Einstein Music Journal

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

It's Ready

Finally! our new website is ready. We will no longer be updating this blog, so you should all come over to www.einsteinmusicjournal.co.nz and see what we are writing about. All the content from this blog has been put onto the new and improved EMJ, so you won't be missing a thing.

Thanks, and please do come visit.

Ratatat & I Heart Hiroshima Live Photos

Monday, May 05, 2008

Ratatat & I Heart Hiroshima
at the Kings Arms, Auckland

I Heart Hiroshima


The Kids Are Alright

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Happy NZ Music Month!
Moron Says What?!?! jump for joy!

It’s that time of year again: another May, another New Zealand Music Month. An opportunity for emerging local talent to share the spotlight with established Kiwi greats, NZMM is rediscovering that schools are fertile stomping ground for young bands bored with the Top 40 constantly thrust upon them in the guise of originality. In a special EMJ report, our favourite young bands who are steadily gaining momentum, Moron Says What?!?!, The DHDFDs, Teacups, and Christchurch’s Bang! Bang! Eche! tell us how they view NZMM and the school curriculum, and whether or not they think it helps their bands get out of the practice room and onto the stage.

Bang! Bang! Eche! – the coolest cats in all of Christchurch

“We didn’t think it was relevant to us until last year,” say members of MSW?!?! about NZMM. “(But) when Real Groove came out with the Awesome Feeling compilation CD, it changed our lives!” they say hyperbolically. The New Zealand Music Commission-run NZMM has grown from a mainstream behemoth into a counterculture cheerleader, inspiring young bands. But said bands won’t necessarily use the Commission for their promotion.

Teacups enjoy handclaps (photo: Tania Setyady)

“We’re not so sure that NZMM really affects our gigs,” say MSW?!?!, “because we’re not playing any official NZMM gigs. We don’t really know how NZMM gigs work, we are just going to continue playing the gigs we usually play like we would any other month. We do believe in promoting NZ music though.”
Moron Says What?!?! because they're worth it

The lack of understanding about the function of NZMM could be put down to schools’ music curriculum, which many say is outdated. B!B!E! says: “Music in schools does not focus on performing at all, it’s all about being able to read Mozart. That’s rad, but it puts you off at an early age.” MSW?!?! agree, saying, “High school should offer things such as basic music production courses.” School curriculum needs to evolve as NZMM has. “I remember when two or three years ago it (NZMM) used to be about only bands like Steriogram and Elemeno P and all those mainstream bands,” MSW?!?! continues. “Now it’s expanded so much more.”

Teacups like to have fun in photo booths (with Matt Costa)

A lack of venues has been a tough obstacle though. Christchurch’s central city reportedly houses just two at present – “by far not enough,” says B!B!E!. Then there’s age-restriction. “Sometimes we have trouble playing in bars and we have to bring parents,” MSW?!?! says, “but we’re often alright. We manage to twist the law, a lot of times people don’t realise we are underage, but audiences treat us like any other band.”

The DHDFDs as talented as they are extroverted
(photo: Brendan Chan)

The DHDFDs’ vocalist Kudaranee Brown says “Heaps of venues wont book us again as soon as they find out we are young. I’m not sure if that’s from our age or the damage or noise we make!” But ageism won’t dampen Brown’s spirit. “Old people don’t write good music cause they are old, it’s just an excuse to find a reason to dislike our sound,” he says. “It’s kind of uncool to be young, we are just known as the noisy, young, crazy band from Pt Chevalier. But I think when we are 30 years old we will still be called that young band, ha ha!”

Your face hurts when you see The DHDFDs live
'cos you can't stop grinning
(photo: Brendan Chan)

And Music Month will still be ticking away. So what’s next, Atlas? Op Shop? Or a psychedelic explosion the likes of our recent SXSW invasion? Teacups' singer Chelsea says the support systems are in place, they just need to be utilised. “I think it (NZMM) is wondrous! I imagine the others would join me in harmonised chorus at this,” she adds cheekily. “There is no downside to exposing New Zealand music exclusively, there are a zillion amazing New Zealand musicians that are not recognised nearly enough.” It is to these unsung heroes that young bands look for inspiration – not their distinguished elders – for the excitement is literally everywhere.

