Monday, January 19, 2009

2009: An Odyssey

Whilst I am not one to regularly make New Years Resolutions, I have decided on a couple of goals for 2009 to address some frustrations that spring to mind about 2008.
  1. iPod Zero = I am to achieve a steady-state of no greater than One Week's backlog (6.5h at current rate)
  2. Weight = 95kg +3/-0 for 3 months or longer
  3. Read 12 books (already @ 3.3)
  4. Complete MBA (Advanced) - and avoid having a specialisation in anything Finance-related.
In 2008, I was a late comer to the wonderful world of podcasting & iTunesU, but I really did attempt to fill my head as much as I could. That currently leaves me with a backlog of 17.7 days, so by any means I choose I must reduce the levels to no greater than one week's backlog - iPod Zero. This strongly supports Goal 2, as the longer I run/gym the more audio I can consume.

The other goal worth explaining is my realisation that I had completely stopped reading books, instead engulfing myself in RSS feeds, skim-reading articles and podcasting the nights away. Thus, a modest book a month I think is a reasonable re-introduction.

I don't think the list is exhaustive and there should probably be something that helps me prepare for the Bundle of Joy expected in Winter. As always, I am open to suggestions for additions or appropriate rewards

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Rick's Aussie Music Intro Disc 2

As started yesterday, below are the details of Disc 2 in the compilation. This leads me to Bleg: What would you put on Disc 3?
  1.      Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again The Angels
  2.       (He'll Never Be An) Ol' Man River TISM
  3. .     Trampoline                                                The Grates
  4. .     Black Bugs                                                Regurgitator
  5.       Middle Of The Hill                                    Josh Pyke
  6.       The Weeping Song                                    Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
  7.       Three Dimensions                                    Something For Kate
  8.       Better                                                            The Screaming Jets
  9.       Tarantula                                                Pendulum
  10. Beds Are Burning                                    Midnight Oil
  11. Highly Evolved                                    The Vines
  12. . I Will Not Go Quietly (Duffy's Song) The Whitlams
  13. Holy Grail                                                Hunters And Collectors
  14. My Ex-Girlfriend's Boyfriend            Machine Gun Fellatio
  15. Woman                                                Wolfmother
  16. Purple Sneakers                                    You Am I
  17. Skeleton Jar                                                Youth Group
  18. Six Months In A Leaky Boat                        Little Birdy 

1.            Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again by The Angels. 1970 saw the formation of Adelaide, SA band The Angels. The Beer-drinking classic Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again was released in 1976 off the self-titled album.

2.            (He’ll Never Be An) Ol’ Man River by TISM.  This Is Serious Mum (TISM) are of the great Australian genre of Piss-Taking, where nothing is sacred as you will find in this hit off the Machiavelli and the Four Seasons (1995).  This song is a reference to River Phoenix’s death which raised threats from Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s Bassist Flea. TISM have an interesting and mysterious history and are the first live band I saw in their 1998 tour in support of Regurgitator. Cultural Note: Piss-Taking is derived from “taking the piss,” which is Australian slang for “making fun.”

3.            Trampoline by The Grates. Hailing from Brisbane, Queensland The Grates managed 4 songs off their debut album Gravity, Won’t Get You High in the 2006 Triple J Hottest 100, but Trampoline wasn’t one of them. The Grates are lead by the high energy Patience Hodgson.

4.            Black Bugs by Regurgitator. The headline act of my first live gig at Festival Hall in Brisbane, their hometown, was Regurgitator. Black Bugs comes off the Rock/Electonica band’s second album, Unit (2007).

5.            Middle Of The Hill by Josh Pyke. Josh Pyke’s first hit single was Middle of the Hill off the Feeding The Wolves EP. This track got this Sydney, NSW Artist recognised with a 19th place in the Triple J Hottest 100 of 2005.

6.            The Weeping Song by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. Nick Cave is a bawler hailing from 223 miles NW of Melbourne, Victoria and started his music career as the frontman of the Birthday Party. He joined with the Bad Seeds in 1984 with The Weeping Song coming off the 1990 album The Good Son.

