New and remastered: Fantastic new CDs

Check out some of these newly catalogued CDs in our AV collection, including Florence + The Machine’s fantastic new album, and the first solo album in more than a quarter century by Roger Daltrey (The Who). See also the 18-album set by Chet Baker and the wonderfully remastered Mixed Up from The Cure.

Florence + The Machine – High as hope
“Fourth studio album by the English indie group, fronted by Florence Welch. The record features more stripped-down and minimalist recordings than some of the band’s previous albums, and includes the singles ‘Sky Full of Song’ and ‘Hunger’. The album peaked at #2 in the UK Albums Chart.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Kali Uchis – Isolation
Isolation is Kali Uchis’s debut album and features an impressive cast of featured artists and collaborators. Jorja Smith, Damon Albarn, Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, Tyler, The Creator, Bootsy Collins, Steve Lacy, Two Inch Punch, BADBADNOTGOOD, Thundercat all appear on the American Colombian’s debut LP.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Nine Inch Nails – Bad witch
“Ninth studio album by the American rock band comprising Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. The album was influenced by the final studio record by the late David Bowie (Blackstar), who Reznor previously collaborated with. It peaked at #12 in the UK Albums Chart and features the single ‘God Break Down the Door’.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

I Am Giant – Life in captivity
“After a decade of dominating mainstream rock radio and playing some of the biggest festivals around the world, I Am Giant are releasing their third and final album. Features ‘Playing With Fire’ and new single ‘Don’t Look Back’ – both strong airplay singles across The Rock network.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Roger Daltrey – As long as I have you
“The album is a mixture of self-penned tracks such as ‘Certified Rose’ and the soulful ballad ‘Always Heading Home’ along with songs that have inspired Daltrey over the years including Nick Cave’s ‘Into My Arms’, ‘You Haven’t Done Nothing’ by Stevie Wonder, Stephen Stills ‘How Far’ and the title track originally recorded by Garnet Mimms in 1964; the year that Daltrey, Townshend, Entwistle and Moon changed their name from The High Numbers and became The Who.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Chet Baker – Portrait in jazz by William Claxton
“A definitive set compiling 18-CDs divided into 12 deluxe digipack volumes. Each volume presents carefully selected top Chet Baker recordings from his classic years, and features splendid photographs of the trumpeter by the great William Claxton. All of the digipacks on this collection showcase specific liner notes, as well as detailed discographic information.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Buffalo Springfield – What’s that sound? : complete albums collection
“Five CD set. Digitally remastered set that contains stereo mixes of all three albums plus mono mixes of the first two albums. May 5th marked the 50th anniversary of Buffalo Springfield’s final show, a performance which capped a two-year period which saw the band releasing three studio albums: their debut album Buffalo Springfield, their sophomore effort, Buffalo Springfield Again, and their swan song, Last Time Around.” (adapted from realgroovy.co.nz)

Garbage – Garbage
“20th Anniversary remastered reissue of Garbage’s acclaimed second album. Charted at #1 in the UK + certified double platinum with over 500k sales. Nominated for two Grammys + three MTV Europe Awards. Includes the Top 10 singles ‘Push It’ (No 1 most added track at European radio and top 20 European radio airplay hit) + ‘I Think I’m Paranoid’. Single CD format includes an 8-page booklet.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

The Cure – Mixed up [deluxe]
“Digitally remastered and expanded three CD edition includes two bonus CDs: Disc Two features additional remixes from 1982-90 while Disc Three – titled Torn Down – includes 16 new remixes by Robert Smith. Mixed Up is a remix album by British band The Cure originally released in 1990. The songs are remixes of some of their hits, reflecting the popularity of remixing of existing songs and dance culture of the late 1980s and early 1990s.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

A new batch of Staff Pick DVDs

The Good Place cover

Peruse the latest selections from library staff, from superheroes to sci-fi to coming of age drama, and crime told backwards.

The shape of water.
The Shape of Water takes its initial inspiration from the 1954 B movie Creature from the Black Lagoon, but this is definitely not a cash in sequel to an old monster movie. Instead it is a cleverly constructed complex film which straddles effortlessly multiple genres including romance, cold war thriller, body horror and a straight down the line cult Guillermo Del Toro movie. It is obviously a project the director had a great deal of affection for and it looks great in a shabby downbeat Americana way, and Sally Hawkins in the lead puts in a storming performance. Arguably Guillermo Del Toro’s best movie so far and since he directed Pan’s Labyrinth that is praise of the highest order. (Neil J)

Justice League.
Move over Avengers! There’s a new team of superheroes in town. The world of DC comics and superheroes collides when a great a great evil in the form of Stepphenwolf wants to unleash hell on earth and the heroes, (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg), must come together – and put aside their differences to save the day. Overall a different but satisfying take on all the DC superheroes, with a well balanced mix of action, adventure, comedy and serious moments. The Flash, in particular is hilarious with his one liners, ladies will drool and fall in love with Aquaman and Superman, especially when Aquaman shows his “sensitive side” and as always the heroes saving the day “superhero” style from start to finish. (Katie)

