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Saturday, September 22, 2018

P J Harvey - Dry - Too Pure - (UK 1992)




The great Polly Harvey's debut album burst onto the music scene in 1992 and in my humble opinion might be one of the best debuts ever. I've had this on CD since it first came out and it was a massive fave back in the day and 26 years later still sounds as awesome as the first time I played it, actually it has grown in stature in the meantime. I surely don't need to describe the music on this by now. If you have not heard it then you need to ASAP.  This a;bum gets a Roddus Rating of 5+/5.

The Beths - Blue Smoke - Christchurch - 21 September 2018



The Beths had just released their first album, Future Me Hates Me" in August and it is already contender for one of the best New Zealand releases of 2018. A beautiful collection of up tempo indi rock with punky overtones and fantastic melodies and great playing, so I was pretty excited to see how it came across live. 
 The wife had also liked their record so this was one of the rare gigs where we could go together.
There were to be two support acts this night, one being a Wellington outfit called Hans Pucket, of whom I knew nothing, and also a singer songwriter called Holly Arrowsmith. I had heard of Holly and was aware she had a vinyl record out. I checked her out on Spotify and liked here Americana tinged minimal folk so was looking forward to hearing her play and picking up a copy of her record.
 Unfortunately Holly had taken sick and was unable to make the gig, so a fella called Jed Parsons stepped in to fill her spot. Jed's name was one I has seen on The Flying out website as he too had a recent record out but I did not know if he was even a Kiwi let alone an actual Christchurch homeboy. So I was going to play closer attention to see if I would be interested in picking up a copy of his record.
 Jed and band duly hit the stage and presented us with several songs from his record, poppy indie stuff that was OK, but really did not overly inspire me to grab the record, although I suspect repeated exposure may present a capable and enjoyable record, financial considerations prevented by just buying the record for the hell of it. I though his set was and music was average but I did tap my toe somewhat, the wife was not so impressed.
 We headed down the back of the venue for the next band as Lynn needed to sit down as her back was sore from work that day so we sat out Hand Pucket and frankly their music was not really of interest to me much at all. Pretty nondescript indie really and I was pleased when they finally finished their set.
  The Beths hit in with the title track from the new album and  I was instantly struck with a feeling that this was not going to be a jaw dropping set to stick in my memory for a long time. The band played very well, the sound was very good and the music, which by now was pretty familiar to me, is great, but even though Lynn and I both enjoyed their set, I was still just a but underwhelmed. I understand they had been living and gigging in the States while recording the album so I expected a tighter and more energetic gig perhaps. There is a indescribable and intangible magic that happens with gigs sometimes and not everyone can pull it off every time, some nights are better than others, this night was very good but not great. Still we both enjoyed it enough to be glad we went. Next time I see then, they might totally blow my sox off.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

P.H.F/Roy Irwin/Wurld Series - Space Acadamy - Christchurch - 15th September 2018



A big day in the city doing chores, attending a Record Fair, watching a great All Blacks game at a sports bar and finishing off the day with this gig at Space Academy.
 Roy Irwin was who drew me to this gig, I have both his records and thought I would check him out live. It turns out that Roy had just come along for the ride with P.F.H and he preforms his songs solo unlike his records where he has a backing band. It is a pretty difficult task to pull off preforming solo like this. Something special is needed from the performer and strong songs.  I have seen several local artists that I really like on record preform like this and only some of them pull it off. Roy, unfortunately didn't for me, his records patchy affairs but he does have some great songs that I am familiar with but I only recognized one of them during his short set. He finished his set abruptly half way through a song, with the comment "Fuck it! I'm done".
   Previously to Roy, Wurld Series played. A four piece indi band that I really have enjoyed the other times I have seen them, a cross of Flying Nun and Pavement with catchy tunes and plenty of energy. It was interesting after the last gig I went to a couple of nights earlier where the PA was cranked to overload and ear damaging volumes, compared to the sound of these guys this night. It appears that only the vocals were coming through the PA during their set in this small venue and so thew rest of the players we were hearing just their guitar amps direct and the drums naked and it sounded bloody good, pretty clear and well separated sound. It worked really well in this venue. Don't know if this was deliberate. Again really enjoyed their set.
 P.H.F were completely unknown to me, from Auckland, this four piece hit right into some great punky tunes with the singer pretty snotty and often singing on the floor in front of the stage. They were tight and fast and really mixed up their set with some poppy stuff, some slower stuff, some grungy stuff and the best of the lot some cool punk rock. I was most impressed and the small audience was actually asking for more at the end. Just listening to their Bandcamp stuff as I type and they are much better live.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Bailterspace with Wax chattels - Blue Smoke - Christchutch - 13th September 2018



It's been an undeveloped relationship with Bailterspace for me over the years, mostly me ignoring them and their music, not for any particular reason apart from never actually getting round to exploring it, but mostly because they are NOT The Gordons. Bailterpapce(although not originally), consists of the three original members of Christchurch's legendary post punk, pre grunge alt band The Gordons. The Gordons are unquestionably my all time favourite New Zealand band and even better is that they hailed from my hometown of Christchurch. Their first Album is just the greatesr NZ record ever and although many fans don't rate their second record as much, I love it almost as much and both were big records in my youth. So after they split and went on to form Bailterspace, my attitude was they'll be anywhere as good as The Gordons, and in my opinion they are not.
 Recently though I have bought both of Bailterspaces recent albums and did also score some of their early CD's and discovered that they had indeed produced some NZ classics I was familiar with.
  Hearing that the original three Gordons were doing a rare tour as Bailterspace(they have never played under The Gordons Moniker since the mid 80's), I thought I had better go.
  It was an added bonus that the support act was Wax Chattels, a band from Wellington that I had recently become familiar with after procuring their excellent self titled debut album a couple of months back.
 The place was pretty near full, I even had to que a bit to get in, which was a first at Blue Smoke. I was admiring the massive PA speaker stacks and the monster Marshall amps on the stage before Wax Chattels started their set. I had been warned that Bailterspace play it loud and they certainly had the rig to do so. I was prepared with those little foam ear plugs and got them in pretty quick when Wax Chattels started to play. I though, although very loud, the rig sounded bloody good, one of the best I have heard in a while and I find it frustrating that I had to use the ear plugs as they do muffle the sound somewhat while protecting our hearing, I did pull them out a bit just to hear better and Wax Chattels did sound bloody good. They played pretty much the stuff off their new album and I recognized some songs but the record is still new to me so not all was familiar or perhaps just sounded different live. They put on a great show and really threw themselves into their music, the drummer played especially wildly. This three piece consists of bass. drums and electronics and sometimes remind me of their fellow Wellingtonians, All Seeing Hand. A great and pretty wild set from this excellent alternative band.
  I was a long wait between sets but Bailterspace finally made it onto the stage. Loud! Yes it was fucking loud.. Even with such a good rig, they feel they have to crank the thing into overload, the bass was so loud that the place fairly shook and you could certainly feel it through the body, I think they just pushed it too far and with it distorting and vibrating the speakers and almost drowning out the guitar. Bailterspace are considered a noise rock band but on record it is easier to hear the subtleties inside the dirge they produce but live it all ends up being just a wall of noise. Alister Parkers singing sounds a lot different live also, a lot more snotty sounding. The drummer varied very little the beats he played, each song having a relentless but not flashy beat that rarely varied and just motored along, quite a contrast to the wild drumming of Wax Chattels. Highlight of the set was the playing of The Gordons Machine song and at least one or two of the classic songs I kinda knew from their rather large back catalog. I did have to remove my ear plugs for the Gordons song and also loosened them later to try and get a better appreciation of the noised they were making on the stage but I am now paying for it 24 hours later even from the short unprotected exposure I did have. I did enjoy moments of their set but it did get a little monotonous in the end and when the band finally finished, I did not stick around for the encore, especially as it was a weeknight and I still had the usual hours drive home.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Death & The Maiden - Space Acadamy - Christchurch - 7th September 2018

