Friday, May 28, 2010

Song of the week 92

This week I could continue to regale you with my displeasure at the insurance company but I won't. The upside of being scooter-less is that I've been doing some cycle commuting. Road works have meant that any semblance of a direct route continues to be either impossible or dangerous. As a result the mountain bike is getting a workout. Rain and mud haven't stopped me, in fact they've probably added to my enjoyment!

Alison ended up on crutches this week after some cartilage decided it would take a holiday around her knee instead of staying where it is meant to be. Between us we have two good knees. Fingers crossed that it all gets better soon.

Big news for me was the arrival of my new guitar. And what a journey it was. I placed an order for it in January and it was delivered this week. Before I could lay my hands on it, my new axe travelled from London UK to Auckland NZ. In New Zealand it then went to my Mum's house in Wellington and then onto my brother. My Dad picked it up and brought it back to Australia (Geelong) and then my friend Beck picked it up and brought it back to me with some assistance from Dom. The guitar in question is a "Burns Steer". Burns are an English company probably most famous for their guitars being used by Hank Marvin from The Shadows. The Steer's most prominent player is one of my heroes, Billy Bragg. Strange looking guitar but then who wants to be the same as everyone else? Here's a pic of Billy with one:

And now, to quote my good friend DJ Rickers, "I feel a song coming on".

Recently, Slash (former guitarist for Guns N Roses) released a self titled solo album. It isn't his first and previous efforts have been pretty good. On this one he has recruited a heap of well known artists to help him out. You get Ian Astbury from The Cult, Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop and a heap of others. There are different "bonus" tracks on the album depending on which country you buy the album in. I found this one, the Brazilian track, on YouTube initally. Feedback from a couple of friends is quite disparate but I like it a lot so here we go. Slash with Cypress Hill and Fergie from the Blackeyed Peas doing Paradise City:

A while back I was introduced to a guitarist called Bob Brozman. He may have featured in the past but 92 episodes in my memory gets a bit hazy. Bob is a phenomenal musician, performer and also lectures at university level. He has a few albums but seeing him live is a real treat. He really "plays" the guitar. Bob plays a range of steel guitars, ukuleles and a myriad of other stringed instruments. Check this excerpt from him on TV for a taster and watch closely as he moves in and out from the microphone to vary the sound you hear:

DJ TrayC pointed out to me after last week's episode that I could do with highlighting a few more female musicians. Fair call. Here are a couple of great songs...

First up we have Concrete Blonde. They are famous for the overplayed and quite frankly boring song "Joey". This is a much better effort that predates all the Twilight nonsense by a number of years:

Concrete Blonde - Bloodletting:

Secondly, The Dixie Chicks. I "discovered" their music a few years back. I will admit that I had them written off as derivative, boring and redneck. WRONG. They are great musicians and sing with attitude passion. Here they are covering a Dylan tune.

Dixie Chicks - Mississippi:

And finally, The Donnas. Hilarious. Great rock and roll. Here the band completely take the piss out of male dominated cock rock. I can heartily recommend the whole album that this track is from as a great soundtrack to any road trip.

The Donnas - 40 Boys in 40 Nights:

In fab and groovy news, Angus has been selected for some representative level rugby. If he performs well at the carnival then he gets to try out for the ACT.

I was also lucky enough to go to see Zoë play in the concert and jazz bands at her school's music faculty concert. I am constantly amazed at the quality that such young children can produce. I expected her bands to be pretty good but I was blown away. She's playing in an Eisteddfod this weekend. Quick update - they got a Gold Medal for jazz band tonight!

So, I should finish off here because I'd like to avoid getting wet on the ride home. The song of the week comes from English band, The Cult. I really, really, really liked their album "Electric" when it was released in about 1987. It had everything I liked: a rock swagger and loud guitars. Maybe a bit like the Rolling Stones with some added grit and volume. The Cult have had a patchy career and possibly the worst guitar solo ever is on "Electric" but in general they are great. This song is from that album and was the first 45 single I bought of theirs. I'm sure it is the best Stones riff that Keith Richards didn't write! The film clip was a lot of fun back in MTV days. All they've done is mime the song twice in different clothes and mix the two up! And if anyone ever offered me any type of guitar gratis then a Gretsch White Falcon like the one in the clip would be at the top of my list.

The Cult - Love Removal Machine:

That's it. Gotta ride.

DJ Rob

Friday, May 21, 2010

Song of the Week - episode 91

Song of the Week 21/5/10

Let's get the sad news out of the way first. Dead at 67 on Sunday was heavy metal legend, Ronnie James Dio. Ronnie is famous for singing with Black Sabbath after they fired Ozzy and as well for his own band, Dio. He died after a battle with stomach cancer. Ronnie had a huge voice and will be sorely missed. His last recordings were with Tommy Iommi, Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice who he played with in Black Sabbath. The band was called Heaven and Hell. It is a great album (The Devil You Know) - I heard it first in a guitar shop last year and was blown away by how good Dio's voice was, especially given his age. One reason I like Ronnie because he sings and doesn't scream - the lyrics are obviously important to him. Here are two tracks, a classic one from Dio and a newer one of Ronnie with Heaven and Hell.

