Starting Again

16 01 2015

Hello? Does anyone still actually read this? Well, if you do, thank you.

I know I haven’t posted in a while, but meh (it’s not like I’m getting paid for every post I make).

Anyway, since I last posted last year, I have become a big(ger) fan of The Cure. I have come to be a fan of theirs much in the same way I became a fan of The Church; I have always been aware of their work, their sound and their influence, but not owned much of their material. Then, one day, it just clicked, “Wow. This is a great band! Why have I only got two of their albums?” (the key difference is that there is no emotional story attached, it really did just click) Needless to say, I now own most (but sadly not all) of their stuff. Yet in saying that, I am in possession of, or have heard enough of their material to be able to write about them and be satisfied within myself.

What I am going to write about is what I consider to be their best album. I not going to do it in a ‘Top 5’ style for reasons you shall soon see.

Bloodflowers

            Bloodflowers

Before Christmas, if you had asked me the best Cure album, I would have said, without any hesitation what so ever, “Bloodflowers” from 2000. The first time I heard it, I knew I wouldn’t be able to live without it anymore – I was captivated. Some of the song titles drew me in on their own, such as ‘Where The Birds Always Sing‘, ‘There Is No If…‘, (yes, that is me), ‘Out Of This World‘ and ‘The Last Day Of Summer‘. Overall, the vibe of the album is somber and reflective, mellow and relaxing (which is right up my ally. And given that they had been around (despite many line up changes, Robert Smith being the only member on every album) for over 20 years, it’s kind of appropriate to reflect. Because of who I am, this would have been my vote for all money.

But then, I have been quoted as saying that my favourite song of their’s is ‘10:15 Saturday Night’ (The parent album being either ‘Three Imaginary Boys‘ or ‘Boys Don’t Cry’, of which I am the lucky owner of both. The prior being a Japanese edition). These albums aren’t like ‘Bloodflowers’, they are pop Cure at their very best. ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ is a fantastic album in my opinion, but that may be down to the very addictive bass lines. It doesn’t fit my usual criteria of what is needed to be a great album, as all the songs are very (very) short (less than 35 minute all up). But it is a good album for the opposite reasons to ‘Bloodflowers’, but is it their best? Hmm.

My Japanese edition of Three Imaginary Boys

My Japanese edition of Three                       Imaginary Boys

That was my mentality before Christmas and new year though; since then two more contenders have entered the fray. I will start with the one that I don’t think is quite as good, but still pushing it weight around; ‘Disintegration’. Darker and denser then both ‘Bloodflowers’ and ‘Boys Don’t Cry’, it still produced such hits as ‘Lullaby‘ and ‘Lovesong‘. It is an epic listen with 12 songs and clocking in at 73.5 minutes. Some songs are angry, some are sad, some just need to be heard to be believed. To sum the album up succinctly – the title says it all.

Disintegration

              Disintegration

However, the big mover and shaker in the discography is 1982’s ‘Pornography‘. It is an album that has garnered critical acclaim around the world. At first I was non-phased by it; it didn’t do anything for me. But that changed one night. I can’t quite put my finger one what it is, but I have a feeling that it my have been that this was the first time I gave it a proper listen since I’ve been playing bass. So in one respect this should be my favourite album as it has big, driving bass and a darker, non commercial sound. That and the title is evocative. If you play it for background noise and don’t really listen to it, it wouldn’t be a good album as all the songs do seem to be very similar (due to the aforementioned bass and drum), but when given a chance, the lyrics do come out a bit. But something is missing…..

And that brings me back to square one; what is the best Cure album? I think ultimately it all comes down to what you’re in the mood for at the time. And that is what makes them a great band, because they can do something for any mood you might find yourself in.

Porn

                           Pornography





I Lost Count

20 08 2014

Three? Four? I dunno, I lost count.

But anyway, I’m back! (Again – ed.). Yes and I actually have a motive apart from wanting to be a writer, although sometimes the writing bug does strike and I get the urge to write this big fantabulous piece. But it usually stalls at this point as I struggle for ideas for what to write about and then get demotivated when I realise that research will be involved.

Anyway, to fill you in on why I’m back: I bought a (Jeep? – ed.), *sigh*, no, I bought a bass guitar. I actually bought two basses and acquired an electric six-string (hi Nguyen). I’ve had the first bass (a black Casino Stage Series) since January, the second (a red Rebelrocker/Rickenbacker F-style) for about a fortnight and the six-string (a red and black 1983 Ibanez Roadster II Series) since my birthday.

