Nickabocka loves: Skins

// Nickabocka has officially emerged from Skins Season 4. If you’re still pacing through Season 3, or your internet is way too slow for episodic downloads and you’re waiting patiently for SBS to catch up, then just bare in mind – you ain’t seen nothing yet. 

With four seasons under it’s belt, a further two commissioned by E4 in London, a film on the way and an American adaptation by MTV in the pipeline, this show is unstoppable. Allow me to note a number of key reasons. Firstly, it’s a program about teenagers, played by teenagers. Yeah, like, people playing their actual age. In terms of credibility, this seems to make quite a difference. While it’s easy to ignore the fact that Dawson and Joey were some four or five years younger than the actors that embodied them, its ever-so-easy to whip out the ‘unrealistic’ curse that attaches itself to so many teen dramas.

Secondly, the episode format on which Skins is based is incredibly character driven. Each character is nominated their very own episode, which paves the way for exceptional detail throughout an integral story arc. Written surburbly, and with dialogue commonplace to kids of that age bracket, aside from the occasional over-dramatic death, the tribulations that the characters are designed to experience are reflective of the emotions experienced in everyday life, particularly when it comes to matters of the heart. And with a spectrum of eight protagonists, almost every issue is dealt with, or not dealt with as they case may be. And to make matters further novel, at the end of each couple of seasons (termed ‘generations’), the producers scrap the characters from existence (or do they?) and start fresh with a brand new lot of drug-fucked, emotional hipsters.

And not to be forgotten is the program’s production value. The shots, the pans, the tilts, the zooms – all carefully constructed and downright visually stunning. 

While the first generation paved the way for Skins phenomena, the second generation have absolutely taken over. Check out the cover’s below:

Company Magazine, February 2010. 

The Sunday Telegraph’s Stella Magazine (Sunday 10th January edition)

Diva Magazine, February 2010.

Nominated for Best Drama Series at the British Academy Television Awards, as well as countless other awards for production design (for the character of Cassie) and cinematography (Director of Photography Nick Dance has been nominated for a BAFTA and an RTS Award for Photography and Lighting for his work on the series) this show is critically and commercially on fire. 

Open auditions were held in April 2010 for the cast of the next generation which will air early 2011. 

// Dan-Z

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Effie is effing brilliant.

// I know, I know, I’m a little slow on the uptake, having only just finished watching the final episode of Skins Season 4 last night (can I say ‘epic’?). While everyone else was too busy crushing on Freddie, I developed a wee girl crush on Effie (Kaya Scodelario). She is perhaps the only person who can make being fucked up look dope and rehab this season’s ‘must do’. Watch your back, Emma Watson. This gurl got style.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

// Bear-Z

KYLIE!

// Here at team Nickabocka, we have been overwhelmed by the amount of awesome new music that is coming out this year. Favourites like Sia, M.I.A, Christina Aguilera, Operator Please and heaps more artists coming out of their caves to make 2010 a huge music year.

What has come out of the blue yesterday is leaking of the sample from our Kylie’s soon-to-be released single.

There’s not a lot to it and it’s missing hook, line and lyrics, but it’s enough to start the hyperventilating that happens a lot around here. And it’s sparked the not-very-aged debate of “everybody’s ripping of Gaga these days!”

2009 was the year of the Gaga, I think we can safely say, and that marks an important place in modern music, as we move into an extremely female vocal-centric phase in both alternative and mainstream circles. Lady Gaga is an amazing artist not just because she’s extremely popular and makes a lot of money, but also because she has credibility that most of the other pop stars of the last 10 years have lacked. Britney, Rhianna, Miley, Shakira, Christina and more came in with a whole lot of publicity and were undoubtedly talented singers, but lacked life experience, song-writing skill and in the case of Britney, sanity. Lady Gaga has that skill, experience and credibility. And then some. She’s a ripened 24 years old, she’s unashamedly sexually active, and she’s lyrically funny and relatable, even though she can get pretty repetitive (ah-ah, ra ma ra ma ma…)