Rellik.
‘Rellik’ (‘killer’) is a story told backwards for the first 5 episodes, with the final episode reverting to normal forward progression starting from where the first episode left off. This, understandably, makes for a confusing watch initially as it needs a fair bit of concentration, and thus the show’s reviews were somewhat polarized. It’s hard to say in the end if the backwards narrative is just a stylistic gimmick or if it really adds anything to the story which is a shame, as it is a quite good slice of gritty UK crime. The 2 leads (Jodi Balfour and Richard Dormer) are both excellent, with Dormer as Met detective, Gabriel Markham at the centre of an obsessive hunt for a serial killer who left a mark on him both physically and mentally. Worth persevering with. (Mark)

Downsizing.
Could this be a solution to the problem of overpopulation and climate change? American auteur Alexander Payne’s (Nebraska, The Descendants) new film is a futuristic fable where people can choose to be shrunk to one-fourteenth of their size and live in a miniature ‘self-sustainable’ heavenly community called ‘Leisureland’. Featuring Matt Damon as an ordinary Omaha resident who takes this experimental opportunity, it offers a unique mixture of sci-fi comedy, political satire, and a cross-cultural love story. Apparently Payne had been thinking about this project for quite some time. Although not everything worked out perfectly, it’s certainly intriguing. (Shinji)

The disaster artist.
The Disaster Artist is much like Tim Burton’s Ed Wood insofar as it is a clever, well made, superbly acted and thoroughly entertaining film about one of the worst films ever made – Tommy Wiseau’s The Room has been dubbed the Citizen Kane of bad movies and since its release in 2003 has gained a fanatical cult following who like to dress up, shout out lines from the film and have a liking for throwing plastic cutlery. The original film was supposedly meant as a serious movie but the outright strange storytelling and truly bizarre acting have lead it to being regarded retrospectively by the director as a black comedy. The Disaster Artist is about the making of the film and the dreams, friendships and dramas surrounding its creation. The Disaster Artist is fine movie about a terrible movie. Just don’t shout SPOON. (Neil J)

Doctor Doctor. Series 2.
Hugh Knight, (Rodger Corser), the heart surgeon/heartthrob turned country doctor you love to either hate or… just plain love is back! And as usual breaking more hearts than fixing them. But things take a dramatic turn for Hugh when his teenage son/foster brother decides to marry his high school sweetheart; Hugh having to donate a kidney to save his dad; his American and troubled ex-wife turning up, having a near death experience to make him realise what/who is important in his life and the icing on the cake – he is in love with his boss, Penny and has various opportunities to finally make his move! The question is will they finally get together or will Hugh stuff it up with his playboy antics? Overall this series is in one word… FANTASTIC! An entertaining TV series and Aussie drama from start to finish! I especially loved the Mustang car race scene with ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl?’ by Jet playing in the background. Look forward to the third season. (Katie)

Hard sun. [Season 1].
Charlie Hicks (Jim Sturgess) and Elaine Renko (Agyness Deyn) are detectives who, while investigating a murder in the inner city, stumble upon proof that the world faces certain destruction – in five years. They find themselves pursued by MI5, trying to silence them in order to keep secret the truth, and they must use every bit of their ingenuity to protect themselves and those they love. The relationship of the two leads plays against type, as they both try to secure the upper hand with each other and with ruthless Security Services Officer Nikki Amuka-Bird, which is a positive as the latest offering from the pen of Neil Cross (Luther) seems to falter a bit in the telling, as if Cross wasn’t really sure how he wanted the story to play out. Intriguing and gripping in places, clichéd and muddled in others. Still worth a look, as Cross apparently has ideas for further seasons. (Mark)

Twin Peaks: a limited event series.
After 25 years, David Lynch and Mark Frost’s ground-breaking series is back. Most of the beloved characters are also back but this time, a lot of events unfold outside Twin Peaks while time is back and forth. With numerous additional characters, some of whom are played by prominent names including Naomi Watts, Laura Dern, Amanda Seyfried and Harry Dean Stanton, it’s a much larger scaled extraordinary journey which offers everything Lynch has made for cinema. At times, it’s almost impossible to comprehend and mysteries bring more mysteries but he never forgets humour. This marathon epic can be challenging and demanding to consume, but will be remembered as a landmark work by the one-and-only filmmaker. (Shinji)

