05 December 2022

Rhapsody in Green

Tonight's penultimate Wellington FilmSoc outing of the year was the splendid and quite bonkers King of Jazz (1930) in glorious, bizarre two-strip Technicolor - a highly innovative film process that could portray red and green moderately well but couldn't cope with the colour blue. (This is a full nine years before colour pioneers Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz, remember). Which makes this extravaganza of George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue - written originally for the Paul Whiteman Orchestra featured in the film - even more ambitious. And while it might not seem credible, this sequence involving a giant piano big enough to contain the entire orchestra is by no means the most overblown spectacle the film contains. 

24 November 2022

A lawless league of lonesome, lonesome beauty

Thursday music corner: Irish singer-songwriter Lisa O'Neill (b.1982) grew up in County Cavan near the Northern Ireland border, and first came to prominence supporting David Gray on his 2011 North American tour. She has released four albums since 2009, with the most recent being 2018's Heard a Long Gone Song. Her new song, the haunting, wistful Old Note, was released on YouTube on 15 November 2022, presaging the release of her fifth album, All Of This Is Chance, in February 2023.

Lisa O'Neill - Old Note (2022)

17 November 2022

When routine bites hard and ambitions are low

Thursday music corner: Formed in New Orleans in 1996, the Hot 8 Brass Band have released six albums of funky brass between 2005 and 2017. Joy Division's June 1980 single Love Will Tear Us Apart reached number 13 in the UK charts in June 1980 and returned again to the charts in 1983 and 1995, illustrating the wide-reaching influence and legacy of the band and its ill-starred lead singer Ian Curtis (1956-80). (The single also topped the charts in New Zealand). Hot 8's version was released online in 2018 and featured on the band's 2019 five-track covers EP Take Cover, which also included versions of the Jackson 5's Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground), Michael Jackson's Remember The Time and Baby Be Mine, and George Benson's Give Me The Night.

Other noteworthy covers of Love Will Tear Us Apart include those by Nouvelle Vague, Nerina Pallot, Mary Coughlan and, of course, New Order.

Hot 8 Brass Band - Love Will Tear Us Apart (2018)

16 November 2022

How to swallow a pill

Decidedly chuffed this week because a great UK comedy podcast I listen to, Nobody Panic, has done an episode based on a suggestion I sent in: How To Swallow a Pill. Personally I'm hopeless at swallowing pills, and Tessa, one of the two hosts, had mentioned that she's the same a while back. I hasten to add that this podcast is the *exact opposite* of medically qualified advice! The scene is deftly set when Tessa, introducing her pill-based affliction, also mentions to her compatriot Stevie that she's "also never had a coffee" and then NEVER MENTIONS IT AGAIN. Highly entertaining medication-centric chatter, and there's the added bonus of a wild story about Tessa's mum's submarine iPhone, plus Tessa's valiant attempt at a NZ accent. 

(For guidance on the tricky NZ accent, consult Flight of the Conchords or that episode of Taskmaster when Rose Matafeo was mocked ruthlessly for pronouncing shed as 'shid'. It's not our fault, we're a long way away from everything & our vowels have slid around a bit).

10 November 2022

Through my eyes it's a fine way to sleep all night and dream all day

Thursday music corner: Ette is a former solo project by Scottish singer-songwriter Carla J Easton. In 2016 in collaboration with producer-musician Joe Kane she released the full-length album Homemade Lemonade, which featured the boisterous indie-pop Attack of the Glam Soul Cheerleaders as its opening track. Since then Easton has released two new albums under her own name: Impossible Stuff (2018) and Weirdo (2020), plus a 2021 vinyl re-issue of Homemade Lemonade. In 2021 she also formed the new duo Poster Paints with Frightened Rabbits guitarist Simon Liddell; their debut self-titled album was released on 14 October 2022, and features Sundays-influenced singles Never Saw It Coming, Number 1 and Falling Hard.

Ette - Attack of the Glam Soul Cheerleaders (2016)