Friday, May 25, 2012

Song of the Week #196

Just when I thought life couldn't get any busier – this week it did! Assuming that I haven't forgotten something, tonight (Friday) will be my first evening at home.
Zoe played in Eisteddfod last night. Even though she had new music given to her hours earlier the band got a gold award! And Angus played in a rainy interschool rugby carnival yesterday. I witnessed them winning 79-nil! I think the next round of the comp might be a little bit tougher somehow.
It's going to be a shorter episode this week – brief but to the point. Fasten your seatbelt and hold on to your loved ones...
The White Stripes are a band I always think I should like but then I listen to them and they are just noisy. Not a good noise either. It's sound that grates and makes me annoyed. If you don't believe me then head to any internet video site and listen to them murdering the song "Jolene". However, this one was on the radio yesterday and I quite like it. I can't quite put my finger on who they're ripping off but it works.
This next tune is straight off the radio as well. I've played the relatively new Australian band called Stonefield before. Their singer is blessed with a big, big voice. She does sound a bit like the singer called Peaches but that's not a bad thing. The band reminds me of a cross between Tumbleweed, Steppenwolf and Janis Joplin.
This weekend I have to write a 1500 word reflection on this semester's university course. I'm not sure how many ways I can write, "it was a lot more boring that it needed to be", and still get a pass mark. While the content of the course is good the delivery in the form of online lectures has taken a nosedive in terms of quality. In a user pays system this isn't good enough. I reckon if I finished my classes with the sentence, "well, yeah, ok", there would be complaints about my teaching fairly quickly. Maybe I'm not cut out for high-brow academia (insert sarcasm here).
I missed seeing the Ramones in early '91 and I'm still kicking myself. I saw some dodgy pub band instead as a Ramones ticket would've left me broke at the time. What a doofus I was.
25 May is apparently "Geek Pride Day". But I'm not a geek...or am I? Let's face it, I've got a whole heap of Star Wars LEGO in my office so who am I kidding. Why 25 May? Star Wars was released on this day in 1977. If this song doesn't make you smile even a little then it's official – you're missing your soul.
If you follow the news here in Australia you can't have missed the debacle involving a politician (who is a former union official), a credit card, hotels, hookers and hot air. His guilt or innocence is still up in the air but the whole smoke and fire linkage seems to apply. The damage to the union involved and of course his political party is going to be significant regardless of the outcome. People in power or with responsibility aren't perfect but you really have to wonder sometimes if they ever consider the people they are representing or not? This song probably wasn't aimed at people inside unions but it fits. It's also a beautiful rendition of a very famous song.
Time to sign off now. We haven't had a tune from Billy for a few weeks now and I'm experiencing some withdrawal symptoms. I love his efforts to get the audience singing along, "less Pete Seeger and more Bob Seger"! Well it made me laugh. I chose this tune for the title if nothing else. Oh, that's such a HUGE lie. I chose it because it achieves what Sascha Baron Cohen tried to do in his movie "The Dictator". He almost got it right.
That's it. I have to be out of bed and into all my thermal gear to watch junior rugby tomorrow so I need some sleep to psych myself up. Good night.
DJ Rob
(you can unsubscribe if you can guess how many of this week's tunes PianoMan H managed to pick!)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Song of the Week #195

Music fans, blog stalkers, unwitting email recipients; welcome to you all!

Let’s get the sad news out of the way first. Unless you’ve been living under a rock that doesn’t roll you would have heard that Duck Dunn and Donna Summer died this week. Those are two big losses.

Donald “Duck” Dunn is famous as a session bass player for artists like Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett. He was also in Booker T and The MGs and of course the original Blues Brothers band. I first became aware of Duck when I was given a live Blues Brothers LP (thanks Mum!) At the end of one song either Jon Belushi cries out “Steve Cropper and Duck Dunn” just as the crowd applause fades out. I thought it was cool to be called Duck! Here’s a classic tune…anyone else think that Matt “Guitar” Murphy looks like Carl Weathers??

As for Donna Summer, she’s a legend. This is one of her best songs, and the clip never fails to make me laugh!

Donna Summer – Hot Stuff (here’s the full version of the song: click here)

I had an awesome time on Tuesday playing some tunes with H and Chief. They had a list of songs for me to sink my teeth into. The good thing was that I had only heard one of them so it was all new! Here’s a couple that I thought were particularly awesome – look out for us playing these live at some time in the future I hope!

Dream Theater – Hollow Eyes – this one is great but it’s going to be a real challenge!

