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Aussie artists
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Howzat! Archive - January 13th 2010

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MYSTERIOUS MELBAS
Music is not sport. But awards shows are good because they help promote music. In her 2010 wish list, the Sydney Daily Telegraph's Kathy McCabe called for "a new publicly voted awards show to rival the ARIAs". I'm not sure if that's going to happen, but an intriguing new web page has popped up - www.themelbas.blogspot.com. The site has announced The Melbas, The Victorian Music Awards, stating: "Until now, Victorians have not formally recognised their own outstanding artists in the music industry as a whole. While other states celebrate their home grown talent, and Victoria does have our own specific awards for country, blues and jazz music, there is a gaping hole which The Melbas are now filling." They're calling for nominations in 17 categories, including Best Album, Best Song and Best Gig Poster/Flyer. So who's behind The Melbas? They're not telling. "We aim to make the Melbas as uninfluenced by lobbying as possible," they explain on their website. "We guard our anonymity in order to stay impartial. If we told you who the members of the Victorian Music Awards committee were, everyone would be hounding them with their pet bands and offers of free hookers and cocaine All we can say is that we are Victorians. We have day jobs, but not in the music industry. We go and see a lot of music from a range of genres." Nominations for The Melbas close on Friday.

IT'S A LONG WAY TO THE BOOK SHOP
Alberts has been notoriously publicity-shy, even though the music company has given the world some incredible acts, including AC/DC, John Paul Young, The Angels and Rose Tattoo. But a new book - by a family member - will lift the lid on the company, which celebrates its 125th birthday this year. House of Hits by Jane Albert - whose brother David now runs Alberts - will be published by Hardie Grant next month.

CHART WATCH 2009
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. First, the good news - the decade's biggest singles and albums were homegrown hits. In fact, three of the Top 5 singles in ARIA's end-of-the-decade Top 100 were Aussie hits: Guy Sebastian's Angels Brought Me Here (at number one), Anthony Callea's The Prayer (two) and Shannon Noll's What About Me (five). And two of the decade's Top 5 albums were local: Delta Goodrem's Innocent Eyes (number one) and Missy Higgins' The Sound Of White (five). Things weren't quite as rosy in the last year of the decade. Not one Aussie album cracked the Top 10 in ARIA's 2009 Top 100 Album Chart. Hilltop Hoods' State Of The Art led the way, coming in at number 12, followed by Empire Of The Sun at 18 and Jessica Mauboy at 20. It's the first time an Aussie album has failed to make the year-end Top 10 since ARIA started compiling the chart in 1988. Overall, 26 Aussie albums made the 2009 Top 100 (compared to 25 in 2008, and 37 in 2007). Meanwhile, Guy Sebastian had the year's biggest Aussie single, with Like It Like That coming in at number seven on the year-end chart, followed by Kate Miller-Heidke's The Last Day On Earth at 10. Meanwhile, just one Aussie song cracked the Top 10 on 2009's airplay list. Eskimo Joe's Foreign Land came in at number four on the list, compiled by AirCheck. The chart shows that commercial radio is not supporting Australian music. Just three homegrown hits cracked the airplay Top 40 (with Evermore's Hey Boys And Girls at 14, and Jet's She's A Genius at 33). Guy Sebastian had the year's biggest homegrown hit, with Like It Like That at number seven on the 2009 sales chart, but it was the year's 55th most-played song on Australian radio.

IT'S NOT YOUR CAVE, MAN
Fresh from being savaged in Stephen Cummings' book, Will It Be Funny Tomorrow, Billy? ("It was Karl Marx who observed that history repeats itself first as tragedy and then as farce. The same could be said of Cave's career"), Nick Cave has copped a serve in Harry M Miller's memoir, Confessions Of A Not-So-Secret Agent. Harry writes about helping to organise Michael Hutchence's funeral in 1997. "With the live feed agreement secured with Seven, our next obstacle turned out to be Nick Cave," he states. "Now I have to be honest and admit I had never heard of him. But I was quickly assured he had rock credibility, whatever the hell that means." Nick insisted that his performance of Into My Arms would not be part of the telecast. "When it came time during the service for Cave to sing, Suzanne [Hannema, Miller's senior agent] and I were at the back of the cathedral when suddenly I heard this noise. 'Who on earth is that?' I asked Suzanne. 'It's Nick Cave, Harry.' 'Jesus Christ,' I said, 'with all that fuss, you'd think he could have sung in tune.'"

CHART WATCH
2009 Idol winner Stan Walker leads the way in the first ARIA charts for 2010.

Black Box STAN WALKER (number four)
Art Of Love GUY SEBASTIAN (nine)
According To You ORIANTHI (17)
Like It Like That GUY SEBASTIAN (19)
One Way Road JOHN BUTLER TRIO (24)
This Is Who I Am VANESSA AMOROSI (25)
Good Day HAYLEY WARNER (28)
Let Me Be Me JESSICA MAUBOY (34)
Sweet Disposition THE TEMPER TRAP (36)

The year starts with 10 Aussie albums in the national Top 40.

Introducing STAN WALKER (number seven)
Golden Rule POWDERFINGER (11)
Walking On A Dream EMPIRE OF THE SUN (14)
As Day Follows Night SARAH BLASKO (19)
Like It Like That GUY SEBASTIAN (28)
Curiouser KATE MILLER-HEIDKE (30)
Conditions THE TEMPER TRAP (31)
Been Waiting JESSICA MAUBOY (33)
Hazardous VANESSA AMOROSI (37)
State Of The Art HILLTOP HOODS (40)

HOWZAT! PLAYLIST
Will You Shine? PERRY KEYES
Intense Wear Lipstick THE VIDEOMATICS
Great Stereo STEPHEN CUMMINGS
The Gambler WAGONS
If I Were A Bird JACK HOWARD & THE NIGHTBIRDS

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