Friday, August 31, 2012

Song of the Week #210

Welcome. Let's get started, no mucking around OK. Sit still and don't fidget. DJ Dongles – leave your training wheels alone.
AC/DC are confirmed to be touring Australia (and probably everywhere else) in 2013. That's fantastic. If you've ever wondered what a "big" stadium gig is all about then it doesn't come much better than AccaDacca. Last time they toured I hesitated on the mouse button and tickets were sold out. Hopefully I'll be 'Quick Draw McGraw' this time.
I saw AC/DC first in Sydney at the end of 1991. For me it was almost a religious experience. And then they played a huge outdoor show here in Canberra in in February, 2001. That was a lot of fun. There are also rumours of another album to coincide with the tour. That'll be their 17th studio album – not a bad effort!

AC/DC – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (live 2009) -
On the bus this morning I listened to a few tracks from Miles Davis' "Sketches of Spain". It's a great album and pretty accessible if, like me, you are not a jazz aficionado. I had a think about jazz at the time (I was making notes for this episode) and I remembered this next artist. Django Reinhardt is recognised as a guitar maestro. He was a Belgian guitarist who played amazingly despite having deformed fingers as the result of an accident. Check this out....along with violin legend Stefan Grappelli...
Quintette du Hot Club de France - J'attendrai Swing -
Searching for further inspiration I had a rummage through one of my boxes of cassette tapes. There are still quite a few that I don't have on CD or MP3 yet. You can expect a bit of variety now...
First up is Kyuss. I think it's fair to say that their music is classified as 'stoner rock'. I first heard them on a giveaway sampler cassette that came with the now defunct music mag "Hot Metal". To paraphrase Billy Bragg, "ideas came to them in much the same way as LPs came to Pink Floyd..."
Kyuss – Green Machine -
What a treat. I have greatest hits volumes one and two cassettes from this next band. That's about 32 tracks with the same riff, in mostly the same key. But it works. They really shouldn't have prostituted themselves with their supermarket TV ads. A few years ago DJ Doc and I tried to play one of their songs for a gig – although they seem deceptively simple, getting the groove and the feel right proved pretty hard. In the end we played a tricky Hendrix track instead.
Status Quo – Whatever You Want -
I'm pretty sure this next cassette belongs to DJ Al-E-Sunshine. Back in the day I wouldn't have listened to it. But I'm a lot more open minded that I was in the 80's and early 90's. Sure I listened to hard rock, folk, metal and bagpipes back then but pop music wasn't my bag. This was a big radio hit and deservedly so. Great horns. Really, it's rock song dressed up for the kids – check out the backbeat.
Feargal Sharkey – You Little Thief -
More stuff from the cassette archive in weeks to come. I've only just begun to search through it!
My man H alerted me to the fact that Icehouse were playing in Canberra. So, it looks like we'll be joining him for a night of nostalgia and probably the best Bowie rip-off ever!
Icehouse – Crazy - – I really love the hollow guitar sound in the intro – check it out.
The early 90's saw a lot of what I like to refer to as Maths Metal Bands. Their world seemed to be ruled by a metronome and sometimes with weird time signatures. All the 6/8 beat really means is that no-one can dance to it unless they lack rhythm! But, some of these bands, regardless of the surgical precision of their music made a significant impact. They were the alternative to the noisy, organic  mush of bands like Soundgarden and Nirvana. Helmet would have to be one of the best. Here's a prime example but with a pretty straight beat.
Helmet – Unsung -
DJ HeyJo discovered some truly hard-core Pink Floyd fans at her work this week. It's a hard circle to break into. You have to be able to sit through songs full of weird atonal noise, electronic blips and some cowbell. That type of Pink Floyd fan is nearly as anti-social as the serial Monty Python quoter – those guys really annoy me. We all know it's only a flesh wound. But Floyd, despite the arguments about Barrett, Gilmour and Waters are an awesome band. Try this on for size.
Pink Floyd – One Of These Days (live at Pompeii) -
Pompeii!! Cool place for a gig.
OK now, we'll bring the week to an end with a band that are almost as universally uncool as Nickelback. And I don't care. I love the guitar sound, I love the lyrics and I love the fact that a singer who can't sing has made a career of it. I chose this particular song after finishing watching the first season of the BBC's 'Life on Mars'. Don't bother with the US remake, please. I know this song came out after the particular time period of the TV show but it still has the right feel for me. Did you know there's also a Spanish remake of 'Life on Mars' – I think I'll try and track down an episode, hopefully with subtitles. Que?!
Dire Straits – Industrial Disease -
That's enough. Send me your cover version suggestions – not long until that mega-episode goes to air. Thanks to all those who have sent ideas already. I've got heaps to wade through and I am heartened that Johnny Cash gets tons and tons of votes.
I know, it's only rock 'n' roll but I like it.