A few years ago I got hold of a 10 CD set of Motown #1s. It’s a great collection full of classic tracks. During the week I had it playing on the iPod just running straight through. There’s just so many good songs that made me smile that I thought I’d share a couple. Motown isn’t my usual listening fare but if you’re in the right mood it is great to immerse yourself in.

I always think that “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” could be used for a cop show theme song.

Rolling Stones, the band was first, the magazine followed 5 years later. The Bob Dylan song is in the middle somewhere.

In response to last week’s Proclaimers tune my brother, DJ Spud, sent this…it’s a hoot for Dr. Who fans…

And that got me thinking about being Scots. It’s interesting, I haven’t been there since I was a wee boy and I’m unlikely to go anytime soon unless a lotto win eventuates. And while I feel very much Australian there is a connection to Scotland that is very important to me. It’s useful for explaining to people why I am so pale despite plenty of time outdoors and also why I can’t say “poor” without getting strange looks! The big question is who to support when Scotland play Australia in the rugby shortly. I feel that I can have a bet both ways. Maybe I need a Scotland jersey under the Aussie one just in case!!

Both my Grandfathers loved football (soccer). I’ve probably been spoiled by being exposed to Australian Football which is faster and usually a lot more exciting. But I still keep a casual eye on Scottish Football. That brings me to the next song. Not because it is particularly about football because it isn’t, but just because getting some news via Twitter about Stenhousemuir FC made me think of this song and Scotland in general. I have a Stenhousemuir FC shirt – so far no-one has recognized it which is probably not surprising. But it has started some interesting conversations. The religious nature of football followers even in the lower divisions is fairly amazing. I also made the mental connection that someone I know lives in Saskatchewan…Anyway, that’s a roundabout way of introducing a great song.

Can I just point out that I’m not going to get into the whole independence for Scotland debate. That’s for the people who live there to decide.

Here’s a quick tune who don’t like to take life too seriously. From one of my favourite cassettes.

I was writing to DJ DJ about wanting to visit the USA. He’s there at the moment and his Facebook photos have made me very envious! Apart from the Route 66 trip I thought it’d be cool to visit the hometowns of all the characters from M*A*S*H. How many can you name without looking them up? In Primary School we used to sing this song in class. Our teachers were cooler than we ever realised. Great lyrics. Painless was the dentist.

To finish off here’s a tune I’ll dedicate to the last couple of weeks. They’ve been busy.

DJ Rob

Friday, May 11, 2012

Song of the Week #194

On Sunday night Alison and I went to see Henry Rollins at the Street Theatre. Henry doesn't sing anymore which is a shame, but his spoken word shows are awesome. He covers the widest range of topics and can be funny, serious, outraged and downright scary in the same sentence. I said earlier in the week that he is one of the few people who I read, listen to, or follow who regularly has something to say that is worth listening to. Anyway, Henry talked for almost 3hrs straight and I'm pretty sure no-one was ready to leave at the end. One thing he said that really struck a chord was that he thought Americans had all the freedom they could ever need but that without equality it was almost worthless.

Rollins Band (with Chuck D) - Rise Above -

Now, Chuck D who appeared at the start of the previous video is in the country with his band Public Enemy. At the end of 1990 they were in the country as well. I was in Brisbane and had the day off. We saw members of the band in a shopping mall but couldn't get close enough for a chat. I remember someone in the crowd pushing me out of the way and telling me to get lost because I wasn't black. That was interesting. Great band, one of the few rap/hip hop acts that I have any time for.

Public Enemy and Anthrax - Bring The Noise -

Changing it up for a minute, one of Scotland's best exports other than Irn Bru are The Proclaimers. If you're stuck listening to 500 Miles then look further. Here's their new single that was released this week.

The Proclaimers - Spinning Around In The Air -

This next one is going out to DJ H. He's still trying to guess any of the songs that I might play each week - quite often he's close. Sorry, no Iron Maiden this week but you'll get the link with this tune fairly easily. I played this once with The Chief and it was a helluva lot of fun. Don't expect me to grow up anytime soon.

Wheatus - Teenage Dirtbag -

On any mixtape that I would make that song would always be followed by this one...

Bowling for Soup - 1985 -

Ha ha ha ha! That clip reminded me of my cowboy boots. Hopefully there aren't any photos of me wearing them.

Fans of comedy or people just needing to smile a bit should strap themselves in for a few minutes as I've got a couple of gems for you. The first is one I was reminded of by my Dad this week - we all used to laugh at it on an old cassette. And the second leaves me lost for!!!

