Staff CD Picks for June

Cover imageHendra – Ben Watt.
Ben Watt has done quite a bit in the 31 years since his first solo album ‘North Marine Drive’ was released on the indie Cherry Red label in 1983. He formed ‘Everything But the Girl’ with fellow Cherry Red artist Tracey Thorn, became a successful indie band, then a successful pop band, nearly died from a rare auto-immune disease, completely reinvented his band as an Electronica act, had a few of kids, married long time partner Thorn, and wrote an acclaimed book about his parents. These things, as well as many others, influence his second solo album, which he described as the ‘unfinished business’ of his early singer-songwriter self. Drafting in Berlin based producer Ewan Pearson for synth’s & FX, and ex-Suede guitarist Bernard Butler for acoustic & electric guitar textures the album has the intimate & hushed feel of a ‘folk’ record, but the layered strength that underpins ‘rock’. But mostly it’s about the songs, whether personal with the passing of his father (‘Matthew Arnold’s Field’) or the sudden death of his half-sister (‘Hendra’), or more general with portrait of a shop-owner closing down (‘The Levels’), or an aging DJ (‘Young Man’s Game’), Watt has crafted a set of unassuming songs about life & loss. Recommended. (Mark)

Real Estate – Atlas
Amazon textBy their third album you are either a fan of Real Estate’s harmonic, sun-drenched, tremolo guitar driven sound or not. For those fond of overt darkness and angst, these pretty, gently yearning songs may sound far too sweet, but for fans this is a beautiful addition to their discography. Not that this collection is angst free, the songs are deceptive in that within the beautiful melodies lurk lyrics about pain, confusion and loss carried by tight, complex arrangements from a band who’s warm and understated sound requires you to listen in to catch their lovely drift. (John)

StaffPicksCDs10The Both.
Like a lot of established singer-songwriters Aimee Mann’s records have become increasingly mannered, which makes her collaboration with punk-ish singer Ted Leo (Ted Leo and the Pharmacists) a nice change of pace. Leo opened for Mann on her last tour & after playing together on a few tracks they decided to try their hands at writing a few songs together. What came from that idea is a truly collaborative set of songs, that doesn’t feel like one artist is guesting on the others albums, and their voices sound great together as they trade off vocals for a short set of catchy punk/pop tunes. Leo gives Mann an energy her last few records lacked, while Mann gives Leo a more structured pop framework to work in. The result sort of sounds like Aimee Mann circa ‘Whatever’, collaborating with a cult 90’s power-pop band like ‘Jellyfish’ or ‘The Semantics’. Definitely worth a listen. (Mark)

Kompakt – Pop Ambient 2014Amazon text
Since the new millennium dawned, Cologne based electronic label, Kompakt have released an annual compilation from their sub-label, Pop Ambient, which features a distinctive take on the electronic ambient genre. The overall quality has been remarkably high, with only one or two editions drifting a little too close to sugary new age muzak, but this 14th edition is a standout and features contributions from masters of their craft including the Orb’s Thomas Fehlmann, ex-Slowdive guitarist Simon Scott, Jorg Burger, The Field and label boss, Wolfgang Voigt. With hardly a beat to be heard, these compositions offer a subtly hypnotic and enveloping listening experience becoming more dense and textural as the tracks slowly unfold. (John)

Cover pictureBlank Project – Neneh Cherry
Once a black-diva of the punk scene, Neneh Cherry is back after 18 years of semi-retirement. In 2012, she showed her mojo was not diminished by making a brilliant collaborating album The Cherry Thing with Scandinavian Free Jazz trio The Thing, and now her long-awaited solo album has finally arrived. This project is prompted by her mother’s death and intriguingly produced by a folktronika, IDM guru Kieran Hebden (aka Four Tet). The songs are personal and the mood is sombre but the whole sound is radical. Four Tet creates a bold sound pallet. It’s a kind of trip-hop sound but raw and minimal (often drums, bass and vocal only) emphasising bass sound with no reverb. Cherry’s voice takes an important role to complete this edgy music, but her presence is warm and natural and catchy melodies make a fantastic balance of avant-garde and pop music. Turning 50, Neneh Cherry is still forward-thinking and sparkling. (Shinji)

Cover imageMarijuana Deathsquads – Oh my sexy lord
As their name perhaps suggests, this Minneapolis band is a riot of tripped-out noise and electronic distortion. The vocals are highly treated, their apocalyptic lyrics barely intelligible and their use of pulsing electronic beats and multiple drummers creates a sound that is sinister but rousing. This album is full of invention, quite disturbing but strangely alluring. (Neil)

Close To the Glass – The NotwistAmazon text
The German band that helped spearhead the indietronica genre with their classic 2002 release, Neon Golden, were never spotlight grabbers, always appearing to favour working on the periphery, and their first record in six years finds them in similar mode. In the intervening time they have produced a couple of film soundtracks which may have influenced the direction their sound seems to have taken. This is music so subtle and understated that it has the potential to not register at all… but given attention what reveals itself is a sequence of lovingly crafted songs that span the analogue/electronic spectrum with confidence and superb musicianship. (John)

