Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014 – Problems and Total Sunset Grassed Blank Tale-d Solutions (by Fred Savage Beasts)

The problem with doing a year in review, for me, is memory. Christmas Day I managed to lose my thongs, wallet and sunnies at three different houses. (And possibly my dignity at another, but that is a story for another day). That means that this is more a reflection on how I am feeling things right at this moment. So it goes...

First up, in a fit of more useless biographical information, I just got back from a school trip to Cambodia. We went over and spent a couple of weeks helping in rural areas, then did a bit of a tour through some tourist-y places. A few reflections will stay with me: Angkor Wat is amazing, Cambodia is a fascinating example of how fragile our hold on civilisation is, and teenagers have horrible music taste and listening habits. Yeah, I know I’m getting old, but in my defence, here’s an excerpt from one conversation:

Kid: Do you ever feel like challenging yourself and not skipping even one song in your playlist?

Me: I tend to listen to albums from start to finish.

Kid: I never listen to whole albums –

Me: You should give it a go.

Kid: - unless it’s Coldplay.

I rest my case. And here, in no particular order, is what cleansed me when I got home.

Peel Tempel – Tales

I dig records that tell stories about people; especially the people who don’t usually get a look in. So next time you see a polished film clip with people sharing a banquet of plenty (that they will probably chuck in the bin after the shot gets captured) spare a thought for the abattoir worker who had to carve that meat up. She might be stuck where she is, her only joy to spread some love down at the RSL by helping to prepare the meat tray. Real Tales.

Total Control – Typical System

'Expensive Dog' is the song of the year for me. The rest of the album is right close behind. If I close my eyes and imagine just right, I get the image of Total Control inside Don Bradman’s water tank, locking in with the rhythm as the Don chips his golf ball incessantly into the corrugated iron. It is a beautiful thing when talent and passion come together.

Ghost Notes – Moonlight State

Moonlight State is the soundtrack to your post-Christmas blues. As you stare at your Christmas tree wondering why the extra baubles didn’t afford you the ever-lasting joy you were hoping for, make sure you have this record on. It will put you back in your place. There’s really no such thing as the star to guide you. You are in a wide and hostile place. You have to learn how to gently paint yourself into the landscape. How strange it is to be anything at all...

Blank Realm – Grassed Inn

This is a really clever album. For me, it treads through the themes big and little with such ease that it’s kind of astounding at times. Equally at home starting or finishing an evening at home for dancing or arguing. It’s the little wobbles, phrases and details that do it. Like the tiny plane on the cover that was always there but you didn’t really notice it until the fifth time you put it on. Worthy of all the praise.

Sounds Like Sunset – We Could Leave Tonight

Nothing made me quite as happy as seeing Sounds Like Sunset play this (and a bunch of older tracks) bloody loudly this year. I can’t put my finger on another show I’ve seen were the layers and layers of guitar begin to feel as if they are actually tangible in the room as something between whitewash and ‘raw feels’. Also, I challenge you to listen to this a few times and not find yourself singing along.

I feel heaps better now. Nice work 2014, it was worth being a year older to have you.

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