Sunday, March 29, 2009

Heaven Is Above Your Club

While we're waiting for Chris' Jonathan Richman tribute night to happen I decided to turn my radio show into a mini club night. Yes - I got the 9-11 pm slot on Saturdays! I did a show yesterday and I'm supposed to do it weekly, but the next one won't be for another 3-4 weeks for various reasons.

So apart from recording HIAYH#4 in the first hour, we had our own little club night in there, with 8 people in the studio! As there's no show after mine, we got in a good 1½ hours of cracking tunes. I recorded the whole thing on my mp3-player, but unfortunately it ended up too loud and distorted. But even if you can't hear it, I'll be posting the setlist on the DDOMD myspace soon as I've got all the specifics from Chris and Mark, who helped out with the DJing!

Fair's Fair

On Saturday I got on a bus out to Kingsland for a record fair, with JAMC's Automatic in my earphones - I thought that was funny cause it's the kind of record you'd normally find at record fairs. I got off on Sandringham Road and walked to Ethel Street. Once inside the big warehouse where it was held I met Chris, Alexis, Mark and Emily who'd already been there for a while. I started looking through some boxes of 45s next to me and it turned out that was the best stall at the fair. I didn't really look at lps, cause I didn't want to buy any. Chris found a (second) copy of Lazy Ways though! In those two boxes that I spent most of my time carefully browsing through, there were lots of great 60s singles. They'd all seen their best days, but for $1 each you can't really complain. I bought ten, one of them was the Beau Brummels one you see above - never seen one of their singles before! You can see the rest of them, along with some more photos from the event here. Some of the unexpected finds was The Soup Dragons' "Whole Wide World" 12", which inspired the title of this post.

sea lions - let's groove
When I got home, I played them on Andy and Emily's old player in the next room. It's not really a record player, it's one of those fake vintage machines (with built-in tape and cd players...!). The crackly vinyl sounded great through its tiny speakers though. I also gave my new Sea Lions ep a spin. I'd ordered it months ago, but apparently YAY! didn't get them in until just recently. It's probably the best thing on the label so far, and it'll turn up in the next podcast (already recorded).

Thursday, March 26, 2009


#2 is now in the feed - along with a brand new episode! Plenty of new songs here as well, from the likes of Cats On Fire and Camera Obscura. On a new server as well, so should be fast as. The songs I most enjoyed playing out of these were Endless Bob Brown and Brilliant Colors. Please Rain Fall has now posted two more EBB songs, leaving only two left to recover for the digital age! I've already started picking tracks for #4, so look out for it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

You Can Live In Our Tree

Just did this logotype for a school assignment (creating an identity for a regional festival in Auckland - choosing one out of five themes). I'm doing a music festival of course, and I'll post a billboard with my fictive line-up later on!

You Got Mad At the City

Holiday, "Brooklyn Angel" - what a song. For everyone who thought A Smile and a Ribbon were the quintessential indie group, I have some devastating news. We've just sold out (in a small way) to Norwegian Postbanken, who's using "Pebbles" in a new telly ad. See for yourselves. It's even funnier when I think of the longrunning ad for the Swedish company Postbanken...


I've dusted off my old Flickr account, and you can now see some new photos there.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Are You At Home, Here In My Heart?

I didn't hear the first Heartworms album Space Escapade that was reissued by Darla last year until now. It includes their first (and classic) single "Thanks For the Headache" and originally came out in 1995. Not as solid as the divine follow-up During, but features some knock-em-dead pop songs from Archie Moore and his wife at the time Trisha Roy (Belmondo, The Shapiros). Last time we heard from Archie, it was under the Bye! moniker, but these songs are more in the vein of Black Tambourine and Velocity Girl (both bands he's been in!). Two of them are covers: "Creep" by Radiohead, which reminded me it is actually a still a great song, and "Girl Don't Tell Me" by The Beach Boys, also covered recently by none other than Vivian Girls!

CLOUD 91 Heartworms - Girl Don't Tell Me

Cardamom Kiss

I'm about to upload some new songs to the Don't Die On My Doorstep myspace. Next month's mix is named after a Cessna tune. Great Finnish band and that's the cover of Terminus above, designed by Alexander Bailey himself, who's made some good cover art over the years. These songs will be in the mix:

The Kensingtons - Nothing At All
The Rondelles - Backstabber
Me & the Other Guys - Everybody Knew But Me
Bored Games - I Don't Get It
Endless Bob Brown - Never Again
Gloria & the T-Airas - I'm Satisfied

So if that's got your mouth watering, look out for it sometime this week!

