily)
Nov 27 : BALLARAT – Violent Soho (Karova Lounge)
Nov 27 : BRISBANE – Broods (The HiFi)
Nov 27 : BRISBANE – Katy Perry (Entertainment Centre)
Nov 27 : BRISBANE – Young Magic (Black Bear Lodge)
Nov 27 : CANBERRA – Millions (Transit Bar)
Nov 27 : FREMANTLE – Busby Marou (Mojo’s)
Nov 27 : HOBART – Husky (Republic Bar)
Nov 27 : MELBOURNE – Hurray For The Riff Raff (Northcote Social Club)
Nov 27 : MELBOURNE – Step-Panther/Bearhug (Shebeen)
Nov 27 : NEWCASTLE – Josh Pyke (Lizotte’s)
Nov 27 – Dec 01 : PYALONG – Earthcore Festival
Nov 27 : SYDNEY – Castlecomer (Oxford Art Factory)
Nov 27 : SYDNEY – Tim Chaisson (Brighton Up Bar)
Nov 27 : SYDNEY – Kongos (Oxford Art Factory)
Nov 27 : SYDNEY – Agnes Obel (City Recital Hall)
Nov 27 : SYDNEY – San Cisco (Metro Theatre)
Nov 28 : ADELAIDE – Husky (Uni Bar)
Nov 28 : ADELAIDE – Step-Panther/Bearhug (Rocket Bar)
Nov 28 : ADELAIDE – Yacht Club DJs (Jive Bar)
Nov 28 : BENDIGO – Golden Features (Star Bar)
Nov 28 : BENDIGO – Mercury White (Musicman Megastore)
Nov 28 : BRISBANE – Björn Again (QPAC)
Nov 28 : BRISBANE – Katy Perry (Entertainment Centre)
Nov 28 : BRISBANE – The Preatures (The HiFi)
Nov 28 : BUNBURY – Busby Marou (Prince Of Wales)
Nov 28 : CHELSEA HEIGHTS – Rick Astley (Chelsea Heights Hotel)
Nov 28 : GOLD COAST – Young Magic (Elsewhere)
Nov 28 : GOULBURN – Josh Pyke (Astor Hotel)
Nov 28 : HALLAM – Screaming Jets (Hallam Hotel)
Nov 28 : IPSWICH – Shannon Noll (Racehorse Hotel)
Nov 28 : MARGARET RIVER – British India (Settlers Tavern)
Nov 28 : MELBOURNE – Agnes Obel (Elisabeth Murdoch Hall)
Nov 28 : MELBOURNE – Violent Soho (170 Russell)
Nov 28 : NEWCASTLE – San Cisco (Small Ballroom)
Nov 28 – 30 : QUEENSCLIFF – Queenscliff Music Festival
Nov 28 : PERTH – Hamish Anderson (Ya Ya’s)
Nov 28 : PERTH – Ben Folds (Concert Hall)
Nov 28 : PERTH – Broods (Capitol Theatre)
Nov 28 : PERTH – Illy (Astor Theatre)
Nov 28 : PERTH – Ezekiel Ox (Ya Ya’s)
Nov 28 : PORT MACQUARIE – Sea Legs (Pier One)
Nov 28 : SYDNEY – Citizen Kay (Roller Den)
Nov 28 : SYDNEY – The Ocean Party (The Landsdowne)
Nov 28 : TRARALGON – Pierce Brothers (Spirit Bar)
Nov 28 : WINDSOR – Adam Harvey (Windsor RSL)
Nov 28 : WOLLONGONG – Millions (Rad Bar)
Nov 29 : ADELAIDE – Björn Again (Festival Theatre)
Nov 29 : ADELAIDE – Golden Features (Electric Circus)
Nov 29 : BRISBANE – The Drums (The HiFi)
Nov 29 : BUNBURY – British India (Prince Of Wales)
Nov 29 : BYRON BAY – Sea Legs (Northern Hotel)
Nov 29 : CAMPBELLTOWN – Adam Harvey (The Cube)
Nov 29 : DARWIN – Yacht Club DJs (Lost At The Vic)
Nov 29 : FREMANTLE – Grace (Mojo’s)
Nov 29 : GEELONG – Violent Soho (Barwon Club)
Nov 29 : HOBART – Hilltop Hoods (Macquarie Wharf 2)
Nov 29 : MAROOCHYDORE – The Preatures (Sol Bar)
Nov 29 : MEENIYAN – Hurray For The Riff Raff (Meeniyan Town Hall)
Nov 29 : MELBOURNE – Rick Astley (Palais Theatre)
Nov 29 : MELBOURNE – The Delta Riggs (Ding Dong Lounge)
Nov 29 : MELBOURNE – Husky (The HiFi)
