As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound from luminaries such as Roy Montgomery.
Montgomery’s is a life of enrichment. He was central to the emergence of New Zealand’s underground in the late 70s and early 80s, left to pursue interests in academia and art, only to return with a noggin full of new ideas, refreshing a scene that continues to flourish in the digital age.
But his biggest mark has yet to be made. Throughout his lengthy career as a musician, he’s left a hefty catalog of must-listens. And yet, it seems Montgomery’s is a canon that is rooted in the idea that one loud roar is not as effective as steeled composure spread among multiple compositions.
Music from the Film Hey Badfinger is the coalescing of this philosophy under the banner of paying tribute to the Badfinger; a lost history and cautionary tale of rock and roll success and failure that was conveniently swept under the rug. Though Montgomery’s 23 spirits of miniature rock won’t serve as renewed notice, they do keep the memories of Badfinger—the good and bad—alive for a new generation unfamiliar with the band’s tainted legacy.
Montgomery is playful through Hey Badfinger, not only in his up-tempo guitar mantras but with the subject matter. He laments the hangings of Pete Ham and Tom Evans, cheekily references Badfinger songs with response titles (for example, “Come & Get It” becomes “Go & Get It” under Montgomery’s abbreviated tribute, the emotional response of the McCartney creation all that links the two in sound), and channels the jangle-pop of the era with his stripped sound.
The brilliance of Hey Badfinger is not in its accolade but in its brevity. Twenty-three creations that bleed into each other, Montgomery seeming to conjure the music on the fly after a binge listening of Badfinger’s work; a reminder how immediate and connected music is not only between musician and audience but between fellow musicians, no matter the generational gap.
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