Posts Tagged ‘Auckland’

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Auckland-raised Molly Payton relocated to London two years back, as a 16-year-old and dropped her debut EP Mess in Spring of last year. Her brand of lyrically mature, angsty, shambolic pop juts between extremes of melody and discord, and found a fan in schoolfriend Oscar Lang, who produced her first tracks.

London-based artist Molly Payton takes us down the dark, emotional bottom of our own monophobia in her latest single “Warm Body” Over the luminescent, gauzy production, the gal breaks down the carnal distractions we indulge in when we want to avoid confronting our own feelings of loneliness. Directed by Silence Aitken-Till, the video features Molly on her own as she passes the time within the confinements of an RV: “I’d much rather go through bad stuff, feel it completely and write about it, and work through it in all those ways than protect myself from it and not have anything good happen ever. I think it’s tied together— you can never feel bad without feeling good. And vice versa.”

‘Warm Body’ is about looking for comfort in people when you’re lonely and letting yourself make mistakes. The first time I met my producer Oli-Barton Wood, we wrote ‘Warm Body’ together, and by the end of the day I knew that I wanted him to produce the whole EP. Oli is insanely talented and was so lovely to work with,  and recording ‘Porcupine’ was easily one of the best times of my life. He brought in Swedish band Francobollo to do some live band recording, they ended up becoming my live band and have been really good influences musically for me. The EP title relates to keeping people at arm’s length for fear of getting hurt, plus when I was recording it, I bleached my hair so many times that it broke off at the top and I spent three months looking like a porcupine.”

“Warm Body” is the first single from Molly Payton’s sophomore EP ‘Porcupine’

It is universally agreed that New Zealand’s Wax Chattels are a must-see live act; their hypnotically sinister debut captured this perfectly. Released in 2018 and supported by relentless touring, the eponymous album reached #7 on the Official New Zealand Album Charts, and release week saw the title feature as #1 in Rough Trade’s Top 20 New Releases. Tastemakers like NPR and A.V. Club came on as early champions. The album’s success at home and abroad led to the well-deserved nomination of Best Alternative Artist at the 2018 New Zealand Music Awards, as well as the band’s inclusion in the coveted shortlist of finalists for the Taite Music Prize and Auckland Live Best Independent Debut Award. After a knock-out entrée, the anticipation that surrounds their sophomore album, ‘Clot’, is immense.

Much like ‘Wax Chattels’, the writing process for ‘Clot’ took the best part of a year. While some songs were written on the road, the bulk of the album was workshopped throughout 2019 across bedrooms and storage containers. Demos were fine-tuned before taking them to the studio to be recorded by James Goldsmith (Aldous Harding, Mermaidens). Wax Chattels maintained the use of only the barest of ingredients — bass guitar, keyboard, and a two-piece drum kit — but the group spent more time experimenting with and finding new sounds. They wanted to maintain the same live element as in their debut, but, this time, heavier — for which they enlisted the help of mixing engineer, and fellow noise-maker, Ben Greenberg (Uniform, Destruction Unit, The Men). The keyboard sounds are noticeably thicker and the bass more intense. A marked step-up, this new record keeps the visceral energy of the debut, only this time they dig deeper into cathartic noise.

Clot’s inspiration — or, rather, frustration — came from the doomy, gloomy corners of Auckland’s underbelly, and the theme of confrontation is central. “Mindfulness” is about willingly tricking yourself into band-aid solutions; merely accepting the status quo rather than kicking up a fuss and forcing tangible change. The vitriolic choruses of “Cede” are in Cheng’s native language — Taiwanese Hokkien — and are an indignant confrontation about Cross-Strait relations and self-determination. The experience of being a first generation immigrant and not having a personal relationship with extended family is expressed in the melodic single “No Ties”. The song touches on cultural differences and the parental sacrifice of careers and support systems to provide a “better” future for their children. The explosive arc of “Efficiency” describes knowing when to bide your time, and when to push, in which the band treads a line between the explicit and intuitive. “Less is More” fumes with the frustration caused by the selective memories of others. The violent fantasies in “Spanners & Implements” suggest a more literal interpretation of these themes. This is carried through “An Eye”, in which the band stresses the physical harm and psychological breakdown emanating from the escalating racial and political uproar throughout the world.

