Monday, July 28, 2014
"..dark-depressing solitude met with displacement followed by determination + an arsenal of recording ideas.."
Elucidating Dismal Intrigue
Shocking Pinks Bio:
New Zealand’s Shocking Pinks, AKA Nick Harte, burst onto the scene in 2004 with the seminal dance pop record Dance the Dance Electric, which shared with the world Harte’s peculiar brand of uncomfortable dance punk intimacy. With dirty lo-fi production, sweet melodies, and unexpected aggression, Harte channels the demons of obsession and emptiness into darkly lyrical art. Managing to conduit James Murphy, Fleetwood Mac, and My Bloody Valentine through the swagger of Scott Walker, Shocking Pinks have perfected the sound of bittersweet melancholia that teeters on the edge of self-destruction. A long-term staple of the New Zealand indie scene, Harte has spent the last 20-odd years playing in some of New Zealand’ most prominent bands (The Brunettes, Solaa, The Incisions, CM Ensemble, Hiatus). After releasing his first album in 2004 (which earned an 8.2 on Pitchfork) Harte was quickly signed to New Zealand’s historic Flying Nun label, which released Mathematical Warfare and Infinity Land in 2005. Shortly thereafter, Shocking Pinks landed an international deal with New York’s DFA label, first releasing a series of limited-edition vinyl 7” with remixes by The Glimmers, Deerhunter, and Eluvium, and then issuing the full-length album Shocking Pinks in 2007. Harte’s self-titled DFA debut compiled some of the best songs from Harte’s previous albums, and showcased his ability to carve out a raw and intense emotional space, that served as a stark counterpart to the party anthems of DFA electroclash label-mates. While Harte did not formally release any music after 2007, they were years of great productivity. In a recent interview with Under The Radar, Harte said: “I ended up with 386 tracks … I’ve got eight CDs with me at the moment”; he also toured, wrote for magazines, and collaborated on films. Yet they were also years of significant struggles, among them agoraphobia, insomnia, and past substance addiction. The biggest influence on Harte’s music, however, was also the greatest catastrophe. On February 22, 2011 a magnitude 6.3 earthquake tore through Christchurch, his home city, killing 185 people and completely destroying the downtown area. Harte coped with the tragedy by painting his windows black and staying awake for days at a time, writing songs like “Take me (Lower)” in the abandoned rooms of his ruined home. Three massive earthquakes and hundreds of aftershocks later, with no buildings and no infrastructure left, Harte was eventually evacuated and forced to relocate to the city of Wellington and try to rebuild his life. After the destruction of his city and the diaspora of Christchurch’s vibrant youth culture, Harte used music as a therapy to deal with his isolation. Influenced by the cinematic structure of auteurs like John Cassavetes, Andrei Tarkovsky, and Nicholas Winding Refn, Guilt Mirrors is a sprawling, haunting, beautiful, and at times violent and alienating trilogy, that is much less a curated “album” than it is a personal mix tape. Chronicling the loss, the love, and the limbo of the last 6 years, Guilt Mirrors is due to release February 18, 2014 via Brooklyn-based imprint, Stars & Letters Records.
Hello, how are you?
(Nick forgot to answer this one, I think we can assume life is grand for him these days;)
What are you currently listening to?
"Tusk" by Fleetwood Mac. Lot's of Schubert, Bach, Feldman, Schnittke, etc. The 'Only Lovers Left Alive' Soundtrack. Gavin Russom.
What's the story behind the band name?
No real story. Simply a title I came up with that seemed to stick. I should say around the time I started doing SP I was in another band called The Brunettes and I'm pretty sure I showed them the film Pretty In Pink. Maybe that informed my decision, I don't know.
Was there a specific sound you were going for when you began this project?
Something that you could both dance to and melt to.
Care to shed some info on your latest release; theme, favorite track(s), etc?
My latest record is called 'Guilt Mirrors' and it's a trilogy. To be honest, I don't listen to music that I've released, so I don't really have a particular favorite track. There is a new remix out very soon by Sun Glitters, though.
Will you be touring extensively for said release?
We've toured NZ and currently planning an Australian tour. After that the US and UK seem logical.
Got any other projects we should know about?
