New Zealand Music Month at Wellington City Libraries

nzmm-small-vertOn our Wellington Music blog we’ve been checking in with some local artists, writers & critics to get their thoughts on what makes the Wellington Music scene unique, and to get their take on some of their favourite Wellington sounds. You can check out some older posts from critics Nick Bollinger, & Grant Smithies, Blue Smoke writer Chris Bourke, and musicians Samuel Flynn Scott & Alistair Fraser, but since it is New Zealand Music Month we thought we would check in with some more people over the course of May.

So far we’ve gotten some great music picks from Grayson Gilmour, Ryan Prebble and Matt Hyde from ‘Beastwars’, Sophie Burbery with plenty more to come.

Whether offering an opinion on the uniqueness or elusive qualities that make up Wellington music, or just some of their favourite albums, the most important thing is the music itself, and we hope these posts lead you back to some favourite albums, or help you to discover something new.

Free Gig: Maika at Wellington Central Library

Mahinarangi Maika
Mahinarangi Maika pours a lifetime of heart and an eternity of culture into her music. Performing as Maika, her music flows easily between Maori and English languages, reflecting the cultural heritage of her native Aotearoa/New Zealand, in a style that blends reggae, soul, R & B, and jazz.

“Music is the language of the soul,” Maika says. “It is something that unifies us.”

Maika belts out that musical language without reservation. She has the vocal power of Melissa Etheridge or Pat Benatar, but with a different quality that makes her hard to classify. The music ranges across styles, her words and melodies reflecting the passion and pain of a life transiting the resurrection of a culture.
Maika is Ngati Porou and Te Arawa.

Performing for free and unplugged at Central on May 29th at 12noon.

Monty’s NZ music month picks for 2013, so far!

Well, it’s almost time to wrap up NZ music month, but before we say a temporary goodbye to emphasising all things kiwi and music, here’s a selection of some mighty good new releases for 2013.

Who do you love?  The haunting subtle music of Tiny ruins;, Homebrew’s Tom Scott has a side project, the more personal @Peace and The Ruby Suns change direction (again) but let’s not dawdle, let’s run, because it’s NZ music month picks for 2013, so far, by me only.

Girl songs Girl songs / @Peace Tom Scott takes an absorbing step left from hometown heroes Home Brew with an album solely dedicated to the broken-hearted (according to the man himself), “basically, I’m a heart broken loser who writes about his pain and his struggle – it’s about loss and love.” Don’t forget the usual high standard of jazz and hip hop inspired music and you’ve got something pretty special here… (Watch the 40s noir inspired trailer below)

 

Antipodes Antipodes / Popstrangers Auckland trio Popstrangers may be the most uniquely NZ of our NZ music this month with a swirly psychedelic pop guitar sound reminiscent of Flying Nun bands of yesteryear (The Chills, JPS Experience The 3Ds) progressing into something more modern and maybe impressive. They’ve signed with American label Carpark Records – does fame, money and fans await – from the majority of NZ bands experiences I would say no, but I like them!


 

Sonido de LatinAotearoa Sonido de LatinAotearoa / LatinAotearoa  Jennifer Zea released well received title The Latin Soul album last year, and as if to cement the new, authentic sound of Latin music in New Zealand here are LatinAotearoa! Combining the best of Bossa Nova, Salsa and local influences and including contributions from Tom Scott (again) this is a joyful, original, funky list of songs.

 

Ruby sunsChristopher / The Ruby Suns  Ryan McPhun (he is the Ruby Suns) was included in Uncut magazines recent tribute to Bryan Wilson and this is no mistake. The Ruby Suns make some of the most elaborate, delicious pop music around and previous albums Sea Lion and Flight Softly are NZ music month classics. Christopher is along similar lines but cleaner, poppier and dressed in golden synths but remember, this is a break-up album!

 

Tiny ruinsHaunt / Tiny ruins Tiny ruins is dreamy, low-fi, a bit Americana and certainly a little eerie. Hollie Fullbrook plays original tunes from the early years of her songwriting life and they come to life perfectly.

 

An Interview with Toni Huata

Kia ora ano and welcome to our third and final feature in our New Zealand Music Month series of interviews with local Māori musicians. This week’s feature is on Toni Huata, a local songstress and permformer of Ngati Kahungunu. Check it out!

2_Toni_Huata_at_PAO,_Wellington_

Would you like to introduce yourself?
My name is Toni Huata from Ngati Kahungunu , Rongowhakaata, Rongomaiwahine and Lebanon, Germany, Ireland and Scandinavia.

