Thursday, February 25, 2016

You're just a puppet right? (Shihad) #520

Shihad All The Young Fascists/ My Heart/ Heavy Metal From Early On  (WEA Records, 2005)

For some reason Shihad has never featured on my radar. This single is another one of those left behind when the kids left home.

This is a tad unusual as I love a lot of NZ music and I definitely (or defiantly as the kids misspell it) love hard rock: as in amped up guitars, pounding drums and a wailing vocalist. All of which Shihad have in spades.

The band have been at it since 1988 and have a big audience in NZ but a listen to this single from their album Love Is the New Hate does not move me particularly. And now I think I know why.

I was never big on the Metallica/ Megadeth brand of metal which inspired Shihad back in the eighties. I have the black album and that's all from those two bands.

At the time these bands were big we were living in Nelson and our neighbour's teenage son was a huge fan. I was of another generation and although I tried, I just couldn't muster the same enthusiasm.

Each generation has it's own music and Metallica/ Megadeth/ Shihad is just not mine.

Hidden gems: Unsurprisingly it is Heavy Metal From Early On that I really like - it's grungy old skool style metal is much more to my taste.


Sunday, February 21, 2016

I leave the mundane behind (Saint Jude's Infirmary) #519

Saint Jude's Infirmary The Church Of John Coltrane/ TB Eyes/ Ostrich/ Jacob's Ladder  (SL Records, 2005)

Saint Jude's Infirmary is a band from Scotland. Edinburgh to be more precise.

I bought this CD single from a snazzy record shop just off the golden mile in Edinburgh in 2005.

I'm always keen to buy local talent when I hit town, whether it be Bangkok, Wuxi, Al Ain, Edinburgh...wherever. I like the idea of sampling the local culture.

The Church Of John Coltrane was a punt at the time; I was trading on the idea that referencing Coltrane was a pretty cool thing to do.

I lucked out - it's a terrific song. The female singer is terrific and the bloke who does the spoken word section is the dog's bollocks.

Hidden gem: TB Eyes is a lovely rumination with light instrumentation (that's probably how a proper rock critic would describe it). Hints of Patti Smith intensity here and there only endear it to me more.

The other tracks aren't quite as spectacular but they are still interesting, different and way beyond 'mundane'.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Through the wind, through the rain, the snow, the wind, the rain you've got, you've got my love, heart and soul (Bruce Springsteen) #518

Glen Hansard Drive All Night/ Pennies In The Fountain/ Renata/ Step Out Of The Shadows  (Universal, 2013)

You'll know Glen from the second best music film of all time - ONCE

[Bestest of all time? Woodstock: Three Days Of Peace And Music.]

He is so amazing in ONCE (as is Mark√©ta Irglov√°). They can act brilliantly and are superb musicians. Such talent!

Drive All Night you'll know from the Springsteen album, The River. Brooce's original version is amazing - full of dark portents and impending doom.

Glen's take is lighter - passionate in a different way to the Boss. He and guest Eddie Vedder stretch out but without the quiet desperation of the original.

The Springsteen connection is also enhanced with Jake Clemons' appearance on sax. Bruce has also used Glen as a guest on the song in concert so that's pretty damned special!

Hidden gem: Pennies, and Renata share the same mid tempo passion - and are more in Glen's customary style. 

It's Step out that sends the chills though - just Glen's voice, and what a voice!!

Monday, February 8, 2016

I send a peace frog (The Phoenix Foundation) #516 - 517

The Phoenix Foundation The Krisk/ Everybody's Money/ Forget It/ Party Below/ Wrestling With Demons/ The Man Next Door (Rhythm Method, 2009)
The Phoenix Foundation Bob Lennon John Dylan/ Fiscal Pickle/ Real Pig/ Asswipe/ Race Day (Universal, 2014)

The Phoenix Foundation celebrate Christmas with the first extended single, except being them, it's more of a Bad Santa/ Tim Burton form of yule tide feast (the correct title for the single is Merry Kriskmass EP - ho ho ho).

The lead off song The Krisk is all typical PF jingle jangle (Christmas) morning but not one of their bestest songs.

The Tom's Lunch EP is more like it (although the picture of his lunch is definitely unappealing on the cover) - trademark guitars, quirky humour and Wellington number eight wire inventiveness. Bob Lennon sneaks up on you! 

Hidden gems: The Beatles loom large on the superb She Said She Said/ I Am the Walrus homage that is Everybody's Money - plus the Wellington boys throw in a Pink Floyd Money style theme, which is always welcome in December. 

The rest of the Krish single is a bit too woozily barking mad for my taste - all the hidden tracks? Really guys? Smacks of being too much of an in joke.

Race Day presents a different look - nice acoustic guitars and harmonies.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

I feel stupid and contagious (Nirvana) #510 - 515

Nirvana Smells Like Teen Spirit/ Even In His Youth/ Aneurysm (Geffen, 1991)
Nirvana Lithium/ Been A Son (live)/ Curmudgeon (Geffen, 1991)
Nirvana Come As You Are/ Endless Nameless/ School (live)/ Drain You (live) (Geffen, 1991)
Nirvana In Bloom/ Sliver (live)/ Polly (live) (Geffen, 1992)
Nirvana All Apologies/ Rape Me/ Moist Vagina (Geffen, 1993)
Nirvana Heart Shaped Box/ Milk It/ Marigold 
(Geffen, 1993)

A slight confession: I'm a fan of the more produced Bleach/Nevermind Nirvana (especially Nevermind) but not so much the live shambles Nirvana or the In Utero raw Nirvana.

I bought a cassette of In Utero but I've never bothered to upgrade to a CD or vinyl so, yeah, that tells a story.

I'm also not a huge fan of the cult of personality around mainman Kurt Cobain. Every junkie's like a setting sun, you know!

So these singles are a mixed bag for me. On one hand we have the largely brilliant A sides, and then we have the live or outtake tracks on the B sides.

The one two three punch of the 1991 singles is beyond equal. The sheer sonic attack of Nevermind songs like Teen Spirit Lithium and Come As You Are were each like a slap in the face in the nineties after the dire eighties overblown years.

And they still are! None better than Teen Spirit below.

Hidden gems: So - not so much on the B sides for me. The punk thrash of something like Marigold does nothing for me finstance.