It must be winter – people are releasing albums.
That does often seem to be the way here. Gigs dry up a bit after summer so everyone hits the studio. Or perhaps it's a complete coincidence. Whatever the cause I happen to have received albums from people performing in The Bay. And damned impressive they are too. Well, two of them at least.
And one is the new CD ‘Genesis' from the astounding Sean Bodley. In fact, I'm so knocked out by it that I'm not even going to review it this week.
Because I can already see me running out of space and this deserves all the room it can get.
But you can catch Sean playing with The Eternal Sea at Mount Maunganui this Saturday, July 8 at Totara St performance venue. They are supporting the young (i.e. teenage) Hamilton thrash metal trio Alien Weaponry who are causing a bit of a stir with their latest single ‘Ru Ana Te Whenua' (The Earth Trembles), not only the first metal song I can remember sung entirely in te reo Maori, but one with a local connection in that it concerns the 1864 battle of Gate Pa.
So I'll get back to you with a proper review of Genesis.
In the meantime...
The Pinheads are coming to the same venue on July 14 and everyone into unreconstructed punk music is fizzing at the bung.
Their album is self-titled and raises something of a conundrum. The Pinheads are six or seven (their count not mine) pizza 'n' beer guzzling reprobates from Melbourne. From the online pictures it seems they prefer to play live with very few clothes on and are generally unruly. So the conundrum is: has the album been made to intentionally sound badly recorded or is that just how it came out?
It's a serious debate. I sat at the Boatshed Studio with a couple of music people who should know.
But we couldn't work it out. Because with all the gear available today you really have to try if you're going to make an album that sounds badly recorded. Not badly played – badly recorded.
And, yep, this is certainly the worst-sounding album I've heard in some years.
Even the Buzzcocks and Sham 69 managed to record better-sounding music. This is distorted in cheap nasty ways and thrashes along all over the place. In among the unashamed aping of music from 1976-77 there is a hint of 50s surf guitar. There is one acoustic-led song, which sounds like it was recorded on a cassette player.
I first played it in the car and assumed that I needed to replace my speakers.
Loud 'n' proud; cheap 'n' nasty. This is possibly the perfect Pinheads album.
The gig is going to be a blast.
And I must confess to being slightly distracted when another new album emerged from the Bay just over a month ago. I'm talking about the self-titled release from Mount Maunganui singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Alice Sea.
So a quick apology to those of you for whom this is old news. I'll keep it brief: it's a fantastically assured piece of work from every perspective.
I think you'd put it somewhere on the ‘World Music' spectrum, with songs underpinned by acoustic guitar and light percussion, and often featuring flute or similar wind instruments as well as harmony vocals (all sung by Alice I think), sometimes leaning towards chants. Alice is a great singer and a fine songwriter as the approachable well-arranged songs here show, many of which are aspirational or environmental.
Alice Sea (the album) is out on a number of digital platforms but perhaps the easiest way to hear it is to dial up Alice Sea on YouTube and look for ‘Alice Sea Full Album'. The whole album is there to be listened to, as well as link to Alice's Bandcamp page where for $US10 you can buy it in a choice of formats.
I'd strongly recommend checking it out, and keep an eye out for upcoming gigs – Alice is a terrific live performer and always worth catching.
Monday, February 19, 2018
Thrashing some new sounds at the Mount