Cover imageBudd Box – Harold Budd
Although he dislikes his music being called ‘ambient’, Harold Budd, along with Brian Eno, is a living legend of its kind. He uses a term ‘radical simplicity’ to describe his music and goes on to say that to compose music is to eliminate the superfluous sounds. Despite sharing a lot of common points, his music is different from Eno’s. Budd is primarily a pianist and his approach is more organic led by images and feelings, whereas systems come first for Eno. This beautiful-looking box set contains 7 once-hard-to-find albums from the 80s to the 90s, including one collaborating with Andy Partridge of XTC, and showcases his minimal yet gorgeously rich musical world. Although they all present subtle, solitary, so-called ‘ambient’ sounds, each album offers different perspective and colours, and endless pleasure of listening. Budd may still be best known for the works with Eno, but he deserves to get more recognition in his own right, and this gives you an ideal opportunity to explore it. (Shinji)

Cover imageMorgan Delt – Morgan Delt
Morgan Delt, presumably named after the 1966 British movie character, is a young Californian musician who is thoroughly immersed in late 60s psychedelia. This hallucinatory album is both sunny and eerie, conjuring up a lost and misty past and a timeless present stretched to the horizon. Freeform and stoned, but firmly focused and convincing. (Neil)

Cover imageOne in a million : the songs of Sam Dees.
Another entry in the Kent labels songwriter series sees them focus on cult Southern songwriter Sam Dees. Much like fellow southern soul-man Phillip Mitchell Dees is known more for the songs he wrote for other artists rather than his own solo work. This compilation focuses more on his 70’s & early 80s output, and as is the case with Kent releases it combines a few hits, some obscurities and some rare versions of well known songs by unfamiliar artists. Obviously licensing issues play a big part in compilations like this, as bigger hits songs by the likes of Atlantic Starr, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Huston & Gladys Knight are absent, but a rumoured second volume may well include those. Recommended if you’re a fan of vintage 70s soul. (Mark)

Cover imageKin (←→), Pat Metheny Unity Group
Pat Metheny is, of course, one of Jazz’s giants and an innovator with a great curiosity of music and an amazing consistency. Whatever he does – with his band, solo or duo, using the custom-made instrument orchetrion – quality is guaranteed. He has always led marvellous bands but this current band ‘Unity Group’ could be his best band ever. A dynamic Chris Potter, who is the first saxophonist Metheny hired in a long time and whom I had never imagined plying with Matheny, sparks the band with his rigorous yet fluid virtuosity. Potter’s play seems to be blended into the whole sound better than his first recording with Metheny Unity Band, and the new member, keyboardist and multi- instrumentalist, Giuilio Carmassi makes a colourful contribution to the multi-textured, signature world of Metheny. Although they play complex compositions with intricate arrangements, everything here is so smooth and fluent thanks to their excellent skills and Metheny’s superb control. It’s like an upgrade version of the 80’s legendary Pat Metheny Group but this band’s ‘unity’ is exceptional, and could grow even bigger as Metheny’s joy and desire to play with the band is obvious. (Shinji)

Cover imageThe Road and the Radio – Kenny Chesney
Kenny Chesney sings Country music. His later albums also include some Reggae music. This CD has some very cruisey music. Kenny Chesney also sings music with a real beach feel. ‘Summertime’ is one song which can be enjoyed whilst driving around. The sad song ‘Who’d you be today’ is a reflective song about losing a young person. ‘Living in Fast forward’ is a catchy tune about being always on the go and not slowing down. This music is mainly happy and breezy music. Good to do housework to or to relax to, or listen to in the car. Kenny Chesney is a very popular singer in the United States. He is just under Taylor Swift as Number 2 in Country earnings. He has been singing for more than 20 years and has many albums. He has a really lovely voice. (Brigid)

Cover imageYou & I – The Pierces
It’s a sad reflection on the state of music that a group as talented as sister act ‘The Pierces’ were on the verge of giving up before this album. After their first couple of albums ‘The Pierces’ (2000) & ‘Light Of the Moon’ (2005), full of gorgeous folk-pop & ethereal harmonies, faced major label indifference they went the indie-route with their 3rd album Thirteen tales of love & revenge, which featured broader instrumentation like accordion, calliope, bassoons, sitar, violins, autoharp, and Hawaiian lap steel, which reflected the sisters Bohemian upbringing. While the album was a critical success, it still struggled commercially and the sisters felt burned out & dispirited. They decided to break up the band and go their own way, but on the very same day Coldplay bassist & fan Guy Berryman called & offered them a supporting gig on the next Coldplay tour. When he heard they had broken up Berryman knew he had to get them back together, and offered to produce their next album. The result, ‘You & I’ is a huge slab of west-coast pop full of catchy hooks & melodies, a homage to the soaring FM harmonies of bands such as ‘The Mamas & Papas’ & ‘Fleetwood Mac’, yet the sisters still sound like themselves & no one else. Classicist pop music in the best sense of the word. (Mark)

#TheFaultInOurStars Giveaway

To celebrate the cinematic release of the much anticipated film adaptation of John Green’s celebrated book Wellington City Libraries in association with 20th Century Fox New Zealand are giving away 10 double passes to The Fault In Our Stars. To enter click here.

