Every Record I Own: Toro Y Moi – Outer Peace

Every Record I Own: Toro Y Moi – Outer Peace

I first listened to Outer Peace on a road trip with my friends Callum and Annabel when we were going through our favourite albums of the 2019 while driving Christchurch to Dunedin.

My picks were Stella Donnelly’s Beware of the Dogs (Post coming sometime. It has been sitting in drafts for months), Mark Ronson’s Late Night Feelings which I don’t own but would love to, and Battles’ Juice B Crypt which I only really listened to for a month and I can’t remember anything from it now. Annabel picked the Caroline Polachek album which became a favourite (but I don’t own it)

Callum picked this one. Having listened to Toro y Moi on and off for years it was a bit surprising that I’d let this slip by.

I hadn’t gotten into the last couple of albums of his but had previously listened a lot to his first couple of albums, after I saw him live just before the release of his second one. I also really got into the hip hop/beats mixtape Samantha that he released free a few years earlier. The Rome Fortune collab Benjaminz, built off the bones of a Puff Daddy song, is one of my favourite Toro Y Moi songs still.

Callum drew my attention specifically to the introduction to Freelance which uses the sound of coins being thrown across a table, which seamlessly merges with the beat and propels the song to begin. Every time I hear it I do the action of throwing coins. It’s one of those small moments which set apart

Soon after this road trip I bought the record and it quickly became one of the most played records in the collection. Mostly due to my flatmate Gerv putting it on at every opportunity, referencing the lyrics Maximise all the pleasure on my birthday card.

Toro y Moi tends to change genre every release but always has something familiar running through. I’ve tried to avoid using the word chill in this because of his connection to chillwave which he has grown out of many times over, but his ability to make any genre seem chill is both one of his biggest strengths and weaknesses. I played his music on the bookshop I worked at quite frequently for this reason. Toro y Moi’s discography on shuffle can sound like a well curated playlist.

Not much of his music demands attention as much as parts of this album do. You can be laying on a couch or talking to a friend but when Ordinary Pleasure comes on, you’ll stop and listen. Because of this it’s an incredibly versatile record. It can be a party record, but it is also appropriate for the end of the party when everything is winding down. You can lay in the sun and listen to it or have it on while doing chores. It’s fun and it’s melancholy. It can be put on whenever and be a good choice. I would guess that either this record or Orville Peck was the most played record of 2020. It also has a very distinctive thick silver spine which makes it easy to pick out.

It’s interesting me placing it in this time. I had to double check when I actually bought it because I thought I may have been out by a year. A lot of the other music I listened to a lot over that time I associate with really heavy and challenging feelings, but I have nothing but good memories associated with this.

Fave songs: New House, Freelance, Ordinary Pleasure

Every Record I Own: Low – Hey What

Every Record I Own: Low – Hey What

note: this post was written in January and edited in April. I felt a lot of pressure on myself to get Low right as they’re so important to me and couldn’t quite face finishing it.

This is a new record to me. It was a Christmas gift from Elly. A friend brought it back from the south island for me, so I only just got my hands on it the other day. I wasn’t planning on writing about it now, because I wanted to have more time with it before writing but I’ve put it on again after my first listen and felt like I needed to write about it.

Mimi Parker’s death has been one of the public figure deaths that has hit me the hardest.

Low’s music has always felt to me as being about the push and pull of experimentation and restraint. Which I’ve always attributed to Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker respectively, but I’m not sure how much that is true. Mimi Parker’s drum set up of a floor tom, cymbal and snare always kept them restrained to that set up.

This is a beautiful final album for them to have made together which seems to be 100% experiment and 100% restraint without losing anything of either of them. It’s their first album recorded without a third member of the band which supports that reading of mine.

When I first got into Low in my early 20s, I mostly listened to their middle career albums (Things We lost in the Fire to Drums and Guns) which were the most recent albums at the time, and the only ones I could find to download or find on CD. I would come back to them every few years often after they released a new album. While I’ve enjoyed everything they’ve done, I find myself going back to the albums that I know so well whenever I go to them.

