Thursday, 29 January 2009

Something to look forward to : Waitangi Weekend

I've only in the last 24 hours come to know of two rather-imminent nights that just beg your attendance.




Next Thursday evening we have Kiss Kiss Bang Bang at Sandwiches featuring The Proxy and Thomas Von Party, both from Turbo Recordings.

I'm afraid I only know Thomas Von Party as Tiga's younger brother and someone that wasn't into nu-rave. Oh wait, he's also featured on Tiga's podcast a number of times.

The Proxy however is more well known, albeit for his remixes and original work, of which "Raven" remains a mainstay of a lot of DJ sets.






Next Friday evening we have the Honey Claws Hunter EP release party at Mighty Mighty.

I really don't know how to describe these guys. They're a little bit of everything and you can definitely pick that up from the tracks they've uploaded to their myspace. It'll be interesting to see how this goes down with the Mighty crowd.

I guess all you really need to know though is that I plan on going and so should you.

I can't get this song out of my head


Friendly Fires 'Skeleton Boy' by Clemens Habicht from Nexus Productions on Vimeo.


Desperately needing to wean myself off Metronomy and with The Tough Alliance's album New Chance not quite doing it for me, I turned instead to Friendly Fires' self-titled debut album. "Paris" has long been a favourite, but it probably took the video above doing the rounds on the blogs for me to give the album a more considered listen.

I don't know that I've listened to anything else since.

Stand-out tracks on the album include "Paris", "Skeleton Boy", "Lovesick" and "White Diamonds", but if I was being honest the whole album is a winner. So much so I would actually kill to see these guys live. Women. Children. The elderly.

No-one would be safe.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Bandwidth exceeded

My download speeds have suddenly fallen to worse than dial-up speeds, which means only one thing : I've more than exceeded the download cap for the month.

Ugh!

I hope the cap turns over soon. There is so much to download before it becomes illegal in New Zealand to do anything on the internet. Gotta love the last Labour government.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Something to look forward to : So So Modern




I've only just picked up on this earlier this evening, but it seems those sons of Wellington, So So Modern, are playing at San Fran this coming Saturday night.

I'd be really keen to go but that all depends on whether I have any money left after this, whether I can handle two big nights out in a row, and whether I get a better offer.

Bonaparte and Alphabethead are appearing in support but I haven't heard of either of them.

Is that a good thing?

Something to look forward to : Dan Deacon




2009 is swiftly turning into an insane year with so many acts having already been enjoyed since 2008 came to an end, and we still have a roster of acts yet to be seen.

Up next on the hit parade is Dan Deacon.

His set-up looks everything from chaotic to troubling and from what I've heard from friends that have seen him live that description also applies to his sets.

I've enjoyed his album Spiderman Of The Rings, but it wasn't easy-going. The leaps and swings from song to song take a little getting used to, but they at least suggest how good he'd sound live.

I'm really not sure how to describe him other than he sits somewhere in between Girl Talk and Disasteradio, although leaning more towards the Disasteradio side of things. I guess we'll be able to compare and contrast given Disasteradio is a support act along with DJ Lotion.

Speaking of Disasteradio, he opened for Girl Talk on Saturday night and although I liked what I heard, it did come across as all rather too samey. Dude could benefit from changing things around a little or playing stuff that doesn't sound the same after 40 minutes. Or at least, that was the consensus of the Society of Witty & Urbane Thirty-somethings smoking away on the balcony.

I'll be grabbing my $25 ticket once money returns to my bank account in a week or so. You should do the same if you haven't already done so.

Something to look forward to : The Kills




Thanks to Mr Chris, I'll be heading along for The Kills' second appearance here in our nation's capital.

The first time was late 2005. This time will be 26 March 2009, and I can't wait.

Picture two people on-stage belting out 3-minute bursts of uncluttered fury and thinly-veiled malice. Picture them taking their time, but making ours all the more worthwhile for being there. Picture me happy as Larry because I'll be one of the few people there that saw them the last time they were here. Pretty, isn't it?

If you don't already have your ticket, make sure you get one before it sells out. Midnight Boom was consistently rated one of the better albums of last year and when you put that against the stronger songs from No Wow and Keep On Your Mean Side, this gig is must-see.

