Pumped uP Kicks –

One more post before the year comes to a close.

I’ve always liked this song, in fact I used to be able to play it!

Four chords and a ridiculously simple beat that doesn’t vary from start to finish.

Of course the hard part is making it sound interesting;

it gets monotonous very quickly in my hands but Zeke’s put a nice cover up on

Soundcloud.

I like the Viola that he’s slotted in to the back half of the song.

Holiday wishes &

See y’all in 2013 (with new added whiteness :-))

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Home to Roost (extract)

I don’t remember any of what happened.
Just those howls, like dogs, as we drove out.
The fields and trees all black and green.
Perhaps some of the very first rounds.
But nothing else.

I had to pick it all up second hand,
as my hearing came back in the chopper,
and then again in Bastion.

How when my driver had reversed
he’d hit a roadside IED.
How the explosion had hit a fuel tank, or ammo tin
right under me.
Shot me out, like a jack in the box,
60 feet. And then how it had all kicked off.
Rockets, grenades. The lot.

They took me straight to Rose Cottage.
A special room in the medical centre
deep among the tents and containers of Bastion.
A room for the lads or lasses who’d taken a hit,
which even the surgeons on camp couldn’t fix.

It was manned, back then, by two blokes,
staff sergeants Andy and Tom. It was them
who took me in, off the ambulance,
and into their room. It smelt of sweet tea.
“That scent,” Andy said to me. “It’s the Eau de Toilette. Rose.
The Afghans insist we spray it on their guys.”
“Don’t worry though Arthur,” Tom added on my other side.
“You’ll soon get used to it. We did.”
And then they laughed. Not for themselves
but for me, I could tell. And they carried on talking too,
chatting me through all they’d do,
as they put what they’d found of me onto a shelf,
saying “sorry it’s so cold Arthur”,
which it was, like a fridge.
Then they said “sleep well” before sliding it shut.
My first night of three in Rose Cottage.

I saw them again just before I left.
When they slid me out into the light again,
still passing the time of day
as they placed me in the coffin
that would carry me home.
Always calling me by name.
“Not long now Arthur.”
“You’ll be back in no time.”
Gently, they lowered the lid
then, like two maids making a bed,
they unfolded, smoothed and checked for snags,
before draping me in the colours of the flag.

- Owen Sheers

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The Insights – Not Myself

I’m a little in awe of my kids sometimes.

Rohan (the oldest) is as sharp as a tack.
Full of that harsh, imperious logic that comes with youth.
He’s as clear a thinker as I know; I don’t win many arguments these days.

Quinn (the youngest at 12) is just indefatigable.
We had this standard goodbye when he was younger and I dropped him off at school:
“Do two kind things today” and you know, I think he always did.
He has the heart of a lion and it’s a kind heart.

And Zeke (in the middle) just astounds me.
I don’t know where his music come from?
Certainly not my side of the gene pool (I’m up at the shallow end)
but he just goes from strength to strength.

That’s Zeke on the left, Ross sitting next to him
and Jordan had a tennis match on so he’s missing.

fb     sc

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Joke Wars

                                         

                                    Vs    (Quinn)

                                 

                                           What do you call a DONKEY with three legs?

                                                                 

                                                                               ………

                                                         

                                                                       A   WONKEY !

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Wobbly Rock

  for Gary Snyder

                 
                “I think I’ll be the Buddha of this place”
                                    and sat himself
                                            down
         
