Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for August, 2014

PORKY HAS an election erection. Bring it on. We will cheer, on September 20, as the bad guys (National, ACT, United Future and the Conservatives), parties that care little for child Election EPpoverty, worker’s rights, the environment or the unemployment rate, battle the forces of good (Greens, Mana, Internet Party, maybe Labour though they’ll always be cunts for introducing Thatcherism in the 80s).

Powertool Records think likewise, and have timely released the Election 2014 EP, which follows the label’s issue of Jordan Reyne’s subtle dig at Prime Minister John Key, on the Crone EP (reviewed in the previous blog), and also the stoush over Darren Watson’s Planet Key – read about that here:(http://everythinggonegreen.blogspot.co.nz/2014/08/planet-key.html).

The EP begins and ends with Gold Medal Famous’ diatribe on our glorious leader. 2011’s John Key Is A Dick (“20% of children live in poverty”), is now John Key Is Still A Dick. Crude, yes, schoolboyish funny, aye, but also one of the few real critiques of Team Key in a country that seems to view his/ their attributes as ‘safe pair of hands’ and ‘trustworthy’, while they treat people having to rely on state benefits as vermin, and allow oil companies to destroy the seabeds.

In the update, GMF note that Key can’t recall what side of the fence he was on during the volatile Springbok tour of 1981, and splurges money on the rich man’s championship, The America’s Cup.

George Henderson and Matthew Bannister note how New Zealand is subservient to America, and is happy to have Kim Dotcom extradited; River’s Edge bemoan the influence of the downright greedy, and Glum implore people to show their dissatisfaction at the increasing divide, on Vote Positive!, coincidentally the campaign slogan of the Labour Party.

But while this is all sounds like part of the “left-wing conspiracy theory” which Key has been droning about, the mash-ups of the party posters mock them all, left, right, centre.

And if you wish to read about whether New Zealand has become more unequal in the past decade, read this incisive article from Radio New Zealand http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/insight/audio/20146761/insight-for-24-july-2014-the-big-election-issues

 Election EP 2

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Jordan Reyne: Crone EP (Powertool records)

 

REYNE IS ONE of those artists you tend to come across by accident, making the rewards of such discoveries extra rewarding. She has been beavering away for years, with a sound that her own website describes as akin to goth-folk. Don’t be alarmed, this is kinda what Lorde is doing herself.

 

A New Zealander, Reyne has been based in Britain for about a decade, but this release is being put out by Powertool in Aoteoroa. While Reyne’s sound is universal there is a distinct Kiwi touch to the opening track, Dear John, the John being Prime Minister Key, who is invited to a dinner party by an elderly lady, the Crone. “We feel each bite, we feel each tear while you feed, sew the seeds, your pound of flesh, your fiscal flesh.”

As politically-tinged songs go, it’s a subtle diatribe on National Party divide-and-rule policies with typical centre-right focus on those who have rather than those who don’t. Perhaps it’s too subtle as it hasn’t been banned by the election Nazis who found Darren Watson’s satirical Planet Key “an election broadcast.” Jesus, is this Fiji?

Reyne

In The Shadow Line, we see Reyne initially holding back, insisting “I won’t see red”, but the tale becomes darker and it is when “the children followed one by one with empty eyes drawn to the tune of endless gold, undying fame and the cycle turns on blood and rain”, that Reyne then resolutely hollers “And I see red” with chilling effect.

Dishonour Among Thieves, the most haunting track on the EP, sees Reyne denounce the men “whose game is knives in the back, shots in the dark, sleight of the hand, cheap tricks, suck dick,”.

Political comment AND words that pilots and children should never be heard uttering, this is what pop music just isn’t about, is it John?

This is part of the Maiden, Mother, Crone series of EPs, to be released during the rest of the year.

Read Full Post »

BILL PRITCHARD: A Trip To The Coast (Tapete Records, 2014)

Pritchard 1

THIS IS A DEVIATION from our usual reviews. Rather than dissect the lyrics, meaning and the music to an album, I will indulge in the artwork of Pritchard’s latest and post two excellent videos. I first became aware of Pritchard in the early 90s with a 12″ single that’s in an attic just now but needs to be taken out of the darkness. Given the obscurity of his records I was extremely surprised to come across this in my local library (go on guess which one it is). Pritchard is from Staffordshire, England and was based in Belgium for a while. A Trip To The Coast is his first album 2009.

 

Pritchard 2

Pritchard 3

 

 

Read Full Post »

** I conducted this interview some time ago, for the scheduled debut edition of a Liverpool entertainment media outlet. That hasn’t materialised, but I feel this is a fascinating interview, and not one that should be left unread. I haven’t changed anything so please excuse the occasional parochialism.

