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The Beatles: Single White Album

When Brian Wilsom decided to actually make a definitive (attempt at) Smile, he took away one of my favourite toys. The reshuffling of great tracks to make different coloured masterpieces.

Then there’s the ever-popular idea that the Beatles White Album would be better as a double.

So I decided to have a little fun.


Side 1 – 24 minutes – the eclectic vibe on one side.

The first side of the White album always seemed to be the eclectic one.

Lennon gets 3. The masterpiece that is Happiness, Glass Onion his most playful, Prudence that beautiful druggy sadness. Left off the more pedestrian ballads (in my opinion of course)

Macca gets 3. It was hard to loose Rocky Racoon, but Ob La Di is so crazy and so Mac. Blackbird is just goregous as is I Will. Much needed well formed classic little songs on this side. Good counter point to Lennon (he always was).

George gets 1 – While My Guitar Gently Weeps, naturally.

Ringo gets his 1, Don’t Pass Me By.

This plays a little like side 2 of Abbey Road. Just each of their personalities mashed together.

Glass Onion
Dear Prudence
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Happiness Is A Warm Gun
Don’t Pass Me By
I Will

Side 2 – 24 minutes – the heavy/rock side

The heart of the second LP of the White Album were the rockers. In your face and showing how much energy they could muster when called upon. It’s been a long time since they rocked so hard and they pretty much never did it again.

Harrison, 1.
Lennon 3
Macca 4

Back In the U.S.S.R.
Yer Blues
Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey
Why Don’t We Do It In the Road?
Helter Skelter
Revolution 1

I am, yes, a little bored

Paul Simon: Surprise

Paul Simon’s new album, Surprise, hits Australian stores on May 13. You can preview four tracks on his official website right now.

The album is a collaboration with the legendary Brian Eno (you know, he made the Microsoft sound). And, as the title suggests, the four tracks are a lot better than I expected. His last album, You’re The One, was a low key, one colour, acoustic affair. Listen to the electric buzz on the first track on the new one, How Can You Live In the Norhwest?, and Simon sounds not only modern but heck, maybe even relevant.

The world music voices hit on Wartime Prayers, but even then the song is full of dynamics and power (if not so much emotion – Simon is still the master of detachment. He is a rock, you know). And there is a bright shiny eighties guitar on Fathers And Daughters (courtesy of Bill Frisell?) but it’s a sweet, sweet song.

Paul Simon is pretty much the pinnacle of a certain age of artists. So many times you read that so-and-so’s album is their Graceland, that mid life masterpiece that appeals to people everywhere. And he’s made more money than most people and doesn’t need to do anymore. But it’s good to see him come out of the woodwork and try to add another album to an already great and brave catalogue.

Oh and I’m sorry the album cover really sucks.

SITE: Paul Simon’s official site
– featuring streams of 4 songs from Surprise
SITE: Some German online shop that has samples of all songs

Spirits In the Ceiling

Summer’s in the evening, talking to whoever’s around
Spirits in the ceiling, feelings in my stomach drowns

Country’s come a-crumbling with a stunning sound of bass

Good men do nothing vs. withdrawl in apathy
Life is in the living and don’t you wanna live with me?

Weezer: Rivers interview in The Crimson

The Crimson, a Harvard publication, has published an interview with it’s most distinguished modern rock star – the newly engaged Rivers Cuomo of Weezer.

It’s a revealing interview – the interviewer really confronts Rivers on his more eccentric aspects. His attraction to Asian/Japanese girls. Personal dramas around Pinkerton. The drop in the quality of his work in the last few albums. And Rivers, to his credit, gives each question a proper answer. No Damon Albarn style “we’re not going to be talking about that.”

I’m really loving Make Believe of late. They just make me so happy with their sound. And as Rivers says, he’s once again touching on the personal on this album. Pinkerton, as great as it was, looks like a one off detour into the hyper-personal. And it’s been co-opted by every emo fucker with eyeliner anyway. But songs like Perfect Situation and Peace are some of their best work. Listen to that last little bit of Peace where Rivers sings on his own. It’s out of this world.

Also recently, I’ve been listening to a CD of Weezer b-sides, most of which taken from the site Lots of great Weezer arities and a whole new world of obsession, if you’re into that kind of stuff.

SITE: The Crimson Interview w/Rivers Cuomo
SITE: Weezer official site

MP3: Weezer – Peace
– from the album Make Believe (Geffen, 2005)
MP3: Weezer – Mykel & Carli
– b-side of the single Undone (Geffen, 1994)

History is history

I think Bob Ellis said it best
You’re just a witness who knew me when
You don’t know me now, you can’t testify
If you saw me now, looked me in the eye
Cos we’re not the same after all these years
There’s an echo here but the sounds not clear
I’ll take a scorched earth policy
Because history is history

Neil Young: Heart Of Gold/Living With War

Neil Young: Heart Of Gold finally gets a cinema release in Australia on May 11th. Also, Young’s new album, Living With War, is now streaming from his official site, Neil’s Garage.

…and this blog is quickly turning into the “Comic Reel Wrap” column at Comic Book Resources. All I seem to talk about are films and DVDs. Still, Jonathan Demme’s little movie about Neil Young, and his concerts last year at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, is finally getting a release. Word is the Australian distributors wanted to go straight to DVD. In this day and age, I almost wouldn’t mind. Let’s face it, I’m going to buy this DVD when it comes out anyway.

