The Coolies – Scorpio 10

HELLO FRIENDS! Happy 2016. I spent it cleaning in a kitchen, mopping the floors and cleaning out dishwashers because everybody decided it would be a good idea to come out to NEW YEARS DINNER. I cooked so many beef fillets, let me tell you. So many cows. Then I went home and saw my good friends MATT TRENDEE and SARA ARTSCULPTURE and PAT KRAUS and FRANCES NOTAMOONRAKER and RUPERT MCMILLAN. By then it was pretty late! Wowee. Anyway nothing good has come out in a while – everyone is on break during holidays, obvs. So let’s talk about the greatness of THE COOLIES.

THE COOLIES ARE REALLY GREAT

THEY ARE SO COOL

What’s good here: a boss bass line that is unrelenting and more sure of itself than Thatcher invading Middle Earth, weird peripheral sounds that feel as if they are an extension of Bo Didley’s ‘talking’ guitar – the logical endpoint for sound-related matter when put against a boss-ass bass. The vocals are pleasantly distorted – as if pushed through a wind tunnel at New World (this isn’t fanciful – there really is a wind tunnel at the New World here. I wouldn’t be surprised if these Coolies recorded the vocals there, seeing S. ‘Pumice’ Neville is NZ’s number-one superproducer. It’s late night dancing music or early morning drinking coffee. It’s five single-origin coffees out of five. It’s an A+

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French Testing – Saab on Saab

I have been trying this thing where I try and wait for something I really think sounds great – hence why Really Real has moved into a slug-like crawl whilst I wait for the Chosen One. The Chosen One is not forthcoming. French Testing either sounds like The Doors or Damo Suzuki on holiday, like on holiday at one of those resorts they advertise on television – Club Med or something. When I was ten my friend Tom (he is a goth now, I think) moved into a big pink house and his parents hung pictures of their Club Med vacation everywhere, so guests could see. His parents had a sodastream. They only served the sodastream beverages in plastic cups. Tom’s dad had a hairy chest and his mother looked like one of those women who watched friends and got the Rachel haircut and kept it, forever. I’m not sure if this explains quite how horrifying the pictures were – maybe it helps if I tell you his dad looked a lot like Michael Scott from the American ‘Office’. I am now a lot older than ten and the pictures still haunt me – the audacity of people! Displaying their honeymoon at Club Med for the world to see! His dad also wore a medallion. It was gold. I mean.

Anyway I listen to “The Doors” at my job because they play the radio there. They once had a Billy Joel marrathon. The Doors kind of sound like Damo Suzuki if Damo Suzuki worked in a dairy his whole life and never music. So, Damo Suzuki at Club Med is better. There’s a heatwave outside. “Saab on Saab” is funny as hell and the best Swedish-car-disco-sun-pop for this sort of day. I am wearing my crepe shorts and a short kimono-like top and a really nice Diptyque perfume. I am babe-ing, basically. This kind of lenghty digression – Saab on Saab on Saab on Saab on Saab on Saab, it’s exactly the digression I’ve been looking for. (Are you the one that I’veeeeeeee been looking for.)(NICK CAVE STARE)

A-

 

Molly Devine – Puppets

Jeez Louise it has been a long time since I have had internet. I got sick of going to the library because of all the German tourists who give me anxiety and the librarians who I disapprove of ever since they got rid of all the books pre-2000. WAITAKI DISTRICT LIBRARY: LIBRARY OF THE FUTURE (in ass. with Ashvegas, town of the future). I’m going to start with a godawful song because there is nothing quite like flexing my tiny fingers and telling you how bad something is. And I can’t quite tell you just how good the new Coolies album is yet – it’s that good. Positive reviews require a modicum of thought. Or put it this way: we have just re-set up our Royd speakers with a fancy Class-A amp and Marantz compact disc player and I spent the morning dancing to Drake. I played Drake really loud. There is a cafe opposite me. It’s hip. It serves CAFE SUPREME. Or whatever it’s called. Women who spend too much on halter tops go there. Men in business suits go there. They do pour-over single origin coffee for like, 3.50, so I go there sometimes too. I like playing Drake loud because it sounds boss, and it also sounds good because it’s a fancy hifi system played on gosh darn compact disc. And fuck it – it’s Drake. So actually it’s 51% harder for me to play bad music loud, because people are walking by and they might listen to me playing “Puppets” by Molly Devine and suddenly my street cred would be erased. They’ll be like, jeez, what’s Kool Eden going to play next – Regina Spector? And I’ll be like – it’s ok expensive halter top people! I’m a music critic! It’s my job! That’s not a Regina Spector CD over there….OK maybe it is, but I’m being ironic! Ha ha.

