Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Song of the day

"Imagination (Is A Powerful Deceiver)", by Elvis Costello. This is a very attractive little song, in the vein of songs like "Alison". It appears as a bonus track on one of the many reissues of "My Aim Is True". Well, it may appear on more than one, but it is certainly on the one I own, which is a two-disc set from 2001. But enough of that.

This song was, apparently, recorded in 1974 or 1975. Imagine that! It is not a huge leap, I am surprised (and pleased) to notice, from a song like this to, say, "Clown Strike", from 1994's "Brutal Youth", which is perhaps the last genuinely "great" (my opinion) EC album.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Another Filmworks Haiku

Today: John Zorn, "Filmworks XVIII: The Treatment."

As a small child I
was very traumatised by
an accordion

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Song of the day

"Train To Barcelona", by Akufen. The title evokes "Trans Europe Express". The synths have the same pristine, almost stainless-steel quality as "Tour De France Soundtracks". Every one's a winner, baby.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Song of the day

"When The Saints Go Marching In". Apologies to Collingwood supporters, but we wouldn't like to see St Kilda lose two Grand Finals in succession. So we will be barracking for The Saints. Plus, we lived there before moving to the Nation's Capital, so we have a certain tenuous allegiance anyway. (Although it is difficult to see anybody resisting the overwhelming strength of the 2010 Collingwood machine.)

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Our excellent friend Bart wrote to let us know of an interview he gave to Mess + Noise. Bart is not one for self-promotion (understatement), so we figure he must be pleased with how it went. It is certainly comprehensive. You can read it here. Warning: contains photos.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Song of the day

"Jeepster", by T. Rex. What I had never noticed until today is how close to country this song is. Heck, even the guitar solo exudes a goodly amount of yee-haw. Meet me at the corner of glam and Nashville: it's an idea somebody should grab and run (or boot scoot) with.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

"Song" of the day

"In The Mood", by Ray Stevens. If you were going to put out a record in the nature of this one, with its fake chickens singing the melody line of "In The Mood" (yes, that one), don't you think you would do it under an assumed name, in order to keep your reputation intact? (If, that is, you had any reputation left after scoring a worldwide hit with "The Streak".) Or do you subscribe to the theory that any publicity is good publicity?

And anyway, which one is the real Ray Stevens: the instant novelty artist? Or the somewhat soppy balladeer?

People who produce "comic" film clips soundtracked by this song and put them on YouTube are Only Making It Worse.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Song of the day

"No Word From China", by Pel Mel. It's Nostalgia Friday around here, it seems.

Watch it on YouTube and you get a surprise introduction by our hero Mr Dave Mason, as seen on Countdown.

Filmworks Haiku Series

Regular followers (both of you) would be aware that I am endeavouring to keep pace with John Zorn on his 2010 album-a-month mini-marathon. I had, it may be recalled, previously embarked upon the foolish task of writing something about all of his Filmworks releases. I stalled at "Filmworks XVI: Workingman's Death". Aware, as I am, that there is a new Filmworks a-comin', and troubled, as I am, by things getting out of sequence, it seems that I am now required to cover seven Filmworks releases in short succession.

You don't want to read essays on these things. You either already have them, couldn't care less, or have made up your mind already. So I present the first instalment of the John Zorn Filmworks Haiku Series.

Starting with: "Filmworks XVII" (on the Tzadik catalogue it doesn't have a subtitle).

Voodoo percussion
Ribot gets his reverb on
And Zorn plays the sax

(Series to be continued, god damn it.)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Song of the day

"Black Country Rock", by David Bowie. Had to bust out some pre-Thin White Duke Bowie after watching "The Kids Are All Right", a film which, as the title doesn't quite say, is "Alright" but which isn't, as the title does say, "All Right".

This proto-glam-metal stomp was a staple of my shared-household days and it is a pleasure to revisit it.

What, you thought I would be putting on "The Laughing Gnome"?

Monday, September 06, 2010

Zorn of the Month Club: Second Quarterly Report

Six months in, and John Zorn is still on track for the unlikely goal of releasing an album a month during 2010. What did the second quarter produce? Three months. Three albums.

First off, in April he came out with "The Goddess: Music for the Ancient of Days", basically a companion piece to "In Search of the Miraculous", from the first quarter's batch. The same core of musicians are involved, it has the same feel of relaxed chamber jazz, perhaps there is a nod or two to the Vince Guaraldi Trio. (Not for the first time.) The difference this time around is that, as he so often does, Zorn seems to have thought to himself, what can I do to shake this up a bit?, and answered, I know, I'll bring in Marc Ribot. And, as is always the case, Ribot rises to the occasion by doing (a) exactly what Zorn tells him to and (b) whatever the heck he wants; sometimes both at the same time.

May's release was "Dictee / Liber Novus", a disc of two of Zorn's "modern composition" pieces. I think I have said before that I find this side of Zorn hard going. I can't really criticise (or "critique") it, because I don't really have the vocabulary. I just can't see myself coming back to it like I do with, say, his Masada repertoire. Nevertheless, there are some passages of gorgeous romantic lyricism tucked away in here, like little easter eggs hidden in a briar patch.

And speaking of Masada, it was about time we had another instalment in the Masada Book II: The Book of Angels series (wasn't it?), and in June Zorn obliged with "Baal", the fifteenth such instalment, played by the Ben Goldberg Quartet. Clarinet is the lead instrument here. The album starts off all bright and breezy, but heads off towards the abstract by the halfway mark. Once again the problem may lie with me: I tend to find the clarinet a touch wearing in large doses. However, if I put all of the Book of Angels discs into a playlist and shuffle them up, the tracks from this album feel right at home, so it clearly does what Zorn wants it to do; it just doesn't (quite) do what I would have liked it to.

So, if we are keeping score, I would think maybe one and two-thirds out of three would be about right this time round. But with more around the corner (including a new Masada String Trio disc -- woo-hoo), that is really more than enough to go on with.

Song of the day

"Stuck On You", by Sardine v. This particularly haunting and gorgeous song was by Sydney early-'80s band Sardine v, yet another of many diverse bands and musical projects by, or involving, the late Ian Rilen. If you only know him from the somewhat rowdier X, the melody and lyricism contained within this song will be a surprise.

I was reminded of this song by its appearance on a recent FACT mix, curated by Mogwai. You can download it here if you're quick. Aside from "Stuck On You", I was particularly taken by two songs, one taken from each of the so-called cold-wave / minimal-wave compilations that came out earlier this year, and which have confirmed me in my original impulse that I should own both of them. "Must ... have ... analog ... synths ... Must ... have ... analog ... synths ..."

Sunday, September 05, 2010

YouTube of the day


It was even more entertaining in the days before everybody and their dog was wearing aviator glasses.