Ms .45's mp3/bureaucratic/gaming blog.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I'm not the revolution, I'm just your boyfriend - new Electric Six

exterminate.jpgIt took me about four years to get into Electric 6, mainly because Danger! High Voltage! is, if not a novelty song, close enough if you need one. What converted me was the discovery that E6 are basically AC/DC on acid and possibly sleep deprivation. They bring the riffs and every other song is about fucking, with the additional benefit of strange, original and thought-provoking lyrics (admittedly, the thought is usually "WTF?").

Exterminate is a bit more polished and commercial than previous albums, but having been absolutely shat on by critics and fans alike for the grossly underrated Switzerland, they seem to have bowed to the demands of the fratboys derided in It's Showtime! and brought back the giant riffs and shouting. However, for those of us who actually liked Switzerland, there's still plenty of relatively subtle, poppy material and electronica. Supposedly, the theme of the album is "excess" (write me 6000 words on the theme of "excess" by the end of today, two weeks detention). The lyrics appear to have, if not story arcs - this is not a Tom Waits review - a self-contained motif, as opposed to shrieking about fire and America and stuff (not that there's anything wrong with that). That doesn't mean I have any fucking idea what they're on about; although there does seem to be a significant whinge about women who are just too demanding (Kukuxumushu, White Train, Lenny Kravitz... I mean, suck it up, dude), there's still plenty of senseless rhyming for the people who like that sort of thing (Rip It, Dirty Looks). Along the way there are Easter Eggs like "Satan destroys you/but Jesus puts you in a bowl and smokes you" (White Train) and the title of this post (Kukuxumushu). Even the songs that are a bit less good may have irresistible hooks (Dance Pattern) or amusing lyrics (Fabulous People).

I wanted to post a selection of tracks that would represent the range of styles here, but quickly realised I would just end up posting the whole album, and if I do that I'm never going to get another Australian tour. So I chose these two as covering the rock-electronica spectrum:

Broken Machine - Emo electronica, Gary Numan stylee. You know you're chronically depressed when you think shit like this is really profound. Help me, I'm turning emo!

I've been an impoverished student for the last five years and therefore missed their last tour. For the love of Zod, buy this album!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Ding dong, the witch is dead

I'd like to believe that we have a new government because of this (slightly outdated, it's from a couple of years ago)...

...but to be honest, I think people just went "Ooh, shiny".

I'm also less than stoked by the landslide majority in the House of Reps, but the really interesting place is the Senate, where the conservative parties (Liberals, Nationals, Family First) have 38 seats, the "left" parties (ALP, Greens) have 37, and independent Senator Nick Xenophon, who split his preferences between a conservative ticket and a leftish ticket and who has tended to campaign on issues that should attract bipartisan support, such as gambling. He's in for an exciting 6 years.

There are two things that should give Labor supporters pause: firstly, the real possibility of an imminent economic downturn, and secondly, what will happen now that the ALP holds *ALL* Australian governments. In both instances, there is likely to be what the economists call a "correction". I know I wouldn't bleed very hard if Labor went down in Victoria - can you tell the difference between Brumby and The Other Guy? Victoria's not due for another state election until 2010, having passed a US-style law to hold elections on the last Saturday of November every four years, but it will be interesting to see what will happen to other states and territories.

This reserve won't stop me from shouting myself a tall glass of something with bubbles in it tomorrow afternoon, though.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

More voting fun

GetUp have created a rather nifty little website called, which allows you to fill in a quick quiz to establish roughly how you should fill out your preferential vote card for the House of Representatives. (Such an exercise for the Senate would require SETI to power, which is why they don't offer it.) It's not 100% foolproof - my results had the CEC ahead of the Greens and the Liberals ahead of Family First - but it's near enough, and if you aren't too fussed about how the numbers after 3 flow, you may find it useful. (I wouldn't be devastated if my vote was submitted the way GetUp generated it, I just want to switch a couple of minor parties around.)

