Posts Tagged ‘New Zealand’

In 1978, The Clean were the seeds of New Zealand punk. In the years since, they have carved out a big sandbox for everyone to play in, and their influence resonates not only in NZ but around the world. A group that thrives when free of expectations, The Clean’s Robert Scott, Hamish Kilgour, and David Kilgour are, as Tape Op described, “a casually wonderful band.” This is a double reissue on the Merge Records label from The Clean’s ‘Unknown Country’ and ‘Mister Pop’ on vinyl. Originally released in 1996 and 2009, respectively.

The Clean have always exuded a casual grace that suggests they’d still be making the same records even if no one was listening, employing the same set of devices ramshackle locomotive rhythms, buoyant basslines, swirling organ lines, and wide-smile melodies irrespective of prevailing fashions, technological developments, or geopolitical unrest. And yet, the Clean’s periodic resurgences serve as a reminder that, in a world of uncertainty, there are still some things you can rely on.”

David Kilgour on Mister Pop: “Mister Pop began in Brooklyn, NY, at Gary Olson’s Marlborough Farms studio and was completed in the basement hall of First Church Dunedin. There is more synthesizer on this album than the others, mainly an old Juno synth. I do remember having a bath in Brooklyn while Robert was downstairs singing and writing. I thought he was singing “he’s a factory man,” so I dried off and went down and wrote “Factory Man” while thinking heavily of The Kinks. Rainy and Geva from Haunted Love did some great work on backing vocals for “Loog” and “Dreamlife.” And old friend and longtime Clean collaborator Alan Starrett makes an appearance on “Moonjumper.”

Robert Scott on Mister Pop: “I remember thinking at the start of the NY sessions with Gary Olson, “Is this the start of a new album?” We were coming up with quite a bit of new stuff, and of course, Gary is great to work with. We carried on at Burlington St in Dunedin with (engineer and Heavy 8) Tex Houston at the controls, good fun from what I remember, lots of mucking around with keyboards and synths. We were going for that Krautrock groove and we sure got it on “Tensile,” one of my faves along with the pure pop of “Dreamlife.” “Loog” was a fun song to put together. “Asleep in the Tunnel” is written about being stuck in traffic in a tunnel under the Hudson River in NY.”

There are two notable moments of self-indulgence here, namely the hypnotic and repetitive buzzdrone of “Moonjumper,” which sounds—aptly, given the format of this re-release—a bit like a persistently skipping record, and the insistent, trippy groove of “Tensile,” which similarly gets stuck in a rut it can’t quite get out of, albeit for a much shorter time than the former song.

Still, Mister Popis a veritable demonstration of the idiosyncratic charms of these Kiwis, and a reinforcement of their rightful place in the pantheon of quirky alternative rock. Will it spur them on to make another record? We can only hope. This reissue is a timely reminder of their influence, but 22 years since it originally came out is more than a long enough wait for new music.

Though The Clean formed in 1978, in that four-plus decades the New Zealand band has only put out six full-length studio albums. Mister Pop was the last of these, first released in 2009 but only now—alongside the simultaneous reissue of 1996’s experimental Unknown Country—finding a home on vinyl in the U.S. for the first time.

Released on Merge Records

In 1978, The Clean were the seeds of New Zealand punk. In the years since, they have carved out a big sandbox for everyone to play in, and their influence resonates not only in NZ but around the world. A group that thrives when free of expectations, The Clean’s Robert Scott, Hamish Kilgour, and David Kilgour are, as Tape Op described, “a casually wonderful band.”

This is a double reissue on the Merge label from The Clean’s ‘Unknown Country’ and ‘Mister Pop’ on vinyl. Originally released in 1996 and 2009, respectively. The Clean – one of the most overlooked yet influencial acts of the 1980’s with bands such as Pavement, Guided By Voices and Yo La Tengo acknowledging their debts to the New Zealand group. This track (‘Wipe Me, I’m Lucky’) comes from their 1996 release ‘Unknown Country’ (Flying Nun Records.)

“The Clean have always exuded a casual grace that suggests they’d still be making the same records even if no one was listening, employing the same set of devices ramshackle locomotive rhythms, buoyant basslines, swirling organ lines, and wide-smile melodies irrespective of prevailing fashions, technological developments, or geopolitical unrest. And yet, the Clean’s periodic resurgences serve as a reminder that, in a world of uncertainty, there are still some things you can rely on.”

