'My Brain Exploded' is Bernie Griffen and The Thin Men’s first single release from Bernie’s third album, Doors Wide Open. It’s a self-portrait, he says: “I’ve given up the H, now just struggling with the ADD, it drives me crazy!"
'My Brain Exploded' is a jaunty exploration of scrambled thinking and relationship negotiation, set to a Latin rhythm. It’s a testament to both his own sense of imperfection and to his long-standing relationship with Kirsten Warner, emerging member of his band The Thin Men. “You’ve been asking questions of my behaviour, I feel like a body full of swollen glands. You laugh and cry and look at me/Love and doubt and fury in your eyes/Why can’t you be, a steady man/And all I can do is sigh."
Doors Wide Open may be overall light, brighter and less melancholic than his first two albums. But mortality is sometimes on Bernie Griffen’s mind. 'When I Die' is a love song honouring a lifetime with Kirsten Warner. The ‘sweet sorrow’ of the song is an enduring quality of both their voices and music.
Dubbed Southern Gothic, Bernie Griffen mines a terrain of his own that could also be described as swamp folk or psychedelic country and shows his understanding and feel for his American and Kiwi music roots. It travels from the classic driving blues 'Truck Song' to the whimsical country swing of 'Wedding Waltz', the classic folk 'Emigrants Song' to the Latin-feel of Bernie’s ADHD exploration 'My Brain Exploded'.
'Doors Wide Open', the title track, is another love song and a pop-ier offering full of Beatles harmonies and lyrics that describe his wandering, Sagittarian leanings.
Griffen and Warner recorded the 10 songs during an emergency stopover in Australia when Bernie Griffen got sick en route to a European tour. The album’s big ballad 'I Fell Out of the Sky' draws on that life-and-death experience. In Melbourne they joined the Brunswick Old Time String Orchestra and a network of community musicians. They were lucky enough to be introduced to virtuoso mandolin player Luke Plumb from Celtic superband Shooglenifty.
Luke Plumb produced and played various strings on the album. It was recorded in a day and a half at Echidna Studio in the Yarra Valley with New Zealander Rob Mahoney (bass) klezmer specialist Judy Gunson (piano) and Ben McAtamney on drums, with vocals laid down in a day in Luke Plumb’s home studio in Footscray.
It’s the first time the couple have recorded an album together, although Kirsten Warner contributed backing vocals on Griffen’s previous albums Salvation (2014) and Everything so Far (2012) with Bernie Griffen and The Grifters.
NZ MUSIC MONTH TOUR DATES:
Saturday May 12 - Waitakere Library, Auckland Thursday May 17 - Point Chevalier Library, Auckland
DOORS WIDE OPEN TOUR DATES: Friday May 25 - The Refinery, Paeroa Saturday May 26 - The Incubator, Tauranga Friday June 1 - house concert, Hawkes Bay Saturday June 2 - Acacia Bay Hall, Taupo Sunday June 10 - The Rogue Stage, Rotorua Friday June 15 - Kumeu Live, Auckland Sunday June 24 - Kauaeranga Hall, Thames Friday June 29 - Meow Cafe, Wellington Saturday June 30 - St Peter’s Hall, Paekakariki Friday July 6 - Great Southern Tuning Fork, Auckland*
Shakey Graves a.k.a Alejandro Rose-Garcia was born in Austin Texas to a musical family and is best-known for playing a smoky, spectral fusion of blues, folk and rock in a stripped down one-man-band style.
On the week of the release of his new album Rainbow Valley, Australian musician Matt Corby announces his biggest New Zealand headline concerts yet, at Auckland’s Civic Theatre on April 18, and Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington on April 20.
There's no denying that at my core, I'm a lover of progressive music - whether that means I love "prog" music or not is a question for another day, and is a topic which I touched on whilst talking to Steven Wilson the other week regarding the upcoming To The Bone show at Auckland's Bruce Mason Centre.
Auckland-based quartet Openside have added an extra date to their first, all-ages, nationwide tour. The group headlines The Seamless Tour will now perform a final show in Tauranga on July 20th featuring special guests DUNES .
