Tag Archives: 2009

Hottest 100 – My 2009 Votes

It’s that time of year again!

Triple J throws all of the songs from 2009 into the air and then plays them back wherever they land.

As we know, it’s the largst music poll in the WORLD. Yes. Yes it is.

So, it’s been a strange year of music. I don’t think there were any real massive standouts for me. Lots of good songs mind you, but hard to find anything that just stood out and went BAM, I AM THE BEST SONG MOFO!

Having said that, the musical highlights for 2009?

  • Seeing Lily Allen live in an intimate acoustic performance at Triple J Studios. You can see my shoulder in the video. (and LaLa’s knee)
  • Seeing Eddy Current Suppression Ring live for the first time at Homebake. My eyes (and ears) were wide open in awe. Just amazing.
  • Muse‘s new album. Along with 5 pumping rock anthems, there’s also a 3 part symphonic composition. Wanky? No. It’s Muse! It’s awesome.
  • Discovering bands like Grizzly Bear, Future of the Left, Whitest Boy Alive, Passion Pit, Mumford & Sons, Temper Trap, Yuksek and Numbers Radio.
  • Sweet Disposition by the Temper Trap would definitely have been in my list, but it was released in 2008 😦 (doesn’t stop it from being in the Aria charts in 2010 though!)
  • Hearing Eskimo Joe change from a cool, interesting indie Aussie band into a cliched, boring imitation of old Aussie rock bands. Sad. Maybe a lowlight actually.
  • Them Crooked Vultures. Best Supergroup since Audioslave. (probably better actually)
  • This:

Onto the votes!

In no particular order

Bluejuice Broken Leg – The catchiest song of the year. Funniest film clip too.
Eddy Current Suppression RingAnxiety – A frantic frenzy of distortion, riffs and yelling. Perfect.
Flight Of The ConchordsCarol Brown – Best of their disappointing second season album. Especially the “I thought I told you to shut up..” line. Love the home made ‘key-tars’ in the video too.
Gossip, TheHeavy Cross – Such a great rocky song with powerful pumping vocals. Surprise highlight!
Lily AllenBack To The Start – It’s a great album, and this song shows how Lily has evolved. I just hope she decides to record more..
Muse Uprising – Powerful opening to an epic album. Can’t wait to see them live in 2 weeks!
Phoenix Lisztomania – My musical highlight of the year. Great song. Fun lyrics and goes well with the Breakfast Club dancing!
Silversun PickupsIt’s Nice To Know You Work Alone – Only just discovered these guys this year and although they sound a lot like The Smashing Pumpkins circa Siamese Dream, they have a cleaner wall of sound and catchy lyrics.
Them Crooked VulturesElephants – Hard to pick just one of this amazing debut from Homme, Grohl and JPJ, but this songs start is enough to give it the win. Have a listen. You won’t regret it. (plus you get to see Grohl rock the fuck out)
Whitest Boy Alive , The1517 – This song will take your mood to ‘chillaxed’ within the first 10 seconds. A great relaxing album with cool vocals and groove.

My plan for 2010? As soon as I hear a song that I like I am going to write it down. Either on here, or on a spreadsheet or something. That way I won’t forget those songs that I like. I always struggle to remember the songs that are a little more obscure and happened at the beginning of the year.

What are your votes?

Advertisements

Goodbye Naughties. Hello Tennies!

Right, so the naughties are gone, and to be honest? It’s been one hell of a set of 10.

What a tumultuous decade it has been for me. Great things have happened. Bad things have happened, and ultimately my life has been shaped in ways I would have never expected back in 1999. Wow. 1999 feels like a lifetime ago.

10 years ago I would never have expected that in the following decade I would have 3 kids, buy 2 houses, separate from my wife, travel to the USA for a year, return to Australia to find a new life with a gorgeous wonderful woman and then settle back into the house that I originally bought 5 years earlier.

But that’s what has happened. Who says 10 years go fast when you can do that many things. The Mick of 1999 feels like another person, but so does the Mick of 2004 and the Mick of 2006. I feel like I have evolved so many times in the last 10 years but I have to remind myself of the changes that I have been through.

