Saturday, December 27, 2008

There's something in the air tonight /// A feeling that you have that could change your life

I'm enduring a 7 hour bus ride tomorrow to get to this year's best NYE's party at Rhythm and Vines. The music officially starts on Monday, but I'm (reluctantly) staying at BW Campgrounds so I'm gonna sign in and party with friends tomorrow night.

I went to Rhythm and Vines last year, it was my last year of high school and it was sort of a last goodbye for my year group before everyone moved away to different unis and while I had an absolutely amazing time (it was the best party I'd ever been to until I went to Camp A Low Hum) I wasn't going to go again. The whole binge drinking culture that is in abundance at BW Campgrounds just isn't my thing. While yes, I love to party and I do often drink more than I should (as embarrassing as it is to admit, but we're all guilty of that...aren't we?) it's just, uh, I don't fit in too well with the whole 'Jock' thing. Last year I went for the experience and I enjoyed it for it it was and I had a great time. I wouldn't change anything.

This year, I was adamant that nothing could make me go again unless either The Presets or Cut Copy were playing. I said it as a joke, I never thought the line up would get as good as it has. There used to be a time when I would be so excited about Big Day Out that I couldn't sleep the night before. That hasn't happened for a couple of years now.

I've already lost sleep in my excitement over Rhythm and Vines.

Looking at the daily schedule, here's where I'll be the next few days:
1530 - Liam Finn
1810 - Santogold
1930 - The Kooks
2100 - Franz Ferdinand

1615 - The Secret Knives
1735 - Connan Mockasin / 1740 - The Phoenix Foundation
1905 - Cut Copy
2100 - Ladyhawke
2230 - Late of the Pier
2300 - Die!Die!Die!

1850 - Over the Atlantic
1955 - Bang Bang Eche
2135 - The Datsuns
2315 - So So Modern
0030 - Disasteradio
0100 - Digitalism

As well as checking out some of the local acts I've never heard of in between those times...

What I want to know, is how this year's RnV line up turned out to be better than BDO? And why RnV have chosen a better range of local musicians, rather than just sticking to the same shitty ones BDO does every year? Surely Big Day Out would know better by now. But then again, apparently the RnV organisers don't really know who Jamie Liddell is, even though he's on the line up. That's worrying...perhaps they're being sucked in by hype rather than what they actually believe to be good? As opposed to Big Day Out who seems to choose bands on the basis of how much money they'll bring in. I love how a lot of the bands playing on the Futureshock stage have been associated with A Low Hum in one way or another.

I've also heard reports that Rhythm and Vines hasn't been very well orgainised financially: first DJ Lotion was on the bill and then he was told they couldn't afford to pay him, some members of the press were given full passes with accommodation and everything and now they only get one night's free pass with no acommodation. I hope it's just teething problems, since this year is the first year they've had the festival on over three nights and that everything gets sorted out for next year. If the line up next year is as good as this year, I'll most likely be going again.

I hope your New Years is as eventful as mine no doubt will be, I will see you in the new year.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Little Victories

Merry Holidays!
I'm in Hamilton at the moment (exotic, I know), spending some quality time with the family - getting thoroughly spoilt with love and presents on one of my favourite days of the year. After Christmas lunch yesterday the first thing I did when I got home was lie on the floor curled up in a ball...turns out that second helping of pudding wasn't such a good idea. But hey, over eat is what you're supposed to do on Christmas day, right? It was worth it - that blueberry pie was delicious. Today has been wonderful, it's good to experience a humid summer that just doesn't reach Wellington so I've spend a good amount of time lounging by the pool catching up on some reading. (Twilight is far far worse than I expected. I'm not tweleve as most of the fans of the book are, but I doubt the series would have been able to hold my attention even if I was. It's written in the most basic, unimaginative way that I'm a little offended that Stephanie Meyer thinks I would be entertained by that.)
Posting has been sporadic this past week and probably will continue to be until I get back home on the 2nd of January. I'm leaving for Gisborne on Sunday and as soon as I get back, expect a full-length Rhythm and Vines post, with photos and all. I'm taking four different types of cameras, so no doubt I'll have a few photos I can show you.
Just a couple of things of note:

-The Alexandra Owen store is due to open either the 30th of January or the 1st of February, I'm not sure which yet. The store will be in the ground floor of the Museum Hotel, just opposite Te Papa. While the location seems like an odd one (who knew the hotel had retail spaces?), Alexandra Owen designed the uniform for the hotel, so a partnership between Owen and the Museum Hotel has been around for a while. I'm looking forward to it, it'll be good to see the full range in her own space, but that means Artikel won't be stocking Alexandra Owen anymore.
-As I hinted at in the earlier incarnation of In Ghost Colours, Little Brother as we know it has closed down. After a few weeks of super awesome closing down sale (I got a t shirt for $10. Sweet deals.) a new sign has appeared on the window, letting us know that a Crane Brothers store will be opening in February. It will stock Crane Brothers and well as Gubb and Mackie, but Little Brother will be distributed exclusively through Barkers, according to Isaac Likes.
-Mala Brajkovic has long been my favourite NZ designer and I'm very sad (okay, I'm devastated) to say that she won't be coming back to fashion design after all. Though it was originally promised that she would be back in time for SS 09, I've heard whispers that she's moving into costume design for theatre, starting off with a ballet production. I'm yet to find some cold hard facts on this, but as soon as I do I'll let you know!
-I've seen some pictures of Lela Jacobs' Winter 09 collection, and boy, it's looking soooo good! The collection is titled Small Victories and I'll do a full post on it when I get back to my computer so you can see all the beautiful pictures. Though if you searched a little bit they won't be too hard to find. On Christmas Eve I was given an early present in the form of a pair of Lela's poo pants (they're basically harem/hammer pants). They're a sample from her winter collection though she's been making them for a couple of seasons now. My favourite part is that they're red and oh so deliciously comfy. Yes!
-As I found out Straight from the Whore's Mouth, Modular is set to have their first New Zealand-based parties at the end of February. Bag Raiders are playing! The night looks set to be epic, though I most likely won't be here at the end of February. That's just my luck isn't it?
"Opening in New Zealand 27th of February (Good Luck - WGTN) and 28th of February (Cassette Number Nine – AKL)THE END is a brand new series of two monthly nights in conjunction with Modular. Sohomo and its parent Epaulette have exclusive license to host six events throughout 2009. These nights are world famous with parties set up in New York, London, France, and extensively in Australia."
I have a few little projects up my sleeve that I'm dying to share with you, but it must all be kept under wraps, at least for now. I will let you know in due course...
Right, I'm off to have a play around with my Holga camera in the evening sun.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I'm Good, I'm Gone

Christmas is driving me crazy! This year has been my second year working in retail over the Christmas period, though with two completely different markets. Last year was at The CD and DVD Store, this year it's at Artikel, probably the best place in Wellington to find cool gifts...if I do say so myself. I've been working every day in the lead up to Christmas and I can feel myself getting just a little bit more bonkers as The Big Day gets closer. It feels like my eyes are going a bit cross-eyed from all the stressed out shoppers. Stress is contagious. It shivers off one person and bounces onto another, until the whole room is vibrating with stress. At closing time on Saturday, I had to sit down and have a moment to shake it off.

It feels like I've used up my supply of small talk. Nine times out of ten I actually enjoy talking with the customers, some even have some interesting stories (like the guy today who did his post-grad journalism degree at NYU... swoon!), but just that one time a customer catches me when I'm not at my best. I might be staring into space while they wave their arms about trying to get my attention, have completely forgotten something they've just told me ("Oh sorry, you just said you didn't want a bag, right?") or my inner-awkward (something I have managed to suppress a little since working at Artikel) comes out and conversation falls flat. Ouch. 