Nov 29 : MELBOURNE – Illy (Forum Theatre)
Nov 29 : MELBOURNE – JP Klipspringer (Workers Club)
Nov 29 : MELBOURNE – Lurch & Chief (Northcote Social Club)
Nov 29 : MELBOURNE – San Cisco (Corner Hotel)
Nov 29 : PERTH – David Bridie (Astor Lounge)
Nov 29 : PERTH – Citizen Kay (University Of WA)
Nov 29 : PERTH – Ben Folds (Concert Hall)
Nov 29 – 30 : PERTH – Stereosonic (Claremont Showgrounds)
Nov 29 : SOUTH MORANG – Screaming Jets (Commercial Hotel)
Nov 29 : SPRINGWOOD – Shannon Noll (Springwood Hotel)
Nov 29 : SYDNEY – KLP (Brighton Up Bar)
Nov 29 : SYDNEY – Millions (Newtown Social Club)
Nov 29 – 30 : SYDNEY – Stereosonic (Showgrounds)
Nov 29 : WOLLONGONG – Josh Pyke (Anita’s Theatre)
Nov 30 : BRISBANE – Katy Perry (Entertainment Centre)
Nov 30 : BRUNSWICK HEADS – Dallas Frasca (Hotel Brunswick)
Nov 30 : FREMANTLE – David Bridie (Mojo’s)
Nov 30 : GEELONG – Rick Astley (Costa Hall)
Nov 30 : KINCUMBER – Josh Pyke (Lizotte’s)
Nov 30 : MELBOURNE – San Cisco (Corner Hotel)
Nov 30 : SYDNEY – The Drums (Metro Theatre)
Nov 30 : SYDNEY – Lij Gilmour (The Lair)

Saturday, November 22, 2014


New number ones on both singles and albums chart? Yep. Top ten debuts on both charts? Uh-huh. A number of new accreditations to look at? You bet. The first ARIA chart to incorporate streaming figures? Correct. Stop pissing around and dive straight into the juicy bits? Right then. Our regular weekly Chart Watch? Starts now.

Yes Australia, you have a new number one single. Ed Sheeran's 'Thinking Out Loud' has been knocked into the No.2 position this week by Ms Taylor Swift, whose new tune 'Blank Space' and its clip in which the star goes three kinds of crazy, has moved into the top spot in its fourth week of Aussie chart love.
The star-studded Band Aid 30 version of 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' does well to debut in the No.3 spot, given it only had a few days of sales in which to do it. In the UK, however, it's expected to benefit from a full week of sales and premiere in the top spot there on Monday.
Also new in the top ten this week is our No.4 single 'Ah Yeah So What' by Will Sparks, with some help from Wiley and our own Elen Levon (finally she gets some top ten chart love!).
Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding's 'Outside' improves one position and picks up a new gold certification for sales of more than 35,000 copies, ahead of One Direction's 'Steal My Girl' which cracks the top ten just as their new single 'Night Changes' starts to make its presence felt.
The new Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars collaboration almost brings the funk to the top ten, but 'Uptown Funk' has to settle for a No.11 debut instead. Corks will be popping in Marlisa's house this week (* non-alcoholic, obviously) as 'The X Factor' starlet's debut single 'Stand By You' hits the platinum mark. It is, however, down seven places to No.13.
