Amazing new CDs including box-sets and more!

7 album cover

Check out some of these newly catalogued CDs in our AV collection including the fantastic box-sets by Simple Minds and Brian Eno’s Music for Installation. We also have the amazing 22 CD-set by the legendary guitarist of Canterbury scene Steve Hillage (Gong). Also check out the new albums by the likes of Beach House and Tami Neilson which have already proven popular.

Beach House – 7
“Their approach in the creation of 7 was one of rebirth and rejuvenation. Scally and Legrand used to limit themselves to what they thought they could perform live, but this time that limitation was ignored. Also, instead of one long studio session, Beach House recorded when inspired by batches of songs, which resulted in five mini-sessions over the course of eleven months. Unlike the last four albums, 7 didn’t have a producer in the traditional sense.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Parquet Courts – Wide awaaaaake!
“Parquets Courts’ fifth album Wide Awake! – produced by Danger Mouse – is a groundbreaking work, an album about independence and individuality but also about collectivity and communitarianism. The songs, written by Andrew Savage and Austin Brown but elevated to even greater heights by the dynamic rhythmic propulsion of Max Savage (drums) and Sean Yeaton (bass), are filled with their traditional punk rock passion, as well as a lyrical tenderness.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Neko Case – Hell-on
“Producer/singer/songwriter Neko Case has won a large and loyal audience for her smoky, sophisticated vocals and the downcast beauty of her music. Hell On is an indelible collection of colorful, enigmatic storytelling that features some of her most daring, through-composed arrangements to date. Produced by Neko with help from Bjorn Yttling (Peter Bjorn & John), Hell On is simultaneously the most accessible and most challenging album in a rich and varied career that’s offered plenty of both.” (adapted from realgroovy.co.nz)

Tami Neilson – Sassafrass!
“She’s back, the gloves are off and she is coming out swinging. Tami Neilson won’t be staying New Zealand’s secret for much longer. With her new album, Sassafrass!, Neilson takes a giant step forward. On this 11-track knock-out, she places a heavier emphasis on soul music without abandoning her country and rockabilly roots. Neilson conjures up a wonderfully retro style that sounds like it could be a lost gem from the late ’50s or early ’60s; however, beneath the classic veneer are frank, highly relevant lyrics.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Kody Nielson – Birthday suite
“From Unknown Mortal Orchestra Songwriting Collaborator and Drummer. Kody Nielson’s groundbreaking production, songwriting and exhilarating live performance with art punk pioneers The Mint Chicks helped to secure the group fans worldwide. Since the group’s disbanding in 2010, his solo project Silicon has been praised by the likes of Pharrell Williams and Justin Timberlake, as well as winning the prestigious Taite Music Prize for the 2016 album Personal Computer. Now, Nielson returns with Birthday Suite, notably the first full-length to be released under his own name. Set for release via Flying Nun Records this marks Kody’s own birthday; with each of the record’s 12 songs written for one of the artist’s family and friends’ birthday.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Simple Minds – New gold dream (81-82-83-84)
“Originally released in 1982, New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) was Simple Minds’ fifth studio album and turned the band into a major force in pop music, spending a full year on the UK album chart. This stunning new deluxe box set consists of six discs including an Abbey Road remaster of the original album and a swathe of remixes, 12” versions, radio edits and an entire disc of previously unreleased John Peel and Kid Jensen radio sessions, recorded in 1982. The set is completed by a DVD, featuring the 2005 5:1 Mix of the album by Charlie Burchill and Ronald Prent as well as promo videos and, being made available commercially for the first time, Top Of The Pops performances of ‘Promised You A Miracle’ and ‘Glittering Prize.’” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Brian Eno – Music for installations
Music For Installations is a collection of new, rare and previously unreleased music, all of which was recorded by Brian Eno for use in his installations covering the period from 1986 until the present (and beyond). Over this time, he has emerged as the leading exponent of “generative” music worldwide and is recognised as one of the foremost audio-visual installation artists of his time. Eno’s visual experiments with light and video have proved to be the fertile ground from which so much of his other work has grown and they cover an even longer span of time than his recordings, paralleling his musical output in recent decades.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Todd Rundgren – All sides of The Roxy
“In May 1978 Todd Rundgren performed a series of concerts at The Roxy Theater in West Hollywood, California. The highlight of this residency was a concert on the 23rd May 1978 which was the largest concert simulcast on American FM radio at that time with an estimated audience of over ten million listeners. Hosted by the legendary DJ Wolfman Jack, Todd tore through a wonderful set that included material from both his solo albums and his work with Utopia. He was joined on stage by such illustrious company as Hall & Oates, Stevie Nicks, Spencer Davis, Rick Derringer & Kasim Sulton.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Steve Hillage – Searching for the spark
“Extremely limited deluxe 22 CD box. Searching For The Spark is a set containing all the work guitar great and electronic music innovator Steve Hillage recorded from his studio debut (1969’s Arzachel) to the first System 7 album in 1991, and four discs (Sparks Volumes 1-4) packed with previously unheard and unreleased tracks, demos and alternate takes. Accompanying the recordings is a magnificent 188 page – 32,000 word – coffee table book. Written and assembled by Steve Hillage and Gong family expert Jonny Greene, the book contains hundreds of rare and previously unseen photographs and cuttings.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Brand new Classical CD additions

