Sunday, September 30, 2007


Okay, so Wes Anderson's short film "Hotel Chevalier" is available for download, free, from iTunes. Except, as punishment for living in Australia, my iTunes account won't let me download it, because I have no US dollar credit card. Even though it's free. And it's not available in the Australian iTunes store. What's with all that?

Somebody. Gotta. Help. Me. Please. I'm desperate.

Friday, September 28, 2007

One day in September

This year I will be watching the AFL Grand Final on television at home, with my family, as nature intended. That way I can take part in the traditional Half Time Mowing Of The Lawns ceremony.

(And we will be barracking for Geelong.)

Song of the day

"The Song Remains The Same", by Led Zeppelin. When this comes on, and at first you don't know what it is, and your brain is attempting to put all the pieces in place, you will be convinced, for the first ten seconds or so, that what you are listening to is The Clean, or to be precise David Kilgour. Does this mean that Kilgour is a closet Rock God, or just that he and Jimmy Page use the same guitar?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Song of the day

"Bone", by Map of Africa. There appears to be rather a lot of Internet hate for the Map of Africa album. I can't see why that should be the case. Maybe it was made by the wrong people. Maybe the right people made the wrong record. Maybe the methodology was suspect. For myself, and possibly this is an age thing, I have no problem with somebody creating a seventies vibe using 21C technology, especially when (based on the three tracks I have heard) it's done this well.

Stickin' it to the man

This blog would like to express its support for the poor, oppressed monks and everyday people in Burma as they do the collective equivalent of throwing open the window and screaming "We're not going to take it any more".

We might then make a few comments about the usual fate of such "uprisings", and how and why they occur, but as usual George Packer says it all much better than we ever could.

"Imagine that"

The scene: listening, at a good volume, to "Heavy Denim" by Stereolab.

Dad: This song sounds to me like riding down a hill very fast on a bicycle with no brakes and hoping you aren't going to crash into anything.

Seven-year-old: It sounds like a rock song.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Song of the day (mine, not his)

"Lady Bug (Larry Levan Mix)" by Bumblebee Unlimited. What this is, is, a novelty record pure and simple, and yet one that transcends its novelty status by reason of its containing absolutely everything you could hope to find in a ten-minute disco "epic". Respect.

Song of the day (his, not mine)

Marcello Carlin's new (perhaps temporary, but let's hope not) venture is definitely worthy of your time. Oh, and look, he's linked to me. I'm blushing. Again.

I wonder if his picks are genuine inspirations "as of today" (as it says on the tin) or whether he is making a list (and checking it twice). Not that it matters.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Gimme Indie Rock

SFJ recently wrote some kind words about Elvis Costello's "Trust". At least I think they were kind words; with SFJ it's not always easy to tell. The funny thing is, around the same time I found myself listening to it as well, something I haven't done for a number of years (it's easy, but wrong, to allow the bad memory of later Elvis's frequently misguided projects to obscure the fact that with "Get Happy!!", "Trust", "Almost Blue" and "Imperial Bedroom" he was responsible for possibly the strongest four-album run we've ever seen; and the three albums he put out before those were no slouches either).

Coincidence? Or something else? What drew me back to "Trust" was a solid stint of listening to "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga" [do you know how hard that is to type?], the new album by Spoon, which clearly, although exactly why I'm not sure, puts me in mind of Elvis's golden era. SFJ in his New Yorker column recently wrote about that album. Was he hearing what I was hearing? I guess we will never know.

But what I do know is that even though it's still September (and yes I know there's a new Manu Chao [put away for Adrienne's birthday] and shortly a new Jens Lekman) I am prepared to say that I do not expect to hear a better album this year than "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga". And I also know that a year that produces "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga", and Wilco's "Sky Blue Sky", cannot be a Bad Year For Music.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Oh crap, part the third

Am I too pessimistic? Well, when it comes to climate change, I don't think one can ever be too pessimistic. Nevertheless, this article (which should be read with, and preferably after, the two I previously blogged) suggests that there may be some light at the end of the tunnel, if only we can persuade the leaders of the governments of the high-pollutin' countries of the world to enter that tunnel. Or, more accurately, to acknowledge that we are all already in the tunnel whether they or their constituents like it or not.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Oh crap part 2

And then you read this, which basically confirms a lot of my longstanding worries as to the difference little people like us can make (such as not putting in air conditioning, making us possibly the last house in our street without it). (Short answer: no difference at all. Which is not to say we shouldn't keep doing those little things we can do.)

Act locally = good.

Think globally = depressing.

It seems to me that all we can do now is put our faith in scientists and entrepreneurs to come up with a sudden, dramatic solution comparable to putting a man on the moon. Oh. We did that.

[p.s. I don't really like Tom Friedman's tone, for some reason that I can't put a finger on, but I have always known more after reading his column than I knew before, and it is kind of the New York Times to once again make his stuff available to concerned cheapskates like me.]

Oh crap

Read this and weep.

I have been in a state of moral and existential panic over global warming for two and a bit years now, and I'm not looking like coming to terms with it any time soon. But articles like this are (a) not helping and (b) probably not far from the mark. Remember the story about the frog sitting in the pan of water on the stove?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

"Let's go shopping!"

For better or worse, I have decided to give eMusic a go. Fifty downloads a month for not too much money. It's a lot cheaper than iTunes, that's for sure. The quality is no worse, and there are no copy restrictions. It doesn't cover much in the way of major labels or classical, but a lot of what I'm interested in hearing is there, and if I want a classical recording I'm not going below audio CDs anyway.