Hazel and Gus are two extraordinary teenagers who share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a love that sweeps them – and us – on an unforgettable journey. Their relationship is all the more miraculous, given that they met and fell in love at a cancer support group. The Fault In Our Stars, based upon the number-one bestselling novel by John Green, explores the funny, thrilling and tragic business of being alive and in love.

John Green is the bestselling author of many titles including Looking For Alaska, An Abundance Of Katherines, and Paper Towns.

Movies & Music Newsletter: June 2014

This months new DVDs include summer block-buster film adaptations (and reboots) of Orson Scott Card, Stephen King, Markus Zusak, and Martin Sixsmith books. There’s even a crowd-sourced gem for Marshmallows. An ever-eclectic selection of the latest song books and CDs to join the collection are also included. Enjoy!

Library News


New DVDs from May include the acclaimed Biography pick Philomena with Dame Judi Dench & Steve Coogan; adaptations of popular YA novels like The Book Thief; new Foreign hits with French romantic-comedy Populaire; and the return of cult-TV favourite Veronica Mars.

Cover imageThe book thief.
“Skillfully pared down from Markus Zusak’s celebrated young adult novel, The Book Thief presents a somewhat sanitized glimpse of Nazi Germany and the war from the uniquely innocent view of an adolescent girl. At first the perspective seems to be from the narrator, a bored, yet amused voice we learn is Death, presumably taking a brief holiday to comment on the experience of young Liesel (Sophie Nélisse) and the evolving disruptions around her. After Liesel is separated from her brother and mother in sharp and unsettling fashion, she lands at the home of protective, penurious foster parents Hans and Rosa Hubermann (Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson) in a small village somewhere in the picturesque German countryside. When she’s teased at school for being illiterate, the kindly Hans makes a fun project of teaching her to read. Rosa is a persnickety presence for both of them, but it’s mainly a façade as the couple embrace Liesel tighter even as the situation around them grows more dire. At a Nazi book burning a horrified Liesel surreptitiously snatches a random volume from the flames. The wife of the local Bürgermeister is the only one who notices, and she compassionately allows Liesel to visit her dead son’s library, where she soon earns the movie’s title moniker. Liesel’s newfound love of literature begins informing her actions as more is revealed about the Hubermanns and the toll of wartime village life becomes more desperate.” (Abridged from review)

Cover imagePopulaire.
“In 1958, the young Rose Pamphyle dreams on leaving the small village in the countryside of France where she lives with her grumpy father Jean Pamphyle, who is a widower that runs a store and wishes that Rose get married to the son of the local mechanic. Rose learns by herself how to type using only two fingers and when she sees an advertisement for a secretary for the insurance agent Louis Échard in Lisieux, Lower Normandy, she immediately travels to city. Rose has a bad interview but she impresses Louis typing at very high speed. Louis decides to hire her for a short period of experience and Rose shows that she is a clumsy secretary. But Louis is a former sportsman and he decides to train Rose how to type correctly to dispute a speed typing competition. He brings Rose to his home and she learns how to play piano to help her typing with Louis’s childhood friend Marie Taylor that is married with the American Bob Taylor. She becomes close to his friends and family. Rose becomes the fastest typist in France and now she needs to train to compete in the world title in USA. But Louis, who has fallen in love with her, believes that he is not enough to help her and decides to sacrifice his love to make Rose’s dream come true.” (Publishers description from

Cover imageAugust: Osage County.
“Academy Award-nominated drama directed by John Wells. Members of the Weston family reunite at their family home in Osage County, Oklahoma when their troubled poet father Beverly (Sam Shepard) goes missing. It isn’t long before they find that he has commited suicide and the rest of the family then come to pay their last regards at the funeral. Leaving his outspoken and drug-addicted wife Violet (Meryl Streep) behind, the rest of the family feel obligated to stay with her while she grieves for her husband. But living in such close proximity is a test for any grown family, and it isn’t long before cracks in their relationships begin to appear. The ensemble cast includes Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Juliette Lewis, Chris Cooper and Benedict Cumberbatch. Both Streep and Roberts received Oscar nominations for their performances in the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress categories, respectively.” (Publishers description from

Cover imageVeronica Mars.
“On the eve of graduating law school, Veronica Mars has put Neptune and her amateur sleuthing days behind her. While interviewing at high-end New York law firms, Veronica Mars gets a call from her ex-boyfriend Logan who has been accused of murder. Veronica heads back to Neptune just to help Logan find an attorney, but when things don’t seem right with how Logan’s case is perceived and handled, Veronica finds herself being pulled back into a life she thought she had left behind.” (Publishers description from Syndetics summary)

