2) oh, good – I love that record. If it is anywhere near as good, I will love it to bits. Read More
2) oh, good – I love that record. If it is anywhere near as good, I will love it to bits. Read More »
Raphael Mann is a British musician, DJ and record label owner. 2014 has been a busy one so far for Mann and his label Frizz Records. They’ve just launched a sister label, Frizz Digital, in order to be able to put out some small scale, spontaneous digital-only releases alongside their vinyl output on Frizz Records. The first release on that is Miryam Solomon’s Evergreen EP on March 24th, which he’s very excited about. Miryam has been hanging around the same London scene as Raphael for a few years now, absorbing what was going on and biding her time, and he’s very glad she approached Frizz to do the first release, because he’s fallen in love with the music. Her voice, her presence, the songs & arrangements and Jean Berthon’s production are all very beautiful, and a perfect complement to the first signs of Spring weather here in London… Read More »
Nick Granville is a Wellington-based guitarist/composer and educator. Visit www.nickgranville.com for more information, free lessons, music blog and more. His latest CD Home features some of New Zealand’s best musicians and can be downloaded from nickgranville.bandcamp.com for free (or pay what you want). Here are five albums he’s loving right now…
1 – Nelson Latif, Tributo a Joao Pernambuco: A couple of years ago I met Nelson Latif who held a workshop in Wellington. I purchased two of his CDs. I alway try to buy CDs from visiting artists, mainly because if I don’t it is highly likely I will forget to buy a copy later. I have to say – I love Latin music, Brazilian music in particular. The guitar holds a strong place in this music and the rhythm is infectious and for these reasons I find this CD addictive. It is well recorded, well performed, good feeling music. This CD features Nelson Latif on guitar with guitarist Bosco Oliveira, saxophonist Flavio Sandoval and Rafael dos Santos on pandeiro. Read More »
Grant Robertson grew up in Dunedin in the 1980s as a tone deaf but committed music fan. With the Dunedin Sound in full flight many weekends were spent sneaking in and out of the Empire Tavern to hear his heroes on stage. Somewhere along the line he discovered politics and is now the Labour MP for Wellington Central, and Spokesperson on Employment, Skills and Training, Tertiary Education and Associate for Arts, Culture and Heritage and Security and Intelligence. Here are five albums he’s loving right now… Read More »
Benjamin Morley is the guitarist and lead vocalist from Auckland eight-piece doom-folk band, Mice on Stilts. You can check out the band’s music here at Bandcamp. They’re playing in Auckland later this month and in Wellington next month. Here are five albums he’s loving right now…
1 – The Front Lawn, Songs From The Front Lawn: The Front Lawn was a band started by Don McGlashan and a chap called Harry Sinclair in the mid 80s. We are playing before Don McGlashan at a festival soon so I thought I should listen to a bit more of his music. My flatmate suggested I start with this album. It’s an odd mix of comedy and drama – almost like a play, I think that was kind of the idea. There is a song called Andy about Mr McGlashan’s brother who died when he was 20 (I think that’s correct). I get teary when Don sings the line “If you were still alive you would be just short of 33”. One of the most powerful songs I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. At this stage I’ve only been able to listen to this album on YouTube as I can’t find where to buy it. A CD or digital album would suffice, though if you find me an old vinyl pressing, I’ll give you my first born. Read More »
If you are a career music obsessive (as I am now forced to concede I am), there are likely to be a few artists whose work serves as virtual signposts throughout your life. I am happy to admit that The Smiths are my favourite band – I was just the right age, and the songs really spoke to me as I was growing up (in Timaru, and then in Christchurch).