It’s a busy year for Neil. His new album, Living With War, is streaming from his official site and is out digitally in a couple of days (US time) and the CD version not long after (though no Australian date has been set). You can find more info at Neil Young News but basically it’s a hastily written and recorded attack on conservative America. And it’s FAR BETTER than I imagined.

And hopefully the year will wrap up with the long awaited, 8 DVD Archives set. Oh let it be yes.

SITE: Heart Of Gold @
SITE: Neil’s Garage
SITE: Neil Young News

The Minutemen: We Jam Econo on DVD…

We Jam Econo, the documentary about the Minutemen, is finally released on DVD on June 27th. Details of the release is on their website and it looks like a pretty indie venture.
The flyer above was for a preview screening organised by a bunch of punk loving kids in a space in Surry Hills that was hot, with bad air flow, not enough seats and lets not even think about permits and stuff. But it was fantastic. Lots of people there, just ready to see what this film had to say about the Minutemen, whose core was two losers who were just too naive to figure out how to fit in.
The movie is great. Mike Watt, currently playing bass for the Stooges, is the possible ADD victim I thought he was, randomly jumping from story to story. It’s like he’s having way too many ideas for his mouth to keep up. D. Boon is the other end of the spectrum. Very articulate. Very intellegent. Very funny looking when he was jumping up and down. Lots of interview footage, lots od live footage, archival interviews with no cleaning up of the story or the film stock even.
More can be said here about how it captures a great moment in American music, how this band was an influence on Uncle Tupelo and how Bonnie Prince Billy covered It’s Expected I’m Gone – but spend 90 minutes of your life watching this movie one day. Even if you don’t like the music, and so few do, you can’t help but walk away with the vibe, that D. lived and breathed. That music was a life changing thing, and sticking to your guns was natural, and you answer to no one.
There is a fantastic chapter on the Minutemen in Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981-1991 by Michael Azerrad (ISBN 0-316-78753-1). It is a great book anyway and who the fuck did I lend this to? I can’t find my copy.

SITE: We Jam Econo – The Story Of the Minutemen – offical site

MP3: The Minutemen – History Lesson Part II
– From the double album Double Nickels On A Dime (SST, 1989) – buy here

Elliott Smith: A Best Of…?

A friend recently played me highlights of his own, personal, best of Elliott Smith. 24 tracks. Lots of things had to be cut obviously.

Things that came out of our little chat:

* I still don’t know the first album very well. The nameless songs drive my head in.
* Neither of us own any Heatmiser.
* My friend liked the rockers a fair bit more than I do.
* It took us a while to really appreciate Basement… for what it was without thinking of Elliott Smith’s passing.
* Ballad Of Big Nothing can be performed in standard tuning, in C.

Of course, the real best of will come out, and soon. Someone’s looking at the licensing I’m sure. There’s enough minor hits to jusitfy it – Waltz #2, Son of Sam and of course Miss Misery herself. Throw in a couple of the random covers that ended up on soundtracks, the odd Heatmiser track, and presto! And let’s face it, the world is not about to run out of skinny, angry, depressed 19 year olds. And god dammit, there’s worst things that are discounted to $20 come christmas. Truck this stuff out by the tonne. Get the kids away from their bloody Simple Plan and find some real pain. And even though I have all the tracks I’m sure I’ll be picking up a copy too.

Aside: I had a quick browse of Sweet Adeline to write the above ramble. Good to see it’s still going. I used to visit this site every day. I also came across a great site of Elliott b-sides on mp3.

SITE: Sweet Adeline
SITE: Elliott Smith B-Sides

MP3: Elliott Smith – Trouble
– From the soundtrack to the film Thumbsucker (Hollywood, 2005). This is a cover of a Cat Stevens song recorded during the Basement… sessions.

MP3: Elliott Smith – Ballad Of Big Nothing
– From the album Either/Or (Kill Rock Stars, 1997)

The Crustaceans: I’m Happy If You’re Happy

The Crustaceans are a Sydney pop band who have been around for a few years now. I’ve always liked them, but with so much coming out at the end of the calender year, their album I’m Happy If You’re Happy, on got a few plays before I moved on, probably back to the Magic Numbers album or something. Sorry guys.

I finally got around to giving this album some time yesterday and just fell in love. It’s almost alarmingly fun. It’s pop, it’s witty, it’s catchy and it’s clever. (Which is, of course, the worst thing about pop. It’s rash-like qualities. And sometimes it’s too smart arsey for it’s own good.)

But the Crustaceans manage to avoid that. There is some nice stuff going on along with the silliness. And at least it’s not po-faced songwriters with no humour. Telecaster, the first track, was a single, and I know it divided some people. It’s clever, but it’s also fun, a crazy fanatsy. Who else is writing songs like this? No one. That alone makes it special.

I’m just rambling here. But I really like this album. Their website seems to be down (redirecting to their label site?) and there are no upcoming gigs I can find. Oh well.


MP3: The Crustaceans – Telecaster
– From the album I’m Happy If You’re Happy (Popboomerang, 2005)