Cover imagePhilomena.
“Judi Dench stars in the story of Philomena Lee, mother to a boy conceived out of wedlock and given up for adoption. Nearly 50 years later, Philomena meets Martin Sixsmith, a former BBC reporter looking for his next big story. Together, they embark on a journey to locate her long lost son. As the pieces of the puzzle come together, the unlikely travel companions form a comic and heartwarming friendship. Based on the 2009 investigative book by Martin Sixsmith.” (Publishers description from Syndetics summary)

Cover imageCarrie.
“Chloe Grace Moretz and Academy Award nominee Julianne Moore star in this exhilarating reimagining of Stephen King’s iconic best seller. After merciless taunting from classmates and abuse at the hand of her religious fanatic mother (Moore), Carrie’s (Mortez) anger – and her telekinetic powers – are unleashed. And when a prom prank goes horribly wrong, events spiral out of control until the terrifying conclusion of this powerful, pulse-quickening horror story.” (Publishers description from

Cover imageEnder’s game.
“Based on the popular series of books by Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game is aimed at the same young adult crowd that gobbled up franchises like Twilight and The Hunger Games, but it has plenty to satisfy older audiences too. Ender Wiggin is a pubescent genius selected for training in an elite battle school some 70 years after an apocalyptic global attack by the insectlike Formics that killed tens of millions. The Formics were defeated, but the threat of their return remains and it’s up to children like Ender to become strategic commanders who will take up the mantle of defending Earth. The martial sensibility of a child army is crisp and believable in the scenes of boot camp on space stations and distant planet outposts. Asa Butterfield (Hugo) makes Ender the scrawny, brilliant misfit who really may be a savior to end the Formic threat forever. He’s bullied and alienated, a theme that recurs throughout the story in many ways and comes full circle in the brutal, beautiful finale. His mentor and tormentor is Colonel Graff, the grizzled commander who believes Ender is “the one,” but must hide some essential truths as a measure of control. Harrison Ford makes a bang-up return to stardom as Graff with barely dimmed wattage that pays more than a little homage to Han Solo…” (Abridged from review)

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Popular Music Books

Want to be Lorde? More songbooks have arrived including Lorde’s Pure Heroine. Wonderful instruction books for the ever popular ukulele are included as are classics from Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Alicia Keys. It’s playtime again.

Syndetics book coverPure heroine / Lorde.
“17-year-old New Zealand newcomer Lorde released this, her debut album, in September 2013. It reached the top of the modern rock/alternative and rock albums charts, and the lead single “Royals” won the 2014 Grammy Award for Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance. Our folio features this break-out hit plus nine other tunes: Buzzcut Season * 400 Lux * Ribs * Still Sane * Team * Tennis Court * and more.” (Adapted from

Syndetics book coverComplete, so far / Joni Mitchell ; transcriptions by Joel Bernstein, Daniel Libertino, and Andrew DuBrock.
“After decades of waiting, the definitive Joni Mitchell guitar songbook is here! Joni Mitchell Complete So Far contains 167 songs spanning her entire career, transcribed accurately and including the authentic tunings Joni explored throughout her artistic development. To make it easier to navigate the tunings—absolutely integral to any student of Joni Mitchell’s guitar work—this book also includes a very clear and easy-to-use tuning index, and an in-depth article on Joni’s evolution as a guitarist. Hardcover and featuring an impressive all-color photo section, the songbook culls the best work from the following albums: Song to a Seagull, Clouds, Ladies of the Canyon, Blue, For the Roses, Court and Spark, The Hissing of Summer Lawns, Hejira, Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter, Mingus, Wild Things Run Fast, Dog Eat Dog, Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm, Night Ride Home, Turbulent Indigo, Hits, Taming the Tiger, and Shine.” (adapted from

Syndetics book coverThe element of freedom / Alicia Keys.
“The 2009 CD by this soulful R&B songstress features 13 songs, including her hit duet with Jay-Z “Empire State of Mind” and another duet with Beyonce, “Put It in a Love Song.” Our matching songbook features these songs, plus: Distance and Time * Doesn’t Mean Anything * How It Feels to Fly * Like the Sea * Love Is Blind * Love Is My Disease * That’s How Strong My Love Is * This Bed * Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart * Un-thinkable (I’m Ready) * Wait Til You See My Smile.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAfter the gold rush / Neil Young ; music transcriptions by Jeff Jacobson and Kevin Langan.
“Released in 1970, Neil Young’s third CD is hailed as a masterpiece. Here are note-for-note transcriptions with tab for all 11 songs: After the Gold Rush * Birds * Cripple Creek Ferry * Don’t Let It Bring You Down * I Believe in You * Oh, Lonesome Me * Only Love Can Break Your Heart * Southern Man * Tell Me Why * Till the Morning Comes * When You Dance, I Can Really Love.” (adapted from

Syndetics book coverUkulele aerobics / by Chad Johnson.
“A 40-week, one-lick-per-day workout program for developing, improving, and maintaining ukulele technique.” (Book Cover)


A mix of old-faithfuls and a few extras to experiment with in this months newest CDs.

