Hard News by Russell Brown


Friday Music: Noise for the neighbours

Shortly after this year's Laneway Auckland, I received an email from Auckland Tourism Events and Development (ATEED) asking me how my day had been. I'm not sure how they got my email -- I hope it was in the fine print somewhere -- but I was happy to click through and answer their short online questionnaire.

There was a write-in box on the page, which I used to strongly express my view that development around the Wynyard site could not be allowed to squeeze out public events such as Laneway. We've now had a better look at what that development might be.

Events are the lifeblood of a city experience, and also often noisy by nature. Having Laneway curtailed or shifted off the site, or other events turned away, to preserve the peace of the occupants of expensive (but still council subsidised) townhouses and a "five-star hotel".

I understand the Laneway promoters have a three year agreement for use of  the Silo Park site, and perhaps after that they'll be able to move further out to the point. But part of what has made Wynyard attractive lies in its improvised nature. Because it had to be open for the Rugby World Cup, it was scrappy and low-rise and it worked. Please, let's not fuck up another urban playspace by covering it with wealthy people's apartments.


On the other hand, loud, live music and city-fringe residential can co-exist -- look at the Powerstation, which seems to have come to an acceptable accommodation with nearby apartment-dwellers and throbs along in delicious symmetry with Galbraith's pub across the road. I only wish more acts I really like played there.

One that I do and that did: Dinosaur Jr, who produced sweet, lovely rock 'n' roll noise on Tuesday. They played a fair chunk of the current album, but I'm not sure whether their hearts or the crowd's were exactly there. "This is our last song from I Bet On Sky," declared Lou Barlow in one of the night's few utterances from the stage. They then blazed out into greatest hits territory, exploding the room with 'Freakscene' and encoring with their cover of The Cure's 'Just Like Heaven'.

I was there with my boy Jim, and gee, did we have a satisfying father-and-son rock 'n' roll experience. The next one on the calendar is Black Sabbath. Throw up the goat.


If you were looking for the opposite of dad-rock, it would be this: DPTRCLB's little scamp of a house remix of Watercolours' 'Pazzida':

Put this on while you make dinner tonight and wiggle your bottom like you just don't care. (BTW, it's pronounced "Departure Club".)

I'm delighted to see Christoph El Truento having a dabble with TheAudience. His first track there, 'Galaxy', sees a groove rise up out of a trademark Truento texture and cruise along like some graceful fantasy mammal.

Click through for a free download (and to vote if you're so minded). For an intriguing insight into where he found the sounds, see this chat with Martyn Pepperell.

To say that Lorde is getting talked about would be putting it mildly. She and her label Universal Music agreed she should give away 15,000 songs from her debut EP, The Love Club. After 60,000 free downloads of the EP, it finally goes up for actual sale (and for streaming on Spotify) on iTunes today.

Meanwhile, there's this remix:

At the top of the roots chart on TheAudience this week, Christchurch's The Tiny Lies, with this:

I can't help but think there's easily enough there on TheAudience for someone to put together a tour of modern local folk/country/blues acts. It's very clearly a thing. The problem, I guess, would be radio support.


In a wholly different vein, Beastwars are poised to unleash their second album, Blood Becomes Fire on April, with an April 20 free instore at Real Groovy Records. At the bottom of the pre-order page on their website, you can listen to snippets of the new recordings. Tour dates and other info under the news section. Do wish they were playing the Powerstation and not the King's Arms, though. For the first time in his life, my younger boy has expressed interest in going to a gig, and I'm not sure I want to start him with an overstuffed KA.


Need some crunchy mashes? Try the Boomshot refix of Jimi Hendrix's 'Freedom', which mashes in Aretha's 'Think' (hat-tip Pete Darlington):

This gorgeous rebuild of a Luther Vandross fave:

And Ray Charles, jauntily remixed:


And last but certainly not least, our old friends The Phoenix Foundation. There's a simple, diverting video for 'The Captain', the first song from the forthcoming album Fandango (you can still download that free from their website):

Sam Scott chatted to The Guardian about the new record.

And, just to proper mess with your head, their cover of Fleetwood Mac's 'Don't Stop':

Love it.

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