Friday, March 30, 2012

Song of the Week #188

Not long now until Easter. And while I recognize that for some of you it is a time of religious worship, chocolate or Easter buns, 2012 is the year of Easter sport for me.

For the first time since 1985 I’ll be seeing an Australian Football match in Melbourne – and in fact I’ll be seeing two! DJ Sub10 and DJ CleanUpInAisle3 have organised for us to see two potentially epic encounters. Look out Melbourne here we come! And to top it off on the Sunday night is Paris-Roubaix cycling. It’s a great excuse to stay up all night with some friends and watch arguably the best one day classic race. Can an Aussie win this year? Will Cancellara get back on top? Will DJ HammerTime fall asleep near the end and be easily fooled in his sleepy state about who actually won? Stay tuned.

Last weekend I was in a team in the MONT 24hr Mountain Bike Race. It was awesome. My teammates were a lot of fun, the track was great and the food…YUMMY! My enthusiasm for mountain biking had waned over the past couple of seasons but I think I’ve got my mojo back. All I need to do is remind my body how to cope with the punishment. The great thing about mountain biking  is that there are no cars to worry about and no red lights. Also, most mountain bikers are pretty laid back so it’s very social. Riding at night is tops as well. Good lights are now pretty cheap and light up the forest without any problems.

In extremely exciting news, my friends AB and Patty both managed sub-10hr times for Ironman Melbourne. This is just astounding. Well done!

Henry Rollins is one of my favourite artists. In his books, radio shows and any number of recordings he speaks about a certain James Brown album as being an absolute killer. So I figured I’d track it down. After searching high and low with no luck for ages, it popped up on eBay for about $6. Brilliant! I’ve had it for a few days now and I’m sure my productivity at work has increased while listening to it. The production is great, it isn’t tinny like some other live stuff I have of James’. So here’s a medley of tracks from the classic album, “Revolution of the mind – Live At The Apollo Vol. III”

Mick Thomas has what I would describe as a magical voice. Every time I hear him sing I’m transported to a concert at Canberra Racecourse where his band Weddings, Parties, Anything were a real treat. The band is no longer but Mick is still working – as evidenced by a new album. This is a classic track of his that I hope might pique your interest.

After seeing a facebook post from DJ TeaDrinker I read a news article about an American woman who lost her job as a teacher. It turns out that she had been a sex worker in order to pay her way through university. Her story is a harrowing and confronting read ( I guess this brings up many issues. In my opinion the best teachers tend to be those with some kind of life experience to relate to. I encourage you to read the story and form your own opinion and I’m happy to discuss it with anyone. Here’s another thing to mull over – it’s no secret that I was in the Army for 8 years and eventually became a teacher. I learned how to kill people. Is that any worse than being a call girl? She’s probably a lot more scarred than me.

I heard this next tune on the radio last week and its name has been son a post-it note stuck to my desk since then. I really liked the sound of the guitars in this one – so crunchy and full without just being noise. And then I watched the video clip – it’s a riot. If you need a smile then this might do it.

I’m going back to one of my all-time favourites to finish off this week. There’s always something in Johnny Cash’s music that just keeps me coming back for more. He has songs that can make you cry, songs that give you hope and a few to make you laugh so much you hurt. My favourite collection of his is a compilation called “Murder”. You can guess what all of the songs are about. Death and recrimination.

Have a great weekend! If you’re at the Brumbies rugby then watch out for Angus refereeing the little kids at half time!

DJ Rob

Friday, March 23, 2012

Song of the Week #187

Some new CDs arrived this week from the USA. The new albums from Kris Delmhorst and Winterpills. I’ve played both artists before and I very much recommend them. The record company also sent me a sampler CD of bands on their roster. If you’d like a listen just let me know.

This is going to be a great weekend with the 24hr Mountain Bike Race on. I’ve dragged myself out of 24hr race retirement to play again. I just really hope that the rain stays away. So….how fast will I ride? Who knows – but it looks like the majority of my laps will be at night.

I had a pretty bad day during the week and arrived home in a bad mood. After feeding the kids I went upstairs, plugged in my guitar and rocked out. That’s always good for what ails you! Here’s a few songs that I really enjoy playing along to. They might be clichéd but who cares, they certainly improved my mood!

Angus is a lucky boy. He’s doing Outdoor Education at school and got the chance to go sailing this week. Like me, he gets sea sick rather easily but on the lake here he should be right!

Props to Alison and Zoë who walked in the Relay for Life last weekend. They both came home having raised money for a fantastic cause, walked a long way and battling sleep deprivation!

I mentioned last week that Ironman Melbourne is on. The race is this Sunday so here’s a big shout out to AB in particular who is racing. AB got me through much of the pain that was training for my Ironman in 2010 – this’ll be his third race at this distance and I reckon he’ll ace it.

It’s 30 years this work since one of the best metal albums ever was released. Iron Maiden’s “Number of the Beast” sold well, had a range of awesome tracks on it, is now a seminal work and probably caused a bit of controversy as well! Personally I like the link between the title track and the famous Scottish poem, “Tam O’ Shanter”. I remember hearing all about that particular poem in primary school. I’ve got a certificate somewhere for reciting Burns poetry at an early age! And if you think this song is about worshipping Satan then you’ve probably not listened closely enough. Why do I like the song? Well, it has a great vocal performance, the flange on the guitars at the start is pretty cool and then there’s that scream!!

