Saturday, December 20, 2008

Church: "Warm Spell" (1988)

I was going to post this when in Australia, but I never got around to it. Now's good a time as any, even though it starts out strong but kind of peters out. Still love it, though.

"Warm Spell"

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wombats: "My First Wedding" (2008)

Since I posted one last song by the Star Fucking Hipsters yesterday, let's do another tune by the inimitable Wombats. This year, I've listened to their album almost as much as the debut CD from Los Campesinos! (Both bands from the U.K. -- coincidence?) This song by the Wombats closes out their awesome album.

"My First Wedding"

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Star Fucking Hipsters: "This Wal-Mart Life" (2008)

This'll be the last track I post from this album. I probably should diversify a little more, but it's such a musical masterpiece! Punk rock doesn't get much better than this. . . .

"This Wal-Mart Life"

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Totally Michael: "Casual Satisfaction" (2008)

I was listening to this American artist while in Australia. Hard to believe it's current, even though it sounds like its from 25 years ago. This song is a little on the horny side, but all in good fun.

"Casual Satisfaction"

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dirty Three: "I Remember a Time When You Used to Love Me" (1996)

I was lucky to catch these Aussies about 10 years ago when they opened for label mates Man Or Astroman? Interesting outfit: violin, drums and acoustic guitar. The leader, when not playing his violin, would spit at the ceiling and catch his lugees when they eventually dripped down on that hot summer night here in Philly at Silk City, a club's that long since defunct. And between songs, he would go on these humorous rants that made no real sense -- very stream of consciousness.

"I Remember a Time When You Used to Love Me"

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Frenzal Rhomb: "I Miss My Lung" (1999)

This NOFX clone are OK. I love this song because it sounds nothing like their usual sound.

"I Miss My Lung"








**************************************************************************************************************

I woke up Saturday at 8:30 a.m. with the intention of at least going to the Melbourne Zoo, but it was windy and rainy. Apparently, Melbourne was hit with its heaviest rainfall in five years. Bummer.

After cereal for breakfast, I did my time online.

For lunch, I walked a block to a Greek restaurant and got charcoal-broiled octopus (octopi?) as well as hot chocolate. In hindsight, I should've ordered the pickled octopus because the charcoal octopus was a little rubbery -- no real taste. Oh well, maybe next time.

In the afternoon, I did my two hours of fiction writing. Afterwards, I headed up to the gym on the roof to exercise.

Around 6 p.m., I headed to a social gathering at a local church three blocks away. Met some nice people there. One guy told me nobody in Australia drinks Foster's -- must be a touristy thing.

For dinner, I did the room service thang. The hotel had "Slow braised kangaroo" on the menu, so I got that and a strawberry milkshake. The kangaroo was in a thick, brown sauce. It tasted like roast beef.

Before bedtime, I packed everything up and got everything in order for customs. Tomorrow, I go back home. It'll be weird. My plane leaves Melbourne at 12:55 p.m., and I arrive in Philly at 10 p.m., even though it'll take 24 hours. Freaky. . . .










Sign near the gym at the hotel. Kind of drives home how serious the drought is down here.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Midnight Oil: "Best of Both Worlds" (1984)

Of course, you knew I was eventually gonna post a song by these lefties. Still not sure what this song is about, but it's from an awesome album!

"Best of Both Worlds"







**************************************************************************************************************

On Friday, I got up a little after seven in the morning. For breakfast, I picked up from one of the local convenience stores a bowl of cereal, a small carton of milk and a bottle of OJ. Afterwards, I worked on my fiction.

Around mid-morning, I started shopping for Xmas gifts. I hopped on the tram to go about a half-mile down the road to High Street, but there were no souvenir shops down there.

I returned to the hotel. By this point, it was raining -- somewhere between a drizzle and a downpour, where you need an umbrella.

For lunch, I hit a local deli shop. I got a salami, cheese and tomato sandwich, which they heated up. It was good, but it set off a coughing jag, even though I'm feeling much better.

