Monday, 23 November 2009

Gladeyes album as great as you'd expect

After a reported two years of tireless work The Gladeyes' debut album 'Psychosis of Love' is finally released. The album sits interestingly alongside previous last release - 'The Prospect Palace Tapes' CD-R. The two releases are largely made of the same songs, with Psychosis of Love adding only two new songs and re-recording two songs from their first EP 'Hearts-N-Amour'. Considering four of the songs from the Prospect Tapes were on their second EP 'A Heart Full of Love' it's pretty clear prolific songwriting is not The Gladeyes primary concern. I don't know how other people feel about this, but I think it's great. I love hearing up to three radically different recordings of these songs and hearing the songs played differently each time I see them. It's an approach to music making I sincerely wish more bands would consider.

As mentioned before Jade and Gwen spent two solid years working on 'Psychosis of Love' and basically it sounds like it. It's a big, lush sound that is constantly punctuated by unexpected twists and frills. That may not necessarily sound like a good thing, but trust me it works. In a way the meticulous arrangements seem to act out the themes of obsession and escape that dominate their records. Furthermore, it's radically different from the Prospect Palace Tapes - which was recorded in a single day, and sounds like they could have been done in a single take. So different trying to evaluate which I love more is near impossible to say. Probably the best thing to do is let you listen for yourself Monika is being released as their first 'single' and available for download - so give it a listen and compare with the Prospect version.

When you're done you can listen to more at their myspace. The song Psychosis of Love isn't included on the album and is radically different from anything else of their's of heard. Whether it's the sign of a new direction remains to be seen.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Simply Thrilled 01 Aug

As I'm picking songs to play for this week's radio a show I should really post last weeks. This week's show will probably be the first time in a while I won't play anything from the Summer Cats' album. The internet seems to be suitably excited about it, which is entirely deserved - here's more info. But I should jet so here's a link to last week's show, and for those who simply want to critique I'll put the playlist in the comments.

Simply Thrilled 01.08.09

oh and everyone should buy the Wildwood Lights EP. They're just about the best thing ever - more on them later.

Monday, 3 August 2009

A Declaration

General consensus seems to be that the Felt DVD A Declaration is terrible. For the most part I agree, filmed on a hand held camera from the balcony at ULU, with the sound just coming from the camera microphone it sits uncomfortably with the rest of Felt's back catalogue. It goes against so much of the image Lawrence went to such pains to manufacture I find it hard to believe he endorsed its release. Yet it's not the poor quality of the recording that interests me, it's the uneasy feeling that even if the recording was better quality, even if I was there, I still wouldn't enjoy it that much. They simply don't seem that good. For someone who spent of few of his teenage years and most of his adult years thinking Felt achieved a kind of untouchable perfection this is something of a revelation. Yet the feeling that Felt were just a band like any other fills me not with disillusionment but, rather, the optimistic feeling that all the new bands I love and follow are just as great as those of the eighties canon. Pedestals are boring and pointless and the more cultural artifacts I can find that demolish those bands aura of mystery and flawlessness the happier I'll be.

As an aside am I wrong to love this more than any other Felt video accompaniment I've seen.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Some Velvet Painting

I've had a wealth of stuff to post about recently, but been struggling get myself to write about. So let me just say now The Cavalcade are great and so is the Liechtenstein album. They deserve more effort than this and hopefully I will do something soon. Although the most exciting thing of all has been Ed Cake's new album under the moniker Pie Warmer - hopefully this one gets promoted big time.

Speaking of promotion; my motivation for posting now is to mention that some friends and I now have a semi permanent radio show on Auckland's Fleet Fm on Saturday evening from 9 till 11, which I think is currently 10am-12pm Saturday morning in the UK. So you can listen online, or I will be posting a recording of most of the show each week here. So just click this to hear last week's one.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

second hand bookshop's greatest hits

Blogging on the job may feel mildly illicit, but when i'm trapped behind a counter all day it's one of the few things I can do.

So what's been playing in the shop today? Cause Co-Motion's
Because Because Because is pretty much coolest record out right now, which is fairly predictable since Cause Co-Motion are pretty much the coolest band around right now. If only the rest of the world will work it out. Recorded in a single day at Gary Olsen's place it's much the same as their singles, which Slumberland lovingly compiled last year. The most obvious departure is the less frantic 'You Lose', which is the only song to extend over the two minute mark and is also available for free download from the Slumberland site. I'm guessing the band may start to face a little criticism for venturing down a bit of a stylistic dead end, but I think that's garbage. I imagine Beat Happening or The Pastels could have faced the same criticism twenty five years ago and I feel Cause Co-Motion not having an obvious "maturity" path set in front of them only makes it more exciting.

