Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Free CDs - November Throwouts

Free to a good home this month:

Muse: Origin of Symmetry
Lo Fidelity Allstars - Don't Be Afraid of Love

Still going begging from previous months:

28 Days - Upstyledown
Jenny Morris - Shiver
Groove Terminator - Roadkill
Mark Gillespie - Flame
Badly Drawn Boy - The Hour of Bewilderbeast
Chris Cornell - Carry On
Frenzal Rhomb - Meet The Family
Portastatic - I Hope Your Heart Is Not Brittle
Goodshirt - Good
Natalie Merchant - Tigerlily
Shamen - Boss Drum
Nikka Costa - Pebble to a Pearl
Enigma - MCMXC AD
Brassy - Got It Made
A Gun Called Tension - A Gun Called Tension
P-Money - Magic City
New Radicals - Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too
Gyroscope - Breed Obsession
Queen - Greatest Hits II, Greatest Hits III, Made in Heaven (we're keeping the others)
Come - Near Life Experience, Eleven : Eleven and Don't Ask, Don't Tell
Sugar Ray - Floored

These CDs are available free to anyone who wants them. We even pay for postage - so if you'd like to see an Australian stamp just e-mail us at yourzenmine at gmail dot com.

November Wrapup


November has been a heck of a month for us, here at YourZenMine headquarters, both good and bad.  But life is like that and we're both aware that we have to take the ups with the downs but after everything, be thankful for the life we have.

One of the things bugging me this month has been my struggle with trying to keep this blog fresh and interesting.  While I have enjoyed taking on this challenge so much, I'm concerned I'm becoming a bit stale and boring.  I love writing every day, but as we are getting down to the last month and to the last remnants of our CD collection, it sometimes feels like a bit of chore.

We're also a bit concerned we might run out of music and have been discussing options of what we might do to fill in the small gap.  So far, the best idea is we review some of our favourite albums, ones that the pointy stick never landed on, much to our chagrin.

We've had various meetings regarding these issues among ourselves and our consultants at YZM HQ and the advice we've been given is to listen diligently, encourage the minions slaving away in the tunnels of our minds, spin up the FTL drives and prepare to launch into our final month.  We hope it's one to remember.


Dragging myself from my sickbed this month has indeed made the blogging a bit more of a chore and a bit less of a pleasure.  Seriously folks, I haven't been this sick for a long, long time - and while it's only bronchitis, it's made me realise how much I've enjoyed rugged good health for all the rest of the year.

So I'll keep this short and say I'm thinking now I'm looking forward to having a break after next month.  Didn't think I'd be saying that when we started!

This month we'll be giving away a CD to a relatively new reader/commenter - NurseMyra.  If you haven't read her blog, go over there now.  It's an ever-expanding eclectic treat of amazing facts about people you've probably never heard of.  Frankly, I don't know where she finds the time!  We'll be passing her a copy of what was certainly my favourite album of the Month - Martin Craft's Silver and Fire, and I hope she finds it as amazing as we do.

The Rebirth Of Cool Series


This collection remains so good, it's one I have no problem dragging out again and again.  But it's difficult to say exactly what it is.  Acid jazz?  Ambient? Trip-hop?  All of these and more.

The rendition of My Favourite Things (yes, from The Sound of Music) by Ronny Jordan was for many years the theme music to a show I did on community radio.  That's on Volume Three - which I had to re-buy after leaving it in the radio studio one time and having it walk away.  And because of that, I saw Ronny Jordan perform in a small Sydney venue - one of the best jazz guitar performances I've ever seen.

I bought the first album in this collection because it was in the Staff Recommended section of a small music shop I frequented.  And then the rest followed because I couldn't imagine not buying them, the first was so good.  My personal favourite is Phive, but any and all of them are top-notch.



The Rebirth Of Cool series is one Mine introduced into our collection when we got married. And while I'd heard of it and certainly heard tracks from many of the artists, this compilation series was never really on my radar.

But I'm so glad Mine, in all her infinite wisdom, which I do mean sincerely, had the good taste to purchase the collection because of all the compilations we have (and aside from our perennial favourite, Dusted, and some of the wonderful freebies we've scored from magazines like Mojo and Q over the years) this is by far the best.  But which of the five is top of the list starts fights in our house (okay, it doesn't start fights and if it did, well, I'm a wimp and Mine would probably win all the time).

I really like the first one.  But this is not taking anything away from any of the collections, although I will say this for the compilers: they cast their nets wide for some of these tracks.  But therein is the secret to a good compilation, I believe.  A good compilation has the ability to draw the punter in with a few recognisable names but include damn fine tracks by bands most of us have never heard of and probably will never hear of again.

So, while I could mention names you, dear readers, would recognise, the bombastic part of me wants to name bands you won't know.  Thankfully, I like to think I'm beyond such pretension...  Or maybe saying I'm not means I am...


Regardless, there is so much ground to cover if I start naming names, this might well turn into the longest piece I've done for this blog.  But instead, I'll leave it to you to find out for yourselves.  Believe me, it's worth the trouble.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Death From Above 1979 - You're A Woman, I'm A Machine


Oh, this record is going to make Mine gag.  But I love it.  It is dirty, noisy punk rock belted out by this Canadian two-piece, who have eschewed guitars in favour of fat, distorted and effected bass and pounding drums.  Unfortunately, the band imploded in a fit of spit and bad tempers sometime after releasing You're A Woman, I'm A Machine, their one and only long player.

While I note some similarities to favourites, Queens Of The Stoneage, who are masters of this dirty, fat rock, DFA1979 add their own twist to the formula by building great dance-punk grooves often accompanied by raging, distorted vocals.  On this album, their attack is relentless, with most tracks clocking in under the 3:00 minute mark and only serves to leave me wanting to more.

As a side note, I have to thank my good friend Chris, who passed away recently, for putting me on to this band.  Vale, my faraway friend.  You'll be missed.



Oh these guys.  YourZ has the t-shirt.  And while I kind of liked the first two songs - especially Romantic Rights  - it all got a bit same-y for me after a while.  But at least the songs were short!


For more information go to http://www.deathfromabove1979.com/

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Richard Clapton - Best Years Of Our Lives


Another Aussie name that's indelibly etched on my teenage years, Richard Clapton (or Dick Clap as the less-mature of my friends would have it) is probably our answer to the wave of West Coast sound that washed over us in the late 70s.  

