Absolute Elsewhere

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THE MAORI VOLCANICS REMEMBERED, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2018): New Zealand famous in the world

1 Dec 2018  |  <1 min read  |  1

Years before New Zealand pop bands began trying to establish themselves in the Britain and the US, the Māori showbands were ambassadors for the country’s music. And of the showbands, the Māori Volcanics travelled further and lasted longer than their many contemporaries: they performed in nearly 60 countries over four decades. Interviewed on television in the 1990s, Mahora Peters... > Read more

KATE BUSH REISSUED, REMASTERED AND RECONSIDERED, PART TWO (2018): The artist in ascendancy

29 Nov 2018  |  8 min read  |  1

When Kate Bush released her fifth album Hounds of Love in '85 it came three years after her demanding but quite extraordinary The Dreaming. Even despite that hiatus – and an earlier gap of two years between Never For Ever and The Dreaming – she was still only 26. She may seem to disappear from attention from time to time, but she was certainly prolific. And always... > Read more

Eat the Music (from The Red Shoes)

KATE BUSH REISSUED, REMASTERED AND RECONSIDERED, PART ONE (2018): From Heights to margins in four uneasy steps

27 Nov 2018  |  8 min read

When Kate Bush released her debut album The Kick Inside back in 1978 the musical landscape was a very strange place . . . and yet the strange voice which propelled her to attention with the remarkable Wuthering Heights (complete with eye-catching video) seemed to fit nowhere. “I was worried the public was only into the bizarre quality of my first record,” she later told British... > Read more

Sat in Your Lap (from The Dreaming)

THE CRYSTAL PALACE BALLROOM REMEMBERED, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2017): The ballroom of happiness

24 Nov 2018  |  1 min read

When, in the late 1950s, impresario Phil Warren took over Auckland’s Crystal Palace Ballroom, he used his customary flair and promotional skills to resurrect interest in a place which had fallen from favour in the previous five years. Among his marketing campaigns was a series of advertisements in the Auckland Star which read, “Oh! If Epi Could See It Now!” Epi... > Read more

SUPERETTE; REISSUED AND EXPANDED (2018): Got a tiger by the tail

19 Nov 2018  |  3 min read

By the end of its first decade, Flying Nun's bands had enjoyed critical acclaim, were getting solid support from student radio and print media, and some were spreading their wings and touring overseas. The label itself wasn't in quite such good health and in fact was constantly teetering on the brink of collapse. Why? "In the ten years from 1981 to the end of 1990,” label... > Read more

Killer Clown

SPACE FARM REMEMBERED, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2018): Reaching for the spiritual sky

17 Nov 2018  |  1 min read  |  1

Although Harvey Mann and Glen Absolum were not alone in embracing the spiritual philosophy of Krishna consciousness which emerged in the early 1970s, they were among New Zealand’s most visible adherents to this path of spiritual enlightenment. So much so that in May 1972 the New Zealand Herald reported on the phenomenon of the chanting, shaven-head Krishnas on Auckland’s... > Read more

JIMI HENDRIX; ELECTRIC LADYLAND REMIXED AND EXPANDED (2018): Not such a slight return to the voodoo child

15 Nov 2018  |  6 min read  |  1

The notion of “the group” is firmly embedded in rock culture. From the Ronettes through REM and the Ramones to Radiohead, the concept of a small coherent unit is a cornerstone, even if in some instances – as with the Rolling Stones, Motown acts and famously Menudo – the moving parts may change. Think the alphabet: Abba, Beatles, Clash, Doors . . . A few artists... > Read more

Angel Caterina (1983) demo

THE BEATLES: THE WHITE ALBUM REMASTERED AND EXPANDED (2018): You say it's its birthday?

12 Nov 2018  |  11 min read

Half a century ago when The White Album appeared, large parts of the Western world and beyond seemed to be tearing themselves apart, just six months on from the incense'n'marijuana whiff of the Summer of Love. 1968 began badly and got worse: During the Tet Offensive in January Vietcong insurgents rose up all over South Vietnam and one unit got into the grounds of the US Embassy in Saigon;... > Read more

Good Night rehearsal

STEVE KILBEY OF THE CHURCH INTERVIEWED (2018): Having to go through all these things again

11 Nov 2018  |  14 min read

Whoever first said it, someone probably centuries ago, doesn't matter because the essential truth of it holds true: Be careful what you wish for because you might just get it. In popular music the wish is often that Big Hit which can lift a band or artist from the wings and place them on centre-stage where those things they've yearned for – money, fame and acclaim – all follow.... > Read more

Reptile (from Starfish)

KIWI PSYCHE-ROCK AND POP RESURRECTED (2018): Do you think you're groovy?