My Rickenbacker

  My Rickenbacker

I literally said “F*ck it” one day and went shopping around for decent beginners bass packs and wound up with the Casino. The reason I bought a bass is because when I did music classes in high school I could never get the hang of playing a) with a pick; and b) chords. So that really only left one option. And that suited me fine, because the bass guitar is my kind of instrument if you think about it. It plays an important part in a band, but isn’t (well not always) the lead instrument. So it keeps everything together without always being at the forefront.

I can now play over twenty different songs from a range of artists including The Church (no surprises there – ed.), The Cure, Jet, Queen, The Beatles and Green Day to name but a few. To begin with, I used to record myself playing along to whatever song I had learnt that day/week and upload them to Facebook. All was well and good. But there was this one recording that I was particularly pleased with, Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”. So pleased with it was I that wanted to keep a copy of the video.

My Casino

My Casino complete with Kilbey-Kennedy “You Are Everything” promo sticker

After a while, it dawned on me that I actually had a Google+ account and could upload to YouTube for the world to see. So I though “what the hell?” I had nothing to lose and all to gain as far as I was concerned. So I did, and it’s been a super mediocre success to be kind. But I continued, why stop there? Since then, I have uploaded over 10 more videos, but only one has blitzed all expectations. I don’t know how given how simple it is.

Then, last night, I desperately wanted another outlet to potentially boost my number of views before remembering that I still had this blog in operation. I know I don’t have many subscribers here, and I probably have even less, if any, given the big hiatus I’ve undertaken. But to apply the same mentality here, what have I got to lose? So, for you viewing pleasure is my channel’s most watched video; Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock And Roll”.





Untitled

30 09 2013

I don’t know if I have mentioned this before, but I have been the admin of the unofficial Church fan page (yay?!) for a few months now. So this means that everything that happens on the page means I get a notification.

On Saturday morning, a link to this page was posted and made for an interesting read. With a band like The Church, there will always be contention and disagreement about which album is best. As was unsurprisingly the overall vibe in the ensuing comments. With some saying “sometimes I feel like I must be listening to some other band all together when I read reviews like that….” and “As we say in Scotland, “Opinions are like bum-holes. Everyone’s got one”” (which I ‘liked’ and put away in the memory bank).

So simply because I can, here is my list of favourite Church albums and opinions that may differ to that of Hoyer.

Number 1: Back With Two Beasts (’05)

I bought this album on the power of the cover image alone; although I saw the red and blue re-issue before I saw the original blue and yellow. This is one of only a few albums that have a cover that does justice to the music with which it’s associated. The striking red and blue of the sky tells you the best time to listen you the album; late in the evening in the summertime. It just doesn’t have the same feel to it at any other time (trust me, I know). But for me though, the stand out songs are actually ‘Snowfaller’, ‘Pantechnicon’ and ‘Ionian Blues’.

Number 2: Untitled #23 (’09)

This album provided me with one of my first memorable moments in live music; the rendition of ‘Pangaea’. One of constant on this album though is the guitar work; it is smooth and silky on every track. But as I have mentioned previously, it also has (for me) a small incorporated story in the second half of the album. Which is why my choice of standout tracks are actually ‘On Angel Street’, ‘Sunken Sun’ and ‘Anchorage’ in that order.

cover_16191223102009

Number 3: Beside Yourself (’04)

I know this wasn’t included in Hoyer’s list, but it is a collection of songs that constitute an album’s length, so I’m counting it here. From the outset, this album can be taken many different ways. It clearly states that it is mainly consistent of B-sides and outtakes from the recording sessions of the previous album (Forget Yourself), hence the name. So in that respect, you’d be forgiven for expecting something similar in sound. But the cover is an artwork by SK and is a person that appears half male-half female. Hmm… But as with BWTB, it is best sampled during the evening of a summertime. The best tracks are ‘Crash/Ride’ followed by ‘Moodertronic’.

Things I do agree with Hoyer about though include his thoughs on Magician Among The Spirits, except I’d have placed it at number 4 and given a massive mention to ‘The Further Adventures Of The Time Being‘ as the best song on the album closely followed by ‘Afterimage‘ as an fantastic closer.

About the only thing with which I agree with Hoyer is his ranking of Sometime Anywhere and his choice of ‘My Little Problem‘ as a standout song.





And It’s Goneeeee

30 05 2013

“Dearest Log….”

Sorry, but that’s kind of what it’s been like this last month. This is my 13th post this month, 4 more than my second most prolific month.

