Saturday, December 28, 2013

Song of the Week #278

Here we go with the last episode for 2013. Thanks to everyone who has commented on this meandering blog, suggested tunes, engaged me in robust discussion or just quietly enjoyed the tunes. I rarely have trouble coming up with something to write but I will admit that sometimes I consider the wide demographic of the audience and leave some comments and songs out. It's not censorship; it's just common sense.

Christmas Day was pretty good here at HQ Woozle apart from the strange requirement for dodgy Christmas music to be played. Thankfully the Elvis Christmas LP and Bad Religion's new Christmas CD were on high rotation. That coupled with the realisation that any movie with snow in it qualifies as a Christmas movie improved the ambience no end.

Elvis Presley - Winter Wonderland (1957) -

Bad Religion - Hark The Herald Angels Sing (2013) -

Stryper - Winter Wonderland (live)(2007) -

We headed to the movies yesterday to see "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty". For someone who usually stars in fairly lightweight movies (I'd say dumb but it's the season to be nice to people) Ben Stiller does a great job. I'll admit that I didn't pick that Sean Penn was in the film too. However, it's another one of those "seize the day" films which is all well and good for people without kids, mortgages and other responsibilities. I did like that the lead female wasn't all airbrushed and made up, she was just normal and therefore very beautiful. Don't miss this on the big screen though. It doesn't matter how big your TV is, this movie needs plenty of screen space!

The Godfathers - Birth, School, Work, Death (1987) -

My family knows me well and gave me the latest Cold Chisel live CD/DVD combo. Imaginatively titled, "The Live Tapes vol. 1", it's a recording of a show played at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney on my birthday last year. Chisel are underrated. It's too easy to write them off as just another Aussie pub rock group. If you listen a little more closely you'll hear a band who are very good musicians and lyricists. This live album suffers from some issues with the speed of some songs - too slow, which I will admit is unusual for a live outing. But it's a solid reminder of a band that really should've been international superstars. Given that drummer Steve Prestwich died in 2011, Chisel play this show (and others) with Charlie Drayton. He's a fantastic drummer having played with the Stones, Johnny Cash, Neil Young, Herbie Hancock and of course The Divinyls.

Cold Chisel - My Baby (live)(2012) -

In 2014 I'm trying something new. Teaching Geography. And I can't wait. A long time ago I studied "geoggers" in my degree and I really enjoyed it after a little false start. I'm not much for rocks and soil but I am interested in why people live where they do and the effect that place has on them. But of course, every Geography teacher needs a healthy supply of coloured pencils and so I was pretty chuffed to get a whole heap for Christmas. I'm set for life in terms of diagrams and maps. Here's a song from a fantastic LP about a place and its people...

Redgum - Gladstone Pier (1984) -

There are plenty of songs about places and the people who live there. They always seem cool. I tried to write songs about where I live a few times but comparing "Garema Place" with "Taylor Square" or "Barry Drive" with "Gunbarrel Highway" never seem to work. Here are a couple more that are worth more than a cursory listen...

The Men They Couldn't Hang - Industrial Town (1990) -

Billy Joel - Allentown (live)(2011) -

Check out the lyrics for "Industrial Town" sometime. It's original release was by Weddings, Parties, Anything and the song is about the town of Yallourn which is right beside where I used to live in Victoria. Yallourn was removed on trucks and relocated to make way for an open cut brown coal mine. When I was a kid you could go to the town and the streets were all still there but no houses - spooky.

Last night we introduced Grandma to one of the best movies of all time. Given that we'd already subjected her to "Up" and "Walter Mitty" these holidays she coped very well. To be fair, she laughed along with the rest of us at "So I Married An Axe Murderer". The need to watch this film was brought on by me receiving an "orange on a toothpick" in my dessert at our favourite restaurant. Very, very funny.

Scene from "So I Married an Axe Murderer" (1993) -

I'm about to start in on Bob Mould's autobigraphy which H gave me for Christmas - cool! Even the title has me excited, "The Trail of Rage and Melody" sums up his music so well. And that really speaks to me...volume, melody and anger...that's what so much music I like is all about. Without melody it's just noise.

