Friday, November 30, 2007

This Bike Is A...

Nothing beats riding through the city, busting your gut to get somewhere on time, spotting a friend on their bike, flipping them the bird at the exact same moment that they do you, then riding off. Leaves a smile on your face for the rest of the evening. And then, the next morning, seeing your bike guru gunning it through the roundabouts on the downhill side of Lennox St, movember moustache bristling against the wind, looking like he's riding just for the sheer joy of it. Makes going up that same hill just that little bit easier.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Here Come The Drums

Leith, Tegan and I have a vision for our summer project. The vision encapsulates the best parts of Milemarker, early Chumbawamba, late Kill Sadie, and Bruce Springsteen. The vision includes sweaty bodies shaking manically on dancefloors across this fair city. The vision embraces all comers, from hardcore kids desperate to dance or indie kids finally shaking off their too-cool-for-school personas. The vision, however, is lacking a drummer. If you are prepared to watch everyone else rock out revolution style while keeping perfect time, drop me a line. Serious types and introverts need not apply.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Shot To The Heart

Last night at Trades Hall the party was like the worst bogan party I ever went to in 1995. Leith and I (and later Nat Hendry) danced anyway; we danced like idiots to The Offspring with communist girls wearing noserings; like we were in the Big Day Out Boiler Room to Fat Boy Slim with Greens candidate for the seat of Melbourne Adam Brandt; like we were mildly interested in all of humanity when they finally played The Clash. The party had a lot going against it, yet the fact that random people kept hugging me on the way to the bar, coupled with the overall sense of goodwill and non-sketchiness that Nat later reported on, meant that we stuck around til last call. It was like our football team had finally won the grand final, only this time, winning might actually affect us. So we danced.

Friday, November 23, 2007

No Rock And Roll Fun

Flesh Vs Venom play their last show for the year tonight and I only find out about an hour beforehand. What the fuck? I'm their biggest fan in the whole wide world. I say nice things about them on the internet. I would happily follow them around the country, tending to their every need. And yet there I was, busting my gut to get there on time. Fortunately I had forgotten about punk time, which is just like normal time but one hour later, so when I arrived the atrocious These Hands Could Separate The Sky were still playing. Which gave me time to tell Leith that for the hour previous I'd been at a comedy show, at which the one and a half minutes of SexyBack I'd heard while leaving the building brought me considerably more pleasure than the entire hour of "comedy" preceding. That's not too much of an insult. It's a fucking great song. Eventually Flesh go on, totally rule, then finish. Kody is sticking around to see Chainsaw Girls, but after half a song I've had enough, and ride really fucking fast the whole way home.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Can You Hear Me Now?

I'm going, slowly, deaf. If there's music playing in the background and we're talking, chances are I'm only hearing about half of what you're saying. This scares the shit out of me.

All In All...

Despite all evidence to the contrary, I have always and will always hate Pink Floyd. Even versions that have been mangled to fit certain political ideologies.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Joey, I'm Not Angry Any More

The other night, in a very cramped Loophole gallery, I tried talking with Fjorn about the disparity between the music we listen to when we're at home, and the music we go to see live. I've known her for a while, and know that her real passion is wanky experimental noise (my term, not hers). And really, the music I keep running to for shelter is best described as indie - and sometimes classic - rock. Yet we keep bumping into each other at hardcore and screamo shows. She was drunk and I was annoyed, but we seemed to meet somewhere in the middle. "The difference," she said, "is that when we're out, we're not just looking for music. We're looking for a performance."

But this raises a number of questions: Do the indie rock musicians and the noise artists that we love in our bedrooms automatically give shitty performances (anecdotal evidence tends to answer in the affirmative, but I'm quite comfortable with being proven incorrect). Are the loud and fast bands we see when we're out really not that good? And really, why aren't we searching out bands that are a combination of both? I want a local band who I can listen to when I'm falling asleep, and when I'm rowdy. You know, other than Fear Like Us.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Action Retraction Action

In a conversation with Pete Hyde from Collapsed Toilet Vietnam about the entry below he essentially tells me that I need to go do some research, so I know what the fuck I'm talking about. And he has a point. So I go do a little. And I discover that they're even better than I thought they were. They're purposefully putting themselves out of their comfort zone, playing awkwardly-configured drums, nearly unrecognizable guitar and a one string bass as fast and as brutal as they fucking can, making music that turns limitation into a virtue, in what is apparently the noisegrind tradition. The genre, apparently, was founded (in the punk tradition, I might add) by guys who couldn't play so great, but who just wanted to play fast, noisy and brutal. It also seems to be more of a two way street than I at first assumed, with noise musicians turning their hands to grind and and grind musicians slowing the fuck down a bit and playing noise pretty often. CTV do the former with brutality and intelligence. Don't be mistaken; these guys know exactly what they're doing - as opposed to me, perhaps.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Once In A Song

"When a great singer sings, the skin of space and time go taut, the voices of the newborn fill the world, there is no corner left of silence or of innocence, the gown of life is turned inside out, the singer becomes earth and sky, time past and time to come are singing one of the songs of a single life."

- John Berger

Words and Guitar

Two bands this (extended) weekend have made an impression: one new, one not so new.

The new would be Collapsed Toilet Vietnam. Something of a noise music supergroup - featuring members of Whitehorse, Grey Daturas, True Radical Miracle and various others - they've come together to create experimental grind that actually inspires awe (as opposed to just being awesome). The loudest band I've seen in a long time, they punctuate their songs with feedback sirens and one-string bass crunches. It's a wall of sound assault, in a way that somehow reminds me of a grind version of Public Enemy. I fucking love it when noise musicians turn their hands to other genres, as their tendency to experiment always adds an uncertain dimension to the sound, while at the same time removing the meandering, unstructured pretension that plagues straight-up noise acts. CTV brings the expertise of four of Melbourne's most established noise musicians together, and you seriously have to get your ass down to one of their ten minute sets. Make sure you're on time.

The not-so-new would be Schifosi, who have been around long enough to be considered crust scene stalwarts, but who haven't played a show in fucking ages. They played at the benefit for A World Without Sexual Assault at Irene's Warehouse. After seeing Majorca, eating some free (and delicious) Food Not Bombs, then fucking off to the East Brunswick Club for the four hours until Schifosi played, we all packed into the small mud-and-hay room, anticipating a great deal. And we weren't fucking disappointed. At one point during the show Ross turned to me and asked, "When did Schifosi turn into Iron Maiden?" and while he may have been exaggerating slightly, he has a point. They're much more epic than I remember, crashing, pausing, then diving into songs.

I've tried to write about these moments so many times, both in my journals and in my zine, and each time I've fallen disappointingly short. But I'll give it a go here anyway, despite not really wanting to tumble headlong into livejournal-esque emoting. While watching Schifosi I get one of those incredibly rare moments where nothing else seems to exist, where your focus is only on the one thing. It's these fleeting seconds of clarity that keep me coming to shows, that I chase and chase and chase, in whatever form I can find. It's not often that all the noise, the clatter, the machinery of everyday life disappears into the background, but today, watching Schifosi, surrounded by some of the people I love most in the entire world, with a belly full of lemonade and free vegan food, sweating and nodding my head and making unfunny comments between songs, it happens.

And really, that's all I need to say.