If the whole preferential voting thing makes your head whirl, GetUp have thoughtfully provided a mostly non-partisan guide to the Australian electoral system in plain English.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

My life as a rockist

I'm not gonna pretend I had an idyllic childhood - it frankly sucked - and, like all bullied children, I had my refuge. Others had dungeons and dragons or SF - I had rock music. If, for any reason, I'm ever called on to discuss my religion, I'll say I'm an atheist or agnostic (depending on whether it's a nice day or I've gotten laid recently), but it would be pretty reasonable, given the role that music plays in my life, to describe myself as a "rockist". Consider the following:

ROLE IN FAMILY LIFE: My mum recently confessed that my parents' marriage is based entirely on the fact that "we both love rock'n'roll music". We spent a lot of time travelling (in one jaunt, we were on the road for six months in a hotted-up F100), and in that time not once was the radio off. We would sing along to "House of the Rising Sun" in our genetically-disadvantaged voices, in a painful but effective bit of family bonding. When we settled down nothing changed. I would wake up on a bright sunny day to be informed that, although the desktop hides Ita's hips, Barnsey's imagination is strong. When my mum discovered my dad was screwing around on her, she sang him Mental As Anything's "If You Leave Me, Can I Come Too?" Alhamdulillah, they got back together after awhile, owing to the healing powers of rock'n'roll (and possibly being too cranky for any other partners).

RITES OF PASSAGE: Beginning with my seventh birthday, I would annually receive a gift certificate for Brashes record chain. The first album I ever bought myself was with one of these. Given my avowed love of disco, you will not be surprised to learn that the album was The Pointer Sisters' Greatest Hits. In addition to the rite of passage of learning responsibility for one's musical choices, I also learnt the taste of bitter disappointment as the season's current hit, I'm So Excited, wasn't on the album.

It's not just me, though: my sister and I were sitting around at Mum's place, as young adults, listening to Black Sabbath's Paranoid. My mum sighed nostalgically and told us, "I had my first passionate kiss to this song."

RITUAL AND SACRIFICE: As you would expect from a family of devout rockists, we owned a pretty decent stereo. My dad had this alarming habit of putting a pillow on the floor, putting the speakers on each side of the pillow, plugging in the headphones and switching the settings to play through both speakers and headphones (no, I don't know why it had this function either), lying on the pillow with the headphones on, cranking it up to 11 and playing Stairway to Heaven, loudly declaring "This song is better than an orgasm!!!".

Unsurprisingly, he suffers from tinnitus these days.*

*Just to let the truth ruin a good story, the tinnitus is probably industrial rather than a result of musical self-abuse, but this couldn't have helped.

ADORATION: Despite my self-description as a "rockist", I don't shy away from great pop and electronica, and as a kid I was a Durannie. I was deeply in love with John Taylor, and have only recently realised that he's actually a pretty decent bass player. My devotion was such that, when offered a chance to learn to ride horses at the age of 11, I refused, because The Reflex was showing on whatever shitty afternoon music video show was the shit at that age. (It was hosted by Jonathon Coleman and was called "Live Wire", if I recall correctly. It definitely wasn't Simon Townsend's Wonder World, which I also watched religiously.) I never really liked horses.

ADULTHOOD: For my 18th birthday, I was given tickets - plural - to the Angels at EV's in Croydon, an all ages venue. I say plural because originally, my mum's best friend's husband had bought one ticket for me. His wife tore him a new one and demanded that he buy me another ticket - a pointless and humiliating exercise for this friendless wonder. I asked some people who didn't really hate me if they wanted to go, but they were washing their hair. I tore up the extra ticket in fury, and went by myself. It's still one of the greatest rock performances I've ever seen, and I still go to gigs by myself.

Disappointingly, they didn't play Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again.

VIRGIN SACRIFICE: The loss of my virginity, at the age of 19, involved no music at all. Unsurprisingly, it was shit.

To be honest, this has nothing to do with any specific event in my life, although it was a huge hit at an impressionable age and is one of my favourite songs of all time. It's mainly here as a reminder that Stephen Cummings was totally hot back in the day, and prematurely gray 30 year olds still totally do it for me.

Voting above the line - will it bring on the apocalypse?

Last Federal Election, I spent a great deal of time printing out "how to vote" pdfs from the Australian Electoral Commission to reassure myself that I hadn't done anything that might have caused Family First's Steve Fielding to get elected. In fact, I hadn't - I'd spent a good ten minutes painstakingly voting below the line, numbering my preferences from 1 to about 15 or so, then going the other way and sequencing the bottom numbers from 63 up to about 40, then trying to remember where I was up to on each side so I didn't accidentally end up with two 36's and invalidate my vote.

(For non-Australian readers, voting is compulsory and enforced in this country, and it is preferential, which means you number your preferences in order, so that an electorate selects the candidate they despise the least. The AEC publishes a handy Flash guide here. It's pretty easy at the House of Reps level, where you'll have maybe 10 candidates at most to rank, but the Senate is where every unelectable freak chooses to express themselves, blowing out the numbers to 60-70 candidates. As a result, there is the option to vote "above the line", where you tick one box, say, Australian Democrats, and you accept that party's preferences. Understandably, it's a pretty hardcore political nerd who bothers to vote below the line.)