Bang! Bang! Eche! out-of-control awesome
(photo: thebigcity)

Moron Says What?!?! – Wikipedia (The New Mixup)

The DHDFDs – Pompino's Magical Blast

Teacups – Ducks In The Park

Bang! Bang! Eche! – Time Mismanagement

NZ Music Month – website

Din Glorious

Sunday, April 27, 2008

"Sounds like Nervous Gender ass-raping the Dead Kennedys"

EMJ managed to have a brief email chat with Daniel from New York band Din Glorious. We got the inside scoop on the band's future plans and a special track off their debut album.

Thanks to myspace and good old friends-of-friends sifting, I stumbled across Din Glorious. After about an hour of listening and dismissing a number of bands, their track 'I Drive Dinosaurs' jumped out at me. With piercing laser-beams and spastic synths fused with horror-film style vocals, Din Glorious were the exciting band I was looking for.

So, about Din Glorious! They formed like many bands, I suppose: "As a result of being bored on a Saturday night."
"I was drinking Vermouth with my friend John, and we decided to make our own fun" explains Daniel. "He said 'hey let's start a band' and the idea just took off! We wrote some basic ideas out for songs, improvised some lyrics by intentionally mishearing conversations and snippets of other songs, and sent the word out."

Before long, the word was out that Daniel and John had something cool going on; helped by the vast array of musicians living in New York city, the band started to evolve. "We were contacted by two fine young fellows who took an interest in our young project; a synth player named Zac and a drumming fellow named Justin. After adding and dropping various other people, we eventually got our final member, the dynamite Kyle, and we started writing actual songs."

Fast forward to 2008; the band has just finished and had a limited release (300 copies) of their debut album Blump Up The Jamz! The first run of CDs has already completely sold out, mostly due to fans who turned out to see them play on their recently completed West Coast tour. Another run of CDs will be released shortly.

Blump Up The Jamz!
is an extremely well-crafted, mish-mash, whopping great mess of an album. Influenced by bands like Crystal Castles, Strip Mall Seizures and HEALTH, Din Glorious fits the mold, but like the aforementioned, they have unique, well-defined characteristics.
"The types of instruments we use can be anything from radios tuned to static, oil drums, power drills, vintage synthersizers, umbrellas, tennis rackets, saxophones...we like mixing noisy and discordant (sounds) with found sounds and objects, interesting electronics, guitars being used in unneccessary ways and goofy idealism."

In the mean time the band is already hard at work on new material: "I've started work on some new songs, and we're planning on doing collaborative split 7"s with some of our favourite bands" says Daniel.

Tiger Tones

Friday, April 25, 2008

Let's Get MINCED!

One of the country's most exciting, innovative, danceable bands is finally coming to Auckland, playing their album release party at Whammy Bar! Expect to stay up all night under the Parisian lights with Christchurch's Tiger Tones, supported by Frase+Bri, Golden Axe and Mean Street. I had the pleasure of interviewing guitarist James Grant from the seriously photogenic band, here are some excerpts!

Finally the album is released! How did the making of it go?

We recorded it all ourselves in our singer Mark’s lounge, just onto his laptop. Frase from Frase+Bri helped us out with a couple of tracks and there was one track that we did in a studio. We knew this guy and he teaches an audio course, and he said 'come in and I’ll record you guys and do a track for free', so we did that.

We had a song, The Siamese Republic, and we hadn’t got a structure for it, we just played it live. So that was kinda handy to have it done in the studio, cos we didn’t have the gear and everything else ourselves.

Then we got it mastered by Steve at Flagtown studios here in Christchurch and it was really amazing! I didn’t realise how important mastering can be, but it made it sound so much more like a whole, you know?

The band had been recording on and off
until about two or three months ago...

Tim from Pinacolada records first talked to us in about September last year, and originally we were gonna have it out in November last year, but we got a bit of an extension on that because we didn’t wanna rush it. We thought that would be a bad idea, cos we started recording and we thought 'damn, we didn’t even think about recording an album!'. So we just had a whole lot of bits. But then when we got the extra time we started to focus on making it more of a cohesive whole.