Twelve shades of amazing




Girl Talk at San Fran on Saturday night.

Wow.

I'd listened to Night Ripper and Feed The Animals as well as seen youtube clips of his various performances here and there but none of it (and I do mean "none of it") quite prepared us for what happened.

It was a sold-out gig at a venue that was so much hotter than the night was outside. Sweat was dripping down the windows opening onto the balcony pretty much from the get-go of his set. Constant streams of people were trying to escape the churn and chaos of the main dancefloor area. Everyone was leaping around and losing it.

It was just ridiculously fun, and I don't know that I'd otherwise say that about a set that dropped as much hip hop as Girl Talk does, but he just makes it work. The Daft Punk moment was especially resonant, but his closer with Lulu's "Shout" and Blur's "Song 2" thrown amongst a dizzying array of other tracks was where it was at.

The crowd was a fairly young one, and barring the odd yob and over-protective boyfriend, things went along swimmingly. That said, given the heat inside and the chaotic mob dancing away, I think everyone came away sodden with sweat, and not all of it their own. That wasn't such a bad thing at the time, but it gets a bit awkward running into people you know on the dancefloor and knowing you look far from your best.

To those...

... who weren't there on Saturday night, shame on you.

... who are um'ing and ah'ing about seeing him soon, just see him.

... who have seen him before, some warning about needing to bring a change of clothes would have been nice.

... who don't know who I'm talking about, some guy on youtube is mashing up music videos to Girl Talk's first album Night Ripper here and it all looks really well done.

The perfect end to an imperfect week




Real Groovy did good last Friday afternoon with an instore appearance by Ninja Tunes' DJ Vadim and his lovely wife Yarah Bravo (who with Blu Rum 13 make up One Self).

There was a small crowd of around 30 of us gathered among the bargain bins for the performance and it didn't disappoint in the least. Vadim seemed shy and unassuming, while Yarah really reached out to the crowd. They make for a good combo and their performance was worth walking out of the office an hour early.

The set was just a taste of what awaited those that were heading along to their gig at Sandwiches later that night. From the promo that Yarah was doing while Vadim was setting up each song, it sounded like there would be dancers, fireworks and laid-back mayhem. I probably should have gone given how much I enjoyed their Real Groovy spot, but Saturday was where it was at for my social calendar.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

So not cool




a) Power cuts the morning of the inauguration.

b) Power cuts affecting every building but the one you work in.

c) No power for toast this morning.

d) ... that's about all I got this morning.

Where are your friends tonight?




Marty Casey @ Bodega.

Yeah... maybe not.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Lethargy

I was going to write a post about robots and another one about Dan Deacon, and maybe another post on Tarsem Singh's The Fall, but I think I'll just keep watching the third season of Harvey Birdman : Attorney At Law instead. Why? Because Mentok wills it so. Proceed.

Ursus Maritimus




Australian duo Like Woah! owned my itunes back in 2007 with their song "Oh I Like (Woah!)". The cut-up rhythms and heavy bass grabbed me like nothing has since. It was so very Institubes minus the hip hop inflections, and I don't mean they sounded like the Midnight Juggernauts. What I do mean was that the song was every bit what I was looking for back then.

That said, musical tastes change and as the less-structured sound of Surkin and others seems to have given way to the more pop-oriented releases on Kitsune and other labels, so too have Like Woah! changed with the times in their new guise: Ted & Francis.

Ned nailed it when he said "Ted & Francis signals the start of a more relaxed, melodic pace for the duo". You can hear it in the comparatively light-hearted "Erlend" and "Heart Shake".

Where Ted & Francis really shine though is with their song "I Wish I Was A Polar Bear".



It bears many of the hallmarks of their life as Like Woah! but gives it a lot more polish and structure. The cut-up vocal sample set to a different rhythm to the drumbeat, all over-ridden by the constant organs.

I enjoy this song almost as much as I do the Beni remix of La Roux's "Quicksand", which is hardly surprising given I came across "I Wish I Was A Polar Bear" by way of Kitsune's sixth compilation ("Quicksand" is also on the compilation). Just like with La Roux, I've only got a handful of tracks by Ted & Francis and most of them are remixes. Can't wait for new releases later this year.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Road to recovery?




