As the strange novelty of living in a foreign country is replaced by the routine of business as usual, it becomes easy to take for granted some of the experiences that were once considered so unusual. I imagine when summer hits around Christmas time there will be a new round of strangeness, but Bryan and I have mostly come to accept what day to day life in Australia is like. We may complain when things aren’t the same as what we got used to back in Canada, but it feels much less “foreign.”
One thing that does still feel weird is Channel [V] – the music station that plays at our local gym. Unlike its spiritual predecessor, MTV (or Canada’s MuchMusic) this channel still plays music nearly all the time (what a concept!) Now because we’re in a different part of the world, the music and promotions are completely different…and ever changing. So we’ve gotten a good sense of how much Aussies love outdoor music fests and just how frequently big named, familiar acts come to visit (in the next few months that includes: P!nk, K$sha & Pitbull, Fleetwood Mac, Beyonce, Justin Beiber and, rumour has it, Bryan’s very favourite artist, Katy Perry).
As interesting as that’s been, what I’ve loved is being exposed to artists that I’ve never heard of and likely never would have if we had of stayed in Canada. Some of these acts (Imagine Dragons) have actually broken out in North America, but some seem destined to remain hidden. None of them are local Aussie artists, but I can honestly say that without Channel [V] I likely wouldn’t have noticed them.
*Now if only the station would ditch its four annoying VJ-type hosts, who represent both hipsters and bogans in one stupid package.
First up is my favourite: Lorde. I posted the video for Tennis Court on FB a while back, and you’ll see I would recommend that as my favourite. I love this New Zealand artist’s voice. It’s especially impressive considering she’s only 16 years old (something I would normally hate since I dislike talented young people, but she marks an exception).
- Must listen song: Tennis Court, but she’s gained more traction with her first single, Royals (which charted on the US Alternative and Rock charts). The whole EP is fantastic and the full album drops in November
I wasn’t in love with this next song initially – it was the video that grabbed me. Eventually the overly catchy child-like chorus won me over (I’m a sucker for pop choruses). Naughty Boy is a British-born Pakistani who frequently works with Emeli Sande and does a lot of producer work. It doesn’t look like this song has done anything in North America yet.
One of the interesting things about Channel [V] is that they play a lot of different kinds of music – traditionally when B and I go to the gym the Top 10 Tracks countdown is playing. The hit list focuses on the most popular viewer tracks of the day. As a result you get some traditional pop, as well as rap, R&B and electronica.
Zedd is a Russian-German DJ who works in the electro house genre. I like this song primarily for the vocal by Foxes, so I was more attracted to the acoustic version, though those who like to dance will probably prefer the traditional dance version.
One more single to share: Laura Mvulva’s Green Garden. Mvulva is a British singer whose song became popular when it was used in a BONDS commercial (think Hanes), but it also gets airplay on Quantas Flights (the airliner forces you to listen to their song selection while taxi-ing)
Next up is AWOLnation, a LA band. This one is ironic because the debut album, Megalithic Symphony, was released back in 2011 but the big lead single (Sail) is only now gaining traction in Australia. Apparently the band has had singles featured on tons of different US shows, as well as the Vancouver Olympics. So clearly this is one that slipped through the cracks for me
- Must listen song: I love the super-song Knights of Shame because it’s a big music mash-up, but Wake Up (and the rest of the album) is pretty great, too
Finally another American band, The Neighbourhood (NBHD). I’m more on top of this one as the album I Love You just came out in April 2013.
- Must listen song: The first single, Sweater Weather, is the best known (it hit #1 on the alternative chart) and it’s the most accessible song off the album. If you like this one, I’d recommend checking out the others, particularly Alleyways and Float