Nerdy Frames started life on blogspot in 2008 as a reaction to Auckland’s rather bland electronic dance music scene and one person’s crusade to make things right. Its shadowy owner (known as Jasper) is currently a MAINZ audio engineering student who has been listening to dance music since the early 90s and worked on low powered radio from 2003 to 2012.The blog has developed a cult following in America (where its core readership is from) and is well known for its infamous interviews of musicians both past and present (Lady Kier of Deee-Lite and Coati Mundi as noted interviewees), guilt free music downloads and of course general reviews. You can catch them on the Hype Machine, The NFMX Podcasts, Facebook and of course the Nerdy Frames blog! Here are five albums Nerdy is loving right now…
1 – Serena Andrews, Phoenix: We love female vocalists, I mean who doesn’t, such beautiful creatures wouldn’t you agree. Serena is one prime example of our love and support for such a talent especially her debut album ‘Phoenix’ that is on constant rotation here at NF HQ. Every song on ‘Phoenix’ is just beginning to end material the minute you buy it from her Bandcamp page (GOING INDIE IS COOL!). As always people want to pigeon hole their favorite vocalists into genres and with the rapid silliness of labels in music coupled with gen-Y’s short attention span, Serena can best categorize her brand of music cleverly as dichotomy-core or contradiction-pop with an electronic shock. Standout tracks for us are The Dreams, the sorrow inducing piano ballet Beautiful Story and the kick in the pants anthem Kid Heroes (her Kelly Clarkson Since You’ve Been Gone but with tact). Overall this is accessible on her Bandcamp so I urge you to dig out that maxed-out credit card, clear the debt out of it and buy buy buy!
2 – Deee-Lite, Drewdrops in the Garden: Let me ask you something, how many vocalists have you skyped with that sang to you during your video session online? Well that was the pinnacle of my career as a blogger; having the legendary Lady Kier sing to me during a three- hour video conference while she was doing the Gay Pride circuit in Australia and I recorded it, not to mention the additional three days to transcribe said interview. Deee Lite certainly picked up the pace after their dismal second album and the media’s constant taunt of “One Hit Wonder” itis for Groove is in the Heart. Favorite tracks to look out for in Drewdrops in the Garden including Say Ahh, River of Freedom, Picnic in the Summertime and Call Me. This is one ultra diverse album filled to the brim with clever samples from the likes of Earth, Wind & Fire, The Clash, and Jean Claude T. Yeah it was the 90s and everyone was getting sued over sampling but hey recontextualisation of original material can be done tastefully. Ask the Beastie Boys! Ironically this was their bittersweet last album and all members of Deee Lite went their separate ways although Lady Kier was still on a Bondage contract with Elektra that she vigorously broke away from finally after a decade! Just don’t mention the word SEGA in her presence.
3 – Buffalo Daughter, I: Probably one of the strangest bands to come out of Japan in my humble opinion, I skipped most of their EPs and albums (even the stuff that was signed to Grand Royal) but this is something that made me realize who they are as a band and what they yearn for in music experimentation. My personal grief about living here in NZ is that we as a country can only import so many Records and CDs to sell on selves and bargain bins at your favorite record stores that Japanese music tends to be filtered out once it’s done and dusted. So the Album’s standout tracks are the kid chanting Ivory, Robot Sings and the epic sprawling Mirror Ball. A contemporary of theirs is Cornelius, considered by some as the Japanese Beck Hansen and you can hear some similar ideas and concepts with the 2 taking Western pop music and flipping on its head, something that I liked about Shibuya Kei in the 90s with artists like Pizzicato Five, Arling and Cameron, Towa Tei and many others. A very rare album to find out in the wild, but once you get it, prepare to engage warp factor Shibuya!
4 – Soulwax, Most of the Remixes: Oh that’s right we cover dance and electronic music on our blog huh? So I better impress you lot with our dance music recommendation prowess so here we go!There is not enough words to express how much I love Soulwax and how they’re a personal influence in my own DJing and productions. From their many albums since debuting in 1996, their relentless touring as both the band and 2manyDJs to their innovative Radio with Pictures-esq Under the Covers interactive shows, this my friends is my definition of success!Admittedly I don’t play this album from beginning to end because it’s not designed like that. You as the supposed DJ pick your favorite Soulwax remix and away you go.Their St James Nite Versions concert was one of my all time highlights as they performed remixes in their ensemble Soulwax and then David and Stephen Dewaele performed as 2manyDJs mashing rock with techno, mainstream pop with rock and vice versa! I even got a hug from both of them when we gate crashed the stage before security ushered us off!If there was one remix that we should point as their swansong, it would be The Gossip’sStanding in the way of Control.
5 – The High Llamas, Gideon Gaye: Please tell me I’m not the only person from NZ to have heard of this band, I can’t be this sheltered can I?So yeah who would have thought that a blog that willingly listens to electronic dance music for days on end also listens to The High Llamas. Despite that Sean O’Hagan is Irish, in most of The High Llamas output, his vocals sound distinctly American dare I say………Brian Wilson?!I would never think that I’d be a fan of the Banjo, but yeah there are great moments of that within this album coupled with jangling rhythms and lots and lots of strings and organs.Gideon Gaye is just one of those albums that you put on and reflect. You stare out to the wild blue yonder and start walking down the dusty open roads of an American backdrop while listening to the harmonies of Sean O’Hagan and band because that was what the Nomads did!I love The High Llamas!