Sometimes I like to escape for a few minutes - visit a friend who works at Karen Walker next door, go on a coffee run, get supplies or put the rubbish out. Anything to have a moment away! Yesterday, while dashing between Artikel and Karen Walker, trying to avoid the raindrops a big gust of wind blew my dress up and I was exposed to a good number of people on the street around me, and no doubt whoever were in the buses driving past. Oh the shame! I had glasses of champagne in my hands so was unable to do some maneuver to get my dress back into its original place. I still would have looked silly as I leapt to the safety of the nearest wall and twisted my body around as I tried to push my skirt back down, but alas, the glasses restricted my movements somewhat. For a split second I almost considered leaving the glasses to smash on the pavement to save my dignity, but that would just create even more of a scene. Instead I just laughed it off, which was really the only thing I could do. It had happened and it certainly wasn't the first time and probably won't be the last. Karen Walker dresses clearly aren't made with Wellington customers in mind. Sometimes the best things to do in potentially embarrassing situations like that is just to laugh. Otherwise life is just one big awkward/embarrassing situation and that's no fun. By the end of the day we were all joking about it, someone even called me Marilyn.

Just as a side note, the other night at the Holy Fuck show, when Lovely Allen came on, someone who I barely know tapped me on the shoulder and said "This one's for you!". Well, almost, but it was still sweet nonetheless.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My Heart Rate Rapid

A couple of months ago, while dreaming of spending a sunny summer in Sydney, I came across the photography of Daniel Boud.  I think I may have found my favourite music photographer. Boud specialises in live concert photography, something I am interested in myself so it's been very inspiring looking at his website, especially because he hasn't been formally trained either. I found his guide to concert photography very helpful. At Holy Fuck the other night, the lighting was beautiful (blue and red side lighting) and I wished I had taken my camera with me. Even more so after looking at the photos he took at Nevereverland Sydney over the weekend. Where are New Zealand's good live photographers, hmmm? I can name a few, but I can't think of one in particular that I actually like. Someone needs to change that, fast. Here are some of my favourites of Boud's:

Cut Copy at Nevereverland 2008
(As soon as I saw this one I had to make it my desktop picture)

Klaxons at Nevereverland 2008

The Vines at Splendour in the Grass 2008

Iggy Pop at Big Day Out 2006

Monday, December 15, 2008

Cut in Colour

So, bad news. Jaeha won't be stocking at Artikel this season. In fact, Jaeha won't be stocking anywhere in store this summer. Turns out the only place that will have Jaeha's Colouring in Calms me Down collection will be General Cucumber. Which is odd, since I've always thought that with Jaeha's clothing especially, there are so many different ways to wear it that you need to try it on to get the full effect. I guess he just got too busy to sort out wholesaling.

 General Cucumber is a great site for buying New Zealand designers and they often have pieces from past seasons on sale, which is really good but online shopping just isn't my thing. Maybe it will be when I move overseas and I get a bit nostalgic for a bit of NZ creativity.

So we may not be getting Jaeha, but it's looking like we will be getting in Miss Crabb again, which will be so great. The current collection makes me purr. 

Tonight I'm off to Holy Fuck. Fingers crossed they play Tone bank Jungle.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

As a child I knew /// That the stars could only get brighter

Cut Copy live at Nevereverland 2007, photo by mattbooy on flickr

I have spent most of the afternoon/early evening trying to ignore the fact that my friends are at Nevereverland today and I'm not there to party with them. As I type, Hercules and Love Affair are about to take to the stage. I was going to go, had my ticket sorted and everything, but work took precedence. Nevereverland would have been my festival. It's always been my dream to go to a gig/festival where both Cut Copy and The Presets were playing and Nevereverland would have been the ideal opportunity. My love of electro and all things Modular is no secret. While nothing could beat the amazing-ness that was Daft Punk last year, Modular brought together a great line up of bands to help them celebrate their 10th birthday. 

