Wednesday, March 31, 2010

March - Wrapup


I can't believe we've got this far without a major disagreement occurring between Mine and YourZ (truly). Oh there have been plenty of heated discussions but this is to be expected.  You can't put two spirited, opinionated and intelligent people together on a project like this and not expect some heated debate. Add to the mix we're married and it really is a surprise we haven't resorted to base urges and tried to strangle each other in our sleep.

I think we've mentioned in previous wrapups how much we're enjoying this.  To reiterate, it has invigorated our collective love of music, has us actively talking about and seeking out new artists and opened our eyes to just how fucking awesome our collection is (even if I do say so myself).

This month, I was stoked to be able to review a few of my all time favourite bands (Led ZeppelinQueens Of The Stoneage and Gomez) as well as one of my new favourite bands (Clutch) who I also got to see perform a blistering live set.  They kicked serious arse!

We also had the chance, as Mine mentions below, to see Rockwiz, where we stood out by being loud, boisterous know alls.  We spent half the night laughing and the other half rocking out.  We would gladly do it all again tomorrow and the day after too.

Our giveaway, after much deliberation, is to one of our regular(ish) respondents but also the author of some of the funniest, most astute music writing we've read.  We're going to send one of our favourite CDs, The Sleepy Jackson's Lover (review here) to Seano from Circle Of Fits (see this blog here), because we think he'd enjoy it as much as we do.  Seano, if you read this, send us an email with your address and we'll send you some padded baggy goodness.

Finally, another word about our Freebies.  This is the list in our sidebar of CDs we are GIVING AWAY. We're not asking for anything of you other than an email stating what you'd like, why you'd like it and an address where we can send it.  You don't even have to worry about postage.  If there is nothing on the list that interests you, tell your friends to check it out.  Our only motivation is we'd rather see these CDs go to a good home than become landfill.  Let me say it again - FREE CDS!


We're a quarter of the way through this journey and I'm still getting a thrill from all the music I'm listening to and talking about.  Plus each time we get the pointy stick and the blindfold out (that's how we pick the CDs to review, dear reader) we always have another conversation - about how close we came to almost picking more favourite albums.

And this month we both established ourselves as true music nerds, by going to see RocKwiz being filmed at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney.  Neither of us had the opportunity to  show our mean music skillz, but we sure had fun yelling out the answers and waving our hands in the air.

So at the three-month-mark, I guess I'm just getting more and more enthused about the wide range of music we enjoy.  Onward!

Free CDs - March throwouts

Free to a good home this month:

Gyroscope - Breed Obsession
Audioslave - Audioslave

Still going begging from previous months:

George Michael - Ladies & Gentlemen The Best Of George Michael
Roots Manuva - Awfully Deep, Run Come Save Me and Slime and Reason
Petula Clark - Greatest Hits
Queen - Greatest Hits II, Greatest Hits III, Made in Heaven (we're keeping the others)
Snow Patrol - Final Straw
Come - Near Life Experience, Eleven : Eleven and Don't Ask, Don't Tell
Ben Harper - The Will To Live and Diamonds On the Inside
Lightning Seeds - Sense
Sugar Ray - Floored

For anyone who wants a CD - you don't even have to worry about postage. Just send us an email with your details and a little bit about why you want said disc and we'll forward it to you as soon as we can.  With stamps and everything!

The Flaming Lips - LateNightTales (compilation)


A lovely compilation to round out the month, and one of several LateNightTales we have in our collection.  I'll admit I voted for this particular one because it contains the beautiful River Man from Nick Drake, but I'm also loving 10CC's I'm Not In Love, 2HB from Roxy Music and of course the Lips' special version of The White Stripes' Seven Nation Army.  Gorgeous.  We loved this CD so much we bought it twice (seriously, we forgot we already had it and bought it twice. D'oh!)

In fact the only thing that spoils this CD is that damn Radiohead song.  SKIP!



The LateNightTales series and its predecessor series, Another Late Night, are a fucking great idea well-executed, so good, in fact, we have a few of them and will most certainly be adding more as we can.  As Mine points out, we liked this particular one, we had to buy it twice to show our love.  One of my brothers was the lucky recipient of the second copy, although his recent behaviour has me regretting this decision (a little in-joke, dear readers - I'm not serious).

The Flaming Lips are one of Mine and YourZ (truly)'s favourite bands so owning this was a no-brainer.  I love that we get a glimpse into the minds of our favourite acts via these collections - it is just fascinating what they pick as being influential and often completely defies the band's public persona. 

Every track on this is a winner but my favourite picks off this, aside Nick Drake, include Bjork's Unravel, People by Alfie, the Radiohead track Pyramids (yes Mine, it IS a classic), Chris Bell's Speed Of Sound and Sebadoh's On Fire.  And despite my avid dislike of most jazz, the Miles Davis track, My Ship, has me wanting to hear more of this genius' work.


For more information:

In our collection, we also have: Air - LateNightTales, Fatboy Slim - LateNightTales and Kid Loco - Another Late Night

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Kirsty MacColl - Electric Landlady


I've been waiting for the pointy stick to land on Ms MacColl only because I knew it would elicit a passionate review from Mine, who is a big Kirsty fan.  I must admit I'm generally ignorant of her work, although I'm very familiar with her duo with Shane McGowan of The Pogues on Fairytale Of New York (if you don't know this classic, check it out here - best listened to with a skin full and preferably loudly late at night).  She's also responsible for a wonderful cover of Billy Bragg's New England, a version I prefer to the original (sorry Billy).

Imagine my surprise when I listened to the first track on Electric Landlady and found I instantly recognised it.  For the life of me, though, I don't know where I've heard Walking Down Madison before (for a moment I was convinced it was covered by the Pet Shop Boys, who I definitely don't like - isn't it curious how the mind works - okay, maybe it's just my mind...)

Anyway, I was kind of hoping there'd be more tracks like it on this album but there aren't.  This doesn't mean the rest of the album is crap, because it's not.  There are some nice tracks on it.  But there's that word again - nice - and I think if you're a regularly reader of this blog you know my feelings on 'nice'. 



I'm crying.  I can't help it. Every time I think about the loss of the songstress who I adored for so many years, I get all teary.  I'm very much a "no regrets" kind of girl but oh how I regret not getting on a plane and flying to London when I heard Kirsty had gotten over her decades-long stage fright and was performing.  I thought to myself, "I can save up for that.  Next year will do." And then she was dead, mown down by a motor-boat driver in Mexico in front of her two sons.