Christina’s releasing Bionic this Aussie winter, and has been accused of basing her ultrapopfuturesound on Gaga’s image (even though her new song sounds like it’s straight out of 2006). And Rhianna’s disasterous Rated R, which spawned the goodness that was Rude Boy and which Def Jam happily swept every other ballady-boring non-dance track under the carpet and announced another album for 2010 so people would forget about R as soon as possible. And so, like Christina before her, Kylie has bowed down to the power of Gaga and decided that ultrapop is the way to go. *Sigh*

Wait a moment, didn’t Kylie invent ultrapop? Spinning Around, anybody? Can’t Get You Out of My Head is practically the BASIS of Gaga’s Bad Romance.

You Go Kylie! Work those booty shorts!

P.S- Dannii on Australia’s Got Talent last night? Please go back to England and leave us alone, jealous little sister. kthnxbai

// lolzworthy

Musical Love Affair.

// Australia has always been a huge fan of live music. Whether it be a small gig at the local RSL or a huge festival that takes up the entire CBD, Aussie’s always seem to get into the spirit of things and rock out with their respective cock’s out.

Music festivals have started to grow in scale and popularity within the last few years to an astonishing size. Throughout the nineties, Australia really only had a small handful of events to pick from. Big Day Out began in 1992 as a Sydney only festival and expanded after a few years to become a national festival. Falls Festival started in 1993 in Lorne and only expanded to Marion Bay in Tasmania in 2003. Despite their success, and despite their growing popularity, sadly some festivals haven’t been as fortunate. Livid, Overcranked and Summersault have simply passed us by.

I mention Summersault in particular because it was organised by Steve Pavlovic, one of Australia’s biggest importers of music. He was the dude who organised Nirvana to come out to Australia just before Nevermind broke out and in turn Nirvana exploded. Locally, he is the head of Modular records and has built the career of acts like Wolfmother, The Presets and Cut Copy. After the success of Big Day Out, he decided to start his own festival. Considering he brought Big Day Out one of it’s first big bands, he figured it highly possible on reputation alone. Summersault boasted a lineup that both then and today would be smiled upon by alternative fans. Such acts as Beastie Boys, Sonic Youth, Beck, Pavement and Foo Fighters graced the stage that year, but a follow up festival was never arranged, and it became simply a once off festival that never returned.

These days, punters are inundated with choice. We have Big Day Out, Falls Festival, Splendour In The Grass, St Jeromes Laneway Festival, Future Music Festival, Pyramid Rock, We Love Sounds, Creamfields, Soundwave and Summadayze just to name a few. But as is with everyday life, is quantity better than quality? Australian festivals have never quite reached the status of other overseas music festivals. Names like Glastonbury, Coachella and Roskilde are instantly recognizable around the world. The festivals are known for their amazing lineups which boast exclusive acts or bands that don’t usually tour but have made an exception. For example, Coachella celebrated their 10th birthday last year, and formed a most impressive lineup to celebrate. The closest that Australia has ever got to this was when Big Day Out secured Rage Against The Machine as their first gigs outside of America. Usually, Australian audiences have become accustomed to seeing acts months and months after a new release. Bands will release an album mid year and will not tour with it till early the next year, due to festivals being either behind the pulse of current music or poor scheduling.

It seems that, like Coachella, Australia’s own Splendour In The Grass has stepped up to the challenge of celebrating its 10th birthday in style. What started out as a 2 day festival with roughly 30-40 bands has this year been turned into a 3 day camping festival featuring over 90 acts. No waiting for  two North American tours and an European tour this time, LCD Soundsystem, Broken Social Scene, Midlake, Goldfrapp, Kate Nash and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are all celebrating the release of their brand new records. Splendour has somehow managed to defy this rule and produce an extremely wide palette of artists. Bands such as Grizzly Bear, Florence + The Machine and headliners The Pixies have all toured Australia already this year and are coming back again due to increased popularity. The Strokes (also headlining) have only secured two other festival gigs worldwide and don’t have any new music out to support their touring, but Splendour has captured them. 

