The State of Australian Radio (by way of Restaurants)

I bought a close equivalent of my ‘dream car’ about a year ago.

As with every junker I’ve owned, it’s come with some caveats. This time around, it’s the lack of Bluetooth connectivity, so goodbye my carefully curated Spotify playlists and listening to whatever the fuck I want. In it’s place, I have CD’s which are y’know, fine, but I’ve listened to all of the ones in my car at this point.

So that leaves the radio.

The more I think about it the more radio stations in Sydney fulfill a certain niche. Much like restaurants. So in the interest of bad similes, here’s a bunch of radio stations compared to restaurants.

TRIPLE M (104.9)

What it is: Sydney’s R-r-r-RAWKIN’ station du-jour. Expect lots of AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, Queens of the Stone Age, and -of course- THE FOOIES!

What its Like: Triple M is the local pub/cafe/fast food joint you and your mates (and your parents, probably) have always gone to. The menu hasn’t changed in about 10 years, but it hasn’t become worse with time, either. It’s a bit bland and the staff are a bunch of dickheads, but it’s safe. You know exactly what you’re going to get. Of a weekend a bunch of tradies hang around and talk shit about the footy.

TRIPLE J (105.7)

What it is: The government-funded, allegedly bipartisan, youth-oriented station. Famous for the Hottest 100.

What its Like: You’ve known and have taken delight in this kinda-sorta well known for ages, and you rave to all your friends about how good it is. Then all of a sudden, something changes. The coffee might be a different blend, or the eggs aren’t done as well as you like it. I mean it’s still serviceable, but it’s no longer as great as it once was and now you’re questioning whether it was actually good, or you just convinced yourself to like it.

WAVE FM (96.5)/KIIS FM (106.5)

What it is: I’m… not actually sure. Found them whilst browsing radio stations after the 103rd replay of Acca Dacca (see: Triple M). Wikipedia tells me WAVE FM is a station for the Illawarra region, and KIIS is another commercial Sydney station.

What it’s Like: What I affectionately like to call a “They China Food” restaurant. You know the ones. They’re the “ethnic” restaurants found in regional towns that seem to collect cuisines that may be vaguely Asian-centric and like to do a bit of everything. Usually a front for a bootleg salmonella factory. Inexplicably fashionable with people far younger than you.

2GB (Google it. I’m not promoting these shitheads)

What it is: The “conservative” radio station.

What it’s Like: If you’ve ever seen the “Amy’s Baking Company” episode of “Kitchen Nightmares”, then you get the idea. If you haven’t, imagine a poorly-run family restaurant where all the staff is constantly yelling and you’re too afraid to get a refund.

LOCAL RADIO STATIONS

What it is: All local news, all the time. If you’re lucky they won’t play any Lee Kernaghan.

FUN FACT: I once had a pair of FM/AM radio headphones as a kid. The only station it could tune into was Southern Highlands FM. I learned a lot more about my hometown than I ever wanted to know.

What it’s Like: You’ve just arrived at the first hotel of your first holiday in 10 years. To celebrate, you decide to try some of the local specialties. You immediately regret this decision and wished you had opted for Domino’s instead.

THE CLASSICAL STATION

What it is: It plays classical music.

What it’s like: A fancy, overpriced restaurant you have no business being in. You only went to impress a date. You both opt to just share an entree and a bottle of wine and go to the pub for the rest of the night.

A Music Snob’s Look at Kiss

I have a confession to make.

I used to really love Kiss, you guys.

I have them in vinyl, toy, CD, MP3, and -at one point- in comic book form. I was super-bummed out by the fact they announced they were calling it a day (and bewildered by the fact they just kept playing about a month later). During my formative years, Kiss was my fucking life ever since I picked up (okay, okay, begged my parents to buy) “Psycho Circus” many, many years ago.

Then I grew older and… kinda forgot about them. I mean, they were still cool (and kinda still are), but I just lost interest. Perhaps not aided by the fact the internet fucking happened and a whole musical world opened up to me by way of Limewire (you kids these days have it easy. We had to give our computers AIDS to get free music), nor aided by the fact Gene Simmons is a massive toolbag.

So I thought it’d be fun, interesting, (and perhaps a nice change for those who’s music tastes I shit on regularly) to look back at my past, at something that -at one point- was a big fucking deal to me, and see if it still holds up to the test of time.

THE ARTIST

You probably know them, I wanted to be them. Women still -somewhat inexplicably- want to fuck them. I mean, they’re fucking Kiss! What more can I say?

Formed in the 70’s by Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Peter Criss and Ace Frehley, Kiss trudged along until the release of “Alive!” which brought the excitement and energy of their stage shows to the CD format. Bolstered by 1976’s “Destroyer”, Kiss were formally part of the rock n’ roll lexicon. Equal parts the bite of bluesy hard rock and the fanfare of glam rock, Kiss -for a time- were one of the biggest bands in the world…

…And then they squandered that by bringing out a bunch of dud albums, kicking out Criss and Frehley, and took the makeup off for a while. there was the occasional release such as “Revenge” which kept them in people’s minds, but they were not the untouchable rock gods they once were.

Prompted by a surprise appearance of Criss and Frehley at an MTV unplugged show, the original founding members reunited, toured all over the world and released… another dud album, “Psycho Circus”. I mean, I liked it, but I was young and didn’t know any better.

Nowadays they’re still trudging along and playing shows, and recently released “Monster”.

THE MUSIC

Coming from a band formed in the 70’s, expect bluesy rock jams, power ballads, songs about fucking, all the fun stuff. Since their inception, whilst their sound has evolved somewhat, not a lot has particularly changed. “Destroyer” is still the fucking tits, though.

SONG-BY-SONG

It’s hard to really pick a small handful of songs, here. With such a huge body of work and different iterations of the band, there’s an even mix of good and not-so-good songs. But I’ll do my best to keep this as concentrated as possible.

I Was Made For Loving You

Even if you’re not a fan of hard rock, you know this song. Kiss goes Disco, and it shows why Disco fucking died in the first place.