So my first purchase (after using up the 25 initial free downloads on, finally, David Kilgour's "The Far Now" and a few other bits and pieces) has been made: "West Coast" by Studio. Swedish laid-back post-post-punk/balearic/yacht-rock music loosely comparable, I suppose, to Lindstrom and Prins Thomas although with less of the disco/Moroder. I think. Anyway I was playing it this morning at home for the first time and, on hearing a fragment of track 4, "Origin", Carl instantly said "I like this song, can I have a copy of it?"

I don't understand how Carl's mind works at the best of times, but in terms of music it seems that he catches a fragment of something, once, and it sticks. For example, he took a liking to "Hell Yes" by Beck, from "The Information", which is not what I would have described as the most kiddie-friendly song on the album. We have listened to it constantly now for a number of weeks with no sign of letting up. (I must admit it has also grown on me in the process.) I wonder what he is hearing. As Christopher Robin says, You Never Can Tell.

(Meanwhile, he and his little brother, and a couple of compatriots, have put together a Boy Band for today's school talent quest. They have stumped up the dollar fifty entry fee, and have even written a song. Of sorts. I hope they do well, but we have been trying our best to get them to keep a lid on it. Presumably the word "talent" appears in the phrase "talent quest" for a reason.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Song of the day

"Disney's Dream Debased", by The Fall. I have always underrated "The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall". I know I have been wrong to do so, and each time I listen to it I am forced to bludgeon myself for my stupidity. "Disney's Dream Debased" is the closest The Fall have ever come to attracting the word "gorgeous", but gorgeous is what it is, proving that what Brix brought to Brix-era Fall was not all bad. (Although I will always hold the view, again likely misguided, that The Fall immediately pre-Brix were the greatest rock band in the history of the world, and that her arrival took them in a different direction such that we will never know how great they could have been. But then, The Fall have always been, and continue to be, heading in a different direction.)

[Editors' note: for further proof of the heft of The Fall circa 1982, head over to Kiwi Tapes and download the live "Fall In a Hole" double-CD.]

Monday, September 17, 2007

Space Is The Place

We give our thanks to the Dream Chimney kids for putting us on to this link, which will send you to possibly the greatest record ever made, "Moog!", by Claude Denjean, recorded for the masterful Phase 4 Stereo series in about 1970. (The whole site is well worth exploring, actually, although it is so full of widgets and gewgaws that it tends to crash my long-suffering laptop.) We have heard bits of this album before, but never the full experience. It is well worth grabbing and savouring. (And at the site you will find the niftiest download facilitation methodology known to man: so simple even I could use it.) Hear why Tim Gane owns three mini-moogs. (Bart, you need this.)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

And my eyes fell out of their sockets

New work by Daniel Gillespie Clowes comes around about as often as Halley's Comet, so you would be a dang fool if it took you more than a few seconds to click away from here to here and thusly to his new weekly strip. And you don't even have to pay for it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Come on baby, light my fire

Just what the world needs at this moment in history: a failed state with nuclear weapons.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

A curious thing

In case you were wondering what I look like, the person on the left is me. Except, it's not me. It's Seth, who happens to be one of my favourite comic book artists. But it's my hat; it's one of my overcoats; it's my (says Adrienne) "sensibility". (It's not my satchel, but I wish it was.) The glasses and haircut are very much mine, too.

By an even stranger coincidence, the chap in the middle is Peter from The Beguiling, from whom I buy all my comics. (The guy on the right I know nothing about.)

[Photograph found on the Drawn and Quarterly website.]

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

When I See The Towers Fall

It still seems like yesterday; the images are still burned in; but it was almost six years ago that the planes hit the towers. It made no sense as it was happening. It still makes no sense really. Conspiracy theorists could insist that it never happened at all, and, from this distance, it is almost a case that could be made. Because how could it have possibly happened? But then you read Don DeLillo's "Falling Man", and you are right there in the centre of it, and in the aftermath of it, and in the ensuing years of increasing distance and increasing displacement. And it can only have been real.

Plenty of novels came out of the second world war. At least two draw on the Kennedy assassination (one by DeLillo himself). There have not yet been many Nine Eleven books. But there will surely be more. Many more. It's interesting that they are taking a while to come. William Gibson's new novel, unsurprisingly [not a criticism], mines the territory. Martin Amis had an early go, was hammered for it, and seemingly got cold feet (come back and have another go, Martin; I still have confidence in you). But I find it hard to imagine anybody besting DeLillo. It is so clearly his territory: heck, he even, arguably, predicted it, having already written one novel dealing with the psychic ramifications of an "airborne toxic event".

"Falling Man", then, if you ask me, is a novel that is almost beyond criticism. In its perfection it is, um, perfect.

And the perfect musical accompaniment must be Ricardo Villalobos's remix of Shackleton's "Blood On My Hands", with its incessant sense of dread, spread over 18 minutes, comprising little more than an understated (but not necessarily "simple") rhythm track, and some screwed-down vocals that convey a very disturbing sense of lurking dread. It is, if you (don't) like, the audio equivalent of those images: you cannot listen, but you cannot not listen.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The King is dead ... Long live the King

So, Mark Vidler, undisputed master of the mash-up, has decided to call it a day. I suppose now is as good a time as any; the genre has fallen into a kind of gimmicky disrepair of late - often the best thing about a mash-up is its name (e.g. "Hey African Ladies"). Perhaps all the good ideas have been had.

Anyway, for now, he has made available a CD-length best-of for download, and you could do far worse than head over to the Go Home Productions headquarters and pull it down. If you haven't yet heard "Ray of Gob" for the first time, I envy you.