Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Wooden Finger Five - October 2015

5.Bob Lennon John Dylan – Phoenix Foundation

This is a fun, fast few minutes of indie pop-rock nonsense from my favourite New Zealand band the Phoenix Foundation. I don’t think the mixing of names is meant to be significant, more likely it just sounded like a funny idea at the time. Moments of flippancy aside, I found the Phoenix Foundation’s new album ‘Give Up Your Dreams’ to be their most consistent, focused full-length to date, and definitely recommend giving it a few plays if you like blissful, melodic indie rock.

4. Ui Yia Uia – No Zu

We were watching the TV show Rage on a Wednesday night, when this strange and propulsive clip showed up. First these guys that looked like they came from a late night 1970s lounge band came in. Apart from the bass and sax, there were keyboards, a guy with curly hair and a moustache playing bongos, and two other drummers for some reason.

Then in the middle of those guys two women started singing in what sounded like a made-up language. It may well have been a perfectly legitimate language, but it sounded made-up the way they sang it; the phrase ‘Ui Yia Uia’ sounds like it comes two miles east of ‘Ganggajang’ to me.

And all the while that this was going on, the camera also panned around these bodybuilders that were surrounding the band. As if the moustache and bongos were not ‘Boogie Nights’ enough.

And somewhere in the room there was also a kangaroo.

When it was finished, not being able to remember either the name of the band or the song, I typed into Google the words ‘video clip kangaroo bodybuilders’ and came up with this article that identified it. I’ve since listened to the track a few more times on Spotify, though a couple of times I’ve mistakenly typed in ‘No Bu’ (a Japanese restaurant in Melbourne) when searching for it.

What a weird and wonderful find.

3.Come Back – Deafheaven

I was first lured into Deafheaven by seeing their beautiful album cover to ‘Sunbather’ on Pitchfork’s year-end best albums list, unaware that they were a heavy metal band. I got about three minutes into the first track, and then my ears rebelled … But something possessed me to give their new track ‘Come Back’ a go, and not only do I like it very much, I went back and listened to more of ‘Sunbather’ again and I like that too. As the Jesus and Mary Chain, and My Bloody Valentine have shown me, there is something soothing about ear-splitting white noise when played right. ‘Come Back’ though is more than just noise – listen to the last-third for an outro that compares favourably with Eric Clapton’s ‘Layla’.     

2.Academic – New Order

Catching me somewhat unawares, New Order have released their first new album in over a decade, without founding member and bassist Peter Hook. In worrying news for bass players New Order do not sound much different for the change in personnel. Though in part that is because their new bassist seems to have been ordered to play pretty much like Peter Hook. Actually the whole band sound pretty much like they did back in the 1980s, or at least like they did on ‘Get Ready’ a decade and a half ago. ‘Academic’ is yet another New Order track that has a seemingly cerebral title, but is basically about Barney singing of a girl he recalls.

1.Downtown – Majical Cloudz

As I have raved about somewhat incoherently on this blog before, I find Majical Cloudz’s music to be beautiful. Despite the title of their best song ‘Bugs Don’t Buzz’ it has this captivating, buzzing, feel to it, but it’s also very simple and direct, which is a rare feat for electronic music. There are a few tracks off the new album that I could choose to fill this slot, but ‘Downtown’ is my current favourite, though it took a few months of listening for me for ‘Bugs … ‘ to emerge as the standout from the last album. It’s a little bit creepy, dealing with obsession for a lover, but it’s delivered so delicately that the feelings feel more pure than they probably do if you just see them written on paper. If you haven’t listened to Majical Cloudz before don’t let them pass you by this year.  

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