And then what will happen is expensive halter top people will call a P.I and they’ll discover that I did like Regina Spector in my angsty teenage girl period and they’ll find photos and it ends in the same way – my street cred is ruined. My music critic card is revoked. I find myself writing for the NZ Herald, speculating what conditioner Lorde uses in her triumphant hair. (PS. Ella, if you are reading this, what conditioner do you use? We both have similar hair types – out of control curls-which-hides-secrets-much-like-60s-Dylan. I am always looking out for The Perfect Conditioner.)

Now I’m listening to Drake again and the whole point of this point is to say, “Puppets” is an embarassing track to listen to. Nothing really happens, does it? It’s obvious Devine’s lineage – the track aspires to Kate Bush-isms (from the ‘tick tock’ which reminds me of her mid-2000s masterpiece ‘Ariel’). But it misses something, doesn’t it? Bush uses quirks to build a sophisticated soundscape – a kind of eccentric narrative where the song functions as a whole. Part of the issue is perhaps Bush’s insistence on the banal – a meditation on doing the washing. Whereas ‘Puppets’ looks for something more profound. It’s not clear what it’s about. Now I sound like an asshole creative writing professor, don’t I? Let’s be clear- nothing good comes from academia. But try listening to “Puppets” after listening to Bush meditate on doing her washing. If you’re like me, you’ll find it physically impossible. D  

 

Lontalius – Kick In The Head

Country with a nice sweater. Wilco without migraines. Sundance Festival movie without a cast. That last one was weak – let’s try again, more explicit this time – country with a nice sweater but not a ten gallon hat or enough bourbon. Fine, Lontalius is 18 – no doubt he drinks six barrels soda and IMs with Harry Styles. Stay off the bourbon Lontalius! Or don’t. I don’t care. It’s just bland enough people’ll like it – bland enough to play in overpriced stores in Britomart but with enough ‘cred’ to win one of those critic’s choice award things. Bah humbug. Don’t get me wrong – ever since I wrote for The Corner, way back in the day, I have followed Lontalius and sometimes enjoyed his work – I fear he has enjoyed success too soon and become strangely homogenized, lost the appeal that made him interesting. Actually, the appeal that makes any bedroom pop interesting. It happens. Big record industry execs, with pony tails and sunglasses and so on. C-

Die! Die! Die! – Dark Arrow

I have moved house – now I live in an inner city apartment with a backyard and sun streaming in all the windows and I sit here writing this with my morning coffee and then later my friends and I will go out and drink Cosmos in the Meatpacking District and Samantha will tell us an oh-so scandalous story and later I will buy aprox. 1,450 pairs of shoes. In short: I AM LIVING THE LIFE OF CARRIE MOTHERFUCKING BRADSHAW, BITCHES. COSMOS ARE STILL A THING OK?

Here we have a single by Die! Die! Die! who are NZ’s go to band for ‘edgy’ punk-a-thons, those wee punksters. They have never made a good album. Sometimes that whole punkster teeny-bopper thing never translates to record – records are stuck in a moment and rely factors other than Playing With All Your Heart. Here, though, the Die-sters give us a melody and a wonderfully short playing time – it is almost over before it begins and that’s swell. The band appears to have ditched the aesthetic of over-loudness and sharp drums (or: ‘Steve Albini, Math-Rock’s Saviour’) and moved into almost orchestral territory, where the band and drums provide a kind of dense soundscape, acting as scenery to the vocals. In doing so these chirpy lads advance beyond Playing With Heart and into the wilderness of a workable record – not the type you just buy cause it’s on the merch table. And at least it’s fun to listen to, right? B