Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ben Lee

I was just flicking through one of those horrible "women's" magazines at lunch (you know the one's where there will be a 4 page diet feature and in the same magazine another story about accepting your body how it is) and saw a picture of Ben Lee and Ione Skye. Apparently they are married and I never heard a thing about it.

For those of you that don't know Ione Skye was quite popular in the 80's with the movie "Say Anything" (starring John Cuzak). Her Dad is the singer Donovan. She was also married at one time to the Beastie Boy's Adam Horowitz.

Ben Lee is an Australian musican who dated Clare Danes for quite some time. Clare left Ben for "Almost Famous" star Billy Crudup. Billy Crudup left his then 8 month pregnant partner Mary Louise Parker for Clare (nice guy huh?) Billy also plays the role of Dr Manhatten in the god awful "Watchmen" movie. His digitally enhanced "member" was the only decent acting in the entire movie. An Oscar for the penis I say! I digress though.

Ben and Ione got married in a traditional Hindu ceremony as you can see by the pic below...seems like a big wank to me but whatever floats your boat Ben. If you are interested you can read about the wedding on Ben Lee's blog here

After reading this it made me think of some of Ben's songs.
The one I want to share today is "Cigarette's will kill you". Trust Ben to state the bleeding obvious. Good track though.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Eels Fucker

The first time I heard this song was on a show called The Panel where an acoustic version of this song was played. I instantly fell in love with it. It is so simple but so complicated with the distorted music in the background.

Apologies for the crappy little video I made. I tried to find this song on Youtube but there are only live versions that are barely audible available.

While you are listening you can read the lyrics:

Came home tonight
I felt like I'd die of loneliness
Strange, you think
Looking for a simple life
Life aint simple
Tired and sick but I dont wanna be alone

Could go to a party
But I don't really want to
For now Im sitting out here on my porch
Writing in the dark air
Listening to
My little black cat miaow

Trying to vent some of the terrible passion
That's coursing through me
Something about you
Something about spending the afternoon asleep in your arms
I hate you, fucker.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Siouxsie and the Banshees

I watched a documentary a few years ago which followed groups like The Slits, The Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees during their embroyonic stages. The reason why Siouxsie and the Banshees stood out to me is the fact that the original line up had no musical experience at all.
They couldn't play any instruments so their set used to comprise of a 20 minute rendition of the Lords Prayer. Siouxsie would scream the Lords Prayer while a whole bunch of racket went on in the background. Don't forget that this was the era of punk so it was totally acceptable and probably what they needed to get enough attention to continue on and actually learn how to play the instruments.

Siouxsie's distinctive image has had an influence on many artists, in particular Robert Smith from the Cure. Robert Smith toured as a guitarist with the Banshees in the late 70's. It was during this time that Robert started to create his image.Siouxsie had/has a very distinctive look - red slashed lipstick, kubuki style pale skin and black teased/matted hair. Robert Smith admits to using Siouxsie's red lipstick when they used to tour and painting outside of his lip line. As much as I love Robert I think he stole a bit more of her image...what do you think?

It was hard for me to pick a Siouxsie and the Banshees song.
In fact I will more than likely include another song at a different time.
For now I have chosen the song "Peek a Boo".
The reason I have chosen this track is because it shows an example of backmasking. Bascially backmasking is where a song is recorded backward onto a track that is meant to play forward (got that?) The band had to learn how to play it backwards as well which I give them props for.
The backmasking is why the track sounds a bit off centre but I think it works well. I also love the use of the accordian in Peek a boo. I think the only person in music today that would experiment and use the accordian would be Bjork.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Beethoven double shot

Today's double shot is Beethoven inspired.

I'm going to start out with the track from the Saturday Night Fever album "A Fifth of Beethoven" by Walter Murphy.
This is an adaptation of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. I'm still trying to work out whether this is blasphemous or not.

The second track is a sample of a sample (if that makes sense).
Robin Thicke borrows heavily from "A Fifth of Beethoven" to create his song "When I get you alone"

Take a look at both songs.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Wa Wa Nee

When I was writing the piece on "Overkill" for Men at Work I stumbled across a few video's by Wa Wa Nee another Australian band during the 80's.

