The Mighty Lemon Drops & 21 Jump Street

When I was a pre-teen/ early teen I was a die-hard fan of the TV show 21 Jump Street. You know the one, with a totally hot and young Johnny Depp as an undercover cop pretending to be a high school kid.

As the years went by and 21 Jump Street started losing its popularity channel 9, as it does with most shows even nowadays, shafted it to some unforsaken time slot unsuitable for 13 year olds. I was left with no choice but to record them on my trusty VHS recorder and watch at a more civilised hour.

One day I sat and watched a particular episode I had recorded the night before and fell in love with a song used in the opening sequence. The credits told me it was by The Mighty Lemon Drops, but not the title of the song. As this was pre-Google days my quest to find this song was destined to be a long and unsuccessful one.

With The Mighty Lemon Drops at the forefront of my mind I trawled through record stores in an attempt to find some of their music. Eventually and amazingly I did and I bought Sound… Wouldn’t you know it, it didn’t have the song from 21 Jump Street on it, but it did become a regular in my CD rotation over the coming years.

And then I promptly forgot about my quest and The Mighty Lemon Drops.

Fast forward to 2016 when for some unknown reason I remembered my quest. Being a new age of technology I went into Spotify, searched and you guessed it, I found not only The Mighty Lemon Drops discography but that song from that episode of 21 Jump Street. It was called Where Do We Go From Heaven. I proceeded to listen to it on repeat and smile for I had finally reached the end of my quest some 25 years after it began.

 

Look! It’s on You Tube too. Squee!

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Calgary

Don’t you cherish me to sleep
Never keep your eyelids clipped
Hold me for the pops and clicks
I was only for the father’s crib

Hair, old, long along
Your neck onto your shoulder blades
Always keep that message taped
Cross your breasts you won’t erase
I was only for your very space

Hip, under nothing
Propped up by your other one, face ‘way from the sun
Just have to keep a dialogue
Teach our bodies: haunt the cause
I was only trying to spell a loss

Joy, it’s all founded
Pincher with the skin inside
You pinned me with your black sphere eyes
You know that all the rope’s untied
I was only for to die beside

So itʼs storming on the lake
Little waves our bodies break

There’s a fire going out,
But there’s really nothing to the south

Swollen orange and light let through
Your one piece swimmer stuck to you

Sold, I’m Ever
Open ears and open eyes
Wake up to your starboard bride
Who goes in and then stays inside
Oh the demons come, they can subside

~ Bon Iver: Calgary ~ 

Bon Iver

cmRAk

 

In 2011 I heard Holocene and fell in love. I was, typically, a few years behind the rest of the world, but I eventually discovered Bon Iver.

On the back of the release of their second, self-titled studio album the band toured Australia and I wanted to go see them. Not quite understanding their popularity, I was surprised when tickets to their Adelaide show were sold out in a heartbeat.

One day a work colleague of mine asked me if I had any gigs coming up. I didn’t but said I was keen to see Bon Iver and if he knew of anywhere to get a ticket from could he please keep me in mind? Well, he did keep me in mind and I got what I, rightly or wrongly, proclaim to be the last ticket in town. (I’ve always been an embellisher!)

That March night in 2012 at Thebarton Theatre was a night unlike any other, it is a night that to this day remains at the forefront of my memories. What was experienced, the raw emotion of it was unexpected and spectacular. I have never in my life experienced live music like I did that night. I have never been so consumed by music as I was that night. I have never openly wept at gig like I did that night. It was, quite simply, the single greatest live music experience of my life.

Bon Iver dropped off the scene after touring that album, and except for a song here and there, and a handful of live shows in random places nothing was heard of them for over 4 years. Until the announcement of Cercle.

Cercle was a new performance created by Justin (Vernon who is Bon Iver) which showcased a stripped back performance of Bon Iver songs in the round. It was coming to Sydney’s Vivid Festival for its world premiere for four nights only. I had to go.

