Friday, February 22, 2008

I'm An Aeroplane.

My friend Leith, along with a couple of other excellent dudes, runs Sabbatical records, so occasionally I get hooked up with noise/experimental/ambient cds before everyone else. Such is the case with the new Pikelet EP Pre-Flight Jitters, which landed in my lap before French class on Thursday night, but which isn't being launched til tonight. I'm quite happy about the two extra days listening time. The record is quite a departure from Evelyn's earlier works - quite considerably darker, in fact. I'm enjoying the difference - while I do enjoy her last record, it's pretty heavy on the cute, and it's a rare mood when I feel cute-friendly. This EP, however, seems like a percussion-driven Ennio Morricone, thick with thumps and thwacks that I can't quite identify (at one point it sounds like coconuts being clapped together - though perhaps that's due to my childhood overexposure to Monty Python), and with vocal sounds that are textual rather than, you know, based on words. And that's the kind of stuff I can lap up any time of day. The show is at Forepaw Gallery tonight at 8. You should get there.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

They Make The Rocking World Go 'Round.

The two greatest things to ever happen in my entire teaching career have taken place at the school I currently teach at. The first was nearly two years ago now. My entire class (three students) ran out on me, but hit the play button on the stereo first. I was left all alone in the classroom listening to Living On A Prayer, which I've already written about at length. The second greatest ever moment took place today. A teacher was away and I was forced to take biology class. The kids walked in, glanced at me, and immediately realized there was going to be no learning biology today. "Brendan, I feel a little bit Freddie Mercury today," one said. I encouraged him to continue. He began to sing the first few lines of Bohemian Rhapsody. Eventually another kid joined in. Then another kid. By the second "Mama!" even I had joined in. We sung the whole song, from the soft bit at the start, through the scaramouche bit in the middle, to the metal bit at the end, completely a capella.

And It's Alright.

You Can't Always Get What You Want is possibly the wrongest song in the history of modern music. Nearly all the great crimes of rock are there: a choir, strings, bongo drums (it fails to complete the clean sweep due to not being sung in falsetto and not having a saxophone solo). That it could even comes close to working would be a mystery, but the fact that it's kinda awesome? Well, that's a new religion all of its own. When the cheesy pop/experimental pap of the Beatles has long faded, the bizarre grandiosity of You Can't... will ensure the Stones live on.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Joe Hill At The Mic.

Today is a strike day and I have once again been featured on the news butchering rock classics in the name of politically-themed entertainment. I want to assure everyone that I play absolutely no part in either selecting these songs or rewriting the lyrics to fit the occasion. I am, however, tired of having to deliver songs so old that Gold FM would be ashamed to have them on their playlist. If anyone could possibly suggest singalong compatible tunes whose lyrics lend themselves to the need for teachers to receive more pay, it would be great if you could suggest them here.

Gonna Make You Sweat.

Boy, was everyone excited when they saw kids doing the Melbourne Shuffle on the Australian version of So You Think You Can Dance - almost as excited as I get when Heath Ledger's character namechecks Bikini Kill in Ten Things I Hate About You. It's always a glorious day when our particular subculture gets its moment in the mainstream sun. I was a little disappointed, however, that the Shuffle was the only underground dance move to be highlighted, and as such have taken it upon myself to present just a few of the dance styles that SYTYCD forgot.

1) Two-Stepping, Hardcore Style

Now really, what the Australian version of SYTYCD sorely lacked was a bit of blood. And what better way to provide gallons of the red stuff than by letting a couple of hundred testosterone-amped twenty-two year-old musclemen loose to a Betrayed record. In no way should this be limited to two-stepping: kickboxing, pizza-twirling, stagedives and just plain smacking other people in the face are encouraged, if not mandatory. No doubt their mums will be there to mop up afterwards.

2) Skanking

Don't let the dorky exteriors of ska kids deter you - skanking will never really go out of fashion. Extra-special consideration will be given to those who can perfectly co-ordinate their guitar jumps. Matching outfits composed entirely out of checkered material will go down a treat with this crowd, as will driving their vespas on stage.

