Friday, October 17, 2014

Song of the Week #319

This week's episode is loud. Perhaps all of the tunes aren't loud in the sense of being recorded or requiring extreme volume, but they're loud to me.

Some weeks I just want to lose myself in music for even 5 minutes to drown out the outside world. To allow the sound of a wall of guitars to knock me over and then caress me lovingly with velvet fingers. To let the kick drum's punch get me right between the ribs; you feel it invading your chest cavity rather than hearing the sound. And for the singer to weave his or her way into my consciousness with lyrics that matter and delivery that is genuine and sincere. Do you feel it brothers and sisters?

Neil Young - Throw Your Hatred Down (live 1998) - http://youtu.be/fdOztNIYybE

There's probably something perverse about me writing about my love of a wall of guitars and then playing an acoustic track. But those machines have been killing fascists for a long time now.

Woody Guthrie - All You Fascists Bound To Lose - http://youtu.be/VwcKwGS7OSQ

BB King says in the film "Rattle & Hum" that Bono "writes mighty heavy lyrics for one so young". You can feel free to argue whether or not Bono thinks he is God but there's no doubting that this was a cracker of a song. Gifting it to BB King was inspired; he's the man who makes this track almost perfect.

U2 & BB King - When Love Comes To Town (live 1989 Australia) - http://youtu.be/eT3rXNPGFOM

If anyone has a lazy $4,000 I can have just click on this link and buy me one of BB's guitars. Beautiful, classic and totally cool.

James Osterberg Jr. has popped up on radio here in Australia (did you see what I did there?!) playing tunes and talking about them. For a man with a relatively light singing voice he surely has a deep drawling speaking voice. I guess he sings down low in "Candy" though. That's a great tune but it doesn't fit my theme this week. His shows are worth checking out online if you can access them. Try the Double J website as a starting point. Or just Google his John Peel lecture.

KISS - I Love It Loud - http://youtu.be/LMcDg2HwOnM

Often when people have a discussion with me about Heavy Metal music they start off with bands like Motorhead, Iron Maiden or Judas Priest. They're the big ones. Metallica too I guess. But these bands aren't really all that heavy. Sure, they're loud, but they're more an extension of rock 'n' roll with more volume and at times a faster tempo. Metal is splintered into any number of sub-genres and the heaviness is relative. Are de-tuned guitars, bass that'll make your insides gurgle and guttural vocals any heavier than Alice Cooper strutting his shock rock shtick covered in fake blood and wearing a straitjacket? Or are the primal rhythms of Sepultura heavier than the insanely dark metal that comes out of Scandanavia? It's all about perception. The dark metal from the North usually just makes me laugh, Alice is a hoot and the de-tuned gurgling wears thin after about one or two songs. Sepultura however mix a lot of it up in a blend of music that is heavy in more ways than one. See what you think...

Sepultura - Rattamahatta (live) - http://youtu.be/6jGiSyH1EeU

There are two shows I'll be checking out in the coming weeks. First is "The Church" here in Canberra next Friday and then not long after that I'm in Sydney with DJ DJ to see "The Mark of Cain". Both different, only one heavy. 

The Mark of Cain - Lockdown - http://youtu.be/iJVVm9OsiwU

Steve Earle sings really, really heavy tunes. "Jerusalem" and "Rich Man's War" almost always stop me dead in my tracks. He was heavily influenced by this next artist. I was in a record shop last wekend (one with records...real ones) and this was playing on the turntable...wow!

Townes Van Zandt - Cocaine Blues - http://youtu.be/hjJePtPVquM

That's the end this week. This music fan needs some sleep after a rather huge week. Kisses to you hop-along!

DJ Rob

"I'm a loadin', loadin' my war machine
I'm contributing to the system, the break down scheme
I'm a shuttin' down, I'm shuttin' down your greed for green baby" - Kyuss - Green Machine




Friday, October 10, 2014

Song of the Week #318

I had an ordinary day this week. Read about it here.

Finally it seems that the telephone and internet debacle is over. What I have learned from this is that "Level 2 Technicians" do not know how to connect to a modem and put in a password. Neither do they know that separate cables are needed for phone and data. Numpties is a fair description. Two weeks of wrangling to get a switch flicked at the exchange and then Zoë and I did the rest.