Dio - Holy Diver:

Heaven & Hell - Bible Black: (look closely at Tommy Iommi's right hand - he has prosthetic tips on his fingers and has had for years - amazing)

Is anyone suprised that cyclist Floyd Landis has admitted to being a drug cheat? I am. Can't believe he spent all that time, effort and money defending himself and now wants us to believe all the latest nonsense. What a loser. And of course, now he is levelling accusations left, right and centre. What makes this worse is that members of the public donated to his legal defence. I hate drug cheats. So should you. Support these people:

And the other thing that I don't like this week is the insurance company. The assessor looked at the scooter on Monday. Today is Friday and still no progress. Looks like more mountain biking adventures on the way to work this week! Seriously more fun than riding on the road. I can get from home to work (13km) with only about 500m of road riding if I am a bit creative.

I mentioned Serena Ryder last week. Can I just say that her latest album is great. Although it is seemingly inmpossible to find in a CD shop here. I'll look further afield. Here's another track that I hope you like.

Serena Ryder - Little Bit of Red:

But, I did get cool new mountain biking lights this week. A gift from Alison and the kids for my birthday (the lights were sold out so I had to wait a little while). 900 lumens for less than $200 is a real bargain. I'll be out in the forest with them tomorrow night and will report back. Mountain biking at night is great fun. It can be very zen as quite often you are the only rider out there, at one with the bike. Strangely, my body seems to run much better at night! Of course, in a pine forest, some nights are a bit Blair Witch Project. When that happens I just go home!

I went to a breakfast this morning where the ACT Minister of Education was the guest speaker. He spoke of his plans to attract lots more tertiary students to the Territory. I wonder where he thinks they are all going to live? Minister Barr also elaborated on his plans to give Government School Principals responsibility for the makeup of their teaching staff as well as for their own budgets. I wonder if this idea (which I think is great) comes with a comensurate rise in salary as it should mean a lot more work and responsibility.

I was in a meeting the other day and the work for the class prior was still on the board. Whichever class it was were discussing U2's movie "Rattle and Hum". I was pleased that such an important band were being discussed in school but a bit surprised that it was thought that Bono didn't take BB King's comments well about his lyrics from "When Love Comes To Town". I've watched this movie more times than is healthy and I always thought that Bono was a bit overawed at getting what sounded like praise from the legendary bluesman. BB comments that Bono writes, "mighty heavy lyrics, young man". Great song. Here it is. I must find that class and find out what conclusions they came to!

U2 with BB King - When Love Comes To Town:

The other night when, as a shock, there was nothing good on TV (and I hope you can read the sarcasm into that comment), I threw Pink Floyd's "The Wall" into the DVD player. Apart from having to explain the premise of the film to Zoe and fast forward a few bits, hearing this song reminded me that the whole album was performed live when the Berlin Wall came down. This song suits Bryan Adams voice perfectly - an all out rock song. Oh, and if you need to explain "The Wall" to anyone it isn't that easy. I saw it first at about 15 and had absolutely no idea what was going on. It wasn't until I was 18 and saw it on the big screen that it began to make sense. Challenging viewing if you want it to be. But other than that it is a fantastic collection of songs.

Young Lust - Bryan Adams (live):


DJ Rob

Friday, May 14, 2010

Song of the Week - Episode 90

You can always find Song of the Week and other random ramblings at:

It is just my luck that the weather has turned really cold in the mornings this week. I have thoroughly enjoyed cycling to school each morning in sub-zero temperatures whilst wearing more layers than a parfait has(spot that reference!) Even the windproof facemask got an outing. Brrrr. The news on the scooter is that it will be being repaired rather than written off. I reckon I’ve got another week on the Cervelo to contend with before the yellow peril is returned.

We went to the coast last Saturday for Angus to play rugby. It was a great trip with some friends and both Uni-North teams won their matches. A lack of numbers meant that Angus got to play up a division as well. He scored a try and converted it in his game and his mate got a conversion as well. Big smiles on the way home after a swim in the sea. I love the beach so very much, as much as a kick in the teeth. But the boys and Dave enjoyed the water! Thankfully, the game is at home this week. I wonder if the fog will lift before they play?

Zoë has started work as part of the backstage crew for her school’s musical production. Does this mean she is looking good for a career in furniture removal? She’s a pretty enthusiastic kid so I’m sure she’ll have a ball. She came 10th in the school cross country which pleased her no end!

Angus has been learning guitar (well attending lessons anyway) for a while now. But suddenly something has grabbed his interest and it is all coming together. He has written a pretty cool tune for a song and the other ones he plays are becoming recognizable. On Thursday night he wanted to learn a riff that apparently I play all the time. But we couldn’t work out what it was. So I just had to sit and noodle until it came up. I tell you, the boy has taste, here’s the song in question:

ZZ Top – La Grange:

Hopefully it is a while before he tries to grow the beard to go with the tune. Also, I don’t reckon we’ll tell him that the song is about a brothel just yet! Did I ever relate the story about me not realizing anything was at all different about the Village People until I was an adult? D’oh!

