Friday, December 30, 2011

Song of the Week #175

Good evening all you radio fans! Well, not quite radio but you know what I mean.
This is the last episode for the year, and depending on my whereabouts in Aotearoa over the next little while, we may experience a short break in transmission.
Christmas was interesting. 20 people and 3 dogs in one place. But we had fun. Sydney was Sydney, I'm always glad to leave but it's OK to visit. I'm just not a big city person.
DJ FeeFee gave me a Madness boxset. I've never listened to them apart from the obligatory single here and there on the radio but I'm looking forward to getting into it. Here's something I do remember of them though...
And that leads me to this....
Ah, TV just isn't the same these days! Although for a number of people I guess the Young Ones was close to reality viewing. Thanks Mrs. Thatcher.
My family gave me a double CD entitled 'The Great Australian Songbook' - and it's a great listen. My only gripe is that if they went to the trouble of getting Rolf Harris to paint the cover and do the intro then why not include the full version of his classic song instead of 20 seconds? This is even better...
And if you though that was good, this is stellar...
I was in one of my favourite record shops yesterday - an independent one with an interesting mix of titles and a huge metal section! I picked up a Tom Waits live album recorded in 1975 on the strength of the song titles alone. How could I resist 'Emotional Weather Report', 'Warm Beer & Cold Women' and this one - the clincher...
Of course, I didn't pick up Tom Waits in the metal section. Thought I'd better be clear about that.
But if I was looking for a metal track then Queensryche is a band I always turn to. I had missed the fact that they had a new album out in 2011. Their stuff is always worth a listen - great lyrics and they can really play as well. But, after a quick listen to a few tracks I'm really not sure about it and I don't want to subject you to anything that I wouldn't recommend. The album is called 'Dedicated To Chaos' and I'll have a good listen and get back to you.
Holidays have been good for my training as I work towards a long course triathlon at Huskisson in February. I'm back on the time trial bike and really enjoying the feeling of speed out on the road. There will be some cross training in NZ as my brother has been super-awesome and organised a mountain bike for me. Judging by the weather I have a feeling that I might get a little bit wet into the bargain. Mountain biking can be very Zen compared to most of the training that I do. It is fantastic to disappear into the bush and really raise a sweat without any outside interference. No cars.
There's a newish 4 CD Iggy Pop bootleg collection that I've spotted in the shops. Iggy is cool, especially live, and I'll put this on my must-have list but I've got a bit of other listening to get through before I can immerse myself in that! If you've got any doubt about Iggy being a great performer then give this a good look...(for the squeamish, he says a couple of swear words in the intro - censor yourselves)
But my biggest find this week was one I'd been looking for over the past few months. Glen Campbell (yep, the Rhinestone Cowboy) announced that he has Alzheimer's and has recorded his farewell album. He's on a world tour at the moment doing his best. Man, I very much admire people who can put life into perspective in song. A few are good at it but listening to this album, as beautiful as it is, really makes your heart ache. That's the point I guess, but to be so honest in the public domain and not sound contrived takes talent and guts. The album is superb, Glen's voice just soars. Take a chance on these two tracks, the second one in particular is particularly moving given what we now know about him.
Next time on Song of the Week; a new format, New Year's resolutions, paid advertising and top 40 tracks. Nah, not really. It'll be another year of me rambling about almost anything and playing tunes I think you might like.
And remember...don't put anything on facebook that you don't want the world to see. It's that easy.
Happy New Year,
DJ Rob