Friday

The Strokes, The Temper Trap, Empire of The Sun, Band of Horses, Grizzly Bear, Hot Chip, Midnight Juggernauts, Kate Nash, Lisa Mitchell, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Magic Numbers, Bluejuice, The Middle East, Delphic, Alberta Cross, Miike Snow, Phiadelphia Grand Jury, Two Door Cinema Club, Violent Soho, Last Dinosaurs, Jonathan Boulet, Cloud Control, Ernest Ellis, Tijuana Cartel, Gypsy & The Cat, Zennith, Van She Tech, Purple Sneakers, The Only

Saturday

The Pixies, Mumford & Sons, Scissor Sisters, Goldfrapp, LCD Soundsystem, Wolfmother, Jonsi, Laura Marling, Midlake, Broken Social Scene, K-OS, Little Red, Whitley, We Are Scientists, Surfer Blood, British India, Clare Bowditch, The Drums, Miami Horror, John Steel Singers, Dan Sultan, Fanfarlo, Horrowshow, The Joy Formidable, Money for Rope, Tim & Jean, Kid Kenobi, Levins

Sunday

Ben Harper & Relentless 7, Florence & The Machine, The Ting Tings, Richard Ashcroft & The United Nations of Sound, Angus & Julia Stone, Passion Pit, Paul Kelly, Fat Freddys Drop, The Vines, Tame Impala, Operator Please, Ash, Yeasayer, Foals, Space Invadas, Washington, Band of Skulls, The Mess Hall, School of Seven Bells, Yacht Club DJs, Oh Mercy, Boy & Bear, Frightened Rabbit, Skipping Girl Vinegar, Jac Stone, Bag Raiders, Yolanda Be Cool, Anna Lunoe.

Splendour In The Grass could well very be Australias answer to the big worldwide festivals and give other Australia festivals some motivation to work harder in impressing audiences with their lineups. We’re looking at you Lee’s and West.

// Simon-Z

Wellie’s out.

// With a new location and up to 10,000 more tickets available, all Splendour needed was a killer line up to ensure the biggest party in Australia this year. 

2010’s line up was leaked last night to overwhelming glee: THE STROKES / MUMFORD AND SONS / THE TEMPER TRAP / BAND OF HORSES / PIXIES / PASSION PIT / FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE / LAURA MARLING / GRIZZLY BEAR / BAND OF SKULLS /SURFER BLOOD / ALBERTA CROSS / MIIKE SNOW / THE DRUMS / TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB / LCD SOUNDSYSTEM / BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE /MIDLAKE / FOALS / FRIGHTENED RABBIT / GOLDFRAPP / KATE NASH / JONSI / BLACK REBEL MOTORCYLE CLUB  / SCISSOR SISTERS / THE TING TINGS / HOT CHIP / YEASAYER / ASH / BEN HARPER AND THE RELENTLESS 7 / WE ARE SCIENTISTS / RICHARD ASHCROFT AND THE UNITED NATIONS OF SOUND / K-OS / DELPHIC / FAT FREDDY’S DROP / SCHOOL OF SEVEN BELLS / THE MAGIC NUMBERS / ANGUS AND JULIA STONE / EMPIRE OF THE SUN /WOLFMOTHER / THE VINES / TAME IMPALA / PAUL KELLY / OPERATOR PLEASE / LISA MITCHELL / MIDNIGHT JUGGERNAUTS /  LITTLE RED / SPACE INVADAS / BRITISH INDIA / OH MERCY / THE MIDDLE EAST / BLUEJUICE / WASHINGTON / WHITLEY / DAN SULTAN / CLOUD CONTROL / MIAMI HORROR / CLARE BOWDITCH / PHILADELPHIA GRAND JURY / JOHN STEEL SINGERS / VIOLENT SOHO / THE MESS HALL / JONATHAN BOULET / BOY AND BEAR / GYPSY AND THE CAT / LAST DINOSAURS / ERNEST ELLIS / TIM AND JEAN. The DJ line-up includes BAG RAIDERS / VAN SHE TECH / ANNA LUNOE / KID KENOBI / YOLANDA / BE COOL / THE ONLY / PURPLE SNEAKERS DJS / MIAMI HORROR DJS. 

