THE FINKS Rolling it nice

Signed to Courtney Barnett’s Milk Records, Oliver Mestitz shares eight YouTube videos that influenced his band The Finks’ new album Rolly Nice, and the results are educational to say the least. Read: everybody should watch these videos.

Says Mestitz: “This playlist contains songs that can be watched (live footage or TV/radio broadcasts), or else versions of songs that I haven’t been able to find anywhere apart from on YouTube. While I’m a long way from Billie Holiday or Duke Ellington, in making Rolly Nice I wanted to point towards the ineffable with the same gentle insistence. I wanted to make an album that could just as easily have been called Fine and Mellow or Mood Indigo.

Duke Ellington – Mood Indigo (broadcast 1952)
Duke Ellington claimed to have written Mood Indigo in 15 minutes, while he was waiting for his mother to finish cooking. It followed him for the rest of his life. I like this version best with its odd angles and tumbling intro, the footage blurry and surreal, a daydream through a foggy window.

James Brown – Please Please Please (live 1964)
What happens when you make James Brown play a support slot for the Rolling Stones? “I danced so hard my manager cried”, he later said. (NB. This video is worth it for the drummer alone)

Nina Simone – I Loves You Porgy (broadcast 1962)
I find it hard to make any kind of playlist without including Nina Simone. Just when I think I have a grasp on her career, I come across another handful of gems. This is one of them.

Arthur Russell – Eli (live footage)

Like Nina Simone, Arthur Russell is yet to leave me un-stumped. I’ve found a lot of comfort in his voice despite (because of?) its oddities and varied accompaniments.

Gurdjieff & De Hartmann – The Struggle Of The Magicians, Part Three
A few years ago, a friend of mine travelled alone to New Zealand for his 30th birthday.  He played a couple of shows and met a stranger who drove him across the country and taught him how to read enneagrams based on Gurdjieff’s teachings. At about the same time, I started listening to Gurdjieff’s piano music because of another New Zealander, Maxine Funke.

Bob Dylan and Joan Baez – Never Let Me Go (from Renaldo and Clara)
Renaldo and Clara is one of the worst films I’ve ever seen, but it contains some of my favourite live footage of Bob Dylan. I remember learning this song and being disappointed that it was so simple. Where does all the magic come from?

Palace Music – Water (live 1993)

In the past three or four years I must have written three or four different songs only to realise they were all re-writes of this song.

Billie Holiday – Fine And Mellow (live 1957)

I’ve watched this footage more than anything else on Youtube. Lester Young’s solo is heartbreaking; I have to hold my breath. It was the last time he played with Billie Holiday. They both died within a couple of years of this film.