Friday, July 22, 2005

32 Songs - Track 24

Soldiers - You Am I

“Around the corner every morning just to see you get across.
The civic fathers divide us up into cats and dogs.
The seargent major of the neighbourhood is weighing up the cost.”

I’m starting to notice that my appreciation of certain songs comes from a single line rather than an entire song. I’ve always been a fan of the witty comment or the vivid description from Shakespeare’s “Come wind blow and crack your cheeks” to Ferris Bueller’s “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while you might miss it” or Oscar Wilde’s “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars” to Jay’s “What the fuck is the Internet?”.

This song is another example of this trait. For years I felt that Soldiers contains the best description of love I’ve ever heard. Tim nailed it on the head when he wrote

“You woke me up just to check that I’m alive,
We talk to each other as if we’re five”

For me that was it. Someone that worried enough about you to wake you up in the middle of the night and that you could talk to without pretension or fear of judgment. It’s a description that just clicked within me at a very deep level and that I’ve never been able to shake.

The funny thing about this is that I’m pretty sure Tim was thinking something completely different when he wrote this song. And I’m sure this isn’t the first time someone has put their own impression on to a lyric only to realize how wrong they are. Lyric interpretation is not an exact science actually it is most definitely an art, open to interpretation and reflecting a point of view. I guess I could ask Tim at some point in the future to clarify this little point but I’m kind of attached to my little misconception and another interpretation might just ruin the whole song.

A You Am I track was always going to make it onto this list as the band occupies a special little place in my heart. I’ve seen them live enough times that I’m onto my second counting foot, They are Australia’s hardest working rock band and just maybe came into being 20 years too late. Had Tim, Rusty and Andy been around in the mid seventies their history could be very different and Tim would currently be wearing a mu-mu and living on his thousand acre retreat in the Yarra Valley called Brandyland.

Friday, July 15, 2005

32 Songs - Track 23

Broad Lick Nic - The Doug Anthony All Stars

It's a broad lick Nic,
And I'll tell you while I'm able or I'll smash your skull,
If your not drinking enough Black Label.
It's a hard man's drink and though the bottle's broken,
Put your money on the table,
Strain the glass through your teeth.

My early years in Canberra are intrinsically linked with a future dance tv-show host, a z-list TV host and a computer game designer/triple j radio slut.

Some nights I come close to tears when I see what has become of the Doug Anthony All Stars. (1)

Many Saturdays of my youth were spent throwing my Dad’s small change at Tim, Paul and Richard as they busked in the cold concrete artifice of Civic giving it a warmth, energy and fun that it would never ever have again. Somehow the guys managed to scrape enough money together, after a very succeful Adleaide Fringe stint, to take them out of Australia on to Edinburgh where their campaign to shake up the world really took off. Paul’s pissed off character with the angelic voice, Tim’s bent straight man and Richard’s guitar playing idiot made them a cabaret team unlike any other. And fact that all three of them were funny buggers and knew how to sing a harmony saw them move from street corner, to club, to stage, to TV show, to their own TV show in just a matter of years before they all got sick and tired of it and packed it in.

By the time I had started drinking and dabbling in other chemical pursuits the Dougs, as they became known, were off and soaring and Broad Lic Nick, a song of drinking, lewd behaviour and lyrical intelligence was just what the twisted mind was after. I remember listening to a Dougs tape again and again and again in order to learn the words.

The song, a tale of male boasting to the extreme, moves at a lightning pace hitting everything from trappist monks to teenage fatherhood, Ghandi to Mata Hari in just a couple of minutes. It’s not the best example of Paul’s singing voice or the harmonies that the group is capable of but it would have to be one of their best tracks.

A track which, I am proud to say, I still know all the lyrics to. And will happily regale special people with after a few of my chosen adult flavoured beverage. Maybe one day I’ll even have the honour of doing it on stage.