I fell in love with Kirsty when I saw her video for A New England, where she's pregnant (unheard-of for singers even now) and revelled in Kite when it came out a few years later.  I love that the title for this album comes from Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, after he lived in a flat she owned.  I can't say it's my favourite Kirsty album, I love them all.  I can say I love Walking Down Madison, All I Ever Wanted and My Affair.
But so many of these songs are beautiful.  My only problem is listening to them without howling.  I miss her so much and on my next trip to London I'll be sure and make a pilgrimage to her memorial bench in Soho Square, dedicated in her memory and a fitting tribute as it reflects a song on her next album, Titanic Days.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP so you can't hear me sobbing

For more information:

In our collection we also have Kite, What Do Pretty Girls Do?, Titanic Days, Tropical Brainstorm, The Essential Collection and The One And Only

Monday, March 29, 2010

Chris Isaak - San Francisco Days


Dreamy, dreamy Chris Isaak.  The only bad thing I can say about this album is its cheesy K-Tel front cover, with all the songs listed on it.  I mean, urgh!  But the songs are - dreamy.  That gorgeous voice, beautiful, country-style songs, and the only time I've ever enjoyed a Neil Diamond song.  No, wait - I loved the Urge Overkill version of Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon in Pulp Fiction.  (YourZ sez: what about the Ups & Downs version of Solitary Man - always liked that one).

I've seen him live once, when he wore that amazing mirrored suit (how heavy must that thing be?)  And I'm fairly certain my knickers melted when he jumped into the audience, to stand on the back of the seats ONE ROW IN FRONT OF ME to serenade the screaming girls.  Hubba, hubba.

My only other Isaak story comes second hand - following a visit to the South Australian wine country.  I met up with a publicist who looks after artists during their annual Under the Stars concert.  She told me he's the nicest star she's ever met, no trouble at all and only too happy to speak to any number of journos, shake hands with fans, and so on.  One of the guys with her was telling Isaak his wife had just had a baby and was devastated she couldn't attend - so he got the man to phone her and chatted for a good five minutes.  What a guy.  The publicist said that was in extreme contrast to the Australian artist supporting him, who acted like a complete diva.  I'm naming no names, but she was popular on a kid's talent show and has achieved success in France.

Anyway, I love this album - my first Isaak - and look forward to listening to it more regularly.



Oh, he's so nice, isn't he?  Kind of makes me wonder if he has a big closet full of a secrets yet to be revealed or that maybe he's gay.  (Before I get inundated with death threats, please note I don't believe this myself). 

For someone who has been around as long as Chris has and given just how pervasive the cult of celebrity has become, he is amazingly untarnished.  I find it particularly refreshing he has been able to keep his private life very much to himself.  Of course, there is plenty of speculation about him (mostly on forums most likely administered by fan clubs), but for the most part, that's all there is.

He has the sort of voice that makes all the girls swoon and the reputation for being a gentleman and a funny and genuinely nice bloke.  He has carved an enduring career out for himself playing country-tinged old school rock, the kind of music that continues to be popular regardless of current trends.  To top this off, he is over 50 years old but still looks 20 years younger, the bastard!

Frankly, this music has never been my cup of tea (I prefer strong coffee with a dash of diethylamide for effect - look it up, kiddies).  I find it all a bit safe and polished for my liking.  Still, it isn't so bad it makes me wanna retch.


For more information:

In our collection we also have Forever Blue

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Grant Lee Buffalo - Mighty Joe Moon


There's an undeniable romanticism to Grant Lee Phillips' compositions and while there's an obvious connection to Americana, for want of a better label, there's also something more worldly and less obvious about the music Grant Lee Buffalo produce.

Mine and YourZ (truly) were listening to Mighty Joe Moon in the car the other night and I was again struck by how broad the landscape of this album is, reminding me more of some of the great Australian artists than anything else.  The beauty of Phillips' vocal delivery, shifting with ease between his unique falsetto and grittier mid-tones, as best exemplified in the hauntingly beautiful Mockingbirds.

There also exists a broad traversal between Grant Lee Buffalo's recordings and live work.  I recall seeing this band many years ago at an inner-city venue in Sydney.  They were just about the loudest band I'd ever seen, particularly for a three piece.  At the same time, the clarity of their sound was superb, not drowned in distortion, as so often was the case with many of the bands I saw back then.

Mighty Joe Moon is an album of many shades, not, as the name could imply, of moonlit darkness.  It is like time spent in a desert, where warmth and light (It's The Life /Side By Side) quickly give over to chill and dark (Sing Along / Demon Called Deception).  But underlying it all is a natural beauty, where the listener is transported to a wonderful landscape.  It is a heck of trip but oh so worth it and completely worthy of being named a Forgotten Gem.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP and drift away


What's not to love?  Beautiful tunes, lush arrangements and a lead singer who can actually sing - the question is, why didn't I take the time out to listen to GLB before?  Especially as Mr Phillips has guest starred on one of my favourite TV shows - Gilmore Girls - many, many times.

His role as the Troubadour of Stars Hollow is only one of the many musical guest appearances on the show.  With music such a big part of the script, plus its relentless pace, sneaky pop-culture references and sparkling wit it's no wonder I fell in love with the show.  In fact I got really cheesed off reading an interview with Skid Row-er Sebastian Bach when he was annoyed at being recognised for his role on Gilmore Girls, rather than for his own music.  Surely, dude, any publicity is good publicity?  Plus, you got paid for the gig, right?

Aaaanyhoo, I really liked Mighty Joe Moon and I vote we own more GLB.  Oh, and I loved their version of  We've Only Just Begun on the compilation  If I Were A Carpenter which I will be voting we review - somewhere down the line...


For more information:

In our collection we also have Fuzzy and Copperopolis

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Girls Against Boys - You Can't Fight What You Can't See


It's kinda weird what this whole blogging-a-review-a-day is doing to my perception of music.  For instance, while listening to this CD (in the car en route to and from work, as is my wont) I became caught up in a train of thought about drum kits.  I was wondering if hard rock bands could forego the tinny sounds of the hi-hat, with a special foot pedal control instead operating another method of hitting a tom or a snare.  Because when you have a really hard driving rock sound, the hi-hat sounds positively - well, not to be delicate - pussy.

The drummer in Girls Against Boys is just so enamoured of his cymbal sounds, it's such a shame - because for my ears it takes away from what could be a really great example of post-punk New York style rock.  I also found the songwriting varied greatly, shifting from straight-and-boring rock to the post-punk variety.  I liked BFF and Kicking the Lights, and Let it Breathe is a nice way to close out the album, but generally - not impressed. 

Drummer - lose the hi-hat and stop banging that cymbal so much.  DRUM!



This is another of those albums in our collection I totally forgot about.  I saw GVSB on tour with Australia's Magic Dirt some years ago now and remember being blown away by the twin bass guitar sound.  Up until then, I'd not even heard of the band.  But after the show, I went out and got You Can't Fight What You Can't See and was as impressed with this album as I was with their live show.

