The SXSW makes way for forward thinking music acts from Australia and Lindsay Lohan doesn’t make the cut.
This year, the SXSW Festival in Texas is going to be swamped in new and established music talent hailing from Australia, more so than previous years. Of course, the line up mainly consists of acts from the States but there is a particularly noticeable number of Australian artists featuring this year. Out of the 71 acts that were officially invited around 40 have made it onto the lineup for this years happening.
What does this tell us? Are we seeing a new wave of Australian acts or a helping hand from international platforms? Australian music has always had its place in the British and European charts but a lot of their exports have struggled at getting the same attention over in the U.S.A. It would appear that things have changed over the last few years, leading to a hefty selection of Aussie bands to grace the stages of the SXSW AKA South By Southwest Festival, amongst others.
Australia’s relationship with the British and European music scene has always been strong and highly reciprocal. Beegees, AC/DC, Renee Geyer, Kylie Minogue, INXS, Cut Copy and Empire Of The Sun are a few stars who have had successful international careers and there are many more gearing up for similar success. Of course, bands that reigned supreme in the early 70s and 80s, like AC/DC and The Beegees were picked up overseas in the U.S.A. but not with the same impact that they did elsewhere. Australia’s success in America was dealt with a series of one hit wonders throughout the 70s and 80s (Men at Work, Crowded House, Midnight Oil), until the 1990s when UK’s Pop and US’s Grunge became huge in Australia, giving birth to acts like Silverchair.
Silverchair have had huge success globally but the band announced an indefinite hiatus in 2011, much to the despair of their fans. Nick Cave also experienced wider commercial success, during this period, and acts like this went on to inspire the resurgence of Garage Rock in the 2000s, when bands like Jet and Wolfmother followed the success of American acts like The Strokes and The White Stripes.
The music scenes of the U.K. and the U.S.A. were highly influential, sparking fads in Australia since the 50s; The Twist, The Beatles, Surf Culture, Metal, pub rock, dance music, synth and the expansion of ‘alternative music’ were both the result of what was happening in the UK and US. Madonna and Michael Jackson had a resonating effect on the music that is still very much present in today’s charts, in terms of song topics; Love. As the pop scene evolved and electronic dance music became an international craze, the Aussies carved themselves out a reputation for having some of the best EDM/pop artists in the world; The Presets, Cut Copy, Pnau, Sneaky Sound System, Sia, Sam Sparro, Iggy Azalea and, more notably, The Avalanches, whose debut is considered one of the greatest Australian albums ever made.
As dance music seems to be taking over the world, naturally there is a movement that is going against the grain and experimenting with different sounds. Although he falls under the umbrella of EDM, new producer on the block Flume is enjoying global success with his self-titled album Flume. He is being praised for injecting the current commercial dance scene with more substance, a much-needed shift away from the club ready dance songs that are dominating the charts.
Flume is one of the many Australian acts that have been drafted in for 2013’s SXSW Festival, alongside other acts whose sound is closer to indie pop/beach pop/garage rock and dream pop… in other words a lot of nice creative noise. The Australian market is riding a wave of success; a wave which insists of growing in size and it shows no signs of slowing down. The acts from Down Under have also been much more easily accessible, thanks to the ever growing need for bands to use various social media platforms to raise their profiles; Facebook, Soundcloud, Hypem and the newly refurbished MySpace. SXSW is an important arts/social platform as it gives smaller/local bands the chance to step onto a stage that is recognized globally.
SXSW has a strong relationship with Australian exports and has showcased many of their bands, raising their profile to those further afield.
Lindsay Lohan in The Canyons
Oh, and regarding Lindsay Lohan… basically her film ‘The Canyons’ got rejected from the official SXSW film selection for ‘quality issues’. Poor Lindsay. The film also stars porn actor James Deen and is said to be a contemporary LA noir about the dangers of sexual obsession. Hopefully the fallen actress will get the break she needs soon.