February album reviews

Maggie Rogers – Now That the Light is Fading EP

Maggie Rogers’ Now That the Light is Fading is grouse. It’s not fair, then, that there are only five tracks here. This EP is a really good insight into what Maggie has to offer – 20 minutes to show her wares and demonstrate why people should wait out for any longer catalogue additions. ‘Color Song’ – a track isolated to vocals – starts things off nice and chilled out, setting up the cool indie pop to follow in radio-friendly ‘Alaska’ and ‘On + Off’. The remaining songs flaunt more of Maggie’s gorgeous vocals captured so well on track 1, adding memorable pop hooks that make each track instantly loveable.

Elbow – Little Fictions

There are a great number of bands for which I can easily proclaim: “I like your old stuff better than your new stuff.” Elbow is not one of them. The band can’t put a foot wrong as far as I’m concerned. Not taking anything away from their earliest material, when The Take Off and Landing of Everything came out in 2014 – their sixth of now seven albums – it eventually launched to arguably my favourite. And they’ve delivered another dose of brilliance on Little Fictions. The rousing ‘Magnificent (She Says)’ is a formidable lead to a stellar new collection of tracks on this album, which moves between loving, joyous, uplifting, melancholy and all sorts – Elbow again delivering more feeling in 50 minutes than many bands can in a career. Along with the opener, cleverly percussive ‘Gentle Storm’, lyrically packed ‘K2’ and the stirring epic ‘Little Fictions’ are the strongest additions to a perfectly-rounded new addition to the Elbow family.

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Stormzy – Gang Signs & Prayer

I’m of the mind that grime music is terrible, so I set the bar pretty low when first listening to Stormzy; the next act in a line of British rappers who like black clothes, swearing a shit-tonne and generally coming across as very angry fellas. Why bother listening, then? Well, I guess I just like the way he says “bewts” and throws out truth bombs like “you’re never too big for Adele” in ‘Big For Your Boots’ (And that track has been hard to avoid). I was sucked in by one track, but this is far from a standout for me. There are some funny lines littered throughout and the odd winning track (2014’s ‘Shut Up’ resurfacing and claiming best on show), but there’s too much whatever everywhere else, with ‘Velvet’ sounding snorezy, the three-minute one-sided phone conversation ‘Crazy Titch’ far too self-indulgent, and ‘Mr Skeng’ (among others) sounding no different to any other grime act going around. That phone convo suggests Stormzy is taking grime “from a second rate genre to a first rate genre.” Do I agree? Meh.

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Dune Rats – The Kids Will Know It’s Bullshit

There’s a serious problem here because, evidently, the kids don’t know it’s bullshit. This is easily some of the worst local music around and having it constantly flogged on the radio is, well, bullshit. To be fair, if you’re a 15-year-old male who’s just discovered tinnies and weed, this is probably hilarious and close-to-home. But for all the rest of you that took this to number one on the Aria charts, please explain it to me? The music is appallingly unoriginal, the vocals painful to listen to, and the lyrics mind-numbing. Of course, that’s probably what they’re going for and I’ve missed the point altogether. Or maybe it’s just a complete load of rubbish and simply a Queensland thing.

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Middle Kids – Middle Kids EP

Some local talent is on serious fire at the moment. I couldn’t get over the number of female voices killing it in 2016 and I’m hoping the trend continues this year. Middle Kids’ self-titled EP is a good start. The tracks presented are an awesome representation of this Sydney three-piece and you’ll be singing along in no time. By the time Hannah’s vocals go high on ‘Edge of Town’, repeating the refrain “I’ve got something on my mind,” all you want to do is rock out hard. ‘Never Start’ follows, bringing you back to earth momentarily, only to get you similarly revved again when its own chorus rolls through. It’s not a formula, it’s a consequence of good song craft. Each song is its own entity – I wouldn’t turn one away if presented in isolation. For that, Middle Kids become very radio friendly, and an act that’s likely to draw in more fans with each offering. Generally middle kids are the unloved ones (certainly the case in my family), but I think I’m going to love these guys.

Jidenna – The Chief

Jidenna has a fair list of talents; he can sing, rap, and dresses impeccably. He has a lot to show off on his debut The Chief, which is why it comes across a tad hotchpotch. Drake’s getting rap Grammys for pop records, so maybe Jidenna is just covering all bases to avoid confusion down the track. Among the songs, there’s breathy war chanting, chats with dad, some icky auto tune, a lullaby nap, anthemic choruses, fiery rap and earworm pop – it’s all quite confusing. But despite the flip flopping, The Chief is a really fun album, full of clever lyrics, a touch of political poignancy, and memorable beats that stick with you even when not sticking to one another. All that is heavily seasoned with the man’s self-confidence –  he’s the chief, the lion, and even the better Bond (“And that lame tryna holler he a Bond wanna-be, He a Roger Moore I’m a Sean Connery, I know”).

