On Monday, Australian youth broadcaster triple j unveiled their new feature album for this week. Mac DeMarco’s This Old Dog will gain heavy rotation throughout the week as part of the feature album status. This is the Canadian’s first feature album on triple j, despite this being his third studio album. Mac is already considerably established. The previous two records before This Old Dog received huge praise from critics, so it’s not as if triple j are unearthing a future star. Therefore, it’s unfair to Australian artists that triple j is throwing all their support behind the guitar-slanging Canadian. There’s no shortage of great albums being released at the moment and the radio station doesn’t doesn’t have to look further than our shores to find this. Perth psych-rockers Pond dropped their ninth album, The Weather, on the same day as Mac’s This Old Dog arrived. Turns out it really is isolated over there on the ‘edge of the world’, as Pond haven’t received the attention they deserve for their latest project.
In the previous week, Iceland’s Ásgeir gained the feature album position. His sophomore album, Afterglow, is the follow-up to his his debut record, Into The Silence, which also landed the feature album spot at triple j in 2014. It’s easy to see the impact that triple j’s support has had on Ásgeir’s popularity in Australia. On streaming service Spotify, Melbourne and Sydney are the top ranked cities in the singer’s top five “where people listen” statistics, along with France, London and Brisbane. Without triple j’s heavy support of Ásgeir’s, it’s likely that he’d be largely unfamiliar in Australia. The problem isn’t Ásgeir’s music – it’ really enchanting stuff. The problem is triple j represent themselves as a station that supports the artists within their own backyard first and foremost. However, in the last two weeks, the broadcaster has done nothing to prove their support for awesome Australian music.
If triple j has the idea that there is a shortage of the awesome Australian music I speak of, they’re simply wrong. Pond’s latest release, The Weather, received a collated rating of 81 on Metacritic; a highly favourable rating, achieved almost entirely without the help of triple j. In comparison, Mac’s This Old Dog has gathered a rating of 80 from all sources on the same site. Yes, the albums are basically inseparable on critic ratings. But, if triple j is serious about supporting Australian music, they have no reason to snub Pond of the feature album status, particularly when Pond’s album is rated slightly higher than Mac’s.
Not only have Pond been given the cold shoulder by triple j on their latest release, but just one of their NINE albums have been given a sniff of the station’s feature album status. After seven records on the outer with triple j, Pond’s eighth effort, Man It Feels Like Space Again, landed the feature status in January 2015. Pond finally got there, and probably thought their best work yet, The Weather, would be a shoe-in. Not-so-coincidentally, the weird Perth bunch had a minor breakout with Man It Feels Like Space Again, achieving their first Top 20 position in the ARIA Album Charts when the album soared to the 15th spot. However, The Weather has not reached the heights of it’s predecessor, peaking at just number 33 on the charts. It’s no fluke that the triple j feature album status catapulted the success of Man It Feels Like Space Again. Meanwhile, The Weather has been left out in the cold by the station, unfortunately resulting in less attention of the album.
Triple j constantly pride themselves on assisting Australian acts. But, by featuring albums by already popular artists in Ásgeir and Mac DeMarco, the youth broadcaster is dishonouring our musicians. More importantly, musicians such as Pond have been honing their craft for several years, all the while with little backing from triple j. Other Aussie bands like Tame Impala have had all three of their albums featured on the station, and everyone knows of the worldwide recognition they receive now. If triple j had showered Pond in the support they have given Tame Impala, Pond may have had similar worldwide success like their Perth brothers. Yet, the Aussie favourites still struggle to gain the feature album status over two international acts.