One of the Fishrider Records stable out of Dunedin, Death & The Maiden are definitely my favourite band from a very strong roster, with both their albums being very strong and the latest, "Wisteria", is perhaps my favourite NZ record of 2018. So I was pretty keen to go see them live.
 They had enlisted 3 other bands to support them, a couple of Christchurch groups and one from Wellington.
 First up was not actually a band but local artist, Motte, whom I have seen several times lately and who released a great LP last year,. that I really like. Motte first played one of her newer pieces where she uses some heavy deep electronic pulses to back her looped violin pieces. I was pleased to see she had got her voice back, after, I believe, she was not able to sing for a period due to health reasons and she preformed my favourite song from her album.
 Next Motte, also played in the next act, The Ben Woods Group, where she played keys and violin. I had seen The Ben Woods Group recently at one of the Melted Ice Cream gigs a couple of weeks earlier, their lofi droney shoegaze is ok but not not overall really inspiring, but I don't mind watching their set. Their best song is the one they have on the Melted Ice Cream sampler CD and is much more poppy and brighter than the rest of their music, I really like it.
 Plains are from Wellington and I had never heard of this three piece band. They played a sort of post rock kind of music with vocals and they sounded cleaner and clearer through the Space Academy PA and they got off to a great start with a great song that had stops and timing changes and I really was impressed and their next song was quite strong also, although the rest of their set did plod on a bit with their songs sounding all similar. They did not have a very strong singer either which is a common occurrence with many of the local amateur bands.
  Death & The Maiden are also a three peice with guitar, bass and electronics and the bass player on lead vocals. I thought the soundman struggled to get the sound right for this band as the bass was massively distorted and the guitar slightly lower in the mix than perhaps it should have been and it was bloody loud, also the vocals were a little hard to make out. The band on record are subtle and dark and beautiful but live is quite different but just as good. Sound issued apart, I thought they were fantastic, and knowing most of the songs they played as well as I do, I was almost dancing to the groove and just totally enjoyed their set as much ans anything I had seen recently, and there was some tough competition. The young lady on guitar was very impressive and I thought her playing was even better than on the records and it is really nice on them. A most impressive gig.


Sunday, August 19, 2018

'Sickest Smashes from Arson City: Legacy Edition' Release Show No.3 - Darkroom Christchurch 18th August 2018


Night three and I'm excited to see Salad Boys and Dark Matter, having records by both groups and having seen both play live before. This final night is at my most visited of local venues, The Darkroom. I arrived just before 9pm and they still have not opened the doors so I wait in my car for several minutes untill doors open and get myself my only drink of the night as I soon find my wallet I left at home and I only had $5 left in my pocket. The first band sets up quickly and soon we are entertained by The Teasers, a drums and guitar duo with the White Stripes set up of female drummer and male guitarist and singer. An enjoyable if somewhat unmemorable set if my tired mind remembers correctly but I liked some of their songs and the added backing vocals from  the drummer.
  Next up is Dark Matter, bass, drums, guitar, violin and electric cello. I really liked their first LP. Some of the line up, especially the legendary lead singer/guitarist, Steve Cogal, also play as The Terminals, another legendary Christchurch underground band. They play with energy and tempo, creating a real dirge/wall of sound with the violinist fiddling madly at the back of the stage and the drummer going full tilt. It is kinda hard to make a lot out from the wall of noise but it is still pretty cool, and I always like Steve Cogal's singing, he has a real distinctive voice. Their songs do tend to blur together and sound the same with so much loudly amplified music going on.
 Third band are Salad Boys, perhaps one of the best known local indie acts with two full albums out and a great live act IMO. The band is the brainchild of  Joe Sampson with a revolving catalog of local musicians playing with him under the Salad Boy Moniker. Their set tonight is perhaps the best and most intense I have seen from them with Joe's guitar playing fantastic and the speed and energy of the three players the best of the three nights. Their cover of Wire's Ex lion Tamer was a surprise and a highlight in amongst the strong self penned songs that I knew from their records. This is one band that although they make great records, live they are even better. Brian Feary was again drumming in this band. 
 Lastly was perhaps the newest band from the three nights, Pavolvs Puss. This time it is our man Joe Sampson on guitar again with bass, drums and lead singer. The singer turns out to be another of those extroverts I had seen in the audience over the last couple of days and he was certainly pretty outspoken. He kinda sings/speaks/shouts his lyrics which sorta reminded of Sleaford Mods. Joe's guitar noodling in this band were not the power cords he played in Salad Boys but much more restrained and clear sounding and were pretty damn cool. This band will sound fucking cool on record I believe and were really enjoyable live. They ended their set but were threatening to play on maybe improvising some stuff as I think they had played all their repertoire, but I chose to opt out at this point as it was past midnight again and I wanted to get home again before I turned into a pumpkin. Last night was the best but all three night were totally enjoyable and worthwhile.