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Song of the Week #174

We're early this week. At your regularly scheduled timeslot for Song of the Week I'll be en route to a rather large family Christmas celebration. After I've finished here I better setup a good playlist to annoy everyone in the car with.
It won't be long before TV and radio stations everywhere are reviewing 2011. I'll spare you that and dish out some great tunes instead.
Before I rip into the music, I need to let you know that I'm super proud of both my kids. They both got superb school reports, probably better than anything that was ever written about me. My teacher when I was about 6 wrote, "Robin is a chatterbox". Not much has changed. Zoë worked her way again to straight A grades and that's three years in a row. Amazing!
As tempting as it is to get into a Christmas theme here I've done that in the past. But just so that any rumours of me being the Grinch or Scrooge are quashed....
On Saturday night DJ McG and I ventured forth into town to see Maiden Oz. Although the band were called Live Evil, having started as a Dio tribute, they've branched out. And it was all Maiden that night. For $20 in a tiny venue I was of the opinion that it had damned well better be good. And I wasn't disappointed. Remembering that I saw the real Iron Maiden a few years ago and I'm a huge fan let me say that the entire night was AWESOME!! Everything was spot on. Being an old man now I sensibly wore my earplugs but it certainly didn't detract from my enjoyment. The crowd was LOUD, singing along to every word – I've never seen a Canberra crowd so animated. The setlist was great – the whole "Live after Death" album minus only one song and then a whole lot of others. I was hoarse, sweaty and in need of a sit down after a solid couple of hours. Massive congratulations to the boys in the band and on the sound and lights – it was a night to remember. At the end they mentioned a Judas Priest night might be coming up – if it is even half as good as the Maiden night then I'll be a happy metalhead.
When I was about 16 I was at K-Mart with my Mum and spotted two Judas Priest albums on cassette for the price of less than one...and they both turned out to be classics. "British Steel" and "Killing Machine" are still in my collection but I've replaced them with CDs as I reckon there must be no life at all left in the tape!! Here's what I really like about this track; firstly the guitars are overdriven but not into oblivion – you can still hear what is being played. The keyboards at the start are very cool and the vocals are sung rather than screamed, growled or grunted.
One of the many things I like about writing this every week is that I get suggestions and feedback from a number of sources. Sure I don't play everything people email my way but I'm always listening.
One such person is DJ MsgToYou – through him I heard this artist and I've been in contact and ordered a CD. I can't wait for it to arrive and I'll post a full review.
You can check out John's news stuff at
Another regular contributor is DJ FatBoy. If I took all his suggestions we'd be here for years and years of non-stop Anthrax and Metallica. And maybe the odd jazz tune. This is a cool one that he came up with. One of Australia's finest bands, The Angels, along with Screaming Jets singer Dave Gleeson. If you like a solid rock beat and tasty guitars then this might just be for you...
After a couple of months of looking in record shops I've finally managed to score a copy of Diesel's album "Under The Influence". Diesel aka Mark Lizotte, aka Johnny Diesel is an excellent Australian guitarist and if you like bluesy rock then check out the Johnny Diesel and the Injectors album from the 80s. But the new album is a mixture of covers and originals. He does a ripping version of Hendrix's Spanish Castle Magic but this is the winner for me...(this is an acoustic version unlike the album which has a full band)
There are many guitarists whose songs I like to play, and who I'd like to be able to play like. AC/DC's Angus Young, Armoured Angel's Matt Green and Queen's Brian May would be in my top 10. But it isn't all rock. As a kid I was lucky enough to learn a lot of songs as well as guitar tricks from my Dad. I was really reminded of this yesterday as I heard Zoë pick up Angus acoustic guitar and begin to teach herself a Green Day song from scratch. And by from scratch I mean that she found some chord diagrams on the internet and figured it out for herself – she plays the flute very well and if she can enjoy the guitar as much that'd be awesome. She even let me help her with the strumming pattern!  Here's a tune I got from my Dad many years ago and he'll understand the sentiment. If my fingers could fly as lightly as Tom Paxton's across the strings...
Tom Paxton following Black Sabbath on a gig bill, man – I would've been in heaven that day! I think I've mentioned that Sabbath are back in the studio and will tour in 2012...could be interesting. The fact that they chose Henry Rollins to host their press conference gives me hope...
One more track, hope you've managed to make it this far! Last night I put the movie Tropic Thunder on. It lasted about 5 minutes before I turned something else on – what a load of drivel! But this song was in the starting credits and it is cool. This is a different twist on the song but it's definitely worth a listen...
That's it. Chill out and have a good Christmas! Thanks for listening, reading and commenting through the year.
DJ Rob

Friday, December 16, 2011

Song of the Week #173

Hi folks.  Today’s installment marks the end of the school year for me. Well almost!

If you think teachers are lucky to have so many holidays then feel free to apply for a job. But I will admit that it will be a pretty good feeling to walk away for a few weeks.

In Proud Dad moments, Angus received an award for outstanding academic achievement for Social Science. I am so proud of him that I could burst. He’s done well enough to be moved up to the top level for 2012. On Monday night we’ll all be going along to the school presentation night to find out which award Zoë has won. What’s really great is that they are quite proud of each other.

I’m looking forward to a lot of things in my break but none more so than meeting my nephew Finn. He lives in NZ and the last time I saw him he was a lump growing inside his Mum. Angus tells me that Finn is awesome and he seems to be a reasonable judge of character.

But we should get on with some music before you all fall asleep.