It gave us the feeling we could compete on that stage - with the same lazy-sounding but effortlessly-executed riffs, and lyrics that told us of our East Coast mentality, name-checking Sydney's Palm Beach Road, Bondi Lifesaver and Oxford Street - along with the Tropic of Capricorn, which slices through the top third of our wide brown land.  You see, we share the same Pacific Ocean as the US - just seen from a few thousand miles in the other direction.  We had the same surf culture and the music - and for the first time I think we were starting to understand that despite our British roots, the colonials Down Under had a lot more in common with California than Cornwall.
Richard Clapton's notoriously shy, hiding behind those dark shades in every public appearance, but he's a well-deserved Hall of Famer in the Australian music scene.  And he has a warm, rich voice, that hasn't faded a bit, 40 years down the track.  I'd go and see him perform tomorrow, if I could.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP down in the lucky country


First of all, another big confession: I am not an Eric Clapton fan.  Cream was cool but Clapton's solo work has never done impressed me.  Oh, sure, I acknowledge his ability as a guitarist is without doubt but I find most of his songs to be fairly boring, with notable exceptions, of course.

But Australia has its own Clapton, an artist I much prefer and a man responsible for writing some of our finest songs, including Capricorn Dancer, Deep Water, Lucky Country, I Am An Island and Girls On The Avenue.  Allegedly taking his stage name by combining names of his two favourite artists, Keith Richards and Eric Clapton, his reputation is well deserved.

While growing up in the 70s in the same hometown as Clapton (this being Sydney), his face and music were one of the regular, few Australian constants in a market place saturated with overseas acts.  And while the boy I was then had little appreciation for his songwriting skills, as I've aged, so have my tastes.  The songwriter in me knows brilliance when he hears it.  And age hasn't diminished Clapton's abilities either.  A recent live performance on a local television show only confirms this as he is still as vibrant and dynamic a writer and performer as he ever was.


For further information go to http://www.richardclapton.com

Saturday, November 27, 2010

U2 - War


Oh the irony.

A young man, starting to make his way in the world and longing for adventure, joins the Australian Airforce.  His first posting is to a supply depot on the outskirts of Melbourne, Australia.  Living there, in the very early 80's, he befriended a similarly-young man who had travelled from the other side of the world to join the same Airforce.  The Aussie and the Pommie shared many interests, mostly revolving around music.

The Pommie opened up a previously unknown world of music to The Aussie, whose musical palate was mostly served by Australian and a few big name British and American bands.  The Pommie regaled him with stories of truly great new (at the time)  bands from the UK, as well as live gigs he'd attended.  The Aussie was intensely envious of the experiences his friend shared.  But he never let on.  The Pommie introduced The Aussie to music he still loves and listens to regularly.  The Pommie has no idea how much he shaped The Aussie's music-listening future.

Recently, The Aussie saw a great documentary called It Might Get Loud, which features three generations of rock guitarists: Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White.  While watching this, he is reminded of the power of such tracks as Sunday Bloody Sunday, New Year's Day and Two Hearts Beat As One.  The Aussie wishes, again, he knew where The Pommie was now as he can't thank him enough for opening his eyes to a wonderful world full of music.

As the Aussie now sits here listening to War, he remembers U2 as one of the bands The Pommie introduced him to back then and wonders if The Pommie was aware of the irony at the time.  Because The Aussie, naive young man that he was, failed to see it.  He realises it now, though.



So, this has been a bit of a tough week for me.  You see, I've had bronchitis.  The really hacking cough, the wheeze, the croaky voice, sore throat - it goes on and on.  But funnily enough, it's reminded me of the time I saw U2 - sometime in the early 80s, in Sydney.  At the venerable (now) Entertainment Centre, which at the time was shiny and new.

My soon-to-be husband (the first one!) had bought us tickets, but then the Army sent him on some training course or other, so I took my friend Elaine.  The band was playing a massive amount of gigs - I think five or six in Sydney alone - and we made our way up to the nosebleed seats.  Only to discover Bono had overextended himself just a bit, and had lost his voice.  The crowd kind of made up for it by singing all the songs, but I have to admit I felt just a bit cheated.  However, I hadn't paid for the tickets so really I had nothing to complain about.

I haven't bought a single U2 album - again it's been the men in my life who have - but I do have a white 12-inch single version of Pride (In the Name of Love).  Which I'll have to get out and spin pretty soon.  But mostly I just admire these guys.  They've been in a band all their lives, and they keep on making it work.  That's harder than you might think.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP nothing changes...

For more information go to http://www.u2.com/

Friday, November 26, 2010

Roxy Music - The Best Of Roxy Music


I got introduced to Roxy Music thanks to a young couple I babysat for when I was about 14.  While I used to mostly watch TV, eat and hope that neither of their two young sons would wake up, I also used to rifle through their record collection.  And they must have been pretty hip, because I became enraptured by the creepily-posed Jerry Hall on the front of Siren.  So I played it, and was hooked.  

I've been around a lot of this music most of my life, but I seem to recall this hazs been because my partners own the albums - not me.  Although I never bought any of either the band's albums or Bryan Ferry's solo work, this compilation was a no-brainer purchase for us.  But it does mean we need another best-of - Ferry solo.



Roxy Music existed as a new wave band before the term was even coined.  Or maybe they are the link between glam and new wave.  Either way, they're the sort of band who people or love or hate.  There really is no middle ground.

There is probably a lot that could be said about Brian's Ferry and Eno (I didn't think there were enough Brian's in the world for two to end up in the same band together).  But I'm not going to bore readers with too much.  Suffice to say, this pairing, along with the rest of the members of the band, produced some of the most innovative music of their time, inspiring slavish adoration from fans and absolute derision from just about everyone else. 

As you would expect, this collection covers everything from their early days through to the heady days of their most successful release, Avalon, the album that probably inspired more new wave artists than just about any other.  It certainly inspired a lot of the fashion, although Ferry was one of the few who could pull off the satorially elegant look without looking like either a dandy or a right pratt. 

I don't really have a favourite Roxy Music period, although I can remember staring at the front cover of Country Life a lot - it inspired a lot of, erm shall we say, teenage boy fevers...  Lets leave it at that, okay?  While there are so many fine tracks on this album, I particularly love Virginia Plain, Love Is The Drug (I know no other song that uses the word t'aint), Street Life and Re-Make/Re-Model.  And their cover of Jealous Guy is almost as good as Lennon's.  Note I did say almost...


