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Nine things we learnt from our first ever Calgary Stampede

Last week, the AU headed to Calgary in Alberta, Canada for the Calgary Stampede. Now in its 103rd year - though with origins dating back to the 1800s - the event is steeped in tradition and an icon of the Canadian Summer. It's the sort of festival you have to attend to fully comprehend, and, naturally, we learnt a lot about the event by doing just that. So here now are the nine things we learnt from our first Stampede experience...

10 lesser-known Australian acts you should definitely check out at Splendour in the Grass

In just over a week North Byron Parklands will once again come to life with Splendour in the Grass, kicking off three full days of Australia's highly anticipated mid-year music festival headlined by the likes of Blur and Florence & The Machine. As always, big name Aussies acts are looking to - and will - steal the show numerous times across the weekend, from legends The Church, the triumphant returns of The Grates and Paul Mac, the dominance of Peking Duk and Flight Facilities, and the uber successful Tame Impala.

the AU playlist: Our 12 favourite Ginuwine songs...that aren't "Pony"

I recently read somewhere that Ginuwine is considered a one-hit wonder in some circles, with only "Pony" really carrying across to a younger generation through pop culture references based on the song's ultra-sexed-up content and unique, Timbaland-defining production. That's wrong, really wrong. Though "Pony" is his most well known song, it is far from the only one Ginuwine has watched tear up the charts; it's a string of hits which saw him become one of the top selling solo R&B performers of the 90's, and to a lesser extent early 2000's. With a big range and a sharp ear for production, Ginuwine has delivered some great R&B hits over the years. With him set to tour Australia for the first time later this year, we look at 12 of our favourites which we hope to hear when he performs a series of club shows down here.

Seven acts you shouldn't miss at the 2015 RBC Ottawa Bluesfest from July 12th until the 19th.

Photo Credit: Mark Horton

Over the next 10 days, the RBC Ottawa Bluesfest (which kicked off on July 8th) is taking over Canada's capital city, with an incredible - and vast - array of artists from around the world. The event kicked off yesterday - but as we don't arrive at the event until July 12th, we wanted to bring you our picks of the festival from July 12th until the event ends on the 19th! Read on...

Exclusive Playlist: Tuka gives us four of his favourite tunes on 'L.D.T.E' release day!

Today marks the release of Tuka's third solo album, Life Death Time Eternal and already, the response has been extremely dope. As our Artist of the Month for July, the rapper has recently taken over AU Radio, today has announced a national tour for the album and he's brought us a little slice of what music influences him and hell, some tunes he's digging hard at the moment. Check his playlist out!

We talk to Mark Monahan - executive and artistic director of the RBC Bluesfest - about the 2015 Ottawa Bluesfest!

Photo Credit: Mark Horton

We're coming to you today from Canada where we're just days away from heading to Ottawa for their annual Bluesfest. The event officially kicked off yesterday and runs until July 19th (and you thought the Australian Bluefest was massive!). Ahead of the event, we caught up with Mark Monahan, executive and artistic director of the RBC Bluesfest, who shares his festival picks, gives us some insight into the event, and talks about the event's relationship with Byron Bay's own...

Exclusive Track By Track Feature: A look at MT Warning's "Petrified Heart" EP!

This Friday sees the talented MT Warning release his much talked about EP, Petrified Heart. Released through Create/Control, the record was made by Mikey Bee at home in his garage studio and represents quite a personal collection of material. Described as a confession and an apology, the songwriter bares all through some beautiful pieces of lyricism and arresting arrangements.

The AU's 15 Best Australian Singles of 2015 (So Far)

It's been a fantastic year of music so far all around the world, and now we're excited to count down for you the 15 tracks our contributors have voted as the best of the year from Australia. To be eligible, the track needed to have an official single or video release between 1 January and 30 June, 2015. Enjoy the list below and then listen to them all in our playlist!

The AU's 15 Best International Singles of 2015 (So Far...)

It's been a fantastic year of music so far all around the world, and now we're excited to count down for you the 15 tracks our contributors have voted as the best of the year from outside of Australia. To be eligible, the track needed to have an official single or video release between 1 January and 30 June, 2015. Enjoy the list below and then listen to them all in our playlist!

the AU playlist: Our 12 favourite RZA productions

Today (New York time) marks the 46th birthday of one of the most diverse, complex producers in hip hop history: Wu-Tang's legendary RZA. The influential, multi-talented artist helped shape the sounds of east coast hip hop throughout the 90's, and most importantly, continues to stay consistent with his work, never really straying from the style he perfected decades ago. Where other classic producers have let contemporary trends dilute their style, RZA has maintained a certain authenticity with his sound and it's led him to remain one of the most respected and anticipated beat makers in music.

Our 20 Favourite Records of 2015...So Far (Part Two: 10-1)

Yesterday, we brought you the first batch of 2015-released albums that AU contributors ranked as the best of the year so far. A great blend of Australian and international releases, the list reflected a wide range of music tastes and killer tunes that obviously have struck a chord with music fans globally. Today, we continue with the countdown, naming the ten records that have stood out above the rest as some of the best albums of 2015. Sure, we're only at the midway point of the year, but no doubt, some of these artists are probably going to be making a few end-of-year wrap ups too. So, from #10 through #1...

Our 20 Favourite Records of 2015... So Far (Part One: 20-11)

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 2015 already! We asked our contributors to give us their favourite albums of 2015 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 20 Records of 2015 So Far'...

Exclusive: Go behind the scenes on the set of Asta's "Dynamite" music video!

Asta's tune "Dynamite", featuring Allday, has proved to be as explosive as the title suggests, rocketing the Tassie born artist to the ARIA Chart's Top 10 upon its release. More recently, Asta dropped the official music video for "Dynamite", matching up brilliantly with the 80s infused jam that has been captivating audiences around the country. We've got a bit of a fun insight into how this one came together - click through to go behind the scenes with Asta and Allday as she gets made up for the video.

the AU playlist: 10 songs we cannot wait to hear at OutsideIn 2015

For fans of hip hop and soul, today's first line up announcement for OutsideIn has been some big news. First, we've got neo-soul luminary Bilal heading down with his 8-piece band in tow, and then we've got two southern rap heavyweights from two very different eras, both obsessed with Cadillacs: Devin the Dude from the 90's, and Big K.R.I.T from the now. In addition to this, we've got nice list of acts that span various styles in electronica, techno, and house, most of which have a very loyal fanbase to place Sydney's most innovative boutique festival once again at the front of the pack of music events happening later this year. While half the line-up is still yet to be announced (20 acts coming, to be exact), we thought we'd look at the current list of names and bring you 10 songs we cannot wait to hear live at Manning House on Satuday 26th September.

Best of 2015 (So Far): Our top 20 hip hop tracks of mid-2015 (Part Two)

The past six months have been good for hip hop, in terms of both mixtapes and studio albums. Kendrick and Lupe are head and heels above everyone else so far, thanks to two very distinctive, conceptual albums, but the quality of songs being released indicates that the two emcees may see a heap of competition by the time 2016 rolls around. From interesting production, to straight-up rhyme-fests, these are the singles we think have stood out as the best this year. No artist (unless featuring) appears more than twice, otherwise I might as well copy and paste the tracklist to Tetsuo & Youth. This is part two, 10-1