'Sickest Smashes from Arson City: Legacy Edition' Release Show No.2 - Lyttelton Records - Christchurch 17th August 2018



Second night of the Melted Ice Cream "Sickest Smashes from Arson City: Legacy Edition" Release Shows, and this time we are at Lyttelton Records in Woolston, a nice but small venue that I have only been to once before.
 We see some of the same faces from the previous nights gig plus some new faces as well as noticing that a good proportion of the small audience are actually members of the bands from tonight, last night and it turns out tomorrow night, just showing how this is a tight knit little scene I have entered into. This I think is the biggest crowd of the three nights.
  PGX are a fairly new band whom I did see play late last year at some gig and was impressed enough with this all Girl four piece then. Playing post punk agit pop with their American? singer, they play some great catchy tunes with well written guitar riffs and tonight they really rip it up with a great energetic set that I think is the highlight of the night for me.
 Next are Les Baxters whom I am still looking forward to their album coming out sometime and I have now seen live at least three times. Dave, who use to run Galaxy Records plays electric keys along with a young lady on electronic beats, I think, john on Theremin, and another gentleman on various pieces of equipment including discmans with pre recorded voice samples. I like their sounds and and reminded a little of early Cabaret Voltaire at some stages of their set. It is interesting and different music from the rest of the indie stuff getting played at these gigs.
  Brian Tamaki And The Kool Aid Kids are a band who's name I had seen come up many times over the last couple of years on various gig listing round town but this was the first time I have seen or heard them. It turns out that the Brian of the group is actually Brian Feary, the man behind the record label and the gigs and in this case behind the drums. Another pretty big band with three guitarists which made for a pretty intense racket and wall of sound as they rocked out their set. Brian set a thunderous beat for them to play to, probably hitting the drums as hard and as enthusiastically as any other over the weekends shows. I did enjoy their set but had reservations about the three guitars and the female vocalist. The male singer I think is the same singer in Wurld Series, and he was great. They did play with great energy and I would see them again.
 Cowboy Machine were a three piece of guitar, bass and drums and their singer/guitarist was one of those extroverts who had stood out in the crowd over the last two nights and I suspect was a little wasted. Their punky power pop started out pretty good but I thought the set deteriorated and the songs got slower and the singer talked a lot and seemed to kinda loose it a bit vocally. I kinda lost interest in them a bit and decided to head home before their set finished as it was now after midnight. Overall another really good and memorable night of music.

'Sickest Smashes from Arson City: Legacy Edition' Release Show No.1 - Space Acadamey - Christchurch 16th August 2018


Melted Ice Cream is an independent music label in Christchurch New Zealand run by Brian Feary, who also announces an NZ indie show on the local alternative radio station RDU(ex university radio station). Melted Ice Cream release mostly cassette releases with some great vinyl issues that I have in my collection and downloads on Bandcamp. They did a download only compilation of local Christchurch bands on Bandcamp back in 2013, "Sickest Smashes From Arson City". Now just over 5 years later the label release the second volume of this compilation and this time on CD (a first for the label)"Sickest Smashes From Arson City:Legacy Edition". In support of the CD release, Brian organized three nights of showcasing 12 bands from the CD at three different venues across the city.
 This first night was held at Space Academy, a venue readers will know I have been to several times before and seen some great local bands there.
  I got there pretty early after popping in to see a record stall at a local boutique brewery where Galaxy Records(recently closed) was trying to sell off the rest of his stock. I found out then that the Opawa 45's were playing across the road from Space Academy first up before the Melted Ice Cream Gig so I popped in for a while and checked them out. I had seen them before but I thought this time they were playing much slower numbers, a lot were covers, in their surf//rockabilly style.
 I did not watch their full set but wandered across the road to Space Academy to see how the gig was shaping up over there. Things were waiting for the gig across the road to finish and then as people trickled in things got off to a much later start than I anticipated.
 First up was Motte with her violin and sound effects and loops doing her usual interesting neo classical soundscapes with some beats backing her on occasion. I really like what she does. On her last number she was joined but some other musicians on drums, bass and guitar and made some interesting drony noise.
  Next Band Adam Hattaway and the Haunters were completely new to me. A big band with something like six members squeezed onto the small stage, I was taken buy the clarity of their sound with so many people playing together, which so often sounds like a big dirge when playing live, so it made it easier to make out what they were playing, especially as I did not know their music. Any how with brass and percussion as well as the usual drums and a couple of guitars etc, I was very impressed with their great poppy rock songs that were most accessible and very catchy. They were actually the highlight of the night for me, although I ended up leaving before I saw Wurld Series(who I do really like) as they were running way behind schedule, it was after midnight and I still had an hours drive home and work in the morning.
  Therefore the last band I did see for this first gig was the Ben Woods Group, another band I knew nothing about. It turned out that this was the same bunch who had joined Motte at the end of her set and indeed she did join them as part of the band. After Adam Hattaway, I though this band sounded quite murky in comparison and a bit louder so it did make it a bit more difficult to make out what they were playing, but it was quite droney and I did think there was some interesting stuff discernible in the murky sound. The cut they have on the CD sounds a lot more poppy than what I heard that night. Still I did enjoy their set and overall it was a fairly enjoyable night of cool music. A good start to my three night of music.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Beastwars - New City Hotel - Christchurch 4th August 2018


What a contrast from the previous night's indie pop gig at the same venue. This was the biggest crowd at the New City I have yet seen, pretty much sold out and confirming Berastwars as one of the country's top heavy metal/hard rock bands. First time I have seen this band, bought their last LP but have not any of their earlier stuff. This band have been around a few years but they are certainly not young men with plenty of grey hair and beards in evidence and looking older than I am.
  I haven't played their album a lot and although it is pretty good, it is not fantastic, but they are highly regarded and I decided I did not want to miss them live. The band have been out of action lately, with the singer battling cancer, which is now in remission and so the band are back out on the road and spoke of a new record in the new year.
  Three other bands were supporting Beastwars this night, but due to watching the first half of the Super Rugby Final, I missed the first band, just catching the last song of their set.
 The place was packed as Yarnspinner played next, doomy heavy rock with growely vocals, they played some cool riffs and longish numbers, slow and fast., long haired guitarist riffing intensely, a dark Gothic chick on Bass and massive beard on vocals. Enjoyable set and I think I saw them at the Doomfest at the same venue last December.
 Pieces Of Molly were next, a great hard rock/classic rock band with some great riffs and classic rock style guitar playing. Probably the most commercial sounding band of the night but definitely rocked out, and I definatlky enjoyed their melodies and was thinking how goos their music might sound on record. The live sound did get a little samey and I was glad when they finished but I would buy their music on record. Reminded me a bit of Wolfmother. Singer was the best of the night.
  Beastwars hit the stage just past 11:30pm, to a great roar from the crowd. As they hit their heavy grooves the mosh pit was heaving and it was fucking hot in this barn, so I stayed near the back by the sound desk. The band certainly are good live and I think they had their own PA instead of the usual venue PA, which sounded much better. I think they were pretty good live although this is another gig that won't stick in my memory as unforgettable or awesome but I did really enjoy their set and was tapping my foot and nodding my head along to the heavy groove. The crowd were pretty into it though and there was plenty of moshing at the front and some stage diving a couple of times. It was definitely worth going to see them.



