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the AU playlist: The Notorious B.I.G - 10 tracks we love

Today (U.S time) marks 20 years since one of the most celebrated hip hop albums of all time was unleashed onto the world. Ready to Die, the seminal debut by The Notorious B.I.G has stood the test of the time, remaining a reference point for the artistic value of street-focused hip-hop and it's ability to transpose the listener into a world that is often far removed from their own, doing so via brutal wordplay and dark, atmospheric production. Biggie's beautifully twisted way of storytelling has frequently seen him cited as the greatest rapper to ever live; his style is fully realised on each and every track on Ready to Die and so we dive back into the classic album, along with the rest of his catalogue, to fish out 8 of our favourite Biggie tracks.

the AU playlist: Beyoncé - 8 unreleased songs and guest appearances we love

Peerless pop megastar Beyoncé celebrates her 33rd birthday today, so we thought it best to dig up some of the lesser known tracks and guest spots from Bey's consistently successful career in reflection of how far she has come to sit atop the industry as the most dominant living pop star in the world. Here are a few of our favourites from both her solo career and Destiny's Child days.

the AU playlist: Aaliyah - 8 songs we love from the late R&B icon

Today (U.S) time marks the day that the world lost one of the most consistently excellent contemporary R&B artists to have ever done it. Always playfully sliding over top notch production with her silky smooth voice and unfailing wit, the acclaimed 'princess of R&B' stands as one of the top 30 most successful R&B artists in history, winning fans from all over the globe with memorable songs like "Back & Forth" and "Try Again". Not only worshiped by her many fans, Aaliyah was and is well loved amongst the industry, evidenced by all the dedication songs and general outpouring of grief following her tragic death, which resulted from an aviation disaster in The Bahamas following the filming of the video for her single "Rock the Boat."

Ten Shows not to miss at the 2014 Brisbane Festival (Part One)

It's not long now until three weeks of arts, music and culture takes over the city of Brisbane in the form of the annual Brisbane Festival. With hundreds of performances taking place, we're cutting through the list and bringing you our ten picks of live performances not to miss... here are our first five, in no particular order:

The Creases (Brisbane) Playlist: Our Nine Favourite Tracks

This time last week, Brisbane's The Creases were kicking off their weekend at Splendour in the Grass, and now, for the weekend that follows, they have delivered everyone a playlist of their favourite tracks for you to enjoy... From Har Mar Superstar all the way to Mr. Blobby, this list is an eclectic mix, and exclusive to the AU... enjoy!

Splendour Spotlight: 12 of our favourite performances from Splendour In The Grass 2014

The sound waves from Splendour In The Grass 2014 will be felt for a while, especially on a national scale as some of the weekend's greatest performances came from locals who took full advantage of the massive platform. Special anniversary performances from OutKast and Spiderbait, an emotional set from The Jezabels, and sets from Violent Soho and Phantogram, amongst others, really kicked things up a notch for Splendour, giving punters one of the best additions of the annual event. Chris was on ground to run around the festival and witness just some of these great performances; here are 10 of his favourites. Unfortunately, he is but one person, so much talked about sets from the likes of Childish Gambino, Hilltop Hoods, Tune-Yards, REMi and Angus & Julia Stone are not included.

Our Five Discoveries at T in the Park 2014.

Earlier in the week we took you to T in the Park, an annual festival in Scotland - the biggest in the region. Over the three days we saw dozens of bands, and among them performances from the biggest and brightest stars around the world. But then there were the bands we hadn't heard of who left their mark - and thanks to the T Break and BBC Introducing tents, we saw quite a lot of them. Here now are our top five discovered artists at the festival:

the AU playlist: 6 new songs by Splendour In The Grass 2014 acts

It's almost here! The hotly anticipated Splendour In The Grass, where a great range of contemporary acts will vie for the coveted "best set ever" status while the rest of Australia try and live the event through a mixture of radio and social media. Many acts, such as co-headliners Interpol, have their fair share of classics to choose from, but will also be showcasing new material; some of which we have had to wait years for. Here are six relatively new songs to wrap your head around before the massive weekend, chuck these on your playlists and commit the lyrics to memory.

Our 14 Favourite Records of 2014...So Far.... Part Two: 6 - 1

In the second part of our countdown of our favourite albums of 2014 so far, AU contributors ranked the following albums as some of the best pieces of music produced by both international and Australian artists as of this point in the year. Some may be surprising, others may not, either way, if you've not yet checked out the following, perhaps now is the time to do so!

Our 14 Favourite Records of 2014...So Far.... Part One: 14 - 7

It's that time of the year where everyone takes a look through their new record collections and if you're like us, you're wondering just how it's possible so much good music has been released in 2014 already! We asked our contributors to give us their favourite albums of 2014 as of this halfway point and as the results show, there's definitely some musical gold in the ranks. Take a look at the first installment of the AU's 'Top 14 of 2014' below!

From around the world to Quebec: My discoveries of the 35th Annual Festival International de Jazz de Montreal.

Now in its 35th year, the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal - or the Montreal Jazz Festival to us non-Francophones - is one of the world's best known music events, sitting alongside New Orleans and Montreux as the most respected of the Jazz world. Today brings to an end their 2014 calendar, which saw over 800 performances during the 11 day event at some 20 venues.

Splendour Sideshow Spotlight: Lily Allen (London)

Lily Allen has always been a performer who hasn't shied away from giving as much as she gets from her crowds. The Londoner who has been irking critics as much as she's been impressing them since breaking out in 2006, made a return to music this year, four years after announcing she was officially going on hiatus. Some may have thought being a businesswoman and mother wasn't enough to keep Allen's creative cogs turning but for others, 2014 was the perfect time for 'Sheezus' to rise again.

Five Reasons You Should Have Gone to Dark Mofo in Hobart

Over 11 days in June, the second annual Dark Mofo Festival transforms the cold winter of Hobart into a wonderland of arts and culture that locals and folk from the mainland come in their droves to experience. And if you didn't, well, Lauren Anseline was there and is letting you in on the five reasons you missed one hell of a good time. See you there next year?

Six Musical Moments at Firefly Music Festival (Delaware, USA) That'll Make You Sad You Missed It.

"The Woodlands" seems like an apt name for a festival, and even if said “Woodlands” refer to acres of what can only be called a very-dusty-and-extremely-sprawling racetrack backing onto a Mall, the site of Delaware’s Firefly Music Festival is certainly a step back to nature.

Splendour Sideshow Spotlight: Phantogram (New York)

With a seamless blend of their many influences, Phantogram stand tall as a fast-rising duo of electronic-leaning pop laced with soul, funk, rock, and R&B. They have nailed this melting pot of flavour so well the band has consistently been targeted and name-checked by many music legends, including Big Boi (of OutKast) and Wayne Coyne (of The Flaming Lips).