Deuce

Off of their debut, “Deuce” goes alright. Still definitely holds up. Way better live

Detroit Rock City

Kicking off their magnum opus “Destroyer” and promptly butchered by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, “Detroit” fucking goes off live and is an impressive effort when listening normally. Totally sets the tone of the album and the band’s then-developed and matured sound

Strutter

If there was a litmus test for whether you’re going to like these guys or not, it’s “Strutter”. This is Kiss in a nutshell. For the love of god, though, avoid the remix “Strutter ’78” off of their compilation “Double Platinum”. Keep your ears pure. Stick with the original.

Rock n’ Roll All Nite

The other song everyone knows. Much like “I Was Made…”, catchy dreck without the disco. Once an anthem for the people, it’s just hokey now. Again, better live.

Unholy

Off of arguably their best “unmasked” album, ‘Revenge’, this is one of the best Kiss songs, and one of the best songs Gene Simmons ever put vocals to.

Lick it Up

There was only a few good songs off of the “Lick it Up” album, and this isn’t one of them. Avoid. Watch the music video for the cringe.

God of Thunder

Look, all of “Destroyer” is pretty fucking good, alright? Just go listen to it. I don’t, never did, and probably never will understand the random kids in the song, but whatever. Still good.

Love Gun

Hokey, but good hokey. It’s about Paul Stanley’s dick. What more can I say?

OH WAIT. Frehley’s solo work here is amazing. That too.

Sure Know Something

Another one off of Dynasty. It’s also not great.

War Machine

One of the hidden gems from “Creatures of the Night” Some tasty, tasty riffage can be found here. Why this never got its due I don’t know.

Psycho Circus

….Yeah okay. This still goes off. I still fucking love this song. Shame about the music video.

Calling Dr. Love

The greatest Kiss song ever. No question. Don’t like it? fuck you. It’s my blog.

Beth

Hoo boy. Okay. This is equal parts an alright song, and a warning why you never let your drummer contribute to the songwriting process.

All of “Music from The Elder”

…What? What the fuck? What even is this shit? Who are you fuckasses and what did you do with Kiss?

IN SUMMARY

So do they hold like they did in my childhood? Are the still the “hottest band in the world”? If you want the best, are you gonna get the best?

….Yes and no.

Here’s the thing: Kiss are equal parts rock band and stage show, and it’s hard to have one without the other. Especially because they know how to put on a fucking awesome rock show. But as musicians? They leave a lot to be desired. Given the amount of Kiss merch out there, they’re better businessmen then they are rock stars.

Yeah their songs go alright and I daresay younger me had a pretty good ear for music, but they’re basically Nickelback with make-up and debauchery. They’re average. Middle of the road. If you want your cock-rock minus Jon Bon Jovi and his obsession with being a fucking cowboy in lieu of making decent music, then listen to Kiss. Just don’t expect your ears blown off unless you see them live.

 

Till next time…

 

….No, seriously, what the fucking fuck was “The Elder”?! Jesus fuck.

 

 

A Music Snob’s Look at System of a Down

With the complete fuckaround which is Australian Politics at the moment, let’s get political! Let’s find some machines to rage against and some systems in which to… um. down.

Look, I’m talking about System of a Down, alright? Do I have to spell out everything? Fuck…

THE ARTIST

If by chance, you were an angry teen in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, you probably listened to System of a Down… Or Papa Roach, but Papa Roach are shit. So let’s ignore them.

SOAD brought out Toxicity in 2001, which simply, was the shit. Yes, yes, their other albums are enjoyable, but Toxicity will be their best effort for me. Even if it’s at times ridiculous. They were basically “that other political band your leftie metalhead mate listened to when he wasn’t listening to Rage Against the Machine”, and it shows.

Oh, and they were at one point fronted by Weird Al Yankovic.

large
The likeness will never not be uncanny to me

THE MUSIC

Political, angry, but not afraid to be completely and utterly ridiculous while still somehow being political or at least commentating on society. Chic n’ Stu is a perfect example of this, as is Prison Song.

They get a little too “angry teen music” for me at times. I find Bounce! unlistenable, Chop Suey! is pretty much the anthem of every cranky little shit who ever thought a chain attached to a wallet was hardcore as fuck.

The shining star of SOAD, however, is the vocal work of Serj Tankian. He can be singing these wonderful melodies one minute, and then being a cranky little shit the next. Aided by Daron Malakian on guitar and backup vox. Technically, they’re good. Don’t always do it for me, but good.

SONG-BY-SONG

Toxicity

I can’t mention Toxicity without vomiting mountains of praise for it. It’s fucking great. Next song

B.Y.O.B.

The first song we heard when Weird Al led the band for a while there. It’s great up until the last few moment. the ending is way too jarring for me. Also I’m wondering if Daron Malakian can sing without screeching. that’d be great.

Chop Suey!

i-dont-always-wake-up-but-when-i-do

Again, the anthem of angsty teens everywhere. You can’t help but hate your parents and slam doors once you hear about angels dying. I… really don’t like it all that much. Overplayed, maybe?

Aerials

If I had to pick a favourite SOAD track it… Well, it’d be Toxicity, but this comes fucking close. This was actually the first song of theirs I heard, it has staying power but I’ve overplayed it to fuck.

Sugar

Okay, not gonna lie. It’s hard not to like this song. If you want an introductory to SOAD, this is it. Go. Do the thing.

Spiders

This kinda feels like “Aerials” before “Aerials” was “Aerials”. I like me some chilled-out SOAD. Like, you could have it on in the background as “doing shit” music, but it still packs enough punch to get into if the moment calls.

THE MUSIC VIDEOS

Holy shit. Where do I begin?

They are the epitome of tryhard 90’s/00’s ‘alternative’ music. Fred Durst ain’t got nothing on this. That’s not neccesarily a bad thing, but it’s totally a snapshot of a moment in time where things were simpler, producers didn’t have to be shouted out on every damn track they work on, and it was a requirement for record label contracts for bands to use an entirely white room for at least one music video. Seriously, what’s with that? Even The Matrix used it as their fucking weapons locker.

“Sorry about the noise. System of a Down and Blink-182 are using the rooms next door”

The exceptions seem to be “Question!” and “Spiders”, which really wouldn’t look out of place in a Tool/A Perfect Circle setting.