Ha The Unclear - New City Hotel - Christchurch 3rd August 2018



Dunedin band Ha The Unclear's name had been on my radar for a little while but I really knew little about them or their music. Information about their new record had filtered through the vine a few weeks back and it became known to me that there was to be a vinyl version as well as CD and download. I am always partial to vinyl copies of NZ albums when I can get them and so hopped onto their Bandcamp site and sampled the wares therein. I was not immediately taken with the music but after a couple of goes I decided it was good enough to get hold of their record, and seeing as they were playing near me in support of that record, after a lot of procrastination, I finally decided at the last minute on Friday nigh,t to go check them out.
 I was expecting a bigger crowd after the early bird tickets had all been sold but it was actually a modest turnout of less than 100 people I think. I got there pretty early, just after doors opened at 8pm, as online ticket sales had finished just before I decided to go, and I wanted to make sure I got in via door sales.
  The support act was a solo lass named Laura Lee Lovely, She basically had pre programmed disco/techno type pop tracks to which she sung along in that pop.style that plays on commercial radio. It was horrible, She did have a good voice and perhaps the tunes were original but it was the sort of act I'd expect to see in some low class nightclub or perhaps a young persons evening at a local Workingmans club. I hope I never see the likes again.
  Ha The Unclear finally hit the stage and entertained up with their quaint indie pop, the first songs or two was not the best sounding from the PA as their soundman was in the audience with his laptop adjusting things as they played(as he did with their support act), but the sound improved and was pretty acceptable for the rest of their set. Live, the band were a bit more energetic sounding that their recording and I enjoyed the bass players lines on many of the songs. It was an enjoyable set and the songs were pretty good but it is not a gig that will stick firmly in my memory I think but I am still glad I went.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

All Seeing Hand - The Lyttelton Coffee Co, Lyttelton - 28th July 2018


All Seeing Hand are touring a new album and I think they are perhaps one of the most important New Zealand Bands around at present. I did see them live last year at The Darkroom when they played a short set on the night of the cancelled Darkspace night, where a lot of the bands didn't make it to town due to heavy rain and flooding.
 I was hoping to pick up a copy of the new album but it turns out that it will probably be a download only release although did have cassettes of it but they all sold out in the previous gig in Dunedin and I don't have a tape deck anymore.
  The gig was at a Cafe in Lyttelton called The Lyttelton Coffee Co, My first visit and according to a fellow I meet at the gig from a Facebook group I belong to, has pretty regular gigs.
 It was a pretty informal setup as punters slowly drifted in to the venue, where the musicians had set up their gear in one corner of the old brick walled building and the tables had been moved aside for standing room, a lot like Space Academy in Christchurch where I had seen several gigs over the last couple of years.
  First up of the night was a female trio called Fem Scream, they started off with some sampled loops just left on repeat then they left their equipment for a while then, drifted back one at a time and started adding in their electronics and guitar effects to create a sonic soundscape to to far removed from Throbbing Gristle's efforts back in the late 70's. They did a lot of screaming vocals which were pretty much undecipherable but it was mildly interesting.
  Next was Motte, a solo act with violin and electronics. I really like Motte, I have her vinyl record, which is great and I enjoyed her set this time a lot more than the last time I saw her play, although a lot of people talked all the way through her set which was not loud so it was a bit distracting.
  All Seeing Hand then hit the floor after changing into their outrageous costumes they play in. It was difficult to see as the place was pretty full now and as there was no stage, I could not see the band too well from in the crowd. They play a kinda of Industrial Techno music with drums and electronics and the singer doing all sorts of pyrotechnics with his vocalizing and throat singing. I did recognize at least one song from a previous record I have but it is the sort of music that takes a lot of listens to get ingrained into your head and is not exactly infused with catchy melodies, but I guess most of the material was from the new record and it was great throbbing toe tapping head nodding music and I really enjoyed their set. 

Tami Neilson - Theater Royal - Christchurch - 27th July 2018


I had missed Tami last time she played here as it clashed with another concert I was attending on the same night. This time the wife and I got tickets pretty early and was able to secure downstairs seating. The new album,"Sassafrass!" had been in my possession for a couple of months and although it had not got a lot of attention, due to so many other records coming in to my possession, I hadn't really connected with it as much as I did with her previous record. Therefore I was a little apprehensive about this concert, although the Wife was enjoying the new record more than me and it is not often we find an artist we both like to go see live.
 I was excited to hear that The Miltones were the support band for this gig as I really liked their first record and had seen them play twice at Blue Smoke over the last year or so and loved them live also. It was interesting to note Tami playing the Theater Royal this time as the first time I saw her was in the tiny Wunderbar, but the last time was in the new cathedral, so the venue was another step up in size and although it was well attended, it was not sold out.
  The Miltones hit the stage at the appointed time and played a short set just a tad under 30 minutes. Unfortunately I found them a bit underdone in this venue, as I said, a short set and I thought the sound was not all that well mixed with the guitar and keys far to low in the mix that they didn't really stand out when playing their solos and both players I know are really good and should be heard more than they were. I am not sure if their holding back was from the size of the audience or the main act imposing restrictions on their support so not to be outplayed, although Tami and band should not have to worry about that as they put on a great show after and even if The Miltones had played as well and as energetically as I know they can, they would not have threatened the main act.
  After a 30 minute break for patrons to que at the bar etc, Tami's band took the stage and started in on their groove for a minute or so before Tami bounds onto the stage and rips into one of the numbers form the new album. Pretty quick any of my concerns are gone about her new songs as she belts them out with the superb voice she has and the great band she had that kicks the songs arse. Tami never fails to sing her butt off and just has the most powerful voice in the country. She plays a selection of the new and not so new songs, all from her own catalog, except her slightly altered version of James Browns "It's A Mans, Mans World" which gives me goosebumps when the groove hits. She talks a lot between numbers which is enlightening to me as I really don't pay attention to the meaning of songs and lyrics too much but it does inform me a bit more to what some of the new are about, and reveals some more to us how close to her family she is and also how much of a supporter of Women's rights she is. There is a bit of a political bent to some of her songs. The sound for their set was much better than The Miltones set with the awesome Brett Adams(From The Bads) playing some blistering stuff on lead guitar. So yet again I leave A Tami Neilson Gig completely satisfied and in awe of her vocal performance.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Great North - Blue Smoke - Christchurch - 8th July 2018


Great North are a New Zealand Husband and Wife duo playing folksy/americana indi pop of quality.
 They had been based in the UK and Europe for several years where they recorded their "The Golden Age" Album, released last year, a record I have really enjoyed. They have several more earlier CD's on their Bandcamp page.
 They returned to New Zealand and have decided to put the band on indefinate hold and so have gone out on the road for this final tour so I needed to catch their set.
 This was one of Blue Smokes Sunday sit downs although I was a little late to secure a table and was on my own so wasn't to bothered. It was a modest crowd but enough to look reasonably busy.
 The support act was another Husband and Wife duo of Brendon & Alison Turner whom they had brought down from the far north. Brendon played acoustic guitar and they sang harmony as they presented us their old style  blues tinged country music. Their male female harmonies were pretty good(I do like that style) and their songs interesting and pretty good. They didn't really capture the audiences attention though with most of them chatting loudly through the set apart from us near the front.