Cover imageThe take off and landing of everything.
“As they release their sixth studio album, The Take Off and Landing of Everything, it is fair to say that elbow are in a rare position within the music world. Few bands can lay claim to a career that encompasses over twenty years, even fewer can make that claim without changes to personnel and yet, elbow in 2014 are the same as elbow in 1992, Guy Garvey on vocals, Mark Potter on guitar, Pete Turner on bass, Craig Potter on keyboards and Richard Jupp on drums. That isn’t to suggest elbow are rigid in their musical approach. For The Take Off and Landing of Everything the band subtly changed their previous working practices to great effect. Where previously the vast majority of elbow songs had been the creation of the band in total, a sketch from one member being developed by the band in rehearsal, this time around a conscious decision was made to try a new approach. So, ‘Honey Sun’ is the musical creation of Mark Potter, ‘Colour Fields’ was mostly written by Pete Turner using iPad apps and ‘Fly Boy Blue / Lunette’, the track that unveiled the new album with its accompanying film in January, was initially created by a core group of Pete Turner, Mark Potter and Richard Jupp…” (Publishers description from Real Groovy)

Cover imageOut among the stars.
“Out Among The Stars is a remarkable new album comprised of 12 recently discovered Johnny Cash studio recordings. The tracks were originally recorded in Nashville in 1981 and 1984 and produced by Billy Sherrill. The album features duets with June Carter Cash and Waylon Jennings plus songs penned by Cash himself. The recordings, which have never been released in any form, are not demos, outtakes or alternate versions. They remained in the vaults during the years Columbia Records released Johnny Cash’s last albums for the label and were subsequently forgotten. The recordings first surfaced in 2012, when John Carter Cash was cataloging his father’s and mother’s exhaustive archives. “When my parents passed away, it became necessary to go through this material,” he says. “We found these recordings that were produced by Billy Sherrill in the early 1980s…they were beautiful.” Out Among The Stars is a great lost Johnny Cash album connecting the revolutionary rockabilly of his Sun Records years to the epochal final albums he made for American Recordings. Thirty years in the making, Out Among The Stars is a classic Johnny Cash album, about to be heard for the very first time…” (Publishers description from

Cover imageThe nihilist.
“Liam Finn returns with his third solo album The Nihilist, recorded in Greenpoint Studios in Brooklyn, New York, where Liam is based. Produced by Liam himself and recorded by Andrew Everding, (Dave Fridmann’s (Tame Impala, MGMT etc.) protégé). Featuring Finn on 67 instruments and collaborations from his bandmates Eliza Jane Barnes (vocals), his brother Elroy (drums), Andrew Keoghan on violin & Jol Mulholland (bass) in sessions entirely between the hours of sunset and sunrise.The album opens with “Ocean Emmanuelle,” a dreamy, collaborative effort with Mulholland that sets a tone of troubled beauty.”Snug As F*ck,” a melodic and fantastical duet with frequent collaborator Barnes, bridges the gap between Finn’s work as a teenager in the acclaimed New Zealand band Betchadupa and his current solo career, while “Burn Up The Road” is an infectious fuzzed up rocker. “4 Track Stomper” builds a distorted beat on an old four-track tape recorder into an off-kilter masterpiece, and the album’s eerie, percussive title track was actually born as an acapella arrangement during a jam with Elroy…” (Publishers description from Real Groovy)

Cover imageThe classic.
“Joan Wasser returns with her fourth album with her Joan As Policewoman project, The Classic following on her from her critically acclaimed album The Deep Field in 2011. The new album showcases her intimate and uplifting brand of soul combined with her unique torch-singing temperament, with a more liberated feel than ever before. Featuring guests artists like comedian & musician Reggie Watts, Joseph Arthur as well as her usual Joan As Police Woman cohorts, Tyler Wood (keyboards), Oren Bloedow (bass and sharing guitar parts with Joan) & Parker Kindred, Jeff Buckley’s former drummer.Trained as a classical violinist, Joan graduated to playing in Antony Hegarty’s Johnsons and Rufus Wainwright’s band, whose combined piano balladry inspired her own music, while infusing it with her individual stripped-down-soul and torch-song approach. This new album features influences from soul, street corner doo-wop, classic fifties & sixties pop while creating its own unique sound…” (Publishers description from Real Groovy)

Cover imageLost in the dream / The War on Drugs.
“The War On Drugs, the Philadelphia-based project of Adam Granduciel, presents their third full-length album, the beautifully sweeping Lost In The Dream, via Secretly Canadian. Written and recorded over two-plus years in Philadelphia, North Carolina, New York and New Jersey, following almost two years of nonstop touring in support of 2011′s Slave Ambient, Lost In The Dream is the outstanding presentation of Granduciel’s progression and growth as a songwriter, performer, and producer. It is an immense listen to be absorbed and discovered now and for decades to come…” (Publishers description from

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Buyer’s Choice

Up and comings  our buyer is looking forward to:

Syndetics book coverBest thing that never happened to me
On a competely different note is this lovely new romantic comedy about Holly. She let go of her first love Alex, but now has a second chance of rekindling their relationship when he moves back to her city for a new job. It has been described as similar to Notting Hill and Love Actually. Which may or may not be your thing, but it sounds good nonetheless and has recommendations from fellow chick-lit writer Paige Toon.

