Top 25 Albums of the 2010s – A Definitive Ranking Based on My Obviously Correct Opinions

I have never been someone who is quiet about their opinions when it comes to music. And so as the decade comes to a close, it seems only fitting that I rank what I know to be the best albums of the 2010s.

The list began as a Top 10, but then I had way too many ‘Honourable Mentions’ and so it became a Top 25 (still with a few honourable mentions because I’m low key indecisive oops). I also tried to limit myself to one album per artist, but as you will see, this was not a successful endeavor and there are a number of artists with multiple (deserved) appearances. I’m also going to be completely honest – I know that a lot of these albums aren’t necessarily considered the cream of the crop when it comes to musicality, however every single album on this list is here because I associate them with a memory or important time of my life (or I just saw it performed live and it changed me as a person).

It is important to acknowledge that these are my top albums, and so are very skewed towards my personal music taste, which is most definitely centered around pop music. So you will not see the likes of Kendrick and Kanye in this list – I’m not saying they’re not great musicians, they’re just not my personal cup of tea. That being said, I am always open to new music recommendations, so if there is something missing that you believe I would love, I probably just haven’t heard it, and in that case, please please let me know.

Without further a do, here are my Top 25 (and a few extra) Albums of the 2010s

Honourable Mentions

The Wombats: Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life (2018)

beautiful people will ruin your life

Look, I do love this album and it does have a lot of great songs (Turn is undeniably the best) – there’s just albums that I love more.

Beyonce: Lemonade (2016)

lemonade

I’ve never been a huge Beyonce fan (I’m sorry!) but after having to write a piece for uni on this album in particular, I kind of began to understand all the hype. This album is definitely an icon of the 2010s (just not my personal favourite).

 LANY: Make Out EP (2015)

make out

As the first of multiple entries from my ride-or-die band of the decade (according to Spotify I spent 177 hours listening to them this year alone), the only reason this is in the Honourable Mentions and not the actual list is the fact that it is an EP and not a full-length album. This EP gave us (arguably) some of the best music LANY has ever released (Made in Hollywood will never not slap) and it will always have a special place in my heart.

25. Bruno Mars: Unorthodox Jukebox (2012)

unorthodox jukebox

I’ll admit, this is a weird choice for me. But I have distinct memories of this CD playing on repeat in our family car before the days of Bluetooth, and so I may have formed a slight attachment to the familiarity that this album provided. This was also right on the cusp of Bruno’s transition between pop and R&B and perfectly combines the best of both worlds. Natalie and Locked Out of Heaven will always slap tbh.

24. Troye Sivan: Bloom (2018)

bloom

Troye has been one of my favourite artists since the YouTube and TRXYE days, and there is no denying that he has matured astronomically as both an artist and a person since those days. The only reason this is only just scraping into the list is the emotional attachment I have to Blue Neighbourhood (it’s time will come I promise) over this album. Also, I wouldn’t have minded waiting a little longer for the album if it meant getting more than the (brilliant) 10 tracks we did get. It felt wrong to not include this album at all, especially after finally seeing it live, and so here we are at 24.

23. Charli XCX: Charli (2019)

charli 2

Charli is easily one of the best songwriters and entertainers on the planet, and her ability to collaborate with literally anyone and still keep her unique sound never fails to astound me. Choosing between this and Pop 2 was difficult, but honestly the fact that Gone ft. Christine and the Queens is one of the best songs of 2019 pushed this baby over the line.

22. Halsey: Badlands (2015)

badlands

I like Halsey, I really do. She’s one of those artists that I drift away from but always end up coming back to at some point. For me though, that coming back is always to Badlands. I know that most people prefer Hopeless Fountain Kingdom but I just never got into it. Plus 14-year-old me thought Strange Love was the most relatable shit ever even though my life was NEVER like that.

21. Lizzo: Cuz I Love You (2019)

cuz i love you

Full disclosure: I 100% only jumped on the Lizzo bandwagon this year when she blew up, but boy am I glad I did. The title track of the album is easily one of the best tracks of the decade and her ability to shift between rapping, her stunning vocals and playing the goddamn flute is not something that should have flown under the radar for this long. The only reason this isn’t higher is the fact that I haven’t yet had the chance to emotionally attach myself to the album – it will come.

20. Banks: The Altar (2016)

the altar

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Banks is one of the most criminally underappreciated vocalists of the 21st century. Fuck With Myself was the first song of hers I heard and ooooooh boy, I was a goner. She has such a unique voice and the way she sings about somewhat taboo topics always has me feeling like a bad bitch.

19. Oh Wonder: Oh Wonder (2015)

oh wonder

I remember first hearing Livewire on one of Connor Franta’s Common Culture compilations and being completely stunned by the harmonies. The combination of Anthony and Josephine’s voices is unparalleled and mixed with the synth style of their music, I always feel like I’m in a dream sequence. This is definitely one of those albums that I forget about for a while and then come back to and wonder why it’s been so long between listens.

18. Hozier: Wasteland, Baby! (2019)

wasteland baby

I deliberated over the placing of the next few albums for a long time. Ultimately, the only thing that separates them is my emotional attachment and the memories I associate with each. Hozier is hands down one of the best musicians of the decade and there is no doubt in my mind that he is one of the elusive ‘immortals‘. This album places this high largely due to his unmatched lyrical skill and the song Movement. Special mention to Moment’s Silence (Commoner’s Tongue) which isn’t on this album but was on the 2018 EP Nina Cried Power (I count them as the same era) and deserved better.

17. Florence + The Machine: High As Hope (2018)

high as hope

If Moderation was on this album instead of just being a randomly released single in the middle of tour, this album would 100% be higher. This tour was the first time I was finally able to see Florence live, so I will always have an attachment to this album. I just have more of an attachment to another of her albums (which you will see soon). Having said that, Sky Full of Song and Hunger will always be two of the best songs ever written.

16. The 1975: A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships (2018)

brief inquiry

This was the first The 1975 album release that I was an active fan for, as well as being the first tour I saw them. I have a terrible habit of becoming invested in artists and bands just as their album cycles are ending, and so end up missing their tour – The 1975 is a perfect example of this. I became invested in the middle of the I Like It When You Sleep… era, just after they had toured Australia. But I’m not mad – A Brief Inquiry has the some of the best songs in their discography and getting to experience the anticipation for the first time was pretty great.

