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Tom Lehrer profile

Posted April 10, 2014 into Music by John Birmingham

Buzzfeed has become a shorthand joke for everything wrong with online churnalism. But that's unfair. They do some great long form work. Including this piece on one of my favorite musical satirists, Tom Lehrer. His total canon consists of 37 songs, and yet he towers over the 20th Century, or at least that part of it concerned with musical satire.

If you're Lehrer fan you'll thank me for this link. If not, I pity you.

Lehrer then incorporated Lehrer Music, bought the rights to the record from Trans Radio, and began selling it by mail order through P.O. Box 121 at the Cambridge post office. He rented an empty room on the second floor of his rooming house, hired Harvard freshmen to help him with packing, and trudged down to the post office every Monday for months to send shipments.

By 1954 — when he was trying to avoid the draft by working for a defense contractor — he had sold 10,000 records. He had also quickly dissolved Lehrer Music, of which he was president, in December for “various reasons,” among them: “Certain stockholders objected to the president’s face.” He gave up and shipped off to Fort Meade in 1955, an early officer in the National Security Agency. (He is believed, during that time, to have invented vodka Jell-O shots.) By the end of the decade, he had sold 370,000 records.

14 Responses to ‘Tom Lehrer profile’

S.M. Stirling ducks in to say...

Posted April 11, 2014

"Poisoning Pigeons in the Park" alone earned him deathless fame.

"I just make zem go up

Where zey come down

Zat's not my department

Says Wehrner von Braun

Nazi, Schmatzi, says Wehrner von Braun."

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w from brisbane mutters...

Posted April 11, 2014

For more Tom Lehrer, there was a very good radio interview on Radio National's 'The Music Show' back in 2006. Unfortunately, now just the transcript is available. I listened to it live at the time. Tom was bubbly and engaged, which is not always the case as he can be a bit over talking about something he gave up 40 years ago. But this interview was fun and informative, Maybe the fact that the interviewer, Andrew Ford, is a doctor of music and a respected modern classical music composer helped pique Tom's interest, plus, as Tom plugs, his 3 CD boxed set had just come out.

Click on 'Show Transcript' on this page
http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/musicshow/tom-lehrer/3344656#transcript

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Bondiboy66 mutters...

Posted April 11, 2014

My ex's mother was a big fan. And I one of my diggers in the Army knew most Tom Lehrer songs and would sing them at random times....mind you the same chap knew The Internationale also and happily sang it when playing enemy on excercise.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan puts forth...

Posted April 11, 2014

When I was growing up in Chicago, every kid in my neighborhood knew the lyrics to all of these songs:

Be Prepared
Harvard Fight Song
I Hold Your Hand in Mine
Irish Ballad
Lobachevshy
Mlf Lullaby
My Home Town
National Brotherhood Week
New Math
Poisoning Pigeons in The Park
Pollution
Send The Marines
Smut
The Elements
The Irish Ballad
The Masochism Tango
The Old Dope Peddler
The Vatican Rag
We Will All Go Together when We Go
Wernher Von Braun
Who's Next?

Only now do I realize how odd that was.

damian would have you know...

Posted April 11, 2014

National Brotherhood Week in particular, for some reason, has been a central component in my concept of comparative religion for as long as I can remember. Also, Vatican Rag is still the core of my mental model for Catholicism.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted April 12, 2014

The Vatican Rag is musically funny, too, being a parody of Ragtime. Lehrer was not just a funny man, he was an amazing composer.

My personal favorites, at the top of my list, are The old Dope Peddler, I Hold Your Hand In Mine and the Harvard Football Fight Song.

Come on, chaps, fight for Harvard's glorious name.
Won't it be peachy if we win the game?
(oh, goody!)
Let's try not to injure them, but
Fight, fight, fight.
And do fight fiercely.
Fight, fight, fight.

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Guy is gonna tell you...

Posted April 11, 2014

When my Dad was young he had to smuggle a copy of Tom's record into his parents house as they didn't approve of this "awful man". When I was the same age we were performing Tom's songs in charity shows. They still make me smile.

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Bunyip swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 11, 2014

"... I often feel like a resident of Pompeii who has been asked for some humorous comments on lava.

F'ing golden. Ta JB.

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Ian Slinger swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 11, 2014

"If you're Lehrer fan you'll thank me for this link."

Thank you for that link.

My introduction to Tom Lehrer was unwittingly via The Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band in the 70's and the enthusiastic rendition of The Masochism Tango on their Australia album. They even did a rendition of it on an ancient ABC late night music program called Radio With Pictures where I seem to recall Microphone Mic Conway was beating other band members with a string of sausages. Good times.

It wasn't till years later that I joined the dots with other pieces of music and realised it was Tom Lehrer underlying them all. This article actually fills in a lot of the gaps.

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AuntyLou would have you know...

Posted April 11, 2014

Thank you so much JB. I needed this reminder. I was introduced to TL by a boyfriend's sister back in the 70's. I had a lovely friend from a very Catholic family that I introduced to "The Vatican Rag". She loved it so much that she took to to her youth group...thank Dog for young, hip priests who didn't nominate her for instant excommunication! I guess I love most how often TL songs are still relevant. My husband is a little bit sick of how often I sing the bit from "Send the Marines"..."then might makes right/ until they see the light/ they have to be protected/ all their rights protected/ 'til somebody we like can be elected!"

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Rob is gonna tell you...

