Posts Tagged ‘Dunedin’

“Submarine Bells” is an album by New Zealand group the Chills, originally released in 1990. This was the band’s first album on a major label, as Martin Phillipps signed to Warner Bros. Records subsidiary Slash Records, to release the album in the U.S. The album reached No#1 on the New Zealand album charts and had significant support from American college radio. The Chills’ second album from 1990 is their much-praised major label debut. A rich tapestry of sound with a nod to Postcard, early Teardrop Explodes and a host of indie pop legends.

On a major label for the first time, Phillipps crafted a lovely record indeed, a mere thirty-six minutes and not a second wasted. Lead-off track and single “Heavenly Pop Hit” remains the most famous track and deservedly so, over a rapturous keyboard/rhythm combination, Phillipps sings just that, an inspiring lyric with a soaring chorus, aided by additional backing vocals from guest Donna Savage. From there it’s one high point after another, never losing the sense of elegance and drive that characterizes the band’s work. Phillipps’ at-once strong and amiably regular-guy vocals and astonishingly intelligent but never overly obtuse lyrics are both wonders, while Andrew Todd’s excellent keyboard work provides both energy and lovely shading. Add to that a fine rhythm section in bassist Justin Harwood and drummer James Stephenson, and it’s no wonder this version of the Chills succeeds as it does.

One fantastic example of their work together is “Singing In My Sleep” with Phillipps giving heavy tremolo treatment to his guitar as everyone else creates something that’s not too far from Neu!’s motorik throb, in a gentler pop vein. More such Krautrock-inspired chug has plenty of echoes on Bells, following in the same vein as “I Love My Leather Jacket” — check out the brisk delivery on “The Oncoming Day” or the skipping intensity of “Dead Web.” Otherwise, there’re hints of the gentle folky/medieval touches they enjoy on “I SOAR” and “Don’t Be–Memory” and more straightforward rocking out on the sharp “Familiarity Breeds Contempt,” where Phillipps’ New Zealand burr comes through with intensity. The title track, with serene orchestration filling out the grand arrangement, is a note-perfect way to conclude such a fantastic release.

The Chills distilled post-punk with the sweet delivery of Phillipps, making it sound like The Fall paying homage to Prefab Sprout. Something that rare.” Perfect Sound Forever Built around Martin Phillipps’ off-kilter vocal; all accent, all attitude, it reels around folk-like couplets with brusque punk swagger fed through psychedelic hues; so timeless it still simmers beautifully. It includes the effervescent, euphoric opener ‘Heavenly Pop Hit’.

Reissue Released August 3rd, 2020

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We said Joining the Spacebomb family not only gave Nadia Reid more visibility in the US, it also allowed her to work with the label’s in-house production team of Matthew E. White and Trey Pollard, who have earned themselves a reputation for their grand string arrangements thanks to their work on recent albums by Foxygen, Natalie Prass, Bedouine, and more. The strings do wonders for Out of My Province, which is a beautiful sounding record and the most massive sounding album Nadia has released yet. But as much of a sell as they are, Nadia never relies on any of the embellishments to drive these songs home. Just like her first two records, Out of My Province brings you to the edge of your seat with the power of Nadia’s words and voice alone.

The New Zealand singer/songwriter Naida Reid released “Out of My Province”, her debut LP for Spacebomb Records, this year, and it’s one of the most eloquent, shockingly overlooked folk-pop releases from 2020. Reid cites Joni Mitchell and Rufus and Martha Wainwright as influences (especially for her song “Oh Canada,” which serves as a tribute to the country and Mitchell, the Wainwrights and all its many musical exports), and it’s not such a stretch to hear little bits of those accomplished lyricists in Reid’s soft-spoken inflection.

These are the kind of songs you might fancy listening to over a cup of coffee in the morning, or maybe moodily by a window during a summer rain shower. This is all to say they have a lovely vintage bent to them and will make you feel things. Reid can shift from sharply written soft rock “High & Lonely,” “Other Side of the Wheel” to contemplative folk “Heart to Ride” to wistful radio pop à la KT Tunstall or Colbie Caillat “Best Thing” at a moment’s notice, and all together, Out of My Province displays an artist gracefully establishing her sound through the art of genre-mixing.