3) The Melbourne Head-Nod

When I was a younger lad I used to tear it up, and would always find time to mock those standing at the back with their arms folded, nodding their heads. Nowadays I'm stuck firmly in their number. It's difficult, however, to find a clip of a guy standing around nodding his head to melodic hardcore bands, and this is the best I could do. Substitute "move my desk" for "crash into me" and "paycheck" for "rare vinyl that I ordered" and it's pretty much spot on.

Why Can't You Be True?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

You Can't Be What You Were.

As Facebook will tell you, I've rediscovered Fugazi lately, after way too long a lay off. I'm especially into their much-maligned post-Instrument period. Say what you will about them mellowing, but there is no way in the world you will ever write a song as good as Cashout. Keep trying, though. Like Kurt Vonnegut says, what we respond to in art is the artist struggling against their limitations. And anyone struggling against their limitations to write Fugazi-esque songs has my utmost, unwavering, unequivocal support.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

ruining melbourne, one restaurant at a time !!!

so i found out late last year that there have been some rumours going round that i've ruined don don. how so? well, in terms of the vegan-ness of their vegetarian meals. now i have to say that i did not ruin don don!!!!!!!! i have never even been there and don't even know where it is ..... i hardly ever eat in the city.

okay, now i got that out of my system, i'd just like to say i'll be contributing here every so often with information on places around melbourne that appear to be vegan friendly but actually have death amongst their vegetables.

i do have a bit of a reputation for this as in the past i have found a number of places, where the meals aren't what they say they are. sometimes it is the wait staff's fault. sometimes people aren't sure exactly what to ask for. lying about allergies to certain foods always helps me get what i want.

i don't care if i ruin a place or what anyone thinks, it's for the animals. they have no choice in their suffering and imprisonment but with every single meal, we have a choice in where we eat. we have SOOOOO many vegan options in this fine city of ours that there is no room for excuses.

oh and i might occasionally post food photos too. i like them alot. i like food alot.

okay, here are a few places for now:

+ yoyogi: last time i was there, all we could eat was the agedashi tofu with no sauce, just the tofu. they put fish stock in the broth and also fish flakes (bonito) on top. the eggplant (dengaku) was okay as well. just miso paste on top.
unfortunately alot of miso soup has fish stock in it though.

+ alaysia: last time i was there, which was years ago, after inquiring, it was revealed that they put dairy in the sauces. ugghhh

+ food cube: close friends of mine told me that this place really doesn't know what's going on in regards to vegan food. they were given butter and other items on the plate were questionably not vegan.

that'll do for now. add some more if you know of them....

on a positive note, more people need to head to port melbourne and check out bowl of soul. they are all vegetarian and have lots of vegan options with vegan cheese !!!! also, lots of people already but just incase you didn't, the east brunswick club is now doing vegan meals too and there is a new italian vegetarian cafe opening today, on lygon street called vege2go. i haven't been there yet but have seen their menu online and they appear to have some vegan options !!!!

**disclaimer: i am not to be held accountable for any of these places but this is merely a guide to being more aware of what's really going on behind those kitchen doors..... things do change and different wait staff say different things. so just ask more questions !!! (for the animals.....)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Now Here's What I Want Y'all To Do.

Grandmaster Flash once said that the Furious Five would've sounded like The Roots, had they been able to afford instruments. And here they are, redefining hip hop.

I Wanna Be Your Dog.

Riding through the city I notice two distinct phenomena: one group of people, wandering east, mostly pale men in their late twenties, mostly wearing black. Another group of people, wandering southwest, a variety of ages and genders, identifiable by their green and gold apparel. Iron Maiden at Rod Laver, and the Socceroos at Telstra Dome. You can figure out which group attended which. I was impressed by the sheer separation of the two groups - they barely noticed each other, let alone acknowledged the others existence. Near the very end of my journey, however, I see a guy crossing Elizabeth St. He is wearing an Australia scarf and a Stooges shirt. I have no idea to which venue he is heading, and this makes me extremely happy.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

When Those Chickens Came Home To Roost.

Ok, so I didn't go to Brisbane for Live and Let DIY this weekend. Instead I stayed home listening to Propagandhi and reading Ward Churchill's Pacifism as Pathology: Reflections on the Role of Armed Struggle in North America. Right now, as a consequence, I'm pretty much ready to hoist the black flag and start slitting throats. The book also contained a quote from The Last Poets, who, for some reason, I continue to overlook when it comes to record purchasing time. More fool me.