For more information: http://www.roxymusic.co.uk/

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Testeagles - Non Comprehendus


This album has been a favourite of YourZ (truly) since it first came out.  I remember seeing Testeagles some time before Non-Comprehendus, their only full length album to date, was released in 2000.  They impressed the hell outta me with a sweat-drenched performance that was part rock and part hip hop.  Although there were a number of bands around combining the two, I hadn't seen any live.  Their show was the first I remember that combined both traditional instrumentation and samples, backing tracks and bits of electronica so effectively.  Of course, now this is de rigueur for many bands.

This debut featured a number of singles, namely Turn That Shit Up, Underdog and Like No Other.  From an outside perspective, it could be their sound was appropriated from bands like Limp Bizkit and Korn, but Testeagles took themselves far less seriously than their American counterparts.  But at the same time, they also have a sound akin to hard rock Aussie acts like Grinspoon.  Where ever their sound came from, it never fails to invigorate and motivate.

After being dropped by their label for undisclosed reasons, Testeagles have not released anything since this album, instead choosing to play the odd live show and national support or fesitval.  It is a shame as there is a definite gap in the Australian market place for such a band to fill.  And even though it has been a very long time between recordings, it would be really nice to hear something new from the band.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP, yeah, turn that shit up!


OK, now I'm really confused.  I've been breathing a sigh of relief whenever the pointy stick passed this band by, because I had an idea they were another one of those American shouty-boy rawk bands that YourZ takes delight in annoying me with (YourZ sez: I take no delight in it, my love, but if you want me to, I can).

Instead, they're from Adelaide.  South Australia.  And they sound like they're from Sarf Lundun.  Like Prodigy, innit?  OK, there are some straight rock tracks that I skipped over, but I was truly getting down to that fine line where rock and electronica meet.  Stunning work, boys.  See you on the dance floor.


For more information: http://www.myspace.com/testeagles

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cat Stevens - Tea For The Tillerman


I fell through a hole and ended up in 1980.  Sitting in my friend Karen's back room with the gang (Hi, you guys! Still reading?) where we were allowed to smoke and drink endless cups of coffee.  And where this was one of the albums that had top billing on the turntable, along with Hotel California and an awful lot of reggae thanks to Karen's brother Murray.

I hadn't listened to this CD since we bought it on one of those "it's reduced so why don't we get some music" ventures to our favourite store.  Shareholders, if you're looking for the reason J B Hi-Fi keeps tripling its profits year on year, look no further.  But as soon as I put it on, I sang along all the way through.  I know every single one of these songs, back to front and inside out.  Maybe if you cut one of my ears off and held it up to your ear, you'd hear Wild World or Into White.  Maybe that's just gross.  Why do I think of these things?  (YourZ sez: I to could ask why but at least you keep things interesting).

I'm not going to go into the semantics of how a British-born singer with Greek and Swedish ancestry happened to convert to Islam.  But I will say I don't have the urge to buy anything he's produced since then.



I'm not a Cat Stevens fan.  There is something about his voice that has always annoyed me but I don't know what it is.  I feel the same way about Bob Dylan, even though both artists sound very different to each other.  But I can acknowledge Stevens is a great song writer.  However, like Dylan, I prefer the versions of songs when they're covered by others.

Maybe it is because a number of these songs were force-fed to me when I was a teenager while studying music when I much prefered KISS and Deep Purple to this.  What ever it is, it still makes me cringe a little.


For more information: http://catstevens.com/

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Sports - The Definitive Collection


One of my favourite pieces of flat black plastic, otherwise known as vinyl, is a much-played copy of All Sports, a compilation of some of The Sports best tracks and released in 1982.  (And even after all this time, this album still sounds as good as it did back then - I bet the same can't be said for a CD of the same age).

This, The Definitive Collection, with two CDs, obviously has a lot more songs than that old vinyl album and covers the entire period the band were together from 1976 to 1981, including both inspired and dubious selections for cover songs (I still can't believe they even bothered with Donovan's Sunshine Superman but love their versions of both Wedding Ring and Walk In The Room).  Given the short period the band were together, their output and, more importantly, the influence they had on other artists, defines them as one of the best bands of their time.

Defined as a new wave band, an amazingly thin definition, The Sports were so much more.  Smarter than the average punk rocker, more intelligent then most other bands and defiantly original, they wrote songs with enough twists and turns to mark them uniquely their own.  They also knew how to write a great hook.  Stephen Cummings voice is unmistakably his own (although James Reyne made a successful career out of copying his style) and the band comprised of some of the best musicians of the time.  That they were signed to the same British label as Elvis Costello - Stiff Records - probably says more about them than anything else.

In the six years they were together, they gave Australian and world audiences such classic tracks as Who Listens To The Radio, Reckless, Strangers On A Train, How Come and Don't Throw Stones as well as lesser known but equally as fine tracks such as Suddenly, Black Stockings (For Chelsea) and Live Work And Play among many others.  It goes without saying that if this band were British or American, particularly at the time they were performing, they would have been huge.  In my mind, they still are... 



So, I guess it's time for me to trot out my Sports story.  Or really it's a Stephen Cummings story - he's the lead singer.  Anyway, I worked in a bar on New Year's Eve in 1983.  And anyone will tell you, it's a bummer working NYE and even more so if the people you're serving are getting legless while you stay resolutely sober.  Of course, all the waitresses had begun the night sampling a little weed, as we did, but that wore off pretty quickly once we'd served our third round of cocktails. 

I was keen to wrap things up pretty quickly once it hit 1984 and head off across town, where my future husband (the first one, not YourZ) was having fun at a party in the very decorative Victoria Barracks.  Have I mentioned he was an Army officer?  They threw great parties.  So I've walked and I've walked and I've walked across town, with not a taxi in sight, when on the back streets of King's Cross I manage to hail one by leaping across the road, heedless of life or limb.  To steal the cab from Stephen Cummings.  And let me tell you, even though I was in awe of the man, I had no regrets, having been on my feet for hours beforehand and walking half way across the city before finding the cab.  However, I'd like to take this opportunity to apologise.  Sorry, Stephen.  Hey, we bought this CD... hope you got a royalty or two.  And I really, really like it!


For more information: http://lovetown.net/discog/sports.html (scraping the bottom of the barrel for this one)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Shuggie Otis - Inspiration Information


Well, there's some funky soul in here, but most of it is kind of cool jazzy instumentals.  Not the thing for intense listening, but my vote for a dinner party.  I was surprised to find out this is the original of Strawberry Letter 22 - making me think The Brothers Johnson didn't do anything much to it to make it a hit.