Posted April 14, 2014

brillianrt, Must try and get a CD,

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Darth Greybeard swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 15, 2014

Love Tom Lehrer. One of our favourite ways to traumatise the kids in their teens was for the Beloved and I to do a duet of The Masochism Tango. With props. Eventually they all learned to love Lehrer too. Can't wait to corrupt another generation.

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Heart Shaped Box

Posted March 23, 2014 into Music by John Birmingham

Been pondering a post on the most Gen X song ever. This isn't that post. But it's close and it came up during the research. I found this cool one-woman band via Esquire, of all places. Maybe it's just the bottle of cheap proscesso I drank, but this may be the coolest thing ever. Or at least tonight.

Definitely tonight.

As Esquire says: Nirvana's Heart Shaped Box:

... captures a certain kind of lethargic, mid-'90s teenage angst so well that unfortunately it forever bears the distinction of sounding exactly like an entire record store (remember those?) collectively rolling their eyes at you. Yet it's still a pretty great song, and it's basically uncoverable without sounding trite, overdone, or insincere.

But it has now been covered by a Hawaii-born, Lawrence, Kansas-based one-woman-band who goes by Kawehi. And what she manages to do with the song (and one large bottle of red wine, apparently) is nuanced and big and, hey, not trite, overdone or insincere.

24 Responses to ‘Heart Shaped Box’

Jacques Stahl swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 23, 2014

Yes, agree, very nicely done.

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Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted March 24, 2014

Wait, wait, wait . . . hold on.

She was born in Hawaii and moved to KANSAS?

What.

The.

Fuck?

Why?

Who willingly makes a choice to go to Kansas if you aren't already next to it?

Baffled,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

SZF swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 24, 2014

I'd go for the sweet (and enhanced!) Fujita scale.

I'd STAY for the portal to an endless supply of flying monkeys.

Murphy mutters...

Posted March 24, 2014

The monkeys are a myth.

But there are plenty of the walking kind, they run a local business called Commerce Bank.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted March 24, 2014

I want to score some of that proscesso.

BigWillieStyle asserts...

Posted March 24, 2014

As do I, PNB. Might assist me the next time I watch a baseball game on TV. One of your Big City Franchises played Another Big City Franchise in Sydney over the weekend. The biggest cheers came when one of the batter men hit a foul?/fowl? baseball into the crowd. In between times, the crowd was in some sort of induced coma.

Is this really what you people do for fun over there?

Lulu mumbles...

Posted March 24, 2014

BWS, baseball always seemed to me like the US version of test cricket, just over one day instead of five.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted March 24, 2014

Baseball is always better while drinking lots and lots of beer (which is ALWAYS served during games).

I want some of that proscesso for its apparent eurphoric effects.

SZF has opinions thus...

Posted March 24, 2014

I'd hardly call the Diamondbacks a "Big City Franchise"...and the cheers are for when the punter in the crowd catches the foul ball. Just like at the cricket when someone hits a 6...

A bunch of us went along yesterday but even as a serious baseball fan I'll admit it wasn't the greatest of games until the 9th when things got a little interesting.

Still, it's the only time I've ever seen "the wave" go through the Members. That got a pretty serious cheer.

BigWillieStyle is gonna tell you...

Posted March 24, 2014

@SFZ

Phoenix isn't a big city?

SZF is gonna tell you...

Posted March 24, 2014

Not in a baseball sense (comparatively speaking)

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan asserts...

Posted March 25, 2014

SZF is correct. Phoenix is a teeny, tiny little city with a teeny, tiny little baseball team that rarely wins because they are so teeny tiny and cannot prevail against the giants. Or the red sox.

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Pete mutters...

Posted March 24, 2014

Drums, she doesn't do percussion at all well, too bad that ... Asamatteroffact Robert Fripp had a drummer on one of his albums that made such a poor show of it the album credited had him as Johnny No Good, looks like he got work in Kansas.

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Therbs has opinions thus...

Posted March 24, 2014

A bit twee. Saw that gadget she uses demonstrated on Spicks and Specks a few years back. Its basically a Casio keyboard thing with facility for recording and playback on multiple loops. Probably the sort of thing Gotcha would use for dubbing his nursery rhyme rip offs.

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 24, 2014

I'm actually listening to the track now.

Yeah, you probably have to move to Kansas to find that level of existential angst needed for a decent cover.

Still, why Kansas? WTF?

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

w from brisbane has opinions thus...

Posted March 24, 2014

She and her husband do not want a 'real' job. They just want to do music. They lived in L.A. for years. Very wearing with a neglible income. Hubby found somewhere more affordable. One problem, it's in Kansas. She had never been there. She really likes it.

Murphy would have you know...

Posted March 24, 2014

Anyone check her meds lately?

I'm serious.

w from brisbane puts forth...

Posted March 24, 2014

Youtube actually has a real estate video for the Black Lodge Recording Studio they purchased.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OYKlJbkrbo

Oh dear, am I stalking now?

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Rob asserts...

Posted March 24, 2014

Nirvana were never a band I warmed to properly. I was there man, I was there at their only NZ concert, I had dreadlocks, which I wore with my leather jacket and track pants. I hung around with bands who played 'grunge'. What amazed me about Nirvana was suddenly all the music I liked, music which I previously got beaten up for, and harrassed about by fellow students, workmates, teachers etc, was suddenly popular and on TV every week. It was disturbing, my private rebellion laid bare and marketed to 12 year olds.

I met Mudhoney a few years before when they played Auckland and it was honestly the best concert I have ever been to. The Mudhoney guys told us that Nirvana were the band to watch, but to me they weren't. Mudhoney were the best of that batch of artists. Although I would love to hear someone rework 'Falling in and out of Grace'. but I can always make do with Richard Cheese doing Nirvana.