Debusyy & Ravel album cover

This week we highlight some fresh new chamber music, and a world premiere recording of the Italian 1774 version of Orfeo ed Euridice by Gluck. If you are interested in the journeys works of music can go on, we also have a 2015 recording of this work, being the 1762 version (in Italian), with highlights from the 1774 Paris version (in French).

Orfeo ed Euridice, Gluck. Performed by Philippe Jaroussky, Amanda Forsythe with Diego Fasolis, conductor.
“A sumptuous world-premiere recording of Gluck’s masterpiece of operatic reform, as it was presented in its Naples premiere at the Court Theatre of the Royal Palace in February of 1774, several months before the pastiche version with expanded cast debuted at the Teatro San Carlo. Here the work retains the intimate three-role cast of the well-known 1762 version, yet with fascinating customisations: the title role’s melodic line reshaped for a male soprano, a substitute aria offering a penetrating psychological portrait of Eurydice. In all, the genius of the work shines with new, astonishing colour, taking on a peculiar pace and unexpected brightness.” (cover).

Quatuor a Corde, Op. 10, Debussy, and Quatuor a Corde, Ravel. Performed by the Jerusalem Quartet.
“A century after his death on 25 March 1918, many harmonia mundi artists are eager to pay tribute to Claude Debussy, the magician of melody and timbre, the great ‘colourist’ and father of modern music. The musicians of the Jerusalem Quartet offer a new reading of his only String Quartet, in the logical coupling with its Ravelian counterpart: in some respects, the two works might seem like twins – and yet what differences there are between them!” (cover).

Oktett, Franz Schubert. Performed by Isabelle Faust and other string and wind performers.
“In response to a commission from Count Troyer, who wanted a work closely modelled on Beethoven’s famous Septet, op. 20, Schubert – despite his fervent admiration for the older composer – resolutely struck out on his own way by delivering an… octet. While the enlarged forces opened his path towards symphonic writing, examination of the form and expression reveals a much more accomplished and personal composition than has generally been recognised by commentators. Isabelle Faust and her partners, enthralled by what is an exceptional work in every respect, offer us a new interpretation of it on period instruments.” (cover).

Local to international: New CDs

Dirty Computer

Check out some of these newly catalogued CDs in our AV collection including the fantastic new albums by Kimbra and Arctic Monkeys. The gorgeous box-set by Procol Harum and the 30th anniversary edition of Bruce Springsteen’s classic Born To Run offer rare footage as well. We have a lot of box-sets and they keep coming. Come in and check them out!

Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base hotel + casino
“To the fact that Alex Turner was a mere 32 years old when he unleashed Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino onto the world, a young age that seems older because Arctic Monkeys released their debut when he was just 19. Throughout Tranquility Base, Turner comes across as if he were much, much older than his actual age, cocking an eyebrow to a potential paramour who has the audacity to have never seen Blade Runner, and reminiscing about the ’70s — a decade he never saw.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

Janelle Monae – Dirty computer
“2018 release, the third studio album by singer Janelle Monáe. Dirty Computer is the follow up to her critically acclaimed studio albums, The ArchAndroid (2010) and The Electric Lady (2013). Includes the singles ‘Make Me Feel’ and ‘Django Jane’.” (adapted from mightyape.co.nz)

Laurie Anderson – Landfall
“The piece, which was inspired by Anderson’s experience of Hurricane Sandy, is the first collaboration between the iconic storyteller/musician and the groundbreaking string quartet, who perform together on the recording. Landfall juxtaposes lush electronics and strings with Anderson’s powerful descriptions of loss, from water-logged pianos to disappearing animal species to Dutch karaoke bars.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Kimbra – Primal heart
“For her follow-up to The Golden Echo, Kimbra could have expanded on any one of its eclectic sounds. Instead, on Primal Heart she combines all of the styles she explored on that album into a more cohesive — and immediate — approach. A consistently winning album, Primal Heart finds Kimbra hitting the sweet spot between imagination and accessibility — if her nods to the mainstream get more ears pointed her way, so much the better.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

Delaney Davidson – Shining day
“Delaney Davidson looks wryly at the packed suitcase, nailing the last things into place for his 2018 migration. It was supposed to be a year of settling in but the world has other plans for him, starting with his new album release. 50 days into 2018 and Davidson has ticked off a 6 song writing session with SJD (Sean James Donnelly), album production for Belladonna (Lytteltons black metal doom band). UK label Glass Records Redux (Spaceman 3, Spiritualized) has picked up Shining Day his 9th solo album. It has been 2 ½ years since the release of his last studio album Lucky Guy.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Julia Deans – We light fire
“With the release of bold first single ‘Walking In The Sun’ in September 2017, Julia Deans whet the appetite of fans and critics alike for her new album. The album has been recorded in a home studio in Northcote, Auckland, which Julia’s partner David Wernham built over the course of six months 2011, and she began writing the songs not long after. While writing the songs was a very solo pursuit, the recording of them was less so, with Deans working closely with Wernham on “pulling the musical story together”.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Procol Harum – Still there’ll be more : an anthology 1967-2017
“This eight disc set comprises five CDs and three DVDs, of which the first three discs draw upon the key tracks from Procol Harum’s illustrious career. Disc four features the band’s legendary concert at the Hollywood Bowl on 21 September 1973, whilst disc five features a previously unreleased concert at the Bournemouth Winter Gardens on 17 March 1976. Still There’ll Be More is the most elaborate celebration of Procol Harum’s music released to date and this deluxe boxed set is a fine tribute to fifty years of one of Britain’s greatest bands.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Miles Davis – The final tour : the bootleg series vol. 6
“The latest entry in the award-winning Miles Davis Bootleg Series focuses on the final chapter in the landmark collaboration between Davis and saxophonist John Coltrane: their last live performances together, in Europe in the spring of 1960. These historic performances marked Miles and Trane’s last outing together and showcased both musicians’ incredible influence on the changing sound of jazz. The beautiful music they made together is presented here officially for the very first time.” (adapted from amazon.com)

The Who – Live at the Fillmore East 1968
“April 2018 – the 50th anniversary of these legendary unreleased recordings from the Fillmore East, New York City, Friday April 5 & Saturday April 6, 1968. Both nights were recorded by Who manager Kit Lambert with the intention of releasing as the Who’s fourth album after Sell Out and before Tommy. Remastered for optimum sound quality, this will enhance The Who’s reputation as the best live act of the time, regarded by fans as something of a ‘holy grail’ in live shows.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Bruce Springsteen – Born to run
“Personally supervised by Bruce Springsteen and Jon Landau, the bookset includes Hammersmith Odeon, London ’75, an astonishing film of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s legendary 1975 concert at the Hammersmith Odeon in London; the new film Wings for Wheels: The Making of Born to Run; the classic album in remastered cd form; and finally, a 48 page booklet of previously unpublished photographs. With its two DVDs, the package offers approximately four hours of previously unseen footage.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

New Classical CD arrivals

Mahler cover

In this week’s classical CD additions we highlight some new orchestral recordings from much-loved composers.