Get The Devil Out is up for an APRA Silver Scroll. If you’re a member, don’t forget to vote. It’s such a strange feeling having released this record in March without touring it properly. The build-up to releasing an album is so immense; full of elation and terror…! There was a big rush of relief when it finally came out on 6 March. My highlight being the little listening party I held in Dunedin, New Zealand. I feel proud of this record and proud of this song… (written under a bunk bed at the Grace Emily Hotel in Adelaide). And is about all the big things. I can’t wait to tour this album in due time.

‘Out Of My Province’, the amazing new record from Nadia Reid  the album released March 6th, 2020, on Spacebomb Records.

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If guitar rock is dead, no-one told Bad Sav. The latest blast of Analogue Dunedin comes from the band that refused to be left behind. Although featuring Death And The Maiden guitarist/vocalist Hope Robertson and bassist/vocalist Lucinda King, plus Shifting Sands guitarist Mike McLeod (on drums here), Bad Sav are the primary strain from which both of those bands sprang.
When asked to describe her band’s sound in a 2010 interview, Hope suggested …a missed punch and a grazed fist. Sad, heavy, unpredictable loud pop”. Indeed, Bad Sav offer a far more guitar-oriented hard attack than Death And The Maiden their distinctive filtering and reassembly of influences from shoegaze, psychedelic noise-rock – and goodness knows where else – are combined using a uniquely electrified Dunedin sonic alchemy, bursting with colossal, majestic, melodic noise.

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They conjure epic maelstroms of distorted guitars, pounding drums, reverbed vocals and squalling noisescapes to teleport listeners into their bruised sonic universe. The carefully balanced ten track collection is sure to be a local highlight of the year for many.

Bad Sav are:
Hope Robertson – Guitar, vocals
Lucinda King – Bass, vocals
Mike McLeod – Drums

From his earliest days as a member of the legendary New Zealand band “The Clean” onward, singer/songwriter, David Kilgour has come to be known as one of the most respected & admired songwriters of his generation & certainly one of the greatest rock musicians to come out of New Zealand. His signature guitar twang & languid, carefree melodies are readily identifiable. Kilgour is a guitar god for guitar atheists. 

Releases September 20th, 2019

The Band:
Thomas Bell: bass, keyboards, hand chimes and percussion.
Tony de Raad: guitar.
Taane Tokona: drums and percussion.
David Kilgour: guitar, vibes, keyboards and piano.

Piano on “Swan loop” played by Matt Swanson.

From the album “Bobbie’s a girl” out September 20th, 2019 on Merge Records.

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From his earliest days as a member of the legendary The Clean onward, singer/songwriter, David Kilgour has come to be known as one of the most respected and admired songwriters of his generation and certainly one of the greatest rock musicians to come out of New Zealand. His signature guitar twang and languid, carefree melodies are readily identifiable. Kilgour is a guitar god for guitar atheists. He’s worthy of worship, but his style neither demands nor expects it, all of which only serves to increase his otherworldly cool.

“It’s moody—as in low, subdued,” says David Kilgour of his new album. The atmosphere of “Bobbie’s a girl” does feel a bit mysterious. Largely missing the jangly distortion of Kilgour’s other work, the album’s ten songs exude a hazy warmth, with a light psychedelia that recalls ’60s outfits like The Byrds and The Velvet Underground.

Four decades into his career, Kilgour remains as creatively restless as ever. Wherever that drive takes him next, you’ll want to follow.

Releases September 20th, 2019
The Band
Thomas Bell: bass, keyboards, hand chimes and percussion.
Tony de Raad: guitar.
Taane Tokona: drums and percussion.
David Kilgour: guitar, vibes, keyboards and piano.

From the album “Bobbie’s a Girl” out September 20th, 2019 on Merge Records

This new number from the Auckland via Dunedin, NZ singer-songwriter’s ‘Two Hearts and No Brain’ album, released last year, is definitely not bad at all. The alt-rock guitar track with grungey overtones is, he says, “kind of an intense, sort of heavy, dark sounding song, instrumental but the lyrics are kinda positive.  I was in the record store the other day and did a double take as they played this album. Was it a lost Brendan Benson album? Jason Falkner? maybe It’s been a while since a pop album so immediately seduced me with its melodies and lyrics.

Beauty in simplicity and yet such a large collection of complexities that elude my understanding. Utterly captivating through each and every melody, while exploring emotions that feel all too familiar. A winning blend of careful precision and mercurial abandon, Kane Strang’s new album ‘Two Hearts and No Brain’ is constantly surprising. With a penchant for melodic earworms to rival those of the world’s best pop songwriters, the New Zealand artist’s glittering hooks twist and turn in perfect synch with meticulous band arrangements.

