Martini Music – this week’s easy listening

May 2, 2009

A very quick post, just to suggest Nouvelle Vague again. Nouvelle Vague is Marc Collin and Oliver Libaux and a whole bunch of collaborators from around the world.

Just picked up the first Nouvelle Vague release – remixed favourites with a groovy bossa nova beat.

The tracklist on this CD is another selection of 80s hits from Depeche Mode, The Clash, Jello Biafra, XTC, The Specials and many more. I’m taken with these guys. They have a smooth sensibility and a sense of fun. In this clip they’re covering Joy Division’s Love will tear us apart.

You can’t really take them too seriously, but they are clever. Remaking some punk and new wave/new romantic music that both showcases the richness of the original and the timelessness of a good beat, great rhythm and a nice vocal attack.

Also, for Mother’s Day: Leonard Cohen live. Old master Leonard Cohen did a world tour in 2008/2009 after nearly two decades of not travelling. Cohen and his band were fantastic. I was lucky enough to see them in Auckland.

I took my 76 year-old mother and she loved it. I found out accidentally she was a Leonard Cohen fan and the concert even converted my father, who claims that there’s been no good music recorded since Shirley Bassey.

He was tapping his feet and at the end admitted he was impressed.

This release is from the July 2008 London concert and the playlist is pretty much what he did in Auckland too. The arrangements are wonderful and the musicians absolutely top class.

There’s an official DVD release too, but I prefer the crowd-sourced stuff from YouTube. It’s raw, but you also get a sense of the power of Leonard Cohen. He’s the same age as my dad, but can sing a whole lot better (no offence pop, if you read this).

In case you’re curious, Ethical Martini buys his music from Record Time in Orakei. The people in the store know music and they’re incredibly helpful. They will find stuff for you and it’s a pleasure talking to them, plus they have a loyalty card system. I just cashed in $30 so didn’t have to pay much for this week’s purchases.

Martini Music: something old, something new, something funk, something blue

April 25, 2009

It’s time for another dose of Martini Music. This month an eclectic collection – what else would you expect from EM?

I bet you wouldn’t expect a CD of 80s Hollywood soundtracks, though Van Morrison you might and what about Billericay Dickie?.

When drinking martinis you need to have sophistication in your surroundings and sophisticated music. That is why Chez WhiteHirst is so special. Our Casa Refugio with its own rhythm and blues and occasional punk sensibility. In fact there’s an 80s symmetry to some of this play list.

Tonight I’m sitting in the dining room with a Perfect 10 and some Clevedon oysters, at the moment we’re about 8 tracks into this afternoon’s first CD,  Hollywood, Mon Amour, released in October 2008.

One of the stand-out tracks for me is Skye (ex Morcheeba) singing Blondie’s “Call Me” which was apparently used in American Gigolo.

You can download the track list from MySpace, keep an eye out for “Eye of the Tiger” from Rocky III by Katrine Ottosen and “This is not America” from The Falcon and the Snowman, sung here by Juliette Lewis.

The combinations on this CD should not work – crap 80s films, some classic tunes and some weird remix moves by  Nouvelle Vague – but it’s a great way to relax into a Saturday night.

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Sniffed me out like I was Tanqueray

April 25, 2009

10-ginOn a recent trip through DutyFreeland at Auckland airport I bought myself a long-promised litre bottle of Tanqueray 10 gin. Of course, it’s marketed as a premium gin and it’s not cheap, but I think it was worth it.

It’s a very herbaceous gin, with strong hints of citrus. The main botanicals are juniper, angelica and coriander. It’s a London gin, but made in Scotland. The Tanqueray family apparently took part in the crusades under Richard the Lion Heart. Oh well, not everyone’s perfect.

Mixed at 2-1 with Martini vermouth (a little sweeter than some) it made a very good Friday night domestic.

Some serious martini drinkers will probably think I’m a philistine for mixing at 2-1 and I don’t always, but this was my decision at the time.  I will try different versions now that I had the intitial “settler”.

The other question is whether Tanqueray 10 is better than Bombay Sapphire. After only one Tanqueray experience I probably should not rush to judgment, but on a first taste, the citrus hints of the 10 are hard to fault. At the same time the mystique of 10 is probably only marketing hype. The “secret” recipe known only to four people. Bullshit, let’s not forget that distilling gin – even “four times” as 10 claims – is still an industrial process.