David Kilgour on Unknown Country: “The Clean always wanna try something different, but on this LP, we were obsessed with the idea. Tracks like “Wipe Me, I’m Lucky” and “Franz Kafka at the Zoo” are fine examples of the approach, I reckon. Quite a long way from “Tally Ho!” and “Beatnik”!

I remember we generally left vocal ideas to last, after the tracks were recorded, so we never really knew where we were headed. Might also explain all the instrumentals! Made during the Balkan War, hence the reference. And for the freaks, I think “Balkans” is the only Clean track ever to not actually feature The Clean playing. It’s all Alan Starrett, as we removed the backing track.”

Robert Scott on Unknown Country: This album is very different from our other albums. We didn’t go into the studio with many “song” ideas—a lot of it was written on the spot. I really enjoyed recording this as it was free of expectation. We weren’t playing much live at the time. It does contain some of my favourite Clean songs such as “Twist Top,” “Wipe Me, I’m Lucky,” and “Valley Cab.” Certainly our most experimental album.

Released on
Merge Records

New Zealand’s Yumi Zouma continue to make beautiful, gentle indie-pop worth swooning over on album number three “Truth Or Consequences”.

Their dreamy aesthetic remains intact, but there’s a heightened sense of confidence in the group’s songwriting and the way these songs are presented that makes it stand out from their past work. Truth or Consequences stems from sessions in Los Angeles, London, and Christchurch, where Yumi Zouma actively took a collegial approach, often working note-by-note, to ensure the foundations of the album reflected a sense of togetherness.

n the early 2010s, the members of Yumi Zouma spent time together on a New Zealand street that gave its name to their first single, “The Brae.” After the 2011 Christchurch earthquake destroyed that street and much of the city, its members took off for other parts of the globe and soon began writing their first songs over email.

As a result, the band was born, and distance became a recurring theme in Yumi Zouma’s work. This makes sense given the far-flung cities the group of musicians currently call home: New York City for Burgess, London for Ryder, Wellington for Campion, and Simpson remaining in their native Christchurch. Of course, distance can also manifest metaphorically, and it’s in these figurative chasms that Truth or Consequences, Yumi Zouma’s third album and first for Polyvinyl, finds its narrative: romantic and platonic heartbreak, real and imagined emotional distance, disillusionment, and being out of reach. There are no answers, there’s very seldom closure, but there is an undeniable release that comes from saying the truth, if only to oneself.

“In the age we’re living in, there’s an emphasis on making things clear cut” says Burgess about the album’s title. “But in life and in art, nothing is ever that definitive. The truth is usually in the grey zones, and I think that’s so much of what we were trying to explore and understand on this album.”

Whilst exploring these realms, Yumi Zouma deliberately pursued a deeper sense of collaboration in order to craft a record that reflects the bond between them. Produced by the band and mixed by engineer Jake Aron (Solange, Grizzly Bear, Snail Mail), Truth or Consequences stems from sessions in Los Angeles, London, and Christchurch, where the band actively took a collegial approach, often working note-by-note, to ensure the foundations of the album reflected a sense of togetherness.

“We wanted to make the song writing process as egalitarian as possible. Completely sharing the process helped us feel like we were capturing a purer sense of atmosphere,” says Ryder.

Much like how the first moments of a new year can usher in a wave of emotions, the first notes of Truth or Consequences wash over the listener with the contemplative yet rapturous opener “Lonely After,” in which Simpson softly sings “I was embarrassed when I knew who I was, so wild and zealous and overly down for the cause.” As Burgess recalls, it’s about “that pit in your stomach when you start to question your own identity,” who wrote the first lines of the song one lonely New Year’s Eve, during the nebulous beginnings of a budding relationship.

Lead single “Right Track / Wrong Man” exhibits a Balearic tempo and bass-heavy energy that belies its underlying tension. Simpson reveals, “At the time I was living with a boyfriend who was quite lovely, but there wasn’t that passion or excitement that you imagine for yourself when you’re young. That song is about accepting that something’s not working, and deciding to just be on your own for a while.” Album centerpiece “Cool For A Second” coalesces the motif of isolation and its ensuing fallout into a letter to a past connection: Whilst on “Truer Than Ever,” the band draws inspiration from the classics to radiate a brazen spirit of perseverance. “I love the duality in a lot of disco songs, where they’re incredibly upbeat, but there’s real frustration in the lyrics – sort of like, ‘Nothing’s going the way I want, but I’ve got to deal with it any way I can,’” Simpson says.

