Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Point of clarification: Short posts

You may have noticed that this blog has moved to a short post format.

I can't really explain it.

Sorry.

I don't know what you're doing this Friday night...




... but I'll be at this.

I'm really starting to love the relationship that's formed between Auckland's Sohomo and our very own Neon Sleep. It's taken a few years but it looks like the scene is finally making some moves that could see it become something like we see overseas.

Bruce Willis Is Dead




Mr. Oizo - Positif


I really quite like this song, even though there are stronger songs on Oizo's album Lambs Anger and the video doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. Yes, I really do like this song.

Which reminds me, I should probably write some reviews of Lambs Anger and the other albums I've been enjoying of late, as well as throw together some lists. I made a start on one list after being slapped across the face, but it's still a work in progress. It is important that one's response is both measured and persuasive.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Greater than the sum of its parts




OriginalFake is selling these KAWS "Your Pleasure Is My Pain" ashtrays and I REALLY want one.

For those of you pondering what to get me for Christmas, they're only US$95 each.

In case you didn't pick up on it earlier, allow me to repeat that I REALLY want one.

Not that I'd never actually use it.

The travesty continues




Thanks Piers.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Your new favourite song



"Paris" by Friendly Fires.

I like it.

I like it a lot.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Do not disturb




I got this yesterday.

It has kept me up until the wee hours the last couple nights.

I don't see that changing anytime soon.

Expect a review in due course. So far the going is good, if a bit on the easy side.

Monday, 17 November 2008

In no particular order

Albums I've recently acquired, include:




Albums I am thoroughly enjoying, include:




Albums I need to enjoy less, include:

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Stone cold sober




For reasons that really quite escape me, I've dug up the 1997 Headless Chickens album Greedy. This used to be a firm favourite way way way back in the day, and listening to it now brings back a lot of the things I felt back then. I mean I can almost smell the perfume that filled Stacey's charcoal-coloured Suzuki Vitara.

Nostalgia aside, I've always enjoyed the dark and often growly songs on the album. "George", "Dark Angel" and "Stalk Of A Cherry" are clear standouts, at least for me. It's just a shame that the album really hasn't survived well from the late 90s, seeming really quite dated against a lot of what is produced these days.

I read somewhere that The Headless Chickens were reforming for the Big Day Out. Seems to be the done thing for bands to reform, with Wellington band Weta doing the same thing only this week. Does anyone else reckon Weta could have been bigger than Shihad? I've still got their one and only album Geographica sitting in the pile of CDs I never really get around to listening to but like too much to throw them away.

Actually, what happened to all the New Zealand acts from the 90s?

Garageland? Superette? Bike? The last thing I remember Strawpeople coming out with was that Cars cover where Bic Runga did the vocals. I know Supergroove reformed earlier this year, but did HLAH do the same?

I'm assuming Shihad are still doing their thing.'

I'm also assuming the reason I've ended up on this tangent is because the 1990s were when New Zealand music went from doing its own thing to sounding like anyone else from anywhere else but New Zealand.

I'm further assuming this was all sparked by that damnable youtube video.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

... bro




Yeah...

I don't get it.

Last dunny standing





I bought a case of the Series 5 dunny figures today and came out with a fair few of the set in one fell swoop. So much so, I only have this little bugger up there to go.

Clear favourites in the series include:


This one by Japanese designers Devilrobots.


This one by UK designers REACH.


This one by manga artist Junko Mizuno.


This one by American artist Kathie Olivas.


This one by American designer Frank Kozik.

The Kozik looks too cool not to hunt the little fucker down.

I just hope I don't end up forced to enjoy a 'restrained' Christmas and New Years this year.

Looking for that silver lining

There is something inherently wrong with spending one's weekends at the office. I'd argue it's up there with working lunches, spending gloriously fine days in windowless meeting rooms, and anything that has been poorly catered.

There are however minor consolations: no workmates / emails / phone calls / meetings to get in the way of doing what needs to be done, and one can listen to whatever one wants to listen at whatever volume one wishes.

It's a very thin silver lining to my weekend, but I'll take whatever I can get.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Resurrection by remix




Remix albums seem to be making quite the comeback with Simian Mobile Disco, SebastiAn and Joakim picking up where Boys Noize, and even Death From Above 1979 left off.

