Summer 2013-14 has been spectacular. It has been filled with road trips, plenty of live music, festivals, friends and frivolities. Nevertheless this glorious season is quickly coming to a close. It’s getting to that point in the year when everyone is returning to work and uni and settling back in to the routines of day-to-day life.
It’s time to put away the frisbee and pull out the knitting needles! Oh summer, these last few months we have shared sunshine and sweat and will forever be with me, so this edition of Off the Record is dedicated to you. This is my ode to summer.
New Release | Alex Bleeker and The Freaks
Okay so the album I’m going to tell y’all about is not a new release but it’s just too perfect for summer for me not to include! Alex Bleeker is the bass player for New Jersey band Real Estate and has a side project of his own, Alex Bleeker and The Freaks. The Freaks are made up of members from other Brooklyn based bands that play on various tracks, including Jackson Pollis (also from Real Estate), Jarvis Taveniere (Woods), Amelia Meath (Mountain Man) and Kevin Morby (Woods and The Babies), just to name a few.
The sophomore release from Alex Bleeker and The Freaks, How Far Away, released in May 2013 has an exciting summer vibe. It’s up beat and uncomplicated with a fresh sound that makes you want to slow down and take your time, no matter what you’re doing! I ordered this record from the Woodsist label website and waited by the mailbox for two weeks until it finally arrived and it has been on high rotation ever since.
How Far Away is essentially a pop record but it has this cool country twang that gives it the warmth that only someone like Neil Young can bring. Listening to the lyrics from Bleeker it becomes apparent that, like most of my favourite records, it is undeniably about a breakup. With tracks like Don’t Look Back and All My Songs clearly written about a specific lover, his use of tone and melody make these songs easily relatable and they resonate with the listener.
Alex Bleeker, with the collective of like-minded creatives around him, has managed to build a record with musical delights that is strewn with emotion and vulnerability. You might not be able to find this at your local record store but if you are intrigued you can order online from the Woodsist label website.
Blast From The Past | Tim Buckley
Do you have one of those albums that you throw on at the end of the night and groove to, not caring if you are alone or in a house full of people? No? Well I sure do and through summer it gets totally flogged! Tim Buckley’s 1972 album Greetings From L.A. is usually the last thing I hear after a big night and when I wake up in the morning there is always a half empty glass of wine nearby.
The album cover is a sweeping image of Los Angeles, smog and all and the inside gatefold is set out, cleverly, like a postcard and there he is, gas mask and all. You can see where Jeff got his good looks!
The album opens with Move With Me and Buckley describes a scene of adultery. Following on to Get On Top, Buckley’s lusty vocals continue throughout the entirety of Greetings. It just oozes sex and Tim is the man of pleasure. Buckley’s lyrics, coupled with rolling bass lines and jungle rhythms keep you grooving and sets you up for what’s to come. Usually by the time Sweet Surrender hits and Buckley is exploring his own infidelity, the girls have joined me in the lounge room and we’re swaying and singing into the remote controls.
Buckley displays an air of confidence in Greetings, which is something unseen in his earlier music. He had experimented with song structures and style in the past but this album sees all of that really come into light, making Greetings From L.A. Tim Buckley’s most critically acclaimed album and one of the sexiest records in my collection.
Oddball | Morning of the Earth
Every Gold Coaster has seen or at least heard of Morning Of The Earth, the iconic surf film by Australian filmmaker Albert Falzon and produced by David Elfick. The film explores the lives of surfers on the northeast coast of Australia, Bali and Hawaii in pursuit of the perfect wave. Making their own homes and boards, these men are in true spiritual harmony with nature.
While down in Melbourne we picked up the original soundtrack on vinyl and all throughout this summer it has been spinning quite often. Produced by G. Wayne Thomas the soundtrack features a compilation of artists playing cool, folk-rock tunes that are perfectly matched to the Australian coastline. In 2010 the soundtrack was actually included in a book titled The 100 Best Australian Albums compiled by music journalists and industry folk Toby Creswell, Craig Mathieson and John O’Donnell.
The album opens with a very moving track by G. Wayne Thomas with the same title as the film. The track runs so smoothly and really sets the vibe for the soundtrack. It builds and builds without getting over the top and when it’s all over, I want to start it again. Although the entire album is great I’m always excited to flip it over because the second side is standout! Opening with a beautiful instrumental track by Tamam Shud (pictured), Bali Waters, it has a beautiful melody from delightful wind instruments coupled with the twang of the electric guitar to keep it grounded. It’s surprisingly catchy!
Other standout tracks include Making It On Your Own (Brian Cadd) and I’m Alive (Peter Howe). I feel so lucky to have this in my growing collection and I urge you to keep an eye out for it too.