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To this day I still remember my introduction to Sepultura - camped out in the granny flat bedroom of long-time friend Kerry - a live version of their cover of Motörhead's Orgasmatron, and from there it continues to this day
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“I find inspiration from people who are trying to do something different. There's a lot of producers trying to copy each other, eg Terror Squad. But it’s really cool to hear guys like SumthinSumthin, completely unchallenged in their own lane.” – Graham Matthews
John Butler Trio announce their return to New Zealand in March to play Nelson’s Trafalgar Centre on Saturday 2 March and an afternoon set outdoors at The Hunting Lodge in Waimauku, Auckland on Sunday 3 March.
British rock royalty Arctic Monkeys have ushered in a spectacular new era with their sixth studio album, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, and it has now been announced that the band will return to New Zealand for a mammoth arena show in March 2019.
Californian rock legends Jefferson Starship will join TOTO and Dragon on next year’s ‘A Summer’s Day Live’ series, which will take in some of the most picturesque locations and popular concert venues across New Zealand.
In celebration of the highly anticipated November release of their fourth studio album Delta,English folk conquerors Mumford & Sons today announced details of a massive 60 date world tour which will include a very special one day event in Auckland this Summer –their first New Zealand show since 2015!
George Ezra toured the world nonstop for more than two years following the release of his debut LP Wanted On Voyage, finally making it to Aotearoa for one of the standout sets of this year’s Auckland City Limits.
Following the release of her critically-acclaimed My Design, On Others Lives in April this year, Estère teams up with the poetically tongued NZ/Rwandan MC Raiza Biza, to take on the myth of an infamous figure in cross-continental African folklore, the Tokoloshe.
If Anika Moa was feeling ready to kick back for the remainder of 2018, then things haven’t really run to plan. In fact it’s about to get a whole lot busier for the multi-talented entertainer with a new album release, tv series and live shows all on the way.
Since achieving international recognition from Rollingstone.com and Billboard.com for hit singles Too Strung Up and Stone Cold, and amassing over 3 million Spotify streams for their releases to date, Alae now unveil All Gived Up.
'Call Me', the latest track by Wellington electro-pop singer and producer Josie Moon made last week's New Music Friday playlists from Spotify Australia/NZ and Japan and influential UK blogger Popjustice.
Colin Mochrie, Brad Sherwood and Greg Proops the popular stars of the Emmy nominated Whose Line Is It Anyway? have teamed up to present an evening of extraordinary improvisational comedy for one show only at the Bruce Mason Centre in Auckland.
In a New Zealand first, five of the stars of Twin Peaks, Sheryl Lee, Kimmy Robertson, Michael Horse, Al Strobel, Dana Ashbrook and the Executive Producer of Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series, Sabrina S. Sutherland, will visit Auckland and Christchurch for an exclusive and unique CONVERSATION WITH THE STARS evening.
Singer Elaine Paige has announced an 8-date series of concerts from October 10 to October 25 2018, which will see her perform songs from her illustrious career along side an array of her favourite tracks by contemporary songwriters.
The critically acclaimed, award-winning comedian and actor, Catherine Tate, is bringing The Catherine Tate Show - Live to New Zealand for the first time, with shows in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch commencing November 28, 2018.
It has been announced overnight that Last Tapes Theatre Company's original production Valerie has been selected for a month-long season in the prestigious Summerhall programme at Edinburgh Festival Fringe this August.
Featuring Brouhaha: choreographer Malia Johnston, composer Eden Mulholland, AV designer Rowan Pierce; In Transit: choreographer Louise Potiki Bryant, composer/AV designer Paddy Free; The Geography of an Archipelago: choreographer Stephen Shropshire, composer Chris O’Connor.
The last hurrah of the Comedy Fest! The Season Finale! The bit at the end where the awards are decided, everybody relaxes and much fun is had. It’s the titled Last Laughs on Sunday 20 May at SkyCity Theatre.
The 13th Annual Doc Edge, International Documentary Film Festival opens today - Wednesday 9th May at Wellington’s Roxy Cinema followed by Auckland’s Q Theatre on Wednesday 23rd May, bringing an influx of prestigious directors and documentary subjects from all over the world.