Saturday, May 25, 2013

Song of the Week #247

Riding bikes (powered by myself or by a motor) is a lot of fun. I'm at one with the elements, the wind is in my scalp and it seems easier to take in the surroundings. But, on the bicycle yesterday out near Tharwa I snapped the cable that works my front derailleur! That certainly put a dampener on the remaining 40km of the ride but at least I wasn't stuck in the hardest gear. However, kudos to the guys at my local bike shop (Monkey Wrench in Hackett) who calmly and immediately fixed my trusty Cervelo steed as I nipped next door to the best cafe (Little Bean) for a coffee. I haven't had quite such an eventful ride for a very long time.

The Spencer Davis Group - Keep On Running -

This week I was given the task of sitting at the computer at 9am on Tuesday to get tickets for Zoë to see Taylor Swift. Unlike trying to enter an Ironman the host server didn't crash and the tickets were secured. In terms of music that my kids are into, Taylor isn't all that bad. After all she writes her own stuff and she can actually play an instrument. It's a lot less manufactured than a lot of other stuff. Personally I wish she'd tour with these guys but then I'm a crusty old rocker...

Taylor Swift & Def Leppard - Photograph -

Speaking of mega-huge 80s metal music as we were; what is it with middle aged women and Bon Jovi? I remember very clearly in 1985 and 1986 when the boys from New Jersey weren't all that cool. Full respect to everyone who has been a fan for a long time but just because Jon Bon has aged well and is friends with Oprah isn't a good enough reason to like a band. Let's go back to the time of mullets and spandex.

Bon Jovi - In And Out Of Love -

Bon Jovi - Tokyo Road (live) -

I think that Bon Jovi captured the true essence of rock music and what it means to a lot of kids in their lyric, "it feels so good, it ought to be illegal, I got my vaccination from a phonograph needle..." Of course, it probably doesn't quite work with an MP3 but you get the general idea!

I gave this next tune a bit of a test drive with a few people during the week. Reactions were mixed. But I think I'll play it anyway - it's my blog. This is Elvis Costello playing at the White House in a tribute to Paul McCartney. Regardless of the location or the occasion or your views on that particular Beatle I'd encourage you to have a good listen to this track. Elvis does a very good job and the US Marine on the piccolo trumpet is simply brilliant.

Elvis Costello - Penny Lane -

If you haven't seen Elvis playing with Burt Bacharach in the Austin Powers film you've missed quite a treat so here it is...

Last week's Midnight Oil show was a lot of fun and we're doing it again tonight. The pressure is on for me not to flub the notes I did last week, especially since my family will be coming! If you're interested in seeing the show but couldn't come to either performance then give me a yell as we're playing a couple of charity  shows around town. There's also a rumour that we might be on the this space.

Midnight Oil - Back On The Borderline -

I played Patti Smith last week and yesterday she rolled around on MyJam. I've never paid any attention at all to her work but I think I better have a look sometime soon...

Patti Smith- Gloria -

I'm going to finish off this week with a dedication. My mate Macca isn't feeling all that well (chemo will do that to a person). Watching his grace and strength as he battles cancer is inspiring and devastating all at once. I hope these couple of tunes help in some way.

Matisyahu - Live Like A Warrior -

Jack Johnson - We're Going To Be Friends -

DJ Rob

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Song of the Week #246

Hi everyone,

Apologies for this week's insane ramblings being a bit late - a migraine
will do that.

In technology news, Samsung reckon they will release a fully
weatherproof version of their Galaxy S4 later in the year. It can't come
soon enough for me. I'm sick of phone cases that claim to be rugged and
end up not being so. The latest one I have tried (Lifeproof) has a split
in the case after only a couple of months. Grrr....

Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons - Shape I'm In -

That Jo Jo Zep tune came into my head when I was listening to some Sly &
The Family Stone this week. Not quite the same but cool nonetheless. It
made a change from my steady diet of Slayer!

Sly & The Family Stone - Thank You -

Well, as Neil Young said, "tonight's the night"! The first Midnight Oil
tribute show is less than 12 hours away. Before that though we have to
survive Angus both refereeing and playing rugby. His eligibility for a
drivers license can't come soon enough.

If you're coming tonight you might hear this of their best.
Fairly impenetrable lyrics though.

Midnight Oil - Shakers & Movers -

Customer service is alive and well in Canberra music shops but you have
to look hard to find it unfortunately. During the week I'd been in one
guitar shop ready to spend a few dollars. I was the only customer and
there were four or five staff kicking around. After wandering through
the store, touching the expensive guitars and examining price tags for
about 15 minutes I left with my money - no one was interested in serving
me. What a drag.