 

OUTFIT ARE IMPOSSIBLE to pigeonhole, which is reason enough to like them. They’re not plinky-plonky electro, nor are they spacey-prog dub, and nor are they miserablist indie art rock students. To be honest, there’s an element in all the above in Outfit, but there’s far more to a band who first came to anyone’s OutfitOutfitnotice two years ago with the Two Islands 7” on Double Denim records. Their recently-released debut album Performance is a wondrous symphonic blend of dreamy pop, experimentation and traditionally-shaped songs. It was noted in the legendary trans-national blog Porky Prime Cuts as being marked by: “Plaintive vocals, haunting melodies, matter-of-fact lyrics and a reverential beauty.”

Four of the band – Andrew Hunt, Thomas Gorton, Nick Hunt and Chris Hutchinson – hail from various parts of the Wirral. Outfit

Much of their teenage years, says vocalist Andrew Hunt was spent wandering around the odd mixture of urban and pastoral areas. “I think having access to beautiful parks and hills when we were kids has fed into the dreamy sound of our music.”

The one who avoided this was drummer David Berger who is from Basel in Switzerland.

Hunt would frequent clubs in the city such as Useless and Valhalla soaking up the sounds and vibes of a variety of visiting acts.

Some of the band stayed for a while in a mansion called The Lodge, where toilets were cleaned infrequently, but it was a property that allowed them the space to work and play, to work on lineups and throw parties. “That spirit is still at the core of Outfit,” he says.

I caught up with Andrew to discuss his new Outfit.

YOU HAVE SAID Liverpool is pretty much Anytown, but Merseyside has such a rich musical tradition (Sonia, Atomic Kitten) it would be difficult to entirely distance yourself from such influences and expectations?

Hunt: Liverpool has had loads of great music come out of it, and it’s a scene that has been quite independent and bloody-minded at times, and I think we fall into that camp and are proud to have made a record here. If we’d have made the record in London it would sound different, for sure. We wouldn’t have had the space and time to focus on the craft of the record as much.

It was at the Lodge that your ears were filled with a variety of sounds. Which genres/ acts in particular were you taken by and how did this filter into the band as a unit and individually?

Hunt: I think we’d all been exposing ourselves to as much weird stuff as we could for years. I’d played in aPAtT for a few years and travelled round Europe and the UK playing shows in squats and various weird locations, as had Nick with Stig Noise.

When we were in the Lodge we called an end to a few projects we were doing and started to look towards doing something more emotionally resonant and ambitious. Tom, in particular, was listening to a lot of dance music and we were starting to think about incorporating that into a band context. We’ve always been big fans of all things new wave and progressive and I think that’s in our musical DNA whether we like it or not.

Song craft and the perfect pop song is something I’ve always been fascinated by and whilst living in the Lodge, Dave and I would work together on producing pop songs “for nothing in particular” just to try and hone in on what makes a song tick.

Portishead and 70s prog have been referenced but the Porky Prime Cuts blogsite suggests that the “spectre of ethereal-electro Norwegians Royksopp looms large.” Is any of that fair? Do you tire of references to particular acts (ie Talking Heads)?

Hunt: I knew and liked one Royksopp song when I was younger, it had a good keyboard sound. Electronica of that era had quite a proggy feel to it too, stuff like Plaid and Wagon Christ had these big extended chord progressions and ethereal sounds which was quite appealling. We’ve been compared to Hot Chip a lot, and whilst I think we’re a very different band to them, they are clearly interested in what makes different types of music work, and that’s something we’ve always been into. Most music we’ve all made has been compared to Talking Heads at one point and they were a huge early influence on us all, but nowadays I think we’ve passed that, to a place where we can really do what we want musically. There’s now something which is very “Outfit” about our music and that’s quite empowering.

You had an initial pool of songs for Performance, some of which made it onto the album, can you explain why some songs didn’t make it on, and why, and also were there any events following the writing of those tracks that made an impact on the recording sessions?

Hunt: It was just trying to get the songs to sit alongside each other well. We wanted the album to be varied but also to be coherent, we had some songs which had been written a year ago and some songs written last week, so we had to be good editors and not get too attached to ideas if they didn’t work for the album as a whole. A song like “Nothing Big” was a bit of a watershed moment where we realised what the sound and scope of the record could be like, and discovered new methods of production.

It does seem that the subject matter is highly personal and about the individual experience in a bizarre and somewhat crazy world.

Hunt: The songs are mostly about identity and where we all fit in the world. Learning to make decisions about what happens in your life and committing to things. A lot of Outfit songs lyrically come from a place maybe around 6am where you’re looking around at your friends and how your life is and having a bit of a moment, for better or for worse.