Yet another piece of music recommended to me by a friend who used to work in  a record shop whose recommendations weren't always the sort of music I would normally buy.  But in the case of Inspiration Information, he got it just right.

Originally released in 1974, the prodigiously-talented Otis had spent three years creating Inspiration Information, including using the first generation of drum machines to create beats behind his creations.  Shuggie did it all, from writing every track, playing all the instruments and singing to production.  But this, his second album, proved to be an enigma to the times and Shuggie, once lauded as a child prodigy and destined to become a huge artist, instead became increasingly elusive and withdrawn.  With this re-release in 2001, there was some hope Shuggie would shuffle off his troubled ways and come back to the world.  But it wasn't meant to be.

As Mine suggests, Inspiration Information, despite some of the over-earnest noodlings, is a jazz/funk/rock hybrid perfect for a dinner party or for that slow come down after a late, late night of excess.


For more information: http://luakabop.com/shuggie_otis/

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Old Man River - Trust


Phew, after the hard-as rush of Mastodon yesterday, Old Man River is like stepping outside a packed, hot, sweaty venue into the air of a cool summer evening. 

Yet another associate of one of our favourites, Luke Steele, Old Man River is the stage and band name for Ohad Rein, a Sydney-based musician who first came to our attention through his association with Nations By The River, who we've previously reviewed here

Crossing the line between pop and alt-country, Old Man River aren't trying to rewrite the popular music songbook.  Instead, they're bringing a sensitivity and timelessness to what is often times a tired genre.  It helps that Rein has a effortlessly pleasing voice and the ability to write tracks that stick in this listener's head for days. 

And thanks to some quick thinking by Mine, it looks as though we'll be seeing him live later in the month.  What a lovely way to start what looks to be a very busy few months for us on the live music front. (Mine says: always the way in the southern hemisphere summer, but who's complaining? Gorillaz here we come!!!)


Another in our seemingly-endless selection of "beautiful music" - which has prompted me to create a playlist for the iPod.  Sleepy Jackson, M Ward, Nations By The River, Elliot Smith, Martin Craft - who else?  I could go for days just listening to one gorgeous, dreamy pop song after another.  My life would float by in a haze of roses and light.  Soma for the ears.

I wonder how long I'd last before the need for some serious dirty rock emerged.  And will this output sometime in the future make its way on to a "beautiful music" radio station?  Does this mean I'm listening to the equivalent of Simon and Garfunkel?  (YourZ sez: no, this is better in so many ways)  Do I know what I'm talking about?

Whatever I mean, I'm glad we have this CD.  Long live dreamy pop.


For more information: http://trustomr.com/

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mastodon - Blood Mountain



God, no.

But it made me wonder if guys like this lead singer will be due to lose their vocal cords in years to come.  Better lay in some serious medical insurance - don't you think?



I'm not a big metal fan.  Generally, I like my music to be more fun and less serious than a lot of metal takes itself to be.  But in a few instances, a band jumps out, grabs me by my skinny neck and shakes me like a motherfucker.  Mastodon is one such band. 

It is a combination of the blisteringly fast riffs, the rapid time changes and the seemingly higher intellect of their lyrics that does it for me.  The double pronged attack of twin guitars, riffing over the top of a machine-gun-fire snare and fat-as bass are like aural sculptures.  Sure, not everyone appreciates such sculpture, but thankfully, I get this.

The other thing I like about it is they don't mess about with over-long lead guitar breaks, eschewing these for smart, whip-crack riffs that leave the listener breathless.  I fucking love it!  And it seems I'm not the only one, with the band gaining some big names fans in people like QOTSA front man Josh Homme, Cedric from At The Drive In and Neil Fallon from Clutch.  They've toured with Metallica, Slayer and Slipknot and have garnered accolades from the metal and wider music-loving community right around the world.  As they should.  Blood Mountain is a metal fan's wet dream come true.

Mine, however, is probably bleeding from the ears right now...


For more information: http://www.mastodonrocks.com/

Friday, November 19, 2010

Kosheen - Resist


Oh this is a Forgotten Gem for me... why haven't I been putting this on my workout list?  It's just the sort of music I love to insipre me for one more minute on the elliptical machine.  Vaguely reminding me of Moloko and Portishead - but faster - this album is chock full of great songs.  Demonstrate, Catch U, Suicide - all pearls. 

I'll have to say I love this primarily because of the gorgeous voice of Sian Evans, who also doesn't suck as a songwriter.  Classified as trip-hop, I'd call them darker dance-pop.  And magnificent.



Another of those albums added to our collection through the recommendation of a friend who worked in a record shop.  Thankfully, he got this one right as Resist is a great example of the genre.

While not necessarily my cup of tea (peppermint, if you please), it is the sort of music perfect for cruisy summer balcony parties while soaking up the last of the sun, just before the night (and whatever else) comes on.  You know what I mean...

For more information: http://www.kosheen.com/home/

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Killers - Hot Fuss


Occasionally, rarely even, the top 40 market, one I studiously do my damndest to avoid, actually recognises and supports worthwhile, well-made music.  The Killers is one such example.  When the first singles from Hot Fuss, were first released, they were hard not to like, sounding elementally British yet rangy and sun-toughened.  Given the band's hometown, this is hardly surprising, I guess.

The fact is front man Brandon Flowers, despite having a vaguely ridiculous name, looks like a rock star and actually has the talent to back up the looks.  And the rest of The Killers, while maybe not quite as - pretty - as Flowers, are no less capably talented. 

Thankfully, this is not an album put together around a few good singles but one that displays a certain understanding, if not adoration, of the pop song form as best exemplified by a number of 80s British bands (and there are a few to pick from or name check).  Album tracks like All These Things I've Done, Glamourous Indie Rock & Roll and the rockin' Midnight Show, earmarked them as a more than the sum of their huge hit, Mr Brightside

Listening to Hot Fuss has me thinking about whether this is yet another band whose follow up albums we should add to the list of must-haves.  Over to you, Mine.



We've gotta stop forgetting good albums like this.  I can't remember the last time we played Hot Fuss just because - and it can't be that long till we play it again.  Although it does have that ridiculous line in it - which song is that? I've got soul but I'm not a soldier has to be the silliest line in the best song.  (YourZ sez: silly!  I wish I'd written it, but then, I've been guilty of some absolute shockers in the past)
I just remember singing along to Somebody Told Me in the car when my sister-in-law and her daughter had come to visit and we were off to experience some serious retail therapy in the discount stores of Sydney, with the windows down, it was a hot day and we were just being - silly.

