Last year Melburnian songwriter/ producerYeo spent a copious amount of time clocking up numerous music appearances. From festivals,supporting Sam Smith, dropping Triple J favourites ‘Icarus’ and ‘Quiet Achiever’, 2015 served a long list of accolade that even found Yeo collaborating on Hermitude’s ‘Searchlight’. In hindsight, all have helped cast a dazzling light on his latest full-length project, Ganbaru. The nine track album is both unassuming and a sparkling ode to late ’80s synth pop. The complete immersion of ’80s style is reminiscent of localmullet-masters Client Liaison, who are similarly dedicated to the analogue aesthetic.
Picking up this album straight from his breakout single ‘Girl’ – which, keep in mind was released in 2013 – you will notice a distinct change in sound. His vocals still have that indie garage filter, but he has shifted away from a hazy electronica to a more synthetic, polished production. It poses perfectly as a poolside DJ set, with each track purposefully transitioning into the next, without any blank space, interspersed with cuts of crowd noise or white noise. Yeo delivers strongly on those poolside summer vibes without sugar-coating, particularly on synth pumpers ‘VCR Play’.
It’s difficult to not be taken with ‘Quiet Achiever’ from the opening bars, as he lays down an infectious combination of steel drums and hypnotic drum patterns before turning it into a summer banger. It acts as a clear headline for the album alongside opening track ‘Icarus’, which help set the sundazed scene for the rest of the album. There are funk inflections that stem later on tracks like ‘1 for the Team’ and ‘Promise / Secret’. He closes with the charming ‘Jet Cooler’, with the hook pleading to “cool your jets” as if this album could be any more chill.
The album title itself is a Japanese expression that loosely translates to ‘doing one’s best through tough times’, which is an interesting revelation for an album which seems impossibly bright. Digging through tracks like ‘Got No Game’, the 8-bit production is as bubbly as ever; Yeo himself voicing a relatable anguish in letting a “girl walk over me” and not being able to act the part, no matter how hard he tries. Even though the production fits the clear mandate he has cast for it, this track reveals that Yeo himself is struggling to fit in.
‘Ganbaru’ humbly stands out as Yeo’s best body of work; a distinct coming of age moment for the songwriter/ producer as he finds his penchant for an 80’s groove. He is steadying himself for the Ganbaru national tour, kicking off later in the month.
I’ve been finding Taylor Swift less annoying recently. Following from afar from at the headlines she attracts, there has been less about the whether the love interest is off or on (which is actually more of a reflection of the media’s sexist agenda)- and more of her taking a commanding stance on current affairs. In the last twelve months she has topped charts with 1989, sent Christmas presents to unsuspecting fans and dusted her hands of Spotify.
But her latest move is perhaps her most impressive. With Apple on the precipice of entering the streaming game next week with Apple Music, she penned a thoughtful and reasonable open letter to the company over their intention to not pay artists in the 3-month free trial. She informed them they had joined the ranks of Spotify in not having the rights to her music. A move that will cost her (and her record company) millions in revenue. Doing it for her peers. That removes any righteousness from her claim; and reveals what was a cheeky jip from Apple to think they could get away with it. She then tweeted back yesterday saying the fences were mended with the company and they would have access to her music. It gives Apple a strong competitive advantage over Spotify, given they don’t have the rights to her music.
Your stance on Tay-Tay may have been to snort “Na fuck her, her music sucks”, but she is now a hero to Eves The Behavior, UV Boi and all the other bottom-tier acts you know and love- that have a very hard time in making ends meet.
Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services- Eddy Cue reciprocated the love with Swift in a flurry of tweets (above) confirming the policy change about 24 hours after the letter was posted. I’m surprised at the immediacy of her campaign. Apple knew what they were dealing with, and wanted nothing to do with it.
Streaming services are undoubtedly taking over, centralising all the power in large multinationals like Spotify and Apple. The record label has less of a say and the artist even less again. So its encouraging in this age of disenfranchisement, that Taylor could really stand up to the man and make a difference. It’s something only a megastar could bridge that divide, but that still doesn’t lessen her accomplishments.
You might think if she turned around and asked for #13 in the Hottest 100 of this year, that Triple J might cave against their traditions.
Society has this habit of making outdated fragments of culture relevant. Just look at the vinyl record, or the ’50s combover making a resurgence.
Earlier this year, rapper Kanye West released Only One and FourFiveSeconds written with Beatles icon Paul McCartney, leading a flurry of teens to Wikipedia who this Paul McCartney fellow was.
A few weeks ago A$AP Rocky released the single Everyday, which he lifted both lyrics and arrangement from the 1973 Python Lee Jackson song, In A Broken Dream. The original features vocals from UK super-vocalist Rod Stewart, who A$AP lists as a contributor on the track. He used Miguel to sing the hook and Mark Ronson to produce the track.
Both Ye and A$AP are using these guys because they have the power and connections to reach out to any musician they want to. They are also trying to expand their fanbase beyond the realms of hip-hop and challenge who those who see hip-hop as a one-dimensional industry. Using producers and influencers outside of hip-hop has long been seen, but never has the talking point around the track been as prominent as it is with these two collaborations. Now these guys have done it, with great success- it is surely going to become integrated into the genre more often.
You could almost guarantee that neither Rod or Paul are doing it for the money, but they would be enjoying resurfacing in the public arena.
Below I have linked Rod Stewart and Python Lee Jackon’s track In A Broken Dream:
And of course here is A$AP Rocky’s single, Everyday:
Sharing content on ‘Who’s On Bass’ engages the fans, or the consumers of particular artists.
The blog is mode of creative expression, that converts very derivative forms of music journalism such as album or gig reviews, into 100-word snapshots, sharing forgotten music, or expansive artist features. In just under 12 months, the blog has had over 3000 hits. The location settings tell us we have small bands of followers in the USA, Canada and Western Europe.
It’s difficult to measure the influence the blog has on the reader and the artist. Hopefully being a penchant for local music- and exposing those artists to overseas readers, there is the potential for those artists to benefit from the blog.
Sites like change.org provide an almighty platform for the consumer. In days gone by they would hush the consumer, and sweep the issue under the carpet. They often justify their power, because they believe all the power is monopolised by government and large insititutions.