phoenix foundation

Content tagged as phoenix foundation.

The Brunettes: Structure and Cosmetics (Lil' Chief/Rhythmethod)

The Brunettes: Structure and Cosmetics (Lil' Chief/Rhythmethod)

The quirky and sometimes playful pop of Auckland's Brunettes gets a real workout here: whether it be enjoying the left speaker/right speaker game on Stereo (Mono Mono); referencing Tommy James and the Shondells' 60s hit Crimson and Clover on their delicate Credit Card Mail Order; offering a title such as Obligatory Road Song; or simply bending...

The Phoenix Foundation: Happy Ending (Flying Nun) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

The Phoenix Foundation: Happy Ending (Flying Nun) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

In a cover so cheap-looking and unpromising that it reminds me of an intermediate school kid's doodle comes one of the best New Zealand albums of the year. Let's hope that godawful "artwork" doesn't put off any prospective buyers because if it does they will be missing one of the most nuanced, textured, seductively melodic and...

The Ruby Suns: Sea Lion (Lil'Chief/Rhythmethod)

The Ruby Suns: Sea Lion (Lil'Chief/Rhythmethod)

My theory goes like this: there is a unique sound emerging from Auckland -- and specifically from a house just around the corner from me, actually. The sound is quirky pop which isn't ashamed to acknowledge craftsmen such as Paul McCartney, has its ears turned to the more odd arrangements on Brian Wilson's Beach Boys albums in the late 60s,...

Dudley Benson: The Awakening (Golden Retriever)

Dudley Benson: The Awakening (Golden Retriever)

The charming and slightly eccentric art music of Benson will be familiar to longtime Elsewhere people: his previous EPs have been posted here -- and now comes the long-anticipated debut album. The former chorister indulges himself in some oddly appealing Elizabethan language as much as in sometimes gorgeous arrangements for voice,...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Samuel Flynn Scott and Bunnies on Ponies: Straight Answer Machine (Loop)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Samuel Flynn Scott and Bunnies on Ponies: Straight Answer Machine (Loop)

Sam Scott is the singer and main songwriter of the Phoenix Foundation (alongside Luke Buda) and wrote the music for the feature Eagle Vs Shark but this, his second solo album, sounds like a man thoroughly enjoying himself (in a somewhat serious way) out of the confines of both of those. As with the PF this is pop which has a...

Beach House: Devotion (Arch Hill)

Beach House: Devotion (Arch Hill)

Anyone who was dropped into New Zealand music in the 80s and 90s would have thought that (for the most part) they had arrived in some grim North England industrial town: black moods, anger, negativity and cynicism -- and the shoe-gazing bands dressed to match. There was a lot of sullen music around and I guess young musicians thought that by...

Bannerman: The Bannerman EP (Nice Like Pie/Rhythmethod)

Bannerman: The Bannerman EP (Nice Like Pie/Rhythmethod)

Bannerman is not former Sneaky Feelings/Dribbling Darts frontman Matthew Bannister as I assumed on seeing this EP, rather it is Richard Setford who was the mainman behind Auckland's large soul-funk outfit One Million Dollars and its offspring Batucada Sound Machine, two party-large bands that had punters up and dancing.Time for a sitdown though...

Little Pictures: Owl + Owl (Lil' Chief)

Little Pictures: Owl + Owl (Lil' Chief)

Electropop married to slightly whimsical faux-naivety isn't an easy call and I have no doubt some will recoil from this bedroom music -- and when this Wellington duo quivers through the awful Tips for Domestic Bliss you can count me among the naysayers.But elsewhere here are charming little pop songs adeptly realised and working well within the...

Barry Saunders: Zodiac (Ode)

Barry Saunders: Zodiac (Ode)

By my count this is Saunders' fifth solo album, and is by far the strongest from the Warratah frontman. He reaches to the Phoenix Foundation for a downhome(ly) remake of their Going Fishing and his own lyrics are allusive, just specific enough to nail down some hard images ("down at the Kingdom Hall") and the snappy band (which...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Luke Buda: Vesuvius (Arch Hill)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Luke Buda: Vesuvius (Arch Hill)

This exceptional album by Buda of the Phoenix Foundation may take some getting used to for a few people: it is ambitious (and often lyrically funny or provocative) wide-screen pop which unashamedly doesn't shy from a McCartney-like hook, or deploying lap steel to fine effect -- as well as conjuring up the innocence of mid 60s pop (Electric...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 Lawrence Arabia: Chant Darling (Rhythmethod)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 Lawrence Arabia: Chant Darling (Rhythmethod)

