Thursday, February 22, 2007

Here we go again

Hold It Up - The Shaky Hands

Another day, another good band from Portland. Another itchy, anxious, mad-strumming, hyperactive pack of winningly whiny boys jumping the springs out of the mattress. Not that I'm complaining. Shaky Hands' (Myspace) self-titled debut album is as stylistically inconsistent as you'd probably expect from guys plowing adjacent fields to zeitgeisty digital download faves (note I didn't say "blog bands") Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Tap Tap. It's a tangled magpie nest of spiky guitar lines, bubbling bass, jittery drums, screechy violins and oh, pretty much everything else. But focus is overrated; all you need to know is that the record is packed tight with terrific songs. I've long held, and will continue to argue, that the provenance of this 00s sound -- whether the artists know or acknowledge it -- is the bouncy, endearingly amateurish Dunedin, NZ scene of the 80s. Singer Nick Delffs even cracks his voice on the high notes like David Kilgour. You'll hear your own influences. Whatever. This is great, great, great.

The increasingly blog-like Pitchfork posted a different Shaky Hands song earlier today. Holocene Music releases The Shaky Hands in April. As we used to say in my pep club days, get psyched, guys!


Sean of Said the Gramophone wrote a very moving piece about a recent car accident and posted two beautiful songs from Iceland with it.

If you have a Sirius radio subscription, tune in to Dodge's (of My Old Kentucky Blog) Left of Center show on Thursday nights (tonight). Some friends and I were lounging about last Friday night and caught it accidentally (think it was a rebroadcast) and we were utterly charmed by his funny between-song ramblings.

The Morning News listed The Top Albums of 1980. If you've been following this series, you already know that Andrew Womack is (perhaps excessively?) fond of Joy Division and Brian Eno.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm not afraid to put my ignorance out there: "Dunedin, NZ scene" = what? A quick Web search reveals The Chills (whom I know a little bit) and The Clean (whom I'll look into), but then who else do I need to know?

11:29 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Sorry, Neil! Those are probably the two best, most important (IMHO) to come out of that scene, so a really good start. The Clean is one of my favorite bands. If you can get your hands on Compilation (out of print, unfortunately), it's a brilliant collection of their early EPs. You can easily buy Anthology (released on Merge), a bigger collection that is almost as good. There are tons of other NZ bands with a similar sound, the recordings of which can be very difficult to get a hold of here. Flying Nun is the NZ label that released much of it originally, but the label has poor distribution in the US. BUT, it's very easy to buy most of the Chills records and those of The Bats, another one of my favorites, The Tall Dwarfs, a couple others. For more info, it looks like there's a Wiki and here's the Flying Nun site.

10:29 AM  
Blogger tkt said...

The whole Flying Nun story has been so exhaustively reported here in NZ yet it still takes us Kiwis by surprise when it gets recognised overseas. A good place to look for albums would be which has international shipping.

All of those bands mentioned would be a great place to start and also The Straightjacket Fits (the main guy from that has a new project Dimmer with excellent results) and The Bats.

The past few years have been the most exciting since the Flying Nun days with the cream being Fat Freddy's Drop (a John Peel favourite), The Mint Chicks, Phoenix Foundation and Pluto.

8:51 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Thanks for the additional info and Real Groovy link, Tom! I've been mulling over that Flying Nun 25th anniversary box set (on the RG homepage) for a couple months. Expensive, but I think I'll just have to bite the bullet and order it.

It's really too bad that very little New Zealand (and Australian) music makes its way to the states.

9:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you both!

10:14 PM  
Blogger Pure NZ Alt Radio said...

Hi there,

N.Z Music is hard to 'pigeon hole'.

There are heaps of genres and a vibrant alternative music scene.

If you have listen to my free to air-online radio station (link through my blog) you'll get a better idea of the spectrum.


Paul [Pure NZ Alt Radio]

3:27 PM  

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