Saturday, October 30, 2010

Over the crest. Beeso's top 50 albums 20-11

I guess the key factor to the last twenty albums is that I like to listen to these ones in the whole form. There is something about sitting and listening to a whole album start to finish that gives it a sense of what the band was about, gives it another depth.

No 20. Dummy -Portishead
Fantastic voice and great production. These guys were the best of the moody electronic bands going around when I was at uni, top of a killer class that included Massive Attack, Morcheeba, Faithless and Sneaker Pimps.

No 19. Kick - INXS
I missed seeing them live because of a small problem with not having a lead singer for the gig I'd bought tickets too and they've well and truly trashed their legacy now. But listen to this album and you can understand what a great band they were, one that was selling out Wembley and the football stadium in Rio.

No 18. Fashion Nugget - Cake
Give me quirky lyrics and brass hooks and I'm yours. Bought this album because of the two big singles, but the writing is so offbeat and out there, you can't help but enjoy this record.

No 17. Think Tank - Blur
To me there is no question who was the best band of the Brit Wars in the 90's. Blur kicked Pulp and Oasis arse. This is a great rock album, full of light and shade but still has some great rocking songs as well. Gets better the more you listen to it.

No 16. Ok Computer - Radiohead
Still enough of the chunky guitars and great rock songs that The Bends had, but the album as a whole has this great cinematic feel, like it was written to a story. Sadly, they discovered samplers.

No 15. Power in Numbers - Jurassic 5
Great MCs and storytelling on this album, proving that not all hip hop has to be about guns and bling and bitches. Cut Chemist and Newmark put together some of the most inventive beats going round. On the bonus DVD I got, Cut Chemist recorded Newmark banging on the plastic lids covering their rider and then turned it into a beat for a song. Amazing.

No 14. Nevermind - Nirvana
Strangely enough I wasn't one of those conflicted teens that worshiped Kurt Cobain. I vaguely knew of Nirvana when he died, probably just Teen Spirit but it wasn't until I saw the classic albums doco on them that I gave the album another look. It's a fucking masterpiece, so simple and raw, yet I don't think grunge ever made another album as good as this. Not a bad song in the whole thing.

No 13. Wild Colonial - Ozi Batla
Most of you might not have heard of this solo album from one of the MCs from The Herd unless you listen to the Js, but this is OZ hip hop growing up. A varied and layered album both lyrically and musically it goes from party track to a dark historical introspection. Reminds me of Paul Kelly, varied and deeply Australian.

No 12. War Stories - Unkle
A kick ass album, big fat driving beats, great guest vocals. Just doesn't let up. MUST be listened to for the first time start to finish and really fucking loud.

No 11. Two Shoes - The Cat Empire
Party music. Not everyone likes these guys and I don't know why. Good tunes, brass, two vocalists.... It's not like there is anyone else out there doing anything like this. How those clowns with their top 100 Australian albums included a bunch of mediocre rock pop at the expense of an album like this is beyond me.

Only the top ten to go. I am certain Havock is going to be disappointed, pretty sure Phil Collins is not going to slip in, no matter how cool the cadbury gorilla ad was.

- Lantanaland from my iPad

Location:In bed instead of building the chookhouse

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hump Day. Beeso's 50 greatest albums 30-21

Ok. No we are getting into the territory of albums I listen to fairly often. enough introductions, let em rip.

No 30. La Roux - La Roux
Welcome to the eighties revival. Anyone who sneers down their nose at music being too derivative is just an idiot who can't read history. And this stuff is fun!

No 29. Renegades - Rage Against The Machine
Their first album was fantastic, but what they did with this album, which is to cover a bunch of songs in a way that unless you were a huge fan of the original, you'd never know. That's not easy to do. RATM just make me fire up. Cracker album.

No 28. Flight of the Conchords - Flight of the Conchords
This might seem a bit strange but they do write great songs, with lyrics better than most of what you would see on video hits on a Saturday morning.

