Feel Good Hit of the Summer

I have finally discovered the secret to 5 starring 3s & 7s in Guitar Hero.

I just need someone else to play a second guitar and a third guy on wii keyboard.

And thus ends my epic runs of shows and festivals that was Summer 07/08.


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Words about Music

I reviewed last nights Guitar Hero 3 double feature at the entertainment centre. I know you guys hate words so you can not click on this.

Sunday

Seriously I swear I spend more time with Sundays than I do any other day of the week.

This week coincidentally literally.

---

Some Sunday's I spend time reading random chunks from my journals. Sometimes when I do it I discover some mental block or attitude change I've had or have and adjust for the better. Every time when I do it I realise in the last five years I've been like ten different people.

Adolescence Mixtape

I mentioned last week that the Smashing Pumpkins were a major musical role model in my peak adolescence. I also described a 25 minute wankfest Billy Corgan played during the final portion of their otherwise solid gig and during this indulgence I found myself distracted and bothered to start creating in my head a definitive mixtape of that era just to see how heavily the Pumpkins would feature on it.

Then over the weekend I actually attempted to compile an 80 minute track listing of my early teenage years (90 would probably be more appropriate, but alas). These are - for the most part - songs that shaped my attitudes or that I totally loved the hell out of. So it's personal rather than symptomatic of the era itself (no Hanson or Chumbawamba). The first conclusion I can come up with, given the tracks, is that I had absolutely terrible taste in music a decade ago.

I think I've gone great lengths in improving my taste and knowledge of music as an art form since then. I have to think that because I often write about music and need to at least affect the allusion that I'm qualified to determine what good new music is.
When I read reviews or summaries of new music they are often littered with references to obvious influences or sounds of bygone times. As a reviewer, given my taste when I was growing up, I have extremely limited ability to comment on things like this. Indeed while I was referencing and confirming the suitability of my Adolescence Mixtape I realised just how many artists and albums I wish I'd been introduced to or heard on the radio that I might have been able to experience their quality then.

A quick survey of releases I could have listened to (released 97/98) included Ween, Elliot Smith, Belle & Sebastian, the Apples in Stereo, Death Cab for Cutie, Queens of the Stone Age, Beck, Jay-Z, Pavement, Bowie, Yo La Tengo, Radiohead, Missy Elliot, Cypress Hill, Dandy Warhols, Jurrasic 5, Spoon, Neutral Milk Hotel. A few of those albums I listen to the hell out of now (In the Aeroplane Over the Sea!)

Oh, and it seems like I was growing up in a boom time for electronic music with landmark releases from Chemical Brothers, Air, Boards of Canada, Daft Punk, Prodigy, Massive Attack, The Crystal Method among others. Albums that were shaping a whole genre that I would end up being fascinated with, and for the most part it was completely ignored (is this why I spent most of 2003 listening to Trance?)

Indeed all this good music and what was I listening to? This:

1. Smashing Pumpkins - Bullet With Butterfly Wings
2. The Offspring - All I Want
3. Green Day - Brain Stew
4. Smashing Pumpkins - Today
5. Everclear - Everything to Everyone
6. Blink 182 - Dammit
7. Bloodhound Gang - Why's Everybody Always Picking On Me?
8. Foo Fighters - Monkey Wrench
9. Live - Lakinis Juice
10. Fuel - Hemorrhage (In My Hands)
11. The Offspring - Gone Away
12. Smashing Pumpkins - Zero
13. Rage Against The Machine - No Shelter
14. Sugar Ray - RPM
15. Primus - Shake Hands With Beef
16. Presidents of the USA - Lump
17. Regurgitator - !
18. The Living End - Prisoner of Society
19. Grinspoon - Just Ace
20. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - The Impression That I Get
21. Placebo - Every You Every Me
22. Smashing Pumpkins - Tonight, Tonight
23. Smashing Pumpkins - Disarm

If it had been economically viable at the time to burn these songs on to a CD and give them to my pubescent self it would I would have been ecstatic! Or at least some mood between "angsty" and "goofy" which judging my the selection were my only two moods back then. This has all been highly embarrassing but I feel cleansed now. Thanks Billy.