Anyhoo, for the current election I stumbled on the extremely useful listing of group voting tickets for the Senate. Simply pick the state you live in, download the pdf and find out how political parties are distributing their votes. Each party's votes cover two pages of pdf - just find the party closest to your ideological outlook and make sure they haven't done anything hilarious like preference a party that's largely against what most of their supporters would want just to spite a party that's reasonably similar to what most of their supporters would want. (You can interpret that any way you like.)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Your hide will make a fine poncho!

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TISM for non-TISM fans

This is a range of TISM mp3's for people who haven't heard any TISM or who have only heard stuff like Greg! The Stop Sign! They're in chronological order, and were originally intended to show the diversity of TISM's oevre... then I realised that I'd just picked comparatively obscure songs that I like and that weren't so topical they were outdated or incomprehensible to anyone outside of Melbourne's south-east, so they're not that diverse.

Lyrics range from extremely clever (Sex Tonite) to extremely stupid (Sid Viscous), so there's something for all levels of intellectual development. The main thread is that they all bring the rock - even the comparatively electro (There's Gonna Be) Sex Tonite is crunchy and satisfying. Enjoy!

I'm Interested in Apathy, Great Truckin' Songs of the Renaissance
Let's Club It To Death, Hot Dogma
(There's Gonna Be) Sex Tonite,
Sid Viscous, Best Off bonus track

[EDIT: I've just re-uploaded the Christmas specials from 2004, I Ain't No Christian, But I Believe In Jesus and Then The Answer Came.]

Free file hosting from File Den

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Live Guns'n'Roses

Darren over at He's A Whore has a post devoted to 1987, the year I stopped listening to commercial music (actually, that's frogshit, I didn't really jump the fence until Nevermind was released). Of particular interest is the live set of Appetite for Destruction - scroll down for pure live pleasure.

(Oh yeah, there's some U2 for the people who like that sort of shit.)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Jock Cheese, TMBG & Macaca Mulatta

In response to a reader posting (and by posting I mean "grovelling pathetically"), I'm posting a few tracks from a hard-to-find side project, Platter, by TISM's bass player Jock Cheese. A bit more information about this album can be found here.

Up There Calisi
La Traviata
Don't Burn 'Em All JD
Dave Grainey's Country Idyll (highly recommended)
Free file hosting from File Den

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They Might Be Giants have uploaded three rather good live-on-radio MP3s to their website, free to subscribers of the TMBG mailing list. Just sign up right here.

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Chris Chinchilla, formerly of Art Brut and currently of Macaca Mulatta (and Melbourne resident! Aren't you proud?) writes:

In the next fortnight we're finally off into the studio to record our album! What with gigs getting hotter and busier and more labels sniffing about the band it looks like 2008 will be a good year...

In the meantime, here's some live shows to keep you entertained and to write about :-)

10/11/07 @ IDGAFF
160 Hoddle st, Abbotsford
With Telecom, Ross Cottee and The Cheats
--- Macaca Mulatta return to their spiritual home to celebrate the fact that London promoter Dom PopArt / Panic is in town!

17/11/07 @ The Espy
St Kilda, FREE
With Kids in Cults, The Red Cherries and The Bakelite Age
--- Macaca Mulatta head south of the river, and it's Free!

If you are not sure whether you would like to see Macaca Mulatta, even for free, you can check out their songs and live performances at their websty.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The album, not the country

I haven't had a chance to pick up the belowmentioned Electric Six album I Shall Exterminate Everything Around Me That Restricts Me From Being The Master, as I'm saving up to move house and will need the first month's rent and bond. I did buy a copy of Switzerland a while ago, and on searching blogs for it, was a little surprised that it didn't do very well. It doesn't have any obvious iconically awesome hits like Gay Bar or Danger! High Voltage!, so alternative radio seems to have just gone "Meh" and bloggers just shat on it from a great height.

This is a shame, because, whilst it would obviously be blasphemous and stupid to compare Switzerland to Exile On Main St, like that favourite Stones album* it's a good solid album on which every track is pretty decent and you have to listen quite a few times to mine all the awesome out of it. The production and riffs smother the fairly clever lyrics (I said clever, not intelligent!), so you can listen to a song for ages before you realise "Hey, this is fucking funny!". These are some of the more overtly sexy tracks.

Slices Of You
Germans In Mexico
Mr Woman

Free file hosting from File Den

*My favourite Stones album is Some Girls, continuing the theme of my tragic addiction to both rock AND disco.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Pencils at Dawn

I haven't laughed out loud in quite some time, for reasons I prefer not to get into here. Pencils At Dawn made me laugh out loud several times.