Still, though the band seethes and boils throughout, ‘Clot’ concludes with a message of hope. On the final track, “You Were Right”, Ruddell expresses an aspiration toward alternative viewpoints: wading through the noise and chatter, ultimately being able to accept the opinions of others, albeit after careful consideration. Perhaps it’s this capacity for self-awareness that makes Wax Chattels one of New Zealand’s most treasured independent exports.

Releases September 25th, 2020

Everything changed for The Beths when they released their debut album, “Future Me Hates Me”, in 2018. The indie rock band had long been nurtured within Auckland, New Zealand’s tight-knit music scene, working full-time during the day and playing music with friends after hours. Full of uptempo pop rock songs with bright, indelible hooks, the LP garnered them critical acclaim from outlets like Pitchfork and Rolling Stone, and they set out for their first string of shows overseas. They quit their jobs, said goodbye to their hometown, and devoted themselves entirely to performing across North America and Europe. They found themselves playing to crowds of devoted fans and opening for acts like Pixies and Death Cab for Cutie. Almost instantly, The Beths turned from a passion project into a full-time career in music.

Songwriter and lead vocalist Elizabeth Stokes worked on what would become The Beths’ second LP, “Jump Rope Gazers”, in between these intense periods of touring. Like the group’s earlier music, the album tackles themes of anxiety and self-doubt with effervescent power pop choruses and rousing backup vocals, zeroing in on the communality and catharsis that can come from sharing stressful situations with some of your best friends. Stokes’s writing on Jump Rope Gazers grapples with the uneasy proposition of leaving everything and everyone you know behind on another continent, chasing your dreams while struggling to stay close with loved ones back home.

“If you’re at a certain age, all your friends scatter to the four winds,” Stokes says. “We did the same thing. When you’re home, you miss everybody, and when you’re away, you miss everybody. We were just missing people all the time.”

With songs like the rambunctious “Dying To Believe” and the tender, shoegazey “Out of Sight,” The Beths reckon with the distance that life necessarily drives between people over time. People who love each other inevitably fail each other. “I’m sorry for the way that I can’t hold conversations/They’re such a fragile thing to try to support the weight of,” Stokes sings on “Dying to Believe.” The best way to repair that failure, in The Beths’ view, is with abundant and unconditional love, no matter how far it has to travel. On “Out of Sight,” she pledges devotion to a dearly missed friend: “If your world collapses/I’ll be down in the rubble/I’d build you another,” she sings.

“It was a rough year in general, and I found myself saying the words, ‘wish you were here, wish I was there,’ over and over again,” she says of the time period in which the album was written. Touring far from home, The Beths committed themselves to taking care of each other as they were trying at the same time to take care of friends living thousands of miles away. They encouraged each other to communicate whenever things got hard, and to pay forward acts of kindness whenever they could. That care and attention shines through on Jump Rope Gazers, where the quartet sounds more locked in than ever. Their most emotive and heartfelt work to date, Jump Rope Gazers stares down all the hard parts of living in communion with other people, even at a distance, while celebrating the ferocious joy that makes it all worth it–a sentiment we need now more than ever.

Releases July 10th, 2020

The Beths
Guitar: Elizabeth Stokes, Jonathan Pearce
Bass Guitar: Benjamin Sinclair
Drums: Tristan Deck
Vocals, Percussion: All

‘Jump Rope Gazers’ was recorded in Jonathan Pearce’s studio in Auckland, NZ between November 2019 and February 2020
All songs written by Elizabeth Stokes

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Dons Savage is an unparalled talent, a savant of the perfect melody and lyrics which both touch and bite, a throwbook to the Carole King’s and Gerry Goffin’s of Brill Building pop, an instinctive penseuse besting the originators of the Riot Grrrl movement by responding to their conversations of rage and sexuality and finding a place in the world some years before the initial sparks of that particular revolution had even begun. Dead Famous People’s first real album, “Harry”, is now being unleashed to the world.

