Friday, September 28, 2012

Six reasons to like Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen. Writer, poet, musician, singer.
For those that 'get' Leonard, it is a life long love. Leonard has written several books, as well has published collections of his poetry. In 2011, he was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for literature. He was born in 1934 and is still touring and playing live.  Leonard is an artist, he doesn't just whip up songs, and use a songwriters rhyming dictionary to help him out of a pickle, no..Leonard works at his writing.  His song 'Democracy had around 60 versus written for it. The popular and well covered tune 'Hallelujah', took years to complete (Facts obtained from a 1992 interview with Paul Zollo, collated in Songwriters on Songwriting)

Leonard Cohen's songs are so strong that they are often used in all types of mainstream and independent movies. From Herzog's 'Stroszek', to 'Pump up the Volume', 'Natural Born Killers', 'Wonder Boys', 'Shrek' and  'Barney's Version', to list but a few.

When songwriters or music lovers talk about brilliant opening lines, you can be sure that Leonard gets a several mentions. A personal favorite of mine is  'First we take Manhattan's' opening line of "They sentenced me with twenty years of boredom, for trying to change the system from within". 

My own personal relationship with the music of Leonard Cohen started many moons ago when good friend,  the amazing Dr classic made me a cassette tape containing "I'm your fan', a 1991 covers compilation of cool people doing Leonard Cohen's tunes. The bands included; REM,The Pixies, John Cale, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Lloyd Cole, Robert Forster amongst others. I think Dr classic also found some space to put on some Leonard's own originals from the 'I'm your man' album as well.  Who would have thought that many years later, I would  still be enjoying and listening to Leonard? Out of his long back catalogue that starts in 1967 and continues through to today, choosing just six tracks is incredibly tough. So with help from Dr Classic and Dr Db, here are, in no particular order, six reasons to like Leonard Cohen:

Chelsea hotel #2.

This track is from the 1974 LP 'New Skin for the Old Ceremony'. Leonard had said that the track is about Janis Joplin, who he had a brief relationship with. In a 1994 BBC broadcast, Leonard apologised for his indiscretion. This album also contains 'Who by fire' and 'Take this longing', tracks whihc were nominated for this top 6.

From a 1983 Canadian movie "I Am A Hotel", here is "Chelsea hotel #2"

'Bird on the wire'. 

1969 saw Leonard release his second album 'Song's from a room'. Bird on a wore comes from this lp and this track is arguably seen by many as being one of his best. Dr Classic herself had said that this track had to be in this list! Covered by many; including, K.D. Lang, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Fairport Convention. Here are the opening lyrics:

"Like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.."

'Bird on the wire':

'Take this longing'.

Another entry off the 1974 album 'New Skin for the Old Ceremony' (also see Chelsea Hotel#2).
'Take this longing', has some very poetic writing such as:

"Your body like a searchlight
My poverty revealed,
I would like to try your charity
Until you cry, "Now you must try my greed."
And everything depends upon
How near you sleep to me

Just take this longing from my tongue
All the lonely things my hands have done.
Let me see your beauty broken down
Like you would do for one your love."

'Take this longing':

"Famous blue raincoat".

Off the 1971 album 'Song's of Love and Hate' , 'Famous blue raincoat' is such a melancholic masterpiece, full of such beautiful lines such as:.

 "If you ever come by here, for Jane or for me
Your enemy is sleeping, and his woman is free.
Yes, and thanks, for the trouble you took from her eyes
I thought it was there for good so I never tried."

"Famous blue raincoat"

"Dance me to the end of love"

From the 1985 album 'Various Positions', comes this beautiful tune 'Dance me to the end of love'. In the film 'Barney's Version', one of the characters keeps requesting Leonard Cohen tunes to his separated partner as a way of communicating his feelings.This song was once such dedication, also requested was 'I'm your man'.

