It is no mean feat for any artist to get signed to a label, but we all really need to be celebrating the fact that Australian outfit Dregg have just been signed with Epitaph Records. When it comes to punk music there is no bigger label than Epitaph and Dregg become just the third Australian act to be signed to the genre leaders. The honour of such a signing is something that is not lost on frontman Chris Mackeritch.
“Basically this all started when we performed at Bigsound,” says Mackeritch when I ask him how the journey with Epitaph began. “That was about six months ago. We got contacted by this random American dude who was like ‘I’ve checked out all your videos and I’m not really watching any other bands at Bigsound but I would love to come and check out you guys, do you have a booking agent or manager?’ and we were like ‘no.’”
“So he came down and we all went for dinner afterwards,” he says still explaining. “He was a really big fan of it and he put forward whether or not he could manage us guys and I have people back at home we could wall work together. To be honest we were a bit sceptical but we were like ‘cool, cool, cool – this will be interesting’ and then we went home and looked up the guys on the internet and found out that they were actually pretty big dogs in Hollywood – they had worked with really big acts like Talking Heads, Maroon 5 and shit like that. Turns out they were super interested in the band and they said they saw our vision and wanted to help us get there. One thing turned into another and Brett Greenberg from Epitaph Records got wind of it all, he phoned us up and then it all happened.”
When the initial contact happened though it wasn’t all party hats and streamers because Mackeritch admits that the band were not sure were to make of it. “We have a very strict rule here at Dregg,” he says laughing a little. “Don’t get excited about anything until it happens. So we remained really calm when it first came through. We tried to remain as calm as we could but at the same time we were like ‘okay this is serious’ but it wasn’t until we saw the contract and then we were like ‘okay, Epitaph literally just uploaded our video – this is really happening.’”
“I still think that it hasn’t set in for everybody,” he says continuing. “I still don’t think we realise what it means for such a massive label to take us on, we are just taking it day-by-day and are really grateful for it really… it is fucking wild really.”
Of course that leads to the inevitable question – now Dregg are signed to Epitaph what the hell happens next. ‘Well we look at like this,” he says laughing loudly. “It is 2020 and we will make an album when we are ready. We will write an album when we are ready but right now the world is very different – you can put out EPs, you can put out singles. Who knows we might put out an album next or we might do four singles in a row. We are really just playing it by ear because at the same time the world is in fucking lockdown so it is not really the best time to be putting out shit like that, but it is the time to be putting out music that is kind of one off stuff.”
That kind of thinking also leads straight into one of Dregg’s other passion. “We love making music but we also love doing videos,” Mackeritch explains. “But it is very difficult to make an entire album full of videos so we were are sticking to what we have always stuck to and that is that there is no plan. We just create whatever the fuck we feel like creating, it is kind of like what we are all seeing in the Soundcloud movement at the moment. Kids are just putting out whatever shit they want to put out – they are like ‘here I like this’ or ‘I wrote this on the weekend – here it is.’ That is what it is like now, the whole let’s work on an album for six months and then drop it is kind of the old way of doing things so we are trying to keep it fresh and do what young people are doing now and then we’ll just drop shit as we write it, drop shit as we produce it… and we have been given that freedom from Epitaph, they are just like ‘you guys can do whatever the hell you want because we can see the vision for it… we see that you are relevant… just go for it.”
So it may be a bit of a wait and see moment for Dregg fans, but whatever they produce next we just know that it is going to be epic.
Bootleg Rascal and their team are sad to announce the postponement of their upcoming East Coast tour, and performances at A Day on the Lawn and Big Pineapple Music Festival, due to recent developments around the COVID-19 pandemic.
The duo will reschedule their East Coast capital city shows to mid-late September 2020, while Big Pineapple Music Festival will be moved to Saturday 21 November.
While the band is forced off the road, front man Carlos Lara and guitarist Jimmy Young will head back into the studio, to work on their new forthcoming staggered EP titled ‘Collaborations of Very Isolated Delinquents “19’ – inspired by current events and premonitions experienced by Lara in late-2019.
The first single ‘We Independent’ is set for release on Friday May 22.