The Good Place. The complete first season.
From producer/screenwriter Michael Schur (The Office, Parks & Recreation, Brooklyn Nine-Nine) The Good Place addresses the age old question of what actually happens when you die? For Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) she finds the afterlife is a shiny happy friendly neighbourhood of frozen yogurt shops, amazingly accomplished people and pre-determined soulmates, all run by the super nice immortal architect Michael (Ted Danson). However the only problem is that she is the wrong Eleanor Shellstrop, and is in fact a very bad person, who scammed old people for a living and generally lived a completely reprehensible life. As she struggles to hide her true self from all around her and cope with her ‘soulmate’, university ethics professor Chidi, her true nature starts to affect the cosmic balance at play… To say any more would give away some of the plotlines of this hugely enjoyable series. Great performances from Bell and Danson. A great antidote to the Winter blues. Recommended. (Mark)

The greatest showman.
This movie just filled me with a sense of the wonders of humanity, and the songs! Well a musical isn’t a musical without good songs. If you are looking for some new additions to your sing-a-long playlist then this is the movie for you! I recommend a double check out, both the soundtrack and the movie. You won’t be sorry! (Jess)

Electric dreams. Season one.
Anthology collection of 10 stand-alone episodes based on Philip K. Dick’s work, written by British and American writers and set in both the UK & the US. This bunch of Dick’s short stories were written in the early to mid 1950’s, so all have undergone some degree of tinkering – from large to small – to reimagine their themes within a modern day context. Executive produced by Ronald D. Moore and Bryan Cranston there is certainly a high degree or production values up on the screen, as well as some quality acting (including Cranston himself), the problem perhaps lies in the fact that so many of Dick’s short stories have already been adapted into films (Screamers, Paycheck, Imposter, Minority Report, Next, The Adjustment Bureau, Total Recall) that those that are left are more straightforward in nature, lacking the same level of layers or ideas. Having said that there are some nice adaptations here, even the one that are more heavily reworked like Safe & Sound or Real Life work in themes common to Dick’s oeuvre. Definitely worth a watch if you are a fan of the author, and also if you fancy something along the lines of Black Mirror but not as grim. (Mark)

Lady Bird.
Known as a comedic actress (Frances Ha, Maggie’s Plan etc.), Greta Gerwig also seems to be a natural director. Her debut feature Lady Bird is a likable little gem. Set in her hometown, Sacramento, California in 2002, it follows 17-year-old Christine ‘Lady Bird’ (brilliant performance by the Irish star Saoirse Ronan) who is eager for an escape to a big city on the East Coast after graduating from a Catholic school, against her mother’s wishes. It may sound like another often-told adolescent drama but this is something special thanks to Gerwig’s smart screenplay and unique aesthetic. With the mother-daughter relationship as its core, she crafts a beautifully layered story. It’s sweet, funny and affecting. (Shinji)

New Vinyl in our unique collection

The Now Now album cover

From the new album by the world famous virtual band Gorillaz to the newly remastered Guns N’ Roses megahit album Appetite for Destruction – new vinyl in our unique collection, once again, features exciting stuff. For Aotearoa music fans, check out the fantastic new album by Jonathan Bree.

Gorillaz – The now now
The Now Now is 11 all-new songs from the World’s Most Successful Virtual Act. The album sessions for The Now Now saw the band largely eschewing guest stars, taking it back to the core creative crew: blue-haired, sweet-natured dreamer 2D on vocals; whip-smart Japanese badass Noodle on guitar; not forgetting Brooklyn-born philosopher and the meat–behind-the-beat Russel Hobbs on drums. And with Murdoc Niccals temporarily indisposed, bass duties on the new album have been taken up by erstwhile Gangreen Gang member Ace.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

DJ Koze – Knock knock
“Like all DJ Koze records, Knock Knock exists outside of trend and influence. In fact, it’s a step further beyond: absolutely every single thing here, from grooves to voices to handclaps, is otherworldly and unique. Which is not to say it is utterly alien abstraction, mind. There is still disco, there is still soul, there is still techno, there is still hip hop, there is still psychedelia – there are even wafts of easy listening, lost crackly thriftstore record memories and… sort of… indie rock – but though it may sound familiar, it never does what your brain thinks it’s going to do.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Tom Waits – Bastards
“The collection of 56 songs went far beyond a simple career retrospective. It dipped back as far as 1984 with the bulk of it’s songs hailing from the mid-nineties onward. Over 2/3 of the material had never been heard when originally released in 2006 and had 30 newly recorded songs. Orphans also featured a number of songs finding a home on a Waits’ album for the first time.” (adapted from realgroovy.co.nz)