Where are you from? How long have you lived in Wellington for?
I was brought up in Hastings and have been based in Wellington now for around 20 years.

What’s your musical background? What instruments do you play?
I’m a vocalist and performer first then producer, director and voice tutor.  I play the guitar and piano but my voice is my instrument.

How did you learn? What made you want to learn?
Encouragement from family and friends to attend the Whitireia music course as a vocalist, which lead onto Touring Theatre Companies and eventually our own business. I also dabbled in percussion and the drums whilst at Whitireia but just for a tutu.

In what ways have you drawn on your Māori lineage for inspiration for your music?
Every way. My family is who I am and our stories in the past, present and future is what drives my compositions and music.

Are there any themes in your work? What are some of those?
Family, land, culture, love, health, empowerment, loss, children, being a parent, woman and mother, all sorts of things. I’m working on my fifth album Tomokia now so you can imagine we’ve covered a lot.

Where do you feel Māori music is at now?
I feel Māori music is always evolving and is particular to each individual artist in how they wish to express themselves. There are Māori language artists, kaupapa Māori artists and artists that produce music not necessarily with a Māori flavour or language, but are Māori.

What do you enjoy most about performing? Anything you don’t enjoy about it?
I love performing and expressing myself to all. With music I find it tends to be either intimate or big outdoor festival style which require different levels of energy but always with truth. In theatre it is different again, still the truth but in support of a central story. With music the story is in each song. Big theatre productions can make me nervous but I just say my karakia and ask for help to be on top of everything and trust that all will be well.

PAO_concert_Jen_Toni_and_Marisa

Who are some of your favourite musicians? Is there anyone you look to for musical inspiration?
I love many past and present artists for different reasons. Either their voice or their stage persona. Best to see them live in concert.

Who have you enjoyed working with?
I’m working currently with Paddy Free and it is another great working relationship. We also worked together on my single Tahuri Mai (releases on May 24 2013) and 4th album Hopukia (2012). I also love working with Gareth Farr (in RWC 2011, albums Hopukia and Whiti and stage production Maui – One Man Against the Gods), he is so talented and is a laugh in the studio. Past producers I have had many wonderful experiences with and always a good laugh. I love working with long time collaborators and friends Charles Royal and Tanemahuta Gray.

Will you be celebrating NZ music month?
Yes, we are currently in studio starting my fifth album Tomokia. My single ‘Tahuri Mai’ releaseD through DRM and Amplifier on May 24th and to iwi stations May 20th.

Favourite book?
Health, cultural, spritual and self-help books.

If you could listen to just one song forever, what would it be?
That’s a hard one, I love so many pop and Maori songs.

Are there any songs you’d like to cover?
I’m covering ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’, a bi-lingual version, on this next album. The Māori lyrics are different to the original English lyrics but this has come by the request of many family members and friends.

Do you have any up-coming Wellington gigs we can get along to? Where can we find out more?
Check my websitefacebook and twitter.

In the near future I’m at the Wharewaka June 8th, then Kahungunu Matariki June 21st at Flaxmere Park in Hastings and in Wairarapa July 5th…

2_Toni_Huata_Solo_opening_for_World_of_Wearable_Arts,_NZ

You can check out some of Toni’s albums right here at the library!

Whiti.

Hopukia.

Te Maori e.

An Interview with Karl Teariki

Kia ora and welcome to the second interview in our series of interviews with local Māori musicians. Here we have an interview with local musician Karl Teariki, helping us to celebrate NZ music month by telling us all about his sweet sounds!

karl grfx

Would you like to introduce yourself?
I am from the tribe of Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Waka o Takitimu, growing up on my ancestral land known to our family as Maunga Kōhatu, but known these days as ‘Royshill’, Highway 50, 15 km south west of Hastings. My marae is Omahu and my hapū is Ngāti Hinemanu. On my father’s side, I also descend from Te Waka o Takitumu in Rarotonga, from the tribe Ngāti Raina with connections to Mauke, Tāhiti and Ra’iatea. Although I have lived in Wellington just over twenty years, I will always be from Heretaunga. The real one, not the one in Upper Hutt. I have worked on many kaupapa Māori albums starting with the iconic band Black Katz led by Ngātai Huata when I was 12 playing cello on the track Mahinaarangi.

