Thursday, July 1, 2010

there's the blockade!

it's been a while. i'd like to start this blog by saying thanks to martin from belgium. or bavaria. uh oh. i've fogotten where he's from. but anyway he told me in paris that he reads my blog. so thankyou. nice to know i'm not typing into the abyss.

sooooo germany. it was legit. i visited the augustiner brewery and brew house, hofbrauhaus and walked around a bunch. one night i worked out with joe and jord to meet them at 10:10am at rosenheim station the next day so we could go check out the eagles nest in berchtesgaden. google it. this required me to be awake at about 9 to catch a 9:30 train from just up the road. well since i have no phone and the watch i have has no alarm (but i worked out later my ipod does, fml) i rely on going to bed at the right time in order to wake up at the right time. this failed me, i woke up at 10:55. great. i sat around in bed for a while dwelling on the epicness of my fail at not making it to basically why i came to munich for (eagles nest) before dressing myself and trudging downstairs with little hope. after a quick google i decide to jump in a taxi and bolt it to the station.

turns out the taxi driver took me on the most random-ass route possible so instead of going straight down the road to the station he did like a massive loop so my route compared to the ideal one forms a massive grinning mouth. sigh. i get inside and run to the ticket booth and wait around for a bit before the guy is like "choo canten maken ze 11:50 tvain becoose ze platvorm iz to var avay, lol" so i bought a ticket to the next one then bolted and caught the early one. take that dracula. yeah i know dracula wasn't german, hush. so i get to rosenheim with no hope of the guys being there. i was stressed on the train ride but animal collective calmed me down. superb calm down and make happy music. yeah so i got off the train and wandered for a while around the station before going to info where the only guy who spoke english was occupied by some woman buying what must have been a house or something equally as significant because the transaction lasted for like 2 hours. okay maybe 25 minutes but it was long.

he told me how to get to berchtesgaden and i went to the right platform. a couple of minutes pass then i spot jord and joe coming up the stairs with bikes. the most amazing coincidence known to man. we laughed for ages at the pure chance of it. turns out they'd tried to email me a few times and just decided to cycle around for a while and wait to see if i'd show up. so we got on the train and headed to berchtesgaden, finally. we met a guy from brisbane who is studying bass trombone in germany somewhere and buddied up. we got to da berch ( btw) but found out we couldn't get to the eagles nest because the last bus was about to leave so we wouldn't be able to get back. sigh. we decided to go to konigssee instead, this epic glacial lake about 5km away. we had two bikes so jord ended up riding on the back while i rode cause i'm heavier. we got there and it was amazing. seriously so good.

suss this photo - - see the little island out on the water? it has a statue of a king on it with some ruins and such. it's awesome. we stripped (stripped makes it sound drawn out) and swam from that left edge of the shore just beyond those boat houses (in the forest) out to the island. the water was FREEZING. i'd be wagering it was close to zero. joe's toes went white and he couldn't feel them for a few hours. we hiked back to the village and tried to hitchhike but ended up doing the dink thing and riding back to berchtesgaden. tried to find a tavern for a drink, no luck. ended up getting beer from the train station which came in insanely solid bottles and tasted incredible. the beer in
caught the train back to central in munich and went back to the hostel after a train station dinner with the gents.

eventually we flew to london. we got to the airport not 100% knowing how we'd get picked up but eventually mark and jack appeared seemingly out of nowhere. cause the 10kg GPS i'd been lugging around with me didn't seem to work we ended up without one so we drove around london for a few hours trying to work out what to do. we found a nandos across the street from our hotel and ate. the hotel was interesting. no air con. like the van we hired. oh yeah, that's right. no air conditioning in the van and the only windows that open are the front two and a skylight. pretty amazing. this is now sweat tour '10 aka. disgusting thin layer of oily gloss that forms on your face when you're in a vehicle for too long with no fresh air or air conditioning...tour '10. later that night i went to my sister's to hang out for a bit. we hadn't seen each other for like 6 months so it was pretty legit. went home and "slept". next day we picked up ro and bree and headed to manchester for our first UK show. it went alright. the venue was nice. don (one of our managers)'s daughter and her boyfriend were there which was nice. some food after then off to the hotel to sleep. the next day we caught a ferry to ireland which was pleasant.

ireland was just pleasant overall. the people ruled, the venue was nice, we got fruit, show went good, people bought us guinness (guinness in ireland tastes about 50 times better than anywhere else in the world). quality time. shame we couldn't find our hotel later that night and after 3 hours of searching we just slept at a petrol station near the ferry docks. caught the ferry at a time that was too early, arrived in england again and drove to glastonbury. nice drive. due to some misorganisation on my part i'd written off any chance of my sister finding us at glasto but somehow she turned up just as we did exactly where we did. for anyone who knows anything about glasto's grounds, this is a bona fide miracle. the weather was perfect. we ran into polly and some of the mumford lads which was great. they were in mourning over the soccer. we walked across the fest to our stage (it took about a half hour...glasto is big) and got some food. eventually we wound up talking to some of the other dudes backstage who turned out to be chief, the band playing with us at bush hall in london in about two weeks. really legit guys. we ended up doing some acrobatics and inventing games with little tables and chairs around the place. everyone nearly got seriously injured a few times but all in the name of fun. jack and i met a fellow named avi buffalo who was after us on the stage who was super nice. he asked to listen to my ipod cause i was warming up to pig destroyer. he said they shredded. he is not wrong.

chief played and killed it. really solid live band, pretty chill. drummer michael reminded me of doug clifford from creedence. solid and entertaining to watch. sweet d00dz. we hung with them for a bit, played our set (it was alright) then walked around a while. my sister was hanging with us too which was most excellent. we found our way back to the van eventually with the chief dudes (to give them a lift back to their hotel) but when we got there we had to wait in line with the van for what must have been about 2 hours. it was insane. the line to get out was just. not. moving. joe got in the boot with mike (chief) and my sister and had a bit of a banjo hodown. nice work guys. eventually we got out and headed to ben mumford's place for some sleep. we woke up nice and late, ate some great breakfast then headed to brighton for the show that night. it went pretty good. first of a few shows with pearly gate music who are sweet people. after the show we drove a while to get to a hotel in dover near the ferry for the next day only to find out that they had no record of our booking. sweet. we drove and found another hotel and slept for about half an hour before heading to the ferry to head to calais to drive to paris. we got there and drove. it was a pleasant drive toward the end. paris is legit.

we loaded in and sat around for a while before soundcheck. joe and i washed our clothes then trekked around for a while trying to find a laundromat to dry our clothes in to not much avail. but that's cool. we eventually found one. it dried our clothes real good. sam octigan showed up at the show which was rad, sweet pal from back home. good to see another familiar face. emma, a friend of my pal nikoli was there too which was rad. show went pretty good. nice crowd. strangely large venue. we left our gear there afterward and headed back to the hotel where some of us stayed and slept and some of us went out. i slept. woke up to the hotel phone ringing and the hotel brought us up some bread, croissants and coffee. thanks guys. checked out and headed to the eiffel tower. it was big and not bad. octigan met us there, we walked around for a bit, got ice cream, took some photos with the tower then got some lunch back near the van. i had a weird frenchy hotdog. said our goodbyes to octigan (see you in three weeks!) then started the drive to cologne where i am now.

i watched a film called werckmeister harmonies by bela tarr. it's a hungarian flick about a guy in a small town that's having kind of an existential crisis when a big whale is brought to town as a freak show type exhibit. it's made up of only a few really long intricately planned takes. all shot in black and white. sparse music. very, very beautiful film. haunting is the right word. i recommend it highly. a few bits of forced emotion but the rest is great. you need to be patient with it.

we got in, ate, slept and i am now awake and it's like 1:15pm. we're playing in koln tonight. notbadnotbad. i'm hungry.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

dead kings.