 Great North hit the stage soon after 5PM, Hayden and Rachel Donell joined by a peddle steel player and another fella on electric piano. Hayden was pretty chatty throughout ther set and told stories about some of the songs with plenty of dry humour. At one point announcing "This song is about my ex girlfriend, sang by my wife". Their live set followed closely what I knew from their record with most of the material being from their "Golden Age" album and a new CD called "The Caravan Recordings I" which maybe some older unrleaserd material and the title suggest more in the pipeline. I picked up the CD and played it on the way home and noticed at least three songs from their live set.
 I really enjoyed their set, Hayden has a strong distinct voice that reminds me a little of Don McGlashan and he combines very well with his wife. Great gig and sad that it may be their last tour.





Thursday, June 14, 2018

Fis and Rob Thorn - Christchurch Arts Center Auditorium - 13 June 2018


Rob Thorn presents traditional Maori instruments and with the aid of Fis( Oliver Peryman) creates sonic soundscapes with electronics and taonga pūoro. I scored the album Clear Stones that the pair released last year and it is a very interesting and unique presentation of indigenous instruments and electronic manipulations of Rob's instruments.

 This presentation had nearly a full house at the Christchurch Arts Center on a cool and damp evening. After everyone finally took their seats, Rob gave a short introduction to what they would be doing and a warning as to the extreme volumes we were about to experience during their presentation. The venue staff then handed out earplugs to all who wished them, I don't usually bother but I took a pair just to be safe.

 Rob started the show on his own with the acoustic taonga pūoro instruments and feed them through a loop playback machine, building subtle layers of traditional sounds, this part of the presentation needed no earplugs. After a while Rob gave Fis the nod and he chimed in with his electronic sound oscillators and laptops building in volume until the sound became quite physical with the low end rumblings causing the floor and chairs to vibrate. Earplugs were definitely needed at this time. The pair played for just under an hour I think and it is difficult for me to describe the sonic art they produced except it was very loud and there was a lot of low end noise.

 There was a break for drinks and leg stretching before the show recommenced with just Fis solo with his boxes of knobs and buttons. Again it got very loud and physical but it was a very interesting and enjoyable soundscape he created while furiously fiddling with knobs and buttons and leavers etc on his boxes. Overall a very interesting, intense and enjoyable experience.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Evil Kid - Salad Boys - Dogfish - PGX - Darkroom - Christchurch - 9th June 2018



Two nights in a row I get to see some great live music, this time it is back to a regular venue, the Darkroom for the first time this year. Evil Kid hail from Dunedin and the bass player is someone I know from one of the music related Facebook groups I belong to and also he runs a local record label, Monkey Killer Records, and I have bought some records from him, so I hoped to meet him and have a chat.
  They had enlisted support from three local Christchurch bands, two I had not heard of and the third being the Salad Boys, who I have a couple of their records and had seen them play live before and liked their music.
 I arrived just as the doors opened at 9pm, bought a drink and waited for the bands to get set up. Dave from Galaxy Records soon arrived and opened his shop and I had a quick browse through his selections and a chat untill the first band was ready to go on.
 PGX were unfamiliar to me, an all girl band playing a great post punky music that really impressed and had some really cool guitar riffs going on in their bouncy music. Some of he other musos who knew them commented on how far they had come in their playing and songwriting. Look forward to some recordings soon.

Here is a short Video I posted to Facebook during their set.

https://www.facebook.com/Roddus1/videos/10156434267244731/UzpfSTcwNjMxNDczMDoxMDE1NjQzNTYzMzI3NDczMQ/

 Dogfish were next and they too are new to me. Guitar, Drums Keyboard and a sort of electric violin of some sort, they played long jammy instrumentals that I really liked and they appeared a little disorganized but it was a lot of fun.

https://www.facebook.com/Roddus1/videos/10156434327129731/UzpfSTcwNjMxNDczMDoxMDE1NjQzNTYzMjg3NDczMQ/

Evil Kid played next as they decided to let Salad Boys go last they are the best known band of the four. A four piece playing punky indie rock, their songs were all pretty good and catchy and had some great guitar licks that I enjoyed. The singer sounded familiar to me and I confirmed with David, the Bass played after their set that he had in fact been the vocalist of a band called Onanon of whom I have the records they put out on David's monkey killer Records.

https://www.facebook.com/Roddus1/videos/10156434384359731/UzpfSTcwNjMxNDczMDoxMDE1NjQzNTYzMjQ2NDczMQ/

Last up was Salad Boys, playing pretty fast tempo versions of the songs from their last LP, they really punked it up and were full of energy and played a good and enjoyable set. I heard Dave from Galaxy Records mention that the bass and drum players in the band keep changing every time he sees them play and I thought the bass playing was different from the last time I saw them play late last year. I though the Drummer missed a couple of beats also. They were the loudest band of the night and thinks did get a little more distorted, especially the vocals as both the leader and bass player were really screaming the lyrics sometimes and it was a little too much, but overall it was a great and energetic set.

https://www.facebook.com/Roddus1/videos/10156434452409731/UzpfSTcwNjMxNDczMDoxMDE1NjQzNTYzMTk2OTczMQ/

Not sure if you can access these videos links on facebook that I posted and unfortunately the videos are rather jumpy from my phone for some reason.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