15. LANY: Malibu Nights (2018)

malibu nights

What else do you do after a break-up but cut yourself off from the social world and pump out a new album less than a year after the release of your first and then tour the world with 100 shows in 8 months? Because that’s literally what Malibu Nights was. LANY will always be one of the most hardworking bands on the planet and the fan base they have grown is indicative of that. They are the biggest band you’ve never heard of, but not for long (mark my words).

14. Maggie Rogers: Heard It In A Past Life (2019)

heard it in a past life

I honestly had only heard this album a handful of times before a friend convinced me to review her concert at Enmore and boy oh boy am I bloody glad I did. This quickly became one of my favourite albums, both musically and lyrically. She is America’s answer to Florence and the video of them performing Light On together in South London on a full moon is one of the most spiritual and haunting things you will ever see.

13. The 1975: The 1975 (2013)

the 1975

The primary reason for the inclusion of The 1975’s first album on this list is my strongly held belief that this will become one of the classic albums of my generation. There is not a bad song on this album (there are definitely the standouts) and I always find myself listening to it without really meaning to. I don’t care how white girl cliche of me it is, Sex will always be one of my all-time favourite songs (14-year-old me also thought this was the most relatable song ever, but there was actually a bit of truth to it this time).

12. Years & Years: Palo Santo (2018)

palo santo

As far as coherency goes, this is easily one of the most coherent albums of at least the last 5 years. Led by Olly Alexander’s vocals, there is not a bad song on this album, and when paired with the visual element of the Palo Santo short film, which has Alexander play a human used for the entertainment of androids in the fictional world of Palo Santo, the entire concept of the album is made that much stronger. I will always be salty that they never played this album in Australia and I never got to see it live.

11. Hozier: Hozier (2014)

hozier

I’ve already spoken about my love for Hozier as a musician, and the fact that his only two albums are present in this list is testament to that. I remember when Take Me To Church first came out and I was still going through my faze of ‘I don’t like popular music because it’s lame’, but then I realised that was dumb because Hozier and this album are both bloody fantastic. It kind of makes me mad that Take Me To Church was the breakout song from this album because while it is a great song, there are so many arguably better songs *cough* To Be Alone and Work Song *cough* that deserved better.

10. The 1975: I like it when you sleep, for you are beautiful yet so unaware of it (2016)

iliwys

As the highest ranking of the three The 1975 albums, I feel it’s pretty obvious that this is my favourite. The 1975 were my top artist on Spotify in 2016, and a lot of that is due to the release of this album in the same year. Who knows how many times I have played Somebody Else by now (I don’t care how cliche it is, I love that song with my whole heart). This album was definitely more of a pop album than their first, which is probably why I love it so much because I will always be a slut for pop music.

9. Florence + The Machine: How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful (2015)

how big how blue

Sometimes I will briefly forget about this album and then I will come back to it and wonder why I haven’t been listening to it on repeat for my whole life. I feel like Florence is one of those artists who never age, only mature, and this album and High As Hope are testament to that. It still has all the theatricality and madness of the first two albums, but there is an air of wiseness and maturity enveloping the entire record. Also, I held Florence’s hand while she sang What Kind of Man in Sydney and it was one of the most spiritual moments of my life, so this album gets an automatic top 10 on that fact alone.

8. Harry Styles: Harry Styles (2017)

harry styles

The entire reason that it has taken me so long to post this is because I was waiting for Harry’s new album Fine Line to be released before I made my final rankings. And while I do love Fine Line, it could not outdo my love for Mr Styles’s first self-titled album. I was never a One Direction fan because I thought it was lame and now I see how wrong I was because boy am I in love with Harry and his music. From beginning to end, this album is so coherent and is a brilliant piece of work for anyone’s debut album.

7. Montaigne: Complex (2019)

complex

Y’ALL ARE SLEEPING ON MONTAIGNE!!!!!!! Australian music is bigger and better than ever before, and yet Montaigne (somehow) still flies under the radar and I don’t get it???? This entire album from beginning to end is a work of art and Montaigne dares to address topics that most artists would brush aside immediately (I’m talking Stockholm Syndrome and is this all i am good for?). Also, when she toured this album, she played it in order which is something I think more artists should be doing. In conclusion, y’all need to stop sleeping on Montaigne and give her the credit she deserves.

6. Lorde: Pure Heroine (2013)

pure heroine

Similar to Hozier with Take Me To Church, when I first heard Royals I didn’t want to like it because (to be fair) it was being overplayed. But then I eventually realised this was also dumb and I learned to appreciate it for what it was: a damn good song from a bloody talented 17-year-old. And then I also realised that the entire album was incredible and probably listened to it on repeat for days. It kind of shocks me that this album came out so long ago because it still holds up so well. This was the album that soundtracked my early teen years and I will always have a soft spot for it.

5. LANY: LANY (2017)

LANY

There is a reason LANY were my Spotify artist of the decade, and that is I love them and everything they do with my whole heart. I honestly don’t know what I love most about this album: the music, the lyrics, the actual band, the fact that this was the first concert I went to solo or all the friends this album and band have brought me. While musically, this isn’t necessarily the best album on this list, the memories and people that this album introduced me to is something I will always be grateful for.

4. Taylor Swift: Red (2012)

red

I’m not ashamed to say I love Taylor Swift. Fearless was one of the first albums I owned, but I fell off the train a little with Speak Now and came back toward the end of the Red era (I missed the tour again). This album was the perfect stepping stone between country and pop music and clearly shows Taylor’s skill as a songwriter. All Too Well is, I believe, one of the defining songs of the decade. Not gonna lie, I was genuinely shocked that this album came out in 2012 because it still slaps so hard and always will.

3. Arctic Monkeys: AM (2013)

AM

Arctic Monkeys are one of the very few artists on this list that I haven’t seen live and I am still SO mad at myself for not going when they toured earlier this year. I know it kind of became a white, Tumblr girl cliche to like this album, but I 100% unironically love this album and I’m not ashamed to say that. This is one of the sexiest albums ever made to date, and yet it manages to do what all other ‘sex’ albums can’t: it doesn’t objectify women! Plus Alex Turner’s voice is just super hot tbh.

