The Puddle, a revolving line-up of musicians assembled around the unstable core of George D. Henderson, have been around, in one form or another, since 1984. Three albums and a 7” single on Flying Nun between 1986 and 1993 attracted critical appreciation and notoriety in equal measures for “pop as shambling and sweet as you could possibly imagine”. In 1993 The Puddle toughened up and recorded the definitive brainy outsider rock album, “Songs for Emily Valentine”, but, apart from a 1995 single on a French label, the SFEV recordings were not released until 2005.
In 2007 Henderson recorded the album ""No Love No Hate"" with his brother in Dunedin. The song ""No Sequels"" here is taken from that album.
Henderson continues to write and record eccentric psych-pop in Dunedin and a further album, ""The Shakespeare Monkey"" was released in 2009. The Song ""Friends"" here is an out-take from those sessions. Frequent journalistic references to Henderson as the ""Syd Barrett of the South Seas"" are mis-placed, however his music and guitar playing was always inspired by Syd (check out ""Friends"" here).
""The Shakespeare Monkey"" is only be the Puddle’s 6th album in over 25 years, and sees George joined by Gavin Shaw (Polyamorous Love Cult, Children’s Television Workshop) on bass and brother Ian Henderson (The Dark Beaks) once again on drums to deliver a joyfully diverse collection of tunes with a stylistic range of “Andy Williams meets The Stooges”.
“The Shakespeare Monkey” refers to the idea of infinite probability… the idea that monkeys typing typewriters for an infinite amount of time would eventually produce the works of Shakespeare. So could it also be true that if you left The Puddle’s George D. Henderson with a guitar and piano for over 30 years he would eventually produce an album of such brilliance it would make up for all the years of underachieving? That’s not for us to say, but, by George, we think he’s done it!
“Led by George D. Henderson this Dunedin band is on fire right now, with two great albums in as many years following more than two decades of illness, addiction, incarceration and patchy pop action. Such tender vocals, such wonky guitars, such marvelous meandering arrangements, such knowing meditations on human frailty – indie pop comes no better” Sunday Star Times (NZ)
"Beautifully resigned guitar pop...full of the kind of articulate and well-read pop songs that made Henderson's home country the epicentre of literate guitar music in the 1980s and '90s." Uncut (UK)
"This unexpected new album encapsulates perfectly that distinctly velvety Aotearoan drone-pop sound...the tortoise of New Zealand rock finally honours his forgotten promise."
Sunday Times (UK)
"The Shakespeare Monkey represents the pinnacle of the indie pop craft in Aotearoa. It's an album that, at 17 tracks long, is best (and easily) absorbed in a single sitting, where its lovely ebb and flow can best be appreciated." * * * * The Southland Times (NZ)
“Puddle songwriter George D Henderson has absorbed Nick Drake’s melancholy, The Stooges’ raw power, The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band’s desolate psychedelia, The Verlaines’ literate noir and krautrock’s menacing hypnotism to create an epic of vulnerable splendour.” Fire Escape Talking (UK)
“a new album of shimmering, shambling pop songs which could have come from nowhere else but New Zealand. For anyone lusting after the Flying Nun glory days, this album makes a perfect soundtrack to summer” Real Groove Magazine (NZ), Editor's Top Ten Deadline Distractions
"a heartening return on a 25-year investment. Rich in craftily constructed melodies... it places Henderson squarely where he has long deserved to be: among the pantheon of Kiwi rock deities... it's impossible to deny the charm of these 17 tracks." * * * * Otago Daily Times (NZ)
"It’s endearingly eccentric, with an almost hypnotically laidback feel that keeps you wanting more" SoundsXP (UK)
“This is an album which keeps attention at every turn…Already in the Best of Elsewhere 2009. Unquestionably.” www.elsewhere.co.nz
"I was reminded of American bands like Sebadoh, Firehose and even Galaxy 500... If Flying Nun was ever your thing, or still is, seek this out... you will not be disappointed." * * * * Waikato Times (NZ)
"The right honourable George D. Henderson’s the epitome of under-rated in the songwriting stakes, right from the start he’s produced lyrical pop beauties and his latest isn’t an exception, just exceptional." * * * * Real Groove Magazine (NZ)
"All the ingredients that make up the Puddle sound are here, from rambling psychedelia to Flying Nun jangle and garage rock, complete with Henderson’s understated vocal delivery and delightfully deconstructed guitar solos. At times wistful and melancholic Henderson’s lyrics can also be sharp and witty and show a literate if eccentric insight into his world. There’s nothing else quite like The Puddle and it’s this eclectic originality that gives ‘The Shakespeare Monkey’ its considerable lo-fi indie charm." New Zealand Musician
“Henderson sounds like a man out of time but somehow also perfectly in place""(The Wire Magazine)
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