Jonathan Bree – Sleepwalking
“Jonathan Bree began releasing solo records in 2013, in the decade prior to that he was one half of indie duo The Brunettes. His solo output is a departure from the music he was making before; it has taken a darker, cinematic turn. Like his previous albums Sleepwalking has a heavy orchestrated element featuring real strings, celeste and soprano vocals. His arrangements draw distinct influence from orchestral pop of a bygone era (think Lee Hazlewood & Nancy Sinatra), but many of the songs dip in and out of the avant-garde in a way that is also distinctly modern.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Kamasi Washington – Heaven and Earth
“The long-awaited follow up to Washington’s debut The Epic, Heaven & Earth is comprised of two halves, which find Washington confronting quotidian realities with cosmic themes. A further investigation of Washington’s world-building ideas, the new album explores his reckoning with current global chaos and his vision for the future. Thundercat, Terrace Martin, Ronald Bruner, Jr., Cameron Graves, Brandon Coleman, Miles Mosley, Patrice Quinn, Tony Austin and many more contribute to the album.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Guns N’ Roses – Appetite for destruction
“First ever album remaster from original analog tapes. Original album expanded to 2-LPs for maximum audiophile playback. Vinyl cut from 192kHz 24-bit remastered high-resolution audio. Limited edition foil art slipcase. Side 4 extra bonus: hologroove hologram of GNR Logo.” (adapted from realgroovy.co.nz)

Recent favourites: Staff-picked CDs

Superorganism album cover

While we’re not busy with library duties, many of us here at Wellington City Libraries are avid music listeners. Here are a few recent highlights from our extensive CD collection.

Superorganism.
Wellington band The Eversons moved to London in 2015 and have grown into an eight piece collective consisting of members from Lancashire, Japan, South Korea, Australia and Aotearoa, that all now live together in a big house in London. They have created media waves with their fun, kooky and excellently produced debut album, which is loaded with crazy samples, playful beats, fat basslines, swirling synths and great guitar hooks, all underpinned by the oddly deadpan vocals of 17 year old Japanese vocalist Orono Noguchi who they auditioned on Skype. Sounding like the children of The Go Team! and MGMT, this is a technicolor rush of fun and densely layered quirky pop that sounds as though it was made by the band members emailing each other ideas from their rooms in the house – which it actually was! For an idea of where this extremely contemporary band are coming from check out the video for their hit ‘Everybody Wants To Be Famous‘. (John H.)

Mi mundo.
An exciting music by a shining new star – a young Cuban singer and percussionist Brenda Navarrete infuses the traditional Afro-Cuban music with the modern stylish sound, and her debut album Mi Mundo (My World) is full of thrilling moments. Opening with Navarrete’s expressive voice and her percussions, which lead the charge throughout the album, music here is intricate and touches a range of musical styles. However, she and her Cuban all-star band show amazing skills and masterfully treat them, often with jazz idioms, and present smooth yet rich, dynamic sound. The album lasts only 37 minutes but shows Navarrete’s enormous talent and character. Sensational. (Shinji)

Wide awaaaaake!
It’s fitting that Texan indie rockers Parquet Courts are on Rough Trade Records as that label was the prime mover of the original early 80’s UK post punk sound and Parquet Courts arguably continue that tradition better than any other current band. Their sixth album is produced by Danger Mouse, who helps shape their characteristically spiky shambolic sound into a semblance of fun, danceable grooves. The post punk influences are still plentiful but the new album has a gloss of production that manages to expand their musical palette without losing the bands’ angular garage rock stance. With song titles such as ‘Normalisation’ and ‘Before the Water Gets Too High’ it’s reassuring to know that urgent and quizzical music such as this is being made. (John H.)

Rewa / Tania Giannouli, Rob Thorne, Steve Garden.
Rewa fuses the musical cultures of Western Greece, courtesy of Greek classically trained musician Tania Giannouli, and that of traditional Taonga Pūoro instrumentation, courtesy of Rob Thorne. The whole album was improvised over a two day recording session. The resulting album transcends musical boundaries whilst having both a classical and experimental feel. The individual pieces are often dark, brooding and intense with Steve Garden’s treatments, and delicate, thoughtful mixing making this album a rich, complex and rewarding listen. (Neil J)

Top gear.
Wellington based muso Stef Animal took time out from bass playing duties with The Golden Awesome to record this beguiling collection of 15 ‘song-in-a-day writing exercises’, each using sounds from a different piece of cheap or unfashionable musical equipment. The pieces are short – ranging from 30 seconds to 4 minutes – but are equally engaging, gradually drawing the listener deeper in to Stef Animal’s unique and intriguing sound world. The result is an unusual release that stands up as a bold and wholly successful experiment. (John H.)