The Miltones and Emily Fairlight - Blue Smoke - Christchurch 8th June 2018



Been quite a while since I went to see any live music and not through lack of great bands coming through but mainly lack of funds to support my habit. Most spare cash has been used trying to keep up with all the great New Zealand vinyl records being released so far this year and good grief, how did the first half of the year disappear so fast.
 The Miltones the Wife and I saw last year at the same venue(a review of which I seemed to have forgotten to post) and most enjoyable they were on that occasion. As well as their wonderful debut record(which won a Tui for debut of the year) which has impressed me no end since getting hold of a copy.
 Also Emily Fairlight has her first record out and after having a listen on bandcamp, figured I would score a copy at the gig. She whom must be obeyed and myself duly arrived early enough to get a table near the stage and settled in with drinks in anticipation of of Emily taking the stage at 8:30.
 Being a support act I actually expected Emily Fairlight to be flying solo for this gig and so was pleasantly surprised to see a band join her on stage. She mentioned that the band being her southern band, in that they were a group of local musos, collected togeather for this gig. Overall it was a nice set. I was still quite unfamiliar with Emily's music but she has a good voice although her singing did not come through the PA all that clear or her speaking for that matter. There was one piece they did called The Desert, which was an instrumental number and quite experimental and different from the rest of her set and it impressed me the most. Overall both Mrs Roddus and myself  enjoyed her set and I did indeed purchase her record.
  The break between bands was kept reasonably short and soon the Miltones hit the stage and let rip into their rockin' set. The Miltones record is a combination of 70's Fleetwood Mac and modern Americana with their lead singer sounding a lot like Stevie Nicks sometimes. The last time we saw them at Blue Smoke, it was one of their Sunday Sit Down Gigs and the band was purposely restrained but still impressed me considerably with their well constructed and played music. This time they played with much more energy and it was evident from the first song that this band play together so well. The set consisted of several songs from the album, a couple or three new ones including the one that the tour was supporting and a couple of older songs that were not on the album. All that they played was great and the newer stuff bodes very well for the next album. The keyboard player was really getting into his stuff this night and his long hair was flying all over the place as he let rip with some impressive playing as well as a couple of cool trumpet solos. The Guitarist is also very skilled and on their rockier songs played some pretty cool and rocking solos as well. Another most enjoyable set from the Miltones and although their music is a bit more commercial than a lot of what I  usually listen to, I do really like and respect this band and they should be getting much more attention than they appear to be getting at present.

Friday, January 12, 2018

A Dead Forest Index - All That Drifts From Summit Down - Sargent House SH51 - 2016 - New Zealand (vinyl)



Probably not really a review but more of a rave in regards to this record. Two brothers, Adam and Sam Sherry are the core of this band with a few friends helping out. Their first full album after some hard to find EP's we are presented here with a bunch of shoegazy dreamy pop songs of ethereal ambience and outstanding quality. The music is great, the poetic lyrics somewhat impenetrable but of quality, but the vocal harmonies are just phenomenal. I think Adam handles most of the singing with Sam occasionally backing, but it also sounds like Adam harmonizes with himself a lot of the time. I just can't express just how astonishing this record is, one of the best New Zealand albums I have ever heard and definitely a desert island disc. Rating 5+/5



Steve Abel - Luck/Hope - Arcade Recordings AMR 006 - New Zealand - 2016 (Vinyl)




I had heard Steve's song "Sidewalk Doves" several times from a podcast I listen to regularly, which I enjoy, but although I had seen his record about, I had not got around to securing myself a copy, until I actually saw him play live last year, a gig I thoroughly enjoyed. I picked up this record there.
 A singer/songwriter with a pleasant and laid back almost lazy voice, which I like a lot, this album has quite a lineup of musicians that play on it from across the 6 year odd gestation period of this record. Steve just played solo with his acoustic guitar when I saw him play and he was great, but I always enjoy the music more when filled out with a full band and this music is no exception. This is a pretty sparse record, very laid back and understated but really well presented with plenty of strong tunes and nice subtle playing, especially from the talented Jolie Holland who has a strong presence on this set. A very nice record which get a rating of 4/5.





Sunday, January 7, 2018

Milt Jackson & John Coltrane - Bags & Trane - Atlantic USA 1961 - CD Reissue 1988




I was pretty slow coming to jazz, it was a music I really struggled to connect with until probably well into my 30's, but before that I did slowly add some jazz titles to my collection. John Coltrane and Miles Davis mainly. With the discovery of John Zorn and Sun Ra in the early 90's I started to take more of a notice, although both stayed on the outer periphery of my music listening until much later.
 But the first jazz record I actually bought back in the late 80's while I still was in my early 20's was a vinyl copy of this album. I obtained it well before I started buying CDs and I have no idea which vinyl version I had at the time but I do remember really liking what I heard, especially the fast tempo tracks with their fast bass lines holding the tunes together. It was always the faster paced tunes that really captured my attention back in the day and this album certainly had some of that uptempo stuff for me to relish. As much as I liked this record at the time it still remained my only foray into jazz for quite a while. This CD reissue was released in 1988 according to the back cover and has 3 additional bonus tracks. I didn't actually buy this again till recently after I saw it really cheap in some shop and remembered my fondness for it. My enjoyment of this record has not diminished over the last 30 years since I first heard it and indeed I can appreciate the sheer quality of this great session from two jazz greats even more now. A wonderful record and the additional tracks all stand up well with the original record. Rating 4/5.

Triumphs - Computer Man - Self Released TRI001 - New Zealand 2017 - (Limited Edition Vinyl)




So I have had 8 new slabs of vinyl arrive so far for the first week of 2018, four I have already reviewed below, but this one is the pick of the new arrivals so far.
 Triumphs are a two piece with just guitar and drums, hailing from the southern metropolis of Dunedin, New Zealand. They play what is usually termed "Post Rock" and they stick to the formula of quiet/loud which seems to be quite common for this style of music. The scene seems to be pretty busy here in NZ and with this album Triumphs have pushed them selves to the top of the heap here up with the likes of Jacob, Karretta and Into Orbit.
 Four Sides of awesome riffing backed with excellent drumming, over all four sides it never gets dull, even though they never stray from the usual formula. Their first album, "Beekeeper/Bastardknocker" was a great record but suffered from low volume and was quite Lofi sounding on vinyl. This record supersedes that record in every aspic, the sound is incredible, the volume is excellent, the music is fantastic and the vinyl is quiet as a mouse. Perfect. What a great record to start off the year. Rating 5/5.

Roy Irwin - Some Other Dumb Asshole - 1:12 Records - LP 004 - 2016 - New Zealand (Vinyl)


The last of the 1:12 Records new arrivals and I believe this is Roy's first album. A little harder to pigeonhole, this record with a couple of instrumental tracks,  a solo guitar song, some slightly weird stuff in some track and some  nice non commercial pop tracks like the familiar and very good"Metal Breath", which I already knew and the excellent bass led "Deth Trip"that opens side two. Maybe a little patchy in places but plenty interesting stuff happening and I feel most of it will grow on me. Rating 3.5/5.


