Posts Tagged ‘New Zealand’

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

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Yumi Zouma returns with EP III, completing the trilogy they started with EPs I and II. This new collection finds the international act stronger than ever, sculpting effortless atmospheres, winsome hooks and stadium-ready finishes. I think for us, we always like to be working on stuff.  A really good analogy I heard from Ed Sheeran is when you turn on tap water, you have to let the dirty water go through until the pure water flows. I think that’s pretty true for Yumi Zouma – sometimes you have to push through the stuff that doesn’t feel that great. I would prefer to be trying something new than a better version of something you’ve already done, and I think a way to be on the track is just to be constantly working. While it’s rare that we sit down to talk about exactly what we want to do next, we all agree we want to keep on working and keep the train rolling.

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EP III was released on 10″ vinyl November 16th, 2018.Yumi Zouma 

Yumi Zouma 2020 © Jack Sheppard

Alternative pop band Yumi Zouma revel their third album, “Truth or Consequences”, released Friday, March 13th on Polyvinyl Records.

Originating from Christchurch, New Zealand, the four-piece band consists of Christie Simpson (vocals, keyboards), Josh Burgess (guitar, bass guitar, vocals, keyboards), Charlie Ryder (guitar, bass guitar, keyboards), and Olivia Campion (drums). Yumi Zouma’s first two records, Yoncalla (2016) and Willowbank (2017), received great reception from a growing fanbase, with tours following both albums. Constantly working and wanting to produce new material, the group have also released plenty of EPs and singles in between full-lengths, including the single, “Bruises” (2019). Truth or Consequences greatly emphasizes the growth Yumi Zouma have had as a band over the past few years.

Christie Simpson’s ethereal vocals, the band’s dreamy pop melodies, and honest lyrics blend perfectly together and capture the Yumi Zouma sound. Songs like “Truer Than Ever” and “Lie Like You Want Me Back” dive into the complexities of life and this idea that answers may not be as clear as you want them to be. Each song questions the relationships we have and keep with others, and even the relationship we have with ourselves.

The writing process for this album in particular was quite different from the band’s previous works. All living in different locations, the band members became immune to writing songs individually and coming together later on to complete the process. When writing Truth or Consequences, all four bandmates rented out studios in various locations and started writing from scratch. As a result, the record revolves around a solid, central theme, and presents an easy, beautiful flow between each track.

Yumi Zouma’s third album, Truth or Consequences.

 

the beths

The Beths strike precisely the right combination of exhilaration and longing that inhabits all the best indie rock records. The New Zealand band’s impressive 2018 debut album, “Future Me Hates Me”, which we called “a confessional, shimmering slab of Pacific pop” won them the title of Best New Band of last year. Every single song has multiple moments of sunny, hummable bliss, and that’s a credit to lead vocalist and songwriter Elizabeth Stokes who writes stunningly catchy hooks and possesses a self-deprecating sincerity that’s so easy to get behind. The Beths have practically become a mainstay in the American music scene after a couple years of touring, and considering their standout performance at this year’s South By Southwest, these New Zealanders are quickly making an impression.

The Beths are unveiling their new music, With the band readying their second album the infamous second album pressure, their studio setup, new songs, touring and more. Elizabeth Stokes had this to say: Since our little album came out in August last year we have played 209 shows over four continents. We are so grateful to be back and unpack, and to be able to celebrate with friends and family what has been a wild 18 months.

“People always ask ‘are you excited!?’ and it’s a fair question, because exciting things do happen to us sometimes,” says Elizabeth Stokes, frontwoman and songwriter for New Zealand’s Beths, of the band’s new single. “Support slots, overseas tours, music releases. Stuff we’ve dreamed about for years. So the correct answer is always ‘yes.’ But the truth is that deep down there’s a tiny Liz saying, ‘don’t get excited.’ She is certain that anything good that could happen will most likely not happen, because of a freak accident. Or because somebody finally realises that we aren’t worthy, shouts ‘phony!’ and takes everything away. I wrote ‘I’m Not Getting Excited’ last year, well before everything really did get taken away. From everyone. It feels like the song has a new context, but we don’t know what it is yet. And now we all share a blurry, uncertain future.”

