Posts Tagged ‘New Zealand’

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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.

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.

“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

In light of its 6th birthday, and being out of stock for some while now, I’m happy to announce a remaster and repress of my first album “Listen to Formation, Look for the Signs”. Recorded in Lyttelton in 2014. I self-released this album in late 2014 with help from a humble crowdfunding campaign. It was then re-released in March 2015 on an Australian label called Spunk Records. I owe gratitude to Aaron Curnow for believing in me back then. And also, to Matthew Crawley.


Originally released March 23rd, 2015

Listen to formation, look for the signs was recorded in July 2014 at the Sitting Room in Lyttelton, New Zealand. Players on this record were Richie Pickard, Sam Taylor, Joe McCallum and Anita Clark.

“When I hear a young artist making an album as soulful and rich and self-possessed as ‘Listen To Formation, Look For The Signs’, I feel so thrilled not only for the existence of that record but for all the music they will make over all the years to come”.
The Guardian (UK) 


Posted: September 25, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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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”

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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.