Symphony No. 7, Bruckner. Performed by the Gewandhausorchester, with Andris Nelsons.
“The continuation of Andris Nelsons’s much-admired Bruckner cycle with the Gewandhausorchester. Here they play the Seventh Symphony – premiered in 1884 by this orchestra and now recorded live to mark its 275th anniversary and Nelsons’s inauguration as Kapellmeister. ‘Under Nelsons the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester is clearly at the very top of its form, savouring its great Bruckner tradition to sonorous effect’ (BR Klassik…)” (cover).

Le Quattro Stagioni, Vivaldi. Performed by Rachel Podger and Brecon Baroque.
“Together with the star players of Brecon Baroque, Podger guides listeners through the cycle of nature and life. Vivaldi’s Four Seasons have become one of classical music’s best loved works. However, most recordings adopt a strikingly similar approach to these scores, and familiarity has blunted the music’s edge. Podger’s new recording aims to reset the clock – refocusing on the ingredients that make The Four Seasons so special and reminding listeners of the remarkable freshness of Vivaldi’s invention.” (amazon.com).

Symphony No. 6, Mahler. Performed by Minnesota Orchestra, with Osmo Vänskä.
“…Osmo Vänskä has a reputation for engaging with even the most iconic scores at face value, avoiding preconceived ideas and ‘time-honored’ traditions. His and the Minnesota Orchestra’s recording of Mahler’s Sixth follows upon the 2017 release of the composer’s Fifth Symphony. Nominated to a 2018 Grammy Award, that interpretation has been described as at once committed and detached, intense and transcendentally timeless (Norman Lebrecht) and an exceptional performance that promises great things to come (allmusic.com).” (amazon.com).

Recent Classical CD additions

Symphony No. 5, Symphony No. 6

This week we highlight three additions to the classical CD collection that bounce from a cornerstone of the Baroque vocal music tradition, the cantata, to 20th century treatments of grand orchestral works, the symphony and the concerto for violin.

Cantata: Yet can I hear…. Performed by Bejun Mehta.
“A selection of solo cantatas, both secular and sacred, from the Italian, German, and English traditions. Including works by Handel, Vivaldi, and Bach in settings large and small, with obligato instruments ranging from oboe to chimes, the magnificent cantatas on this album create a portrait of this intimately transcendent repertoire” (cover).

Symphony No. 5, Symphony No. 6, Vaughan Williams. Performed by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.
“Andrew Manze’s interpretations of Vaughan Williams’ symphonies have met with acclaim from audiences and critics alike. This third album in the series contains two masterpieces. The 5th Symphony of 1943, displaying a ‘greatness of soul’, as one commentator at the time wrote, draws on material for The Pilgrim’s Progress from 1906. The 6th Symphony of 1948 stunned the audience at its premiere… The composer, shocked by the nuclear wasteland talk, commented, ‘we can get in words nearest to the substance of my last movement in “We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep” from The Tempest’.” (cover).

Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2, Bartók. Performed by Renaud Capuçon and the London Symphony Orchestra.
“Renaud Capuçon expands his wide-ranging concerto discography with Bartók’s two violin concertos. Composed almost three Decades apart, they are highly contrasted, inhabiting very different emotional and musical worlds. Partnering Capuçon is the London Symphony Orchestra under its Principal Guest Conductor, François-Xavier Roth.” (amazon.co.uk).

New CDs from New Zealanders and rock legends

Sex and Food

New CDs in our extensive AV collection feature the new album by Unknown Mortal Orchestra led by our very own Ruban Nielson as well as the fantastic box sets by the rock legends such as Bob Dylan and Frank Zappa. Check them out!

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Sex & food
Sex & Food is a delightfully shapeshifting album that filters real-deal serious themes through a vibrant sonic lens that spans battered drum machine funk, doomy and thrashing rock and pinkhued psychedelic disco.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

David Byrne – American utopia
American Utopia is Byrne’s first solo album since 2004’s Grown Backwards, and fits hand-in-hand with Byrne’s vision for his series ‘Reasons To Be Cheerful’ – an ongoing series curated by Byrne of hopeful writings, photos, music, and lectures – named for the song by the late Ian Dury. Over the last year, Byrne has been collecting stories, news, ideas, and other items that all either embody or identify examples of things that inspire optimism, such as a tech breakthrough, a musical act, a new idea in urban planning or transportation.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Moby – Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt
“Following a pair of angsty punk blasts with the Void Pacific Choir, Moby dipped back into what he does best: soulful electronic soundscapes. If the VPC albums were Moby’s outward displays of anger and frustration surrounding the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Everything Was Beautiful, And Nothing Hurt was his depressed and introverted response to the subsequent societal fallout. Despite the overwhelming melancholy that drenches the album, it remains a gorgeous collection that is mostly indebted to trip-hop and his pre-millennial output.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