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Martini music – hot, but not jazz this time

March 11, 2009

Wayne and I went to the spiegeltent at the Auckland Festival last night after work. There’s a really good 2-for-1 ticket deal at the box office for “happy hour” between 4 and 6 pm.

paprikabalkanicusThe act was Paprika Balkanicus, a five-piece playing Balkan music. Two accordions, a guitar, a violinist who looks like a short, stocky Trotsky and a beanpole bass player.

After a half of Domestic and a straightener it was great. There’s a great sense of humour in the band and some fine musicianship.

If they’re coming to a town near you, check them out. Paprika Balkanicus will be in Australia from mid-March to early April then they’re heading back to Europe.

They’re fast, lively and very danceable. The spiegeltent was a great place to see them too, a bit circusy.

You can see tour dates on the band’s MySpace page.

Talk to the hand: Bare naked ladies

February 14, 2009

If you came here looking for naked ladies  I’m sorry. Actually,  you’ve been spammed. That should read Barenaked Ladies. No there’s no “tits out”, unless you count manboobs.

Sorry to the regulars, bad luck to the dribblejaws (or in this case, “wetfronts”, Yes, you!)

Our favourite Canadians have blessed us with another live release – strip-a-thon – if you naughty boys are still with us.

Please, if you’re a BnL fan pls leave a comment, you’d be amazed to realise how many hormonally-challenged folk think that googling “naked ladies”, or ‘neked ledies”, etc in all sorts of dyslexic combinations will bring them satisfaclief.

If you really want your jollies, then the new Barenaked Ladies live CD/DVD might do it for you. Just ecoutez, not regardez.

If you still don’t get it: Talk to the hand. This just arrived, Moac, her dad and I have been jigging to BnL.


This post is in response to the silly ones who think that typing “naked ladies” into a search engine will get them to something more stimulating than this. It’s also a lesson for the musically-challenged.

For me it’s a lesson in the correct labeling of tags and categories.

Steve Page – update

The real culprit?

A classic toon

Martini Music – a party-time playlist

February 1, 2009
Amy Winehouse drug-free? Hollywood Gossip

A drug free Amy Winehouse - Hollywood Gossip

Update 23 October (over the dateline)

A drug-free Amy Winehouse? I’d love to see that.

But here in Aotearoa we have a saying that is captured on billboards advertising Tui beer:

A drug-free Amy Winehouse: “Yeah right!”

So it’s not surprising she went crazy at the Q Music awards yesterday. [26 Oct update]

Still, her dad Mitch says she hasn’t taken drugs for a year. Do you believe him?

Hollywood Gossip thinks otherwise, though it seems her boob job went well.

I”ve been meaning for sometime to write a note about Martini Music. In particular I wanted to mention Amy Winehouse.

Yes, I know she’s a walking disaster zone, but her musical talent is all too obvious. I really hope she doesn’t kill herself with whatever grizzly cocktail of drugs and fucked-upedness floats her boat. There’s a lot more Martini music here too, just skip the updates if you’re not an Amy fan.

Update 10 October 2009:

I have no idea if Amy’s had a boob-job and frankly I don’t care. I think it’s great that she turned up on Strictly Come Dancing to support her 13-year-old God-daughter. Maybe, just maybe, Amy’s making a recovery. She was reportedly straight back into rehab after the performance, but her 3rd album is due to drop sometime next year.

Personally I don’t think these recent photos show anything except that Amy’s looking better than she has in a long time, but then again, I’m not sure I’d know the difference between a 32B and a 32D anyway. If you look at earlier photos, she’s not that different.

Photo: Gossip Center

Photo: Gossip Center

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Bare naked ladies – Steve Page is a bad boy

July 19, 2008

Another high-profile and totally unexpected self-destruction. One of my favourite musicians, Steve Page of BNL, has been busted on drug charges in New York.

Moac and I are devestated. If Pagey goes to gaol for 15 years there’ll be no more BNL.

Even worse for kiddy-fans, the band has cancelled a gig it was going to do at the Disney Music Block Party in a couple of weeks.

The gory details at “Dish Rag“, the LA Times gossip blogl

Oh alcohol, I sure drink to your health

June 18, 2008

I don’t mind a Martini now and again and occasionally I’ve even been known to drink more than’s actually good for me. But I don’t blame the booze, it’s usually a conscious decision, or in some cases, my judgement starts to lapse.

Lapses like the time I stole a bottle of vodka from a friend’s wedding party. I returned it once I’d come round and realised what a prick I’d been. Luckily my pals saw the funny side of the story and I’m not ashamed to re-tell it for a laugh now and again.

However, I am a bit upset about the political reactions to the death of Navtej Singh last weekend after a robbery-gone-horribly-wrong in his Manuwera liquor store.

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