DJ Rob

Friday, August 24, 2012

Song of the Week #209

In the next few weeks I'll be posting a special episode of Song of the Week. And I'd like your input.
DJ FatHenry suggested that I put together a group of some favourite cover versions selected by you, the audience. So get your thinking hats on and send me some email! We're looking for cover versions that rock your socks. The only caveat is that they can't have been recorded for a tribute album. We want songs that bands covered because they thought it was cool.
Angus' rugby team is in the semi-finals tomorrow. It promises to be a tough, muddy and bruising affair. All I can say is that I hope that the boys enjoy themselves and that the fans stick with the spirit of the game remembering that it is kids football. We're still waiting for Zoe to start her McJob but it can't be far away. The new 'restaurant' is quite near our house and it looks almost finished.
But the news of the week for me was that US cyclist Lance Armstrong would not continue to fight charges that he had doped. Before I start let me be clear that I am very much an Armstrong fan. But my eyes aren't closed. Lance has said that he won't fight the charges for a number of reasons. Among these are the toll it is taking on him and his family – that's a fair call. Armstrong continues to push the point that he has never tested positive for a banned substance. I'd really like him just to say he never cheated. And the talk of the USADA stripping him of his seven Tour de France titles is a joke. The last time I looked, the USADA wasn't running Le Tour. This has all the hallmarks of a witch hunt and it is terrible for cycling. I'll continue to support Lance Armstrong and his fight against the scourge of cancer. And if he is now allowed to continue with his quest to win the Hawaii Ironman I'll be cheering, loudly.
This leads me to this song. Hope you understand the link.
The Soundwave festival is coming to Australia again. With bands like Metallica, Anthrax and Slayer it should be huge. But this next band are also on the bill and if you're going I'd heartily recommend them. This track has an insistent and urgent riff combined with some great lyrics. Great rock and roll.
Apaprently Avril Lavigne is now engaged to Chad from Nickelback. Ha ha ha ha ha ha!! I saw a picture where Chad was saying to Avril, "would you like to hear my new song?" Her response was "no". To be fair, I thought she had a couple of good songs but this version of one of her hits is a cracker. Nickelback will never get an airing from me.
Winter is almost over although with snow here in Canberra as well as rain and grey skies you wouldn't know it. Here's a song to warm you up. I loved it when it came out back in the 90's and it still goes around on the iDevice on a regular basis. One of the only bands with a drum machine that are worth listening to.
I'm still studying at university. But the recent group work assignment being conducted online is doing my head in. I hate group work. I'm still scarred by the moron that sabotaged a presentation when I was doing my teaching qualification. I can't wait for this bit to be over. In fairness the topic is really interesting – it's a unit on negotiation (the workplace kind not the hostage type) but I'd be happier working on it by myself. This song doesn't really relate but it's cool.
I really wasn't sure about including this next song. I love the band, the guitar riff is awesome and the voice fits. But the subject matter is a bit unpleasant. Then I got to thinking. Why is it unacceptable to sing about death, serial killers and the like when society devours books and TV shows about those subjects? Slayer aren't advocating being a body snatcher any more than the team on Law and Order SVU are wanting the viewers to be child molesters. Think about it. Anyway, Slayer are one of the biggest metal bands ever – I can't listen to them all the time but when the mood takes me they are great to turn up loud – especially when mountain biking!
This week the kids were watching one of those absolutely terrible talent shows. Was it X-Factor, The Voice or Australia's Got No Talent? I'm not sure but I must admit that I heard a couple of singers on there that could actually hold a tune. It's a shame they plan to take them and create a boy or girl group. Yuk. One guy sang this next song. Now, he did a good job but I was moved to go back and listen to the original. I chose this live version not because the video aspect is incorrect (I hate that) but because it showcases a wonderfully smooth voice. No auto-tune trickery here folks.
Shall I say anything about the impending elections in the USA. Well I guess if you're not interested then you can just self-censor and move to the next paragraph! At the moment I'm not caring much for Obama or Romney. As one of my Facebook friends so succinctly put it – "The truth is, it doesn't matter who you vote for, until these morons work together it will NEVER work." Here's a couple of tunes.
Why is that in the USA you can carry a gun in public but not say f*** on the telly?
I read in the news that a burglar broke into rapper and actor LL Cool J's house. You might know him from NCIS Los Angeles. However, the story goes that LL confronted the thief and the criminal now has a broken nose, ribs and jaw. I'm not advocating violence but the burglar certainly chose the wrong house to target. This song from 1995 is almost prophetic!
To finish off let me give a huge shout out to regular contributor DJ KelC. She's competing in Ironman Canada on Sunday. Have a great day!! Here's a song for you.
Good night,
DJ Rob