IN SUMMARY

Honestly? I could have written an entire entry on how good “Toxicity” is and leave it at that. They hold up, not my favourite band by any stretch of the imagination, but they’re enjoyable. Plus you can use ’em to pick out all the old farts like yourself at parties. They’ll be the ones involuntarily moshing or singing along to “Chop Suey!”, because damnit, that was their childhood.

And maybe that’s the thing, maybe I have a soft spot for SOAD because I grew up through friends, lovers, family listening to this shit. Not that I don’t like them in their own right, but, good reminder of happier times, y’know?

I’ve come to appreciate them a hell of a lot more these days, because I was the weird kid to listened to 80’s hair metal in highschool, who had a copy of KoRn’s “Follow the Leader” strategically stashed for the street cred. So a lot of SOAD’s work I’m hearing with fresh ears, and it’s been a hell of a ride.

 

Till next time…

 

A Music Snob’s Look at Dorje and Toska

I find it harder to write about bands I actually like. There’s not much punch to having a laugh about essentially saying “I like this band, go listen to them”.

But this is what we’re doing, so away we go. It’s very rare I get all excited and preach gospel when I find new music, so buckle up, bitches. We’re going in hard.

Dorje is a new instalment into my musical vocabulary, thanks to the involvement of Rob Chapman, who I recently encountered during a YouTube binge:

I tried to write a quick summary of Chapman, but this photo pretty much sums up everything you need to know
I could do a quick writeup of Chappers, but this is a pretty decent summary

 

One video led to another video and so on until my binging led to me finding out he’s like, in a band, you guys! And his band is another band as well!

That band is Dorje, a grungey metal band out of the UK. And they kick ass.

That band, minus Rob, is Toska and they’re also out of the UK, funnily enough. They also kick ass

THE ARTIST

Formerly “The Rob Chapman Band”, Chapman and Rabea Massaad make up the guitars and vocals of Dorje, flanked by Dave Hollingworth and Ben Minal on bass and drums, respectively. They’re currently working on an album and have two EP’s out: “Catalyst” and “Centred and One”. It feels like there’s NO pretensions with these guys. They all seem like people you’d happily meet at the pub and have a few drinks with.

Toska is Dorje minus Chapman, they currently have one EP out, titled “Ode to the Author”.

THE MUSIC

Both are Metal, if you want to be vague.

Dorje

In reality and/or if you want to impress your music snob mates, Dorje are weird mix of grungey, garagey, proggy metal that fits really, really well together. Think Incubus if they had dirty, drunken sex involving butt-stuff with Black Label Society.

Yeah, you’re totally thinking about Brandon Boyd and Zakk Wylde boning now. You’re welcome.

Toska

Toska takes the prog/djenty side of things and cranks it up a notch. A lot of it has this Behold! The Arctopus/Karnivool sorta feel to it. I dig. Rabea wears his influences on his sleeve here but it doesn’t feel at all derivative. It’s almost chillout metal, even. Unless you really, really hated this sort of music you could chuck it on and it’d just sit in the background being all like “S’up? I’m just going to blow your fucking head off for the next half hour”.

CATALYST

It’s hard to get into specifics when again, I could just go “it all sounds amazing! Why are you still reading?!”

From opening to close, Catalyst overperforms in an area where there’s plenty of performers. It all comes together in an amazing, noisy blitzkrieg. The only thing I can really fault is that it’s all over far too quickly. All the songs sound unique to eachother without being too jarring and each one is peppered with little motifs here and here that you’ll discover with subsequent listens. There are some weaksauce songs here, but even then they seem to be growers.

Standout Tracks: Aeromancy is fucking amazing. White Dove has this rad old-school metal sound to it. So much so I thought they covered a Motley Crue song to begin with.

CENTRED AND ONE

Centred and One basically takes everything about Catalyst which was great and makes them greater. There’s some weaksauce aspects but it feels like they’ve found their place more here. It kinda has a Tool vibe to it, the title song especially.

Standout Tracks: Centred and One, Flower of Life. Honestly I just like hearing Rob scream his head off. If I could be bothered setting my alarm as the “Take life/To bring new life” bit from “Flower” as my alarm I fucking would.

Honourable mention: Zero. Rob, we gotta talk here, man… Who upset you? Do you need a hug? A coffee? Jesus fucking Christ. This song isn’t even sad or angry, it makes it’s own category. I dub it: Sangry. Or Sadangry. Or…Angrysad. Regardless, it’s pretty good.

ODE TO THE AUTHOR

The one thing that struck me with “Ode” is that it’s completely instrumental. Be it from Toska not finding an appropriate singer, or simply just wanting to be an instrumental band. The absense of vocals isn’t missed, either. The songs work without them just fine. The EP occasionally (and perhaps understandably) delves into Dorje territory, but the difference in sound, tone, and structure is pretty big. You’re not going to pop on a Toska song and mistake it for Dorje, for example.

Standout tracks: Chalk Teeth, Infantile, Chasm. The latter especially is amazing towards the end.

IN SUMMARY

Listen to ’em. They’re good. No jokes or shenanigans here. I mean the Toska EP’s even free if you don’t feel like spending money. So what are you waiting for?

I really do hope things progress and these guys get some fucking recognition, a few albums under their belt and whatnot. They’re too good not to.

A Music Snob’s Look at Sia

Don’t get me wrong. I like art for art’s sake. I like weirdness for weirdness’s sake. It’s why I like Aphex Twin even if he’s so goddamned creepy-lookin’.

Look at it.
Think of this face any time you think about having a wank

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So when someone comes along and tries so hard to be artsy and weird and it just falls flat, it leaves a sour taste in my mouth. When they then redeem themselves and I find out more about them and they’re actually not that bad, it’s sort of like a bittersweet taste. You ever tried mixing different types of tea together and it’s not that great but you kinda like it? It’s like that.

Enter Australian electro-pop weirdo Sia, who seems to have appeared out of nowhere all of a sudden in a myriad of forms, adopted a 12 year old and told her to get cozy with Shia LeBeouf for a music video and made a shitload of money on being this multicoloured-hair weirdo who doesn’t show her face all that often and wears bows bigger than Liam Neeson’s cock.