        1.
It’s a real rock
        (believe this first)
Resting on actual sand at the surf’s edge:
Muir Beach, California
        (like everything else I have
        somebody showed it to me and I found it by myself)
Hard common stone
Size of the largest haystack
It moves when hit by waves
Actually shudders
        (even a good gust of wind will do it
        if you sit real still and keep your mouth shut)
Notched to certain center it
Yields and then comes back to it:
Wobbly tons
      2.
Sitting here you look below to other rocks
Precisely placed as rocks of Ryoanji:
Foam like swept stones
        (the mind getting it all confused again:
        “snow like frosting on a cake”
        “rose so beautiful it don’t look real”)
Isn’t there a clear example here
Stone garden shown to me by
Berkeley painter I never met
A thousand books and somebody else’s boatride ROCKS
       (garden)
EYE
        (nearly empty despite this clutter-image all
        the opposites cancelling out a
        CIRCULAR process: Frosting-snow)
Or think of the monks who made it 4 hundred 50 years ago
Lugged the boulders from the sea
Swept to foam original gravelstone from sea
        (first saw it, even then, when finally they
        all looked up the
        instant AFTER it was made)
And now all rocks are different and
All the spaces in between
        (which includes about everything)
The instant
After it is made
        3.
I have been in many shapes before I attained congenial form
All those years on the beach, lifetimes . . .
When I was a boy I used to watch the Pelican:
It always seemed his wings broke
And he dropped, like scissors, in the sea . . .
Night fire flicking the shale cliff
Balls tight as a cat after the cold swim
Her young snatch sandy . . .
                       I have travelled
                       I have made a circuit
                       I have lived in 14 cities
                       I have been a word in a book
                       I have been a book originally
Dychymig Dychymig: (riddle me a riddle)
        Waves and the sea. If you
        take away the sea
Tell me what it is
       4.
Yesterday the weather was nice there were lots of people
Today it rains, the only other figure is far up the beach
        (by the curve of his body I know he leans against
        the tug of his fishingline: there is no separation)
Yesterday they gathered and broke gathered and broke like
Feeding swallows dipped down to pick up something ran back to
Show it
And a young girl with jeans rolled to mid-thigh ran
Splashing in the rain creek
        “They’re all so damned happy—
        why can’t they admit it?”
Easy enough until a little rain shuts beaches down . . .
Did it mean nothing to you Animal that turns this
Planet to a smoky rock?
Back among your quarrels
How can I remind you of your gentleness?
        Jeans are washed
        Shells all lost or broken
        Driftwood sits in shadow boxes on a tracthouse wall
Like swallows you were, gathering
Like people I wish for . . .
        cannot even tell this to that fisherman
        5.
3 of us in a boat the size of a bathtub   .   pitching in
slow waves   .   fish poles over the side   .   oars
We rounded a point of rock and entered a small cove
Below us:
                 fronds of kelp
                 fish
                 crustaceans
                eels
Then us
                then rocks at the cliff’s base
                starfish
                (hundreds of them sunning themselves)
                final starfish on the highest rock then
Cliff
                4 feet up the cliff a flower
                grass
                further up more grass
                grass over the cliff’s edge
                branch of pine then
Far up the sky
                a hawk
Clutching to our chip we are jittering in a spectrum
Hung in the film of this narrow band
Green
                to our eyes only
        6.
On a trail not far from here
Walking in meditation
We entered a dark grove
And I lost all separation in step with the
Eucalyptus as the trail walked back beneath me
Does it need to be that dark or is
Darkness only its occasion
Finding it by ourselves knowing
Of course
Somebody else was there before . . .
I like playing that game
Standing on a high rock looking way out over it all:
                               “I think I’ll call it the Pacific”
Wind water
Wave rock
Sea sand
                  (there is no separation)
Wind that wets my lips is salt
Sea breaking within me balanced as the
Sea that floods these rocks. Rock
Returning to the sea, easily, as
Sea once rose from it. It
Is a sea rock
                  (easily)
I am
Rocked by the sea
- Lew Welch

         
 
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Hayden Calnin – CITY e.p & Sydney Show

You know I’m feeling for the White Rabbit at the moment;
Head down, running furiously along muttering “I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!”
This post is all arse backwards. Hayden’s debut E.P Cities has been out for a few months now and the Sydney launch, which is the show I went too was three weeks ago. So where has the time gone? Who knows? Ask me when I’m dead.

I’d been patiently waiting for a return trip north from Hayden after seeing him with Gossling earlier in the year. This time round it was his gig (his first as the headlining act). No playing second fiddle, no time restraints, his set to do with as he will. The venue was FBI Social on the fringes of Kings X which was new to me. Well new to me these days, it’s a very different ‘Cross’ from what I remember. Opening for him were The Falls who I  enjoyed. I should have bought their E.P after the show. I do feel a bit guilty about that but it would have meant one less Hayden E.P to buy and I had a shortlist of friends I was shopping for. Anyway my buddy Peter got a copy from them, so that helped ameliorate my guilt a little.

It was a grand show!
I’d bought my tickets a few months earlier and was counting down the days; yes I don’t get out too much. So when I finally trooped up the stairs to the third floor of the Kings Cross Hotel it was with high expectations and I’m pleased to say I was not disappointed. Well actually there were a couple of small disappointments but they had nothing to do with Hayden’s performance. Firstly I was late getting back for his set (never trust the doors guess at a start time) so missed the impromptu wedding proposal before he took to the stage. Which was a bummer because I’m a sucker for schmaltzy moments like that. However I can confidently wager that For My Help will be played on the happy couples wedding night. And secondly he managed to lose his band between Melbourne & Sydney (careless of him I know – car troubles) so It turned into a solo affair. Which is a shame really because I was looking forward to that added dimension a band would have brought to his songs. Not just filling up the space with multiple instruments, he’s got that covered with his sampling and looping but I was curious to see how the dynamic of his music would change with a full stage of people. No matter It was still a great show and I’ll be patient and wait for the next time he is in Sydney.