Friday, August 17, 2012

Song of the Week #208

Sigh. I'm a bit sad. No-one guessed my theme last week. DJ MillerTime was close though.

All the songs had a "black" theme: Johnny Cash is the Man In Black, Metallica were covering Black Sabbath, The Dollyrots are on Blackheart Records and the rest had "black" in the song title.
I played Depeche Mode doing Route 66. It's a great version and there is an alternate as well that is quite different and worth a listen. Along the way I found another couple of versions that I'll share with you. My brother used to collect versions of "Johnny B. Goode", maybe I'm falling into the same trap.
Dr Feelgood – Route 66 (1975) -
The Strypes – Route 66 (2012) -
The Cramps do a pretty interesting cover of that tune as well but I thought I'd mix it up a bit and play something else by them. Interesting band, I need to listen to a LOT more of their stuff. Jangly guitars, col costumes. Surf music meets punk with a serious twist of weird. Any band whose best known song is called "Bikini Girls With Machine Guns" has to be cool.
The Cramps – Ultra Twist -
I caught the bus to work today. It was pouring and I'm really not keen on riding my motorbike in the rain for a number of reasons. Last night I had checked out the latest live Iron Maiden DVD filmed in South America. It seems that if you want to go to a show where the crowd goes absolutely nuts then that's the place to be. Anyway, I looked at the tracklisting and noticed that there was a healthy amount of their newer stuff – not the standard set that you might expect. I'd listened to their latest couple of albums casually but never really got into them. After that DVD I quickly loaded them onto my phone and listened all the way to work – very cool indeed. How did I miss that? I'll tell you how; by being one of those "I like your old stuff better than your new stuff" bores. Lesson learned.
Iron Maiden – Blood Brothers (live in Santiago) – Blood Brothers -
After headbanging all the way to work (I have some cool new headphones by a company called Marley and they are the bomb) I had David Bowie's Reality Tour DVD playing in the background most of the day. I had been thinking about the TV show "Life On Mars" and that pointed me in the direction of the Bowie song. While it is a great song and the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain do a magnificent version I prefer this tune.
David Bowie – The Pretty Things Are Going To Hell -
Speaking of ukuleles as we were...this is the most famous exponent of the ukulele banjo. A classic from 1937 and one I grew up listening to. Can't  believe that I know the words off by heart!!
George Formby – Leaning On A Lamp -
I was amused to hear one of our federal politicians accusing the Leader of the Opposition of saying he would sell anything but his "arse" to be the PM in the Parliament. One of those moments you couldn't script! I'm not sure I can find an appropriate song to go with a comment like that one. Maybe Father Jack can have the final word... If you don't know who Father Jack is then you haven't lived. Search out the TV comedy "Father Ted".
I really think that NASA should've landed on Mars before or after the Olympics. The media coverage of this event wasn't all that inspiring. But Mars doesn't really need NASA, it needs guitars.
Hoodoogurus – Death Defying -
It's a big weekend of sport here with Angus both refereeing and playing rugby (not at once) followed by a trip to see GWS losers play Melbourne losers in Australian Football. I was conned into that one! And of course tomorrow night we've got the Waratahs, oops,  Australia lining up against the All Blacks in the rugby. Not sure I can watch that one. Zoë's here knitting furiously for charity which is pretty cool. She worked out this week that she knits left handed.
Here's an amusing song with a cracker of a film clip. While we're on the subject of Mars, planets, space....sort of. There's a word that has been muted out in the clip. Yawn. Nanny state again!
Monster Magnet – Space Lord -
See you next week,
DJ Rob