Bondiboy66 reckons...

Posted March 24, 2014

I saw Mudhoney just last month (mates band played support, and he got me on the door!). They are still a fabulous band live. You know the bass player is an Aussie?

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Surtac swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 24, 2014

Hey. I really liked that ... and I'm way to old to be her target audience. Still.

Heading off now to listen to the Boss and Tom Morello do their loud version of The Ghost of Tom Joad. I can see that becoming a new Oz anthem under an Abbott government. Sad but true, imnsho.

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yankeedog has opinions thus...

Posted March 24, 2014

I prefer this Nirvana song, covered by Nirvana.

Seems the original late '60's band Nirvana, from Britain, did a song by Seattle's own. Yeah, the original filed suit against Cobain and Co. for name infringement. Got settled amicably, though-which is a bit unusual for bands.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SNhYrUnUCg

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Not all bands hate streaming

Posted January 17, 2014 into Music by John Birmingham

The headliners and mid-list acts have good reasons to be wary of it. But most bands are not headliners and midlisters, as this guy points out here at the Drowned in Sound blog. (Doffs cap to @willfrancis for the link magic).

Young bands know there's no money in it, they're not stupid. It's just that there's no money in anything else either, so why should there be any money in Spotify? And hey, the tiny royalty beats the big fat zero you get from torrents, Soundcloud and everything else out there. Small bands can't cash 'exposure' in at the bank. And they know this. Bandcamp is helpful, sure, but then again so is Spotify in some respects. Arguments about powerful, megalomaniac companies don't mean much to a class of bands and artists that don't have the management, label, agent, or press team working for them to generate the big bucks...

....

Yes, it certainly seems like more and more people are streaming, but that's just one side of an industry evolving - it doesn't mean we should all throw our CDs away and burn down record stores. If you're a band, or a label, or a manager, and you're worried about things like streaming cannibalizing your record sales, then there are ways around it which don't involve cutting off your nose to spite your face. You don't have to upload everything to Spotify if you don't want - maybe a Spotify only 'best of', or a trimmed down EP/ mini album version of your latest record might win a few new fans whilst trying to maintain a balance between royalties and sales. There'll always be the new - the mp3s, the streaming, the apps, but there'll always be room for the old - the cassettes, the vinyl, the t-shirts. It's these cycles and contradictions that make this industry what it is: An absolute mess, but a glorious one.

It's also a very fragmented one. You can't talk about Katy Perry in the same breath as Crash of Rhinos (for example) - what works for her, might not work for them, and vice versa. Spotify might by amazing for a rock band from Derby, but not for a pop singer from America. There is no right or wrong in this debate, but there are choices. If you don't like the idea of Spotify, don't engage with it. It's fine. If fan would rather stream, then that's cool too. There's a whole musical landscape out there that has absolutely fuck all to do with the internet as well. This obsession with data, and streaming, and Facebook... just go outside tonight and see a band in a pub. Go on. Do it. That's where these bands are, and that's where they've always been. The internet is important, sure, but in the end, so is existing in the 3D world, not just the 2D one.

I've been streaming a lot this week, being locked in the deadline dungeon.

12 Responses to ‘Not all bands hate streaming’

Blarkon mutters...

Posted January 17, 2014

An endless stream of talent that plays for thruppence in a few local pubs for a few years before settling down into jobs as accountants because systems of legal music distribution can never compete with "free".

If you're really good at something - you deserve to be paid for it. The idea that "artists shouldn't get paid for their work" is about as valid as saying "IT people who tend web servers, answer help desk calls, and fix computers shouldn't get paid for thier work".

pi asserts...

Posted January 17, 2014

"IT people who tend web servers, answer help desk calls, and fix computers shouldn't get paid for thier work".

They call them blogs these days.

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ShaneAlpha reckons...

Posted January 17, 2014

It's much, much harder making money playing live then it was until the late 90's.

In Queensland, pre-pokies, pubs put on bands, people came to listen and drink. The bands would tour up and down the coast all year, with about a fortnight off after each circuit. It was good for the bands as they got paid and had the chance to work on thier music and see what worked and what didn't.

Then pubs found that they could just use a DJ and get the same numbers of punters. And venues at one stage became so adverse to taking a chance on new music would only use cover or concept bands.(I was in Sydney in the late 90s and wanted to go and see a band, there were 19 concept bands playing and only 2 that might have been original.)

Then pokies became legal. All the stages were torn out, and the rooms filled with pokies. Now the venues are relatively few and the competition among bands is fierce.

pi mutters...

Posted January 17, 2014

QLD used to have an awesome music scene. The place where I met my partner, with a great pub band called Piston Broke were playing in Hamilton, is now a pokie room. It wasn't streaming music that made that happen.

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pi has opinions thus...

Posted January 17, 2014

I love my spotify. As soon as I found it I got the premium version at $11 a month. Since then I have barely even touched my quite massive music collection. The only time I now use the music collection is when I download from soundcloud and put it on my phone.

With Soundcloud and Spotify I now get every single part of my music legitimately.

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pi is gonna tell you...

Posted January 17, 2014

It's literally mind-boggling the stuff you can get through soundcloud and spotify these days. This is a mid-tier EDM artist that one of my faves right now.

https://soundcloud.com/mat_zo

His entire album at the top of the list, with commentary. Album is available through spotify, and also in bricks and mortar shops. These guys just play records dude. Well... they write them, but tens of thousands of people every week pay to see them live.