It would have been great to finally see the Klaxons perform, after having my plans to see them in Sydney last year crushed when Jamie broke his foot while stage diving. Am I doomed to never see them live, ever? Probably not but still, it would have been a good way for karma to make up for last year's incident.  
DFA'S Hercules and Love Affair would have been fun, these past few weeks I've listened to Blind at least twice a day. Can you believe they only performed live for the first time earlier this year, after their record release? Apparently it was an amazing gig.

There seems to be a bit of bad blood going on between Modular and Muscles, who was originally on the Nevereverland bill. On his blog a few weeks ago, Muscles explained that he got a call from his record label (Modular) saying he can no longer perform at Nevereverland because they can't afford it. Understandably, Muscles was rather angry about this - his own record label had dropped him from the line up of their birthday party. I did have a sneaking suspicion that tickets weren't selling very well (Are you crazy?? One of the best festivals of the year!) and this only confirmed my thoughts. Modular then posted this on their Mod Blog:

"Muscles is signed to Modular Recordings and his services are still required under that agreement. He was offered a spot at NEVEREVERLAND which still stands and whether he chooses to play or not is his decision. Obviously we would like him to be part of our 10 year celebrations and hope he turns up to perform."

Hmmm, curious. He wasn't in the final schedule. Will this be the end of Muscles' relationship with Modular?

One of the ways that I have passed the time is by watching (again) Cut Copy live in New York on Pitchfork tv, getting me ridiculously excited about seeing them at Rhythm and Vines in only 16 days. I can't believe it's taken them so long to get here, it's just as easy to fly from Melbourne to Perth as it is Melbourne to Auckland. Now that they're super popular, I've missed my chance to see them in a more intimate venue as I would have liked. But hey, I'll take what I can get. There's no doubt that their live show will be amazing and the Pitchfork videos prove it. I'm particularly excited about hearing Future and Hearts on Fire live, I can tell things are going to get crazy.

Hearts on Fire live on

While it would be awesome to meet Cut Copy the rational side of me thinks that would be a bad idea - every other encounter I've had with bands/musicians I love have been kinda embarrassing. I just get too star struck, in a style reminiscent of Toby Young. When I met Nick Zinner the first thing that came out of my mouth was "OhmygodcanIpleaseshakeyourhand?!" What a dick!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Real Cool Time

While I was in Good as Gold today, I noticed someone wearing an awesome Iggy Pop t-shirt. When I asked where he got it from I was expecting an answer along the lines of "Tokyo" or some other equally unattainable destination. Because that's always the way with cool clothes you see other people wearing isn't it? Instead, he pointed across the room to the racks. 

Turns out Moss Projects has collaborated with photographer Sean Aickin to create a new range of t-shirts. These ones feature Sean's live photography, which he took at various Big Day Outs, of some of my favourite musicians. Take your pick from Iggy Pop, Jack White, Peaches and The Beastie Boys. Tough choice, huh? They also come packaged in a pretty envelope with a copy of the original black and white photo to stick up on your wall.

The t-shirts are available at G.A.G. now for $110, but this Wednesday at Mighty Mighty at 6.30 there will be a release party for the t-shirts where they'll be selling cheap. Sweet deals.

Get them quick, there's only a limited run being made. I still regret not being able to get one of the gothic Got Nothin' tees before they sold out. Dang.

Single Fins and Safety Pins

Earlier today Californian band Japanese Motors played a free gig at Good as Gold. I hadn't heard much of them before I saw the posters advertising their gigs (they're playing at Mighty Mighty tonight too). I decided to head along to the gig at G.A.G. to determine whether I want to spend the $10 and go see them play at Mighty later. I'm not a scrooge, I've just got lots of things to go to tonight!

I arrived at midday on the dot, people were already milling around and I got a little side tracked by the clothes on the racks. Beers were opened and the band started setting up as more people were arriving. When Japanese Motors started playing, I was pleasantly surprised. Today has been a beautifully sunny day and their music is the perfect soundtrack to the summery weather. While their music isn't entirely original, their live set is very tight and totally danceable. It's rock n roll by way of more recent bands like The Strokes and The White Stripes but Japanese Motors have a likeness to The Beach Boys too. There's no doubt they're from California. 