The festival has moved from it’s iconic Byron Bay setting to Woodford, Queensland, only twenty minutes from the Sunshine Coast. And for the first time, the festivities will run over three days. The new spot increases the number of punters by up to 10,000, allowing those who’ve never been to Splendour the opportunity to sieze tickets in the 75 or so minutes it usually takes for them to sell out. The deal is this, people who have attended up to four Splendour’s previously (members) have the opportunity to purchase tickets first. Without the use of a ballot system like so many other festivals, the concept strikes me as a little unfair, but loyal nonetheless. However, with the extra tickets provided, it’s not guaranteed that only previous attendees will snatch up the allocated amount. It’s simply gonna be a matter of first in, best dressed. Campers bunk down from Wednesday 28th July to Monday 2nd August ($464); those who purchase concert only tickets get access to the festival from 30th of July to August 1st only ($360). 

Tickets will go on sale at 9am EST on Thursday May 6. 

FUCK.

// Dan Z

Influence, among other things.

// Time 100 voters get the chance to name 2010’s most influential player. 

Time Magazine has conducted a listing of 100 most influential figures for the past six years. Beginning in 1999, the ‘zine polled readers on figures which have demonstrated utmost influence in the 20th century, the populairty of which paved the way for an annual listing in 2004. 

Split into five catagories (Leaders & Revolutionaries, Builders & Titans, Artists & Entertainers, Scientists & Thinkers, and Heroes & Icons), Time makes a point of noting that influential status is not necessarily positive, but rather people that have changed the world with a very public possession of power. George W. Bush, for example, has made the list four times, negative opinions not withstanding. Standing her ground in every poll to date, Oprah reigns as most frequently named influential figure. Winning an international poll such as this warrants considerable merit, and it’s taken quite seriously among various platforms. 

The 2010 Time 100 poll is currently open for public vote here. This years nominees include Anna Wintour, Neil Patrick Harris and the never to be de-throned, Lady Gaga. 

// Dan Z

Ain’t Life Swell.

// I first learnt about Glen Hansard in the middle of 2007. One of his bands, The Frames, were supporting Bob Dylan on his Modern Times tour. I listened to some of their music and fell in love with it almost immediately. Falling Slowly was, simply put, one of the greatest songs I had ever heard.

This song would later be stripped back by Glen and used in his next musical endeavor, The Swell Season. Teaming up with Markéta Irglová, a Czech songwriter and musician, they wrote a self-titled EP in 2006. They later went on to star in the independent movie Once together. Although not technically a musical, Once was a vehicle for a number of performances for the duo. The film went from being a small independent Irish film to the little movie that could. It took home an Academy Award for Achievement in Music Written for a Motion Picture (Original Song), a Critics Choice Award and a Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award.

They recently released their third album together, Strict Joy. Receiving rave reviews, it reached 15 on the Billboard Charts.

I saw these guys at the start of 2009 in Melbourne at The Palais Theatre. Starting the show with an unplugged guitar and no microphone, Hansard strolled past the speakers and right to the very edge of the stage. He performed to the entire theatre without the use of any audio equipment and still managed to fill the entire space with his vocals and guitar. It was one of the best shows I had ever seen.

Last week, The Swell Season toured again in support of Strict Joy. Their tour reached Adelaide this time and they played to a sold out Thebarton Theatre. I was obsessed enough to have purchased front row seats and as a result given a sensational view for the evening. Starting the same way he did in Melbourne, he blew the entire Adelaide audience away from the very start. Both performers would take charge of different songs for the night, and they even tried their hand at an Empire Of The Sun cover. (It worked.)

When poking around for some clips after the concert, I stumbled across this video for one of their recent singles. Low Rising is the second single off Strict Joy, and the video is absolutely stunning. Like, can’t-look-away type brilliance. Check it. 

// Simon