bonnaroo was intense. kinda like how i imagine woodstock would be if they tried to run it today. about a tenth of the people and widespread commercialization. they had a helicopter too. jay-z gave me a rap hat, thanks mate. well, not him personally but his clothing brand. i don't really wear it but it's a good'un. we played on a little stage in front of where weezer was playing which was interesting. never played on a stage in front of another stage before. i ended the set with a white towel wrapped around my head held on with a garnier fructus elastic headband. may have inadvertently bolstered the rep of just being a band called the middle east and seeming like we're from the middle east. after the set we all caught some dinner together (tme and mumford & crew) which was excellent. the food and the company were unbeatable. we said some goodbyes and i ran off to get a rap hat while everyone else went to stevie wonder. i went to stevie after but couldn't find anyone so i just caught a tiny bit then bailed back to the van. we went back to mike & ash's, split up the gear, did some general cleaning and sorting of the van then mark and i set off to get to jackson, TN. we arrived and slept.

we woke up and drove. and drove. and drove. and drove. and for a change then we thought it might be a cool idea if maybe we considered possibly just driving a little bit more. eventually we got to dallas and i got on my flight. after some drama with my credit card eventually they gave me inflight wireless internet for free. this therefore made it the best flight ever. inflight internet is amazing. anyone who saw all of my facebook updates understands how much i loved it. anyway. landed at LGA in NYC and caught a taxi to rich's where i slept. the next day i woke up and pretty much just started to plan my next few days. after working out a rough plan rich and i met up with sasha and we went and saw sally seltmann play at a sweet dark little bar. she ruled. then sasha and i headed off to the empire state to try and catch the sunset but we missed it by like a half hour. that's alright, we enjoyed it anyway. after that we went to planet hollywood in times square. what a weird place. the most unusual memorabilia hanging around the place. some rad stuff from se7en that i really wanted. some stuff from beetlejuice (yep). some stuff from fifth element and die hard 3. a bunch of stallone stuff. you could tell who owned the place. the food wasn't too bad. a couple basically broke up next to us which was kind of distressing but we tried to block it out. after that we bid our farewells (see you in australia!) and went to our respective places of rest.

the next day (the 15th) i went on a bit of a mission. i dropped some rolls of film (14) off at a sweet photo lab, walked up to the NYC public library and took a look, then went to the chrysler building and took a big long look at that (favourite building in NYC next to the empire, definitely), then checked out grand central (mark told me i'd love it and i did), then dropped some stuff off at our business manager's office, then went to NBC for a fallon taping. it was pretty rad. such a tiny studio, really surprised me. the guy who was warming up the crowd singled me out as the orrstrayylyann so we had a bit of a back and forth which was entertaining. the roots came out and played thought @ work to get the crowd ready (awesome) to which i reacted like a school girl to the beatles in the 60's. the roots are still the best. see them live and try denying it. cedric the entertainer was on and he was funnier than i remember. he made some crack about there being an ipad app for where to buy weed in the hood and ?uestlove made a "he just say that on fallon?" face. it was a pretty awkward comment. fred willard was on too and wasn't as funny as i'd hoped. still cool to see him in person though. broken social scene played a song too. killed it.

afterwards this feller named paul took me down and showed me the set which was pretty cool to see. i got to see ?uest's kit up close too which was pretty surreal. learned a few little things i might try and work into my setup. after that i walked down 7th and found a cinema and watched get him to the greek which was alright. might have to see it again. i dig jonah hill so i was always destined to see it. walked back to rich's and slept. i don't remember what i did the next day. i think i went and saw splice which was pretty surprisingly rad and legitimately disturbing. and really well made. after that i bailed back to rich's then went out again and saw best worst movie which is a doco about troll 2 and the recent cult status it's achieved. really good, really funny, really entertaining doco. kinda heartbreaking in parts too. definitely recommend it. after that, sleep. next day i got up and saw breathless (godard) at the film forum which was a pretty killer experience. brand new print, lovingly restored. looks good as new. still as fresh of a film as ever too. after that i headed back to rich's and we picked up greg and went to brooklyn bowl to see the roots/john legend play.

pretty surreal little show. not a big venue which was odd given who was playing. i watched ?uest and john the whole time, and james poyser. i didn't even realise poyser was playing with the roots now. he's amazing. pure fire on a piano. did a ridiculous solo in one of the songs that had everyone else in the band cracking up laughing from the sheer sickness of it. after that we bowled awhile while ?uesto dj'd the night away. i did good on my first game but sucked royally after that. what's a boy to do. the lakers/celtics game was playing all around the venue at the same time and when the lakers won, ?uest was spinning that kelis "i hate you so much right now" song and he dropped it back to probably half the speed or more for a couple of minutes to really emphasize exactly how he was feeling about the lakers at the time. we eventually headed home and i slept.

woke up, hectic times. picked up some photos from the shop, packed my bags, booked hostels...a few other things before i left. bid my farewell to rich (who's a legend for putting me up for the last couple of days/nights), jumped in a cab, raced to jfk as fast as i could (it took around an hour and forty five...nasty) only to find the computers were down so they just manually checked us in. which was interesting. the flight was alright, i watched star wars episode III: revenge of the sith. if you take out all the clowning droid voices and basically every scene (except the choking one) with padme then you have a really solid film. easily the best of the prequels. very badarse. the opening is the best of the prequels too, straight into it.


i also read child of god by cormac mccarthy. pretty intense book, not for the weak of stomach or those who don't like weird stories. definitely his shortest book too. after i got off the flight they put us with a different carrier to get to munich (the flight went into dusseldorf) who charged me excess baggage which is a whole other kettle of fish but i eventually got on the flight and listened to animal collective the whole way. real short flight, might have actually been less than an hour flight time. once i got there it was a juggling act with all of my gear. when it came to stairs, cause i had my rolling luggage, snare and cymbals (and backpack but that doesn't count), sometimes i had to take two items up some steps, come down, grab the lone item, grab one of the two items i already brought up on the way past, go up further, go down and grab the straggler and so on. painful. but i finally got to the hostel where i am now at. sigh.

the title has no relevance to the contents of this post, i just think they're a badass band.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

in nashville.

phoenix was pretty good. we ended up hanging out exchanging party tricks by the end of the night over a few beers. then we (mumford + crew & tme) attempted a human pyramid. we did not succeed. this would not be the last attempt, however.

after that we high-tailed it to austin. the venue was basically a big shed but sounded surprisingly badass. i only played ONE tables tennis game against rohin and NO POOL AT ALL besides both being free for all for the whole night. this bums me out a lot. all the denton crew came down for the show which was amazing, so good to see them all again. i ended up going to a bar named mohawk and hanging with two new friends, liz and bob. liz is a singer-songwriter and bob is a comedian. they were real interesting folk and nicely bought me a drink or two. we headed back to chance (heck)'s house which is HUGE and hung for a bit. bree, carly sue, lesley, courtnie and myself then went to kerby lane for some late night (4:30am) eats. i had some enchiladas. they were good. lesley chose a chicken sannich so she could sit back in the corner of the booth and chill. that was the actual reason she told us she chose it. good reason. went back to chances, slept for a few hours.

woke up, head to dallas. i watched some more penn & teller and listened to the new deftones. penn & teller ruled, not so sure about new deftones yet. think it'll be a grower. it's a little too overtly melodic in some parts...what i mean by that is it always felt the melody in deftones was understated. part of the song as a whole that seemed to write itself in there because it fit perfectly. some of the stuff on the new album feels melodic for melodic's sake. this sounds weird, i know. i need to listen to it more. as pretentious and weird as it may sound, i kind of see deftones as the radiohead of metal. they do whatever the hell they want and always pull it off...well, i need to listen to the new album to make sure they pulled it off. so to speak. anyway.