Friday, August 10, 2012

Song of the Week #207

It's been a bit of a sad week with someone I knew passing away unexpectedly. Dealing with death isn't something that gets any easier. In this case I despaired as a couple of close friends mourned and I really couldn't find the right words. I guess in the end it's sometimes just about being around, on the end of a phone or even an email. It's a cliché but this first bit of this song fits (and I like it). RIP Toni.
Elton John – Funeral For A Friend / Love Lies Bleeding -
If you're into great cover versions then have a quick listen to Dream Theater doing the above song – magic.
OK, there's a theme coming with the next few tunes. It should be much easier than my last effort so shoot me an email / Facebook message / tweet / smoke signal / carrier pigeon if you work it out.
The first tune is one that made me want to play the electric guitar. It's probably the greatest opening riff of all time. And it's Angus Young's favourite AC/DC song apparently. I found this cool version that you might like...great playing.
Igor Presnyakov – Back In Black -
Metallica are making the trip to our shores next year for the Soundwave Festival. I'm tempted to go and check them out but I fear I'd be disappointed. Maybe I'll wait and see if there's a new album first and if it's any good. Here's something from their Garage Inc. album of covers that I'd really like to see them play live...
Metallica – Sabbra Cadabara / A National Acrobat -
Next up something from one of the best voices in folk music ever...great band too. Worth checking out if you like your Celtic folk with some good boogie guitar.
Steeleye Span – Black Jack Davy -
One of my Facebook cronies is always posting about how cool this next band is. I checked them out and I have to agree. They're a bit of a cross between The Donnas, Joan Jett and Hole. Any band that can use the lyrics "'cause I'm naturally deodorised" is a winner in my book.
The Dollyrots – Because I'm Awesome -
This next one is a creepy tune by a band I tried to like but really couldn't. This song, however, is pretty ace for a song about hair dye.
Type O Negative – Black No. 1 -
My Dad's in Alaska at the moment. Why? Well why not – it's his holiday. I'd like to go there and see if you really can see Russia with binoculars.
Johnny Cash & June Carter – When It's Springtime In Alaska (It's Forty Below) -
There you have it...pick the link between those songs.
Last week I played Manfred Mann's "Blinded By The Light". Many thanks to a few listeners who reminded me that it was indeed a Springsteen song originally. They are both quite different.
I bought a couple of cheap CDs recently. I've been reading some stuff from an American hard rock journalist and he wrote that he thought Aerosmith's "Toys In The Attic" album was one of the all time classics of the genre. Well it was on the shelf for $10 so I gave it a chance. Of course the guitars are gritty and Steven Tyler sounds as awesome as he always does. But what I didn't realise was how their classic hit "Walk This Way" had evolved over the years. They've made quite a few subtle changes since recording the original (notwithstanding the collaboration with Run DMC). The original is the best – check the staccato intro riff and the burbling guitars through the verses – sublime.
Aerosmith – Walk This Way -
DJ Macca and DJ Al-E-Sun have birthdays on Sunday. So does my young nephew Andrew – what a popular day to be born on. So, a couple of dedications.
For Andrew... Wynton Marsalis – Buggy -
For DJ Macca...Depeche Mode– Route 66 -
And finally, for the love of my life...Jimmy Barnes/Johnny Diesel – Since I Fell For You - (ffwd to 3:00 for the song!)
Good luck to DJ AC in her singing gig this weekend!
DJ Rob

Friday, August 3, 2012

Song of the Week #206

If you’ve had enough of Channel 9 butchering the Olympics then you’ve come to the right place. Why do you think they would show footage of people sitting around watching the swimming while the women’s cycling road race was finishing? Morons.