Low were to me, a headphones at night, type of band. This album is not a headphones at night type album. I first listened walking to Elly’s house after work in late 2021. It was an incredibly hot day and I remember walking around the block and then sitting in Aro park so I could finish it before getting there.

There is a lot of studio swirling, and heavy tremolo throbbing through some of the tracks and an intensity that is amplified by listening on headphones. It was a difficult listen and I struggled to see the parts of Low I love so much on first listen.

I listened a few more times and there was something in there that was appealing but it was hard to access. I would usually give up part way through the album and return to one of the albums I knew well. It wasn’t until Mimi died that I gave it a proper chance and learned to love it.

Now I have it on a record Hey What feels like a completely different album. When it’s given space in a room, through speakers, and not put directly into my ear, the stereo effects don’t seem oppressive and claustrophobic but spacious. The dynamic range makes everything seem huge. The harmonies rise above the dissonant synths to bring the classic Low sound to the surface despite quite a different experience.

The drums sound so good on this album. As one of the core attributes of the band, Low have never allowed the drums to be a secondary but the drums The Price You Pay (Must Be Wearing Off) are especially amazing.

This album feels like it was the beginning of a new era of Low, building on the exploration of effects, synths, moving more into outright experimentation. It feels like a progression from the electronic sound of the last couple of albums but also like something new. I’m not sure if the Low name will continue with Alan and what it will sound like if it does. But it definitely couldn’t be the same.

They have 13 albums, and countless EPs and Singles and I’m incredibly grateful that the band has given us so much to discover. I still haven’t delved much into much of their early work. There aren’t many bands who have 30 years of music which is all worth listening to.

Before Christmas I found myself listening to their Christmas EP a lot (Just Like Christmas is an A+ song which I would listen to any time of the year). Looking through their discography I found another Christmas EP, It’s two tracks, Santa is Coming, one of the creepiest Christmas songs ever made. Santa is Coming sounds like a corrupted version of Low where the harmonies are dissonant rather than beautiful. The second track is a reasonably sincere reggae song ,Jah is Coming which is just baffling and quite bad. Neither of those songs will make it into my regular Low rotation. But it’s incredible that a band 25 years into their career of being a beloved quiet beautiful indie band are willing to put something like that out there.

In 2010 Low announced two shows in New Zealand, in Auckland and Wellington. I desperately wanted to go to one of them, but I had an exam scheduled in Christchurch the same day. After the first big earthquake, the exam was cancelled. But with everything going on at the time I didn’t put two and two together.

I remember being at uni on the day of the Low concert and seeing that it was on and realising I probably could have made it to the show. It was a big regret at the time but I always assumed they would be back and I’ll be able to see them. I probably did not have any money anyway but you never remember your exact bank balance when looking back at a moment.

I looked it up and they also played in 2016 and played in Wellington where I was living and I don’t even remember considering going. I don’t think I had listened to them for a while at that time and was doing my Masters and it was between Fringe and Comedy Festival seasons which I had been performing in. So as much as I am annoyed now that I missed them, I understand why I did.

Low will come back once more on this blog (unless I can find any other records of theirs which seems unlikely at the moment.)

fave songs: All Night, Days Like These, The Price You Pay,

Every Record I Own: Coolies – Master

Every Record I Own: Coolies – Master

The other day I was walking through town and suddenly had ‘searching the night/searching the night/running from you/running from you’ stuck in my head out of nowhere. I found the release on bandcamp and listened to it on the way home.

This LP had been relegated to my difficult listening crate which doesn’t come out often. I think I last put it on a few years ago telling my flatmates it was a pop punk band and being asked to put it away after a few songs.

Coolies are a pop punk band. But maybe only for 5 minutes total out of this 35 minute record. And even when they are it’s in a ‘punk songs that are hooky’ way and not in the ‘2002 music on a discman at intermediate’ way.