No 27. Play - Moby
Definitely an album that has probably suffered from overuse especially in ads, but still a great listen. I fondly remember coming home at 5 am from the live show and playing this really loud while I lay on the lounge room floor.

No 26. Mezzanine - Massive Attack
A brooding electronic album but with the typical fantastic vocal performance and great beats. So many great songs off this record, angel, teardrop, inertia creeps....

No 25. The K&D Sessions - Kruder and Dorfmeister
Bought this fantastic double album completely on a whim after hearing Myf Warhurst and someone discussing it on the Js. Even though this is a remix album of sorts, really just one long track with bits of songs twisted through it, anyone who has tried to do a mix like this will appreciate how hard it is to get this good.

No 24. You've come a Long Way Baby - Fatboy Slim
That guy kicks ass! Damn straight a great album guaranteed to get an absolute flogging at any party we had at Chapel Hill and we had a few.

No 23. Rocking the Suburbs - Ben Folds
While I like the live version better, there is no denying the Ben Folds is a fantastic songwriter. This album is full of good songs and I love his slightly offbeat style.

No 22. Tragic Kingdom - No Doubt
While I view Gwen Stefani now with a certain detachment and disinterest back in the day I loved this rocking little band with the cool chick vocalist. I thought I'd grow out of this album but I never have.

No 21. Prozac Beats - 2 Dogs
You have to love an album that starts with a scratched up vocal from Rodney Rude. This is pretty much what it would have been like if you'd dropped into Dj KATCH and Dave Dog's house for a beer and they were playing around.

Definitely more beeps and blips than chunky riffs in that section it's a great mix. I could quite happily listen to all of those in a row on a Saturday afternoon.

- Lantanaland from my iPad

Location:Are we there yet?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Beeso's top 50 albums 40-31. The wonder years.

While Dr Yobbo mocks me by doing yet another large post I will chip away at my list, mainly because I'm not quite sure of the ordering of the final 40. I think I'll start with a bit of nostalgia.

No 40. Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness - The Smashing Pumpkins
There are a few bands that could've filled this spot. Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden, but not Pearl Jam, oh no, never, ever Pearl Jam. This one holds up the best for me. I still can sit down and listen to the whole album without feeling like I need to buy an $18 bottle of scotch and sit in a squalid share house to enjoy it.

No 39. Elephant - The White Stripes
I love these guys, so stripped back and raw. The kick drum alone is enough to warrant owning this.

No. 38 Chutes too Narrow - The Shins
Beautiful layered lush rock pop. If all rock pop was this good I'd take up poetry and give up sport and become a floppy boy.

No 37. Stoned and Dethroned - The Jesus and Mary Chain
I loved this little quirky album so much I bought the rest of their catalogue one day and was massively surprised to find out that they normally played fuzzed out guitar rock. I'm glad that they did this for whatever reason, because it's such a sweet gem.

No 36. Alright Still - Lily Allen

No 35. Sea change - Beck
If you were a fan of Odelay than you'd be mighty surprised to find Beck writing sad assed country songs. Bloody good at them though.

No 34. In the Nude - Pornland
Great, great fun, it pretty much is all summed up in the name of the band. Big band, big sound, orgasms a plenty.

No 33. An Elefant Never Forgets - The Herd
One of the two albums I think really broke Australian hip hop into the mainstream. This might not have been to everyones taste because of the politics, but at least they had something to say and they said it forcefully, getting notoriety for getting the C bomb on national radio.

No 32. Felt Mountain - Goldfrapp
I really struggled to pick which Goldfrapp album I liked the best but I feel that this one just captures that ethereal quality that I love about her voice the best.

No 31. Orchid for the Afterworld - Sonic Animation
A fantastic dance band and a fantastic album, I always rated them much higher than the Avalanches who were around about the same time. Another album that got a thrashing in the share house living. The Presets might have listened to this one a thousand times or so.

That's it. Deciding who gets in the middle third will be hard, I mean no one really loves the middle child as much right?

- Lantanaland from my iPad


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Top 50 albums. (Dr Yobbo is wrong I tell you!)

