The only true act of revolution and rebellion left in this digitally framed and social media approved world is to communicate honestly and with feeling. As simple as that may appear very few humans have the emotional intelligence to do it. So many of us have pledged allegiance to the idea of our personalities being a “brand” causing us to augment our humanity with cliched thoughts, feelings, facts, opinions and emotions. We thirst for “the real” and “the honest” but we embrace the cold digital version of it that offers us little to no substance and is essentially an empty calorie experience. When it comes to music it appears that humans have embraced the art of manipulation in negative ways to merely regurgitate and replicate “real” and “honest” modes of communication which creates art so meaningful that it is meaningless. Successful ways of conducting business within art are being rewarded over the actual quest to break apart the rules to build something new. What you end up with in this new modern landscape is a plethora of people with good intentions making terrible music with only enough room at the top for the young and the beautiful.
Although I prefer to steer clear of the cliched trains of thought it is hard not to push the idea of “youth being wasted on the young” when you attempt to try and find sincere artistry among the music being made by young human beings. It all reeks of concise radio length examples of radical ideas put forth by an anointed few from the 1960’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and early 00’s. Modern youth music isn’t designed for longevity because it is conceived by humans whose understanding of consumerism and trend is birthed from a culture who cycles through mobile telephones so quick that you rarely have time to reside or dwell inside the wonderful strength of redundant technology. It’s quick, instant and disposable but for a moment it is on the cusp of being the cultural saviour. The truth is that it only exists to conveniently serve us in that fleeting swipe of our screen stored away deep in the mass amount of data we accumulate digitally to curb our boredom.
This critique of “now” is in not some grim disclaimer for how bad the world currently is and that I have no hope of it getting better. It is merely an observation that beyond the shallow nature of modern music there exists artists who are still digging and attempting to deliver art with true feeling if you are prepared to cut out the noise of what is “hot” and what is “not.” It may be harder to find for those of us who still cling to the physical medium as their preferred method of hearing, feeling and consuming music but once embraced the optimistic sting of the internet allows you to connect instantly with a ton of diverse communities willing to share music and artists who communicate honestly and with feeling. The anointed few who helped architect aesthetics are now more than ever easier to engage with courtesy of the world wide web.
One extremely beautiful example of an artist and aesthetic architect who has managed to thrive and survive multiple waves of trend is Kellie Lloyd. Since the late 80’s she has been one of the leaders of Australia’s secret music history. As a songwriter Lloyd is a unique thinker who writes music about the struggles of the human experience with lyrics that are always confessional and melodies that drip with a deep pain and discomfort. Her songs are about the search for finding innovative ways to fit into a world that she sometimes feels out of place in. It’s the true sound of alienation with her music maturing over the years to include the transition from youthful woes to adult complexity with a focus on attempting to find some degree of peace from the chaos of being a shy introverted human being. Depending on how long you’ve been following Lloyd’s career her latest release “Fragile States” stands as her third solo offering and despite being an EP it plays out like full-length album.
Upon listening to “Fragile States” you can tell it was created with no agenda other than Lloyd’s need to express and communicate through music her thoughts and feelings. It is art for art’s sake and we as the audience should feel privileged that we are able to interact with art this divine because in a modern world built on apathy it really does bring a degree of comfort to have a movement of music connect on such a personal level. Nostalgia might keep people stuck on Lloyd’s past but I’ve always been excited about the music that she makes now in this moment as it helps us glimpse how the experience of dealing with life has pushed her to reach indescribable areas of sound backed by the old fashioned and sometimes uncool aesthetic of being way too intense and emotional as an artist. I’m personally of the opinion that the only art that matters is the art made by humans who dare to exist in that uncool realm of being too intense, too deep and overly emotional because although they may be viewed as the “slow and steady win the race” types by a society geared towards stereotypes, they always manage to summons the ache which in turn helps them craft unique new ways forward giving all of us the chance to tear open a hole in the universe and engage ultimate escapism.
Kellie is someone I admire deeply and I think it started when I first saw that “Static” film clip back in the 1990’s (around 1996 if memory serves me correctly). She was just so fucking cool and she rocked a mean bass guitar. I also loved her voice and the songs she contributed to Screamfeeder and that beyond being a musician, Kellie was also a film maker and she did a lot of film clips and other art related projects. As a fan of her music and lyrics I always connected to what Kellie was saying in her songs and felt that she understood my pain and what it felt like to be different. I also felt that Kellie knew the power of saying “Fuck You” and rebelling against the world and how sometimes that drive and that against the grain attitude can yield positive creative results. To this day I still get star struck when I see her around Brisbane because she is a rock star to me.
With “Fragile States” Kellie Lloyd proves that despite her rich and established discography it is the music that she’s releasing now and in the future that will continue to save lives and revolutionise feelings.
By: Dan Newton
Kellie Lloyd Discography:
- Flour (1992)
- Burn Out Your Name (1993)
- Fill Yourself With Music (1995)
- Kitten Licks (1996)
- Rocks On The Soul (2000)
- Take You Apart (2003)
- Felicitator (1994)
- Closing Alaska (1997)
- Home Age (1999)
- Dellusions Of Grandchildren (2005)
From Burn Out Your Name
- “Fingers and Toes” (1993)
From Fill Yourself With Music
- “Fill Yourself With Music” (1995)
- “Who’s Counting?/Sweet Little Oranges” (1995)
From Kitten Licks
- “Dart” (1996)
- “Static” (1996)
- “Gravity” (1996)
- “Triple Hook” (1998)
- “Hi Cs” (1998)
From Rocks on the Soul
- “Above The Dove” (2000)
From Take You Apart
- “Ice Patrol” (2003)
- “12345” (2003)
- “I Don’t Know What To Do Any More” (2003)
- “Bunny” (2004)
- “For Nothing and No One” (1995)
- “Your Heart Is A Hunter” (Nov 2011)
- “Magnetic North” (April 24th 2012)
- Warm Guns self-titled album (2007)
Website – http://screamfeeder.com/kellie/
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/kellielloydmusic
Bandcamp – http://kellielloyd.bandcamp.com/
(all photos courtesy of Kellie’s Facebook Page)