Music isn't dying. Artists aren't dying. Record companies are dying. Not the same thing.

Lobes is gonna tell you...

Posted January 18, 2014

Wow I just bought his album off iTunes. One of the first times Ive done that. Still, I'm happy with paying, its a quality album.

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pi has opinions thus...

Posted January 17, 2014

Last contribution... I promise...

https://torrentfreak.com/how-to-kill-the-music-industry-090227/

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Dino not to be confused with mumbles...

Posted January 17, 2014

Fuck it I buy hard Copy.

On an aside I read today that Bolty is of Dutch Extraction.

I have family that are Dutch. And one of the most beautiful people I have ever met is Dutch.

But OMFG do I have ammunition now.

I am giggling in anticipation.

Say hello to 457(Cori).

Lost in Space he is...

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Barnesm is gonna tell you...

Posted January 18, 2014

"Crash of Rhinos" I am sure there is one Cheeseburger would be interested in this.

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Rob mumbles...

Posted January 18, 2014

If someone would like to support my art practice my etsy shop is open right now.

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Jarrod asserts...

Posted January 20, 2014

Hmmm, this has echos of "Just pay for the damn app".

The record industry was a blip in time where thanks to copyright law and technology we had large companies controlling the distribution of recorded music making rather large profits. Historically musicians made money by playing and touring, the development of technology to record music meant that all of a sudden yu could make money without the hard yakka of touring.

Of course the internet has destroyed that business model (like so many others in the media). In many respect recorded music is not simply advertising for artists who make thier real money out of tours.

It is still possible to succeed in the music industry. Calvin Harris was "discovered" giving away his stuff on MySpace (remember Myspace) but now makes his living as a producer/DJ and occasional recording artist.

The business model has changed but good music and good musicians will still succeed and probably without the bloated parasites of record companies hoovering up royalties at the expense of the artists

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Nirvana extracts the urine

Posted November 27, 2013 into Music by John Birmingham

Back in 1991 the Seattle Grunge Gods were invited to appear on Engand's Top of the Pops, but only on the condition they not play their instruments while Cobain did his best Milli Vanilli with the vocals. They were ... uncooperative. The results, however, were gold. Brings a tear to me old Gen X eye it does.

Love Cobain chanelling 80s meta-Goth thru the mic. Vaguely recall Cold Chisel doing something similar to Countdown.

Props to Beeso for the link.

15 Responses to ‘Nirvana extracts the urine’

K3mepoh would have you know...

Posted November 27, 2013

Playing Terrortorial Pissings instead of Lithium on the Jonathon Ross show is another great moment from that tour

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BigWillieStyle would have you know...

Posted November 27, 2013

Jesus wept. Cobain was such a tool and this pretty much proves it. Ordinary guitarist and karaoke-level singer who managed to cobble together one or two half-decent songs at best.

Dino not to be confused with mutters...

Posted November 28, 2013

BWS,

I never bought a Nirvana record.

I heard 'Lithium' in 1995/6.

"I'm so happy...."

Maybe he couldn't play Barrios on guitar.

I could and I still liked him.

He/they struck a chord for me.

Dino not to be confused with ducks in to say...

Posted November 28, 2013

Lithium,

Medicine.

In the Periodic Table.

Atomic or Physical Chemistry anyone?

Or maybe CP Snow?

Dino not to be confused with mumbles...

Posted November 28, 2013

Maybe Sicofarmacology?

I had have heaps of the shit.

They even syringed me and made me unconciousness.

Qualified Doctors in the NSW Health Service.

Smart people!

I argued about adrelinine and such but it didn't matter.

They were experts.

Cost me body parts.

How much do they get paid?

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Abe Frellman swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 27, 2013

Lolz. It took Morrissey's lip-synching This Charming Man into a bunch of gladioli to another level.

Therbs would have you know...

Posted November 28, 2013

Did you get the t-shirt emblazoned with:

"ITS OFFICIAL! MORRISSEY IS A TWAT"

Abe Frellman would have you know...

Posted November 28, 2013

Ha! Nah, I was too much of a Smiths fan (but really just a Johnny Marr fan).

Lulu has opinions thus...

Posted November 29, 2013

Abe, as a young 'un I used to go around to pubs with a friend who was so much of a Smiths fan she'd named her handbag 'Morrissey'. Another girl in the group, GNR fan, had also named her handbag. So the lines, "Where's Morrissey?" "Over there, on the floor next to Axl" were quite possible.

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PaulC has opinions thus...

Posted November 27, 2013

That reminds of when Reef appeard on Hey Hey It's Saturday. They were supposed to play "Place You Hands" but did "Yer Old" instead then smashed their gear at the end. The unimpressed look on Daryl's face was priceless. I wish I could find the video of that...

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Therbs is gonna tell you...

Posted November 28, 2013

Now we're gonna have Beeso and Doc Yobbo argue about Nirvana. Reckon Kurt truly injected himself into this performance.

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w from brisbane ducks in to say...

Posted November 28, 2013

My 17 year old daughter and her friends were at a Karaoke facility last night.
What were the highlights. I asked.
She said, two of her friends doing a rip-roaring version of Smells Like Teen Spirit.

I didn't know my daughter was even aware of the song, but, 22 years after the song's release, it does say something for it that teens are still, um, er, smelling it.

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Rob is gonna tell you...

