Listening to music – food for the ears.

Like a shotgun needs an outcome, like a shotgun, I can’t be outdone

Another two days as whizzed past me too fast, yet again. Although my days have seemed productive enough, I dare not think of how little I have managed to achieve in comparison to my huge list of things to do. I did end up finishing the painting I started a few days ago, but haven’t taken any photos of it yet, so I will post that later, along with some shitty self-analysis of it, haha.

Sometime in the midst of all this cloudiness, rain and then lack of rain, and utter, torturous humidity, I’ve watched a couple of decent films, sent gifts overseas, and attained a very bright Rimmel lipstick in the shade of “shocking pink”. It’s not quite as pink as I would have liked, but it will do for now. I’m not too sure what’s come over me, in this search of a very, very bright pink lipstick – anyone that knows me even just a little bit would be expecting me to wear nothing at all or a hot fiery red instead. But all that aside, I’m just looking forward to my dinner date at some mysterious, unknown location (it’s probably not a big deal, but I love – and hate – not knowing where it is, haha), followed by some scandalous dancing with Lottie. Truth be told, it will probably be nowhere near as scandalous as our dancing the night we befriended each other, but how good the DJ set is will determine how low low low we’ll get.

Some shots from Zowie’s gig at Galatos on Saturday night – the rest can be found here:

Oh Johnny boy… I don’t know what’s happening with Cut Off Your Hands, but last year Johnny was their replacement guitarist, and now he’s paying for Zowie. Either way, always a pleasure to have an excuse to stare at him, be it through the lens or not. Although, boy he moved a lot and was hard to photographer. Especially under that harsh light his angle was at.

I’ve been completely head over heels in love and lust with the band Warpaint and their new album. This is one song I just can’t get out of my head, to the point where it’s almost irritating because I was trying to write a song, and I just kept finding myself humming this thing to myself! Lyrics from “Undertow” were also the source of my last blog entry’s title. Can’t wait to see them at the end of January, although now I’m kicking myself over not having seen them in their hometown of LA.

The other song that is currently on repeat repeat as I type this is Lykke Li’s “Get Some”. I swear the lyrics of this song are akin to those that I have written before, but am too scared to actually publicise, haha. The video is pretty awesome too, so check it out.

And last but not least, the trailer of Somewhere, which was directed by Sofia Coppola. I went and saw this at Rialto with Lottie and her sister yesterday and we all absolutely loved it. I know a lot of people have given it bad reviews, saying it’s about absolutely nothing, but they’re missing the point! It’s all in the beauty of the mundane-ness of this movie star character’s life, and how he ultimately feels like nothing. Beautiful. Here’s the trailer – which has a lovely soundtrack, just like the movie does – I highly recommend this movie.

I swallow the sound and it swallows me whole

There is something seriously amusing about being hankered by a terrible cold – people around me either react by being super caring in wishing that I get better soon (drowning in pity!) or they stay the heck away from me; or a combination of the two. I’ve had a cold since the 26th June – yes I remember, because that’s precisely the day before I went to Australia – and it’s been in cycles of finally getting better, then being made worse by some occasion of an extremely windy day or being out too late. What can I say? I have terrible living habits. To make matters worse, the building that jazz school is located in is like a batcave breeding ground for germs. Every other person has a cold (or worse), and there is only one way to get in and out of the building, with no windows available for ventilation. So essentially, the air conditioning just swishes the germs round and round. Had a late night? You’ll probably catch something when your immunity is down the next day. Yay.

I have absolutely nothing exciting to write about, but you can fest your eyes on the Florence & The Machine photos below. The only problem with that is I had a really crap night of photography that evening, and totally buzzed out and didn’t recognise that the 2nd song had been played (there’s a standard 3 song limit in the photo pit), so I, uhh, didn’t really get much of “The Machine”. Would’ve liked a shot of the harp, but darn dead brain and light! This week has consisted of opening this draft entry up a grand total of 5 times, and posting nothing whatsoever – so I compiled a playlist instead. I don’t think I’m very good at these things. You know those sweet, music-obsessed snobs boys that spend hours making the “perfect mixtape” and pick all the right songs and arrange them all in the perfect order? Well I could never be one of them. This list isn’t reaaally in any particular order, but it sort of is. Maybe it happened by chance, oh I don’t know. I did a breakdown of it underneath though. Enjoy!