The debacle that was tickets sales for this event was enough to make a nation cry, or at least cry “no fair” which a lot of us did, and still are. Between the Sydney Opera House website crashing to Ticketmaster’s last minute change of ticket sale times to scalpers reselling tickets at four times sale value before tickets went on sale to the general public I was sure I would be missing out on this once (four times?) in a lifetime experience. I figured if I was going to miss out, I was going to die fighting a good fight.

I did miss out on tickets via both the pre-sale and general sale and I did give up.

A couple of weeks later a friend told me about the wait list which Vivid had set up for Bon Iver and New Order, who were also subject to the same ticketing issues. The premise was simple: put your name on the waitlist and if you were lucky enough to get a link sent to you on 26 April 2016 you would be allowed to buy a maximum of two tickets. My elation when I received the link on 26 April 2016 was only surpassed by my excitement of getting a ticket. One solitary ticket.

So on 28 May 2016 I flew to Sydney to see Bon Iver.

I could give you a blow by blow detail of the show, my excitement, my nervousness, the playlist, the lighting, but I won’t because the truth of the matter is I genuinely feel there are no words to justify what I experienced. That band, in that venue, was simply perfect. What I experienced in 2012 at Thebby Theatre was not only matched by the performance last Saturday night, but it was surpassed. It was the ultimate journey of emotions. I cried, I smiled, I laughed, I cheered, I wept, I sobbed and I came out the other end feeling enlightened. No other artist can do that to me or for me.

Bon Iver is music that speaks to the deepest elements of your soul, and to Justin I offer my sincerest thanks for this and for allowing me to be a part of music history.

 

Bon-Iver-For-Emma-Forever-Ago-e1360353091619

 

Hottest 100 Debrief

Rubens-Hoops

 

With another Hottest 100 over with, it seems fitting to debrief and discuss how my daughter and I went. Well, it’s fitting to me anyway, if not you.

Of the fourteen songs I voted for, four made the countdown:

Ratatat ~ Cream on Chrome #52

Vallis Alps ~ Young #27

Flume ~ Some Minds ft Andrew Wyatt #24

Hermitude ~ The Buzz ft Young Tapz #8

Of the six songs my seven year old daughter voted for, four made the countdown with two in the top ten! For her first Hottest 100 voting efforts, she did ridiculously well:

Grimes ~ Flesh Without Blood #71

Florence + The Machine ~ What Kind of Man #70

Marcus Marr and Chet Faker ~ The Trouble With Us #6

Major Lazer ~ Lean On ft MO and DJ Snake #3

 

Typically, I’m one of the disgruntled old folk who whinge about how crap the Hottest 100 is year in year out, and continue to listen to it year in year out despite this. In fact, I thought, and still do, that the 2014 one was one of the worst ever. I hadn’t heard of at least 50% of the songs and being a dedicated daily triple j listener this was not only odd, but fucking annoying. This year however, I absolutely loved it like I haven’t in many years. I knew at least 99% of the songs that made it in and felt it was a great representation of the type of music that was triple j in 2015.

The crowning moment, as it is most years, was the grand upset that was the #1 song.

After Major Lazer hit #3 I was flabbergasted as I thought it was going to top the countdown. Instantly I knew Kendrick Lamar’s King Kunta was one of the songs to come, but I was clueless as to what the other would be. It reminded me of the time Eskimo Joe’s Black Fingernails, Red Wine was a shoe in to win…and came #2. When Augie March’s One Crowded Hour took it from them I was floored. And ecstatic. To this day One Crowded Hour is one of my top 20 songs of the last twenty years. So when The Rubens Hoops dropped at #1 my squeals of elation were heard echoing through the surrounding suburbs. Realistically did I think it was #1 worthy? No. But honestly, I don’t care. It was an upset by a phenomenal Australian band, a triple j band, not a mainstream band. To me, this little victory brought the Hottest 100 back to the true triple j listeners, something that has been missing for a very long time.

