Mid-week Mix from Jack Colwell

So I’ve been a little tardy posting this Mid-week Mix but it’s not my fault, I swear! If you tuned in to In The Pines on FBi last week, you will have heard that I had a pretty intimate moment with the bitumen on Tuesday night while I was riding my pushie to the station. It was raining, I was a little bleary-eyed, I misjudged the distance between the road and the footpath and BAM! My whole left side collided with the pavement. It wasn’t pretty and one week on I’m still sporting a black eye and huge purple bruise on my left thigh. Charming. I spent Easter recovering and over-indulging and it’s only now I’m back on deck and back to the blog.

This collection of songs is brought to you by Jack Colwell. As well as being a super-talented Sydney musician with a lovely band called Jack Colwell and The Owls, Jack has a mad sense of aesthetics. He deserves to feature on this blog for his press shot alone, which pictures him almost naked, ‘cept for a few tastefully draped animal furs.

Jack Colwell and The Owls will be playing at the Surry Hills Festival this Saturday. In the meantime, you can check out his music here.

Five Songs from a Spectrum of Feelings, or, Spherical Listening

Five songs is hard to pick. It took John Cusack an entire film which was adapted from a delightfully funny but long read by Nick Hornby just to get through ‘his top five’ (see: High Fidelity). I drew up a list of about twenty and attempted to narrow it down throughout my course of the day. The problem was it kept changing depending on my mood… So I’ve prepared five songs from a spectrum of feelings.

Hole – Malibu

“Crash and Burn,
All the Stars Explode Tonight”

Hole remind me of being young, a time when I didn’t know who Kurt & Courtney were. A part of me always wanted that kind of romance; This song was given to me on a mix-tape by an early love in that awkward stage where different ideals and situations are pulling you in different ways, attempting to shape who you will be; needless to say the love didn’t last. Malibu shows a sense of desperation in the writing, mainly because of the performer and all those involved (Billy Corgan from The Smashing Pumpkins co-wrote it with Love). Played throughout house parties across the world, it’s the kind of song that swallows you whole amidst the drunk ramble to reflect on a love or time gone by no matter what the circumstance. Mine is a secret, but for Love we know the fair shores of Malibu served as a rehabilitation clinic for her beloved’s heroin addiction. Perhaps in my opinion one of the greatest songs, purely because of it’s raw lyrical nature sung by the figure head of ‘kinderwhore’.

The Velvet Underground – Venus In Furs

Largely unappreciated during their conception, The Velvet Underground have become one of the most influential rock bands. Based on the short story by Austrian author Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Venus In Furs tells the tale of a Dominatrix told through the mouth of a man insane for the goddess Venus (Aphrodite). Re-told through the beaten vocals of Lou Reed and Gothic twist of Cale’s viola, the melody plays out as though it’s from the darkest reaches of John Lennon’s dream. I love this song, it truly puts me in a trance. Often when listening to a song for the first time I try to put myself in the mind frame of the artist, or the song but with something like this I think it just pigeon-holes you into the large heavy emotional weight that just drips from every chord. Almost like a final curtain call, the song leaves me literally drugged in a lethargic stupor begging for more.

Venus In Furs – The Velvet Underground

Kate Bush – Hounds of Love

Kate Bush encapsulates everything I love about music. From her breathy coo to her wild ‘Kate’ eyes to the theatrics and the ‘Whoop Whoop’ of her cyclone strong d vocal chords. Bush is ‘The Bomb’. I had to put something of hers on here, Wuthering Heights was a big contender but I felt in the end it would be just to self-indulgent to put it on, mainly because I can do the dance move for move, which you may have seen me do at any number of pubs, bars, clubs, parties, RSLs around Sydney (and yes, I am available for bar mitzvahs). Kate has become a woman. Hounds of Love / The Ninth wave for me shows Kate’s final coming of age. This song is one of few songs I can remember crying too. The first time I heard it was blown away and every word and sound caught me in a time stopping moment, this is also one of the only covers I have ever performed live as I feel I really identify with the song. I was so young, and running, my heart pounding in the night; afraid of all that could be, and every time I hear this song it reminds me of how it is to feel.

Kate Bush – Hounds of Love

David Bowie – Let’s Dance

Yes, thanks for that David. I think I might.

Steeleye Span – King Henry

‘Who’ you may ask are Steeleye Span?!

Steeleye Span are a traditional folk rock band formed in the seventies, led by Irish singer Maddy Prior. For the sake of trivia it could be important to know that later she featured on the soundtrack for Lord of the Rings, go figure. Steeleye Span was the first concert I chose to go to by choice, I was fourteen and the man in front of me raised his arms during this song as though some divine intervention passed through him. It was at the State Theatre. Later in the evening, Maddy Prior skipped down the isles in true Irish form, she may have even jigged. If the tales are anything to go by, whoever that man in front of me was, he went home and died later that evening with only a note reading ‘Span’ to be found in his breast pocket. For the longest time ever I played all those fantasy role-playing computer games, you know the ones. Diablo, Warcraft, Heroes. I’m not even ashamed. Each soundtrack is a variation on a theme, some harpsichord, a few recorders and some lyrics about a wailing banshee eating up a horses hide. This song embodies all of these things and is probably (along with the games) how I came to visualise the music I write today. This song even opens with four part harmony. Amazing. I truly cannot describe how this song makes me feel but if you can imagine I am able to play all the parts to this song on my ‘air’ instruments for you anywhere, in public, whenever you should desire.

Other Contenders for Top Five songs

Tori Amos – Horses
Patrick Wolf – Wind In The Wires
Jumpin’ Jack Flash – The Rolling Stones – Jumpin’ Jack Flash
Peter Paul & Mary – Early Mornin’ Rain


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