Theirs is a dark, rhythm-driven sound, heavy on drums and bass, naturally, nor are they not afraid to use new technologies to add to their overall driving sound.  Scott McCloud's sneering vocal delivery, coupled with the hardcore leanings of the music puts me in mind of a few other bands, most notably Fugazi and Sonic Youth. Thankfully, GVSB don't lean on these other acts too much, carving their own sound out of this template.

Favourites tracks include All The Rage, 300 Looks For The Summer (with its I don't like Hollywood repeated refrain), The Come Down, One Perfect Thing and Miami Skyline.  And while the band has been quiet for a number of years, I was pleased to read they've recently completed a tour of Europe and are also planning some recording time.  I'm looking forward to seeing what comes of this.


For more information:

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fun Lovin' Criminals - Come Find Yourself


There is one reason this is in our collection (actually there's more than one but I don't want to bore you, dear reader).  The main reason is the same reason we have a lot of the music we do - because it's fun and doesn't take itself seriously (okay, that's two reasons, if you want to be pedantic).

Come Find Yourself isn't ground-breaking or innovative.  But it came out at a time when a lot of the hip hop being produced took itself far too seriously - so this was never really recognised as much more than a novelty (mostly because of their lead single, Scooby Snacks).  FLC, as they're affectionately known, were never a big success in their own country, more's the pity.  If any part of the music industry could do with some definite cheering up, it's hip hop.

Listening back to this is like getting a visit from an old friend - it's great to catch up and spend some time, but you both know it'll probably be a while before you'll catch up again.  And sometimes, this is the way it's meant to be.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP, have a few tokes and catch up on good old times


An album on the pop- and trip- side of hip-hop, Come Find Yourself has some great moments - and most are concerned with illegal activities.  My three favourite songs are King of New York - which is about mobster John Gotti - Bombin' The L - which is about graffiti on New York's L Train - and of course Scooby Snacks.  Can't beat that chorus - Runnin' around robbin' banks/ all whacked on Scooby Snacks!

I was horrified to find this album's more than 15 years old.  How old does that make me feel?  O-L-D. (YourZ sez: ooo, you poor old thing.  I'm only as young as the girl I'm feeling... erm, no wait, I mean...  At least she's still cute)  I love this band for the melodies they use (often sadly missing in hip-hop), for the fun choruses and intelligent lyrics, for using big guitar riffs along with the loops and samples, and I guess most of all for making me feel like I've had a slice of the Big Apple right here in my car today.  Love it.


For more information:

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ian Dury & The Blockheads - Jukebox Dury


Yes, I know the CD to the side doesn't match the title we've got - but rest assured, all the songs on Jukebox Dury are on the album pictured.  Thank goodness. This is yet another best-of CD and one that has some damn fine songs on it.  Lots are actually on my gymPod, because it's nice to have a smile on your face while you're sweating and panting and wishing you could die right now and end the pain.

But I can't wait, I can't WAIT until the Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll movie comes out.  Featuring Andy Serkis (Gollum to the LOTR nerds) in the lead role, it promises to be a fabulous inside peek into the life of this larger-than-life muso.  It's no wonder that an all-about-the-lyrics girl like myself loves this band. From namechecking Noel Coward and Einstein in There Ain't Half Been Some Clever Bastards to the beautiful zen-like statements in You'll See Glimpses (Every living thing will be another friend) and of course the round-the-world in a song of Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick, Dury is just a delight as a songwriter.  The tunes don't suck, either.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP (Reasons to be cheerful/ one, two, THREE)


I remember years ago, watching Countdown, the iconic Australian music show that used to be on ABC every Sunday night at 6pm.  Every kid in Australia watched it because if they didn't, they wouldn't have anything to talk about the next day.  Repeated offences would most likely result in said offender being ostracised for the rest of their youth.

Anyway, my siblings and I were happily watching Countdown when the clip for Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick came on.  I loved the song partly because Dury was so naughty and cheeky and partly because the music was brilliant.

There's a part in the clip where Dury wags the microphone while singing 'hit me' and while I'm sure my younger siblings had no idea what he was inferring (I'm not sure they could have even spelt 'fellatio'), I knew exactly what was going on.  It was about this time my mother walked into the room, saw what we were watching and hit the roof.  There was no doubting she also knew what he was miming.  To cut a long story short, it took a lot of cajoling before we could watch Countdown again (at least, with her blessings).

Jukebox Dury includes this track as well as the superbness that is Reasons To Be Cheerful, Sweet Gene Vincent and of course, the generations-defining anthem, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, all of which serve to remind me of how good Dury was and how sad it is he's no longer with us.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP and hit me, hit me, HIT ME!

For more information:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Datsuns - The Datsuns


The Datsuns brand of rock picks me up and drops me right back into my teen years, where summer days stretched out deliciously, skateboards were thick, the roads were smooth as glass and the waves were just perfect for body surfing.  Okay, maybe it wasn't all as great as this but my memories won't have it any other way.

This is the soundtrack in rock's revival tent, where the hair is long and the hands all throw up the devil's horns.  It is how rock should be remembered, not as a lumbering beast with too many serious faces but as a raucous, screaming-crazy mofo who won't ever stop being the life of the party and refuses, for one second, to be taken seriously.

As bad as the world seems some days, I thank fuck for bands like The Datsuns to remind me of just how good it can be too.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP as loud as it can go until the neighbours call the cops


Why is it that I can hear Audioslave and feel like it's derivative junk, and yet The Datsuns full-throttle rawk just makes me smile?  It's certainly more on the pop side of rock, which is always better in my book, but there's no glorifying it: this CD doesn't do anything new for music.

What it does do is open with blistering, balls-to-the-wall rock - and doesn't let up till the last notes have died away.  While it's not the sort of music I'd play on any occasion, I'm sure it could help me get ready to go out for a night on the town.  It's weird - the screamingness of the lead vocals doesn't bother me at all.  Maybe I'm just discounting it - New Zealanders can't possibly really be that angry, they live in too nice a place.


For other information:

In our collection we also have Head Stunts

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Chemical Brothers - Exit Planet Dust


Ech, the debut album?  Not Surrender?  Sometimes the pointy stick is so cruel.  Exit Planet Dust is OK, but doesn't have the oh-so-fine tunes the Chems came out with later in their career.  I've seen them live a few times, at festivals and on their own, and I have to say Tom and Ed never fail to put on a great show.  With or without, er, enhancement.

It's weird to think that this album came out 15 years ago.  I spent a lot of time before and after then dancing my ass off in clubs to music of this ilk - and going to see artists like the Chems, Fatboy Slim, Paul Oakenfold and others whip dancefloors into a frenzy.  It was a simpler time... when I often wouldn't really sleep from breakfast time on Friday to late Sunday afternoon.  I'm healthier now, because I don't smoke any more, but I'm reasonably certain I was fitter then, as I could dance for six to eight hours with only short breaks.
OK, this isn't reviewing the album.  Only for completists, not as good as Dig Your Own Hole or Surrender.