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January album reviews

AFI – AFI (The Blood Album)

Time to dress in black, paint the mascara and wail in the darkness. If that doesn’t float your boat, you could add in a listen to the new AFI record, too… (Then you’d understand our pain *cries*) Davey don’t scream no more and they’re really a guilty pleasure these days, but I maintain AFI are cool-as-hell. Having reimagined themselves in various ways in the past, album ten does just feel like a continuation of Burials and Crash Love – not any dramatic turn probably due. Its familiar riffs and overall vibe are as melodically dark as you’d expect (“We both prefer romantic murder / To erase time and my, my empty life”). Track two bluffs a surprise, acoustic guitar leading ‘Still a Stranger’ to have you thinking: “What the hell are you doing AF…” before Jade steps in and brings it back to your expectant level of high spirited, rocky sadness, complemented at many turns by Davey’s anthemic choruses. Some people ask whatever happened to them emo kids? They’re standing behind you.

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The xx – I See You

I remember I was at a festival once and my bro, standing next to me, fell over. A nearby punter/nurse exclaimed dehydration, he assured it was the result of earlier surgery, but I knew the truth – the xx did it. Was this swooning in the actual sense of the word? No. More like snoozing (“the zz”). I was really delighted to hear I See You, then. For the most part, it’s a fun record that you want to stay awake for. The xx have brightened the hell up and its paying dividends. This is an album that will cheer you up, bring you back for many listens, and even make you dance (if you’re not the I’m-too-cool-and-hip-to-possibly-dance-to-music type)! Heaps of people loved them before, but it’s only now they’ve won me over.

Austra – Future Politics

In the event you’re ever caught up in a robot space alien cowboy invasion in the middle of the desert, you now have a soundtrack for said situation by way of Austra’s Future Politics. This is a wacky trip of a record, with loads of impressive (and occasionally comical) pitch and warble. The levels seem a bit weird, with vocals and synths on par, making Katie’s voice sound like its somewhere off in the distance or lost in space. But the upside is the album having a weird way of presenting the upbeat among darker edges – quite subtly cool. There’s plenty going on here, from vast and scared (‘I’m a Monster’), trippy psych (‘Future Politics’) and soaring vocal tracks (‘Gaia’). Overall there’s an air of positive gloom that still gives you something to nod, flail lightly or just pull weird shapes to.

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Kasey Chambers – Dragonfly

I can say quite confidently I’ve never been a fan of Kasey Chambers, although that being said I haven’t heard much beyond the whiney singles of the early 00’s. I was pretty surprised then, when one afternoon Henry Wagons played an absolute corker of a tune called ‘Ain’t No Little Girl’ on Double J. Heavy, rocky, soulful – the track sucked me right in. When he back announced it, I was really surprised, and with that I decided to give Dragonfly a go to see if I’d pegged her wrong back in 2001. I was kind of annoyed… I listened to the whole thing and there was a total of three dark belters! The rest was a blend of folk ballads and ramblings, old school blues, mournful country and religious nods. All bar the last of those categories are fine enough, but overall this album was not what I was sold on the radio.

2016 in review: Top gigs and albums of the year

My Top 10 gigs of 2016

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10. Band of Horses – Forum – 24 July

Rounding out my list is one from my 16 in 2016 hopefuls. Always a favourite, Band of Horses played a super fun show with a wicked set list.

9. Matt Corby – Palais – May

I expected this show to be good, but was really surprised at how entrancing the tunes were. It was a strange, but consequently very memorable, show. Corby was simultaneously engaging (that voice) but entirely switched off from the crowd.

8. Jordie Lane – Gaso – 18 March

Every show Jordie does is tops. This one stood out as the first showcasing his awesome Gassellland songs and the ditching of the hat – a new era 😛

7. Lianne La Havas – Howler – 8 December

This show was just Lianne and a guitar and it was perfect. She is such a charismatic performer, loves the crowd and engages like few others can.

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6. Brian Wilson – 3 April

This show was great for the sheer brilliance of its set list. Brian left his performance peak behind him a long, long time ago, but with a huge band and fellow Beach Boy Al Jardine at his side, a performance of 38 (!) classics was still damn impressive. Pop music has a lot to thank him for.

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5. Coldplay – Etihad – 9 December

It has to land in the list, but putting it any higher is just unfair given what monumental amounts of money went into this show. Coldplay are the stadium band of this generation and there was so much going on in this performance – runways, hidden stages, confetti explosions, fireworks, lasers, a glowing crowd… oh, and a few tunskis – it’s impossible to forget it.

4. Montaigne – Corner – 13 October

I could possibly throw Montaigne into the list twice, she’s that good live (and the twitchy-light-fest of ‘In the Dark’ at Howler was super rad), but I’ll stick with the best I saw her in 2016. Riding high on her debut and Aria noms, this was a set brimming with confidence, stellar dance moves and that amazing voice. Montaigne will be one of those “remember when she still played club shows…” kind of acts.

3. Kate Miller-Heidke and TSO – Odeon Theatre – 18 January

An interstate sojourn for a gig  right back at the start of the year. The entirety of this gig was great, but I could rate it so highly on Kate’s performance of ‘Where?’ from The Rabbits alone. Wow. Always fun and engaging, Kate’s songs lend themselves super well to an orchestra and the TSO did them serious justice.

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2. Bon Iver – Sydney Opera House – 29 May

A year ago I put together a list of 16 acts I wanted to see in 2016, which included two or three big calls. One of them – Bon Iver – actually happened and I was damn stoked about it. Not only that, it was my first concert at the Sydney Opera House. The show was experimental, clever and beautiful, a kind unlike anything else I’ve seen.

