Musings

’90s musical memories: 7/7

Well, this is day seven of seven. And I’ve gone with perhaps the most predictable choice for last: You Am I. Anyone who knows me from my university days knows that this was my band, and this song my jam. At that time of my life they were massively important. I don’t listen to them as much these days, but that’s OK: once you’ve heard as much as I have, it’s always sort of there.

This song is a classic of nerdy outsider anthems, and I’m not the only arts dick who thought it was kinda written for them.

I’m aware this is a bit of a cop-out, but I’ve written about this song before. I looked over my old blog post and it all rang true. Head over here to check it out. It expresses why I love this band in general, and this song in particular.

(There’s also some entries about my first own-bought guitar, a shitty car and more about night driving, which seems to be a theme in these posts.)

Advertisements

’90s musical memories: 6/7

We’re entering the home stretch now: just today and tomorrow to go. (Well, maybe an additional day for non-Australian stuff, but hell.) So today I’d like to lay some more instrumental stuff on you: the band that sounds like Australia, to me, really. The band whose line in a) stage banter and b) grim weepers is pretty much without peer. The band who I’m always happy to see, despite knowing a serious bumming-out will occur at some point during their gigs. The band I have pushed upon people relentlessly, zealot-eyed because I know that they’re pretty much the best thing ever.

It is, of course, The Dirty Three. (more…)

’90s musical memories: 5/7

For day five of the ’90s Musical Memories challenge, I figured I’d go with something without words. It’s by a band who I discovered thanks to a tween magazine, and who generally make their work on the fly. The song I’ve chosen is fairly unique in the band’s catalogue as it comes from an album that’s both a soundtrack and a collection of short pieces. (They’re normally keen on disc-long tracks, so anything less than about 30 minutes is punk as fuck, as far as they’re concerned.)

So listen, won’t you, to ‘The Boys II’ by Australia’s leading ambient jazz improvisational trio, The Necks. (more…)

’90s musical memories: 3/7

Day three, and I figure it’s time to put a bit of sleaze into the mix. So I’ve chosen one of the best: Kim Salmon & the Surrealists’ ‘Gravity’, from the Sin Factory album. It’s true, it’s not the reason I picked it up – that would be the solid-gold riff of ‘I Fell’ and its accompanying filmclip – but in terms of a statement of what that band’s about, I think you can’t go past the opening seconds, where an opening drum snap kicks off a world of full throated fuck-off wailing,

The song demands you listen to it. The Tony Cohen production is great – the drums are like woodchopping, the guitar a fuzzy knife, the bass slinking about somewhere. And the burr in Kim’s vocal is fantastic, as he basically sings about the inescapable notion that you’re gonna fuckin’ die and there’s nothing you can do but (hello, chorus) scream. It’s pretty great.

(I mean fuck, just listen to that rhythm section in the no-guitar part before the first verse repeats: it’s all slinky, pant-sniffin’ Brian Hooper greatness with some super-Cramps style Tony Pola tom work. It’s like flick-knife greasers dancing.)  (more…)

’90s musical memories: 2/7

Today’s choice of music is from a band I’ve liked for a long time, who moved to London and fell apart before regrouping years later to produce further compelling work. They were a band that I dragged most of my friends along to see at various places, and they were the first musicians I ever interviewed (for Honi Soit, the Sydney uni newspaper) after helping them load in to the now defunct Northpoint Tavern in North Sydney. They are the only band I’ve dressed up for – in a three-piece suit, no less, as some kind of impoverished student imitation of their dapper numbers – and yet also are one of the few bands for whom my enthusiasm does not, in hindsight, appear to have been misplaced. It’s time for The Paradise Motel, folks.  (more…)

’90s musical memories: 1/7

Over on Facebook I’ve been nominated for one of those chain things where you post a song each day for a week, with the 1990s being a theme. So I’m gonna do it, and I’ll write a bit more at length over here on what I’ve chosen and why.

The first song I’m gonna go with is one from one of the first albums I remember buying as a uni student, from the CD shop that used to be on the Wentworth side of the footbridge over City Road. It was a place I ended up spending a lot of time in, listening to releases on headphones before purchasing, and I remember buying a lot of things from there – probably at the terribly jacked prices we thought were normal in the ’90s -because it was somewhere to fuck off to when I didn’t have lectures, or didn’t have friends waiting at Manning Bar for me to, soberly, relate my latest romantic failure. (more…)

Waiting for the gift of sound and vision

Today is the day I learned that David Bowie had died. So I’m writing some thoughts down to try and make sense of it. This probably seems strange, as I am normally averse to displays of grief over public figures. It’s always seemed a little – I don’t know, a bit weird. Almost unnecessary. But now, perhaps for the first time, I feel it.

cybh7owvaaa5qkn

And now he’s gone home.

I was at drinks and the news flashed on my phone; could it be a hoax, a hacked status update? Later, as I rode a train to meet friends, it was confirmed: Duncan Jones and the Beeb showed that this wasn’t the perennial internet jape of proclaiming someone dead. This was the real thing. And I felt teary, and weird, and like I didn’t want to be anywhere because this was, as stupid as it sounds, about someone very important to me, who I had never, would never meet. Dear, strong friends were lamenting; I’d not felt the tyranny of distance so keenly as when one suggested that we should all be together tonight, with a case of wine and music. But we’re in Los Angeles, Boston, Sydney, Helsinki, Amsterdam… all over the world.

I know, this probably will read as something rather indulgent – no different from the torrent of thinkpieces and reminiscences the coming weeks will bring – but this is my blog, so this is mine. There’s a bunch of obituaries you can read. The NY Times. The BBC. The Guardian. Vanity Fair. Mine is a bit different. It’s me processing this feeling of loss, which is strange. I know nobody’s ever an arsehole just after they’ve died, but it’s weird – I realise today I’d never really entertained the idea of Bowie dying. Because, like the sun, I felt he’d always be there. He always had been, right? (more…)

2015 Consumption: A Look at Some Stuff I Liked

So as I did last year, I’m going to take a look at what sort of non-food things I consumed throughout the previous year. That is, books, music, films, games and stuff. As before, I’m also uncertain whether this will be of any interest to anyone other than nerdy ole me, but I hope you will enjoy, particularly if data recording is a bit of a thing for you. Because, as you certainly should have gleaned from sticking around here, it is for me.

(I have been told this is all a bit Patrick Bateman. I disagree: I save my discussions of the work of Phil Collins for facetime.)

Yep.

(more…)