we got to the house of blues in dallas. it's a killer venue, one of the newest HOB's in the country. actually i think it is THE newest one. the downstairs room is excellent and big and the room we played in, the cambridge room upstairs, was also sweet. dealey plaza was a 5 minute walk away (where kennedy was assassinated) but i didn't end up going there which i now consider a mistake. we got some free chow (i got the elwood: sourdough bun, tomato, lettuce, chili mayo, cayan chicken & chips...amazing) and somehow got the sweetest dressing room in the whole building. it overlooked the main downstairs room where wonder girl were playing with 2PM. 2PM killed it, wonder girl not so much. the sound of girl's screams was DEAFENING. insane. we played okay. before the last song we started thanking people which went on for about 3 minutes or so. we even thanked cheverolet for making the van we toured in. mumford ruled too. pretty sad being our last show together though. bonnaroo doesn't count.

after the show i ran into mel who is a pal of my friend andy. she stayed at a house i lived in forever ago (2007 i think) so that was a weird chance encounter. later we tried to do the mumford/tme pyramid again after taking an end of tour crew photo but we failed aaahhhgain. i blame the top two rows for being too scared to scale our mighty 'mid. after that we headed back to denton to hang with everyone which was sweet, then went to bed. goodnight.

next day we got up, hung for a bit and said our goodbyes. next stop, nashville. the drive was pretty good. i bought at the mountains of madness which is shaping up to rule pretty hard. did some more listening and watched some more penn & teller with joe. got to nashville to mike & ash's (they rule super hard) and hung for a bit before sleep. just woke up before to some amazing breakfast from m&a and now we're about to head to bonnaroo, our last show in the USA for a long while. this is epic. after the show we're splitting up our gear for our respective flights to different places. pretty crazy.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

good grief.

i am BEYOND behind. ugh. it's like forgetting to do homework and running off and doing cool stuff like playing under the broken fire hydrant in the street while tribe called quest blasts from some boombox nearby being held by a dude with a flat top and you're wearing bright coloured parachute clothes probably adidas and everyone's dancing and having a good time and some old man is yelling at us to stop dancing and making such a racket and so on but then when you get home and relax into the couch for your favourite session of cat dog or rocco's modern life or even beavis and butthead you find a crumpled piece of paper wedged in the gap between the sofa cushion and the sofa back and it turns out it's actually your maths homework but you're not good at maths and it's due tomorrow but there's no way you can do it so you just don't and then forget to do it and then the teacher calls you up the front in class and you act all cool like forgetting to do your homework is sick but then the teacher makes an example of you and you get all up in her grill and start fumin' all over the place and she just sends you to the principal's office and you get expelled.

that's what it's like right now.

alright so we did a bunch of stuff. ummm...redwoods of northern california. amazing. super tall trees. very tall, verrryyy dangerous. we ran into jack johnson there. i think he was just hanging with his fam. we had a debate amongst ourselves as to if it was really him. we have decided it was probably him after some research. everyone saw a brown bear run across the road but me. i shot two rolls of film but one broke inside the camera so it was ruined and the other didn't even go through the camera so i felt pretty dumb about that. we went to san francisco and played there and there was this chef named jose who was amazing. he also had this kitchenhand who's name i forget. apparently, according to jose, "children of bodom, they come here and they play, they ask for jose". he also said silverchair ask for jose. jose was a pretty amazing cook, i'll be honest. i went back for seconds, possibly thirds. sasha (hough, pal from melbourne) came out to the show. cool seeing a melbourne pal in another country. she had a girl she was travelling with too named tania. i said "had a girl" just then like tania is a bag or something. which she is not. anyway.

after that i don't even remember. i ended up in LA, walked around a while, caught one of those touristy tours that's like AND THERE IS THE HOUSE JENNIFER ANISTON LIVED IN WHEN SHE WAS ON FRand stuff like that. pretty lame but 25 bucks to sit down for 2 hours and see most of beverly hills and hollywood was a pretty sweet deal. plus i got to see zanuck, goldwyn, newman...all these awesome estates from the golden age. and aaron spelling's house which is incredibly big. the LA shows went pretty sweet, a bit of fun. met some crazy people. i went to amoeba which was overwhelming and i ended up walking out with nothing. actually wait, that was the second day. first day i walked out with new dillinger, cult of luna - eternal kingdom w/dvd and chasing amy (criterion...4 bucks!). tried to go to the cinerama dome but i missed all the decent sessions. fail.

we did a show in costa mesa too which was nice. that was on our lonesome, not with mumford. i was on fire when it came to pool that night. i seriously couldn't miss a shot. i was surprising even myself, i hadn't played since brooklyn like 3 weeks back. i hope this pool mojo continues until i get home and then i can smash andrew, aaron and vallejos in one swoop. look out boys.

then we played a show in solana beach with mumford. that was...weird. turned into a bit of a slap-dash set but i guess that's okay. we hung out with christina (VH, friend from aus and traveller/wanderlust extraordinaire) and she gave us a place to stay and shared breakfast with us this morning. that was excellent. i had eggs, toast and strawberries. it worked. then we drove across the bloody desert and now we're in phoenix. we just played before, mumford are playing now and killing it. everyone is singing every single word. i swear if marcus coughed the crowd would cough at the same time. brilliant.


p.s. won't be so long next time. promise.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

wow, delay.

why have i NOT posted an entry for like 10 days? ridiculous.

alright so the philadelphia show wasn't at the filmore. it was at another venue which i forget the name of. oh well. it was fun. i got some photos developed, my first lot with the yashica and they turned out okay. shame about the developing, didn't work so good. we drove back to our hotel in jersey and hit bed hard. the next day we drove into brooklyn and had breakfast/walked around. somehow we ran into the mumford guys. you'd think we were on the same tour or something. they showed us a few things then mark and i went for a long walk to try and find a music shop. we probably spent about an hour walking around to no avail. eventually we loaded into the venue (the music hall of williamsburg) and went off to find the real music store that actually existed which we did find because it actually did exist. amazing. back to the venue, soundcheck, eat some food. we played alright. mumford did too. we did our first "whole band does a song with them" and it worked pretty well besides a lot of bung hits from me. after the show we went bowling at some bowling alley which was a ball. no pun intended. back to rich's, sleep time.

we woke up super late and rich took us to eat some burgers at some burger joint which was sick. it was also raining a lot. i went and tried to get my film developed but to no avail. we headed to the venue (webster hall). i could spend so long in that venue just looking around. it's beautiful. i took a lot of photos which will eventually be developed properly. we did another shared song which went better and it was an enjoyable show all around. for me at least. after the show we retired like babies and just went to sleep. the next day was our own show in NYC at the mercury lounge. earlier in the day we went and had lunch with rich and jordan (TAO) at soho house. very snooty. food wasn't bad though. after that we went to the venue and loaded in to get set up. it was an early show, we played at 8:30. it went pretty good. crowd was quiet which is always nice. the venue runs two shows a night so we had to load out straight after we played. we hung around for a while, went to a bar or two then mark and i headed into the city to go to the empire state building.

this was the fulfilling of a long-term dream of mine. i've always kind of romanticized about the empire's always been a bit mythic to me. king kong hung out there for crying out loud. i knew it was an art deco masterpiece too which got me even more excited. it was about as exciting as i expected which ruled. i took a lot of photos. it was 20 bucks to go to the 84th floor and another 15 to go up to the 104th. we just went to the 84th. i might do the 104th when i come back. for sake of completion of the dream. i was too scared to get too close to the edge too. you get serious vertigo that high up. you could see everything, even the statue of liberty despite it being tiny. after that we went back to rich's and slept. time to leave NYC.