Vortex / Sonar with David Torn.
Swiss jazz-progressive rock quartet (twin guitars, bass and drums) Sonar has established an utterly unique sound – often playing in irregular time and creating a minimal stoic groove which at times is as if 80s king Crimson is playing Steve Reich-ish minimal composition – and with this new album featuring the one-of-a-kind guitarist David Torn, they seem to move to another level. Torn originally worked as a producer but ended up playing on all tunes as well, which is very welcome. Torn brings a sonically inventive soundscape with huge improvisations on some tracks. Their chemistry is fantastic and Sonar has sharpened their trademark polyrhythmic groove, and makes the whole sound even more dynamic. This is risk-taking music and marvellously executed. (Shinji)

Englabörn & variations / Jóhann Jóhannsson.
Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson passed away earlier this year at the early age of 48. His story was a very successful one, growing from the fringes of the electronic / neo-classical world with his early releases on Touch and 4AD to worldwide acclaim providing soundtracks for films such as Arrival and The Theory of Everything. His use of electronics and treated voices within ambient / chamber pieces was radical in 2002 and had become familiar by 2018, but he was a true pioneer. This remastered re-issue of his first record, 2002’s Englaborn remains impressive and features 16 relatively short works of beautiful and stately contemporary ambient music, predominantly featuring strings and delicate electronics, with an accompanying disc of remixes by a range of current ambient musicians. (John H.)

5.
The first release on Prins Thomas Musikk, the new label started by the popular Norwegian electronic producer and remixer, is his fifth album and finds him expanding his by now predictable space disco sound. Apparently inspired by Teenage Fanclub, American jazz guitarist Pat Metheny and UK duo Plaid, he here presents a set of pared down, predominantly downbeat compositions featuring sweet basslines, guitars, bubbling synths and ambient flourishes to create warm and intimate grooves that lovingly reference the IDM sound of the mid ‘90’s. (John H.)

In Paris: the definitive ORTF recording.
Another classic Jazz concert receives it’s first official release, after being previously available in bootleg form. Montgomery hated to fly, so it was a rare opportunity for European audiences to see him perform in 1965 at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, featuring an all-star band with pianist Harold Mabern, bassist Arthur Harper and drummer Jimmy Lovelace, & special guest tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin. Montgomery delivers a searing set of tunes with one amazing solo after another, in what is considered one of his best live performances ever, melodic, inventive and endlessly swinging. Listening to this reissue, it’s easy to see why he is still regarded as one of the most influential Jazz guitarists in history. (Mark)

New Classical CDs

This week in the classical collection we highlight new additions by the pianists Stephen Hough, Boris Giltburg and Paul Lewis.

Piano Sonatas Nos. 32, 40, 49, 50, Haydn. Performed by Paul Lewis.
A collection of some of the last piano sonatas written by Haydn: “… highly attractive music… that combines mischievousness, ingenuousness, eloquence and lyricism. A whole art of contrast, interpreted with unique grace by Paul Lewis.” (back cover)

Stephen Hough’s Dream Album.
“It is seldom these graceful, delightful pieces have such consummate musicianship lavished upon them. Few pianists today besides Stephen Hough could devise such a recital featuring his own compositions beside works by Liszt, Sibelius, Elgar, Mompou and many more. Such stuff is what dreams are made of.” (amazon.com editorial review)

Piano Concerto No. 3; Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Rachmaninov. Performed by Boris Giltburg and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
“Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3 is a complex, epic narrative that moves from a simple opening melody to the triumphant apotheosis at its conclusion. The composer ingeniously links motifs, melodies and at times whole sections between the movements, unifying the concerto into a single overarching storyline. In the Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Rachmaninov reworks the original theme using his unique harmonic language until there is no trace left of its Baroque or Renaissance origins.” (back cover)

July’s staff picks from our CD collection

Ventriloquism cover

Check out these music picks by some of our staff members. A wide variety of music styles are listed here and you might find something new or intriguing.

7.
Seven albums in and US dream poppers Beach House show no sign of losing their edge as they continue to explore the parameters of their distinctive sound. On their seventh album they’ve replaced their long-time producer with MGMT producer and former Spacemen 3 member Peter Kember. The result is their most immersive, and possibly their most engaging, album to date. In a recent interview vocalist Victoria Legrand said that in creating this work, the band sought to use “bigger canvases, a stronger solid line”, and the sound is perceivably darker and more dramatic, with the usual gentle drum programming replaced by a thunderous live drummer that helps move this record into the deeper realms of dream pop inhabited by bands such as My Bloody Valentine. (John H.)

Singularity.
The London based electronic producer release his follow up to the very well received 2013 release Immunity. Once again the production is perfect – crystal clear tones and beautifully constructed beats throughout an album that, however, probably works best on vinyl, as there are two distinct ‘sides’. The first four tracks (side 1) offer a deeper journey into electronic rhythms with Hopkins’ ambient sensibilities and compositional flair ensuring that the crunchy grooves remain quite removed from most generic dance based electronica being produced. The next five tracks (side 2) are lovingly crafted ambient pieces featuring gentle piano and delicate synths that are about as far removed from the grooves of side 1 as possible. Overall some great sounds but maybe best appreciated in two sittings. (John H.)