I believe that everything in life happens for a reason, beit good or bad. You can’t lament over the bad times in your life, but you are allowed to bask in the good times. I am a definite proponent of the ‘glass half full’ theory in life. Bad shit is going to happen all the time, but you can’t dwell on it. Similarly, you can’t change it. You can only use it to your advantage, because Yes people, every cloud DOES have a silver lining. As corny as it is, everyone can find something good out of a bad situation. It may not be straight away, but eventually you’ll find it. As small as it may seem.

Everyone thinks of their New Years resolutions at this time of year. There’s the obligatory promises of less food, more reading, less TV, more gardening, but what about just wanting more of the same? What if our attempts at changing our lives are just putting more pressure on ourselves to change what is probably already working. Of course we all change, but that change happens everyday, not on January 1st.

One thing that I would like to do is blog more. I was pretty lacklustre in the blog-o-sphere last year as can be seen from these hastily compiled statistics:

The graph above show that my 2009 blogging was pathetic. So much so that I had 2 blog free months, which was a first in my 6 years of blogging. Time to pick up my game!

I hope your year has started well, and that any ambitions, goals or dreams you have are fulfilled in the next set of 365.

Time for me to get off my arse and actually make things happen!


2009 MeMe

It’s the last day of work for the year, of which there is only a few days to go, so it’s time for a self-indulgent meme to fill out my blog. I had been working on a deep, thought provoking post to round out the year, but…oh well.

I stole this idea from Trish’s blog. She’s about to do it too, so go check it out!

————————————–

1. What did you do in 2009  that you’d never done before?

I went to 4 weddings this year. That’s just ridiculous. Marriage seems to be the new black.

I prefer yellow.

If it’s done anything, it’s reinforced to me that my next wedding will be in Vegas.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Pfffttt…resolutions. I didn’t make any really, but there are probably some things I could look at…improving about myself. LaLa might have some suggestions…

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

My best mate, Tim, finally popped one out and he’s a cutie alright. Another mate (also Tim) is next, and he’ll be getting double trouble!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Fortunately no. It may have been a year with 4 weddings, but luckily, no funeral.

5. What countries did you visit?

I wish! The furthest I travelled to was Hervey Bay, unless you count roaming the world of Azeroth.

But next year? Look out Europe!

6. What would you like to have in 2010/2011 that you lacked in 2008/2009?

Financial security would be nice. I  feel like I am getting closer to this, but it’s something that I have been lacking for a long time.

I would also like some inner peace and closure on the past..

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

July 30. Not only was it my birthday, but it was also the last day of work at my old job and the day before we moved into our new place. It was a crazy time of year and somehow we got through it.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Moving house (again!). It may not seem like it, but moving, cleaning, organising and settling in a new place was a big task for me (and us) this year. I would also rate getting a new job as a big achievement. It’s been an invigorating change.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not doing the things that I had planned to do around the house. Pergola’s, gardens, garages, painting. So many things that I wanted to do, but as yet have done nothing. Need to get my finger out of my arse in 2010.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

My stupid ankles and feet. The first half of the year was marred by a broken foot. This was caused by a rolled ankle whilst playing indoor soccer. That inevitably lead to an early retirement from the game. However, I now play outdoor soccer! I have ankle braces and everything.

Fast forward to a week ago where I rolled my ankle..again….on some uneven concrete on the way back from the supermarket! Stupid ankles.

Oh, and the gout licks the bag as well.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

PS3. Hands down. It’s the most awesome purchase I have made in years.

12. Where did most of your money go?

Gadgets and networking and hard drives. I spend too much on these things and am still to build a good home media storage centre. That will come as soon as I get to the markets in 2010. The PS3 sucked a bit of money too, but everyone needs the Guitar Hero drum kit, yes?

13. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

The Parramatta Eels. What a season they had. Not only did they come back from the death to make the semi-finals, they almost went all the way. Late September, into October was a sporting emotional roller-coaster, but there were some great memories, the best being taking my 2 sons to the Preliminary Final against the Bulldogs and experiencing the best rugby league crowd of all time. Amazing.

14. What song will always remind you of 2009?

Lisztomania by Phoenix. It was probably the song of the year for me. Phoenix at their best. It’s so damn happy!

Watch this:

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder?

Happier! I feel more settled and I think LaLa and I are getting more comfortable with each other and what it’s like to live together!

b) thinner or fatter?

Hmmm…probably about the same, but I am fitter. Been going to the gym pretty consistently for the last couple of months. It’s nice to be able to see some muscle development and also get back into running/riding again.

c) richer or poorer?

