“Playboys in the Bush” has been out on CD and vinyl for a few months now, along with a 7″ split single where The Puddle team up with Robert Scott (The Clean, The Bats) for some rarities. You can download it or order the LP from our bandcamp site here.
The Puddle album has been gathering some sweet reviews too:
“…a heavy, confusing, heady and eccentric album. It has all the usual parts you’d expect: drums, bass, guitars, singing, verses, choruses etc; but it puts them together in such a hallucinatory way it sounds like something quite new… to follow it intently is to fall down the rabbit-hole for 12 songs. Mandatory listening for undergraduate boys.” 5/5 Waikato Times
“fans of Pavement and the 1990s American slack school can squint and see the southern-hemisphere source of those insouciant grooves, and the decision to retell Norse mythology chug-guitar-style on the nine-minute Valhalla is inspired.” Sunday Times (UK)
“further evidence that The Puddle are enjoying the kind of career high which other bands experience in their youth then lose” www.elsewhere.co.nz
“The track about about what Thor, Odin, and his mates get up to in the wee small hours (think Iggy singing Beowulf) is the mad but gripping centrepiece of this set… shows the second wind that frontman George D Henderson’s band have shown on their noughties albums is still blowing strong… Might be time to sign up for that cult following.” 4.5/5 NZ Herald
“…a rollicking cohesive swagger, quirky yet very comfortable with itself. Like the best bits of Flying Nun. Emphasis on lurid simplicity, curly Q&A, unexpected nuance in amongst the somewhat twisted innocence and pure iron. Beautiful cover art by Tanya Hoarfrost, especially if gorgeous frolicking nymphs is your thing. Get it.” NZ Musician
“Right from the get-go, Henderson’s lyrics and delivery grab you by the short and curlies: unmoderated, direct, contentious, outrageous. The overall picture is of a slightly deranged individual, with his shaky, manic vocals reinforcing this raw art… There is a very bottom-of-the-world hopelessness about these songs, but in their own way, they’re great songs, and even, sometimes, pop songs… Like a punk-edged Syd Barrett who has lost, then found himself again (while remaining seriously askew), George Henderson and his Puddle have managed to squeeze out a short but potent work… There’s nothing else quite like it.” http://www.witchdoctor.co.nz
George has provided the following track-by-track commentary on the album:
What I Believe
This first song relates directly to the romantic genesis of the album; at a Puddle gig at Chicks Hotel (September 9th 2005) I heard a name from the past, and saw a face from my future; made plans to travel to Auckland to be with the one I love; two days later Richard Steele rang me out of the blue and offered to record The Puddle in Wellington; I fly there from Auckland, where in the meantime I had written this song (amongst others); meet the band and record the album on a honeymoon high. There were screeds more lyrics for this one; the main riff and chorus phrase quote from a 1981 song by The And Band (1980-1981). Richard Steele’s massed brass takes this to another level.
Rainbow Bridge Airlines
Also based on an And Band recording, one I made with Mark Thomas, filtered through rockabilly and krautrock psychedelia. I revived and reworked it in Auckland to form a conceptual link to Valhalla.
English Speaking World
This is one of maybe two songs I wrote during my whole ten year “dead to the world” Hep C period, composed on Peter Gutteridge’s old player piano in the late 1990’s. The chorus (“You’ve got to get in to get out”) is lifted from “The Carpet Crawlers”, the star track on everyone’s favourite Genesis album, “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway”.
Based on a half-song written in Christchurch 1981, to which Lindsay Maitland contributed some of the more “literary” lines, and (like all the songs here which date from the And Band period) very much completed much later, shortly before recording. The last verse is quoted from Rimbaud’s fragment, “Est-elle Almée?” My French here may be atrocious, but so, by all accounts, was Rimbaud’s English.
The organ is a digital Hammond B3; the first and last time I’ve fallen in love with a digital instrument.
Delmore Schwartz (In Dreams)
Absolutely and completely modern love song written and completed shortly before recording the album. Nils Olsen, who plays the lovely liquid sax lines here, used to play in a band called Let’s Get Naked, who were contemporaries of the early Puddle. Their best known song was “Funky Dunedin”.
“Imagine” by John Lennon was the first record I bought.
This song grew and grew from the mere pleasure of playing metallic riffs. My favourite record in my parent’s collection as a child was a 45 of “The Ride of the Valkyrie”, best played loud. When I was a child, beginning to learn School Cert music in high school, I was made to study in a dusty backroom cluttered with musical detritus while the 7th formers listened to Led Zep and Pink Floyd in the main classroom (it was there that I first heard a Syd Barrett song winging its way through the wall, a pivotal moment in my relationship with sound). I used to pore over an encyclopedia of music; the entry on Wagner’s Siegfried was illustrated with photographs and diagrams of the dragon from Fritz Lang’s film of that name. A six-legged French river dragon encountered earlier in Look and Learn also made its way into this song. What I know about Norse and Germanic mythology I learned in primary school in Scotland. I was deeply impressed by the mood of blood and gloom in those stories in which no-one, not even a God, lives happily ever after.
The Norwegian Black Metal bands will probably put a fatwah on me when they hear this.
This is a true Dunedin Sound song, written and arranged in 1985, and originally performed by The Puddle as myself, Ross Jackson, Lesley Paris, Peter Gutteridge and Lindsay Maitland. Misanthropic, environmental, and sentimental, it’s my favourite lyric of that era.
A favourite of the 1993 “Thursday/Too Hot to be Cool” era Puddle. Some floozies are working over some gangster, in the lyric I wrote, but people will hear what they want to hear and disregard the rest. The riff is an homage to Microdisney’s “Big Sleeping House”. This is one of the tracks where Heath Te Au’s amazing drumming is heard at its best.
Weight of the Stars
This song existed, as its first verse only, in (yes) The And Band era, composed on chloral in a dark and poky Clifford flat on Bealey Ave. The early version was only played once and recorded by Ian Henderson in Invercargill. It was completed in 2005 in Auckland in my lover’s house and recorded first with Bryan Spittle, my Mink collaborator. Both Ian’s version and Bryan’s feature rhythm loops, making this one of the few Puddle songs to ever go anywhere near a drum machine. Richard has progged this up considerably by treating the guitars like synths, bringing out all the mechanical dissonance implicit in the original riff.
This might be my favourite Puddle song, because of the way it just poured through my mind onto the guitar one day in 1982. It took me less time to write this song than it takes to play it here. I only realized recently that the lyrics might owe something to Kevin Ayers’ “Shouting in a Bucket Blues” (“I might say that I love you, but that would be a lie. I can only say I try, and I know it”), a song I last heard in 1976 (in fact, I realise only now how much my songwriting owes to an early and half-forgotten exposure to the best work of Kevin Ayers). A good example of Ross Jackson’s feel for the bass; when you play a song like this, you want to relax into it, and that’s only possible when the bass player’s got your back. Richard Steele plays the organ, with more jazzy levitation that’s beyond me. Monogamy is a song that’s on nearly every Puddle LP, because every lineup plays it differently. It’s our “My Favourite Things”.