My design, on others’ lives.
It must be one of the most difficult gigs a musician can do. Being the warm up act to a huge star who hasn’t toured for ages and has legions of passionate fans. Estere’s support slot for Grace Jones in Queenstown was a stunning success for this new artist. She handled her time with poise and aplomb gaining a fair few fans in the process. Her self-produced debut album is a lush hybrid beast, a unique combination of sonic elements from pop/jazz melodies to sensual electronica and serious rhythmic cores. She also has a beautiful soaring voice and a fine turn in lyrics, and whilst it is definitely a mainstream album it certainly has some experimental leanings too. This album marks the entrance of a vibrant new voice and sounds to this reviewer, like the kind of album a future superstar would release. (Neil J)

Black magic.
Yemi Alade is the African Madonna of Pop. She has a strong sexy African female voice combined with beats to make you shake it. Her song ‘Johnny’ from her debut studio album King of Queens (2014) hit the charts in Africa and in the UK. She won MTV Africa’s Best Female Artist of the Year in 2015 and 2016.
The music videos, mostly directed by Clarence Peters, are a fantastic high production show of contemporary African fashion and dance combined with humorous storylines and female perspectives. The videos also show a side of Africa that doesn’t always make it onto African Pop music videos or Nollywood movies; real backgrounds of village life, the grit of the city, and the African landscape feature here. No million dollar yachts and polished marble – Africa is beautiful, real and alive. We have two of her albums in the library: Mama Africa (2016) & Black Magic (2017). (Zoe)

The final tour : the bootleg series vol. 6 / Miles Davis & John Coltrane.
This entry in the ongoing Bootleg Series features five concerts from the Miles Davis Quintet’s Spring 1960 Jazz at the Philharmonic European tour, the first legitimate release of this material with remastered sound. Coltrane was anxious to leave the group at this point, and was a very reluctant part of the Tour, which results in a dichotomy of styles that provides some fascinating listening. Coltrane plays with an aggressive style that is almost a year ahead in terms of his musical development, while Miles and the remaining members of the group: Wynton Kelly (piano); Paul Chambers (bass) & Jimmy Cobb (drums), try to hold the centre down to a more familiar framework that European audiences & critics were comfortable with. The audience (particularly in the Paris concerts with the whistling and feet stamping – the French version of booing) were scandalized, as were local critics, and these new versions of this material prove the legendary status of these recordings was not overrated. (Mark)

A man I’d rather be (Part I).
It’s difficult to overstate the importance of folk guitarist/vocalist Bert Jansch in not only the early development of the British folk revival, but also in the ensuing development of UK rock, with Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page a self-confessed fan (see if you can spot the opening bars of ‘The Waggoner’s Lad’ on Led Zeppelin 3) . Most famous for the jazz/folk band Pentangle, Bert Jansch started out as part of the UK folk scene of the early ‘60’s, which carried the genesis of the ‘60’s counter cultural movement. This box set contains his first four albums (disc 4 with John Renbourn) and is to be followed by Part 2 featuring his other four. The first two albums here were recorded when Jansch was only 21 and his distinctive finger-picking blues style, which incorporated percussive, African and Eastern-influenced tunings, was already well formed. Bert Jansch was an enormous talent who applied his guitar and banjo picking skills and distinctive vocal style to a merging of American blues with the swing of jazz within a very English esoteric folk sensibility and, hopefully, re-releases such as this will help him find a wider audience. (John H.)

Ventriloquism.
From the big names such as Prince, Tina Turner, Janet Jackson and Sade to the typical 80s hit by Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, they are all songs from ‘85 to ‘90 (except TLC’s ‘Waterfalls’ in ‘94). A cover album of the 80s R&B classics is something rare and what Meschell Ndegeocello does with them is totally original. With the minimal arrangements, she and her regular band display superb performances and colour them with a murky textured otherworldly ambience. Ndegeocello debuted with the Grammy-nominated album Plantation Lullabies in 1993 and had a commercial success in her earlier career. The label had kept telling her to make the same sort of albums but she never did. She lost the support from the label, but this uncompromised spirit made her one of the most forward-thinking, singular artists. This is a covert album like no other and one of her best. (Shinji)

Music for installations.
With a gentle nod to the past (Eno’s ground-breaking late ‘70’s ambient releases included Music For Films and Music For Airports), Brian Eno re-affirms his standing as the Grand Master of ambience with a stunning six disc set. The compositions cover over 30 years, from 1985 to 2017 and all feature slightly different approaches to the airy, light world of generative music, designed to create sound that permeates the environment like clouds of incense. Filled with gorgeous washes of bells and drones and unidentifiable luminous shimmers moving across widescreen stereo fields, the pieces are beautiful and always different, yet always the same, and with an accompanying booklet of extensive liner notes, this box set offers an excursion into a deep and mysterious netherworld by a key contemporary artist. (John H.)