In a blog at publicaddress.net about the 2009 Big Day Out I hailed the pop acts on the day while noting that in New Zealand we like pop music, but prefer it to come from somewhere else. We're a little suspicious of it when one of our own starts to make it. At least critics and radio programmers seem to be,  other people just get on and...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 Wild Bill Ricketts: John Dryden (Ricketts)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 Wild Bill Ricketts: John Dryden (Ricketts)

Certainly not what you might expect: an outlaw reading the poems or plays of Dryden. The Ricketts here is the percussion player (and songwriter) in the wonderful Phoenix Foundation (Dryden was an ancestor apparently) and here he coaxes various members of Trinity Roots, Opensouls, Fat Freddys and the Black Seeds to assist on an album of...

Various: The Great New Zealand Songbook (Thom/Sony)

Various: The Great New Zealand Songbook (Thom/Sony)

This nattily packaged double disc with Dick Frizzell's clever twist on an iconic and familiar Kiwi image as the cover arrives in time for New Zealand Music Month -- but already has the feel of the perfect Christmas gift for those living abroad. Especially when it includes Frizzell postcards to send off-shore. There are two versions: the...

Rebel Peasant: The Walls of the Well (Rebel Peasant)

Rebel Peasant: The Walls of the Well (Rebel Peasant)

These mostly gentle instrumentals by a founder member of the Phoenix Foundation (a drummer, but here steering various bandmates and others through his own self-produced material in his home studio) confirms what a rich source of talent that band contains . . . and what Rebel Peasant (aka Richie Singleton) is. Like a moody, layered, slightly...

GREG JOHNSON INTERVIEWED (2009): The song, not the singer

GREG JOHNSON INTERVIEWED (2009): The song, not the singer

The first call catches Greg Johnson and his wife Kelli somewhere in the empty landscape of Texas heading for Shreveport, Louisiana with a fuel gauge hovering near “Empty”. “We’re looking for gas at the moment,” he says slightly anxiously, and there follows a brief and fraught discussion in the front seat. They...

LLOYD COLE INTERVIEWED (2000): This changing man

LLOYD COLE INTERVIEWED (2000): This changing man

Lloyd Cole, the Derbyshire-born pop singer-songwriter who sprang to attention in the mid-80s for his introspective literate lyrics with his band the Commotions, quit Britain for New York in 1988 for six months - and has now stayed for 12 years. With his American wife and two children, he lives in the wilderness three hours north of...

The Brunettes: Paper Dolls (Lil' Chief)

The Brunettes: Paper Dolls (Lil' Chief)

The cute and coy pop of the Brunettes has always been much enjoyed here at Elsewhere for its humour and slightly twee quality, and their previous album Structure and Cosmetics remains a Firm Favourite, as they say. But frankly on this one some of the charm is wearing off: they work the same lyrical quirkiness about domestic matters and...

The Phoenix Foundation: Merry Kriskmass EP (Phoenix Foundation)

The Phoenix Foundation: Merry Kriskmass EP (Phoenix Foundation)

If you believe the anti-hype, this isn't exactly the Phoenix Foundation's cash-in on Christmas but has been inspired by The Krisk who is -- and I am just quoting here -- "a small stuffed white man who rides a reindeer". It is he who appears on the cover, has inspired this six-song EP (plus uncredited but uninteresting soundscapes...

The Clientele: Bonfires on the Heath (PopFrenzy)

The Clientele: Bonfires on the Heath (PopFrenzy)

The charming, wispy and intimate pop of this London outfit has long been an Elsewhere favourite: their album God Save the Clientele was among The Best of Elsewhere 2007 and they share the same PopFrenzy label as equally delightful pop bands such as Camera Obscura, Lightning Dust, Radio Dept and Institut Polaire. The Clientele embark here on...

The Ruby Suns: Fight Softly (Li'l Chief)

The Ruby Suns: Fight Softly (Li'l Chief)

The dreamy pop landscape that Ryan McPhun, mainman behind the Ruby Suns, conjures up usually wouldn't sound too far removed from that of bands on the PopFrenzy label which Elsewhere has always favoured. The last Ruby Suns album Sea Lion had an identifiable pop-folkadelic quality coming from the Pacific Rim (he's a Californian transplanted to...

The Fourmyula: The Complete Fourmyula (EMI)

The Fourmyula: The Complete Fourmyula (EMI)

In his recent book 100 Essential New Zealand Albums, the writer/broadcaster Nick Bollinger lists three albums by the Fourmyula (1967-71) out of Upper Hutt. Not bad for a band that only released three -- and one of those Bollinger cites was the unreleased Turn Your Back on the Wind. Confused? Bollinger doesn't list their self-titled...

