Thursday, January 19, 2006

Tall Dwarfs / Weeville / Fork Songs / 7.0 / 6.9

Two reviews of the same records for the price of one!

These records came out back on Oct 25th....blah blah blah....I ran a review of these titles at the end of November because silly me, I figured a month past their release date that PFM wasn't going to review them.

I am a fan of the New Zealand 80's and 90's rock so I jumped at the chance to spread the good about these reissues. Here is my exact post from November and my review system is Red = YAY! Yellow = Eh. Blue = Nay!

PFMS says: "Here's the caveat: Most of you reading this will not like the Tall Dwarfs, even on these, some of the most accessible of their releases. To most of you reading this, these songs won't even sound challenging or interesting-- they'll just sound like a couple of freaks banging out rickety crap at a rate of an album a weekend. "

Hog wash, that's right I said HOG WASH. Tall Dwarves aren't a circus sideshow act. Their music is simply home recorded pop music bordering on experimental but never terrifying. Keep reading below for my bigger picture.

Vive le home recording!

In 1981 Chris Knox and Alec Bathgate home recorded a 3 song EP on their Teac four-track recorder under the band name Tall Dwarfs. These founding fathers of the New Zealand punk scene (both were NZ's The Enemy) scene morphed into pioneers of the DIY lo-fi recording movement, a practice which soon infected much of the indie music making world's population.

Often nary a drummer in sight, TD tangle the jangle-pop leash around the likes of The Velvet Underground and it wasn’t until years later I connected sounds like parallels to artists such as Robyn Hitchcock, The Clean, The Chills, and Television Personalities.

Semi-hot on the heels of a recent Olivia Tremor Control / Tall Dwarf reunion tour, Cloud Recordings have recently reissued two Tall Dwarf records; the first being Fork Songs. Originally released in 1991 on Flying Nun Records this new version includes the classic 1987 Dogma EP as a bonus.

Weeville is a remastered version of the 1990 release on Homestead. An impressive document to the bizarre yet somehow related to Simon & Garfunkle , this new edition includes a 20 page booklet.

Followers and fans of TD include : Pavement, Elf Power, Unrest, Ween, Apples In Stereo, Yo La Tengo, Smog, REM, Neutral Milk Hotel, Lambchop, and Mojave 3 to name just a few.

After spending a few weeks with these Tall Dwarfs reissues it’s easy to hear their influence over the modern day bedroom rocker. My 4 track has been dusted off and I plan to pay a little tribute to them tonight.

Vive le home recording!

Last time I checked the cloud recording website was down but perhaps some time soon it will work. In the meantime you can check out their catalog here.