The lookout.
The wonderful collaborations with Neko Case and KD Lang (2016’s Case/Lang/Veirs) finally gave her the kind of fame she deserved, and the Portland-based singer-songwriter Laura Veirs continues to impress both new and old fans with this new album. Her thoughtful songs; wistful lyrics and sensitive drifting melodies are as fine as ever, and her husband and the master producer, Tucker Martine, who has worked with The Decemberists, My Morning Jacket and many more, gives another stellar job and envelopes them with warm arrangements. Best of all, they deftly keep everything simple and clear, and make it a neatly-crafted dreamy folk/pop album. Sufjan Stevens and Jim James make cameos. A gem. (Shinji)

Hormone lemonade.
Ex-Stereolab guitarist Tim Gane’s kraut rock inspired project release their third album and this time around their sound is aimed predominantly at the rhythmic end of things with propulsive motorik beats prevailing. Sequencers, drums and drum machines pump out the hypnotic grooves, while synths and guitar provide a measure of melodic injection over ten pieces, avant-garde yet accessible. Taking bits of inspiration from the past, with Neu! and Suicide obvious reference points, the trio build them into a highly futuristic sounding present. And, yes, for long time fans, occasional fleeting traces of Stereolab can be detected here! (John H.)

Bluffing and blockbusters: New DVDs

Black Panther cover image

New DVDs include the blockbuster smash Black Panther; autumnal British comedy Finding Your Feet, and the true story of an Olympic-class skier who ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game.

Black Panther
“King T’Challa returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to serve as new leader. However, T’Challa soon finds that he is challenged for the throne from divisions within his own country. When two enemies conspire to destroy Wakanda, the hero known as Black Panther must join forces with C.I.A. agent Everett K. Ross and members of the Wakandan Special Forces, to prevent Wakanda from being drawn into a world war.” (Catalogue)

Molly’s game
“The true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game and became an FBI target.” (Catalogue)

Finding your feet
“On the eve of retirement, a judgmental middle-class snob discovers her husband has been having an affair with her best friend and is forced into exile with her bohemian sister who lives on an impoverished inner-city council estate.” (Catalogue)

The 15:17 to Paris
“In the early evening of August 21, 2015, the world watched in stunned silence as the media reported a thwarted terrorist attack on Thalys train #9364 bound for Paris—an attempt prevented by three courageous young Americans traveling through Europe. The film follows the course of the friends’ lives, from the struggles of childhood through finding their footing in life, to the series of unlikely events leading up to the attack. Throughout the harrowing ordeal, their friendship never wavers, making it their greatest weapon and allowing them to save the lives of the more than 500 passengers on board.” (Mightyape.co.nz)

Rex
“Based on the true life story of a young Marine Corporal whose unique discipline and bond with her military combat dog saved many lives during their deployment in Iraq. When she is assigned to clean up the K9 unit after a disciplinary hearing, Leavey identifies with a particularly aggressive dog, Rex, and is given the chance to train him. Over the course of their service, Megan and Rex completed more than 100 missions until an IED explosion injures them, putting their fate in jeopardy.” (Catalogue)

Classic and contemporary: New books on Popular Music

Paul Simon book cover

A variety of fascinating titles have been added to our collection of books on popular music. They include Twilight of the gods: a journey to the end of classic rock which is one of Newsweek’s 50 Best Books of 2018 (so far) and the finally available Paul Simon’s biography. Check them out!

