Thursday, July 25, 2013

New, within the last six months.

 Record Store Day 2013 at Real Groovy, Auckland | © Amanda Ratcliffe

Prior to Ollie heading off for a prolonged break, we squeezed-in a quick club session before the panic stricken planning and manic packing took hold of him. After previously listening to classics from the vaults he chose to opt for a fresh approach by asking for us to aim for something new to the library, within the last six months. And we'll start with new club member, Emma:



Fortunately, I was able to avoid a huge degree of personal angst as to what my first music club offering would be as I had discovered, and become totally immersed in, the new Phosphorescent album ‘Muchacho’ the week before I was garnered with a Music Club invite. 

 For me the fundamental issue was which two tracks to play, as each song has its own beautiful uniqueness; "Muchacho's Tune" was a strong contender as the production was inspired by Brian Eno’s Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks, and having heard about Ivan’s Eno obsession I thought he may well be a little partial to this song.

 But I went with my heart and Song for Zula and Ride on/ Right on won out. Song for Zula is a song of heartbreak and disillusion, with an evocative string arrangement and some bouncy synth in contrast to the raw vocals of a wounded man. Whereas Right on/ Ride is a much peppier track (I love the high-pitched optimistic whoops). The lyrics conjure up images of reckless rebounding, which is officially all part of the heartbreak recovery process!

The album was written and self-produced by Matthew Houck following the break-up of a long-term relationship and the reclaimation of his New York apartment and studio, a bit of a low point. So he took himself off to Mexico for a year, hung out at the beach, and wrote what ranks as one of my favourite break-up albums (it’s up there with Blood on the Tracks for me).

“Country Alt-Folk” may not be your thing, but if you ever need a raw, honest insight into heartbreak with a Mexican Cantina style influence, then I’d definitely give this album a listen.


Basic blues based rock and roll with ball breaking riffs, gruff voices and gloriously over the top choruses. It never really went out of fashion but when this genre is nailed, man, it is unstoppable. Ready the spandex and assume the air guitar!

First up: St. Peter by the Black Spiders, the single version from their album Volume. An anthemic ode to excess. Swagger aplenty accompanied by a cow bell. The chorus is so damn good you can't blame them from cramming it in as often as possible. The break down lays the foundation for an euphoric guitar solo before inducing an unstoppable nod of the head and unleashing an over zealous ear worm.

Second up: Voodoo Six get the blood boiling with Something for You from their album Fluke. The main riff makes me want to indulge a midlife crisis and buy a Harley; the bridge wants me to recklessly drive around swigging from a bottle of JD; and the chorus lends an air of relative sophistication before the guitar solo incites an apoplectic fit.


Shuggie Otis: An album titled "Inspiration Information"' I'd never heard of until it was recently reissued. It's got a heavy 70s vibe, not least because multi-instrumentalist Shuggie was influenced by Hendrix, although he's working on the funkier end of the spectrum. Apparently, he scored a couple of big hits then became something of a recluse, refusing an offer to join the Stones on tour and turning down Quincy Jones' offer to produce his next album. He's not done much since, although this album had a renaissance in the 90s thanks to Gilles Peterson, though it passed me by. Anyway, it's good stuff, rich textured, slightly wistful songs replete with some virtuoso guitar playing. [As an aside, Shuggie is playing in New York while we're there so will check him out and report back..]

Daft Punk - Random Access Memories. Less of an introduction needed here. Annoyingly catchy in places. Plain old annoying in others. Get Lucky is surely a future drunken wedding classic - music to disgrace yourself to. 


My first choice is the title track and what I consider to be the best track from Alice In Chain's new album, The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here. This is the second album released by the band since they reformed following the death of Layne Staley continuing with William DuVall. While this album to me doesn't have to creativity of earlier AIC albums, it is 20 years later and does stand as a strong addition to the bands catalogue. This track shows the band's core still have the ability to produce quality tracks with the distinct sluggish guitar and harmonised vocals they were known for back when pioneering the grunge sound.

My second choice is Ghuleh / Zombie Queen from the album Infestissumam by Ghost (aka Ghost BC in the United States). I love when tracks have a slash in the title and are well written. It often results in two distinctly different parts of the song which start off separate, but by the end are combined into a crafty climax. And that's certainly the case with this one. For new comers to this band who are only aware of their exaggeration of the Satanist aesthetic and anonymity of it's members, the music produced is generally a complete surprise. The track starts off as a wistful, chanting, piano piece with the vocals of a person on death's door. Ghuleh indeed. Then suddenly the pace changes with the introduction of the Zombie Queen. The inclusion of heightened theatrics and an organ culminates in a combined Ghuleh Zombie Queen finish. A surprising and strange listen, but a very entertaining one.


Jon Hopkins, A Drifting Up from the album Insides. One liquid track from a recent album of his. The whole album is electronica and this particular track is smooth, silky and slow.