AC/DC - Flick of the Switch - http://youtu.be/9tqIOE-rPJU

I wonder sometimes wonder how sensible we were for moving to another house on the northern side of Canberra. The only reason I ask myself this question is that it is almost always a stiff headwind cycling home. Southerners must arrive home fresh and with big smiles on their faces whilst I need the heart starting paddles and a shot of adrenalin to make it through the front door to the shower. It must be noted that the reverse is rarely the case in the mornings.

Stone Sour - Tired (acoustic version) - http://youtu.be/hhCQYqt16j8

This week a brand new coffee shop was recommended to me by a colleague. Having just experienced a foul brew from one of the highest rated caffeine dealers around I was up for anything. Superfine Cafe hasn't been open very long but if my first couple of visits are anything to go by then it has a bright future. My initial visit was with the light of my life and we were pleasantly surprised. I had my standard long black with some soy on the side. In reality the soy is only used if the brew is rough or bitter. The barista produced a fresh, smooth and most importantly not bitter cup which was a real treat. I liked it so much that I moved one of my work meetings to the cafe this morning. There's a fab range of food as well and the staff are very friendly so if you're in the city try it out some time. Superfine is on the corner of Mort and Bunda Streets in the bus interchange and right next door to Tonic.

Ice-T - I'm Your Pusher - http://youtu.be/_nODi6OECzs

But the real reason we're here is music. I've got far too many recommendations this week so I'll have to cut it down. After all, does anyone actually click the links and play the tunes?

Seasick Steve keeps on cranking out great bluesy albums. I picked up his latest on CD for only $10 and without wanting to sound like a broken record, it's a cracker! If you like swampy, low down, gritty blues then try any of his stuff. This album, "Hubcap Music" also features appearances from John Paul Jones and Jack White. I did laugh long and loud when I discovered that Track 12 was simply a recording of a tractor! Steve is in his 70s and looks to be placed to carry on forever like lots of bluesmen.

Seasick Steve - Down On The Farm - http://youtu.be/H9qnj09Suhs

As I wrote to H this week (he's on the road doing cool stuff in and around Tingha) I decided that my work recommending music was at an all time high when my Dad sent me a link to an early Rolling Stones tune. As written previously I struggle with the Stones in terms of their complete lack of consistency but there's no doubting that they have the ability to harness the rock and roll mojo when the mood takes them.

The Rolling Stones - It's All Over Now - http://youtu.be/O82FK-v86X8

One of the best things about having the internet back on is that the programme guide on the TV works again. I'm sure it's in the paper as well but seriously folks, hard copy?? I noticed last night that ABC3, usually the kids channel, was playing some music videos and I caught a couple of fantastic tracks.

First up was Joe Cocker. Boy bands, reality TV junkies, twerkers and fashion victims should look no further than Joe before slapping themselves around the head for being so clueless. Look at this video; Joe is hairy, sweaty, moves like someone with their finger in a power socket, has the most awful shirt and shoes on and sings with the most perfect voice. This, my friends, is what rock and roll is all about.

Joe Cocker - With A Little Help From My Friends (live) - http://youtu.be/bRzKUVjHkGk

The big shock was this next tune. I had no idea that the collaboration had ever happened. I didn't expect this song to work with The Living End but it really rocks. Jimmy Barnes is apparently unwell again and I hope he is up and about before too long. 

Jimmy Barnes and The Living End - Lay Down Your Guns - http://youtu.be/Wdv9qL7AMj0

Accept are a German metal band who have been around for a very long time. They are most famous for the song "Balls to the Wall" and the album of the same name. There are splits and a thousand lineup changes between 1968 and now but musically not much has changed. It's a good dose of hard rock. "Blind Rage" is their fourteenth studio album. I noticed that it is available with a live DVD as well so I reckon I better plonk my money on the counter before too long.

Accept - Stampede - http://youtu.be/qbUXHTWZ9vk

Is there time for a couple more? How about I just play two songs and I challenge you to give me some feedback on one or either? Time to try something new.

The Growlers - Going Gets Tough - http://youtu.be/zMsluEUPtho

Shellac - Dude Incredible - http://youtu.be/StooJzxAfrc

Wrapping up the show this week are two themed tracks...it's Mental Health Week here in Australia. DJ Doc gave me a very good track to think about last week and these two are moving on from that. Look after those around you folks.