Bob Mould - Star Machine (live 2013) -

That'll do. I've got a Christmas gift voucher that I need to go and turn into LEGO. Let's sign off with a cover that no-one except me seems to like...

Guns N' Roses - Raw Power (1993) -

Enjoy 2014. Things can only get better.

DJ Rob

"Singing hey, we're all just earrings to the left of our parents
They're all just haircuts to the left of theirs
And we all wonder
Why do Nazis grow like wildflowers?" - Things of Stone and Wood, Wildflowers, 1994.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Song of the Week #277

Hi everyone. Thanks for tuning in for another weekly episode full of music, cycling, music and the odd rant.

Ian Hunter & The Rant Band - Comfortable (2012) -

Given that I'm on holidays this week Zoë took the opportunity to spend some time with me. She did well; taking me to see "Ender's Game" at the movies and getting a new phone organised as well as a few bits of Christmas shopping. "Ender's Game" was a pretty good film. I'll come out and say that I enjoyed it more than either of the two recent Star Trek films. The only real issue I had was Ben Kingsley's attempt at a New Zealand accent. It wasn't dreadful but it was far from convincing. Surely there are a few good NZ actors who could've been cast in the role. Regardless, the film was excellent and as soon as I can get the book away from Zoë I'll read it.

The Vietnam War - Heavy On My Mind (2011) -

Interestingly, Zoë has chosen a phone running the Windows operating system. I'll report back when we've spent some time with it but it looks pretty good to me. And the price was right compared to the cash swallowing iPhone or Android options.

Also as a result of not having to go to work I thought I'd have a crack at cycling further than I ever have in a week (Mon-Sun). I managed 351 km earlier in the year so I thought that aiming at 400 km would be fair. Luckily I had a few friends who rode with me or I think I may have gone insane! Heartfelt thanks to Andre, Kieran, Shell and AB for their company and also understanding when I couldn't go quite as fast as I might have liked to. Also thanks to Alison, Shelley, Liam and Zoë for meeting me at various coffee shops to keep me going! I rode past 13,000 km for the year this morning and I have 49 km to go to reach the 400 km for the week. I'll knock that off tomorrow I think and then cruise towards the end of the year. No Dom, I will NOT be shooting for 14,000 km. Not this year anyway.

Cosmo Jarvis- Spinning Around (2011) -

It's that time where every website and probably radio station start churning out lists of their "best albums of 2013". I won't do that. The Desert Island Disc series that I did earlier on has more than enough good music to keep anyone going all summer (or winter if you're a foreigner). There's too many to choose from anyway. I'm pretty partial to the new Stryper CD though. It rocks a lot harder than I'd dared to hope for. Less bubblegum, more attitude.

Stryper - Sticks & Stones (2013) -

I do wonder about audiences at live gigs though. It's time that they left their mobile phones at home. As I type I've got Def Leppard's "Viva Hysteria" DVD playing in the background. I'm at home too so the sub-woofer is getting a workout! But the audience (filmed in Las Vegas) are seriously comatose. This is a great band giving it absolutely everything on stage and the crowd are just standing there nodding. I'm old and admit that at concerts I like to stand near the soundboard and watch but there's usually at least a few energetic souls up the front. Certainly when I saw The Living End, King Cannons or Live Evil this year that was the case. And H's mate Louis went OFF when we saw Bob Mould.

Bob Mould - Steam of Hercules (live KEXP)(2013)-

That'll do for this week. I've got some Midnight Oil songs I need to dust off on the guitar. I'm also going to throw the World Wide Woozle laptop out the window. Seriously, it'd be quicker to send this via carrier pigeon. Watch this space.