A CD I’ve picked up recently is the latest from Noel Gallagher (ex-Oasis). His album, “Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds” is a pretty good listen. It isn’t that far removed from Oasis as you’d expect and if you like that kind of Beatlesy Brit-Pop then this is definitely worth a few dollars.

Sepultura came out of Brazil quite a while ago now with a brutal take on a brand of grinding heavy metal. With some commercial success they began to incorporate their indigenous music into what they were doing. Here’s one of their best tunes in my opinion:

I wanted to finish this week with a tune that’s been going round and round in my head all week. I’m not a huge fan of AM radio – there’s too much talking and usually I just tune in for the news. But, the national broadcaster here does a great job of covering a huge range of sports on the weekend on their programme ABC Grandstand. And not just football and cricket either! But they’ve been using this tune as a backing and I just love it. It’s from a band I like a lot. Turn this one up and have a good weekend.

Bye for now,
DJ Rob

Friday, March 16, 2012

Song of the Week #186

What a crappy week. Sorry, but for me it was. After a cracker of a run on Saturday morning and fun watching the Brumbies win the rugby I woke up with a nasty cold. And it’s taken all week and some time off work to feel almost human. The smallest things really grate when you feel unwell and I could feel my mood lighten as the pressure in my head decreased. When you’re sick at home and you feel too miserable to read a book, listen to music or watch TV it’s pretty depressing. At least I didn’t have it as bad as poor Zoë!

A few weeks back I played the original of this song, or was it their other big hit? Doesn’t matter. This cover popped up yesterday and apart from a little bit in the middle where it gets self-indulgent I really quite like it. Never heard of the singer but that’s what the blog is all about really…

DJ GarE has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to live shows to choose from at the moment. Here’s an artist that I think would most definitely be worth the price of admission. Robert Cray plays tasty, refined and laid back blues guitar. I reckon if he was throwing his guitar around his head and walking on his hands he’d be a mega, mega star. But check this out – smoooooth.

This week I’ve been transferring some old vinyl LPs onto CD. Some great punk stuff. I also grabbed a Jimi Hendrix LP I had to listen to as I don’t have it on CD. It sounds fantastic on record but my 40 year old speakers are on their last legs – nothing lasts these days! I lusted after this LP for a good six months as a teenager while I saved up to buy it. Sure it’s a compilation but it is a great listen. The cover photo of Jimi in cowboy gear is pretty cool too. Here’s my favourite track from the “Smash Hits” LP.

In the “you have to be joking” category is news via DJ FatBoy that Guns ‘ N’ Roses might get back together. Surely they haven’t run out of money yet? And anyway, which lineup will reform? Don’t get me wrong, they made some great music but the chances of anything other than a greatest hits cash cow tour have to be minimal. The egos are just too big.

MC ErinB will be heading to Victoria soon along with DJ PatECakes to compete in Ironman Melbourne. Good luck to you both! And in BIG news, the Ironman folks have announced that there will now be an Ironman in Cairns in June. I’m having a little think about having a dig in 2013 but when I look at the photos of my race in Busselton 2012 I’m not sure I want to go through all that pain again! Maybe…

John Cougar – Hurts So Good (nice pink really!)

Here’s another band I know almost nothing about. I saw their name on the front of a music magazine but I haven’t read the article yet. I threw them into YouTube and came up with this….and I’ve been playing it all day! I love the piano sound at the start.

I think I’ll finish this week with two tracks from an artist who I can never quite get my head around. He has great tracks – and even albums – but his output is so varied that there are swags of it that I just don’t get. I’m not complaining – just working on it!

Later y’all,
DJ Rob

Friday, March 9, 2012

Song of the Week #185

We’re still talking about rain and flooding in the ACT and across much of the country. The good thing is that our dams are full. The bad thing is that our house needs a new bathroom roof and the backyard is doubling as a paddling pool!

This song was expected by a few last week but it seems even more relevant now…

In pretty cool news, Billy Bragg is releasing a 3 CD/ 1 DVD set of the Mermaid Avenue recordings. You get the first two albums re-mastered and then a third of unreleased tracks. The DVD includes a swag of stuff including the video “Man in the Sand” which is about the making of the albums. If you didn’t know, Billy and American band Wilco put tunes to Woody Guthrie lyrics that he hadn’t put to music himself. There are some great tracks. Also, if you order it from Billy’s website you can have him sign it…I’ll be ordering in a few minutes! This is my favourite song from these albums – you’d swear that Woody write it for Billy to sing.

In 1979 AC/DC filmed a show in Paris. Their “Highway to Hell” album was just massive and they were beginning to face the world as superstars. Of course you know that Bon tragically died in Feb 1980 but the band carried on. The 1979 concert was released in cinemas and later on VHS but until now most people had only seen some clips on TV. Well, the DVD and BluRay release is now available. The fantastic folks at Landspeed Records in Canberra have ordered me the Collectors’ Edition (naturally) and it should be here next week. As a rock video it’s pretty simple but the power of the music and cheeky swagger of Bon Scott is a real treat. This song was originally on the TNT album from 1976 (their second album) and this is a great live version.