But if I were to choose my favourite songwriter(s), it wouldn’t be Morrissey and Marr, Bob Dylan, or Neil Young, or Leonard Cohen or John Lennon. It wouldn’t be Gene Clark, or Paul Westerberg or Van Morrison – although I love all these people. Read More »
Darran Anderson is an Irish writer. He has recently published the 33 1/3 book on Serge Gainsbourg’s Histoire de Melody Nelson (Bloomsbury). He has forthcoming books, due to be published this year, including the fictional nonfiction book Imaginary Cities (Influx Press) and Jack Kerouac- Critical Lives (Reaktion Books) as well as a chapbook A Hubristic Flea (3:AM Press) excerpted from his Cambodian diary The Torrid Zone. He has written three collections of poetry including Tesla’s Ghost (Blackheath Books). He is co-editor of the Northern Irish literary journal The Honest Ulsterman, having formerly co-edited 3:AM Magazine and Dogmatika. He is currently working on a poetry collection The Ghost Republic and a novella Angelus Novus. He was secretary of the Bureau of Surrealist Research (no 15, rue de Grenelle, 1924 – 1925). He is a compulsive liar. Here are five albums he’s loving right now… Read More »
Pip Adam is a writer who lives in Aro Valley. She recently had her first novel, I’m Working On A Building, published by Victoria University Press. Her first collection of short stories, Everything We Hoped For was also published by Victoria University Press in 2010. Her work has also appeared in Sport, Glottis, Turbine, Landfall, Lumière Reader, JAAM, Hue & Cry, Metro and Blackmail Press. In 2014 Pip will be convening an undergraduate short fiction workshop at Victoria University’s IIML. Here are five albums she’s loving right now… . Read More »
Shenandoah Davis is a pianist and songwriter who hails from Seattle, WA. After bringing Auckland’s Anthonie Tonnon along for a s six-week US tour in the fall, she is now embarking on a very extensive New Zealand tour with him that begins on 11 January (dates and links to tickets via undertheradar are here). In Seattle, she’s recently played with Mirah, Laura Marling and Martha Wainwright. She often plays keyboards and sings with husband Sean Nelson (Harvey Danger, Death Cab For Cutie) and together they own a very large dog named Charlie. Here are five albums she’s loving right now…
1 – Tomten, Wednesday’s Children: Tomten is, in my mind, the most underappreciated band in Seattle at the moment. I met them at a show a few years ago, and while it usually takes me a few listens to a song to really begin paying attention to lyrics, the line “and I will drive you home in my little grey sports car / then I will leave you alone” from Ta Ta Dana stuck with me like glue. I’ve listened to this record almost every day since it came out, and continue to oscillate between favorite songs. While Tomten uses vintage organs and has a classic 1960s and 70s groove (accompanied by some very sincere nods to The Zombies), they are certainly not a throwback band. Video: So So So (Preview)
2 – Cumulus, I Never Meant It To Be Like This: For the purposes of full disclosure, I will say first and foremost that I manage this band, although I came on board well after this record was completed (and because of the record itself). I’d known singer Alex Niedzialkowski for about five years, and had seen her play acoustic house shows a number of times. In fact, I remember grumpily waking up in a basement room of a shared house to the sound of her auditioning drummers in spring of 2009. Little did I know that, long after I’d moved out of that house, she’d put together a fabulous rock quartet that breathed both fresh life and energy into her young, optimistic songs. It’s been a real treat watching them grow up this year (and yes, I’m a bit like a proud mum when it comes to them). Video: Middle (Preview)
3 – Pony Time, Go Find Your Own: I first became acquainted with Pony Time when singer Luke Beetham e-mailed me asking if I would give him harpsichord lessons…you see, he’s an electrician with a knack for work trades and had managed to leave a job with a 120-year-old harpsichord. After I doled out a series of rudiments and some 18th-century-counterpoint pieces, I left our first lesson, did some semi-creepy Internet research (just because you don’t run into a great many electricians who have harpsichords sitting around), and discovered his band, Pony Time. In the world of classical and cultured indie music, it’s unusual for me to stumble across a good old-fashioned rock band (and, honestly, I don’t typically go too far out of my way looking for one). But Pony Time is a dynamic, irreverent duo that makes me wish I took recreational drugs more often. Video: Go Find Your Own” (Preview)