I can admit to being a trifle annoyed by the extent of the sonic fluffing occasionally put over the top of Brandon Flowers' vocals - because the dude can sing - but generally this is pure pop-rock heaven.  From a debut album, no less.


For more information: http://www.thekillersmusic.com/

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Hives - Your New Favourite Band


The satorially elegant, explodingly energetic quintet from Sweden known as The Hives are nothing more than an updated version on all things garage rock.  This is not criticism, this is a fact.  They have the same breakneck pace, the same distorted attacks and the same lyrical playfulness as their predecessors.  As a live act, they're more fun than a very large barrel of monkeys and cause massive dehydration in audiences around the world.

This collection, ostensibly a 'greatest hits' even though they'd only released one album and a few EPs prior to the release of Your New Favourite Band, this is the album that broke them around the world.  The Hives recipe for success involves twin dirty guitars, a bombastic rhythm section and the vocals of aptly named Howlin Pelle Almqvist and they don't fuck with the formula.

Opening with probably their most popular track, Hate To Say I Told You So, they power through a set of songs, most coming in under the three minute mark, just like good garage punk should do.  In fact, their musical assault is so relentless, most of the tracks on this collection clock in under two and half minutes.  You can safely bet the word 'ballad' doesn't exist in The Hives lexicon. And nor should it.  If this doesn't motivate the listener, box 'em up because they're dead.



So not my new favourite band, I can't tell you.  The opening song, which was quite big for them as I recall, is pretty cool.  But the rest is a mash of same-sounding fuzz guitar and unintelligible lyrics, and not just because they're Swedish.  Bah.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Martin Craft - Silver And Fire


I had an amazing moment listening to Siver and Fire.  Firstly there was annoyance - at the thought I hadn't heard it before.  You see, YourZ often tells me he's bought a CD I'd like, and I nod, and then I never listen to it.  That's been the best part of this whole process, you know - moments like this.  Because now I'm in love with Martin Craft.

OK, then secondly there was joy at listening to the most beautiful music, amply highlighted by the most poetic lyrics.  How about When the planet spins, it sings like the wings of a dragonfly.  And All he ever cried for you was a teardrop tattoo.

Thirdly my damn producer head then started analysing the sound and finding little tiny bits of fault with some of the drum tracks and wanted to make them warmer and tighter, less flat and dull.  And wondering if Martin really wanted the sound like that, and then berating myself for doing this instead of just enjoying the songs as they came out.  And then finally I contemplated going for an extra long drive to hear it again, all the way through.

It's all beautiful, all of it.  I can't name a favourite song, but my mouth did fall open a bit in amazement at Snowbird.  Starts out spare and builds and builds - before fading away.  Orchestral and epic, and like the rest of the album, unforgettable.



I got Silver And Fire initially out of a sense of alliegance to Martin Craft being as he is an old friend who has 'made good', whatever that means.  I've already related how I met him in the Sidewinder review we did recently (see it here if you're interested).  There was always a small chance it might have been crap but I was prepared to take a risk.  Thankfully, crap is the one thing this isn't.

This is real beauty in music form.  No, seriously...  It is more than just the songs, the playing, the lyrics or Martin's voice.  But it is a combination of all these things and more.  From the opening title track, which slowly builds around a beautiful acoustic guitar, he has built a record that may very well be viewed in years to come with the same reverence as we view Nick Drake or Elliott Smith now.  There is a confidence in both the songwriting and execution similar to both artists without Craft sacrificing any of his own style.

You Are The Music has a cheeky groove to it that becomes more and more irresitable with each listen, while Lucile (Where Did The Love Go) displays a great updated retelling of classic rock, all while maintaining a restraint not often found in a lot of music these days.  Dragonfly, another slow builder, is superbly understated, something Craft seems to excel in achieving.  There is so much more to like about Silver And Fire, but I think I will leave it up to you, dear readers, to find this out for yourselves.


Monday, November 15, 2010

A Skillz And Krafty Kuts - Tricka Technology


Doing some research for this review, I discovered something quite surprising - there is very little information about this album or those behind it online.  This is, in equal parts, both refreshing and annoying.  It means all I have to write about is the music.  Given we're writing a music blog, this shouldn't be a big ask.  But I like to know what the band is about before writing about them.

There is the usual intro bits that don't do a single thing to advance the album at all.  I've been producing hip hop for nearly ten years now and I'm still wondering why so many artists do this.  Don't they realise in-jokes only work if everyone knows the joke.

But thankfully, they are saved by some great tracks.  I love the old school feel of Gimme The Breaks and Come Alive.  And if you like break beats, then there are some really cool tunes on here.  But my favourite  is Peaches, a cruisy, Gorillaz-type groove that drops a great sample in as the hook.

I'm trying to remember exactly what drew me to buying this album and, for the life of me, I can't remember why.  But I'm glad I did.  This will definitely be one for the next party.



Oh, tasty.  Hip-hop beats and decent dance and some funky grooves... this is mostly gorgeous.  There are a couple of more-shouty numbers, and the incessant namechecking is a bit annoying, as are those intro pieces that don't seem to have any real purpose.  But mostly its grand, as I'd expect from the Brits.  Sorry, but when it comes to the dance/hip-hop crossover, the UK beats the US hands down.

Best bits?  The title track was recognisable as well as bouncy, Peaches has party written all over it, and Roll Over Baby had me grooving in the car on the way to work.  One to pick apart for a party playlist, mos def.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Stone Roses - The Complete Stone Roses


20 years ago??? Really?  Wow, that's making me feel old.  I mean, I remember the son of a friend returning from the UK during the Madchester times, speaking wiv a Cock-er-nee accent and affecting the baggies - totally out of place in Sydney at the time, but you know how it is when you're young and think you're following a trend.

I don't think the Roses made too much of a splash here at all, really.  And while I love She Bangs the Drum and Fool's Gold, the rest of it sounds like a vaguely updated 60s party in Mayfair.  Not in a bad way, but just generally inoffensive.  Kind of nice.  Good for a dinner party.

PS Doesn't Ian Brown look more like a monkey every year? (YourZ sez: oh, doesn't he what!)

PPS Fool's Gold is well known in radio circles in the pre-digital age as the song DJs would put on when they wanted to spend, ahem, a little more than a penny. 4:15 - long enough for most!



