Nominations for Song of the Year - 2008

 

Title 1234
Artist Feist
Writers Sally Seltmann^
Leslie Feist (SOCAN)*
Publishers EMI Music Publishing Australia Pty Ltd^
Universal Music Publishing MGB Australia Pty Ltd*

New Buffalo is Melbourne based singer, songwriter & performer Sally Seltmann and the last two years have been huge for her.

On the home front New Buffalo released her second album Somewhere, Anywhere to much acclaim, resulting in sold out headline shows across the country. The later part of 2007 saw New Buffalo on national tours with local greats such as Paul Kelly, Tim Rogers and Missy Higgins. In 2008 Somewhere, Anywhere was short listed for the Australian Music Prize and won The Amp myspace public voted award.

Internationally, New Buffalo released her album in the US and Canada through the Arts & Crafts label, following up the release with tour dates throughout North America with label mates Stars and Broken Social Scene.

As a songwriter, Sally's career has taken an upward turn with the success of '1234', the song she wrote for Feist. In addition to this 1234 has secured a swag of award nominations [in both the Grammy's and the Brit Awards] for Feist. The song has also featured in advertising campaigns for the iPod Nano and Ebay Australia. New Buffalo's own "Cheer Me Up Thank You" is set to feature in an upcoming episode of Grey's Anatomy, along with song placements in a slew of other US television dramas such as One Tree Hill and Side Order of Life.

In a past life, Nova Scotian born Feist was a shouty battle of the bands teen queen in a Calgary punk band. She's made bashful indie boys swoon with her brash riffs playing guitar with Toronto rock band By Divine Right and her shout-out fronting of Canadian indie rock genre definers Broken Social Scene. Onstage she can pivot between being the solo singer captivating a room with her guitar or take on the role of leading a band of three brothers.

Feist's first solo album Monarch (Lay Your Jewelled Head Down) was released in 1999 followed by Let It Die (2004) which featured covers as well as original compositions. Nobody, least of all Feist, anticipated the tremendous response listeners around the world would have to Let It Die. She won 2 Canadian Juno Awards for Let it Die - Best New Artist and Best Alternative Rock Album. Her name appeared in Best Of The Year lists. Eager bandwagon-jumpers were turned away from festival showcases. All of a sudden, a girl who was barely an unknown secret outside of Canada had top 10 radio singles filtering through malls and grocery stores. In early 2006 Feist released an album of remixes and collaborations, Open Season, and the following year heralded the much acclaimed The Reminder.

The album delivered classics Brandy Alexander with it's sucker-punch melody tumbling over a kick drum heartbeat and the jangly teen dream paean 1234, a song co-written with New Buffalo's Sally Seltmann. With perennial collaborator Gonzales, she came up with The Limit To Your Love, an ominous slow-burner in which Feist rides over hard-soul piano chords and Mo Tucker percussion. Live fave Sea Lion Woman, the traditional chant famously covered by Nina Simone, got propelled into the stratosphere with cell phone sounding synths, handclaps and a backing mini-gospel choir.

The Reminder has sold over a million copies worldwide and is certified Gold in the USA. The album also won the 2008 Juno Awards for Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Single of the Year (1234), Pop Album of the Year.

 

Title 20 Good Reasons
Artist Thirsty Merc
Writer Rai Thistlethwayte

Since first bursting onto the national scene back in 2003, the Sydney-based Thirsty Merc quickly built up a reputation as one of the country's best live acts. Word-of-mouth and hundreds of shows around Australia - and, of course, a swag of great songs - saw the first Thirsty Merc CD spend over a year on the ARIA album charts and end up selling over 120,000 copies. The album produced a string of memorable singles: "Emancipate Myself", "My Completeness", "Someday, Someday", "In the Summertime", "When the Weather Is Fine".

Almost three years on from the release of Thirsty Merc's much-loved, self-titled debut, now comes the highly anticipated new album - Slideshows. The album is a glistening collection of 12 new melodic, rocking tracks from one of Australia's most popular and hard-working bands. The first single is "20 Good Reasons", a gloriously anthemic number with a huge sing-a-long chorus, sure to prove itself another instant Thirsty Merc radio favourite.