we headed to washington d.c. next, the 9:30 club. before we got there we drove around for a little while. to be honest i didn't really dig the place. i understand how important it is and it's really clean and nice and such but it's just...kinda dull. sorry d.c. the venue was real nice, i like the 9:30 club a lot. nice vibe, nice sound, nice layout...real chill. and they give you these amazing muffins! chocolate filled with cream and 2 (TWO) layers of icing with 9:30 written on top in some other kind of beautifully delicious amazingness. so good. i think i ate like 3. bad me. we guested with mumford again but did it in our underwear this time. they were surprised to say the least. after that we went to the hotel and slept.

the next day we headed to cleveland. we played in a ballroom. the beachland ballroom. kind of a ballroom in the 70's sense. just a big room with curtains and a few other things. i went to get some photos developed but they turned out garbage so i demanded a refund. it's crazy how varying the quality can be sometimes. definitely not keen on walgreens or CVS developing anymore. going to wait for pro-shops. shame cause of some the photos i could tell were going to rule really hard going by the (bad) prints and the negatives (which the dude dropped on the floor while i was getting my refund...thanks). the show went nicely. all the mumford guys joined us for better times which was kinda fun. oh wait, ben wasn't there. he was off buying food. might do it again tonight but with all of them. mumford played solid and we did our usual whole band guest appearance with them too. everyone gathered around winstson and thrusted while playing their instruments. solid. after the show we messed around for a while and went to a bar from some pool and hangs. morgan came out for the show which was nice, real sweet to see her. we went to her grandma's house in canton, ohio to sleep. it was a really legit old house.

we woke up real late (like 12:30) and went for a drive through amish county. buggies, bonnets, long shapeless dresses, chin straps, the works. i really liked it there. we stopped at a place where they made cheese (a LOT of cheese) and sampled some along with some fudge. then we went and got some chow at a big amish market. pretty sweet. morgan's dad bought it for us which we were pretty stoked on. thanks morgan's dad! i forget his name which is really bad considering he bought us chow. sorry morgan's dad! we high-tailed it to columbus where we are now cause we were running late. quick sound check and a bit of a recline before the show. looking forward to it.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

mmm. yais.

the drive from montreal to boston wasn't too bad. i don't remember if we stopped off anywhere or not. as we were leaving montreal though one of our windows suddenly smashed. it was utterly bizarre. nothing on the ground near the point of impact that could have done it. no sign of anyone. i wonder if it was a sniper with a frozen bullet. it wouldn't need to travel very fast to break our window although i guess that would depend on its' shape. it could be a pellet type or perhaps more of a standard pointed bullet style. from an elevated position (there were apartment windows all around) i don't think they'd have much trouble. but then you have to think about the wind. i guess since we were in the north we didn't have to worry a whole lot about humidity wrecking the usefulness of the ammunition given the bullet itself is made of frozen water. or perhaps another heavier liquid.

food for though. it was probably just a rock but it helps to think about these things.

we got boston and unloaded. turns out the venue was in a basement which isn't very fun for loading in or out. but that's okay. after the load in i got a salad and wandered a bit. ran into simon (binns) who i know from a while back from the antiskeptic message boards (that's really taking it back). we talked awhile; i expressed my jealously that he had seen christopher walken in a play off broadway and he expressed his envy that we were touring with mumford. a fair trade i think.

we played and then mumford played. we both did okay. load out and head to the hotel. sleep.

the next day we drove into NYC. this ruled. a lot. i've been waiting for us to reach NYC for a long time. rich met us outside his apartment and we went for a walk up to this thing called the high rail which is this old railtrack above the streets on the upper west side that's been out of use since the 1920's. plants grew all along it and eventually the city decided to invest in turning it into this swish walkway. it's really awesome, very surreal to just be walking around in the city above the city. i dig it. we went to some italian restaurant/bar after that which was real nice. had some pizza and some laughs. back to rich's, watched the end of hangover then tried to decide what to do with the night. eventually jord, jack and i headed to times square for a look around. i bought some black & white for my yashica electro GSN. i just finished it tonight. we got back to rich's after that, finished off some of true lies then headed back to our hotel in jersey.

woke up and went for a walk. i found a battery shop which was good but then it was closed which is bad. got some subway, sat around for a while. i finished watching all of the nightmare on elm street films (all 7). 1-5 were pretty alright and 7 too. 6 sucked. eventually we headed off to the venue in philly where we are now. the filmore. it's real nice here. i walked around for a bit and snapped some photos. i'm typing this while we soundcheck. should be a good show. i wonder if ?uestlove will come out for it...


Friday, May 14, 2010

moomfudd n soons.

so we played our last show with laura in portland which went the best. it was jord's birthday and i think it made the show better somehow. we were all playing well, it felt great. laura played stunningly too, man she's good. smoke fairies killed it too. it was sad to leave those guys but hey, it's not like we were going off on tour with a bunch of non-brits again. mumford ahoy!

we slept then bailed on the road up to canada. along the way we saw some pretty stunning sights. this amazing hotel just sitting in the middle of this big wide open area with huge picturesque mountains snow capped in the background way away. and we stopped off at a lake between two enormous mountains too. we just don't have scenery like this in australia. next to the lake basically at the same level as the lake were a bunch of trees and flatland. like a flooded zone. it was just...don't even know. it was kinda surreal-ly awesome. i wish i had a camera at moments like that. thanks a lot detroit.

two hotel rooms in montreal again. amazing. rohin's birthday, i guess that was the occasion. they have those crazy bike rental systems here too, like in paris. i kinda wish i'd done it, looked like a bit of a lark. i wound up going and seeing the nightmare on elm street remake. i get to the cinema and it's like oh ho ho ho frenchy. everything was in french. even the ticket guy was like BONJEWER OH HO HO. so anyway i ended up seeing it only in french and without subtitles. the title was translated badly too. it translates back to english as "the glove in the night" or something. weird right. i understood what was going on most of the time. the wonder of horror films. but anyway besides some really cool looking shots the film was a mess. some of the closeups were tons out of focus and the pacing was just wack. like you see freddy properly like 5 seconds into the film. goodbye tension.

after that i tried to get a royal with cheese but it was just called a la quartear pewendearrr or something like that. boring. i went to a pizza store after that but they had no pizza. why was it still open then? sigh. back to hotel, sleep time.

woke up today and some of us went and sussed some breakfast for ro's birthday. after what felt like 2 months of walking we found a place and ate. delicious. back to hotel. we went out after a bit to the op shop and i bought a nice jacket, scarf and a winter hat that looks like something a woman in the 20's would have worn. nice. they had this ballpit there too but instead of balls it was clothes. like it was a whole other room (pretty big too) that you took your shoes off and went digging through these mountains of clothes. seriously so awesome. this was a sick op shop.

after that we went and loaded into the venue. nice little theatre kinda thing. so good seeing the mumford guys again. many hugs all around. ben (mumford) bought a cooker that he thought was for rice but it turns out it's a slow cooker so his meals will now take hours to make. this is hilarious. mark and i went and found food and i ate too much and felt sick while we played. mumford played solid. we all had champagne and a tiny little cake for ro's birthday. it was grand. we loaded out and now i'm back at the hotel. the hotel is literally like 20 metres walk from the backstage door of the venue. now that's taking care of business. lotty would be so proud of us.

boston next. tomorrow night.