Well now it seems Digitalism are hopping on the bandwagon with their own remix album titled Hands On Idealism.

All I really know at this stage are that the album drops in a couple weeks (read: December 8 - pencil that in your diaries people), that the remixes are of songs from their debut effort Idealism, and that the tracklisting looks a little something like this...


1 Pogo (Digitalism's Pogo Robotic Remix) 5:55
2 Apollo-Gize (Breakbot 'Hypnotoad' Extended Remix) 4:45
3 Home Zone (Proxy Remix) 4:34
4 The Pulse (DerDieDas Remix) 4:34
5 Echoes (Siriusmo Remix) 5:38
6 Apollo-Gize (Fred Falke Remix) 6:11
7 Digitalism In Cairo (Digitalism Original Extended Mix) 5:46
8 Yes, I Don't Want This 6:37
9 The Pulse (Digitalism High Pulse Club Mix) 5:53
10 Home Zone (11th Avenue Is Burning Digitalism Criminal Club Mix) 4:43
11 Echoes (Digitalism Underwater Sonar Club Mix) 6:11
12 Idealistic (A-Trak Rmx) 5:08



I can personally vouch for tracks 1, 2, 4, 8 and 12. Some of the others I haven't heard (which is rare for someone that enjoys Digitalism as much as I do) or don't feel particularly strongly towards (*cough* 6 *cough*).

I'm glad they're coming out with a release because it has really been a while since Idealism and as much as I like "Taken Away" I don't know that it quite filled the gap.

That said, still waiting on that Soulwax remix. Justice got one. Klaxons got one. Chemical Brothers got one. So did David Bowie, Daft Punk, The Gossip, even Kylie got one.

Which song of Digitalism's would you want to see remixed by Soulwax? I'd like to see what they'd do with "Zdarlight" or maybe "Anything New" but they'd probably end up remixing something like "Pogo".

I'm glassing the mussel-munching motherfuckers in the ears if they dare mess with "Idealistic".

Monday, 10 November 2008

Missing in action




There is a disturbing trend occurring on the blogosphere where posts disappear almost overnight for reasons that aren't immediately clear, but later seem to come down to a piece of copyright law called the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. I can't claim any great knowledge of the act, but know that it has caused a number of bloggers a fair amount of grief.

Until very recently the act has only caused grief for people I don't know, certainly not well enough to feel personally affected. Well that changed a few nights back when a post disappeared from the blog of a very good friend of mine.

That pisses me off. The post had a bunch of photos from a gig she went to and a few remixes of a song she really enjoyed hearing live. There was also a little commentary on the gig, but that was the post in its entirety.

I can understand hosting service providers getting antsy about songs uploaded to their servers, because they are hosting actual copyright material. What I can't understand is blogger just arbitrarily removing posts when the posts themselves don't host mp3s.

Well, I can but it seems really rather stupid, is all.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

In an ideal world...




Today marks the end of an election campaign that has proved more irritating than anything else. Irrespective of the outcome later tonight, there are many things that I wish were different about the campaigns run by the different political parties and these have been the genesis of this post.

In an ideal world we’d be at the end of an engaging and passably interesting election campaign that saw...

... Labour describe something even remotely resembling a vision for the next three years of a Labour government, something that didn’t simply rely on “you can’t trust National”, something that didn’t rely on aggregate investments in health, education, law & order over a nine year period, something that gave people more of a reason to vote for them than fear of a National government.

... National outlining and holding to a clear vision of the party and sticking to it, a vision that didn’t see incremental shifts in the core values of previous incarnations of the party, a vision that was persuasive for reasons of voting for them rather than simply voting against Labour.

... The Maori Party use the good people within the party to identify a broader platform that lifted their sights beyond the Maori seats, a platform that New Zealanders could support whether Maori or non-Maori and whether on the general or Maori rolls, a platform that made it clear this is more than a single-issue party.

... The Green Party… well, I think they’ve done a pretty good job of their campaign this year – I disagree with their politics but they’ve done very well all the same.

... ACT grow up and recover whatever made them a political force in the early days of MMP, a political force that pushed important principles over populist politics.

... United Future recover their centrist origins and forge their own political future instead of simply latching onto National’s coat-tails, a future that perhaps reflected more of the principles that initially brought the party into being, a future that actually gave people a reason to want to vote for them now that the god botherers have gone and set up their own parties elsewhere.