THE ARTIST

After a quick google, I was pleasantly surprised to find out ol’ Sia’s seemed to have been around the block for a while! Originally she was in an acid-jazz band called Crisp, which broke up, then Sia buggered off to the UK to drink milky tea, eat scones and hang out with artists such as Jamiroquai and Zero 7. She kept doing her thing for a while then the blitzkrieg of Elastic Heart/Chandelier/Alive came out and now she’s all over the place. I know this is the point where I’d make a herpes joke, but it’s more akin to glitter, really. Yeah it’s annoying, but you kinda just get used to it being everywhere and occasionally you really do appreciate it.

THE MUSIC

Poppy electro, electro-pop, whatever you want to call it that’s what it is. Sia takes a fairly minimalist approach and lets her vocals shine, which would generally be alright if it wasn’t so dull, for lack of a better word.

It’s not even that it’s dull. It’s fine and it works, but jesus cocksucking christ can we change it up a bit? Sia does that voice-breaky squeak thing way too often which you’re either going to like or hate and generally it all comes together in a cacophony of “art for art’s sake”. Sia’s no Nicki Minaj and that’s a fucking good thing

(spoiler: I fucking hate Nicki Minaj)

TRACK BY TRACK

Chandelier

You’ve heard it, you know it, and now we all know Chandelier has 48,000 extra syllables. School lied to us. It was weaksauce on release and weaksauce now. But humble beginnings are purely that.

Elastic Heart

Better known as “that song with that video where the dude from Transformers chases jailbait”, but more on that later. Upon a proper listen it’s actually not that bad. If “1000 Forms of Fear” was a movie, this is where it starts getting good.

Alive

If “Chandelier” was about getting shitfaced, this is clearly the hangover when you’re trying to eat a bacon sandwich whilst still half asleep from passing out in the backyard while wearing pool floaties. Where did the pool floaties come from? Your mate doesn’t even own a fucking pool. Whatever. Just open another beer, you’ll pull through.

The Greatest

I know I’ve been a bit harsh on Sia in this entry, but be it from genuinely liking the song, or suffering from Stockholm Syndrome because I heard it every other hour every other day at work this past month, she totally redeems herself here. This is actually good! I dig it. If shit like this is what Sia has in store for the future then I could be easily lulled into being a convert.

Honorable Mention: Fire and Gasoline

Another good’un. Your Sia journey should start here, as mine should have instead of hearing about Sia swinging from that fucking chandeliiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeerrrrr for days on end.

THE MUSIC VIDEOS

This (and her live shows, from what I gather from friends and SXSW videos) is where Sia’s quirky “art for art’s sake” shines. They’re beautifully shot and look amazing. Not sure what’s with all the dancing but whatever. They rock. My former filmmaker self approves.

Though what’s with the weird droning thing in “Alive” and “The Greatest”? Is this a theme? Should I be putting on my “decoding vague concept album” hat on and playing Sherlock? Did we find out who shot Mr. Burns yet?

I want to take a minute to talk about “Elastic Heart” though. Apparently there were cries of pedophilia surrounding it because Maddie Ziegler is in her teens and Shia LeBeouf is… well, Shia LeBeouf.

And get this, guys. They were in spandex! and dancing together! The scandal!

The face of misplaced moral outrage
The face of misplaced moral outrage

Can we just… calm down a bit? Just for a sec? It’s a music video, it’s art. Unless Sia is the figurehead of a huge child trafficking ring we have nothing to worry about. Similar claims have been laid against photographers, filmmakers, artists, countless times with little to no rhyme or reason and it’s all very tiring. Not every artist is Roman Polanski, or Woody Allen, or Rolf Harris. Enough already. Yeesh.

IN SUMMARY

Like many forms of art that isn’t Kevin Smith related, I don’t get it. I appreciate Sia for what she does and the music for what it is, but I sincerely don’t get it and I’m fine with that. I’m not her audience. I listen to prog metal bands who have their heads shoved up their own asses and take fifteen years to release an album.

The more I read up about Sia in preperation for a blog-related roast-fest, the more I found her intriguing and admirable. Bonus points come from her Australian background (hometown pride y’see) and exploding onto the music scene as a solo artist in her 40’s. She also seems (in interviews at least) just really down to earth and -unlike other people I’ve covered in this series, not a complete douchebag.

Also unlike other artists I’ve covered, while not being “my thing” per se aside from maybe one or two songs, I’d genuinely like to check out her live show. A sentence -among others-I never thought I’d say when initially drafting this writeup.

I might not “get it”, but you do you, Sia. Just don’t pull a Fred Durst or anything, I’m genuinely trying to like you here. (again, words I never thought I’d say)

BEST DESCRIBED AS

“She sings like a diva but has the mentality of a quirky 16 year old girl”

MY DESCRIPTION

If Bjork was shipped off to Adelaide straight after she was born.

A Music Snob’s Look at Limp Bizkit

Ah yes. Good ol’ Limp Bizkizzle, as we never, ever said in my formative years. To be honest there’s nothing that really needs to be said here as you already know the drill: They’re the rap/rock hybrid that aren’t Rage Against the Machine, Fred Durst is a giant douche, and you probably owned a copy of Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavoured Water at some point. Because you had terrible taste in high-school and didn’t know any better.

Admit it. You at least liked Rollin'. You lying bastard
Admit it. You at least liked Rollin’. You lying bastard

 

 

But the question remains: Do they hold up? Or are they just a humble, terrible, oft-laughed at footnote in the archives of music history?

…Okay, nobody was really asking that, but I was listening to KoRn earlier today and got all nostalgic. Plus it’s been a while since blog posts, so in the name of science and bad music, lets keep on rollin’, babeeeh. You know what time it is.

THE ARTIST

You know them, or at least two of them. Much like Nickelback, Limp Bizkit is basically Fred Durst, Wes Borland, and a bunch of other guys nobody remembers. Much like Chad Kroger’s Hair, Fred lends his unique vocal stylings to… actually some not bad music. Wes Borland is arguably the talent in the band, he’s apparently an awesome guitarist when Durst isn’t squeaking over the top of his riffs.

THE MUSIC

It’s typical nu-metal affair. Think KoRn if they lightened up a little and had a DJ. In fact, outside of the vague “nu-metal” or “rap-metal” genre, they’re hard to describe. They’re not entirely nu-metal, because they’re a rap group. Not entirely rap, because they’re nu-metal, not entirely great because their schtick hasn’t aged terribly well, not entirely shit because some of their songs are actually halfway decent.