Sinead O'Connor - 8 Good Reasons - http://youtu.be/DXhv9ANCoxM


Rock on brothers and sisters,

Rob

"Brother mind what you do
and how your treat your fellow man
if you're like me you'd try to live
the very best you can
for if you spread good all around
you'd be able to sleep when the sun goes down" - Sam Cooke, Keep Movin' On

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

An ordinary day?

Sometimes an ordinary day is OK you know. If life was always super-fab and groovy then I might be frazzled by all that energy. Like the girl at the record shop; she's always just a bit too upbeat, lively and excited...every time I go there!

My ordinary day started rather glumly as an overnight storm meant that I would't be riding my bike to work. I ride both ways nearly every day and it's an important ritual and mental health activity. The upshot was that I got to hang around the house a little longer, catch a lift with Alison into town and then grab a short bus ride to my office. The bus ride meant three or four tunes on the headphones which was a bit of a treat.

The next bit of my ordinary day was a meeting. We had to speak to some external providers so a local cafe seemed the best place. I chose one based on the ratings on my Beanhunter app. It might be rated very highly but my long black was awful at best. Tepid, bitter and not at all fresh. On the upside; the meeting was very productive and time with my boss, who is also my mentor, is very valuable.

Let's get this out of the the way; I can't stand salad sandwiches. Whatever I try to put on them I really struggle to make myself eat them. But it's a relatively simple, healthy option for lunch. My ordinary day was brightened by the fact that I'd ditched the salad and allowed myself the luxury of one peanut butter sandwich instead! Peanut butter is one thing that my dietitian put back in my diet a while ago and it's an awesome treat.

Home time and of course no bike. Booooring. Back on the bus, more tunes and then a short walk home in the sunshine. Nothing earth shattering but good for clearing the head. Also the suburb looks different on foot than from the bike. Ordinary but good.

The most frustrating part of our lives at the moment is the fact that our phone carrier can't seem to work out how to connect the right number to our house. I've spent hours on the phone with them as well as making sure that the kids don't end up with excess mobile data bills. When most of your life is online, not having it there and easily accessible is annoying. What's the good bit here? Well...I read a book whilst I was on hold. Reading is something I would love to do more of. Even if it's only a guitar magazine or the latest copy of WIRED. Books are cool of course but I like to read them in concentrated bursts not fits and starts.

Lastly, the cat and dog conspired to get me out of bed early (pre-6am) this morning. The good bit about that was that the weather was awesome so I very much enjoyed being back on the bike. A day off it might've been good...for this month!

Rob


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Song of the Week #318

The truth is that I'd hoped to be coming to you from a freshly installed internet connection in our new house. But, even having requested that the phone carrier do the transfer with a few weeks' notice, here I am with no landline and using my mobile phone as a hotspot. It's hardly an ideal situation to facilitate writing about music. If anyone feels like saying, "first world problem", then get a grip; I live in the first world. A quick update after over an hour on the phone with our provider last night is that they have no idea why it all doesn't work...but they're working on it.

Def Leppard - Hanging On The Telephone - http://youtu.be/npNmAnZTrHc

On Saturday I managed to get the garage to a state where I could unpack my guitars, get cracking with my new pedal power supply and start rehearsing some new songs. DJ Guz gave me some help with the pedals and we debated the merits of simulating battery "sag". Apparently some guitar pedals sound different as your 9 volt battery ages. The power supply can simulate that. Pretty cool. Hats off to "Pedal Empire" in Brisbane who spent a lot of time with me via email getting my power supply choice right.
You'll know from past episodes that nothing annoys me more than hum and hiss in a guitar signal and whilst it's a fact of life with valve amps and electronics, the solution provided by Matt means that there is absolutely no noise from my pedal board. Guitar rigs are always a work in progress and there's more to come with mine but just being able to plug in and play for an hour or so was great fun.

Motley Crue - Home Sweet Home - http://youtu.be/3WAZ60xA9wo

This week I've been listening almost exclusively to some classic metal. As mentioned last time, I can listen to cassettes again and I've had a good laugh at some of the old tunes. I did take delivery of the album by Sweetapple which is one of J. Mascis' side projects. It's a melodic stoner rock stomp and a lot of fun. If you like Dinosaur Jr. or even Red Kross it's an album you should spin a few times. The cover is a hoot as well, a copy of a rather famous and risque one from Roxy Music. Red Kross I hear you ask? They're a band you should turn to if you like KISS, the Beatles, great harmonies and a healthy attitude to just having a good time.