1/ I’ve never been much of a KOL fan, but I absolutely love this song. It’s a great opener, and according to Charlotte they opened their set in Auckland last year with it too. Apart from a few highlights here and there in their discography, I find most of their stuff too… “hillbilly” sounding. I don’t know how to put it any better…
2/ What can I say, as much as I enjoyed their new album, I still liked the Foals better in their first album, Antidotes – even the softer songs have a decent driving edge.
3/ I’ve been a long-time fan of The Raveonettes, and whilst they don’t quite sound like they do on this album anymore, I still enjoy their old, snappy roots. It’s so much more in your face (another track off this album comes complete with a lot of “fuck you”s. But sounds surprisingly soothing?!). They featured on my last playlist I posted as well. Anyway, I just really like the hook of this song, and the question it poses – Do you believe her?
4/ So a pseudo-ex of mine kept recommending this band to me. It was only much later that I realised that several other people have recommended them to me as well. After my internet-scouring failed, I simply nicked their album off Charlotte. Whilst this album (as far as I’ve paid attention to it, anyway) is tainted by much of the same “glaze & haze” that surrounds The Raveonette’s sound (I attribute it to production style, guitar tone and just the overall simplicity and repetitiveness of what’s actually happening musically), this song particularly stood out… because… the frontwoman is singing “I wish she was my boyfriend”.
5/ Here are are at roughly halfway in the playlist. Doesn’t this usually constitute as the hidden gems of a compilation, before the climax 3/4 of the way through? I’m not sure. Regardless, Glass Owls is a lurrrrvely band, and I’m friends with the guitarist and bass player – but that’s not why they’re on here. Despite everyone having favouritism over other tracks of theirs, this has always been one of my favourites. I can still remember the time I snuck into a bar at 16 and heard them play this song in public for the first time – before it sounded as good as this. Two drummer changes and an EP later, I still love this song. And I still swear that Tomas’ voice sounds like Julian Casablancas (hell yeahhh!) – thus I need my cold to go away so I can see them play next week/week after!
6/ Sufjan Stevens has way too many albums for me to be able to honestly say that I’ve paid attention to all of his music. But this is one of my favourites amongst the soft romantic and acoustic type. It’s just too sweet. Unfortunately the problem with songs like this is that it comes with memories of people/events. Ahhh good old music.
7/ BRMC. I don’t need to say more. Sure, they have better written songs, but this one will still be one of the most well-known, and the crowd sure enjoyed it a LOT at their concert a couple of weeks ago.
8/ I have to admit that I resisted listening to Broken Bells for a long time. Sure, it’s nice. But at the end of the album I still went back and listened to the first track. Yup, that is all.
9/ Metric has gotten a bit of bad press for that half-arsed song they have on the Eclipse soundtrack and I don’t blame critics. Apart from their best songs (and this isn’t one of them), I’m not too sure why I’m such a fan. Asides from the odd lyric that I wished I had written instead of Haines, I can see why people might not like them. Anyway, I just love the catchy way that this song begins, and carries throughout. It’s just catchy and great to drive to.
10/ Whilst it seems like I’m just putting a token jazz track on here, I promise that I’m not. This is one of my all-time jazz tracks even well before I’d decided to study jazz. I love the break down of it, and the intro/interlude parts with bass and piano. And the best part is that we’ll be performing it at our (assessed) recital on the 23rd August… in reggae style. No kidding!
11/ Last and maybe least… there is Drumming Song. It is, in all honesty, the only song on Florence’s album that I genuinely like. Hey, I tried, okay? To all those people out there who have gasped at me because I informed them that, sorry, I’m just not a fan… don’t shoot me. Yes, she can sing, and yeah alright, I can understand the appeal – but it just doesn’t really apply to me. Though I like this track because it is mesmerising, and it builds up into something. And you can listen to it on repeat (and I have) without really realising what’s happening because it seems to just go on and on. However, it is for that exact reason that I didn’t realise the 2nd song at her concert ever happened at all, because it simply blended into this one (set opener), oops. As for the rest of her music… I much more prefer the remixes and mash ups.

Florence & The Machine @ Trusts Stadium, Auckland 29th July, 2010:

You want to feel something more than I could ever bring

Rewind back two, three years ago. I was underage, incapable (most of the time) of getting into gigs, let alone getting to shoot them. I’m not too sure of precisely where my desire to do so spawned from. I suspect it’s a combination of things. For starters, there are lots of photographic projects I’ve planned and plotted in my head – but I never end up undertaking them just because it requires preparation and planning – in other words, I would’ve had to think ahead. For someone as lazy and usually uninspired as me, thinking ahead for a photo seems a bit out of whack. Especially when I’m the sort of person who likes to take spontaneous photos, often in unexpected places, of unexpected subjects. There’s a magic essence in capturing a moment in time that just doesn’t exist in a constructed setting. Even when I have constructed settings in the past for a shoot, I usually end up picking the “accidental” shots, rather than the ones I had “intended”.