Are The Stone Roses a guilty pleasure?  See, I'm not sure.  I remember liking their first album a lot, as did a lot of the people I knew back then.  But now it sounds kinda shit.

But I suppose it would have been fun to be living in a place like Manchester when the scene exploded, but I suppose the same thing about Seattle too.  Then I think about how fucking cold both those places generally.  Maybe this is why these scenes happened because the bands there were so desperate to make enough cash to go somewhere warm, even if only for a little while.

Hey, its a theory, okay?

I'm still partial to Fool's Gold and She Bangs The Drum, if only because these songs help define that time.  I found the rest of it a bit rubbish and more of a curiosity than of any real value.  Harsh maybe, but then, so would living in Manchester in the middle of winter.

VERDICT: THROW IT OUT but save those two songs.

For more information: http://www.thestoneroses20.com/

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Prince And The N.P.G. - Diamonds And Pearls


Prince is responsible for writing The Cross, one of my all time favourite songs.  While I don't mind the original version, it is the cover version done by Aussies Died Pretty that blows me away.  And I've only ever seen them do it live.  (You can hear it here)  Still, sometimes great songs need to be covered before you realise how great they are.  But I've always had mixed feelings about Prince.  Some of his songs, as far as I'm concerned, are near genius while others are, well, I'll be polite and say less so.  Way less...

Diamonds And Pearls, unfortunately, falls in the latter realm.  Most of this album, released nearly 20 years ago now, makes me cringe and want to stick my fingers in my ears.  But there are a couple of cool tracks, though, like Gett Off, which is sticky sex turned into music and Cream, which is foreplay put to music.  But then, he has always had a way of being able to turn the sensuous into music.  But the pay off for this is having to put up with the schmaltz as well, something I'm not prepared to do.  Two songs does not make an album, as far as I'm concerned, so, sorry babe, but I'm gonna vote to...



Getting this album out of the drawer just made me angry.  Not because of the CD - it's OK, I guess - but because it revealed to me that for the THIRD time in my life I'm going to have to buy 1999.  Because it's gone, to who knows where.  Did I leave it at a party?  Did I lend it to someone who hasn't returned it?  Whatever the reason, my favourite Prince album is gone - again.  I lost it the first time in the infamous Surry Hills robbery that lost me Neneh Cherry.  And it was replaced pretty soon afterwards, as I recall.  But it's been a while since I dragged it out of the drawer and now it's not there (sob).

But all of this isn't telling you what I think of Diamonds and Pearls.  Prince's sex album.  Really, if you're playing Gett Off to anyone, you better be ready to get at least semi naked and get busy right then and there - that song isn't sexy, it sticks its hand down your pants and makes you jump.  And a lot of the other songs are either about getting it on, or of staring lovingly into someone's eyes.  Hip-hop fans will like Jughead and I generally only enjoy a couple of other tracks - Thunder and Cream.  It's not his best - but I'd vote we also get his greatest hits albums (YourZ sez: sounds good to me), because his Royal Purpleness has done some damn fine work over the years.  Not including movies, I hasten to add.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP if you're in that kind of a mood (wink wink)

For more information: http://www.last.fm/music/Prince (dude doesn't have a site - how cool is that!)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More


This band have the honour of being the band that officially made me feel very very old.  Because when I saw that they'd topped the Triple J Hottest 100 this year - I had absolutely no idea who they were.  But of course, I'd heard Little Lion Man - and had kind of dismissed it.  And I wonder if it would have made the top of the list if the chorus wasn't "I really fucked it up this time".  Triple J is the nation's Youth radio network, after all.  Ah, to be so young and rebellious, to vote for a song with "fuck" in it.

Listening to the whole album for the first time for this review, I have to say that song is the stand-out. And I'm really puzzled as to why these guys, of everyone making music today, get such plaudits.  It's not that the music's not great, because it is.  These guys can really play.  But for a girl brought up with the folk of Joan Baez and others, there's something missing in the state of Mumford - meaning.  Where's the politics?  Where's the rage?  It's literary and poetic - but there's no guts and all glory.



There was a lot of fuss made about Mumford & Sons when their music first hit the Australian airwaves.  The Australian market has been very good to the band and Sigh No More, their debut, has so far achieved double platinum status here.  This was no doubt further helped by their track, Little Lion Man, being voted top song in the Triple J Hottest 100 early this year by a considerable margin.

Often times, particularly with English acts, the music media over-hypes a band to the point where I deliberately avoid having anything to do with them.  But in this case, the hype is spot on and well-deserved.  Sigh No More is a fantastic, incredibly accomplished debut of twelve memorable songs that straddle the lines between folk, country and contemporary rock.  And when a man like Ray Davies steps up and names the band as a favourite, you better believe they're better than good.

This is the kind of music that deserves to be played loud and live, in front of a sweaty, smiling, beer-fuelled crowd who sing the words to the sky like a gospel.  It is postive, powerful and one of the most honestly uplifting pieces of music I've heard in years.


For more information go to http://www.mumfordandsons.com/

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Van Morrison - The Best Of Van Morrison


My first memories of Van the Man are of tracks like Brown Eyed Girl, Domino, Jackie Wilson Said and his Them classics, Gloria and Here Comes The Night, all of which featured in my parents playlists when I was a pre-teen.  I remember many late night parties running on high because of these and similar tunes.  Oh sure, it kept my siblings and I awake to hear the adults downstairs dancing and partying, but I'm grateful too because I got to hear these awesome, timeless songs.

He has written so many classics, it really is hard to pin down a single definitive track as a favourite.  I've always loved And It Stoned Me, for its alt-country styling and that it reminded me of the type of song Bruce Springsteen would love to have written.  Then there is the brilliant and beautiful Moondance.  Its an absolute classic and definitely a desert island mixed tape track.  The awesome horn section in Domino, which is pure Motown via North Ireland, is so good it sends a shiver up my spine just about every time I hear it.  Then there is Sweet Thing, which no doubt inspired Irish bands like The Waterboys and probably will continue to for generations to come.
Oh sure, he might have a reputation for being a cranky bastard.  But as far as I'm concerned, he has paid his dues and can be as curmudgeonly as he damn well pleases.



I wish I could say I'd seen His Royal Grumpiness perform live sometime, but I haven't.  And this CD is just packed with reasons to brave his famous surly performances, to hear him sing these tunes.  Of course being a brown eyed girl myself I love Brown Eyed Girl - but it's a toss up between that and Domino as to my favourite tunes on the album.