Coolies were kind of a legendary band in my later teen years. In a music scene that was very male and even more white, a punk band of Māori women from South Auckland was something completely different. They did world tours and were loved by iconic musicians. They were described in the way that young women making punk music often are, bratty etc which is not true but appealed to me. And the fact that I only ever had one song of theirs to go by, Holiday/Vacation, on an A Low Hum compilation made them mysterious but within reach. Rumours of more songs on self released CDs that friends of friends had kept me interested.

But their live shows were few and far between and definitely not in Christchurch. There were rumours that Pumice aka Stefan Neville was now drumming for them, which apparently was very cool for those who knew who he was (not me at the time)

In 2010 seemingly out of nowhere a new album popped up. The artwork was black and white and had the aesthetics of a zine. It didn’t have their name on the front or anything. Still very cool and kinda mysterious.

I helped them put on an all ages show in Christchurch. They were real nice and very good live! They offered me a free record, but as I didn’t really listen to records at the time, and I wanted to listen to this I chose a CD instead, which I regretted for years until a friend sold me his copy.

I have now come back around on the idea that CDs are cool and if I knew where my copy of Master was on CD I would probably listen to that sometimes.

The first three tracks on Master could lead into a more conventional DIY punk record.

Tracks 1 and 3 Lets Pretend and Salute are both under 1 minute 30. Very hooky vocals lead by Tina but frequently Sjionel in tandem, clean guitar, bass and drums gel together. The only hint of anything especially weird is some of the production seems to red line and distort a bit easily, and occasionally the guitar leads become something non musical.

Wedged between them is Ghostbaby. Ghostbaby could be a pop song. It is structured verse/chorus/instrumental break/verse/chorus/fake fade out/verse/chorus. Except it has no regular guitar (just feedback and noise). drums and bass and a pulsating synth and the instrumental break completely breaks the song before the synth pulsates and picks the song back up. But even this doesn’t feel like it’s out of place and anything that would feel out of place on another record could be explained as being unintentional or as a result of struggles with DIY production.

After the third track there is no plausible deniability that this is anything but what the Coolies want it to be.

I’ve played guitar for a long time and never been very good at it, because whenever I play for any length of time I realise it’s much more fun making weird noises, creating rhythms and melodies out of the most non musical sounds you can make out of the guitar. The rest of the A side is made up of moments like this but on a full band level and far more interesting than anything I can do.

Sometimes the appeal of bands is the feeling that everything could fall apart at any moment. It creates a feeling of tension and a propulsion. With Coolies, it’s the potential that at any stage this chaos could come together into something amazing. And they do. In Throwaway the song explodes into the band playing around a guitar solo for a few seconds.

On the b side there are moments of convention. In Theory and Holiday are two of the most songy songs. They’re longer than 2 minutes (but less than 3) built on the traditional guitar/bass/drums vocals and hooky vocals but the noise, or the possibility of noise, never disappears completely.

Searching opens the B side and is the song that popped into my head the other day. It starts with call and response vocals over a drum beat and blooping electronics. Stefan Neville’s response vocals are distorted in a very pumice way. But that vanishes into a breakdown of shouting ‘you don’t understand, you’ll never understand‘ which gets yelled faster and faster until it’s almost percussive. The drums repeat this carrying the message forward wordlessly. Other instruments join in. On the last track on the album this beat comes back briefly and you can feel ‘you don’t understand, you’ll never understand‘ in the music.

I don’t love every part of this album Some of the lo fi noise jams go on a bit long for my current tastes. One of the downsides of records is you can’t easily skip these things, If it was an EP with just Lets Pretend/Ghostbaby/Salute/Message/Holiday it would likely be in my regular listening more often. But then I wouldn’t have Searching pop up in my head every now and then and have the need to listen to it. Or the moment in Throwaway with the out of nowhere 5 second guitar solo, or the moment in throwaway 30 seconds later with the 10 second guitar solo.

