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home :: music

Jun 09, 2007

YouTube Music Video - Shellac (Live)

Shellac perform the Squirrel Song.

Watching drummer Todd Trainer wail on his drumkit in such metronomic fashion is kind of mesmerising. Obviously the insane drumming helps distract you from the nonsense lyrics about thousands of squirrels :-)

Not that anyone will care but Shellac have also released their first album in seven years - Excellent Italian Greyhound. Will have to keep an eye out for it.

[/music] | [permalink] | [2007.06.09-22:19.00]

May 26, 2007

Punk Zine Archive

Back before the interweb the best way to find out about new music was the 'zine' - heres a collection of issues from Maximumrocknroll, Suburban Voice, and Heartattack. Alas no Forced Exposure.

[/music] | [permalink] | [2007.05.26-03:43.00]

Apr 30, 2007

YouTube Music Video - Chris Knox

Chris Knox is an elder-statesman of Kiwi alternative rock (I'm sure he'd hate the description). His stuff is characterised primarily by simple tape loops and melodic guitar fuzz - one of his releases with Tall Dwarfs even saw him accept tape loops from fans all over the world and incorporated as the rhythm tracks for each song. I've seen him play live a couple of times back in my University Orientation days and he was always entertaining.

The video is for 'Not Given Lightly' - I'm not usually a fan of sappy love songs but if you're going to do one then this is definitely the best way to do it - keep it simple, melodic, slightly twee and a little earnest.

Chris even wrote a self-deprecating article about this song 16 years after it was released.

For a less sweet side to his music check out Nothings Going to Happen and Turning Brown and Torn in Two.

[/music] | [permalink] | [2007.04.30-19:08.00]

Apr 29, 2007

This week I have mostly been listening to . . .

I've almost finished re-ripping all my CD's - I'm up to 15 days of continuous listening, 4500 songs and I still have the A and B section of my collection to go through.

Working backwards from Z I've ended up re-discovering a bunch of stuff I hadn't listened to in awhile.

So lately I've been listening to

Trash, Wagon Christ, M83, Iggy Pop, Portishead, Snapper, Whale, The Fall, Lambchop, Minutemen, Sun Ra, Terminals, Tindersticks, Transglobal Underground, John Zorn, Low, Skeptics, Ice, The Clean, Leadbelly

[/music] | [permalink] | [2007.04.29-19:04.00]

Apr 17, 2007

YouTube Music Video - Einstürzende Neubauten (Live)

One of the first 'industrial' bands, Einstürzende Neubauten are a German band formed in 1980. As well as traditional instruments they create their own using sheet-metal, power-tools, pipes and tubes. The video is for one of their early songs - Haus der Lüge from their recent DVD Palast Der Republik.

They actually sound like a carny band gone awry (FYI - the singer Blixa Bargeld was a long-standing foil to Nick Cave in the Bad Seeds).

[/music] | [permalink] | [2007.04.17-18:43.00]

Mar 23, 2007

YouTube Music Video - Nina Simone (Live)

I tend to be a dabbler when it comes to music of the non-indie variety. A few years ago if you'd suggested that I might like something that didn't have really really loud guitars in it I would have thought you an escapee from an asylum - how could anyone not revel in excessive noise and volume ?

Recently I've come to appreciate the joys to be had in other musical genres.

So be sure to check out Nina Simones - I put a Spell on You video. Truly a wonderful voice.

Theres nothing quite so nice as Nina Simons 'Sinnerman' cropping up between Pelicans 'Drought' and Nick Caves 'Fifteen feet of pure white snow'.

[/music] | [permalink] | [2007.03.23-00:36.00]

Feb 27, 2007

YouTube Music Video - Red Sparrowes (Live)

The Red Sparrowes have a fine line in long song titles - check out the video for Alone and unawares the landscape was transformed in front of their eyes. Given that all their songs are instrumentals and that the majority of todays song lyrics are pretty vacuous I guess descriptive titles provide a little context.

The song is pretty trebly supplemented beautifully by the pedal-steel guitar giving it an apocalyptic western feel as the climax slowly builds into the fifth minute of the piece.

Their first album is great - particularly if you're a fan of Mogwai or Godspeed you black emporer.

[/music] | [permalink] | [2007.02.27-06:13.00]

Feb 08, 2007

YouTube Music Video - The Verlaines

It was a toss up between The Verlaines, Shellac and The Red Sparrowes but my inner scarfie came through and I dug up this classic Flying Nun video for The Verlaines - 'Death and the Maiden'.

Typical late 80's student jangle until the waltz kicks in just before the end. Definitely a work of pop-genius.

From this Wikipedia article comes the explanation of the lyrics -

"You'll only end up like Rimbaud

Get shot by Verlaine, Verlaine, Verlaine, Verlaine...."

The lyrics above refer to Paul Verlaine, who was a French poet in the 1800s. After going into a drunken rage, he shot his lover - fellow poet Arthur Rimbaud. The Verlaines were named after the poet.