7.            Three Dimensions by Something For Kate. Melbourne band Something For Kate formed in 1994 lead by Paul Dempsey whose voice could break a heart at a thousand yards. His wife is the hot-as-hell Stephanie Ashworth who passed up an offer from Hole to play with the band. Three Dimensions is taken off the 2001 album Echolalia rating at #13 on the Triple J Hottest 100 of the same year.

8.            Better by The Screaming Jets. A hard rock band hailing from Newcastle, New South Wales, Screaming Jets formed in 1989 and are still playing today. Better is the hit single from their debut album All For One.

9.            Tarantula by Pendulum. Off the Perth drum and bass band’s debut album, Hold Your Colour (2005), Tarantula is the #88 song in the 2006 Triple J Hottest 100.

10.            Beds Are Burning by Midnight Oil. A classic Sydney-based Australian Rock band who played from 1971-2002 before frontman, Peter Garret retired his crazy-dancing shoes to join the Australian Labor Party and is currently the Minister for Environment, Heritage and the Arts. Importantly, this protest song was in support of the Australian Aboriginies  and particularly tied to the ‘Sorry’ movement. Peter Garret was in his political capacity when the apology was made by Prime Minister Rudd in 2008.  Beds Are Burning was released in 1987 on the album Diesel and Dust.

11.            Highly Evolved by The Vines. Formed in Sydney in 1994, The Vines were the first Australian band to be on the cover of Rolling Stone (2002) since Men At Work in 1983. The band succeeded in crafting the album Highly Evolved (2001). It turned out that the frontman, Craig Nicholls was having some issues with drug use and was quite erratic on stage leading to a significantly degraded live presence.  The track Highly Evolved achieved 19th place in the 2002 Triple J Hottest 100.

12.            I Will Not Go Quietly (Duffy’s Song) by The Whitlams. The Whitlams are part of the Australian music brotherhood with You Am I, Machine Gun Fellatio and The Cruel Sea. This track I Will Not Go Quietly is named for a TV character Duffy from a one season Australian show called Love is a Four Letter Word. The TV show was the zeitgeist of frustrations of the Live Music scene centred on a Sydney pub that was besieged by noise complaints. Released in 2001 on the Torch the Moon album and it achieved #42 in the Triple J Hottest 100.

13.            Holy Grail by Hunters and Collectors. This classic band Hunters and Collectors formed in Melbourne in 1981 and disbanded in 1998 with the album that this rendition of Holy Grail is taken from, Under One Roof recorded at the Coogee Bay Hotel, Sydney. This song was originally released in 1992 on the album Cut. Holy Grail has become synonymous with the Australian Football League.

14.            My Ex-Girlfriend’s Boyfriend by Machine Gun Fellatio. The third song on the compilation by MGF, this one showing their truer nature of playful hurt.

15.            Woman by Wolfmother. These Sydney Rockers obviously draw their roots from Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, but I will out them here as having some very close sounds and lyrics to Uriah Heap! They formed in 2004 and disbanded in 2008, with this hit track being released in 2006 on the self-titled album. On the way to the Jan 2005 Big Day Out, I stopped to buy the Wolfmother debut EP and played the four tracks on infinite loop from the Smith St exit to the Gold Coast Showgrounds… which on Big Day Out day takes about an hour. Luckily, Dan and Andy got to enjoy it!

16.            Purple Sneakers by You Am I. This track is not the best You Am I track, but most importantly it was my conversion to the alternative genre. Thanks to Brad Wheeler, I have never looked back. You Am I formed in 1989 and have released 11 albums. Purple Sneakers was released on the Hi Fi Way album in 1995 achieving #24 on Triple J Hottest 100.

17.            Skeleton Jar by Youth Group. Youth Group start their story in Canberra, ACT but now reside in Sydney. They shot to fame in 2006 with a cover of Forever Young, which was used in the TV show The OC. Youth Group released Skeleton Jar in 2004 on the album of the same name.