Parra For Cuva's 'Wicked Games' bolts from No.26 to No.14, Peking Duk and Safia's 'Take Me Over' regains lost ground (No.22 to No.17) and Nico & Vinz' single 'In Your Arms' picks up a gold certification at No.21.
Despite being the most played song in the country last week (according to The Music Network), Alesso & Tove Lo's song 'Heroes (We Could Be)' tumbles from No.13 to No.26. Avicii's 'These Days' also drops, though not by quite the same number (No.18 to No.27).
Sam Smith gets another dose of Aussie chart love with the infectious 'Like I Can', which is new into the countdown at No.28, just one position ahead of previous single 'I'm Not The Only One'.
Ariana Grande's new track 'Love Me Harder' jumps from No.46 to No.33, 5 Seconds Of Summer (who earlier this afternoon Aussie time revealed a new live album release) see their tune 'Good Girls' bullet back into the top 50 (No.81 to No.34) and a little more top 50 chart love for Lorde, with her single 'Yellow Flicker Beat' improving from No.52 to No.38, just five shy of its No.33 peak.
Iggy Azalea's 'Beg For It' drops from No.29 to No.42. Redfoo's 'New Thang' is down from No.28 to No.43. Nathaniel's 'Live Louder' slides from No.31 to No.44. James Blunt's 'When I Find Love Again' drops from No.27 to No.48.
But the 1D boys find themselves in the No.49 spot on debut with 'Night Changes' ahead of a 16 place fall for Olly Murs' new single 'Wrapped Up' (No.34 to No.50).
Beyond the 50, Pharrell Williams will be most 'Happy' with himself, given that his global smash has just smashed through the 630,000 copy mark (nine times platinum to you and me). Sia will no doubt also be happy. After Montaigne's cover of 'Chandelier' on Triple J, the single jumps 15 places to No.52 and picks up a fourth platinum accreditation.
5 Seconds Of Summer are 'Just Saying', new at No.54. The controversial dirge that is 'Literally I Can't' (Play-N-Skillz, Redfoo, Lil Jon & Enertia McFly) premieres at No.60 and Paloma Faith's 'Only Love Can Hurt Like This' plunges 20 spots to No.61.
Even Timmy Trumpet's 'Nightmare' drops 19, but Hozier's 'Take Me To Church' improves from No.96 to No.66. Selena Gomez' 'The Heart Wants What It Wants' must want some '69' action, after plummeting 36 places from last week's No.33 debut.
New music from Nicki Minaj ('Bed Of Lies') at No.71, a big drop for Dean Ray's 'Coming Back' (No.42 to No.74) and Carmada's 'Maybe' (No.55 to No.78). Watermat's 'Bullit' is off 20 (No.60 to No.80) and Itch's 'Another Man' is down 25 (No.57 to No.82). Eminem's collaboration 'Detroit vs Everybody' is the last of the top 100 premieres at No.86.
Pitbull & John Ryan's 'Fireball' drops 22, Gwen Stefani's 'Baby Don't Lie' is down 40, Hilary Duff's 'All About You' loses 33 spots and Nicki Minaj's 'Only' tumbles 38 from No.62 to No.100.

Just like this week's singles chart, there's a new No.1 on the albums chart, though in this case, it's a debut. And that debut comes from a certain boyband who recently released their fourth studio album. Naturally, it's One Direction and their new album 'Four' which, despite having a few less days on sale, had done enough in-store, online and on pre-orders to debut in the No.1 position on this week's ARIA albums chart. It's the band's fourth No.1 Aussie album on the trot and it debuts with a respectable gold sales certification alongside it.
The new Nickelback album 'No Fixed Address' was no slouch either, entering the countdown at No.3, with Ms Taylor Swift sandwiched in between in the fourth week of local chart love for '1989'.
Though Foo Fighters might have dropped from the No.1 debut of last week to No.4, however, they may just take comfort from the fact that the album has popped over into the platinum sales territory this week; not bad for just two weeks in.