Syndetics book coverHen who dreamed she could fly
This is by bestselling and award winning Korean writer Sun-Mi Hwang and is one the few novels of hers translated into English (the only one our library has). It’s a fable about motherhood, morality and life in general. And it is actually about a hen called Sprout (and a collection of other barnyard animals). The hen, described by Publisher’s Weekly as “philosophically restless” (how great is that?!) yearns to be a mother and to hatch one of her eggs which unfortunately are collected each day by the farmer. Eventually she escapes her cage and meets a duck, Straggler, who helps her hatch and nurture an egg they find, both discovering the joys of parenthood. How brilliant!

Syndetics book coverSt Kilda blues
This novel is set in 1967 Melbourne and follows detective Charlie Berlin as he investigates the disappearance of a teenage girl, the daughter of a wealthy and prominent city figure. This is the third installment by Geoffrey McGeachin about detective Berlin, the first two installments won Australia’s Ned Kelly award for crime fiction.

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Arts and Crafts Newsletter: June 2014

Welcome to the latest Arts and Crafts Newsletter. This month’s picks are a beautiful selection of inspirational titles to keep your creative side burning as the days get cooler.

Library News


Stunning new art books for winter reading include Brancusi, Indiana, and Warhol.

Syndetics book coverCitizen Warhol / Blake Stimson.
“From his life to his work, Andy Warhol is an enigma. The leading figure of the pop art movement, Warhol created paintings, films, performance art, and his famous studio, the Factory, in New York City. Fans, aficionados, enthusiasts, experts, and critics alike have tried to make sense of Warhol, creating a wealth of knowledge and speculation. Blake Stimson builds on this project in this gorgeously illustrated book, which brings new attention to the philosophical and creative influences behind Warhol’s life and work.” (adapted from description)

Syndetics book coverThe essential Robert Indiana / Martin Krause, John Wilmerding.
“Decoding Robert Indiana’s work for a new generation, this revelatory book explores previously unknown autobiographical elements in the work of the Pop artist and printmaker. Famously proclaiming himself to be “an American painter of signs,” Robert Indiana has created an enormous body of work, much of it boldly colored abstractions. In this incisive new examination of the artist, based on ongoing conversations with Indiana, art historian Martin Krause sifts through autobiographical clues within the artist’s work and finds a wealth of affecting and affectionate references to Indiana’s childhood, literary heroes, and the cultural icons of his generation.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBrancusi New York, 1913-2013 / text by Jérôme Neutres.
“The pure, abstract sculptures made by Constantin Brancusi have had a large and enthusiastic audience in New York ever since they were first shown on American soil at the 1913 Armory Show. The numerous American collectors, muses, friends, and exhibitions that enabled his success had a profound influence on the eccentric Romanian artist who lived in Paris… Over the last one hundred years his effect on the city’s art scene has never waned. Through stunning archival images and text by art curator Jerome Neutres, Brancusi New York tells the story of the mutually beneficial relationship between the sculptor and the Big Apple.” (adapted from description)

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Find lots of inspiration and practical ideas in our latest library craft books. Start your crafting adventure reading about artists who are enjoying sharing their knowledge and ideas with young crafters about knitting, crocheting, sewing, stitching and hand weaving – without spending a fortune! A fantastic way to learn how to make beautiful things that work for you and your family, satisfy your creative urge and have fun!

Syndetics book coverStitch and structure / Jean Draper.
“Diagrams, drawings and easy-to-follow instructions take the reader through each technique; beginning with recording information for translation into stitch, then moving on to constructing with threads and linear structures and making experimental textiles and structures using stitched fabrics.” (Back cover)

Syndetics book coverKnitting with giant needles : simple projects to knit and crochet / Hanna Charlotte Erhorn.
“Enjoy quick and easy knitting and crocheting using giant knitting needles and thick yarns with Knitting with Giant Needles. Use a few relaxing hours on the sofa to catch up with the latest trend of knitting with giant needles and create beautiful and unique accessories for your wardrobe and home in no time. You can choose from 35 gorgeous, inspirational projects to fill your weekends, from scarves and shoulder bags to cushions and blankets. You can even choose from variations of the projects to ensure you get your perfect crafty creation, ideal for creating individual accessories or gifts. Whether you are an experienced knitter or just starting out, step-by-step knitting pictures show basic techniques, making knitting easy for everyone.” (Adapted from