Yo La Tengo – There’s a riot going on
“While there’s a riot going on, Yo La Tengo will remind you what it’s like to dream. The sound burbles and washes and flows and billows. If records were dedicated to the cardinal elements, this one would be water. They did not rehearse or jam together beforehand; they turned on the recorder and let things coalesce. Songs came together over long stretches, sometimes as much as a year going by between parts. You’d never guess this, since the layers are finessed with such a liquid brush.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Frank Zappa – The Roxy performances
“43 years ago in December 1973, Frank Zappa played a series of legendary concerts at the famed Roxy Theatre on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. Considered a high-water mark of his career, owing to the incredible, virtuosic performances of himself and his stellar band The Mothers, the five shows. The Roxy Performances, a definitive seven-CD box set that collects all four public shows from December 9-10, 1973, and the December 8th film shoot/soundcheck, each presented in their entirety for the first time, along with bonus content featuring rarities from a rehearsal, unreleased tracks and highlights from the Bolic Studios recording session.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Bob Dylan – 1974 tour live
“For Dylan’s first proper tour since 1966, he was joined by his longstanding colleagues The Band. Expectations for both acts ran high, with huge venues swiftly selling out and immense media interest. It was no nostalgia act, though: whilst Dylan performed old material, he did so with considerable attack, as well as showcasing songs from his new Planet Waves LP. The Band also played alone, showing themselves to be arguably the finest group of their sort in the world. This release offers two historic shows from the early part of the tour, both originally broadcast on FM radio.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

George Harrison – Concert for George
“On November 29, 2002, one year after the passing of George Harrison, Olivia Harrison and Eric Clapton organized a performance tribute in his honor. Held at London’s Royal Albert Hall, the momentous evening featured George’s songs, and music he loved, performed by a lineup that included Clapton, Jools Holland, Jeff Lynne, Paul McCartney, Monty Python, Tom Petty, Billy Preston, Ravi and Anoushka Shankar, Ringo Starr, Dhani Harrison and more. This new combo package comprises 2-CDs and 2-DVDs.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Joni Mitchell – Transmission impossible : legendary broadcasts from the 1960s-1990s
“This three CD boxed set features a number of live recordings of Joni from concerts and sessions recorded for FM Broadcast in the 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s. Starting with a number of live cuts from shows she performed in the mid to late 1960s, her full set from the Newport Folk Festival in 1968, and a couple more cuts recorded in the early 1970s.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young – Transmission impossible : legendary radio broadcasts from the 1970s & 1990s
“This 3 CD Set contains broadcast recordings from CSNY’s heyday, which together form a majestic collection of their live work. Kicking off with an early show recorded at the Fillmore East in New York, in June 1970, the set continues with a fine gig from the group’s 1974 reunion tour, at the Roosevelt Raceway on Long Island, also in New York. Completing this collection is a set the foursome performed at the Bill Graham Memorial Concert, held in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco in 1991.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Some recent classical CD additions

Image from amazon.co.uk

We’ve added to our chamber music (marked with a yellow dot) CD collection recently with some interesting small ensemble combinations; here we spotlight a couple of Dvořák works. Also noteworthy are a new Jóhann Jóhannsson album, and the debut album of rising star Pretty Yende.

String Quintet, op. 97, String Sextet, op. 48, Antonin Dvořák. Performed by the Jerusalem Quartet.
“The Jerusalem Quartet explores two aspects of Dvořák’s chamber music: one of the first big successes in the genre of a Bohemian composer who now enjoyed a well-established reputation in Europe (op. 48), and one of the masterpieces from the years of American exile which brought him worldwide fame (op. 97). A chance to discover two places, two periods, but always the same depth of expression in this indefatigable composer endowed with remarkable creative faculties.” (back cover)

Englabörn & Variations, Jóhann Jóhannsson. Various performers.
First released in 2002, Englabörn – a remastered version here – appears with variations and reworkings of many of its pieces, one on each of two discs. His untimely death in February this year makes this a somewhat melancholic addition to the collection. If you enjoy the music of Max Richter or Olafur Arnalds, or if you enjoyed the film Arrival for its soundtrack, then perhaps listen to this.