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1. Leon Bridges – Forum – 19 July

Every now and then there’s a show where everything aligns – the atmosphere and act colliding in a performance that just stands out from the rest. Leon Bridges is all kinds of performer: soulful, playful, magnetic, classy. His band is divine and his songs are so, so much fun. And all of that culminated at Melbourne’s finest venue for my favourite gig this year.

My Top 10 albums of 2016

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10. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – This Unruly Mess I’ve Made

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9. M83 – Junk

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8. Aurora – All My Demons Greeting Me As Friends

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7. Bon Iver – 22, A Million

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6. Ngaiire – Blastoma

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5. Margaret Glaspy – Emotions and Math

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4. Andrew Bird – Are You Serious?

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3. Emma Louise – Supercry

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2. Montaigne – Glorious Heights

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1. Jordie Lane – Glassellland

Eat the World – Part 23

It’s the South American special, and the final Eat the World for the year! 52 countries in 52 weeks (actually came in early) and plenty of yummy gems along the way. In this last installment are four recipes that combo really well; the two salady ones would perfectly complement the Argentinian ribs. There’s also a Peruvian pasta that’s not what it seems… Until next time, keep on eating.

Brazil

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I didn’t think you could top a classic potato salad. Turns out this Brazilian recipe does the trick! Almost everything about this is good for you… except for the main ingredient, which is effectively potato fries. To do this justice, mix all the ingredients with the mayo prior to adding the potatoes, then serve immediately. They’ll lost the best of their crunch quite quickly.

Crispy potato salad (Salpicao)

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 200 gr corn kernels
  • 2/3 cup frozen peas
  • canola oil for deep frying
  • 4 medium potatoes, julienned
  • 2 medium smoked chicken breast, shredded
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1 small green apple, julienned
  • ½ red onion, finely diced
  • 100 gr pitted olives, finely diced
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup whole-egg mayonnaise
  • Small bunch of chives, chopped
  • Small bunch parsley, chopped

Method

  1. Heat about 3 cm of oil in a deep heavy based frying pan until a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns golden brown in 10 seconds. Pat the potatoes dry with paper towel, then cook in the hot oil for 5 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Remove the potatoes using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
  2. Blanch peas in warm water for 5 minutes until thawed. Combine the potatoes, corn, peas, chicken, carrots, apple, onion, olives, raisins and mayonnaise in a large bowl. Mix until well combined. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Transfer the salad to a serving dish and sprinkle with the chives and parsley. Serve immediately, while the potatoes are still crispy.

 

Uruguay

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Wait, South American vegetarian? With no beans? Apparently it does exist, although I’m yet to believe there’s any sense of common about it. In any case, this here is a healthy and delicious escape from the meats, crammed with powerful lemon and garlic flavours. Where you don’t have carrot tops, or they’re not your thing, a parsley and coriander combo provides an alternative with extra flavour.

Roast vegetable and buckwheat salad with preserved lemon chimichurri

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 1 bunch Dutch carrots, green tops reserved, halved lengthways
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into 3 cm-thick slices
  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into 3 cm-thick slices
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ¼ preserved lemon, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel
  • 125 gr buckwheat
  • 2 tablespoon roasted almonds, crushed
Chimichurri
  • ¾ cup picked carrot greens, finely chopped
  • ¼ preserved lemon, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 small tomato, finely chopped
  • ½ cup corn kernels
  • 1 clove garlic

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200C. Place the carrots, zucchini and eggplant in a large bowl. Using the back of a knife, mash the garlic cloves and preserved lemon to a paste. Add the olive oil and fennel and mix until combined. Add the paste to the vegetables, season and toss until well coated. Place vegetables on an oven tray lined with baking paper and transfer to the oven. Roast the zucchini and eggplant for 20 minutes and the carrot for 25 minutes or until golden and tender.
  2. Meanwhile, bring 220 ml of water to a boil in small saucepan. Add the buckwheat and a pinch of salt. Cook, uncovered, for 6–7 minutes until the water has reduced to the surface level of the buckwheat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 8–10 minutes until the buckwheat is tender. Strain if there is any residual water left.
  3. For the chimichurri, combine all the ingredients in a bowl, season to taste and mix. Add half the chimichurri to the warm buckwheat and toss to coat. Divide the buckwheat between plates and arrange the vegetables on top. Drizzle with the remaining chimichurri and scatter over the almonds.

 

Peru

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Sopa seca (Serves 4)

Sopa seca is a strange one, a trick. It looks like pasta as you know it, but sure doesn’t taste like it. Here you develop a nice chilli sauce, pack it with beans and top it with coriander cream. The pasta is fried, then boiled, then baked. It takes on a lot and delivers a hearty and unique dinner.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 300 gr angel hair pasta, broken into 10cm pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 long red chillies
  • 400 gr can of tomatoes, whole or chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 ½ chicken stock
  • 400 gr canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Handful chopped coriander leaves, to serve
Coriander cashew cream
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Bunch of coriander, stalks and leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C. Lightly grease a 30 cm x 20 cm ovenproof dish with olive oil.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the pasta and fry for 2–3 minutes until golden brown. Drain on paper towel.
  3. Place the onion, garlic, chillies, tomatoes, ground coriander and oregano in a blender and process until smooth. Transfer the sauce to a pan with the bay leaves and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the stock, fried pasta and beans, and season. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, breaking up the pasta with a spoon, for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove the bay leaves, then transfer the mixture to the prepared dish, cover loosely with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  6. For the cashew cream, drain the cashews, then place in a blender with the remaining ingredients and 1/3 cup cold water. Whiz until smooth.
  7. Serve sopa drizzled with coriander cashew cream and with coriander leaves scattered over the top.