Also I listened to this compilation and could sing every line of every song. Yeah!


Like my words? Want to buy one of my books? I think you'll like this one:

If you met yourself from the future, what would you ask your future self?
What if they wont tell you anything?

Chase: A Tomorrow Technologies Novella. Available Now for Less than a dollar!


Sorry, Ladies

Ouch. In basketball tonight I strained my groin. Yes it is as painful as it sounds.

If I drove a train

I would honk the horn. A lot.

HOOOORNNNN

Note for future entries: include content.

Super Important

As a white, western boy whose basic securities are provided for I find I need to spend my time analysing life and finding lessons and enlightenment in the environment around me in order to justify my survival.

This weekend the world around me has been primarily Super Mario Galaxy as I spent my weekend nursing an adductor muscle strain and being generally unproductive. So what have I learnt from Super Mario Galaxy that I can possibly apply to my own life?

Don't Underestimate the Power of Money
Money is critical in both life and Mario Galaxy. Money keeps you healthy. Whether that's increasing your life back to green after getting knocked upside the head by a piranha plant, or paying for your private health insurance so that your physio can poke his hands around your dangle.

Achieve your Goals by Keeping them Simple
When Mario wants to do something like rescue a princess or invest in the real estate market he doesn't sit around planning every last detail. Instead he just picks the first thing that needs to be done and then does it. Then he picks another thing that needs to be done and does it. If he fucks up half way through and falls into a black hole does he care? Doesn't even register. Persistence gets the princess.

It's important to Network
I'm pretty sure Bowser would not be letting Mario board his evil princess kidnapping fleet-base if he and Mario hadn't met at a party or eight in the past.

Seize All Opportunities
In life there are opportunities everywhere and it's up to you to take them. In Super Mario Galaxy a penguin might say "did you know you can swim in the water?" or a Toad dude will say "Wow the wind is strong I wonder what it would be like to drift in it?" and next thing you know Mario is drifting in the breeze inside a giant bubble or plucking 1-Ups out of the treacherous mouths of clams. The point is don't fuck around, be assertive in your environment be it inside a giant beehive, in the office, at a nightclub or navigating obstacles on a giant, moving rocky road.

This isn't about iPods

Guess who's back, back again
Pink Lady's back. Tell a friend.

I spent like $25 at Woolworths, Rundle Mall today and I'm going to talk about it now.

$5.58 3x Mother Energy Drink 250ml
Woolworths continually discount these for clearance but can't get rid of them. I love them! Energy drinks that are low-GI, it has me written all over it.

$4.60 4x John West Tuna 105g
Multi-buys, buy four and save $2 something. John West is the healthiest tinned tuna available but pretty much the only flavour I actually savour is Mild Indian Curry. So I bought four of those.

$4.30 Berry Fruity-Bix 405g. I didn't cook lunches this week. If I don't cook I can get 2 lunches and an afternoon tea out of a box of Fruity Bix. That's less than $2 a meal, assuming I steal skim milk from the level 10 kitchennete. Bargain.

$2.00 Daily Juice OJ 500mls. To drink after lunch/breakfast.

$4.00 1kg of Yoplait Tropical yogurt. I picked Tropical because I fleetingly thought that it would remind me of being on holidays at a beach on an island. This is one of those thoughts 9-5ers have as they realise they're lying to people when they arrive at the office Monday morning and are asked "how's it going?" and reply "good".

$4.30 3x Pink Lady, extra large. Pink Lady is finally back in season and available in giant form again. This is like a milestone of every year, for me. Go fuck yourself Fuji apples!

Retrospective Gruadation Entry

Last Monday I collected my academic dress ready for today's graduation ceremony. After being dressed in my robe, funny hat and thingy-thing by a squat, old woman I looked at myself in the mirror and felt something. Starting back at me was an evil super-villain or black wizard. I realised that four years of University was mainly to teach me that robes are freaking sweet. So, I wore the robe most of the week. Academic dress is like a rental tux, wear it as much as you can before you return it. Fortunately at work we had a casual week to celebrate a contract win so I got around the cubicles decked in gown. I think it was around Wednesday afternoon I was drafting the ground rules for my religious cult so that I could be a robed leader following graduation. Life was good.

