Music for a New Financial Year

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Not much to say on the intro to this one. A lot of heavy beats, some future of music and equal parts indulgence/tributes to the past. Some middle of the road indie, not to mention a few tracks that are probably tearing a club up the very moment you read this. Lots of pop and love, also bass and testosterone. A few that benefit from no attention span and at least one that takes the length of an episode of Freakazoid to get into its swing. But fuck reading, just download and listen.

Dan Friel – Ghost Town (Pt. 1)
Circuit benders are a strange type, unscrewing the backs of keyboards and electronic toys to break and distort their tones makes for a fun science experiment, but then using those garbled, warped noises to make music again, well it seems a tad ironic.
Dan Friel is a member of that strange breed, a Parts & Labor contributor gone independent with his second album. Ghost Town is jammed with glitch noise, crying megaphones and reprogrammed Casios which he somehow expertly tunes into beautiful, shrieking melodies.
In an increasingly noisy world it seems appropriate Friel’s work can represent moments of digital peace and tranquillity in a bath of squealing noise, but he pulls it off stunningly. The man is a part of the future of music.

Ludachrist – Ghost Busta Rhymes
The mash-up revolution of 2006 is still bearing fruit, though it takes a special genius to produce whole albums of it. Ludachrist aspire to the genius tag and aim high with their electro-charged, Girl Talk style Bangfest mixtape. It’s an intense, crazy 42 minutes of party hip-hop madness layered over songs they shouldn’t be. It may posture as a rap megamix on the surface, but it’s really a nu-electro set in every way, stabbing synths and a few glitches plus predictable breakdown patterns not to mention some of the pastry supplied by Sebastian and Simian as well as Toto, Metallica and Dire Straits. The Justice/Lil Jon combo kicks all sorts of ass, as does their ability to not just mash-up songs but also their names, as featured on this single version of Dangerous over the Ghost Buster’s theme. Yes, this came out in late 2007 but it was totally underground.

Girl Talk – Here’s the Thing
But, while there’s imitators, here’s the real thing. Girl Talk dropped Feed the Animals in June and there’s no denying he’s the master of the mash-up craft. This is something you notice when you get a Girl Talk song stuck in your head and realise there’s the confetti of 40 years of popular music pulsing in your skull.
Feed steps up a notch over Night Ripper, which – when compared – was a little too full of plastic RnB and club screams. Now he explores much more of his influences, finding room for traditional vocal samples and way more rock. Here’s the Thing plays as a perfect example of Gregg Gillis’ unheralded ability to pick the best snippets of the world’s library of pop music and cram it all together. It starts with a 60s Motown beat preceding American Idol winners sing over early, industrial Nine Inch Nails before MC Hamer waltzes in over the chorus. And that’s just the first minutes, leading into injections of Elvis Costello and Blur, Chris Brown rapping over Rick Springfield (with a cheeky Prodigy scratch), the bass drum and massive snare of Maneater and just a dash of Veruca Salt, Peter Bjorn and John, 3 6 Mafia and George Harrison. What, you’re not coming to the party?

Continue Reading Best New Music - June 2008...


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The woman with the fake tan stepped into my office, sat across from my desk and lit a cigarette.
At least, she would, sometime in the next 20 minutes. Smelling the future has advantages, but precision isn’t one of them.


To Do: More To Do Lists

I'm more productive under the steady guise of To Do lists. I think it's because I told them one night about my propensity to procrastinate and generally pass time without absorbing any of its vital nutrients.
Todoy... I mean Today I had a long one and impressed myself by getting everything on it ticked off well before Sudoku.com.au rolled over to tempt me with clicking and logic challenges.
Thus, I can go to bed tonight with that charming feeling of relaxing into a well earned sleep, unlike some days when I have to relax into a possibly nicked sleep from someone else who worked hard.
I even had time to iron 4 shirts, which wasn't actually on my to do list! This will set me up for well into next week, which is good because now that it's winter and freaking cold it's a lot harder to pass off my "shit I forgot to iron so I'm wearing a polo" off as permissible business casual.

In Rainbows

My office isn't exactly what I would call scenic. It's early 90s style with cream desks and has unoffensive, solid colours as felt dividers between cubicles.

However for people close enough to a window - like me - the environment can be enhanced by spinning in the appropriate direction to take in the view. It's an awesome view, you can see over Hindley St and towards the West End of the city while the main CBD's skyscrapers block the other third of your vision. Central you can the southern suburbs stretching away into the Adelaide hills and I can watch what the weather is like at my house.