Earlier this evening, Ellen over at In Ghost Colours awkwardly confessed to finding the Crookers remix of Kid Cudi's "Day N Nite" too irresistible on the dancefloor.

As a gesture to righting the tide against the Crookers remix being played in far too many sets these days, I proffer the Midnight Juggernauts remix of Cut Copy's "Hearts On Fire". For reasons that really do escape me, the Midnight Juggernauts remix seems to constantly lose out to the Holy Ghost! (excellent), the Joakim (very nice) and even the Calvin Harris (fun but lacks depth).

I dare you to tell me that this wouldn't be a welcome replacement for "Day N Nite". It kills from the outset and maintains through to the end. There aren't too many remixes you can say that for.

Shit Robot's remix of Dondolo's "Dragon" immediately comes to mind, but the 11 minute effort leaves one feeling like they've been dragged along by horse. So too does the Midnight Juggernauts' remix of Damn Arms' "The Cormorant" and the Duke Dumont remix of The Mystery Jets' "Two Doors Down". Come to mind, that is.

Ooh, baby! It feels like!




In between the long spells of listening to every Metronomy track, remix and Metronomy remix there ever was, there have been two things that have managed to sneak in.

The second is The Whitest Boy Alive and their new album Rules. This is a ridiculously fun album, albeit not in the quirky zany sense, but in the crafting of light and simple songs. It all sounds so effortless. It also sounds a little weird hearing the voice of Royksopp's "Poor Leno" singing along to his own songs.

I really like the album, but am still left waiting for the Golden Cage moment to hit me.



WAVESATNIGHT have posted some tracks from the album as well as live rips of some covers they've played. I heartily recommend the Stardust cover.

I'm the obsessor




In between the long spells of listening to every Metronomy track, remix and Metronomy remix there ever was, there have been two things that have managed to sneak in.

The first is Elly Jackson aka La Roux has been haunting my ipod with her Kitsune-released EP Quicksand. The original is pretty good and the music video that accompanies it even has pineapples in it. The remixes however are where it's at.

The Chateau Marmont is light and a little spacy, which we like. The AutoKratz is less light and is typically AutoKratz with a faster pace and syncopated vocals. The Beni however is just heavy and thumps like a banger after about a minute.



I love it. I really do.

I just wish there was more La Roux out there for us to enjoy. All up, I've got six songs of hers and four of those are Quicksand remixes, and I'm still looking for more. Always more.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

This is NOT buyer's remorse




I may or may not have told someone I desperately wanted something really quite desperately and the phrase "damn the cost!" may or may not have been uttered somewhat forthrightly.

If I manage to get one, I'll be the envy of the entire Antipodes.

I'll also have to keep very secret just how much I would have paid for it.

Once I know more, I'll let you know. Promise.

I'm quite excited by this.

I'm quite taken with the green one




Ok, so Friday last week I saw The Teenagers and Metronomy at the Kings Arms in Auckland. The venue was way over-capacity on an overly-warm Auckland night so the venue was like a furnace with everyone just sweating like rapists. It was disgusting and I was sodden within seconds of entering the building.

The Teenagers kicked things off and their live set was ok. Well it was good, but that's about as high as the praise gets from me (their DJ set at Sohomo the night before was so much better).

Metronomy followed and just owned the evening. The songs. The naff hand gestures. The touch lights they wore around their necks. Everything was just brilliant and they had us in a frenzy from the get-go, which is unusual for an exceedingly polite if unusual electro pop trio from the UK. I lost my voice at some stage and my shaky recollection of certain parts of the evening lead me to conclude it was towards the end of screaming the chorus to "Radio Ladio", but may have been "Holiday" or "A Thing For Me".

There were a fair few yobs that made enjoying the gig awkward going, but Metronomy managed to rise above all that and come out with one of the best gigs I've been to.