Victor Borge - Phonetic Punctuation -

Nick McKaig - Theme from The Simpsons(a capella version) -

It seems to be quite a trend for bands to put out CDs of rarities, demos and B-sides. Some are absolute rubbish but every now and then there are some real gems to be heard. Bon Jovi's 4-CD set of unreleased stuff proved a couple of things. One is that they are prolific writers of great tunes and the other is that their record company must have a hell of a time choosing the album tracks. AC/DC released the rough versions of songs that eventually made it onto the Highway to Hell album. It was an interesting insight into their writing process - some changed a LOT and some were dead on.

AC/DC - Get It Hot (different lyrics and music!) -

Here's a very, very good cover of a Judas Priest classic done by Disturbed. I think that "The Lost Children" is a great name for an album of unreleased stuff! One of the few bands to do a righteous cover of this tune...

Disturbed - Living After Midnight -

Henry Rollins said that it was almost impossible to tell how old this next artist is - he's looked the same for years and years! DJ FatBoy alerted me to the fact that he has a new album coming son with the band Crazy Horse....can't wait!! Neil put out a film called Heart of Gold in 2006. Along with the fact that Emmylou Harris looks absolutely stunning in the concert footage it's a great way to spend 103 minutes. It's almost impossible to pick just a couple of Neil Young songs for you all to listen to but I'll do my best!

Neil Young - Cinnamon Girl -

Neil Young - Four Strong Winds -

But just when you think a song can't get better this popped up. Somehow I missed it to my great shame. But here it is...

Johnny Cash - Pocahontas -

Have a great weekend,
DJ Rob

Friday, May 4, 2012

Song of the Week #193

I'm writing this early (Thursday evening). One TV in our place is playing Glee - no thanks. And on the other the young man with no voice is watching some dreadful American comedy on DVD. He thinks it's funny. I probably would've at 14 as well. Nothing beats a good dose of toilet humour.

Late last year I went with DJ McG to see an Iron Maiden tribute show here in Canberra. If you were paying attention you'll remember me writing that it was as close to the real thing as I thought one could get. Well, the same guys are putting together a Deep Purple night. I'm certainly not a fan of them the same way I am of the Irons but it should be an excellent night. Get along to the Hellenic Club on July 27th to check it out. I had this next song on cassette for ages and I thought there was some kind of weird sound effect through the whole album. Turns out that the tape mechanism squeaked.

It seems that you can't turn on the goggle box these days without there being some reality/talent show. So many times I hear people choosing songs that really don't suit their voices - it's not that hard! But what really gets me is female singers who think they are channelling Aretha Franklin if they shout and wail. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Stop shouting and start singing. Soul; you've either got it or you ain't!

Extra points to anyone who can pick why I chose that particular song. That's apart from the fact that it is a classic.

I know that a lot of people claim not to “get” what social networking is all about. It's no secret that I'm a big Facebook and Twitter fan. But how you use them is really up to you. I use Twitter to keep up to date with cycling, football, traffic and triathlon news. And Facebook is a great place for sharing photos and music. Neither will take over your life unless you allow them. Get jiggy with the technology and make it work for you.

Here's a track coming to you via DJ KelC in faraway Canada and via Facebook. At the time of writing only 243 people had looked at this brand new song. I think it's not bad at all - could do with a better guitar sound but that's a small complaint. Thanks Kels - you always choose well!

Here's another band that I just had to listen to as a result of their name. They are described in various places as punk-blues-rock. Maybe add country and roots in there and you might get the idea. I can imagine Springsteen or Steve Earle using lyrics like these...

If you didn't listen to the Nightwish track last week or watch the video then slap yourself around the head and get to it. I've had the album on heavy rotation all week and it is truly magnificent.

The Beach Boys have a new song to celebrate 50 years. I wish they hadn't. Maybe they were short on cash. Only slightly better is Marilyn Manson's new cover of "You're So Vain".

Dance music isn't something I spend a lot of time listening to. I'm not much of a dancer unless you count the "Heel and Toe Polka" or maybe the odd bit of stage diving! But this is a seriously good track. The middle-eastern themed main bit is really catchy. Why not?

In 1975 the Whitlam Government here in Australia was famously dismissed by the Governor General. Now, while the circumstances in 2012 are quite a bit different I really wish that our politicians would actually get on with the business of governing or that someone would sack the majority of them. Of course, a minority government isn't helping and you just need to look at a number of other countries to see that it has every chance of being an unmitigated disaster.  None of the major political parties seem to understand that we couldn't care less for their oneupmanship and they are both as bad as each other, let's not kid ourselves. Get back to work you twits.

I've got a huge weekend coming up. There's some marking to do, an essay to write, a Woody Guthrie autobiography to read and the Billy Bragg Mermaid Avenue complete sessions set has arrived! Good times.

Hoping to see some of you making up the 20,000 strong crowd to see the Brumbies flog NSW in the rugby.