Friday, March 28, 2014

Song of the Week #291

Will it ever stop raining on one of the driest continents on the planet? And why does my guitar still buzz after $400 worth of repairs? Will I get saturated on the bike this weekend? These questions may or may not be answered in this episode.

The Angels - After The Rain -

I got my beloved red guitar back from the repair guy this week. I spent up big to get it into shape. It got the equivalent of a whole new engine in the old body. As you can imagine I was LESS than impressed to plug it in at home and have it buzz like a herd of wild African wasps stuck in a jam tin. Thankfully the repair guy has now responded to my email and wants it back to look at. Lucky for him. Watch this space.

Throwing Muses - Buzz -

I try not to go on and on about my kids here at the World Wide Woozle but this week I might. I'm really proud of Angus. He's not the biggest fan of homework even though he is more than capable of doing it! Over the last week or so he had to write a creative response (we called them stories in my day) to a film they'd watched in class. He's done drafts, been to the teacher, refined and even polished his work. His teacher told him it was really good and had he considered becoming a writer?! Persistence does pay off. I'm not sure how he'll fit it in between being a rugby referee and business tycoon but I guess we'll see soon enough.

The Beatles - Paperback Writer -

Zoe has narrowed down her plans for 2015 to include every science course in the country that has chemistry in it as well as a range of gap year opportunities. What I think is great is that there are so many options for her to explore. At times it is a bit intense but overall rather exciting.

Beastie Boys - Sounds of Science (demo)

Last week I ranted about cyclists. This week it has rained enough to keep me on the bus. Luckily it's an easy week in my training! But my good friend DJ HB is in Italy training hard and hoping for a spot at the upcoming Commonwealth Games. The other day her Strava feed popped up a training ride to Switzerland. That's pretty cool!

Hawkwind - Silver Machine -

DJ KatesDaddy put me onto some YouTube clips of what I imagine is some kind of rock music academy in the USA. The kids play really, really well and the clips are professionally put together. I think it is fantastic that they have the chance to play and record such good stuff at an early age. Check this one out...

Aaron's students - No More Tears (Ozzy cover) -

I'm going to finish up this week with a massive shout out to DJ M-L-Ee. She's in hospital at the moment after having surgeons dig around inside her head. I can't imagine how scary that would be for her and her family and I know that she's dealing with some serious pain whilst in recovery. Hopefully a tune might cheer her up. Now I haven't seen DJ M-L-Ee for a few months now but the memories I have include a huge smile that lights up a room. Get well soon and we'll see you in a few weeks.

Axiom - Little Ray of Sunshine -

Knights and Dames have been in the news this week for all the wrong reasons. This isn't England, it's Australia. The only Knights here should be the ones on the telly playing Rugby League. Wake up Tony and do something worthwhile with your time.

Midnight Oil - Truganini -

Thanks for reading this week,

Sir DJ Rob

"Take down the Union Jack, it clashes with the sunset" - Billy Bragg

Friday, March 21, 2014

Song of the Week #290

On the front page of a major newspaper’s website this morning was the headline, “why cyclists and motorists hate each other so much”. What a load of bollocks. I would say load of sh*t but this is generally a family show. I’m a cyclist, and like most other cyclists I know, I’m a car driver as well. I don’t hate people in cars, in fact I don’t think I hate anyone. What I do dislike intensely is motorists and cyclists who are inconsiderate of each other. Drivers seem to moan a lot about cyclists running red lights. Of course no one in a car has ever done that have they? Yesterday I was out riding with one of my closest friends. As we waited to cross a set of lights another cyclist went straight through the red light. My friend gave her a loud reminder that she was being a loser. There is also a time and a place to ride on the road and, like it or not cycling Nazis, a time to ride backstreets or cycle paths. 5pm on a choked, busy main road is time to suck it up and ride somewhere else. You’ll never win in a collision with a car even if you do have the high moral ground. Finally huge thanks to DJ Ducky who is a driving instructor. She pointed out that if you’re in a car it is your responsibility to check outside before opening the door.