Wa Wa Nee were around during the period in time where Oz pub hard rock was at the forefront of music. Men who couldn't dance went to the pub, got pissed and rocked out to the Angles, Cold Chisel or a band of that ilk. God forbid that there could actually be an Australian pop/funk band with influences like Prince with jangly guitars rather than axe guitars.

It is no wonder that Wa Wa Nee struggled a bit in this market. I think they also stuggled because of their band name.
I mean what were they thinking when they chose Wa Wa Nee???

Someone must have had a bit of faith in them though because CBS (now Sony) signed them to their label.

Their first single "Stimulation" was released in 1986. With such wonderful lyrics as:

"Lucky guy his world's on fire he can get it up night and day

Oh I wish I could get the feeling
and give the girls something to say
All I need to get is stimulation, so get me up against the wall
You knew I needed stimulation
but I never thought you'd be that bold."

The guy in these lyrics obviously didn't require that nasal delivery system I keep hearing about on the radio hehe.

The track "Sugar Free" made the top 20 in the States.
I remember watching the Tv show "Solid Gold" (remember the Solid Gold dancers???) and the stupid woman host going (and I will have to write part of this phonetically) "Here is wawaaaaanie doing the Sugar Free"

What I want to focus on today is Wa Wa Nee's second album "Blush". I still have a copy of Blush on record and have played it to death.
Around the time Blush came out I also saw Wa Wa Nee live (they were support act for Bros but that is a story for another time) and they were an awesome live act.
In 1988 MTV in Australia used to start at about 11pm at night so they could often play the more "raunchy" videos that you couldn't see during the day.
I don't know if this was a strategy by CBS but two of Wa Wa Nee's single's for the Blush album ("Can't control myself" & "So good") had "adult" video's (i.e. lot's of naked boobie shots).
This seemed rather odd to me especially since the song "So Good" (my personal favourite) is a song about God.

Take a look at the lyrics and the "censored" video.
The track on the Youtube link is actually a longer remix as I couldn't find the original.

Every night I pray God'll be on my side
I need him more than ever
If nothing else but to stay alive, and it's
So good to know you are gonna be with me
When I need you to
I realise that the world moves
With a lot of loving from the heart of you
Every day I know when I walk on out that door
He's gonna get me home
Make my life worth living for, and it's
(Repeat Chorus)
I really love the way you keep me going on
Remaining happy if I'm right or wrong
Under the umbrella of love I belong, oh yeah
Everything I do from this moment on
I guarantee it's all for you
So I dedicate this love song, and it's
(Repeat Chorus)
Every time it rains, anytime you're feeling blue
Just remember he has an umbrella over you
So good to know you could let me
Love you God and hate you too
You've forgive whatever I do
and I wanna tell you that I love you
(Repeat Chorus)

I also want to include another track from "Blush" "I want you".
They were definitely channelling Price for this song but I see that as a good thing. Prince is the shizz.
This has such a great groove going on.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Overkill - Men at Work

I was really pleased to hear that this song has had a bit of a revival due mostly to Colin Hay's (lead singer of Men at Work) cameo on the show Scrubs.

I have to preface this by stating that I have only watched about 2 episodes of Scrubs and don't know it that well. From what I saw it was quite funny but I never bothered to watch the series from the beginning. Apparently this particular episode was called "My Overkill" and Colin Hay was a mysterious troubadour that appears throughout the episode providing a musical interlude.

When most people think of the band Men at Work they think of the song "Down under" or horror of horrors associate them with that Supernanny show. The theme song to Supernanny is "Johnny Be Good". Someone should tell the Supernanny producers that it is totally unacceppable behaviour to use such a good song for such a crap show. Naughty chair for them! Nuff said.

Anyway back to the song. I have linked Colin's cameo from Scrubs singing "Overkill" plus the original video. I think the mark of really good song is when you can pare it back and you are left with a great melody. No vocal layering, synth, drum machine..just the melody.