A Journey. Performed by Pretty Yende.
“Born in the small town of Piet Retief, South African soprano Pretty Yende has risen to the top of the opera world with unparalleled speed. Yende’s début album celebrates the milestones of her sublime musical journey; starting at the age of 16, when she first discovered opera by hearing Delibes’s ‘Flower Duet’ on a television advertisement, to her début at La Scala and her international breakthrough at New York’s Metropolitan Opera.” (back cover)

Recent staff pick CDs

We’ve put together a list of of our favourite CDs from this year’s new releases so far, check out our staff picks below! There’s bit of everything genre wise, so we hope you find something new or something you may have missed when it first came out.

Record.
Tracey Thorn’s ageless voice returns with another album of mature pop, her first solo album of entirely original material for seven years. Her female worldview informs the 9 songs on this short album. The beats are back for the dance jam ‘Sister’, with Warpaint’s rhythm section and BVs from Corinne Bailey Rae, and closing track ‘Dancefloor’, but have a more sombre feel on tracks like ‘Face’. Topics include the on-going struggle for female equality (Sister), her musical beginnings (Guitar), motherhood (Babies) & the impact on Social Media of failed relationships (Face). (Mark)

Wallflower.
Born in New Zealand, grew up in Australia and a London resident now, neo-soul singer Jordan Rakei first grabbed the spotlight by working with Disclosure in 2015. His sophomore album ‘Wallflower’ is surprisingly released from Nnija Tune, and is a delicately crafted, beautiful work, featuring his quality songs and silky voice. In comparison with other new-generation soul artists such as The Internet, Hiatus Kaiyote and Nick Hakim, he seems to be a more personal, introspective singer-songwriter, and it’s showcased here. (Shinji)

Singles 1978-2016 / The Fall.
Made especially relevant by Mark E Smith’s recent sad demise, this excellent box set compiles, over seven discs, every single – both A and B sides – from one of the greatest indie bands ever – The Fall. Mark E Smith was a true legend and, unlike artists like Keith Richards who similarly defied established health beliefs, Mark E Smith maintained a high artistic credibility, continuing to produce great, challenging music for close to 40 years – and there are not many artists who can lay such a claim. This set lays it all out, from 1978’s ‘Bingo Master’s Breakout’ to 2016’s ‘Wise Ole Man’. For those less in need of completism there is also a smaller box-set – ‘A-Sides 1978-2016’ which, over three discs, omits the B-Sides. (John)

Scorn of Creation.
An outstanding 8-track self-titled debut album from Wellington death metal outfit Scorn of Creation. The band pay tribute to traditional old-school death metal without compromising on a modern, fresh sound. Energetic and raw. I loved it start to finish! (Theresa)

Part 2 / Brix & The Extricated.
Fall fans who are especially fond of the slightly more rock oriented ‘Brix era’ albums will be pleased to learn that Brix Smith has got together with ex long term Fall members Steve Hanley (bass guitar), his brother Paul Hanley (drums) and Steve Trafford (guitar and vocals) to make a record that is anything but the cash-in one may dread. Featuring mostly originals plus new versions of three Fall songs, this is a great hard rocking indie record, surprisingly so from a bunch of musos in their fifties, that was described by Drowned In Sound as “One of the great indie-rock releases of 2017”. (John)

Woodland echoes.
It’s very good news that he is still making music. Out of the blue, Nick Heyward, the former 80s pop sensation Haircut 100’s front man, released an album for the first time in 18 years and it’s a charmer. His genius songwriting is still up there with the best, such as Paul McCartney, offering dazzling breezy pop music. It’s perfect music for a lazy afternoon. (Shinji)