Syndetics book coverBoycraft : loads of things to make for and with boys (and girls) / Sara Duchars & Sarah Marks ; illustrations by Nicola Kent.
“Duchars and Marks note, “There are plenty of craft books out there for girls, but even the ones that don’t have pink frilly cupcakes on the cover are often full of handbags, fairy wings and princess tiaras.” No such items are on display in this book, which targets “boys and tomboys” with lots of messy, spooky, and recycled crafts; boys will like the can-do attitude of this book. A particular standout is the totally enthralling papier-mache landscape that truly does look like it will offer days of fun. American readers will have to overlook some British English, a small quirk. A larger concern is the haphazard arrangement of the projects. In the sewing chapter, for example, making a large stuffed animal is followed by instructions for making the simpler giant beanbag chair, which is followed by instructions for simplest-of-all beanbags, sequenced in the exact opposite of skill-building order. And directions are far from comprehensive; trying to make the bird feeder Duchars and Marks offer will lead to heartbreak. Still, these low-key projects will inspire outdoorsy kids who might not otherwise be interested in a crafts book.” (Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverWise craft : turning thrift store finds, fabric scraps, and natural objects into stuff you love / Blair Stocker.
“Stocker, a blogger who had a career in apparel and textile design before staying home to raise children, offers 60 projects in four seasonal chapters, with holiday nods going out from May Day (sheet music and paper bag floral cones) to Halloween (naked zombie Barbies, painted delightfully white). Most undertakings require only an open mind as a skill set, though a bit of sewing (patchwork jeans from thrift store shirts or the picnic blanket fashioned from men’s apparel) or crochet (glass fishing bobbers as casual decor or tree ornaments) skills will help. Even the most gifted repurposer should find inspiration in the woven chair back, crafted from yarn and a lucky side-of-the-road find (a set of mid-century modern dining chairs). “Sometimes,” says Stocker, “what seems blah at first glance just needs an open mind and a little love to be completely transformed.” A keeper for thrift-store divas and dumpster divers.” (Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverMade by yourself : 100% handmade designer DIY projects for the home, from furniture to accessories / Peter Fehrentz.
“DIY is all the rage and handmade objects guarantee individuality and sustainability–and for this reason they have once more become highly sought-after. Made by Yourself’s ideas for furniture and small decorative crafts are 100% individual, while the step-by-step instructions, sketches, and patterns guarantee that they are surprisingly easy and fun to make. The many different kinds of materials–stone, wood, paper/cardboard, glass/porcelain, metal, plastic, textiles and leather–combined with the imaginative ways they fit into their environment make this both a practical and atmospheric book filled with sophisticated and creative ideas.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe art of tinkering : meet 150+ makers working at the intersection of art, science & technology / Karen Wilkinson & Mike Petrich.
“ Every day, there is something new and wildly wonderful out there that someone has made by hand a city built out of 100,000 toothpicks, a musical instrument that’ s powered by the ocean, or a pop-up book that lights up, too. In “The Art of Tinkering,” you will be introduced to the individuals behind these and many more marvellous works, find out how they create, and get inspired to start tinkering yourself. “The Art of Tinkering” is a collection of exhibits, artwork, and projects that celebrate a whole new way to learn, in which people create their own knowledge through making and doing, working with readily available materials, getting their hands dirty, collaborating with others, problem-solving in the most fun sense of the word, and, yes, oftentimes failing and bouncing back from getting stuck. Each artist featured in “The Art of Tinkering” goes through this process, and lovingly shares the back story behind their own work so that readers can feel invited to join in on the whimsy. The stories, lessons, and tips in The Art of Tinkering offer a fascinating portrait of today’s maker scene. (Adapted from Syndetics)

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Wellington! Why are you so sick?

The season has just changed dramatically and you can’t go around town without withnessing a sniffle, cough, or sneeze. Sharing is caring but sometimes it would be nice to have something unique so our resident scientist, albeit Geologist, Jamie has crafted the animal illness name generator below so you can make your sniff-sniffs and sneezes stand out form the rest.

Animal Illness
Mouse Bubonic plague
Moose Rhinovirus
Whale Flu
Fish Gout
Cow Eczema
Horse Dysentary
Rhino Tussis
Cat Mumps
Dog Ebola
Lizard Brucellosis
Bird Diptheria
Swine Giardia
Manatee Tetanus

Keep yourself fit and healthy with our latest health books here.

Axel’s Mix: May 2014

As we roll through the second trimester of 2014, let’s push the pause button and have a listen to some of the new music that has made it to the Library in 2014 so far!

Genres explored this month include: Country; Black Metal; World/Mali; Jazz; Electronica; Classical; Hip Hop; Soul/R&B; New Zealand; Pop-Rock.

Don’t Think Twice [Dolly Parton]
Yes, Dolly strikes again! The Country singer has been busy since the 60s, and is keeping her voice up with her last delivery Blue Smoke. Hope you enjoy this take on a Dylan classic.

Flames In My Eyes [Avicii]
For those who are more into the Dark Side of America, comes a deep and profound cathartic combo of growling souls. It is not surprising that Avicii’s fromtman carries Aamonael as his name!

Arheg Danagh [Tinariwen]
Removed from his native Mali, Ibrahim Ag Alhabib lived the tough life of a camp refugee in a foreign land. In Algeria, his shared necessity of speaking out loud about the injustices innocent people were being submitted to in his surroundings sparked the idea of forming a band to produce a sound that would reach the world. Multiple guitars, vocals and percussive instruments give the sense of unity and the harmony that can be achieved when people join to fight a cause.