Throughout, Simpson’s voice gives weight to whispers of impressionistic poetry, shielding hard truths with soft tones, while Burgess’ vocals reveal a rarified dimension of raw and lucid romanticism. With this being the first Yumi Zouma album to feature live drums, courtesy of Campion, Truth or Consequences is a testament to the success of the band’s approach – a unified body of melody that mines the spaces in between.
It’s a gorgeous record whose depth has only grown richer as we’ve been able to spend more time with it. As we begin to enter spring it feels only right to revisit this hopeful, loving album made by long-distance friends. I hope you put it on and take a long walk out in the sunshine.

The quaint, atmospheric synthpop of ‘Southwark’ is hugely charming, the upbeat-but-gentle rollick of ‘Cool For A Second‘ has one of the best choruses the band has conjured up yet and there’s an immediacy to ‘Right Track / Wrong Man’ that makes it immediately endearing.

Some might say there’s a vintage feel to Yumi Zouma’s brand of synth-heavy indie-pop, but it’s more of a timeless feel. These songs shimmer now and will no doubt age beautifully.

Since 2015’s GUYD The Phoenix Foundation have been writing, recording, touring with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestracreating the acclaimed soundtrack for Hunt For The Wilderpeople, building shrines to light, creating scores for VR, producing other artists and baking sourdough. Now they are ready to release some more music into the swirling oblivion that is 2020

Every Friend Ship needs a Life Boat. So we have two additional songs from the album here, featuring the lovely vocals of Fazerdaze on ‘Beside Yourself’

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releases April 20, 2021

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In 1978, The Clean were the seeds of New Zealand punk scene. In the years since, they have carved out a big sandbox for everyone to play in, and their influence resonates not only in NZ but around the world. A group that thrives when free of expectations, The Clean’s Robert Scott, Hamish Kilgour, and David Kilgour are, as Tape Op described, “a casually wonderful band.”

If the Clean were motivated by anything other than a seemingly pure love of music, “Mister Pop” would have been a very different album. Since the last time the band made a record, scores of new bands have discovered the awesome early work the Clean recorded back in the ’80s and have incorporated the raw, scratchy, and energetic feel of those records into their sound. The group could have easily tried to capitalize on its newfound icon status and made an album that harked back to its early years. No one would have blamed them for cashing in; nobody would have begrudged them a few minutes of near fame. Instead, the band — still the brothers Kilgour (David and Hamish) and Robert Scott have made a laid-back, hazy, and thickly psychedelic album that sounds more like something the band might have made in the ’90s.

This is a double reissue on the Merge Records label from The Clean’s ‘Unknown Country’ and ‘Mister Pop’ on vinyl. Originally released in 1996 and 2009, respectively.

The Clean have always exuded a casual grace that suggests they’d still be making the same records even if no one was listening, employing the same set of devices ramshackle locomotive rhythms, buoyant basslines, swirling organ lines, and wide-smile melodies irrespective of prevailing fashions, technological developments, or geopolitical unrest. And yet, the Clean’s periodic resurgences serve as a reminder that, in a world of uncertainty, there are still some things you can rely on.”

Originally released in 1996, The Clean’s “Unknown Country” makes its debut appearance on vinyl . Recorded and mixed in two sessions during 1996, The Clean yet again prove to be masters of musical innovation, three guys who can only amaze when they come together and throw all their ideas down on tape. And as a mood of supreme grooviness is all-pervading on Unknown Country, this is The Clean at their most timeless.

The odd pop songs focus on the tension and the release that characteristic of psychedlic rock although Champagne and Misery stays close The Clean’s canon, Wipe Me I’m Lucky experiments shyly, and Walk Walk is warped like a cartoon soundtrack.