World wide funk.
Since the ‘60’s, US bass player Bootsy Collins has defined funk bass. Starting out as James Brown’s bass player, playing bass on “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine”, he went on to form Parliament / Funkadelic with George Clinton, collaborated with Deee-Lite on “Groove Is in the Heart”, and in 2010 formed ‘Bootsy Collins’ Funk University’, on online music school. His first album in six years features the 67-year-old laying down grooves as cool and funky as anything he has ever done with guest appearances including Doug E. Fresh, Buckethead, Snoop Dogg, Stanley Clarke, Big Daddy Kane and Chuck D. (John)

Ponguru / Al Fraser, Phil Boniface.
Ponguru is a truly unique album fusing seamlessly the sonic worlds of acclaimed jazz bassist Phil Boniface and leading Nga Taonga Puoro player Al Fraser . The resulting album has many faces and facets its Jazz tinged rather than Jazz, ambient in places and like a complex sonic landscape in others, throughout all its pieces it’s always fiercely original , rewarding and hugely atmospheric. Phil’s bass work is of the highest calibre imbuing the whole piece with a core of beautiful rhythmic structure. And Al’s emotive, nuanced playing shows that he is rightfully regarded as one of the finest musicians working in NZ today. (Neil J.)

Black sea.
This re-release of UK post punkers XTC’s 1980 follow up to their chart breaking ‘Drums & Wires’ album gains a lot from Steven Wilson’s remastering. In fact it sounds like a different record from the muddy original with lovely crisp drums and excellent deep bass which allow the songs to fully breathe. The album captures the band in full flight as they played over 150 live gigs in 1980, a couple of years before they stopped playing live altogether to become a strictly studio based band. Consequently the musos are very tight, playing with real precision and fire throughout what is an excellent example of ‘80’s post punk / new wave power pop. (John)

Shadow of the sword.
Wellington based speed metal maniacs Stalker deliver a debut full-length of pure, unadulterated speed metal in all its thrashing, shrieking, shredding glory! A great listen – guaranteed. (Theresa)

Continue reading “Recent staff pick CDs”

Recent classical music additions

This week in classical music we have three new CDs featuring a wealth of well-loved composers, from Tchaikovsky through Rameau to Schumann, and Piazzolla and Scott Joplin for good measure.

Intuition. Performed by Gautier Capuçon.
Intuition, a captivating album of short pieces for solo cello with piano or orchestra, has been conceived by Gautier Capuçon to ‘reflect the story of my life and follow the various stages in my emotional development’. It brings together much-loved numbers by composers such as Saint-Saëns, Fauré, Massenet, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov and Elgar with newer music by Astor Piazzolla, the Italian cellist Giovanni Sollima and the pianist Jérôme Ducros, who also appears on the album. As Gautier Capuçon says: ‘In music,in life, communication is the essence of everything and of anything … You share something.'” (amazon.co.uk).

Quartets Nos. 2 & 3, Schumann. Performed by the Elias Quartet.
“‘We have always had a special affection for Robert Schumann’s Third Quartet. It’s one of the first works we played together. Since then we have often come back to it, as if to a splendid and familiar region that we think we know thoroughly, but which yields up new secrets with each visit. The Second Quartet, on the other hand, was a much later and more complicated discovery for us. The writing is so personal, so unidiomatic for the instruments, so full of nuances, that to begin with we found it hard to come up with a unanimous voice for this work. The enthusiasm of the first movement can easily turn into anxiety if you push it a bit too far. In the slow movement, the texture is sometimes so bare that to convey its tenderness you have to sustain it with great fervour. The capricious Scherzo is bristling with rhythmic pitfalls and requires a diabolical mastery of the instruments,while the Finale is an endless explosion of joy!'” (Elias Quartet via amazon.co.uk)

Enfers: Famous Opera Scenes & Pygmalion, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Christoph Willibald von Gluck, Raphaël Pichon. Performed by Stéphane Degout.
“Raphaël Pichon has invited Stéphane Degout to make his recording debut for Harmonia Mundi in a multifaceted exploration of the underworld. The French baritone reincarnates the figure of Henri Larrivée, the famous tragedian of Rameau and Gluck. Around a reconstruction of an imaginary Mass of the Dead, sacred and secular merge, revealing some of the most extraordinary pieces from the operatic repertory of the enlightenment. Music of death and mourning on an epic scale that inspires Pygmalion to overwhelming heights of pathos.” (cover).