 

Argentina

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A little chocolate goes a long way when you’re finishing up the preparation of these ribs. This is a decadent recipe on all counts – a thick sugary syrup topped up with red wine and finished with dark chocolate, not to mention the bathing beef ribs! Serve these with a bitter salad (I used radicchio) to balance the sweetness of the sauce. Then lapse into a delightful ribs coma…

Asado in black sauce with chocolate

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 1 kg asado beef ribs
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • ½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 20 gr dark chocolate, finely chopped

Method

  1. Tie each rib lengthwise with kitchen string, tying around the meat to secure it to the bone, and place in a bowl. Using a mortar and pestle, grind 3 garlic cloves, oregano, allspice, cayenne pepper and ½ tsp salt to a paste. Rub paste over ribs, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Heat oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Working in batches, cook ribs for 4 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add onion, celery, carrot and remaining garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 minutes or until softened. Add sugar and continue cooking for 2 minutes or until sugar has melted. Add tomato paste and cook for a further 2 minutes. Return ribs to pan with the wine and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce to low heat and cook, covered, for 2 hours or until the ribs are tender.
  3. Remove ribs from pan and set aside. Increase heat to high, then bring sauce to the boil and cook for 10 minutes or until thickened and reduced by a third. Remove from the heat and stir through the chocolate until melted. Pour sauce over ribs, to serve.

2016 Music Quiz

Plenty of musical things happening this year. Test your memory with the quiz below 🙂

  1. What 2016 song references ‘Becky with the good hair’?
  2. And who is ‘Becky with the good hair?’
  3. Producer Tony Visconti said this about which musician in 2016: “His death was no different from his life — a work of art”?
  4. Who said: “Like, ‘Why am I trying to make all this money?’ I wanted to hook up with hotter girls. I had to date a model”?
  5. Australia’s Dami Im took out what place in Eurovision 2016 and with what song?
  6. Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker collaborated with which big popstar this year?
  7. And a Tame Impala cover appeared on which other mega pop star’s album?
  8. What song most commonly accompanied the 2016 Mannequin Challenge fad?
  9. Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, two members of Austin soundscapists Survive, scored the theme to which hit television series?
  10. Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Adele and Michelle Obama all sang on what musical TV segment in 2016?
  11. Kim Kardashian released a copy of a phone call, revealing consent that had previous been denied in the media, for lyrics about which singer and relating to which Kanye song?
  12. Jack White, James Blake and Kendrick Lamar all contributed to what beverage named 2016 album?

Who are these four musicians?

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What 2016 music videos are these?

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  1. Which artist released their 37th album Peace Trail in 2016?
  2. Sharon Jones passed away due to cancer in November. What was the name of her band?
  3. Who released the album this year with a painfully cringey title, I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It?
  4. Who sung about being Brad Pitt’s cousin this year?
  5. Eight untiled tracks appeared on whose surprise 2016 album?
  6. Australian songstresses Kira Puru, Sampa the Great and Bertie Blackman appeared as guest vocalist on what 2016 hip hop album?
  7. You Am I, Something for Kate, Spiderbait and Jebediah united in a 90s rock throwback for which festival series?
  8. Whose lyric is this: “I won’t let go / I’ll be your lifeline tonight”?
  9. Which band, who released their second album in 2016, print the postcode 4122 on all of their merchandise?
  10. The music for which musical, appearing in Australia for the first time in 2016, was written by Cyndi Lauper?
  11. Taking a break from Arctic Monkeys in 2016, Alex Turner released an album with which side project?
  12. ‘You Want It Darker’ was the final album released by which artist?
  13. Which member of KISS released an album in 2016?
  14. Which comedy band released a film and album, both called Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, in 2016?
  15. An album of which artist’s music, recorded in February and October 1976 was released in August this year?
  16. Who sang Broadway with an array of movie partners, including Alec Baldwin, Melissa McCarthy and Jamie Foxx?
  17. How many days after the release of his final album did Bowie pass away?
  18. True or false, all of these ladies released new albums in 2016: Britney Spears, Celine Dion, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Melanie C, LeAnn Rimes?

Who do these symbols identify?