You Need a Gimmick

Today has been a real gearing-up-for-Indietracks day - walking around in my The School shirt and listening to the new Cola Jet Set album. It's no lie! Not only are Cola Jet Set playing Indietracks - five years after the masterful Contando Historias, new album Guitarras y Tambores is out on Elefant. Had I understood the lyrics I'm sure this would be my album of the year. Now it has to make do with a second place so far. "El sueño de mi vida" is the pop song of the year though, enhanced by some 12-string guitar that reappears here and there on the album. Another standout is "Durará" which Luis describes as The Clientele playing Chis Montez - couldn't have said it better myself!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Shortcake Shortcut

As Chris pointed out yesterday, it's almost time to make lists of the best albums of the decade! A tough task, maybe my top 15 would looks something like this

The Clientele - The Violet Hour
Camera Obscura - Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi
The Fairways - Is Everything All Right?
Belle & Sebastian - Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant
The Lucksmiths - Why That Doesn't Surprise Me
Pants Yell! - Songs For Siblings
Language of Flowers - Songs About You
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - The Pains of Being Pure At Heart
Vivian Girls - Vivian Girls
The Relict - Tomorrow Is Again
Pipas - Golden Square
My Favorite - Love At Absolute Zero
Love Dance - Result
The Saturday People - The Saturday People
Slipslide - The World Can Wait

The mere thought of doing a similar one for the 90s is staggering. A made an attempt, but I've probably forgotten loads:

Belle & Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister
Hefner - Breaking God's Heart
Blueboy - Unisex
Brighter - Laurel
The Popguns - Eugenie
The Orchids - Unholy Soul
Brittle Stars - Brittle Stars
The Castaway Stones - Make Love to You
East Village - Drop Out
The Lucksmiths - The Green Bicycle Case
Tiger Trap - Tiger Trap
St. Christoper - Bacharach
The Summer Suns - Calpurnia
The Magnetic Fields - The Wayward Bus
Po! - Not Marked On the Ordnance Map

I've also been working on my Top Ten and have possibly got it down to ten songs now, but they're likely to change quite a bit before June!

Where the Cameras Shoot In Single Takes

There are now at least two copies of Pocketbooks' Flight Paths in New Zealand, cause I just got my copy yesterday. I'm quite proud of the artwork and it's turned out really great. Listening to this after their first released song (on the HDIF compilation Kids At the Club) is a real epiphany. Recorded in a studio, professionally produced and mixed, it doesn't try to add on what Pocketbooks already are. But the tiny touches here and there really help to bring out the songs on what I have to say is the best album of the year so far. My new favourite song is "Camera Angles", mainly because of the lyrics and not the similarity to "Storytelling" (both in concept and sound). Old Black Tambourine ripoff "I'm Not Going Out" has never sounded better. "Fleeting Moments" is the chugging dance floor hit on here, but Andy also impress us with the blindingly beautiful "Sweetness and Light", "Paper Aeroplanes" and closing track "All We Do Is Rush Around" which is their most ambitious composition so far. It's a dense sound overall, with lots of miniature melodies jostling around. It's the sound of a tight, fresh and confident group - as anyone who's seen them in the past 10 months can testify. It's the sound of Pocketbooks.

I got my first SLR camera a couple of days ago, as one my courses is Photography. I'm still working out how to use it efficiently, but I'll put some stuff on Flickr soon. Until then, that's my favourite so far above.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Familiarity Breeds Contempt

Magic Bird is one of my favourite shops over here - a vintage shop opened by Amee (Ruby Suns) not long ago. Starting this week, she's also doing a Magic Movies series of film screenings. Yesterday we got the hilarious musical Xanadu, starring Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly amongst others (like the devastingly incompetent Michael Beck in the male lead). I'd forgotten all the best bits since last I saw it, so it was really enjoyable! It's going to be semi-weekly, so lots of more fun to look forward to.

So what did I play at the Tuesday Warner Show today? Let's see...