The Echo Ohs - Hot Pocket - 1:12 Records - LP 006 - 2017 - New Zealand (Vinyl)

Next new arrival is another of the three I got from 1:12 Records, a small independent record company(like so many here) in the North Island of new Zealand. This is The Echo Ohs first album, after a split EP and a 7 inch single both on vinyl. The band has four members with  female vocalist/bassist and drummer and guitar with trumpet and trombone, and sax on one track.
 Lifo garage/surf/riot girrl is the order of the day, plenty of distortion but not enough to obscure what is going on in the songs. plenty of cool bass and screeching guitar fleshed out with the brass, this is a really sound record and most enjoyable. A great effort. Rating 4/5



Full Moon Fiasco - Summer Eyes - Fantasy Fiction Records - FF 001 - 2017 - New Zealand (Vinyl)


So, this is the second review of the four first arrivals of 2018 and is the second album from this expat Kiwi band now resident in Germany. The brainchild of one Will Rattray, who recorded, mixed and produced this album as well as sharing writing credits with the rest of the band. Been a long wait between albums with their debut being possibly digital only release from 2010.
 Electronic tinged, off kilter psychedelic indie pop make up the contents of this record, pretty catchy in places and somewhat dreamy and shoegazy. Overall, a pleasant enough bunch of songs that I have enjoyed listening to but probably not a record that will end up on my best of lists. Still a worthwhile addition to my New Zealand Collection, with some quite interesting moments. Sounds better on the floor stand speakers than the headphones though, sounded a bit murky on the headphones. Rating 3/5.


Magic Factory - Working With Gold - 1:12 Records - LP 007 - 2017 - New Zealand (vinyl)


Apparently, sometime perhaps back in the early 70's, The Rolling Stones somehow discovered or got access to a time machine and came forward 45 odd years in time and ended up in New Zealand where they recorded an album for a small independent record label called 1:12 Records under the pseudonym The Magic Factory.
  All joking aside, yes this record certainly does have a very strong early 70's Rolling Stones sound perhaps with a hint of those other Rolling Stones copyists, The New York Dolls. This is not at all a bad thing, with some great songs and plenty of classic guitar sounds on what is a very accomplished and pretty cool record. I am enjoying it to the max, nothing wrong with old school rock. Rating 4.5/5.




Tom Cunliffe - Lyttelton Records - Christchurch - 6 January 2018



Tom Cunliffe is an Auckland resident of Irish descent who plays a lovely blend of folksy Americana, has a really good debut album out on Lyttelton Records out of Christchurch and another album due out in April. This short tour is in promotion of that new record.
  This was my first gig at the new Lyttelton Records Cafe/Bar/record shop/music venue. It is a pretty small venue with a capacity of only about 80 people and it was not full for this date. I found the setup a bit of a let down with the stage in the center of the long narrow venue and seating limited but also taking up a lot of the standing room in front  of the stage. The bar was off to the side of the sage with a brick wall separating but there was a window looking from the end of the bar into the stage area and a speaker to project the music into this area. It was at the far end of the bar I found a perch with my drink as I waited for the first act of the night. This was another Tom, although I did not get to hear his last name. This Tom played just solo guitar and some piano and did some really good tunes although lyrically a little on the dark side and the guitar playing was cool and slightly heavy in places. Who ever he was I enjoyed his set.
 After he finished. I snuck into a gap in the seating up against a wall where I got a much better view of the stage and waited for Tom Cunliffe to mount the stage.
  This Tom also played solo, mostly electric and later some acoustic guitar. I had a re listen to his first album earlier to reacquaint myself with his songs, but actually most of the show was at first all the new stuff, I believe, from his up coming album and so I didn't know any of it, but it sounded promising and sometimes whimsical, as apposed to the more melancholy stuff on the first record. Towards the end of his set a lady at the front asked if he would play Old Moon, a great song off the first album(which I just now discovered was not his first album, as he has an earlier one on Bandcamp), He duly obliged as she enthusiastically sung along to every word. He played two more songs off that record to which he got more reaction from the audience as they all knew the songs and all are great songs. It was a most enjoyable evening and Tom is a bloody great singer, an impressive lyricist and a strong entertainer. Great night, really glad I went.



Thursday, January 4, 2018

Godsmack - Awake - Republic/Universal Records 159 688-2- USA 2000 (CD)



Really heavy alt rock with gruff but good vocals, this album really kicks arse, has great riffs is as heavy as fuck with out becoming outright metal and sells in truckloads( God Smack have world wide album sales in excess if 10 000 000 units) I really like this one, good sounds. Rating 4/5.


Various Artists - Hallelujah, Anyway- Remembering Tom Cora - Tzadik TZ7602 - USA 1999 (CD)



I knew Nothing of Tom Cora when i bought this album. I bought it as part of my collecting of the catalog of John Zorn's Tzadik Label.
 Released in 1999, soon after Tom's passing from cancer at the age of 44, this tribute to Tom consists of two 70 minute CDs of music from Tom and many of the bands Tom played in over his career as well as other musicians that Tom had played with and influenced, doing pieces that Tom wrote or that they recorded especially for this compilation.
 I could be here a month of Sundays trying to describe the music on this release and at over 140 minutes there is a hell of a lot to take in and this sort of stuff does not get pulled off the shelf very often.
 Tom played in many bands over the years as well as releasing solo stuff, like some of his solo cello improvisations, an impressive example of which graces this album, along with recordings he did with some familiar names, such as, John Zorn, Fred Frith, Leo Smith and Chris Cutler. There are also tracks from bands that Tom graced such as, Curlew, Oriental Fusion, Third Person, The Ex, Pidgen Combo, Nimal and I believe his most well known outfit, Skeleton Crew with Fred Frith and Zeena Parkins.
Oh what a roller coaster of a musical journey is this project but it is very well worth the ride. Some really mind bending and creative music resides on these two discs, from free improvisations, plenty of NYC Downtown madness, Brass Bands, electronic noise, off kilter pop and plenty of other almost indescribable weirdness, there is nothing I don't like and plenty that I really am enjoying very much. It would be worth tracking down some of the recordings Tom did with the various bands he played in that I mentioned above. A wonderful tribute to Tom and musically get a massive thumbs up from me.
 I highly recommend this album for those who like challenging music, go on, dive in I dare you. Rating 5/5.