But its not really bookshop music is it? I gave it a blast when I opened up, but since the pace is picked up a bit I've been pretty much locked on The Castaway Stones lone album 'Make Love To You'. I'm on my fourth listen of the day and I can't believe that after years of loving both Pam Berry and The Saturday People I've never given this record much attention. Maybe its just for today and I won't feel the same tomorrow, but right now this sounds like the dreamiest, catchiest, mostly beautiful pop imaginable. Furthermore (oh god I've been writing too many essays recently), I think it's the best I've ever heard Pam's voice, and yeah I realise that's a pretty big claim. I also realise the album is out of print and pretty tough to find - so I may have to upload it when I get home.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

radio on!

So in a couple of weeks I'm putting on a Jonathan Richman themed club night. It should be a lot of fun and a welcome distraction from an endless pile of reading. I decided to put this on after seeing he was touring UK to alleviate the disappointment of being on the wrong side of the world. I was lucky enough to be able to see him in May last year and it was truly amazing - I spent pretty much the whole time unable to believe it was him standing up there on stage. He didn't play any of my favourite songs, but it hardly seemed to matter. He just does whatever he feels like and that suits me fine.

If anybody knows of great Modern Lovers and/or Jonathan Richman covers let me know.

Monday, 30 March 2009

stuck to a sheep's bottom

Debates about "twee" seem to have been a pretty permanent feature of the internet for as long as I can remember. So it's pretty interesting to read a defense of twee that has nothing at all to do with music. Maybe the world doesn't revolve around indiepop after all?

I haven't been writing in here much at all these days as life seems to be pretty dominated by uni - and unless I wanna start posting about New Zealand's movement from "Greater Britain" to "Better Britain" it's likely to stay that way.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

my favourite radio friendly wednesday afternoon

If you've ever wondered how I spend a wednesday afternoon, wonder no longer. Here's a link to a recording of the radio show I do with my friend Alex, and more recently Kris from Heaven Is Above Your Head. It's actually only the last 40 minutes or so - so you don't have to listen to the loooong Fall song I played (but you do have to listen to the looooooong Felt song Alex played).

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Alley Oop!

So my first proper trip to Wellington in years ended up being far more profitable than I imagined. I assumed it would be full of over sized coffees and funk rock, but instead it was amazing Tex Mex food and the best record shop in New Zealand. I expected Slow Boat to be a bit better than Auckland's Real Groovy, but really it put us to shame. I ended up leaving with as good a haul as I could afford and sadly had to leave a fair bit behind. Best find? Three issues of Alley Oop; pretty much the best fanzine I've ever read.

I can't really find any information on Alley Oop, I'd only seen an issue once before when a workmate from the library brought one in he'd borrowed off someone else. But that brief look was enough to let me know this was something I needed to track down. Published around 1988 and seemingly lead by Bruce Russell (guitarist in Dead C and founder of Xpressway). It's a near perfect document of an exciting and important period in music history (to me anyway). It's fascinating to read contemporary and often critical accounts of "classic records", partically Russell's muted review of The Bats' Daddy's Highway. Although it's not all Flying Nun and what was to become Xpressway bands. There's a great review of Miles Davis' NZ tour and record reviews of any internation albums considered worthwhile. Almost all the writing could be held up as perfect examples of how to capture the excitement of music, but also combined with a critical confidence which reflects immense knowledge and wisdom. I'm considering scanning the whole thing and posting it up somewhere, but for now we can make do with a review of the last ever Look Blue Go Purple show. Memorize it and pretend you were there!!

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Invisible bands

I imagine most people have records they love, by bands they know nothing about. I guess the internet should end this phenomena, but there are a few records I know and love where everything I know about the band is deduced by looking at the cover. So basically it's all made up, I'll look at the band photo (if there is one) and think "oh those two look like they hate each other" or "I bet they're a couple".

So what records fall into this category for me? Well these days it International Airport and The Bristols. Both bands are fairly recent, but seemed to have petered out by the time I got into them. They are also remarkable for having amazing sounding records. International Airport's Nothing We Can Control just sounds so perfectly balanced. Chief band dude Tom Crossley seemed/seems to be loosely linked to The Pastels and there's clearly a similar sound to Pastels circa Mobile Safari. Only I think they manage the sound better than The Pastels do, each layer delicately stacked on another until you're left with no so much a wall of sound as a forest of sound. I wish I'd bought up more of their stuff when I was in Monorail last year, but I just didn't expect to become so obsessed when I rediscovered the record.

The garage rock revival of c2001 didn't really interest me too much at the time. Although now I think if the bands had sounded more like The Bristols and less like The Von Bondies it would have been very different. Their record In Tune With The Bristols is an absolute blast. I remember I bought it a couple years ago, but never really gave it much of chance. But since arriving back in New Zealand it hasn't left my 'currently listening' shelf. It's suitably recorded at the famous Toe Rag studios in London and is probably the best example I've heard of what that studio represents. It's analogue and vintage equipment used not out of nostalgia, but out of a recognition of quality. Liam Watson who ran the studio also seemed to run The Bristols, so it's hardly a surprise I guess. To me The Bristols interpretation 60s garage rock doesn't feel 'retro', rather just the natural way the songs and the band sound.