Category Archives: everyone deserves music

My love… electronic, rock – it all comes together here.

Late night study tunes: edn. XVI (afternoon edition V)

D Day is nigh. I’m losing my mind perfecting paragraphs and obsessing over word choices, as well as filling in all the gaps and tying together the seemingly endless loose ends in my thesis. There hasn’t been a lot of time for anything else, especially finding new music.

I heard this song driving home from campus, though, a few months ago, and haven’t been able to stop listening to it. I don’t like music with lyrics when I’m working, and this track by Perth lad Mathas is so emotive and beautiful that I can’t help but put down whatever I’m doing and listen.

I know a lot of people don’t like Australian hip hop, labelling it derivative and an unworthy effort at replicating American hip hop, but I don’t know why. I mean, I can see why — there’s a lot of shit out there — but there’s a lot of shit in every genre. The accent takes getting used to, for sure; I hated local hip hop when I first heard it because I couldn’t get over how rough the Aussie accent sounded.

You do get over it though, and then you start looking for it, and finally you begin to appreciate the telling of Australian stories in an Australian voice. There’s nothing worse than an Aussie rapper putting on an American accent. Nothing. In the whole world.

If you aren’t a fan of Australian hip hop, or you’ve never heard it, I definitely recommend listening to Nourishment by Mathas ft. Abbe May. It’s more than just a song: it’s a story about the Australian condition. It’s also probably getting a mention in my thesis, as I’ve got a chapter about local food culture. (Fun fact: I’ve also quoted lines from Horrorshow’s song Inside Story. Most hip-hopping-non-hip-hop thesis ever.)

Late night study tunes: edn. XV (afternoon edition IV)

It’s been a while since my last Late Night Study Tunes post. I’m sure I’ve been listening to something… I just can’t remember what.

(There’s been a lot of Korn, to be honest. Too much.)

This week I am tired. I’m always tired, I know; I post about tiredness a lot, because guess what? I am. All the time. This week it’s particularly brutal: it’s the kind of tiredness you don’t just feel in your head and eyes, but throughout your whole body. My bones hurt. Twice this week, I’ve been so tired that I couldn’t sleep, which has to be the mind and body’s ultimate fuck you.

Case in point: Tuesday. Tuesday I had to lecture. I love giving lectures. My tutorials are 90 minutes long, so a 45 minute lecture is, by comparison, easy. There’s also not a huge opportunity for crowd interaction, so I don’t have to worry about coming up with interesting questions (or, conversely, about what to do when people don’t feel like answering my questions!). I just put together some fun visuals, stand there, and do my thing.

Only problem is that when you have barely slept, it’s incredibly difficult. Monday night was stormy and noisy; I tossed and turned all night and managed maybe 90 minutes of sleep before giving in at 5am and getting out of bed. Who needs rest, right? I barely remember what happened in the lecture. It was a small crowd, owing to the truly terrible weather (Perth, you’re outdoing yourself at the moment), but there could have been 10,000 people there… or none. It was so difficult to focus. I have no idea what I said, and I’m sure I missed so many important points. At the end, my unit coordinator told me it was interesting that I’d linked up a point from this week’s topic with the guest lecture last week… and I had no idea that I’d done so. I couldn’t remember making that point.

Every teacher has bad classes or bad weeks. The classes themselves aren’t inherently bad: it’s got nothing to due with the students, and everything to do with where your head is at. This week, my head hasn’t been there, try as I may. It’s got nothing to do with lack of preparation or lack of care, either. I am so prepared for classes. I love teaching this subject. I want every single class to be fun and enlightening and memorable… for the right reasons. Not because I can’t get the technology to work, and not because I’m so exhausted that my brain is in shutdown mode.

I left the lecture on Tuesday desperate for a glass of wine and a dose of Roy Orbison.

I’m housesitting for my folks this week. Roy Orbison should’ve been easy to get. My dad’s music collection is huge.

I checked the vinyl collection: No Roy O. Hmm.