4 – Radiation City, Animals in the Median: Radiation City is a band that’s been bouncing around Portland, Oregon for the last few years, but it wasn’t until my pal Patti King joined forces that I started paying attention. Animals in the Median makes good morning coffee music, but the dreamy, laid-back organ tones always make me feel like I’m in some kind of eerie dream or flashback…the moment at a party that you stop paying attention to a dull conversation and your eyes glaze over a bit, and you begin picturing yourself running down a beach or flying a kite in a television commercial for anti-depressants…not to call this record commercial, or even necessarily anti-depressing, but it is transporting and measures its whimsical moments carefully. Video: Zombies (Preview)
5 – Thousands, Dream Isle: Not only are Kristian Garrard and Luke Bergman two of the tallest gentlemen around, but they’re also the creators of Seattle’s last sensitive band. Thousands was initially adopted by Fleet Foxes’ own Robin Pecknold, who pitched them to UK imprint Bella Union. Their first record, The Sound of Everything, was released in the UK and US in 2011, but a few months ago the duo released Dream Isle on Bandcamp, simply stating “we no longer have a record label”. While I’m sorry for their misfortune, I can’t say that I’m surprised…Thousands have always been making music on the verge of too beautiful to listen to, and Dream Isle is certainly no exception. Although they’ve garnered plenty of Simon & Garfunkel comparisons, they remind me of two heroines of my own (Vashti Bunyan and Sibylle Baier), and, at times, Kings of Convenience mixed in…Although this record is lush and precise, it should be the exact definition of what we now call ‘folk music’. Video: On and On (Preview)
Garth Browning is a FOF (fat old faggot) with strong hippie leanings who runs the Needle Exchange in New Plymouth. He knows that’s not a very PC way to describe himself but he does own a mirror and hippies are cool, so there. Music is a compulsion and Garth has been amassing albums since he was a teenager. Yep, there have been a few hiccups along the way when on three occasions some scumbag thought it was easier to rip off someone else’s collection than put the time and effort into it themselves, you know the type. He loves vinyl but any format will do if it means hearing something he has only read about or the picture on the front tweaks something in the cerebral receptors. Genre is a dirty word, quality and that special something means so much more. Garth hangs around a lot in Op Shops but the treats are getting rarer (damn you Trade Me) and then there is the Vinyl Countdown store just down the hill (damn you Mr Thomas for taking all Garth’s disposable income).
Every fortnight he gets together with a bunch of other miscreants for Vinyl Club hosted by Kevin at the Rhythm Bar in N.P. He loves this night where there is a rota of 30-minute spots on the turntables to share those musical joys in your life. Anything goes from dubstep to hardcore to Paul Weller, depending on who is playing; and then there is Vern, but we won’t mention him again. So 2013 then, a year where the cult of the human parasite reached new highs and where popular culture became more and more about intimidation, bullying and abuse than anything positive. This provided a perfect atmosphere for Garth to bury myself in the music. Here are five albums he’s loving right now…
1 – Jonathon Wilson, Fanfare: just managed to pip John Grant’s Pale Green Ghosts to the post on the international new-release front. A loving homage to the Californian canyon musicians of the 70s that can rock out when it’s needed and drop back to quiet beauty when the time is right. There to help out along the way are Roy Harper, Jackson Brown and a couple of C.S.N &Yers. This man is someone to watch as far as I am concerned and his moonlighting in the producer’s chair for others should turn a few heads as well.
2 – V/A, Losing Our Virginity: this is a Virgin Records 40th birthday compilation treat celebrating the first four years of the label. Three discs of assorted hard and soft centers lovingly supplied by the cream of Europe’s 70s alt-rock, from Gong to Ivor Cutler. It is worth its price alone to have a copy of Daevid Allen & Euterpe’s Wise Man in Your Heart. Kevin Coyne, Captain Beefheart, Can and Link Wray plus a few of the more obscure acts make this indispensible. Virgin have released 4 compilations in celebration, each dealing with a different era and all are worth looking out for.