Around 1 p.m., I jumped on the 58 tram, which I picked up on Toorak, the road perpendicular to the hotel. In about 25 minutes, I reached downtown Melbourne. I got off at Swanson Street and Finders Lane. The rain was really coming down now, though still not a downpour.

The first souvenir shop I saw had almost everything I was looking for. To finish up my gift-buying, I went into Dymocks, Australia's answer to Barnes & Noble, which was only a block away from the souvenir shop.

After shopping, I didn't sightsee. It was raining too much, plus the streets were packed -- wonder what it's like when the sun's out.

I returned to the hotel around 4 in the afternoon. I fooled around online for an hour or so.

At 5:30 p.m., I went around the corner to Toorak. A block before the laundromat is an Indian restaurant called Little India. Because of the rain, I was their only customer; also, the owner told me the dinner crowd doesn't come in until 6:30 or so.

I ordered lamb and rice. It was amazing! Been a while since I ate curry. But the best part was the bread. It was great, I ordered a second basket!!! It wasn't like bread in the States. It was kind of flat, but had air pockets occasionally. Mmm, I'm salivating just thinking about it.

Next up was something I'd been meaning to do for almost a week: see that Australia movie starring Nicole Kidman. The movie didn't start till 8 p.m., but down here they don't let you in until a few minutes until show time, that way you have to sit through all the commercials and few previews. The movie didn't start until 8:20 p.m. or so.

I didn't stay for the whole flick. I left the theatre a little after nine o'clock. I thought it would've been better if one of the leads was Aborignal, maybe the Hugh Jackman character. Another reason I didn't stay was because it bummed me out how in the early- and mid-20th century the Australia goverment snatched Aborignal children to assimiliate them into white society. That just got me thinking how evil that colonialism is and the ills of European mode of thought with its obsession on private property and promotion of Christianity.

I went back to the hotel and watched a little Doctor Who (much more entertaining) before turning in.










I didn't take any interesting pictures today, so let's go back in time to a few days ago when I went to that zoo near the Blue Mountains. Here's me petting a sleeping koala.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hoodoo Gurus: "Turkey Dinner" (1986)

Today, Friday, I saw a poster for Big Day Out -- a huge annual music festival down here -- that the Hoodoo Gurus are headlining. This B-side is a little on the perverted side, so I can see why they didn't put it on the Mars Needs Guitars album, but it's still a good song.

"Turkey Dinner"





********************************************************************************

On Thursday, I got up a little after seven in the morning. I headed down to the Brasserie again. Got pancakes and a glass of OJ.


After working on my fiction, I walked about a half-mile down the road I'm staying on. At a used CD store, I found one of the three albums I'm looking for, Turkish Delight by The Persian Rugs, a Hoodoo Gurus side project.

I then headed to another record store that was a few blocks away, though they only sold vinyl. So I walked over a mile to the next used record. They didn't have what I was looking for. By this time, it was about one in the afternoon. I bought a two-hour tram ticket to take me back to the hotel.

The tram system here is interesting. You can buy all sorts of tickets. The two-hour ticket is only $3.50. It's kinda cool, it doesn't take effect until you slip it into the machine on the tram. Also, what's fascinating is that there's a bit of an honor system going on here. You slip your ticket into the machine so it gets stamped, but you only do this the first time until it expires (I took three trams on my two-hour ticket, but I only slipped it in the machine on the first tram). And the tram drivers have no interaction with the passengers. They're just in their little bulletproof booths, keeping an eye on the road. Oh, and unlike in Philly, where at the end of the line the trolley goes in a loop to reverse the route, here there are two conductor booths, one at each end of the tram. When the tram reaches the end of the line, the driver exits the booth and slides into the other booth at the other end. Neat!

I had a late lunch at an upscale Chinese restaurant a few blocks from the hotel. I ordered their seafood combination and some hot tea. I liked the meal: they served the seafood in a mountain of white rice -- all on one plate.

I was way past due on some laundry, so I did a few loads around the corner from the hotel. The washers were weird because you needed to pay for a token . . . looked like something from Batman's utility belt.