Lara explains the motivation behind the project:
“While we can’t tour, Jim and myself thought it could be cool to set ourselves a challenge of dropping a new track each month and tie it all into a conceptual EP. The record is set to be heavily influenced by what’s currently happening in the world and some wild dreams I had towards the end of 2019, where the world had been consumed by biological warfare”.
On Bootleg Rascal’s rescheduled East Coast capital city tour, opening support act SCABZ will remain on all new dates, while main support Shag Rock can sadly no longer move forward on the tour. Bootleg Rascal will announce a replacement for Shag Rock in the coming weeks.
All purchased tickets are valid for the rescheduled dates; however, if punters cannot make it along, information around processing refunds will be made available from each respective ticket selling company.
All tickets purchased for Big Pineapple Music Festival are valid for the new date, however refunds are also available for those who cannot attend. Ticket holders will be able to apply for a refund through Moshtix.
A Day on the Lawn have yet to advise a replacement date, but for now, all ticket holders will receive a refund from Oztix.
‘We Independent’ is available worldwide on Friday May 22.
It was the day when all of Australia pitched together to raise money for all of those that suffered during the devastating bushfires and Subculture was there to make sure we kept you right up to date. Here are all of our reviews of the artists playing at Fire Fight Australia.
Poor Lee Kernaghan had the unfortunate task of kicking of Fire Fight Australia to a near empty stadium. He didn’t let that worry him though and after a mellow start his catchiness caught on and had the small crowd starting to sway along to things. His highlights were clearly the beautiful duet ‘Where I Want to Be’ which saw his wife Robby X join him on stage. Then anybody who was already caught up with the emotion of the day would have had it flow over them as Kernaghan launched into his final song – the thought provoking ‘Spirit Of The Anzacs’ which he dedicated to all the firies who have put their lives on the line this summer.
Conrad Sewell arrived on stage looking like a very young John Farnham and then delivered with the voice to match. Festivals like this are important to artists like Sewell as it opens up their music to a lot of people who perhaps would have never have heard their music before. With that in mind Sewell really delivered. He eased into things with ‘Start Again’ before his backing singers really kicked in on ‘Healing Hands’ almost making themselves sound like a choir. Anyone that doubted the talent of Sewell though was really put in their place though with his amazing falsetto vocals on ‘Changing’.
Somebody had to finally get the crowd moving that that somebody ended up being indigenous rapper Baker Boy. His loud clothing really made a statement… as did his music. He fused all genres together and rap suddenly turned to didgeridoo, but more important was the fact that his tracks like ‘Cool As Hell’ seemed to get the crowd moving and on their feet.
Of course this wouldn’t have been an Australian music festival without one of Australia’s best performers – Daryl Braithwaite. As usual though Braithwaite did not disappoint. He overcame early microphone issues to deliver a great version of ‘As The Days Go By.’ That was quickly followed up by ‘One Summer’ which again had the crowd singing along. Then came the song that everyone wanted to hear from him – ‘Horses.’ Once again the crowd joined in and even MC Celeste Barber returned to the stage to ride across on her wooden ‘horsey.’ One thing became very apparent as the strong crowd sang along, even acapella at time, more people know the words to ‘Horses’ than do the words of the national anthem.
The Aussie rock royalty then continued with Pete Murray arriving on stage and going straight into a mellow version of ‘Opportunity.’ The audience then joined in again as the sweet acoustic sounds of ‘Better Days’ filled ANZ Stadium and we were once again reminded of what an amazing artist Murray is. That audience then listened in total silence as the beautiful sound of ‘So Beautiful’ filled the stadium. He then closed the set with a great performance of ‘Feeler’ and once again we were reminded just why Pete Murray is one of the best Aussie artists going around.
The grunt finally arrived on stage with alternative rockers Grinspoon. They started out mellow with ‘Chemical Heart’ but then hit full stride when they launched into ‘Just Ace.,’ the track that finally see some moshing start. They intensity continued with the ferocity of “Lost Control’ leaving those that were there for the pop artists a little confused. To close out their set they celebrated the fact it was Sunday by delivering another fan favourite – ‘Hard Act To Follow.’
