On January 26, the world celebrates Australia Day. This week, in honor of the only country we can think of with its own international holiday, we celebrate ten essentials of Aussie rock.
The Living End, "Prisoner of Society": The Living End is Australia's greatest punk-rock band, and "Prisoner of Society" was the best-selling Aussie single of the '90s. People like to make cracks about Australia's convict history, but that's where they get their rebellious nature; "Prisoner" embodies that spirit perfectly. (The Living End, 1998)
The Church, "Under the Milky Way": Prog-rockers driven by guitarist Marty Wilson-Piper's 12-string Rickenbacker. "Under the Milky Way" remains one of the best Australian songs recorded after 1980. (Starfish, 1988)
Men at Work, "Down Under": This reggae-infused pop song about an Australian world traveler extolling the virtues of his home country (like Vegemite sandwiches) has become a source of patriotic pride for Aussies. (Business as Usual, 1982)
AC/DC, "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock and Roll)": Not just the greatest Australian rock band of all time, but one of the greatest in the world. (High Voltage, 1975)
Kasey Chambers, "The Captain": Chambers melds her experiences on the empty Nullarbor Plain in south-central Australia, her love of Lucinda Williams, and personal struggles with family, lovers and celebrity into unforgettable alt-country that lingers long after the first listen. (The Captain, 2000)
The Easybeats, "Friday on My Mind": The greatest Australian pop band of the '60s, and the first to score an international hit with this song. (Friday on My Mind, 1967)
The Vines, "Get Free": Earlier this decade, these post-grunge garage-rockers, alongside U.S. acts like the White Stripes and the Strokes, reminded the world that rock still, you know, rocked. (Highly Evolved, 2002)
INXS, "Original Sin": One of Australia's biggest rock exports, scoring numerous international hits in the '80s and '90s like "Devil Inside" and "New Sensation," but it was "Original Sin" that launched them into the Aussie rock scene stratosphere. (The Swing, 1984)
Hunters and Collectors, "Throw Your Arms Around Me": Eighties pub band infamous for its raucous performances and inviting fans onstage to join the percussive mayhem. (Human Frailty, 1986)
Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue, "Where the Wild Roses Grow": Cave's growling tall-tale ballads and frenetic rock have implicit morals in every dark thought he has about death, religion and violence. Minogue is as big as Madonna Down Under and in the UK, notorious for her dance-friendly, frustratingly infectious pop numbers. Here, the two teamed up for a haunting tale of love and murder. (Murder Ballads, 1996)
Board members of the Texas chapter of the Recording Academy made a road trip to Galveston last week to deliver $30,000 in musical instruments and cash donations to help Central Middle School replace the equipment destroyed by Hurricane Ike. At the accompanying pep rally, rapper Paul Wall, whose third LP Fast Life is due soon, performed and former Destiny's Child member Michelle Williams signed autographs...The spring session of Houston experimental/improvised music nonprofit Nameless Sound's free youth classes is underway, split three ways: Nameless Sound Youth Ensemble (adolescents and young adults); Creative Kids Ensemble (kindergarten-eighth grade); and Classes for People With Special Needs (any age). See www.namelesssound.org for more...Go Your Own Way: Soft-rock supergroup Fleetwood Mac announced a Houston stop on its "Unleashed" tour, May 2 at Toyota Center. Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Monday, January 26, at www.livenation.com and www.ticketmaster.com.
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1. Keyshia Cole, A Different Me
2. Chamillionaire, Mixtape Messiah 6
3. Plies, Da Realist
4. Anthony Hamilton, Point of It All
5. DJ Screw, Do You Remember Me?
6. Scarface, Emeritus
7. DJ Storm Presents Lil Wayne/The Game, DAMU
8. Jamie Foxx, Intuition
9. Mary Mary, The Sound
10. Donnie Ray, Caught by the Cat
KILT (100.3 FM), Saturdays 10 p.m.-12 a.m.
Selections from DJ Steve Rixx's January 11 playlist
1. Cory Morrow, "He Carries Me"
2. Micky & the Motorcars, "Grow Old"
3. Cross Canadian Ragweed, "Record Exec"
4. Randy Rogers Band, "In My Arms Instead"
5. Aaron Watson, "Hearts are Breaking Across Texas"
6. Stoney Larue, "Solid Gone"
7. Reckless Kelly, "Ragged as the Road"
8. Jason Boland & the Stragglers,"Comal County Blues"
9. Kevin Fowler, "Best Mistake I Ever Made"
10. Roger Creager, "I'm From the Beer Joint"
(lists compiled by Chris Gray)