... Jim Anderton drop Matt Robson for his appalling comments about John McCain, and position himself to return as one of the better Ministers of Agriculture we’ve had in a long time.

... New Zealand First drop Winston well before the succession of campaign financing scandals would later ruin all chances of his return to politics, where Ron Mark assumed the party leadership and helped rehabilitate the party into something that appealed to voters beyond conspiracy theorists and blue-rinsers, where Peter Brown supported the shipping industry in the best way possible by hopping off onto the high seas.

... voters question all the spending promises despite the adverse economic conditions and clear uncertainty of where all the money to back up these promises will actually come from.

... voters understand the merits of MMP and stick with it as a more representative electoral system than the bipartican FPP and the largely unknown consequences we might see visited under STV.

One can always live in hope.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Double-booked




Ned blogged this only moments ago.

You all know what this makes me want to do and I've said it more often than some care to read it, so I'll just leave this post at that.



Well, actually no, I'll leave it with this the original video for Digitalism's "Zdarlight". This is how I wish Guy Fawkes was last night, instead of this.

Back in my day...




... the sound and light show at the Pyramids of Giza looked nothing like that.

Moving on, my first experience of American duo Plus Move was with their remix of Kavinsky's "Wayfarer" way last year. I really liked it and arguably still do because it has a Oizo-meets-Justice quality about it. The same could be said for their strong remix of Justice's way-over-remixed "D.A.N.C.E.".

Well they've just released their EP 2099 and the third track "Boss" somehow made it into my inbox and it's really quite good. Sure its a very Justice track but that isn't such a bad thing.

Download it and let me know what you think in the comments.

=> Plus Move - Boss (mediafire)

While you're doing that you may as well grab the Plus Move remixes of Kavinsky's "Wayfarer" and Justice's "D.A.N.C.E."

=> Kavinsky - Wayfarer (Plus Move Remix) (mediafire)

=> Justice - D.A.N.C.E. (Plus Move Pirate Remix) (mediafire)

The other tracks on the EP are "2099" and "Tic Toc", but I haven't listened to them so I don't know if they're any good. They should be if "Boss" is anything to go by, but it never pays to presume such things.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

'Hate' is a strong word

The kids next door just started a fire because one of the fireworks they were stupidly letting off in the stiff breeze ended up crashing into the side of our shed. The firemen didn't seem too impressed. Neither did we in the reflected light of the truck's emergency lights.

Fuck I hate kids.

I really do.

Maybe just those ones. They're always giving me evils and doing stupid shit like this.

Does anyone know if Stereolab are still any good?




I ask because they're touring New Zealand in the new year and hit Wellington the night of January 29. If you're keen, let me know. I could be keen too.

The last I listened to Stereolab, "Miss Modular" was on TV.



That was a fair while back. We needn't discuss what I was listening to back in 1997.

Pencils at the ready!




UK trio Metronomy are touring New Zealand with French trio The Teenagers early in the new year.

The Teenagers' Reality Check is probably fairly old hat by now with "Homecoming" having done its dash mid-to-late last year, but Metronomy's recently-released Nights Out is something else entirely. Cheeky rhythms, quirky synths, odd vocals, I've had it for a few weeks now and I still enjoy listening to it. It competes very strongly with The Tough Alliance's New Chance for my ideal summer album, and that's saying something.

So reach for a pencil, flip through your social diary to 10 January 2009, cross out anything you may have already had down for that night, and write "Metronomy & Teenagers @ Bodega".

... not




The people of the United States of America have just elected Barack Obama as their President.

That means I've just lost $100.

Awesome.

You don't seem to be listening to me

We've earlier discussed the first announcement for BDO '09 and concluded that there wasn't much to draw us up there for it.

Well, they've just come out with the second announcement, and although there are a few very pleasant surprises, I'm still not persuaded to go.

Serj Tankian, Black Kids, Hot Chip, Lupe Fiasco, Dropkick Murphys, Holy Ghost!, Z*Trip, Pee Wee Ferris, Zane Lowe, The Mint Chicks, P-Money, Brand New Math, Cornerstone Roots, The DHDFD’S, Ethical, George & Queen, The Horseman Family, Sidekicknick, Subtract

Hot Chip would be great with so many strong songs on their latest album Made In The Dark and a reputation for stellar live sets, and I'd quite like to see Lupe Fiasco. Thing is though, haven't these guys already done BDO?