2. Troye Sivan: Blue Neighbourhood (2015)

blue neighbourhood

Watching Troye turn into a fully fledged pop star has been incredible, but this will always remain one of my favourite albums. This album came out at a time when I was struggling with and discovering my own personal identity and sexuality, so seeing a gay, Australian musician who I already idolised achieve such great success was life-changing. I can’t pick a favourite song on this album because they all have their own unique meaning to me personally, but I did literally sob the last time I heard Heaven live, so that’s probably saying something.

1. Lorde: Melodrama (2017)

melodrama

I don’t think I can sum up in words how much I love this album and everything it means to me. Green Light and Liability came out at the beginning of my final year of school and then the album was released the day after my 18th birthday, so it was inevitable that I would fall in love with everything about it. Where Pure Heroine soundtracked my early teens, Melodrama soundtracked my late teens: my final year of school and the transition to university. Now I’m just waiting for Lorde to tell me when I can progress to the next stage.

 

A lot has changed in the music world over the last 10 years, but I think these 25 defining albums prove that it was a decade like no other. Here’s to the next 10 years and more great music from these and so many other artists.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

Anne-Marie @ Metro Theatre 15/10/18

Anne-Marie made her solo Australian debut in Sydney on Tuesday night to a sold out Metro Theatre. The rising British pop star is straight off the back of an extended stint as Ed Sheeran’s supporting act around Europe and America, but has finally made her way down under to perform two very special sold out shows, promoting her April debut album release ‘Speak Your Mind’

Her support act, Los Angeles based Australian duo NAATIONS, certainly got the crowd jumping early. Playing a mixture of tracks known to the audience and tracks they may not have heard certainly paid off as they built hype for the main act of the night. Their performance of their Duke Dumont collaboration ‘Real Life’ was a highlight of their set, as the crowd shouted back the chorus.

Following NAATIONS’s set came the main event of the night. Entering the stage to a crowd shouting her name, Anne-Marie opened her first Australian headline show with album opener ‘Cry’. Straight off the bat, she was jumping around the stage, interacting with the crowd. This was followed by one of her oldest releases, ‘Do It Right’, which proved that her fanbase has done their research as they shouted the lyrics back.

Her newest single ‘Perfect’ and last single ‘2002’ both had the entire crowd singing at their loudest, encouraged by Anne-Marie’s playful mannerisms. Crowd favourites throughout the night included  ‘Trigger’, as she taught the crowd the chorus and had them sing it back to her and ‘Bad Girlfriend’ which had Anne-Marie showing her skills as a ‘real musician’ (her words) by using a electronic sound machine. She took a moment to sit on the edge of the stage whilst singing ‘Then’, as she delved into what is arguably her most emotional song on her debut album, bringing herself and much of the audience to tears.  Her final song, her collaboration with Marshmello, ‘FRIENDS’ predictably had the crowd jumping and screaming until the very last moment.

Anne-Marie’s Australian debut was a high energy, interactive show, giving us just a taste of what the rising British pop star has to offer, as well as showing that the Australian support for her is only growing.

Anne-Marie will be back in the country next March and April, playing shows in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. Tickets go on sale Tuesday 23 October, all details can be found here

 

 

 Enjoy some kind crappy photos from the night, taken on my phone

Prototyping – Singles and Albums and Artists, Oh My!

For me, two of the hardest things for me to maintain whenever I start a new project, have always been time management and maintaining motivation. Looking into the future, it’s easy to say you can do something, but actually doing it is a whole other story. Unfortunately, this has kind of been the case with my Just Music blog.

Don’t get me wrong! I’m still writing and posting music related blogs, just not as regularly as I would like to be. And this entirely comes back to my time management skills and personal motivation. But I have thought about this a lot, and I have come up with some ways that I can rectify these (and some other minute) issues that I have encountered. I am also 100% open to suggestions, so if after reading this you think “Hey, I know how Jess can motivate herself”, PLEASE let me know.

The pile just keeps piling up

The problem with university is that, generally, subjects don’t really interact with each other. This means that more often than not, you end up with 3 assignments, 2 presentations and an exam all in the one week. Add writing weekly blog posts to the mix, and the pile of work seems to be never ending. Time management has never really been my strong suit, but it becomes increasingly obvious just how much I suck at it when weeks like this happen. In terms of Just Music, this has mainly affected my intention of posting weekly ‘New Music Friday’ posts. Restricting myself to  posting on a Friday was my first issue; assignments are always due at the end of the week, so if I’m not rushing to finish an assignment, I’m probably driving home, meaning I lose basically all of my Friday. This makes it really difficult to write a blog post about the new music that has come out that day, considering music is not released until at least midnight, sometimes even later. I’ve decided that in order to rectify this problem, I need to not restrict myself to posting on a Friday, and potentially open it up to posting anytime over the weekend. While not ideal in terms of getting content out as soon after a release as possible, it’s the only real way I can commit to weekly content with my current schedule. I think it’s easy to say that my plan for ‘New Music Friday’s’ was definitely a case of Fail Early, Fail Often, but now that I have identified this, I can work on figuring out a way that works best for me. This part of my process definitely involves a fair amount of breaking; I need to essentially break what I have already created, take out the aspects that worked, and put them back together in a way that works better than the original.

 

Motivation, where you at?

When it comes to projects, I am always either SUPER motivated or completely disinterested, there is no in between. Writing for Just Music, I have at times found myself with zero motivation to write a post, mainly when it comes to my ‘New Music Friday’ posts. Personally, I think this is because I am not always interested by the content that is released in a particular week. Some weeks, there is more new release music than others, this is just a fact. The issue arises when the new music isn’t by an artist that I usually listen to or of a genre that I like. This actually arises a few issues; it is a LOT easier to write a review of an artist if you have somewhat of a knowledge of their background, their audience and their older music and the same goes for genres. This isn’t really an issue that I can fix through feedback loops, it entirely comes back to me having inspiration and finding the motivation to actually write the posts. Another issue with this is the fact that the music industry is not regular; events such as festivals, concerts and interviews are not something that happen weekly or on a regular schedule. This makes it difficult to formulate a regular posting schedule, as I can’t always predict what content I am going to be able to write about in a particular week. Unfortunately, there isn’t really a way I can overcome this, I just have to try and stay on top of new content and write and publish posts as quickly as possible.

