Posts Tagged ‘New Zealand’

WAX CHATTELS – ” Clot “

Posted: September 25, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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Clot

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 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 the A.V. club came on as early champions. the album’s success at home and abroad led to the well-deserved nomina- tion 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 their debut,

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 recording engineer James Goldsmith (aldous harding, mermaidens) stepped in. the band maintained the use of only the barest of ingredients — bass guitar, keyboard, and a two-piece drum kit — but spent more time ex- perimenting with and finding new sounds. they wanted to maintain the same live element, 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 keyboards are thicker, 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 ca- thartic noise. at Clot’s center is confrontation. “mindfulness” asks do you accept the status quo over 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 is expressed in the melodic single “no ties”. the song touches on cul- tural differences and the parental sacrifice of careers and support sys- tems 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 in- tuitive.

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. though the band seethes and boils throughout, Clot concludes with a message of hope. perhaps it’s this capacity for self-awareness that makes wax chattels one of New Zealand’s  most treasured independent exports. “this band of former jazz students is making confrontational post-punk, marrying the grind- ing keyboards of suicide with the drum-and- bass intensity of early death from above 1979. the results are stark, hypnotically sinister songs.”

Official video for Efficiency by Wax Chattels, from their album “Clot”

No photo description available.

Enigmatic Kiwi songwriter Jonathan Bree is enjoying the support of an international audience as a solo artist, following his time as a leader of New Zealand indie pop band The Brunettes. A true maverick behind a mask, his dedication to anonymity combined with his distinct monotone style marks him out as a true innovator. The phrase “a mystery wrapped in an enigma” comes to mind when considering both the music and visage of New Zealand-based performer, Jonathan Bree. The songwriter and front man, who rose to popularity with the 2017 track, “You’re So Cool” which features Bree in a very blank, very interesting mask-costume, twists a hole in your psyche and won’t leave. His songs are like coffee in the morning with a touch of both sugar and cream. They’re smooth and warm with a kiss of the bittersweet. In the end, though, Bree’s songs energize in their own inimitable manner. We caught up with the musician, who released his latest record, “After the Curtains Close”, in July, to talk about when he first donned the mask that has become so permanent a part of his aesthetic, how he first fell in love with music, how he landed on his baritone croon and much more.

“I like that the mask means people can make their own connection. There’s an element of personal projection—people can see or feel what they want to.”

Following on from the huge popularity of debut album ‘The Primrose Path’, Bree’s fanbase has continued to swell with successive titles ‘A Little Night Music’ and ‘Sleepwalking’. This year, he returns with his finest record yet; ‘After The Curtains Close’ which is his own unique take on a breakup record.

Bree first embarked on his solo career with the release of debut album ‘The Primrose Path’ in 2013. Combining post-modern irony with a retro 60’s style, his signature sound was accompanied with a striking live image employing the use of an amorphous spandex mask obscuring his face but drawing greater attention to the music.

Huge success came in 2017 with the release of hit single ‘You’re So Cool’ which has amassed over 13 million views on YouTube alone!

It’s been two years since his last LP, but now Bree is back with one of the year’s most intriguing albums – ‘After The Curtains Close’. Featuring the singles ‘Heavenly Vision’, ‘In The Sunshine’ and ‘Kiss My Lips’ which sees him team up with Princess Chelsea; ‘After The Curtains Close’ is already regarded as the essential record of 2020.

Jonathan Bree will be heading to the UK in Spring next year to promote his latest LP ‘After The Curtains Close’ with dates in May.

Tickets are on sale with Gigantic and already selling fast!


The day before the release of our third album, ‘Truth or Consequences’, the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 an official pandemic. We’d arrived in the United States that morning to play the first show of our North American album release tour in Washington D.C. At this point, all of the tour dates were still set to go ahead, and we were excited to promote an album we had worked on for the last two years. This run was set to be our first ever fully sold-out US tour. The atmosphere was excitable, a little tense, optimistic. However, the chain of events that followed meant that by the time we finished our set that evening, restrictions on venues had been enacted by local governments across the country, and one-after-another, all of our remaining tour dates were cancelled. The performance at DC9 was the first and last show of the ‘Truth or Consequences’ album tour. It was all over, we went our separate ways and flew home the next day – on our album’s release day.

