So here we are new and improved with a solid internet connection - finally - and a need to vent, inform and generally waffle. It's been far too long. Working for the man does that to you, and also having to deal with around five different companies to get a decent supply of interwebs means I've been tardy, nay, I've been absolutely non-existent. So, what's new....
First, the music (weird arty things coming later): Harmonica Lewinsky, Arcade Fire, Eels, LCD Soundsystem and Brian Wilson.
Harmonica Lewinksy finally got round to doing a gig at Nourish Cafe in Waiheke Island, the sound on-stage was awful but a very nice time was had by all, even though the groupie scene was rather lack-lustre - perhaps I'll try playing the right chords next time. We will be playing future gigs wherever we can, so if you see us advertised somewhere why not pop in and see us, I have a very nice guitar if that helps convince you. And there are CD's, downloads, tapes, and shirts available here http://harmonicalewinsky.bandcamp.com/
But now to things that aren't shamelss self-promotion. Arcade Fire have a new album out called 'The Suburbs,' which is an absolute grower. The first half of the album is quite awesome, but after awhile the album tends to fade out, become all Emo moody stuff with fairly cliched reprises and what not. It's absolutely well worth a listen as some of the first half of the album is plain superb, and to be honest there's a reason why this album is either number one or number two on whatever music retail website or store you wish to go to. Amazon has them at number two, they've been there solidly since the album was released a three weeks ago, although they were pretty much in the top ten for a month due to pre-release sales; however the only person beating them is Brian Wilson's new album which hasn't even been released yet, but more about that later.
The Eels have also been busy releasing the third and final - I'm hoping - installment of Mr E's conceptual album musical meanderings, and with this particular album i use the word meanderings very deliberately.
The album, 'Tomorrow Morning' which follows, 'End Times' dropped a week ago and whilst it has some good moments, on the whole this feels like one of those albums that should have been left in the off-cut pile - along with half of 'End Times.' This is not to say it's not worth a listen as it has a rather interesting almost Baroque or Showtune like direction and where it works the songs are quite sweet, sublime, almost something you could imagine angels - faggy angels - playing whilst running in their nappies to serenade some fifteen year old girl with low self-esteem. But when the concept doesn't work it becomes like a soundtrack for a melodrama taking place in a funeral home with some moron saying, 'isn't this a tragedy,' every five minutes. The album deserves a listen as, as i said, it has some amazing musical moments, and even a bad album by Mr E is better than something by Lady Gaga.
LCD Sondsystem have released a third and apparently final album called, 'This Is Happening.' If you've ever heard 'Sound of Silver' or anything by LCD Soundsystem you know what cool powerhouse funk slash dance slash retro stuff they do, the new album follows that particular trend and is pretty darn amazing. So run, don't walk, to your local CD store and grab it, or... write the name down, make a cup of tea, search the places where one who would be in the market for free music would go, download it, listen to it with your cup of tea whilst checking the news and events of the day and praise the interwebs for free information. Spike Jonze - not that it matters - directed their music video for the song 'Drunk Girls,' which is probably my least favourite song on the album but everything else is darn incredible and probably the best music I've heard all year. It's annoying that I really don't have anything to say about this album - bar buy it, or download it, but that's really all you need to know.
In a week or so, Brian Wilson's new album comes out. I've listened to a couple of previews and although I'm looking forward to it, I have a feeling that this might be the album to send Brian back into his room with the sand-pit, the Tonka truck, the donuts and the shaking of the tookus. The album is called 'Brian Wilson Reimagines Gerswhin' and - as the title would suggest - has Brian interpreting some of Gershwin's classics, think 'Summertime,' with wazoos and harmonics, imagine 'They Can't Take That Away From Me,' with a sweet Maraca and a Banjo chucked in for good measure. Whilst the album could be fantastic, and let's hope it is, it could also be the butchering of some of the greatest songs ever written by one of the greatest musician's known to man. The album is currently available on vinyl but not on CD, or download, which is a pretty cool sales quirk.There is also a short little documentary - if you could call it that - available for viewing on youtube which I'm going to be kind enough to post at the bottom, along with the only full and complete version of the first single from the album called, 'The Like In I Like You,' which, as I'm sure you're already aware, is not actually a Gershwin classic: so what is it? It's a song that Gershwin never completed, sure he wrote the lyrics, but he never actually made the music, played it live, let anybody know about it, in fact, it sat in his draw along with probably thirty million other songs, ideas, melodies, notes and peripheral music that he probably put there for reason - perhaps he was setting up his children with a treasure trove of gems that they could pawn off to the highest bidder, but I doubt it. In a way I'm a little disturbed that Brian Wilson would actually go through someone else's music - that was never completed - tinker with it and finish it. Mike Love and the rest of the Beach Boys "completed" his work of genius 'Smile,' and called it 'Smiley Smile,' they changed quite a few things and very little of it actually resembled what Brian intended. The eventual outcome of all this was Brian locking his songs up, having a nervous breakdown and of course going into legal battles with the Beach Boys. Ironic? No. Stupid? Maybe. I guess I'll have to wait a week to find out.
I really want to like this song, but... Agh, I just don't know if I can do it.
Weird hipster arty people coming up in the next post, i just have to stop laughing and compose myself first.