Yesterday I took myself off to a different guitar place. Well, it was
awesome. Firstly I haven't seen that many guitars in one place since DJ
DJ and I were in Sydney in the early 90s. And then all three guys in the
shop engaged me in conversation. Finally I was given a lead, shown the
try-out room with the amps in it and told to try whatever I liked. So I
did. Tons of fun and I'll be taking my amplifier in next week to see if
the Fender Pawn Shop 70s Deluxe Stratocaster sounds as fantastic as it
did through their gear. Well done Davis-Wheeler Music - I'll spend money
with you guys in the future, guaranteed.

Years ago I watched the hilarious comedy, "The Adventures of Ford
Fairlane - Rock and Roll Detective". Any number of films have been
inspired by it. Aside from the myriad of one liners I loved the
soundtrack which featured Motley Crue, Billy Idol, Tone Loc,
Queensryche, Dion and Richie Sambora. There's one scene where Ford
(Andrew Dice Clay) sings a song and I've always loved it. This week I
found a version of it being performed by the Blues Brothers. Too cool!!
And that took me around the block to what I think is the original. Try
these on for size...

Jimmy Reed - I Ain't Got You -

The Blues Brothers - I Ain't Got You -

Ford Fairlane trailer -

Led Zeppelin's "Celebration Day" live DVD, BluRay and CDs have been
around for a while now and I've been tempted to check them out. An
abridged version was broadcast on TV and I checked some of it out. I'm
glad I did before I spent $25 at the record shop. In short, it was
dreadful. Too much wailing and waffling and not enough energy or rock
and roll. I'll pass. While Van Halen are far from Led Zep, please check
out these two versions of the same song. One is tight, raucous and a lot
of fun. The other is by Led Zep. Sad really.

Van Halen - Rock and Roll (live) -

Led Zeppelin - Rock and Roll (live) -

I took myself to the movies this week to see what the cinema had billed
as a "cult classic" - they have a whole series on with one a week.
Natural Born Killers is a movie I hadn't seen before and one that I'm
not sure I want to see again. However, it was worth the price of
admission for the soundtrack alone. I guess if you're Quentin Tarantino
then you can afford top artists and they're probably not against the
idea either. Again, not a bad film, just disturbing. To finish off this
week here's a couple from the soundtrack...listen without prejudice folks...

Patti Smith - Rock 'n' Roll Nigger -

Leonard Cohen - Waiting for the Miracle -

L7 - Shitlist -

Rock on brothers and sisters,
DJ Rob

Friday, May 10, 2013

Song of the Week #245

I had an hilarious conversation with one of our major phone companies this week. To cut a long story short, Angus' mobile contract was up for renewal and they wanted to get me to sign up for another 24 months. I did - the deal was solid. But then came the funny bit - they wanted me to have a new handset. After explaining that Angus has a pretty new one that we spent ages researching they still really didn't care - it was gratis and we we having one whether we wanted it or not!

These events led to me comparing the specs of both my kids' phones against the new one. After eventually seeing sideways as a result of reading too many phone reviews I've come to the conclusion that no-one really makes one that's particularly good. Sure, they all do bits and pieces and have a range of features but there's always something missing. I've had an iPhone for a while and I love it. But I don't like the way that the interface is locked down or the fact that they are pretty fragile (mine's been wrapped up in bullet proof covers since I got it). And who has decided that phones need to get bigger and bigger and bigger - ridiculous.

If I was designing the iPhone 6 and the associated software here's a few things I'd think about including:
  • a decent browser (Safari is very average)
  • completely sealed unit - waterproof/dustproof etc. - we know it can be done
  • touchpad charging to keep the unit sealed
  • bluetooth headphones only - again, keeping the unit sealed
  • the ability to customise the home screen
  • tons of storage - an iPod can have up to 160Gb so let's get on with it

That'll do to start with.

Mi-Sex - Computer Games -

I heard this next song for the first time yesterday. I must admit that I have tried on a number of occasions to get into PJ Harvey's work and I'm always left underwhelmed. But this track is a cracker.

PJ Harvey - This Is Love -

I finished reading Nick Kent's autobiography this week. Entitled, "Apathy For The Devil", it follows his life as a music journalist for the NME in the 70s. It's not an easy read as Kent ends up a heroin addict among other things before coming out the other side alive. But if you're interested in a range of bands from that time it is well worth checking out. He certainly doesn't hold back on bands that he either loves (The Stooges, Led Zep, Rolling Stones, Stiff Little Fingers) or despises (Blondie, Talking Heads).

Iggy Pop - The Passenger -

Stiff Little Fingers - Barbed Wire Love -

And now, from the "where did he find that one?" category - please give this next track a spin. It's interesting to say the least. I found it through a suggested link in ThisIsMyJam and I'm really not quite sure what to say. Hypnotic? Weird? Definitely awesome. Certainly this is an album I'll be ordering very soon.