Well this is interesting.  Here's me expecting Mine to wax about this album, being as it is a Big Beat classic and the album that introduced the world to The Chemical Brothers.  But she doesn't like it so much.  Man, there's just no predicting her (which is cool by me because I love surprises).  Of all the 'dance' genres, the one I can stand to listen to with any regularity is Big Beat, mainly because it has some great, erm, big beats.  And The Chemical Brothers are one of the best, without a doubt.

I've seen The Chems a number of times now, mostly at festivals.  But the one time I saw them at a headline show, I was straight and sober.  It didn't make any difference to the show.  It was spectacularly massive, with a huge surround sound setup (imagine their huge sounds booming around over head and you get a small idea of it) and a light show unlike anything I'd ever seen before.

Less reliant on vocals and more on beats, Exit Planet Dust established the duo as a force to be reckoned with both in their own country and around the world and included the Big Beat classics Chemical Beats and Song To The Siren (which sampled This Mortal Coil's song of the same name) as well as Alive Alone (featuring vocals by Beth Orton) and Life Is Sweet (featuring vocals by Tim Burgess from The Charlatans). 

This is the start of it all.  And the rest, as they (historians, I'm thinking) say, is history.


For more information:

In our collection we also have Surrender and Come With Us

Monday, March 22, 2010

Bran Van 3000 - Discosis


This is a genre-hopping masterpiece and, prior to Mine and YourZ (truly) discovering Dusted by Katalyst (see the review here), this album was THE choice party-starter.  In fact, I remember going to a backyard BBQ a number of years ago where the only album played all night was this one, on repeat.  Everything else simply paled into insignificance against it.

As Mine mentions below, it features one of last tracks Curtis Mayfield ever recorded and, while this is a stunning song, is one of large number of stunners on Discosis (whose guest list also includes Eek-A-Mouse, Dimitri from Paris, Youssou N'dour and Badar Ali Khan, among others).  And believe me, there's a lot to pick from, with songs for all moods and flavours.  It really is a crowd pleaser.  And the Boris Vallejo cover art is icing on the cake.

Now the real question is why we don't own their third release, Rosé?



When YourZ first introduced me to Bran Van 3000, shortly after we first began our relationship, I was gobsmacked.  Not just because of the quality that shines through Discosis, but because I had never heard of them before.  Now that may seem a bit egotistic, but at the time I was an avid purchaser of music magazines and worked quite closely with the radio industry.

Anyway, this album became a firm favourite as soon as I heard it, and it's now on my list of CDs-to-be-replaced immediately - should an apocalypse visit our current collection.  The opening song features one of my favourite singers - Curtis Mayfield - recorded shortly before he died.  For those of you who don't know, Curtis (who wrote Superfly, one of the best soundtrack albums of all time) was paralysed from the neck down after a lighting rig hit him in 1990.  He recorded the vocals for Astounded like he did all of the songs on his last album - lying flat on his back.  And if you've never heard that song, listen to it NOW.  It changed my life, maybe it'll change yours.

The main point about Discosis though is that all the songs are different.  REALLY different.  They're catchy and cool, the album is loooooong and also features the wildly gorgeous voice of Senegal's Youssou N'Dour.  Divine.  And it contains one of our favourite songs - we picked Love Cliché to lead off the soundtrack to our wedding video.

VERDICT:TURN IT UP (ain't no party like a Bran Van party)

For more information:

In our collection, we also have Glee

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ben Folds Five - Whatever and Ever Amen


Oh, why don't I play this more often?  A Forgotten Gem for me, that's for sure.  I've been a fan of shiny piano-based pop since my youth - aided by my forced piano education and my desire to play something, ANYthing other than the dull and boring classical pieces I was forced to practice day in and day out.  So my teenage years were informed by my love of 10CC, Billy Joel and Elton John.  Mock me not.  (YourZ sez: oh, come on, don't spoil my fun)

Ben Folds Five certainly deliver when it comes to that shiny-pop sound, even though many of the tunes on this album reflect a darker lyricism, including Song For The Dumped.  It's the album that brought the band their greatest recognition before they split, and is loaded with great tunes that'll put a positive feeling in your heart while delivering snide and depressing messages.

I have a soft spot for Mr Folds, for taking a young Adelaide girl as his bride, albeit briefly, and making his home Down Under for a while.  He's also fond of the Antipodes and tours here regularly, so maybe I'll take the opportunity to see him play next time he visits.  It's sure to be a fun gig.


Hmm, reading Mine's review above and listening back to Whatever And Ever Amen, I also asked myself why I haven't listened to this more often.  Then it occurred me why.  As a guitarist, spending too much time listening to a pop music album that doesn't have guitars is kind of like an Israeli spending time in Palestine - it just feels wrong (I know - I need to get over myself sometimes, don't I?) (Mine says: ... reading my mind again dammit)

This is not to say this isn't a great album 'cause it is.  Ben Folds and co are fabulously talented and the songs are clever on a number of levels.  I really do like it and understand why Mine has called it a Forgotten Gem.  The opener, One Angry Dwarf And 200 Solemn Faces, sounds like everything Jay Kay (from Jamiroquai for those not in the know) has ever done except better and funnier.

Then there's the beautiful, sad and poignant Brick, which became a cross over hit for the band and propelled them into the mainstream, where I get the feeling a lot of people probably felt overwhelmed by the cleverness of Fold's lyrics and relegated the band to almost gimmick status, more's the pity.

But I think it's the song Kate, a piece of pure pop genius with soaring harmonies, I enjoy most.  I used to share a house with a girl of the same name and more than a few boys fell head over heels for her while she lived there.  The lyrics are almost a perfect homage to the girl I knew, although I was as never struck by her as my friends were (they never lived with her - let's leave it at that).

I'm glad the pointy stick landed on Whatever And Ever Amen because this is indeed one album (in fact the only Ben Folds in our collection) I am glad to be reminded we have.


For more information:

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Audioslave - Audioslave


I had high hopes for Audioslave, both the band and the album, I truly did.  I've been a big fan of Chris Cornell, both as a guitarist and vocalist since his days with the mighty Soundgarden.  (I saw them at the 1994 Big Day Out while standing in the pit between the stage and the audience, thanks to an ex-girlfriend's press pass - hi Leah!).  RATM hasn't had the same impact but I certainly can't deny their appeal.

This self-titled debut has all the bits of both Soundgarden and Rage Against The Machine that made both bands something special.  RATM fans would probably disagree with me but Chris' vocals add such a fuckin' huge dimension to the powerhouse trio from Rage, it's hard not to be blown away by the huge sound Audioslave achieve.  At least at the start, anyway.