Amongst the awesome sunsets, cityscapes and nighttime spectaculars I see from my window I also get to watch rain sweep in from the ocean and spray across the plains in scattered patterns. And on dreary Thursday afternoons when the overcast conditions outside seem to be slowing down the passage of time this provides entertainment. When the showers end there come rainbows and they launch from behind the city buildings and arch over my head and away. Of course I only notice them when I spin around for a moment, as does anyone else.

At work we use Microsoft Office Communicator which is like MSN Messenger but with all the fun taken out of it (no nudging! But it has emoticons). As the afternoon dawdled I was cheered by the sight of an unexpected rainbow, and had the following IM conversation with another cubicle facer.

(3:32) Brad says:

image 485 from bradism.com

(3:32) Dale says:
image 486 from bradism.com

We're gonna make it after alllll..


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Carism

I'm not a fan of Mondays at any stage of the year, but Winter is the worst. Not even the proximity of being filled with delicious, cheap petrol on Tuesdays can help brighten my mood after long, cold nights of rain and frost and being woken up early for short, panicked drives to train stations. The contrast against cruisy weekends is grating.

So I've got this problem lately, and I know it's a problem but it's hard to talk about. It's my remote central locking and the fact that recently it hasn't exactly been remote. Most of the time it works and it's fine: when the time comes to open up, the correct button is pressed and the lock springs skyward. But other times no matter how firm or softly or rapidly or closely the unlock button gets pushed, my locks just stay closed.

Let's talk design flaws, I don't know why any car being unlocked by it's own key should be cause to set off it's long, honking, abusive alarm. But when a VZ gets unlocked manually, instead of activated by remote central locking, it honks like a wailing toddler turning its car park into an uptown department store of bad-parenting embarrassment for anyone who probably just needs to get the batteries replaced in their keys.

Car Park God works in mysterious ways and sometimes, on Mondays when he's lazy, that results in mysteriously parking on the top floor of open car parks in the driving rain. And Sometimes those car parks have big puddles up there on the roof that you don't notice in the post-sunset Winter gloom until whoever gets out of you steps into them and swears. AND sometimes cars park close by to you making it a squeeze to get in, especially when whoever's driving you is carrying a thick, unyielding gym bag over their back and trying to balance a water bottle in one hand and keys in their other and tip toeing through a giant puddle in the rain, squeezed between two cars and jamming their finger up and down on your remote and begging your doors to unlock. But, your doors don't unlock. And so your horn start screaming like a fat kid being chased by towel-wielding bullies because someone dared to try and open you with your own key.

But, that one I can't blame on a design flaw. On Mondays, I just do it because it's piss funny.

Tuesday Morning Irony

This morning I woke up to Tuesday irony when I realised I wasn't strong enough to pull the lid off my new 6kg of vanilla protein powder for breakfast smoothie.

Who Loves Greg Gillis?

Seriously, album of the year?

Better Than Sex

- Close, hard fought Bulldogs victories
- Nailing 3s in a winning game of basketball
- Parking in dream parks during peak demand
- That point of inebriation where every note coming out of the speakers seems to surge down your spine and bounce around inside the four chambers of your heart for much longer than the note actually goes for
- Beating Raining Blood on expert
- Running
- Squats

Three of them walked into the bar. It was Thursday night, a premature celebrate of an impending weekend. There was no sport on the TV. Instead the dimmed level of light was brightened by flashing, sex filled R'n'B music videos and advertisements of drink specials for ladies and Asians.

One of the three boys strode with purpose to the buffer of a queue about the bar. The others hunted a table, drawing a circular, knee-high end table into a corner and then standing around protectively guarding the kill. They each faced away, gazing onto the dance floor and into nearby booths, taking in the sight of skirts and fishing for eye-contact. Both were garbed similarly. Trendy trainers took to the sticky floor. Distressed jeans and off-colour belts drew the eye to snug fitting logo Tees, of distinctive colours. Their faces were not memorable.

When the third came to the table carrying drinks his outfit was identical – in function. However, over his baby-blue tee he wore a contrasting, modern, two-button Dolce & Gabbana suit jacket; the top button was done. He had dark hair and eyes like slowly moving water.
Drinks were downed and the third found confidence in perhaps this, or perhaps a glance. Something set him across the dance floor to a solo dancing girl in a cotton dress. He raised a palm parallel to the floor and penetrated her peripheral vision. She looked up at him.

'Is there a pick up line you haven't heard tonight yet?' he asked.
She had reduced her dancing now, feet moving only to every second beat. There was gazing, as she checked his body, and his face for sincerity.
'Why are you wearing that jacket?' she finally spoke. His chest swelled.
'I'm wearing it ironically.'
'So... what? Wearing that jacket is supposed to achieve the opposite of its purpose?'
'Right, it's a statement. In the context of the outfit. In this place. It's a piece of formalwear thrown into reverse.'
'Hmmm..' her lips moved. 'I think you wore it because you think it will help you pick up.'
He laughed, and deliberately laid a hand on her shoulder for the count of two seconds.
'How do you think that's working for me?' he winked.
'Ironically.'