I checked the CD collection: Not in alphabetical order. Hmmmm. I wasn’t going to spend all day searching through unordered CDs.

I resorted to piracy. This is what my father makes me do. It was mostly guilt-free piracy, as I am positive that Dad’s paid for Roy Orbison music before. But still. Not ideal.

Roy Orbison, and particularly this song, will forever remind me of being a tiny child. I love it. The music and wine didn’t quite have the calming effect I’d hoped for, unfortunately – I barely slept on Tuesday night and was still brain-dead going into class yesterday afternoon – but it did the job on another level. Isn’t his voice just magnificent? (Yes. The answer is yes.)

Now, because I’m a walking contradiction, I’m going to listen to The Herd for the next hour and pretend that my voice is as magnificent as Jane Tyrrell’s. (It’s not. My dog actually got up and walked away from me when I was singing her verses yesterday.)

Late night study tunes: edn. XV (afternoon edition III)

A daytime late night study tunes as I try to get chapters 4, 5, and 6 ready to send off this afternoon. (They were due on Friday, but… birthday got in the way.)

I haven’t posted one of these in a while. I’ve been listening to stuff but nothing that’s really grabbed me or been story-worthy.

This isn’t a particularly story-worthy track but it’s definitely something I’m loving right now. I don’t often (read as: ever) listen to dance music while I work, or very often at all anymore. I had a passionate love affair with drum n bass between 2002 – 2006 that resulted in a lot of late nights and fun times but since then, I don’t listen to much at all. When I do I usually like it to be hectic and confusing (think along the lines of Igorrr) but for whatever reason, this track, We Disappear, by Jon Hopkins has been slipping into my study playlist* again and again.

Turn it up.



*Not an actual playlist. I pretty much exclusively listen to music via Spotify at the moment as my phone (Galaxy Note II) and computer (iMac) don’t like each other and it’s made the transferral of music between my computer & phone more than annoying. Spotify is a god-send. I know artists aren’t making much (any?) music off the service, which makes me feel guilty as hell, but the way that I justify this and other acts of piracy is that I spend a lot of money going to gigs and buying merch. I’d rather support artists that I like by going to their shows, or donating directly via PayPal/Bandcamp (particularly smaller local artists). Major record labels are the actual worst, as are businesses like JB Hifi – both for the fact that they’ve edged out much of the competition, and for the fact that they mark up so much. I used to work there and, when I did, purchased a ton of music with every pay cheque. It was appalling how little I could buy albums for at cost price. It’s made me never want to purchase physical music again, unless I can get it directly from the artist (or the label if they’re a smaller one, like Elefant Traks, who actually consider their artists a family — not just money-makers).

Best songs ever: edn. V

Here’s the thing: you really need to hear this song live in a massive crowd of people who are all in complete silence, bound together in the experience of being awestruck by the beauty that this band manages to produce live.

This video is not it. There are too many screams. People who yell out or talk at inappropriate times (i.e. during slow or quiet songs) during gigs are the actual worst human beings on the face of the planet.*

Short of not being able to go see Radiohead live right now, I recommend finding the highest quality copy of this that you can, turning off the lights, putting on a pair of big, high-quality headphones, and lying on your bed to listen.

Choosing a favourite Radiohead song is like choosing a favourite … I don’t know, what’s something really good?

It’s difficult, is all I’m saying.

Exit Music (For A Film) is probably not my favourite Radiohead song, but it is one that I continually return to. I’m lucky enough to have seen Radiohead three times, and the first time I heard this live, in Sydney in 2004, my mind was suitably blown. How an audience could be so quiet was just beyond me. I dare say it’s a feeling I’ll never forget.

You should listen to this, and all Radiohead, and then report back and we can talk about it together, okay?

*Maybe not the actual worst, but if you do it incessently near me I will probably say something. If you are only going to a show to hear the singles, save yourself the money and listen to the album at home, inviting your friends to talk utter shit during the songs you don’t like or know.