Upfront, the charismatic, curly-haired Rai is a gifted and multi-faceted guitarist and pianist, as well as an almighty vocalist. Meanwhile, bass player Phil Stack can be found in his spare time playing his upright in the backing band for Australia's biggest jazz star, trumpeter James Morrison. In Thirsty Merc, Phil hooks in with drummer Karl Robertson - they've played in bands together since they were little kids, so as a rhythm section, they just couldn't be any tighter. Lead guitarist Sean Carey was the last to join the Thirsty Merc fray, just before the release of the first album, so you know he was handpicked from all the guitarists in Earth to be the perfect Merc guitarist.

While some of the new songs call on the band not to rock out, there are many moments on Slideshows where Thirsty Merc rock harder than they've ever rocked before, such as on the opener "She's All I Got", or the riff-heavy "The Vision" and the glam-infused "She's My Brother".

But these thumping, grinding moments are well-and-truly balanced out by the more delicate and aching tracks such as "The Whole World Reminds Me of You", the painfully heartfelt "Crying in Denial" and the piano-and-strings driven album closer, "Homesick".

Once the recording was all done, Rai took the tapes to Los Angeles where the songs were given an extra sheen by internationally renowned mix engineer, Mark Needham [The Killers, My Chemical Romance]. The end result is an incredibly rich-sounding, diverse yet cohesive work. The perfect example of how bright Slideshows sounds can be found in its first single, "20 Good Reasons".

 

Title Better Than
Artist The John Butler Trio
Writer John Butler
Publisher Family Music Pty Ltd

John Butler was born in California and spent the majority of his youth in Pinjarra in Western Australia. He found his forte with the guitar during his teen years and recorded his first release completely self-funded, a task which indicated the independent nature of John's career to come. (Butler would eventually form Jarrah Records with fellow West Australian band, The Waifs.) Searching for Heritage, released on tape in 1996, sold 3500 copies and enabled John to fund his first CD recording. In 1998, the first incarnation of the John Butler Trio launched John Butler/ Self Titled followed in 2000/1 by the EP Pickapart, and was followed in April 2001, by the breakthrough album Three which remained in the national alternative charts for nine months rising to the number one position a record breaking three times. By the time Three reached platinum sales status in Australia the JBT was recognised and respected nationally as part of the Australian musical landscape both on the airwaves and the touring circuit. In 2003, Living 2001- 2002, a double live CD received much mainstream focus and acceptance indicating a bright horizon for John.

The debut of Sunrise Over Sea (2003) at number one in the ARIA charts created Australian music history. It was the first time a release by a completely independent Australian artist on their own independent label had rocketed to the top of the national charts. The album went on to achieve five times platinum status in Australian record sales alone and remained in The Association of Independent Record Labels (AIR) charts for a staggering 84 weeks.

During the last two years The JBT has been making new friends and winning over large audiences all over the world including two sold out shows at the legendary Fillmore East in San Francisco, a standing ovation at the celebrated New Orleans Jazz Festival, selling out the prestigious Grand Rex in Paris, rocking the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan, becoming the highest selling act at the Cambridge Folk Festival and performing main stage at Glastonbury. In July 2005, a performance in Switzerland at the St Gallen open air music festival was recorded in analogue on two inch tape and critically captures the warmth of a JBT performance both in sound quality and atmosphere. The concert was released as the John Butler Trio - Live At St Gallen with a bonus DVD component and reflects the group's ability to make an impact on the international stage.

October 2006 saw the start of a new chapter for John Butler with the release of the single "Funky Tonight" from the album Grand National, an album which offered an inspiring collection of tunes with all the energy and unique sonic tapestry of a John Butler Trio live performance. It is more about love than injustice, more about ass-shaking than finger-pointing, and more about maintaining the funk than any particular hairstyle. It's about walking it like you talk it and hitting the dance floor!

Previous APRA Music Awards
  • Most Performed Blues & Roots Work - Somethings Gotta Give - The John Butler Trio (2006)
  • Song Of the Year - Zebra - John Butler (2004)

 

Title Lost and Running
Artist Powderfinger
Writers Jonathan Coghill
John Collins
Bernard Fanning
Ian Haug
Darren Middleton
Publisher Universal Music Publishing MGB Australia Pty Ltd

Single of the week: The much-awaited new single from the beloved Brisbane quintet sounds like they have taken a vial of sonic essence from their favourite artists and skillfully distilled the parts into a Powderfinger whole. There's the swagger of The Stones' guitars, the acoustic foundation of Neil Young and Bowie's chameleon vocals. It's an instant singalong anthem, which should prove a crowd favourite when the lads hit the road to launch their new album.(Kathy McCabe, Sydney Daily Telegraph)

This album (Dreamdays at the Hotel Existence) is in no way supposed to present itself as a rehash of any period from the past. Nor is it designed to recast Powderfinger in some stunning new vein. It is simply an extension of our past efforts to write good songs in an original way, and an attempt to communicate ideas to people that actually make them 'feel' something. Music that 'means' something to the people that hear it. Music that has an enduring quality. It is not an altogether common experience in this day and age. But of course it is there if you know where to look. It certainly sounds different to our past efforts, or so everybody keeps telling us anyway.