Monday, May 10, 2010

hi it's vince with the sla-sla-sla-sla-sla-sla-sla-slaslaslaslaslaslaslaslaschopchopchopchopchopchopchop - WATCH THIS.

hi it's vince with the slap chop, and you're gonna be in a great mood allll day, cause you can slap all your troubles away with the slap chopSLAP SLAP all your troubles away with the slap chop.

alright so canada was nice. i had a crepe. if you imagine crepe as a different way of saying crap then everything to do with crepes becomes funnier. try it out. make it happen. turns out there was a whole stack of australians at the show. weird huh? i love australians. they remind me of home for some reason. after canada we went down to somewhere. oh yeah, grand rapids. that was nice. i don't really remember much about the show though. oh wait now i do. i just asked joe. we played at a venue called the women's literary club. it was like a little recital theatre kinda thing with a stage and curtains and everything. it felt like we were in one of those high school movies. they gave us money to eat dinner too. i love it when shows give you money. also there was chocolate.

turns out laura marling & her band (and smoke fairies who are the second support) are basically the nicest people ever. touring with british people is amazing. they're all so courteous and funny and proper and excellent people all around. can't say enough good things about touring with these guys/girls so far. they're all killer players and performers too. their sound guy joel rules too. and the guitar tech, dave. i could tour with these people for ages.

after grand rapids we went to detroit. detroit swallowed my phone and for this i will deny it being talked about. f u detroit.

next: the most exciting stop for me so far. the andy warhol museum. it was real sick to play there. i spoke to this guy ben who runs the museum i think and he gave me a bit of a tour. showed me the projection booth. they have a bunch of the negatives for his films there but unfortunately they usually show them on dvd. bit of a let down but understandable cause they're showing them every day. they'll probably do some new hi-def transfers of them soon. not bad. the show was weird, felt a little sterile. i think cause realistically we were playing in a cinema. ben gave me this dvd after the show which is 13 of andy's screen tests of actors set to music. it looks pretty sick, keen to tuck in. he was telling me that george romero and tom savini are locals so they do stuff there from time to time like zombie nights and tom savini will screen films he's worked on there. apparently they're rad dudes. i would love to come to a halloween party with makeup done by tom savini. imagine that! also apparently romero's kid runs a few haunted houses on the outskirts of pittsburg (oh, i forget to mention that's where the museum is SORRY) that rule. i'm so keen to visit one it's insane. like i would lose my mind in one. go legitimately crazy. i haven't been to a good haunted house in a while but a good one is GOOD. thinking of trying to get to the one at disneyworld or land. i don't know if i'll end up there though. bit of a bummer. hmm.

also rich was there. we went to an eatery for lunch and it was great. good to see a familiar face, especially one as friendly as rich's.

next night: buffalo. this was a weird venue but pretty sick. it was FREEZING in buffalo. it's in new york. new york is cold so far. anyway while walking around (poor bree turned into a breesickle) we found this thing which turned out to be the city hall. it is actually the coolest building i've seen in america so far and I DIDN'T HAVE MY CAMERA BECAUSE IT IS LOST IN DETROIT. sigh. here's pictures anyway.

seriously. so good. i wish i'd gotten to go inside. it was so intense just turning a corner and seeing this massive thing. suss out more about it here: if you enjoy art deco stuff this is a goldmine. hoo boy.

so yeah, the building excited me.

marcus (mumford) turned up at the show too. it was so good to see a familiar face. fantastic hugs were had. he did a bit of mandolin with laura too. laura's cellist ruth finally joined the tour as well and adds so much to her sound live. it's great. also it was joel (sound fellow)'s birthday. rachel (TM for laura marling) organised a cake and champagne and everything. it was such a good time. eventually we loaded out into the freezing cold and went back to our respective hotels. we slept in a bit then went and saw niagra falls on the way to portland (maine) where we are now. the falls were sick. just watching the water continually fall was hypnotic. weird looking over and seeing canada too. the drive took a while. i watched the end of the last detail, sunset blvd (amazing), in the electric mist and i finished off watching izo and the keep. good sesh. it's jord's birthday now. we got two hotel rooms for the first time in a while too. it's so good not to have to be sharing one room with 6 people. the best. might try and see a film tomorrow (still haven't been to the pictures in america...criminal).


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

in canada.

alright so the rest of the time at don's was killer. we went to a bunch more places and spent a bunch more time sleeping and getting our lives rejuvenated. one night we went and saw the dead weather play at this little venue which ruled. another night we went to a restaurant on top of this huge mountain looking out over birmingham which was real nice and then went and saw the black keys in a little club. blew my mind. flat out blew my mind. on our second last day there we played for a bunch of indie record store owners from all over the states in a warehouse in birmingham. it was a weird mood playing in a warehouse. wouldn't have picked us to be a band that would work in one but it seemed to go okay. i got some records real cheap too. gnarly. on our last evening we went to dreamland. they had bbq ribs and a lot of them. they had bibs. the lady put mine on for me. it was amazing.

i still haven't been to a cinema while i've been travelling yet. this is insane.

after that we went to nashville. we made friends quickly with some people named norman, lady pearl, delbert reese, barbara jean, connie white...all up probably around 24 people. there was even this guy with a tricycle riding everywhere. he seemed to transition into every situation we were in. not kidding. just before we left everything climaxed in the parthenon. there was a concert and everyone was playing. crazy. i guess christmas has always smelled like oranges to me anyway. i managed to get a photo while we were there.

that's linnea reese. she really brought the house down. best kids too.

anyway from there we went to bloomington. it was alright. more mexican for eats. good times. the show we played had approx 10 people there (i think 7 were from the two openers) but that's cool. good chance to try out some brand new stuff and experiment a little. we stayed in some hotel (they all look the same now) and woke up the next day and drove to newport, kentucky. we played at a converted house called southgate house. apparently the tommy gun was invented there.

a tommy gun.

the house was pretty sweet, would be cool to live there. show went okay. tried a beer or two. blue moon, a wheat beer they had really killed it. they put some random stuff in there to make it taste better. excellent. we stayed there for the night and i was trying to work on my film script but this burly friendly guy with an eye patch kept bursting in and talking to me about working stiffs and stuff like that. but he was friendly enough. here's a photo of us.

things got a little weird by the end. flames and such.

we met some sweet girls who let us stay in their attic and made us awesome pancakes in the morning. we schooled them on how australians talk. one of them couldn't get it right and sounded like they were deaf. we travelled along and found our way to canada. crossing the border was pretty easy. we got inspected a little though.

"i'm sorry about this ma'am but you can never be too careful nnnnnNGMOOOOO"

we didn't really get inspected. then we got some food. then we drove to the hotel which looks like every other hotel. i think i'm slowly going insane. we're playing in prescott tonight. apparently the venue is nice. keen.


Monday, April 26, 2010

delay delay delay.

alright so i keep forgetting to blog. or maybe i'm too lazy. or both. maybe i'm too lazy to even forget to blog. maybe i just don't blog. maybe there's no explaining it. i give up.

last entry we were in denton, right? right. we played a show in dallas on the 22nd. it was in a venue called the loft. they had like 50,000 rooms and they were all pretty darn big. vinnie paul's band was playing downstairs when we were. pretty funny. the show went pretty well. the room was full of friends from denton and it was a good vibe. lesley's mum lisa made an appearance and she rules. legit southern babe. after the show we had some ihop (we were a little delirious, i think we freaked out the staff) then went back to lesley/courtnie's for a little bit of hang/party before a little bit of sleep. we woke up and drove to little rock, arkansas for the next show, our first with frightened rabbit. they finally escaped the lava-y clutches of that volcano.

they're super nice guys. joe, jord and i had a delicious meal in the restaurant part of the venue we played (the rev room) with an excellent wine. SPLENDID. we had a few sound issues which made the show a bit tricky but eh. after that we drove to memphis through a pretty incredible storm. sheets and sheets and sheets of rain. it was like driving in the ocean. there was amazing lightening all around. i put on some cult of luna and treated it like a big exciting fireworks display. i was really hoping for a tornado and kept watching the skyline but no dice. we did our usual sneak-all-of-us-into-one-hotel-room trick and got a bit of rest.