If you’re into the noisier side of things, their next album Kaka from 2015 leans into that further.

If you’re more into the songs but find the noise a bit difficult, Tina’s other band Piece War does a more stripped back focussed songs with just guitar/voice/drums

Uncollected singles and songs were rereleased as ‘South Auckland Girls in the Garage’ on by Thurston Moore in 2019, but has sold out and not available digitally. Some of the songs are floating around on Bandcamp including more straight up versions of Holiday/Vacation and Throwaway (which sounds like a completely different song) on a 2 track EP Bless the Babies and the Mothers and their 1999 7″ release. Their 2003 album is not anywhere online as far as I can tell.

Master has a bit of everything from the different eras of the band. It has some of their poppiest moments and some of their whatever the opposite of pop is moments. It has come out of my difficult listening crate for now.

I really hope that there are some teenagers somewhere who have heard the rumours of this amazing punk band, having listened to what they can find online, but knowing there’s something else out there waiting for them to tour again.

fave tracks: Searching (but only sometimes), Ghostbaby, Salute, Let’s Pretend, Holiday

Every Record I Own: Talking Heads – Little Creatures

Every Record I Own: Talking Heads – Little Creatures

This was one of the first records I owned. I bought it from the Penny Lane records shop in the Christchurch city centre in 2009/10. Penny Lane is one of the great record shops of New Zealand. It has been based in Addington for decades but sometime in the late 2000s it expanded to a handful of other shops across the towns and malls of Christchurch.

I visited this on it’s opening weekend, and being a poor student only looked through it’s bargain bins and came across two records. I paid $5 for this one. The other one is even more special and I’ll get to it eventually.

This was near the beginning of the record resurgence. There were rare records that everyone knew were really expensive, but it was pretty common to find great records for $5-$10.

Like most people who buy records, I started buying records before I had a regular way to listen to them. My flatmate had a crappy record player which would sometimes be pulled out, but it was unreliable and was an effort. So most my records were only played once or twice in my first few years of collecting.

All my music at this stage was listened to on Mp3s. I still had a growing CD collection, but after a CD was ripped onto my computer it would be put in a stack and probably not listened to again.

Most my music listening was done from a desktop computer that sat in the lounge which had an aux cord permenantly plugged in the back. If someone wanted to plug in their ipod they would have to crawl under the desk to unplug the aux cord. My MP3 collection was around 100gb and Talking Heads was on regular rotation.

I had the albums More Songs About Buildings and Food and Remain in Light, and the Best of Talking Heads compilation on there, so was not very familiar with this album specifically. But I owned it to prove that I was a true fan of Talking Heads even if I didn’t listen to it.

From Little Creatures, I knew the song Road to Nowhere best as it was on regular rotation on Juice 2, the music video channel for boring adults, so I had grown up with it because my stepmum liked that channel, but associated it with boring adult music. It was also on the best of. And She Was was also on the best of. And I knew the song Television Man well because Man or Astroman covered it on their album Experiment Zero, another album on frequent Mp3 rotation.

A year or so later my flatmate upgraded his record player and I inherited his one. I started listening to my records sometimes, but still not often. I then took my mum’s old turntable which hadn’t been used in a couple of decades and had that in my bedroom. Another stereo was set up in the living area with an aux cord for iPods. Talking Heads were on my iPod, but I don’t remember them being a regular listen.

When my friend Simon moved in, we set up a record player in the lounge, and for the first time records became a communal experience rather than something that existed primarily as a collection. He had another couple of Talking Heads records, and Callum who we lived with also had a couple. And they all got quite a lot of play.

From that point on records became a bigger part of how I listened to music. In my next flat I wore out the belt of Mum’s turntable. I continued using it despite it randomly speeding up and slowing down at points as the belt slipped.