Blogging

I have decided that the thing that creeps me out the most about working in my office is the bin in the kitchenette. It's just a regular plastic bin, not unlike this. And the lid is always on. And it smells like rubbish which is normal. What's not normal is that everytime you push the flap open to deposit rubbish in it, your hand always feels the warmth of trash. It's not a natural warmth. It's bin warmth and it's hot and it freaks me out. No matter what time of the day it is (after I get to the office around 9:15) it's always hot in the bin.

It's like there's a tunnel to a furnace coming through the floor into the bin, but I prodded it a few times and checked the carpet underneath but nothing. I don't think the tea-bags and the paddle-pop sticks for stirring boiling coffees could create such a constant warmth. It scares me and makes me sad. Everytime I throw away my little, empty tub of yogurt I get longings for Summer.

Dry July

Starting today. Better late than never.

Damn I'm Cold

I woke up to the really harpy strings of Alfred Hammond Jnr's GfC this morning. And because I'd been watching a movie last night my stereo was up ridiculously loud so even with Citrus Alarm Clock's morning friendly 5 minute fade in setting I was jolted awake quite quickly. This was appreciated actually; I'm getting sick of meeting bands in my dreams.

The first thing I do every morning is to give a Neanderthal heave on the curtains to blast as much sunshine into the room as possible and stimulate primitive brain parts that declare sleep over when they see light. It dawned on me, as the Strokes lead guitarist riffed away prettily, that it was a very frosty sunlight. I regretted not making my wake up song Damn I'm Cold from 'lil Wayne. But that may be for the best, as I found out during my day of multiple listens to Como Te Llama that Hammond Jnr had fallen sick from a throat infection and was canceling his Australian tour. Not that he was coming to Adelaide or anything, I just think lil Wayne could've handled the alarm clock curse better.

So, I was very cold and was about to shower. For the past few weeks I have been sporting trendybeard. Trendybeard is like shitbeard but I use the shortest trimmer to trim it to societally acceptable lowness everytime I have to go out. I was hoping after three weeks of permanent stubble I might have cultivated some extra growth and made the rest of my hair follicles believe in themselves a little. But I decided last night as I was counting the hairs in my jazz tuft that - if I could count the hairs in my jazz tuft - it probably wasn't working yet.

But as I prepared to trim down to stubble again for work I looked myself in the eye and said, know what? Fuck it. I'll do a proper shave. After all, I'm sober now. And then I chuckled a little to myself as I shaved away.

I spent 5 minutes waiting for a train on the coldest morning in 25 years. Guess what, that layer of stubble has really been helping ease the wind chill factor of winter. On the plus side I look a lot younger now.

Made It

I've written in the past that I don't critique music as harshly if it's attempting to express or investigate some concept. But sometimes, even when an artist is exploring a concept I will still call it fucking terrible because the concept is just so obviously retarded. Take, for example the new Kid Rock song (linked so you can listen to it for as long as you can stand, without having to endure video of aging Rap Rockers driving boats around with their shirts off). The concept was some sort of Summer of 69 retrospective opus which I initially thought was heavily influenced by Leonerd Skynnard, before quickly learning was completely ripping off Sweet Home Alabama and... I just can't understand how anyone justified this as a good idea during the production process.

That said, another terrible concept for a nonetheless publicly released song was Busta Rhymes teaming up Linkin Park for the track Together we made it. Now, Busta Rhymes has never claimed to be an intelligent MC but teaming up with mid-30s teen idol Chester Bennington to deliver rhymes over angsty rock didn't really work for Jay-Z, so why is he ripping that off? I don't even remember why I first got a copy of this song, other than for the lols. But a funny thing happened, on a day I was performing a particularly arduous software release after hours. Most releases usually take about 30 minutes to backup, run scripts, compile and finalise. But this one had come upon a few errors and was dragging out. I'd even turned my music off to focus on the problems. After I sorted everything I turned to my music inbox and for some reason felt it necessary to celebrate my success with:

Together We Made It!
Even though we had our backs up against the wall!

