Friday, July 26, 2013

Song of the Week #256

Last week you learned about hexadecimal numbers with episode FF (255). This week, therefore, is number 256. That's an important number to IT geeks like me as things like banks of memory have it as a multiple. You know, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024 and so on. Think megabytes, or kilobytes like me if you're old enough.

256 is also a special number as it was my "Employment Category Number" a long time ago in the Army. Each job has a number and Computer Operators were 256. That's probably all changed now.

But enough of that, let's have some tunes.

Zoë turned 17 and got her driver's license today. She promptly dropped Alison at home and drove away into the distance! I was a lot older when I finally got my license but the sense of freedom is no doubt just as exciting. I'll be waiting at home slightly nervous this evening as she drives herself to and from youth group – no passengers for a while I think. Here's a track from a band that I first saw when was just older than 17 and no more.

The Radiators  - 17 (I wish I was) -

DJ Al-Eeeee and I are pretty lucky to have kids that have turned out (so far) reasonably sensible. This week it transpired that Angus had removed himself from the sports programme at school. I'll admit that it was a bit of a shock given his religious fervor attached to anything remotely sporting! But, when questioned he revealed that they really didn't do much and he was sick of having to catch up on schoolwork. Not a bad decision for a 15 year old. I wish I was that sensible sometimes!

Chuck Berry – School Days -

I recently played a song by Living Colour. As a result I went back and listened to their albums that I have. What a fantastic band. This is the song of theirs that made me sit up and take notice. One of my Geography lecturers introduced a session about the sense of place using it, you can probably work out why.

Living Colour – Open Letter (To A Landlord) -

"Audrey Horne" is a Norwegian rock band. They're named for the character on the TV series "Twin Peaks" – I had to use a search engine to find that one out. If they'd have been called "Laura Palmer" I would have spotted the reference immediately. Initially I thought it was just an odd name. Anyhoo, I've heard a couple of their tracks on sampler CDs as well as on the internets and they aren't half bad. Good solid melodic rock.

Audrey Horne – Redemption Blues -

I could rant, rave, swear and generally bemoan the latest cycling doping revelations but I'm not going to. I was burned by the Armstrong saga having been such a huge fan and now I'm just sad about Stuart O'Grady. Speaking up because you did something wrong is difficult and takes courage. Speaking up because you're about to be revealed as a cheat isn't really quite the same.

Love/Hate – Why Do You Think They Call It Dope? -

Few artists seem to be as polarizing as Marilyn Manson. Having seen him interviewed a few times I'm really not convinced as to how outrageous he is, he's just another actor. But, he does it well and sells a lot of records. Putting all that aside I listened to a few tracks of his recently and was surprised at how strong and recognisable his voice is. That's probably half of his success. Here's a cover that really works for him.

Marilyn Manson – Working Class Hero -

While our politicians, lawmakers, refugee advocates, the UN and media continue to speculate about refugee processing there are people drowning in a desperate attempt to get to our country or at least away from theirs. And now there are calls for a Royal Commission. Have you ever had to wait for an interminably long time at the hospital emergency room in pain…amplify that a thousand times. There isn't an easy solution but I'm really starting to feel that reducing this problem to numbers, laws and commissions only allows us to forget that regardless of their motivation, it's people we're talking about.

John Lennon – Instant Karma -

My Granny, Daisy Marshall,  turns 90 on Saturday. I reckon that's a pretty fair effort! I remember when she was "younger" and she ran meals on wheels for people even younger than her. My family in Scotland seem to be allergic to the internet so she'll probably never know about this but I want to play a song for her anyway.

Gerald Adams – Daisy -

And that's the end for another week.

DJ Rob

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Song of the Week #FF

It's raining, it's cold and it's grey this morning in Canberra - that's fairly unusual. It's also a bit of a shock as we have spent the last week in tropical Cairns where it was warm and sunny.

For those reading from outside Australia, Cairns is in Far North Queensland beside the Great Barrier Reef. Now this isn't going to be a travelogue but let me just make a few observations:
  • The Great Barrier Reef involves boats. If you get seasick then consider the quickest way to an island rather than a day on a boat and floating pontoon. It doesn't matter what anyone tells you, people are going to vomit. The Reef is spectacular, beautiful and amazing but if you're spending 7 hrs on the water feeling queasy it detracts from the experience. Happily, Alison, Zoë and Angus were all OK on the pontoon and had a ball. We stopped in very rough seas to look at a whale on the way home - pretty neat to see it flip its tail (from quite a distance).
  • There are tons of great places to eat in Cairns. Filipino was my favourite - a real treat.
  • Crocodiles are very, very scary. Get close to one.
  • Too many gorgeous young people smoke. Filthy.
  • Far North Queensland is always abbreviated to "FNQ". Sounds like someone's swearing to me!
  • Cairns is a great holiday for adults and / or kids - there's plenty for everyone to do.
  • A week away from Facebook and Twitter is almost as good as a cleansing diet - ha ha!
Whilst up north we took a train ride to Kuranda. It's a train track that opened in 1891 that travels through dense rainforest. We don't have trains in Canberra so it was pretty cool to be on one. What made me prick up my ears was the music playing quietly in the background; someone had put together an inspired playlist of songs all about trains and travel. You could only hear them when the train stopped to look at the surrounds but it was cool nonetheless.