I’ve only seen Hayden perform twice so lack any real authority to comment but I’ve seen several versions of his songs on the internet since I’ve been following his music; Live, Soundcloud, YouTube etc and some are slightly different to the others. I suspect every performance is a little different also and that there are no hard and fast rules. His songs are exquisitely constructed. They’re little be-Jewelled creatures, like Christmas Beetles or Faberge eggs or Tiramisu cake. Rich layers of sounds both found (people’s chatter, traffic noise, the elements) played and then processed and slotted into the songs. Rich seams of music and space layered over the top of each other or looping away in the background and often both at once. A lot of his music is not what it seems. He’ll play a chord on the keyboard and you’ll hear the sound of rain. Pick a note on his guitar and the E-Bow hidden  in his palm will bend the harmonics so that it’s a Cello or a Violin you’re listening to. He’ll sing a line and it will trigger that astonishing falsetto of his, harmonizing in symmetry an octave or two above himself. Surprises are everywhere which could get kind of confusing if you were to listen too his work literally. My advice, don’t take that approach. Let his music wash over you like moving water. Let it seep into your pores. I promise it will lift you. You’ll rise with it like a vessel on an incoming tide.

So how was his show? Well just like at The Basement the audience were almost reverential in there attentiveness. If someone had dropped a pin you would have heard it. As mentioned I was late getting upstairs so if he opened with Cities I missed it. I hope he did because it’s a killer track. One of my favorites. Even though the e.p is titled City it’s namesake song is not on it and really Hayden, take it under consideration it should be.
It’s as close to a ‘summer’ track as I’ve heard you do and as close to a ‘conventional’ single as well (yep, I’m harping on about it but if you’re not going to release it chuck it up as download somewhere :-) It will bring new people to your music.

Of course the e.p was what tonight was all about and you can head over here to buy it for the paltry sum of $6.99. It’s a great album. Something any artist would be proud of whether as a first release or with a dozen recordings under their belt. It carries its weight with grace. There are 5 tracks. Two versions of Winter at different tempos. Summer which was the first release. For My Help, the current single and a track called Shutters. Hayden’s background is film & sound and like Brian Eno (who’s the dot I connect him with) it’s very atmospheric music. He’s a little frugal when it comes to talking about his songs. I think I read somewhere that he doesn’t like explaining the lyrics, preferring to let the audience work them out or perhaps take what they want from them. Having said that he was a little more forthcoming at the gig. For My Help is pretty self-explanatory; the sometimes rockiness that comes with close friendships. The song Summer is a bit of a mystery to me and I’d like to leave it like that so I haven’t tried to work it out. Shutters was written about a house in Melbourne. A share house with big old storm covers that were broke shut and never able to be opened. In this clip Hayden talks about his e.p and gives a little background to each of the tracks. His comment at 4:25 caught my attention.
Winston Churchill once said:
“We shape our dwellings,
and afterwards our dwellings shape us.”
Which is something written in China Ink on the mirror outside front door; I always thought it a pretty astute observation.
Most records that you listen too will invariably throw up songs you lean towards but I can honestly say I have no favorites amongst the five tracks that comprise Cities. If you were to ask me which is the best song Brett? I’d have to list the last one I’ve listened too. They’re self-contained worlds these five little pieces; each complete in itself. However on the night Shutters was the one that stayed with me after the show:

It’s got a beautiful languid rhythm to it. Building slowly with washes of what sounds like those ‘rain sticks’ you played with as a child. Full of chimes and bells and this gentle staccato drum loop ploughing up the ground for his music. It’s a shimmering song if that makes sense. Full of incandescent light. For My Help was another high point of the show. I guess it’s the single though I’m not sure if things like singles exist anymore. Anyway it’s the song with the film clip attached to it. Shot by his friend Tom Milekovic who’s done a great job with the visual side of things. There’s more than a hint of desperation in that song which the film captures well. The night closed with another oldie, Dinosaur Stampede which was great too – It was all great dammit!! :-). It’s a deceptively simple song.  Well maybe not deceptive at all. He cranks the reverb up way beyond what any producer would probably advise and it just works. The guitar playing tag with the echoes and each carefully articulated word of Hayden’s. There wouldn’t even be a dozen lines to the song – Verse/Chorus repeated every different way and that’s it.
It’s beautiful.
I love it.

Here’s that film clip too For My Help that I was talking about. It’s a cracker!
And go buy his Album.
Personal guarantee. If you don’t love it. Ping me and I’ll refund you the seven dollars.

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The Insights e.p Launch

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