ANZ Stadium then become part central as Australia’s soul queen took to the stage. Jess Mauboy kicked off with ‘Saturday Night’ before the funky guitar riffs of ‘Can I Get A Moment’ took over. She then toned it back a little with ‘Honesty’ a song that really did showcase the fact that she has one of the finest singing voices in Australia. The energy returned then as she performed ‘We’ve Got Love’ a track that now means a hell of a lot more to Australians then it did when she performed it at Eurovision. Lyrics like ‘don’t give up’ now have an entirely different meaning to Australians than they did a few months ago.
The new wave of Australian music then went on show with rapper Illy bringing some sweet, melodic rap as he started out with ‘Then What.’ He really found his groove though with ‘Catch 22’ as he crooned ‘stay another round’ and you just knew that people were hitting up Spotify to add it to their collection. Then in act of sheer bravery (or should that be stupidity) Illy decided to debut his new single ‘Last Laugh’ in front of a lazy 70,000 people, the biggest crowd he has ever played in front of. He then showed more of his skills with an stunning rendition of ‘Paper Cuts.’
Anyway who had forgotten the power of Guy Sebastian’s voice was very quickly reminded as he launched into the soulful ‘Bloodstone’ before following it up with ‘Before I Go (You’ll Know My Name)’ a track that took his voice to even deeper depths. Sebastian then showed his talent by rapping while holding an acoustic guitar as he performed both his part and Lupe Fiasco’s during their hit ‘Battle Scars.’
The vibes at ANZ Stadium rose as Peking Duk took to the stage. A real summery vibe swept in as they belted out ‘Stranger’ and then took it to a whole new level with ‘Say My Name’, complete with some Inni Kamoze inspired melodies. In what was one of the most sombre parts of the day both members of Peking Duk shared personal stories about how they had relatives and close friends who lost their homes in the fires… it is moments like that that kept reminding us why we were all there. Rightfully so they followed the stories up with a haunting rendition of ‘Take Me Over.’ To finish off they closed with ‘High’ which had the audience screaming the moment the first strains started to play… yes Peking Duk were one of the highlights of the day.
Delta Goodrem walked onto the stage draped in the Australian flag looking more like a prize fighter walking into the ring rather than a singer about to sing in front of one of the biggest crowds she will ever perform in. She quickly won over the audience with a cover of The Seekers’ ‘I Am Australian’ before then performing one of her biggest hits – ‘Born To Try.’ Then while seated at her piano Goodrem performed the song she wrote during these fires – the extremely emotional ‘Let It Rain’ while reminding us all that when Australian hurts we all hurt. Goodrem then sent all of her fans into raptures with a melody that consisted of some of her biggest songs.
Next to take to the stage was honorary Australian Ronan Keating who flew in from Malaysia just to perform at Fire Fight. He kicked off with of his biggest hits ‘Lovin’ Each Day’ before then crooning ‘When You Say Nothing In’ while walking through the crowd. Keating then kept the hits coming when he sang ‘Rollercoaster’ which again had the audience joining in.
Tina Arena’s set started with a funky flashback to her past with ‘The Machine’s Breaking Down’ before continuing the flashback with ‘Chains.’ While many Australians would have not seen Arena perform for a number of years she showed that she has a strong fan base when singing ‘Heaven Help My Heart’ and having a lot of audience joining with her. Then in a complete shock Arena delivered one of the biggest surprises of the night when she rocked it out when a cover of The Divinyl’s hit ‘Boys In Town.’ Now we know that Arena is that good at rock… we can only hope that one day we see her do a rock album… seriously everybody people were freakin’ head-banging to Tina Arena.
Looking like a rock n roll pirate Alice Cooper stormed onto the stage and launched into ‘Department Of Youth’ before Nita Strauss took centre-stage with an epic guitar solo in the middle of ‘I’m Eighteen.’ The youngsters in the audience then got a rock lesson as Alice and band took it to the next level with an energetic version of his greatest hit ‘Poison.’ It was then time for the teeny boppers in the audience to duck for cover as Alice’s fans started to mosh during ‘Schools Out.’