Born [Pat Metheny]
I think this song wraps up Metheny’s latest release: Smooth-Jazz for easy listening. It sounds to me like a he’s taken a tea break; a sort of interlude to, hopefully, more challenging ideas to come in future albums.

Crying for no Reason [Katy B]
This album is a tear jerker. The young Briton is no doubt a product of the current music industry that will satisfy all those who regularly tune in to the Top 40s.

Maurice Ravel: Miroirs – 1 Noctuelles [Pierre-Laurent Aimard]
This song is not new. As a matter of fact, it is over 100 years-old! Acclaimed pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard renders tribute to Ravel’s textures in a very solid and clear way, making it sound like a contemporary piece. Its gloomy tone maintains alignment with its dark title, yet the different sections within it offer immense gratification calling for repeated listening.

Murda [Kid Ink feat. Pusha T]
Straight radio-friendly rap, I can hear this resonate on the various pimped-up machines riding through town on a Saturday night through Courtney Place.

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction [Aretha Franklin]
This song gave the Stone’s their 1st Number 1 hit in the US. If for some strange reason you encounter someone who has no idea about The Rolling Stones, there are still high chances they would have (at least!) heard of this song -and if you do, please send them to the Library for a free 60s encyclopedic chat with me, loaded with suggestions 😉 Because of its smashing success and awesomeness, it is no wonder that other musicians felt like putting themselves in an Out of Their Heads band and rock the tune themselves! My preferred version? DEVO’s by FAR!

Royals [Lorde]
Yup, it deserves the pop-hype. Sweet 16-year-old Lorde came up the lyrics in 2012, and after sharing it with her producer Joel Little from the small Golden Age Studios (Kids of 88, The Naked And Famous), they went on to record it, producing a Grammy-winning single that made us all proud. The smart and catchy composition, added to a solid production and great performances make this song a winner on my list.

Keep It Healthy [Warpaint]
This band is tagged as Dream Pop, and Warpaint reflects it very well; after listening to the album you wonder if you were just dreaming all along. What next? You move on with your business as if nothing happened. This might suit those people who find Radiohead a bit too much and like to multi-task during the housekeeping hours.

What’s coming up at the library?

Our events calendar is boiling over at the moment, here’s a list to help you keep on top of what’s coming up over the next fortnight. All events are free and all are welcome. Our usual Pre-School Story Times, Book Clubs and Baby Rock ‘n’ Rhyme sessions are all still happening too.

Thursday May 22nd

Amiria Grenell – Central 12pm
Wellington Musician Amiria Grenell performs free over the lunch hour in celebration of New Zealand Music Month.

Poetic Voices of Africa – Central at 6pm

Come and join us for an evening of African poetry with Poetic Voices of Africa. A line-up of six African poets from Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan, and American poets from Georgia, Hawaii and Washington DC will come together to perform their poetry in the lead up to the Africa Day celebrations on 24 May. The session will be introduced and concluded with a drum performance from Sam Manzanza.

Friday May 23rd

Andy Gibson – Central 5pm
Wellington Musician Andy Gibson performs free in celebration of New Zealand Music Month.
Free Art Workshop – Newtown 6pm
Wellington Artist Marg Elliot shares her drawing knowledge in this one hour workshop.
Harriet And The Matches – Newtown 7pm
A late-night double feature at Newtown, Wellington Musicians Amiria Grenell and Jessie Moss reunite their band a free, one-off performance.

Monday May 26th

John McIntyre presents a session on Reluctant Readers – Cummings Park (Ngaio) 6:30pm
Children’s book commentator and Kilbirnie’s Children’s Book Shop owner John McIntyre returns to our Westrern Libraries to present this session on how to get your reluctant readers onto the books.

Tuesday May 27th

Kōhunga Kōrero – Whāngaia tō Tama Toa ki te pānui pukapuka – Miramar at 9:30
Pre-school Story Time in Te Reo Māori.

Thursday May 29th

Maika – Central 12pm
Wellington Musician Mahinarangi Maika performs as Maika for free over the lunch hour in celebration of New Zealand Music Month.

Friday May 30th

Free Art Workshop – Newtown 6pm
Wellington Artist Marg Elliot shares her knowledge of shading, tone and texture in this free one hour drawing skills workshop.

New Zealand Music Month Events This Week

NZMM2014_RGB_VertTo celebrate New Zealand Music Month we’re hosting a series of free performances with fantastc Wellington Musicians.
This week we have events in Newtown and Central, here’s the low-down:

Thursday 22nd 12pm at CENTRAL LIBRARY
Amiria Grenell plays in the Young Adult area.

Friday 23rd 5pm at CENTRAL LIBRARY
Andy Gibson plays in the Young Adult area.

Friday 23rd 7pm at NEWTOWN LIBRARY
A re-united Harriet and The Matches (Amiria Grenell/Jessie Moss) play the Newtown Library.