Thursday, March 8, 2012
Monday, February 27, 2012
Thursday, December 15, 2011
This is a local compilation, made by local people. But you’re all welcome to it. You can read here about the origins of the music, how the songs fit in regard to ‘punk’ and what that might mean in Hobart.
Me, I’m just a willing ear . . .
The quality of each bands’ recording varies quite spectacularly. And in some ways the value of the recording is more telling than the tunes themselves. We get everything from live cuts to bedroom jobs to slicker studio works. It may bespeak much of the bands and individual members. Their methods become as much a part of the song as a drum fill, a botched lyric or a ravaged bassline: all necessary, all equal parts of the whole.
Naked’s “Run At Me” opens proceeding with an apparently aching desire for pain with an added dash of hurt. The front guy moans to run at him and, in no uncertain terms, to fuck him up. It has one of those awkward middle 8’s where half the band forgets that it’s coming: the sound just drops away to a two note line. Then the moaning begins again. Four quick clicks and back to the refrain: driven into your ear like a blunt spike.
Track three, “God v Evil” puts Traitor closer to Napalm Death than Dead Kennedys: caustic metal rather than raucous punk rock. Metal blood runs deep and thick: other cuts from Strictly Business, NowyourefuckeD and Social Death Squad all take elements from hardcore and grind metal and pulverise their chosen songs as far as their bedroom four-tracks will allow.
A jaunty little self-hate rant from This Is A Robbery! has the singer gloating “You are a picture perfect princess/And all I am’s a stupid cunt.” Another dose of self-deprecation taken to its logical, poetic extreme. Could be misconstrued as a lonely broken Tasmanian looking out to the wider world and all its wonder then cutting hisself off at the knees rather than walk into its open arms.
“Forget” by myblackson – song that reminds me most of The Horror. Plenty noisy, plenty amateur, a brevity towards lyric-writing that cuts the song short before the two-minute mark. I could’ve easily enjoyed another couple of them. Minutes. Or tracks. I could easily enjoy another couple of tracks from these guys.
“I Got It”, track eight by Treehouse, coulda been pinched from a mid-80’s Kiwi compilation. The drummer might lose the rest of the band a couple of times but the driving guitar line propels the song towards the steamy cloud-o-sphere.
Pure up-beat pop joy comes courtesy of The Lucky Dips. Melodic, major-keyed – stands out very cheery against the bleaker type tunes. All about lovely love turned dangerous obsession. Well, kinda dangerous but really a whole lot of fun. It’s two minutes of jangly blissness.
Moe Grizzly are allowed a live recording. “Sincere Neighbour” is properly dark and menacing. Reggie leans into the mic and sneers and snarls, pulling raw untuneable notes from his guitar. It’s broke down, down beat; slow and heavy on the brain.
Maybe the compilation captures a moment in time. Maybe some of the players should’ve spent more time with their instruments before committing their songs to tape. Maybe to that they’d tell you to fuck right off. Maybe what matters more down here is to get your ideas down, get your songs out there before that moment goes.
Monday, December 12, 2011
Not sure what's happened to the text here. Computers hating on me again. Makes me look hopelessly unprofessional. Just drag your cursor over the offending sections for full reading pleasure. Now . . .
This morning I fired up the old MP3 machine and hit the shuffle button. Here’s what happened and where my mind went.
No. 1: The Electric Prunes – “Are You Loving Me More?”
Palm-muted guitar makes me think strongly of Astronomy Domini. The swoop and swirl of the chorus. Then the songs slows, almost stops. You’ve got no idea where they’re going. Until, oh thank fuck, it’s still a pop song. Another chorus then a quiet freak out that probably should’ve been faded out. You can forgive them though. Come on, it was the sixties, a glorious time when the acid was strong and the sun was, for some, still underground.
No. 2: Roxy Music – “Avalon”
This song is about leaving the house at 5 a.m. after the party’s cooled down, walking your waif-like mistress toward the beach, taking your shoes off and untucking the tux. The two of you stumble along the cold sand to stand where the tiny bubbling waves lick your toes. You kiss and, as you pull away from her, you notice some fine coke-dust on her upper lip. She hides her face but you laugh and say it doesn’t matter and you take her bodily and hoist her into the light sea breeze as the edge of the sun appears orange on the horizon.
At least that what it sounds like.
No. 3: Althea & Donna – “Uptown Top Ranking”
Always use this one at a party to cool things down. I’ll spark up a fatty and give the kids on the floor time to breathe and start a slow skank and grind. Wedged in between “Funky Kingston” and “Mirror In The Bathroom.” Full skanking explosion. Wind it up, pull it back, push it back up.