"Dance me to the end of love"

"Everybody knows"

Off the brilliant 1988 album 'I'm your man', comes this top notch tune! with lines like:

"Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes
Everybody knows"


"Everybody knows that you love me baby
Everybody knows that you really do
Everybody knows that you've been faithful
Ah give or take a night or two
Everybody knows you've been discreet
But there were so many people you just had to meet
Without your clothes
And everybody knows"

"Everybody knows"

Dr Db, also had marked on her list the tracks: 'Mastersong', 'Who by fire' and 'Hallelujah'.
Dr Classic had; 'First we take Manhattan', 'Tower of Song' & 'Hey, thats no way to say goodbye'. She did specifically state not to include Hallelujah,  as "Shrek has got a lot to answer for!"
 Me, well I wanted to include 'Avalanche', 'The Future' & 'I'm your man'.
There is so much great stuff from Leonard, that it is impossible to give just 6 good reasons, the ones we gave, only take us up his releases to 1988! He has released at least 4 albums of new material since then. The last release was this year! All I can say is go out, immerse yourself in Leonard and be saved!

A huge thank you to Dr Classic and Dr Db for their help with this!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Street art in Brunswick

I found myself in Brunswick recently. As I walked about killing time before an appointment, I kept stumbling across some great images!


With this wall, I love how the artists have complimented/matched the fading band of colours at the top of the brick wall (the Green, yellow and Blue) and used them in the band of art in the lower part of the wall:

All photographs copyright matthew schiavello 2012

Friday, September 14, 2012

Shambelles at the Union Hotel (25/08/12)

On Saturday the 25th of August, I had the supreme pleasure of hearing and seeing The Shambelles play at the Union Hotel.  I want to say, boy oh boy! These ladies can rock and create an instant party!

I am off again to see them this Sunday the 16th at 4:30pm at The Carringbush Hotel
(228 Langridge St, Abbotsford).

Here are some pics from their performance at the Union Hotel on the 25th!

The four Shambelles

Jody: Singer, sulty femme fatale, rock goddess!

The 'belles!
Jody (Vox), Alics (Bass), Mon (guitar) and Jules (DRUMS!!!):


If you can make it,
come along!!
say hello
and enjoy.

all photos copyright, matthew schiavello 2012.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Things I need to stop doing on dates

Recently I have been 'back out there' and dating. It has been fun, awkward and odd...often all at the same time. I am learning on my feet about the whole dating world and it's rules, of which everyone seems to have their own and no one shares the rules before hand. Well, that was before I came on the scene and created a little book of 'What Not to Do', which I hand out to all prospective dates. Some examples from this book have recently been posted here.

This has also got me thinking about what I should stop doing. As you can imagine, I am a little left of centre and sometimes, possibly, maybe not so fun to be around. Highly doubtable of course, but putting that in makes me look humble. So anyway, some of the things I need to stop doing on dates are:

- going on a second date because of guilt. I shouldn't commit to a second date if I am not attracted to a guy. Just because he seems to be a really nice guy, has been rejected by other men in the past and the fact that I am not TOTALLY REPULSED by him, are not reasons for a second date

- Kissing a guy because of guilt... Hmm, is there a pattern forming here??

- Ignoring that voice in my head. On a few occasions it has strongly suggested that my trip to the toilet become an escape from the date. I have actually sized up bathroom windows and tried to calculate if I and my every growing 'handles of love', can squeeze through, but guilt (yet again) and a history of crap practical application of maths, has led me back to my date (with my head hung low).

- On the first date or two, pointing out the things to the date that I don't like in them. Actually, I probably don't even need to point these things out ever... I am sure that my look of disgust at his moccaSINs are more than enough. God blessed me with an honest face that gives all of my thoughts and feelings away.

- Which leads on to 'being too honest'. It probably is impolite to say to a date 'actually, I'm a little BORED'. Or if they apologise for doing something they feel is inappropriate, I don't really need to screw up my face, shake my head from left to right and say 'yeah, that wasn't good'. 

- Speaking of my head, I probably should stop hanging my head to the side or drooping it on the table and sighing heavily when I am bored or not interested.

- I also need to stop letting dates turn into counselling sessions and free ones at that! Over dinner at a nice restaurant, is not really the time to explore in-depth, the date's part in his fractured and failed past relationships nor current traumatic family events.