The reality of what they do, however, is somewhat disappointing.  I wanted it to be more than what it was.  The first few songs teased me into believing it would be.  Cochise is the best song Rage never did and I haven't tired of listening to it.  Show How To Live backs up the promise with brooding intent - Cornell's croon is just superb.  Then Gasoline's groove adds another dimension and had me nearly sold.  But the rest of the album falls over its great, stumbling rock feet and the smash I expected suddenly becomes kind of predictable and, frankly, formulaically boring. (Mine says: what a shock- we agree!)

The best piece of news I've heard in ages is that Soundgarden are getting back together.  Perhaps then Chris can put this behind him and move forward.  As for Audioslave, well, the aforementioned tracks will be making their way on to the iPod but that's about it.   



Does every rock guitarist want to make a Led Zeppelin album?  Really, take a listen to Cochise.  Is that, or is that not, Whole Lotta Love?  A pretty poor version, too.  Quite frankly there's a whole bunch of songs on this album that are either versions of Zep or Black Sabbath or some other shouty-boy music.

I did like Hypnotise, and again this album is well constructed and mixed.  Just boringly derivative for the most part.


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Friday, March 19, 2010

Brian Wilson - Smile


It's so beeeooooo-tiful!  And an album you definitely want on long car journeys, because it's so complex and layered you just listen and listen to it and then all of a sudden you've arrived, and where did the time go?

Of course it's bookended with two very familiar beach Boys songs - Heroes and Villains and Good Vibrations - but everything that goes on in between is so simple and yet complex, so delightful, I really get a sunshine-and-rainbows feeling when I listen to it.

I love the Americana, the sheer happiness of it. Feeling blue?  Put on Smile and you soon will... smile, that is. 



Brian Wilson's opus or his undoing?  A flawed genius or fanatical nutjob?  Really, who the fuck cares.  One listen to Smile will put any bones of contention to rest.  There's no doubting the beauty of this record, even if it took 37 years to complete.  From the opening harmonies of Our Prayer/Gee to the closing fadeout of Good Vibrations, this is beauty incarnated as music.

There is so much about it that speaks of someone following a higher purpose, from the music and lyrics to the glorious melodies and lush arrangements, a purpose to bring light and joy into the world through prodigious musical talents.  Wilson has achieved this in spades.  That Mike Love called this "avant-garde shit" indicates the level on which Brian operated compared to the rest of the Beach Boys.  It might have taken nearly four decades to complete, but it's also a fantastic 'fuck you' to his former band as well.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP and smile, you sour fucker!

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Superchunk - Foolish


There was a time when I listened to this album a lot.  And by this I mean at least once every day.  Seriously.  In fact, I wrote a song that became a centrepiece in my band's repertoire that was heavily influenced by this album, so much so that a lot of friends called it our Superchunk song.  Ah, those were some good days...  ('scuse me while I reminisce a bit more...)

Okay, done now.

The Chunksters were part of the Chapel Hill scene, which also spawned Polvo, Archers Of Loaf and, most notably, Ben Folds Five.  Superchunk's Mac and Laura also founded the hip indie label, Merge, which is still going strong today (and includes American indie darlings such as She & Him, Spoon and The Shout Out Louds).  And the band itself is still going strong, something of a feat considering most of their contemporaries have long broken up.

I still get shivers up my spine when I hear tracks like Driveway To Driveway or The First Part.  And while I know Mine is probably gonna hate Mac's voice, (Mine says: you know me so well, dear) the raw emotion and fragility of  it is still kicks me in the guts.  Foolish might be this album's name but its nature is so much more.



So who told guitarist Mac McCaughan he could sing?  (YourZ sez: ha, I knew it)  Seriously, this album has some nice tunes on it, but by the time I was on to about the fourth or fifth track, that high-pitched sounds-like-you-trod-on-a-cat wailing gave me a headache.  I really got the whole grumpy-old-woman bit about it.

In fact, this is one instance where the fact they'd mixed the vocals down and the instruments up didn't bother me at all.  This album would have been better if it was wholly instrumental.  Or if someone else sang.  Anybody.  Even Bob Dylan.  (OK, maybe I exaggerate there.)

The songs are also a bit same-y after a while, and I guess that means I've outgrown the whole indie-band thing, when you can forgive poor execution for the fact they have a lot of raw energy.  Give me execution any day. 


For more information:

In our collection we also have Here Is Where The Strings Come In

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Style Council - The Singular Adventures of the Style Council


Aaaagh... I've already used my Style Council story in the Paul Weller review... what to do?  OK, OK, just put the CD on, maybe something will come to me.  Ah!  Of course.

Paul Weller has written two of my top-three love songs of all time.  George Harrison has the honour of taking the number one spot, with Something (on the Beatles' Abbey Road album, if you need to find it).  But it's closely followed by two of the Modfather's own - You Do Something To Me from his solo album Stanley Road, and this compilation's opening number: You're the Best Thing.

I can't imagine my life without this CD as it delivers hit after hit after hit... and I can really only find two songs that haven't stood the test of time for me.  So I just skip over It Didn't Matter and Waiting, and immerse myself in all the other songs.  No doubt the completists will tell me I should have all the albums, and they're probably right.  But this CD has always been a favourite of mine, and it always will be.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP (and SHOUT to the top!)


This is the incarnation of Paul Weller I'm not hugely a fan of but then I've never been a big fan of this kind of British soul.  While I'm probably gonna earn the wrath of Mine for saying this, I think a lot of the songs on this collection have aged pretty poorly.  (Mine says: So this is Girl Music, huh?) This is not to take away from Paul Weller's song writing.  It's more about the sound of the record rather than the songs themselves.

Having said this, tracks like Walls Come Tumbling Down and Shout To The Top still sound every bit as vital as they did when first released.  And Weller's voice is just fuckin' awesome, no doubt.  But given I only knew four of the songs on this this collection, I can't really find anything more to say about it except I hope the pointy stick lands on The Jam, so we can complete the Weller triumvirate.

Given Mine's love of all things Weller, I'm not going to risk it by saying "Throw It Out", so I'll just say...


In our collection, we also have Confessions Of A Pop Group

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Sleepy Jackson - Lovers


I can't remember the first time I heard The Sleepy Jackson, but this album, in particular, has been one of those I go back to time and again.  It is, quite simply, superb.  It's also a testament to Luke Steele and his multi-faceted talents.  As you're about to read, Mine feels exactly the same way about him as I do.

The Sleepy Jackson are another of those bands that not only provide me an emotional attachment to their music but also inspire me to be creative as well.  The frustrating thing is that I'm often listening to this at times and places where I can't just run away and lock myself in my little studio.  I mean, I do have to spend some time socially interacting otherwise I'd be accused of being a recluse.  And I'm just too young and good-looking to wear such a tag.

