Saturday, December 27, 2014

Song of the Week #329

It's amazing how easily I lost track of what day it is. That's my explanation for this episode being a day late and I'm sticking to it.

It was a good Christmas musically with the family giving me the new AC/DC album and my Brother and his family posting something VERY interesting - more on that one a little later.

The AC/DC album, "Rock or Bust", is pretty good. Remember to take my comments with a grain of salt as AC/DC are my favourite band of all time. Having said that, if you like energetic rock and roll then this would be a good purchase to make. I think that it's not quite as consistent as their last release, "Black Ice", but it's good fun all the same. The guitars bite just the right amount and Stevie Young does an admirable job on rhythm guitar in place of Malcolm. The singles are catchy, the riffs are solid and Brian's voice sounds pretty good when you consider he is 67 and obviously gargles barbed wire. The drums and bass lock in from the first song as you'd expect and stay in a groove the whole way through. If you're a fan you'll probably hear bits of other songs here and there and that's to be expected. In my opinion AC/DC don't have bad albums. They just have good or great ones. This is good and rates a place on my playlist. "In rock we trust...."; indeed we do.

AC/DC - Rock or Bust -

"Sowing the Seeds" is Appleseed Records 10th Anniversary double album and a celebration of folk and folk influenced music. It features names like Pete Seeger, Bruce Springsteen, Ani DiFranco, Tom Paxton, Roger McGuinn and Jackson Browne. This was an inspired Christmas choice from my Brother and his family.If you like songs with meaning, sometimes you need more than "yeah, yeah, yeah", then this set is well worth a listen. Records like this make me reflect on the state of our world and often give me topics to research and think about. 

Pete Seeger / Bruce Springsteen - The Ghost of Tom Joad -

The other thing that this CD set has done is pointed me towards the Appleseed Records website. I reckon I'll be checking out a lot more of their releases in the near future.

In band news; planning is well underway for gigs and recordings for 2015. Assuming that all goes to plan you can expect some intimate shows where we'll play Jason Isbell's fantastic album "Southeastern" from go to woe, a CD of original music and the "Bob, John and Neil" show at Vivaldi's in May. The idea for this show was originally a set each from Bob Dylan, John Lennon and Neil Young. This has now morphed into songs from anyone with Bob, John or Neil in their names. You'll have to wait and see what songs we come up with but feel free to throw me some suggestions via the band's Facebook page or by email.

Bob Dylan - Thunder On The Mountain -

John Lennon - Instant Karma -

Neil Young - Cinnamon Girl -

I've taken advantage of being on holidays to explore some country roads around Maitland on my bike. So far, so good. Apart from a deadly stretch of roadworks, some thunder & lightning and a few cows on the road I've had a good time. Drivers out here are pretty considerate and the hills aren't all that big. I'll hit my goal of 12,000 km for the year in a couple of days.

Finally I think I'll do all of my 2015 Christmas shopping over the next couple of weeks. This year I was ultra organised and had everything ordered and posted weeks in advance. Of course at least 3 presents are yet to arrive. One company has given me a full refund and I'm still getting the order but that doesn't really make up for the lack of a gift on the big day. I won't even get started on the disaster that is Windows 8.1 on Angus' laptop. Microsoft should be ashamed of releasing something that clearly doesn't work all that well but then what's new? DJ Gobbledok recommends Mac and I'm inclined to finally take his advice.

Eddie & The Cruisers - On The Dark Side -

That'll do. Internet here is patchy so I'm out of here.

Rock on brothers and sisters and thanks for reading in 2014. I'm about to cull the address list as there are a few bouncing addresses and some people that I know aren't really interested so if you don't get next week's episode and you want back in just let me know. It's always online at .


"I'm made of metal
My circuits gleam
I am perpetual
I keep the country clean" - Judas Priest, Electric Eye (1982)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Song of the Week #328

Hi everyone and welcome back.