 

Engaging Engagement

You may not have realised, but I have also created an Instagram account to promote and direct traffic towards this blog. While the aesthetic of an Instagram account is incredibly pleasing, there a few issues when it comes to actually directing the traffic. It’s not possible to include links in an Instagram caption, which means that I have to then direct readers from the original post in the news feed to my actual profile, where the link is then in my bio. The problem with this is, people like to mindlessly double tap on Instagram posts, but very rarely do they actually go any further. To rectify this, I want to start posting more regularly so that my account becomes a regular presence in both my followers feeds and in the hashtags. Another issue I have encountered is that while I am getting a decent amount of likes, people aren’t actually following me. This also makes it difficult to use the Instagram Story feature, as I don’t actually have that big of a dedicated following who have access to what I post. Going forward with this in mind, I would like to focus more on the blog aspect of my DA, building that up and regularly creating content, before focusing too much on the social media presence. When I do eventually start to focus on the social media aspect, I will need to experiment with

It’s not all bad…

Despite the setbacks I have encountered, it’s not all bad news. Following my original pitch, I was approached by ‘Volume Media‘ and asked to review concerts and events. While I haven’t written any reviews yet, we have a few in the works and they will hopefully be coming soon!

So while there has been a little bit of a lull in content, I am working on breaking and remaking the way I produce content to better interact with my audience. Just Music isn’t going anywhere and the only way is up!

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

The (Unnecessary) War on Defqon. 1

Following the deaths of two people from drug overdoses at the Defqon. 1 music festival at the Sydney International Regatta Centre over the weekend, the NSW Government, headed by Premier Gladys Berejiklian, has vowed to do everything in their power to ban the festival. This is all well and good, except this war that they have decided to wage is going to do nothing to eradicate the actual problem, and that is the drugs.

Cancelling a music festival is in no way, shape or form going to stop people from making, supplying and using drugs. It only eliminates one piece of the chain. And where a piece is eliminated, another will quickly take its place. In 2016, there were 1808 drug related deaths in Australia. Guess how many of them were at Defqon. 1 or any other music festival for that matter? None! Since 2013, 9 people have died at music festivals in Australia as a direct result of drug use. Really, 9 deaths out of a potential 10 000 over 5 years is not a lot. So why aren’t they focusing on the root of the problem instead of banning what is a regular event on a lot of people’s calendars?

It’s an unfortunate reality, but drug culture has become a big part of all music festivals in Australia. Despite the best efforts of police, there is always a large drug presence at these festivals.  If the NSW government believes that banning  Defqon. 1 is going to reduce drug related deaths, does that mean that they’re also going to ban other music festivals like Splendour in the Grass and Falls Festival? Not likely. There are so many other solutions that the government could initiate or support that would help reduce the use of drugs at music festivals rather than simply banning the festival. Drug education initiatives are nowhere near supported enough; if the government spent as much time putting money into educating the population about drugs and their effects as they did into changing their leader, we would have a lot less people dying from drugs. In an Australian first back in May, the Groovin the Moo festival held in Canberra offered free pill-testing. The trial returned positive results, with 128 people taking advantage of the service and up to 20% saying they were seriously considering disposing of their drugs. Young Australians (and those older, open-minded Australians) have been supporting the introduction of this service at other festivals such as Defqon. 1, with hundreds of comments on the governments social media in the last few days suggesting as such. If they can see it’s potential, why can’t those who are supposed to represent us see it and support it? Simple. Because we are still being ‘represented’ by a government that does not stand for the same issues as us and refuses to see our point of view. We are a (largely) millennial population, being led by a baby boomer government who are still stuck in the 60’s, and it’s just not cutting it anymore.

Transferring the blame to the organisers of these events is useless. There’s only so many times they can write “DRUGS ARE PROHIBITED” on their websites and social media. If a person chooses to take drugs into a festival with the intention of using without being fully aware of the potential effects, that’s on them, just the same as someone choosing to take drugs outside of a festival without knowing the effects is their own fault. Yes, they can hire all the security in the world, but if they don’t do their job properly and drugs get in, it does not become the responsibility of the organisers if drug users have an adverse reaction. It is an assumption going into an event like this that you need to have a certain degree of self care and responsibility, especially if you intend to use drugs; yes, there are first aid and security officers, but they can’t be expected to hold your hand the entire time.

Deaths at music festivals are as a result of drugs, not the festival itself. The sooner our government realises this and starts to attack the issue at its roots (the makers and suppliers), the better. This isn’t a war for inside a music festival, it’s a war for the streets, so do us all a favour and leave the festivals alone.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

A How To Guide to Choosing a NYE Festival Experience

It’s once again that time of year where festival punters are forced to make the difficult decision of where to spend their New Year’s. With line ups dropping left right and centre, and tickets on sale to all festivals, it can be difficult to make a (quick) decision about where you and your crew will celebrate the New Year.

Falls Festival 

When: December 28 2018 – January 6 2019 (in different locations across the country)

Where: Lorne, Victoria, Marion Bay, Tasmania, Byron Bay, New South Wales and Fremantle, Western Australia

The Line up: Falls has brought together some of the biggest artists from the present day and decades past to create a line up that should have something to please everyone. Headliners come in the form of Anderson .Paak and the Free Nationals, British rockers Catfish and the Bottlemen (playing their only Australian show) and Australia’s own Vance Joy. One of the biggest surprises of this years line up is easily American Rockers Toto, who have become popular again in recent years off the back of their hit ‘Africa’ which has become somewhat of a meme song online. There are a lot of acts on the bill who also performed at Splendour in the Grass this year, including Scotland’s Chvrches , Mallrat, Amy Shark (who are all also playing Field Day), Hilltop Hoods, Cub Sport, Ocean Alley, Jack River and Soccer Mommy. Other Australian festival favourites filling the bill include rapper Tkay Maizda and Britain’s Bishop Briggs. There are also a number of up and coming acts who will be playing their first major Australian festival, including 15-year-old Ruel and Odette, who released her debut album earlier in the year.