The clear draw of the second announcement for me though would be DFA's Holy Ghost! "Hold On" remains a firm favourite and his remixes of Cut Copy's "Hearts On Fire" and MGMT's "Of Moons, Birds And Monsters" remain fairly constant replays on the ipod. I won't say everything this guy touches turns to gold, but its a fairly safe assumption that someone signed to DFA Records has a fairly solid pedigree. Seeing The Juan Maclean live more than made sure of that.

And yet... I'm still not sure I want to go. Actually I am sure I don't want to go, which is a shame really.

So yeah, I think I'll uncross my fingers now.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Don't ever change




Sohomo resident A.D.A.M. and Wellington DJ Lotion are hosting a new club night this Thursday night at Good Luck called New Stripes.

If their efforts on Saturday night are anything to go by, you'd be stupid not to come along. That or too busy listening to the new Oasis album. Either way, not being there actually would be your loss.

For those that can't read the small print, click here.

So... Ho... Mo...




... was so fun last Saturday.

Despite the gale force winds and sometimes sheet rain, many of Wellington's better gays swung by the Bath House for a night of great fun, interesting costumes, interesting makeup, and great tunes.

How great? Dead Or Alive and Rachel Stevens proved especially memorable in one of the DJ sets that night. I couldn't believe what I was listening to. Later we had blog house faves like the Soulwax remix of MGMT's "Kids" (it killed just as hard as when 2manyDJs dropped it at Parklife) and The Presets' "Kicking & Screaming" (an inspired choice). I'd reflect on more tunes if I hadn't had as much to drink as I had.

Adding to the greatness of the evening, Charlie ASH performed halfway through the night so I got to see them live for the first time. I don't know their material well enough to rattle off the tracks they played but I was suitably impressed. They'd do really well in say Melbourne or Sydney with where the scene is at the moment.

DJs Neonsleep, A.D.A.M. and Lotion did a great job between them but Sean (I'm not sure of his DJ nom de plume or if he indeed has one) was the standout performer of the evening. His song choice was at all times inspired, with one song after the other revving the crowd up in a confused state of bewilderment of what they were hearing but all the same giving in to the uncontrollable urge to move to the music. That he was so obviously really into the songs he was playing only made his set more enjoyable.

There is a lot more I'd like to say about Saturday night, but it basically boils down to us all enjoying a great night, certainly so great that Sohomo needs to hold more of them down here more often. They really do.

If you are ever in Wellington on or around the next time they hold a party in Wellington, you simply must come.



In the meantime, I'm working out if I can manage a trip up for this.

After all, when Mohammad didn't go to the mountain, the mountain came to him.

Maybe it's just me, but...




... this looks to be a better lineup than for the Australian Nevereverland shows. Granted no Cut Copy (and yes that is a huge mark against the line-up), but come on now.

Fred Falke, Lifelike, Aeroplane, Zongamin, Shy Child, Frankmusik and Eine Kleine Nacht Musik aka Riton help build a very impressive line-up. Marry them with The Presets and Ladyhawke and you have a rip snorter of a night.

Maybe they'll announce Robyn for the Australian shows as a late addition.

And yes, the bass player in Van She is really quite hot.

Glue on legs




My horse didn't come anywhere near winning me any money. Damn thing better be glue by the end of the week. The kind of glue that kids eat when they should be making pasta art.

On the upside the wine went down very easily, the prawns were plentiful and delicious, the company comfortable and convivial, and the occasion all rather marvellous. I say this in spite of the ugly woman with the ugly fascinator winning my Qantas flights for two to Melbourne in the charity raffle. *coughs* bitch *coughs*

In future, I might want to make more of an effort of avoiding speaking to certain people of certain standing when I've had more than a few drinks.

Colour me looking forward to next year's race.

Lately, I have been reading...


Source: Bad Faery


The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is the first novel of short story writer Junot Diaz and a book I've previously mentioned.