Oasis aren’t one of my favourite bands. The hype and nonsense that surrounded them left me cold. But, when it comes to writing a catchy tune there’s no doubt that they had the knack. They were on TV here a few nights ago and I’ve watched a bit of it. While they still come across as twits this is a great tune. There are so many obvious nods to their influences but it always sounds like Oasis. That’s the point I suppose.

This week I was reminded just how good Deep Purple was. It doesn’t really matter but I happened to be having a conversation with Summernats Mogul Chic Henry and he was telling me how and why he loved the band. Chic had an awesome range of knowledge about guitar bands and was interesting to talk to. I didn’t think it was the time and place to thank him for Summernats hooligans destroying trees at my place on more than one occasion! This is my favourite track from Deep Purple. I had it on cassette for ages and the cassette body squeaked so much that you had to turn it up quite loud to drown it out!

There’s been precious little worth watching on TV of late. But what I have stumbled upon are some re-runs of the classic British comedy, Dad’s Army. Even after all these years it is still side splitting humour. Check it out sometime and enjoy a time when comedy didn’t equal profanity.

Uh oh, all the music (and TV) has been British so far.  Nothing like a thematic approach to get me thinking! This next band have a fantastic name and that’s what made me check them out in the first place.  See what you think…

Before I head out the door can you indulge me with a cheesy song of the cheesiest variety? And yes, it’s British again. Turn this one up, slap on your Walkman and look for some rollerskates…

Song of the Week will keep going during the school break but this email system will be down for maintenance from 24 Dec– 8 Jan. You can always check out the tunes here on the blog.+

DJ Rob

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Song of the Week #172

My apologies for the lateness of this instalment. It's been a big, big week and some of the events will be covered below.
Song of the Week #172 has two distinct parts. The first has some cool tunes and stories of fun times. The second bit is very serious and pretty raw. Please feel free to read as much or as little as you like. I figure that it's my blog and there are things I want to say – I encourage you to exercise your right to self censorship.
Part 1
I spent all of last week on camp with a group of 14 year old students. And it was a complete blast! I've never had a group who were all so enthusiastic about everything we asked of them. We were based in Jindabyne which is the gateway to the snowfields and Kosciusko National Park. As a group we spent a week mountain biking, hiking, camping, canoeing and river sledding. We camped close to the snow at White's River Hut as well as at Thredbo Diggings and Island Bend. I hate camping, the Army destroyed my love of it a long time ago, but the experience I had this past week went a long way to changing that. Next time I want a thermarest though. I should explain river sledding: you put on thermal underwear, then a wetsuit, then a spray jacket followed by a PFD (not quite a life jacket). Add to that water shoes, a helmet, knee and shin pads and gloves with webbing. Then you jump on a tough, inflatable body board and head down the river over rapids and a waterfall! It is fabulous fun even if the river was colder than a cold thing. I certainly got a few laughs after the waterfall spat me out upside down! Great camp, great kids, great times! But yep, nice to be home.
One of my new favourite bands as I've written about previously is "Winterpills". Two of their CDs have now arrived from the USA and I continue to be impressed by their sound. They are on the Signature Sounds label and the good folks there were kind enough to include a sampler of other bands on their roster. There isn't a dud on the sampler but this one stood out because I knew the tune but it took me ages to pick it!
Kris Delmhorst – Magic – I bet you never expected this song to be covered this way....too cool!
Last night Alison and I saw John Waters in the story of Lennon called "Looking Through a Glass Onion". He had a great band backing him up and the show was great. I wonder if John Lennon would've coped well with his audience becoming ultra conservative in so many ways. I could make a joke that they were rattling their teeth rather then their jewellery but I wouldn't dare! Some of the incidental music,  which was Lennon of course, had a real Pink Floyd feel to it. Tell me this one wouldn't fit perfectly into "The Wall"...
In interesting music news, Henry Rollins ran the press conference that announced that Black Sabbath would be recording a new album and then touring. It'd certainly be interesting to get to see the absolute masters of Heavy Metal at work regardless of their age. If Henry got a band together and toured with them that would almost be the ultimate show of all time. So you get Ozzy singing twice this week, I'm sure you'll all cope! This is possibly my favourite Sabbath song for a number of reasons. The intro is cool, the lyrics make me laugh and the the main riff just chugs along perfectly without the mechanical feel of so much modern hard music.
Recently Triple J radio has released a NicK Cave tribute album. I was pretty excited for a while until I heard some of the tracks. It's just Nick Cave covers with different singers – no real changes I heard. Here's how to pay tribute to a band...
Lenny Kravitz & Stevie Wonder – Deuce (from the tribute album KISS My Ass)
Part 2
During the week away on camp I found out that one of my close friends had collapsed and been taken to hospital. To cut a long story short, he has inoperable cancer. I had to process this information on my own, in a tent. We've been close friends for a while now as are our families and I feel like I've had my insides ripped out. But it isn't about me, it's all about him and his family. Today I was able to visit him (at his request) in the hospital. Another one of his friends had left a cap there that was significant. As many of you know I wear three wristbands all the time – one is the yellow Livestrong band supporting research into cancer. I started wearing one in 2005 and I've worn one ever since, every day, everywhere. I wear that yellow band for Bob, Chris and Rach who all died as a result of cancer. I wear it to show how much I hate this disease and how much it would mean if a cure could be found. I wear it for other close friends who have been touched by cancer as well. My wristbands are a conversation starter and a reminder. And after a week at camp there's a tan line around them. Now I wear yellow for my friend Dave and his family while hoping with all my heart that he will be a survivor.
A while ago Dave, Alison and I went to see a show about the life and times of Johnny Cash. Dave likes good music – music that means something. This isn't about wearing yellow but I think the sentiment fits well with the way I am feeling.
DJ Rob

