Delaney Davidson – Gimmie Your Hands

My name is Delaney/I am oh-so folksy/I sound like Tom Waits/my lyrics are so brainy/middle-aged dads love me/your landlady loves me/my voice isn’t put on/please believe me.

C

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Parquet Courts – Human Performance

I feel like Parquet Courts have space-travelled (like, on airplane?) from their vegan timeshare workspace in Brooklyn next door to Thurston Moore’s “I Am A Cool Guy Studios” (TM), or at the very least from the pages of Pitchfork – if Pitchfork had pages. I think I’ve written about them before, on the pages of the late great Corner, but have no idea what my opinion is. Beyond all the time-shifting malarky and astute drumming is the type of feeling you get from a Dire Straights song — maybe it is the crooner-like nature of the vocals; maybe it is the heartbreak of a million middle aged men. It doesn’t feel so much as a heartbreak song as a song that sounds like a heartbreak song, in the same way that High School Musical isn’t a movie about High School insomuch as a movie about High School movies. At other times, Human Performance recalls the field-jumping jazzer-jazziness of Yo La Tengo’s Popular Songs, but without the lightness of touch.

UPDATE: Parquet Courts are from America, guys. That’s why they sound like they do. Like vegan timeshare people. LIFE IS CONFUSING I AM GOING TO GO BUY COFFEE NOW. B-

Herriot Row – Learning Not To Talk

Herriot Row is the musical project of Simon Comber. I don’t know if it’s more people than Simon or not, and to be honest our fact checking dept. here is me drinking a glass of 2014 Montepulciano D’Abruzzo which is really excellent value for money — jammy and dark and with just enough tannins to go around. Jammy, I say. Jammy. Which is to say we don’t have a fact checking dept. and checking that fact would mean I would have to leave this tab, do some googling, and then probably lose interest in this review. OK – fine –

 Robert Shelton on keys and Andrew Maguire on drums

There we are – straight from Under The Radar, who seem to think it sounds like sloppy hi-fi or something, which it doesn’t. Learning Not To Talk is hi-fi all the way. I mean, a shitty rock and roll band like The Trendees might sound sloppy hi-fi. This is really quite beautifully recorded. The frequencies all have enough room to breath – it reminds me of that Tiny Ruins song I reviewed a while back (ed: add hyperlink here). I don’t know if I like it as much as Tiny Ruins. It took three listens to even process the lyrics. That’s my fault, of course – too engrossed in all that sloppy hi fi. I listened a bit more – right now, as I write this, I am on my 5th listen. ‘Talking into space/scratching my face’. Comber’s cadence is no doubt beautiful and the melody is genuinely lovely (‘lovely’ like a dress, not like a melting moment). BOTTOM LINE: Simon Comber is Jakob Dylan minus the alt-country. A solid

Will Wood – It Rains

I don’t know why so many of our countrymen and women try to sound like they are from America. I say, I say, I do declare that it is god-darn phoney as a mint julep with maple syrup or as my aunt Betty’s ‘marriage’ to Tom Tucker, who of course inherited oil fields and cotton plantations from his daddy – ain’t that the truth.

It’s bad folk. Pumice, Kraus, Crude are ‘real’ NZ folk which is not to invoke the billions of problematic issues with calling something ‘real’. Let me be clear: Pumice engages in a sense of regionalism, of place which so many other of these nu-folk people – Marlon bore-me-to-death Williams, D. Davidson, The Eastern, Nadia Reid, etc – just fail at. It doesn’t help to sound like you’re from Faulkner county, though, does it? If you wrote in faux-Faulkner literary critics would have a field day. Somehow, though, it is OK in music. You say: Wait a gosh darn tootin moment there! They can do whatever they please, I do declare! I say: Of course they can, but it doesn’t make it good. What’s tragic here is that some of Wood’s songs are good – this one is ok, but it’s sort of formula, too – country/folk/alt tropes to the nth degree. I sincerely don’t understand the point — middle aged audiences will like it and buy your album (The Eastern), but darn it – it ain’t any good. You say: OK, what are some examples of good folk in NZ, Ms. Bitter-critic-lady? I say:

This, on the other hand, is Americana – the corndog variety – disguised as something DEEPER and more INTELLECTUAL YA’LL.

C