Arc of Ascent, Set the Planets Free
Pyramids fall / From the stars comes a sign / Freedom / As the ancients flow higher
Underrated Hamiltonian metlers (as most Hamiltonian metlers are) (and most Hamiltonians, probably). Masters of the beard, in a necky sort of way, which explains the lyrics. Included in the NZ Herald’s 20 albums of 2017, which was probably a bit of a surprise. Wonderful live, if you ever get the chance.
The Adults, Boomtown
I run with the currents and power lines
After the last version of The Adults (2012? 2013?), Shayne Carter left a bass at Jon Toogood’s house, and Jon’s playing it here (upside-down and restrung). Opens with samples recorded on Jon’s iPhone when he was in Sudan – he met the musicians when they played his wedding over there. Shihad’s upcoming tour will be a bit of a gear change after all the rap he’s been getting involved with.
Cowboy Dan, Like Kerouac
We got these ideas about how we got these ideals / But they don’t pay
Poppy Aucklanders who I discovered (they played Future City in March) just before they finished being this band and announced that they’re going to be a new band “with more distortion”. I respectfully disagree with their decision, because the one Cowboy Dan EP is really good.
IDLES, Danny Nedelko
My best friend is a citizen / He’s strong, he’s earnest, he’s innocent
Because there’s not enough pro-immigration punk, and because of the subtle reference to Stereo by Pavement, and because of the not-so-subtle reference to Yoda. If there’s been a better title for an album in 2018 than Joy as an Act of Resistance, I haven’t heard it.
The Chills, Deep Belief
Some belief / Some deep belief / Some belief / Some deep belief / Some belief / Some deep belief / Some belief / Some deep belief / Some belief / Some deep belief / Some belief / Some deep belief / Some belief / Some deep belief / Some belief / Some deep belief
This could be a wonderful crowd singalong, if people these days weren’t into shit music instead of good music. Released a week ago when I was too sick to make it into town for Hamilton’s first Chills gig this century. A much better album than the last one (Silver Bullets), with plenty of stuff that’s up there with anything else they/he have/has done.
Paul McCartney, Fuh You
I just wanna fuh you
Paul McCartney is making better-than-passable pop in his mid-70s. That’s awesome. Imagine being the producer who talked the Beatles’ bassist into going with this just-like-every-second-song bassline though. I reckon the old guy was like, “ok, but only if we have strings like George Martin would do.” Bonus points to McCartney for making it sound like he’s saying a rude word in the chorus. What a randy dude. “I could stay up half the night trying to crack your code”, heh heh.
Missing Teeth, David Bain
[Unintelligible] / DAVID BAIN!!
A post-McCartney palate cleanser. If you can catch all the lyrics please pass them on.
Threat.Meet.Protocol, Pink Clouds
You are scum / We are human shit
The most interesting Tauranga band I’ve seen. The keyboardist puts on a hell of a show. Weirdly he wasn’t in the band to start with. I can’t really work out what they would have done without him.
Die! Die! Die!, Best
It’s a strange life / Sunlight / That’s me
A late inclusion because I was two minutes short of a full hour of awesome. Taken from a really good album, but not one of its best tracks. Mikie Prain is a bloody good drummer.
Islam didn’t eat your hamster / Change isn’t a crime
Because there’s no enough anti-Brexit punk. This really might be the album of the year, in every meaning of the phrase.
Half Man Half Biscuit, National Shite Day
Down in the High Street somebody careered out of Boots without due care or attention / I suggest that they learn some pedestrian etiquette / i.e. sidle out of the store gingerly / Embrace the margin
Is this song even more English than the one before it? Huge if true. Note also that this track pretty much has the same baseline as Fuh You. It’s probably good that Axis of Awesome aren’t reading this.
If you don’t listen closely it can seem like they’re singing about National Shark Day. If you do listen closely, this song mentions birthdays and is therefore totally on message.
Ha the Unclear, Stuck in My Head
I’m punching on the insides of my skin
Competing with Cowboy Dan for the Strongest Kiwi Accent Award. Competing with René Descartes for the Most Solipsistic Worldview award. These guys make pretty sweet music videos too.
Missing Teeth, Dropped at Birth
Included partly because there was too much poppy stuff in a row, partly because the last Missing Teeth sing was so short, and partly because I’ve been looking for excuses to listen to more Missing Teeth.
The Chills, Snow Bound
You once had a zeal and you preached real loud / With your zest for life / And out reached no-one / So you don’t feel passion no more
I humbly maintain that plenty of tracks on this album would sit comfortably on Kaleidoscope World or any other of the good Chills stuff. This is one such track. Martin Phillipps has always done good title tracks. What’s with the recurring S.B. thing, though?
Cowboy Dan, Wintercoat
We can’t find no drugs in this town / But we barely stand on our own two feet as it is
A potential kiwi classic that somehow doesn’t even have 1,000 listens on Spotify yet. Which is weird, because I’ve definitely listened to it at least 2,000 times. There’s some wonderful songwriting here that makes this a very fine example of the New Zealand OE Ballad.
Steve Gunn, Tommy’s Congo
Never look down at what you need to do
A total earworm, with some really appealing guitar work behind everything. I can personally attest to this song’s usefulness as something to put on repeat when you run home from work.
I can also personally attest that it sucks when your bike has to go in to get repaired midweek.
So there you go. Happy 41st!