Tag Archives: study tunes

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.)

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.

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…

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.

Late night study tunes: edn. XII [daytime version]

Today I’m going to finish a chapter. Today I’m going to finish a chapter. Today I’m going to finish a chapter…

merdenoms

So I’m turning to one of my favourite albums for motivation and inspiration. I really, really dig A Perfect Circle’s Mer de Noms. It was on constant rotation in my car CD player for about five years (back when I used to [a] own CDs and [b] listen to them in my car. Oh MP3s, how you changed everything).

I am a pretty massive fan of anything Maynard James Keenan does (but let’s not talk about Pusifer, who are rubbish). Tool are one of my favourite bands. I haven’t been as generally enthusiastic about everything A Perfect Circle did, but that’s possibly because I thrashed this album when it first came out, and for years afterwards. The same thing happened with Tool’s Undertow, but especially AEnima; I spent so long listening to those albums that it actually took me years to appreciate the two that followed. (Fun fact: I was 12 when AEnima was released. Woah!)

I really, really dig Mer de Noms. It’s the perfect mix of guitars and melodies and anger and beauty. That’s about as eloquent I can manage with my descriptions at the moment. You try reading existential philosophy for two weeks straight and coming up with anything better.

I hate posting a link to a video that was the lead/biggest single off an album because I feel like you (whoever “you” even are) will be like oh, she doesn’t really like the band, she just likes the single. But fuck it. Judith is just a really fucking cool song, and I run this city, so here it is:

Riddle me this, though: Why do so many women play bass (rather than other instruments) in bands? I feel like it perpetuates this idea that women are less accomplished/skilled/etc in rock bands, so they play bass because it’s “easy”. (I can’t play bass so it can’t be that easy. Then again I also can’t rock climb, so…)

It annoys me that she’s wearing heels, too, because it just doesn’t look comfortable, but I really enjoyed Maynard’s long dark wig phase, so I suppose that balances everything out.

In other somewhat related news, I’m going to see Tool in Melbourne in April. Yay! We got terrible seats (seats! blech!), but it should still be rather good. The trade off is that I’m no longer going to Coachella. With where my thesis is at, it would’ve been incredibly irresponsible of me to go traipsing around the world for a month, so I’m just going to the UK for a conference and then for a little mini-break in Paris. I sold my ticket to a lovely lady from Philly, and she seemed pretty happy, so all is well. I’ll get to Coachella one day.

On a side note, given that I also have a ticket to see Glen Hansard in Melbourne in March, I think the sooner I move there the better. Perth, you’re alright, but good lord. Get some gigs, please.

Late night study tunes: edn. XI

A double header on tonight’s Late Night Study Tunes: Radiohead’s Kid A and Amnesiac.

Radiohead-Kid_A_(2009)-Frontal radioheadamnesiac

I was in 11th and 12th grade respectively when these albums came out, and they were the first time that I really got Radiohead. To be honest, before hearing Kid A for the first time, I wasn’t really a huge fan. I found Thom Yorke to be kind of…

Whiny.

There. I said it. I know, right? I don’t get to say Thom Yorke is whiny. Nobody does. Thom Yorke belongs in that exclusive club of musicians who may as well get up on stage and shoot rainbows out of their butts, they’re so amazing (see: Billy Corgan, Win Butler, David Bowie).

But the truth is that I didn’t love Radiohead up until 2000, which was terribly passe of me, I know. I’m supposed to say that I’ve loved them ever since their pub shows in Oxford prior to the release of Pablo Honey.

I was nine when Pablo Honey was released, so obviously I wasn’t at any pub shows. Let’s not be snot-nosed hipsters about the whole thing.

Everything changed with Kid A, and Radiohead quickly became one of my favourite bands. They still are to this day. I’ve been lucky enough to see them live three times (twice on the Hail to the Thief tour and once in November last year) and have been solidly including Radiohead as part of a balanced, nutritious diet for 13 years.

I doubt anyone has managed to get this far without ever hearing Radiohead, but if you haven’t, go on – do it. I’m not going to recommend a song because they’re all so different, but be prepared to go on a sonic excursion.

Oh, okay. Just a couple.

Pyramid Song – this is from Amnesiac, and I’ve included it for the memory of seeing them perform it live in 2004. The show was at Sydney Entertainment Centre, and you could have heard a pin drop in the stadium, so quiet was the crowd. Truly mesmerising.

Talk Show Host – probably a controversial choice, but this is actually close to my favourite Radiohead song. The eagle-eared amongst you might recognise it from the Romeo & Juliet soundtrack.

 

Late night study tunes: edn. X

You’d be excused for thinking that this is a music blog lately, but the one thing to remain consistent when I’ve got my head stuck in books and multiple versions of thesis chapters flying across my screen is the fact that I listen to music all. the. time.

Tonight is something a little different, an artist I haven’t come across before (and actually don’t know how I found) but I’m really enjoying it. Definitely the right music for the mood I’m in now, which is something along the lines of holy shit so much work to do but must stay calm. Inspired but calm! Inspired but calm! Do not panic! 

That’s a mood, trust me.

chequerboard

+10 points for the excellent album art.

Chequerboard, it seems, is the brainchild of Irish “musician & general maker of things” John Lambert. This album, Gothica, features minimalist, glitchy electronica. It’s very atmospheric and ethereal – very lovely study music (actually a huge compliment).

And! It’s available for free download via Chequerboard’s Bandcamp page, so I suggest you get on board (pun!) with that.

Late night study tunes: edn. IX

It’s not really late night at all yet, but thought I’d post this one up. Here’s an album that is from, without doubt, the best era of Australian rock (to my mind, at least). The late 90s was an amazing time for music in this country… but then again, I was in my early teens and was definitely spending a significant amount of my time with headphones glued to my head, cutting my teeth on guitars and drums and teen angst. Excellent.

superjesussumo

This album, Sumo, was the 1997 debut release for The Superjesus. I turned 13 years old in 1997. It was a good year for music in my life!

I’m pretty sure that every boy wanted frontwoman Sarah McLeod and every girl wanted to be Sarah McLeod.

I’ve had this song stuck in my head all week:

I don’t really know much of what happened to The Superjesus after this album. My tastes really shifted and got a bit dark for a while there, and I’ve only just recently really remembered that they existed. I can feel an early teen years tuneathon coming on…