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TAYLOR SWIFT, MISS AMERICANA DOCO, CONSIDERED (2020): She got a suite and you got defeat

3 Apr 2020  |  2 min read

When Taylor Swift's Netflix documentary Miss Americana debuted in January, keyboard fury on social media accused this young pop upstart (who was 30) of appropriating the name of a genre defined by authentic American voices and music. In truth, “Americana” is just a taxonomic device, as vague as “jazz”, “pop”, or “alternative”.... > Read more

THE BEE GEES: ODESSA, CONSIDERED (2020): All at sea in separate lifeboats

30 Mar 2020  |  4 min read

In 16 months from early 1967 when they returned to Britain after a trip back home to Australia, the Bee Gees cracked out a remarkable six hit singles and three albums. Their writing, recording and touring schedule was extraordinary, perhaps only matched by the Beatles' work ethic who were for a time their real chart rivals. But for a group which crafted tight radio pop there was a... > Read more

BOB DYLAN: MURDER MOST FOUL, CONSIDERED (2020): Mind out of time

29 Mar 2020  |  15 min read  |  2

On December 13 1963, just three weeks after President John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Bob Dylan – who had watched the coverage on television and was depressed by the death of the optimistic Kennedy era – attended a fund-raising dinner in New York for the Emergency Civil Liberties Committee. On the basis of his songs like Blowin' in the Wind (which Peter Paul and... > Read more

THE MOTORS: APPROVED BY THE MOTORS, CONSIDERED (2020): They had the look, unfortunately

27 Mar 2020  |  3 min read

You gorra feel sorry for the Motors. Although owing a debt the genre, this British band weren't really “pub-rock” in the manner of, say, Dr Feelgood or Ian Dury's Kilburn and the High Roads. They were more pop-rock – strong on melody, hooks and choruses – but they formed in '77 when the spirits of pub-rock and then punk were abroad. Their origins had been in... > Read more

BOB DYLAN: DESIRE, CONSIDERED (2020): To the valley below . . . and beyond

21 Mar 2020  |  5 min read

In the collective memory, Bob Dylan's Desire album of '76 comes between the exceptional Blood on the Tracks and is sandwiched between the two legs of his Rolling Thunder Review of late '75 and early '76. Desire came out before that second (and less happy) part of the Thunder tour but he'd already taken the songs – notably Hurricane about the boxer Rubin Carter, One More Cup of Coffee... > Read more

RINGO STARR: BEAUCOUPS OF BLUES, REVISITED (2020): From Abbey Road to Music Row

18 Mar 2020  |  4 min read  |  1

An amusing irony after the Beatles broke up in 1970 was that the one who didn't write any songs (two in more than seven years hardly counts) and was the fourth best singer in the band should, for a time, have the most commercial – and sometimes critical – success. Ringo Starr's string of singles in the early Seventies – It Don't Come Easy, Back Off Boogaloo, Photograph and... > Read more

THE ROLLING STONES: BETWEEN THE BUTTONS, CONSIDERED (2020): A laugh turned to farce?

16 Mar 2020  |  4 min read

The shorthand for the Rolling Stones' recording career before Exile on Main Street is usually reduced – even by Stones' fans – to something like this: some blues and r'n'b covers albums with a few originals thrown in, Aftermath in '66 where they wrote everything themselves and so is a classic (it's not, it's flawed like most Stones' albums), the substandard foray into Pepper-style... > Read more

My Obsession

TROY KINGI, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2020): Preparing the road ahead

9 Mar 2020  |  1 min read

Most musicians don’t see the bigger picture, they’re too busy getting out the single or EP, planning the gig or short tour. But Troy Kingi is not like most musicians, he has a masterplan.  Kingi – singer, songwriter, guitarist and actor among other things – has set himself the project of releasing 10 albums in 10 years. That, as the sports... > Read more

GEORGE MARTIN: OFF THE BEATLE TRACK, CONSIDERED (2020): From him to you

8 Mar 2020  |  4 min read

It can't be denied that George Martin was indispensable to the Beatles in the studio for his arranging, orchestration and playing skills. It's hard to imagine if we'd ever have heard Yesterday, In My Life, Eleanor Rigby, Strawberry Fields Forever, I am the Walrus and many other classics in the same manner if it hadn't been for his input. His pre-Beatle work with sound and tape effects for... > Read more

LAURIE ANDERSON INTERVIEWED (2019): The artist as curator and creator

2 Mar 2020  |  5 min read

The irony isn't lost on us: Laurie Anderson, the American multi-media artist on the leading edge of innovative technology, can't get cellphone coverage. Admittedly she's on a construction site but all we have are bursts of static between yawning silences, with which she could doubtless do something provocatively creative. We postpone until she's back in her Brooklyn studio. “This... > Read more