Those who were there bobbed their heads as they took a sip of their Steinlager and maybe swayed a little. So much for what I said earlier about Wellingtonians not being too shy to step away from the wall. I was itching to dance but the void (as a friend called it) of floor space directly in front of the band remained empty and intimidating. I didn't want to be the one to fill it.

They played a full set of eleven songs (I stole the set list, that's how I know) and by the end I was grinning and clapping madly along with everyone else. Screw being pretentious, go along to Mighty Mighty tonight and I guarantee you will have a great time dancing to Japanese Motors. With the added element of booze and darkness, tonight's gig will be less awkward than the Good As Gold set, I'm sure.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Owner of a Lonely Heart

Next Saturday (the 20th) Lonely Hearts is having their annual sale. From previous experience, it's always hella crazy so get in there early. The Lonely Hearts sale is the one non-Christmas related event that I always look forward to every December. Seriously, I've found some great stuff there. 

It's at Willis York Hairdressing on Taranaki st in Wellington, the same place they had it last year and where Alexandra Owen did a show earlier in the year. The sale will have samples, designs from previous years and current season stock too, all ridiculously discounted. Looks like the Lonely Hearts gang will be home for Christmas. 

(This post's title is the name of a song by Yes)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Brand New Start

So. A do over. I almost stopped doing this blog - the amount of people reading started to freak me out. As I've mentioned previously, I'm quite a shy and modest person so having a blog sort of goes against my nature. I promised a change, and change is here. It'll be a subtle change, but one that will suit all of us I'm sure. In Ghost Colours will still focus heavily on music and fashion (my two passions), only this time with a different angle. Be sure to check out the updated links list to the left too.

I had some people asking me where the titles of the blog posts come from and I can tell you that they're all from song titles and lyrics. Today's is the title of a song by Little Joy, Fabrizio Moretti's new band. It's one I wouldn't normally listen to (a tad too acoustic-y for my tastes) but it's summer time and this song perfectly complements a gin and tonic in the sunshine.

Fab performing in Little Joy

On Friday night I went to the opening of a new bar on Auckland's Vulcan lane called Cassette #9. It was also a night celebrating Cheese on Toast's 5th birthday, a local music website I have major issues with (let's not get into it), but one I reluctantly check regularly for music news. The gig was free, so I shouldn't be too ungrateful. I managed to catch the sets of Los Hories, Prince Diana and Surf City. It was great to see Surf City again, I hadn't seen them since Interpol back in February and as usual their set was heaps fun. The new material is sounding good too. One thing that I really hate about Auckland crowds is that they don't know how to dance. Or rather it's not that they don't want to, it's more that they won't. I love the craziness of gigs in Wellington, no one is too shy to step away from the wall or too worried about messing up their hair. I always say that it's a sign of a good gig when you come out of it with your hair in a sweaty mess, make up running down your face and missing at least one shoe. 

This weekend looks set to be as big as the previous one: there are christmas parties and gigs to attend galore!
Thursday: Over the Atlantic, one of my favourite Wellington bands are playing a gig for free (oh boy, FREE!) at Good Luck tomorrow night. 
Friday: Over the Atlantic and So So Modern are playing on the Tug Boat (oh boy, The Tug Boat!) and it's BYO, so expect a messy affair. The Tug Boat is that tacky tourist-y restaurant in Oriental Bay, but just picture the setting: beers in the evening sun on the beach before partying with two of the best bands in NZ over-looking the beautiful harbour lights. Romantic? Just a little.
Saturday: Vice's newest signing Japanese Motors are playing for free at Good as Gold (oh boy, in a clothing store!) at midday as a warm-up to the gig they're playing that night at Mighty Mighty. 

Expect photos after the weekend.