Then finally I used the advance from my book to buy a nice stereo set up including a direct drive turntable. Having a nice music setup was something I had been wanting for a decade but never felt comfortable putting money towards it. (Even now there is an issue with my amplifier that needs to be addressed but that’s for another time) but I finally had a chunk of money all at once that I felt obligated to use to buy something nice for myself with,

Now most the music I listen to is on record or CD. I still use Tidal sometimes but usually only when I’m out and about or at work. I still have my MP3 collection, but I try to keep it to things that are not on streaming services or are at risk of one day disappearing from them, so Best of Talking Heads got culled a few years ago.

So Little Creatures has become the (one of two) Talking Heads albums I listen to the most. I tell people I think it’s underrated because it’s not often mentioned as one of their best, but really it’s probably because it’s the one I know best. I always have the option of plugging my phone in and listening to another one, but I never feel the need to. This album jumps out at me when I’m flicking through my records and it’s exactly what I need to fill my Talking Heads need. I’ve had it for 13 years now and I doubt I’ll ever get rid of it.

Every Record I Own: The Beths – Expert in a Dying Field

Every Record I Own: The Beths – Expert in a Dying Field

Elly got me this album for our anniversary. She was on a 2 month walk in Australia and the morning of our anniversary I got a message from her saying to check behind my copy of Michael King’s History of New Zealand and there was a packet of lollies and a card saying she had pre-ordered it for me! I don’t often pre-order albums so it was quite a safe present, but The Beths were doing a competition to win a guitar or a pair of headphones if you pre-ordered so I was planning on doing it, so was lucky that I hadn’t before that day. Then Elly won the pair of headphones from the competition anyway and she gave them to me too. Elly has asked me to not write about her, but I want to say that she is a really really great girlfriend.

There was always a risk that the Beths would never be able to live up to the magic of their first album (which I will come to here sometime). Their second album (which will also feature here) didn’t quite match it, but with Expert in a Dying Field they have made something that features what was amazing about their first album, but also brings something new to the band. Songs like Silence is Golden and Best Left sound completely different to anything they’ve done before (I can’t listen to Best Left on headphones because the stereo effects make me feel woozy, but it sounds great in a room. This is an issue I have with albums from Dimmer and Low as well which will show up. ), while 2am improves on the dream pop elements of Jump Rope Gazers.

The lyrics in Expert in a Dying Field make me feel very strong feelings. Being able to express something that is so widely felt in a brand new way is really impressive. It reminds me of this poem by Hera Lindsay Bird, which explores a similar but much nicer version of knowing someone so well.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this was to end up as their biggest song.

I’ll come back to them a couple more times so I’ll save more for then. The Beths deserve all their hype.

Fave songs: Expert in a Dying Field, Silence is Golden, If told you I was afraid

Every Record I Own: Local Tourist – Other Ways of Living

Every Record I Own: Local Tourist – Other Ways of Living

I bought this album last year after only listening a couple of times. It was released by Melted Ice Cream, a Christchurch record label run by an old friend of mine, and another old friend played bass and recorded it.

Erin Umstead lived in Christchurch for a few years but had to move back to the US because of visa issues, and this album was recorded in the few days before she had to leave.

Everything is recorded incredibly beautifully, and sounds very polished, so this is quite surprising. But it shows how polished the band must have been ahead of recording.

The opening riff sets a precedent for the album which holds true throughout. Spacious guitar, wet with reverb and tremolo. The bass syncs in with the guitar seamlessly, sounding less like a driving rhythm section and more like a natural occurrence. Breathy vocals and brushed snare drums round out the sound.

It’s all very pretty, but somewhat deceptively. It’s louder more complex than you initially realise. It’s easy to fall into it and let it flow over you. The songs don’t distinguish themselves from each other much. The tempo stays pretty similar, the tone constant, and there’s a drone that hangs around from the reverb. The vocals melodies are reasonably similar and they blend into the rest of the music very naturally. The album feels very cohesive and sure of itself, but without listening intentionally it can sort of float by.

There are however a handful of moments that draw your attention in. When Erin sings Huh Huh in I am Water, one of the album’s stand out tracks, my ears prick up. It swells naturally out of the pretty lull which leaves you questioning where it came from.