NADIA REID PROFILED (2020): Time has come today

1 Mar 2020  |  2 min read

On recent covers of the British music magazine Mojohave been the Beatles, the Who, Neil Young and Leonard Cohen. All white males, and quite a few dead ones. Inside however the writers cover more diversity in contemporary folk, electronica, hip-hop, rock, jazz and so on. The February issue was interesting. Although Johnny Cash was on the front, the cover-mount CD included a recent Chills... > Read more

MIRIAM CLANCY, INTERVIEWED (2020): In the gutter but looking at the stars

24 Feb 2020  |  4 min read

When Miriam Clancy recently stepped up at Auckland's Wine Cellar, the start of a short national tour, an impressive transformation took place. Minutes before she'd been exchanging hugs with well-wishers and fans, many of whom had enjoyed her two singer-songwriter albums Lucky One(2006) and Magnetic (2009). But this was very different Clancy, one tested and toughened by five... > Read more

NILS LOFGREN: THE EARLY CAREER, CONSIDERED (2020): Head over heels for Nils

24 Feb 2020  |  6 min read

It's likely that most people who know Nils Lofgren for his brief periods with Neil Young (After the Goldrush, Tonight's the Night, Trans) and his long tenure in Springsteen's E Street Band would also be aware of his parallel solo career. But many might not be familiar with this talented singer, songwriter, guitarist and trampolinist and some excellent albums under his own name in the... > Read more

ALY COOK, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2020): Highways and red dirt roads on the way

22 Feb 2020  |  1 min read

Aly Cook is a self-starter, more acclaimed outside New Zealand than at home. And although she is very big in Australian country music circles, she grew up in the beachside suburb of Tahunanui in Nelson, the city in which she still lives. A self-managed country singer-songwriter, Cook has crowd-funded her three albums. With the release in September 2019 of... > Read more

PETER GREEN: IN THE SKIES and LITTLE DREAMER, CONSIDERED (2020): The slight return in the late Seventies

17 Feb 2020  |  4 min read

The sad story of Sixties singer-guitarist and songwriter Peter Green (born Peter Greenbaum in 1946, of Bethnal Green) probably needs little repeating but the bare facts look like this. After playing in a few local groups as a bassist (one featuring drummer Mick Fleetwood and briefly singer Rod Stewart), he emerged as one of the great blues guitarists in the mid Sixties,... > Read more

TAMI NEILSON: DYNAMITE READY TO BOOM! (2020): The year the chick-a-boomed?

14 Feb 2020  |  2 min read

Tami Neilson is world famous in New Zealand. For now. Over confident and enjoyable albums, the Canadian-born singer/songwriter adapted the spirits of Peggy Lee, Wanda Jackson, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline and others to create something unique. A clutch of local awards, sold out concerts, her striking style (“The real reason I sing loud, so you can hear me over my... > Read more

TAMI NEILSON, THE CAREER AND CHICKABOOM!: (2020) It's the Tami show, again

14 Feb 2020  |  5 min read  |  1

At the end of 2019 I was approached by Tami Neilson to ask if I would write some PR for her to use with her forthcoming album Chickaboom! This was the album she had recorded with brother Jay and she wanted something to introduce her to international audiences, because the album was going to get a serious push. I was delighted and somehow that morphed into some PR articles . . . and... > Read more

CY WINSTANLEY OF TATTLETALE SAINTS INTERVIEWED (2020): Nashville cats . . .

10 Feb 2020  |  3 min read

Singer-songwriter Cy Winstanley – half of the expat country-folk duo Tattletale Saints with his former partner, the vocalist/bassist Vanessa McGowan – has lived in Nashville for more than five years. Well, mostly. Recently there was three months in Japan as a sideman for Glen Campbell's daughter Ashley, then in Australia and around the American South with Nashville-based... > Read more

PAUL McCARTNEY: PIPES OF PEACE, CONSIDERED (2020): Must try harder, lacks effort in class

30 Jan 2020  |  4 min read

By the mid Eighties, albums by Paul McCartney were becoming surplus to requirements. It wasn't just that people by that time had about all the McCartney in their life that they needed, but that there was a very discernible drop off in quality and effort, albeit on albums which were highly polished. Yes, he still cracked out popular singles. But after the... > Read more

HERMAN'S HERMITS, EXPORTING ENGLAND (2020): Into something interesting if not good

26 Jan 2020  |  4 min read

After the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in the US in February 1964 -- when they were seen by approximately 73 million people out of a population of  192 million -- American teenagers had an almost insatiable appetite for British pop music. And so began the "British Invasion" in which dozens of UK acts toured and had hits in the US, among them the Rolling Stones,... > Read more