3 – Doug Jerebine, Doug Jerebine is Jesse Harper: This is KIWI gold. Praise the Lorde, salute your Unknown Mortals and bless your Mockasins but this is it for me in terms of overall release of the year. This album should be in every NZ home, it should be on the school curriculum, it is essential. We have waited 40+ years for this and a huge thank you to Drag City for making it happen. We have had tasters of his talent on the first two Human Instinct albums all those years ago, but the man’s real work has sat gathering dust for all these years. Hendrix was played these demos back then and was reported to have said something to the effect of “I want this man in my band, he can be out front and I will play bass”. Yes it is that wonderful. The CD has more tracks but the vinyl sounds warmer. BUY IT!
4 – Amon Duul II: Take your pick for vinyl re-issues of either Phallus Dei or Yeti. These mad Germans have always meant more to me than even the legendary Can. From the chaos of the first album before the split, through the next four there was something very special about these guys. Despite the politics they were somehow more bucolic than the rest of Krautrock (hate that term but…) brigade. I will probably be shot down in flames for saying this but it is almost like the Incredible String Band got hard. (Love ISB and they probably would have taken it if I had found new vinyl from them) There is some great German 70s rock being reissued and thank you to Southbound for snagging distribution here.
5 – Colin Blunstone, One Year: This is something I found that I missed way back then. This album was released in 1971 and was Blunstone’s first venture out after the collapse of The Zombies. It is a record of just sheer beauty and is a lesson for all those budding singer/songwriters out there. It is understated and gentle, marked by stunning playing by the musicians he surrounded himself with. The link to The Zombies isn’t just that caramel voice but also having Rod Argent and Chris White from the band helping out. This is proof of why spending hours sifting through old records is worth while. I gather that it has had a CD reissue or two so please, do yourselves a favor and seek it out.
I’ve got you this far so I shouldn’t let you go without giving you all my negatives as well. The new Black Angels which I was so looking forward to lacked the fire I needed. These guys were Roky’s live band for a while so for god sake drag him on board, get back in the studio and kick arse.
John Dix’s bible of NZ music Stranded in Paradise has still not been updated and reprinted.
Robert Wyatt was not canonized or knighted. No gold plated wheelchair or recognition in any way that the man is a living monument.
Last and by no means least is the lack of a remastered reissue of both the Ragnarok albums. This is more Kiwi gold that needs to be out there. Ragnarok ruled! There was a great job done by RPM in the UK for the Fourmyula with Inside The Hutt so no excuses.
Ok now its time to look forward, so coming up for me is the Cherry Red Compilation Love, Poetry and Revolution which didn’t arrive in time to keep me moist over the Xmas break. I am also looking forward to ordered copies of Robert Wyatt’s 68 and Arthur Russell’s Another Thought on vinyl. That should kick start the year well.
Wishing you all a great one.
Josh Haden is the greatest songwriter, musician, and vocalist the world has known, other than Anton Newcombe. His band Spain have a new live studio album available now, entitled The Morning Becomes Eclectic Session, on Glitterhouse Records. Spain’s forthcoming studio album of new material, Sargent Place, will be available in February 2014, also on Glitterhouse Records. Here are five albums he’s loving right now…
1 – J.J. Cale, Naturally: This isn’t John Cale. He is J.J. Cale. He grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His compositions, singing, and guitar playing is so understated even I didn’t notice him until a few days ago. But he has heavily influenced my songwriting and singing style since I started writing songs in 1972, the same year Naturally was released. This is the guy who wrote Cocaine and After Midnight. Listen to Eric Clapton’s version of After Midnight and then listen to the drums on Cale’s version and you will see why J.J. Cale is a genius and Clapton lost it after Cream broke up. I’m not the first person to say Clapton lost it after Cream broke up, and I’m sure Clapton doesn’t like hearing it, but I still feel that way. But kudos to Clapton if for nothing else keeping food on J.J. Cale’s table via songwriter royalties. The man died this year at the age of 74. All you need to know about J.J. Cale can be found in this brilliant 5-minute animated documentary about his life
2 - The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Aufheben: The Brian Jonestown Massacre. I’m going to say something. The only living musical genius around right now, other than me, is Anton Newcombe. Aufheben is a statement of musical maturity beyond the concept of time. Time as a concept that can’t even be spoken, because of the double-bind. All of his TBJM output previous to this release strikes me as boring and self-indulgent. I avoided it on purpose. My sister Rachel played this for me in her car one day. I immediately became obsessed with it. I spent the night in her car listening to it. It was a cold night. The next day I bought it on iTunes. When I was on tour I found a CD copy at a record store in Saarbrucken. This was all last year (2012). When I got home I bought it on vinyl. Even though TBJM are a U.S. band (Anton now lives in Berlin apparently) this album has not found a U.S. label and listening to it I can understand why. This album is U.S. sexual napalm; it would destroy any turntable in the U.S., except mine, which is made of titanium for that purpose: my turntable is indestructible. But not just this album, the Record Store Day ep TBJM released last year is insane, and this song he does for his ustream.com channel. I don’t have a link for it. All of TBJM releases sparkle like black diamonds.