Dark, the album’s closing track is also a stand out. There’s a more conventional chord progression driving the song forward. The drums use a lot more toms and less brushes and a tremolo’d guitar loop takes up the high frequencies replacing the feedbacky drone that has been constant in the rest of the album. Erin’s vocals don’t sink into the music like they do in the other songs, but stand over them. They are not dissimilar but feel more confident. It’s a really nice way to end an album.

I’d say this has been one of my most listened to albums of the year, despite not knowing it anywhere near as well as some of my others.

One downside is that it is on clear vinyl, which makes it so hard to see the groves between the songs, so when I was playing records at the Sprig the other day, I had to play side one track one (Colors) rather than the intended track (Dark) because I couldn’t find it in time. I’m personally a fan of black vinyl, but coloured is all good. Clear and white are the only two I don’t like. (I just checked on bandcamp and there is a black vinyl version of this too, but the record store I got it from only had the clear)

Fave tracks: Colors, I am Water, Dark

Every Record I Own: Bright Eyes – Noise Floor

Every Record I Own: Bright Eyes – Noise Floor

This is another record left behind by my old flatmate Jonny years ago. Thank you Jonny for leaving this behind as it’s a good one.

I came to Bright Eyes slightly too late in life. I first started listening when I was 18, and got really into him at about 19/20. I think if I had of been a fan at 16 I would have a stronger connection now. There are a few pieces of nostalgia other people have that I am a bit jealous of, and having a deep connection to Bright Eyes is one of them. I do still really like the music but I do feel like there’s teenage strong feelings I’m missing.

This is a collection of B Sides and Rarities. It’s 2 LPs and is quite long. As most B sides and rarities album the quality of tracks on this vary in quality. There’s some tracks that are forgettable but there are also some of the best Bright Eyes songs ever. I tend to like the quieter more spacious ones than the noisier ones.

There’s a song called Hungry for a Holiday on the vinyl edition of this, but isn’t on the streaming version (you can find it on youtube though), and it’s my favourite Bright Eyes song ever. When I looked it up it was made with a band/guy called the Album Leaf who I did listen to at 16, so maybe that’s why it resonates with me so much.

Conor Oberst has a couple of distinctive vocal fragments that he returns to again and again, and while listening to this my mind constantly gets pulled into other Bright Eyes songs.

Every Record I Own: Dinosaur Jr – Bug

Every Record I Own: Dinosaur Jr – Bug

Dinosaur Jr are probably my second favourite of that late 80s wave of punky alt rock American bands. By that wave I mean the bands covered in the book Our Band Could Be Your Life which I read last year.

A lot of those bands were really important to me in my late teens/early 20s, and reading the book made me revisit them. Out of the bands in the book only Replacements, Dinosaur Jr, Butthole Surfers, and Fugazi (in that order of how frequently I listen to them) have been bands I’ve actively listened to in the past 8 or so years.

(I have a half written blog post about Slint’s Spiderland which covers some of the feelings I have revisiting some of the music I was really into in this era of my life in which there are parts of myself I’m deeply ashamed of, which I’ll eventually finish.)

One thing the book highlighted for me is how much the success of R.E.M. coming from an indie label, signing to a major and becoming massive, influenced the American underground scene. It opened up a pathway, with a tiny chance to become superstars, which combined with a hyper masc culture amplified the narcissistic tendencies to make a lot of men pretty unbearable.

As far as characters from the book went J Mascis was not as bad as some of the others, but being in a band with him sounded awful. He basically ignored them entirely, never acknowledging anything but their flaws.

This is shown in a cruel joke on the final track on this record Don’t, the heaviest song on the album. Written by J Mascis for Lou Barlow to sing, the only lyrics are ‘Why Don’t You Like Me‘ which Barlow repeatedly screamed with so much intensity that he coughed up blood after recording. Both trying to impress J Mascis and emphasise the question given to him. Mascis kicked Barlow out of the band soon after the album was released.