But if I haven't seen Van the Man, then I can say I've seen the next best thing.  It's not well known outside the Antipodes, but right here in Sydney lives reclusive 80s-and-90s defying-categorisation indie star Louis Tillett.  And he does Van to a T.  I had the joy of seeing him on stage during a multi-musician tribute night a few years ago, where many in the audience were whispering and nudging to see him in the flesh.  it was almost as exciting as if the man himself had fronted for the evening.

What's your favourite Morrison song?  I can honestly say I love all of the songs on this album WITH THE EXCEPTION of  Have I Told You Lately which makes me throw up in my mouth a little - sorry about that.  (YourZ sez: I feel exactly the same way about it, my love)


For more information: http://www.vanmorrison.com/ but there's nothing there!  Van obviously despises the interwebs...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lo Fidelity Allstars - Don't Be Afraid Of Love


When I queried YourZ about the non-emergence of this CD from our collection at any time in my recollection, he maintained it was bought some years ago as a "party" album.  And I guess I have Katalyst to blame for its shy hiding away, given that Dusted has been our go-to party album for some time.  (YourZ sez: there hasn't been a decent contender for the title for a long time).

Or at least that's what I thought at first.  This CD opens up with some damn fine kickin' dance tunes.  Big beat-y and reminiscent of the Prodigy, then a touch of hip-hop followed by some sweet sweet pop - but alas there appears to be a much too high ratio of chill to dance in the second half of the album.  And one more small criticism - dance tracks with loooong draaawn oooout intros annoy the hell out of me.  Probably a hangover from my radio days, but I just want the music to start RIGHT NOW.

I liked Somebody Needs You a whole lot, but I reckon we just pick'n'choose the tracks we really like and then...



Yeah, I don't really remember why I brought this album.  And Mine has pretty much summed it up with her review. 

To be honest, I think it might have been one of those albums recommended to me by a friend who worked in a record shop.  I don't usually take anyone's recommendations at face value, particularly from sales people.  I do know better but can't promise it won't happen again.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

King Farook - Land Of The Horny


I first heard about King Farook through a work mate, whose son is the lead singer in this great band.  He was obviously a proud Dad and talked up the band a lot.  And to be honest, I didn't take a huge amount of notice as I'd heard it all before.  But then he gave me this CD.  Listening to King Farook's hybrid of funk, rock, hip hop and whatever else they throw in to the mix convinced me. 

Land Of The Horny is a party album in waiting, with the emphasis on party.  Like a good party, this album peaks and declines, giving both band and listener a chance to catch a breath before kicking the energy up again.  But it is all about the groove, about booty-shaking beats and tighter than tighty-whites instrumentation.

They've also garnered a reputation for being one of the best live bands around, somethinng I'll only be able to confirm when I see them for myself.  And I guess this will be sooner than later.  Stay tuned...



Another reason not to judge a book by its cover.  I thought these  guys would be yet another hip-hop act doing shouty stuff I'd hate.  But instead, they're fun, funky, cheeky, rude, totally danceable and completely delightful!  One for our next party.  One to see live.  Catch them in Sydney on the 13th of November (check the website) and hopefully we'll be there too!  Sounds like a great birthday night out... over to you, my love?

VERDICT: TURN IT UP and get down

For more information: http://www.kingfarook.com/

Monday, November 8, 2010

INXS - The Swing


There's possibly no other band that reflects my young adulthood better.  I loved INXS - from the moment I first saw them on Countdown, performing their third single, their cover of The Loved One. For some reason I missed the first two singles, but I made up for that shortly afterwards by buying their first album and playing it to death.  

Then, just before they hit worldwide, I took a trip overseas and caught up with a friend who was living in Paris.  I bought her Shabooh Shoobah as a gift - some real Aussie music she wouldn't get in France.  And then they first began to get some UK heat with that album and the next - the one we're reviewing right now.  Of course they didn't make it big in the US till Listen Like Thieves, but their back catalogue in a lot of ways I find more full of life, more entertaining, than anything they did for the stadium crowd.  

I've seen them play in a small pub in Canberra, when all my girlfriends thought Michael Hutchence was ugly, because he was rather a spotty-faced youth back then.  Having suffered badly from acne myself, I just looked at the charisma.  I met my first husband at an INXS gig at the Uni bar in Canberra.  One of my friends was working at a Sydney bar where Michael got into a lot of strife by turning up wasted and pulling the "Don't you know who I am?" deal with the bouncer who wasn't about to let him in.  And I was working on radio the day he was found dead in his Sydney hotel room.  That hurt.

Although YourZ and I watched the TV show the band put on to "find their new lead singer" and thoroughly enjoyed it, INXS without Michael just isn't INXS.  Sorry, guys.



In the 70s, I lived on the northern beaches of Sydney, the same area where bands like Midnight Oil and INXS first started.  I remember sneaking into the Royal Antler hotel at Narrabeen to see the Oils perform a blistering set.  I don't recall if INXS supported them at this gig but to be honest, I wasn't really interested in any one else other than the Oils.  But INXS got there start doing lots of supports with them, so it is feasible they were on the same bill that night.  It wasn't until some years later that I 'discovered' them for myself.

Like Mine, this discovery started when I heard The Loved One.  Not too long after, I got a copy of their first compilation, INXSIVE, featuring their first singles as well as highlights from their first two albums.  Listening to this compilation and their third album, Shaboo Shoobah, sold me completely on the band.  The follow up, The Swing, was every bit as good as their previous but even more so.  By now, the band had developed a sound and style completely their own and, as it usually goes, spawned a whole bunch of imitators.  But none of those could hold a candle to INXS.

The Swing was the first album the band recorded overseas, enlisting the production skills of Nile Rodgers for the first single, Original Sin, and Nick Launay for the rest of the album.  It became their first major hit album, both in Australia and overseas and produced some of their most enduring hits with tracks like Dancing On The Jetty, I Send A Message and the title track.  And while the follow-up, Listen Like Thieves, is considered the album that broke them world wide, for me, it is the raw energy of both Shaboo Shoobah and The Swing that I still find unbeatable.


For more information: http://www.inxs.com/

In our collection, we also have Shaboo Shoobah

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Church - Deep In The Shallows: Classic Singles Collection


With the recent sad death of former member of The Models, James Freud, I've been looking back at some of the music I loved when I was a young man.  Of course, The Models were a big favourite (as I've already said in our review here) but right up there was bands like INXS, who we'll be reviewing later this week, and The Church.