Things over here.

In the past couple of weeks, I have worked hard, as usual, and not done much else, as usual.

I moved house. That was fun! I didn’t have my own room for the first week as I had no furniture and the previous friend hadn’t moved her stuff out yet, but now I do, and I have the master bedroom somehow. It’s excellent. This bedroom is not much smaller than my entire apartment in West Leederville (the place I just moved out of).

Plus, I have two rad housemates who also happen to be my friends, and so far it’s going swimmingly.

The final piece of the moving in puzzle, though, was getting a desk. It was pretty hard to focus on thesiswriting without a desk/study space. Fine during the day, but at night I kept getting tempted away by Futurama.

Now I have a desk! This is where the remaining thesismagic will happen:

20130619_154539 20130619_183725I know it’s not the best idea to have your work set up in your bedroom but in a share house it’s a necessary evil… plus I don’t really mind. I’ve sharehoused for years and worked in my room the whole time and it hasn’t killed me yet, and I don’t do my actual paid work in here, and I suppose the thesis is a labour of love really so it’s not so bad.

The red desk doesn’t go with anything at all but I kind of like its weirdness.

So, this is it. I’m predicting that with 15 more solid writing days I’ll be done… including a hefty session tonight in which I hope to get rid of one of the first chapters I wrote once and for all. Going through the old stuff is the hardest, because my writing style has developed so much over the past couple of years. Unlike in other countries, we (humanities) PhD students in Australia tend to write our thesis from the very beginning, so it can be tricky to smooth out what were rough ideas and shitty turns-of-phrase from earlier writing in preparation for submission… but I’m getting there.

Til next time.

(Here, have some music. I heard this song on the way to the gym yesterday morning – a journey in which I nearly had a head-on collision with someone driving the wrong way down Angove St, but that’s a whole other thing – and I haven’t been able to stop listening to it since.)

The day the music died.

This is a post about a poll. Yeh - that poll. That polarizing music poll.

But really, it’s a story about my life.

You see, music means the world to me. I got in to music relatively young – I was in year five (10 years old, 1994) when I remember really hearing Nirvana and The Smashing Pumpkins for the first time, and I was hooked. I never really got pop music or the Top 40 (even though many of the bands I loved as a kid were surely in the Top 40 at the time). As other kids my age were listening to the Backstreet Boys, the Spice Girls, and Hanson, I was in to bands like Live and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

I stayed up late watching and taping Rage every weekend throughout high school, and listened to Triple J every night. I’ve been listening to the station off and on since 1994. The first time I ever turned on Triple J it was a Sunday night, and Fenella Kernebone‘s Creatures of the Spotlight was on – an arts program that played lots of noise and ambient sounds – and I remember thinking, ‘what the hell is this weird shit?’. It took me a while to get in to Triple J, even though it played the music I loved, but once I did I was hooked for almost 20 years.

The playlist on the station has declined over the years, or maybe I’ve just gotten older, or maybe music just isn’t as good as it used to be. Probably a combination of the three. But I’ve stuck with it, partially due to the lack of alternative and partially due to the fact that they do still play plenty of stuff that I like, with the occasional old time (1990s) gem thrown in.

However, we broke up on Sunday.

This isn’t the first time that I’ve threatened a break up. In 2003 I declared that I would never listen to Triple J again if Jet won the Hottest 100 (they did; so did I). That lasted a few hours, as I drank too much beer and had too much of a good time, and in the taxi that I caught home from the pub that night Triple J was on the radio. I decided that it was unreasonable to stop listening to my favourite station just because a stupid song by a rubbish band had won.

A decade (woah, what?) later though, I’ve decided it’s time. We’ve had a good time together, but I think I’ve finally outgrown Triple J. I barely listen to the radio as it is now – only in my car, and I don’t even drive most days – and it’s been a very, very, very long time since I’ve heard anything on the radio that’s caught my attention. (Until I listened to RTRfm today, that is. I don’t listen to RTR full time as I find there are far too many awkward pauses from the presenters and it makes me uncomfortable. Also sometimes it just gets weird. But I do listen to certain shows.)