The Crowd: Falls is the longest running, and arguably, most popular NYE music festival in Australia. It’s widespread locations makes it accessible for basically everyone, whether you’re on the east or west coast or central Australia. Many people have criticised this years line up, making comments along the lines of “Where are the headliners?”, but these comments aren’t likely to have much of an impact on the crowds, with Lorne already sold out. Falls attracts a very similar audience to Splendour in the Grass, which isn’t surprising considering their both in partnership with Triple J and share a lot of smaller Australian and International acts across line ups. If you listen to Triple J and like the glitz and glamour and music festivals, Falls is for you.

Cost: Ticket prices vary dependent on your location, with the cheapest ticket being a one day pass for Fremantle, which is $149 + BF and the most expensive being a ‘Gimme Shelter’ ticket for Marion Bay at $409 + BF, which gives the holder a 3 day event ticket and access to a 2 man tent to share with another ticket holder. 3 day tickets for all locations (except Fremantle) are $349 + BF (does not include camping). Camping tickets can be bought from $109 + BF.

Tickets on Sale: Thursday 6 September 9am (Local times based on festival location) (NOW)

Beyond the Valley

When: December 28 2018 – January 1 2019

Where: Lardner Park, Victoria (approximately 2 hours east of Melbourne)

The Line up: This years line up is stacked with Australian heavyweights, including Tash Sultana and PNAU billed as headliners, as well as British favourites The Kooks, Bonobo and Duke Dumont also joining as headliners. Other acts on the bill include Ball Park Music, The Jungle Giants, DZ Deathrays, Alex Lahey and Safia, all of whom have just performed massive sets at Splendour in the Grass. Other Australian favourites who are sure to bring their own personal flair to the stage include Nicole Millar, who is still riding the high of the release of her debut album in June, Client Liason, who have just come off the back of their own festival, Expo Liaison and Vera Blue who is currently touring around Europe.

The Crowd: There is literally something for everyone when it comes to music at this festival. Whether you’re into indie rock, electronic dance or pop music, you can be sure to find your ‘people’ amongst the crowd. However this line up definitely has more of a ‘rock’ centric line up than the other festivals, so the crowd is likely to boast a heavier rock following, so if your a rock music fan, this is the place to be. BTV presents itself as a ’boutique’ music festival, bringing together world class acts from here and overseas. Being only a relatively new festival, only beginning in 2014, it’s safe to say that it hasn’t yet accumulated the cult following of other NYE festivals, however stacked line ups in the last few years have begun to change that and 2018’s line up is sure to draw a sold out crowd. 

Cost: A four day ticket will set you back $490 + BF, a three day $390 + BF, two day  $330 +BF and a one day NYE pass $180 + BF (all tickets include a general camping pass from the 28/12, 29/12, 30/12 and 31/12)

Tickets on Sale: Thursday 30 August 12pm AEST (NOW)

Field Day

When: January 1 2019

Where: The Domain, Sydney (NSW)

The Line up: Field Day has pulled together a huge line up for its one day bill, bringing together the best of rap, pop and EDM that is sure to sell out The Domain. Big names in the rap industry, Cardi B and trio Migos, have both listed as ‘east coast exclusives’, and they are joined by other big names including Duke Dumont, Bonobo (who are both also playing BTV and Origin Fields), Chvrches, Rufus Du Sol and Amy Shark, who all bring a variety of genres to the stage. Closer to home, Brisbane’s own rapper Mallrat will make her Field Day debut, which will be following appearances at Splendour in the Grass, Yours & Owls and Groovin’ the Moo, as well as Sydney duo Flight Facilities who are currently touring the country off the back of their latest single ‘All Your Love’. Other highlights of the line up include Britain’s Bishop Briggs and Australian producer Alive Ivy.

The Crowd: Being only a one day festival in amongst the sea of festivals over the New Year’s period, Field Day is the perfect festival for a first-time festival goer or for those who actually want to remember their NYE. Because of this, it is likely to draw a much younger crowd that have less money to spend and so are forced to settle for a one day festival experience. Having said that, the heavy rap influenced line up is sure to draw a particular kind of crowd, so if you’re more into pop or indie music, it might be best to have a look at other festivals like BTV or Falls

Cost: First release tickets (which all sold out in the presale) $162 + BF, second release $172 + BF and third release $182 + BF, while a VIP ticket (which comes with some pretty cool benefits) will set you back $257 + BF

Tickets on Sale: Thursday 30 August 12pm AEST (NOW)

Lost Paradise

When: December 28 2018 – January 1 2019

Where: Glenworth Valley, New South Wales (about an hour north of Sydney)

The Line up: This years headliners come in the form of The Kooks, Tash Sultana (who are both also making appearances at BTV and Origin Fields), American rapper Joey Bada$$ and British rapper M.I.A. Australian favourites PNAU, Dune Rats, Ball Park Music, who all performed smashing sets at Splendour in the Grass earlier this year, have a high place on the bill, along with other favourites, Vera Blue and Winston Surfshirt. With 3 stages of music but only one really showcasing live music, the line up of artists performing DJ sets is extensive. Top billed DJs include Bicep, Kink, Flava D and Loods. Lost Paradise is also more than just a music festival, with ‘experiences’ including yoga, informative talks and workshops in everything from magic to belly dancing.

The Crowd: Lost Paradise is definitely a festival for the EDM lovers, with 2 stages primarily dedicated to dance and electronic music. If you prefer live bands, solo singers and stage diving rockers, Lost Paradise isn’t the festival for you (have a look at BTV or Falls instead!). Having said that, the wide range of experiences available over the weekend, including yoga (of literally every variety – even laughter), dance workshops and psychics provide even the most introverted of festival attendees with something to fill their days.

Cost: 4-Day second release tickets, including camping (first release have sold out) will set you back $399 + BF. If you miss out on second release, a third release is $419 + BF.

