Sydney Morning Herald

Vote Early, Vote Often

Author: Peter Holmes

Peter Holmes explains the intricacies of the ARIA Award voting system.

ALL record companies are not born equal. At least, not when it comes to nominating and voting for artists in various categories for the annual Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) Awards, to be held at the Sydney Entertainment Centre on October 12.

The big five – Sony, BMG, Warner, EMI and Universal – contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars towards the administration costs involved in ARIA endeavours, such as lobbying governments and patrolling piracy.

Handing over that much folding stuff earns you Levy Membership. At ARIA time that translates into six nominations in each category, and three votes once all nominations have been gathered. Full Members – the middle rung of companies including Shock and Festival appear to snare good value for their outlay. Paying $5,000 a year, they are entitled to four nominations in each category and two votes..

Since the News Corp takeover, Mushroom – which, under Michael Gudinski, refused to join ARIA and still was allowed to nominate its artists – has since paid up its $5,000.

The meal deal Associate Membership encompasses boutique labels such as Rubber, Hot and Massive. They or anyone who wants to nominate their own recording pay $300 a year for three nominations and one vote.

While the voting academy for major awards (Best Male, Female, New Artist, Album and so on) includes about 400 previous winners, managers, agents, media and record labels employees, a selection of specialist awards (Best Children’s, Engineer, Blues & Roots and so on) are decided by a panel of only 30 to 40 people working in that particular field.

Host Paul McDermott will be given a leg-up by MC Bob Downe, while guest presenters include Mel C from the Spice Girls, Garbage, Rob Hirst, Kate Ceberano and The Living End. Andrew Farriss will induct Richard Clapton into the Hall of Fame and Marcia Hines will induct Jimmy Little.

Leading the nominations are silverchair (8), Josh Abrahams (6), Powderfinger, Not From There and Spiderbait (5) and The Living End (4). Recent albums from artists such as Primary and Regurgitator were released after the June 30 cut-off. Key awards this year include:

Album of the Year
Ben Lee – Breathing Tornados.
Powderfinger – Internationalist.
silverchair – Neon Ballroom.
Spiderbait – Grand Slam.

My tip: silverchair – Neon Ballroom. My selection: Spiderbait – Grand Slam.

Record of the Year
Ben Lee – Cigarettes Will Kill You.
Josh Abrahams – Addicted To Bass.
Powderfinger – The Day You Come.
Regurgitator – The Song Formerly Known As.
silverchair-Ana’s Song.

My tip: Josh Abrahams – Addicted To Bass. My selection: Powderfinger – The Day You Come

Best Pop Release
Bachelor Girl – Waiting For The Day.
Deadstar – Run Baby Run.
Human Nature – Counting Down.
Savage Garden – The Animal Song.
taxiride – Get Set.

My tip: Savage Garden – The Animal Song. My selection: James Reyne – Sleeping My Way To The Top.

Best New Artist
Bachelor Girl – Waiting For The Day.
Gerling – Children Of Telepathic Experiences.
Marie Wilson – Real Life.
Not From There – Sand On Seven.
The Living End – The Living End.

My tip: The Living End. My Selection: The Living End.

Best Adult Contemporary Album
Farnham/Newton-John/Warlow – The Main Event.
Frank Bennett – Cash Landing.
Jimmy Little – Messenger.
Renee Geyer – Sweet Life.
The Black Sorrows – Beat Club.

My tip: Jimmy Little – Messenger. My selection: The Black Sorrows – Beat Club.

Best Independent Release
Crawlspace – Away.
diana ah naid – Oh No (Curbside Lullaby).
Josh Abrahams – Sweet Distorted Holiday.
Pauline Pantsdown- I Don’t Like It.
Preshrunk – Tripe A Side.

My tip: Josh Abrahams – Sweet Distorted Holiday My selection: Josh Abrahams – Sweet Distorted Holiday.

Best New Artist
Alex Lloyd – Lucky Star.
Frenzal Rhomb – You Are Not My Friend.
Gerling – Enter Space Capsule.
Not From There – Sich Offnen.
taxiride – Get Set.

My tip: Frenzal Rhomb – You Are Not My Friend. My selection: Not From There – Sich Offnen.

The ARIA Awards are broadcast on Network Ten on Tuesday, October 12, at 7.30pm. The full ceremony, with backstage reports, will be replayed on Channel V (Foxtel) at 7.30pm on Wednesday, October 13. Public seating is available for $58.20, including booking fee, through Ticketek: 02 9266 4800.

Undone: The Songs Of Duran Duran

Author: Peter Holmes

Undone: The Songs of Duran Duran
Various (EMI)

ALONG with ABC and Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran recorded the most extravagant and memorable pop music of the maligned New Romantic era.

In this Australian homage to the Taylors (Andy, John and Rog), Nick Rhodes and Simon Le Bon, The Mavis’s echo the original Planet Earth, Bodyjar chunk up Rio, Kylie Minogue and Ben Lee place an electro-rock groove under The Reflex and Something For Kate go all Bush on Ordinary World.

The highlights are Powderfinger giving The Chauffeur a Jonathan Richman makeover and The Living End’s mildly adventurous cover of Girls On Film.

While the album is an enjoyable diversion, few bands bothered to leave their comfort zone. 8/10.