Some bands have too many live albums and DVDs. Iron Maiden are one of them. There’s another slab of hard rock coming out soon. Recorded in front of a completely insane South American audience it will be a killer. But, seriously, another one!

Taylor Swift is in the country. There, I said it. Let’s move on. At least she writes some of her own stuff. And she’s less offensive than most Top 40 stuff. But I’m not playing any.

It’s always sad when someone dies. But sometimes the public grief outpour like we saw with Michael Jackson or Whitney Houston is just a bit over the top. Davy Jones from The Monkees died on 29 Feb. The fanfare was minimal in comparison to “mega stars” but he will nonetheless be sorely missed. He was a former child TV and stage actor and jockey who joined The Monkees at 21. Jimi Hendrix was once the opening act on a Monkees concert tour!

This week I got a CD by a group out Ohio called “Kung Fu Grip”. KFG was a term coined to describe GI Joe’s gripping rubber hands. Having spent far too much time and money assembling a GI Joe and Action Man collection in the past, the band’s name caught my eye. They sound like a mix between the Chili Peppers and Metallica – all in a good way. But I can’t find much out about them. Anyone out there in radio land have any information?

On Saturday Angus is refereeing the half time game at the Brumbies Rugby – he’s pretty excited as are the rest of the family!

It’s a long weekend here and a sleep in tomorrow will be welcome.

See you on the flipside,
DJ Rob

Friday, March 2, 2012

Song of the Week #184

Rain, rain, rain and more rain has been to order of the day (and night) in the nation’s capital. What a mess. I think the dog is swimming in the backyard. And the cat is a soggy orange mess. If it doesn’t clear up soon I’ll begin to think we’ve all moved to New Zealand.

Last week after publishing the week’s ramblings and congratulating myself on such an awesome job of work I remembered that I had been going to play some Howard Jones. Why? Something twigged in my mind about music when I was in my final year of high school – and a couple of friends were right into that stuff. It wasn’t really my scene but on looking back it’s not all that bad. I consulted the oracle of all things Howard (thanks Doc) and here we go.

DJ Cushy probably thought he was being amusing when he told me he was listening to a whole lot of Mushroom Records artists and that wasn’t much help for me this week. But he was wrong. Mushroom Records feature heavily in my collection of 45s. So, let’s drag out a few. It’s an iconic Australian label and we let some New Zealanders on there too.

Chain were a great bluesy rock band. This footage is from the Myer Music Bowl in 1982. In the background is a poster for radio 3XY. That’s one of the stations we couldn’t receive in the country when I was a kid and I was gutted as it was THE station to listen to prior to FM radio.

Chain are also on the soundtrack for the great Aussie movie “Dirty Deeds” – you need to watch it – a great gangster movie set Down Under.

This next song is a stone cold classic. It’s got everything; great beat, massive horn section and zebra skin print drums! Seriously though – it was always a favourite at any school disco!

I bought Deborah Conway’s “String of Pearls” album on the strength of this next tune. The chords in the verse are a real treat to play – they ring out beautifully. It’s definitely a song I’d like to try with a band.

And finally, Choirboys. A pub rock band that really made it big on the back of one song. But if you take the time to delve into their albums the songwriting is great and their singer has a great set of pipes. I saw them once live at the Queanbeyan Leagues Club on a Sunday night. I think there were 10 others in the audience. The band were great and played a fantastic show. Almost like the time Alison and I saw Dragon at the Yass Soldiers Club and there were more people in the band than in the crowd!

So there you go, a quick introduction to Mushroom Records. Kylie’s on Mushroom too, a definite bonus!

I wasn’t going to talk politics but I can’t help myself. The PM has announced that Bob Carr is the new Foreign Minister. Really? He’s not even in the Parliament yet and he gets a top spot. Ok, so he was the Premier of NSW but he’s hardly proven in federal politics. Gareth Evans is spinning in his grave and he isn’t dead yet. It’s looking more and more like we’ll say goodbye to the Australian Labor Party being in power when the next election comes along.

In 1990 Midnight Oil played a live show in front of the Exxon Building in New York. I remember recording the concert from the radio on a 120 minute tape – I was worried I might miss some of it! I discovered that cassette last night and I better get it onto CD soon. Those C120s really don’t last. Of course there are classic Oils tracks in the gig but this cover is my favourite. It gives a Lennon classic an extra bit of oomph…

I’ve started watching The Wire on TV. I’m only 4 episodes into season 1 but I like it a lot. Gritty police drama with good character development. The theme song is great too – it’s how I got into the show along with a recommendation from DJ Patriot. Every season someone else sings it. And given that they’ve had Tom Waits AND Steve Earle it must be good. Let’s finish with Tom doing his thang.

That’s all folks. I guess it will rain all weekend and that means no cycling. I can’t bring myself to ride on the home trainer yet – I’ll do something else instead!

DJ Rob