3 – TryHardNinja, Revenge (Minecraft Creeer Song) [feat. CaptainSparklez]: This is not an album. I don’t know how an album (vinyl??) could be made of this type of music. But here it goes. I am not a fan of Minecraft. I’m 45 years old. The kids love it. Not the kids who go to raves, the kids who are 4 years old, like my son Chase, up to the kids who are around seven years old, like Chase’s cousin Sammy. Sammy gives Chase Minecraft lessons at Sammy’s house (I will not allow Minecraft the game in our house), the two of them huddled around a computer instead of a checker board, it’s funny. Anyways, Chase discovered this song on YouTube a few months ago and almost obsessively watches the video, so I bought the audio version for him on iTunes. It’s only .99 cents. The song is apparently a cover of a song of an artist called Usher. The original song is called DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love or something. I have never heard the original song. I don’t actively seek out Usher’s music, I don’t have an opinion either way about his music, but then again I don’t think I’m in his target audience. But I like this version of the song. It’s electronic but the music and song is laid back, like if J.J. Cale made an electronic pop song using cliche electronic pre-programmed synth sounds. The singer is not laid back, but his vocal mimicking of what I’m assuming are the original lyrics replaced by Minecraft references is amusing. Maybe the sounds weren’t pre-programmed. But I like the song.
4 – Sebastien K, Over Medicine: This also isn’t on an album. I don’t think the artist Sebastian K. has ever released an album. I’m not even sure he’s ever released an ep. I’ve looked but never found any. His music is not on iTunes. He doesn’t have a Twitter page. He doesn’t have a Facebook page. He’s not on YouTube. The only place you can listen to his music is on his Myspace page. I once contacted him years ago on Myspace but when he actually responded I freaked out and didn’t write back. I was too in awe of him and his music. I couldn’t believe it was actually him writing to me. Must have been an impostor. He’s French but the song is sung in English. I interpret the lyrics to be about comparing a man’s war with alcoholism and drug addiction to the fighting of war itself, firing guns and killing people to somehow achieve peace in the world. The song is about struggle, continuing to struggle, and redemption. The music and arrangement is amazing. There are periods of time when I don’t listen to this song at all. And then I have to listen to it and go back to his Myspace page. Recently I went back to his Myspace page and the song wasn’t there. I left a comment on his page to put it back up, and it was back up within a few days. It’s still there now. Go listen to it before it disappears again. It was produced by Robin Guthrie of the Cocteau Twins. Sebastian K’s others songs are really good too.
5 – Charlie Haden/Egberto Gismonti/Jan Garbarek, Magico – Carta de Amor: Of course I’m talking about Five Albums I’m Loving Right Now. And of course I’m going to give my dad Charlie Haden a plug. But not because he’s my dad. This is a recently released album and it is just so beautiful. There is no music out there now like this. It was recorded live in concert in 1981. It’s the same band that recorded Magico and Folk Songs in the late 1970s. It’s not jazz, “world music” but not like, international music, it’s a record that could literally save the world if everyone just listened to one song from the album, listen to Cego Aderaldo, it’s that stunning. I brought this album into the studio when my band Spain was recording our new album a few months ago. I wanted everyone to listen to it to get us in the mood for overdubbing and mixing but I got sidetracked as soon as I got there (as it goes with being in recording studios) so I never got the chance. But I’m glad I’m didn’t, because I’m glad the way our new album, (Sargent Place, to be released in the EU in February, turned out). Sargent Place is the greatest album recorded in the history of music. If I’d played Magico – Carta de Amor while we were recording Sargent Place, Sargent Place would have been blown into outer space. It never would have been made. That’s what an incredible music statement Magico – Carta de Amor is.