I was sure for a while they were singing ‘Not Pablo style – us strictly roots’. But they surely wouldn’t be ripping into Mr Augustus, dub- melodica master. Lyrics are closer to ‘Nah pop no style, a strictly roots.’ According to lyrics playground at least. Who’re probably more sober than I seeing as they’ve tracked lines like ‘Shoulda see me and the ranking dread/Check how we jamming and ting,’ and ‘See me inna ‘alter back/Sey me gi’ you heart attack.’
Althea and Donna where two Jamaican schoolgirls when they cut this track. It was an answer record to Trinity’s “Three Piece Suit.” John Peel got excited about it one English winter and it went to No. 1 in the UK in February of ’78.
No. 4: Fleetwood Mac – “Second Hand News”
I’m glad this one came up. The reasons are twofold.
Since watching the ‘Classic Albums’ episode on Rumours, I’ve had pretty much every song from the album in my head. And because the universe is against me, when I went to the iPod to exorcise the songs from circling my skull, the player wouldn’t play it. It’s just tease me with the first twenty seconds of each song then shit itself.
The other reason I’m glad this came up is because there has been a shift in the enjoyment of Fleetwood Mac. Many moons ago, in my younger years, during days of polarising opinion and swift but lasting judgement of cool, Fleetwood Mac were not at all enjoyed. Maybe it was that Rumours was massive in the late 70’s and was up against punk and its tenets. Rockstar excess, inter-band fucking, coke and California. Can’t think of many pale, emaciated white boys who tackled those subjects back then. Suppose they were more worried about being wiped off the face of the earth by a nuclear wind.
And the story would’ve got stale after a while. “You know they were all either getting it on or falling apart when they wrote the song s - listen.” Someone’s annoying parents would say when they find out you were into music, foisting the album on you. “Yeah. Real music, Mum. Not that pap.” You’d respond with appropriate snottiness.
Then there is a gap in time long enough for all that shit to be forgotten about. You get guys like Robin Pecknold admitting that Lindsay Buckingham being a huge influence on his own guitar playing. Or you’ll be out one summer evening in Sydney and the last song the DJ spins before Beach House arrive on stage is “Dreams.”
Maybe after a certain amount of time the stories become myth or just unimportant in the face of the songs. Which still stand up today. Except for that ‘bamp bamp ba bamp bamp’ bit at the middle and end of this one. That’s just stupid.
If you listen carefully and oh so closely to the first five seconds of “Second Hand News” they’re pretty close to the beginning of Zeppelin IV and “Black Dog”’s odd scratchy whirring noise. Like a jukebox that a quarter’s been dropped into. Or an amp warming up. Solid way to start an album, I guess.
No. 5: Hüsker Dü – “Lifeline”
Pretty much every song should start like this:
You know you’re in trouble right from the start. It should be noted that this song was not named for the local telephone service for people who just need someone to talk to.
Friday, September 24, 2010
This cassette comprises a list of songs featuring, in their title, an expressive yelp of "I Wanna . . ." and - on the flipside - "I Don't Wanna . . ." (The basic rule may have been broken on a couple of the tracks on Side B, but I've no doubt you will understand and, in your heart of hearts, begin to forgive . . .)
The Ramones loom large as half of their back catalogue consists almost entirely of songs beginning the "I Wanna . . ." title and refrain. And may the Lord bless their crippled souls for it: for He alone knows they could barely string syllables together whilst alive. (The tracks beginning and ending Side B, "I Don't Want to Grow Up", are the same Tom Waits composition, put to perfect use by the Brothers Ramone.)
Elsewhere, on Side A, there are desires for individuality from the Pistols, wanting to Scream, wanting to Die, wanting to be Your Dog, wanting to be Adored. There are some obvious favourites of yours and mine but without them this mix would not exist.
Side B contains the will, the want - via frequent, plaintive "Don't Wanna!"s - to love and be loved; to come in close, to leave me alone; to never grow old and to live forever. And, of course, the pleas are punked up, blissed out, skinny white-people electrified guitar shocks.
The program is as follows:
(click either Side A or Side B or both for your exclusive download)
The Stone Roses - I Wanna Be Adored
The Ramones - I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend
The Ramones - Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue
Sex Pistols - I Wanna Be Me
Chris Knox - Wanna!!