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  1. Track titles on whose 2016 album included infinity symbols, diamonds, an upside-down t, and the Greek letter Sigma?
  2. Adele, Justin Bieber, Drake, Beyonce and Shurgill Simpson have all been nominated for what?
  3. Whose lyric is this: “It’s our paradise and it’s our war zone”?
  4. Kylie Minogue, R. Kelly, and John Farnham all released albums in what genre late this year?
  5. Prior to his death in April this year, Prince toured Australia in February. The name of his show was ‘what and microphone’?
  6. How many times does Rhianna say “work” in each chorus of her song of the same name?
  7. Who won a total of eight ARIAs at this year’s awards?
  8. Which artist, nominated for a 2016 Libby Award for “Best Voice for Animals”, partnered with various rescue organizations to conduct a dog adoption fair at each of her concerts in 2016?
  9. Which popstars formed the judging panel on this year’s X Factor?
  10. Which Adelaide act performed with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra at Rod Laver Arena this year?
  11. Which artist released their 11th album The Hope Six Demolition Project in 2016?
  12. Who performs the theme song for and stars in 2016 film Trolls?
  13. In January, how did Motorhead front man Lemmy’s memorial service reach Cherry Bar in Melbourne?
  14. Which artist headlined Sydney’s Vivid Festival at the Opera House, performing a show titled ‘Cercle’?
  15. Which seminal English goth rock band headlined Splendour in the Grass in 2016?
  16. Whose lyric is this: “House so empty, need a centrepiece / Twenty racks a table cut from ebony”?
  17. Who released Please Forgive Me, a short film featuring several songs from their album Views?
  18. Who released two albums days apart in 2016, in order to release himself from a record label and release the second of the two independently?
  19. Global music company Live Nation bought which Australian music festivals in 2016?
  20. The State Library of Victoria, Parliament and the Melbourne Town Hall were all venues included in which music event?
  21. And during that event, Paul Dempsey and Alex Lahey performed on what form of transport?
  22. Which band performed in Sydney for the 20th anniversary of their iconic farewell concert?
  23. Acoustic versions of ‘Hotel Yorba’ and ‘Love Interruption’ appeared on whose 2016 release Acoustic Recordings 1998–2016?
  24. How many years since their album Since I Left You was the Avalanches 2016 release?
  25. SWISH and Waves were working titled for which 2016 album?

What 2016 albums are these?

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Answers

  1. What 2016 song references ‘Becky with the good hair’? Sorry, Beyonce
  2. And who is ‘Becky with the good hair?’ Was believed to be Rachel Roy, but in fact could be any number of people
  3. Producer Tony Visconti said this about which musician in 2016: “His death was no different from his life — a work of art.” David Bowie
  4. Who said: “Like, ‘Why am I trying to make all this money?’ I wanted to hook up with hotter girls. I had to date a model”? The Chainsmokers’ Alex Pall
  5. Australia’s Dami Im took out what place in Eurovision 2016 and with what song? 2nd, ‘Sound of Silence’
  6. Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker collaborated with which big popstar this year? Lady Gaga
  7. And a Tame Impala cover appeared on which other mega pop star’s album? Rhianna
  8. What song most commonly accompanied the 2016 Mannequin Challenge fad? Black Beatles, Rae Sremmurd
  9. Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, two members of Austin soundscapists Survive, scored the theme to which hit television series? Stranger Things
  10. Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Adele and Michelle Obama all sang on what musical TV segment in 2016? Carpool Karaoke
  11. Kim Kardashian released a copy of a phone call, revealing consent that had previous been denied in the media, for lyrics about which singer and relating to which Kanye song? Taylor Swift, Famous
  12. Jack White, James Blake and Kendrick Lamar all contributed to what beverage named 2016 album? Lemonade
  13. Which artist released their 37th album Peace Trail in 2016? Neil Young
  14. Sharon Jones passed away due to cancer in November. What was the name of her band? The Dap Kings
  15. Who released the album this year with a painfully cringey title, I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It? The 1975
  16. Who sung about being Brad Pitt’s cousin this year? Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
  17. Eight untiled tracks appeared on whose surprise 2016 album? Kendrick Lamar, Untitled unmastered
  18. Australian songstresses Kira Puru, Sampa the Great and Bertie Blackman appeared as guest vocalist on what 2016 hip hop album? The Past Beats Inside Me Like a Second Heartbeat, Urthboy
  19. You Am I, Something for Kate, Spiderbait and Jebediah united in a 90s rock throwback for which festival series? A Day on the Green
  20. Whose lyric is this: “I won’t let go / I’ll be your lifeline tonight”? Major Lazer, Cold Water
  21. Which band, who released their second album in 2016, print the postcode 4122 on all of their merchandise? Violent Soho
  22. The music for which musical, appearing in Australia for the first time in 2016, was written by Cyndi Lauper? Kinky Boots
  23. Taking a break from Arctic Monkeys in 2016, Alex Turner released an album with which side project? The Last Shadow Puppets
  24. ‘You Want it Darker’ was the final album released by which artist? Leonard Cohen
  25. Which member of KISS released an album in 2016? Ace Freeley
  26. Which comedy band released a film and album, both called Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, in 2016? The Lonely Island
  27. An album of which artist’s music, recorded in February and October 1976 was released in August this year? Elvis – Way Down in the Jungle Room
  28. Who sang Broadway with an array of movie partners, including Alec Baldwin, Melissa McCarthy and Jamie Foxx? Barbra Streisand
  29. How many days after the release of his final album did Bowie pass away? 2
  30. True or false, all of these ladies released new albums in 2016: Britney Spears, Celine Dion, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Melanie C, LeAnn Rimes? True
  31. Track titles on whose 2016 album included infinity symbols, diamonds, an upside-down t, and the Greek letter Sigma? Bon Iver, 22, A Million
  32. Adele, Justin Bieber, Drake, Beyonce and Shurgill Simpson have all been nominated for what? 2017 Grammy – Album of the year
  33. Whose lyric is this: “It’s our paradise and it’s our war zone”? Zayn, Pillowtalk
  34. Kylie Minogue, R. Kelly, and John Farnham all released albums in what genre late this year? Christmas
  35. Prior to his death in April this year, Prince toured Australia in February. The name of his show was ‘what and microphone’? Piano
  36. How many times does Rhianna say “work” in each chorus of her song of the same name? 18
  37. Who won a total of eight ARIAs at this year’s awards? Flume
  38. Which artist, nominated for a 2016 Libby Award for “Best Voice for Animals”, partnered with various rescue organizations to conduct a dog adoption fair at each of her concerts in 2016? Sia
  39. Which popstars formed the judging panel on this year’s X Factor? Guy Sebastian, Iggy Azalea, Adam Lambert and Mel B
  40. Which Adelaide act performed with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra at Rod Laver Arena this year? Hilltop Hoods
  41. Which artist released their 11th album The Hope Six Demolition Project in 2016? PJ Harvey
  42. Who performs the theme song for and stars in 2016 film Trolls? Justin Timberlake
  43. In January, how did Motorhead front man Lemmy’s memorial service reach Cherry Bar in Melbourne? It was streamed online
  44. Which artist headlined Sydney’s Vivid Festival at the Opera House, performing a show titled ‘Cercle’? Bon Iver
  45. Which seminal English goth rock band headlined Splendour in the Grass in 2016? The Cure
  46. Whose lyric is this: “House so empty, need a centrepiece / Twenty racks a table cut from ebony”? The Weeknd, Starboy
  47. Who released Please Forgive Me, a short film featuring several songs from their album Views? Drake
  48. Who released two albums days apart in 2016, in order to release himself from a record label and release the second of the two independently? Frank Ocean
  49. Global music company Live Nation bought which Australian music festivals in 2016? Splendour in the Grass and Falls Festival
  50. The State Library of Victoria, Parliament and the Melbourne Town Hall were all venues included in which music event? Melbourne Music Week
  51. And during Melbourne Music Week, Paul Dempsey and Alex Lahey performed on what form of transport? A tram
  52. Which band performed in Sydney for the 20th anniversary of their iconic farewell concert? Crowded House
  53. Acoustic versions of ‘Hotel Yorba’ and ‘Love Interruption’ appeared on whose 2016 release Acoustic Recordings 1998–2016? Jack White
  54. How many years since their album Since I Left You was the Avalanches 2016 release? 16
  55. SWISH and Waves were working titled for which 2016 album? Life of Pablo, Kanye West