SONG-BY-SONG

Yeah we’re doing this again. Let’s keep rollin’, rollin’, rollin’…

Nookie

If Archaeologists centuries from now wanted to study just what the fuck happened to music in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, their first place to look would be “Nookie”. This is Limp Bizkit at their finest. Durst is Angry, Wes does his guitar thing. They cheekily censor their own song with “yeah”. Good to know for all his peacocking, Fred Durst knows how to keep things radio friendly. This isn’t too terrible a song, but I can’t take it seriously after Richard Cheese covered it.

Counterfeit

Outside of “Faith”, I haven’t heard much of their 1997 effort Three Dollar Bill Y’all $. So this was a new-old experience for me and… y’know what? I dig it. I mean it’s still Limp Bizkit, and I’m 31 and grew out of chain-wallets, sideways baseball caps and hating my parents ages ago, but I’m finding it really, really hard to hate on this song.

…Oh wait, Fred does his “singing like he’s straining from taking a massive dump” thing. Nevermind.

Faith

Better known as “that Limp Bizkit song your mum likes”. It takes the poppy, organy Karma Chameleon sound-a-like which and make it their own. And boy, do they make it their own. Fred’s straining again for the first verse and proceeds to sing while giving birth for the rest. It’s almost got this punky vibe to it. It’s arguably the same sorta delivery as Marilyn Mansons “Tainted Love”. Novelty, but forgettable. Great upon the first few listens, grates after that.

Break Stuff

Ah yes. Limp Bizkit’s answer to “Last Resort”, another anthem for teens to hate their parents/girlfriend/best mate/dog/whatever. Like it or hate it, you’ll probably indeed find a reason to break stuff.

Take a Look Around

Okay, so what’s the story behind this? Were they meant to do a revised theme for Mission: Impossible? Or was the movie coming out and they lifted the main riff? Another song where Fred Durst hates everything. There’s an instrumental version floating around somewhere, go with that if you want to sneak into an warehouse full of terrorists. Otherwise the terrorists win.

Rollin’

Also known as “that other Limp Bizkit song your mum likes”. This is Fred Durst’s peacocking at it’s peacockingest and douchey rap-rock at it’s douchiest. There’s two versions of this song. Air Raid Vehicle (the one we all know and hate to admit we kinda have a soft spot for) and Urban Assault Vehicle (feat. DMX, Redman, Method Man). Both featured on Chocolate Starfish for some reason. The song’s not that much of a work of genius, guys. We don’t need a reprise.

Behind Blue Eyes

Look guys! Fred’s being emotional! Gather ’round and hear him be emotional and not rollin-rollin-roll-wait… Why is there a speak-and-spell breakdown? What’s it spelling? Is this a message to the fucking mothership? Is Fred finally being asked to be beamed up? What the fuck is going on?!

My Way

Okay, I have a confession to make:

I really like this song.

I’m not sorry, judge me if you must, but I dig it. All other songs from the Bizkit of Limp have really lost my interest over the years of finding more and arguably better music to gorge on, but this shit holds up for me.

THE MUSIC VIDEOS

Typical rap-rock fare. Most of them are more or less performance videos with added stuff for variety. Much like Nickelback, they sorta save Limp Bizkit for me. Standouts include Faith (which is basically a video diary of the Family Values tour) and Break Stuff, which is a star-studded affair. It appears, from the videos anyway, Fred’s not above having a laugh at his own expense. It’s just a shame these days everyone’s laughing at, not with.

IN SUMMARY

They’re not terribly offensive to listen to. They do what they do decently enough, but what they do hasn’t aged terribly well. Limp Bizkit was tolerable when Nu-Metal exploded and Linkin Park were still relevant. Not so much now, they’re not a fine wine from some far-off valley where the grapes are hand-picked by beautiful, naked women, they’re a forgotten, old, cheap beer that was left under a chair on a front porch after a house party many, many moons ago. Probably VB or something.

You’re either going to like them, hate them, or hate the fact that you like them. Again, like Nickelback, most of the vitriol seems to come from the fact that Fred Durst is a giant douche with a big mouth. Wes Borland seems to get away with some commendations with his musicianship (Rabea from UK band Dorje seems to like him, and he’s good at the thing with the squeedleys and meedleys).

It’s hard to deny the fact that Limp Bizkit is a not-so-humble footnote in the history of music. These guys -along with KoRn brought nu-metal to the mainstream which is either a good thing, or a terrible thing, depending on your tastes. Me? I don’t outright hate them, but beyond this article, I’m not about to relive the days of my youth again anytime soon. There’s only so much Nookie I can take before I have to take a breather…

…No, I meant the song, you fucks.

BEST DESCRIBED AS

“”Fred Durst is the sexiest man alive “- Fred Durst”

I DESCRIBE THEM AS

The CD you begrudgingly accept from your parents because they couldn’t tell the difference between these guys and KoRn.

A Music Snob’s Look at Silentó’s “Watch Me”

Now look, I’m not one to turn my nose up at goofy fucking songs. One of my favourites to play on guitar is “Only Gay Eskimo” by Corky and the Juice Pigs (NOT Tenacious D, as various filesharing programs of yesteryear would have you believe, though, wouldn’t that make a wonderful cover?), “Fuck a Dog” by Blink 182 I used to blast at my girlfriend when I felt like being a shithead, and Rickrolling is my religion that I will never lose, no matter how many repeat listens of REM I go through.

But in later years, there seems to have been a plague, shall we say, of music that is certainly goofy as all shit, but more catered for the lowest common denominator: People who just love obnoxious, repetitive noises.

The latest addition to this plague is “Watch Me” by Silentó.

THE ARTIST

Silentó (real name: Richard Lamar Hawk) is a 17 year old recording artist who’s only claim to fame is outright demanding people watch him whip, then nae-nae, then make them do dance moves, like a cocaine-fueled record exec who ordered in a small Ethiopian child to throw nickels at.

That’s all there is to it. Another shitty teenager whose modus operandi is to pollute our ear canals with shitty music. He must be doing something right though, cause the fucker already is getting airtime and has a partnership with Vevo from just one song.