Here’s a blast from a guitar legend. Buddy Guy played early on with Muddy Waters – that’s serious credibility folks. I remember becoming aware of his playing via Stevie Ray Vaughan. That and I really liked the title of one of his songs…here it is:

Buddy Guy – Damn Right I’ve Got The Blues -

Some days I have the blues, it seems that this week has been particularly difficult on a number of levels. Good music and hard training keeps me going. Music like this…put some “boogie in your ear”….

Motorhead – Born To Raise Hell -

There was some awesome news this week however. Billy Bragg will be playing in Canberra later in the year. Tickets go on sale on Monday – I’ll be online and on the phone to make sure I get some. Billy’s music is extremely important to me. It’s honest, stripped back and very real. Ben Elton described the Australian Flag as “Britain by night”, here’s Billy’s take on a similar topic.

Billy Bragg – Take Down The Union Jack -

Tribute albums have been appearing on my newsfeed this week as Metallica announce their part in one for Deep Purple. The timing is pretty fair as well with the passing of DP keyboard player Jon Lord. I remember really enjoying his tale of how he plugged keyboards into a Marshall amplifier to get that gritty sound. Tribute albums are hit and miss. There is a great Iron Maiden one put out by Metal Hammer magazine a few years ago as well as “KISS my ass” from the 90s. Hopefully the Deep Purple one won’t just be slow, dodgy acoustic covers. Here’s one of my favourite ever tunes from a tribute record…

Yothu Yindi – Jailbreak -

I’ve been watching the TV series “Sons of Anarchy”. It is pretty disturbing in parts but as the series moves on there is more and more humour evident. What I didn’t realise is that Henry Rollins stars in the entire second season. How did I miss that little gem? Well, he’s cast as a rather intense neo-Nazi and does a very convincing job – he has the thousand yard stare down to a fine art. Ron Perlman (Beauty and the Beast/Hellboy) is in the show as well as Katey Sagal (Married With Children/Futurama). Katey sings a lot of the tunes on the soundtrack which is worth a listen.

Katey Sagal – Son of a Preacher Man -

I was into this band called Petra when I was at high school. They were unashamedly pushing a religious message but that didn’t really fuss me – I just liked the way they sounded. Fast forward to quite recently and they reformed and put out a new album and did a tour. I got the CD, it was pretty good. And then I watched some live footage. Wow, these guys can still rock! But, the audience in the footage is almost dead and the guitar player has had a dead animal frisbeed onto his head. If I was at a show this good I’d at least be singing along and pumping my fist in the air once in a while. Sheesh. Anyway, I always thought that KISS borrowed the track “God Gave Rock ‘n’Roll To You” from Petra but I was mistaken. It’s from a band called Argent and really after a quick look I really don’t like the original. But I do like this…

Argent – Hold Your Head Up -

DJ BenEE sent me a link to this song during the week. It’s one of those ones with lyrics that nobody quite knows. But it’s a great tune! Explanations of the lyrics are most welcome.

Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – Blinded By The Light -

Scottish record company Temple Records publish some very cool stuff – a wide variety of Scottish music. There are some awesome special deals on their website just now so check them out at . I’m on their mailing list as they are the Battlefield Band’s record company.

I was going to say a lot about “keyboard commandos” this week. That’s people who troll the internet making inflammatory comments and hiding behind a screen name. I’m a member of a couple of internet forums that sometimes get choked up with these idiots. We all know they’re sitting at a keyboard in their stained y-fronts eating cheese balls but they annoy us nonetheless. Life’s too short people – get outside and get a life.

I’ll finish with Tony Joe White. He’s a fantastically soulful guitar player and singer. Swampy blues rock would be a fair description. Here’s a song from him about flower power…

Tony Joe White – Soul Francisco -

Have a great weekend…give someone a hug…but not me, hands off the merchandise.

DJ Rob