I’ve always held the belief that journals, or diaries, are for poofs and that I’d never have one. I had some in high school, but they were supplied by the school and I never used them. Even though I still haven’t bought a journal/dairy, the way that I’ve been blogging has been like owning one. So does that mean I’m a poof?

I don’t know what is causing me more stress at the moment. Not being able to handle/get motivated for uni, the fear of having to tell my parents in time or finding something that will act as my ‘final chance hotel’, because, well, it will be. I’m guessing that there will be some smartass out there who will read this and say “well, it’s actually a combination of all of those things and…”

One thing that being in this constant state of dismay has allowed me to do is reflect better than I ever have. And become even more depressed. I’m struggling with what I’m doing because it clearly isn’t my strong point in life, no matter how much I kid myself.

But when I think about my life, I can see that I could have done heaps of things. I remember a few years ago when someone who used to be my friend (you know who you are) played football (or rugby league for those of you who might’ve thought soccer) and his team was spruiking for wingers. He asked me if I was interested. For those of you who can remember one of my first posts from nearly 15 months ago, you’ll know that I’m not great at any particular sport, but I’m willing to get in and have a go at most things.

For some reason, I didn’t take up his offer. I got all the details (costs, where/when registrations was etc.), but I didn’t follow through (good thing I never verbally agreed). But when I look back now, I should have done it. I know it means absolutely nothing, but I can remember a time at school when we played tackle footy and I somehow managed to hop along on one foot with three blokes trying to stop me. I was only taken down when a forth came up behind and gave me a mighty big shove.

And another time at a coaching clinic when I was pitted up against the local team’s (Berkeley Eagles if anyone was interested) fastest play in my age group. Him being a player, he was kitted out to the max; uniform, mouthguard, studs, you name it. But this was just a foot race remember. Because I rocked up on spur of the moment because there was nothing else doing, I wore my worn out old sandals that had no tread left. But I won. And naturally everyone who watched started hounding me to join the team.

There was also the time that I was asked to play cricket. I’m not the fastest bowler you’ll ever see, but I was a consistent bowler. And I could mix it up if needed. I remember one time when playing PSSA for my primary school (BWPS), I got about 5 wickets in one game against Cringila and was one of the key reasons that we were able to dismiss them for just 11. As it transpired though, I was a slightly better indoor cricket player than I was traditional. Even when there was a crowd of hot chicks calling out my name I was able to hold my nerve (the chicks knew my name because when I bowled, I left my hat near the net and they read my name that was on the inside of the beak).

My interpretation of a Dodge Viper at speed

My interpretation of a Dodge Viper at speed

Even in my HSC I could have gotten into the health sector (which I now wish I had). My final mark in PD/H/PE was actually 81% (and this was supposedly one of the hardest courses on offer because there was so much content to cover). I also did SLR (‘Sports, Lifestyle, Recreation’, not a fancy Mercedes sports car) and topped the class every time (but only because the rest of the class was filled with total idiots who were good at the sport bit, but not the theory).

Then there is when I used to play basketball. At the time, because I was so short then, I wasn’t the best when it came to scoring hoops, but I was fast. So every team I played for always had the same game plan: if I got the ball, my speed would get us up the other end and all the others had to do was get up near the hoop for me to pass to them to score. Simple, yet effective.

Since then, I’ve grown, so my technique has changed; and for the better. I can now sink with a little better consistency and from more places (I can shoot from halfway and get the distance with ease, just not the hoop). This became apparent on Wednesday when I played a full court game and scored numerous goals; both from lay-ups (which I seem to have mastered) and regulation shot. When my team made a break, because I was hanging back, I got passed the ball, but the opposition’s fastest player was looming fast and there was no one else from my team in a better position than me. I don’t know why, but my legs refused to move, so I pivoted and took a shot, from the intersection of the quarter way line and the side line. If this were scripted, it would’ve gone in. But it’s not and it didn’t. However, if I’d been one step closer to the net, it would’ve.

The one time I attempted a wheel and it wasn't even on a car

The one time I attempted a wheel and it wasn’t even on a car

And how could I forget the time that I made the cross-country team 3 years running and was the only person that whole time who wasn’t in TSP? A bit of explaining: I went to a sports high school where there were teams for a number of different sports (mainly the aforementioned rugby league) and if you lived outside the whatever km radius, you only got into the school if you played sport for a team and were willing to represent the school in TSP, which stands for ‘Targeted Sports Program’. So to not be in TSP and make cross-country 3 years running is no mean feat.

