I hear dead people – Rock’s Back Pages

No, I am not a psychic, I have been listening to dead musicians. Big deal you say, you can hear dead musicians all the time by turning on the radio or just listening to some of the music on Spotify. What I have been listening to is audio interviews of musicians on Rock’s Back Pages, (there are also audio interviews with musicians who are still alive, if listening to people beyond the grave is not your thing).

Here’s my list of audio interviews from Rock’s Backpages (all deceased)

Rock’s Back Pages has a huge variety of articles from heaps of different music publications like New Musical Express (NME), Real Groove and Rolling Stone. You will find artists (both dead and alive) like Ella Fitzgerald, Lorde, Joy Division and the White Stripes and so much more. Check out this fantastic eResource – it’s like going through a record collection in a second hand store, you never know what you will find.

“Here comes your band…”

The iconic and legendary Pixies are well and truly back and we are giving away tickets for their Christchurch show on 9 March.

In 2014 they returned from a 23 year hiatus amid much anticipation with their comeback album Indie Cindy, which was met with thunderous applause & critical acclaim (…from myself, at least!) and if they’d stopped there I would’ve felt completely satisfied as a lifelong fan. Having waited since 1991 for an album of new material (Trompe le Monde), it’s clear that they’ve picked up right where they left off – melodic, lyrical, grunty, and with bucket loads of their signature explosiveness.

Pixies
Pixies 2017 lineup. Image supplied.

It’s now the early stages of 2017, they’ve got a new bass player (Paz Lenchantin), and I’m stoked to be readying myself to see them live right here in Christchurch, on Thursday, 9 March at Horncastle Arena, as they tour their latest album Head Carrier.

Released late last year, Head Carrier is yet another example of their signature sound and songwriting styles, and if you’ve never heard them before then this album is well worth a listen if you like bands such as The Stone Roses, Smashing Pumpkins, or even The Jesus & Mary Chain – another 1990s indie band due to make a comeback this year.

If you’re keen to win a double pass to the Christchurch Pixies show just answer the simple question on our competitions page.

Good luck and see you on the night!

The last of the Bee Gee…??

At the age of 70, Barry Gibb has released a new album In the now, his first in 32 years, is at once a memorial to his brothers and a possible departing letter to his fans.

I’ve read anecdotally that Barry received ‘visions’ of his deceased brothers (Andy and Robin) which helped him in his drive and direction for this new album. Whether or not these ‘visitations’ influenced his work or not, the new album stands up as classic Barry Gibb songwriting craft and is full of Bee Gees flavour in performance.

The style runs across from the punchy dancey tracks most associated with the Bee Gees, through to the balladic style more akin to their early roots. Add to that some smooth Latin grooves and a hint of country-pop stylings, some superb quality production, and you’ve got a dynamic and soulful selection of tunes. At the grand age that he is, Barry has still got a voice that is as timeless as his craft.

The influence and importance of the brothers Gibb can’t be overstated in the annals of music history IMHO. With 28 US Top Ten singles, they were rather unfortunately overshadowed by The Beatles frenzy. But they were at the very forefront of the disco music movement and highly regarded in the industry for their songwriting.

There’s a whole raft of articles from music journals in history documenting the rise & rise of the Bee Gees, and you can access these through our fantastic resource Rock’s Backpages using your Christchurch City Libraries login.

Bee Gees

The library also offers opportunities to explore the Bee Gees back catalogue with scores & P.V.G (piano, vocal, guitar) sheet music.

In a time of bands of yesteryear still continuing to tour with material that is 40+yrs old, it should be celebrated that a giant of music is still producing quality original compositions, and he’s still touring and on his way to New Zealand in April 2017!

Barry is joined by his two sons, Ashley & Stephen, for this album which is a fitting tribute to his family’s musical history, making this another Gibb family gem – get your ears around it!

eResource Spotlight – Rock’s Backpages

I’ve decided to give everyone a little run through on some of the eResources we have on offer at Christchurch City Libraries to help let people know about some of the great databases we have access to.