The Beths’ sophomore album, Jump Rope Gazers, is out July 10th on Carpark Records.

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’

Listen To Tidal Rave's Debut Album 'Heart Screams'

Pōneke six-piece Tidal Rave have at last revealed their debut album “Heart Screams”, following through on the winning promise of recent singles ‘FOMO’, ‘Dark Wizard’ and ‘Slow/ Fast’. Showcasing nine garage-pop tunes overflowing with jangly guitars and vintage organ sounds, the team of Emmie EllisEsther Gedye TaylorKristen PatersonAnn-Marie KeatingFrank Eggleton and Scott Hakkaart‘s record conjures a windswept gothic mystique reminiscent at times of The Terminals, while kicking up a storm and tugging at heart strings on such rollicking numbers as ‘Speed Of Sound’ and the title track. You can join Tidal Rave celebrating their album’s release at this Sunday’s absolutely rammed Newtown Festival.

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The Wellington based six-piece band Tidal Rave continues a New Zealand (and Australasian) tradition of dark, compelling guitar and keyboard lead garage rock.

‘Heart Screams’ is out now digitally and on limited edition compact disc via Fishrider Records.

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New Zealand’s Yumi Zouma are releasing a new album, “Truth or Consequences”, on March 13th via Polyvinyl, their first for the label. On Tuesday they shared another song from the album, “Southwark,” via a self-directed video for the track. The video intercuts between the band at the beach and performing the song indoors somewhere. “Southwark” continues Yumi Zouma’s remarkable track record of creating irresistible and effortless indie-pop.

In a press release the band’s singer/songwriter Christie Simpson says the song “feels like a dedication, a mantra, a promise to myself. I wrote the chorus line about the someone in particular that I was with at the time, but it now feels like a universal truth for my relationships, a dedication that goes to every person I’ve loved and those that I’m still loving now. I can be quite dramatic in love and relationships, and I don’t always do or say the right thing when I should, but I do throw myself in completely (for better or worse). I loved that idea of repeating that dedication – ‘I am imperfectly yours’…. This track has haunted me a little every time I listen, there’s something melancholy that sits in there alongside that overall feeling of quiet elation. I suppose that speaks to the classic dichotomy of love and relationships – nothing is ever 100% good or perfect, and that’s what I am constantly trying to come to terms with.”

Guitarist/vocalist Josh Burgess had this to say about the video: “A bit of a Yumi tradition is having at least one video on a record we shot ourselves. While we’re not going to be nominated for an Oscar anytime soon, it’s always fun to grab a camera and start shooting. It felt like too good of an opportunity to pass up having us all sitting there in a photo studio mere moments after the centerfold picture of our record. From there we headed off to the beach for sunset. Christie wanted to get into the water but the threat of hypothermia proved too much! It’s also the first video/time we’ve ever revealed lyrics so overtly! The fantastic Lorenzo Fanton’s typeface was too good to pass up!”

Previously Yumi Zouma shared Truth or Consequences’ lead single, “Cool For a Second,” via a video for the track The album also includes “Right Track / Wrong Man,” a song the band shared back in December.

Yumi Zouma’s glistening new single “Southwark” is taken from the group’s new LP Truth or Consequences, coming March 13th on Polyvinyl. Watch the video, shot by the band’s own Josh Burgess,

“Southwark” is taken from Yumi Zouma’s long-awaited third album, “Truth or Consequences”,

The band self-produced the album and it was mixed by Jake Aron (Solange, Grizzly Bear, Snail Mail). While formed in New Zealand, Yumi Zouma’s members currently reside in various cities around the world: New York City (Josh Burgess – guitar, vocals), London (Charlie Ryder – guitar, bass, keys), Christchurch, New Zealand (Christie Simpson – vocals, keys), and Wellington, New Zealand (Olivia Campion – drums).

The band released a new EP, EP III, in September 2018 via Cascine. EP III was the follow-up to Yumi Zouma’s sophomore album, Willowbank, which was among our Top Albums of 2017. In May 2019 they shared another brand new song, “Bruise,” .