I could also have become a musician. Even though I never mastered chords in my time, I was chosen for extracurricular guitar lessons provided free of charge by the high school. And I did love playing the guitar. And naturally I do wish I carried on with it, but clearly I didn’t. Not only that, I also picked up the bass as well for a group performance. And keyboard. I was even chosen as the bass in a vocal group because I have a voice that was the equivalent of about 3-4 keys on the piano deeper than any other guys in the class. And I nearly forgot that I was offered a few classes for trumpet as well.

Quite a few people commented how I was a good public speaker as well; even though I could barely reach the microphone for lack of height. One time, a girl that was considered quite hot by a fair number of people told me how she found my voice calming after I gave a 10 minute speech. Shame she’s lesbian.

And even though I was never a fan of art in year 7 or anything, people tell me that I could’ve made a decent drawer if I’d stuck at it; because I did fill the male stereotype by drawing in the back of my maths book in class. My gravatar thing-o for this is hand drawn. I also have a folder of other things (pretty much all cars though, but I could never get the wheels right so I just left them off) I’ve drawn. And some of them aren’t that bad, if I do say so myself.

Whipped this one up in under 2 minutes. Even surprised myself

Whipped this one up in under 2 minutes. Even surprised myself

So as you can see, I’ve thrown a hell of a lot of good opportunities away because I thought I wanted to be a writer. About the only thing I’m qualified to do now is comment on The Church and all associated material. But that won’t get me far. Although, their on-line moderator did step down from her position the other month, so if I was any good with computers…..

Fuck.

*I would like to apologize if I offended anyone by calling them ‘chicks’ or ‘girls’. It’s just that I have no idea what to call them without being disrespectful, as I said a few posts ago.





Corrections

26 05 2013

You might remember that back in February I was asked to write some reviews of albums for The Church’s website. Which I did.

And you might also remember that last week I compiled a top ten best Church songs. Well, as it turns out, that list is wrong. And I know this because I listened to Back With Two Beasts for the first time in a while last night.

As I said in the review of BWTB, it’s the type of album that is memorable on its own, but there are no stand-out songs that you will remember in a few days time after you’ve put it away. And it is for this exact reason that the list I compiled is wrong, BECAUSE I FORGOT ‘IONIAN BLUES’!!!!!!!!!!

Back-With-Two-Beasts

I don’t know how it happened, but this song never crossed my mind for even half a millisecond. But now that I know about/remember it, it instantly becomes the number 1 song, sitting high and mighty atop the list.

I did consider adding an ‘honourable mentions’ section at the end of the list but I decided against this. Now that I’m talking about it though, I may as well.

And I’ll start with the song that made way for ‘Ionian Blues’: the acoustic version of ‘Chromium’. The other mentions go out to ‘One Day’, ‘Reptile’, ‘Tranquility’, ‘LLC’, ‘As You Will’, ‘Moon Hangs In Black’, ‘So Love May Find Us’ and ‘Is This Where You Live?

Can I just say though, it was really hard to compile this list as the band has released over 300 songs and are still going. So knowing my lack of brain cells to do the remembering, there are probably other songs that I’ve forgotten to mention, but to leave ‘Ionian Blues’ out was just unacceptable in every sense of the word. Especially when you consider that (this is where I’m going to feel really, super stupid) I’ve said before, and still say that it is, BWTB is my favourite album of all time.





It Was Coming Eventually

20 05 2013

I have asked on the unofficial Facebook page, but I only asked what they were, because no offence, but the explanation as to why would have gone something like this: “I don’t know why, it just has that something that appeals to me I guess”.

So in this completely unoriginal and totally expected post, I’m going to list my favourite 10 Church songs and why I like them.

Numero Uno: After Everything (2007)

This song is my absolute favourite. I’m talking about the acoustic version though, not the original (clichés will be in abundance from here on, just a heads up – ed.). This song has possibly the most beautiful vocal Steve has ever recorded with the band (he may have done better gone solo, but I’m not interested in that here). It is total melancholy, but that’s what Steve does best, so it’s no surprise. Everything about this song is just wonderful. From the opening strumming, through the stings section and the middle 8; it just falls into place like a jigsaw. I might also like it because I can relate to the words (“I really thought it would go on forever/ I never believed they would sever the ties/ All of the questions remaining unanswered/ Strangers reflection in a strangers eye), but that’s another story.

From here on in the songs are listed in no particular order.

#2, 3 + 4:

To save myself time here, just read this.

