Hard News by Russell Brown


Friday Music: Reinventing Beatles

I've always liked a good cover version. The reinterpretation of a song can expand its meaning, or just be fun. Matthew Bannister's Evolver, a confident retelling of the whole of The Beatles' best album, Revolver, does both.

The album emerged from an successful attempt to reinterpret the songs with a group of music students at Wintec, where Matthew works in the School of Media Arts. Eventually he took the project home and completed it himself, as a home recording.

Anyone who knows his work will understand that -- as Matthew's own press release puts it -- "the Fabs have been the alpha and omega of his musical universe, and you can hear that in the music of Sneaky Feelings, the Dribbling Darts of Love, the Weather – all the bands he’s been involved since his early days in Dunedin."

You can imagine he might have been daunted in taking on his heroes, but on Evolver the opposite is true. He seems relaxed, not intimidated by the material. The songs are thought through in interesting ways, sometimes, as he puts it, "in terms of other Beatles songs, their influences, or other artists whom they have influenced."

Thus, the closing 'Tomorrow Never Knows' loops around to the Rolling Stones via Madchester and Primal Scream, and 'Got To Get You Into My Life' rocks out like it maybe would have if the Beatles had ever played it live. 'Yellow Submarine' is a whimsical reggae business and 'She Said She Said' is pure jangle.

Here's 'Tomorrow Never Knows', posted to YouTube with Apra's permission.

Unfortunately, that's almost all you're going to get online with this record. The licence Matthew negotiated with the publishers, Sony/ATV Music Australia, is not unreasonable in terms of royalties -- about a dollar per CD -- but it does not allow digital downloads.

I know that the Beatles catalogue has always been closely held online, and they may be concerned about something that could possibly be mistaken for the original being widely available, but The Easy All Stars reggae cover version of Sergeant Pepper's has always been available digitally. Perhaps someone could lighten up a bit here?

I checked with Matthew and he's free to sell as many licensed CDs as he likes, and he is open to the idea of doing vinyl if there's demand.  There are also plans for live shows later in the year. In the meantime, I wouldn't be unhappy to see some Hype Machine-affiliated blogger get a track or two up into the cloud. A remix of 'Yellow Submarine;, perchance?

Anyway, I've played this record every day since I bought it. It's fab. This is how you get it:

One Man Bannister


Powertool Records

From the Powertool Records website or store in New Lynn, Auckland. Note that the release isn't loaded on the website just yet, but Andrew Maitai assures me that it'll be available for sale there within 48 hours.


Speaking of remixes ...

Weird Together give Shapeshifter's Diamond Trade a steel-drum shakeup:

And SJD caresses the Phoenix Foundation's 'Sideways Glance':


I had a nice time at the Young Gifted and Broke Something app launch party last Friday. Although the magazine itself doesn't seem to actually be available. You can sign up to the mailing list to get notified when it is, here.

The collective has delivered this week too: a new Team Dynamite album, name your price on Bandcamp.


I've mentioned Kapiti Coast crew The No Problemos before. Their new, Pinky and the Brain-sampling track 'Move' seems like a real step up for them. It's cool.

I'm not sure I'd call it trip hop like they do, but this thing from Doprah is quite slinky (download available if you click through):

And I certainly wouldn't call Melting Faces' 'Wind from the Sun' "folk rock" like they do, but it is quite grand:


When Lorde was drafted in as a last-minute replacement for Frank Ocean at Sydney's Spendour in the Grass festival last week, many people quite rightly wondered if it was too much, too soon for a 16 year-old. As it turns out, she crushed it:


In celebration of Simon Ogston's Skeptics documentary Sheen of Gold's Film Festival premiere tomorrow, Darkstation has 'Agitator', live at the Gluepot in 1989. It's taken from a bFM live-to-air and the quality is good. Darkstation scores again!

A long-lost Pink Floyd song, 'Lucy Leave, from their original 1965 demo tape, washes up at WFMU.


This week's banger ... groovy and forthcoming from Cyril Hahn:


And finally, the Big Day Out 2014 lineup is announced and Campbell Smith has revealed a few more things. Thoughts?


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