The link between Soul Asylum and the Backbeat soundtrack clip from last week is that they are both sung by the same guy, Dave Pirner.

It's been a rather busy week here. Both kids have had their school graduations and then Zoƫ had a little trip to the hospital to have her appendix out! My fervent desire is that we see 2015 through without a visit to the Emergency Department.

Budgie - Crash Course In Brain Surgery -

No comments from last week about Belle and Sebastian? Interesting. That's really not indicative of their sound at all but I still liked it. Here's something else from them which is a bit confusing as they use the name of another band in the title!

Belle & Sebastian - The Boy With The Arab Strap -

Yeah....I didn't know what an Arab Strap was either....

This week's epic failure in terms of customer service goes to a big company whose name starts with G. They run the world's largest search engine among other things. I was told that they'd send me something in 3-5 working days. When I asked about its whereabouts after two weeks I was told that it was on backorder. That's hardly inspiring. Morons.

Anti-Flag - The Consumer Song -

Righto then, the band, with me in tow, had a final hitout last night in preparation for our New Year's show. Ticket sales are excellent so if you're planning on coming along then get on the phone and book. Remember the deal...7 courses, loads of rock and roll and more fun than you can poke two sticks at. We can promise plenty of songs you'll know. 

Icehouse - Nothing Too Serious -

Next week is Christmas. Depending on your point of view that can mean any number of things: a pagan festival rebadged, the birth of Christ, a week down the coast, overeating or simply time with your family and friends. Whatever your "thing" is, how about you do it peacefully and respect that other people may think differently. I won't shove anything down your throat (except good music) and no one really needs to tell me that their way is the best way. I'll play a song for you and stick to my three pronged religion of family, guitars and bikes.

Twisted Sister - I Believe In Rock And Roll -

Scouting for Girls - I Need A Holiday -

Like the vast majority of people I was saddened by the senseless killing that happened, particularly in Sydney and Peshawar. One pointless death is one too many. I'm so tired of people who group all those in the Muslim faith with the Taliban. Do you think that all Catholics were working for the IRA? These events really made me think about religion. The way I see it, religious fundamentalists of any kind fear their supreme being; they are "God fearing". The religious people I want to talk with are those in the majority who see their faith as an expression of love. If your God is love then stop killing people in his or her name.

Yusuf Islam - Peace Train -

I noticed this week that DJ Duck is off to see John Fanham and Olivia Newton John playing live. I thought Farnham had finished his second or third farewell tour already? These are two singers with distinctive voices and I'm sure it will be an excellent show. I look forward to a review!

John Farnham - Two Strong Hearts -

Olivia Newton John - Magic -

Every guitarist has a sound in their head. It's their ideal tone; how they want to sound. After years and years of trying to achieve that sound I reckon I got there yesterday. It was unexpected in terms of the guitar, my Fender Stratocaster, but it's just such a great feeling to move my fingers and hear what I've been searching for all these years. It's also something that's very hard to describe because the truth is that I don't want to sound like anyone else! 

Neil Finn - Ten Guitars -

That's all for this week. Tune in seven days into the future for a post Christmas wrap and more good tunes.


"I think I'm outta step like Minor Threat gotta lotta attitude for someone going out of style.." - Danko Jones, I Love Living In The City

Friday, December 12, 2014

Song of the Week #327

Musically it's a bit of a challenge finding time to listen to new stuff when I've got three sets of Australian rock hits going round and round in my head in preparation for the New Year's Eve show. It'll most likely be the last hurrah for us playing many of the Midnight Oil songs and some others too. They are great but I think we all agree that there's a lot of other music to play. I'm hanging out to play tunes like "Forgotten Years", "Hercules" and "Sometimes" like there's no tomorrow.

Midnight Oil - Hercules (live) -


"Consequence of Sound" is a music (and film) review website that I have been coming back to for more than a year now. They have a wide range of reviews and it's a good place to pick up artists you haven't heard of before. They use a simple grading system and even if something gets a C minus I'll give it a go. Their reviews are usually pretty close to the mark.