 

 

triple j Hottest 100 2015

For the first time since I’ve been voting in triple j’s Hottest 100 I have voted in record time having done so prior to the year concluding.

I commenced the process with a mammoth 105 song short list which was culled to the 14 I eventually voted for. Despite technically only being able to vote for 10 songs, I bypassed the rules and voted using 2 email addresses. My 7 year old daughter also voted, but only chose 6 songs, so I topped her list up to 10 by adding 4 of my own.

As confirmed yesterday, my #1 song was The Art of Escape by Hein Cooper. The remaining 13 are as follows in no particular order…

Flume ~ Some Minds (feat. Andrew Wyatt)

 

City Calm Down ~ Rabbit Run

 

Kurt Vile ~ Pretty Pimpin

 

Vallis Alps ~ Young

 

Ratatat ~ Cream on Chrome

 

Sufjan Stevens ~ Should Have Known Better

 

Harts ~ Aerial Love (Like a Version)

 

City and Colour ~ Woman

 

Hermitude ~ The Buzz (feat Mataya/ Young Tapz)

 

Father John Misty ~ True Affection

 

Lower Spectrum ~ Proxima

 

Purity Ring ~ Repetition

 

Planete ~ Altair

 

As mentioned previously my 7 year old daughter also voted. Here are her songs starting with her song of the year…

Grimes ~ Flesh Without Blood

 

Florence + The Machine ~ What Kind of Man

 

BOO SEEKA ~ Kingdom Leader

 

Marcus Marr & Chet Faker ~ The Trouble With Us

 

Nothing But Thieves ~ Itch

 

Major Lazer ~ Lean On (feat MO & DJ Snake)

 

Road to Nowhere

 IMG_0495

Well, we know where we’re goin’
But we don’t know where we’ve been
And we know what we’re knowin’
But we can’t say what we’ve seen

And we’re not little children
And we know what we want
And the future is certain
Give us time to work it out

We’re on a road to nowhere
Come on inside
Takin’ that ride to nowhere
We’ll take that ride

I’m feelin’ okay this mornin’
And you know
We’re on a road to paradise
Here we go, here we go

We’re on a ride to nowhere
Come on inside
Takin’ that ride to nowhere
We’ll take that ride

Maybe you wonder where you are
I don’t care
Here is where time is on our side
Take you there, take you there

We’re on a road to nowhere

There’s a city in my mind
Come along and take that ride
And it’s all right, baby it’s all right

And it’s very far away
But it’s growing day by day
And it’s all right, baby it’s all right

Would you like to come along?
And you could help me sing this song
And it’s all right, baby it’s all right

They can tell you what to do
But they’ll make a fool of you
And it’s all right, baby it’s all right

There’s a city in my mind
Come along and take that ride
And it’s all right, baby it’s all right

And it’s very far away
But it’s growing day by day
And it’s all right, baby it’s all right

Would you like to come along?
You could help me sing this song
And it’s all right, baby it’s all right

They can tell you what to do
But they’ll make a fool of you
And it’s all right, baby it’s all right

We’re on a road to nowhere

~ Talking Heads: Road to Nowhere ~ 

FYF Fest

Nikon D3s | 24-70mm f/2.8

While I was overseas in August/ September of this year I had a few things on my bucket list to cross off and one was to go to a live gig. Unfortunately, it was slim pickings as I was missing some great artists by a week or two. I started to believe that this item would remain on the list for some time to come. That is until I stumbled upon a random tweet from @triplej talking about Aussie’s Chet Faker and Flume being on the FYF Fest line up. I looked into it and knew this was my one and only opportunity to have my wish come true.

Fuck Yeah Fest (FYF) was my first foray into the world of international music festivals and it is one that shall remain with me until Alzheimer’s or death are upon me.