THE SONG

Here’s a breakdown of the more commonly used words in the lyrics. Yes, I had to google the lyrics, yes, they were posted online. Why? I’m not entirely sure, because there are very few to remember.

Watch Me: 74

Whip: 18

Nae Nae: 24

Duff: 17

Bop: 18

Aside from a few references to the “Stanky Leg”, “Yule”, “Superman” and “Break Your Legs”, along with any fillers (yeah, crank dat, stank, etc.), this is the entire song. That’s it. No hidden surprises. Silentó of course has to tell us his name just in case we’ve forgotten who came up with this dredge.

At first, I thought autotune was in full force here, as Silentó’s squeaky teenage voice giving us the customary name-check is replaced with a warmer, deeper voice in the actual song, but then that seems to be his actual voice? Or at least a close approximation, after watching a live performance or two. Either way, the voice changes and it’s pretty jarring. Kid, stahp. Either be a squeaky annoying teen or a damn grown up. You can’t have your whip/nae-nae and eat it too.

Musically, nothing to really write home about but nothing to really fault, either. It’s an alright beat, wasted on lyrics about stanky legs, whips, and so on.

A sidenote here. Who the fuck comes up with these dance names? Isn’t a “stanky leg” what happened to that guy who got bitten on the ankle in “The Walking Dead”? What the hell is a “Duff”, and as far as “break your legs” go, don’t encourage me, dude. I’m getting ideas.

THE MUSIC VIDEO

This actually saves the song for me. It incorporates videos sent in by fans, presumably, as well as a sequence in a highschool gym that makes up the majority. Three rather conservative women come in and witness the horrors of their POOR LITTLE DARLINGS whipping and nae-nae-ing all over the place, then eventually get into it themselves because “FUCK YOU, OLD PEOPLE!”. It’s decently shot with a few neat camera tricks here and there, beyond that it’s all very “standard rap fare if it were directed by a 17 year old kid”.

IN SUMMARY

It’s another J. Dash “Wop”, or Migos “Versace”, except those two assholes are old enough to know better. “Watch Me” is earwormy and annoying enough to hate, yet somehow is popular enough to end up on “Ellen”, which is the real kicker: This kid performed on US television, all because of a song that equates to a list of dance moves. Come on, guys, this is why we can’t have nice things.

The worst part is, “Watch Me” is the musical equivalent to Stockholm Syndrome. At first you hate the everloving shit out of it, but because it’s so damned catchy, you secretly, disgustingly find yourself kinda liking it, and then wanting to drink bleach and take a nap on a major highway because you remember how annoying the fucking song is.

Now if you excuse me, I need to buy a deck-chair and have a tanning sesh on the M5.

BEST DESCRIBED AS:

“This song is the reason I hate this generation”

I DESCRIBE IT AS

This generation’s Map to the Treasure of Melee Island.

A Music Snob’s Look at Nickelback

I have a confession to make. I used to be a Nickelback fan.

Emphasis on “used to”, because I was young and didn’t know any better. Also I really only liked “How You Remind Me” because well, the rest of “Silver Side Up” was pretty forgettable.

As part of my ongoing musical education prior to starting a band, I started listening to all kinds of music lately, good and bad. Nickelback was the latest cab off the rank and the results of this aural experiment left me with enough of a rage-boner that it warranted a blog post. I’ll be doing more of these in the months to come, with artists I like, hate, find tolerable, and so on. I’d call this “Music Mondays”, but you know how I feel about schedules.

So without further ado…

THE EXPERIMENT

The idea was go objectively look at a band I used to like and now find rather generic, and find out why they’re so god-damn hated amongst music fans. My argument is basically “there’s plenty of other generic rock bands out there, why does Nickelback, of all forgettable bands, cop so much flack?”

THE BAND

It should really be called “Chad Kroeger and Friends”, because let’s face it, can you name all the members of Nickelback? I know I can’t. So you basically have Chad Kroeger, Chad’s Hair, and a buncha dudes he picked up during a visit to the pub.

We see a lot of Chad and his hair, and the general feeling I get is that he’s just douchey. He’s a walking Summer’s Eve product line, though I imagine rubbing Chad Kroeger on your pink bits will result in a far less-than-clean vagina.

THE MUSIC

Y’know what? I could theoretically get into Nickelback if I had amnesia, completely forgot what music was, and the only CD available was “Nickelback’s Greatest Hits”. It’s not bad, by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s far too generic for me to like. Too generic, too safe, too forgettable. But then I listen to a band that thinks death metal goes really really well with surfer-rock, so I’m not the best person to ask here.

Here is the basic formula for a Nickelback song:

Strummy acoustic bit > Distorted bit while the drummer suddenly realizes he was meant to come in several bars ago > acoustic bit but now the bass plays along > Distorted bit > End.

There. I have sent you on the road for forgettable rock superstardom, dear reader. Use these skills wisely, young Padawan.

SONG-BY-SONG

Even for a generic rock band, they have some standouts. Here’s a rundown of what I listened to during this:

How You Remind Me

This is pretty much all she wrote. They released this, and then added lyrics and other chords to make other songs.

Too Bad

In this ditty, Chad’s Hair gets angry and if you squint close enough at the music video, you may even see spittle.

I gotta ask though, what’s with the weird synth-y bass effect? C’mon guys. Either leave the synth to Nine Inch Nails or Garbage and just continue on with your crappy crap, or actually include it in your music in a meaningful way.

I’m pretty sure this is the only Nickelback song that features a solo or two.

Someday

See “How You Remind Me”. It’s the same song.

Rockstar

Okay, so this one isn’t too bad. If anything, because the music video features a bunch of celebrities who probably had a mortgage payment due at the time.

the real irony here is the line “I’m gonna sing those songs/that offend the censors”, because these guys are the tamest rock band in music history. The Beatles had more notoriety for their bowl hair cuts than Nickelback ever did. Maybe if we took them for a DeLorean ride back to 1955 they’d turn some heads.

Photograph

Okay. This is a joke, right? The fuck are you trying to pull, Nickelback? Is this just a race to the bottom for you? What the fuck happened?

Basically I ended the experiment here because the song and the video clip damn near killed me. When I die, I want this played at my funeral because I’m taking all you motherfuckers down with me.