Posted November 28, 2013

I saw Nirvana back in 92 for a whole 45 minutes. Then Kurt stormed off stage in a huffy never to be seen again in New Zealand. He had the same problem as Nick Cave did in the 80s in NZ; an unreliable smack supply.

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Rob puts forth...

Posted November 28, 2013

speaking of pisstakes

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yankeedog reckons...

Posted November 28, 2013

An ancient and honorable tradition it is for bands to not listen to TV people. The Rolling Stones were asked by Ed Sullivan to change the lyric from 'Let's Spend The Night Together' to 'Let's Spend Some Time Together'. Mick agreed-and promptly sang 'Let's Spend The Night Together' anyway. Sullivan, from what I heard, was none too happy. So this type of thing goes back some way.

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From Nirvana to Soundgarden to war

Posted July 3, 2013 into Music by John Birmingham

Jason Everman played guitar in two of the greatest rock bands of my generation. Both kicked him out. He went to war. Actual war.

A long read from the New York Times. But worth it.

He had three drill sergeants, two of whom were sadists. Thank God it was the easygoing one who saw it. He was reading a magazine, when he slowly looked up and stared at Everman. Then the sergeant walked over, pointing to a page in the magazine. “Is this you?” It was a photo of the biggest band in the world, Nirvana. Kurt Cobain had just killed himself, and this was a story about his suicide. Next to Cobain was the band’s onetime second guitarist. A guy with long, strawberry blond curls. “Is this you?”

Everman exhaled. “Yes, Drill Sergeant.”

26 Responses to ‘From Nirvana to Soundgarden to war’

insomniac ducks in to say...

Posted July 3, 2013

It reminds me of when my daughter started playing soccer. She joined the same team as her school friend. I turned up at a preseason game. There was this guy called Mark there. He mentioned playing guitar. I asked if he was in a band. He said he played gigs with a friend of his. I didn't think any more of it. Later, after the girls had their first win, we had a pizza night. As we were walking to the restaurant, the dad of my daughter's friend and the guy were talking about a book deal, and then the dad said 'this guy's famous'. I asked why. It turns out that he's one of the founding members of ACDC, Mark Evans, and also kicked out after Bon Scott died. Now standing on the sideline of a girls soccer game, and totally suburban.

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Surtac puts forth...

Posted July 3, 2013

Yes, just finished reading this myself. Awesome story.

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Rob reckons...

Posted July 3, 2013

ah that takes me back to meeting Mark Arm from Mudhoney at a house party in Auckland in 1990. He told us, in my friends kitchen, that Mudhoney basically suck and we should wait for Nirvana.They were awesome he said. Well after seeing Nirvana and Soundgarden live, he was wrong. Mudhoney in Auckland 1990 was the best show I have ever seen.

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted July 3, 2013
It sort of reminds me that the vast unseen majority of people who into music fail to reap and financial reward, and always have. It's an incredibly feudal set up with the musicians as lowly serfs. Even before Napster et al.

w from brisbane ducks in to say...

Posted July 3, 2013

On the other hand, the average person, given a month's fairly intensive training on guitar, could play the full catalogue of most pop/rock bands quite well.

Lulu swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 3, 2013

w, that's a bit of a stretch.

w from brisbane is gonna tell you...

Posted July 3, 2013

A guitar teacher friend says he can get the average person, who has never played. to a professional standard in 30 hours of supervised instruction and practice.

I 'm thinking a month, 4 weeks by 20 hrs = 80 hrs, to get quite good.
Pop music is so simple it is played by people who can't read music.

pitpat asserts...

Posted July 3, 2013

I have never played a guitar but have played brass -trumpet trombone, and uphonium- at school and did a bit on the blues harp. Since my son started guitar lessons we have had guitar in the house and have since been given another couple including an acoustic bass. Anyway I bet him that I could learn the bass line to Warning by Green Day faster than he could learn and recite some of his lesson work by using the cunning method of practice. I didn't win but I did learn Fulsome Prison and now happily practice blues and country rhythms via the wonder of you tube. Practice and enjoyment for me are the keys.

Shifty Tourist reckons...

Posted July 3, 2013

Its not quite that easy W.... its not a time in = skill progression situation, you really have to work at understanding it.... not just doing the same hand actions over and over..... reading music is actually not that important.... its just an instruction manual, one written in a fairly archaic language. Also modern rock (as encompassing a variery of genres but completely opposed to Pop of Muszac) had strong improvisational bases to it, which can't be taught/learnt comprehensively.... sure they can teach you the scales, and some tried and tested tricks.... but ultimately you need a strong understanding of how music works and how the instrument works.... and an aweful lot of failure. Its like suggesting somebody can become a great writer by somebody teaching you grammer for forty hours and buying a copy of the dictionary.

w from brisbane swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 3, 2013

I was talking about playing, not writing. That is different and it is all about paring back; words, chords, notes.
Not sure people need a strong understanding. That is part of what makes pop music great, and not great.

I was listening to an interview with James Black, pianist and guitarist with the Rockwiz band. He was asked, was it great fun working up those duets with the stars? He said, generally, No! You ask them what key they like to sing in, they have no idea. Teaching them the song. It's a battle. It is amazing how little many understand about music, he said.

I have been listening to Marine Girls a bit this week. One of Kurt Cobain's favourite bands. I had heard Marine Girl, Tracy Thorn, being interviewed. Later, she became a pop star with Everything But The Girl. She said, Marine Girls was just some sixth form friends. They didn't have a drummer because they didn't know anyone with a drum kit. Some of it is out of tune because, Tracy said, they didn't know how to tune the guitars. Still, the music sounds pretty good. Pop music.