Given the world is in such chaos, with inequality rampant, and instability an inevitable part of our day to day existence, are you tempted to write about issues that concern you, and discuss such issues without fear of retribution and prejudice?

Hunt: I think there’s a danger of getting lost in subjects you “feel you ought to write about”. We write our lyrics after the music so there’s usually some kind of atmosphere which you’re trying to capture with words which fit the music, so there are some constraints to work with. I usually find the process of understanding what you’re writing about as you’re writing it, quite exciting and revealing. You write a bit, write some more, hit something that really works, go back and change the first bits, and so on and so on until you have a statement you’re happy with and can stand by. Having said that, “Thank God I Was Dreaming” is pretty much about the world being in chaos.

What inspired you to use such effects as footsteps in the snow, snooker balls, and skateboards?

Hunt: We wanted to avoid certain sounds which are ubiquitous in “band” music, particularly with the drums. We wanted them to sound different and one easy way to do that is to not use drums! So we’d combine bits of real drums with percussive samples of various things like you mentioned to make a more textured drum track. We referred to this throughout the recording process as “the crunch”. It was a way for us to give the album a sonic identity which was unique.

It’s an evocative name, but when I Googled it, I came up with various sites on women’s fashion. I assume that you would have considered that before deciding on the name.

Hunt: Tom came up with the name, it’s very stark and post-punk and I like that. Bands like Magazine, and Television had these iconic names which were arch but simple and it seemed like a name you could do what you want with, like The Band which is one of the greatest names ever.

 

Read Full Post »

SOMETIMES ALL YOU need is a hearty pop record, with songs about untitledlove and jollies by the seaside, to remind you of when you were 17 and a half, and discovering that there’s life beyond the big hair and forced electronica of the Top 40.

Cosines’ debut album, Oscillations (Fika recordings), is that kind of record, full of layered harmonies, marimba jives, Roland synths, and a love of Love, The Loves and early era Charlatans.

They’re a band based around a nucleus of Simon Nelson and Alice Hubbley whose fates met over a blocked kitchen drain. They’re joined by Daniel Chapman, The Late Jonny Drums (aye, that’s correct) and Kajsa Tretow, all with form from previous ardently indie bands in London, England.

Oscillations is ostensibly about wrong-turns in love, unrealistic crushes, unstable relationships and the inevitability failure of it all.

There’s a theremin, an autoharp, and a Moog; Lookout Mountain Drive is effervescent and delightful, featuring, golly gosh, a marimba for that back to music lesson at primary school feel. That cover isn’t a child drawing some lines, it’s a mathematical equation.

It’s split into two halves, as it were, Side X being the more sprightly with the pulsating Out of Fire, and the disco-pop anthem More Than A Feeling, but, while Side Y contains some nuggets, the momentum droops a bit.

Sure, Oscillations brings comparisons to Stereolab, for its usage of relatively obscure instrumentation but when the fuck did the ‘lab ever write any tunes or any songs that was devoid of endless repetition?

LobstersMEANWHILE, A BRIEF mention for a Close Lobsters single (as Porky tends not to bother with singles), the two-track Kunstwerk In Spacetime EP (Shelflife records), on glorious 70-gram maroon vinyl.

It’s the Scottish indie bands first release in a quarter of a century, and arrived at Porky Towers, rather curiously, a couple of days after I rediscovered their two classic late-80s albums, Foxheads Stalk This Land and Headache Rhetoric.

Now Time and New York City In Space are both classic Lobsters, pop sensibilities mingling with the post-punk influences they were exposed to in the pre-C86 days; it’s the sound of Postcard Records meets The Fall.

Available from shelflife.com

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

THE MOONS have emerged from the town of Godforsaken Hole, otherwise known as Northampton, a town that still looks like 1973, and that seems fairly The Moonsappropriate as I’m detecting a love of an era that most of us will be familiar only from nostalgic feature pieces.

Here they are onto their third album since 2010, Mindwaves, but Porky has to admit to being unaware of the others.

It kicks off with the sultry instrumental Luna Intro, which quickly merges into Society an off-the-cuff assault against the apathetic, Big Brother era of 2014. I am somewhat surprised by vocalist Andy Crofts’ call-to-arms: “Now is the time to wake up from controlling minds/ Born to obey companies selling the sun/ I keep my imagination to myself.”

Its anger and political optimism aren’t typical of Mindwaves, and the slower Sometimes wallows in self-pity, and the need to break away, Crofts declaring that “Sometimes I feel like I would be better all alone.”