Tickets on Sale: NOW

Origin Fields

When: December 30 – 31 2018

Where: Langley Park, Perth (WA)

The Line up: Given its somewhat remote location, this line up is packed. Being the first NYE festival to drop its line up, it set the bar, and it set it high. After 11 years as one-day ‘Origin NYE’, the change of location and the extension over two days has allowed the festival to grow and to bring in more big name international artists. The bill is headed by rap superstars Cardi B, who has been hurled into stardom over the last 12 months and Migos (who are both also playing Field Day as their only other Australian appearance), Canadian crooner Khalid, who made his Splendour in the Grass debut earlier in the year, Duke Dumont and Bonobo, who both have their New Years calendars booked with appearances at BTV and Field Day and Australian favourite Tash Sultana, who has been celebrating immense international success and will no doubt be riding the high of the release of her debut album in August. Other acts who will be spending their New Years in Perth include Australian veterans PNAU, British rockers The Kooks, producer Hayden James, Canberra’s Safia and Australian rockers Pendulum.

The Crowd: Origin Fields obviously has the disadvantage of its location, however the strength of its line up is sure to attract a sold out crowd. Sharing a lot of its line up with Sydney’s Field Day means that it is likely to attract a similar crowd demographic, albeit a bit older who have a bit more ‘life’ experience and are willing to make the trek to Perth (and the money to do so), and the festival is sure to be a hit with locals. It is likely that attending Origin Fields may come down to accessibility, with much of the crowd likely to come from the west of Australia.

Cost: A two day pass is $319 + BF, a VIP two day pass jumps to $399 + BF and a Platinum Experience two day pass will set you back a whopping $799 +BF (which includes catering, inclusive alcohol, a merchandise gift and complimentary WiFi)

Tickets on Sale: NOW

Now go! It’s time to choose your place of residence for this NYE. But be quick, tickets to all festivals are selling fast and will sell out.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

 

 

 

 

 

New Music Friday – 31/8/18

With the wave of warmer weather incoming, pop music is reigning supreme in the fight to chase the winter blues away. With new albums from some of Australia’s brightest music stars, single drops from classic favourites and a flood of festival news.

Troye Sivan is back and he demands our attention

Since the release of his debut album all the way back in 2015, Troye Sivan has cemented himself as one of the ‘ones to watch’ of the decade in the world of pop music. As somewhat of a ‘gay icon’, Sivan has made a triumphant return with the release of his second full length album, ‘Bloom‘, which has been hotly anticipated by fans and critics alike. Gone are the heartbroken tones and wishful thinking of his debut ‘Blue Neighbourhood’ and they’ve been replaced by unapologetic declarations of his experiences with sexuality, love and relationships. The record opener ‘Seventeen’ discusses Sivan’s experiences with Grindr at a young age, previously released ‘The Good Side’ helps to leave behind the heartbreak of ‘Blue Neighbourhood’ in an apology for a previous heartbreak and laments about the perfection of his current relationship in ‘What a Heavenly Way to Die’. In Tweets and in interviews, Sivan has named his personal favourite from the album as ‘Plum’ an exploration of how even beautiful things ie. a relationship, can turn sour, told through 80s inspired synths and fruit metaphors. Reviews from the likes of NME, Billboard and Rolling Stone have pegged ‘Bloom’ as one of the best pop albums of 2018. Troye Sivan is here and he’s not going anywhere for a long time yet.

Sounds like: An 80s inspired electropop dream mixed with lyrical metaphors and declarations of love

Listen to when: you feel the need to dance around your room before falling into bed and crying over some of the slower songs

Highlights: ‘Postcard (feat. Gordi)’, ‘Plum’, ‘Seventeen’ and ‘Animal’

No Rome goes from no name to centre stage

The final song ‘Narcissist’ off of Dirty Hit signed No Rome’s first EP ‘RIP Indo Hisashi’ has made a splash, with the track featuring The 1975’s Matty Healy and George Daniel. The song definitely has the feel of a The 1975 record, particularly when Healy takes over on main vocals in the second verse. As far as debuts go, No Rome’s is definitely promising and it’s certain that we’ll be hearing a lot from him in years to come.

Sounds like: The 1975 meets

Listen to When: You want to listen to The 1975. Seriously it could be on a The 1975 album and no one would bat an eyelid.

The Wombats definitely aren’t allergic to bees

The Wombats have seemingly only just left Australia and they’ll be back again in November, armed with a brand new single. Their latest offering ‘Bee-sting’ fits right in with the vibes of their February album, ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin You Life”, something which it means it will be inserted seamlessly into their setlists when they return later in the year. If you’re a Wombats fan, this track should definitely satisfy your needs until they release their next album.

Sounds like: A swarm of bees in a recording studio, but in a good way

Listen to when: Game day. Seriously the ‘bees’ sound like the horns at a football game

The flood of NYE festival announcements isn’t slowing down

This week has seen a wave of festival line ups being dropped left right and centre for the New Years period. With Perth’s ‘Origin Fields’ line up dropping nearly two weeks ago, ‘Beyond the Valley’ and ‘Field Day’ line ups revealed in the last two week and the ‘Falls Festival’ finally dropping today, there is only one line up left to come, New South Wales’ ‘Lost Paradise’, expected to come in the near future. Stay tuned for a post helping you to decide what NYE music festival experience is right for you (coming as soon as the Lost Paradise line up drops.

That’s it for winter, see you in Spring.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

New Music Friday – 17/8/18

It has been a BIG week in terms of new releases, with collaborations, highly anticipated albums and unexpected single drops aplenty.

Ariana Grande unleashes her fourth ‘baby’ on the world

It has easily been one of, if not the most anticipated pop album to be released this year. After the release of ‘no tears left to cry’ all the way back in April, Grande’s fans, or Arianators, have been hyping up the album to anyone who will listen. The three singles released prior to the album highlighted the vast style range that Grande was clearly going for in this album, with each song showcasing her skills as an artist across genres. With the release of the whole album, it’s clear that Grande’s sound is starting to progress down a more R&B influenced avenue, most clearly evidenced by production credits from the likes of Pharrell Williams. Given this small change in genre direction, one thing continues to shine throughout the record; Ariana’s pitch perfect vocals. The harmonies in ‘raindrops (an angel cried)’ and ‘pete davidson’ are testament to Grande’s skill and power as a vocalist, something which she has been developing since her beginnings on Broadway and Nickelodeon. Now that the album has been released, her fans will move to hyping up her tour, which has been pegged to begin early next year, and will no doubt be a stellar showcase of the pop princess’s vocal ability and stage presence.

