It’s been a tough few months. Work took over – again. April and May were especially busy months. And now Winter is here. Never mind – despite the rain, Sydney is looking grand with Vivid brightening up the City, and the Swannies on fire. Life is good here in Australia. We are blessed.
Behind the scenes, Bazzas Music Library continued to expand, and, finally – here is the new mix. It’s the first of this Year, and has taken a good 4 months with many changes along the way. Not a bad effort though, even if I say so myself.
As usual, we have an 80 minute CD fit. A collection of 20 songs, most of them recently downloaded, and some pulled out of the archives to synch with recent events. Plenty of variety based mainly around the core Electronic Soul and Chill genre, supplemented with Jazz, Pop/Rap, and Alternative/Indie Rock.
I’ve also been listening to a lot of Mexican and French music in the last few months, and why not? French – mostly because of the French Movie Festival early in the year. Those fascinating movies never fail to trigger fresh interest in French Pop – enough interest this year to result in a magnifique CD Francais for the local Le Petite Café in Coogee. And Mexican? – because it’s fun, and resulted in the El Topo Mix for the restaurant so named up top at Bondi Westfield.
Calexico featured strongly in the Mexican Mix. This US Indie Rock Band is of course very spaghetti western Tex-Mex influenced. Calexico may not play genuinely Mexican Music and are clearly not Mexican, but boy do they come close, and they do it in style. The band is named after the Californian town on the border between that State and Mexico – no surprises how the town itself got its name. One of their classic songs, Corona, is included. An oldie, but a goodie.
The French CD featured old favourites of that genre including Francoiz Breut; Yann Tiersen; Emilie Simon; and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Yes, Serge’s famous daughter can sing as well as act. Check out her recent collaborations with Beck for further proof. One song from that French Mix appears here – that’s 7 ou 8 fois by Melanie Pain. This is pure French Pop, and no apologies for that – a typical So Frenchy So Chic reminder of great movies.
Two live performances from the Sydney Opera House are included. First we have The Church with their classic song Unguarded Moment, sounding very different in this 30th Anniversary version from 2011 – backed by the magnificent 67-piece George Ellis Orchestra. Truly A Psychedelic Symphony. This version all the more memorable for me, with its strongly Beatles inspired arrangement.
It’s almost impossible for me not to include the enchanting Sarah Blasko on any mix. Her performance at St Stephens Church was a Live highlight for me this year. No recordings from that show as far as I know, but as a reminder I have included a stunning Opera House live version of possibly her most beautiful song ever – Here, recorded on stage last year with the Sydney International Orchestra.
We feature 2 songs from Sarah’s buddy Sally Seltmann, to both start and finish the CD. Opener Hey Daydreamer is happy and light. The closing track Right Back Where I Started From is much more dramatic, and very Blasko influenced. Great fade-out, and an obvious lead-in to a repeat listen of Track 1.
No Fat Freddy this time, but I’m always on the lookout for songs from their legendary vocalist, Joe Dukie. Track 2 is a double whammy, also featuring the UK production Soul/Reggae/Rap duo, The Nextmen. Modern Soul, at its best.
Possibly the highlight for me from countless hours searching iTunes and eMusic in recent months was “discovering” a new black female UK Jazz singer who is surely up there with the best – past; present; future. We are talking here about Zara McFarlane. What a voice! Her recent album If You Knew Her is pure class. Full of well arranged high quality songs.
It was hard to choose just one song from Zara’s album. Open Heart was in and out a few times, but ultimately you can’t go past her outstanding version of Punk/Reggae classic Police & Thieves – especially if you are an old Clash fan like me. This version is far less frantic, and we now have the one song available in three very distinct genres – Reggae, Punk, and Jazz. Not to mention covers by the Orb, Dave Grohl, and Boy George, amongst others.
RIP Junior Marvin – the co-writer of Police & Thieves (along with the immortal Lee Scratch Perry), and also the singer of the original version released way back in 1976. Marvin died late last year in Jamaica – broke, no doubt, like most of those early reggae masters.