There has been a flurry of activity in the media about school children needing to learn how to write computer code. I'm fairly sure I saw the US President getting some lessons too. I've taught a few students who have gone on to be programmers of one kind or another. I've also taught Computing to heaps of kids that chose other career paths. I learned BASIC programming from a book and some trial and error in the mid 80's. The structures and logic lessons that I picked up have served me well working in IT and in teaching. But recently I was able to decipher a range of computer code to fix a few things at work. It wasn't that exciting; just some HTML, CSS and PHP but if I was relying on a visual editor we would have been stuffed. We don't need every student writing a new version of Windows (not that they'd do a worse job than MS) but some decent exposure provided by people who know what they're doing is a pretty good idea.


The Godfathers - Birth, School, Work, Death -


In 1987 I went to the drive in with Scouts (we walked there) to see a movie. It was a hot night so we all sat outside and watched "Highlander". It's still in my top 5 films of all time. I loved it then and I still do. Last weekend I sat down with my 18 year old daughter (where did THAT time go) and introduced her to the film. I'm pretty sure she liked it, she certainly liked the soundtrack. That's good parenting 101…ensuring films of cultural significance are introduced to the next generation!


Queen – Gimme The Prize –

You might remember that when the band toured earlier in the year that we spent some time and played a show for the staff and students at "Crossing the Divide" out at Bundarra. Well this week CTD had its first graduation. I was quite moved when H sent me a photo of Matt Pye along with some of the graduates all dressed up for the occasion. I think about the people we met out there quite really was an experience that changed the way I think for the better.

Johnny Nash - I Can See Clearly Now -

Glaswegian indie popsters Belle & Sebastian have been around for quite a while now. They've got a new album ready to launch in early 2015. This is the first single and I think it's a rather well crafted piece of pop. There's a really funky guitar bit in there that I keep coming back to.

Belle and Sebastian - The Party Line -

In 1994 the Army sent me to Melbourne to learn all about computers. It was a pretty good course taught by instructors with a genuine desire to teach us. DJ Al-ee-Sunshine and I hadn't been married very long when I went and 3 months was a long time. She did get to come and visit for a weekend though. I remember that I was rather unwell and that we went to see the movie that the next tune is from. Somewhere I've got the entire soundtrack on cassette. I remember that the artists covering all the songs weren't allowed to use any modern studio gizmos. It turned out pretty well!

Backbeat Soundtrack - Long Tall Sally -

Surprise, surprise...Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters is the drummer on the previous track. Is there anything this man hasn't appeared on??

And now for this week's competition. If you can work out why I've chosen the next tune, other than that I like it a LOT, you'll be doing well. The link is somewhere inside a song in this episode.

Soul Asylum - Somebody To Shove -

Australian music buyers have never been shy of supporting a novelty tune. I see no reason to buck the trend either. Sometimes life is a bit serious and you need a good laugh. Here's one of the best ever!

Scatterbrain - Don't Call Me Dude -

That'll do. The Walking Dead are beckoning...


"Still whining about your bonus
Man up, you're ridiculous
Hell you can't take it with ya
So, give a little extra" - Ian Hunter & The Rant Band, "When I'm President", 2012

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Song of the Week #326

Wow, this episode is only about 16 hours late! Sorry folks. Today's show is brought to you by the letter 'S'. Why? Why not.

Sidetrack (that starts with  an 's'); the reason I'm late is twofold. On Friday evening I was too tired to finish what I'd started here. It was a big week with both kids having their school formals and alot going on at work. Rather than pump out something of inferior quality for my discerning listeners I let my ideas ferment overnight. Then this morning the sun was out, the sky was clear and there was no wind. As you may have guessed this meant that I couldn't resist getting out for a few kilometres on my bike. I judged it to perfection though; as the clouds rolled in I put my foot (feet?) down to get home and beat the storm. The ride ended up being shorter than I had planned but getting 91km done and walking in the door just as the rain started was a rather fabulous start to the day.