Sounds like: the love child of Celine Dion, Mariah Carey and Missy Elliot (funnily enough, she even features on a track, ‘borderline’!)

Listen to when: getting ready for a girls’ night out

Highlights: ‘breathin’, ‘successful’ and ‘get well soon’

The 1975 continue their ‘attack’ of the digital age

Announced only a week before its release, The 1975’s latest single “TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME” dropped on Thursday as the Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 World Record. This track steers away from what many have come to consider as the typical The 1975 sound, with lead singer Matt Healy saying in an interview that he objectively listens to it as “not necessarily a ’75 song“. When listening to it, this opinion becomes clear; apart from Healy’s distinctive voice and the social utility of the lyrics which has become so indicative of The 1975’s music, the overall style of the single is definitely more ‘boppy’ and upbeat than a lot of their music. The lyrics analyse the affect of the digital age on relationships, specifically when it comes to ‘two-timing’ your significant other. While the actual song may not necessarily fit into what many have come to expect of the band, it is definitely an indication of the direction that their forthcoming album is headed, and by all accounts, its a positive direction.

Sounds like: The Wombats x Arctic Monkeys x Chvrches (on steroids)

Listen to when: social media is getting you down and you just wanna say “f- you” to it all and have a dance

Calvin Harris drops another surprise collaboration

Following the incredible success of Calvin Harris’s collaboration with Dua Lipa, ‘One Kiss’, Harris has come out with new single ‘Promises’ with the help of first time collaborator, Sam Smith. The track highlights what we’ve come to expect of Smith, in the form of his silky smooth vocals, soaring range and soulful vibes. Smith is no stranger to collaborations, having previously joined forces with the likes of Disclosure and Naughty Boy, however Harris’s signature style has done nothing but bring focus to Smith’s voice in the best way. The poppy, dance track is sure to become a regular on airways, especially in Australia as we move into the summer cycle.

Sounds like: Summer. That sums it up basically.

Listen to when: You’ve had a few drinks and are ready to start dancing

That’s all for this week

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

New Music Friday – 10/8/18

Only two weeks in with plenty more new music to come in the coming weeks, August is already proving itself to be a month for the pop music fans.

Troye Sivan’s “Animal”-istic tendencies are on full show

With his highly anticipated second album “Bloom” only 3 weeks away, Troye Sivan has released the final single from the album before its actual release. Animal has everything the previous offerings from the album do not; it is a four and a half minute, 80s inspired, pop ballad, love song, filled with pulsing synths and declarations of love, very different from the ‘textbook perfect’ three and a half minute pop songs already released. In an interview with Vice, Sivan said that he wanted to break away from the typical mould of a pop song, with the end result being “Animal”. By all accounts so far, the feedback on the song, particularly on Twitter, has been overwhelmingly positive (as is generally the case when it comes to Troye’s fanbase). It’s safe to say that hype for “Bloom” has never been higher than at this point. It’ll be a long 3 weeks waiting for its release for Troye’s fanbase.

Sounds like: 80s synth pop ballads, think “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and “Time After Time”

Listen to when: you’re in love

Broods are feeling “Peach”-y 

Two years after the release of their last album “Conscious”, brother-sister duo Caleb and Georgia Nott have finally released their comeback single in “Peach”, a back-and-forth, feel good, pop whirlwind. Earlier this year, both halves of the New Zealand duo released solo projects (initially on the same day), with Georgia’s being a all-female collaboration entitled “The Venus Project”, which was born out of the realisation that she was always “the only girl in the room” when making music. Caleb’s solo endeavour “Fuzzy Milk” came from having a lot of spare time whilst Georgia was off doing her own thing. Both have now come back together as the process of their third album, scheduled for release in 2019, takes off, with this first single being the starting block.

Sounds like: Marina and the Diamonds and Charli XCX had a love child who really loves peaches

Listen to when: you’re feeling down and need a reminder that everything will be fine

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

 

 

 

 

July Musical Moments

When looking back on all the important times in my life, one thing that remains a constant is the importance of music. Whether it be as new music released at the time, important throwback songs that just ‘felt right’ at that point in time or significant events in the music world, music and the people who make it can trigger memories, emotions and reactions. Sometimes these ‘musical moments’ can get lost or forgotten; enter ‘Monthly Musical Moments’, a recap of each month through the music that created its soundtrack.

A One Way Ticket to ‘Palo Santo’ please

After bursting into the music industry with their 2015 debut album ‘Communion’, Years & Years have sought to go one better through the creation of the fictional world of ‘Palo Santo’ which forms the basis of their new album of the same name. Described as a concept album, every song is co-written by lead singer Olly Alexander, with most of them drawing on his personal experiences with relationships, religion and his sexuality. After becoming somewhat of an LGBTQ+ icon after the release of their first album, Alexander has taken this status in his stride and created a coherent world and album that perfectly captures his own experiences as a gay man and allows others to draw on and learn from these experiences. It truly is an album with everything; from the pulsing beat and accusatory lyrics of lead single Sanctify‘, to the brooding, latin-esque Rendevousto the emotional pop-like ballad ‘Hypnotised‘, Alexander’s silky smooth vocals take listeners on a journey through Palo Santo, especially when accompanied by the short film of the same name released along with the album. Honestly, just do yourself a favour and jump on the ‘Palo Santo’ train ASAP. 