The Moons 2Mindwaves is an attempt at the Great British Album, hence the deft psychedelic touches of Syd-era Pink Floyd, the overblown orchestration, reminiscent of ‘about to call it quits’ Beatles, and, of all things, glam rock. Fever begins with a rehashed riff from a long-forgotten Sweet single, and Heart and Soul oozes Ziggy Stardust period Bowie, with dutiful drops of mash-up-the-beats Kasabian circa 2004. There’s something for everyone.

Needless to say, given the relentless pace and swift changing of gears, even in mid-song, Mindwaves can be perplexing on early listens. But patience being what it is, the album becomes more rounded, and understandable beyond the first two-five plays. It is a beast of a record.

Read Full Post »

AND SO, MORRISSEY’S second comeback begins, five years after his last effort, Years of Refusal. While that was universally considered a somewhat lacklustre effort, it was saved from the savagery afforded Maladjusted, which was followed by a seven-year hiatus for the artist.Morrissey

Will this comeback album World Peace Is None of Your Business be his You Are The Quarry, the excellent collection that saw him back in the public showroom, in 2004? Before I do dissect World Peace .. it’s noteworthy to highlight the cover, whereby Moz is facing a dog holding a pen, the one he has just used to daub the wall behind him with, an allusion I would assume to our hero attempting to alert a dumb animal to the proverb about the pen as a weapon.

Let’s dip in. The title track is a sad indictment of the world we live in, adopting his favoured third person narrative style. “You must not tamper with arrangements/ Work hard and sweetly pay your taxes/ Never asking what for.”

Yes, Stephen it’s a grim world, and the masses have long been ‘encouraged’ to think little of the world at large, and just get on with it. Well said. But what about this ‘big statement’ chorus? “Each time you vote you support the system,” and then he tries to link the democratic process with hotspots where repression, riots, environmental destruction and uprisings have been the headline banner acts – Ukraine, Brazil, Bahrain and Egypt.

Of course, Morrissey could be continuing the external narrative, but given his previous pronouncements on politicians of all colours, this seems too much like a thought from within.

Apathy allows the criminal classes who control most governments more control, it gives them a free hand to push through bills that should bring people onto the street. Yes, democracy is flawed, enormously so, but the alternatives – military, religious or business-led autocracies leave most people cold.

THE MANCUNIAN tackles machismo on I’m Not A Man (“cold hand/ ice man/ warring cave man”), and the fatalistic pressures imposed on a female student to get three As by her father and her boyfriend (Staircase at the University). But a new man consciousness hasn’t entirely taken over, as Kick The Bride Down the Aisle examines the matriarchal dynasty, its target a woman who wants a slave “so that she can laze and graze for the rest of her days.”

As for The Bullfighter Dies, there’s little need to delve into the lyrics here; Morrissey bellows “hooray, hooray” as the bull turns on its tormentor. The tormentor, meanwhile, in Mountjoy – named after an Irish institution – is the prison guard, “Where victims speak in whines/ And where the hardened cried.”

In an album containing the famous Morrissey peotical lines that drip from every song, this particular track possesses a typical Moz put-down, dispersing the perfect riposte to the man who would judge him: “I was sent here by a three-foot halfwit in a wig”.

And if you feel this is getting all a little worldy-wise and impersonal, Kiss Me A Lot is a healthy reminder that Morrissey, bless him, is actually quite a romantic sort.

For ten paragraphs this reviewer has focused on the words, as if World Peace … was merely a book of poetry, a testament to the dying art of the lyric as weapon, inspiration and comforter. There is music as well, 54 minutes of it in fact. Long gone are the days when a Moz album would be done and dusted in just over half an hour.

The gang’s all here, longtime collaborator Boz Boorer, master of the three-chord riff and co-author of five tracks, Jesse Tobias (guitars, also a co-writer), Solomon Lee Walker (bass), Matthew Ira Walker (drums), and Gustavo Manzur (man of many talents), and yes there are two brothers among them. They are pictured, sans the Mancunian, in the inside of the gatefold sleeve, adorning American college sports gear.

Morrissey 2

The title track’s fullsome symphonies conflict with the cynicism and anger of the message; Neal Cassady Drops Dead contains some of the most grungy riffs ever heard on a Stephen Patrick Morrissey record; and I’m Not A Man opens with Eno-esque ambient symphonies.

There are snippets of The Smiths, and of Morrissey in his embryonic solo days, but I can safely say this is a typical Morrisssey album, scathing, insightful, illuminating, occasionally humourous, but rarely dull. I’m trying hard to think of other albums released this year, or the past four, that would elicit the same emotions. I fail. Morrissey is an enigma.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »