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TV Review: The Right Note

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The panellists of The Right Note, including: (L-R) Rod Yates, Lindsay McDougall, Danielle McGrane and Bernard Zuel. (image source)

This show so delightfully fits its title, there is really no need to say anything more.

But The Right Note, a new original TV series focused entirely on album reviews, live performances and interviews with up-and-coming musicians, is my new favourite way to spend screen time – so hear me out.

Our panellists are the best in the business: The Sydney Morning Herald‘s senior music writer, Bernard Zuel; editor of Rolling Stone Magazine Australia, Rod Yates; and entertainment journalist for Australian Associated Press, Danielle McGrane. Aussie rocker and long-time Triple J presenter Lindsay “The Doctor” McDougall hosts and contributes to the conversation, guiding us through the show with easy warmth.

Each episode includes commentary on the latest music news, three album reviews from the experts, and a live performance and interview with fresh, usually off-beat acts. At 35 minutes a pop, The Right Note is a quick injection of new music, presented by people with opinions worth listening to.

It’s a show for people with broad musical taste, too. Everyone from Pete Doherty to the Rolling Stones gets a look in, and as they wrap up each session the panellists drop recommendations for ‘albums you may have missed’…so whether you happily paddle down the mainstream, or proudly discover tunes ‘before they were cool’, chances are you’ll find something to your liking.

With the authority and perceptiveness of Stratton & Pomeranz’s At The Movies (ABC), and the easy lounge room discussion style of The Book Club (also ABC), The Right Note would surely be welcome on, well, our national telly channel. Surely that deserves 5 stars.

You can watch every episode of The Right Note, or just bite-size vids of the interviews and performances on Skipi TV, HERE.

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On repeat lately (#2)

An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleepless in NY) – Courtney Barnett

As much as I love it when Courtney irreverently hurls lyrics like a punk rocker, it was her inescapably honest depictions of insecurity and mundanity that won me over. Can’t get tired of this one.

 

Well Did You Evah? – Bing Crosby & Frank Sinatra

Ahh that French champagne, so good for the brain. The sarcasm, the wit, the dancing…proof, if proof were needed, that Bing and Frank would have been the best drinking buddies.

 

Foolish – Alpine

Alt-pop that is sultry, groovy and ethereal all at the same time. Not suitable for the daggy-dancers among us…it’s suave gyrations only in this one.

 

Hitchcock – Finn Anderson

There’s something about this broody, noir ballad that awakens the musical theatre fan in me. The clinking piano chords, sliding strings and Anderson’s melancholic, yet stoic, vocals conspire to deliver this curiously haunting track.

 

Confessions of a (happy) hypocrite.

While the rest of the world is consumed with the creation and perusing of ‘Best Of 2015’ lists (and, okay, I may even do my own before NYE. Maybe.), I am a little preoccupied at how my musical year has, ahem, played out.

Because no matter how you look at it, there is no denying that the music that attracted my ears in 2015 has forced me to eat large helpings of my own words, with a generous side of Humble Pie. Let’s take a look at those wonderfully self-assured and longstanding opinions that fell by the wayside this year, shall we?

“Like, she can write lyrics and stuff, but I will never, ever, ever, EVER be a Taylor Swift fan.”

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Yes, you, Taylor. I will never, ever, ever-..oh, what the hell.

Okay, in no universe do I start sentences with ‘like’, but the general sentiment still stands. And yes, even in a stadium of 76,000 bellowing Swifties, in the presence of the songstress herself, I could only halfheartedly join in towards the end of Love Story (because, key change you guys…I’m a musician, not a robot).

But in no universe can I deny that T-Swizzle got me good with 1989. And then Red. And finally, towards the end of term 4, when sanity is a scarce but valuable commodity, best fuelled by soothing simplicity and unabashed singalongs, even some of Fearless and Speak Now. All I need now is a flower crown…

“I am not a pop fan. I am NOT a pop fan!”

TayTay aside, there has been a steady flow of pop in my album rotation this year. 2015 hasn’t been a particularly exciting year for music releases, but there have been some pretty sweet pop tunes floating around…and, much to my surprise, I found myself relishing the structural security and devilishly catchy choruses of the genre I have often dismissed, nay, disowned, in a misguided attempt at street-cred (which you can thank 14yo Jessie for).

It wasn’t until I’d worn the Chet Faker and Marcus Marr collab ragged in a mere afternoon that I realised I’d better just own up: I AM a pop fan. Good pop, mind…but more on that another day.

“Streaming? Pah! I’ll always prefer my real-life CD collection.”

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‘Nuff said.

I clung valiantly to my ideals…until The Beatles started streaming. Done dealio. THE WORLD IS IN MY HEADPHONES RIGHT NOW.

Who’d have thought being a hypocrite openminded could be so profitable?!  Wonders never cease…

Image sources: Stereogum That Eric Alper