Rock's Backpages

While I’m not officially in charge of knowing about Rock’s Backpages I couldn’t help but promote it! This site collects over 30,000 articles from a huge array of music journalism publications about various rock and roll bands from the last 50+ years.

The archive features:

  • Full-text articles that can be searched by artist, writer, date, genre and keyword;
  • A – Z lists of subjects, artists, writers and publications you can browse;
  • Audio recordings of interviews etc;
  • Previously unpublished pieces about the Beatles, the Doors and many others;
  • Seminal interviews with major artists from Bob Dylan to Radiohead.

Most of the publications the articles are sourced from are from the UK. Over 40 articles a week are added, with contributions from over 600 journalists. The term “Rock” is very loosely applied to all manner of bands, so there will be something here for everybody. Look up your favourite musicians and see how they have been written about throughout history, like a nice wee time capsule. Especially great are album reviews of now quintessential rock music that critics panned at the time, or live show reviews that can give you a sense of just how “out there” Alice Cooper really was in his prime. Well worth a look

Ben
The Library at Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre

Punker than Punk … Rock’s Backpages

An exploration of the new music resource Rock’s Backpages, available free to you through Christchurch City Libraries:

“Underrated” is a term that is widely and oftentimes overused when talking about music and rightly so, it’s a passionate subject!

When I think of “underrated”, in terms of music at least, I think of The Saints – a punk/rock band well ahead of their time, contemporaries of The Ramones, pre-dating The Sex Pistols & The Clash, and hailing from OUR OWN REGION! – albeit on the other side of the Tasman (1970s Brisbane), so why are they not as noted as these others?? They certainly deserve to be, in my humble musical opinion!

My first exposure to The Saints was being handed an old cassette (remember those?!?) by a boyfriend of my older sister back in the 1980s. The tape was many-generations-of-overdubs old with illegible scribbles all over the labels. One side had some pretty decent Australian Rock’n’Roll, on the other side … Eternally Yours by The Saints. It was loud, it was raw & packed with lyrics shouting at you to “Wake Up” & see what’s happening around you! Fair to say it blew my young mind & changed the way I viewed (& engaged) with music and the world forever, and it still sits on my regular playlists today.

See more articles about The Saints in Rock’s Backpages.

In this modern age of accessibility I’m pleased to see that The Saints are now achieving some kind of recognition, with notable artists such as Nick Cave or the Hives claiming them as direct inspiration. The growth of digitisation of historic articles is also making it possible to read about their influence and music.

CoverThere’s loads of books around these days too dealing with the histories of underground music. A good one is Mavericks of Sound: Conversations with Artists who Shaped Indie and Roots Music by David A. Ensminger, a good read looking at some interesting areas of the world underground music

Christchurch City Libraries subscribes to Rock’s Back Pages, through which you can search for and read articles from the history of the world’s music press – articles that were published at the same time as the artists were operating. It covers reviews, opinion pieces & much more – a truly valuable resource for those of us who are into music!

You can log in using your user name & password/PIN, have a look through and see what you can find about the bands that you love, the ones that have influenced you, and the ones that have changed your life – it all makes for interesting & nostalgic reading!

Stay Punk!

Rock’s Backpages are here!

Some of my earliest musical memories involve heated debates between my parents about what should be next on the record player. Mum wants ABBA and Dad wants Led Zeppelin. The compromise was Queen.

Everyone has musical memories and heroes. I had Madonna posters on the wall, even though Dad had nothing good to say about someone who takes crucifixes so lightly. Our latest eResource embraces and feeds our love for music by providing articles, reviews and interviews with the well-known – and not so well-known – musical artists that have haunted our hearing.

Rock’s backpages is a wonderful archive of musical journalism that covers from the 1950s until today. Just yesterday I spent half an hour listening to an interview with Robin Gibb talking about surviving the Hither Green railway crash which killed 49 people in 1967. This is an example of the random gems of information you come across while searching this eResource. Who hasn’t sung regardless of skill? Who hasn’t danced despite a lack of coordination? Dive into this new musical eResource from us and find your musical heroes waiting.