New CDs in our AV collection

Check out some of these newly catalogued CDs in our AV collection including the new albums by Franz Ferdinand and Calexico. The fantastic 3 CD box set How is the Air Up There? offers 80 recordings from more than 50 New Zealand’s artists in the 60s and should not be missed.

Nils Frahm – All melody
“For the past two years, Nils Frahm has been building a brand new studio in Berlin to make his 7th studio album titled All Melody. Since the day Nils first encountered the impressive studio of a family friend, he had envisioned to create one of his own at such a large scale. It is here where he has spent most of his time deconstructing and reconstructing the entire space from the cabling and electricity to the woodwork, before moving on to the finer elements; building a pipe organ and creating a mixing desk all from scratch. All Melody is, in fact, proof that music is limitless, timeless, and reflects that of Nils’ own capabilities. From a boy’s dream to resetting the parameters of music itself.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Calexico – The thread that keeps us
“The ninth studio album from Calexico, The Thread That Keeps Us is a timely snapshot of the Arizona-bred band: a family portrait capturing their stylistic variety and unpredictability while still finding solace in limitless creativity. In bringing the album to life, vocalist/guitarist Joey Burns and drummer John Convertino found a spiritual home in unusual surroundings—not in Arizona, but on the Northern California coast in a home-turned-studio called the Panoramic House.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Justin Timberlake – Man of the woods
“The fifth studio album by pop superstar Justin Timberlake. Man Of The Woods was produced by Timberlake, The Neptunes, Timbaland, Danja, Eric Hudson, and Rob Knox. As with FutureSex/LoveSounds, recording sessions for the album were loose and had multiple studios open for work.” (adapted from realgroovy.co.nz)

Franz Ferdinand – Always ascending
“Franz Ferdinand present the new album Always Ascending. Nothing short of a rebirth, the album’s 10 songs are a triumphant recasting of the group, bursting with fresh ideas and vigorous sonic experimentation. Always Ascending was recorded at RAK Studios, London and Motorbass in Paris, with the help of French producer extraordinaire Philippe Zdar (Cassius, Phoenix, The Beastie Boys), the mutual affection between band and producer seeping into every dazzling groove.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

How is the air up there? : 80 mod, soul, RnB & freakbeat nuggets from Down Under
“Inspired by The Looking Series collections on RPM of UK 60s Nuggets, we now look in the world mirror at New Zealand. For the latest in the RPM/Frenzy Music collaborations, following sets from Larry’s Rebels, The Fourmyula, Ray Columbus, The Dave Miller Set, and the Girl Group Sound down-under on Come and See Me, we explore the mid 60’s club scene and the various classic singles tailored for that scene.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Revolutionary spirit : the sound of Liverpool 1976-1988
“Features classics, rarities, album tracks and previously unreleased gems from Echo And The Bunnymen, Teardrop Explodes, OMD, The La’s, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Dead Or Alive, China Crisis, A Flock Of Seagulls, Wild Swans, Big In Japan and many more.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Woody Guthrie : the tribute concerts
“Exclusive 3-CD set accompanied by two beautifully illustrated books containing historic liner notes and Guthrie biography, original concert reviews and photographs, attendees interviews and artists bios, and concert ephemera. Two ”Tribute to Woody Guthrie” concerts were planned after Woody Guthrie’s death on October 3, 1967: at New York City’s Carnegie Hall on January 20th, 1968, and at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on September 12, 1970. Appearing at the January concert were Judy Collins, Bob Dylan with members of The Band, Richie Havens, Tom Paxton. Appearing in Los Angeles were Joan Baez, Jack Elliott, Arlo Guthrie, Odetta, Country Joe McDonald, Richie Havens, Earl Robinson and Pete Seeger.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Jethro Tull – Heavy horses : new shoes edition
“Disc 1 contains the Steven Wilson stereo remix of the original album plus previously unreleased material (CD). Discs 2 and 3 contain Jethro Tull’s live performance in Berne, Switzerland, May 1978, remixed in stereo by Jacko Jakszyk (CD). Disc 4 contains the DVD audio of the full Heavy Horses album, with 7 additonal tracks, mixed in 5.1 DTS & DD surround sound and 96/24 LPCM stereo (DVD). Disc 5 contains the DVD audio of Jethro Tull live at The Festhalle, Berne, Switzerland.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)