Red Kross - Stay Away From Downtown - http://youtu.be/6teoeHq6pig

I also found a tape from Rose Tattoo guitarist Peter Wells. If you watch any of the Tatt's videos Pete is the really tall guitarist playing slide. The album is one that I haven't listened to more than a couple of times ever even though I've probably owned the cassette since the early 90s. That's a shame really because there are some great tracks on it and some fine, if understated guitar playing. For you antipodean music afficionados, the album is produced in part by Jon Stevens of Noiseworks fame.

Pete Wells - Between The Saddle & The Ground - http://youtu.be/7qngOPOrHKc

With no internet my TV watching habits have had to change this week. I've gone back through my archive drives looking for stuff I haven't watched in a while. Arnie's  excellent movie "The Running Man" got an airing. Regardless of what Jesse Ventura has or hasn't done lately he's hilarious as Captain Freedom alongside Arnie. Probably the best thing about the film was Zoë's comment, "hey, this is different to the book!" I think I was about 18 when I first read "The Bachman Books" as well. It could be the only work by Steven King that I've managed to read all the way through. But then perhaps I have a short attention span.

AC/DC - Who Made Who - http://youtu.be/PiZHNw1MtzI

I also started watchiing Oliver Stone's biopic "The Doors". It's a long movie and I do remember seeing it at the cinema when it was released. After a while I got a little bored with the whole thing but it did remind me that the Doors, despite having their music ruined for me by radio overplay, were a great band. I didn't realise that this next track was released 7 years after Jim Morrison died but it captures the essence of the group really well in my opinion.

The Doors - The Ghost Song - http://youtu.be/pgj6AIpImUA

Whilst cleaning out the garage I played the entire Judas Priest album "British Steel" and guess what, it's still great! As a teenager my Mum took me to K-Mart and I came home with a two pack of Priest cassettes, the aforementioned album and "Killing Machine". At the time I knew nothing of the band but the cover art of both albums made the sale. "British Steel" was (is) the instant classic whilst "Killing Machine", released in the USA as "Hell Bent For Leather" is a darker, more menacing album. The covers of each album are in the videos below.

Judas Priest - Rapid Fire - http://youtu.be/zhXUutpELRA

Judas Priest - Delivering The Goods - http://youtu.be/soNcOfRvOtg

Let me finish with a quick word about customer service. It could apply to any industry or workplace really. If you tell someone you'll call them back or keep them in the loop then do it. Even if there isn't anything to report a quick note or call to say that you haven't been forgotten is appreciated. Bike shops and telcos would benefit from this advice.
This week's final track is one we played out at the mountain biking last weekend. I wasn't sure that anyone would remember it but the toe tapping and head nodding I observed would suggest otherwise!

Vic Reeves & The Wonderstuff - Dizzy - http://youtu.be/DOlG92rb2Zg

Rock on brothers and sisters,
DJ Rob

"The eternal Thompson Gunner,
Still wanderin through the night.
Now it's ten years later,
But he still keeps up the fight" - Warren Zevon - http://youtu.be/WhRRWwH3Fro

Monday, September 29, 2014

Song of the Week #317

Sunday afternoon really isn't the normal time to be writing my weekly load of nonsense. Regular readers will understand that HQ World Wide Woozle has moved locations. The physical move may be less than 1km door to door but the packing, shifting and unpacking is just the same as if it was an interstate relocation. Stop press: we've shifted time now through to Monday afternoon; there was more unpacking to do!

Right then, apart from moving house, three out of four people in the family having new jobs and the cat and dog looking rather nervous it's time to get down to just a couple of tunes.

One of the advantages of the new place is a home for my cassette player. Sadly, not all of my cassettes would ever fit anywhere other than in boxes but with a small three drawer cassette holder we can cycle through a few. There's something pure and almost organic about playing a tape from start to finish. It's not like CD or MP3 where you can skip all over the place. Also I can sit and watch the VU meters jump around! This song was on one of the compilation tapes I found and DJ Al-ee-Sun seemed to like it...