God is a Woman’ and her name is Ariana Grande

Never let it be said that Ariana Grande is not one to hype up the release of new music. After a two year break following the release of her last album ‘Dangerous Woman‘, the excitement surrounding the release of new Ariana music is higher than ever, most of which is fuelled by the woman herself. Grande has been tweeting and posting tiny references to each of the songs on her upcoming album, particularly the lead single No Tears Left to Cry‘ and her latest offering God is a Woman‘. Released only a month out from the release of her next album God is a Woman‘, often shortened to ‘GIAW’, is all about female empowerment and shattering the glass ceiling, both metaphorically and physically (Check out the music video here). Grande’s powerful vocals hit home as she laments about ‘telling you the way I like it, how I want it’ in terms of women taking control of their own desires in a society that tells them not to. As well as already cementing its place as one of the great empowerment anthems of 2018, GIAW only generates further excitement around the release of the album from which its taken, Sweetener‘, to be released in the coming weeks.

You should see Billie Eilish in a crown

The 16-year-old pocket dynamo from Los Angeles continues to make music with a maturity years beyond her physical age. With the release of her latest moody offering, you should see me in a crown‘ (which is the first single from her highly anticipated debut album), Eilish’s self-assurance as a musician continues to grow. In an industry that has become increasingly more about beats and melody, Eilish proves that the lyrics of a song will always be integral to its success and lasting impact. As far as the future of pop music goes, as long as it is in the hands of artists such as Billie, the future looks incredibly bright.

Modernity isn’t failing The 1975

Following the June release of their first single in two years, Give Yourself a Try‘,  the social anthem ‘Love It If We Made It’ continues to create hype surrounding the upcoming release of The 1975’s very highly anticipated third album. What makes The 1975 (led by chief lyricist and lead singer Matt Healy) stand out is the fact that they are not afraid to tackle the social and political issues that many musicians avoid, often reflecting the current climate in their music. The latest single is no exception, with lyrics referencing quotes from Donald Trump and current issues such as brutality against African Americans, cementing the song as one which will continue to have social utility for years to come. With  their next album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships slated for release in October, the social evolution of The 1975’s sound is nowhere near complete and we’re all in for a treat.

Splendour in the Grass continues to make its mark

As any Australian who listens to Triple J knows, Splendour in the Grass is the highlight of the yearly music calendar. With tickets becoming increasingly more sought after year after year, those who manage to obtain a ticket are amongst a group of elite who aren’t afraid to brave the horrors of the Moshtix green room. This demand becomes even higher when presented with a lineup that includes rap god Kendrick Lamar, pop princess Lorde and a collection of Australia’s finest musical exports to emerge in the last few years. With a weekend filled with highlights (read more about my top 5 acts of the weekend here), for many, the countdown has no doubt already begun for next year’s festival.

That’s all for July,

Catch ya on the flip side

Jess x

 

 

The Most Splendid of Splendour

The golden weekend on Australia’s festival calendar has come and gone for another year. That’s right, Splendour in the Grass has once again lit up the North Byron Parklands in the best way possible. There was glitter, there was rainbows, there was (arguably too much) skin and most importantly, there was music. Not just music, but fantastic live music played by some incredible Australian and International acts that really brought their all and absolutely killed it in every aspect. So without further ado, here are my 5 favourite acts that I was lucky enough to catch over the weekend.

5. The Jungle Giants

At first I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get to The Jungle Giants set because of clashes on other stages with other acts I wanted to see, but boy am I glad I did. They drew easily the largest crowd I saw in the GW McLennan tent all weekend, and being in the centre of it was definitely an experience. This set was the closest I got to being in a mosh pit all weekend, but what made it so great was the fact that everyone was just there to have a good time and jam out to some awesome live music. Even in the centre of the mosh, people were nice and looking out for everyone around them. On top of this, as a band, they were just genuinely happy to be playing so high up on the bill for such a grateful audience. And of course, the music was pretty bloody great too.

4. The Wombats

I like The Wombats but I wouldn’t really call myself a fan. However, after their Sunday night set, I would very much like to change that. They really brought the whole show; they had the moves, they had the visuals and most importantly the definitely had the sound. Honestly, if you were to take away the huge crowd, it would sound just like a CD being played to you, but better (obviously). Again, they were also genuinely happy and grateful to be playing the festival, something which I think can be lost on international acts such as them, but they did not give their set anything less than they’re best. no doubt picking up a few new fans along the way.

3. Mallrat

I was super keen for this set, and all of my expectations were exceeded. You know a set is going to be good when she takes her jacket off after one song because it was getting too hot from dancing and then brings out 3 drag queens as dancers 3 songs in. Honestly, you would be hard pressed to find a fault in this whole set. Again, I was fairly close to the mosh for this set, and everyone was just having so much fun because Mallrat was having her own fun on stage, that it was impossible to not join in. The whole tent was jumping for the entire 45 minute set, something which I think is an exciting indication of what is to come in the future of Mallrat.

2. Cub Sport

After witnessing Cub Sport’s set on Friday night, there is no doubt in my mind that they should be given an ARIA IMMEDIATELY. Cub Sport was always an act that I was excited to see, but their performance superseded all of my expectations in the best way possible. Tim Nelson looked like a literal god when he first entered the stage, and he held the audience in the palm of his hand for the entirety of the 45 minute set. Every single song had its only little surprises which were gratefully accepted by the audience. The finale song of ‘Come On Mess Me Up‘ was a moment which I believe will be talked about for years by every one present.

1. Lorde

I’m gonna be honest. Lorde’s headlining set was one of the primary reasons why I wanted to go to Splendour in the first place. And my lord(e) she did not disappoint. In her opening speech, she spoke about how the Friday night of Splendour is traditionally a very ‘dancy’ night. And let me tell you, both the ‘mosh’ and Lorde and her dancers danced their hearts out for the entirety of her hour fifteen set. Her set had everything; she played a lot of songs from both her newest album Melodrama and her first album Pure Heroine (including some lesser known surprises like ‘Ribs’ and ‘Hard Feelings’), she had the audience dancing in ‘Homemade Dynamite’ and ‘Green Light’, crying in ‘Liability’ and was joined by a choir of 30 000 people with their arms around each other for a rendition of Powderfinger’s ‘My Happiness’ (which was arguably one of the highlights of the weekend). Lorde proved once and for all that in a male and rock music dominated industry, there will always be room for a pop princess on the stages of festivals.

Well there you have it, my recap of Splendour in the Grass 2018 in 5 acts. For a playlist including some of the top songs from these artists, listen below

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x