Superficially the story of ghetto nerd Oscar (someone so nerdy it breaks your heart), this is instead a bigger story on the legacies we leave for future generations and how everything ultimately has its time and its place. Charting the fatalistic happenings of his family through three generations of the Cabral family from the Trujillo-dominated Dominican Republic to life later in New York, we’re introduced to recurring themes of things never turning out as they should have and the myriad ways people respond to changing circumstances, both good and bad. I really enjoyed it, and would gladly share my copy if it wasn’t already doing the rounds.



Jesus, Son is a book of short stories by writer Denis Johnson.

I don’t know much about the guy but his stories are brilliantly real, visceral and twisted in the way that makes sense against the chaos we see around ourselves. I don’t mean that in an especially deep or meaningful sense, just that shit happens and his stories reflect just how shit happens in various situations. My favourite of the stories relates to a male nurse working a nightshift in the emergency room of some podunk hospital, where he gets high with the paranoid porter while avoiding disinterested doctors and mothers superior. Anywho the story centres around how a guy turns up with a buck knife jabbed deep in his eye socket, how the doctors don’t quite know what to do and how the porter just turns up at one point with the knife in his hand. The resulting drug-fuelled roadtrip is just hilarious with the events of the trip later becoming confused with other roadtrips they’ve taken together. It really is quite funny but told very matter-of-factly, which is something I liked about the rest of the stories in the book. Almost like insights into different aspects of a world we also experience.



Don’t Get Too Comfortable is a series of essays that David Rakoff had previously written for the likes of Vogue and other magazines.

They chart everything from his Bush-fuelled desire to become an American citizen and thereby avoid being forcibly ejected as a foreign national, his obsessive need to please during his brief stint as a cabana boy at a five-star Miami hotel, among other assignments. Laugh-out-loud at times, but perhaps more enjoyable for his sometimes-sneering-but-never-gratuitous turn of phrase throughout. Yes he is gay, but it only comes up in some of his wittier observations of those around him. Comparisons with the writing of David Sedaris are unfortunate if unavoidable.



The Life To Come & Other Stories is the book I raved about a few months back.

It became harder to read as the stories became more overtly faggy, certainly to the point where good writing gave way to what seemed to be infantile expressions of what he thought male relationships should be. Can’t say I blame publishers for not publishing them to be honest – that said, the earlier stories in the book more than make up for all that and provide enjoyable glimpses into the necessary consequences and constrictions that polite convention places on how one enjoys one’s life.



Who Will Run The Frog Hospital? is a novella by short story writer Lorrie Moore. Her book of short stories, Like Life, was especially enjoyable in a less-visceral-than-Denis-Johnson sense, so I had high hopes for this book. I can’t say it disappointed, but then it didn’t entirely satisfy either. The book is about a married woman in a loveless marriage reminiscing on a time in her youth when she was in love. The flashbacks to her high school days are perhaps what save the book. French Canadian in some random Canadian backwater, working at a fairy tale amusement park with her best friend, living with her beyond odd family, it nicely shows the lengths one goes to and the struggles one survives in the name of friendship. In many ways her younger self came across like an addict going to any length to get what she wanted : to spend time with and be admired by her best friend. Thrown against the mundane life she has since become, it seems infantile and irrational but then it progressively becomes clear why she looks back fondly on a time in her she knows she could never relive.



The History Wars is a left-wing response to the revisions of Australia’s history visited by John Howard’s government. The history of Australia isn’t particularly interesting to me, but the politics of history was what grabbed me. This is despite the sometimes painfully anti-right wing sentiment throughout. Thankfully the book was really written and catered to my living hatred of people who change how history is perceived purely to suit themselves. It left me somewhat proud that we’d managed to produce a definitive historical account (in the Michael King sense) and that apathy was perhaps a bigger issue for more New Zealanders understanding our collective than an elite conspiring to impose a new cultural order across the land.



As for what I’m reading at the moment, that would be the 800-page tome Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. It’s a fantastical novel in the Victorian sense of the word, and all about the resurrection or practical magic in Victorian England. My primary inspiration for reading this is from reviewing chapters of a friend’s novella that is written in a similar vein. At times light and random and others oppressively detailed, its proving an enjoyable if lengthy read the 100 odd pages I’ve made into it.

I’ve also picked up Nabokov’s Lolita as a cheap Penguin Classic (a bargain at $13) and am saving Robert Harris' Imperium, Ryunosuke Akutagawa's Rashomon & Other Stories and Barry Glassner's The Gospel Of Food for the Christmas / New Years break.