Since the book was published then original line up has reformed so I hope there have been amends made.

While the aggressive masc energy is here, it’s somewhat balanced by an emotional heart on sleeve vocals and a shoegazy wall of sound (it could almost be called dream pop at moments if it wasn’t for the ever constant soloing.) The rhythm section feels so big, which is impressive considering how much the guitar dominates.

This is probably my third favourite record of theirs (After Where You Been, ahead of You’re Living All Over Me) but the only one I own.

I think the emo tinge is what has kept Dinosaur Jr in rotation over their peers. I don’t have any other records from any bands in the book (I would buy a Replacements one if it came up somewhere for a reasonable price) as they usually are expensive, and I have mixed feelings about how they make me feel, even if I do still like them.

Every Record I Own: Peter Jefferies: The Last Great Challenge in a Dull World

Every Record I Own: Peter Jefferies: The Last Great Challenge in a Dull World

Peter Jefferies is likely the artist that plays on the most records in my collection. He was the drummer in every Dunedin band around 1990. I have records from his earlier bands with his brother, a bunch of his solo stuff. He also produced a lot of the Xpressway records work from that era. In my early 20s I was a massive fan, which was only amplified by the mystery of him giving up music in the early 2000s, returning to his small home town in Taranaki and never appearing again.

This is his first solo record, and maybe the best thing her ever did?

Back when I listened to a lot more challenging music on a regular basis, I considered this album quite… beautiful. The type of easy to listen to thing I could (and did) put on at a chill afternoon board games hang out.

That really shows a. how depressed I was b. the patience of my friends and c. the big change to my music listening habits over the last 5 or so years. Because this album is quite an uncomfortable experience.

I can see why I thought it was more easy listening than it is. There’s a song which is a cappella except for the sound of someone making a cup of tea in the background.

Most of the songs don’t have loud distorted guitar (except there are some songs that definitely do) and they’re not heavy or rocky in a traditional way. Most the songs are built out of piano lines, which has generally been an instrument I associate with ‘nice gentle’ music.

But the piano lines repeat endlessly, occasionally signalling a hopefulness, but more frequently a whirlpool-esque downward suction. and the lower chords act like a kick drum, holding the beat and pushing the song forward.

There’s also the typical use of hiss and noise and backwards guitars that pop up in every Xpressway adjacent 4 track recording from the era. There’s a low frequency throb or hum through the album, which often occurs in lo-fi tape recorded music, which has disappeared in most modern production.

His slow deep (baritone? bass? idk) vocals add a calmness, albeit a sad one.

There is a convincing argument that Fate of the Human Carbine is one of the best ever songs to come out of New Zealand. It’s about a sad life of a sad man that is expressed perfectly through it’s lyrics and music. Peter Jefferies sings almost monotone over a droney finger picked guitar, while other instruments (piano, guitar, mandolin(?)) pop up one at a time over to add a couple of bars of emotional weight, to the otherwise apathetic feel of the song. Towards the end of the song a distorted guitar taking the secondary instrument position and completely overwhelming the droney guitar.

It has been covered by Cat Power (cool) and Amanda Palmer (…) but Peter Jefferies version is the best imo.

Amanda Palmer did convince him to come out of retirement/isolation, which led to him touring and me seeing him perform so I will spontaneously stand up and applaud her for that.

Songs such as Fate of the Human Carbine could easily be enjoyed by a wider audience, and compared to a band like the Dead C it is quite accessible, but it is more of an uncomfortable listen than I remembered it being.

I still love this record, but I can’t imagine it coming back into my super regular rotation again anytime soon. I’m less likely now to put on music that makes me feel so uncomfortable on a day to day basic. And I wouldn’t put my flatmates or friends through that like I was willing to in the past. But it’s an album that I’ll come back to every six months or so when I’m alone and I hope that I’ll be able to keep seeing those beautiful things in it that I did in my early 20s.