Of all the bands I loved back then, though, it was The Church who influenced me the most.  I distinctly remember being blown away by The Unguarded Moment as a very impressionable teenager.  It is still one of my favourite songs.  Steve Kilbey and co not only sounded like a band I wanted to be a part of but looked like I wanted to look too, kohl-eyed and wearing stove pipe jeans, paisley shirts and winkle-picker boots.  I dressed that way for quite a number of years.  But grunge and all it encompassed, put paid to that look.

Then there is the elegantly simple beauty of Under The Milky Way, a song I learnt as soon as I heard it and have played many times, both for my pleasure and for a paying audience.  It is the kind of track songwriters wish they could write, one that will remain a timeless treasure.

But this definitive collection is much more than the sum of these two songs.  It stretches the length of their career, from first album, Of Skins And Heart, released in 1981, to Uninvited, In The Clouds, released in 2006.  Listening to these tracks, I can't help but feel the same sense of wanting to be a part of it as I did when I first heard tracks like Almost With You, When You Were Mine and Tantalized.  I will admit that I don't carry the same torch for them as I did back then.  I think it burnt out after their 1990 release, Gold Afternoon Fix, which contained the wonderful Metropolis.  But like a long lost love, they've never been far from my thoughts.  And this collection only serves to remind me of those beautiful lost days long ago. 



I've never really been a Church fan - not that I didn't like the music, just that I didn't go out of my way to buy their albums.  Which is kind of weird, because I've always been the sort of person who purchases music put out by friends and aquaintances - you know, a kind of gesture of solidarity.  It's led to more than one dud in the collection!

And yes, I do have a vague personal connection to the Church.  You see, the final two years of high school in Canberra are separate from the first four, and is consolidated in what are called Colleges.  I went to a college that most of my high school didn't go to.  But I spent a fair amount of time socialising with them still, and that brought me into contact with a guy called Russell, who is the brother of Steve, who is the lead singer of the Church.  OK?  I've also just found out thanks to Wikipedia that a guy who went out with my best friend in high school also played keyboards on two of their albums, so that's another link.

Anyway, I hadn't listened to the double CD before today, and there are a lot of singles on it that just passed me by.  I love their breakthrough hit, Unguarded Moment, and remember going to see them just after that came out.  Almost With You, Tantalized, Under the Milky Way and Metropolis are all familiar - but the rest are drawing a blank.  Not a bad blank, some sound terriffic - but not as good.


For more information: http://www.thechurchband.com/

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Bananarama - The Greatest Hits Collection


That screaming you hear?  That would be my dear husband, who believes that listening to Bananarama is akin to musical torture.  I, on the other hand, am quite fond of this collection, coming from their heyday in the 80s.  It's just pop bubble and fluff, I'll grant you that.  But it's fun - in the same way Kylie and Madge and all those other girlies are fun.

I will say there are a few songs on the collection that leave me cold, but who doesn't like getting out on the dancefloor to Venus? I love some of the slower ones like Robert De Niro's Waiting and Cruel Summer - Shy Boy gets me singing too.

But I think the best thing about Bananarama is their reputation as a bunch of party girls.  I remember an anecdote told by Triple J DJ Maynard F# Crabbes, who said he'd been getting down with the band at a Kings Cross nightclub some time in the mid 80s, but lost track of them some time during the evening.  When he left to catch a taxi home in the early hours, he tripped over them - sitting in the gutter with one (he didn't say which) having a "monumental spew".  And then cleaning up quickly to appear on breakfast radio somewhere else.  Go, girls.



Yep, Mine got it right.

Let me put it this way, listening to the little bits and pieces of this collection (and believe me, I tried, folks, I really tried) was like jabbing very sharp objects in my ears.  I just wanted to scrape it all out, put it in a box, take the box for a long drive into the distant hills and bury it a deep hole where it could never get out and torture me again.

Of course, Mine happens to like it, damn it all.  So it will stay.  But I refuse to listen to it again.  This is one you can play when I'm not at home, darling.  Please!


For more information: http://www.bananarama.co.uk/

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Triffids - Love In Bright Landscapes


Regrets, I have a few, but then too few to mention...

Actually, one of the few, now that I mention it, is that I never got the chance to see The Triffids.  I had a few chances too, let me tell you.  But for some reason or other (probably involving too much of a good time elsewhere) I never took the opportunity, instead probably dismissing the idea with glib thoughts that I will see them 'later on'.  Of course, that later time never came.  The death of David McComb a decade ago, at the way too young age of 37, means that despite the rest of the band still being around, the voice, that voice, the one that wrote all the songs that made The Triffids what they are, will never be heard again.

There is so much about The Triffids sound that is quintessentially Australian but in such a way that only the most astute observer would understand.  This is what make them unique in the annuls of Australian music.  They were more than just a great band playing some of the best songs this wide brown land has produced, they carried the flag around the world, and in doing so thankfully corrupted the view that we are a nation of drunken loud-mouthed misogynistic yobs.

But I'm ashamed to say I've never actually owned any of their albums.  I lived in plenty of share houses where their music was often played, but I never owned any myself.  To be honest, I feel a little sick about this because listening to Love In Bright Landscapes, I got a clear reminder of why I love music so much: it is because (and I am probably misquoting someone here, so I apologise in advance) music is the sound of feeling.  And The Triffids were able to feel so very much.



It seems a heresy to see a Triffids anthology that doesn't include Wide Open Road, but this particular collection pulls together the hits of this quintessentially Australian band right up until the moment they released their landmark album,  Born Sandy Devotional.  And it's in our collection because I bought it.  And I bought it because it has my favourite Triffids song on it - My Baby Thinks She's A Train.  And I love that because the lyrics are so nonsensical, but at the same time poignant.  Does he really mean she's going crazy?  She's hearing voices and doesn't know the difference between pleasure and pain. 

But listening to this collection today made me wonder exactly what it is that makes the Triffids embody that essence of Australian music - although there's no doubt they do, just as the Go-Betweens did at much the same time, and as Paul Kelly manages to do over and over.  There's a sense of space and light in some of the songs.  A sense of realism, which the harsh Australian sun forces upon our landscape.  (I guess the collection's title wasn't chosen lightly.)  There's a feeling of almost-country in the songwriting - and is that born from the endless driving between towns and more towns that bands do here, to get their songs heard?

Whatever it is, I haven't played this collection often enough.  It's definitely one for the next road trip - when I get to see that bright landscape with the best soundtrack I could imagine for it.


For more information: http://www.thetriffids.com/