Shifty Tourist ducks in to say...

Posted July 3, 2013

Speaking as one of those lowly serfs, I can say, Damn straight.... we struggled, we gave it our all... but financial reward, HA... broke even on a self-funded EP.... largely because of friends and family pitched in to buy them.

Why? Because the MAN kept us down, oh, also because we were a head of our time, and the sheeple weren't ready to have their minds blown.... oh.. yeah...... welll.... that and because we were pretty shit.

w from brisbane would have you know...

Posted July 3, 2013

Bad luck, Shifty.
Getting other people to buy your original pop music, that is an enigma wrapped in a mystery.

NBlob mutters...

Posted July 3, 2013

Setting: Int. Panelled room. Lit fireplace. Deep leather armchair

Costume: Smoking robe. Slippers.

*Narator snaps book shut and adresses camera directly.*

Narator: "And that. Right there, proves Birmo's point about Subthread discussions. Curse him."

damian asserts...

Posted July 3, 2013

Shifty is right, though, w. Most people can learn to play the notes with enough practice and training. But you can hear when their heart isn't in it. There's actually quite a range of differences, like simple vs complex, easy vs virtuoso, expressive vs mechanical.

It's also why the more respected musical genres mix a lot of things, including improvisation. Dunno if you remember a TV show about a band in the 80s called Sweet and Sour, but there's a scene in it where they teach a random non-musical guy (maybe the singer's boyfriend, don't remember) to play bass for their songs in about 5 minutes. It's a big stretch from that to playing any part to Bohemian Rhapsody. That's not saying it's that hard to learn, but if you think in terms of depth first versus breadth first algorithms, that is more the way to understand it.

FWIW Nirvana was relatively musically sophisticated compared to most of their peers (a trait they shared with The Triffids, who were supposed to be one of their big influences). But it's not hard to learn to play (Lithium might be the track I'm thinking of here).

w from brisbane asserts...

Posted July 3, 2013

I remember when the unplugged Nirvana concert was first aired in
1993. I happened to be with a pile of musos. People liked Nirvana. There was no bitchiness. But, as the concert unfolded, people started looking at each other. He was a poor guitarist. He wasn't a good guitarist, playing simply. He really was just a very limited guitar player. People were surprised. Some of the songs were good. Some strong vocals. But his guitar ability was very poor. There was genuine surprise in the room.

I remember reading an interview with Branford Marsalis towards the end of his playing days with Sting. He was asked for his impressions. He said, Sting was fine to work with, but he got a bit annoyed talking to the rock crowd. Sting's rock friends would ask about music, Marsalis said I would try to talk about it as simply as possibly, they would stop me. "Hey dude, I just play by feel." They would smile and nod at their own awesomeness.

Marsalis said, it was as if I spent all those years practicing for 10 hours a day because I didn't really like music.

w from brisbane is gonna tell you...

Posted July 3, 2013

Of course, it would be fun to bat around the idea that there is no heart in music anymore because of dynamic range compression.

That right. The Loudness Wars!

Rob reckons...

Posted July 3, 2013

Its hard work not telling your kids to not follow their dreams. I have one son who is at uni doing engineering and is a great guitarist, hes very pragmatic and is looking at the degree to subsidise his music making. and My other son is an amazing artist, who wants to make computer art. I keep trying to talk him out of art school,(mainly because i went and it was shonky crap) he finally relented and is doing fine arts and computer gaming design combined. Phew, aussie pragmatism wins again.

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Darth Greybeard reckons...

Posted July 3, 2013

If he was one of your characters, we'd scoff at him for being unbelievable. As for the rewards I once had a heart-to-heart with my young bro-in-law about going into music for a living. Don't do it I said, very few people even scratch a living from it I said, will you still be doing this when you're 50 I said. Finish school first I said. Fortunately he ignored me completely (see kids, you can ignore old people and it will turn out fine).

Also watching a friend of my son's who wants to be a writer. Young family, pain of rejection, self-doubt. Bloody hard road for anyone in any of the creative fields to be sure.

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Surtac swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 3, 2013

Too right GB. Translating creativity into a reasonable living isn't something I'd want to have to attempt.

The irony of our host's self-description on Twitter ("I write for food.") is not lost on me.

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Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted July 3, 2013

Once you get past the band material, you get what most professional soldiers are truly like.

I do find it strange and somewhat sad that Everman was thrown out of two bands because of his moods. I'm also gratified that the Army didn't hold it against him. Moodiness and the military doesn't always combine well either but then he had the best thing going for him.

He kept quiet. If you can do that in uniform, you'll go far.

Certainly something I have never been able to master.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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PaulC puts forth...

Posted July 3, 2013

I was wondering what had happened to Everman after he left Mindfunk...

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AkaSlymann swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 3, 2013
There is also Deniz Tek who wrote songs, sang and played guitar for the very awesome punk band Radio Birdman among a bunch of others.

He as far as my memory goes was also a Marine, an emergency room surgeon (I think he did this for the marines as well as a civi) and flew in the rear seat in Phantom fighter jets. His callsign was Iceman and apparently that's where the producers of Top Gun got the idea for the Val Kilma character.

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BrianC puts forth...

Posted July 4, 2013

I fair shit a brick when i read that article.

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pi swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 5, 2013

Criminy... that is just about the most amazing thing I've ever read. You couldn't write a script like that.

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted July 5, 2013

You wouldn't write a script like that.

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MarkM asserts...