Ed Sheeran's at No.5, Pink Floyd is at No.6 with (the now gold certified) 'The Endless River'. With her Aussie tour in full swing, Katy Perry's 'Prism' jumps into the top ten (No.11 to No.8) ahead of Kerser's 'King' with right royally puts its seal on the No.9 position.
Just outside the top ten is a battle of 'Man Against Machine' for country superstar Garth Brooks; his album premiering in the No.11 spot.
As mentioned on the site earlier in the week, Hilltop Hoods have blasted through the platinum mark with 'Walking Under Stars' (No.12) and it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas again when Michael Bublé's collection of festive favourites 'Christmas' re-enters the chart. The ten-times-platinum-selling collection rears its bells in the No.14 position.
The Ghost Inside's 'Dear Youth' lets fly in the No.16 position in its first week and Cold Chisel's 'The Live Tapes Vol.2' debuts at No.19. Melinda Scheider and Beccy Cole's 'Great Women Of Country' collection, however, tumbles 12 places from last week's No.9 debut.
More debuts too... 'The Art Of McCartney' at No.22, Brooke Fraser's 'Brutal Romantic' at No.23, the sixth edition of the 'Punk Goes Pop' compilations at No.26.
But Flight Facilities' album 'Down To Earth' loses some ground (No.16 to No.28). Chet Faker picks up 16 ahead of the ARIAs (No.46 to No.30), but Slipknot falls (No.18 to No.31).
The 'Guardians Of The Galaxy : Awesome Mix Vol.1' re-enters the top 50 at No.33 (up from No.51 last week), with debuts following from Queen ('Queen Forever' at No.35) and a soundtrack ('The Hunger Games : Mockingjay Pt.1' at No.36).
Vance Joy enjoys a bit more top 50 chart love with 'Dream Your Life Away' (No.59 to No.39) and there's a top 50 planting for TV On The Radio's 'Seeds' (No.42).
But Machine Head's 'Diamonds' lose their lustre in the second week of chart love (No.10 on debut to No.43).
U2's ploy of forcing their new music upon every one of the world's iCloud-enabled iPhone users seems to have backfired. Their album 'Songs Of Innocence' has dropped out of the top 100 entirely after just seven weeks and their '+' release (some extra new choons for the fans), can only manage No.44 on debut.
Paloma Faith's 'A Perfect Contradiction' falls from No.27 to No.47, while Knife Party's 'Abandon Ship' looks like abandoning the top 50; No.20 on debut last week and No.48 this week. The Script's 'No Sound Without Silence' is also lower, down 18 to No.50.
Beyond the 50, Karise Eden's 'Things I've Done' is down 21 to No.54, Susan Boyle's 'Hope' is gone (No.31 to No.57) and Ed Sheeran's '+' tumbles 36 places to No.62.
A little love for the 'We Love Disney' compile (debuting at No.69), but a 31 place fall for Annie Lennox' 'Nostalgia' (No.71) and 21 place drop for Dami Im's 'Heart Beats' (No.52 to No.73).
Coldplay's 'Ghost Stories' is one of the big losers of the chart week, however; it's down from No.19 to No.77. Bob Dylan's 'The Basement Tapes Raw : Vol.11' doesn't fare much better, however, dropping 54 places to No.83. The soundtrack to 'Interstellar' makes a top 100 chart splash at No.82 and In The Moment's 'Black Widow' puts its bite on the No.89 position on debut.
The chart love for Röyksopp, Damien Rice Ne Obliciscaris, Echosmith, Matthew Garwood and Azealia Banks, however, was short lived. Each artist saw their respective new albums debut in the top 50 last week (as high as No.23 in the case of Röyksopp and No.25 for Damien Rice), but all six titles have tumbled out of the top 100 entirely in just their second week.

For a full run down of the ARIA top 50s, head over to the ARIA CHARTS WEBSITE, now every Saturday from 6:00pm AEDT.