With a suitcase full of clean clothes, I wrote the blog for Wednesday, but when I went to upload to my site, the Internet wasn't working. The hotel switched providers on Wednesday and the installers apparently fucked up. I was pretty pissed off about that, since this is a four-star hotel. The front desk did what they could, but it was 7:30 p.m. and the Internet provider's phone help were pretty useless.

In a bad mood, I blew off my original plan of Indian for dinner. I stalked down a couple blocks to get a pizza with everything on it. It was OK -- they had pineapples and shrimp on there; not really my scene.

I closed out the day by chilling out in the hotel room, grateful that my cold wasn't too bad all day.










One of the two tram lines that run on the road my hotel was on.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Jack Frost: "Thought I Was Over You" (1991)

Jack Frost was a side project of The Church's Steve Kilbey and The Go-Betweens' Grant McClennan. They only did two albums. This album was the better one, I say. I still dig this song -- love the storytelling imagery.

"Thought I Was Over You"






******************************************************************************

Rolled out of bed on Wednesday morning around eight. The plan for the day was to do pretty much nothing in the hopes that I could kick this coughing cold.

Feeling lazy, I did breakfast in the hotel at their little restaurant, Brasserie (of course, I keep pronouncing it like brassiere). I ordered bacon, hash browns and freshly squeezed orange juice. Even though the bacon set off a five-minute coughing jag, it was awesome. The bottom half of each strip looked like a slice of Christmas ham.

Afterwards, I headed to the local pharmacy (Aussies call them Chemists). It was a little upscale, but the woman behind the counter helped me out by hooking me up with a bottle of Robitussen.

Back at the hotel, I chilled for a little bit, fooling around online and on my laptop.

For lunch, I ate at a local mall. I got a barbecue wrap with mushrooms and onions. Washed it down with some apple guava juice. Mmmmmm. . . .

I spent the rest of the afternoon working on my fiction.

For dinner, I walked up the road perpendicular to the hotel, Toorak Road. Lots of shops and eateries on there. I eventually settled on a Mexican restaurant. I ordered some chicken contraption in a crusty covering with a tiny salad, a pile of rice and the restaurant's answer to baked beans. Every was good, but I didn't finish the beans -- tasted too pasty. Oh, and I had some type of flavored tea for my throat.

It was around 8:30 p.m. when I got back to the hotel. I showered, shaved and brushed my chompers, then watched a couple Doctor Who episodes on my laptop. I crashed at 11. I'll do touristy things tomorrow. Honest engine! (Pay no attention the crossed fingers behind my back!!!)










A couple blocks of the hotel. Kinda cool how this street is spelled like my last name (or "birth name" as they say down here), but with an e.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Go-Betweens: "Born to a Family" (2005)

This pop band's heyday was in the eighties. They broke up somewhere around 1989, but the two primary songwriters reformed under the Go-Betweens banner around 2000. This song is from Oceans Apart, the best album in the Go-Betweens' catalog, in my opinion.

"Born to a Family"





***************************************************************************************************************

Tuesday I got up at 6 a.m. to catch the 7:45 train to Melbourne.

On the train I sat next to some guy from Canada who is touring Australia's East Coast. He was lanky, had a mustache, and was a bit of a Chatty Cathy. At one point I joked that Canada was a subsidiary of the United States, which he didn't find too funny.

Oh, here's something I found hysterical. The Canadian was hitting on the girl next to him, Tiffany, who lives in Melbourne and had been in Sydney for a friend's wedding. (She was about six feet tall, when she smiled you saw her gums, she wore a cap [not baseball, jeff cap, is it?] and she had long fingers.) The Canadian said, "You have the best accent I've heard down here. It almost sounds like Paul McCartney." Then he babbled about Britney Spears. Man, I had to fight really hard not to guffaw. Here I thought I was the king of lame pick-up lines. This Canadian cat has me beat. (Tiffany did laugh. I got the impression she appreciated the attention but wasn't wooed.)

I ate tons of food on the train. I must've spent nearly $50 on the buffet car. No big deal. That's only about 33 U.S. dollars.

The train was supposed to pull into Melbourne at 7:15 p.m., but a few delays knocked that time back to 7:45. Not too bad. Twelve hours to travel a little under 1,000 miles. The trip didn't go through the outback, mostly through farm country. Saw several sheep farms.