Posted July 9, 2013

Fantastic article! I spent many years trying to 'make it' and can attest it is basically luck of the draw. Years ago, I was in a great band doing really good things. We were popular with our peers, we had a good following and a successful and, more importantly, a money-making release. Despite working our proverbials off, we never seemed to be in the right place at the right time. We watched a number of bands around us achieve much more with far less work. This is still the state of play, which is why a show like 'Exhumed: the Best Bands You've Never Heard Of' can exist.

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Driving Playlist

Posted June 10, 2013 into Music by John Birmingham

Threw this one out to Twitter. This is what they threw back. It skews towards accelerated listening.


Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken
Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out Of This Country

This Is The Day
The The - Soul Mining


Jesus Built My Hotrod
Ministry - Jesus Built My Hotrod


Cars (Remix) Fear Factory - The Best of Fear Factory

Foreign Language (Flight Facilities Extended Mix)
Flight Facilities - Foreign Language Remixes


Better Get A Lawyer
The Cruel Sea - Three Legged Dog


Goofy's Concern
Butthole Surfers - Independent Worm Saloon


The Pretender
Foo Fighters - The Pretender


All These Things That I've Done
The Killers - Hot Fuss (int'l)


Satan Is My Motor
Cake - Prolonging the Magic


Pictures of Home (1997 Remix)
Deep Purple - Machine Head - 25th Anniversary Edition


Go With The Flow
Queens Of The Stone Age - Songs For The Deaf (UK Version)


Born To Run
Bruce Springsteen - Greatest Hits


Apartment Story
The National - Boxer


Birds
Anouk - Birds


Army Of Me
Björk - Post


Aloha Steve & Dano
The Casanovas - Heartbeat


Hey Friend
Jeff The Brotherhood - We Are The Champions


Heavy Days
Jeff The Brotherhood - Heavy Days

Whiskey In The Jar (Full Length Version)
Thin Lizzy - Whiskey In The Jar

Territorial Pissings
Nirvana - Nevermind


Smells Like Teen Spirit
Nirvana - Nevermind


The Songs They Played As I Drove Away
Tim Rogers & The Twin Set - What Rhymes With Girls And Cars


Needle
Born Ruffians - Needle - Single


Jazz Devil
Barry Adamson - The Murky World Of Barry Adamson


The King Of Rock'n'Roll
Daniel Lioneye - The King Of Rock 'n' Roll


Voodoo Cadillac
Southern Culture on the Skids - Southern Culture on the Skids Live at Maxwell's 06/28/2004


Ocean Size
Jane's Addiction - Nothing's Shocking

26 Responses to ‘Driving Playlist’

BigWillieStyle is gonna tell you...

Posted June 10, 2013

"Insane in the Brain" - Cypress Hill

"Axegrinder" - Hoodoo Gurus

"Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy" - Big & Rich

"Heart's Done Time" - Aerosmith

"The Girl Tried to Kill Me" - Ice T

"Tangled Up In Blue" - Sir Bob

Rhino ducks in to say...

Posted June 11, 2013

That list rocks. All it needs is some "Like a Hurricane" - Neil Young

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tqft ducks in to say...

Posted June 10, 2013

You not like my taste in music. Evil evil man. Maybe just different.

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted June 10, 2013

Looking for stuff I didnt have

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Bangar is gonna tell you...

Posted June 10, 2013

Bat Out Of Hell,just reminding.

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BigWillieStyle puts forth...

Posted June 10, 2013

Forgot one;

"The Boy With the Arab Strap" - Belle & Sebastian

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jcdmusing has opinions thus...

Posted June 10, 2013

How can you have missed the greatest driving song of all time :-

Radar Love by The Dutch band Golden Earring.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AD5fX4sveo

Rhino would have you know...

Posted June 11, 2013

And "Twilight Zone" by Golden Earring as well.

Love that song.

Birmo - that could be Caitlyn's theme song.

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Microbe74 is gonna tell you...

Posted June 10, 2013

bit late coming into it but here goes anyway

Time to Switch to Whiskey - The Corb Lund Band

Shark Fin Blues - The Drones

Cadence to Arms - Dropkick Murphys

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pitpat mumbles...

Posted June 11, 2013

Battle of Evermore -Led Zep. On the lonely flooded Hay Plain at night going to Byron Bay.

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Ali has opinions thus...

Posted June 11, 2013

I think they forgot Cadillac and a Mustang by Dan Sultan.

Especially if you're still in an On The Road kinda mind.

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Rob mutters...

Posted June 11, 2013

Thought I would join in, basically this is what I listen to when driving.

Electric Six- Jimmy Carter

Diana Anaid- Perfect Family

DC3- The Gathering

Lamb of God- requiem

Cosmo Jarvis - Maxine

Minsitry - The last Sucker

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insomniac mumbles...

Posted June 11, 2013

did you post this on behalf of the chauffeur?

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Bunyip is gonna tell you...

Posted June 11, 2013

Yeah, but. It's one thing to listen to something with a high BPM whilst playing dodgems with the nutters on the way out of Smelburg/Sidni/Brisvegas, and another whilst you cruise along something long and relaxed like the New England or Newell Highways (in NSW) (cannot be fcuked thinking of Queensland analogues)

Mind you, to enter in the spirit of this thread my suggestions for transurban freeway defensive driving:

Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell The Stooges

Search and Destroy Iggy and the Stooges

Descent Into the Maelstrom Radio Birdman

When out west of the Divide, I'm probably listening to Arvo Part or some other wanky thinky crap.

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Rhino puts forth...