11 Nov 2018  |  3 min read

Once again compilation enthusiast Grant Gillanders trawls the vaults, magazines and his very large contact book to bring another couple of installments of his usefully annotated collections of New Zealand music from a time when men's hair and collars were longer and bell-bottom trousers were de rigueur for both sexes. His on-going A Day in My Mind's Mind psychedelic rock series reaches... > Read more

LEW PRYME REMEMBERED, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2018): The silver Sixties star with a secret

10 Nov 2018  |  1 min read

It’s a measure of the popularity of singer Lew Pryme in the mid 1960s that he should appear in the John O’Shea directed music/comedy movie Don’t Let It Get You alongside Howard Morrison, the young Kiri Te Kanawa, the Quin Tikis, Herma Keil and then-hot Australian singer Normie Rowe. Pryme – with his chiselled looks, wide smile and bleached-silver hair swished back... > Read more

TAMA RENATA REMEMBERED, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2018): Guitar Warrior

7 Nov 2018  |  1 min read

Directed by Lee Tamahori, the opening scene of the 1994 film Once Were Warriors is among very few viscerally powerful sequences in New Zealand cinema. The camera lingers on a picturesque scene of Aotearoa New Zealand scenery of a river and mountains … then pans down to reveal it is just a power company billboard beside a motorway slicing through urban blight. As much as its visual... > Read more

BOB DYLAN: MORE BLOOD, MORE TRACKS, THE BOOTLEG SERIES VOL. 14 (2018): Songs blowing around his skull

5 Nov 2018  |  7 min read  |  1

When David called Kevin on a freezing night in Minneapolis just after Christmas 1974 he had an unusual request. He was looking for a small-bodied Martin acoustic guitar and he thought Kevin, a brakeman on the railroad and part-time musician, may be able to help. Kevin, a guitarist, called his friend Chris who had a guitar shop in the northern district of Dinkytown and, even though he... > Read more

You're A Big Girl Now (take 2)

HORST STUNZNER OF THE SAMOAN SURF RIDERS INTERVIEWED (2018): Fresh off the boat and into the studio

14 Oct 2018  |  7 min read  |  1

To hear 84-year old Horst Stunzner tell it, the recording session in 1964 took place somewhere just off Queen St in Auckland. The group was in and out quickly, he expected there might be a single come of it and as far as he remembers little if any money changed hands. “Rudolf and Hugo might have signed something,” he recalls, “but the rest of us never saw any contract, and... > Read more

Tiligiligi (Medley)

THE ZOMBIES: ODESSEY AND ORACLE, REVISITED (2018): Still casting its strange spell(ing)

12 Oct 2018  |  4 min read

In this 50thanniversary year of big albums, many getting expanded reissue – Beggar's Banquet, the White Album, Are You Experienced and others – there will inevitably be those whose anniversary flies by largely unacknowledged. Like the Zombies' mostly wonderful, enduring and enjoyably misspelled Odessey and Oracle. To be fair though, O&O largely went... > Read more

Beechwood Park

HARRY LYON INTERVIEWED (2018): The solo Sailor goes back To The Sea

8 Oct 2018  |  9 min read

Harry Lyon laughs. Yes, he confirms, at 68 he just released his debut solo album. But let's allow him some leeway here, after all he has been kinda busy since he first started getting paid for gigs way back in the mid-Sixties. There was the long-running Hello Sailor which he co-founded with Dave McArtney and which soon enough included Graham Brazier, both now... > Read more

Luxury Cargo

THE ROLLING STONES; BEGGAR'S BANQUET REISSUED AT 50 (2018): A walking clothesline of styles

3 Oct 2018  |  8 min read  |  2

Half a century ago the Rolling Stones released their Beggar's Banquet album, widely considered a return-to-form after the debacle of their shapeless attempt at psychedelia on the largely unlistenable Their Satanic Majesties Request of December 1967, released some six months after the Beatles' Sgt Peppers. In a cover which referred to Pepper's glowing hippie-era colours, Satanic Majesties... > Read more

No Expectations

MARTIN PHILLIPPS INTERVIEWED (2018): A lone guide cutting through snow

10 Sep 2018  |  12 min read  |  1

Martin Phillipps takes the guitar off his knee so he can talk about, among many other things, the Chills' new album Snow Bound. But he immediately admits that he can leave such instruments around gathering dust. He can be “lazy” and “gave up on being a technically proficient musician a long time ago,” says the man who wrote sublime songs like Heavenly Pop Hit.... > Read more

Time to Atone

BOB DYLAN: A YOUNG PERSON'S GUIDE TO . . . (2018): The man in the irony mask

27 Aug 2018  |  5 min read

Given that his singles rarely troubled the charts, one of his few videos which gets any airtime these days is 35 years old (Jokerman) and his albums have long since ceased to appeal to a younger demographic, how might you explain Bob Dylan to anyone under 30, someone who might have only become aware of him in the 21stcentury when he was already in his 60s? Maybe you can't but you could try... > Read more

HA THE UNCLEAR; A VIDEO ESSAY (2018): Somewhere inside the outside in

1 Aug 2018  |  1 min read

With their new album Invisible Lines due out on Friday (August 3) we thought it timely to flick through the backpages of  Ha the Unclear's videos just to offer a reminder of what was and what they are now. And the conclusion is that -- then and now -- they are a quirky, melodically powerful, lyrically interesting and utterly fascinating pop-rock band with their own take on . . . well,... > Read more