Track 4 Scale It Back is another double whammy. The legendary DJ Shadow plus those masters of Electronic Chill, Little Dragon – the Swedish band featured regularly on Triple J. A further track from Little Dragon also appears just two songs later. That’s Ritual Union. Also released a few years back – it’s a doozy, and it flows nicely into the French Pop of Melanie Pain.
Sufjan Stevens performed around Australia this year. Justice Delivers Its Gift is a sublimely beautiful song. I love it. Surprisingly it’s a track from a Christmas Compilation box set of 5 albums and 58 songs. You wouldn’t pick it from this song. The other 57 tracks from Silver & Gold have much more obvious titles, and are best avoided – unless you are a Christmas Song fanatic.
Chet Faker needs no introduction, and anyway Talk is Cheap. Ha. Eno released another new album, this time with Hyde – under the imaginatively named Eno-Hyde banner. That’s Karl Hyde from the UK electronic dance band Underworld – renowned for the dance anthem Born Slippy Nuxx. That would be the dance song of all time in my book, although clearly I am no expert in that Genre. It’s just a gut feeling. Shouting lager, lager, lager, lager.
Hyde was apparently an alcoholic when that song was written back in 1996. The Lager in question consumed at the Ship Hotel in Wardour Street, London – which by chance was my regular drinking hole many years earlier when I worked at the Marquee Club just a few doors away. It’s a small World. Or maybe it’s an Under World! The song featured here To Us All is as far from Born Slippy as you can get and still produce music.
Too much work. Not enough gigs. We did manage to score great seats for Neil Finn at the Opera House though, and really enjoyed his new young band and friendly Kiwi banter. Impressions did just that, and so gets the nod being something different from the NZ Icon. Also checked out my top Rock Band, QOTSA, who performed an awesome show at the Enmore. If I Had a Tail is featured here to liven things up. Great Band – and so cool. Sadly we missed out on the Pixies at Vivid, so have to include their classic instrumental Cecilia. In honor of what may well have been the most unlikely gig of the year. Rock Icons.
Marilyn Monroe just survived. That’s the song – Marilyn herself was not so fortunate! Like millions of others, I’m a fan of Pharrell Williams. And for me this was the stand-out track from his GIRL album. Pharrell is the man right now, but lets face it – he is never going to reach the iconic status of the Marilyn he sings about. Good song though, and of course – Happy.
Thundamentals supply the local lads Modern Soul/Pop-Rap content. Over the past few months I’ve downloaded 5 tunes by these boys from the Blue Mountains and rated them all 5 star. I must be hooked? It was a toss up between Got Love and Something I Said. The latter had the most amusing lyrics, so here it is. Both tracks are from their latest album So We Can Remember, which was released only last month. This is quality Australian Pop/Rap, up with the best from the UK or US.
Even more local is Martha Marlow, who lives around the corner and often jogs by on her way down to Bronte Beach. The daughter of Jazz legend Jonathan Zwartz, who we continue to thank for organizing the Starfish nights at Clovelly, Martha has the sweet silky voice and looks of a young Joni Mitchell. You can’t get much better than that. I’m pretty sure she wrote this song Dust as well. It’s lifted from her These Days EP released last year, and available as we speak on iTunes. The title track is also well worth a listen.
Along with a fair few others, Hoyle Road by UK singer Pedestrian just missed out. I mention this song in particular because it’s a relatively recent track from the long running DJ Kicks series. I’m a big follower of these mixes, although I have to say they can vary enormously in quality and content. Will definitely have to include a DJ Kicks Special for this Blog shortly.
On the sporting front, the Swannies are really looking good. New stand at the SCG; Buddy on fire; and a very strong team all round. My English Soccer team of birth, Crystal Palace, survived a season in the EPL without relegation – for the first time. And the World Cup is on. The full mix listing follows here.
Bazza Moore: June 2014