Jim Steinman - Rock 'n' Roll Dreams Come True -

DJ Rob

"It feels so good, it ought to be illegal,
I got my vaccination from a phonograph needle,
I'll never grow up and I'll never grow old,
Blame it on the love of rock 'n' roll" - Bon Jovi "Blame It On The Love of Rock 'n' Roll" (1992)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Song of the Week #276

Have you ever listened to an album, an old one, one you've listened to on numerous occassions and thought to yourself; "wow, that is AWESOME"? Well maybe you haven't but I had a similar experience this week. I've never really been a Sex Pistols fan. After all, it's just one album and a lot of rehashed stuff after that. But for some reason I threw "Never Mind The Bollocks it's The Sex Pistols" on this week and it just blew me away. I've no idea why this happened but the energy, the guitars and the snarl just hooked me in. If you haven't heard the album right through in a long time (or ever) then get to it. Somewhere I've got this next clip on a VHS tape...not bad for the first song of a live show.

Sex Pistols - Pretty Vacant (live 1996) -

This week DJ Umbridge gave me a really, really cool book. It's called  "The Man Who Cycled The World". It's written by Mark Beaumont who did as the title suggests and rode a very long way. He averaged about 160km a day and smashed the world record. Interestingly enough, he grew up not far from where I went to primary school in Scotland. I guess it's lucky that he's done the ride already so that I can concentrate on other things! Great read indeed.

Perry Como - Round and Round (1957) -

Work wrapped up for the year today. If you were an alien and didn't understand calendars you'd know that something was up because small things start to upset normally rational people. This week there was outrage directed at me as a result of a lack of tea bags! You have to laugh.

Ink Spots - Java Jive (1940) -

DJ RozLin has just returned from the USA. I think the shops there are empty as a result. While she was there she got to visit cool places like Sun Studios. And she brought me back an Elvis guitar pick - seriously cool. I'm not much of a tourist but Graceland and Sun Studios are two places I'd love to go to. If you like Elvis and you're in Canberra then make sure you check out the current exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. I've got to get a visit in there as well as to the Maps exhibition. Hopefully I can fit them in next week when I'm not smashing myself on the bike.

Elvis Presley - Baby, Let's Play House (1955) -

If you're a Star Wars fan then like me you might be a bit overwhelmed by the number of books out there other than the ones from the films. There are so many and the quality ranges the whole gamut from awful to pretty stellar. I took a punt and started reading a new series of Star Wars comics that are set between episodes IV and V. Basically it's the search for a rebel base which as we all know ends up being on Hoth. Apart from Asterix and Oor Wullie I've never been into comics but these are pretty well written and the illustrations are great. I did wait until I had more than one at a time to read though I must admit.

Weird Al Yankovic - The Saga Begins (1999) -

I decided last week that I'd finish each episode with a quote I liked. Last week's got a comment on the blog (wow!) and a few email responses. Yep, Henry Rollins does have quite a bit to say that is worth listening to. Here's the tune that the quote was from...

Rollins Band - Shine (1994) -

Remember the Midnight Oil gigs that I played in? Well H, whose band it is, has been spending some time working with indigenous kids in northern New South Wales. He sends pictures and updates now and then and the smiles on the kids that he is working with are magical. I know that he's keen for us to head up there one day to put the show on for the locals. It's a hell of a drive but personally I think it would be a real treat. And to see those smiles in the flesh would be amazing. Here's hoping!

Midnight Oil - One Country (1990) -

Marriage equality is very much on the agenda here in the national capital. As you may or may not have heard, the High Court of Australia ruled that new ACT legislation allowing marriage equality could not stand. They ruled on the law, not on morality. To me it seems simple - it's time for a new law. Let's get on with it.

Billy Bragg - Sexuality (live 2013) -

Let me finish off with a huge vote of congratulations. DJ HB started her sporting career in athletics and then moved into triathlon. She's now a road and track cyclist and has worn our country's colours a few times now. Very recently at a World Cup meet in Mexico she won bronze in the team pursuit and then followed it up with GOLD in the individual pursuit. That's just awesome. There's an off chance that I might get out for a ride with her in the next couple of weeks. It isn't every day that you get to ride with a champ!

BB King & Eric Clapton - Riding With The King -(2000) -

See you on the road,
DJ Rob

"No more pencils,
no more books,
no more teachers dirty looks" - Alice Cooper "School's Out" (1972).