Richer. The joys of contracting. I am actually saving the most money I ever have in my life….only to spend it. It’s a novelty to have some savings though.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

More time with family. As the kids get older I want to try and maintain a connection with them that goes beyond just being Dad. It feels like it could be a losing battle as they get closer to teen-dom, but I’ve gotta keep trying. Also, I have probably seen my family (cousins/aunts/Mum/Dad/sisters) less than I’d like. Hard to fit in time sometimes.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Facebook games! I have been stupidly addicted to some of those lame-arse facebook games (you know the ones) and I admittedly spend way too much time on them. I really should pick up a book, do a puzzle, play board games or just talk…more.

18. How did you spend Christmas?

Well, I will be spending Christmas at both LaLa’s family and then my sisters’ places. Swedish dinner and then Christmas Brunch and then dinner with Mum, Dad, kids, nephews and LaLa. Boxing Day will be a big day with my Hungarian cousin and Aunts from Sydney.

Did you know there’s a Hungarian convention on in Canberra after Christmas? Well now you know.

19. Did you fall in love in 2009?

Already in love….but I did go a little mushy for Lily Allen.

20. What was your favorite TV program?

Confession Time.

This year has seen LaLa and I watching a lot of ‘Gossip Girl’ (yes, I know what you’re thinking), Secret Diary of a Call Girl (good voyeuristic fun!) and Masterchef. Masterchef was probably the revelation of the start of the year. We both got into that and it helped me to inspire a renewed interest in cooking.

Otherwise I really love Flight of the Conchords and Entourage, which I am trying to catch up with. Season 4 and 5 for Christmas please!

21. What was the best book you read?

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson. LaLa’s dad got me into this earlier in the year and it was a book that has pulled me back into reading this year. I have read this one and the sequel (…who Played With Fire) and enjoyed both. LaLa will attest to the fact that I don’t read very fast, but the fact that I have read at least 2 books this year is a feat in itself.

22. What was your favorite film of this year?

It came last week when I saw Avatar in 3D at Dendy. First 3D in forever, and although the pain in the bridge of nose was getting unbearable, the imagery and environment that James Cameron created for that movie is unbelievable. Story is probably only so-so, but the performances by the cast and the camera-work is worth the extra dollars for the 3D effect. Go see it!

Highly recommended is also ‘The Hangover’. Has to be one of the funniest comedies I’ve seen in many years and one of those ones that you know will become a classic over the years..

…hehehe…’Fat Jesus..’

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned the big boring 33. We went bowling! It was very nice to just spend it with friends and also had some pizza at Firestone with the family..

I got a kick-arse mixmaster. Red. It goes faster.

24. What kept you sane?

LaLa. This especially helps when my kids make me insane. She has a way of bring reason to any argument. Unless she’s wrong 😛

25. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

As previously mentioned, I think my crush on Lily Allen was a standout. It coincided with the fact that she say about 2 metres away whilst singing and recording an acoustic live set at the Triple J studios. One of my highlights of the year.

26. Who did you miss?

My mate Tim has been trekking around Australia in a winnebago with his wife and newborn son. I have missed hanging out with him. Missed watching the footy together, and missed our regular lunch catchups. Hurry back mofo!

27. Who was the best new person you met?

My new workmates. Although my new place of work is a sausage-fest (as opposed to a clam factory), it’s been great to find new people to chat with, new opinions to shoot down and new people to give shit to on coffee breaks, which ironically I have found now involves getting a coffee.

Also, another of LaLa’s friends that I can (hopefully) add to my ever-growing list of inherited friends is Mireille. Check out her awesome food blog here! She has excellent taste in music. Perhaps I will share my performance of ‘Ice Ice Baby’ for you one day.

————————————–

So there we go. My year in a nutshell. I do have another, more angsty, thoughtful and retrospective post about 2009 in drafts, but it may not see the light of day.

I’d prefer to just use point form!

  • Have a Merry Christmas everyone!
  • Get nice and drunk on New Years and utilise the extra couple of days of recovery time well.
  • If you’re staying home, relax and enjoy, if you’re travelling, be safe and take your time.
  • When the Naughties are over and the Tennies arrive, take a fresh look and dive head-first into the new decade with positivity and passion. It’s the only way to be.
  • Thanks for reading 🙂

Top 10 Albums of 2009

Hey there peeps.