Public Service Broadcasting - Spitfire -

As a result of learning all the songs for the Midnight Oil show (one week until the first gig) I delved into their back catalogue. I wasn't a big fan as a teenager. This next track is from their second album and I think it has all the elements of a great track. It grooves, it rocks and it makes me feel like getting up and moving around (I can't dance!) See what you think.

Midnight Oil - Cold Cold Change -

This next song isn't in the show either but I really like it for a number of reasons both lyrically and musically.

Midnight Oil - Truganini -

Now, I'm not a big fan of the Royal Family. But I was very impressed with Prince Charles today as he spoke out (again) about climate change sceptics and businesses ignoring the environment. He said, "we can't wait until we are absolutely sure that the patient is dying." Nice one.

And just to close off, a song that came around on the iPod in the car. It doesn't matter if you're religious or not, these lyrics have something to say to everyone. In a week where elite German cyclist Jens Voigt tweeted his disgust about the rates of children living in poverty in his country this song resonated with me.

Johnny Cash - All God's Children Ain't Free -

Bye for now,

DJ Rob

Friday, May 3, 2013

Song of the Week #244

There are three rather influential musicians who have died very recently. Although I'm starting to feel like the obits section of the newspaper I feel that I should write a little about each of them.

Chrissy Amphlett from The Divinyls died just over a week ago. I was fortunate enough to be turned on to her music by DJ FatBoy when we were students at the Army School of Signals. He made sure I listened to songs like "Sleeping Beauty" and "Science Fiction" as well as all of the hits. Chrissy had a classic rock 'n' roll voice, a tough attitude and an enormous stage persona. Like most of us, she had personal demons and battles but on stage she was peerless. 53 is way too young to die.

Divinyls - Sleeping Beauty -

Divinyls - Science Fiction -

Last night (Aust. time) Jeff Hanneman, founding member and guitarist for the band Slayer died aged 49. Although Jeff had been unwell for quite a while (he had necrotizing fasciitis) his death was unexpected. Slayer isn't everyone's cup of tea but to me they are a band that represent an unwavering dedication to their craft. Along with their peers Anthrax, Metallica and Megadeth they invented thrash metal - a genre which has spawned any number mutant sub-genres. But while most other bands changed with the times, cut their hair or had a "jnew-direction", Slayer continued recording uncompromising music, both lyrically and sonically.

Slayer - Skeletons of Society -

Slayer - Americon -

Bob Brozman died on April 23th. What is especially sad is that he took his own life. Bob's ability to play was severely compromised by some injuries. Media reports are that he was unable to play the way he wanted to and when he did it was with a lot of pain. I really don't know what to write about that other than if you have friends or relatives who are struggling then don't leave them to deal with it alone. Bob was an American guitarist and ethnomusicologist who also called Australia home at times. He was an amazing exponent of resonator guitars, ukuleles and a huge range of instruments. I was exposed to him on an ABC TV show in the 90s and was fortunate enough that my Dad got to see him live and got me a couple of CDs. If you're at all interested in National Resonator Guitars (like the one Paul Simon sang about, and the one on the cover of "Brothers In Arms") then throw Bob's name into YouTube, sit back and be astounded. Here are a couple of clips that might give an insight into his brilliance.

Bob Brozman - Moana Chimes -

Bob Brozman - Down The Road -

I have a couple of other tracks to play this week - I've had some time on my hands to listen to some new stuff as well as to reflect on some oldies!

Firstly, Jason Newsted, who you may remember played bass in a little band called Metallica, has released an EP entitled "Metal". I was skeptical at first but I needn't have been. It is a great slab of heavy rock. Can't wait for a full album.

Newsted - Soldierhead -

This one came via "MyJam" - absolutely hilarious...

Pomplamoose - Bust Your Knee Caps -

My mate Garry used to send me memory sticks full of tracks he thought I should listen to. And I've been working my way through a throughly eclectic mix. Here's an artist I had only really listened to as part of the Travelling Wilburys - fantastic, joyous track.

Jeff Lynne - Every Little Thing -

I've really been enjoying the latest Dr Who series. Zoë tells me that I am like Whovians the world over in my sadness at the departure of Amy Pond! Last week's episode was even more fabulous with the inclusion of this song from a great English band...

The Cult - Fire Woman -

Before I finish, here's a link to something I wrote about my experiences attempting to find good news and current affairs coverage.

I discovered a massive range of kooky cover versions uploaded by a US radio station. Some are great, some are true stinkers. This is one that I liked a lot. I must admit that even the band's name piqued my interest. Let me know what you think...

The Polyphonic Spree - Heart Of Gold - (the song starts about 1:25 in)

Give someone a hug - you'll feel better. Make sure it's not some random in the street though, if you do that then I won't be held responsible.

DJ Rob