I took a cab to the hotel and checked in. Very nice. It's four star but has this avant-garde thang going on.

Melbourne doesn't seem so upscale as Sydney. True to its reputation, it has an European vibe to it. Lots of trams (translation: trolleys) here. Think I'm gonna enjoy my five nights here.










I'm posting this pic for my nephews, Marty and Billy, since they love trains so much. This is the one I took after it pulled into the Melbourne station.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Steve Kilbey: "Othertime" (1987)

Here's a song from one of the early solo albums by The Church's Steve Kilbey. Amazing talent. Too bad he's done so many drugs that he now only writes psychedelic music.

"Othertime"







***************************************************************************
*****************************

Monday morning, a writer I published, James Cain, picked me up at the hotel around 9 a.m. to tour his homeland, The Blue Mountains, which is about two hours outside of Sydney. On the way we made a couple pit stops for food.

In the early afternoon we hit a zoo. It was awesome! I got to feed a kangaroo and a baby emu. I also had my picture taken with a kola bear as I petted it. What else did we see there? Oh, a wombat. There were dingos and Tasmanian Devils, too, but they hid in their caves.

From there we stopped to see the Three Sisters, a popular landmark. It was raining, but that was fine. I took some cool pictures of the forest with mist rising from the trees.

Eventually we reached James' house. He lives across the road from a 19th-century court and jail. It's all housed in one building and has received historical status. Pretty crazy. They squeezed 35 men in a cell about 10 feet by 6 feet. There was another cell for women, but the park ranger thinks they threw men in there as well. And here's the appalling part: fines were quite Draconian. If your employer thought you were faking sick, you got 50 lashes. Blimey!

For dinner we had Thai takeout. James has a pretty big family. At the house were five kids (ages 11 to 1). I think he has one or two more with an ex.

It was pretty funny, his one daughter, Sharif (age 8, I think), asked why I didn't like children. I was a little confused at first. Apparently, the Cain clan were looking at my Facebook profile where I said I didn't want kids. I may have to update that part.

Another amusing anecdote concerned James' son Solomon, who I think is a little younger than Sharif. First question out of his mouth was, "Why do you talk so funny?" Ah, youth. . . .

Before James and his family dropped me off for the 7:20 p.m. train, we went to some little park. It was so high up that I could see my apartment from there. Seriously though, in the park there had been lots of bush fires a year or two ago; most of the bark on the trees are still black. Fascinating.

The train ride back to Sydney took a little over two hours. I walked the mile or so back to hotel and crashed around eleven.










The Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Models: "Facing the North Pole in August" (1983)

Today (Sunday in Sydney), I was trying to hunt down an album by these guys, Melbourne. Didn't have much luck, but here's a song from their most popular album, The Pleasure of Your Company. They never caught on in the States, but they did pretty well down under.

"Facing the North Pole in August"




***********************************************************************************************************

Today (Sunday), I slept in till 9:30 a.m. because for about an hour in the middle of the night I was coughing like crazy. On the plus side, I feel good now (8:30 p.m. on Sunday).

I didn't write any fiction today, so this morning I did my hour online then went out.

I caught lunch at an "international" food court at a local mall -- on Pitt Street for those of you keeping score at home. I got a lamb sandwich and hot tea. The lamb was tasty and tangy!

I spent the afternoon hitting record stores looking for two obscure Australian albums: the aforementioned Models one and Turkish Delight by the Persian Rugs, a Hoodoo Gurus side project. Two of the record stores were within walking distance, both called Red Eye. They didn't have either album, nonetheless I bought a black tote bag from them for seven bucks. It's pretty cool, has their logo on the front. Comes in handy. Now I don't have to carry in a plastic bag my cell, camera, map and latest novel I'm reading (Damaged Goods by Russell T. Davies).

In the midafternoon I took a cab out to another record store, Utopia. They were mainly a metal and goth shop, so no help there. But it was across from Victoria Park and the University of Sydney.

I took a bus back to the hotel. For dinner I went to the Sydney Harbour and ate at City Extra. Had vegetarian lasagna and orange juice. It was good.