UNTIL Friday morning when, after waiting for 20 minutes at the front of the ceremony hall for Graduation to start the whole upper echelon of the alumni strode on stage in the craziest collection of funny robes and ridiculous hats I had ever seen. And all of a sudden I felt very plain.

Also no one else threw their hat in the air at the end. Awkward...

Things to Frame from this Weekend

1. Degree in Innovation and Enterprise in the field of Science and Technology.
2. First ever published work, record review in Rip it Up.

Achieving unrelated goals in parallel = woot.

I Miss Summer

Even though it's mid-Autumn I decided that today's forecast top of 25 degrees and sunshine would be a good excuse to bust out my linen pants.

I decided Linen does not feel right in Autumn. But at least today was still sunny. Given the little rain that's graced us recently I was thinking about ANZAC Day and how it's usually about when the year starts getting really wet. Back at the office internet confirmed this:

Wow.

Wow.

Rewarding Shirts with Classical Conditioning

I was putting away my clean washing today when I realised with a chuckle that I subconciously use my best, straightest coat-hangers on shirts that I've recently picked up in. Or that have got me attention from the opposite sex.

Even though I know now, I think I'll keep doing it.

I'm a Man

But, as those who've spent any time around me can attest, I'm not the most manly of men. Sure, I like going to the gym; playing ball sports; I never ask for directions no matter how lost I am; and I find myself often staring at stranger's breasts multiple times a day. But I struggle at other core masculine concepts. I once nearly set my car on fire changing its transmission fluid, I can't wolf whistle no matter how hard I try, I don't own any flannel and, critically, I can't grow decent facial hair.

My facial hair, attempted beards and pre-grown camping ruggedness have often been discussed in this publication. The fact is my whiskers leak weakly. If I want to look handsome for a date or party on a Thursday night I'll do my final shave Wednesday morning. This has been a tactic for a while, but recently I got to thinking more about facial hair strategies. In particular while I was at the gym this week, muscles engorged in front of a mirror as I hoiked heavy dumbless up towards my three-day growth and back again. I noted to myself that my goatee area looked kind of alright, but it was just ruined by the rest of my cheeks being covered with patches of facial hair like puddles on the pavement the day after a storm.

But then the sun came out! I realised that by choosing when I shaved different parts of my face, with the right timing, I could highlight certain features of my beard while controlling and blocking out others. If I pulled it off right and every part got shaved at the right time I would have a glorious window of decent facial hair. I decided to go through with it, effectively running basketball plays on my face.

Yesterday I pulled of my best day of facial hair ever. Coincidentally I also had basketball that evening and me and my superb goatee got their highest score in district so far! Success.

Sorry, Gentlemen

Ouch. In basketball today I smashed my coccyx. I remember thinking, seconds before hitting the ground, that I should have hit the ground by now.

Anzac Day and how to celebrate it

image 470 from bradism.com

I decided a little while ago that I was going to the dawn service on Anzac Day this year. Part of this was certainly due to both my brothers now being in army and me trying to earn some positive fate points before they go off to possible hostilities (or nearer to friendly fire).
But I also went because I've always should have went. And I wasn't going to use that excuse this time. Sure, sunlight at six in the morning isn't something I've seen much of bar the occasional stretched out evening in town. But what was one sacrifice for me compared to thousands of sacrifices before that? I've always known this.

At 0540 my alarm woke me up and I couldn't shred curtains to let sunlight in to wake me up. But I didn't dawdle in the darkness, just ran a shower had a quick breakfast and left to walk the few kilometres between my house and Blackwood Soldier Memorial where a Dawn Service was being held. My intention was to walk as a tribute to those who surely had walked through the darkness to face challenges before. My walk was obviously much less monumental but it gave me time to think and reflect.