As my flight from Australia flew into Los Angeles I coordinated my travel arrangements so I could stay there for a few days to attend the two-day festival. With a line up including the boys from Oz, Bloc Party, Purity Ring, Frank Ocean, Morrissey, Belle and Sebastian, Laura Marling and many more, I was going to get the biggest live music buzz I could have wished for.

Once my flights were booked I made it official and bought my FYF ticket. But hang on a minute, what’s this? They offered a payment plan! Even though the ticket cost for the full 2 days was on par with a single day Oz music festival (Groovin’ the Moo excluded as that is by far the cheapest and most reasonably priced festival in Australia), they offered a payment plan. Three simple installations over 3 months and you’re in. This dangerously looked like a promoter actually giving a shit about the punter. Being Australian, this is something I’m unfamiliar with. I tingled with glee as I hit the ‘purchase’ button.

Fast forward a few months and I’m in Los Angeles at Exposition Park. In 1984 when LA hosted the Olympics they were held here. I collected my ticket from a kind woman after being guided to the Free Will by a kind man. I then went through security and had my bag checked. Unlike Australia where security do not give a shit about you and your bag is lightly felt up, here I was subjected to the female only line where a female security guard patted me down and turned the contents of my bag inside out checking for contraband such as eye drops, pencils, guns and sealed bottles of water. I was even asked why I had cash on me. “To buy stuff” was thankfully an acceptable answer. As daunting as the experience was, and as cringe worthy as it was to have to go through it again the next day, I understood it to be for the punter’s safety because America and guns go together like moths and flames.

The first thing on the agenda was to get to the main stage to see Dinosaur Jr who had just started. It would give me a great opportunity to gather my bearings and establish where the stages were, in particular the Main Stage and the Lawn Stage as they were the two I’d be alternating between for the entire weekend. I walked and walked and walked and walked and walked and hit a car park where the main stage was set up. Oh. Dinosaur Jr rocked it like they know how and once they finished I headed over to the Lawn Stage. I walked and walked and walked and walked and walked and found the grass eventually, right near the entrance to the festival. Oh. Dear. My legs were already sore from the debacle that occurred that morning (see City of Angels?) and this 5 minute walk between stages didn’t help, and it indicated I’d be virtually running in-between stages since almost all the acts clashed slightly. Nevertheless, as the sun set I bathed in the beauty that was The Drums, a band I’d wanted to see live for a few years now. What I expected from them they didn’t actually deliver, but I was more than pleasantly surprised. Instead of the frantic surf pop sound that they’re known for, they delivered a cruisey and chilled set comprising of all their hits. It was truly a beautiful sight to behold.

I paused for a beverage break after The Drums finished and entered the over 21 beer garden to consume an utterly crap $12 glass of rose smaller than a golf ball. After sculling that hideous drink I headed back to the Lawn Stage to watch !!! for about 10 minutes from the very front of the stage which was delightful. Then I wandered around looking at the sights catching Shlohmo on the Trees Stage as I made my way back to the Main Stage for Chet Faker. Underestimating the popularity of the Melbourne producer, my plan of leaving his set early as I’d previously seen him play live in Sydney, was foiled by the fact at least 60% of the entire festival’s population were also there to see him. I became stuck in the crowd and couldn’t escape. This sucked. It meant I had to run back to the Lawn Stage to see the start of Bloc Party, the one band I was desperate to see this weekend (see It’s Ratchet). By some stroke of luck I actually made it.

I was quite tired and somewhat stoned from a contact high from the weed being smoked everywhere that I sat down to calmly enjoy Kele and his new band, I mean Bloc Party. That is until they dropped Hunting for Witches. I instantly jumped to my feet and pushed my way into the crowd and danced myself stupid for the hour-long set. They were by far the best performers of the night so far.