Rod Stewart - Downtown Train -

The Pogues - Navigator -

I would've played Bob Dylan's song, "Slow Train Coming", but I guess Mr. Zimmerman and his record company are scouring YouTube removing all evidence of his body of work.

Big news in our house this morning is that Zoë passed her final driving assessment even after getting home from holidays at 2:30am (thank you very much Virgin airlines for nothing). She can actually go and get her license in a few days when she turns 17. Time flies.

Weddings, Parties, Anything - Wide Open Road -

Here's one that DJ KelC introduce me to...

Broken Social Scene - Anthems For A Seventeen Year Old Girl -

You may have noticed that this is episode number FF. FF is 255 expressed as a hexadecimal number. I'm very much far removed from being any good with numbers and I remember the pain of any number of teachers at school trying to teach me how binary numbers worked - I never got it. Fast forward to 1994 and my Army computer training at the School of Signals. They took a group of individuals, some of who'd left school at 15, and taught us that kind of stuff in about 5 minutes. I always tell my students that if we could do it then so can they. Anyway, binary and hexadecimal numbers are important for any number of reasons but for me they just seem elegant and pretty damned nifty. Remember there are 10 types of people who understand the binary system; those that do and those that don't. If you need a quick lesson then pop over and see me sometime - you'll be amazed how easy it is.

Lene Lovich - Lucky Number -

In downtown Cairns yesterday there was a busker playing his way through the entire Back In Black album from AC/DC. For one guy with a guitar he was doing a pretty good job. Often the problem with such a popular and probably overplayed LP is that I rarely play it. No doubt it's a while since I got the vinyl out and played it from start to finish. I'll find time to do that this weekend!

AC/DC - Shake A Leg -

I've been reading a very strange book. It was recommended to me a while ago and it has taken me a while to manage to get into it. "White Noise" is by American author Don DeLillo and was published in 1985. On purpose I have avoided any reviews or commentary about it. I'm really struggling to be able to describe what it's all about but it's definitely worth a read. In my opinion it's a bit like a commentary on our modern world told in much the same way that Arlo Guthrie told us about Vietnam in "Alice's Restaurant". "White Noise" is almost like listening in to three or four family conversations at once and having to pick out the important bits. I'll probably read a review now and find that I've got it all wrong. I suppose that's why I am not an English teacher! With all that's going on in America, especially in Detroit, it's not a bad time to read this. Thanks Helen!

Living Colour - Which Way To America? -

Zoë made a remark the other day that I'm going to direct to our major political parties who are continuing to turn refugees into political footballs. "Take your head out of your arse, it's not a hat". That says it all to me. As an immigrant I'm left wondering about what it means to live in our "lucky country".

The Pogues - Thousands Are Sailing -

Steve Earle - City of Immigrants -

Redgum - Killing Floor (If You Don't Fight You Lose) -

DJ Rob

--   Rob  Not sent from my iPhone  Blog:  Twitter: @robwoozle

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Song of the Week #254

Last week I mentioned the band Pearl Jam as a band I've always wanted to
like. Every time I put one of their albums on I get bored though. It
isn't that they don't have great songs, it's the level of "sameness"
that gets me every time. What I hadn't realised last time is that the
band is about to release a new album. "Lightning Bolt" will be out on
October 15th but the first single was uploaded to the internets by the
band this week. "Mind Your Manners" is very reminiscent of how the band
sounded on the album "Vitalogy" which is a good thing. Pre-release
commentary would have us believe that the LP will be more punk than
rock. I'm certainly keen to hear it but October is a looooooong wait.
Here's the single which I have road tested on DJ FatRollins and it got
his seal of approval. He's always a good judge of a tune and a great
sounding board.