Amy Shark showed why she is one of the biggest stars in the Australian music scene at the moment with a mellow version of ‘I Adore You’ before launching into ‘All Loved Up’ while looking at home performing in a stadium. Her electronic and more aggressive sound then came through with ‘Mess Her Up.’ One of the highlights was the motivational speech she gave before ‘I Said Hi’when she reminded Australia that we are one of the strongest countries in the world and that we should never give up. Continuing to watch Amy Shark grow as a performer has been one of the highlights of being a music journalist in Australia over the past few years and seeing her perform so well in front of a stadium audience has been one of my highlights of the past couple of years.
5 SECONDS OF SUMMER
In one of the biggest shocks of the night 5 Seconds Of Summer really blew things up with an almost hard rock sound before returning to their more familiar pop punk sound of ‘Easier’. Still the epic jam in the middle of the song sounded a lot heavier than I expected they would sound. Their new track ‘No Shame’ had a catchy vibe to it as did ‘Want You Back, but nothing else matched that early hard rock sound they managed to deliver. One of the biggest cheers of the day though was reserved for when 5 Seconds Of Summer started ‘Youngblood.’ The song had their fans singing along from start to finish.
QUEEN + ADAM LAMBERT
What do you do when you are a band with a plethora of hits spanning decades but are playing a small festival slot? Queen + Adam Lambert solved that problem by beginning their set with a mash of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ‘Radio Ga Ga.’ It was obvious from the start that Adam Lambert was at his full vocal best while Brian May showed that age certainly hasn’t sowed him down any as very soon the strains of his guitar were soon filling ANZ Stadium.
Queen then showed why they are still one of the best rock bands in the world with a high energy version of ‘Hammer To Fall’ complete with an amazing guitar solo by Mr. May himself. To follow on from that Adam Lambert then did a great mix of Elvis Presley and Freddie Mercury as the band performed ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love.’ The pumped up crowd then happily joined in when the band decided to play ‘We Will Rock You,’ there enthusiasm surprising considering many of them had now been standing for eight hours. Not even those hardened fans could match Adam Lambert’s vocals on ‘We Are The Champions’ as he reached notes that many of us could only dream about reaching. Yes, if you go back over the set list it is the same set list that played at Live Aid… respect, guys, respect.
THE HILLTOP HOODS
Following a band like Queen is never something that you would look forward to but The Hilltop Hoods did in their stride bouncing onto stage with energy as they performed ‘Leave Me Lonely’. With a full brass section their version of ‘Clark Griswold’ had a very funky vibe. They were then joined by Australian Eurovision 2020 winner Montaigne for a smooth version of ‘1955.’ Things really picked up though when the crowd started jumping as the band sang ‘Crosby Sweater.’
One of the hardest jobs of the night was given to Canadian songstress K.D. Lang who was given the task of being next on stage directly after the one minute silence for the 33 people that perished in this summer’s fires. She was up to the task though with a haunting, piano driven version of ‘The Valley’ that gave people more time to reflect on those that had lost their lives. She then followed it up with an amazingly powerful rendition of ‘Hallelujah’.
The Aussie legends kicked off their set with an atmospheric version of ‘Great Southern Land’ complete with didgeridoo, then came the moment we had all been waiting for as the band sand ‘Electric Blue’ and ordered the crowd to sing along with them… as if anybody needed any urging. They then closed their set as their fans danced along to ‘We Can Get Together.’
JOHN FARNHAM & OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN
And with the biggest cheer of the night the legend himself John Farnham walked onto stage and dove straight into ‘Age Of Reason.’ In full flight Farnham then jumped straight into ‘Pressure Down’. As the crowd begun to settle they were then whipped into a frenzy again when the recently Dame’d Olivia Newton-John joined Farnham on stage and joined him for a duet of ‘Two Strong Hearts.’ Farnham’s greatest hits package then continued and as he sang ‘That’s Freedom’ it became very clear that his vocals are still as strong as ever… there seems to be no slowing down Farnham at all.
On of the highlights of the night though was when Brian May and Adam Tambo joined Farnham on stage for ‘You’re The Voice.’ It was no secret that a few years ago May was trying to get Farnham to join Queen so this was a rare opportunity for the pair to work together… and a moment that Aussie music fans wills remember for a long time to come. We were promised that this would be a day to remember… and that moment with two music legends made sure that was certainly the case.
The prestigious and highly-coveted Australian Music Prize has unveiled its Shortlist for its 15th anniversary year, with a cohort of the country’s most respected music experts narrowing down the of 107 nominated albums to just the finest nine Australian releases of 2019.