- Which leads onto my asking about his maturity regarding his finances. We all make mistakes, but if you earn $1500 a week and can't justify where your money goes, my parental face comes out and I start to talk to him about budgeting, his purchases and his financial 'want's' and 'needs'. I should probably stop that, even though my date should really be thanking me for taking the time to help him. On the plus side, if I did cease my free financial counselling during dates, I wouldn't need to keep carrying around blank budget sheets!

- I know that it is kind of wrong to flirt or lead a guy on, not because I like him, but because I am either bored or lonely, so I should consider stopping that. Yeah ok! It is not 'kind of wrong', It is wrong, full stop!

I know it kind of sounds like I might be a smidge of a terrible person...and a nightmare date of gigantic proportions (dare I say datezilla?), but that is not true.. I think.. But then, I am still, go figure...

Do you have anything that you think you need to stop doing on dates?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

recent music purchases- September 2012

I finally delved into the back catalogue of Echo & the Bunnymen (on cd). From their wonderful 1984 album, 'Ocean Rain', here is their beautiful and classic track 'The killing moon'.

ahh.. lyrically it has such a lovely maudlin-esque quality..
"Fate, up against your will......"

Echo & the Bunnymen- 'The Killing moon":

Grimes- 'Visions'.
My friend Dean loved this Lp as well and kindly wrote a review for my blog post!.. so sit back and enjoy! Oh there is a language warning for the faint of heart.

Grimes is a 24-year-old Canadian singer with red-carpet looks, who instead chooses to dress like Tank Girl. Her music is mostly electronic, composed on her laptop, and recorded in her bedroom. Her favourite artists include Cocteau Twins, the Swans, and Nine Inch Nails. If you haven't heard, or at least heard of these artists, then you are no hipster and must leave immediately. She has recently launched a jewelry line called "Grimes Pussy Rings" with a Montreal designer call Morgan Black, who is so cool she refuses to have a website. (The name is not a euphemism BTW: the rings are designed to resemble the vulva.) So far, so punchable. But Grimes also likes pop music, so her high-pitched Kate-Bushesque vocals and "ethereal" synths are set to songs that could top the charts with just a few slight tweaks. This makes her latest album, Visions, an indie Trojan Horse. On the outside it's all challenging and artsy and hard work, but when you listen it's shockingly accessible. Short songs with memorable hooks, compellingly dancy beats, none of the jarring, iPod-rattling feedback used by fellow Canucks like Crystal Castles. She could be one of those people who peak with one album and then fade away forever. Or she could be acceptably weird enough to become the next (female) Beck. Look her up on YouTube. If you like one of her singles then you'll probably like her enough to listen to the entire album. You might even end up paying for it like I did. Those vulvas molds aren't going to pay for themselves, you know. - DG.

Here is a track from the LP:
Grimes- "Oblivion"

Stereolab are a band I used to really want to like and then I realised that I do like them, well their earlier stuff that is. Now I have this on Vinyl! From their 1993 Lp 'Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements', here is 'Pack Yr Romantic Mind'

Alabama Shakes are a band that when I first heard I went, yeah..sounds good.. A bit Black Crowes, bit of this and a bit of that.. Then the songs got stuck in my head and I discovered that the singer was woman and It was all WOAH!!!!!
From my new vinyl record 'Boys & Girls', this is 'Hold On' (live on Jools Holland!)

Angus Stone had released a few singles from his new LP 'Broken Brights' and I have to say that the more I heard those tracks the more I wanted to hear the whole Lp, hearing good things about it, I just dived in! Now that I have it, I love it. Apparently my copy of the Lp is 487/500!!! From said album, here is 'wooden chair':

Field music- 'Plumb'

This band are part of the continuation of brilliant English Pop music. Clever, melodic tunes that you hum along to.

Their latest LP- 'Plumb', has 15 tracks blending into each other and lasting for about 35 mins!
They are such a great band!

"(I Keep Thinking About) A New Thing"

The Avalanches... on vinyl!!!!  yay!!!!  From their AMAZING LP (from 2000) 'Since I left you',
here is the very fun and crazy track 'Frontier Psychiatrist':

Lastly, from Bonnie 'Prince' Billy's stripped back and beautiful album 'Master and Everyone' Which I finally have on vinyl, here is 'the way', with it's beautiful line of 'love me, the way that I love you'