After gritting my teeth at Faifax medias' stupid bloody online experience to view their greatest Australian albums of all time, I then started yelling, both at the screen and on twitter. This led to my usual musical sparring partner Dr Yobbo and I to decide to put up duelling posts on our top 50 albums of all time. He has a good run down on the conditions he screwed me on in his post, so I'll just begin with the honourable mentions and some omissions.

The new album I've been listening to from Laneway could definitely make the cut, but i've only owned the album for two weeks and I don't think it will qualify on those grounds. Powderfinger. I just couldn't find space for them. The album I like the most is Double Allergic but i just don't listen to them anymore. Reef - Glow is another album that i like, but i've only just forked out the cash for it, so it missed the cut. Couldn't find room for Norah Jones or any jazz or KT Tunstall or Coldplay (thank god).

I am going to string this out a bit more so lets get started with the first ten.

No 50. Dire Straits - Dire Straits.
This was the band that I grew up with through primary school and early high school and I own all the albums but this is the album that holds up the best. Without any of the MTV pop it just showcases what a good guitarist Knopfler is. Six Blade Knife is just a killer song.

No 49. Good Gracious - M-phazes
This spot was going to go to Brisbane band George's first effort, but it is an EP so I'm going to give the spot to a new hip hop producer, M-Phazes, who had a stellar cast of MCs for his first album. It's tight, funky hip hop, in other words, Australian!

No 48. Achtung Baby - U2
These guys almost didn't make the cut, but unlike Powderfinger I can still listen to this album without dying of boredom. Another big one in the early teen years but has great songs.

No 47. Manipulating Agent - Katalyst
Party music. Katalyst would never make a live album list cause he's crap live but he is a fantastic producer and this record never misses a beat.

No 46. Stone Broke - Brothers Stoney
I don't love every song, but this is old school Aussie hip hop, rough and raw and full of booze, drugs and wit.

No 45. Based on a True Story - Fat Freddys Drop
Great kiwi grooves, beautiful instrumentation and layer upon layer, fat freddies are unlike any dub or groove band I've ever seen, just so tight yet appearing to be laid back and loose. If you love a bit of brass you'll love this.

No 44. Unit - Regurgitator
My arch nemesis Dr Yobbo reckons this was one the forerunners of the acceptance of hip hop in main stream Australia, which goes to show that the prescription drugs are better in NZ. What the gurge did was mine the eighties long before it was cool to do so for this rocking techno sound. Played a million times at least in one of my sharehouses.

No 43. Apocalypso - The Presets
Or as I like to call them, Sonic Animation II. All the JJJ presenters going nuts about their sound being new had obviously missed S in the music library, but that doesn't make this album any less great, electronic party music at it's best.

No 42. Signs of a Struggle - Mattafix
Bit of an unusual one, a mix of grooves and hip hop, but it really works. Sounds like it should be the soundtrack to a London gangster movie not made by Guy Ritchie.

No 41. Grand Theft Audio - Resin Dogs
Easily their best studio album ever, with Lazy Grey still the MC and the beats keeping you dancing and dancing. And then they throw a cool little number like Jazz Crime in just to mess with your head.

That's the first ten. Unless I change my mind overnight and completely rewrite it all.

- Lantanaland from my iPhone


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Paul Kelly writing an album for Mazzy Star

In another time, in a land far away, I ran a music venue. At that mythical and magical place I saw so many indie pop, singer songwriter, acoustic, hippie bands that any music that starts with the gentle strum of a guitar usually sends me heading for the hills. I am incredibly, stupidly picky about the music from that rough genre (which to be fair, The Wife and I had trouble defining) and one of the incredibly sad things about The Alley is that the best bands didn't always pull the crowds, get the airplay or sell the albums.

Take Alex Oliver, a long time muso around Brisbane and a legend at 4ZZZ radio, he had this incredible storytelling style and an unbelievable way of picking an acoustic guitar, but he never seemed to finish a lot of songs. He never got his shit together to make that next level.