My blogging may be pretty sporadic nowadays, but how can I miss a chance to share my opinions on the years best music?

It’s time for my top albums of 2009!

Check out past years here – > 2004, 2005, 2006???, 2007, 2008

It’s been an interesting year in music. The past couple of years has seen music shift from the serious and emo  to the chilled out and fun. I tend to think that as the world leaders change, so does the musical landscape. When the world was condemned to bearing with leaders like Bush and Howard, it was up to the artists in the world to defend our rights with hard-edged and thought-provoking music. As the world starts to collaborate more and head towards a common goal, music becomes more optimistic and also less hard edged.

I go browsing other people’s best of lists and quickly start to realise that I seem to be missing out on a lot of stuff. Bands like ‘The xx’, ‘Animal Collective’, ‘Grizzly Bear’, ‘Future of the Left’.

Why haven’t I heard these albums? Sure, I have heard some of their songs around the place, but have never been inspired enough to hunt down their album. Does this make my list less about musical aptitude and more about mass consumption?

I know it’s all just opinion and personal taste, but I guess it comes down to the fact that I have listened to the albums below the most this year and hence they are my favourites. (in no particular order)

Silversun PickupsSwoon

I missed their intial album, but glad I didn’t miss this one. Sounding suspiciously like Smashing Pumpkins from 1995, their full sound fills your ears with a wall of wholesome guitary goodness. I was immediately hooked in by ‘There’s No Secrets This Year’ and then the album just delivers punch after punch.

Sarah BlaskoAs Day Follows Night

Sarah Blasko improves with every listen. Her unique nymph-like voice can take a little getting used to, but once you do, it’s like listening to a pixie sing. Coincidentally she also looks a bit like a pixie. A pixie with awesome talent. The hypnotic violin on ‘All I Want’ is my highlight on this album. Unfortunately I was listening to it in the car on the way back from Sydney the other day and nearly drove into a truck. Let this be a warning for you.

Them Crooked Vultures Them Crooked Vultures

How do you react when you hear that Dave Grohl is teaming up with Josh Homme and a guy from Led Zep? “Fuck Yeah!” is suitable. This album is everything you’d expect it to be. Arsekicking beats from Grohl, roaring guitars from Homme and powerful driving bass lines from John Paul Jones. A super group seems to be a lacklustre description of this band. ‘Mind Eraser, No Chaser’ is a standout for me as well as  ‘Elephant’. Man, they just plain rock.

Lily AllenIt’s Not You It’s Me

My opinion of Lily Allen has changed a lot over the last few years. A couple of years back she was seen as little more than an internet sensation/one schtick wonder. Her first album was good, but couldn’t really been seen as musically impressive. Whilst her 2nd album doesn’t hit the dizzying heights of musical prowess, the song-writing has improved a lot. And so has she. LaLa and I had the chance to sit within about 3 metres of her earlier this year having already listened to and loved her new album. Hearing her sing acoustically in front of us definitely made us appreciate her talents go beyond dating older men and dressing badly. My highlights would be “Chinese” and “Everyone’s at It”.

MuseThe Resistance

How does a band top an album like ‘Black Holes and Revelations’? Well, when you’re a band li ke Muse, you just take it up a notch. Record some majestic Queen like song, a couple of stadium rock anthems and a 3 part classical masterpiece and you have ‘The Resistance’. This album is unlike most things you would hear and the eclectic style of it adds to it’s impact. You would be excused in thinking that the real Muse is contained in the powerful first 4 songs of the album, but you have to go deeper in to find out that Muse are more than just a rock band. They are a deep, soulful and infinitely talented trio.

The Temper TrapConditions

This is one of those bands that came out of nowhere for everyone I suspect. I suddenly heard the name of this band bandied around in the middle of the year but had not really noticed which song they sang. It took me until seeing ‘500 Days of Summer’ to notice the song ‘Sweet Disposition’. I thought, hey, that’s a top song, but then I forgot about it….until just recently when I listened to the whole album once, and then again..and then again. I am officially addicted. This band is a perfect example of that feel good relaxed and chilled vibe that really works at the moment. Expect massive things from these guys.

PhoenixWolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

LaLa helped me get on to these guys a few years ago, and they have been popping up with tunes for quite a while now. The difference with this album is that they have smashed through the ‘little french band/huge international act’ barrier with their song ‘Lisztomania’. It’s definitely one of the songs of the year for me and catapults this album into a new level of Phoenix excellence.

The Whitest Boy AliveRules

Similar to Phoenix, this band lends itself to infectious little grooves and pithy melodies about love, forgiveness and rollercoasters. The lead singer, Erlend Øye, is better known from his part in ‘Kings of Convience’, but he lends his voice to this album and it became one of my more popular albums of the year. It suits a Sunday arvo, chilling out on the couch and thinking about trips to Europe in the summer..

WolfmotherCosmic Egg

Wolfmother’s first album is a musical standout for me this decade. They blasted out of the blocks with their self-titled album, but early on there was a mountain of expectation for album No. 2. What happened next surprised even me. Guitarist Andrew Stockdale split from the original bassist and drummer and Wolfmother, or at least 1 third of it continued with a new rhythm section (+ new guitarist). This change has resulted in ‘Cosmic Egg’, which whilst not as exceptional as their debut, has a lot to like about it. Ignoring Stockdale’s attitude problems including ever increasing ego, he manages to bring so much power to his songs. Soaring guitars, screaming vocals and trippy lyrics. I’m hoping they don’t split again before the next album, cause maybe they could improve more.

KarnivoolSound Awake

Prog-Rock, Indie-Rock, Alternative-Rock, I dunno what you call it, but Karnivool have it. They plummeled our ears with their debut album, ‘Themata’ and now they’ve kicked it up a notch with this one. Ian Kenny’s side-step into Birds of Tokyo has given Karnivool a slightly more melodic feel, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The musicality of this album really stands out. Can’t wait to see them live at the BDO in January!

——————————

Phew… so there we go. My top albums of the year. I think it’s a pretty diverse list, but probably not as obscure as some. I feel like I should have listened to a lot more albums this year and am definitely going to check out Kasabian’s new one, as well as Mumford & Sons and Calvin Harris. Gotta get up to speed with the acts playing the Big Day Out!

So, do you have a list?

Link in comments!


NRL Grand Final 2009 – From Ecstasy to Despair

What a weekend it was.

For just the second time in 23 years, the Eels made the Grand Final and I was there again. Just like I was in 2001 when we roared into the Grand Final as red-hot favourites.

This time we had scraped into the finals and pounded the top 3 sides to make the Grand Final, riding on a wing, prayer and history. We could have been the first team to win it from 8th spot.

Last week was amazing. We beat our arch-rivals, the Bulldogs, in front of 75,000 people. The crowd was deafening and it was the best Rugby League match I had ever been to. My son told me it had been the best day of his life. Nothing warms the heart more!

But this was the big one. The one that counts. We had reached the prelimiary final 5 times since 1986, but only made the Grand Final twice. We needed to make it count.

So, Dougall, Yellster, Ed and I took the nervous train trip to Homebush to drink, cheer and hopefully be merry.

We downed 4 at the Brewery before the game. I had never seen so many Parra jerseys in one place. It was a sea of blue and gold and the feeling of anxiety and excitement was palpable. I felt good and I felt confident. I had bets on for a 13+ victory. Perhaps ambitious, but that’s how I felt.

We stepped into the Stadium and saw the swarmof people around us. We had nice seats behind the goal posts but with a great view.

parraseats

It was a game of 2 halves. The first, we had nothing to cheer about. Melbourne scored twice through some uncharacteristically weak defence. We didn’t have that spark. Hayne was very quiet. The crowd was nervous at half-time. I hardly even remember it.

The second was better. We lifted. Guru scored. Fui scored and we were happy.

Parra Try

All I could do was hope…maybe, we can come back…one last time.

It wasn’t to be. An uncontested bomb, a bullshit refereeing decision (fuck you Tony Archer), and a field goal later, and the Eels went down, 23-16. Melbourne win their 3rd premiership of the decade.

I was gutted to have lost again. It’s hard to lose a Grand Final after weeks of build-up. I can only imagine what it must feel like for the players.

nathan_hindmarsh_grandfinal

But next year is a new decade, and a new chance for the Eels to start their domination. Tahu’s back. Poore and Shackleton are in. We will hopefully keep the core of the team. There’s no reason we can’t get there again.

I just wish I didn’t have to wait 12 months to do it again.

parrasad