Adam Green - I Wanna Die
Richard & Linda Thompson - I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight
The Laughing Clowns - I Want to Scream
The Breeders - I Just Wanna Get Along
Mach Pelican - Do Ya Wanna Dance?
The Ramones - I Wanna Be Sedated
Sleater-Kinney - I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone
The Stooges - I Wanna Be Your Dog
Delroy Wilson - I Want Justice
The Beatles - I Want to Hold Your Hand
The Ramones - I Don't Wanna Grow Up
Hüsker Dü - Don't Wanna Know if You Are Lonely
The Drones - I Don't Ever Want to Change
Bob Dylan - I Don't Believe You
Big Star - Don't Lie to Me
Look Blue Go Purple - I Don't Want You Anyway
Teenage Fanclub - I Don't Want Control of You
The Magnetic Fields - I Don't Want to Get Over You
Double Happys - I Don't Wanna See You Again
Minor Threat - I Don't Want to Hear It
Mint Chicks - I Don't Want to Grow Old
Belle & Sebastian - I Don't Want to Play Football
The Chills - Don't Be - Memory
Tom Waits - I Don't Wanna Grow Up
. . . a brief post-script:
If the links do not work, have timed out, or if your computer hates you, get in contact with myself so's you can send me a cassette to copy this or any of the other mixes.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
And so I return!
I return with new music to wrap your eager ears around.
Having purchased for myself a brand new second hand Stereo Double Cassette Deck last weekend I set about putting together a series of mix tapes which will be forever forthcoming, downloadable, and so limited as to be almost exclusive.
The first in the series is the Distant Dreams Cassette.
Compiled over two separate weekend sessions the tape moves from thick swaddled electro post-punk through to laid back laid out sleep-inducing tape-space. From the early morning TV test card soundtracks by This Heat and Young Marble Giants to the warped, almost shapeless night shades of shattered German consciousness courtesy of Harmonia, Bowie and D.A.F.
Its a strange journey and one you'll be lucky to wake up from.
Find Part 1/Side A, here:
. . . and Part 2/Side B, here:
Program is as follows:
Part 1/Side A:
The Cure - A Reflection
Kate Bush - Under Ice
Faust - So Far
Mars - Hairwaves
The Camberwell Now - Splash
Cabaret Voltaire - Theme From Earthshaker
Low Rise Estate - Untitled
Scritti Politti - Skank Bloc Bologna
Pere Ubu - Drinking Wine Spodyody
D.A.F. - Osten Wärht am Längsten
E.M.A.K. - Filmmuzik
Part 2/Side B:
Young Marble Giants - N.I.T.A.
David Bowie - A New Career in a New Town
Harmonia - Hausmusik
Suicide - Keep Your Dreams
Throbbing Gristle - Distant Dreams (part 2)
The Goat That Went "Om" - The Pirate Song
Liars - They Don't Want Your Corn, They Want Your Kids
The Del-Byzantees - My Hands Are Yellow (From The Job That I Do)
This Heat - Twilight Furniture
Dark Day - Nudes in the Forest
Severed Heads - Lamborghini
Public Image Ltd. - Radio 4
If the tracks sound more than a little warped, a little wrong and overblown, slightly dull and inconsistent it may be because you yourself, dear listener, possess one or all of these qualities. Open your ears. The original cassette tape upon which these songs were recorded was found in a box on the side of the road, still wet from a passing storm. Expect the next posts to be of even greater or lesser quality.
Friday, May 1, 2009
30th April - Hopetoun Hotel, Surry Hills
Me and my man Francis pulled up to the Hopetoun around quarter to nine looking a little worse for wear. The second day of a meth binge is when your eyes look like dry red holes in your face. Our lips were chapped and we bent towards the floor after having spent a very happy hour in a nearby city bar. And things got worse before they could get better. I thought I had a plus one with my Reviewer’s Pass and I told Frank he could have it since he’d spent the last of his dole money on a bottle of scotch, some of which he had hidden in his hip flask. My presumptions were wrong though - it was just me on the door list. Francis didn’t take it well. He flew into a rage, screaming at everyone about all the shit he’d done for FasterLouder in the past, how they owe him at least a night out. I tried to calm him before he could start swinging his fists and wrestling the patrons:
‘Hey, Frank man, just cool down for a bit. Look, you’ve already made me miss the first band. The second one’s about to start. I’m gonna go watch them, take some notes. I’ll buy you a beer and let you have a honk on my pipe if you just chill here for a bit, OK?’
Frank, still shaking, mumbled a terse, ‘Yeah, orright.’