Touring is often the final piece of the puzzle that is an album campaign – the part you fixate on alone in a room, when you perfect a song and imagine how a crowd will react. You may have listened to certain songs a hundred times during the making of the record, but when you’re out on stage, face-to-face with an audience, this is when you start to truly re-contextualise and re-interpret the music, exploring the boundaries, focusing in on different parts of each song’s musical fabric. A new vocal harmony there, a new bassline there – perhaps you add different chord voicings on guitar, or new drum fills that set a new-found intensity to a section.

So after returning home and spending a few numb weeks adjusting to this strange new way of life, April came, the reality set in, and we quickly started to miss that feeling of exploring our new songs by night. We’d missed out on such a crucial part of the process – with no concrete idea of when we might next get the chance. It felt too soon to move on – we felt the pull to work on new music, but still felt a strong attachment, an unresolved connection to this new record that we’d laboured over and had waited so long to release.

Writing new music around them, we took the songs of ‘Truth or Consequences’ and found ourselves a new way of re-contextualising them safely, amidst the tragedy and fear going on in the world outside our windows – and the Alternate Versions were born. We encouraged each other to be bold, fearless, and to experiment like we would on stage – but from the comfort of our own bedrooms, living rooms and hallways. This new reimagining of ‘Truth or Consequences’ is the result of that process. Ten new arrangements that reflect our feelings of optimism, helplessness, and a desire to keep exploring.

Yumi Zouma are:
Christie Simpson, Josh Burgess, Charlie Ryder, and Olivia Campion.

Releases October 28th, 2020

The Phoenix Foundation have lived many lives. From high school distortion addicts to indie folk trippers to masters of motorik dream pop. It’s been five years since their last album, Give Up Your Dreams, but that downtime has been well spent. The New Zealand outfit have been writing, recording, touring with a Symphony Orchestra, creating the acclaimed soundtrack for Taika Waititi’s Hunt For The Wilderpeople, building shrines to light, creating scores for VR, producing other bands and, that most lockdown-friendly activity, baking sourdough.

It’s been 5 long years since “new zealand’s finest purveyors of psychedelic pop” (the times) last gifted us an album but thankfully, their downtime since ‘give up your dreams’ appears to have been well spent as they’ve come up trumps once again with ‘Friend Ship’. they’ve managed to enrol some of their homeland’s finest vocalists for quality guest spots, including previous dinked edition star Nadia Reid, another shop fave Tiny Ruins’ Hollie Fullbrook and Anita Clark (aka Motte). there’s also some sumptuous string arrangements performed by the New Zealand symphony orchestra.

Slowly, when they could, the six old friends found time to work together in studios, garages, forests, and sheds to put together the concise ten song set of that is Friend Ship. “We took such a long break after Give Up Your Dreams that when we did decide to make a new record we all felt it needed to be in some esoteric sense different,” says co-lead singer Samuel Flynn Scott. “To me that meant returning to something more focused. Honing in on the songs before we went deep into the arrangements and freaky sounds.” And the results reflect this approach too. Whilst Friend Ship, as you would expect, weaves seamlessly between dreamy introspective pop, stretched out grooves and psychedelic rock, it also exists as a collection of masterfully crafted songs.

Watch the video for our brand-new single “Hounds of Hell” with Nadia Reid. The video was directed by Anita Fontaine

For our UK fans, our new album “Friend Ship” will be available on very limited DINKED edition. With unique album art, transparent turquoise vinyl and two flexi discs with bonus songs!

 

Yumi Zouma‘s glorious Polyvinyl Records debut, “Truth or Consequences”, arrived back in March and today we get an official music video for fan-favourite track “Sage“. the video was filmed by Jack Shepherd in 2019, and edited by Austin Roa, in the band’s native New Zealand. Watch below.

Earlier this month, the band shared a remix of their ToC standout, “Cool For A Second,” courtesy of Australian singer/producer Japanese Wallpaper. Look for more exciting news in the coming weeks from the zoomies!!!

“The video for ‘Sage’ was shot by the brilliant Jack Shepherd, who managed to discreetly capture us in-between our various band activities on his Super 8 camera, before passing the footage onto our good friend Austin Roa, to create a beautiful homage to one of our most loved songs from the new record.” – Yumi Zouma

“Sage” is taken from Yumi Zouma’s third album, Truth or Consequences, out now.

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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.

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

No photo description available.

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