Weddings, Parties, Anything – Wide Open Road -

I’m a fairly serious cyclist in that I ride a lot of kilometres. Racing really isn't my thing at the moment, I just like the way I feel when I ride and as a result of it. Canberra is a fantastic place to get out on two wheels whatever level you are at. There’s flat loops around the lake, great hills out on the Cotter/Uriarra loop and a long hard ride out on the wide shoulder of the highway to Goulburn. We’re spoiled for choice. I like to commute mainly on bike paths because that’s where the cars aren't at busy times of day. Yesterday I was meandering through the ANU campus on the road when I noticed a big blue car coming towards me. I could almost see the driver’s head move in recognition of sighting me…and then his car crossed the centre line aimed straight at yours truly. Fortunately he missed me by a small margin and I’m still here typing but you have to wonder what moronic thought went through his one or two remaining brain cells as he pointed a ton of steel travelling about 50km/h at me and my 10kg bicycle.

Rollins Band - Stop, Look and Listen -

On Wednesday evening DJ Al-ee-Sun and I headed out to see Billy Bragg and his band at the Canberra Theatre. If you were reading this blog last time he was in town you’ll know that I was less than impressed at the gig that time. Thankfully my faith was restored on Wednesday as the show was top class. I do have a few minor quibbles about why we couldn't hear the other guitar player (who was excellent) in a lot of songs and also why Billy needed to change guitars almost every song but they are the equivalent of first world problems. The band was tight, the set list was great and Billy was in fine form.

Billy Bragg - Tank Park Salute -

As you all know by now, Billy has done a lot of work with Woody Guthrie's lyrics and music. He told us that he's started playing this next tune again because it resonates so much with him regardless of what year it is. I was introduced to the tune via a tribute album and whilst I love Billy, I think Bruce has the song nailed...

Bruce Springsteen - I Ain't Got No Home -

I took delivery of two cheesy 80s heavy metal CDs today. Autograph's "Sign in Please" and Quiet Riot's "Metal Health". I plan to annoy all and sundry at some stage over the weekend with some fist pumping and headbanging. Neither are particularly serious purchases; it's hardly high art. But sometimes you just want to nod your head to a good tune without having to think too hard. I think it was AC/DC's Malcolm Young who said something along the lines of, "if you want to worry about the lyrics then listen to REM"!

REM - What's The Frequency, Kenneth? -

Scott Asheton,  the original drummer for The Stooges died during the week. His brother Ron who played guitar in the band passed away in 2009. I was a bit too young to appreciate the band until relatively recently. Their influence on rock music is undisputed and of course they launched the career of Iggy Pop.

Iggy & The Stooges - Loose (live 2003) -

Some albums are timeless. For me, one of those is "Xenophobia Why?" by Spy v Spy. Released in 1988 it has some classic songs on it. But what did, and continues to hook me with this LP is the guitar sounds - they are jangly without being harsh and driven without being fuzzy. The lyrics really do have something to say and really haven't dated at all. If you come along to the Oils shows in May you'll probably hear some Spies songs through the PA before the show.

Spy vs Spy - Clarity of Mind -

Spy vs Spy - Soldiers -

Billy Bragg had an Australian singer/songwriter called Courtney Barnett along as his support act. I was apprehensive after watching a few YouTube videos. She played solo which really leaves nowhere to hide! Courtney played scratchy, bluesy Telecaster guitar and the sound filled the room well - almost raspy but not quite. Her lyrics were often very personal and with an almost Dylan-esque delivery as well as having a sneaky sense of dry humour. Vocally she reminded me a bit of Neil Young as well in that you think she won't quite make a note but she gets there in the end. I thought she was pretty good really and if she'd played one or two more songs I wouldn't have complained. Try this one out...