I’m not sure what it is. Perhaps it’s the fact that the Hottest 100 of the past 20 years left me… angry. Disappointed in Australian music fans. That’s probably it. It’s not Triple J’s fault, but it’s still signalling time to move on.

I mean, come on. Really? Wonderwall?

Perhaps it’s the time that I’ve spent either in a backpackers or living near a backpackers, but every time I hear Wonderwall I want to stab my ears out. It’s not to say that it’s not a technically good song – it is, I guess, and it means a lot to many people, etc etc, but it’s just not the best song of the past 20 years. Nor is 7 Nation Army the second best song.

But it’s not all about what I like. I didn’t actually vote. Most of the songs that I like best from the past 20 years aren’t songs that would’ve even cracked the top 1000, let alone the top 100. I probably don’t even have a right to whinge about the deplorable outcome, and I doubt that my votes would’ve made much of a difference (isn’t that what we always say when we choose not to get involved in something and then whinge about the outcome?).

However, I read a great post the other day on a blog that I rather like, and thought I’d do the same, compiling a list of my favourite 20 songs from the past 20 years, but only including one from each year. To save myself the trouble of thinking too hard, my top 20 has to be songs that were actually in the Hottest 100 in their respective year.

Of course, this ended up being a much more complicated list to whittle down that I expected, as my longlist still had over 200 songs. It’s a difficult process, because I feel like I have a story to tell about every song on the list (not to mention the many, many songs that never charted on JJJ and don’t count for the purposes of this exercise). Perhaps that’s a post (or series of) for another time.

1993: Cherub Rock – The Smashing Pumpkins (honourable mentions: Creep – Radiohead; Sober – Tool; The Ship Song – Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds)

1994: Berlin Chair – You Am I (hons: Tomorrow – Silverchair; Seether – Veruca Salt; Today – The Smashing Pumpkins; Cornflake Girl – Tori Amos)

1995: Grace – Jeff Buckley (hons: Last Goodbye – Jeff Buckley; Drugs – Ammonia; Glory Box – Portishead)

1996: Tonight, Tonight – The Smashing Pumpkins (hons: Stinkfist – Tool; Pick You Up – Powderfinger; Breathe – The Prodigy; Born Slippy – Underworld; 1979 – The Smashing Pumpkins; D.A.F. – Powderfinger; Hyperballad – Bjork)

1997: Paranoid Android – Radiohead (honns: No Aphrodisiac – The Whitlams; Karma Police – Radiohead; Crazy - Cordrazine; A.D.I.D.A.S. – Korn (yes, really); Forty-Six & 2 - Tool; Captain (Million Miles) – Something for Kate; You’re Not the Only One – Ammonia; 6 Underground – Sneaker Pimps)

1998: Buy Now, Pay Later – The Whitlams (hons: Cigarettes Will Kill You - Ben Lee; Heavy Heart – You Am I; Teardrop – Massive Attack; Everybody Here Wants You – Jeff Buckley; Sweater – Eskimo Joe; Pure Morning – Placebo; Ava Adore – The Smashing Pumpkins; Untouchable Face – Ani diFranco)

1999: Waltz #2 – Elliott Smith (hons: Electricity – Something for Kate; Army – Ben Folds Five; Passenger – Powderfinger)

2000: Judith – A Perfect Circle (hons: Yellow - Coldplay; Frontier Psychiatrist – The Avalanches; Californication – Red Hot Chili Peppers; Every Fucking City – Paul Kelly; We Haven’t Turned Around - Gomez; Everything in Its Right Place – Radiohead)

2001: This Mess We’re In – PJ Harvey & Thom Yorke (hons: Last Nite – The Strokes; Schism – Tool; Pyramid Song - Radiohead; Parabola – Tool; Pattern Against User – At the Drive-In; Plug in Baby – Muse)

2002: No One Knows - Queens of the Stone Age (hons: London Still - The Waifs; Has it Come to This – The Streets; Something to Talk About – Badly Drawn Boy)

2003: Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes (hons: The Nosebleed Section – Hilltop Hoods; Everyone Deserves Music – Michael Franti & Spearhead; Stockholm Syndrome – Muse; Good Luck – Bassment Jaxx)

2004: Somersault – Decoder Ring (hons: Don’t U Eva – Sarah Blasko; Girl Anachronism – The Dresden Dolls; The Bucket – Kings of Leon; Slow Hands - Interpol; Breathe Me – Sia)

2005: Flame Trees – Sarah Blasko (hons: I Was Only 19 – The Herd; Middle of the Hill - Josh Pyke; Two More Years – Bloc Party; Helicopter – Bloc Party; This Year – The Mountain Goats; Ashes – The Beautiful Girls; First Day of My Life – Bright Eyes; Heartstopper – Emiliana Torrini)

2006: Heart’s a Mess – Gotye (hons: Kick, Push – Lupe Fiasco; Fidelity – Regina Spektor; Vicarious – Tool; Memories and Dust - Josh Pyke; Roquefort – Karnivool; Phenomena – Yeah Yeah Yeahs; Standing in the Way of Control - Gossip; 19-20-20 – The Grates)

2007: Hang Me Up To Dry – Cold War Kids (hons: Knights of Cydonia – Muse; This Heart Attack – Faker; Paper Planes – MIA; Reach – The Butterfly Effect; No Cars Go - Arcade Fire)

2008: Skinny Love – Bon Iver (hons: The King Is Dead - The Herd; The Lighthouse Song – Josh Pyke; Oxford Comma – Vampire Weekend; Burn Bridges – The Grates; I Will Possess Your Heart  - Death Cab For Cutie; Something Is Not Right With Me – Cold War Kids; L.E.S. Artistes - Santogold)

2009: Islands – The XX (hons: Little Lion Man - Mumford & Sons; Lisztomania – Phoenix; Heads Will Rolls – Yeah Yeah Yeahs; Heavy Cross – Gossip; Dog Days Are Over – Florence and the Machine)

2010: Bloodbuzz Ohio – The National AND There’s Nothing in the Water We Can’t Fight – Cloud Control (hons: Dance the Way I Feel - Ou Est Le Swimming Pool; Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves) - The Wombats; Baptism – Crystal Castles; The Suburbs – Arcade Fire; Dog – Andy Bull; Ready To Start – Arcade Fire; Spanish Sahara – Foals)

2011: The Wilhelm Scream – James Blake (hons: Midnight City - M83; Endless Summer – The Jezabels; Shake it Out – Florence and the Machine; Jump in to the Fog – The Wombats; Lay it Down – The Rubens; Perth - Bon Iver; Wildfire – SBTRKT; The Suburbs – Mr Little Jeans)

2012: Tesselate – alt-J (hons: Little Talks – Of Monsters and Men; My Gun - The Rubens; Angels  - The XX; Laura – Bat for Lashes; Take a Walk – Passion Pit; Mountain Sound – Of Monsters and Men)

Freddie and the Machine

I can’t get Florence and the Machine out of my head this week.

She’s just so dramatic, but I’d probably be dramatic too if I had that voice and that hair. (I’m already pretty dramatic, sans her voice, and with a different kind of crazy hair.)

This wasn’t a very dramatic week for me, so I have no idea why she keeps creeping into my mind.

I definitely wanted to lie on the floor of my apartment earlier this week with a bottle of red wine and sing along to all of her songs. Whilst crying. Alone.

The strange thing is that I wasn’t feeling at all bad; maybe it was just the drama trying to break free.

Oh okay. Have some Queen, too. Queen > Florence, in case you were wondering. Freddie was literally the best.

It’s almost 8am and I drank too much coffee last night whilst editing and I can’t sleep. Sadly I also can’t organise my thoughts whatsoever, so now I’m just waiting for sleep to happen. Or I might just drink more coffee. And eat a muffin. #yolo #studentlyfe #hashtagsonwordpresslulz


A new approach.

I used to run quite a bit in around 2007/2008. I am not – how do I put it – aerodynamic. I am big and tall and although I can swim to the end of the earth (for realsies), running was just never my thing.

Until, that is, I actually seriously tried it, and realised that I really loved it.

My lack of aerodynamism means that I am horrendously slow, but I’m kind of okay with that, you know? It’d be great to be able to run like the wind, but I’m just really kind of stoked that I can run at all, seeing as I spent the first 24 years of my life avoiding it at all costs.

I should mention here that I’ve only just got back in to running after a hiatus of about four years, but my love has been rekindled. I’m totally chuffed by the progress I’ve made in only three weeks – already running for 18 minutes non stop! It took me months to get that far when I first started in 2007! (But a week after that I ran for 20 minutes non stop – about 3km at my pace back then – I managed to run 10km without stopping. Weird.)

Last week I ran so hard that I had to run right off the treadmill (yah, yah, not the same on the treadmill as on the road, I know) and into the bathroom for a spew. Hard-to-tha-core, innit? And then I got back on the tready and kept going with my gosh darn hill sprints. I’ve had a cold recently and, in the name of not making myself so sick that I can’t work, I’ve been taking it easy and I miss it, really.

Back to my point. Because I move at snail’s pace – I was once overtaken by walkers, and another time an old man slowed down to run next to me to encourage me to keep going – I can’t listen to anything fast while I run. This works out pretty well given the complete lack of fast music in my collection.

My favourite soundtrack for running is hip hop. I need something with a story, and I like being able to rap along in my head (and sometimes out loud) as I go. My absolute favourite running album back in 1998 was Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool. Long enough to get me the whole way around the 10km bridges loop – no mean feat for an album seeing as it took me more than an hour – it’s the perfect soundtrack for a plodder like myself.

Tonight I thought I’d put The Cool on while I write, hoping that hearing the tunes can tap into something deep in my psyche and push me to keep going. I’ve been in a massive musical rut this week, unable to find anything that sounds right while I work. So far Lupe is hitting the spot, which is quite unusual as I don’t listen to hip hop when I work ever, really, as I don’t like too many words in my music while I write.

It’s a shame that Lupe got kind of… shit, after this album. He was never in danger of having a regular-sized ego, but it’s gotten a bit out of control, without continuing to make good songs to go along with it.

This isn’t my favourite Lupe song, but it always came at a great point on my run — just after the hardest part (the first 10ish minutes; after that, it’s easy to just keep going). Enjoy.

(ahhh at the time of uploading YouTube was being a jerk, so hopefully this works)

chauffeur, chauffeur come and take me away // cause i been standing in this line for like five whole days // me and security ain’t getting along // and when i got to the front they told me all the tickets are gone // so take me home where the mood is mellow // and the lights are dim, the m&ms are yellow // and the light bulbs around your mirror don’t flicker // everybody gets a nice autographed picture // one for you and one for your sister // who had to work tonight but is an avid listener…

I am going to make it through this year if it kills me.

You might not be surprised to learn that I like sad songs.

This is not a sad song.

This is a song about remembering good times and knowing good times will come again.

Times aren’t bad here, but they are hard. Not hard like some people have hard times, but hard in the sense that I don’t sleep enough and I think too much and I don’t know what happens next.

But: I am going to make it through this year if it kills me.

(It won’t.)

This is a song that I have returned to again and again over the past few years, usually in moments of ‘things are hard but they’re getting better’. Life is good. It really is.

I think this song captures that sense of defiance that one adopts when the only other option is to give up. Instead of giving up, you can just know things will work out, and be worth it.

(I’ll post about something cheerful soon, maybe? Don’t hold your breath. Surly and contemplative is my MO.)

[probably post one of many tonight. music and writing go hand-in-hand.]