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Archive for November, 2014

WOMAD 2015

IT’S HARD TO DETERMINE whether the line-up for WOMAD 2015 is a brave move or a blatant bid to get the punters in.

The organisers have cobbled together a choice roster, but I would harbour doubts that either Public Service Broadcasting or Sinead O’Connor could be considered among the pantheon of global stars who come to New Plymouth to play their indigenous music. O’Connor, I guess, has been invited due to her forays into Irish music and Jamaican roots sounds; PBS I can’t fathom really, though they do incorporate the banjo sometimes. Not that this is in any way a problem – Porky rated Spitfire one of the best singles of 2012, and the Inform-Educate-Entertain album one of the best of last year. The sty has been itching for J. Willgoose Esq and Wrigglesworth to get their arses to New Zealand for some time now.

Other major acts include folkie Richard Thompson, Sengalese superstar Youssou N’Dour and Canada’s Rufus Wainwright. But it’s the eclecticism of the line-up that challenges western ideas and provides a truly international flavour, drawing from Palestine (Ramzi Aburedwan), Bolivia (Luzmila Carpio) the Malawi Mouse Boys, and beyond. Such acts would never get to these shores if it wasn’t for this annual extravaganza. There is also a healthy local presence with Flip Grater, Trinity Roots, Mel Parsons, Tahuna Breaks, Estere and Myele Manzanaza & The Eclectic all scheduled to appear.

As you can imagine the styles among even that sparse list of acts is varied and exciting.

Rather than cut and paste the bios of some of the acts, at this stage Porky is going to provide some vid-ayos for you to peruse at your leisure, and we will do larger features on some acts before the event takes place March 13-15 next year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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THE PRIMITIVES HAD IT ALL in the fag-end of the 1980s: harmonic pop songs serenaded by the photogenic Tracy Tracy, an accomplished Primitivessongwriter in Paul McCourt and those songs: Crash, Stop Killing Me, Really Stupid and Thru’ the Flowers.

They arose from gloriously cultish indie pop band to a hitmaker. Their biggest hit, Crash, was also their finest moment, and was all over the shop in 1988 in Britain and offshore. Lovely, their debut album, captured the hearts of Madonna-loving teens and Beatles’ obsessed boomers.

Alas, the attention-span of their new found friends was want to drifting off, and despite some excellent singles – You Are The Way is one of the most under-rated singles of the early 90s – they gave up the fight against a fickle population and retired in 1992. Not much was seen since of any of them thereafter, but they returned in 2009 for a one-off gig which, of course, turned into something more tangible. I’ve heard some favourable things from my Liverpool correspondent about their gigs in the north-west.

Spin-O-Rama (Elefant records) is the second comeback release following the cover-heavy Echoes and Rhymes of 2012, and is their first batch of new material in 22 years. Neither those who have Lovely, nor those who insist their pre-Crash singles were the best thing they ever did, will be torn by Spin-O-Rama: it’s a non-stop pursuit of all that is good about music.

The opening title track sets out its stall early: pounding riffs, gorgeous vocals and the sound of a band glad to be together again; there’s hints of Crash in the pace and jollity of it all and it shouts for attention from the roofs. Hidden In the Shadows has the trashy, edginess of one of the 1986/87 singles, complete with frenetic verses and a rousing chorus. This is pop at its finest.

Prims 2I’d almost forgotten that some of the Primitives finest hours were when songwriter Paul (PJ) McCourt took charge of vocal duties, and Wednesday World is awash with his magnetic timbre as tells us how he “feels nothing in the rain”. My personal favourite is another McCourt-led charge, Work Isn’t Working. This doesn’t give the impression of having taken too long to write, but will resonate with every workshop fop, creative sort and bohemian in the world: “I wasn’t made for lifting things or digging up the ground/ I never want to follow orders or to knuckle down/ I wasn’t born to stand in line, I like to sit around,” and off he goes to clock out … for good.

All other tracks are chirpy sing-alongs, with buzz saw guitars, tight drums, barking bass and lyrics that don’t aim too high, then they sign-off with a brief reprise of the title track, which makes you want to press play again.

 

 

 

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DatsunsI HAVE BEEN LISTENING TO a lot of music from the 1960s, it’s given me a broader understanding of the history of rock’n’roll. I also have an interest in the early to mid-70s, an era that is less renowned for its pioneering spirit. The transition from one decade to another was not merely numerical, the entrance into the 1970s left many of the great bands of the previous decade behind. While the Rolling Stones, Status Quo and The Who, to name but three, evolved successfully, most acts failed to grasp what this new era was about.

And so this trend continues. Bands can find a new niche or get stuck playing the same chords. I ponder this as I listen to The Datsuns’ Deep Sleep (Hellsquad Records). I recall the New Zealand outfit as one of those made some sort of impact with the revivalist New Wave of Garage Rock scene, and they didn’t fall off the cart while most of the peers did. More than a decade on, it’s fascinating to see how, or rather if, they have evolved.

From upstart no-bullshiters, who welcomed all Motherfuckers From Hell in 2003, Black Sabbath is now playing on every gadget in every Datsun house. And those houses are all over the shop, so getting together to make an album isn’t like a shouting to the neighbour over the fence if they want a beer. Part-time punks eh.

As you’d expect there’s riffs aplenty on Deep Sleep. That’s What You Get has a 1973 feel, grinding bass meets Dolf de Borst’s famously muted vocals which itch to holler for the chorus. There’s a brief guitar solo in here, followed by a briefer drum solo, but it reveals the legendary egotistical nature of all rock musicians remains.

As for Creature of the Week it is vaguely reminiscent of a psychobilly revival act accidentally booked at a garage rock festival and having to adopt quickly and subtly. Needless to say it sounds half-baked. Album closer Deep Sleep, is the partially hidden gem of the album of the same name, its psychedelic leanings reveals more about their influences than the previous nine songs. It’s a brooding beast, hypnotic and enthralling, and could signal a new direction for the band. Or perhaps de Borst, Christian Livingstone, Ben Cole and Phil Somervell may rely more on the gung-ho fever of the single Bad Taste that tips its hat to a Datsuns B-side or three of a decade ago.

Given that they took ten days to record and that family life and location means they interact far less prior to the recording process, Deep Sleep belies such apparent slackness. One last thing, the cover is one mighty image, a futuristic rocket ship created by cult psych artist Philippe Cazaumayou.

ThurstonANOTHER OF rock’s staples, Thurston Moore, meanwhile, continues his prolific way of working with a solo album, The Best Day (Matador). The former Sonic Youth frontman continues to harangue ears with a guitar style that sounds like a knife is being sharpened while Captain Beefheart is played at 11 in the background. The packaging contains some great black and white photographs of Moore’s parents.

As for the 1960s, it was a time when you were old when you got to 23. Now, you can continue to record and tour when you are 80 (take a bow Leonard Cohen) and The Datsuns’ 15 years together makes them seem like puppies.

 

 

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