Afterwards I cruised the harbor, taking tons of pics of the Opera House, plant life and boats.

I'm back at the hotel now. Gonna hang out, then crash soon. Got a big day tomorrow. Going out to the Blue Mountains, which is a two-hour drive. It'll be my last day here. [[sniff]]










Boat at the Sydney Harbour bearing my niece's name.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Pseudo Echo: "Love an Adventure" (1987)

This funk band basically only had one album, which their record company rereleased after it originally came out to include the cover "Funkytown". Still a good album, if you like that cheesy 80s sound. This song seems fitting, beings I'm 10,000 miles away from home.

"Love an Adventure"





**************************************************************************************************************


On Saturday I rolled out of bed around 8 in the morning. I was running low on cash so I popped in to the ATM on the same block as the hotel. It's one of those where you swipe your card to get inside. I got my money, then that's when there was a problem. When leaving, the glass doors are motion-activated. I got through the first set of doors fine, but the second set wouldn't open. I tried opening with my hands, but they wouldn't budge -- and nobody was in the bank, since it was closed. Luckily a girl came by soon to get some cash from the ATM. She swiped her card on the outside of the building, and the doors opened. I told her what happened. She wisely went elsewhere to get her money.

The rest of the morning I revised my Young Adult novella, Block Party, and hopped on the Internet for an hour.

For lunch I went around the corner to a Chinese restaurant. I got Tasmanian scallops and snow peas in a special sauce. It was scrumptious! The meal came with white rice and Chinese hot tea. The former tasted better than any in the States, and the latter soothed my coughing throat.

Afterwards I went shopping down on Georges Street -- lots of stores down there. At the Virgin Music Store I got the first series of the Australian comedy Kath & Kim. At a bookstore I got a book on kangaroos for my five-year-old nephew and a history on Australia for myself. At a souvenir store I got a soccer winter hat for my three-year-old nephew. And I was looking for Xmas cards in bulk, but all I saw were ones where you got four different cards in each box; I'm looking for the same card in bulk . . . maybe I'll wait to I'm in Melbourne to get that.

By Georges Street is a monorail, so I hopped on that, then jumped on a tram. The monorail was cool 'cause it hits all of the main tourist attractions in the city, except the Opera House. The tram was pretty lame 'cause it's mainly a commuter service, though it was kinda cool near the end: it went out to some suburbs where you see all of these homes with palm trees in their front yards. When I got back to Georges Street, I felt nauseous and a little light-headed, probably from not eating for several hours and all that motion.

When I got back to the hotel I was wiped out. I lied down and watched some Doctor Who on my laptop. There were a few things I could've done (go to the Opera House for an 8 p.m. classical music performance, go to a music festival where Cut Copy were headlining, or go to a recommended restaurant in my Frommer's Australian 2007 book). But I was so tired from this coughing cold. I guess doing all this running around hasn't given my body much chance to fight it, despite sleeping nine hours a night. Maybe I'll feel better tomorrow.




This exotic bird was outside the rear exit of the hotel. Won't find feathered friends like this in Philly!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Love of Diagrams: "Ms. V. Export" (2007)

Today, let's do an act a little more recent and active. I think this trio are out of New Zealand. Pretty good album. They have that circa 1980 vibe going on but they don't sound too retro, I say. Love the bass line in this song.

"Ms. V. Export"




********************************************************************************************

All right, it's now about noon on Saturday. Here's what I did yesterday:


After getting up at 5 a.m., I went down to the local convenience store and got a bowl of cereal (Coca Puffs). After breakfast, I leafed through my Frommer's Australia travel book, then did my two hours of fiction-writing followed by an hour or so of checking my email and checking some sites.

For lunch I went down to the same mall again (Martin's Place). I had a veggie burger (lots of lentils in it) with "chips", which were actually fries. Mmmm, tasty.

After lunch I headed back to the hotel and read two newspapers: the hotel's complimentary Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian, which I bought. Good stuff. The former informed me about some music festival going on Saturday. Australia's awesome electronic act, Cut Copy, are playing. May have to go to that.