As a debut album, Lovers stylistic range is a wide as as this great island we call home. There's a little bit of just about everything in it, showcasing Steele's quixotic musical nature, from the alt-country stylings of Old Dirt Farmer through to the indie dance of Tell The Girls.  More tellingly, Lovers sounds particularly Australian without resorting to clichéd devices or using a didgeridoo, while also sounding positively international. I believe in years to come, this album will be hailed as one of the greatest documents of its time.

If you've not heard any Sleepy Jackson before, don't waste any more time reading this.  Click here or here and see for yourself.  I will say it again: it is superb and you won't be disappointed.



I love Luke Steele and I don't care who knows it.  I previously mentioned his side project Nations by the River in our Gomez review, and I'm hopeful the pointy stick will land on Empire of the Sun sooner or later.  To quote Ben Lee: They play Sleepy Jackson on the radio/ And that's the way I like it.

Luke is another one of those frighteningly-talented musicians (YourZ sez: the only thing frightening about Luke Steel is his penchant for makeup) who can just roll out pop song after pop song, and it makes me so glad he's an Aussie - though he does hail from West Australia, which is like another country to me.  No, REALLY like another country.  OK, how about I put it this way: Perth (the capital of WA) is more than 3,300 kilometres away from Sydney, where I live.  It would take me five to six hours to fly there.  That's less than LA to New York, but still... there's a whole lot of NOTHING in between, unlike the USA, which is supposedly filled with shopping malls and obesity (how they manage to fit all those people in when they're getting fatter every year is beyond me).  The last time I visited Perth I was five years old, and arrived by ship from Singapore.  The only story I know about my time there is that I managed to give my parents the slip and wandered off hand in hand with a nice lady I picked up, chatting freely.  How little we change...

But I digress.  Lovers is a great album, moving from pure pop to alt-country, with nods to the Beatles and the Velvet Underground.  Luke's voice in this incarnation reminds me of the softer songs produced by seminal punks the Saints (from across the other side of Oz) and his voice is a little reminiscent of their lead singer, Chris Bailey. This CD is dangerous to play in the car, as one track makes me want to lie back and close my eyes, not recommended on the freeway.  And I love how the final song - Mourning Rain - ends with the sound of rain.


For more information:

In our collection, we also have Personality - One Was A Spider, One Was A Bird

Monday, March 15, 2010

Queens Of The Stone Age - Lullabies to Paralyse


The boy music just never lets up... but actually I've been reasonably impressed by QOTSA.  Perhaps because I just loved track one on their debut album, Rated R.  So if you've never heard Feel Good Hit of the Summer take a clicky walk and have a listen.

See what I mean? Two minutes 46 seconds of a rawk mantra that just rolls you along.  Ironically used by the LAPD in its anti-drunk driving campaign... but that's another Josh Homme story.  Which I'm sure YourZ has more than enough of for this post.

YourZ is a rabid Josh fan, and I can see why.  We both love the Eagles of Death Metal - and when the pointy stick finally lands on Them Crooked Vultures, stand back, the gushing from my beloved will knock you over.  QOTSA's not really my cup of tea, although it's still well put together with more real singing and a decent mix.  Does this mean I have to admit - his boy music is actually Man Music?  Oh, the ignominy...(YourZ sez: fuck yeah, I win!)



While the music press has been lauding Jack White's prodigious output over the last decade, I've been plumping for Josh Homme.  I mean, look at his track record - first Kyuss, (okay maybe not strictly in the last decade but...), the Desert Sessions, QOTSA, Eagles Of Death Metal, production for Arctic Monkeys and various others and, of course, Them Crooked Vultures.  What's Jack White done, huh?  (Okay, I know what he's done - I've admitted it on these very pages but give me some latitude, 'kay?)

Not only this, but he plays Matons (most of the time), which is also my axe of choice.  And he is married to Brody Dalle, one of the sexiest rock chicks to come out of Oz.  The man has is all going on.  But enough of this insipid gushing...

Lullabies... is the fourth full length release from QOTSA and the first released after bassist Nick Oliveri was fired for fucking up once too often.  When I first heard this album, I was kinda missing the crazy shit Nick usually brought to the table but after a few listens, I realised there was enough crazy on this album to satisfy even the most discerning of rock loonies (of which I am proud to say I'm one).

I must listen to this album (and all QOTSA's output) at least once every couple of weeks and there isn't a single track on it I don't want to hear again.  There is just so many flavours, though, it is hard to pick out which tracks are favourites 'cause it depends on my mood on the day.  But notable mentions have to be Tangled Up In Plaid, Little Sister (the cow bell fuckin' rocks) and the dirty blues that is You Got A Killer Scene There, Man... (which also features Shirley Manson from Garbage on backing vox).

All indications are there is gonna be another QOTSA album released this year.  Coupled with the rumours of a full-blown tour later as well, 2010 is shaping up to be a very rocking good year indeed.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP, put it on repeat and rock out

For more information:

In our collection we also have Queens Of The Stoneage (debut), Rated R, Songs For The Deaf and Era Vulgaris

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Polyphonic Spree - The Beginning Stages Of...


I remember seeing The Polyphonic Spree at a Big Day Out some years ago.  Being in the audience felt a little like I was attending some huge revival meeting except everyone was cool and not even slightly religiously righteous.  That this huge band choose to wear robes probably didn't help with this feeling.

I also recall the smiling faces everywhere and just how joyous the whole occasion was. For anyone even slightly curmudgeonly, wandering into this uplifting experience would have felt like they were in the first ring of Dante's hell.

Listening back to The Beginning Stages Of... is not like seeing the band live.  How could it be?  As a result, this album comes off a bit bland.  Oh yeah, the ideas are nice and there are sunny shiny horn sections and uplifting choruses aplenty but if this was a normal-sized band instead of 23 musicians working together (how they squeeze that many egos into a room is a feat in itself) I think it would probably sound pretty ordinary.



I defy anyone to listen to the Spree and not get a great big grin on their face.  The mere concept of the group, with its multithat's nothing until you experience the songs, particularly It's The Sun with its sudden bursts of full-fledged vocal force.

We were lucky enough to see them in concert, and the whole festival audience that came to witness the event just beamed and clapped and called for more.  My one regret that day was I didn't get to the merchandise stand in time to buy one of their t-shirts, which the staff told us had sold out in record time.

I've previously spoken about songs to play at my funeral, and while there's nothing on this CD to actually make a point of playing, I think it'd be a great background album for when people were just gathering before the actual event.  God, I can be morbid.  (YourZ sez: are you keeping notes because I'm not gonna remember all this).  But this is one album I think would fit well in just about anybody's collection.  Have a listen - let us know what you think!