Friday, December 6, 2013

Song of the Week #275

I'd planned an early night but our windows are being shaken by the "Vans Warped Tour" which is on not far from World Wide Woozle's secret HQ. I must admit that I'd seen a couple of posters for the show but there are only a couple of bands that interest me so the gig had quickly slipped out of my head.

The Offspring - Self Esteem (1994) -

Reel Big Fish - Don't Stop Skankin' (2012) -

I'm sure every TV, radio and online source of information is all over the very sad passing of Nelson Mandela. At 95 you'd have to say that he had a fair innings especially when his time in prison is taken into account. I sincerely doubt that the world will see such an influential person for a very, very long time if ever. Let's hope that his family can decide to play nice and the end of this statesman and legend is truly dignified.

Hugh Masekela - Mandela (Bring Him Back Home)(1987) -

If you're shopping for anything these days you can find someone on the internet reviewing it or talking about it. This is especially true of guitars and guitar gear. It's no challenge at all to watch a whole heap of video reviews of say overdrive pedals and then walk into a music shop with an idea of what you want to try. You also get to hear and see some pretty good guitarists in action. Recently I was looking into a few pedals and one reviewer played the riff from this next song. It's a ripper so I thought I'd treat you all to the song...

Reef - Place Your Hands (1996) -

Zoë went, along with 40,000 others, to see Taylor Swift play in Sydney this week. I've got a soft spot for "T.Swizzle" because she writes a lot of her own stuff, plays the guitar live, has 2 hour concerts and of course did a gig with Def Leppard. From what I've heard it was a fantastic spectacle. Plenty of merchandise came home too! It's cool to see big name artists working hard for their fans rather than being aloof gits.

Def Leppard & Taylor Swift - Pour Some Sugar On Me (live 2011)  -

Thanks to DJ DJ for letting me know about the Beastie Boys continuing to refuse to have their music used in advertising even if it is a parody. It's an interesting case but good to see that they stuck to their guns. More information here if you're interested in reading more. Here's the song in question...very un-PC.

Beastie Boys - Girls (1986) -

Cyclists love coffee. For many it's the chance to chin wag with friends after working hard on the bike. And for some it's essential so that the ride can continue. One morning I was sitting at my third favourite coffee shop enjoying the early morning sun and great company when Tom Petty came on the radio. Such a cool riff and vibe. Rock on!

Tom Petty - Mary Jane's Last Dance (live 1999) -

After a bit of a backwards and forwards email chain this week with some very thoughtful friends I'm looking for thoughts from my listeners on their favourite debut albums as well as the first singles from them. We've already discussed quite a few but feel free to hit me up with yours... you can get in contact using robwoozle at gmail dot com. Here's a couple to get you thinking...

Sex Pistols - Holidays In The Sun (1977) -

Crowded House - Mean To Me (1986) -

The Killers - Mr Brightside (2003) -

The Strolling Bones have let us know how much they will charge for concert tickets here in Australia. Prices range from about $200 up to $600 a pop. Ouch. The shows will sell out. The Stones will make money. But will they rock and roll?

Jane's Addiction - Sympathy For The Devil (2012) -

I heard a short piece on the radio this week about the famous film that introduced reggae to the world (apparently). I certainly don't mind some tunes from Bob Marly, Peter Tosh or Jimmy Cliff so I think I'll check out "The Harder They Come" over the holidays. Stay tuned for a review. DJ Al-ee-sun got me a Jimmy Cliff cassette once when she went to Jamaica.

Jimmy Cliff - The Harder They Come (1972) -

That's enough for this week.

DJ Rob

"No such thing as spare time,
no such thing as free time,
no such thing as down time,
all you got is life time..." - Henry Rollins, "Shine", 1994.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Song of the Week #274

(Sorry this is very late - the World Wide Woozle laptop had a nasty malware infection which has now been sorted out. Also Bigpond mail is useless so Song of the Week has migrated to Gmail. Grrrrrrrr.)

"The Conversation" is a great website. If you're sick and tired of your news and current affairs coming from media aimed at the lowest common denominator and the talkback radio hate jocks then head over and start reading. But it's more than news, there are plenty of articles to activate your grey matter before it implodes as a result of the constant barrage of social media, text messaging and cold calling call centres.