What’s your musical background? What instruments do you play?
I first started on guitar when my Mum was getting classical guitar lessons from a well-known Hastings musician, the late James Baker, who was a session player from England, a lovely man and a great teacher. I used to sit in on her lessons after school when I was 6 years old, and I think I just soaked it up like a sponge as kids do. I started playing the pieces my Mum has learned by ear, and she taught me what she had learned. She says she stopped teaching me when I got better than her. A few years later I also learned classical cello from my teacher Alison Hansen, as well as continuing on guitar with Mr Baker, and later at high school with Dave Boston. When I was 15, guitar was definitely cooler, so I put the cello away and transferred what I had learned on the cello to electric guitar. Music has always been a creative outlet for me as has art and ‘The art of Tutu’, my number one passion. Tutu means basically to learn and explore through experimentation.

karl hill small

In what ways have you drawn on your Māori lineage for inspiration for your music?
I have always drawn on my heritage when it comes to composing, from my first release at the age of 17 with a grant from Puatatangi. It was called He Taonga, and combined what I had learned on classical guitar, and my mum and dad also performed on the title track He Taonga. My favourite track from that release was Whakakāhu, which means ‘to assume the form of a hawk’, and combined orchestral elements I composed and were performed on keyboard by my cousin Traci Tuimaseve. I am interested in using the thought processes and concepts handed down from the ancestors and translating those into modern genres for people to enjoy. That was the concept behind the release of PAO, which featured my sons Tangaroa and Te Manea. It was a 5 track EP made with funding from Te Mangai Paho. On that EP I created some Whakatauki, (Maori proverbs) that reflect how the ancestors formed thoughts from observing nature. For example, in the song Ko Te Reo (The Language),

Iti nei, iti nei,
ka hangaia e te manu
tōna kohanga.

Iti nei, iti nei,
ka tipu te pī,
ki te manu tīoriori.

Little by little,
the bird builds
their nest.

Little by little,
the fledgeling grows
into a beautiful songbird.

The thing with whakatauki is they can relate to many things, depending on how they are examined. This one could relate to learning or goal setting; a bird building its nest from little things. Learning is the same, each small thing learned is an achievement that build towards a bigger outcome. I guess themes in my work are to do with my heritage, and how that fits into the modern world. 

Where do you feel Māori music is at now?
I feel that Māori music is continually growing and evolving, depending on the generation that is carrying it. Each generation has its own preferences and tastes, like the word whakapapa which translates to genealogy. It literally means, ‘to become a layer’; each layer / generation has its responsibility to those before and after it.

What do you enjoy most about performing? Anything you don’t enjoy about it?
What I enjoy most about performing my music is to leave a thought or feeling with someone that they did not have previously. An idea can be shared with someone, without losing it.

Who are some of your favourite musicians? Is there anyone you look to for musical inspiration?
I have many favourites but for me it’s about how that piece of music can make me feel, regardless of the composer or genre. I appreciate music that is crafted, but then a three chord song can tell amazing stories. I prefer a music ‘smorgasbord’ over ‘a la carte’ if that makes sense.

What are you working on at the moment?
I am currently working towards the second release from PAO, again featuring the vocals of my sons who will be 14 and 16 when we are finished. A couple of the songs are in English with the rest in Māori. They cover many themes from losing loved ones, returning home, heritage, heartbreak, tutu, and also covers a few favourite songs, including AEIOU written by Wī te Tau Huata in the 1950’s and sung by many a primary school student across the country.

boys-pao-flyer1

If you could listen to just one song forever, what would it be?
That would probably be a song called Nemesis, by a group named Shriekback released in 1985. I like its weirdness and strangeness.

Are there any songs you’d like to cover?
I’d love to cover the following songs from a Polynesian / Māori perspective: UK black – Soul II Soul, Exodus – Bob Marley, Sing our own song – UB40. There are also many beautiful Māori songs I would love to cover one day.

Do you have any up-coming Wellington gigs we can get along to? Where can we find out more?
Get a free download:
PAO on soundcloud.

Karl Teariki on soundcloud.

An Interview with Matiu Te Huki

Kia ora ano! You might remember, I promised some exciting things for NZ Music Month here on our he korero o te wa blog… and here goes! Local musician Matiu Te Huki very kindly answered some (okay, a lot of) questions for us, and told us all about his music and his inspirations. Check it out!

Paekakariki Memorial Hall 2011

Would you like to introduce yourself?
Ko Kahungunu me Rangitane ki Wairarapa oku iwi.
I’m also of Italian, Irish, Scottish and English descent. I’m a dad, I teach kapahaka in kindys and schools and love dogs.

