Music Monday: Tomandandy

Half Light, from the soundtrack to 2002’s tragically underappreciated The Mothman Prophecies.  This film manages to be poetic, gorgeous, and genuinely creepy: far more than you’d expect from the somewhat kitchy tales of Point Pleasant’s Mothman legend.  It’s Richard Gere’s best movie, although Will Patton‘s superb performance steals the show. If you haven’t seen it, check it out as a great example of film-making.

Music Monday: Bonobo feat. Innov Gnawa

The thing I miss most about music stores is finding unexpected treasures. Queen St store Real Groovy was my dealer of choice. You had to ask to try a CD/vinyl and they’d put it on one of the ‘listening posts’ so you could sample it. I almost always ended up buying whatever was playing in the store, though: the guaranteed-eclectic choice of random staff members. That’s how I found Bonobo aka Simon Green, with his Remixes and B Sides in 2002. In 1997 I walked in and Degobrah by Butter 08 hit me like an aural brick. I immediately bought the City of Industry soundtrack without knowing a damn thing about the film or the artists, and that’s how I discovered Massive Attack.

Real Groovy still exists, although in a new, smaller, building across the road. Yet somehow it seems too hard to head into the CBD by bus (there is zero parking) and sample music in meat space, when I can download it instantly without leaving the cocoon of my home. Instead I subscribe to a couple of thoughtfully curated mass-market new music lists, although I have no idea of the curators’ motivations, loves, or potential kickbacks.

I’m missing out. Where is the new, unexpected work that grabs my liver and shakes me by the vertebrae? I know it’s out there. There must be an online equivalent of descending into a gloomy cavern, entirely unaware of what’s about to ooze into your ears.


Music Monday: 80s flashback with DD Smash

We had a hell of a week here in Auckland. The wettest March in 58 years, and all in a few days.


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Pic by Lawrence Smith for Fairfax Media
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Pic by Lawrence Smith for Fairfax Media

A tiny town called Whangamata got three months’ rainfall. The media started calling the storm the Tasman Tempest (the Tasman is the ocean between Australia and New Zealand. Fun fact: my pen name was going to be M. Tasman but a friend suggested Americans had no idea the Tasman was a sea.) A sinkhole opened in New Lynn and 300 homes were flooded.

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Lightning hit the substation near my home, but I was lucky enough not to be one of the many who lost power. I spent the six days of the storm tucked up at home, safe and warm, with books, the internet, and copious supplies of hummus and hot-smoked salmon. I am so damn lucky and privileged it’s insane.

Let me share with you the first song I have a conscious memory of being #1 on the NZ charts. The production values give you a good idea of the state of NZ music in the 80s, and the way Kiwi music legend Dave Dobbyn randomly flourishes a prop handgun would no longer be regarded so cavalierly.  Here’s DD Smash with 1983 hit Outlook for Thursday.