Peter, Paul and Mary - Puff The Magic Dragon - http://youtu.be/RC2tlNmz4ao

AC/DC fans were both happy and sad last week. The band have a new album out very shortly and will embark on a world tour as well. But it will be without founder, songwriter and rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young. The news is that he is not well enough to be in the band and from what little information is actually available it seems that he never will be. It's a sad thing for such an influential yet low key musician. Early on in my teens when I was developing my love for the band I quickly realised that while Angus provided the flash and showmanship, Malcolm was the part that held the band together. A relentless rhythm; never too much, never in your face and never lacking. His style of just pushing a band along rather than standing out the front screaming "look at me" has always resonated with me. 

There's no doubt that I'll get the new album and I also hope to go to one of the shows. Stevie Young, Angus and Malcolm's nephew will be playing guitar. He did the same for much of the '88 World Tour when Malcolm was unwell so he's hardly new to the band. You couldn't ever accuse AC/DC of not being committed to their music and fans. After the untimely death of Bon Scott and now Malcolm's illness they carry on. That's a work ethic folks.

AC/DC - What's Next To The Moon (1978) - http://youtu.be/yg-UdkvykIk

AC/DC - For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) - (1981) - http://youtu.be/fKhTk0IynHM

To add to the pressure of moving house and all that goes with it, I agreed, along with my good friend and partner in crime, DJ AB, to head out to the Scott 24hr Mountain Bike Race on Saturday Night. Our job was to play songs and provide commentary live at the event, and over FM radio from 11pm until 7am. The reality was that we started early and managed to hang on until lack of sleep and a sugar overdoes finally got us at 8:45am. We had a ton of fun choosing songs, talking nonsense and providing updates for the riders, supporters and volunteers. This is the second year that we've had the opportunity to provide this service to the race and we hope to be back next year...maybe with an even longer stint! Apologies to those offended by our 3am skanking through transition but a bit of a dance and a pogo kept us awake! Thanks to DJ Guz for his massive efforts in setting up the FM link and looking after us the whole time.

AB and I took some requests, as well as tweeting and facebooking all night. Being out at Stromlo as the sun came up on a perfect Spring day in Canberra is always a real treat. Here's one of the requests we played that we both enjoyed a lot!

Christopher Cross - Ride Like The Wind - http://youtu.be/HNOn6enPC7U

As our internet provider hasn't connected either the 'net (aaaarrrggghhh!) or the phone (who really cares) this episode will be short. It is disappointing that even with a couple of weeks notice that they couldn't sort it out and that I had to hang around on hold when we were actually in the throes of moving. This should be remedied, with any luck, during the week and I'll aim to put out a bumper crop of tunes.

Until then, satisfy yourselves with these, let me know if you like them or not...

Madness - Baggy Trousers - http://youtu.be/Dc3AovUZgvo

Reel Big Fish - Take On Me - http://youtu.be/QHpU0ZfXZ_g

But now, dear reader, I'm well and truly spent. Time for a nap.

DJ Rob

"Got the word from the Devil,
For what it's worth,
Your killing, fighting...
Cast your spell upon the World,
Send your metal birds,
It's the Devil's curse..." - The Poor, Man of War, 1994.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Song of the Week #316

This week I wrote about bike shops....click here for more.


By the time you read this you will know result of the referendum into Scottish Independence. The "no" vote has won, but not by much. During the week I was rather amazed to read that Scots not resident in the country thought they should still get a vote. I'm not talking about people on holiday, I mean people who have made a choice to live somewhere else. I have noticed also in recent years that a number of countries allow ex-pats to vote in their elections. What a load of nonsense. If you don't live there, you shouldn't rate a vote. Why? Well for one reason you don't have a true view of what life there is like. If ex-pats could claim a vote then I certainly could. I was born in Scotland and I'm a British Citizen (as well as an Australian one). But I haven't lived there since I was about 7. What do I know other than what I've read? Nothing.


Battlefield Band - The Rovin' Dies Hard - http://youtu.be/9qZZ01RFf_Q

 

In a similar vein I read a whole lot of moaning that the Australian radio and TV network broadcasting throughout SE Asia would cease. The people up in arms were ex-pats who would be unable to get their fix of Aussie news or football. Seriously? You think that the taxpayers here should support that? Unless I'm mistaken, Australian broadcasting into other areas of the world is important for other reasons but not so that people living away from home can watch the footy.