This doesn't look like a band that
jumps on the bandwagon...

We might jump on a bandwagon for one of our songs but when it comes down to it we just play what we want to play.
We're not consciously weird; we do other stuff, we're not one-trick ponies.
And we don't always wanna play a really intense gig, sometimes we just wanna have a party!

The song Forever has a nice connotation to it: do you think you'd like the band to go on forever?

Somedays that sounds like it could be really nice and other days it would be hell, so I don't know.

You look like a band that has a lot of fun – do you have a mantra?

Just to try not to take ourselves too seriously... and have fun!

I'm VERY excited about this band.
Make sure you check them out!

Holiday With Friends

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


We Can Never Thank You Enough

It's with deep regret that we announce Holiday With Friends have taken an indefinite hiatus. In an email to EMJ earlier this evening, vocalist and keyboard player Gemma Syme said , "I really enjoy HWF (obviously), but I think we need at least a break from each other for a while...the future is rather unclear, but none of us will stop making music. I know that!. It ain't over to the fat lady sings, and fat ladies are quite easy to see- and I can't see one at the moment". In another email, guitarist and vocalist Buck Beauchamp said "We thought we'd be like an old crusty rubber band, stretching and stretching and raising tension but never breaking. Hey guess what, it broke."

Through these photos, we hope to pay tribute to one of Wellington's most loved indie bands. Over the past few years HWF have provided so many people with amazing memories. For an indefinite term, they will be sorely missed.

The one positive is that the band should still release their EP. I heard it last week and can report it sounds pretty damn good, capturing HWF live energy and so much more.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Roll back Neo-Fascism
it's not what we voted for

About a month ago I meet Snowfield in a Wellington cafe. Over a cool bottle of Foxton Fizz and a warm vegetarian samosa we chatted about music, politics and his latest zine.

Snowfield is Alex Mitcalfe Wilson, a shy, well mannered and extremely down to earth young man from Wellington, New Zealand. Earlier this year he released his first album called Obvious Errors: Poor Execution and recently he has put out a split 7" with Alps of NSW. As well as this, Alex writes his own zines, Cupcake Monsters and Hectic Lifestyle can be found in selected shops around Wellington or alternatively you can contact Alex via myspace.

Through his music and his zines, Alex has found a forum to express himself and his concerns about humanity. As we sat there talking, it became apparent to me that I was sitting next to an extremely motivated and compassionate person. Alex talked about his concern over the recent terrorism raids in New Zealand, speaking with a clear understanding and compassion towards the people caught up in the raids (some of whom were his friends). As a strong advocate for indigenous rights, he spoke of the governments imperialistic style rule over the Tuhoe people, seeing the terrorism raids as yet another example of racism and the breach of peoples civil liberties.

As a liberal minded young man, Alex is unafraid to put action into song. His topics range from pro-abortion and indigenous rights to his disgust over the government tapping phones and turning activists into criminals. He's DIY and proud of it, creating uncomplicated music with a clear message to educate people young and old. Whether you like his music or not, Alex Mitcalfe Wilson is an outstanding person. A fine song writer and wonderful primary school teacher, Alex's gentle words are extremely sincere.

Snowfield- If This is Liberty Then Give Me Death: MP3

Snowfield- The Shape of a Wolf: MP3

Snowfield- Myspace


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Saturday's Coffee

No amount of nature's nectar
can wake one as much as good HEALTH

Some people take their HEALTH too seriously. The "extremely pleasant noise" band (as Vice put it) is not 'going disco'; their forthcoming sophomore album just so happens to be named HEALTH//DISCO.

In keeping//with that forward///slash/trend,//HEALTH//have been previously//described as/encompassing////ethereal chanting/screeching noise/gauzy atmosphere/, and is most easily comparable to Liars, the most brutal of Animal Collective's work, and Black Dice (note: the latter Black Dice period, according to Dave Clifford from Fanatic Promotions). I think they just sound like a big rock falling into the ocean and hitting a few hundred squids along the way down to the murky ocean floor, where deep sea trawlers have devasted the population and it's like the apocalypse, or something.

