Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

Time for a big shoutout to one of my all-time favourite bands, Stereolab. They’re the band Tim Gaine formed after leaving McCarthy (as mentioned in my Box Hill Record Fair blog, remember it?) with his then partner (then wife, then baby mama, then ex) Laetitia Sadier. Their music might be described as retro futuristic (or futuristic retro) with dollops of lounge, noise, motorific beats, moog and some subversive lyrics sometimes sung in French (because Laetitia is). Or something like that. They formed in early Nineties around Laetitia, Tim and stalwart members Mary Hansen and Andy Ramsay. Australian member Mary passed away in 2002 in a road accident (RIP Mary) and the groop (yes, always spelt that way) continued till 2010 then broke up. In the late 2010s they reformed and are still touring, as far as I can tell. I’ve seen them a bunch of times and have all their albums. Anyway, they have a newsletter I subscribe to called Lab Report and the latest edition of 29/03/20124 announced the Switched On CD boxset update, now including all five albums on eight discs. These are albums full of extraneous material they had not put on their proper albums. They were very prolific! And that’s not counting the Oscillons From the Anti-Sun album, a triple disc affair (with DVD), which is not considered a Switched On album. They were also flogging some merch, including a t-shirt I already have. What caught my eye, however, was an additional album called Little Pieces of Stereolab, a 15 track introductory sampler including 3 tracks from each of the 5 albums. Not having seen the track list, I can only speculate what’s on it and my mind races to come up with my own idea of what should be on it. Time for a playlist, me thinks. I’m so glad they’ve reformed, for a lot of reasons, but chiefly because now they have released the other two Switched On albums (Electrically Possessed and Pulse of the Early Brain) that they didn’t release when they broke up. I indignantly felt they personally owed me those albums at the time; and now they’ve released them, I am happy. Now, how’s about another tour, guys? Album?


Speaking of favourite bands, today my nephew Ben told me Pearl Jam are coming out for some concerts. They’re playing the very large Marvel Stadium (50,000 seating capacity) in Melbourne. I’ve gotta get a ticket. One of my fave bands and I’ve never seen them. There’s also a new album to go with it, so can’t wait. A lot of people thought they would have broke up by now (some saying they should have), but no, they’re clearly in this for the long haul. And I’m here for it. Move over Rolling Stones!


Played some more No Man’s Sky. I love the sandbox quality of this game. It doesn’t take much to conjure up the inner child. Let me go there now into my Twice universe.

On my way out from Chaeyoung‘s planet I stop at a freighter fleet to inspect some frigates, but nothing interests me. Arriving at the outlaw station I parlay briefly with entity Ovk, a Korvax technician, and Pirate King Gine, a surly Vy’keen warrior. Ovk tells me Twice Sana has gone on a frigate trading expedition (she’s a merchant) and needs someone to tend the gutrot flowers on her moon. Since I’m headed in that direction, I say I’ll do it. Ovk gives me Sana’s one-time security code (it’s a close friend, and I’m trustworthy). First I take the stargate to the trading station at the Dream Threshold system to see a smuggling contact I know. Turns out the bugger isn’t there. So I get in my ship and sub it down to the Sana Moon. It’s listed as a Paradise Planet, but it’s actually a paradise moon orbiting the nearby planet of Roga VI. Before I land at Sha Base I do a quick reconnaissance of the grounds to check for hostile visitors (Sha Base tends to attract them – gutrot flowers are valuable). I land and, entering Sana’s somewhat ramshackle pre-fab, I key the security code – ‘My heart is burning’. I harvest the faecium from the single gutrot she has in her lounge. Despite its name, it gives off a very fragrant scent that fills the room with delicious odor. I guess that’s why she keeps one there. Going outside, I harvest the others on the roof. I briefly stop to admire the view. The Sana Moon is indeed beautiful, like its namesake. I need to do a short jump to the other side of the moon, where Sana’s other base, Minatozaki Base, is to harvest the rest, but her gate is down because of dead batteries. It’s a quick fix to fire up the batteries and the gate with oxygen, and I’m away.

Minatozaki Sana was my first bias in Twice. She was wearing a cheerleader outfit for the Like Ooh Ahh video and, when she flicked her pigtails, I was smitten. She’s the ‘clumsy’ one in that video, falling on her arse when she jumps out of the van, failing to hold a ballet pose, and the clumsiness seemed to spill over into real life. There are so many clips of her tripping, falling or dropping things. As the fans say, No Clumsy, No Sana. Her general adorableness in that video and others got my attention, as it still does. But my allegiances shifted soon to one of the other Japanese members of Twice, namely Mina. Strangely, Sana is the only tested Extrovert in the group, which I think is a mark of her honesty (I think some of the others fibbed – Nayeon?). She’s the most flirtatious member, and definitely the one I would most want at my party.


Still on the Twice theme, members Nayeon and Momo were featured in the latest round of 2wice Date videos on Youtube. Basically, it was a mukbang (eating show) with the two of them (collectively known as the Peach Sisters) eating lots of food (mostly pizza) and trying their darndest not to get too emotional. Basically, they succeeded, which I thought was a pity. Some of the Youtube comments had a go at psychoanalyzing the ladies, but I won’t do that here. At one point Nayeon suggested they discuss some of the bad styling concepts they’ve committed, but Momo obviously didn’t want to go there. Maybe she didn’t think there had been any. Again, a pity, because that would have at least been interesting. For any Once, it’s always fun to watch the members do just about anything, but there just wasn’t anything really new in this video.


Another slight Kpop let down for me was the new Aespa video for their Fraggle Rock theme song, Get Goin’. Most of the Fragglers (digitally) join in with the girls as they dance and sing their way through the song, and everyone seems to have fun, but…it’s Fraggle freakin’ Rock. I dunno, maybe I’ll at least like the song if I listen to it some more. But hey, on the bright side, I recently heard that Aespa will be coming out to Australia for some concerts later this year! So there’s that. Yay!


TV show themes, like Aespa’s new song, seem to go with Bubblegum, and another genre that’s often likened to that is Power Pop. A video called 5 Forgotten Power Pop Bands (That Are Actually Great!) came up on my feed not long after the Aespa one, which had me thinking that. The bands featured were mostly obscure to me (no doubt why they’re ‘forgotten’) but I liked the concept of the video. It had me going to the channel that made it, called Pop Rocks Radio. They have a bunch of other videos in the series, and dub themselves ‘your channel for all things Power Pop’. Other videos feature Badfinger, Big Star and The Raspberries (Eric Carmen RIP). If push comes to shove, power pop might just be my all-time favourite genre. That combination of chiming guitars, power and melody. I mean, The Beatles pretty much invented it. Teenage Fanclub and so many other of my faves are power pop. I subscribed. Those Youtube algorithms are sneaky.

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