At this stage I was on such a high that I rushed back to the main stage to see not Frank Ocean who had pulled out less than 48 hours earlier, but Kanye West who replaced him. If I thought Chet Faker could draw a crowd I was sorely mistaken compared to the thousands that had amassed in the car park. It was absolutely crazy made more so crazy due to the fact Kanye had no stage show arranged due to the short notice of his inclusion to the line up. It was just him and his ego strutting their stuff on the stage, and the people of LA were lapping it up like you wouldn’t believe. I’m glad I was finally able to see him, but I had no regrets in leaving early to go check out Purity Ring on the Lawn Stage. And I’m glad I did because they were brilliant.

As I was dependent upon catching the Metro home and had no idea what I was doing or where I was going beyond get off at stop 7, catch the purple train and get off 3 stops later, I felt for my own sanity and anxiety levels that I had to bail before the end of Purity Ring’s set. Disappointing, but being lost in LA at 1am with no way to get home wasn’t an option I could consider. In the end a strange thing happened, LAPD and FYF Fest had worked together to make the trip home easier than boiling an egg. That whole considering the punter thing came into play again. There were signs, people guiding you in the right direction making sure you got on the correct train and ensuring you had a ticket. It was bliss. And I instantly wanted to go back to the festival to catch the end of Purity Ring and dance the morning away to Simian Mobile Disco, but I didn’t.

The next day I felt much better about everything and tackled getting into the Festival with total flair. I also knew that I could not be fucked traipsing in between the stages like yesterday as my legs were on fire from all the walking I had been doing. So off to the Lawn Stage I went to start the day with the divine Laura Marling. I sat down and just enjoyed her.

When Laura finished I headed to the Main Stage to catch a funky little set from Toro Y Moi before checking out Battles at the aesthetically gorgeous Trees Stage. Flume was due to come on the Main Stage before Battles finished so I headed back to the car park and did something I hadn’t anticipated on doing. I stayed there and didn’t leave for hours. I made my way to the centre of the car park and positioned myself next to the middle barricade so all I had to do was lean to the right and I could see the stage. It was the perfect spot to watch Flume for the first time. Harley was absolutely brilliant and with guests such as Andrew Wyatt and Lorde joining him the set was one of my favourites from Sunday.

The majority of the crowd dispersed once Flume finished and I took the opportunity to move forward, still staying alongside that barrier. I pushed forward approximately 20 metres and in the process started talking to the guy who was behind me slip streaming once he figured out what I was doing. He commented on what a great idea it was and that’s how I met Oscar who turned into my FYF Fest buddy for the remainder of the festival.

Together we watched Belle and Sebastian who floored me with their energetic performance which had audience members on stage as their dancers, and chatted as we waited for headliner Morrissey to start. I learnt a lot about LA, the festival and music scene. It was great to have someone to talk to.

By the time Morrissey came on stage we had moved up perhaps another 10 meters and had a great view of the stage. In terms of his performance he wasn’t as bad as I expected. I’m glad I was able to experience Morrissey live in my life, but he won’t go down as a key memory from FYF Fest.

On my way out of Exposition Park I heard FKA Twigs but had no desire to stay for her set. I was exhausted and I had to leave for the airport at 8:30am.

Despite not seeing many bands on Sunday I had no regrets. I saw who I wanted, that was all that mattered. And when I’m old and decrepit and telling my grandchildren about my solo adventures to North America FYF Fest will be remembered and talked about with so much love and joy. Even now, almost 3 months later, I am amazed and proud of myself for having the courage to go to it. It was truly one of the greatest experiences of my life thus far.

FYF2

Song of the Year? Part 5…

It’s always a squeeful moment when a song drops in the last quarter of the year that blows your mind ever so slightly. This year that honour is awarded to Marcus Marr and my long-term musical crush, Chet Faker. The Trouble With Us was released last week and is a big departure from Faker’s usual brooding, vagina-melting sound. Matt and Alex from triple j said it best when they described the track as “bouncy”. It is. It has a funk to it that just makes you want to get up and dance with lyrics that are still Chet-Faker-vagina-melting-good…

Marcus Marr and Chet Faker ~ The Trouble With Us