Their debut album Nights Out wasn't the easiest album to get into and their singles didn't make a lot of sense on their own. Something about the jagged synth rhythms and unusual sound they've got. Once you give the album a few listens it all makes sense and sounds just like what you really wanted to hear. Seeing them live only makes it even more personal and relevant. Please don't treat this as fanboy fawning, because you really should give them a go if you haven't already.

Oh and I'm serious about the green guy in the video. You should have seen him at the gig. Really.

I'll leave it there.

Friday, 16 January 2009

This time

This time last year I was thinking I probably should have sorted my shit to see LCD Soundsystem at BDO.

This time last month I was working insane hours and counting the days to the advent of the Christmas break.

This time last week I was probably still unconscious, yet to nurse the mother of all hangovers and learn a rather unfortunate lesson.

This time yesterday I was coughing my guts out from the mother of all hayfever attacks.

Today I'm thinking I probably should have sorted my shit to see Holy Ghost!, Simian Mobile Disco and TV On The Radio at BDO.

Ah well.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Something to look forward to : another POPUP release party




POPUP are hosting another release party, this time for the Ye Olde English series of dunny figures from Kid Robot.

I've seen a few promo shots of some of the figures in the series and it doesn't look like it will disappoint. Somehow I think I'll be harbouring a deep unabiding lust for this beefeater from who I am assuming is the designer, Doktor A.



I'd provide details about how you can RSVP to enter the draw to win goodies on the night, but quite frankly I don't need the competition.

Oh and there's an after-party at Alice. You know... afterwards.

Just get out your pencils, flip to Friday 30 January 2009 of your social calendars and mark yourself spoken for that evening.

Something to look forward to : OK OK




Ok, so The End has become OK OK, but Bag Raiders are still coming to Wellington and I really can't wait.

"Shooting Stars" seems to be what all the bloggers love, but for me "Turbo Love" and "Fun Punch" are the better songs of theirs in recent months. Their remixes have been pretty good for Lost Valentinos' "Kafka!", the Midnight Juggernauts' "Twenty Thousand Leagues" and the seamless mash-up they threw together of Digitalism's "Zdarlight" with Tears For Fears' "Shout".

Should be a good'un.

Just like this video of Bag Raiders Mighty Morphin Fun Punchin'.



Just get out your pencils, flip to Friday 27 February 2009 of your social calendars and mark yourself spoken for that evening.

Resetting the list at #1




Valerie acts Anoraak and College are coming downunder and I'm left desperately scrambling to see if I can afford to make a trip across the Tasman to see them.

Anoraak's Nightdrive With You EP was one of the better EPs released last year and his remixes of Xinobi's "Day Off", The Outrunners' "Cool Feeling" and College's "Teenage Color" remain strong examples of the 80s synth revival.

College impresses just as much with his original tracks "Teenage Colour", "Energy Story" and his collaboration with Anoraak on "Fantasy Park".

Let's just add this to this year's list of reasons why I should already be living in Australia and enjoy Anoraak's remix of College's "Teenage Color".


What does this say to you?




a) A teaser poster for the new Transformers film?

b) A teaser poster for the next installment of the Aliens vs Predator franchise?

c) Someone's idea for a new line of sex toys?

d) A desperate cry for help?

Please let this be over




The "debate" (and please understand that I use this term in the loosest sense possible) around whether a Maori sovereignty flag can fly above the Auckland Harbour Bridge for Waitangi Day has hopefully been parked for a few months yet.

John Key announced yesterday that the government would support such a flag flying on the Auckland Harbour Bridge and other public structures on the day marking the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. There are however a few provisos: the flag needs to be one agreed by all iwi (a not insignificant task) and the resulting flag would not be flown until 2010 at the earliest (fair enough given Waitangi Day isn't so far away).

I'm quite happy with that.

I'm a fan of the Tino Rangatiratanga flag. It is simple but bold in its design and doesn't look over-engineered in the least. It is just unfortunate that the flag has drawn rather divisive and separatist connotations. It was for that reason I didn't think the push for it to fly above the Harbour Bridge was such a good idea.