Syndetics book coverTwilight of the gods : a journey to the end of classic rock / Steven Hyden.
“Since the late 1960s, a legendary cadre of artists–including the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles, Black Sabbath, and the Who–has revolutionized popular culture and the sounds of our lives. In this mix of personal memoir, criticism, and journalism, Hyden stands witness as classic rock reaches the precipice. Traveling to the eclectic places where geriatric rockers are still making music, he talks to the artists and fans who have aged with them, explores the ways that classic rock has changed the culture, investigates the rise and fall of classic rock radio, and turns to live bootlegs, tell-all rock biographies, and even the liner notes of rock’s greatest masterpieces to tell the story of what this music meant, and how it will be remembered, for fans like himself.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPaul Simon : the life / Robert Hilburn.
“A publishing event from music legend Paul Simon: an intimate, candid, and definitive biography written with Simon’s full participation–but without his editorial control–by acclaimed biographer and music writer Robert Hilburn. For more than fifty years, Paul Simon has spoken to us in songs about alienation, doubt, resilience, and empathy in ways that have established him as one of the most beloved artists in American pop music history. But Simon is a deeply private person who has resisted speaking to us outside of his music. Finally, Simon has opened up–for more than one hundred hours of interviews–to Hilburn and the result is a landmark book that will take its place as the defining biography of one of America’s greatest artists.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDylan on Dylan : interviews and encounters / edited by Jeff Burger.
“In a 1969 conversation with Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner, Bob Dylan proclaimed, “I don’t give interviews.” But in truth, he has spoken at length with print publications large and small and with broadcast media around the world, given numerous press conferences, and even answered listeners’ questions on call-in radio shows. Dylan can be as evasive and abstruse as he is witty; he can also be cranky and sarcastic. But in the right moments, he offers candid, revealing commentary about his groundbreaking music and creative process. These engrossing provide glimpses into the mind of one of the most important performers and songwriters of the last hundred years.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGudinski : the godfather of Australian rock ‘n’ roll / Stuart Coupe.
“Often referred to as ‘the father of the Australian music industry’, he has nurtured the careers of many artists – Kylie Minogue, Jimmy Barnes, Paul Kelly, Skyhooks, Split Enz, Yothu Yindi, to name just a few. A self-made multi-millionaire, Gudinski is the Australian equivalent of Richard Branson or David Geffen, but who is this tough, inspired, flamboyant and impassioned businessman who has shaped Australian popular culture? Where did he come from, and how has he stayed relevant for so long in an industry notorious for its fickleness? Rock journalist Stuart Coupe delves into Gudinski’s life to find the answers – and in doing so gives us a backstage pass to forty years of Australian rock.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInner City Pressure: The Story Of Grime [hardback]
“The definitive history of the most innovative, thrilling and controversial music of the 21st Century – grime. As Britain celebrates the new millennium, something fluorescent and futuristic is stirring in the crumbling council estates of inner city London. Making beats on stolen software, spitting lyrics on tower block rooftops and beaming out signals from pirate radio aerials, a group of teenagers raised on UK garage, American hip-hop and Jamaican reggae stumble upon a dazzling new genre. Here, for the first time, is the full story of grime.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMemphis rent party : the blues, rock & soul in music’s hometown / Robert Gordon.
“The fabled city of Memphis has been essential to American music–home of the blues, the birthplace of rock and roll, a soul music capital. We know the greatest hits, but celebrated author Robert Gordon takes us to the people and places history has yet to record. A Memphis native, he whiles away time in a crumbling duplex with blues legend Furry Lewis, stays up late with barrelhouse piano player Mose Vinson, and sips homemade whiskey at Junior Kimbrough’s churning house parties. A passionate listener, he hears modern times deep in the grooves of old records by Lead Belly and Robert Johnson.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPhil Gernhard : record man / Bill DeYoung.
“In 1960, ‘Stay’ reached number one on the charts. The song was impossible to get out of your head: Stay–aaah–just a little bit longer. The innocuously catchy R&B song was produced by Phil Gernhard for South Carolina doo-wop group Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs. At just 19 years old and with no formal training, Gernhard was a go-getting, red-headed kid eager to break into the music business. ‘Stay’ was just the beginning of a career that would span nearly fifty years’ worth of chart-topping songs. Phil Gernhard, Record Man is the story of a self-made music mogul who dropped out of law school to open a tiny office and studio in Florida and went on to produce hits that would rock the airwaves and resonate throughout the country.” (Syndetics summary)

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)

Judge a vinyl by its colour?

Since 2016, Wellington vinyl lovers have been able to borrow records from the library. However, not all of our LPs are rendered in the traditional black. One of our staff members, Joe, checks out some of the more colourful items found among the shelves.


Soft sounds from another planet.
The sublime music of Japanese Breakfast makes its home among translucent cherry grooves. Restful ambience, cathartic vocals and flawless indie rock instrumentation are the mainstays of one of 2017’s most exquisite releases.

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.
Barnett’s studio debut delivers rollicking riffs and self-aware stream of consciousness lyricism. Barnett’s trademark delivery and lush arrangements are perfectly captured on yellow vinyl.

Bush.
After dabbling in reggae, the doggfather of hip-hop turned his attention to nostalgic, funky R&B grooves. Blue plastic transmits Snoop’s smooth autotuned vocals over slick Pharrell Williams production. Stevie Wonder even makes an appearance to deliver some iconic harmonica and vocals.

Blues and haikus / Jack Kerouac featuring Al Cohn and Zoot Sims.
Unlike the bulk of Kerouac’s fiction bibliography (which are kept safe at the fiction enquires desk), this recently re-released album can be found amongst the other items in the AV section. Kerouac waxes poetic on wax over jazz accompaniment.

Masseduction.
Futuristic pop with a digital pulse. St. Vincent delivers mysterious vocals and yet again proves her aptitude for unique melody. Opaque pink vinyl creates the perfect aesthetic for her intriguingly crafted tunes.

Lemonade.
Lemonade’s impressively constructed track list showcases Beyoncé’s virtuosic vocal talent over a tremendously wide range of musical styles. From gospel to county, from trap to reggae tinged R&B: it’s all here on lemon yellow vinyl.

Perfect body. / Mermaidens
The talented Wellington indie trio present their collection of ethereal tunes on satsuma orange vinyl. Pounding basslines, shoe-gazey riffs and passionate vocal performances populate the record.

Images courtesy of Turntable Lab, Fat Beats & Mermaidens. Used with permission.