The one point the struck me on this walk was how distracted I could be by other things that weren't Anzac related. At first I was disturbed by my relatively trivial thoughts on a day for fallen soldiers. But in the end I deduced that their efforts went towards the freedom I enjoy to be concerned by trivial things. At the service words were spoke and wreaths were laid - it wasn't all that personal. But for the first time I saw a sunrise occurring that didn't immediately make me feel like I should be in bed. I felt moved as the streets of Blackwood slowly flooded with channels of golden light. When I looked into the sky between the flaky clouds to see darkness disappearing I felt maybe a connection to others who had seen similar over the years and felt optimistic and alive. So thanks, Anzacs.

Traditions

Following Anzac day and the first installment of what will be my traditional pre-dawn hike I pondered what other calendar related traditions I have. While I pretty much follow the Western Calendar in work attendance at least, I'm aware of my natural sway towards particular dates and my own cultural way of celebrating them.

Anzac Day There are three things that make up Anzac day now. One is waking up to darkness to remember the fallen. Then, probably after a nap, is the AFL match between Essendon and Collingwood. Finally there is the celebration of rain, which happens without fail every Anzac day.

Easter and the Easter Beer Hunt The last three Good Friday's have seen the hosting of a beer hunt in a new location. This involves the hiding of green labeled beers in gardens and/or bushes by designated hiders around sunset, before hunters with torches and baskets search for beverages and then drink their winnings.

My Birthday Every August 25th is the same: drink heavily, mourn my childhood, wake up in a pile of Lego.

Australia Day This day is dedicated to doing all the Australian things I do anyway. Driving a Commodore, drinking Coopers, watching cricket, wearing singlets, listening to Triple J, drinking ice coffee.

Christmas eat as many animals as possible with as many friends and family as possible.

So Music

image 471 from bradism.com


Music is great. It can take us places we can't so easily get to on our own. As the seasons change - depending on where you live - it's either getting wet and rainy or the days are getting longer and the nights hotter. Either analogy works well here, as this month we spend the first half discovering the club, the dancefloor and the beats and grooves that will either symbolise our summer party or fill the rooms we escape from the rain in.
After that there are plenty of sounds to experience in this month's round up. From New Zealand to Sweden, Philly to New York, UK via Glasgow to the indie-rock goldmine of Canada. There's just over an hour of music to enjoy again. Download it here.

And if you do download, a comment saying thanks means a lot to me.

Cut Copy – Out There on the Ice
In Ghost Colours is champagne quality contemporary disco. Its polished synths and smooth, bubbly bass pour sweetly from speakers to the listener, eager to share the feelings of love and happiness that so obviously possesses the band during its recording. Out There on the Ice is a beautiful, keyboard powered track designed for late nights and packed dancefloors, as opposed to some of the more traditional, band driven tracks on the record. It was also one of Ben Cousin's favourite songs. Yeah, listen to those lyrics sometime.

Zeigeist – Bunny
Before The Knife's 2006 smash Silent Shout received it's much hyped reception bootlegs were already floating on the internet with a fake bonus track. This was actually produced by a lesser known Swedish synth-pop group Zeigeist. Still, while being more obscure, there has been much anticipation for the finally forthcoming debut album The Jade Hotel which pulses with electropop tunes presenting the same catchiness as The Knife and Fischcherspooner have in the past. Bunny is a future club anthem, spiking with high energy synths, pounding bass and strategic guitars.

Hercules & Love Affair - Blind (Frankie Knuckles Vocal)
Keep your feet moving as we continue with the pounding beats and grooves for April. The latest single by DFA signee Hercules & Love Affair now features and it's been remixed into warm, funky house by one of that genre's best – Frankie Knuckles. It may be destined for the next Ministry of Sound compilation or ten that come out, but for good reason. It's damn smooth; with a loungey bassline to keep a party flowing and a killer trumpet hook with the same catchiness - just a little more chilled out - as the saxophone on 2003's Calabria.

Moby – Alice
I always approach concept records with a little moreContinue Reading Best New Music - April 2008...