I just hope the discussions among iwi on the design for a new flag don't result in something hideously ornate, let alone relentlessly bland. Something sensible needs to emerge from this process or this issue is only going to escalate far beyond what it ever should.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Something to look forward to : Yuksek




"Tonight" is far from his best work (I'd rate "Little Dirty Trip", "I Like To Play" and a number of his remixes of other people's work higher than "Tonight"), the song has all the same managed to grab me in ways that would be awkward if it were not musical, and inappropriate if it wasn't Yuksek doing the grabbing.

"Tonight" is also the first single off Away From The Sea, Yuksek's first album and slated for digital release end of January with formal release early February.

Can't. Wait.

The tracklist for the album is:

01. Break Ya
02. Tonight
03. A Certain Life
04. Extraball (feat. Amanda Blank)
05. Take A Ride
06. I Could Never Be A Dancer
07. So Far Away From The Sea (feat. The Bewitched)
08. Little Dirty Trip (Vicarious Bliss Remix)
09. This Is Not Today (feat. Shit Disco)
10. I Like To Play
11. So Down (feat. Chromeo
12. Freak O Rocker
13. Eat My Bear


"Tonight" and "I Could Never Be A Dancer" have popped up the last few weeks to tease us, while the Vicarious Bliss remix of "Little Dirty Trip" has been wooing me for a fair few months now. Wooing me good and long.

Yuksek was one of the acts I really wanted to see at Parklife and see him we did. It's just that we didn't hang around that long as his set underwhelmed from technical problems from the outset. I heard later that it sorted itself out after 20 minutes but we'd since moved on to other acts.

Sigh.

This is your footpath



This is your footpath after NCEA.



I really wish I had chalk with me at the time.

2009 : A Musical Odyssey

Ok, so I'm heading off in a few hours to Auckland for The Teenagers DJ set at Sohomo tonight, have Metronomy and The Teenagers proper tomorrow night, and Summadayze (Boys Noize, Utah Saints, Calvin Harris, Steve Aoki and a bunch of local DJs) the night after that.

On the books is a return trip (or two) to Melbourne for We Love Sounds in June (if the line-up is any good) and Parklife in September (if the line-up is any good and I haven't already moved over there).

I've also committed to seeing Little Boots at some stage this year with Miss Coco and Bec.

Sitting nicely between these musical arcs sit these two upcoming gigs here in our nation's capital.





Roarsome.



So... who are you planning on seeing this year?

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Something to look forward to : Objectified




I'd heard that Helvetica's Gary Hustwit was coming out with another design documentary, but it's taken me until seeing this trailer on Kitsune Noir for me to finally get excited about it.

Objectified should be out later this year and this time looks at industrial design and presumably its influence on the world we create for ourselves.

I hope it features in this year's programme for the Wellington International Film Festival, or I'm flying across the Tasman to see it there.

Actually, I might just fly across anyway.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Rinse and repeat

We're into day two of my return to work and my ability to cope with mornings, daylight and sobriety remains somewhat challenging.

Adding more misery to the mill is that there are many places around the city that remain closed until next week, and there are so few people on the streets that one is left feeling like we're working through a weekend.

On the upside, there is a protest against the invasion of Gaza starting outside MFAT's digs around lunchtime today and it will be interesting to see what kind of turn-out it gets, let alone audience.

I'm still left struggling to understand how the Israeli government rationalises shelling the hell out of an already angry people as a means to fixing things over there. The French tried the whole "for every one of ours you kill, we'll kill 100 of yours" approach in Algeria and look how that turned out. Shimon Peres was on BBC World last night defending the action, and he did so rather poorly if you ask me. Tzipi Livni was on BBC World too and went so far as to say the action was required to force Hamas to back down on the rocket attacks on Israeli settlements. If that's their reason, it's a pretty weak one.

I don't know.

What I do know however is that this pineapple I'm munching my way through at my desk is just delicious. A $3 pineapple beats a $13 watermelon any day, especially when the $13 watermelons are smaller than the pineapples.

And what is the deal with chicken costing more per kilo than lamb? I was at New World Thorndon over the weekend with the American and chicken stir fry (the not so good cuts and bits of chicken) was $3 a kilo more than the lamb steaks. We didn't end up getting either, but that's beside the point.

Ladies and gentlemen, 2009 has kicked off as a way weird year.