David Kilgour on “Mister Pop”: “Mister Pop began in Brooklyn, NY, at Gary Olson’s Marlborough Farms studio and was completed in the basement hall of First Church Dunedin. There is more synthesizer on this album than the others, mainly an old Juno synth. I do remember having a bath in Brooklyn while Robert was downstairs singing and writing. I thought he was singing “he’s a factory man,” so I dried off and went down and wrote “Factory Man” while thinking heavily of The Kinks. Rainy and Geva from Haunted Love did some great work on backing vocals for “Loog” and “Dreamlife.” And old friend and long time Clean collaborator Alan Starrett makes an appearance on “Moonjumper.”

Of this album, The Clean’s David Kilgour writes, “The Clean always wanna try something different, but on this LP, we were obsessed with the idea.” Bandmate Robert Scott agrees, saying, “I really enjoyed recording this as it was free of expectation. Certainly our most experimental album.”

‘Unknown Country’, the third LP by New Zealand indie band The Clean, was originally released in 1996. Whilst they are generally known for their jangle-pop nuggets, this sprawling masterpiece is the result of studio experimentation and spontaneous recording sessions. Gorgeous instrumental tracks such as ‘Wipe Me, I’m Lucky’ and ‘Franz Kafka at the Zoo’ are interspersed with wonky pop gems such as the Pavement-esque ‘Twist Top’. For fans of The Bats and The Chills.

On March 26th Merge Records will reissue The Clean’s Unknown Country and Mister Pop on vinyl Originally released in 1996 and 2009, respectively, this marks the first time each of these albums will be available on vinyl in the U.S. (they’ll also be available worldwide).

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Robert Scott on “Mister Pop”: “I remember thinking at the start of the NY sessions with Gary Olson, “Is this the start of a new album?” We were coming up with quite a bit of new stuff, and of course, Gary is great to work with. We carried on at Burlington St in Dunedin with (engineer and Heavy 8) Tex Houston at the controls, good fun from what I remember, lots of mucking around with keyboards and synths. We were going for that Krautrock groove and we sure got it on “Tensile,” one of my faves along with the pure pop of “Dreamlife.” “Loog” was a fun song to put together. “Asleep in the Tunnel” is written about being stuck in traffic in a tunnel under the Hudson River in NY.”

 

In 1978, The Clean were the seeds of New Zealand punk. They carved out a big sandbox for everyone to play in, and their influence resonated not only in NZ but around the world. This fall’s Mister Pop sees The Clean continue the great pop pastiche. Circus ragas (“Moonjumper”), hazy sunset anthems (“In the Dreamlife You Need a Rubber Soul”), and the loose Dada approach to word-smithery continue alongside “proper” lyrical forays and a few Autobahn-referential instro moments to boot (“Tensile”).

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The Kiwi Pop giants and lo-fi all-stars return with, incredibly, only the fifth LP in their storied career from 2009. In 1978, The Clean were the seeds of New Zealand punk. They carved out a big sandbox for everyone to play in, and their influence resonated not only in NZ but around the world.

Mister Pop sees The Clean continue the great pop pastiche. both albums are out in March, through Merge Records

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New Zealand trio The Beths channel their friendship into high-energy guitar pop with a smart lyrical bite. 2018 was their breakout year, beginning with signing to Carpark Records and Dew Process, before releasing the internationally acclaimed debut album “Future Me Hates Me”, which was heralded as one the stand-out music releases of that year. The Beths have toured relentlessly on the back of Future Me Hates Me, getting audiences hooked on their ebullient sound. After selling out shows across Australia, New Zealand, North America, the UK and Europe in 2018, the band are proving to be one of the most in-demand live acts on the planet.

We are really lucky and grateful that the four of us will be able to get together for this one and play as a full band. We’ll once again be announcing something new, playing some songs and having some yarns. It’ll be on Youtube this Mon/Tue, if you need time-zone assistance comment your location and i’ll help.

Artists like The Beths have been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Donations can be any amount of your choosing. If you have the means, your support would be much appreciated!.
“Dying To Believe” is taken from The Beths’ forthcoming record, “Jump Rope Gazers”, out July 10, 2020 on Carpark Records.

Artists like The Beths have been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Donations can be any amount of your choosing. If you have the means, your support would be much appreciated!
“I’m Not Getting Excited” is taken from The Beths’ forthcoming record, “Jump Rope Gazers”, out July 10, 2020 on Carpark Records.