Dear Nora - The Sign of the Times
Laura Watling - World Falls Into Place (Motorcycle Boy cover)
Tuesday Weld - Are You the Boy?
Sodajerk - Heartcrusher
The Cardigans - Rise & Shine
Spaghetti Vabune! - Pineapple Shirts!
Florian - There Is a Party (When I Spend Time With You)

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Here is the second podcast, which aired on Fleet FM last night (cause I'd gotten the time wrong - am instead of pm!). I managed to record everything onto my music player, however it only does 128kbit wma files so I had to re-encode them to mp3. Still better than the 64kbit stream though! It was a total treat doing a proper radio show again. After watching the end of the NZ vs. India cricket game, Florence went off to a party and I went to Fleet. But I had so much fun - dancing in the darkened studio, singing and clapping along (I left the mic on accidentally a few times but fortunately you can't hear me) all on my own. If I get to do the same slot again I am so going to get everyone I know to come along, as the room is perfect for a party / club night kind of thing.

As it was a two-hour show i did both #2 and #3 at the same time, but I'm just posting the second episode for now. I've had trouble getting access to the server the feed is on, so for now you'll have to get it from here. Hopefully it will be in the feed by the time the next episode comes up. And I've been informed by someone with authority on the matter that The Fourmyula were actually called just Fourmyula. So now you know.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

International Colouring Contest

Another week and another appearance at Alex's Tuesday Warner show on Fleet (named after a Shortland Street character). This time we managed to record half of the show but it's only a 64 kbit mono file, so for the one I'm doing on Saturday (yes, I've got a fill-in spot all of my own!) I'll try just recording it on my mp3-player. This will later be the next HIAYH podcasts, but you can listen in here at 9 am local time (which is actually prime time if you're in Europe!). I'll definitely play something from this.

It's Liechtenstein's new ep and I just got it in the mail today. It's truly wonderful so get it from Fraction now! Here's what I played on Wednesday:

Tommy James & the Shondells - Real Girl
Swell Maps - Dresden Style
Snowbirds - Day After Day
The Wendy Darlings - Enormous Pop
Bullozer Crash - Bluebell Wood
The Set Designers - Alright
The Byrds - The Day Walk (Never Seen Before)
#Poundsign# - Rooftops
The Bright Lights - GGP
Two If By Sea - Tomorrow

I went to a gallery opening with Florence today, but didn't realise that Gary Hill was Gary Hill until I discovered one of the video works was Site Recite from 1989! The exhibition is on at St. Paul's gallery until April 24th.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Ceiling With Knives

You have to be really quick to catch on to things these days before they sell out. So before you read any further go to the Captured Tracks myspace and order this 7"! You may have seen some new records just popped up on my list of records to buy - this happened after seeing the announcement that the first 10 releases from Captured Tracks are now available!

Captured Tracks is a Brooklyn label run by Mike aka Blank Dogs. Now, Blank Dogs is a name I've seen for quite a long time without bothering to check them out (Bad Name syndrome again). He's already released 13 records, many of which are sold out, but thanks to blogs it relatively easy to catch up. The things to look out for are the Year One tape on Fuck It Tapes (compilation of singles and eps), On Two Sides (an album now re-released by Troubleman and Sacred Bones) and the brand new 12" Seconds on his own label. I'm far from getting through all of it, but it definitely seems he has refined his art over the last two years, arriving at a fantastic sound on the new 12". A new album is due out on In the Red this year as well.

If you were a music journalist it'd be easy to dismiss the new releases on Captured Tracks as a wave of Vivian Girls/Crystal Stilts/Wavves wannabes but there's some amazing pop in there, as Dum Dum Girls fans will already know. Her first two vinyl releases are out now and already on the verge of selling out: a 12" on Captured Tracks and a 7" on HoZac (part of their singles club).

And now Mike and Dee Dee (from opposite ends of the US) have started collaborating as The Mayfair Set, with their first 7" out on CT now! Housed in the classic indiepop style sleeve you can see above, it really is as good as it looks. There's a 12" coming out on Troubleman soon also, so keep an eye out.

The other wow experience is San Fransico-based Brilliant Colors, who I immediately checked out because of their fantastic name. Their first 7" came out on Make a Mess last month and judging by the punky pop of those four tracks, the new 7" on CT is a must-have! Definitely the best all-female group I've heard since Vivian Girls.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Flattery In the Cattery

So the show I did for Dublab is now in the archives and can be listened to at any time - for those of you who were not up for messing with the Dubstream. Thanks Marion! I've updated that post as well.

I've been introduced to some Auckland bands massively deserving of a mention here since I arrived, mainly thanks to Alex, Alexis and Chris. Cat!Cat!Cat! were a relatively short-lived three-piece who only released one great minialbum (in 2004). I haven't found it yet, but the songs I've heard suggest greatness. Wildwood Lights is another band I've come across. Until I get to see them next month, all I have are verbal reports though (e.g. Markie comparing them to Slow Down Tallahassee!). No songs here at the moment since they are recording.