I'm currently DJ'ing as Shocking Pinks and have a bi-monthly club night with a couple of friends at a Wellington venue called San Fran.
What movie would work best on mute while listening to you music?
That's a difficult question as I am totally obsessed with film and don't really believe that any film should be muted if you are watching it. I'll have to go with a film I've watched on a few occasions recently with the volume lower than usual (beautiful late night film). Georges Franju's 'Eyes Without A Face'. Particularly the image of Edith Scob freeing the dogs.
You can only keep/listen to ONE album for the rest of your life ..which album would it be?
I don't know if I'd want to listen to only one record over and over. I'll go with 'For Phillip Guston' by Morton Feldman as I never fail to find something new amongst it's 3 hours+ duration.
Are you living your dream?
I don't know if anybody could really say that they are living their life exactly the way they want to or dream about, but I'm pretty close these days.
Thanks Nick and Mark!
Shocking Pinks recently released one of the best "Idie Pop" albums I've ever heard. I recommend you give that a whirl..;]
8.75 out of 10
I was first introduced to Shocking Pinks [via DFA] back in 2007. Nick Harte's [Shocking Pinks] music could best be described as "Experimental Lo-Fi Dreamy Electro Gaze Pop", it was/is right up my alley. Since then he's been mostly quiet though, I honestly thought he may have quit/disappeared from the scene.. Apparently as the world went on where I lived his was crumbling around him, literally. An earthquake (6.3 magnitude) destroyed the town he lived in, during the aftermath he locked himself in his bedroom with the windows painted black and focused like he never had before (days without sleep sometimes). He was eventually evacuated as there were more earthquakes that followed shortly after. So Nick is left among Dark-depressing solitude met with displacement followed by determination + an arsenal of recording ideas (and the instruments to do it with). We as the listeners get to revel in his process of overcoming heartache.
OK.. So 7 years is indeed a long time between albums, but 30+* tracks I think more than makes up for it (*apparently he had over 380 more!). Even better these 30+ tracks are incredible as well as mutually agreeable in theme/overall concept. Every track serves it's purpose on this opus. Yes, opus. If this album isn't featured on at least all of the great music blogs year-end lists you can dis-credit them (the sites with questionable tastes). The eclectic mix-n-mash of genres here (from Indie Pop to Dream Pop to Electro-Dance to Drone to Bedroom Gaze (and everything in-between) should impress all sorts of music snobs out there (me included). Is it a little dreary? Sure. But the evolution of this album allows you to shift into other territories of sound through the mass progression of genre changes that meld nicely between a proper set of headphones. I can't stress that enough, every track needs to be absorbed fully, and it will. You may find walking away from this release to be a tough thing to do though so make sure you have the time (2.5+ hours!).
I'm quite in-love with this album, this music works for just about any mood I'm in. Right now I am in the mood for Shocking Pinks coincidentally;] It's one of this year's best ..you know what to do, hear.
Standout Tracks: Ten Years, Soapsudds, What's Up With That Girl? (Feat. Ashlin Frances Raymond / Arkitype), Vendetta (feat. Designer Violence), Swarm, Few Skeletons, LV VS SX (Feat. Ashlin Frances Raymond), (Take Me) Lower, St Louis (Feat. Gemma Syme), Beyond Dreams, Hardfuck (Tristen R Deschain Remix), Get In There Bitch, A Million Times, Slightly Killed (Feat. Arkitype), Hospital Garden, Out Of Town Girl
Sunday, July 27, 2014
Saturday, July 26, 2014
1. WIOO - UI
2. Seven Saturdays - Southern Lights (Ambient)
3. Couples Counseling - Floating Heads
4. Kate Tempest - Theme From Becky
5. Gesloten Cirkel - Submit-X
6. Open Mike Eagle - Very Much Money (Ice King Dream)
7. Ufo & Van Pelt - Jamboree
8. Gemini - (Que) Sara
9. Muteboy - The Fray
10. Mecano - Bodan En Londres
11. Delroy Edwards - Weak Moves
12. Grandad Wooly - Travels (Vanilla Instrumental)
13. Monster Rally - Hazy Palava
14. Seymour And Cheech - Predator In Danger (Ft. Spider Jaroo)
15. Kink - Dama
16. Memory Cards - Shadow Moses
Thanx for listenin';]