there at the bar, inhibitions
hanging on to only what
was never really there
hard work never really his thing…
overrated he’d loudly proclaim
surely underrating him.
When I rented Me And You And Everyone We Know back in 2005 I had no idea who Miranda July was – I was just renting a quirky indie film. But the writer, director and star of the film made an impression and a couple of years later I was buying her book of short stories when I found it on the shelf in the store where I (then) worked. So then there were other films and other books and flash forward a few more years, and as a fan, I got to attend her writers/readers event at the Festival – which was great. Until the inevitable Q&A. Fuck, that was particularly embarrassing. The way it almost always is; writers you’ve never heard of commenting on the work of someone they’ve paid to see, throwing out little bon mots, being super impressed with the development of a star, mentioning their own work that no one knows and discussing the apparently parallels. “This isn’t so much a question as a comment…” FUCK UP! It’s called Q & A not C & A. Read More »
Neil Young, TRANS (1982)
Neil Young is great – but they have thrown some curveballs over the years. This is one of their best albums though. I firmly believe that. It’s in the top 5 or 6 for me. They’ve made lots of crap along the way too of course, that’s just part of their process TRANS though, that has the backstory of Neil wanting to connect with their child – inventing a common language, sharing an idea for new communication. When I first heard this it was in fact just bits of it from the tour in support, a classic VHS tape that I rented over and again. I loved it. When Transformer Man was stripped and played acoustically for MTV Unplugged I think it gave people a new in: There were actual songs on this album, not just vocoder voices and synths. The reason I love TRANS by Neil Young though is because unlike some of the other Neil Young albums this one that only they could have made. Only Neil Young would make TRANS. They were ahead of their time with this one. Read More »
There was a painting down the
road in the local thrift store – $45.
My dad spotted it on a trip last
year. He said, “that looks like
that one you’ve got – the same birds”
I stopped myself mid eyeroll because
he was right this time. It was the same
artist. And it was from the same series.
“How much did you pay for yours?” He
of course added.
I told him two-hundred.
(We had bought it at the launch. Not
at a second hand store 15 years later).
It’s always a point of contention between
me and my dad – the price of art and how
there should always be the option of a deal;
you have to meet the market he says. And
an artist is an idiot to not entertain offers.
I’ve tried explaining the commission system,
how it works with dealers. How the artist loses
40% instantly – and even if they are able to do
any sort of ‘deal’ if they’re honest and want to
continue to be represented they might consider
giving 40% to the dealer still; there aren’t really
any back-alley deals with art – and if you really
want a bargain you wait until someone gets divorced
and buy a painting from TradeMe or a Salvation Army
store. Then the artist misses out entirely – and you live
with the memories of a broken relationship (most likely)
hanging on your wall.
Frame it forever!
He has told me on more than one occasion that I am
talking horseshit – on account of the fact that he used
to sell cars and people were always asking him to come up with
a deal; to sharpen his pencil, to cut them some slack.
That slack came out of his pocket – he reckoned. And so it should
be with the artist. No amount of explaining the difference in
prices and structures between paintings and local artists and
cars and multinational companies would ever do.
And his big slam dunk, his winning shot, his ultimate
proof: One time he visited an artist in Blenheim – and basically
begged the guy to sell him two paintings for the price of one, or
close enough to it. His logic – the money the guy was ‘making’
was better than getting none. And besides, now he had two
paintings for the walls. Not one.
Art is personal – and it’s my personal opinion that
I wouldn’t hang either of those pictures
in my fireplace, let alone over it. But anyway…
My mum saw the bird painting on their most recent visit
and I reminded her that it had been there a few
months – and how we had thought about
buying it but didn’t feel great about
cashing in on it – but how it was a pretty good deal.
She stopped and considered it. And the next day before
they left I asked them if they were going to stop off
for the $45 bargain.
My dad slurped his tea and spat out this line:
“I’ve got $35 for it because you never pay full price.”
“Good on you”, I replied.
And that was that.