Best by about *this* much however, are the The Gladeyes. There are two of these cool ladies, and I just had the pleasure of meeting them - at their self-proposed Carpenters tribute night at D.O.C yesterday. They were just playing records but managed to delight my ears with some Vivian Girls, Slumber Party and The Rondelles! Chris has written a good deal about them at his Among the Aisles blog. They did a Cloudberry 3" last year that I never picked up cause I didn't have a clue as to who they were. "Your Address" will make you regret it, but too late, it's long gone! But they said they still have a few of the cd that Chris mentions though, so if you're quick... Chris mentioned a likeness to The Softies, which is about the best review you can get ("Sounds like The Softies" - what more do you need?), but actually they remind me a lot more of Strawberry Fair. Just listen to "Bad Town Blues" here.

The Short and Sick of It

Been trying to keep up with the indiepop tide here today. First of all, I must join in the praise of forgotten geniuses Endless Bob Brown! Originally it was Stevie who posted some songs his friend had sent him. Then more songs followed, and still more. I really dig the post titles as well (being someone who really appreciates a good title now and again!) Word got around and soon both Brogues and Ed had raved about them. Nothing can stop them now! Let's see... a cd retrospective in another 15 years isn't too much to hope for, I reckon?

I Wish I Was a Flexi Disc has posted the flexi I've been most eager to hear for the last two years: The Big Gun sharing some plastic with Butcher Boy's Basil Pieroni! Out on their own label Hi-Fibre in 1986, where it was soon followed by Big Gun's double a-side "Heard About Love". Tell Keith if you see him! Both tracks are great so you've nothing to be ashamed of...

Meanwhile, Stephen has been busy uploading the complete Bulldozer Crash catalog - including an unreleased ep! Do we need to say we're stoked? There's an interview in there as well, for those staying for the pudding.

I feel I need to share an indiepop treat myself, if only to keep up with the Stevies. The intended 1989 album by The Motorcycle Boy called Scarlet was never released by Chrysalis and there's yet to be a MB retrospective cd - although some people are trying. Here's the fantastic, jangling titletrack - of which you might already have heard the Peel Session version, ripped from some 1987 vintage magnetic tape. If you like it, it's not too hard to find the complete album online.

CLOUD 90 The Motorcycle Boy - Scarlet

The Tragedy of Our Tryst

How great is the new Camera Obscura album! And what a relief after hearing they've signed to 4AD... I like it so much more than Let's Get Out of This Country. That's a great album, however a slight disappointment after the life-affirming Underachievers..., mainly due to the overblown production from Jari Haapalainen (trust a Swede to say that). Listening to My Maudlin Career for the first time just now, I was sure this was the work of another producer, but turns out it's dear old Jari again. Only this time he's managed to restrain himself and my one regret is the reverb that the vocals are buried in. Tracyanne's beautiful voice needs to be up front, so close to the speakers you can hear every little intonation and nuance. It also makes the lyrics a lot harder to make out instantly, which is a right shame. There's a free download of the title-track floating around out there, but that's actually one of my least favourite tracks on this. And the indisputable fact is that the closing "Honey In the Sun" is not only thee dance floor smash on here, but also one of their five best songs to date. I can't wait to spin around to it! And I can't wait to see them at The Best Pop Festival In the World (TM) this July. Can't believe I've only seen them twice to date.

There are so many little treasures in the first announcement of the Indietracks bill. It's mainly Cola Jet Set that's making me bite my nails at the moment, but just imagine seeing Northern Portrait and Eux Autres for the first time! And it's been way to long since my last BMX Bandits gig.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Fleeting Moments

I might do a radio show at this place instead, now based above a ghost café on Symonds Street. Me and Chris participated in Alex's weekly show today, and it seemed cool. Their broadcasting range is only about 2 km, but you can get it online of course. And it's easy to just record the show and make a podcast out of it, which suits me perfectly. We didn't today, cause one of the workstations wasn't working. But here's what I played anyway - in no particular disorder:

Reserve - Postcard From Paradise
Nalda - This Love Is Not Wrong
Fabienne Delsol - There Are Some
The Castaway Stones - Brazil
Devine & Statton - Ugly Town
Skywave - Summertime
The Thanes - I'll Keep My Pride
Lois - Strumpet
The Shapiros - Do You Know

As you can see (or perhaps not) there are two Poets covers in there, and one Field Mice cover.