Strang’s proclivity for writing smart, anthemic guitar pop shines brightest now that he has moved away from the bedroom and into the studio. Showcasing his new collaborative approach to recording and writing with his band, the four-piece twists Strang’s melodies upside down and pushes his hooks inside out. ‘Two Hearts and No Brain’ proves emotive and playfully laced with a tongue-in-cheek nostalgia – timelessly old and new in the same breath.

“It’s Not That Bad” from ’Two Hearts and No Brain’ by Kane Strang, out now on Dead Oceans

Asta Rangu’s excellent debut EP, “Plasticine”It’s the work of label co-founder Ley-Hamilton, and is a fluid rock ‘n’ roll record full of tightly wound guitars and soaring vocal melodies. In the post-grunge era of the late ’90s it would have slotted in nicely beside some of the greats, but in a contemporary setting it still sounds fresh.

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These guys have been such an exciting find. A dark and emotional kind of indie pop, Marlin’s Dreaming are absolutely killing it over in New Zealand. Well curated and visually captivating, there’s mystery and a moody sophistication to their sound which we just can’t get enough of.

Have a sneaky taste of what they have going with this dope clip for Floating. All we can say is that we want to be mates with the boys from Marlin’s Dreaming. lets hope they make it to the UK.

Band Members
Tim McNaughton – Guitar
Oscar Johns – Bass
Hamish Morgan – Percussion
Semisi Maiai – Vocals/guitar

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Mike McLeod booked studio time at Manny’s Estudio International in East Los Angeles. Far less glamorous in reality than it all may sound says Mike. Joining the Shifting Sands for the sessions was guest guitarist Steven Schayer – a then LA-based musician with NZ connections, having played in The Chills during the early 90’s US-based “Soft Bomb” album era.  Steven brought a different flavour to complement the independent DIY No. 8 wire approach of The Shifting Sands.

Manny Nieto also brought a different flavour to the table, producing the tracks. Manny has worked with Steve Albini and has recorded bands like the Breeders and Los Lobos.

Whereas previous albums had been layered in fuzzy guitars and synthesizers, this session involved less layers, but more harmonic breadth within the layers. Tom added bass tracks on an 8 string bass, Mike adding a bass 6 – a guitar tuned down one octave.

While there are less layers of harmonic distortion – a characteristic component of the Shifting Sands sound – there is still a lot of harmonic complexity, just realised in a different way to the approach the Shifting Sands took on their first two LPs. These songs reflect a special moment in time, in the sweltering heat of Los Angeles, while the band were far from their busy normal lives and able to spend time purely focused on making music, in a vastly different environment to their home town of Dunedin,

“Run” is one side of a new 7″ single from The Shifting Sands due for release late in January 2018.

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Band Members
Mike McLeod
Tom Bell
Jake Langley
Steven Marr

Check out the Shifting Sands, the name of a psychedelic guitar-oriented rock band out of New Zealand and whose atmospheric sound is a bit reminiscent of Australian group the Church. Consisting of singer/guitarist Mike McLeod, bassist Tom Bell, drummer Jake Langley and guitarist Steve Marr, the Shifting Sands is one of bands who are part of the Dunedin Sound that emerged sometime in the early ‘80s in the university town of Dunedin in New Zealand.

The band released its debut album, Feel, in 2012; three years later, the Shifting Sands returned with Cosmic Radio Station. It is perhaps one of the most gorgeous-sounding albums you’ll hear these days . Its for fans of jangly guitar, pop melodies, and atmosphere,Cosmic Radio Station is nirvana from the almost anthemic “Waiting for the Sun” and gauzy-sounding “We All Fall Down,” through the driving and shimmering “Abstract Objects” and the moody Neil Young-like “Dreaming to Keep Awake.” A trio based at the legendary Chick’s Hotel at Port Chalmers near Dunedin, they create Southern symphonic psychedelia, alternating between slow lush lullabies and almost space-rock psychedelic noise songs.

The Shifting Sands present “Zoe”/”Run” as a classic 45 rpm 7″ single

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releases January 31st, 2018
The Band
Michael McLeod – Vocals, guitars
Tom Bell – Bass
Jake Langley – Drums
Steven Schayer – Guitars

Fishrider Records is a Dunedin, NZ record label specialising in psych-pop, no wave, post-punk, jangle & subversive DIY pop