#5: My Little Problem (1994)

This song is the only good thing about what is in my view the worst album the band has ever recorded (consider the things that were happening at the time and cut them some slack man (ed.). The song goes for over 7 minute and encapsulates all that is good about the band. It is a confessional about Steve’s drug problem and is amazing given the apparent simplicity of the song compared to previous recordings from the band.

#6: A Month of Sundays (1984)

Again, read this.

#7: Easy (2006)

From the album ‘Uninvited, Like The Clouds’, the title of the song describes what it is to fall in love with it. Even though it doesn’t even hit the 5 minute mark, I was once quoted as saying that it felt like it went forever. I believe that this may have been due to my unfamiliarity with the song at the time and the fact that it doesn’t really have a solo as such.

#8: Life Speeds Up (1982)

B-side to ‘The Unguarded Moment’, this song is a hidden classic, one for the true fan. The song sounds big, an absolute mammoth of a song with what could best be described as a slight American influence in terms of the sound (it was produced by Bob Clearmountain don’t forget – ed.). I know this means bugger all, but is actually a good song to play either air guitar or drums to; so if you want to unwind to a new song, give this a try first.

#9: Chromium (2004)

Again, I’m talking about the acoustic version, not the original. Found on ‘El Momento Descuidado’ this re-imagining has the feel of a ‘Sunday crush’ song. When I listen to it, I see myself sitting in a chair that’s sunken into the sand and the ocean is lapping around my feet. The shadows have grown long and a chill has entered the breeze, but I don’t want to leave. About the only thing missing is that someone I like. Bliss.

#10: Crash/Ride (2004)

The third track from ‘Beside Yourself’, this track is, well, interesting. It starts off with loads of bass (that could just be your stereo settings dude – ed.) and just builds and builds.

Untitled2

I don’t know if it’s a sad song (and I don’t want to know), but I always feel a little deflated after listening to it.





I’m Not A Film Maker, Please Don’t Hurt Me

4 04 2013

I think the measure of a song is in its ability to draw you in. Do you skip to a specific song? Or do you wait for it to come around?

I say this as I have stumbled upon an album (of 10 songs) that I only listen to 3 of the songs (over and over and over again – ed.). The most interesting thing is none of them are singles (or what the band would seem to deem singles). Even though this band (oh give up, we all know who you’re talking about – ed.) hasn’t had a single in 23 years, the fact that they are releasing albums EPs suggests that they still have perceptions as to what they’d like singles to be if they were to have one.

untitled-23

The album I’m talking about (is Untitled #23 by The Church, we know – ed.), yes, that. The 3 songs don’t have EPs (the EPs are ‘Operetta’, ‘Deadman’s Hand’ and ‘Pangaea’), but still draw me every time.

The amazing thing is that even though I’m not a movie director/producer, I think you could make a film out of the seemingly present plot line of the songs. The plot line is there only when you consider that they are back to back to back.

Starting with ‘On Angel Street’, we see a man who could be a recovering (or still current) alcoholic/drug abuser. His relationship has broken down because of it, but with references to “your brother” and “your machine”, we can see that the protagonist still clings to hope.

7

The following ‘Sunken Suns’ sees the protagonist going through rehab. Be it through his own will or having had it suggested to him, he obviously realises that it’s his last hope at reconciliation with his loved one. This is a period of self reflection for him and relaxation sees him ‘change’.

The concluding song is ‘Anchorage’. Here we see the protagonist returned to the daily grind that is life. Having proven that he is a changed man, he gets an invite to a party or social get together. It’s here that he sees his former partner for the first time in a social environment since they have broken up and he went to rehab. The protagonist gets very uncomfortable with his ‘new’ surroundings and caves in becoming very anti-social.

The moral of this movie? Don’t become an abuse. Cherish everything you got, you don’t know when it might leave you. (How’s that for a government campaign? – ed.)

6a00e54ffb97e688340120a741c2fe970b-800wi

I know I have said previously that I don’t like knowing the meanings of songs, so if anyone does any research on these songs, please DON’T tell me what they mean. Even though I have come up with a possible understanding of these songs, because I came up with them on my own, it doesn’t bother me because they are my own constructions.

P.S. – Don’t listen to these 3 songs just before you have to go to work, they are very, and I mean VERY depressing; especially if yours is what could be described as a ‘thankless’ job.

P.P.S. – Don’t be afraid to check out some of the ‘reviews’ that I have written for The Church.

P.P.P.S. – Not so subtle plug! Or is it?