When I first shot on black and white film in a Nikon F3 almost 4 years ago, I was pleasantly surprised at how much enjoyment I got from rediscovering all the things that I had merely shot in passing, in the city of Wellington.  As I didn’t get the films developed until a few months later, I hardly remembered what I had photographed, especially all the little corner snippets that I had snapped away at, without a thought at all. My mother (the term “professional photographer” here sounds daunting, but she is) has always been supportive and encouraging in anything and everything I do; but for some reason, once upon a time she tried to dissuade me from attempting concert photography. It’s “much too difficult”, she’d said. And it sure as hell is. But that is exactly why I love it. The equation – so it appear so be – is: lack of necessary thought process/laziness + spontaneity + music freak + love a good challenge = concert photography.

Fast forward a couple of years, I had an amazing Friday night. Back when I was googling concert photographers and oggling at the amazing shows they get to shoot, I stumbled across a lady called Ami Barwell. Mostly lo-fi styled stuff, shot a lot of bands that I love – made me mega jealous. I think she used to be the photographer-in-tow for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, so she has a lot of nice shots of them, and a couple of nights ago I got to have a crack at it myself.

Here are some of the shots that I liked best of BRMC and their opening band, The Checks. The problem is… I’m undecided as to whether I’m happy about them or not:

The Checks:
Can I just add – their drummer reminded me of why I used to have a thing for drummers and dated a couple. He also looks like one that I had crushed on for a long time. Shhhh. Good thing NO ONE knows who it was, ha!

I act uninterested but I’m not fooling anyone

Saturday night was the 2nd EP release of a friend’s band, Artisan Guns – their latest is called Hearts, and the gig was hands down their best show yet. Took my camera out for a spin for the first time in ages; I must say I did miss it, but for a change I was hanging back and being chilled out about the shots I got, unlike some other photographers that came along with flashes and all. Unprofessional. All their blinding flashes from both sides of the stage just irritated the band and audience, asides from just being a pure pain in the arse, they weren’t particularly polite nor apologetic either. I was happy to see that the shots I’d peeked over their shoulders were all fairly bland and unexciting… using flash kills all the atmosphere, silly! Especially when the boys did such a lovely job of decorating their stage, and draping it with their own handmade pool flags – like in their video for their single.

We had plans to take a whole bunch of post-party shenanigans, but some drama arose and Lottie and I were forced to abandon such plans. To be frank: I was pissed off. Speaking of which, we’ve started a tumblr so go follow us!


It’s official – The Dead Weather is the hardest band I’ve ever photographed. And to think I thought a two-piece (Crocodiles, Aus) with only one red light on in the far bottom corner of the stage was difficult! Turns out, The Dead Weather had the dimmest blue light I’d ever tried to shoot in. As much as I love the first-3-songs-no-flash rule, it’s a hell of a hassle because the first three songs are always the most dimly lit. Bands have a tendency to build up into their set – and I don’t blame them – but their lighting follows too. Photographically, I wish the rule was last-3-songs, since they always have the most amazing lighting sequences (for big bands anyway), and the best songs with the most energy. However, for those exact same reasons, I like taking advantage of my free entry and being in the actual audience, right up the front, on the opposite side of the fence. It’s a weird, contradictory feeling.

Here are the highlights:

Love, love, love her – Alison Mosshart sexy-danced her way through the set. The males went wild. I want just a fraction of her energy and stage presence when I ever end up playing a show – she always sings like how I sing when I’m very alone in the car, late at night, haha.

Jack White’s drumming was simple. But so, so tight.

And I love how I have this weird habit of capturing a double-exposure-like effect at each gig. It’s awesome just leaving the shutter open and seeing what you get at the end of it. Risky. But awesome.

Oh, and the last pic is of Alex, the drummer from Street Chant – they’re one of the most enjoyable supporting acts I’ve seen. None of that “omg, get off the stage and bring on the headliner already” business. And it helped that 1/ he’s a good drummer & 2/ he’s cute. It’s a shame I don’t think I’ll see them again, since they’re moving to Melbourne.

And so my relax-for-an-hour with Project Runway is drawing to a close. It’s back to practising 2x basses for me – I have assessments starting next week,noooooo! I think I’m going to start blogging more sporadically with random thoughts and odd photos; instead of feeling like I need to construct a substantial post.

P.S. I’d almost forgotten until my friend just reminded me by asking me details about it: I was half stalked in the crowd by some foreign man. He told me he loved me and that I was beautiful – I’m not sure what his heavy accent was, some kind of undistinguished European, plus it was loooud out there – repeatedly. So I escaped whilst he was busy having a push-out with a dude next to me trying to talk to me between songs. Am I supposed to be flattered or scared?!

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