Faces: Bon Iver, Tove Lo, Dami Im, Zayn

Videos: Stayboy (The Weeknd), Cheap Thrills (Sia), High and Low (Empire of the Sun), Subways (The Avalanches)

Symbols: Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, Prince

Albums: The Avalanches’ Wildflower, Snoop Dogg’s Coolaid, Green Day’s Revolution Radio, Frank Ocean’s Blonde

2016 Quiz

You’ve got a week left of work (unless you’re lucky enough to have finished already…) Time to have a look back at 2016 and wonder where the time went.

Answers available below (but don’t go cheating!)

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News and entertainment quiz

1. In January, which film overtook Avatar to become the highest ever grossing film in the US and Canada?

2. What cost did Australia Post raise in January?

3. In February, at the 88th annual academy awards, what won best picture?

4. And at the Grammys, also in February, what won album of the year?

5. In April, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung publishes a set of 11.5 million confidential documents providing detailed information on more than 214,000 offshore companies. What were the papers named?

01euro

6a. For 1 point, which country won the 2016 Eurovision contest in May?

6b. For 2 points, what was the singer’s name?

6c. For 3 points, what was the name of the song?

6d. Who came second?

6e. And with what song?

In June, a significant tunnel was completed in Europe following two decades of construction.

7a. For 3 points, what was the tunnel called?

7b. For 2 points, what country was it in?

7c. For 1 point, what was so special about it?

8. An autopsy in June revealed what cause for Prince’s death?

9. Why did 10,000 people gather at a street party in front of Buckingham Palace on 12 June?

10. In July, NASA’s June spacecraft entered orbit around which planet?

11. In July, Solar Impulse 2 was the first aircraft of its king to circumnavigate the Earth. What was so special about it?

12. In July, NSW Premier Mike Baird announced a statewide ban on what?

13. The most used emoji, globally, was revealed in July. What was it?

14. 30% of Russian athletes were rules ineligible to compete at the Olympics. What percentage of Russian athletes were ruled ineligible to complete at the Paralympics?

15. Who is this and what Olympic event did she compete in?

02simone

16. What was the name of the main Olympic stadium in Rio, where the opening ceremony was held?

17. What was significant about Joseph Schooling’s 100m butterfly gold medal?

03singapore

18. In what event was Fiji’s first ever Olympic gold medal won?

19. Which Olympian got into strife for telling porkies about being held up at a convenience stall?

20. Name the Rio Olympic and Paralympic mascots, pictured here.

04rio

21. Malcolm Turnbull said this: “Which heads roll, where and when, will be determined once the review is complete” about what major stuff up in August?