Where are you from? How long have you lived in Wellington for?
I’m from Masterton, lived in the South Island for a while and I’ve lived just north of Wellington in Raumati South, Kapiti Coast for 8 years now.

What’s your musical background? What instruments do you play?
Started as a child on the ukulele, then guitar, sang my way through school in choirs and kapahaka groups. My voice is my main instrument and the guitar is the instrument I play to accompany my voice and to compose music with.

How did you learn? What made you want to learn?
A lovely old man called Pop Joe taught me to play for a couple years (from 10-12 years of age), I’ve been bluffing it ever since. I’m still learning. I learnt guitar because I love music so much and it’s easy to carry around.

In what ways have you drawn on your Māori lineage for inspiration for your music?
I really got into singing at Hato Paora Maori boys college. It gave me a real sense of identity and pride to stand and sing, especially in my native tongue. I still write songs in Maori and use haka, chants and traditional instruments in my music, more than ever now actually.

Are there any themes in your work? What are some of those?
My main themes are about revolution. Internal (evolving, loving oneself, letting go of fear etc) and external (Learning what’s really going on in the world, loving one another and standing up for our rights together…while we still have them).

Where do you feel Māori music is at now?
I feel it is under-appreciated in this country by the music industry. In saying that, a lot of people are ready and hungry for it, especially overseas.

What do you enjoy most about performing? Anything you don’t enjoy about it?
I love connecting with people, uplifting their spirits, inspiring them with my themes and putting myself out there. I don’t really enjoy playing to drunk crowds anymore as I feel most of the time they’re missing the point.

Who are some of your favourite musicians? Is there anyone you look to for musical inspiration?
Warren Maxwell, Ria Hall, Louise Baker, DUB FX are a few that come to mind. I’m inspired by those who follow their hearts, break the rules, and play what they want, not what the industry says people want to hear.

Who have you enjoyed working with?
I loved playing on stage with Fat Freddies Drop for the experience of the big crowds, composing and recording with Anika Moa for her skill and voice and I loooooooove jamming freestyle with people and feeling things fall naturally and beautifully into place.

Will you be celebrating NZ music month?
I’m pretty much gigging every weekend at the moment, I feel I’m having a music year!

Favourite book?
Way of the Superior Man by David Deida.

What are you working on at the moment?
I’m developing my solo act, about to come in for winter and write some new stuff and getting ready to tour Europe in August.

If you could listen to just one song forever, what would it be?
Hmmmmm….. I think that would drive me crazy!

Are there any songs you’d like to cover?
I cover a few of my favourites, I’d love to play ‘Killing in the name of” by Rage Against the Machine. In the right environment, of course.

Do you have any up-coming Wellington gigs we can get along to? Where can we find out more?
I post my gigs on my Facebook page and my website is matiutehuki.co.nz.
My next gig in Wellington is at the Southern Cross 18th May, 10pm-12, free entry.

Syndetics book coverThe way of the superior man : a spiritual guide to mastering the challenges of women, work and sexual desire / David Deida.
“What is your true purpose in life? What do women really want? What makes a good lover? If you’re a man reading this, you’ve undoubtedly asked yourself these questions-but you may not have had much luck answering them. Until now. In The Way of the Superior Man, David Deida explores the most important issues in men’s lives-from career and family to women and intimacy to love and spirituality-to offer a practical guidebook for living a masculine life of integrity, authenticity, and freedom. Join this bestselling author and internationally renowned expert on sexual spirituality for straightforward advice, empowering skills, body practices, and more to help you realize a life of fulfillment, immediately and without compromise. “It is time to evolve beyond the macho jerk ideal, all spine and no heart,” writes David Deida. “It is also time to evolve beyond the sensitive and caring wimp ideal, all heart and no spine.” The Way of the Superior Man presents the ultimate challenge-and reward-for today’s man: to discover the “unity of heart and spine” through the full expression of consciousness and love in the infinite openness of the present moment. Book jacket.” (Syndetics summary)

Paraire Tomoana, NZ Music Month Feature

Welcome to May and to NZ Music Month! We have some exciting things lined up for you on the He kōrero o te wa blog, so make sure you keep an eye out! I would like to kick off NZ music month here with a small feature about a beloved and well-known Māori composer, Paraire Henare Tomoana. This blog post is not only about one of New Zealand’s best-known and loved Māori composers; it is also about someone close to my whanaunga, and it is my greatest pleasure to share with you here a summarised biography, taken from teara.govt.nz:

