Unearthed (talent contest)

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Unearthed is the name of a Triple J project to find and "dig up" (hence the name) hidden talent in regional Australia.

Unearthed has had three incarnations – they first visited each region of Australia where Triple J had a transmitter – 41 regions in all. It started with the more rural areas but eventually the capital cities were covered as well. The second lasted from 2002 to 2005 and visited each state only once.

triple j Unearthed live music clips as featured on Rage and Fly TV.

In 2006 the format changed to be a more internet driven competition. Instead of the rounds travelling across Australia, artists are now required to upload their music in mp3 format to be judged.

On 5 October 2011 Triple J Unearthed was launched as a radio station available on digital radio and online.[1]

First round (1995–2001)[edit]

  • Lismore: Grinspoon, Ode To A Goldfish
  • Bendigo: Milhouse, Stephen Saxton
  • Townsville: Stone Henge, Gravel Samwidge
  • Alice Springs: Raven
  • Dubbo & Coonabarabran: Drown
  • Broken Hill: Porcelein, Swell
  • Wollongong: Evol
  • Albury/Wodonga: Wet Phibians, Humbug
  • Kalgoorlie/Boulder: The Early Hours
  • Gold Coast: Communion, Planet Cactus
  • Ballarat: Meat Head Disciples, Flapjack
  • Port Macquarie/Taree: Plug
  • Rockhampton: Andalusion, Tribal Link
  • Sunshine Coast: Freak, Michael Ammitzboll, Fish Head, Endless Stair
  • Goulburn Valley: Killing Heidi, Stealth
  • Cairns/Cairns North: Endorphin, Orange Bowl
  • Mount Gambier/Mount Burr: Pouring Sugar
  • Swan Hill/Murray Valley/Mildura: The Spurres
  • Tasmania: Dongle, Rushmore, Vinyl, Hidi Exxon
  • Gippsland: Vericious, Jade, And Then Some (Runner-up)
  • Perth: Postman Cini, Elixir, Team Jedi, The New Egyptian Kings
  • Grafton/Kempsey/Armidale: Synapse, Gumption
  • Darling Downs/Southern Downs/Wide Bay: Roadside, Four on the Floor
  • Bunbury & Albany: Pokerface, Plush
  • Darwin: Wilfred Mardigan & his band Hot Wheels, Drill
  • Renmark: T.A.G.C.
  • Canberra: Soulcrusher, Liquid
  • Bega/Cooma: 40 ft Crab, Stonepony
  • Tamworth/Narrabri/Moree: The Aardvarks, Karrion, Primordia
  • Adelaide: Juju Eyeballs, Gilmore
  • Warrnambool: Tukan Sam, Gramps, Thirteen
  • Newcastle: Muzzy Pep, Melvin Starr
  • Orange and Bathurst: 50 Fifty, The Tenants
  • Brisbane: Daisycutters, Plastic Wooden Fruit, Rhubarb
  • Geraldton: Way Lander, Madder Spiral
  • Hamilton: Cause and Effect
  • Mackay: Limburger
  • Wagga Wagga: Seventh, Savino
  • Mount Isa: Brett Arthur
  • Sydney: Blue, Aerial Spans Earth, Sick Puppies
  • Melbourne: Mumonkan, Missy Higgins, No ID

Second round (2002–2004)[edit]

  • South Australia: Snap to Zero, Three Rounds Shy, Abbie Cardwell (June 2002)
  • Australian Capital Territory: Red Rocket, The Bumblebeez (August 2002)
  • Western Australia: The Fuzz, Yunyu, Amber Suite (October 2002)
  • Tasmania: The Dead Abigails, Sir Veto, The Charlie Parkers (April 2003)
  • Victoria: Second Dan, Fizard, Band Camp (June 2003)
  • Northern Territory: Sophie Koh, Vassy K (October 2003)
  • New South Wales: Unpaid Debt, Down Under Beats Crew (March 2004)
  • Queensland: Shifter, Jimmy Styles and The Easy Company (June 2004)

Third round (2006– )[edit]

The 2006 round of Unearthed was launched on 9 August 2006. The project has taken the form of a website, triplejunearthed.com. Bands and musicians hoping to be Unearthed upload their music in mp3 format to the website, along with a photo and biography. All music can be listened to on the website through a flash jukebox, or tracks can be downloaded. Registered users can also rate and review music and create their own playlists which they can email to friends. Triple J regularly runs competitions which usually take the form of selecting a band which has listed themselves on the site, to play as a support act at major festivals. Competitions and winners include:

