Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Some things just don't let you down

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  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Danielle,

    3. She is such a wonderful pop songwriter that I find it difficult to say anything about the music but get all swoony. That shit is right in my wheelhouse.

    You don't think Paul McCartney may at some stage want the bits of Magical Mystery Tour and Hello Goodbye back?

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3208 posts Report Reply

  • Samuel Scott,

    HDU were really really good last night. And my AIRplugs worked great thank you very much. They impede the flow of air into my ears so I call them airplugs!

    Umm, eerrr anyway. So yes HDU were on top form. And Glass Vaults were really great too. I was quite drunk and a bit excited about being out on the town in Wellington for the first time in forever so I was finding it hard not to talk. After enjoying the first half of their set very I decided to not be that annoying talking person and went outside so I could regurgitate my nonsense. But Glass Vaults (or is Glassvaults) are pretty impressive, genuinely trippy as fuck.

    South Wellington • Since Feb 2008 • 299 posts Report Reply

  • Samuel Scott,

    You don’t think Paul McCartney may at some stage want the bits of Magical Mystery Tour and Hello Goodbye back?

    ...or indeed Cinematic's 'Hello Like a Goodbye'... It's a fairly common songwriters trope I guess. I'm very keen to hear the whole album, people are saying good things.

    South Wellington • Since Feb 2008 • 299 posts Report Reply

  • Biobbs, in reply to Lilith __,

    Comparing those videos, makes me think the Block of Wood one should be preserved as some kind of nationally significant reminder. Not just because it shows the buildings, but also because those few seconds of footage of Paul up on the balcony there, and the pan shot around him, caught the atmosphere of that little corner of town. High St/Lichfield/Manchester really was the heart and soul of Christchurch for me, much more than the comparatively desolate atmosphere of the Square, for example. It's still incredible to think of it not being there anymore.

    The River Mouth, Denmark • Since Jan 2011 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Biobbs, in reply to Jackie Clark,

    I would argue that there is dancing and then there is ...........dancing.

    I wasn't meaning to dis Aretha, by the way. I have been known to dance naked around my flat screaming along to Respect at 1 am (sorry, too much information).

    The River Mouth, Denmark • Since Jan 2011 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    Hey, I love Emitt Rhodes. Basically, people ripping off Paul McCartney is what I live for!

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3661 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Hey, I love Emitt Rhodes. Basically, people ripping off Paul McCartney is what I live for!

    Yes!

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Biobbs,

    High St/Lichfield/Manchester really was the heart and soul of Christchurch for me

    I lived in an upstairs flat on High St one summer when I was at Uni. My boyfriend lived on Lichfield, and a good friend above Reuben Blades. We liked to go to Caffiends in the middle of the night, just because we could. On warm evenings my flatmates and I would take the couch out over the shop frontage and watch the world go by. The street was delightfully quiet for that couple of hours after the shops closed and before the strip clubs opened.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3466 posts Report Reply

  • dyan campbell,

    we all like and what we like, and I never took to Flying Nun and her progeny.

    I had the opposite reaction to the Flying Nun stuff when I first came here (in the late 80s). I absolutely loved the sound - it was alway being described as "weird" or "droning" here but it sounded sweet and melodious compared to much of the music coming out of the Pacific Northwest at the time, where a more hardcore sound had long since been the ascendent form.

    The bands I first heard from the Flying Nun label - Straitjacket Fits, The Clean, Bailterspace, Tall Dwarfs, The Chills - struck me as incredibly original and a terrific combination of the big guitar noise feedback sound ("gronk" as a friend of mine in Canada says) and often sweet sounding vocals delivering wry, frank and often very funny lyrics that often summed up exactly what was in my own head. I absolutely loved the music, and still do. When I met the people behind the label - Roger & crew - and the musicians - I felt - after months of feeling tremendously isolated and homesick in New Zealand - like I had found members of my own species.

    In the early 90s I read an article by Alex Ross in the New Yorker, praising Stephen Malkmus's band Pavement to the skies without mentioning Malkmus's own love of Flying Nun music and his frequent mentions of their influence on his own songwriting, which struck me as an egregious oversight.

    Correctly guessing that he was either a Yale or a Harvard alumnus, and knowing these insolent ivy league types all know each other in the USA, I wrote to a fellow Flying Nun fan and ivy leaguer I knew and demanded "DO YOU KNOW THIS PINHEAD??" and demanded his email address if he had it, so I could challenge him to a figurative literary duel over the Flying Nun musicians' honour.

    Sure enough, they'd known one another at Harvard, but as it turned out Alex Ross was as big as fan of the New Zealand music scene as we were, and he wrote me a patient, soothing and apologetic letter explaining himself and the Pavement article, and directed me to his site devoted to NZ music.
    Alex Ross - New Zealand Music

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 595 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to dyan campbell,

    Alex Ross - New Zealand Music

    this touches many bases, and is a tidy overview for foreigners,
    but once again it is a history of Flying Nun that omits the contribution
    of Doug Hood (who did more of the production of Pink Frost
    than Chris, as Alex Ross asserts) aside from being the technical
    adept who partnered chris on the four-track forays, it was Doug's
    live (and studio) mixing that captured the sound and it was his
    running of the wIndsor Castle gig and national (and International)
    tours that helped get all these bands heard, he took so many bands and
    budding sound men under his wing and gave them a chance to fly...
    - just sayin', credit where credit's also due...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 5046 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    - just sayin', credit where credit's also due...

    Word, Ian.....

    Doug & Victoria's annual Chrissy BBQs were notorious for all the right reasons too.

    Ross' paragraphs about the immediate pre-FN era are equally skewered as is his very narrow overview of the scene thereafter.

