Month: October 2015

A week of songs: day four

OK, so thanks to the Facebook chain post doing the rounds, I’m doing that song-a-day-for-a-week thing where I post a song I like and write a bit about it. You should do it too, eh? (Seriously, if you like the post, go write your own, and tell me in the comments, as I’d like to read your picks.)

This is day four. My pick for day four is a song that I have for years kind of thought was a personal anthem: Tom Waits’ “Goin’ Out West”.

This is, as with many others, a song I’d heard on Rage one late evening. This wasn’t the first Tom Waits song I’d heard. I had some of his earlier stuff, I think perhaps the two Early Years albums which were very acoustic, and much more singer-songwriter. But this. This. Look at the filmclip – a guy who looks kind of like a monkey plays a midget guitar with a brakeman’s glove, in a world where everything is on fire. He high-kicks, singing about some kind of pornographic Big Rock Candy Mountain life that’s better out west, in the land of suntans. He’s not a bit player, baby – he’s a leading man, a lover man, a ruler and a fighter. Power chords fade in and out beneath tremolo guitar, while the percussion sounds like (and probably was) someone beating the shit out of furniture.

Later on, he gets devil horns. What the fuck was this? (more…)

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A week of songs: day three

OK, so thanks to the Facebook chain post doing the rounds, I’m doing that song-a-day-for-a-week thing where I post a song I like and write a bit about it. You should do it too, eh? (Seriously, if you like the post, go write your own, and tell me in the comments, as I’d like to read your picks.)

This is day three. My pick for day three is a song that properly introduced me to what’s become one of my favourite (if not the favourite) bands, the Dirty Three.

Now for a bit of history. I had heard this band before – I think from the live clip of “Dirty Equation” that used to get a spin on Rage in those late night/early morning tunefests – but it hadn’t done anything for me. I hadn’t then really discovered much noisy stuff beyond Einstürzende Neubauten, and the Dirty Three are very much a live band, so it’s not surprising that this rough-arse clip didn’t grab me. I knew from the street press that the band were pretty popular, but I didn’t go out of my way to check them out. (more…)

A week of songs: day two

OK, so thanks to the Facebook chain post doing the rounds, I’m doing that song-a-day-for-a-week thing where I post a song I like and write a bit about it. You should do it too, eh? (Seriously, if you like the post, go write your own, and tell me in the comments, as I’d like to read your picks.)

This is day two. My pick for day two is a song I first heard – or more correctly, first paid attention to – when it featured on the soundtrack to Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers.

(Fun author fact the first: I went on a fairly disastrous first date while in first year at university to a double feature – Natural Born Killers and A Clockwork Orange – at the old Valhalla cinema in Glebe. It ended in a very arts student way, with long discussions in a cemetery. The next weekend, the person in question told me they’d started taking heroin. Coincidence? I THINK NOT.)

Anyway, I was a literature student when I saw the movie, and I couldn’t believe it was Cohen, at first. I mean, I’d flogged the arse out of his Best Of album for years, as anyone vaguely interested in poetry and being a mopey arts student was wont to do, and this was a world away from fingerpicked guitars and tea and oranges that come all the way from China.  (more…)

A week of songs: day one

OK, so thanks to the Facebook chain post doing the rounds, I’m doing that song-a-day-for-a-week thing where I post a song I like and write a bit about it. You should do it too, eh? (Seriously, if you like the post, go write your own, and tell me in the comments, as I’d like to read your picks.)

This is day one. Today’s song was probably the first Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds song I saw, thanks to Rage, the late night/early morning music video show here in Australia. Actually, the first I ever saw may be the fairy-lit cover of ‘In the Ghetto’ but this one stuck more in my memory. For my money it remains one of the strongest songs the band has done, even though lyrically it’s less leaning on Faulknerian gloom for inspiration and more wearing its skin as a jacket. Still, plenty of grim mud-sloshed words to go around, indicative of the whole And The Ass Saw The Angel thing, and some good Leadbelly vocal rips to go along with it. (more…)

Bree van Reyk: World of Sound

Disc.

I made a trip to Carriageworks this evening to check out percussionist Bree van Reyk‘s new project, part of Performance Space’s Liveworks Festival of Experimental Art. The Festival runs for a couple of weeks and features experimental art across a range of disciplines; while I was there I saw a dance and video piece about drones and surveillance.

I was there, however, to see Wall of Sound, which is part of the Festival’s series of free events. Van Reyk has described the event as “solo me, solo you, solo gong”, and it’s pretty apt. It’s a one-on-one situation, two people and a sound. (more…)

Luke likes what Luke likes

It appears Luke Haines has a solo album coming out, and it’ll be all analogue synths. So snark and synths? Sounds like my kind of thing. In the lead-up, though, he’s chosen his favourite electronic albums, and one of my absolute favourites is one of his picks: Klaus Schulze’s Irrlicht. 

So have some drone, folks. Be sure to play it at neighbour-hating volume.

The power of Poe

I have always liked Edgar Allan Poe, though I will freely admit that I have never really understood him as well as I would like.

Oh, I get the stories well enough. I know where they’re going. I can see the shadows they cast, the histories they reference, and even – on my better days – the jokes and knowing winks that he peppers throughout for observant readers to pick up. But I think, more than his now slightly wordy and archaic writing style, there’s a distance between Ed and I that can’t be crossed.

Well the feeling is mutual, bub.

And I’m kind of OK with that. He’s been a sort of uneasy hero of mine for many years, now, and though I have always tempered my thumbs-ups with an acknowledgement of the problems of having him as a role-model (less for the cousin-marrying alcoholic part and more for the proud hack with ghosts to get out part) I feel it’s the fact that there’s something about him and his work that doesn’t click fully with me, that feels off, that aids his stature for me. The fact that something doesn’t fit, that something is weird: it’s a boon rather than a cause for pause. (more…)

Tattoo you (or me)

I have always been intrigued by tattoos, and perhaps a little afraid.

I think the first time I ever saw one that sticks in my memory is on an episode of Doctor Who: Jon Pertwee’s doctor is pictured, at the very start of the run, with a tattoo on his arm. I think it’s a question mark, a very Who thing to have – but I can’t be sure. At the time – and this was during my prime write-to-actors period – I think I felt it was a Pertwee tattoo: something that belonged to the actor even though I know he was playing a character.

A man’s gotta look after his hair.

(It’s a weird time, that – where you’re old enough to know that the person you think is cool on TV is just a grown-up pretending to be someone, but in fan letters and consumption you switch off that piece of knowledge, so that the person is really just Doctor Who foremost. Cognitive dissonance before I knew what it really was, maybe.) (more…)