VERDICT:TURN IT UP and really listen

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Moloko - Statues


I've already shared my love for the voice of Moloko - Roisin Murphy - and this album's their final one before the duo split and Ms Murphy embarked on a solo career.  Although recorded as recently as 2002, a re-listen has me a tad dissatisfied.

Sure, it features Roisin's dulcet tones, and her vocal range is awe-inspiring, but the samples and drum sounds seem a little dated for my liking.  It's a good dinner-party album, but doesn't feature any of the strong sounds that made Sing It Back and The Time Is Now such floor-fillers.



I love the story of how Roisin Murphy introduced herself to Mark Brydon, the erstwhile musician and co-founder of Moloko, at a party in Sheffield - "Do you like my tight sweater?  See how it fits my body."  No woman, not even in my wild and vivid imagination, has ever said anything like that to me, particularly at a party.  The 'tight sweater' line became the title of their first album and the two started dating, naturally.

Statues is at the other end of their career.  Unfortunately, there's no great story to end it, just the break up of the couple followed by the band.  It's hard not to like Roisin's sexy voice but as far as this album goes, it just sounds dated and kinda cheesy.  


For more information:

In our collection, we also have All Back To The Mine

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Mighty MIghty Bosstones - Let's Face It


I hadn't listened to Let's Face It in a long time but not because I forgot I had it or had gone off ska.  But when I came to listen to it for this review, at first I couldn't put my finger on why I hadn't.

But then it occurred to me: it's because I prefer British ska to American ska (for the most part anyway - I really don't count Sublime as I think they were much more than just a ska band).  The reasoning is simple: American ska is weightless while British ska isn't. See, told ya it was simple.

Oh, so I can't leave it like that?  Bugger...

American ska (or ska-punk, if you like) is for the most part light and happy sounding despite the lyric content.    The Mighty Mighty Bosstones are a great example of this.  Lyrically, a lot of the tracks on Let's Face It deal with the nasty side of addiction, be it alcohol or drugs.  But you wouldn't know it by the music, which is shiny, brass laden and up tempo and just the sort of music young lads wanna drink a lot of lager to and get skankin'.  This only serves to beat down the lyrics and has me thinking the message is disingenuous.

This isn't to say British ska can't be light and fun because it can.  But the lyrics generally and genuinely match the mood of the music.  Take The Specials or The Beat, for instance, who came together at a time when England was going through some serious shit - Thatcher, conservatism, high unemployment, atrocious racism and crime.  It made for some brilliant, intense and desperate music.  American ska just doesn't have the same emotional content.

Fuck, I didn't mean to turn this into a discourse and I am prepared to be proven completely and utterly wrong.  So, having said all this (yes, Mine, I know - its another long-winded ramble), where do I stand now with The Mighty Mighty Bosstones?  Having worked all this out, finally, can I really get past it?  The answer is yes.  They provided a great highlight at a Warped Festival I went to years ago and I still found myself boppin' along in my chair as I listened and wrote this review.  I'm just going to have to ignore the lyrics.


More examples of my husband's ska obsession - which I really didn't realise was as big as it is!  I liked the hit single, The Impression That I Get, but once again I find the relentless sameness of the songs just a little boring.

The most annoying part of all this is the fact I was totally convinced the band were in a great film (Swingers, 1996) - and I had a really great entry all based around that.  Which leaves me a little bereft. (Insert holding music here... think Girl From Ipanema)

OK, so all I've got is a recommendation you see said movie (early Vince Vaughn/ Jon Favreau and totally worth it unlike Couples Retreat, which OMG the tedium...) which actually features a swing band called Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.  However, Let's Face It would make a reasonably good driving CD, as long as you had a reasonably good driving companion to chat with as well.  It'd fill in the gaps in conversation, and is chirpy enough to keep the conversation positive, without any of that deep angsty stuff I'm sure Radiohead would provoke.


For more information:

In our collection we also have Question The Answers

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Led Zeppelin - Remasters


OK, there's not much I can say about this.  While they're giants of rock, all hail the mighty quartet, they were always firmly in the boy-music side of my brain.  So it's nice we have the remasters, and I can listen to it and admire the sheer mastery of the music.

BUT, this means I can tell you the story my girlfriend told me about the time Page & Plant were touring, not so long ago.  She was working at the hotel they were staying at in Sydney, and said Pagey was so out of it, he was dribbling in his meal.  Her words?  "Not that good in close-up, a bit crumbly".  This kind of confirms what I've always called the "rotting dinosaur flesh" part of rock.  It's sad when you see what used to be a great talent, and they're only just holding it together.  But then there are people who just go on and on and on and stay feisty and perform like the true troopers they are.  Elvis Costello, anyone?

Anyway, back to Zep.  Listening to this, I noticed there seems to be a suppressed snicker at the start of Whole Lotta Love.  Wonder why?  I always thought this would be a great stripper's song. Anyone else? Only me, then.  (YourZ sez: nah, I'm with ya, hon - I'd be happy to talk to a few strippers about this, if you want).

If you haven't got any Zep, this would be the (double) album for you.  It's got all the great stuff (Immigrant Song, Dazed and Confused, Black Dog, and of course Stairway - hi Kevin!)  plus of course the overblown and ridiculous (Battle of Evermore and Achilles Last Stand) but in every way it celebrates a band at its peak.



Woah, boy, what is it about this band, ay?  I remember when I was 13 or 14, lying on the lounge room floor of a friend's place, listening to Led Zeppelin II for the first time, in quadrophonic stereo, and being absolutely blown away by the soaring rush of Track 1, Side 1 - Whole Lotta Love

Page's guitars and Plant's voice screamed back and forth over my head.  I remember the hairs standing up on the back of my neck and feeling a rush unlike anything I'd ever felt previously.  I think it was this single incident that set me on the path to pursue the rock and roll dream. 

What is it about a band whose last proper album was released in 1979 yet still have such rabid support and unswerving loyalty.  (Yeah, I know, if I could find this secret, I'd be a fuckin' rich man by now).  Even so, there are not too many other bands in the world who garner the same sort of passionate fandom. 

But Led Zeppelin weren't just about the music; they were everything.  Fashion icons, cultural landmarks, trendsetters, innovators and inspirators; this band of four men changed the rock and roll landscape forever.  Boys wanted to look like them and girls wanted to... well, you get the drift.  Their capacity for the lifestyle was prodigious, the stuff of legends (although perhaps overblown) while their music is still as engaging today as it was when they first made it.

This collection isn't definitive, at least not for me.  I think this is probably how a lot of people feel about this collection because Led Zep fans have their own personal favourites, album tracks (when albums were still being made, unlike a lot of today's releases which are singles and fillers) which haven't made the cut for re-release, songs that hold special significance for the individual.  But isn't it always the way?