    And 'Nothing’s going to happen—the unofficial anthem of New Zealand rock' wasn't actually a Flying Nun record.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3208 posts Report Reply

  • Alex Ross,

    Howdy, Dyan! I saw your comment linking to my blog, and found you here. Hope all's well.

    To those who find my New Zealand piece inadequate, I plead guilty. I wrote it back in 1995, and had never been to New Zealand. (I've still never been, alas, though I've spent a few hours in the Auckland airport.) What I knew about the scene came from scattered interviews, zines, a book or two, bits and pieces of things I'd picked up here and there. But the whole concept, as I say at the beginning, was to try imagine a place from afar, through its music. I advertise my own limitations pretty clearly. The piece was inaccessible for years after FEED magazine shut down, and I debated whether to put it up on my own site, because I didn't think it was all that great. But I decided it might be good for something.

    All that said, I'm a little confused by Simon's comment. I didn't describe "Nothing's Going to Happen" as a Flying Nun song. This is not a history of the Flying Nun label, though most of the music I talk about appeared there. And yet: I'm writing about the "big band" version of "Nothing's Going to Happen," which is indeed a Flying Nun song (from That's the Short & Long of It). So, either way, there you are. Thanks for reading, and apologies again for all I left out.

    Since Nov 2011 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Alex Ross,

    And yet: I'm writing about the "big band" version of "Nothing's Going to Happen," which is indeed a Flying Nun song (from That's the Short & Long of It). So, either way, there you are. Thanks for reading, and apologies again for all I left out.

    Aha! That's a correct and delightfully nerdy comeback.

    Thanks for swinging by, Alex. And I'm not sure if you realised it, but Simon was both manager of the Suburban Reptiles and co-owner of the label on which the 3 Songs EP containing the original 'Nothing's Gonna Happen' appeared.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18960 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Alex Ross,

    Kiwipedantia...

    ...because I didn't think it was all that great. But I decided it might be good for something.


    ...come back all is forgiven, Alex no malice was intended and I applaud the spirit in which it was originally written, we is just crowd source pedants, every little bit helps and as The Clean would have it Great Sounds Great, Good Sounds Good, So-so Sounds So-so, Bad Sounds Bad, Rotten Sounds Rotten - we cover the whole gamut... sing out if you are ever in the country and we can point your thing towards the hills that are alive with music!

    I see Flying Nun have just posted this on You Tube this month - and again it is a shame they make no mention of it originally being released on Simon's Furtive Label (an offshoot of Propeller) - much the same as Flying Nun claim the Gordons first album as their release now - when it was originally self released and only distributed through F Nun for the first few years... nit picking I know, and the victors write the history...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 5046 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Doug Hood . . . took so many bands and
    budding sound men under his wing and gave them a chance to fly...

    . . . and if he'd happened along a few centuries earlier he just might've given a vital boost to those thirteenth century decadent birds incapable of flight. Because if anyone could have done it . . .

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3553 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart, in reply to peter mclennan,

    Ah Peter, you have made me a very happy chap. Since my Hallelujah Picassos cassettes stretched & became unplayable (some years ago) I have had an occasional fossick for outlets that might allow me to buy a CD. And here you are with a 'compilation' re-issue that ticks plenty of boxes for a nostalgic old bastard.

    It's on my Xmas list fersure.

    I only managed to see the Picassos live the once - at Armadillo at teh top end of Symond St - no idea what year it was but I dragged a very good mate along and we both had an absolute ball. Oh happy days!

    Thanks again.

    Te Ika A Maui - Waitakere… • Since Oct 2008 • 572 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Paul sent me the links for his High Street Manchester cnr clips (the one Lilith posted was from Pine's Stephen McCarthy, I think) these are from the High street side of that same block.

    ...and yes, The Bats were in fine form last Saturday in Chchch, tight, crisp and very danceable!
    I strongly urge all Wellingtonians and Aucklanders to seize the opportunity to revel in, and with, them this coming weekend:
    San Francisco Bath House, Fri 18th
    Kings Arms Tavern, Sat 19th

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 5046 posts Report Reply

  • dyan campbell,

    Howdy, Dyan!

    Hey Alex. As you can see, I'm not the only Flying Nun fan here.

    To those who find my New Zealand piece inadequate, I plead guilty. I wrote it back in 1995, and had never been to New Zealand. (I've still never been, alas, though I've spent a few hours in the Auckland airport.) What I knew about the scene came from scattered interviews, zines, a book or two, bits and pieces of things I'd picked up here and there. But the whole concept, as I say at the beginning, was to try imagine a place from afar, through its music.

    Nice save. Although that's what you said all those years ago, and as I said back then, when you cautiously talked me down and directed me to your website devoted to Flying Nun music... I believe I graciously and magnanimously said something like "Uh, well, um... lucky for you, you have good taste in music and seem reasonably, um, informed and educated...

    Russell Brown, the patron of this e-salon and Flying Nun fixture featured in my Favourite Flying Nun Story, and you may be interested in some of the other stories.

    By the way, I live the picture of Bea-The-Cat-Disapproving of Alex Mincek's Pendulum V and I had a look around for the Booth cartoon of a cat in the foreground, whiskers frazzled and ears askew, an amateur orchestra practicing in the background and someone saying "Just then, and the end of Ravel's Bolero, I thought I heard a scream" but I couldn't find it. Bea looks less displeased than Booth's cartoon cat, but cats are very censorious creatures at the best of times.

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 595 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Familton,

    Listening to two Melbourne bands a great deal at the moment – Twerps and Dick Diver – both on Chapter Music and both with a strong Bats/Clean influence woven into their sound. Highly recommend you check them out.
    http://youtu.be/pg6KlXnrNsE
    http://youtu.be/EtKDKEngz2w

    Sydney • Since Apr 2010 • 2 posts Report Reply

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