Pearl Jam - Mind Your Manners -

During the week ABC TV aired a piece about M. Yunupingu**. Mr Yunipingu
was the singer for Yothu Yindi. He was also a school principal, father,
husband, role model and the 1992 Australian of the Year. Mr Yunupingu died
from renal failure not long ago. I wrote on Facebook that I watched the
show in "abject misery" and I'm still aghast at what happened to him.
You can watch the piece on ABC Australian Story via the internet -
hopefully our politicians watch it too. DJ Al-ee-sun and I were
fortunate enough to see Yothu Yindi play twice here in Canberra. The
first show was an intimate affair at the ANU Refectory where one of the
support act was a group of kids from Arnhem Land. Mr Yunupingu asked the
entire crowd to sit while they did their thing - and we all did. The
second show was a larger affair at the Royal Theatre with bigger
production. Both were fantastic shows. For those of you from overseas or
unaware of the impact that Yothu Yindi had then consider this; at the
first "Big Day Out" concert they headlined the show above a little band
called Nirvana!

Yothu Yindi - Djapana -

** note that there is debate about whether Mr Yunupingu's first name can or cannot be used as a result of cultural reasons. I'm erring on the side of caution and respect).

Recently I was surprised to see Shirley Manson from the band Garbage
with a lead role on a TV sci-fi show. However, after the initial shock
it was pleasing to see her act well as a robot! It was also very cool
that, unlike as happens to actors on many shows, she was left to use her
own accent. She's from Edinburgh.

Garbage - Stupid Girl -

Shirley starred in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles which,
although it only lasted for two seasons, was pretty good viewing.

For me, one of the cool things about MP3 players/phones is that you can
carry a heap of tracks around in your pocket and therefore listen to
songs that you might not throw on the CD player. I tend to load up a
different range of stuff every few weeks and just set it to shuffle. As
a result, this one which featured on a CD sampler years ago was thrown
up. See what you think...if Sir Paul is grooving in the control room
then it's worth a listen...

Smokin' Mojo Filters - Come Together -

Johnny Marr is most famous for his work as the guitarist in The Smiths.
For me, it's his work on four Billy Bragg albums that piqued my
interest. He has a great, and varied guitar style that always adds to a
song rather than overpowering it and that's cool. Here's the title track
from his latest album.

Johnny Marr - The Messenger -

I listened to a lot of Gary Moore's music this week. Whether it be his
work with Thin Lizzy, hard rock solo outings or his later efforts
immersed in the Blues he has a great guitar tone and feel. Watching his
live work reminded me that the neck pickup on most electric guitars is
where to go for a smooth sound rather than always trying to punch
through the mix! I'll play three tracks featuring Gary because I like
them but also to highlight his range of playing.

Thin Lizzy - The Rocker -

Gary Moore - Over The Hills And Far Away -

Gary Moore - Still Got The Blues -

This next tune is for my Dad. He's somewhere in Central America at the
moment having been to quite a range of countries. The tune is from one
of my favourite movies...

Theme from The Motorcycle Diaries -

If you're following me on Facebook or Twitter then be advised that I'll
be very quiet next week. I'm taking a holiday from being online. And
while it may be akin to cutting the umbilical cord, I'll still be
listening to heaps of new music. Song of the Week #255 will be out next

To finish this week here's something a little different but cool

The Dead Weather - I Cut Like A Buffalo -

Be awesome to each other...

DJ Rob

Not sent from my iPhone
Twitter: @robwoozle

Friday, July 5, 2013

Song of the Week #253

Let's do things differently this week and have a tune first. Everyone remembers Dexy's Midnight Runners for their smash hit, "Come On Eileen". It was a great track. But check this one out. Not only is it a fantastic song that's full of energy but the clip shows off their "Oliver Twist" meets street urchin fashion sense. All we need is Fagin to walk into shot at some stage.

Dexy's Midnight Runners - Jackie Wilson Said -

In case anyone out there in blogland doesn't remember Jackie Wilson here's one of his best. It's worth watching the movie "La Bamba" as he's featured in there as well. Not only that, the movie is pretty awesome in my opinion. Surely Jackie has one of the smoothest voices in rock 'n' roll.

Jackie Wilson - That's Why (I Love You So) -

Of course, the band Los Lobos had mainstream success when they recorded the Ritchie Valens tunes for the "La Bamba" movie and soundtrack. It should come as no surprise therefore that they are an excellent rock 'n' roll band. Here they are playing a Grateful Dead tune...

Los Lobos - Bertha -

R.E.M. are a band that, a bit like Pearl Jam, I always feel that I should like a lot and then end up changing the CD for something else. Years ago whilst on holiday in New Zealand I purchased their then new album "New Adventures in HiFi" and after a couple of listens relegated it to the bottom of the CD stack. I put it on the other day for another listen and was pleasantly surprised. If you believe all you read on the internets it was a critically acclaimed LP that flopped commercially. Given that it took me almost 17 years to enjoy it then it would most likely qualify as a "sleeper"! This song is probably the rockiest of the lost - they're a moody bunch after all. It has one of my favourite ever lyrics in it..."practice my T-Rex moves and make the scene".