Posted June 11, 2013

"Changes of Latitude, Changes of Attitude" - Jimmy Buffett

"Paradise by the Dashboard Lights" - Meatloaf

"Catholic Girls" - Frank Zappa

"Friends in Low Places" - Garth Brooks

"Alice's Restaurant" - Arlo Guthrie

"Wasn't That a Party" - The Irish Rovers

"I'm Shipping Up to Boston" - Dropkick Murphys

"Scotland the Brave"

Ippy Percival would have you know...

Posted June 11, 2013

I used to do a cover of Alice's Restaurant. I had most of the monologue word for word, but would usually modify it heavily as is the way of such things (and also make it a bit shorter). Keeping that fingerpicking riff going under a monologue is a fantastic exercise no matter what you end up bleating on about anyhow.

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Bondiboy66 would have you know...

Posted June 11, 2013

AAaah many classic driving tunes there. Some more in a fast and thrashy vein:

455SD - Radio Birdman

War of the Gods - Amon Amarth

Master of Puppets - originally Metallica, but go for the version by Trivium

Progenies of Great Apocalypse - Dimmu Borgir

Nocturnal Fear - Celtic Frost

Well they are some of MY favourites anyway.

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yankeedog mutters...

Posted June 11, 2013

'Ramblin' Man'-Allman Brothers

'Red Barchetta'-Rush

'Take It Easy'-Eagles (c'mon, that's gotta be on the list for someone other than me. Well, maybe not)

'Ghost Riders In The Sky'-preferably, Johnny Cash's version

I'll second Rhino's 'Changes In Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes'

'Twilight Zone'-Golden Earring

'Mississippi Mud'-Hank Williams III (Ol' Hank's grandson is usually on the YD playlist somewhere)

'Middle of the Road'-Pretenders

'Marche Slave'-Tchaikovskiy. Perfect for cranking up when pulled up next to someone's thumping bass.

And, of course, 'I've Been Everywhere'-again, prefer Cash's version, but will cheerfully play the original: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjm3zSCjNoU

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Ippy Percival mumbles...

Posted June 11, 2013

I like a driving list that has Jesus Built my Hotrod in it. From The Cruel Sea, I'd probably put Down Below in the driving list, just because that surf guitar tells me a story on a big open highway. Too much Nirvana, I'd just include Lithium. The obvious Triffids song is way too cheesy, and I'm afraid I would probably find Born to Run fits in the same category, though some other Springsteen might do it for me. Not that I think it's by any shot a bad song.

I'd rather Gary Numan doing Cars, and Queen doing We are the Champions, but might not trouble with the latter (but maybe Don't stop me now). And actually I'd go Are Friends Electric ahead of Cars anyway.

Oh and my driving list has Pepper and TV Star from the Butthole Surfers' Electric Larryland album. Just because the first one sounds great in a car up loud and the second one is... well, kinda sweet and mentions a cute doggie.

There's something by Andy Prieboy that I keep thinking would be a great driving song, but I don't think it's ever made it to my car. From the album with the Wendy song he did with the woman from Concrete Blonde. Forget the name of the track. But anyway...

If I'm feeling energetic and silly I like Verdi's Requiem up loud. And Holst's Jupiter. A nice big recording of Bach's B minor Mass is very welcome in my car, too, and I might even not sing the bass part along.

Most of the time if I want music I want soothing and often enough ABC Classic FM does it for me. But what the hey...

Surtac ducks in to say...

Posted June 13, 2013

Ippy, that was Tomorrow Wendy with Johnette Napolitano. Great song, btw.

Hmmn. While I'm here, I have to point out that Porcupine Tree have some great driving music that I love to play loud when travelling solo. My faves would include these tracks:

Arriving Somewhere But Not Here

Lazarus

Voyage 34

Russia On Ice

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Churba mumbles...

Posted June 11, 2013

A few I've been grooving to in The Mighty Van lately:

The Rolling stones - Doom and Gloom
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPFGWVKXxm0

Butterfingers - FIGJAM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyzrKPcLpBw

Pretty much anything by the Black Keys, but right now in Particular, Lonely Boy and Gold on the Ceiling
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yCIDkFI7ew
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_426RiwST8

WAX - Rosana
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0aRb4rAq0I

Gary Clark Jr - Don't owe you a thing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFIWstcaoLc

A bunch of Mashups, like this:
AC/DC vs Queen (Plus Robert Plant and friends) - Rock in Black
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LrL5zSlW_

The Beatles vs LCD Soundsystem - The Brits are playing at my house
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPtWh5XjiH0

PSY vs Ray Parker Jr - Gagnam Busters
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82LCKBdjywQ

Queen vs The Beatles - Fat Bottom Girls Come Together
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMGo7H5-a0A

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Rob mutters...

Posted June 12, 2013

Radar Love you say? Ministry you say? Doors..roadhouse blues. Rolling Stones.

You pretty much only need two CDs and thats Minsitry and Co-conspirators covers albums. Which has everything from Doors, to louis armstrong and Amy Winehouse http://youtu.be/gmUKK_AGRNI

Churba asserts...

Posted June 12, 2013

If you like Amy Winehouse even a little, you should check out Clairy Brown and the Bangin' Rackettes.

Rob ducks in to say...

Posted June 13, 2013

When TISM's Damian Cowell mentioned Clairy Browne in an interview. I thought it was some sort of post modern joke. I randomly googled the name and ended up buying the CD from bandcamp about 3 minutes later. Totally brilliant.

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Respond to 'Driving Playlist'