Solution (there's another 's' word). Last week's quiz asked for the two AC/DC studio albums not named the same as a song. The answers are "Powerage" from 1978 and "Blow Up Your Video" from 1988. One is their best album and the other is rather underrated.

Stevie Wonder, Sesame Street & Superstition. What a great song and look how much fun the kid is having at about 40s in. Stevie Ray Vaughan does a great version of this but Stevie Wonder's is the best. I believe he also played drums on the original studio recording.

Scouting for Girls are the next band to assault your aural senses. I got a copy of their first album when it came out but it never really piqued my interest. Lately I've been adding albums like this to my iDevice to see if my thoughts have changed. They have with this track; it's great! Poppy Brit Rock at its best.

Scouting for Girls - Elvis Ain't Dead -

She Makes War is Laura Kidd's solo project. Laura is from Bristol. I went to school there once but that's beside the point. She Makes War is really cool gloom quirky pop. If you follow her via the web then she's always popping up playing online gigs as well as regular ones. I like her voice, the attitude and the songs too. If you listen and decide it's good stuff then head over to for free stuff, CDs to buy and the chance to support the recording of album #3. I have the first two albums here (bought direct from Laura) and they are never off my iDevice.

She Makes War - Scared to Capsize -

It wouldn't be an 's' show without Paul Simon I don't think. His album with Art Garfunkel, "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" has been on high rotation in my office this week. It just never gets old. The space and majesty of the title track is almost sonic perfection. I wonder if Sesame Street still has cool people on it?

Paul Simon - Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard -

Slayer have a new album coming in early 2015 (date if you believe the internets...). It will be their first without founding member and guitarist Jeff Hanneman. They released a track (below) online back in May. Wow, it's hard to believe all the haters. Slayer are THE original thrash metal band and just the fact that they are carrying on without Hanneman is amazing. It sounds like Slayer to me. I rated their last album highly and I'll be in the queue to buy the next one. It isn't music I listen to every day but it has its place in my playlists.

Slayer - Implode -

Safia are a Canberra band hitting it big on the international scene. They recently toured with NZ sensation Lorde. Seriously groovy stuff...electronic r&b in a good way.

Safia - Paranoia, Ghosts & Other Sounds -

I've been mucking around with some software that does amplifier modelling for guitars. Basically, you plug into the iPad and go wild. It's pretty cool stuff and I'll be interested to see how it sounds at volume with the rest of the band, It may or may not translate well. Having an electronic template of a dozen or so amps and being able to modify them is a lot of fun. DJ NotRoz complained that the dials didn't go to 11 though.

Spinal Tap (and all their friends) - Big Bottom (live) -

Years and years ago now DJ DadofIke turned me onto a band called The Sisters of Mercy. I liked bits and pieces of their music but I did cringe at some of the bootleg stuff. I'm sure it was good if you were there. We used to play one of their songs (Something Fast) regularly in The Dark Violence of Beauty. It was amusing to hear the original version after 6 months playing our take on it!  Today I'm playing another one of their tracks that I like a lot. You don't have to be a Goth to like the Sisters, just someone who appreciates good music.

The Sisters of Mercy - Dominion -

I'll close with a tune that Angus put me on to. Usually he's listening electronic or dance style stuff but the other day I heard guitars and my heart soared. Kingswood are a Melbourne rock band whose first album was released this year. They've been playing with such bands as The Living End, British India and The Saints as well as a number of festivals. It's good honest rock and roll and I'll check out more of their stuff very soon. Their band name might not start with an 's' but the song title does - ha!

Kingswood - Suckerpunch -

Hoo roo,


(Language warning on this one if you couldn't work it out from the title!)
"Negative are all your views,
So you can prop up your fake cool,
A puppet all the same...political" - Skunk Anansie, Yes It's F*cking Political, 1996.