This week I read a couple of articles written by a man called Adrian North. He's an academic from Curtin University in Western Australia who often writes about popular music. What interested me was one piece that related recent research about suicide and listening to Heavy Metal music and another about what makes a tune likable in the short and long term. I've linked both of those articles so feel free to check them out. If Adrian happens to stumble across what I've written on the blog then can I just say thanks for firing up a few of my synapses!

As a teenager and now as an adult I've been a big fan of Heavy Metal music. I like the volume, the guitars, the energy and sometimes the aggression. It's a release and it's also a bit of a community.  But it isn't music that makes me want to kill myself. As the previously linked article points out; parents can be up in arms about Marilyn Manson's stage antics but remember that Puccini's Madame Butterfly features a young woman disembowelling herself with a sword! That might look like a bit of a throwaway line but the point is well made. To cut a long story short; country music is related closely to the suicide rate amongst white males in the USA and teenage metal fans are drawn to things like self-harming for reasons other than the music. Things like being disaffected and having a less than ideal home/school life. I'd rather my kids listened to bands that at least make them explore their feelings, emotions and the world around them than the inane lyrical garbage of try-hard gangsters smacking up their bitches and waving their drug money around. But rap music is a whole different story. Maybe another time.

Motley Crue - Shout At The Devil -

Staying with heavier music for a minute; finally managed to deliver a couple of CDs that have been "in the mail" for almost a month. I could've walked to America and flown them back myself in that time. However, Def Leppard's "Viva Hysteria" live CD/DVD and Stryper's "No More Hell To Pay" were worth the wait. Great listening for the hard rock fan. "Viva Hysteria" is a live recording of Lep's classic 1987 album and it's pretty good. I do wonder how much post-production was done on all the vocals but regardless, it's a lot of fun. As for Stryper; this CD is probably the most consistent album they've ever made. It's non-stop guitars and melodic rock and is a great album for in the car. This track is a great song with a dreadful, dreadful video!

Stryper - No More Hell To Pay -

For ages now I've been trying to track down a song about being worried. On a CD that came free with a magazine recently I heard the song and laughed out loud. I'd misheard the lyrics which explained why I couldn't find it. It's "wanted", not "worried". Oops. Great song nonetheless and I must've listened to it a hundred times!

Johnny Cash - Wanted Man -

For people reading this in Australia, SBS TV has the film "Springsteen and I" being broadcast on Sunday evening. Although I think it should probably be titled "Springsteen and me" it promises to be good viewing as most of the show is put together by his fans. I was only ever the most casual fan until fairly recently. I did read last week that there is a university level course in Theology based on his lyrics.

Bruce Springsteen - Adam Raised A Cain -

I've had more than enough of the Windows operating system. Back in the days when I had hair it was relatively easy to customise and keep it running well. These days it is bloated, resource hungry and just annoying. The world of Mac still attracts a premium price and so I'm not all that keen on that path either. So I've been looking around for an alternative. The Chrome OS lookks interesting but I really don't want to buy new hardware at this stage. So, I stumbled across an OS called Elementary. It's built on top of Linux and looks like it will run on most types of hardware. So, later on I'm going to put it on an old netbook and see how it turns out. Watch this space.

U2 - I Threw A Brick Through A Window -

This week Alison and I celebrated our 20th anniversary. Not bad eh? On 27/11/1993 it was stinking hot day and I remember almost expiring in the non-air conditioned church waiting for Alison to arrive! The biggest shock was that her dress was pink; I really was expecting green! Anyway, we seem to have done OK to have made it this far. Here's a song that was on the first cassette I ever made for her...

Maybe Dolls - Nervous Kid -

A couple of weeks ago I played a song by The Saw Doctors. After a quick look on eBay I managed to pick up their album for less than $10 - bargain. I'll finish with this track and if you've been paying attention then my choice should seem fairly obvious...

The Saw Doctors - Only One Girl -

Hoo Roo,
DJ Rob

PS: well done and thank you to the one listener who noticed that this week's episode hadn't arrived - hi Dad :-)