I moved away from him towards the stage to check out No Art who were well into their set. The band comprised two girls up front, drummer dude behind. The girls looked fucking gorgeous. The guitarist was blacked out in leather and was pulling this incredibly dreamy late 80’s wash out of her pink heart guitar while the bass player, swimming in a psychedelic poncho, was making super slow runs down her massive axe. The drummer had it all worked out - he was actually interested in making the songs sound larger by arranging himself around the girls’ tunes. The songs themselves were fully formed and they were lucky enough to get an excellent sound on the night as they roared through their dreamy jams. The bass player stood back during their last - and best - song with a blissed out smile on her face - a smile I’m pretty sure I saw mirrored by most of the audience.
Still clapping as they packed away, I turned round to see if I could spot Francis. He was stood nest to the door bitch, bugging out and making a meal of his fingernails. He looked raw. I moved to the bar, grabbed two beers then took him to the toilets. Locking ourselves in the cubicle closest the window, I pulled out my pipe, dropped a rock in and fired it up.
I was still pretty pissed off that Frank had made me miss the first band, Yae! Tiger, and I told him so.
‘Aw, man. You said you’d already heard them and they sounded like a third rate Ben Lee with a Belle and Sebastian backing band.’
‘Yeah, I know but I still wanted to catch them. Hey, go easy on that.’
Frank was still pretty nervous and I could see getting a little too excited over the pipe, sucking up a little too much smoke. That’s the thing about smoking ice, you never know how much you’ve got in your lungs until its too late. Frank blew a grey cloud of sweet chemical stink towards the window and, by the look of it he was already way, way gone. He started to freak, accusing me of locking him in the cubicle to leave him there the rest of the night. He started bashing at the door, fumbling for the lock. His beer fell from the wall above and smashed all over the toilet floor. Frank found the lock, swung the door and bolted out of the bathroom. I took off after him. He’d made a break for the front door of the pub but by the time I got there all I could see was his lamp-lit, drug-fuelled frame tearing down the darkness of Foveux Street. No one has seen Francis since.
At a loss, all I could think to do was stay out the show and worry about Frank later. I went back to the toilet, grabbed my own, unbroken beer and made my way to the stage where Halal, How Are You? were about to begin.
Every now and again you catch a band who are so hilariously over-the-top, so perfectly, purposefully outrageous they can restore your faith in the Sydney Rock Band. Three guys on stage ripped into some superb garage riffage while a voice appeared in the speakers behind. But I could see no-one singing on stage. Did they have a tape I followed the band’s gaze and turned behind me to see a ferocious looking dude standing on a table at the back, clad in a dark and garish Hawaiian shirt and screaming in Jagger-horror, then in a throaty metal catarrh. I could see parts of the audience staring dumbly, not knowing what to do as the singer tore through them, up onto the stage; as he writhed in his own sweat on the floor, as he dived onto then back off of the bar. All the while the band kept up a tight, staid, fast and furious backing blast. Two well chosen covers from the British charts of 1965 and some solid guitar work kept us all rapt, almost in expectation of the singer’s impending injury. You couldn’t help but dance or scream back into the singer’s face as he we about his crowd-taunting. Something this dangerous, this daring is such a rare, refreshing scene in this usually safe city.
Waiting, waiting for Aleks and the Ramps while the between-band music sounding like some caterwauling Gun Club gone crazy over their warm mexicola; swapping acid stories with your favourite drunk friends . . .
The Melbourne band, touring their brand new 7” release, ’Antique Limb’ arrived onstage at the Hopetoun in glittery fantasy masks, short shorts and sequinned cod-pieces. It was like a glam band had recalled all the fun of their childhood picture books and animal stories and had got together to make music to freak out to in the cutest, most colourful way. Their tunes moved through such strange places, everything based around a twee orgy of florid funk and crazed psych-pop collusion. Its hard to know how to move to a band like this: you start to dance for a bit then have to stop and wonder just what the fuck is going on. They hardly stopped for applause and instead opted for long songs of impeccably arranged freak-pop; everything from screaming at each other like chimps and off-stage choreography to forgetting the words and just singing ’meow’ to pulling the best rock moves with a banjo I’ve seen in quite a while. They closed with their single but not without prefacing it with a bit of Belinda Carlisle, reminding us that heaven indeed is a place on Earth. But as I sung along and looked around me the audience had thinned to the devoted few, all of us having paid witness to a strange melange of skewed tunes by some twisted kids who simply adore the art of performance.