22. Along with its iPhone7, what product was announced by Apple in August?

23. What record did the month of August break this year?

24. What is happening here?

05bath

25. Which Australian actor won an Emmy in September for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series?

26. And for what series?

27. Also Emmys related, Game of Thrones won three Emmy Awards to become the most successful narrative series of all time, beating the record previously held by what show?

28. Australian man Mark Tromp made news in September. Why?

06guy

29. In October, NSW Premier Mike Baird back flipped on a statewide ban on what?

30. Why was Samsung in strife in October this year?

31. Corrections Minister Steve Herbert was in trouble for doing what in October?

32. What television series, launched in November, was labelled the most expensive series ever produced?

33. What was awarded to Bob Dylan in November?

34. What political news surprised New Zealand in the first week of December?

2016 Face blocks

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2016 – RIP

This round requires 5+ players and works like scategories. Choose an answer for each category, but only count it for a point if yours is a unique answer (ie no one else guesses the same as you). With less people, simply up the number of answers required (say, pick 5 answers for each category… good luck with one in particular then ;))

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Answers

  1. In January, which film overtook Avatar to become the highest ever grossing film in the US and Canada? Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  2. What cost did Australia Post raise in January? The basic postage rate from 70 cents to $1
  3. In February, at the 88th annual academy awards, what won best picture? Spotlight
  4. And at the Grammys, also in February, what won album of the year? 1989 Taylor Swift
  5. In April, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung publishes a set of 11.5 million confidential documents providing detailed information on more than 214,000 offshore companies. What were the papers named? Panama Papers
  6. Eurovision
    1. For 1 point, which country won the 2016 Eurovision contest in May? Ukraine
    2. For 2 points, what was the singer’s name? Jamala
    3. For 3 points, what was the name of the song? 1944
    4. Who came second? Dami Im, Australia
    5. And with what song? Sound of Silence
  7. In June, a significant tunnel was completed in Europe following two decades of construction.
    1. For 3 points, what was the tunnel called? The Gotthard Base Tunnel
    2. For 2 points, what country was it in? Switzerland
    3. For 1 point, what was so special about it? Longest and deepest railway tunnel
  8. An autopsy in June revealed what cause for Prince’s death? Overdose of fentanyl
  9. Why did 10,000 people gather at a street party in front of Buckingham Palace on 12 June? To celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday.
  10. In July, NASA’s June spacecraft entered orbit around which planet? Jupiter
  11. In July, Solar Impulse 2 was the first aircraft of its king to circumnavigate the Earth. What was so special about it? Solar powered
  12. In July, NSW Premier Mike Baird announced a statewide ban on what? Greyhound racing
  13. The most used emoji, globally, was revealed in July. What was it? The birthday cake
  14. 30% of Russian athletes were rules ineligible to compete at the Olympics. What percentage of Russian athletes were ruled ineligible to complete at the Paralympics? 100%
  15. (PIC) Who is this and what Olympic event did she compete in? Simone Biles, gymnastics
  16. What was the name of the main Olympic stadium in Rio, where the opening ceremony was held? Maracana Stadium
  17. (PIC) What was significant about Joseph Schooling’s 100m butterfly gold medal? First ever gold medal for Singapore
  18. In what event was Fiji’s first ever Olympic gold medal won? Rugby 7s
  19. Which Olympian got into strife for telling porkies about being held up at a convenience stall? Ryan Lochte
  20. (PIC) Name the Rio Olympic and Paralympic mascots, pictured here [PIC]. Vinicius (left), the mascot of the 2016 Summer Olympics, and Tom (right), the mascot of the 2016 Summer Paralympics
  21. Malcolm Turnbull said this: “Which heads roll, where and when, will be determined once the review is complete” about what major stuff up in August? The Census
  22. Along with its iPhone7, what product was announced by Apple in August? Apple Watch 2
  23. What record did the month of August break this year? Hottest August on record and 16th ‘hottest on record’ month in a row.
  24. (PIC) What is happening here? Richie and Alex having chocolate bath on the Bachelor
  25. Which Australian actor won an Emmy in September for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series? Ben Mendelsohn
  26. And for what series? Bloodline
  27. Also Emmys related, Game of Thrones won three Emmy Awards to become the most successful narrative series of all time, beating the record previously held by what show? Frasier
  28. (PIC) Australian man Mark Tromp made news in September. Why? He was the father of the crazy disappearing family
  29. In October, NSW Premier Mike Baird back flipped on a statewide ban on what? Greyhound racing
  30. Why was Samsung in strife in October this year? Samsung Galaxy Note 7 blowing up
  31. Corrections Minister Steve Herbert was in trouble for doing what in October? Chauffeuring his dogs
  32. What television series, launched in November, was labelled the most expensive series ever produced? The Crown
  33. What was awarded to Bob Dylan in November? The Nobel Prize in Literature.
  34. What political news surprised New Zealand in the first week of December? John Key resigned

 

2016 Face blocks

Singers: Beyonce, Sia, Robbie Williams, Drake

Actors: Margot Robbie, Amy Adams, Emilia Clarke, Melissa McCarthy

Actors: Leonardo Di Caprio, Ben Afleck, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp

Aussie pollies: Bob Katter, Derryn Hinch, Pauline Hanson, DJ Albo

Pokemon: Poliwag, Meowth, Pidgey, Bulbasaur

Game of Thrones characters: Danaerys, Sansa, Tyrion, Cersei

Global pollies (and Trump): Angela Merkel, Justin Trudeau, Barack Obama, Donald Trump

 

 

Rice Bonanza – Part 10

In the final RB for the year, we have five last recipes! (Yep, a bonus one)

In a kind of coupling, Thai risotto (trust me, it sounds weird but tastes ripper) is followed by sticky rice with mango (which is suuuper easy to make). From Thailand to Italy, Mexico and Spain, the remaining recipes include some simple arancini, a spicy ricey burrito and some meaty paella.