Most of the dry, punchier rock songs that were featured on Vulture Street have given way to ones that are more atmospheric and less frenetic. It was a conscious move. There are songs about love, hope, disappointment, frustration, elation, romance, guilt, shame, apathy and redemption. Maybe this time with more of an emphasis on hope than ever before.

It's difficult to assess, from inside a band, exactly where it is headed. For us, this isn't a great concern. It is better left to the pundits and the public to determine that. Now, what is ahead for us is to get out on the road and play these songs with purpose and a sense of fun that will rub off on the people who come to see us.

Previous APRA Awards:
  • Songwriter of the Year - Powderfinger (2004)
  • Song of the Year - My Happiness - Powderfinger (2001)
Also:
  • Songwriter of the Year - Bernard Fanning (2006)
  • Most Performed Blues & Roots Work - Songbird - Bernard Fanning (2007)

 

Title Straight Lines
Artist Silverchair
Writer Daniel Johns*
Julian Hamilton^
Publishers Sony / ATV Music Publishing Australia Pty Ltd*
EMI Music Publishing Australia Pty Ltd^

Silverchair are one of the most acclaimed and successful bands in Australian music history and have taken their art from the sunny seashores of Merewether to the biggest stages in the world. Their big break came in mid-1994 when they won a national demo competition conducted by SBS TV show "Nomad" and Triple J with their track "Tomorrow". The song eventually spent six weeks at #1 on the Australian singles charts and 20 weeks in the top 10.

Silverchair's debut album frogstomp, recorded in just nine days in early 1995, was a raw sounding slab of alternative rock. A #1 hit in Australia and New Zealand the disc went on to become the first Australian album since INXS to hit the U.S. top 10, selling more than 2.5 million copies throughout the world. From there, they launched into superstardom with follow up albums - the angry, rocking Freak Show, then chartered new sonic and emotion and emotional territory with Neon Ballroom, and after that again pushed their own boundaries with the melodic and lustrous Diorama which won them six ARIA Awards including "Best Group" and "Best Rock Album". 2007 saw the band reach a new pinnacle with the album Young Modern, which served up lashings of melodic invention and exuberance.

Amongst their many tours, "Across The Night" sold out around the country in minutes and was the largest of their career. The band also played multiple sold out shows in South America, the U.S, Canada and the U.K. The band has had four consecutive number 1 albums in Australia and received 39 ARIA Award nominations over the last 12 years and sold over 6 million albums around the world.

Songwriter, vocalist and keyboard player, Julian Hamilton is one half of a Sydney electronic duo, The Presets. He attended St Andrew's Cathedral School and completed the HSC before studying music at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music where he met his Presets partner Kim Moyes. A talented songwriter and all rounder, Julian performed with The Dissociatives (2004) and Silverchair (2001 - 2003). He also worked with Australian group The Sleepy Jackson to record their 2006 album Personality - One Was a Spider, One Was a Bird he is credited for Orchestral Arrangements & Additional Production, he also played keyboard and synth on many of the songs. Julian also co-wrote on a number of recently released Australian tracks - The Hampdens single "Generation Y" (Warner Records), co-wrote The Evermore album track "My Guiding Light" (Warner Records, co-wrote the Michael Paynter song "Superhero" (Sony BMG). He also co-wrote songs with Daniel Johns for the 2007 Silverchair album Young Modern, including the smash hit single "Straight Lines". The Presents current album Apocalypso debuted at # 1 on the ARIA chart and has spawned the hit "My People"

Previous APRA Awards:
  • Songwriter of the Year - Daniel Johns (2003)
  • Most Performed Australian Work Overseas - Tomorrow - Daniel Johns, Benjamin Gillies (1996)
  • Songwriter of the Year - Daniel Johns and Benjamin Gillies (1995)