Dead Famous People first emerged in the 1980s, releasing on the likes of Flying Nun and earning praise from the likes of John Peel, who invited them in for a session. However, things didn’t work out and to the dismay of many fans, they never released a proper album. Three decades later Dons was tracked down by Fire Records and given the opportunity to finally enter the studio to record.  Somewhat more philosophical than her earlier work, Harry is an album that feels like the right one for a world of apocalyptic pandemic, uncertainty and quarantine. It begins with a healthy scoop of Dons’ earlier humour in Looking At Girls (expertly mixed by Dave Trumfio) wherein a woman learns of her lover’s car crash only to be told the cause was, well, look at the title. Goddess Of Chill is a paean to the forces of artistic inspiration in the face of ‘a little worry here, a little chorus there’.  Dead Bird’s Eye is a parable of environmentalism through the misdeeds of a small child.

Throughout these songs, Dons’ power over melody and knack for profundity in a single simple line is unchanged since Dead Famous People’s original incarnation. “Harry” is a rare record in a time of musical factionalism and a world divided into camps of wilfull obscurity and grotesque mockeries of stardom and art, a document of unadorned perfection which will make as much sense to you at sixteen as it will when you’re sixty.

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This item will be released on October 9th, 2020.

“Bob bought a DFP single which we both really liked, we were drawn to the mystery of the band’s name and the melancholy tone of Dons’ voice.” Pete Wiggs – Saint Etienne

“There was a sense of excitement that something special was happening.” Martin Phillipps – The Chills

releases August 9th, 2020

Everything changed for The Beths when they released their debut album, Future Me Hates Me, in 2018. The indie rock band had long been nurtured within Auckland, New Zealand’s tight-knit music scene, working full-time during the day and playing music with friends after hours. Full of uptempo pop rock songs with bright, indelible hooks, the LP garnered them critical acclaim from outlets like Pitchfork and Rolling Stone, and they set out for their first string of shows overseas. They quit their jobs, said goodbye to their hometown, and devoted themselves entirely to performing across North America and Europe. They found themselves playing to crowds of devoted fans and opening for acts like Pixies and Death Cab for Cutie. Almost instantly, The Beths turned from a passion project into a full-time career in music.

Songwriter and lead vocalist Elizabeth Stokes worked on what would become The Beths’ second LP, “Jump Rope Gazers”, in between these intense periods of touring. Like the group’s earlier music, the album tackles themes of anxiety and self-doubt with effervescent power pop choruses and rousing backup vocals, zeroing in on the communality and catharsis that can come from sharing stressful situations with some of your best friends. Stokes’s writing on Jump Rope Gazers grapples with the uneasy proposition of leaving everything and everyone you know behind on another continent, chasing your dreams while struggling to stay close with loved ones back home.

“If you’re at a certain age, all your friends scatter to the four winds,” Stokes says. “We did the same thing. When you’re home, you miss everybody, and when you’re away, you miss everybody. We were just missing people all the time.”

With songs like the rambunctious “Dying To Believe” and the tender, shoegazey “Out of Sight,” The Beths reckon with the distance that life necessarily drives between people over time. People who love each other inevitably fail each other. “I’m sorry for the way that I can’t hold conversations/They’re such a fragile thing to try to support the weight of,” Stokes sings on “Dying to Believe.” The best way to repair that failure, in The Beths’ view, is with abundant and unconditional love, no matter how far it has to travel. On “Out of Sight,” she pledges devotion to a dearly missed friend: “If your world collapses/I’ll be down in the rubble/I’d build you another,” she sings.