woke up too early and started our drive to atlanta, georgia. real nice drive, probably my favourite so far. we stopped off in birmingham, alabama to have lunch with don (one of the managers at TAO, our management company) at a sweet mexican joint. it rules. i got a gnarly taco salad. after that we trekked on to atlanta. after load in i scoped out the place. it was called the masquerade. pretty intense. like a castle but turned into a venue with 3 main indoor rooms and apparently this outdoor venue that has a 6,000 person capacity. crazy. in one of the indoor rooms (called 'purgatory') there were these 3 spooky statue figure kinda things on one of the balconies. looked like something out of from dusk till dawn or dracula or something. real spooky. that show went alright too, the sound was a little better. cool to have don and jason in the crowd (jason works for TAO too). the load out after the show was tricky cause it was bucketing down but we managed it somehow.

we drove back to birmingham with a short stop over to a waffle house/wendy's for some late munchies. the storm was raging on the way back too but we managed to miss the worst of it. apparently a tornado hit pretty heavily in mississippi and like 10 people were killed. nasty. we got back to don's house which is memorabilia everywhere and one of the best music collections i think i've ever seen. music heaven. eventually got to bed at i have no idea what time. i'm sleeping in his home theatre which is in his basement. no windows and no clocks. it's like i exist outside time and space down there. woke up real late and went for a bit of a drive later on with don and his wife through birmingham. picked up some groceries and went home for dinner. elaine (don's wife) cooked up some black beans and rice and we had some roasted peppers and bbq chicken and SO much amazing food. we were officially spoilt. some decent wine too, and these chocolate chip it was like heaven after touring food hell. tour diet is like a punishment. i saw rohin tonight at this thai restaurant we went to and he looked like a new man after decent food and sleep. the effect was almost shocking.

that night we watched nirvana live at reading and man...what a concert. kicks you in the face. really punchy and full recording and really good performance. legit. stayed up late and watched glory with joe and jord (not great...some good scenes but i'm surprised at how strong of a rep it has) and then dazed & confused with jord. stayed up for a while trying to find all the theme time radio hour episodes on but could only find a bunch of season 1. hard to find, those shows. sleep then woke up, hung out for a bit. didn't do much. some table tennis with joe. eventually we went out for a drive around birmingham with don. he showed us a lot of civil rights landmarks; birmingham was kind of the epicentre for a lot of civil rights stuff in the 60's. i've seen a lot of photos from that time, was interesting to see some of the real locations. after that we headed to a thai restaurant which was legit. now we're back at the house. joe and i finished watching the jackal and now we're working our way through the pacific getting up to date.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

offsite blog entry.

i did a blog about coachella for home & hosed on the triple j website. enjoy.

since coachella, however, we've played another show with beach house in tempe, AZ. the short run of shows we were supposed to be doing with frightened rabbit are probably picking up after a dallas show we're doing without them tomorrow night but we're still waiting to see. we're in denton at the moment. back in trusty denton. this town is great and we love everyone in it.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

oh gosh.

WARNING: this entry is long.

i'm dreadfully behind. sorry everyone. part III coming later.

alright so we left denton on the 12th. we travelled to flagstaff which is in arizona.

it snowed a bit which was sweet. the next day we woke up and went to the grand canyon and it rules awfully hard. on the way we found a smaller canyon which was pretty epic and awesome, and not a lot of fences.

in that second photo, where jord is sitting...very, very high up. and he's sitting right on the edge. it's a drop straight to the bottom from there. i got serious vertigo up there. also we found some snow.

after that we went on to the canyon. it was big.

this is me at the canyon. it was really, really big. looks a bit like a painted backdrop actually. sigh. after that we got some postcards. then we headed into a town to get some lunch. taco bell.


this was a taco bell attached to a kfc. UNEXPLAINED. i mean, why would you combine the two? this was disturbing. like it really got to me. a CHICKEN store...and a TACO store. why were they not just single stores? anyway.

you can see here that no one is attending the counter. why is this? it was like this for about 2 minutes or so after we walked in. fast food people should be all over you like a bad stink asking "WOULD YOU LIKE TO ORDER" almost before you've walked in the door or even had a chance to decide you're hungry and going to eat their fast food. the lady who eventually served us was nice, at least. the food took a little while to come out. i ordered the...uh..."stufd burrito"? in beef. i think.

this was the view once i sat down. pretty boring, you will agree. step it up, taco bell. my burrito looked like this:

fairly well wrapped. the rolling was firm and comfortable to grip. soft to the touch, but not floppy. just as a good burrito should be. after a bite or two, the taco took on this shape:

there was rice, guacamole, sour cream, salsa and beans. every good burrito should contain at least this. accept nothing less.


we headed on. eventually wound up in bakersfield, CA. i walked to a barnes & noble and bought a book which is a bunch of directors talking about their first films. pretty cool, i've devoured about 280 pages in the last 2 days. it's that good. solid sleep, woke up, free breakfast (including waffles, thanks hotel). we set out to get to davis, CA. we got a bit lost but wound up at the venue for the night, freeborn hall (at UC davis). the show was with passion pit and mayer hawthorne & the county. we loaded in and soundchecked after mayer.

the show went pretty sweet. mayer and the dudes were really nice and passion pit were too. i love it when good bands are good dudes. ultimate win. after the show we headed off to turlock, CA (somewhere in CA...) to sleep. i slept on the floor cause there wasn't enough beds. so did bree and mark. what a time to be alive. bailed in the morning after some FROSTED FLAKES and headed to pomona, CA to the fox theatre for the show with pavement. this incredible.

watching pavement soundcheck was most excellent. such a legit band. i ran off to find a lady who i was told bore the name of "maria": she had the keys to the projection booth which i noticed sitting up in the dark upper balcony of the theatre. once i found this lady (who happened to be incredibly nice and awesome) she showed me around. and boy, what a sight...

i bet you're looking at it and thinking "eh, that ain't much of a sight" but to someone like me...hoo boy. not quite the mother-lode but still very impressive. the further 35mm projector is going to be junked because it sucks but the foreground one is still in impressive nick; they're keeping it for history's sake but getting 2 new/refurbished 35mm projectors donated from a heritage society. they've got an original follow-spot in there and a slide projector...both from the 1930s. quite amazing.

they showed the wizard of oz not long ago and admission was $1. $1! for the new print from the restored negative! amazing. i wish i could have gone, apparently it was a full house. kids were loving it, adults were loving it. everyone. LOVING IT.


the fox theatre, as maria informed me, was opened in around 1931. it was originally owned by fox studios (which joined with 20th century in 1935 to become what we know today as 20th century fox) hence the name. it seats around 675 on the balcony and i'd estimate around 1200-1300 on the floor (the seats were taken out, this is just my guess). the belltower:

originally used to store the air conditioning for the entire theatre. it would intake air through the roof and using tunnels/pipes it'd feed it throughout the building to cool paying clientel. it is now used as a storage space. here's an inside view:

the balcony area was originally just a roof but more recent owners decided to turn it into an ourdoor area. it rules a lot. all the interior detail is original with a few exceptions. unfortunately a club owner who hosted a bunch of raves in the place decided to paint the entire interior black which must have looked hideous so a new paint job was in order when the theatre was being properly restored. it also originally had a pipe organ to accompany silent films (by 1931 they were still doing the rounds despite talkies coming into vogue around 1927) exhibited there. the pipes remain but the organs...gone. sadly. the carpet is replica of the original.

they've recently got a nice digital projector in there (i'm not a fan but this one was pretty legit) accompanied with a semi-new surround sound system which was most excellent. go dolby.

a beautiful theatre. it's a pleasure/honour to play here and i can't wait to come through here again and see a film.


we headed out to get some dinner and i snapped a nice photo of the sun setting behind the main facade of the theatre.

and a nice one of bree and jord standing in front of the sign (the sign is still surreal):

we had some solid dinner then headed back to the fox and played. it went surprisingly well. i met a tech fellow named tim who works for the mars volta who looked EXACTLY like andy serkis. quite remarkable. maybe i should get a photo before we bail. i forgot to mention the band room was upstairs which made for a fun walk each time to get our stuff but looked pretty nice out once the sun went down.

we're driving somewhere tonight to sleep. next couple of days is a show with beach house, coachella, frightened rabbit tour...going to be intense. will hopefully be more dilligent with blog entries. and entires to my tumblr of film stills. and part III my favourite songs. phew.