(1) - The Doug Anthony All Stars took their name from an Australian politician of the 60s and 70s. Doug Anthony was the Leader of the Country Party for a number of years and was responsible for renaming the Country Party as the National Party in the mid seventies. Anthony became deputy prime minister (and yes i meant for the lack of capital letters) in 1975 after the Governer General John Kerr dismissed the Labor Governement Prime Minister Gough Whitlam after a double dissolution on the passing of the Budget. Liberal leader Malcolm Fraser was put in as the new prime minister and because of the coalition Anthony was given the no2 spot. In other words, Anthony, is a passenger.

The whole thing is a great piece of australian folk lore and Gough has coasted on the coat tails of this for 30 years. He, and the Labor Party, really need to get over it.

Friday, July 08, 2005

You Spin me right round baby:

The ugliest Dj in the world is causing me to wriggle in my pants with his new track First Day. His site is spinning his new disc for zip.

My intial reaction to the first release from Antony & the Johnsons was a quick dismissal as annoying and flat. However after the disc floated across my desk and repeated listens i've completely changed my tune. The vocal quality that annoyed me at first i now see with delicate beauty and the songs tell little stories of life and wishes and fishes.

The LCD Soundsystem are everything i like in a band. Experimental and different.

I'd given up on Buck 65 after loving the previous album so much. The new one has just arrived and on first listen it too has hooked me. Swampy, folky, hip hop.

Twin Freaks is Paul McCartney handing his back catalogue over to the Freelance Hellraiser for a complete reworking.

That is all for now.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

32 Songs - Track 22

Block Rockin Beats - The Chemical Brothers

Back with another one of those
Block Rockin' Beats

To quote another of this group's songs - "Where do i begin?"

The Chemical Brothers are another of those bands that drastically altered my perception of songs, music and the world. But I don't think there is anyone who has heard an early track from Tom and Ed that didn't end up having the same response.

I was working in an Adelaide comic shop with a guy who constantly brought new and interesting stuff to play while he worked and would then leave them around for the rest of us to spin. Thankfully the manager of the store was mostly supportive of these aural experiments, i.e. he only hurled a CD across the store on two occasions in four years. It was through this shop and Steve that i was introduced to The Tea Party, Bjork, Dead Can Dance, Belle & Sebastian, The Secret Chiefs 3 and, on one memorable night, Mr Bungle.

It was on a Friday night shift when Steve brought in this shiny new disc and proceded to whack it on the stereo and turn it up loud. And from that first funky bass line of Block Rockin Beats i was hooked. The assortment of sirens, bleeps, scratchings and electronic warpings that followed just sold the deal.

In my mind The Chemical Brothers gave music an almighty shove. Sure Industrial had been around for a while but they pushed it closer to being music while still sounding like they used chainsaws, industrial welders and grinders instead of guitars and drums. Looking for more sounds like this pushed me out into the clubs and the habit of dancing the night away. Through this i discovered even more sounds and expanded my horizons even further, which wasn't hard in Adelaide in the late 90's.

Dig Your Own Hole, the album that Block Rockin Beats kicks off, remains to this day one of my favourite albums of all times and there isn't a week that i don't listen to at least part of it. Like Abbey Road it is also one of the most perfectly constructed albums of all time. Starting with a bang on Block Rockin Beats and finishing with the best double ever Where Do I Begin? and The Private Psychadelic Reel.

The Chemical Brothers were one act that i never thought i would see perform. However earlier this year i was granted one of my dreams when i saw Ed and Tom do their thing at the Big Day Out. Needless to say even with such mammoth expectations the two of them still managed to top it and as The Private Psychadelic Reel started to warble across Homebush things couldn't have been much better. Well maybe i'll see them play one of their DJ sets in a small club in London.

Hey, i can dream can't I?

Friday, July 01, 2005


My boss thinks this is the funniest thing. I'm not sure if i'm inclined to agree with her. Though i'm sure many of you are.