In the late afternoon I went to a place called Hyde Park. Beautiful (picture below).

A few blocks from Hyde Park, I hit a little take-out place for a personal pizza. It's not like in the States where the toppings are on top -- here, this place stuffed it. I got salami and extra cheese. Pretty good. And the lady who took my order was nice. Said she's been in Australia for 24 years. Originally from Cambodia.

After dinner, I tried going to the movies to see Australia. I wouldn't see it back in Philly, but it's -- not surprisingly -- well received down here and I figure it would be cool to view it with an Aussie audience. But I couldn't find the theatre and it was getting late, so I just bought some souvenirs; one was a little a koala bear for my year-old goddaughter. Hope she likes it.

Back at the hotel, I showered and shaved (no shitting today, thank you very much). I watched an episode of Burn Notice and crawled in bed a little after 11, since I'm still fighting this cold relapse.












At Hyde Park. Love how this Xmas tree is neighbours with palm trees. Outstanding!!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Birthday Party: "Zoo-Music Girl" (1982)

This is a band whose name I've heard of over the years but it wasn't until this past year that I got a hold of their Greatest Hits. I like it. Definitive version of post-punk. Or you could it "punk jazz", since it sounds -- not such more on this song -- that there was a lot of improvising go on in the studio. Other good tracks on this comp: "Nick the Stripper" and "Blast Off".

"Zoo-Music Girl"


******************************************************************************************

OK, I'm gonna use this blog as a diary of my trip to Australia. No boring detail will be spared!

Right now it's 11:11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 5. Here's what's happened so far:

I left Philadelphia on Tuesday, Dec. 2. My sister was kind enough to drive me down to the airport with her three kids (ages five years to twelve months). My goddaughter, Charlotte, just turned a year old and cracked me up at the beginning of the trip. My sister gave her two boys snacks and bottle of juice. Before my sister could give Charlotte her juice bottle, she says her standard phrase for when she wants something, which is something like "bleeee, bleeee!!!" It's way cuter in person. Gotta get that on videotape.

Anyway, I checked in with no problems. It seems like security is easing up a little bit. Last November when I went to Montreal for a weekend, Homeland Security took my bags (including my carry-on) as soon as I walked in the terminal. This time I just went through the airport's metal detector. And they didn't hassle me about my multi-vitamins, joints-and-muscles dietary supplement or my anti-depressants.

The plane to L.A. took off a little after 5:55 p.m. Not one empty seat. I thought I ordered a window seat from Expedia, but I was sandwiched between an attractive Asian girl and a genteel gentleman who lives in west L.A. The Asian didn't speak much English -- she read a Chinese book. The guy was a good conservationist and a mystery reader, so we bullshitted for most of the flight. He said he was a semi-retired opera singer, and he was coming back from visiting family in Connecticut. He had some good Hollywood gossip. Said Holland Taylor, from Two and a Half Men, very much enjoyed being an actress and the lifestyle it afforded; apparently the studio gives her a Mercedes and her own driver. He also said Charlie Sheen has a good sense of humor, but his dad, Martin Sheen, is "full of self-importance."

Once in L.A. I only had to wait about 40 minutes for the leg to Sydney. It was a double-decker Boeing 747. I, of course, was in economy. To my right were two 20-somethings who knew each other from their work, one guy from Brazil, the other from Texas. To my left was a circa 60-year-old from Toronto. Her husband was to her left, but I didn't talk to him that much because an aisle separated them. Though, I did find it interesting that he looked like an older David Foley (from Kids In The Hall) -- it's all in the teeth.

The 13-and-half-hour ride to Sydney didn't irk me too much, probably because I went to the gym Tuesday morning and I've spent about the last year a half psyching myself up for this trip.

I couldn't sleep on the plane, despite a dozen attempts. I got up to stretch my legs about six times. During those stretch-abouts I babbled with some fellow travellers in the back of the plane. One guy was about 50 years old, wore a pink dress shirt and had a piebald beard. He said he was out of his seat because the lady next to him was too big for her seat -- every time she moved, he went spilling out into the aisle. Funny stuff.

Another lady I spoke with was from Australia. She gave me some tips of what to see and where to steer clear from. Like go see the harbor but don't go to King's Cross at night (the red-light district).

The plane touched down in Sydney at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday (3:30 p.m. on Wednesday in Philly). Even though it's summer down here, it's only about 67 degrees. Though it was kinda cool getting picked up by a taxi driver in uniform shorts.

I got to the hotel, which is around the corner from the Sydney Opera House, around 9:30 a.m. but I couldn't check into my room until 2 p.m. So I wandered around the neighborhood. There's a 24-hour convenience store about a block from the hotel, which is awesome. Afterwards I loitered in the lobby, watching the Pompeii episode of Doctor Who on my laptop.

For lunch I ate at some little mall about three blocks away from the hotel. Since I am on vacay, I ate something I usually don't order. It looked like a crab cake but it was a vegetarian item: stuffed with broccoli and some whitish filling. They warmed it up in a microwave. Good stuff.

I returned to the hotel at 1 p.m. and I could check into my room. Gotta say, I'm impressed. It's fuckin swankin! Nice size, king-size bed, a table by the window, as well as a fridge and a safe.

After getting settled, I emailed my sister to let know I arrived safe and sound. (Kinda cool, the hotel has a few different plans for Internet access. I could've gotten unlimited broadband for 7 days at $100, but I went with $13 an hour so I'm not wasting time online -- not a bad deal since every U.S. dollar is worth $1.50 Australian).

At 3 p.m. I crawled into bed because I'd been up for over 36 hours. I set the alarm for 5 p.m., but as soon as it went off, I went back to sleep. I woke up around 11 p.m. but fell back asleep. Around 3 a.m. I couldn't sleep anymore but just tossed and turned until 5 a.m.

That's enough for now. It's almost noon now on Friday, but I'll babble about today on the morrow. Later, mate!










This is at the corners near the hotels, when crossing the street. I think it's for tourists. Makes me smile -- don't see stuff like that in the States.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Church: "One Day" (1983)

I'm still on the plane on the way to Australia for my vacay. Here's an Australian band who I dug until their drummer (Richard Ploog) left around 1992. "One Day" is from their best album, Seance, in my opinion. Love the the line at the end: "I go back to my blindness so that I may see again".

"One Day"

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

INXS: "We Are the Vegetables" (1980)

I leave for Australia today. I'll be spending five days in Sydney and five in Melbourne. While I'm away I'll be posting Australian acts. Let's start with probably the most famous band to come from down under, INXS. This is a rare song, the B-side to their first single, "Simple Simon".

"We Are the Vegetables"

Monday, December 1, 2008

Star Fucking Hipsters: "Two Cups of Tea" (2008)

I'm still loving this CD. Here's another highlight. The lines "Two dead police / One for hope and one for peace" are a little harsh, but it's catchy nonetheless.

"Two Cups of Tea"

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ladytron: "He Took Her to a Movie" (2001)

Back in September I mentioned that I thought Ladytron's 604 was a damn fine debut. Here's a track from that album. Nice toe-tapping electronic ditty. . . .

"He Took Her to a Movie"

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Dance Hall Crashers: "Triple Track" (1999)

Let's do one more song by the Dance Hall Crashers. This ditty pops in my head on a pretty regular basis. One of the highlights of a great comp.

"Triple Track"

Friday, November 28, 2008

Dance Hall Crashers: "Cricket" (2000)

While I love The Old Record, it doesn't have this classic. Love how the voices of these two women singers work together. Dare I say they had the best vocal harmonies since the Beatles. . . .

"Cricket"

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gaslight Anthem: "Red in the Morning" (2007)

Crap, today's the third day in the row where I'm posting bands from New Jersey. I'm a bad Pennsylvanian! Seriously though, this album is more entertaining than a midget on stilts. I like how they're a punk-rock Bruce Springsteen. Who's the boss? Gaslight Anthem. Aww, yeah. . . .