Friday, April 9, 2010

favourite songs ever pt. II.


the dillinger escape plan - the mullet burden. off under the running board, 1998.

the dillinger escape plan redefine the term acquired taste. if you listen to their songs just once you'll get the impression that the songwriting is amateur and there's no order to it all. at first glance it's just chaos, mindless noise. invest a bit more time and you'll keep discovering layers of rhythms, melodies (i use that term loosely), meters and everything running every which way at all times...but all perfectly wrangled into this monsterous sound. with NIN breaking up recently i'd say dillinger have just grabbed the baton as the most forward thinking "heavy" band in the world still active. big words but they're true.

ennio morricone - once upon a time in the west. off once upon a time in the west (soundtrack), 1972. later released on the legendary italian westerns: the film composers series vol. 2, 1990.

i can't remember when i first heard morricone's music. it's quite possibly when i first saw "the thing" which would have been about 10 years ago. while the score for that film doesn't rank in his ULTIMATE BEST EVER it's still sick and an example of morricone not restricting himself to the kinds of films he scores. this song is the main theme for once upon a time in the west, sergio leone's 1968 masterpiece and it really gives you an idea of the scope of the film. the female vocal kind of sneaks in there but becomes the best thing about it, swelling with the orchestra and reminding you why you love morricone: he rules, that's why.

blind willie johnson - dark was the night, cold was the ground. off about 5 million cheap store gospel compilations. likely recorded in 1927.

i do believe i first heard this song in around 2005. far too late into my life, to be sure. blind willie johnson, in my opinion, has the rare distinction of being the most badarse blind musician ever. i rank him higher than ray charles and stevie wonder. BLASPHEMY? definitely not. dude used a KNIFE for slide. well, was rumoured to. but that's a cool rumour, right? he has a scant 30 recordings to his name which makes his music all the more treasured, and his guitar playing is revered as some of the best slide guitar there is or ever was. this song was selected for the voyager golden record to be shot into space. hopefully somewhere in the universe there's some 100 headed green alien dude who breathes pure fire that's listening to this song and crying.

hank williams - why don't you love me? released as a single with a house without love as the b-side, 1950.

hank williams. what can really be said about him? a lot. but i won't say that much. if you don't like country, hank can be the one to turn you around. most recommend johnny cash as a starting point because of his crossover appeal (and basically universal acceptance) however i'd probably point to hank first. his music carries a more simplistic approach that's disarming at first but have a go at reading his lyrics with dry eyes. it's interesting to read them as opposed to hearing them sung because of the music they're set against. it's almost like they don't suit but at the same time you can't imagine anything suiting more. screw emo bands, hank's lyrics are some of the most heartwrenching written by human hands. he could out-drink keith richards by a country mile. he had a rough life and died at 29 but had produced a startling amount of music by then. we're lucky to have it.

hank williams - i'll never get out of this world alive. released as a single in 1952 then posthumously on honky tonkin', 1954.

another one of hank's songs where the title betrays the musical mood of the song, it was meant to be taken in an ironic fashion but anyone who knew anything about williams' life could easily take a more chilling perspective. in a real sting of irony it was also the last song hank ever released.

hot rod circuit - safely. off sorry about tomorrow, 2002.

a friend from a while back burnt me a bunch of hot rod circuit albums in around 2003. this was the one i gravtiated towards the most and remains that way (with the exception of some tracks off the underground is a dying breed, 2007). this song in particular i think is the strongest on the album with unassuming verses leading into a killer chorus. a good slice of early 2000's vagrant brand emo-rock.

keith green - because of you [live]. originally recorded in 1978, later released on the live experience, 2008.

keith green was a bit of an anomaly in his day. as a christian singer/songwriter he didn't fit easily into the christian music machine mould of the era he was active in (70's and early 80's) instead opting to do things like record full albums then after morgaging he and his wife's home to fund the recording, offer them completely free of charge (or at a price determined by the purchaser) as well as refusing to charge for concerts at which atendees sometimes numbered in the tens of thousands. these tactics are employed today in the digital age when there's less at stake but keith did it because he felt it was wrong to do anything other than give all of his music away. with moves like that it's hard to deny his heart was in the right place, especially listening to a live recording like this where it sounds like he's floating off his seat with excitement and enthusiasm for the song and its' message. unable to contain himself he litters the performance with comments and impulsive noises between lines, often running out of breath but not caring in the slightest. around the 1:54 mark he throws in an impressive piano roll just for the hell of it and you can picture him pulling a ray charles-esque laughter-head-throw-back after it. whether you agreed with his beliefs (i happen to) or not, you can't deny keith was a legit performer.

keith green - your love broke through. off for him who has ears to hear, 1977.

christian or otherwise, keith's 1977 debut album is a pretty strong start to a songwriting career. although he only got 5 years or so of a recording career in before his death in 1982 he put those years to good use and this song is a prime example of his songwriting abilities early on. he even managed to rub off on bob dylan a bit when the two became friends in the late 70's as evidenced by the musical direction of dylan's gospel albums (which often divide fans and critics). ace troubleshooter do a killer cover of this song i've never managed to find. well worth it if you can get your hands on it.

levon helm - growin' trade. off electric dirt, 2009.

for the uninitiated, levon helm played drums and frequently performed lead vocals in a band who were called the band. besides a number of albums under their own name they backed bob dylan on a number of his recordings in the 60's and 70's as well as a number of tours and live recordings in the same period before breaking up in 1976. put simply, they were sick. levon's solo career began not long after the end of the band's with his first "solo" album coming in 1977 with many more following. after suffering from throat cancer in the late 1990's it was questionable whether he'd ever sing again but his voice broke through in 2004 and while a shadow of its' former self it's become something unique and very distinctive already. this song is simple and a good introduction to helm. try not to whistle along.

the mars volta - the day of the baphomets. off amputechture, 2006.

the volta hold a special place in my heart. they're not one of my favourite bands really but i watch them closely because they're always going in a few different directions at any given time, sometimes with varied results. after holding the first two albums in high esteem amputechture came as a bit of a rude shock to me. it felt like a randomly strung together collection of songs compared to the other albums which felt more...cohesive. it took a lot of listens to begin to really appreciate the structure and now it's just about my favourite album of theirs. this song is a favourite because it has just about everything i love about the mars volta contained within the one tune. being on the BDO tour with them earlier this year was incredibly exciting and getting to see them perform multiple times within the space of a week or so was the best. THE best.

mastodon - the last baron. off crack the skye, 2009.

for mastodon fans this may seem like a weird choice. i tend to really massively dig entire mastodon albums as opposed to songs but with crack the skye, i didn't dig all the songs. seeing them live earlier this year (like 5 times BOOYAH) when they performed the entirity of the album from start to finish helped me to make more sense of the songs i didn't really enjoy on the album, but it's still not their most solid release in my eyes. anyway, this track is the last one and it goes for about 13 minutes. without hearing it you might assume it would get boring but it really doesn't. also there's a sick guitar solo at the end. nooge.

mastodon - crystal skull. off blood mountain, 2006.

i remember my pal ben and i used to laugh about how much blood mountain rules. even friends of mine that don't like metal kind of dig it. this song just kills, really. it has a sick solo toward the end and what has to be one of the greatest "metal claw" inducing moments in musical history around the 2:00 mark when scott kelly (of neurosis) decided to put his bit in. if you like heavy music you will like this track. if you don't there's something legit wrong with you and you should really get that checked out.

