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Howzat! Archive - July 27th 2011

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Matt Walters' album is called Farewell Youth, and "time keeps ticking", he sings. Sounds like the 25-year-old is rather impatient. "I'm getting better at trying to relax," Matt chuckles. "But, yeah, I think I'm quite impatient. It's a funny thing, though, songwriting has taught me to be patient. When you have an idea, it has a lifespan of its own. It takes a long time for an idea to bear fruit. I just have ideas floating around in my head, sometimes for years, and then something clicks and it's ready."

Farewell Youth (on Universal) has been called Matt's debut album, but he did release two prior albums - Like Therapy and The Moon, Stars and People. "After I got signed a few years back [by legendary A&R man Peter Karpin], I wanted to start over," Matt explains. "Like Therapy was recorded when I was 15, and The Moon, Stars and People when I was 17. I haven't listened to those records for a while ... I shudder to think. It felt right to call this record my first."

It's a heartfelt album about making the most of the moments that matter. "This is your life," Matt sings, "and it's passing so carelessly." A Sydney fan called it "memory music". "When I asked her what she meant, she told me that when she listens to my music, a lot of forgotten memories come flooding into her mind. I liked that description a lot."

It's a sensitive sound. "A few years ago, I asked a songwriter friend of mine if he thought songwriters were all headcases," Matt smiles. "If you think about it, it's quite absurd to be collecting these little insights and putting them into a song. Anyway, he replied, 'No, I think we just care.' How incredible is every fleeting moment? And they're impossible to replicate. I think songwriting - and all art - is a noble practice because, ultimately, we're trying to capture and bottle these precious moments." If Matt had his youth all over again, what would he do differently? "I'd probably worry a whole lot less. That's part of the reason I wanted to farewell my youth on this record. For the most part, I was a kid with the weight of the world on my shoulders. Everything frightened me. I couldn't be more different these days. Maybe I'm trying to reclaim those years?"

Matt says sayonara at the Toff tonight (Wednesday), doing a gig with his good buddies The Hello Morning. He's relocating to North America for three months. "For a little while now I've been working towards a permanent move to the US," Matt says. "I've just done an international publishing deal and that's opened up a huge network in the States, which is really exciting. I love living in Melbourne and I'll most likely settle here down the track, but I'm only 25, so I thought I'd see what was out there."

Exciting times for Matt Sonic & The High Times. Their new single, This Is Heartache, announces itself, "Drums, bass, guitar"; the riffs are big, the grooves are even bigger. "I am feeling it," Matt sings. Indeed, he is. The single is being launched at Cherry on Saturday.

What do you listen to when you switch on the radio: music or talk? An AM media buyer, Mark McCraith, recently wrote: "At our media agency, we believe the days of the music stations are numbered. Digital devices, MP3 players and mobile phones now make it easy for the consumer to program their own formats and playlists." But the latest ratings reveal that music stations have 52.7 per cent of the Melbourne market; talk stations have 39.5 per cent (the "other" figure, of 7.8 per cent, consists of stations that don't pay to be part of the ratings, such as RRR and PBS). The six talk stations have a higher station average, with the music share spread across nine stations. Melbourne's top-rating station is 3AW (14.2 per cent); the top FM station is Fox (11.2). Chances are, if you turn on the radio right now, you'll hear a male voice. Radio is dominated by male announcers, while a new study shows that more than 80 per cent of the radio songs are sung by men. AIR, the Australian Independent Record Labels Association, looked at the 2000 most-played songs last month; 1634 of them featured male vocals. Is radio biased towards male voices? Maybe not. The two most-played songs on Australian radio last week were by Katy Perry and Adele. The membership of local songwriters association APRA is 80 per cent men, so maybe radio reflects this. Some have also pointed out that gender bias is not necessarily exclusive to radio - the nine-member AIR board includes just one woman (Casadeldisco Records' Natalie Bell).

Gotye jumps from 27 to 12.

Somebody That I Used To Know GOTYE (number 12)
We Run The Night HAVANA BROWN (20)

No Aussie albums in the Top 10.

Seeker Lover Keeper SEEKER LOVER KEEPER (number 11)
Falling Into Place ADAM HARVEY (19)
God Is Able HILLSONG LIVE (20)
Down The Way ANGUS & JULIA STONE (26)
Syndicate SYNDICATE (29)
Busby Marou BUSBY MAROU (31)

Missing You LAURA JEAN
Gameplan RON S. PENO

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