ARTISAN GUNS INTERVIEWED (2010): Heart, and art, on their sleeves

ARTISAN GUNS INTERVIEWED (2010): Heart, and art, on their sleeves

The guys in the young Auckland band Artisan Guns remind me it was four years ago that I first saw them, in this very same room -- the boardroom of EMI in Auckland where the harbour views can be so distracting. When they played four years ago -- an acoustic set to maybe a dozen people on a beer-drinking Friday after work -- the room hushed...

The Phoenix Foundation: Buffalo (EMI)

The Phoenix Foundation: Buffalo (EMI)

After their excellent, Best of Elsewhere 2007 album Happy Ending -- and in the interim solo projects and the amusing, enticing and experimental pre-Christmas EP Merry Kriskmass -- expectation is high for this album by one of New Zealand's most interesting and enjoyable acts. More so even than the mostly laidback, slightly-delic...

Nightchoir: 24 Hours of Night (1157 Records)

Nightchoir: 24 Hours of Night (1157 Records)

Every May, being New Zealand Music Month, many dozens of albums arrive almost simultaneously -- over 40 in four weeks last year, which is kinda ridiculous -- so Elsewhere sifts judiciously (as best it can with that volume) and points to those which might fly beneath the radar. Let's hope this one doesn't. Nightchoir play what could...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 The Naked and Famous: Passive Me Aggressive You (Somewhat Damaged)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 The Naked and Famous: Passive Me Aggressive You (Somewhat Damaged)

From She Loves You and She's a Mod, pop music has always rung to the affirmation of "yeah yeah yeah" -- and to hear this Auckland band work it so well on their newly minted classic single Young Blood (which recently won the Silver Scroll for songwriting) was thrilling. This debut album has been so well canvassed and reviewed that...

Pine: Books and Magazines (Arch Hill)

Pine: Books and Magazines (Arch Hill)

In that great Kiwi tradition, Pine recorded this low-key charmer in a sitting room in Christchurch (the house since severely damaged by the quake apparently) and the trio here once again deliver intimate, spare but not skeletal-sounding pop. Actually, there is little needs to be said here because the Arch Hill label has an interesting...

Dudley Benson: Forest, Songs by Hirini Melbourne (Golden Retriever)

Dudley Benson: Forest, Songs by Hirini Melbourne (Golden Retriever)

Those many of us seduced by Dudley Benson's previous album (and EPs which preceded it) might not have anticipated the manner of this new one, an entirely a capella art music project based on the poems (birds, the spider) by the late Hirini Melbourne who, with Richard Nunns, led the revival of taonga puoru (tradional Maori instruments) . . . and...

Lloyd Cole: Broken Record (Tapete/Yellow Eye)

Lloyd Cole: Broken Record (Tapete/Yellow Eye)

Lloyd Cole may not command that massive audience he once did, but his modest tours always pull the loyalists -- and his songwriting skills haven't deserted him, even though his great chart-worrying album Rattlesnakes with the Commotions was closer to 30 years ago than 20. This new album, recorded in New York and spare in its...

The Tokey Tones: Butterfly, Caterpillar  (2007)

The Tokey Tones: Butterfly, Caterpillar (2007)

It’s a common occurrence: just when popular music has got up a head of steam, some supportive critical consensus, and is charging off in a particular direction along comes something which, by going the opposite way, captures the imagination. At the height of Day-Glo acid-dropping hippiedom along came the Velvet Underground in all their...

Various Artists: The Great New Zealand Songbook; Souvenir Edition (Sony)

Various Artists: The Great New Zealand Songbook; Souvenir Edition (Sony)

Well this four CD collection certainly takes the sweat out of present-buying for those Rugby World Cup visitors who will wash up on our shores, and also will fill a gap in the Christmas stockings of family and friends abroad. Here the two previous editions of the Songbook (reviewed Vol 1 here and Vol 2 here) are kicked off by the All Blacks'...

Camera Obscura; Let's Get Out of This Country (Popfrenzy/Rhythmethod) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

Camera Obscura; Let's Get Out of This Country (Popfrenzy/Rhythmethod) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

Gentle, shimmering pop where the guitars swell up and envelope you like sunshine and you can't help but nod along or tap your feet. Music that has you making a fool off yourself in the car as you sing along loudly and bang the steering wheel when the big chorus kicks in. I've just described the effect of this glistening album by a Scottish...

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