Sometimes a band like Angus and Julia Stone will pop up and shine through the dross but how many great bands just slip through the cracks? In OZ hip hop, the genre I champion above all others, the good stuff tends to pop up, simply because there are just not that many acts and the good ones get noticed and promoted by the bands that do have the media profile.

When I was at The Alley I probably got fifteen indie pop/acoustic demos a week! And I was the smallest original live venue in Brisbane. How can you push through so many acts? How do you get noticed?

Recently through a set of unfortunate circumstances I was having an email exchange with some old mates from my home town and it was mentioned that Louise had an album out. This family have always been incredibly talented in the arts so I wasn't particularly surprised. Louise was kind enough to give me a promo code to download the album and to be honest I was blown away.

Imagine if Mazzy Star came to Paul Kelly and asked him to write her some songs. (just a side note, Paul Kelly is the bomb. You can keep your Tom Waits, your Neil Diamond, your Bob Dylan, I'll take Paul any day of the week). This is what that record would sound like. I love the way Louise's voice sounds.

So please go to laneway and have a listen. Buy the record. For me, I'll be going to my first live show since I quit the live venues, it's going to be great.

- Lantanaland from my iPhone

Location:Ten years ago

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

If the fire dies, who would you want to hang out with.

One of my favourite books is by SM Stirling, an examination of what might happen if the "fire" goes out of the world, electricity, gunpowder, in fact anything that goes bang. The REASON I like it is it makes me see the world differently. That big rain recently? Imagine if you had to try and keep up all that infrastructure without power, or cars. How long would the roads last before they would simply disappear. You only have to see the grass beside the road grow a metre while it's still too wet to mow to realize that our ordered world needs a lot to keep it that way.

Now I could fool myself and think if the impossible happened and all the power went away that I'd be better off than most. By about one week I reckon. I have a cow and bees and chooks, but my garden is pretty poor and the fruit trees are a few years off truly producing and the tanks don't have gravity feed yet.

Stirling really looked at the way people reacted though. Some started little dictatorships. One group banded together and formed a clan. It truly was just pitching in and helping each other till things got back on keel. It only worked because of the attitudes of the people made it work. A different bunch trying the same thing might have torn themselves apart in a week. This is what I love about his writing, it makes a filter for your brain that can just drop in at unexpected times.

We've just come back from a weeks holiday at my parents beach shack at Curtis Island. It's a fibro open house and has solar power, tanks and home made solar hot water. It's not for everyone. There is bugger all privacy and you have to moderate your lifestyle for the resources. For the last six years a group of our mates have been joining us on and off for a week at The Island. I do all the cooking and we go fishing and play lots of cards. There is a mountain of washing up and little jobs but things just get done. There is no TV. A fair bit of drinking. But halfway through the week it struck me, if the fire died and I had to band together with a group of people, this would be them.

Unselfish, thoughtful, funny, willing to learn and always there when a job needed doing, that's the sort of people I'd want if my life depended on it. Luckily it doesn't, so we can still just go fishing, eat, play cards and drink beer.

- Lantanaland from my iPhone

Location:In Bed

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Butter Makes Me Batty

I like butter. A lot. Margarine has not passed my lips in probably ten years and butter was one of the main reasons that I wanted cows so badly here in Lantanaland. Most of my cooking knowledge comes from either a French or Italian background and there is nothing better than a sauce made from a reduction of pig trotter stock, with a dash of white wine and finished off with a big knob of butter. Preferably with a small mountain of mashed potatoes on the side. With butter.

Now I'm hungry.

The dairy industry is still getting my coin, because despite the large amounts of cream at my disposal, I have failed miserably to make any butter. I've tried leaving the cream out, the blender, the food processor, the stem blender, a whisk, the egg beaters, shaking it in a bottle, but nothing. Do I have some sort of anti butter field that prevents cream molecules bonding in my presence?

What makes it more vexing is that I am having moderate success with the cheese making, turning out reasonable haloumi and mozzarella and learning every time from my mistakes.

But no butter. It's making me a bit batty.

- Lantanaland from my iPhone

Location:Windy, Windy Lantanaland