Courtney Barnett - History Eraser -

Every now and then you need to listen to something a bit out of left field. Only people who've seen Billy Bragg on this tour will know why I've been playing this for the last couple of days and loving it!

Kraftwerk - Autobahn -

To close the show, here's a song I was reminded of this afternoon at a most inopportune moment. I was discussing something from my childhood and...ok, ok, it was the Famous Five books, how embarrassing! Anyway, this is a song we sang at school a fair bit in class. Great soaring melody and beautiful lyrics.

John Denver - Annie's Song -

That's all folks,

DJ Rob

"Thank you for the music, the songs I'm singing
Thanks for all the joy they're bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me" - ABBA, Thank You For The Music, 1977

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Song of the Week #289

This delayed episode of Song of the Week is brought to you by the
slowest Telstra NBN connection imaginable. Obviously something is up on
the network somewhere. My apologies.

Football season is upon us here in Australia, and not before time. It
was about 190 days between last year's final and the start of the new
season. Whilst my beloved Magpies were comprehensively thrashed last
night in the opening game it's still better than cricket. Here's a blast
from the past to get you all in the mood.

The Two Man Band - Up There Cazaly -
Little River Band - Playing To Win -

Learning all about Australian Rules Football was essential when I moved
here as a kid. At my new school I remember being given the weekend to go
home and choose a team or risk a bashing on the coming Monday morning.
It was a rough school but in the country you had free choice about who
to support. It wasn't hard to learn to love the game though as it is
fast, skillful and back then was full of characters. I enjoy all kinds
of football but I maintain that Aussie Rules is the best for spectators
by a mile.

I hot footed it into my local record store today to grab a copy of David
Bowie's "Rebel Rebel" on 45. It's a brand new 40th anniversary edition
and it's one of my fave Bowie songs. But I was distracted by other stuff
and anyway, the price was a bit steep! Somehow I came home with some
Springsteen (High Hopes) and Rolling Stones (Hyde Park Live).

David Bowie - Rebel, Rebel -

The live DVD that the above Bowie tune is from is an absolute cracker. I
would highly recommend it.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band - No Surrender (live 2013 in
London) -

Michael Sweet who sings and plays guitar for Stryper has released a solo
album. It's not a far stretch from Stryper and that's not a shock. It's
not bad though and as always, there's a message if you're interested.
This track is written ti support abused kids. Well worth a look and listen.

Michael Sweet - I'm Not Your Suicide -

Neil Young raised a huge wad of cash this week on Kickstarter for his
high fidelity portable music device called PONO. The idea is that the
depth of sound is many times better than that of even CD audio.
Personally I think that if Apple is apparently discontinuing the iPod
Classic then Neil may be a few years too late. It will no doubt have a
niche market for audiophiles but will mainstream listeners care enough
to spend $400 on an ugly triangular device?

Neil Young - Computer Age -

Billy is here this coming week. Woo Hoo!! Look out for a report next time.

Billy Bragg - It Says Here -

I'm going to cut this episode short as the internet connection is just a
joke. Again my apologies and I hope that this post actually makes it out
into the ether! I'm going to ride my bike.

Presidents Of The USA - Video Killed The Radio Star -

Up yours Telstra,
DJ Rob

Friday, March 7, 2014

Song of the Week #288

Welcome back. This week - tunes, more tunes and even more tunes. No politics.

But first a quick rant. I'm sure some of you are shocked. Righto, let's begin. Read carefully. I'll use simple words. Ready? Game of Thrones is a series of books. I am constantly amazed at the hype online that says things such as, "the new series, who will die?" Any self respecting fantasy fan already knows. I won't spoil it for you but the advertising is just moronic.

Dio - Man On The Silver Mountain -

Musically one version of the band had a hitout at Beyond Q on Sunday afternoon. Many thanks to the readers that turned up to see us play. It was a much more satisfactory gig for me for a number of reasons. But, being able to hear myself play and therefore only making a few clanging errors was a great improvement. The Midnight Oil tribute lineup got together on Tuesday for our first rehearsal. To be fair I thought we were pretty good for an initial run through. There are new songs to piece together with everyone in one place and the Oils rarely write simple tracks. It's looking good for the May shows in my opinion. We added DJ Guz on keys which was amazingly good.