And inevitably I became conditioned to rock out to this song everytime I overcame some large, but in hindsight melodramatic challenge. Like today when I had another release, also with it's problems. This time I was working with a client over the phone as we fixed their issues so I could finalise the release. It was taking time, outside it was dark and trains were leaving without me every 18 minutes. But eventually we succeeded, we overcame and finally I had someone to sing with! But he was clearly not as chirpy as I was following the success, and just grunted in satisfaction that the release was done. So I sung Together we made it!! but he'd hung up the phone. The cleaning guy looked up at me but I don't think he got the reference.

(part 2)

He walked the path by the river. It was Thursday lunchtime, a chilly yet sun-drenched testament to nature, within the confines of the CBD. There was no swimming in the river. Instead the swans and council-installed fountains contributed a relaxing, metaphoric haze into the air.

The boy strode with purpose past the queue of silently standing benches occupied by business suited sandwich eaters or resting single mothers. He hunted his own location, tracking an exposed wooden bench facing the tiny river waves. Wind whipped his hair as he unfolded the notebook and unsheathed a biro. Trendy trainers pounded the footpath past. The elderly and the middle-aged strolled by. Their faces were not memorable.

As he sat writing the wind stroked his stubble thoughtfully, perhaps coincidence or perhaps cause for the periods of frantic scribbling and the moments of pensive, pen-in-mouth pondering. Occasionally he glanced up, sparrows appearing in his peripheral giving him chance to peer about.
Words were put down and the writer found confidence in perhaps this, or perhaps a glance. His gaze followed a solo, walking girl in a cotton dress. With pen held he smiled at her; she approached his bench.

'What are you writing?' she asked.
She had reduced her walking now, feet moving only in passive shuffle. There was gazing, as he checked her body, and her face for sincerity.
'It's a story about a jacket?' he finally spoke. His chest swelled.
'What kind of jacket?'
'An ironic one; it's an ironic story.'
'So... what? You're writing to achieve the opposite of the purpose?' she questioned.
'Umm, the jacket's a statement. In the context of this notepad. In this place. It's a piece of fiction throwing something into reverse.'
'Hmmm..' her lips moved. 'I don't think you're invested in that story and I don't think your writing's ironic. I think you're writing because you want it to help you pick up.'
He laughed, and deliberately laid a hand on her hip for the count of two seconds.
'How do you think that's working for me?' he winked.
She looked at the story, it was finished.
'Ironically.'

Starbucked

On Tuesday they announced that Starbucks would be closing 61 Australian stores including every one in South Australia. It was about time, because seriously you can't go a half-hour in certain directions without coming across another Starbucks. Sheesh.

I've had Starbucks once or twice from Rundle Mall but I'm not a fan. Those ventures were mainly brought upon by days when Bean Bar was out of ice and I couldn't make me Smoothycinos.
But I was still touched by the news of the closure. And I thought as they had one last day of trade I might go there and passive-aggressively buy the largest, most expensive and most decadent coffee they could produce. In my head it seemed funny, a kind of in real life troll where I mock the coffee giant by purchasing expensive beverages from them.

Starbucks Rundle Mall, it looks a bit dilapidated. I mean, looked.

Starbucks Rundle Mall, it looks a bit dilapidated. I mean, looked.



However, trying to explain this concept out loud revealed a few flaws. At first I tried the analogy that it was like getting the last corn on the cob during a family dinner, and eating it in front of your jealous brother whilst over-exaggerating how good it tastes. Except replace "corn on the cob" with "paying customer". Unfortunately, this didn't actually make sense.

So, I tried to rationalise it as, like, when you drive past a crash on the motorway and you slow down to gawk and hopefully see some gory details. And sometimes you might even stop and get out to poke the corpse with a stick, and if they don't move you steal their wallet? Except in this scenario replace "car crash" with "extreme corporate downsizing" and "stick" with "frappuccino".

It became 10:30 am: coffee time, so I strode confidently into Starbucks ready to deliver my troll and said to the serving "partner" 'I hear you're closing down, so I'd like the most gratuitous, expensive, exorbitant coffee you've got.'

And she looked at me with sad but hopeful eyes and said 'Aww, that's ok. You don't have to try and help us out.' And immediately I realised my folly. Then with no warning another girl behind me spoke with an American accent and suggested I get a enormous concoction of caramel infused hot chocolate with triple shot of espresso. Helplessly, I agreed and got this.

image 489 from bradism.com


Given the calories, that was pretty much my lunch, it was the sweetest, most delicious coffee I've ever had, mainly because it was a hot chocolate with caramel in it and not real coffee. And immediately I felt remorse for Starbucks when all they wanted to do was make giant profits and squeeze out small, independently owned cafes from the market before raising prices. I also realised that for the $6.90 it cost me for that drink I could have bought this much petrol.

In the end, I was only able to justify my troll as a slightly entertaining way of killing part of my morning at work. Good enough for me!