New song! No, not a ‘new’ from the album I put out a few weeks, back an actual new one.

It’s called ‘Misunderstanding Ovation’, and it’s what I hope will be the first of 52 new tracks released one at a time over the next year. Yes, 52. I’m not kidding!

While ‘Undelete’ was my go at a sprawling but carefully-produced set of tunes – a la the White Album, if I want to get pretentious – over the years I’ve built up quite a collection of tunes that live on my master spreadsheet under the headings ‘messy’ or ‘indie rock’ I could get never get right before, or they didn’t fit.

Finally armed with a good amp and some decent microphones – not to mention a growing realisation no matter how well I produce anything, obscurity is my destiny – I decided it’s time to just get some of this shit out there. Bash it out, put it out. You never know, eh?

And being 2021, what better way than to just… bash it out and put it out.

‘Misunderstanding Ovation’

So here’s the first, ‘Misunderstanding Ovation’. It’s a tune I wrote in February about a truly bizarre piece of pandemic-era news that literally could only have happened in New Zealand. In 2020 Amanda Palmer, singer with the Dresden Dolls, found herself stuck in New Zealand – bit of fortunate luck, considering everything that was going on.

I pinched this picture of Amanda Palmer from her website but that's OK because she kicked my friend in the head
Amanda Palmer, strolling into a New Zealand cafe during a pandemic

Fast forward to January 2021, and the US was inaugurating a new president slightly less orange and corrupt than the last. After visiting a local cafe that morning, Palmer becomes Twitter’s Main Character for the day when she tweets: “just walked into a coffeeshop here in aotearoa new zealand and everybody behind the counter, not really knowing me but knowing i was american, erupted in spontaneous applause”. No, really.

This kind of shit is deeply funny to New Zealanders. No one believed it for a second, and it actually sparked an investigation by one of our finest journalists, who discovered “no major factual errors in her tweet”. Yeah, it actually kinda happened. But before the shocking truth was uncovered, Palmer was subjected to several blocks of cheese’s worth of ridicule (blocks of cheese is how things are measured in NZ, everything from tax cuts to babies).

One of the best quips came from a Member of Parliament, Chris Penk, who’s a shoe-in for Minister of Puns, Dad Jokes and Self-Deprecation if his party ever makes it back into power.

“It was a misunderstanding ovation,” Penk said.

Told him I’d be pinching that title for a song… and two weeks later, a demo was written and recorded. “Awesome,” he told me after I shared the demo with him, without actually confirming whether he’d listened to it or not. But that still surely makes it the first tune with the lyric “orange man bad” that’s ever had parliamentary approval.

Anyway, here’s the final version! It’s not too dissimilar from the demo to be honest, just given a bit more balls and variation in the guitar arrangement. I’m still figuring out how to get the best out of the amp – but with the next 51 tunes, does it really matter?

Listen on Bandcamp, Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, YouTube, Tidal, Deezer and Amazon. Check out other songs in the ‘A Year in the Life’ project here.

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