Mazzy Star - So Tonight That I May See - Capitol Records 0777 7 98253 2 5 - USA 1993 (CD)



Mazzy Star are another of those bands where I just have the one album, not because I didn't get into them at the time but usually because there are always so many other albums always begging for my attention and some times because an album is just so fucking good that one feels nothing else they could do would ever touch it and this is one of those. Not that Mazzy Star actually put out many albums anyhow.
 I know I didn't actually buy this album upon initial release, but much later on. I did finally buy a copy, of course, on the strength of "Fade Into You", the opening track and I sure most who know it will agree, a masterful classic of  slow dreamy atmospheric pop, A beautiful song.
 Although this album is not pure commercial pop, this music is much deeper than that, stunning alternative pop, with slow organ melodies, acoustic guitar and sometimes screeching electric guitar, nicely mixed in the background so not to overpower the rest of the music. This is such a well balanced mix, awesomely recorded but not super Hifi.
  Not only are the songs brilliant but some of the titles are really cool as well, "Mary of Silence", "Unreflected", "Into Dust", just all magnificent songs.
 I really can't gush enough about just how good this record is, it might be nigh on perfect. so I'll just conclude that this album is a very strong contender for a desert Island disc. Rating 5+/5.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Sun Ra - Cosmo Earth Fantasy(Sub Underground Vol 1&2) (USA 1974/5) ( CD) Reissue 2012





This Art Yard release combines two ultra rare Ra Saturn LPs from 74'and 75', "Cosmo Earth Fantasy" and "What's New", although the recordings themselves are dated somewhat earlier, from 1962 Choreographers Workshop reheasrsal recordings to a live recording from 1975. Quite a mix of styles on offer here with the set kicking off with the mammoth 22 minute improvised title track which will challenge but reveals some quite interesting passages. It does get pretty noodly at times though. The rest is a bit more conventional sounding in a fashion(if you could ever call any of Sun Ra's muisc conventional) with some nice piano from Ra in places and reasonable remastering to give a fairly listenable release. A very worthwhile Sun Ra set and gets my rating of 4/5.

https://www.discogs.com/Sun-Ra-And-His-Astro-Infinity-Arkestra-Cosmo-Earth-Fantasy-Sub-Underground-Series-Vol-1-2/release/4085654

The Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers - Rolling Stones Records - UK 1971 (CD) Reissue 1994



What more can I say about an album like this, bugger all really. I am not a really big Stones fan but I do have some of their best albums in my collection. Of course this kicks off with one of those unavoidable classics which you would have to be living in a cave in Mongolia for the last 40 years, not to be familiar with. This album also has an real Americana vibe through it with it's shades of country as well as the excellent delta blues of " We Gotta Move" Consistently brilliant across its whole 46 minutes, but it's the center piece of the album that really blows my mind. The seven minute "Can You Hear Me Knocking" could possibly be the best things the Stones ever recorded with the great riff and the awesome extended atmospheric sax and guitar breaks. Although "Sister Morphine" slightly disappoints after being so familiar with Marianne Faithful's sublime version for so long, it still won't stop me giving this album 5/5.


https://www.discogs.com/The-Rolling-Stones-Sticky-Fingers/release/9792158

The Cure - Disintergration - Fiction Records 839353-2 - UK 1989 (CD)


So this is apparently The Cure's biggest selling album, with over three million units sold worldwide. I never knew they got quite so big. I guess I still think of them as a sort of cult band from their early 80's output. This reissue on CD of this album ended up in my collection god knows when and really has received almost no attention since. This CD version has some additional tracks and clocks in over 72 minutes. As you would expect from The Cure, the music is dark and drony and a bit long winded and I do find these very long records difficult to stay with for their full length. I was slightly familiar with one or two songs on this, and good songs they are. There is a lot happening throughout the record, with some interesting string arrangements fleshing out the tracks I do actually find this to be a pretty strong set, although still way too long. Another of those albums that I couldn't really sit down with and listen to intently but I am really appreciating it as it plays loudly while doing other not too distracting jobs around the house. Rating 3/5.


The Nudge - Big Nudge Pie - Self Released KEEN001 - New Zealand 2011 (CD)


Since my almost total immersion into New Zealand music over the last two and a half years and re immersion into the cult of vinyl, I made the decision that most of the NZ music I buy was going to be vinyl only, but that is not an absolute. I had picked up The Nudge - Dark Arts album earlier in the year and was most impressed with the result and didn't hesitate to catch them live back in September when they played here. The gig was excellent and they played a lot of songs from their more unfamiliar first album sand witched between a full live rendition of the Dark Arts album. I was totally blown away by their playing and their music and so had to get my hands on this CD, seeing as it didn't have a vinyl release.
 This whole album, all 60 odd minutes, is just wall to wall Blues/Psych rock with all killer and no filler. Stunning arrangements and brilliant guitar pyrotechnics, this record is an absolute New Zealand Classic, pure raw unadulterated bliss. Rating 5/5.




McCoy Tyner - Time for Tyner - Blue Note BST84307 - USA 1969 (LP) 75th Anniversary Reissue



The second Blue Note of the evening was this quartet session from 1968, lead by Tyner on the piano, it opens three of his own compositions and concludes with three musical pieces from Rogers and Hammerstein and A.J Learner. It was difficult for me not to make too many comparisons with the previous fantastic Grant Green album I had just listened to before this. The Idle Moments record was a wonderful sparce, clear and excellent all round record which just impressed me incredibly. On the headphones straight after, this album struck me as more dense and frenetic and maybe not quite as clear as a recording as the other record, I wasn't feeling it anywhere near as much. On next listen I didn't use the headphones, played through the Focals, and it definitely fitted much better like this. I found it to be one of those records I can appreciate more if I am not solely focused on intent listening and indeed this morning I am appreciating the excellent piano work of Tyner on this fast paced record. One that was highly rated in the Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings, it was included as one of their Core Recordings, but I don't find it quite as satisfying but am appreciating the playing much more than I did last night. It is a grower, rating 3.5/5

Grant Green - Idle Moments - Blue Note ST-84154 - USA 1964 (LP) 75th Anniversary Reissue.



Getting into my Blue Notes for a couple of records on a lazy New Years Day and first one I pulled off the rack is this fantastic record. A quintet session from late '62 lead by Green but with the two best compositions by the pianist, Duke Pearson. Pearson's Album title track is the center piece of the set, and extremely laid back slow number that sounds like it is going to stall at times but is chocked full of stunning solos from Henderson, Green and Pearsom. Jean De Fluer is a faster tempo with some wonderful playing from Green, who penned this number, it is a real toe tapper. Side two opens with the Modern Jazz Quartets Djando, a mid tempo affair to which the group does great justice, and lastly Pearson's second composition, Nomad signs off an excellent record. I usually prefer my jazz more up tempo and freer but this is such a Strong record wonderfully recorded and the 75th Anniversary vinyl reissue sounds great. A classic Blue Note. Rating 5/5.