Until a day later a text arrived with a picture of the
birds – hanging on their wall. And another line,
“Look what made it home with us. $30
There’s art there somewhere. And that’s
to be appreciated I guess.
Sunny Landreth is a master slide guitarist with just enough of a voice left to offer rootsy, interesting songs too. But for the most part he’s an instrumentalist – and that’s where he really ‘sings’. Read More »
Now – as you probably know, as well as the usual platforms (this site, soundcloud, iTunes/Apple) you can now get to Sweetman Podcast on Spotify – follow it there and have it saved in your Spotify library.
I can’t remember exactly when I first met Lucien Johnson but it was probably close to two decades ago. He was one of the crew I used to watch at The Space in Newtown, Wellington; a performance venue – home to free jazz and spoken word gigs, to ‘other’ and outside music. It was such an education – and many of Lucien’s mentors (including previous podcast guests Jonathan Crayford and Ant Donaldson) were part of the mind-blowing education for me as a listener, just as they were for him as a player. Read More »
Van Halen, Panama [Single] (1983)
The first Van Halen stuff I would have heard would have been this era – the 1984 album, a masterpiece; one of several from the band. And this song – Panama – what an anthem, a driving classic (by which I mean not only is it a great song to play in the car but it has that driving urgency to it, the chant and charge of the chorus, the shred of guitar, the groove of the drums). The b-side is killer-good too – another 1984 classic. I bought this for a fiver because I’m buying up all the Van Halen I can find. This is the first single by the band that I own – and it’s a good one to have. Not sure I’ll go down the path of buying too many singles – but I have all the classic albums. And there’s enough gold there in those hills. But Panama? Couldn’t say no to that. Read More »
On this, his fourth album – Nick Waterhouse’s musical world sounds as good as it ever has; this feels like a culmination. He’s got a similar retro and soul and jazz-blues vibe to Amy Winehouse but with more rock in there – stinging guitar lines and hints to classic songwriter. This is a guy that worships at the altar of Dan Penn and Mose Allison – a man out of time but never out of step with the music of today. Read More »
Tedeschi Trucks Band
High & Mighty (ep)
I’ve said it before – but here goes again: The decision for Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks to meet and marry, and then to marry their music together making a supergroup they co-lead has been good for all. The fans win. I liked what Trucks was about already and I was a fan of Tedeschi but they support each other in music so well. That they do in all areas of life is just a sweet back-story to add. But where Trucks’ endless soloing was inventive but could, kinda, drag a bit and where Tedeschi’s great soul voice and blues licks sometimes needed a little more instrumental heft…well, it’s easy to see how they connected musically and made it click. Read More »
Monday, February 24
I’d had people asking me about Kate Tempest ever since she was announced to be part of the 2020 NZ Festival. I’d seen her five years back when she was lesser known out here and it was one of the best gigs I’ve ever seen. So all I’d been telling people was that she was an English spoken word artist: A novelist, playwright, poet and performer. And that most importantly she was a firebrand. And that she understood the human condition on such a profound level that her performance would knock you out. I then hoped that this show would be at least as good as the one I’d seen previously. Read More »
Beck, Bogert & Appice, Beck, Bogert & Appice (1973)
I was pleased to find this just recently – I did once own it on CD but didn’t play it a lot; I’d got what I needed from it and from the band via the Beckology box-set which was such a great thrill of an education. Beck, Bogert & Appice had been on my mind a bit recently because…well, because Jeff Beck is always on my mind – and because I was wondering if I’d still dig their sound. So often you have a nostalgia for something, you’re jonesing for a wee hit, and it is disappointing. Not the case with this power-trio though. Loved it. Still love it. And I was almost not expecting that to be the case. Very happy to finally have this in the collection. I can see why Beck had to move on, as he always did back then, as he still does. But the work here was very good.
Sample Track: Lady
The Vinyl Countdown is a document of every LP I listen to, brand new discoveries and old-old favourites; extremely pre-loved, previously abandoned or with the shrink-wrap having just been removed it’s all here at The Vinyl Countdown