The shortlist reflects Australia’s diverse pool of talent with an unrivalled consistency of quality continuing to rise to the top not only at home but across the world stage; Ainslie Wills’ introspective, folk-pop debut album ‘All You Have Is All You Need’, Amyl And The Sniffers reverence for 1970s punk in their self-titled album, Julia Jacklin’s honest journey through heartbreak and reconnection with self in ‘Crushing’, Methyl Ethel’s closure-seeking third album ‘Triage’, Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds latest epic ‘Ghosteen’, the eclectic dance album ‘Rebel Force’ from Sleep D, Thelma Plum’s story of culture, heritage, love and pain in debut album ‘Better In Blak’, the uncompromising, unapologetic sounds from Dispossessed’s ‘Warpath Never Ended’ and previous winner Sampa The Great with her acclaimed record ‘The Return’.
“It’s always great when an album as a body of work is recognised, The Return was one hell of a journey. Being nominated again feels very special,” said Sampa The Great.
“As a first time AMP judge, binge-listening was a chance to revisit great albums and discover albums that had slipped through the cracks now we’re all seemingly bombarded with more music than ever before. Heaven knows how they managed to cull all those albums down, but they’ve come up with a fine nine that is a killer snapshot of Australian music in the last 12 months,” said Australian Music Prize judge Cameron Adams.
Inspired by the UKs coveted Mercury Prize, the Australian Music Prize has previously recognised artists including Gurrumul, Sampa the Great, Courtney Barnett, Hermitude, The Jezabels, Eddy Current Suppression Ring and The Drones, and continues to thrive with the support of the industry it serves.
“The Australian Music Prize has never been more vital in our music ecosystem, providing a separation from the fight for commercial success and encouraging a reconnection to the very heart of what draws us to music. We are proud to lift up music that inspires lives and change our culture for the better,” said Australian Music Prize director Scott Murphy.
The 15th AMP is also increasing its consultation and inclusion across the industry to showcase the album format, shine a light on amazing records which may not have had the support they deserve and to celebrate great Australian albums.
Astral People and Handsome Tours are proud to announce the return of Indiana-based rapper Freddie Gibbs, in support of his latest critically acclaimed album Bandana.
Released this past June, Gibbs second full-length album with long-time producer / collaborator Madlib was met with widespread acclaim, with Pitchfork scoring it an 8.1/10, saying “as mouth-watering a combo as licorice and pickle juice”, while Stereogum called it “everything we could’ve hoped [for]”.
Bandana features legendary hip hop contemporaries Killer Mike, Pusha-T and Yasin Bey aka Mos Def, as it sees Gibbs further cement his legacy through his prolific output, which includes two full length releases, Fetti and Freddie in the last fourteen months.
Growing up on the east side of Indiana, Gibbs saw his fair share of drug-dealing and violence, forming the centrepiece of his introspective commentary and laid-back delivery.
With his first appearance on Australian shores since 2016, Gibbs will perform two special headline shows at Woolly Mammoth, Brisbane (Fri 3 Jan) & Metro Theatre, Sydney (Sat 4 Jan), in addition to multiple New Zealand festival appearances in late December.
Tickets on-sale at 10am AEST on Friday August 16 from handsometours.com
From Tasmania, Australia comes the debut self-titled EP from 17 and 19 year old electronic duo, Close Counters.
Finn Rees and Allan McConnell got together in 2013 where they began experimenting with various instruments, sounds and production techniques, and it didn’t take them long to realize the worthiness of this new alliance.
Vibing on the sounds of Disclosure, Flying Lotus and Hermitude, Close Counters continued to explore a wide range of dynamic sampling, analog synths and a diverse assortment of sounds, ultimately giving birth to their four-track debut release.
Close Counters EP showcases three outstanding original recordings; ‘Fluctuate’ featuring Tasmanian vocalist Brooke Jones, ‘Don’t Run Away,’ and latest single ‘Can’t Complain’ featuring Tasmanian rapper, Promise.
Don’t Run Away:
Taking up the fourth position on the EP is a Close Counters remix of a track called ‘Blood,’ originally recorded by a Tasmanian indie-rock band known as LEWES.
