Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Just A Quick One Before We Go

There is not much left to do around here before we sign off for 2006. We should briefly mention three notable albums from this year which haven’t otherwise been mentioned around these parts:

Charlotte Gainsbourg, “5:55”.
Beach House, “Beach House”.
Peter, Bjorn and John, “Writer’s Block”.

We didn’t get too inspired by films this year, except for “Who Killed The Electric Car?”, and, of course, “Borat”; we read, in effect, no novels. We created a small vegie garden. We watched the boys move into new stages of their lives.

The only other duty is to say Thank You to all who click here from time to time. We do this for ourselves, as a kind of mental clearing house, but we also do it for you, as a way of maintaining some form of communication without confronting our fear of the telephone.

Stay safe.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A few words about "Coles Corner" by Richard Hawley

I finally got a chance to listen to “Coles Corner” by Richard Hawley. If you have ever found anything to love in, say, the first three Blackeyed Susans eps; Mick Harvey’s takes on Serge Gainsbourg; the Blue Nile; the first Lloyd Cole and the Commotions lp; Lee Hazlewood; Tex Perkins in introspective mode; Dave Graney ditto, then I am sure you will find something to love here, too; the above being not so much a list of names as a particular state of mind.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Och Aye The Noo: it's the October 2006 hypothetical mixtape

Miho Hatori, “Barracuda”: this first appeared to me as a stunning piece of video animation. Of course, I have long been very fond of Cibo Matto and, more recently, Miho’s work with Smokey Hormel and her vocals on the Baldwin Brothers’ sublime “Dream Girl” (swoon). Suffice to say, this song is no disappointment. She even, perhaps, nails the sense of updated tropicalia that Beck has been striving for, and makes it sound easy.

The Passions, “I’m In Love With A German Filmstar”: there is no way anyone can ever successfully argue against my firm conviction that this is, quite simply, the greatest song of all time. It never fails to take me back to where I was the first time I ever heard it: well, I actually have no idea where that was, but it at least brings to mind very clearly, and for once in a not negative way, the latter years of secondary school. And, for historical value, it totally nails a certain aspect of that post-punk sound.

King Tubby Meets The Aggrovators, “Dub Station”: the other thing I was listening to round about that time was Jamaican dub. There is good dub and bad dub (e.g. I never warmed to the more digital end of the spectrum, witness later Lee Perry, and much of Adrian Sherwood’s On-U-Sound stable). This, however, is clearly good dub although, unusually, it doesn’t start with the usual couple-of-drum-whacks-and-into-it: we get a full minute of mood and atmosphere before the rhythm section kicks in. Which kind of makes it a novelty, I suppose. But not a gimmick.

Donovan, “Season Of The Witch”: you can slice this number any which way and make it work. But you can also listen to it au naturel.

Me First And The Gimme Gimmes, “(Ghost) Riders In The Sky”: sometimes loud fast rules. I could have said “sometimes pleasure heads must burn”, but that would be stealing. Nor would it make much sense. This song demonstrates the literal meaning of the word “cowpunk”. I once imagined a thrash-metal/speedcore cover version of “The Sounds Of Silence” which, if actualised, might have been in a similar ballpark.

Feathers, “Old Cutler”: I have no idea what this is; or when; or where; or even why. But it has a beautiful horn bit two minutes in which I can’t resist.

Lindstrom, “The Contemporary Fix”: they call it Space Disco. That’s fine by me. What Lindstrom brings to the party is a sense of joyfulness, and some lovely chord changes. And just a hint of real people playing real instruments. What???

Regina Spektor, “Edit”: my reverse autobiography. “You can write but you can’t edit” as opposed to, in my case, “You can edit but you can’t write”. That hurts.

Minimum Chips, “Know You Too Well”: we don’t seem to listen to much Australian music any more. Whether that’s a factor of our advanced age, the way we acquire/hear new music these days, or living in the Nation’s Capital, which is, of course, devoid of any form of live entertainment now that Tilley’s seems to have lost interest, it’s difficult to tell. Min Chips are from Melbourne, like us, have been influenced by Stereolab, like us, and come across as quaintly homespun in all the best ways, like, um, us?

My Robot Friend, “One More Try”: cute; with Antony of the Johnstons on vocals. They say he is the new Nina Simone. I can’t hear it myself. More like the new early Bryan Ferry.

Vetiver and Hope Sandoval, “Angels’ Share”: hailing from the school of, say, Calexico, Iron & Wine, and others of a quietly acoustic and pastoral bent. This song in particular caught our attention on account of, well, I think you can guess why.

The Velvet Underground, “I’m Sticking With You”: Mo Tucker’s finest moment. Apart from every moment on each of the first three Velvet Underground albums.

“Hollaback Gun” (Commodores vs Gwen Stefani): it seems that “Hollaback Girl” can have anything mashed with it to mutual benefit. Not that it wasn’t a great song to begin with.

The Louvin Brothers, “The Christian Life”: these guys took vocal harmonies to the next level. Elvis Costello covered one of their songs on the underrated “Kojak Variety” (since when can an album featuring Marc Ribot be all bad?). Elvis may have suffered from identity fragmentation in recent years, but he has always had impeccable taste in music.

John Martyn, “Cool Tide”: I can’t actually make my mind up as to whether this is any good at all, but when you enter 12 minutes of slowly drifting John Martynisms, well, you are in a place beyond good-vs-evil anyway.

Ricardo Villalobos, “Fizheuer Zieheuer Part 1”: as previously mentioned on these pages. I love the fact that after 15 minutes it ends, roughly (in both senses), mid-beat. Well, where else could it have gone? (Onto the other side of the record, abruptly restarting as “Fizheuer Zieheuer Part 2”, of course.)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Curiouser and curiouser

Readers of Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell's "From Hell" will be amazed at the extraordinary coincidence (if coincidence it be ... dun dun DUNNNN) that, unless I misheard the radio this morning, the policeman in charge of investigating the latest round of English prostitute killings has the surname "Gull". Life imitates art imitates etc etc.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Seven And Seven Is

For me, the best thing about the Greatest Test Match Of All Time occurred while I was on the bus coming home from work. For some time now, the boys have been interested in the idea that you can score seven runs from one ball. I'm not even sure where they got the notion from; it hardly ever happens in real life. So we have talked about "hitting a seven" quite a bit.

When I got home, the boys ran to the door screaming "Somebody scored a seven!" In normal circumstances I wouldn't have believed it, but the way the wheels had fallen off the England jalopy that day, nothing would have surprised me. I only wish I could have seen it with my own eyes.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Come on Doctor Jim, what are you bidding?

Many eyes are on this.

As I said to someone else, this would appear to put the Velvet Underground on a par with John Lennon Memorabilia, notwithstanding that the Velvets presumably have sold a very small fraction of the number of records sold by the Beatles. (I have done no research whatever to back up that last statement.)