Recipe 39 – Thai risotto

rb-thai-risotto

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 2 medium chicken breasts, cut into 2 cm pieces
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 long red chilli, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves, stems removed, finely shredded
  • 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
  • ¼ cup red curry paste
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 200 gr green beans, trimmed, chopped
  • Coriander sprigs, fried Asian shallots and lime halves, to serve

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Heat the oil in an ovenproof casserole dish over medium-high heat. Cook chicken in batches, turning for 2-3 minutes until browned. Remove the chicken and set aside.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and add the onion, chilli, garlic and the kaffir lime leaves. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes until the onion is soft, then add the rice and curry paste and stir to coat everything well.
  3. Return the chicken to the casserole with the stock and ½ cup water. Bring to a simmer, then cover with a lid and transfer to the oven to cook for 25 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from the oven and stir in the coconut cream, fish sauce and beans, then cover and stand for 10 minutes.
  4. Top risotto with coriander and fried Asian shallots and serve with lime halves.

 

Recipe 40 – Sticky rice with mango

rb-sticky-rice

Ingredients

  • 1 cup glutinous rice (sushi rice or Arborio rice will work)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • Large pinch of salt
  • 1 large mango, cheeks removed, peeled, thinly sliced

Method

  1. Soak rice in bowl overnight. Drain. Line the base of a bamboo steamer with non-stick baking paper. Spread rice over the base and place over a saucepan of simmering water. Steam, covered, for 25-30 minutes or until rice is tender and translucent.
  2. Place coconut milk, sugar and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves and coconut milk is heated through, being careful not to boil it.
  3. Transfer the rice to a large bowl. Add half the coconut milk mixture and stir to combine. Set aside for 5 minutes to stand.
  4. Divide the rice among serving plates in dome or disc shapes. Top with mango slices. Spoon over the remaining coconut milk.

 

Recipe 41 – Arancini

rb-arancini

Ingredients (makes 16)

Risotto portion
  • 1 ½ cups hot chicken stock
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ¾ cup Arborio rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine

Method

  1. Add saffron to stock and set aside for 15 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat and cook onions for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add rice and stir for 1 minute. Add wine and stir regularly, until absorbed.
  3. Add stock ½ – 1 cup at a time, stirring regularly, until each portion is absorbed. Repeat until rice is al dente. Cover and set aside to cool.
Arancini balls
  • 1 x risotto portion, cooled
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan
  • ½ cup grated mozzarella
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup plain flour
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs
  • Vegetable oil, to deep-fry

Method

  1. Mix risotto portion with parmesan, mozzarella and 1 egg until well combined. Shape into balls slightly smaller than a golf ball (or as you like).
  2. Place flour, remaining eggs and breadcrumbs each in a separate bowl. Coat rice ball with flour, tap off excess, roll through egg and then through breadcrumbs to coat. Repeat with remaining rice balls. Roll crumbed balls through any remaining egg and breadcrumbs to double coat.
  3. Heat oil in a saucepan over high heat. In batches (small enough so they’re not touching), deep fry arancini for 3 minutes, or until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towel.
  4. Serve as a started with tomato chutney, olives and feta.

 

Recipe 42 – Spicy ricey burrito

rb-burrito

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 4 Roma tomatoes, cut into chunks
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 ½ cups chicken stock
  • 16 green prawns
  • Grated tasty cheese
  • Avocado, sliced, to serve

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Coat tomatoes with 1 tablespoon oil and season. Place on tray and roast for 35 minutes.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook onion for 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add rice, spices and a generous amount of salt and pepper and stir to coat. Add stock and bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium-lower, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until rice is tender.
  3. Heat remaining oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add prawns and cook for 3-4 minutes, tossing occasionally, until cooked through.
  4. Portion rice lengthways on top of wraps. Top with portions of tomatoes and prawns. Grate cheese over the top, then wrap up and secure with a toothpick. Place all wraps onto a baking tray and grate more cheese over the top. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until cheese is golden.
  5. Serve burritos topped with sliced avocado.

 

Recipe 43 – Paella

rb-paella

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 1 chorizo sausage, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 chicken breast, diced into 2 cm pieces
  • 10 green prawns
  • 1 large brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 red capsicum, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 ½ cups long grain rice
  • 400 gr can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • ½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped

Method

  1. Heat a large heavy-based frying pan over medium-high heat. Add chorizo and cook for 5 minutes, tossing occasionally, until browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Add oil and chicken to frying pan. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes each side or until golden. Add prawns, onion, garlic and capsicum. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes or until prawns are pink and onion is soft.
  3. Add turmeric, cumin, rice and tomatoes and stir to coat everything well. Add stock, stir and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until rice is tender.
  4. Remove lid. Stir through peas and sausage. Cook for a further 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve.