Tag Archives: music

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 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).

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

Help.

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.]

Late night study tunes: edn. XIV (afternoon edition II)

I’m going to have to think of something to rename this section in a couple of months, as I will no longer be studying!

In the mean time, though, this is the first Late Night Study Tunes post from my new apartment (!!). My selection of music is still a bit limited here, as I don’t really have Internet yet.

I mean, I do have internet (because I’d die without it), but uni is paying for it, and I get the feeling they don’t want me streaming hour after hour of music from Spotify, which is what I’ve used to listen to music since my laptop died last year. Although I did transfer over my library to my new computer (which is still at my parents’ house as it’s too big for my apartment), I decided it was time to break up with iTunes, and I haven’t been able to find a suitable replacement that works well with an Apple computer and a Samsung phone… especially seeing as my iMac steadfastly refuses to recognise my phone as a device (a known fault between iMacs & the Samsung Galaxy Note II — one that I wish I’d known about in advance!).

So. I have the music on my iPad, which hasn’t been updated since June 2012, and the 30 or so albums I’ve put on to my phone. Slim pickings for someone who listens to music all day, and is always at the mercy of her flippant musical desires.

Today is a good one, though. Today is Portishead.

Portishead might be the perfect band for every occasion. Perfect when you’re sad and need to be uplifted, or when you’re sad and want to wallow. Perfect when you’re having a quiet drink with friends, or entertaining a special someone over dinner. Perfect for when you’re studying. Very perfect for when you’re studying.

I saw them a couple of years ago at Belvoir Amphitheatre. I think that venue may have been made for Portishead; the bush setting on a beautiful still night really complemented singer Beth Gibbons’ eerie vocals. I say every show is amazing, but it was really fantastic to see Portishead live, as they’re another band I just kind of assumed that I’d never get to see in concert. It was a brilliant show.

Here you go. Have some Numb, from the album Dummy.

Back to work.

Late night study tunes: edn. XIII

I’ve been listening to some great stuff tonight. Random playlists I’ve found on Spotify. Playlists by people whose taste in music I like. Jazz. Classical. Glitch. I don’t normally listen to music in playlist form, actually, as I really enjoy the journey inherent to the album format and generally always prefer to listen to whole albums.

I was suddenly overcome by a desperate urge to listen to an album that I haven’t laid ears on in many years: Orgy’s debut (and, what I thought until tonight was their only) album, Candyass.

CANDYASSIt turns out there are others. I’m probably not going to rush to listen to their other work. However, this album, Candyass. Oh my god, I played it to death as a 15 year old. I got Candyass from my parents for my 15th birthday, and in retrospect, it’s up there with what might’ve been one of the most awkward gifts they ever had to buy for me. I cringe at the thought of them going into a CD store (remember those? It was probably Beat at Karrinyup) and buying a CD called Candyass by a band called Orgy for their 15 year old daughter.

The only purchase that was probably more awkward was when they bought me Marilyn Manson’s autobiography The Long Hard Road Out of Hell for Christmas the previous year. Good god. Sorry, folks. I turned out okay, didn’t I? (Definitely going to listen to Marilyn Manson next.) I also had the 1998 Family Values Tour DVD video. I watched the shit out of that thing until it broke. I need to pirate purchase a copy of it. You know, just in case.

Incidentally, I accidentally wrote ‘Marilyn Mansion’ before, so I Google imaged ‘Marilyn Mansion’ hoping to find something ridiculously funny but this is the best I could do:

marilynmansionBack to Orgy. Orgy were (are?) a band populated by a bunch of glammed up, androgynous men, singing about all kinds of salacious sexual lyrics in a genre of music variously described as alternative metal (hah) and death pop. Even at the time, it felt like they were too old to be dancing around in platform heels and Urban Decay make up (they were, once, official endorsers of the brand. BTW, amazing brand. Their Naked & Naked II pallet? Amazing). And they were: frontman Jay Gordon was 31 when Candyass was released.

Old enough to know better.

But pseudo-heavy music was kind of glam at the time, so it was probably okay. The Y2K-induced end of the world was fast approaching, so why not wear platform heels and latex and make up?

The band were most famous for their cover of New Order’s Blue Monday. I can’t even remember what my favourite song on the album was, but this – Stitches – was the other big single, if I remember correctly. Have fun! Stay pretty.

Best songs ever: edn. IV

This song, First Day Of My Life, by Bright Eyes, is one of the most truly beautiful songs  ever written.

I’ve only ever really had one chance to see Bright Eyes, when they supported REM way back in the day. I hate seeing bands I like as support acts to other bands I like, especially when those bands are as big as REM, because chances are most of the crowd doesn’t know the support act and it doesn’t make for a good vibe, y’know? I mean, I have vague recollections of people around me yelling for Bright Eyes to get off the stage (but then I feel like people would be too well behaved at REM to do that? It was a very long time ago).

Super cute video clip, too. It even managed to melt the heart of this love-sceptic over here. (Wait, what? You heard it here first: Little Miss Single-For-Three-Years thinks love is a sham!)