  • Strikeback Festival: The first competition for unsigned regional New South Wales bands was won by hip-hop crew, E.E.S. who performed at the Strikeback Festival in Newcastle on 30 September 2006.
  • Taste of Chaos: The next competition was the opportunity to appear on the Taste Of Chaos Australian tour. Winning groups were Bagster (New South Wales), Blame It On Stanley (Victoria), Fat Mans Cleavage (Queensland), Her Latest Flame (South Australia) and The Restless Words (Western Australia).
  • Falls Festival: This competition gave two unsigned bands from Victoria and Tasmania the chance to perform at the Falls Festivals on New Year's Eve 2006. The winners were Illzilla from Victoria who played at the Lorne event, and Red Rival from Tasmania who played at the Marion Bay event.
  • Big Day Out: The Big Day Out competition in each state was won by: Richard in your Mind (NSW), Hip Pocket (QLD), Oh Mercy (Vic), Antony of the Future (SA) and Institut Polaire (WA).
  • Eagles of Death Metal: Three bands won the opportunity for to play a support gig with the Eagles of Death Metal on their Australian tour. The winners were The Watt Riot (NSW), The Cheats (ViC) and Bowser (QLD).
  • Pushover: Melbourne unsigned band Y won the chance to play at the Pushover Festival at the Docklands, Melbourne on the 2007 Labour Day weekend.
  • Flesh It Out (songwriters competition): The next unearthed competition was a search for Australia's best unsigned songwriter (either a solo or duo). The winner, Cathy Petocz, got to attend the Fuse Festival (a music industry festival) in Adelaide, and will participate in a songwriting workshop with Rob Hirst and Jim Moginie (Midnight Oil) and Pete Arthur (Junior), following which the ultimate version of her song will be recorded.
  • Unearthed Mixtape: This competition differs from the others in that the winner was required to put together a mixtape of Unearthed songs (essentially an hour (15 songs) of songs from Triple J's unearthed website) with the winning entry being played on Triple J on 31 March 2007.[2]
  • Support Missy Higgins: A competition for one unsigned band from each state, New South Wales (including the Australian Capital Territory), Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria to play as the support act for Missy Higgins (herself a former 'unearthed' winner) on her national tour in May 2007. The winners were Leroy Lee (NSW), Beatrix Bae Bouwman (Tasmania), Jackie Marshall (Queensland), Jonathan Mortimer (SA), The Belle Ends (WA) and Ainslie Wills (Victoria).
  • Falls Festival: This competition gives two unsigned bands from Victoria and Tasmania the chance to perform at the Falls Festivals on New Year's Eve 2007, one at the Lorne event, and the other at the Marion Bay event. The winners for 2007 were Charles Du Cane (Tas) and Superhappyfunband (Vic)
  • Big Day Out: This competition is for a band from each state to play at that state's Big Day Out concert.

Unearthed High (2008– )[edit]

During early 2008 Triple J launched the biggest unearthed competition ever, the 'Unearthed High' competition. This new competition, run parallel to the existent internet based Unearthed competition required high school aged bands to submit original work. The inaugural winners, [is], were announced on 10 June from a shortlist of finalists with their song 'Cult Romance'. [is] in December 2008 announced a name change to Tom Ugly. According to frontman Tom this was "mostly due to the fact that you can't search [is]. It's completely unsearchable on the internet. Plus we like the name anyway, Tom Ugly. And it suits the format of the way we write."

The 2009 competition was won by Howl, a 6 piece band with their song "Blackout". Howl came from Ballarat High School.

The 2010 competition was won by Iotah, a band composed of four sisters, heavily influenced by old school rock – screeching vocals, electrifying riffs, keys and driving beats are streaming from the cracks of a shed in the hills. They come from Gisborne Secondary College. Iotah subsequently changed their name to Stonefield after discovering a local cabaret performer had been using the name iOTA for several years.[3]

The 2011 competition was won by Snakadaktal, a 5 piece band with their song "Chimera". The winner came for Melbourne Rudolf Steiner School.

The 2012 competition was won by the soloist ASTA, she and Cal Young produced the song "My Heart Is On Fire" in her boyfriends bedroom. The winner is from Rosny College in Hobart.

The 2013 competition was won by Lunatics on Pogosticks, a garage band with their song "Picasso's Saddest Love". The winner came from Newton Highschool in Sydney.

The 2014 winner was Gab Strum from Melbourne who produces electronic indie sounds. The winning track was "Breathe In" Featuring Wafia, a layered track also appearing in the film Wish I Was Here along bands such as Bon Iver and Coldplay.

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