Angus’ other favourite riff to play is this one:

White Stripes – Seven Nation Army: – and that is an AWESOME music video.

On Sunday we went to check out one of my very good friends playing in a band. It was a cool venue that is part of a second hand / vintage book shop. The band, Junk Sculpture, played a good range of songs and had a drummer who knew how to play as part of the band rather than bashing the kit into submission. They were great and played very much as a group with everyone having a part to play. Apart from the fact they played one of my absolute favourite songs (coming right up) they also did a number by Ron Sexsmith who is very, very cool. Criticisms….well, to be honest, does anyone really need to hear REM’s “Losing my Religion” ever again? “Dear Prudence” was stellar and their version of Springsteen’s “Girls In Their Summer Clothes” was a real treat. And the only thing missing from their version of Neil Young’s “Four Strong Winds” was Emmylou Harris on backing vocals (check out Prairie Wind DVD). Here’s a version with just Neil and his wife Pegi.

Neil Young – Four Strong Winds:

George, the band leader made the comment that it was nice to be away from “McCulture”…whilst wearing NIKE shoes… But this track took the cake, it was fabulous:

Elvis Costello – Peace Love and Understanding: – will that man ever have a proper shave?

And now for something completely different. I remember listening to Steeleye Span when I was a teenager, the mix of folk and rock struck a chord with me and it still does. Here’s a version of one of their most famous tracks by a collective called “The Imagined Village”.

The Imagined Village – Hard Times of Old England (live):

Staying on the folk(y) track for while we have the “song of the week”. I came across this one on YouTube by mistake. I was looking for a clip from the best music show on TV (RockWiz) and this was at the top of the list. As a result of listening to this girl sing I have got my hands on one of her albums and sought a recommendation from the Canadian connection – DJ Kel-C. Realistically, Serena Ryder has a great voice, and can play the guitar and a mean harmonica. What else could a music fan ask for?? Lior has a good voice too. More about him next week.

Serena Ryder and Lior – Heart of Gold (live on RockWiz):

I’m off home now, might be nice to have a ride in the sunshine!

DJ Rob

Friday, May 7, 2010

Song of the Week 89

This week I crashed the scooter. Alison’s scooter! Another driver just pulled out in front of me and I had nowhere to go. I managed not to hit him but I did slide down the (wet) road. I have no injuries, and for the moment, no scooter! So I’m on the pushbike to and from work while the insurance people work their own particular brand of the world’s slowest magic.

In happier news, I discovered a new Jimi Hendrix album. “Valleys of Neptune” was recorded in about 1969 and released in 2010. It is all stuff that hasn’t been heard before but some of the tunes are just different versions of songs we know and love. The sonic quality is superb, sounds like it was recorded yesterday. Now, I’m not a huge Hendrix fan. Live he always seems to forget to tune his guitar and the drummer can’t restrain himself. But, these are studio recordings. The guitar “quacks” the way a Stratocaster should and, for the most part, the rhythm section know their place. There is a particularly funky version of “Stone Free” that rates a mention. And the particularly English accents on the backing vocals for “Fire” gave me a chuckle. This is a pretty accessible Hendrix album without a lot of the psychedelia from later on in his career which is a bit polarising.

Jimi Hendrix – Stone Free:

Also, a CD by the Hindu Love Gods arrived via eBay from Germany. Who, I hear you ask! Well, it is a group made up of Warren Zevon, and ¾ of REM. Pretty cool. It is all cover versions but well worth a listen. They do a rocking version of Prince’s “Raspberry Beret” but I’m in more of a pop mood so here’s the original
Prince – Raspberry Beret:

And this next song is just too funny for words. If you take all lyrical content very seriously then this is NOT the song for you. It is a hoot. Loosen up baby and have a laugh.

Supersuckers – Born With A Tail:

I just read a book about all different types of music. It was called “Music Lust” and was really pretty interesting. But, I reckon if I wrote a book I’d check my facts. Apparently, the B-52s named their band after a type of aeroplane. It’s about hairstyles. Not always my cup of tea but they have some fun tracks. Cindy and Kate have great voices into the bargain.

B-52s – Roam:

Over last weekend I listened to a CD full of electronic music. Not something I would usually do. However, there were some pretty good moments. 90% of the stuff on the CD was from artists I’d never heard of but this track was one I definitely knew. A great piece of music that can be quite emotional depending on if you associate it with a certain film or not. I’ve dug up a live clip of the track and, whilst I like the song, I can’t imagine I’d want to go to a concert like this where someone just fiddles with synthesizers for a couple of hours. Give me Alice Cooper being lynched any day!

Jean Michelle Jarre – Oxygene:
And the movie version:

Well, that’s it for another week. Watch out for cyclists on the road and remember that fibre is your friend.

DJ Rob