"Red in the Morning"

Monday, November 24, 2008

Bouncing Souls: "I Like Your Mom" (1994)

I caught these guys at City Gardens (R.I.P.) in Trenton around the time they self-released this album. It was awesome! They lugged about six VCRs and TV sets onstage, each one playing a different John Hughs movie. Inbetween songs they would watch their favorite scenes. Kick ass!!!

"I Like Your Mom"

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Black Kids: "Partie Traumatic" (2008)

I did have a post with a song from this band and a link to buy their album, but it's gone missing. Would've been nice if Blogger told me they removed it. I'm assuming the band's record label, Columbia, pulled out the copyright-infringement card (silly lawyers). Sad.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Groovie Ghoulies: "Doin' Fine" (1999)

To end Fat Wreck Chords week, I'm gonna include a track from the great compilation Short Music for Short People. Great idea that actually works. 101 punk bands playing 30-second songs. Classic!

"Doin' Fine"

Friday, November 21, 2008

Lawrence Arms: "Abracadaver" (2002)

The lyrics these guys come up with continually blow me away. For instance, the refrain of this songs goes: "If you see me grinding it's a disguise / If you see me grinning don't trust my lies / When the ink dries we'll have another mastepriece / When the drink dies we'll have another restless sleep" Sweet.

"Abracadaver"

Thursday, November 20, 2008

J Church: "Smell It Rot" (1996)

It being Fat Wreck Chords week here at Rip It Up, you know I'm not going to miss the chance to post a song by one of my favourite bands. J Church only did two albums for Fat, The Drama of Alienation the better one, I say. And you know what's cool about the artwork? On the back it says "Overthrow Cock Rock and Idiolize Your Girlfriend". Awesome!

Smell It Rot

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Snuff: "Martin" (1996)

These guys were around forever before finally calling it quits a few years ago (by forever I mean they started in the '80s). I'm posting this song because the name of my oldest nephew is Marty.

"Martin"

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mad Caddies: "Without You" (2007)

These guys amaze me. Perfect blend of punk, ska and dixieland. Their recent album, Keep It Going, is like their previous studio album, Just One More, in that there's not one piece of filler. Keep it going, indeed. . . .

"Without You"

Monday, November 17, 2008

Strung Out: "Mind of My Own" (1998)

When originally signed to Fat in the early '90s, these guys were basically NOFX clones, but they really came into their own with each release. Twisted by Design was their third album and the first one where they stared to develop their own sound. I still dig this song because of its anti-TV stance.
"Mind of My Own"

Sunday, November 16, 2008

NOFX: "Two on Glue" (1996)

This week I'm gonna feature artists from Fat Wreck Chords. Let's start off with their flagship band, NOFX. This song is from their great 7", Fuck the Kids. Love the melodies on this one!

"Two on Glue"

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Star Fucking Hipsters: "Only Sleep" (2008)

Wow, what a bloody, brilliant album! I bought this CD because it features members of my two favourite active bands -- Leftover Crack and World/Inferno Friendship Party. I think this is supposed to be a one-off super punk group. Whatever. It's great punk with the occasional keyboard or string section. Awesome!

"Only Sleep"

Friday, November 14, 2008

Yaz: "Midnight" (1982)

I didn't hear about this duo until I around '89, about five years after they broke up. This CD is a great example of New Wave.
Midnight

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tullycraft: "Twee" (2002)

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I already posted a Tullycraft track, but they are so fucking fantabulous, they deserve another Rip It Up posting. I actually saw them a couple months ago down by Delaware Ave. here in Philly. Great show! They played this song as an encore at the audience's request. It was really cool -- they really rocked out at the end, improvising a little. Good times. . . .
Twee

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wally Pleasant: "New Action Hero" (2000)

Wally is fuckin' awesome! It's a shame he didn't get a bigger audience.

This song is a little dated, since video stores are pretty much nonexistent nowadays. But it still makes me chuckle like an inebriated uncle.

New Action Hero

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Faith No More: "Be Aggressive" (1992)

I recently pulled out my old Real Thing cassette and converted it to MP3s, but I've been playing this song a lot from their follow-up, Angel Dust, the only good song on that album, in my opinion. I love how it's totally left-wing with its anti-war stance.

Be Aggressive