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Aussie artists
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Howzat! Archive - March 22nd 2017

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PRESS PLAY
We've arguably never been better served by music critics at our daily papers, with The Herald Sun's Cameron Adams and Mikey Cahill, Fairfax's Bernard Zuel, Craig Mathieson and Michael Dwyer, and The Australian's Iain Shedden. Aside from the fact there are too many blokes on that list, each critic is astute and perceptive. But is anybody out there? In the age of social media, when everyone's a critic, and it's never been easier to access music, is the role of the rock writer redundant? After starting in Brisbane last year, A Rock & Roll Writers Festival hits Melbourne this year, at the Abbotsford Convent on 9 April. Panellists include local writers Mikey Cahill, Michael Dwyer and Jenny Valentish, with Brisbane's Andrew McMillen and Andrew Stafford, plus artists such as Rob Snarski, Mick Thomas and Jess Ribeiro. Leanne de Souza started the event with Joe Woolley after she attended Splendour in the Grass and Byron Writers Festival. She wanted to take "the writing and ideas festival further by including songwriters, critics and long-form journalists and adding some of the immersive experience that music festivals give". Greil Marcus infamously opened his piece on Dylan's Self Portrait: "What is this shit?" Can a review make or break a record these days? Michael Dwyer gave the new Kingswood album four stars in Rolling Stone, hailing the "hard rockers' radical reinvention". But Bernard Zuel compared the band to Thirsty Merc and Eskimo Joe, adding, "Let's be clear I'm not praising." Will the Rolling Stone rave or Bernard's damnation affect record sales? And should the critics be criticised? Rock writer Jon Landau - who became Bruce Springsteen's manager after penning perhaps the most famous line in rock criticism: "I saw rock and roll future and its name is Bruce Springsteen" - said in 1976: "I find the biggest problem with rock criticism is the lack of any criticism of the criticism." But does any of it matter, anyway? As Mark Twain remarked, "The public is the only critic whose opinion is worth anything." Leanne, however, remains optimistic. "Music will always need quality writing. A high standard of music criticism helps amplify the integrity and meaning that underpins the craft of the music. When a good music writer unlocks an artist's work, that is a powerful thing to read."


REMEMBERING VINCE
Valentines singer, Divinyls manager and rock writer Vince Lovegrove died in a car crash, aged 65, five years ago this week.


HOT LINE
"When life has no certainty, I stick to the melody" - Colin Hay, Love Don't Mean Enough.


CHART WATCH
With Ed Sheeran dominating the charts, there are still only three Aussie singles in the national Top 40.

Chameleon PNAU (number 22)
Adore AMY SHARK (27)
Call On Me STARLEY (28)

Colin Hay's new album, Fierce Mercy, debuts at 44.

Ironbark THE WAIFS (number seven)
Notion TASH SULTANA (14)
Ripcord KEITH URBAN (17)
After Hours, Close To Dawn KINGSWOOD (21)
The Secret Daughter JESSICA MAUBOY (25)
Remembrance VARIOUS ARTISTS (27)
The Best Of COLD CHISEL (29)
The Wiggles Nursery Rhymes THE WIGGLES (32)
The Very Very Best Of CROWDED HOUSE (35)
When We Fall ALL OUR EXES LIVE IN TEXAS (36)
Dragonfly KASEY CHAMBERS (37)
Flying Microtonal Banana KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD (39)
The Best Of THE WIGGLES (40)


HOWZAT! PLAYLIST
Secret Love COLIN HAY
Rockstar City ALEX THE ASTRONAUT
I Only Hide HELEN SHANAHAN
Come Party POLISH CLUB
Shape & Line RAISED BY EAGLES

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