HEALTH//DISCO, to be released on May 13, is a collection of remixes – a first, for the band. In an open letter to fans, they said: “This is not your typical remix album. Every artist on the record was hand-selected and contacted by us with the hope of combining our sounds and musical ideas with those of electronic artists we admire, several of them doing remixes for the first time. It is not about market saturation or crossover appeal. It is purely about the music, and we are proud of it. This is an album, and meant to be listened to as one. The goal of this record is not only to present all these songs at once, but also to ensure that they are not forgotten in the constantly updating, content hungry internet music world.” Here, here.

And in keeping with that tradition of continuous celebration, allow me to once again extend my unfaltering, everlasting love for Crystal Castles. Their fucked up beats drive most of my days, and I couldn't be happier for it. Thanks to them I became aware of HEALTH, and seeing the two collaborate together and then go on to do a massively successful tour of the states recently is just all too awesome. Listen to the tracks below (they're from their first album), if that coffee isn't quite giving you the kick you need. Though they're fairly slow and sombre in pace, they are unashamedly jarring and will kick your hangover out of your head, I swear!

My Disco

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Is German For Attention

Cheerleaders for good music unite: An exciting, jarring and arresting listen from the get-go, Melbourne's My Disco have come up trumps with their sophomore album.

An amazing prog-punk/experimental/drone/minimalist rock band with elements of jazz and Die! Die! Die!-esque loops, My Disco are approximately five years old and hail from Melbourne. They put on an absolute killer live show and are as relentlessly, exhaustingly entertaining as they are technically proficient, which is sort of a hard combination to maintain, if you ask me. They're not really like any other band I've heard. They're probably the most exciting band you'll hear today. I hope. Because I really want them to succeed even more than they have done already and I really want to relive that glorious gig in 2006 at Hamilton's Ward Lane. Clambering for the ceiling in a sea of psyched-out Hamiltonians, the only relent was if the band paused between songs to have a sip of water.

The new album highlights these efforts; so layered and elaborate in attack, it is ice-cold and punchy to the core, with guitars threatening to sear through your ears. Fortunately this LP is just short enough to leave you wanting more, as I have read remarks of this abbrasive sound wearing thin on some people. But those people can't handle the truth!

Though abstract and alienating in delivery, they make up for it in the strength of their human elements. Reeking of desperation and desire, these traits shine through the foggy befuddlement of the tangents of twisted Wire-sounds, and automatically erases any inklings of pretension.

Hopefully the release of this, their epically awesome and intense sophomore album Paradise (out on Stomp/Numerical Thief and distributed in New Zealand by Rhythmethod), will see them embark on a trans-Tasman tour. After all, it's been a while since that infamous gig at Hamiltron's Ward Lane! But it sure was a good one. Welcome to Paradise... (sorry), and congratulations My Disco on an outstanding album!!!

The B-52's

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Do All 16 Dances

After sixteen years, one of most influential new-wave bands of all time is back. The B-52's have re-emerged to prove they still have the goods to make everyone dance. Funplex, the bands new, exciting album, has been described by many critics as the band's best album since their ground breaking debut way back in 1979.

The original members have all returned, Katie Pierson and Cindy Wilson continuing to spread sweet harmonies, Fred Schneider again bouncing back and forwards with some rather silly splashed out lyrics and Keith Strickland finding more catchy guitar hooks to catapult the band into the 21st century. The synth-pop, dance-irific B-52's are back, sounding like it's been weeks rather than years since they last popped into the studio.

Funplex can not just be dismissed as 'nest-egg' album, the band have definitely made this because they want to shimmy and shake. "It's loud, sexy rock and roll with the beat pumped up to hot pink" says Strickland, who is the bands main songwriter. And like the B-52's of old, Funplex is full of dance floor anthems, "I had been listening to a lot of electronic dance music and early rock and roll. I was inspired to use these two aesthetics together with our own sound to make some shameless dance-floor party music" explains Strickland.

The B-52's will be forever remembered for their influence on alternative music, but while they have been away from the spotlight they have themselves been influenced. Leaving with a final quote from Schneider "Funplex sounds like us, updated...it's the B-52's now- or fifteen years from now".

The B-52's- Hot Corner: MP3

The B-52's- Funplex: MP3

The B-52's- Myspace

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