Accompanying the EP is this music video for their previous single ‘Fluctuate,’ filmed on location at Hobart Art Gallery, by the duo’s good friend, Jack Short.
Close Counters EP is available now through iTunes:
Label: Ministry Of Sound
Subculture Media Review:
(originally published on Suite 101)
One of two things has happened here: Either the team behind putting together the list of songs to be included on the album had no idea about hip-hop music, or they just couldn’t get the rights to the songs that wanted to include. Of the 54 so-called Greatest Hip-Hop songs of all time, only a very few of them deserve to have the word “greatest” put anywhere near them … many aren’t even hits. Some artists are severally misrepresented … I mean who in their right mind would say that “Joints & Jam” by the Black Eyed Peas or “Forgot About Dre” by Eminem are either artist’s best songs? Surely songs like “Stan” should have been a shoe-in.
But perhaps the biggest disservice to hip-hop is that one of the greatest hip-hop artists of all time doesn’t even get one track included. Did anyone in the Ministry of Sound offices ever remember a certain artist called 2Pac? If they did, then they might have thought of including a track like “California Love,” one of the best-selling singles of all time. These kinds of omissions are unforgivable and make the album look like a joke.
The poor song selection makes each of the three discs very hit-and-miss indeed. Disc One is chock full of ordinary tracks that even the most hardcore hip-hop fan would struggle with. “Ms. Jackson” by OutKast and “Get UR Freak On” by Missy Elliott are the only worthy mentions, but what’s the point of just two tracks out of eighteen being any good?
Disc Two lifts the game a little with some commericial hits by the likes of Nelly, Salt-N-Pepa, the Notorious B.I.G., Cypress Hill, Ice Cube, 50 Cent and Ice Cube, making it more than serviceable. But all that good work is undone by a very ordinary Disc Three that is only saved by some classics by Run-DMC, Tone Loc and Kelis.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter whether it is simply poor song selection or the fact that Ministry of Sound couldn’t afford the rights to the songs they wanted, all that matters is that the album is an insult to hip-hop music and no one in their right mind would fork out $30 for it. A complete disaster!
Over the years Ministry Of Sound Anthologies have become a Bible to dance music fans in the same way that any Triple J Hottest 100 is a must have for those who love alternative music. Now Ministry Of Sound have branched out and released Anthems: Hip-Hop to celebrate thirty years of hip-hop… a three disc set no less. But seriously perhaps they should stick to dance music because while Ministry Of Sound claim they have captured the 54 greatest hip-hop tracks of all time, they have certainly missed the mark.
Clearly what Ministry Of Sound meant to say was they have captured 54 hip-hop songs that were cheap enough to purchase because these albums are loaded with ordinary tracks (that could hardly be considered hits… and certainly don’t deserve to have the word ‘Greatest’ placed anywhere near them) while there are some huge omissions, such as 2Pac (surely with the number of times we hear “California Love” each year that should have be remembered) and Lil’ Kim (a huge mover and shaker in the hip-hop world). Other strange choices include “Forgot About Dre” as one of Eminem’s best songs (how about including one of his hits???) and “Joints & Jam” by The Black Eyed Peas… doesn’t take a genius to work out that it certainly wasn’t one of their greatest hits.
Disc One is the biggest offender with only OutKast’s “Ms. Jackson” and Missy Elliott’s “Get UR Freak On” saving it from being a complete waste of time. Disc Two certainly saves the day with 50 Cent, Ice Cube, DMX, Cypress Hill, Nelly, Slat-N-Pepa and The Notorious B.I.G. making for one hell of a party mix. It’s also nice to see “Kick, Push” by Lupe Fiasco getting a little bit of love… he has to be one of the most underrated hip-hop artists going around. Disc Three is again another right off with only Run-DMC, Tone Loc and Kelis there to save the day.
It seems Ministry Of Sound set itself a task beyond it’s reach when it tried to fill 3 discs with hits, there are certainly more than 3 discs worth of hip-hop hits out there, Ministry Of Sound just chose the wrong ones (or couldn’t get the rights to the ones they wanted… we have to give the benefit of the doubt there). Perhaps they would have been better just trying to make a single disc of hits and doing the genre proud.