"Shall we have our photo taken?

We'll look like Death and the Maiden"

This is a reference to a 1916 painting by Egon Schiele, which shows a woman embracing a dead man.

Singer/songwriter Graeme Downes is now a music lecturer at Otago University (he completed a PhD in Mahler!)

[/music] | [permalink] | [2007.02.08-23:19.00]

Jan 16, 2007

YouTube Music Video - Fugazi (Live)

I'm not a huge Fugazi fan (although 'In On The Killtaker' is a great album) but something about the groove on this track from their first album is totally infectious and you'll be rewinding and playing it over and over again just to hear the syncopated groove and stop-start rhythms - Waiting Room.

[/music] | [permalink] | [2007.01.16-03:35.00]

Jan 03, 2007

James Brown RIP 1933 - 2006

Truly a sad day.

Some excellent obituaries from Popmatters: The Last Soul Brother - James Brown, Pitchfork and the BBC.

Lots of good stuff on YouTube as well - you to can experience the genius of the Godfather first hand

[/music] | [permalink] | [2007.01.03-04:20.00]

Dec 19, 2006

Music - Best of 2006

The 'best-of' lists for 2006 are starting to appear -

* PopMatters Best of 2006 also their Best Re-issues of 2006

* Pitchfork to 50 Albums of 2006 and the Top 100 Tracks of 2006

* Stylus top 50 Albums of 2006

Flicking through the lists I quite enjoyed singles by The Knife, Yo La Tengo & The Pipettes.

[/music] | [permalink] | [2006.12.19-22:27.00]

YouTube Music Video - Husker Du (Live)

Melodic hardcore and the birth of alternative rock from Husker Du - Girl Who Lives on Heaven Hill + I Apologize. The audio is a little 'blown-out' not sure if the clipping is a result of volume or just the transfer to video.

YouTube also has them doing a pretty faithful cover (after 'Love Is All Around') of the Mary Tyler Moore theme - 'You Can Turn The World On With a Smile' and a frankly appalling version of the Byrds '8 Miles High'

Without Husker Du there would not have been the Pixies or Nirvana. Personally I'm a fan of their mid-period work - on New Day Rising & Zen Arcade they added a strong dose of melody and psychedelia to their previous hardcore efforts (their 'Land Speed Records' & 'Metal Circus' EP's crammed a lot of songs into a seriously short period of time). After 'Zen Arcade' they signed to a major label (Warners) and released the slightly tepid (but still good) 'Candy Apple Grey' and 'Warehouse Songs & Stories' before calling it quits in 1988.

Full marks for bassist Greg Nortons cool handle-bar 'tache & Bob Mould anti-punk flying-v guitar :-)

[/music] | [permalink] | [2006.12.19-19:41.00]

Nov 30, 2006

YouTube Music Video - Sunn O ))) (Live)

Via Metafilter come some links to Sunn O ))) performing live.

Its a strange and compelling version of Spinal Tap crossed with The KLF and someone like Earth. Amps (Sunn of course) that go up to 11, robes, excessive volume, meditative drones and a delicious sense of irony.

[/music] | [permalink] | [2006.11.30-20:25.00]

Nov 16, 2006

Very Metal

Three recent CD purchases that fall (very) loosely under 'Metal' -

* Mastodon - Remission

I had high hopes after some very positive web reviews but I found the music a little disappointing. Essentially they sound like a more talented Metallica with hardcore vocals (eg barked not sung). They're certainly not bad but they don't bring anything particularly new or interesting to my ears.

* Boris - Pink

Again I had high expectations based on very positive web reviews and seeing live YouTube footage. The CD itself is actually pretty good but fell short of the hype. Pink sounds like a heavy Japanese garage rock band (maybe like a chunkier Superfuzzbigmuff era Mudhoney). Apparently each of their releases has a different sound so I'll definitely give them a second chance.

* Sunn O)) - Black One

Definitely my favourite of the three (Boris is a close second and Mastodon is a distant third). The album is basically ambient doom - really really really slow, drumless, droney, heavy and oppressive without being difficult to listen to (depending on your tastes of course ;-)

[/music] | [permalink] | [2006.11.16-22:08.00]

Nov 12, 2006

YouTube Music Video - Thelonius Monk (Live)

I've been watching the Ken Burns PBS doco on Jazz. Theres some fantastic footage of Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Miles Davis and many many more.

One of the best segments included a piece on Jazz pianist Thelonius Sphere Monk.

Understated when compared to the more flamboyant trumpet/saxophone players of the era; Thelonius looks like a guy who just wandered off the street sat down at the piano and starts belting out a tune.

Watch his feet and hands in this clip - Round About Midnight (1963). The splayed fingers seem to act like little hammers bashing away at the keys. Genius!

[/music] | [permalink] | [2006.11.12-23:36.00]