18.            Six Months In A Leaky Boat by Little Birdy. Six Months In A Leaky Boat is a cover of New Zealand brothers Tim and Neil Finn of Split Enz and Crowded House fame. Little Birdy have their roots firmly in the Perth Music scene including other bands such as The Sleepy Jackson and End of Fashion. This eerie track is taken of the tribute album She Will Have Her Way (2006).


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Rick's Aussie Music Intro Disc 1

Those of you who follow me on Twitter would've noticed the mention of a Mixed Tape... And despite some of the feedback it is not as old school as you think... but the same rules apply. I refer of course to those in High Fidelity. The Mixed Tape is an introduction to Aussie Music for my partner's brother back in Angola, IN.

And this is it:
  1.  Propane Nightmares              Pendulum           
  2. Hold Me Close                         Bertie Blackman   
  3. Heart's A Mess                        Gotye
  4. One Crowded Hour                        Augie March 
  5. Skywriter                                    Ash Grunwald      
  6. Rollercoaster                                    Machine Gun Fellatio   
  7. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (Live) AC/DC
  8. Nobody Likes A Bogan            Area 7 
  9. The Boys Light Up                        Australian Crawl        
  10. ...And We'll Dance On The Ashes Of What's Left   The Beautiful Girls
  11. The Familiar                                    Faker          
  12. The Game                                    End Of Fashion   
  13. Comfort Me                                    Pacifier 
  14. Are You Gonna Be My Girl            JET    
  15. Numb All Over                        Dallas Crane       
  16. Unsent Letter (Acoustic)            Machine Gun Fellatio    


1.            Propane Nightmares by Pendulum.  Propane Nightmare is a hit off Pendulum 2008 album In Silico. Pendulum are a Drum and Bass outfit from Perth, Western Australia who formed in 2002. Julie and I are going to see them at the Big Day Out Festival on 30 Jan 2009.


2.            Hold Me Close by Bertie Blackman. Hold Me Close is the hit single off the Bertie Blackman 2006 album Black. Bertie Blackman is a local of Sydney, New South Wales commencing her musical career in 2003.


3.            Heart’s A Mess by Goyte. Heart’s A Mess is Gotye’s track that achieved number 8 in the Triple J’s 2006 Hottest 100 off his album from the same year Like Drawing Blood. Gotye (pronounced gore-ti-yeah) was born Wouter DeBacker, in Belgium but was raised in Melbourne, Victoria. If you get the chance check out the film clip.


4.            One Crowded Hour by Augie March. One Crowded Hour is the Triple J Hottest 100 2006 winning track by Augie March, who hail from Melbourne, Victoria. Augie March formed in 1996 and released the album Moo You Bloody Choir in 2006.


5.            Skywriter by Ash Grunwald. This Surfer-rock/Blues/Roots sounding track Skywriter taken from his 2006 album Give Signs. Ash comes from Melbourne, Victoria and released his first solo album in 2002.


6.            Rollercoaster by Machine Gun Fellatio. These guys were completely nuts, and one helluva stage show. Rollercoaster was a hit-single finishing sixth in the triple J Hottest 100 of 2002 from Paging Mr Strike album.  Machine Gun Fellatio were from Sydney, New South Wales and disbanded in 2005.


7.            Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap by AC/DC.  Does this band even need an introduction? AC/DC formed in Sydney, New South Wales in 1973. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap  was released in 1976 on the album of the same name.


8.            Nobody Likes A Bogan by Area 7. Nobody Likes A Bogan is the track taken from Melbourne, Victoria –based Ska band Area 7’s album Say It To My Face. Cultural Note: Bogan translates to Podunk.


9.            The Boys Light Up by Australian Crawl. Coming out of Melbourne, Victoria in 1980, Australian Crawl released The Boys Light Up the second single taken off the album of the same name. The track was nearly banned due to its suggestive lyrics implying that ‘light up’ was a reference to Marijuana.


10.            …And We’ll Dance On The Ashes of What’s Left by The Beautiful Girls. In the Roots genre The Beautiful Girls have a few good tracks making regular appearances at the Falls Festival and are currently on their 6th tour of USA. …And We’ll Dance On The Ashes Of What’s Left is taken from their 2005 album We’re Already Gone.


11.             The Familiar by Faker.  Faker formed in 1996 in Sydney, New South Wales but it was their first studio album Addicted to Romance that shot them into the popularity in 2005.


12.            The Game by End of Fashion. End of Fashion formed in 2004 as an offshoot of fellow Perth, Western Australia –based band The Sleepy Jackson after a spat. The Game was the second single from their self-titles album released in 2005.


13.            Comfort Me by Pacifier. Pacifier were formerly and are currently known as Shihad, changing their name in 2002 out of concern that the USA fanbase would associate them with the 9/11 attacks by sounding similar to jihad. Shihad formed at school in Wellington, New Zealand in 1988 but moved to Melbourne, Victoria in 1999. The one album released under the name Pacifier was self titled and released in 2002.


14.            Are You Gonna Be My Girl by Jet. This Melbourne-based band catapulted into fame with Are You Gonna Be My Girl off the Get Born Album (2003). This track even got included in Madden NFL 2004 but most importantly was the #1 JJJ Hottest 100 track of 2003 and is classically attributed the my housemate and I coming home from such a party to turn everything upside-down.


15.             Numb All Over by Dallas Crane. Dallas Crane formed in 1996, but this rip-snorter is taken off the self-titled album of 2004. The track came in at #83 in Triple J Hottest 100 of the same year.


16.            Unsent Letter by Machine Gun Fellatio.  This acoustic version of an MGF tearjerker was selected to wrap up Compilation Disc 1, leaving you wanting more. Originally released on 2000 album, Bring it On,  this particular version is taken from the Rollercoaster Single of 2002.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

And then there were Ten

I have submitted my top ten songs for 2008 to JJJ Hottest 100 and can hope for the chance to win two tickets to every JJJ sponsored gig in 2009... sweet, never mind the odds.

In coming to the final ten, I amused myself by observing how I decided:

Step 1: The Trawl
In this step, I scrolled through each listed song by artist, stopping at an artist I recognised as liking in the past. The song had to live up to or exceed my expectations of the band or it was neglected (notice a distinct lack of Kings of Leon). 
If I couldn't recall the song by it's title, I searched for it in my playlists. If I didn't own it, I then went the iTunes Store and listened to a snippet. The output was;

I wrestled with some thoughts about censoring what would make my shortlist, in particular Muscles and Emiliana Torrini. I recognised this as an irrational thought and dismissed it... but I have to admit, it was this fear of judgement that incited me to post on this topic.

Step 3: The Cull
Over the past 24+ hours, I slowly cut songs down from the 50 in the Shortlist. The cull was based on the following factors;
  1. Performance against expectation of the Band/Artist (is this their best work)
  2. Ranking of songs by the same band (is this their best work in 2008?)
  3. Origin (Australian?)

The cull resulted in:


In retrospect, I really hope my important decisions are made with more rigour, precision and accuracy...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

JJJ Hottest 100 - 2008

It is that time of the year again, Triple J's Hottest 100 voting.

I have thought for a long while that it has been in gradual merger with the middle, as there are always some anomalies in the countdown on 26 January which makes one wonder if the voters outnumber listeners. 

I have changed my tone a little on this over 2008, as I can admit to listening to a lot less of JJJ. This has been driven by a couple of factors. The first of which has been my complete immersion in podcasting, but given that I have at least 19.4 days of backlog that never seems to decrease I would hardly think that I would fret over losing my JJJ time.

In fact, I attribute the change not to the change in genre like the late nineties/early noughties but to the selection of comperes. It may be part of the natural evolution of most JJJ listeners that reach a certain age and can no longer tolerate it... I certainly hope not...

Anyway, my shortlist is included below... It will be culled to 10... any suggestions?