Midnight Oil - Surf's Up Tonight -

Mia Dyson is doing some crowd funding to get her new album recorded and pressed. I reckon she's a fantastic artist and you can be sure that anything you pledge would be worth it. You get something for your money so check it out. Sadly, DJ Al-ee-sun waited too long and the guitar has been sold.

Mia Dyson - Tell Me -

This was a funny moment during the week. My mate DJ Survivalist isn't all that well. Another one battling the big "C". He sends me a link to a cool tune every now and then. He likes the same cheesy 80s rock that I do so it's a good match. I figured he'd like this one and thankfully I was right. Bang your head folks!

Quiet Riot - Bang Your Head (Metal Health) -

While I was on the 80s hair band kick I had a listen to this. Good times folks, good times.

Autograph - Turn Up The Radio -

I was disappointed this week to read that the Simpson's LEGO house has been released at a cost of around $300. That's a big chunk of change. Even if the tax department have finally come through with the money they owe me it won't be going on that. But, the LEGO De Lorean from Back to the Future is looking good...

Huey Lewis - Power of Love -

What I didn't know is that Huey Lewis played harmonica on albums by Thin Lizzy, Jimmy Barnes, Dick Dale and Nick Lowe. He also produced this one...check out the fantastic keyboard sound:

Nick Lowe - I Knew The Bride (When She Used To Rock 'n' Roll) -

Lastly, I was listening to some Hoodoogurus this week. INXS took me back there. I preferred the 'Gurus back in the day. INXS were a bit too polished for my liking!

Hoodoogurus - My Girl -

Hoo Roo,
DJ Rob

"Just when every ray of hope was gone,
I should've known that you would come along,
I can't believe I ever doubted you,
my old friend the blues" - Steve Earle "My Old Friend The Blues"

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Song of the Week #287

It's raining. and that's boring. I like water as much as the next member of the human race but not when I had a long ride planned. Not fair!

The upside of the rain is that this week's episode, whilst already late, is now in your inbox or on your blog reader notification list earlier than it might've been.

The band played an intimate gig last night. H's lounge room and kitchen were full to bursting of people ready to listen, and in some cases sing along. I learned two valuable lessons at this show. Ones that you'd think I'd be fully aware of these days. After all, I played my first rock 'n' roll show in 1988! Lesson 1 is always position yourself where you can hear not only your own guitar, but that of the person you take your cues from. H threw to me early in the set for some guitar noodling and it was an unmitigated balls up as I couldn't hear myself, or the bass player well enough. Lesson learned. The other thing to remember is not to panic when the person starting the song chooses a different key to the one that you've been rehearsing a song in. For any number of competent musicians this might not be an issue; they can modulate on the fly. I'm a hack...sometimes I don't even remember the chord names, I just know where a song starts and how it feels! Regardless of all that it was a lot of fun. The setlist didn't even make it in the window let alone being thrown out, there were some surprises, much singing and even some applause. We're on this Sunday at Beyond Q at the Curtin Shops starting at 4pm for about an hour. Come on down and see if I've really learned my lessons...

Kylie - Did It Again (live) -

I chose that live version of a Kylie classic because it has plenty of guitars and it rocks. This particular concert has a killer band. You also get Kylie's voice pretty much unprocessed and all credit to her as there are enough bum notes and mistakes to indicate that she didn't do any overdubs later on.

If you were an 80s movie fan then you would've been saddened by the news this week that Harold Ramis died. He's probably most famous for roles in Stripes, Ghostbusters and Caddyshack. There have been rumours about a third Ghostbusters movie for a while now but since Harold both wrote and starred in the first two we'll have to wait and see what happens. Harold is the guy with the glasses in this clip also starring Bill Murray and John Candy...