“LOOKITTHISPHOTOGRAFF”, Chad’s Hair mumbles over a warm acoustic guitar. At least that’s what I think he says. I’m not even sure anymore. The only clue is that he holds up a picture frame in the music video:

Subtlety isn't exactly in Chad's Hair's vocabulary.
Subtlety isn’t exactly in Chad’s Hair’s vocabulary.

If Green Day’s “Time of Your Life” is the song played when you leave university, then “Photograph” the song you play when you’re looking back at the age of 45 wondering what the fuck they’ve done with their life. A sentiment that I’m not sure Chad’s Hair can really relate to.

THE MUSIC VIDEOS

They look pretty, that’s for sure. But that’s about all they’ve got going for them. You’re looking at some of the driest, formulaic videos ever released by a major label. “Too Bad” and “Someday” are basically the same video with relationship dynamics switched for variety, and every other video has someone creepily trying to caress someone else from behind.

And then there’s “Photograph”, which feels way too much like one of those ‘literal music videos’ to be taken seriously.

Don’t expect wonders here. But if you ever wanted to see the Pokemon-like evolution of Chad’s Hair, then they’re worth a watch.

IN SUMMARY

I’m still not sure why they’re hated so viciously. Are they seriously worth the trouble of starting a petition to keep them out of the UK? Or Australia? This is the sort of shit the Helen Lovejoys of the world do for Marilyn Manson concerts, except worse in the fact that Nickelback isn’t even offensive. At least Ol’ Mismatched Eyes managed to cause some controversy. Nickelback on the other hand parades around in this “big, tough, rockstar” image but once the leather jackets and sunglasses come off, they’re just a bunch of little kids playing with daddy’s guitar.

The sticking point here is Chad’s Hair, and the douchebaggery he represents. Nobody gives a shit about the other bandmates, really.

Nickelback, as bland as they are, do what they do reasonably well. They’re not bad musicians, but they’re not exactly looking to switch their game up anytime soon. I guess the most amusing thing that comes out of the amount of hatred they inspire is the fact that without it, Nickelback would not exist. If you all shut the hell up, then there’d be no more Nickelback.

But then, what would we have to bitch about that doesn’t involve politics, any form of “ism”, or social justice?

BEST DESCRIBED AS

“Mom rock for moms who hate mom-rock”

I DESCRIBE THEM AS

“The ‘Greedo Shot First’ of Rock Music”

The Plague #1: Sentry Duty

January 8th, 2248: 1825 Days after Incident Zero.

Nobody knows where the plague first started.

Some say it was infected monkeys, some say it was a freak accident at one of the R&D labs, the tinfoil hat-wearing types say it was a bio-weapon from The Government, but sit beside a smart-looking chap in Fighting McDougall’s, and he’ll give you little more than a half-hearted shrug before going back to nursing his beer.

What we do know, is that it changed everything. The things that people took for granted in life became scarce, people became more paranoid, it was the end of the world as we knew it and we didn’t feel fine.

Mick adjusted himself as he walked back to his post in The Old Quarter. First piss-break in what seemed like forever and he knew the next would be long after changeover. He was a burly sort with a thick Irish accent. Before his newfound life as a member of the 104th division of The Liquidators, he worked in a shipping company. He slung his beaten-up old rifle back onto his shoulder, sat down and rolled a smoke by candlelight.

“Alright, Mick?” asked Carlos, a talkative spanish man who lost his accent long ago. Mick nodded in silence, then lit his smoke.

“Gettin’ too old for this shite.” Mick replied, taking a drag. “When did the others say they’d be here?”

“Another hour. Then you can get back to your shithole of a pub.”

The Old Quarter was ostensibly a place of refuge. Infected hardly -if ever- got in, and they didn’t last long if they did. ‘Nothing personal’, Mick would tell himself if he ever had to deal with them. “This is going to hurt me more than it does you”, “It’s not your fault”. All reassurance for himself that he was just doing his job, his bit for those who survived.

“They say Old Hadley got blood on him. Screamed at his family to kill him.” Carlos said.

“Hadley? Shit.” replied Mick. “Who snuffed ‘im?”

“Overwatch caught up just in time to see Moira crack his skull with a brick.”

“Send my regards, will you? They were a good family. Put me up many a time when Laura and Thomas didn’t make it”

It almost seemed like a horrible dream to Mick, losing his wife and son. He tried his best to stay well away from his old home, drinking at McDougall’s to forget, to forgive himself.

A torch light shined into Mick’s face, he grumbled and aimed his rifle.

“Who’s there?” he yelled.

“Put the rifle down, you oversized Leprechaun.” replied a voice. “It’s the search party from Overwatch.”

Mick put out his cigarette and stood up with a sigh. The owner of the voice was Butch, Mick’s drinking buddy and fellow Liquidator, though, higher in rank and having the dubious honour of serving The Overwatch, basically the shredded remains of authority in The Old Quarter. Butch was a foot shorter and slightly more built than Mick, and sported a five-o-clock shadow. Mick walked over to greet him.

“What have they got you searching for this time?” Asked Mick.

“Supplies, mostly. Overwatch got news that a trade caravan didn’t make it through the Wastes. We found fuckall. Chances are, raider’s nicked ’em.”

“Bastards. Why doesn’t The Overwatch just send out escorts?”

“We’re needed here. You want to play babysitter? Go right ahead.”

‘Ha, if only.’ Mick thought. He had been wanting to get out of The Old Quarter for months now, somewhat doubtful that he’d be missed if he just packed up and left. But where would he go? What would he do? The Wastes were dangerous and raiders were becoming more organised. Going out alone was suicide, even with Kevlar and a rifle. He could take Carlos, perhaps. But he was too green, only having earned his stripes a week ago. Besides, he was getting too old and couldn’t bear to take supplies from The Old Quarter without earning them. Excuses ontop of excuses. The Old Quarter was safe and nothing ever happened. Mick preferred it that way.

Butch and Carlos exchanged pleasantries and they were back to their post almost as if nothing happened. The next hour was mind-numbing. “Nobody ever comes down here”, Mick thought to himself. “Nobody except for Overwatch goons and the occasional refugee from the Metro”.

Finally, Riley and Sean, their replacements, turned up to take the morning shift. Mick kicked Carlos awake, then they both stood up and gave a quick salute.