“It was a rough year in general, and I found myself saying the words, ‘wish you were here, wish I was there,’ over and over again,” she says of the time period in which the album was written. Touring far from home, The Beths committed themselves to taking care of each other as they were trying at the same time to take care of friends living thousands of miles away. They encouraged each other to communicate whenever things got hard, and to pay forward acts of kindness whenever they could. That care and attention shines through on Jump Rope Gazers, where the quartet sounds more locked in than ever. Their most emotive and heartfelt work to date, Jump Rope Gazers stares down all the hard parts of living in communion with other people, even at a distance, while celebrating the ferocious joy that makes it all worth it–a sentiment we need now more than ever.

releases July 10th, 2020

The Beths
Guitar: Elizabeth Stokes, Jonathan Pearce
Bass Guitar: Benjamin Sinclair
Drums: Tristan Deck
Vocals, Percussion: All

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Auckland, New Zealand’s Singer Songwriter Molly Payton has kindly unveiled a stunningly-shot live version of her stark and thoughtful new single “Corduroy”. The track is the latest she’s shared from her debut EP Mess, which she releases courtesy of TMWRK on April 30th.

“Corduroy” is the third single from Molly Payton’s debut EP ‘Mess’

A ‘companion collection’ of live, whole takes recorded to 2” tape.

“I was very lucky to have 3 afternoons alone at Roundhead studios, in late 2017 and early 2018, when as a band we were just about finished mixing the full band versions I’m so proud of. Those had taken a long time to realise; it was a fun, beautiful, big project. So much happened during the process… I felt a need to get a snapshot of the songs at the end of it, with all that learning, reflecting on where they’d begun, and where they’d ended up.”

Released September 27, 2019

Written, performed and produced by Hollie Fullbrook

Having come together in 2013 after frontwoman Annabel Liddel recruited a group of musicians to support her solo performance, Auckland band Miss June have not wasted any time in establishing their unapologetic sound.

It’s raw and raucous; a hard-hitting explosion of fuzzed out punk riffs and wailing vocal melodies. With a string of consistently blistering singles under their collective belt, the four-piece belt through an energetic brand of 90’s garage that’ll kick you straight in the nose. On their most recent single Twitch”, the band showcase their penchant for vitriolic delivery. “I wrote Twitch in my first year of clinical placement for Medical School,” Liddel says about the track.

“The song is about the first time I operated on a living human being and how different this was to operating on a cadaver. I brought the lyrics and music to the boys and a year later it became the beautiful specimen it is today.”

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released May 29th, 2019

Annabel Liddell – vocals, guitar
Jun Cheul Park – guitar
Chris Marshall – bass
Tom Leggett – drums

The Beths are an Auckland quartet who pen stylish guitar pop with a keen lyrical bite. All four members studied jazz at University giving them the technical proficiency to contort simple pop structures and perfect, lush vocal harmonies. Check out a super rad performance by the Beths “Live at Lincoln Hall”. Recorded on March 6th, 2019 in Chicago, IL.

Tracklist:
1. Whatever
2. Happy Unhappy
3. Little Death

Band Members
Elizabeth Stokes – Vocals and Guitar
Jonathan Pearce – Guitar and Vocals
Benjamin Sinclair – Bass and Vocals
Ivan Luketina-Johnston – Drums and Vocals

Auckland psych-rock behemoth Ounce have unleashed their hugely anticipated debut album OZ, following hot on the heels of a mind-altering run of singles and senses-defying live shows. The incendiary six-piece’s ten track collection, released today via local independent mavericks 1:12 Records, features previously released favourites ‘Electric Eye’, ‘Satan II’ and ‘Crocodile’ alongside a fistful of fresh tracks, drawing upon a diverse sonic melting pot of influences including propulsive ‘kraut rock’ grooves, surf guitar and 50’s exotica percussive workouts. You can experience Ounce’s blazed double drum attack for yourself on their national album release.

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released March 1st, 2019

All words and music by Ounce except for Interstellar Overdrive riff by Pink Floyd in “Desert”. Recorded and mixed by Callum Rooney. Mastered by Patrick Haight. Art and design by Callum Rooney.

The Band

Antony Pike – Drums and percussion, some keys and backing vocals
Kieran Ruffles – Drums and percusion
Callum Rooney – Baritone guitar, vocals, keys
Yves Yang – Bass guitar
Fi Browne – Hand percussion