As he gears up for a national tour with a new incarnation of his legendary backing band The Builders, Bill Direen has scored a rave review in the US music mag Verbicide. I can't track down the text of the review on the Verbicide site, so I'll reproduce it in full here. Before I do, though, I wanted to mention that plans are afoot for Bill and friends to end their tour by playing a charity gig for the Civil Rights Defence Committee, which was set up after the police 'anti-terror' raids on October the 15th to try to stave off the onset of a police state in Godzone. The gig will be held at Ponsonby's PR Bar on Saturday December the 1st, and will see Bill sharing the stage with some of Auckland's dodgiest writers. Details soon...
Human Kindness - Powertool Records - CD
Ever heard of this guy? New Zealand poet/writer/musician William Direen has been writing and recording music since the mid-'70s. Possessing a name recognizable in his homeland, as well as in Europe (where most of Human Kindness, his latest, was recorded and engineered), Direen remains unjustifiably unknown in the States. Completist collectors and bohemians rejoice at this discovery: moody, minimalist, and possessing a spontaneous beatnik attitude, Direen's music shifts seamlessly from quiet, measured pop songs, to disjointed jam sessions. Should find a home in the heart of fans of everyone from Sonic Youth to Pere Ubu to Beck circa One Foot In The
Direen is at his best when performing his quiet, bluesy jams recorded with just him and a guitar; even the occasional recording hiss is welcome in a world of overproduction. Direen's baritone voice fits well with his style of playing - he never tries too hard to be too quirky or overbearing, and intersperses several meditative instrumentals as well. All in all, quite a find. Eighteen tracks guarantee you'll find something to like, but I'd start with "Same Situation," "Romeo's Song," "In The Beauty House," and the haunting "It Was Good While It Lasted."
- Jackson Ellis