Oh yeah, and about that young lad lying on his friends floor and dreaming of being a rock star?  Well, the dream faded sometime ago but thankfully, at least for Led Zeppelin, their songs will always remains the same.


For more information:

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Karnivool - Sound Awake


If it weren't for a very late contender, Karnivool's Sound Awake would have been number one on my Top Ten list for 2009.  I won't tell what was  my number one choice just in case the pointy stick lands on it (I can only hope although Mine probably won't be happy).

Their previous album, Themata, could be considered a classic (in my mind it is anyway, so fuck it - it is).  Anything that followed was always going to be compared to it.  Karnivool could have choked and released something less than their debut but thankfully, Sound Awake is every bit as good and is a perfect follow-up, albeit with a few more radio-friendly tunes (as radio friendly as a band like this can be, anyway).

I'm not a big fan of prog rock or metal but for me, Karnivool, like Deftones, are so much more.  This is a band of incredible musicians working at the top of their game, be it the driving attack of Set Fire To The Hive, the melodic All I Know or the epic Deadman (at 12 minutes plus -  some of this is prog, remember).  It's dark, intelligent and, in parts, fucking brutal and is exactly what I need to motivate me, particularly on my early morning excursions to the gym.

While I know I won't get sick of listening to Sound Awake, I hope there isn't another four year wait for their next album. 



Ech, more  boy music.  I warned you there was a bunch of it this month.  And this is a really good example of the genre.  No, I mean as in a GOOD example.  I hate to say it, but it's well put together.  (YourZ sez: the production is world class, without a doubt)  Still mixes the instruments up too high compared to the vocals for my liking, but here's another singer who sings, not yells.  I can see what YourZ sees in it.

But fear not, readers, I'm not so suffused with testosterone I'd actually play this by choice.  You gotta be wary of an album that includes a song that runs 12 minutes 4 seconds.  Although that's not a bad song, as it happens.


For more information:

In our collection we also have Themata

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Gyroscope - Breed Obsession


Oh, ERGH.  A poor man's Matchbox 20 or Nickelback.  Seriously bad lyrics and even worse song structure.  How this ever made it to Number One on the Aussie album charts... oh, right.  Not everybody feels the same way I do about Matchbox 20 or Nickelback.

I can't even summon up enough enthusiasm for a second paragraph.

VERDICT: THROW IT OUT (really, a long way away)


I thought I would like this album based on the fact I liked the first single, Snakeskin.  And I thought I'd do the right thing and support a local act.  I now believe the problem is I did too much thinking and not enough listening.

Having said this, I'm gonna have to disagree with Mine.  I think Gyroscope sound more like Foo Fighters wannabes than anything else.  Or maybe one of those awful emo bands so prevalent these days.  In fact, I think this description is probably more fitting as it sounds more like teen-marketed music than anything else. Why I spent dollars on this without listening to it first I'll never know.


For more information:

Monday, March 8, 2010

Gomez - In Our Gun


There is a great anonymous quote that goes "music is what feelings sound like."  But I think there is more to it.

Some music is great to listen to and admire.  It gives the listener an emotional snapshot of the writer's feelings at the time.  Some music stirs up the creativity in listener, filling them up until they have to create too.  Some music does both.

For me, Gomez is one such band.  I've seen them live more than any other single band in my life.  In fact, it is almost weird not to see them at least once a year.  Their gigs are always brilliant not only because of the show they put on but because of their fans as they really attract the nicest people (even if I do say so myself).

In Our Gun, more than any other album of theirs, is the one I go back to time and again.  It is nearly perfect (and I love its imperfections too).

Mine and YourZ (truly) were talking recently, playing hypotheticals.  This one was 'if you could be in any band from any time, what band would you be in?'  I unhesitatingly said Gomez before I even thought about it.

Do I really need to say any more?  I'll let Mine do the gushing this time.



How do I love thee, Gomez?  Let me count the ways.

I love that this is a band I actually introduced YourZ to, though I only had a home made copy of Liquid Skin (on MiniDisc, remember that?) after I'd borrowed it from a friend.

I love that it really doesn't matter which of your albums we put on, we have a groove going right away. Although this one is a corker, no doubt about that, including Shot Shot and Ping One Down (always a crowd favourite at the gigs).

I love that your best-ofs are real party starters, especially Get Myself Arrested.  (Got some friends in a BMW...)

I love that your gigs always feel like it's great party we've wandered into because the crowd is just another bunch of mixed-age mixed-background hipsters out to have some fun.

I love that you always have truly excellent backing acts supporting you, which prompt us to go out and buy their music - most notably Nations By The River featuring the sublime Luke Steele (of whom more, later). That was that great gig I managed to score record company tickets to because I'd forgotten to buy real ones and you were sold out and I was working at the radio station and the programming department was right next to the newsroom and they told me they could help me out...  saved my ass that time and no mistake.

But most of all I just love your music.


For more information:

In our collection, we also have: Bring It On, Liquid Skin, Out West, Abandoned Shopping Trolley Hotline, How We Operate, Split The Difference, A New Tide and Five Men In A Hut (I guess you could say we like them, huh?)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Fauves - Future Spa


This puts me back at that time - the mid 90's when I gave up my flourishing(!) accounting career for radio. And there were a whole bunch of Aussie bands I came to know and love then.

You see I went to radio school the year this album came out.  And while I've not really listened to the album as a whole before, the singles Dogs Are the Best People and  Self Abuser certainly featured on the playlists we put together while programming our own shows (a big shout-out to AFTRS radio class of '96).

I will admit to being more fond of Custard and Spiderbait at the time, but these guys rock too.  I did originally say to YourZ that I generally preferred indie-rock bands like this who had girl singers (like the Breeders) but on reflection, there were a bunch of floppy-haired boys fronting the bands I bounced up and down to at many Big Days Out in the 90s.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP (relive that misspent youth)


The fuckin' Fauves are on man, the fuckin' Fauves, man, the fuckin' Fauves...  This was the greeting I received outside a little venue in a small town capital many years ago.  My friend, who shall remain nameless to protect his burgeoning career as an upright citizen, was stoned to the eyeballs and half drunk as well.  Mind you, he was also playing drums in the support.  The night turned out to be a spectacular one of rock and roll high jinx and over-indulgence.

It was around the time of Future Spa too.  I remember listening to this album many times, astounded as to why The Fauves didn't become the next best thing around the world.  This is the major problem with being a musician in Australian (and New Zealand for that matter) - the isolation.  Although these days the interwebs has made things a helluva lot easier, thanks to sites like MySpace (now there is a sentence I thought I'd never write).

Still clever, articulate and rocking after all these years, Future Spa, which includes two of my favourite song titles - Understanding Kyuss and Don't Get Death Threats Anymore - is definitely going to be my first Forgotten Gem for March,


For more information, samples of songs and to buy their music:

In our collection we also have Lazy Highways