mewithoutYou - silencer. off [A --> B] life, 2002.

easily the best lyricist you've never heard about. mewithoutYou as a band are incredible but you should really google "mewithoutYou lyrics" and have a read. this album is rough-as-nails compared to their later more elaborately orchestrated efforts but it's just as good if not better. essentially this is a breakup album but to call it that is to reduce the impact (you'll know what i mean if you read the lyrics). it's a bold statement but if there's anyone around for bob dylan to pass the mantle to lyrically it's probably aaron weiss. did i mention the lyrics rule?

mewithoutYou - seven sisters. off catch for us the foxes, 2004.

catch for us the foxes is an unskippable album, as far as i'm concerned. i actually downloaded it initally because i had no idea where to buy it (i was 15, give me a break) and actually didn't get this particular tune in that version. when i wound up buying the album it was an awesome shock to discover this song right in the middle of the tracklisting. the album was mixed by brad wood who helps then inject just the right amount of reverb to turn this album into a world all its' own. the guitars float around you and everything sits where it should...but sometimes not...which also rules. the lyrics as usual are incredible.

mewithoutYou - carousels. off catch for us the foxes, 2004.

not sure what else to say about mewithoutYou really. you just need to hear them. now. my favourite line in this song is "if there was no way into God, i would never have laid in this grave of a body for so long". perfect.

miles davis - ah-leu-cha. off 'round about midnight, 1957.

i had this album on a cd-r for ages that i copied off ANOTHER cd-r from my dad's friends house around 2001. i never knew what the album actually was until about 5 years later, all that i knew was that it was miles davis and i loved it. i still love it and this song for me is the highlight. it drives forward so strongly with the opposing horn lines and philly joe jones' impeccable drumming dancing all over the place. hard bop at its' finest.

part III'sacomin.

favourite songs ever pt. I.

so i was sitting around bored and thought it might be fun to come up with a list of my favourite songs. these are just songs i own, there's others that i don't that i'm probably forgetting. but that's cool. they're in rough alphabetical order. it's long (60 songs or so) so i've split it into 4 parts.

here's pt. I.

aphex twin - avril 14th. off drukqs - disc 1, 2001.

i first heard aphex twin when i saw the windowlicker music video on rage. must have been 10 years ago. richard d. james has always struck me as the genius type, probably because he's a genius. this is a simple track off drukqs, probably the simplest but i also find it to be the best. it's not flashy or particularly complicated. just nice. the lonely island sampled it for "iran so far away" which unfortunately missed being on incredibad because despite richard being cool with it, warp wanted a ridiculous amount of money. shame.

the appleseed cast - steps and numbers. off low level owl - vol. 1, 2001.

the appleseed cast are one of my very favourite bands there is. they manage to portray such subtle beauty through so little. they started out as a rough-as-nails emo band in the late 90's and flourished into a particularly beautiful post-rock machine. this track shows off what's best about them: intricate rhythms, twinkling guitars and shovel-loads of ambience, especially in the closing half.

the appleseed cast - rooms & gardens. off low level owl - vol. 2, 2001.

this is one of those songs i'll put on repeat to fall to sleep to. the dynamics almost distract me some nights but i'm never annoyed about that. it puts me in a different place. i find this release (together with vol. 1) to be the best thing they've done to date. that's not to say their other releases are particularly bad, it just means this one rules super, super hard.

the appleseed cast - song 3. off peregrine, 2006.

whenever people ask me if i have a song i don't think i'll ever wear out, this is my immediate answer. though i've only been listening to it for 4 years, i've probably listened to it hundreds if not thousands of times - and i'm not exaggerating. i fell asleep to it on repeat for about 2 years. sick.

bob dylan - lay down your weary tune. outtake/b-side from the times they are a-changin, 1964. later released on biograph, 1985.

i'm sure everyone's got a song they love where they knew they loved it about 30 seconds into their first listen. i don't know if this is a strongly revered track among dylan fans but it ought to be. the lyrics betray how young dylan was at the time and still shock me with how strong and clear the imagery is.

bob dylan & the band - most likely you'll go your way (and i'll go mine) [live]. off before the flood, 1974. later released on biograph, 1985.

one of the best live albums available, hands down. not even open for discussion. kicking off with this number, bob & the band set a high standard that the rest of the songs have no difficulty matching or even besting. the only difference between these versions is the biograph version trims off the first half-minute or so of crowd noise.

bob dylan - sad eyed lady of the lowlands. off blonde on blonde, 1966.

even though this song is 11 minutes and 20 seconds long, it holds your attention the entire time. put simply, bob dylan rules. hard.

colleen - everything lay still. off the golden morning breaks, 2005.

my pal/bandmate joe introduced me to colleen after he got this around the time it was released. he told me it wasn't really music, more just an album of textures. he was right on the money, but that said the textures are very musical and beautiful. if you're every having trouble sleeping, put this on. it'll put you right out.

converge - heaven in her arms. off jane doe, 2001.

another one of my favourite bands. no one does visceral, ugly, raw, honest brutality like converge. this album is often passed around as their best and while i'm in two minds, this track and another i'm about to mention really make the album's disgustingly awesome head stick up above the crowd.

converge - thaw. off jane doe, 2001.

now that i think about it, i remember the first time i heard converge. i used to post on the P.O.D. boards a lot (yeah, i know) and someone posted a link to the downpour video. it was embedded into the artwork for unloved and weeded out on a webpage and besides the video, the artwork stayed with me. after not thinking about it for a while i saw a poster for unloved and weeded out in missing link (flinders long ago). picked up jane doe not long after this and basically lost my mind.

converge - in her blood. off you fail me, 2004.

this along with jane doe is in a dead tie for my favourite album of theirs. you fail me injects a solid chunk of groove into their sound that was missing before, the production is a bit clearer (but still with that beautiful tape sound) and the writing is more precise. i challenge you not to nod your head along to this song; not only in approval of the total kickarseness of it but also with how solid the groove is. yes, this track has a pocket, and it's deep.

creedence clearwater revival - born on the bayou. off bayou county, 1969.

i bought creedence solely because the dude (if you don't know who the dude is, get out) loved them to death. i wasn't disappointed at all. with the exception of some of their later albums, CCR didn't really release a weak album. that rules.

dirty three - some things i just don't want to know. off whatever you love, you are, 2000.

my dad used to let my sister and i listen to JJJ most of the time when we were in the car with him. he lived on the other side of melbourne so we were in the car often, not that i'm complaining. it introduced me to buttloads of music. i remember hearing "some summers they drop like flies" and making my dad buy me this album. i was 13 at the time and it was a complete musical revelation to me...i couldn't believe music this emotional existed. i was always into film soundtracks and it was like a blues band playing beautiful soundtrack/orchestral music in their own way...but totally different. they're one of those bands where you either love them to death or you don't know who they are. i don't know a lot of people on the fence. there isn't a band who does what dirty three do anywhere near as well as dirty three do it. there just isn't.

dirty three - ends of the earth. off ocean songs, 1998.

if you like putting on music to escape, especially in a scenic location, you'll find no better album to accompany you than this. my friend joel once sent me a picture message of a beach in perth saying something along the lines of "this and dirty three in my headphones." he didn't have to say anything else.

ed harcourt - until tomorrow then. off the beautiful lie, 2006.

ed harcourt's an interesting one. he often gets written off for faux-sentimentality but i find his tracks pretty damn honest. this one in particular is hard to argue with. he's got a hell of a set of pipes (sonic honey would be a good way of putting it) and instrumental talent to boot. the music has a real depression-era otherworldliness to it. i love that.

part II tomorrow. hopefully.