Raice Hannay – better known as Voodoo or VDMC – is a conductor of musical creativity (record producer/songwriter) focused in the fields of hip-hop, funk and pop. He also busts the odd rhyme on the rarely-seen occasion of ‘free time’. He has recently released a full-length concept album, dealing with the constant struggle of living with mental health issues – titled ‘Enter: The Madness’. Here are five of albums he’s loving right now…
Noteworthy tracks are the gritty clavinet-driven Red Hot Mama, the title track and shining example of the classic on the one P-funk style, Standing On The Verge of Getting It On and last but definitely not least, the massively inspiring guitar masterpiece that is Good Thoughts, Bad Thoughts – this particular song is so strong that it was played during my wedding ceremony, and will most likely be played at my funeral. Yes, it’s just that powerful. Listen to the speech at the half-way point.
The controversial album is divided into two chapters. The ‘death’ side – “a mirror image of where we are today”, and the ‘life’ side – “a vision of where we need to go”. Tackling such controversial subjects as gun control, ‘ghetto hospitals’, Korean store ownership in black neighbourhoods, unnecessary gang violence and drug dealing, it’s no wonder it was met with such fear – with Cube having any display of his image banned in stores across the state of Oregon, as well as having the album released with missing tracks Black Korea and No Vaseline in the United Kingdom. Overall, this album is a more funk-charged political powerhouse than Cube’s previous release, AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted and a must-have for any hip-hop head.
Key tracks are the old school funk-hip-hop backed The Wrong Nigga to Fuck Wit as a heavy-hitting introduction to the album, A Bird in the Hand, featuring a sombre, no-holds-barred tale of the trap that is life in an American ghetto, where it’s a common occurrence to resort to dealing drugs to feed children; Color Blind, which delivers a message against black-on-black gang violence; and the ‘Funkentelechy’-driven Doing Dumb Shit, a simple story of growing up and, well, doing dumb shit, of course.
Specific selections from this album are, the explosive groove of Use Your Fist and Not Your Mouth, [s]AINT - which has more in common with a catchy hook-driven rap song than one from the rock or metal field, though it still retains a heavy rock/metal sound; and the mysteriously dark and dynamic ♠ with its eerie verse sections and powerful choruses and breakdowns.
Beginning their career as a strictly hip-hop-focused group, Tablo, Mithra-jin and DJ Tukutz have since transformed themselves into a ‘genreless’ entity, with strong hip-hop and pop roots. This particular album showcases the crew’s musical diversity, with tracks ranging from soft, classical piano pieces, to synth-driven club hits – these are split between two discs; [e]motion, and [e]nergy. In addition to the array of instrumental arrangements, the lyrical themes of ‘[e]’ are very aware and cover subjects such as commercialism, flaws in society and just plain old life. Though the majority of the record’s lyrics are in Korean, there are phrases and even whole songs in English – if you can get past the language barrier, this album is definitely worth adding to the collection – a modern-day masterpiece.
Must-listens from ‘[e]’ are; the bright and mellow 선물 (Seonmul) featuring a minimalist piano and jazz drumkit beat; the boom-bap, yet ambient Maze about getting lost amongst the struggles of everyday life; the old school hiphop sounds of Excuses, accompanied by self-aware (English) lyrics about blame; dance hit Madonna with its loud, thumping kicks and saw-wave bass synth; the radio-friendly synth/automation showcase that is High Technology and finally to wrap it up, Lesson 4 (Tablo’s Word) – a mellow glitch-hop beat with some very political lyrics – “money is power, only when nothing’s free”.