We hope that if you join us you’ll consider donating to the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, which protects and defends the human rights of Black Transgender people, or to Bail Funds.

Songs Featured in this Show:
3:49 i’m not getting excited
10:13 future me hates me
21:45 river run lvl 1
32:36 out of sight
41:33 if swearing makes you nervous cover your ears or something
42:16 idea/intent

THE BETHS ARE:
Elizabeth Stokes,
Jonathan Pearce,
Benjamin Sinclair,
Tristan Deck,

 

New studio album from the Dunedin (NZ) songsmiths helmed by the enigmatic Martin Phillipps with artwork by Trees’ David Costa.

Dunedin’s finest, The Chills release their seventh studio album ‘Scatterbrain’, a glorious self-examination of Martin Phillipps’ songwriting hot on the heels of the hugely successful ‘Snowbound’ (2018) and the critically-acclaimed movie ‘The Chills: The Triumph And Tragedy Of Martin Phillipps’ a year later.

“It’s about artistic integrity, self-realisation, self-acceptance and a reflection on mortality.” The Guardian

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Now in 2021, Phillipps is now taking stock of things – everything. Yes, everything. The result is this triumphant new Chills’ album ‘Scatterbrain’, a thought-provoking and evocative take from a man who has lived through good times and bad.
A mature and honest reflection on life, destiny and the fate of our times delivered in beautiful melodies with Phillipps’ trademarked incisive turn of phrase.
Viewed from the perspective of a man understanding his age and indeed his own mortality, the new album takes a mature look at matters arising with a side order of perspective. “While browsing for Monolith images I came across old UFO magazines from the 1970s. This was a big craze back then and I instantly thought it had a great aesthetic and lent a humorous element to a fairly literal song about ancient stones. The final video contains a mix of genuine articles and ones I’ve made up!“

‘Scatterbrain’ is a life passing before your ears as uncertainty increases and fake news rumbles on; during which aliens invade, Phillipps scales the walls beyond abandon as he probes the minutiae of worlds within worlds and the hourglass fills. A landmark album from one of the great modern song writers, it’s pure pop music for the new normal and we can’t wait to see how it ends… 

Releases April 25th, 2021

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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’

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New Zealand greats The Chills are back with a majestic new single, “You’re Immortal.” With a goth-tinged, baroque arrangement, this is orchestral pop that tips its hat to groups like Love and The Left Banke but was clearly written in 2020.

“These are unprecedented times but, as usual, the young feel invulnerable and the elders are concerned,” says frontman Martin Phillipps. “The old people (like me) want to feel more involved but they also know that their time of influence has largely passed. So we learn from the young and admire them as they make their own mistakes yet still, hopefully, shape extraordinary history we could not have imagined.

No word on whether this is a teaser for something larger, but The Chills’ label, Fire Records, says 2021 is “set to be an exciting year.”

“You’re Immortal” through Fire Records Released on: 16th December.

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Bats %e2%80%93 foothills

The Bats release their 10th full-length album, “Foothills”. Spanning the last 38 years, The Bats have clocked nine incredible albums; each one seeing the band evolve with new material from the prolific songwriting hand of Robert Scott. Add to that tally the extra singles, b-sides, EPs, compilations and tribute songs they’ve recorded, creating a succinct setlist is a nearly impossible task. Foothills was recorded in Spring 2018 at a country retreat pop-up studio. At that time, 15 songs were captured and immortalised in the Canterbury foothills of the Southern Alps, Aotearoa (New Zealand). Only too well, The Bats know the possibilities, potentialities and sonic vistas that arise when one takes the reins for the recording process in a beautiful place that’s on home turf.

The Bats must hold a record in New Zealand (perhaps the whole world, once The Rolling Stones throw in the towel) as a band that has survived with the same line-up for 38 years. No split ups, no reforming for nostalgia’s sake. So far, half the band have spots in The New Zealand Music Hall Of Fame, vocalist/ guitarist Robert Scott (The Clean) and bassist/producer Paul Kean (Toy Love), and it’s only a matter of time before lead guitarist Kaye Woodward and drummer Malcolm Grant find themselves in there too. The four-piece has created twisted wistful folk, psychedelic rock, bouncy twee pop, and everything in between, but whatever the genre, their sound is always distinctively, unmistakably The Bats.