Friday, December 2, 2011

Song of the Week #171

Woo hoo! It's Friday, I've finished work for the week and I'm going on camp next week. I get to spend time mountain biking, hiking, camping, canoeing and other neat stuff. Oh, and look after some students!
In cool music news, legendary Adelaide band The Mark of Cain previewed their first track in 10 years on the radio last night. It was great! You can download it from their website for free ( from midnight Dec 5th. I've seen TMOC a few times in Adelaide, Canberra and Brisbane and they never disappoint live. If you like Rollins Band or Helmet then check out their back catalogue. Here's an old track...
I've been listening a lot to a band called Winterpills this week. I played their track "Broken Arm" recently for all of you. Their music is a solid mix of influences including Simon & Garfunkel, Jefferson Airplane and Neil Young. Their CD is a great listen and I've got another one coming in from the USA. Here's another track for you to try out:
Zoe met Australian rock legend Angry Anderson recently when he played in a concert at her school. I think she was shocked at how short he was and how many tattoos he had! I remember meeting him at Melbourne Zoo when I was a schoolboy. I was to nervous to say a word! Here's Angry...
Today DJ McG returned my copy of the movie Anvil. It's a hoot, if you haven't watched in then get on with it, soon! We were talking about cool music – he has GREAT taste – and he reminded me of an awesome guitarist from Germany. I remember reading about Michael Schenker in guitar magazines and really digging his black and white Flying V guitars. I had a V for a while but the neck just felt too chunky for my hand. But, here's Michael...
Hats off this week to DJ HotB who participated in a hell selection week for cycling scholarship. I can't believe what these cyclists had to endure – it should have been filmed for TV. I laughed when I read that the first thing they had to do was re-cable their bikes. That would've been me gone in the first 5 minutes. But I wonder if she'll come and service my bike?
Angus has become addicted to the "Back to the Future" movies. That's not all bad as they are good fun! I think there might have finally been a breakthrough in his music education though when he loaded these tracks from the movie onto his iPod...anything's better than "yo, yo" music.
Huey Lewis & The News – The Power of Love (it takes about 15s for the sound to kick in...WAIT!)
If you're in Canberra on Dec 17th then get along to the Transit Bar to see the Iron Maiden tribute show. DJ Scotwithonetee reckons I'll need a wig but whatever, it should be awesome. Probably not as good as when we saw the real band a few years ago but it'll be horns up all night!
Adrian Smith is playing a red Ibanez Destroyer guitar in that clip. I had the chance to buy one a few years back for a bargain price and I'm still not sure why I passed it up. I think the shop was too busy and couldn't be bothered fighting my way through the masses! Oh well.
If you don't know that Billy Bragg is one of my all time favourite artists then you mustn't be paying attention! He's reworked one of his classic it is. Lyrics are at if you nee d them.
Anyway, he's got a new CD available through his website which is a collection of protest songs he's done over the last few years. In the liner notes he reflects that the time seems right for these type of songs again. I'll leave you with one of them. I don't agree with all that Billy has to say but this is a great tune and I reckon DJ G will like the reference to Dylan as well.
That's all folks – see you next week – and it'll probably be late as I'm going from camp to see the awesome show "Looking Through A Glass Onion" with John Waters. It's a one man show about the life of John Lennon. He has a band too so I guess it's more than one man. We saw it years and years ago – probably before we got married and we've just ticked over 18 years so...
DJ Rob