With the release of his third studio album 'The Nihilist' via Yep Roc Records, Liam Finn remains as exciting as ever as he explains it is his 'most genuine record [he's] ever made'. The songs have quite a different tone to his previous material and that might be partly brought on by the fact that Finn played an impressive 67 instruments on the new album. Having gone solo in 2007 after being the frontman of Betchadupa, Finn quickly caught people's attention with two well-received albums, 'I'll Be Lightning' and 'FOMO'. Liam took some time to chat with us about the album, as well as life in Brooklyn, performing with Pearl Jam and how having a musician father affected his musicianship.
CM: Hello Liam, you have a new album out, 'The Nihilist'. Tell us a bit about that.
Liam: It's just come out which is very exciting. I finished it at the end of last year, so I've had that nervous excitement to have it released out into the world and it not being my baby anymore. I feel it's quite a different record for me. There's still connections to things I've done in the past, but it still feels like the most real and genuine thing I've ever made. I followed through on a lot of gut instincts, even in the disheartening moments of labels deciding they didn't like the way it was going. It almost shook my confidence, but actually just made me more determined to go through with it and make it the best thing I've ever done.
CM: What made you want to choose 'Snug As Fu**' as a single from the album?
Liam: I think it felt like a good stepping stone from what I've done in the past to what this record is. Also, I found that whenever I was playing the new stuff to friends and family, that was the first one I went to so I had a gut instinct. The fact it's called 'Snug As Fu**', by the time I'd finished it, I'd sort of forgotten it had a crude title. We name anything in New Zealand 'as fu**'. We put 'as.' at the end of anything to signify an extremity. It was just always one of my favourites on the record as well.
Continue reading: Liam Finn - Interview
There's a subtle blast of righteous anger in this pointed drama, which finds present-day relevance in a true story that's more than 30 years old. The focus is on normal people who are caught up in an unjust system that leans toward ignorance and bigotry even if child's life is in danger. And watching them muster the strength to fight back is utterly riveting, because they're flawed and daunted exactly like we would be.
It takes place in 1979 Los Angeles, where Rudy (Cumming) works as a nightclub drag artist. When his hard-partying neighbour (Allman) abandons her Downs Syndrome son Marco (Leyva), Rudy steps up to take care of him. But he needs to find a longer-term solution, so he turns to Paul (Dillahunt), a divorced lawyer who has barely admitted to himself that he's gay. Rudy and Paul have only tentatively started a relationship, so Paul is reluctant. But Marco needs a guardian, so he helps Rudy get foster custody and moves them into his own home to help improve their legal status. But as they become a family, it becomes increasingly difficult for Paul to remain closeted, and when his sexuality emerges the court takes Marco away.
Even when the film shifts into a courtroom drama, it balances the drama with real-life humour and authentic emotional intensity. Watching these two compassionate men face systematic homophobia is pretty shocking, but filmmaker Fine never lets this become an issue movie: it's an involving story about people standing up for what's right. And by anchoring everything in the relationships, the film remains warm, relaxed and likeably awkward. This is mainly because Cumming and Dillahunt make such an unusual couple as the unapologetic queen and the strong-but-silent repressed guy.
Continue reading: Any Day Now Review
At the age of 27 Liam Finn has certainly built up an impressive musical CV. Aside from fronting the now defunct New Zealand outfit Betchadupa, he's supported the likes of Eddie Vedder, The Black Keys and has been part of Crowded House's touring band. It's no surprise then that his solo output has been infrequent. New album FOMO isn't your usual singer/songwriter fare either, with a magpie tendency at the core of its 10 songs.
Continue reading: Liam Finn, FOMO Album Review