R.E.M. - The Wake-Up Bomb -

The search for a new guitar has ended. Zoë and I played many, many guitars and ended up with something most unexpected. None of the Stratocasters really did anything for me and we were ready to call it a day. I decided though that since we'd made the effort to go to the guitar shop that we should make the most of it. As a result I tried a Gibson "LPJ" model Les Paul which, apart from weighing a metric ton, sounded like a dream. The neck wasn't too bad either and considering that it was heavily reduced I was seriously tempted. However, I had a guitar to trade in so I thought I'd try a more expensive Les Paul just in case it felt and sounded as good. Wow...I picked up a Les Paul Studio Deluxe which apparently has a "60s style neck". It was the slimmest neck I'd ever played on a Gibson - remember from last week that the fat necks were what always turned me off these guitars. Anyway, to cut a long story short, the crew at "Davis-Wheeler Music" here in Canberra offered me an awesome trade on my guitar and I'm now the proud owner of the Les Paul (click here for a picture). Every guitar has songs that just beg to be played on them. For my green Burns it's anything by Billy Bragg as well as "Joelene" by Dolly Parton! For this new axe the song that keeps rolling around is this next one. DJ Al-ee-Sun says that I can't have her as well as a guitar called Alice. So, we'll call the guitar Vincent - some of you will know why.

Alice Cooper - School's Out -

DJ SAB and I went along to see Alice Cooper play a few years ago now. If you ever get the chance then take it. It's so much more than a concert, he's the consummate showman and always has a first rate band.

I've ranted and raved (and grumbled) about our politicians on any number of occasions and I can't see that stopping anytime soon. But I'll be brief here. We elect them to represent us, not to line their pockets, grandstand or act like children. In my humble opinion it is time that they got one with the job. I've already been fairly clear that I refuse to vote for a political party that plans to strip funding to tertiary institutions to pay for primary and secondary school education reforms - my local member and senator have been told! But the alternative side fills me full of dread as well, they have no policies other than disagreeing with just about everything the Government has to say. What's the solution? Don't vote? That really doesn't help - it's the democratic equivalent of putting your fingers in your ears and saying, "la-la-la". Generally amusing at the ballot box but not a good way to make a point. Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser may indeed have the answer. You can read all about what he has to say here. Personally, I'd love to be a politician but there are a couple of things holding me back. One is the reality of giving up your job for what may only be 3 or 4 years - it's hardly a stable occupation. And another is that I think I'm too honest - even bending the truth makes me uncomfortable. So, you won't be able to "Vote 1 Woozle" anytime soon.

Ho, ho, ho - here's another Alice tune. It fits in nicely.

Alice Cooper - Elected -

DJ FatBoy and DJ Duck sent me a few Aussie tune suggestions recently. Of course, listening to them meant that I ended up with a whole lot of other ideas. First up is a song from 1984 that I loved when I was at school. Does anyone else think that the singer looks a bit like Mike Myers?

Dynamic Hepnotics - Soul Kind of Feeling -

One of the suggested bands was "Mental As Anything", an Australian rock music institution. DJ Al-ee-Sun and I saw them many years back at Uni of Canberra. I remember being unimpressed that they didn't come on until midnight!

Mental As Anything - Too Many Times -

I was never much of a Mentals fan, too pop for me at the time. Martin Plaza, one of their guitarists released this track in 1986 and it's always appealed to me. Today I found out it is a cover version!

Martin Plaza - Concrete and Clay -

I don't normally push websites here but this is one you should check out. "No Sweat Fashions" is a Canberra based organisation working to assist newly arrived refugees and migrants. Have a look through their website and if you like their idea then buy something to support them. I reckon it's a great cause and it's local too.

The other website that I found out about this week is SANE Australia. I checked it out as a result of hearing a rather good piece on the radio. SANE is an organisation that helps people affected by mental illness. Statistics tell us that 1 in 5 people will have some kind of mental health issue in their lifetime. Get four of your friends in a room - if they're all fine then it's you. Reducing the stigma attached to mental illness, managing it at home, in the media and in the workplace are all things that SANE does. Have a look sometime.

Well, that's been a reasonably eclectic mix of songs. Just to keep you all on your toes I'll finish with three more to keep your toes tapping...

Laura Branigan - Gloria - - for reasons that were unknown to me at the time, my entire Year 8 class at high school decided that this song was about me.

Gorky Park - Peace In Our Time - - much underrated Russian metal band (similar style to Bon Jovi)

Glasvegas - It's My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry - - this is a band I need to listen to a lot more, they're moody and noisy in all the right ways.

That'll do.

DJ Rob