The Members - Radio - http://youtu.be/xvWQenFo9Xo

 

Wow, I sound grumpy this week.  Why stop now? Let's talk about taxation.

 

I got my tax refund notice this week. A few extra dollars in my hand. That's nice. Along with the notice of assessment was a set of figures and a chart telling me how the Federal Government spent the money they took out of my pay. There was also a figure reflecting Australia's level of debt. This has increased by quite a lot…$63 billion…under the Abbott Government. But I digress, I'm not here to score cheap, easy points at the expense of the PM whilst he's busy committing us to an expensive war…which will help the bottom line so much. Grrrrr! The chart of expenditure reveals how little we spend on aid and law enforcement. Servicing government debt takes a big chunk as does welfare. Anyone reading that graph would think that Australia is tight. Maybe we are.


Jimmy Buffett - Carnival World - http://youtu.be/kNuZ6SQj12M

 

I've failed to get to the music shop this week. And I'm not keen on buying music as a download. Thankfully Soundcloud, YouTube and other online services have kept me going. I've also be re-watching some episodes of the riotously funny TV show "Bottom" starring Rik Myall and Ade Edmonson.


Opening Montage - Bottom - http://youtu.be/E3-bHYKAerk


Mayall / Edmonson - Chess - http://youtu.be/7yH0Vh3ZBoQ

 

Bands I've been listening to this week include Sweet Apple, Bob Mould, Springsteen. Throwing some albums onto the old iPod shuffle and letting it roll around in the background has been an excellent way to revisit old tunes and become more familiar with new ones. I'm not too sure how my new colleagues are going with the bagpipe sounds emanating from my office though.


Sweet Apple - Boys In Her Fanclub - http://youtu.be/v5wj0_cD_J0


Finally, I read that The Living End might record another album. I'd buy that for a dollar (or two) - and not on download either. Fingers crossed!


The Living End - Pictures In The Mirror (live) - http://youtu.be/0Kr_Mc4T61c


I'm off to see Witchskull tonight at the ANU Bar. If you're in Canberra and you like heavy music you should be there.


DJ Rob


"...it ain't no fun waitin' 'round to be a millionaire..." - AC/DC, 1976.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Local bike shops

Yeah, yeah, yeah - I know you can buy anything you want online. But for people with limited mechanical ability and/or limited time a good local bike shop is essential. Personally I'd rather spend time racking up the kilometres than turning the air blue whilst trying (and failing) to service my bike. Experts are experts for a reason.

So, with that in mind, I write to extol the virtues of my local bike servicing emporium, "Monkey Wrench Cycles" in Hackett, ACT.

I've had bikes serviced at places all over Canberra and there's no doubt that here in the National Capital we are spoiled for choice.

Without naming names, here are some reasons that I didn't go back to a range of places...

  • one place has a reputation for swapping out high quality parts for el cheapo ones prior to selling bikes
  • one place had a "mechanic" who told me I needed a new rear cassette. My bike was 5 weeks old.
  • another bike shop put my mountain bike back together with the headset spacers removed because it "looked cooler"
  • the same bike shop were meant to service my bike, true my rear wheel and throw on a new rear tyre. They washed my bike and not much else. It was oh so shiny but not in a state to be ridden
So, a couple of years ago now when Monkey Wrench opened next to my favourite coffee shop I was rather excited. Even more exciting was that it was an establishment that didn't sell bikes, they just serviced. And service they do. My mountain bike has had a lot of love there and they have been marvels at keeping my trusty Cervelo on the road for far longer than its natural lifespan!

There's no up-sell, no time wasting, just good honest work and loads of conversations about bikes. They fixed my bike on the spot one day when I rolled in from a long ride having snapped a derailleur cable. And on Sunday they spotted me and my Cervelo at the coffee shop and did a fix that I had booked in for Wednesday to make life easier for me.

Plenty of my friends will tell you similar tales.

So, if you're anywhere even near Hackett and your bike needs love then take it to Stan and Joel at Monkey Wrench. Don't tell them I sent you though as I'm sure that even the thought of my Cervelo makes them break out in a cold sweat. 

DJ Rob