“G’mornin, you lot. Have fun watching this shitheap.” Mick said.

“Good morning to you too, Mick.” replied Riley. “Anything to report?”

“Nothing down this way aside from Butch’s team coming back.” Carlos replied.

“Alright. Enjoy your meals, fellas. Hopefully McDougall’s isn’t serving the same slop as last week.”

As Riley and Sean shared jokes, drank, and shared what was left of their tobacco, Mick ambled his way back down the cold, echoey tunnel towards The Old Quarter. To raise a glass to those they lost, to drink, to forget that this was his life now.

 

The Kitchen Nightmares Drinking Game!

You know what I love? Food.

It’s kinda why I’m fat.

You know what I love more than food? Nothing. But this -up until now, was a nice segue to Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. All but the latest season of which I have lovingly curated over the past year or so. It’s one of the few trashy shows that I can stand watching without my head spinning around 360 degrees and vomiting pea soup. Combine that with the UK version of the show, and the Boiling Point/Beyond Boiling Point miniseries, and I have more Gordon Ramsay than I know what to do with.

This expression haunts my nightmares
This face haunts my nightmares

While watching the trashier and inferior US version, there’s a few constants in the show, namely that Gordon swears until things are magically fixed and the restauranteurs are way too far up their own arse. So without further ado, I present

The Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares Drinking Game!
(v1.0)

This is meant for the U.S. version of the show, in all it’s trashy, heavily-edited glory. You could attempt this with the UK version, but it might not suit it as well. You’re probably wondering why you’d want to get shitfaced while watching a Gordon Ramsay show, but hell, people do it with Family Guy, The Boondock Saints and Absolutely Fabulous, so why the fuck not?

The obligatory voice of reason that most people will scroll right over: Please drink responsibly. If you can’t manage that, at least drunk responsibly. I’m mostly posting this up to amuse myself and the 2.5 people who read my blog. I like a good booze-up as much as the next guy, but I have this horrible feeling following these rules will render even the most iron-clad of livers permanently damaged, given the rapid frequency of this shit happening during a typical season of the show.

My lovely girlfriend Kim helped me refresh my memory on some things, and felt she should be credited as consultant. So here you go dear, just in case you weren’t joking. XOXO

7YsS7aI

One Drink

-When Gordon asks if the food is fresh or frozen
-When Gordon comments that the restaurant’s decor is outdated, unwelcoming, etc.
-When the owner/manager rate the food anything above 7 out of 10, or defend the food/says “it’s not that bad”, or that “it’s popular”/”the customers like it”
-When the restaurant staff disagree with the owners/managers on the quality of the food
-When Gordon describes the food as “bland”, “disgusting”, “outdated”, etc.
-When Gordon finds out the kitchen is messy, hasn’t been cleaned, etc.
-When Gordon is checking the fridge, he exclaims “What is that?”, “Look at that!”, “Oh God!”
-When Gordon claims the chef is lazy, doesn’t care, or they have lost their passion
-When Gordon exclaims “Oh fucking hell”.
-When Gordon orders the kitchen, fridges or restaurant to be cleaned out
-After the restaurant is given a makeover or renovations, people exclaim “Oh my god!”
-When Gordon arranges a huge publicity stunt for the restaurant’s relaunch
-When Gordon orders everyone to “Stop!”/”Just Stop!”

795

Two Drinks

-When the restaurant staff claims the food is fresh, then later admit (or the owners admit) that it is frozen
-When Gordon comments on damaged carpeting, furniture, plates, etc.
-When Gordon finds rotten food, mould, animal shit or cockroaches/rats anywhere in the restaurant
-When the owners criticize or otherwise lose their shit at Gordon
-When the staff criticize the owners/managers.
-When Gordon arranges a staff meeting/huddle
-When the service slows to a crawl before the restaurant’s relaunch
-When Gordon loses his shit at the owners/managers
-When Gordon disposes of/destroys/unpacks something from the restaurant as a joke, a stunt, or to make a point to the owners/staff
-When a mayor, celebrity, politician or influential food blogger comes to the restaurant

464

Three Drinks

-When Gordon accidentally drops, spills or damages something in the restaurant
-When the owners or staff decide they don’t like the restaurant’s new look, menu, or service
-When the owners/staff threaten to, or end up walking out (either temporarily, or rest of the episode)
-When the service slows to a crawl after the changes
-When Gordon plugs a brand of POS system, oven, cutlery/crockery as part of the makeover
-When there is more than one manager/owner
-When Gordon spits out a piece of food, or gets a staff member to try it
-When Gordon organizes a cook-off or taste-test between himself and the chef, or between two chefs
-When the mayor, politician, celebrity or influential food-blogger complains about the food, wait times, restaurant, etc.

c73

Four Drinks

-When the owners try to reinstate the old menu
-When Gordon threatens to leave
-When an owner/staff member gets fired
-When Gordon takes the owners/staff to a boxing ring
-When Gordon uses family photos, newspaper articles, or historical photos as part of the restaurant makeover
-When Gordon changes part or all of the name of the restaurant as part of the makeover
-When the restaurant ends up closing or gets sold after the changes (including “Revisited” episodes)
-When a hair/bug/etc. is found  in the food, or on the table
-When gum/rubbish is found under the tables
-When a diner doesn’t like the food or decor after the makeover/changes

342622-chef-gordon-ramsay-funny-memes

BONUS!
(Either five drinks, or a shot of spirits)

-When emergency services are called to the restaurant
-When rotten or spoiled food/condiments are sent out to restaurant patrons
-When Gordon enjoys the food during the initial taste test

SPECIFIC RULES FOR S06E16 – “AMY’S BAKING COMPANY”

The couple you love to hate! Especially when alcohol’s involved! Use these rules when watching the “Amy’s Baking Company” episode of the sixth season of US Kitchen Nightmares, as well as any other rules above.

One Drink

-When Amy mentions “online/internet haters/bullies”, or claims that the online reviews are “lies”

Two Drinks

-When Amy or Samy flip out at a staff member or customer

So that’s about it for now! This will be updated whenever I remember or think up new rules. Feel free to contribute by shooting me an email (felafel at rukusan dot com) or posting on my public Facebook page.

For now, Enjoy!

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