Hey, we're walking! (from Stripes) -

"Doo wah diddy" - lyrical genius! If you like that then try this:

The Dollyrots - Da Doo Ron Ron / I Wanna Be Sedated - (you need to click on the speaker icon to play the song)

Not long at all now until DJ Al-ee-sun and I will be seeing Billy Bragg here in Canberra. Billy's bringing his band along this time. Did I mention at all that we'll be right in the middle down near the front!? Woo hoo! Billy's just released a live DVD for pre-order via his website ( so click over there later on and buy a copy. I have!

This is an audience recording from the show coming on DVD. Billy's playing one of my holy grail guitars...a Thinline Fender Telecaster. Natural wood finish, f-hole, twin humbuckers...oh how I want one!!

Billy Bragg - A New England (live) -

Choosing appropriate gig wear is a serious chore for the amateur irregular musician. Does one wear a t-shirt with a band/amusing logo on it? Or does one seek out the archetypal rock and roll shirt like this one? H organised a t-shirt for me from the band Ghost but it probably wasn't the right thing for a show with a few kids in the audience. But in my opinion there are two bands whose shirts never constitute a fashion mistake. Motorhead and The Ramones. Perfect attire for any occasion. And if anyone knows where I can get a Knopfler style top (or similar) let me know OK?

Motorhead - I Ain't No Nice Guy (unplugged) -

The Ramones - The KKK Took My Baby Away -

Canberra readers; make sure that you remember Charles Bradley is playing tonight at the National Portrait Gallery at 8pm. For some strange reason The Chantoozies and Mental As Anything are playing a gig at the same time at the NMA. We're spoiled for choice I suppose. Charles is free. The Mentals are $30 for adults.

Mental As Anything - He's Just No Good For You -

A long time ago in the years BC (before children), DJ Al-ee-sun and I saw the Mentals playing at UC. They made us wait through not one, but two 45 minute sets by a boring covers band before they eventually took the stage at about midnight. I remain unimpressed to this day. And then they were pretty average as well. I'm guessing that they needed a nap by that time.

Iggy Pop - I'm Bored -

Last week I wrote about our government not even having the decency to lie to the people; they just say nothing. Well the news isn't any better a week later. It's a disgrace. But I'll leave it there as it's too easy to start an argument. We really don't have any of the facts and that's a problem. But if there's violence, death and rioting involved then something isn't right. And that's before we even think about the environmental destruction that will be allowed to occur in on of our most precious marine parks.

Dead Kennedys - I Fought The Law -

At last night's show I had a quick conversation with DJ Padre-arr-bee. Essentially it was about kids today and the music they choose to listen to. I told him the story of my Dad telling me that if he'd understood earlier how much the electric guitar meant to me, and how much I would play it, that he might've had a different attitude! In my opinion as long as you're listening to something you enjoy then I'm happy. My kids have quite different musical tastes but there's always something playing. It's a bit like books. Going into a house that has no music or books is just a drag. So, parents and adults, remember that you liked different music to your parents. You don't have to enjoy Bieber or the latest dancefloor remix dub tunes, but understand that someone does and that's OK. By the way, both my kids know all the lyrics to "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" and have so for quite a number of years. My work here is done!

Masters Apprentices - Turn Up Your Radio -

I'll finish off with a classic. We played this last night and one of our first time gig-goers is apparently a big fan of it (hi Julie!) There's a version on Glen Campbell's album "See You There" which is slow and sublime with an almost Neil Young-esque guitar. But I can't find a copy online to share with you all. Buy the album, it's just fantastic. Until then, sing this one out loud wherever you are as life's too short not to.

Glen Campbell - Rhinestone Cowboy (live) -

That's all folks,

DJ Rob

"And the music was good, and the music was loud,
and the singer turned and he said to the crowd, let there be ROCK!" - AC/DC, Let There Be Rock,  1977.