Tuesday, 11 January 2011

As I Write 'Today' Ten Times

Productivity is overrated. It feels like every time I come across a new band or musician I love they keep releasing new music at a rate I can't keep up with. Often I look at friends' Last.fm pages and am intimidated by the sheer volume of music they listen to. Or at this time of year see people's 'end of year' lists and wonder if they spent the whole year critically assessing music without finding time to enjoy it. On a regular day I usually listen to some songs on my iPod over the 20 minutes or so it takes me to get into work/university - then the same back - and then a record or two over the evening if I'm staying in. And I'm happy with that. I don't think I could really enjoy anymore.

This is basically a long winded way of saying The Andersen Tapes work at a pace I appreciate. The Andersen Tapes' first LP As I Write 'Today' Ten Times documents ten songs Amanda Aldervall wrote between 2005 and 2010. Three of the songs appeared on a 2008 Cloudberry single, and just as that release felt like a perfect 3" CD single Today is perfectly suited to it's format. I recently heard someone describe The Aislers Set's How I Learnt To Write Backwards as having the same feeling of a flawed masterpiece as The Beach Boys Friends. It's a comparison that I immediately identified with, and as someone who likes Friends more than Pet Sounds I don't see anything pegorative about describing an album as flawed. Records described as 'pop masterpieces' are usually pretty dull. Comparisons with How I Learnt to Write Backwards don't just apply in terms of spirit either, for whatever reason I've found myself listening to these two records back-to-back. Take from that what you want - but hopefully it's enough to get you to head over to the Fraction Discs page and the band's myspace to listen to the songs for yourself.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010


Six months on and I'm sure everyone is still in at least some state of mourning over the break-up on Pants Yell! Of course there's only one thing that will cheer people up - Andrew holding his promises that PY were only being retired so he could work on new things. And he's doing just that. Head over to bandcamp and you can download a three song four-track demo EP for his new project CUFFS.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Where is Heather?

This week over at pitchfork you can watch the K recs documentary 'Shield Around the K'. As you would expect it is a doco on Calvin and Beat Happening as much as it is about the label. Mecca Normal and Lois Maffeo are the only other artists to get some decent coverage. Generally this is fine, but watching the seemingly endless stream of live footage of Calvin gyrating around the stage has left me wondering; how come no one ever seemed to film songs when Heather was singing. For me Heather's songs are the ones I keep going back to and listen to over and over, but I have never seen any footage of these played live. I understand why Calvin stage presence was such an important part of the band and must of been confrontational for many of the viewers. But it does the band a disservice to present them as just another primitive punk rock band with some charismatic dude up front.

Anyone out there with footage of BH playing 'Run Down Stair', 'Fortune Cookie Prize' or 'Godsend' the internet needs it!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

A Theme's A Theme

I can't remember the name Momus had for those who blindly nostalge over past movements like Scotland's Postcard Records - but whatever it is Alexis and I are going to be guilty of it this Friday...

Thursday, 29 April 2010

J. Ogier's record collection

The Real Groovy sales bins are pretty useful if you're looking to bolster your Springsteen or Carpenters back catalogue - but not much else these days. Back in "the day" I couldn't turn around in there without bumping into a copy of The Feelies Only Life, but that's long gone now. Last week, however, I was startled to see a copy of Felt guitarist Maurice Deebank's 1984 solo album Inner Thought Zone sitting there for $3. So I bought it - great stuff.

It sounds just as I kind of expected, like the first two Felt albums but without Lawrence. It's an obvious statement to make because that's what it is right? But what interested more was the previous owners sticker in the corner.

Based on this I can only assume J. Ogier's records are ordered autobiographically - so starting with the oldest record, through to the most recent. But I can't help but wonder when J. started numbering them - after the first record bought? 1430 is a fairly large collection, how many of the 1429 others (at the very least) are similarly numbered.

I've always had my records in a vague chronological/genre order, but for a long time I ordered my CDs autobiographically. It seemed to make sense since I had one of those annoying racks with a space for each individual CD. So the easiest thing to do is just add a new CD to the end each time I bought one. But it can only work so long. When Alexis and I moved in together it couldn't work any more. She doesn't care when I bought Pet Projects, just wants to hear 'Shyin' Away'. I guess that's a part of the appeal of the order - it makes no sense to anyone else. So maybe if I'd been a bachelor I would have ended up like J. - numbering each new record so they fit within my totally illogical order that no one else can hope to understand.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Auckland joys and Auckland woes

Lawrence's new video recorder thingy has been a welcome addition to the Auckland popshow world in recent months. It's great for watching videos for brilliant shows I went to and not leaving me feeling like I'm on the wrong side of the world. When I'm spending a Saturday afternoon sitting in the park around the corner from my flat and watching The Bats things can seem pretty good. Thanks to Lawrence for proof.

I may nor may not be motivated to write about the Pobpah show from Wednesday, but let me assure you it was very different to the first time I saw them and L's blog post pretty clearly explains why (along with some great footage pre-moron takeover). Whether the aggressive crowd is an NZ thing or not is debatable - maybe it's just the inevitable associations of a band 'crossing over' - but whatever it is, the show didn't leave me with the same 'isn't the world a lovely place' feeling the Buffalo bar show two years previously had done.