Paraire Henare Tomoana was born in either 1874 or 1875 in Hastings. Paraire belonged to Ngati Te Whatu-i-apiti and Ngati Kahungunu; through his father he had links to the hapu Ngati Hawea, Ngati Hori, Ngati Te Rehunga and others, and through his mother, to Ngai Te Ao, Ngati Hinepare, and Ngati Hinetewai. His mother and father were both prominent Māori leaders in Hawkes Bay and, inheriting illustrious lineage from both parents, Paraire was destined for leadership.

te aute

Te Aute College, Waipawa County. Alexander : Photographs of Te Aute College. Ref: 1/1-013163-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23029536

He attended Te Aute College, where he became a prefect and captain of the school. At school, he was a contemporary of Sir Apirana Ngata, with whom he remained firm friends and whom he also supported politically.

san

Apirana Turupa Ngata. New Zealand Ilustrated Magazine [1899]. Ref: PUBL-0091-1899-001. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23013034

Paraire was also a formidable athlete, representing Hawkes Bay in rugby, tennis, cricket and hockey, and Turanga in golf. For over ten years, he remained the undefeated champion of the New Zealand Māori golf tournament. In 1904 he was appointed coach of the All Blacks. Paraire married twice. His first marriage had ended by 1912 and in 1913 he married Kuini Ripeka Raerena, aged 19 and one of eight children of Taare Raerena (Ryland), a farmer of Ngati Porou, and Harata Akuhata-Brown (Paraone). These were my great-great-great-grandparents. Kuini was the sister of my great-great-grandmother, Celia Raerena. Paraire had courted Kuini by singing his own composition, the love song ‘Pokarekare ana’, to her and her Ngati Porou elders on Te Poho-o-Rawiri marae. There were four sons and four daughters of this marriage, and Paraire also had an adopted son.

tpor

Te Poho-o-Rawiri. Gordon, Peter John Te Otene, fl 1970. First meeting of the Takitimu Maori Council, in front of the second Poho o Rawiri Meeting House. Ref: 1/2-044563-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23041348

Paraire was a pioneer composer of songs in the new ‘action song’ style, moving away from classical waiata which used small note ranges, no harmony and irregular metre. Instead, he wrote words to fit harmonised tunes written in diatonic scales and generally deriving from European songs, the rhythms adapted to fit Māori idiom. One of his best-known songs was ‘Te ope tuatahi’; others are still among the most popular Māori songs in New Zealand. During WWI, Paraire helped raise funds for the Maori Soldiers’ Fund by organising a song and dance group (Te Poi o Heretaunga) which performed at Waimatatini, Wellington, Trentham and Auckland. They performed many of his compositions, including Hoea Ra Te Waka Nei, and E Pari Ra (1918 – the famous tangi for soldiers lost in battle). Other well known songs written by Paraire were ‘Tahi nei taru kino’, ‘I runga i nga puke’, ‘Hoki hoki tonu mai’ and the haka ‘Tika tonu’. As well as composing action songs, Paraire was an accomplished writer and translator, a commentator on ancient waiata, and was well versed in Maori history and lore. In 1946 he suffered a stroke and died on 15 April. He was survived by Kuini, who died in 1984, four daughters, three sons and his adopted son. He is buried in the Waipatu cemetery at Hastings.

(This biography is summarised and paraphrased from www.teara.govt.nz. The full text is available here and is well worth a read; I recommend you take a look!!)

Te Ara Biography:

Angela Ballara. ‘Tomoana, Paraire Henare – Tomoana, Paraire Henare’, from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 30-Oct-2012

We have some resources about Paraire Tomoana here at the Central Library:

A century of Maori song : a collection of words and music for 56 traditional and contemporary Maori songs of 20th century. Volume one. He koha : a gift of Māori music / [compiled by] Blossom Taewa and Stuart Pearce.

We also have a range of CDs ($1 for one week), featuring songs written by Paraire and performed by more recent artists:

Waiata Maori : a festival of Maori song / sung and narrated by Inia Te Wiata. Reo : he waiata Maori hou o Aotearoa = contemporary Maori songs of New Zealand. The voice [sound recording] / Teddy Tahu Rhodes. Whisper you all the way home [sound recording] / 2003/224 New Zealand Secondary Students’ Choir. The young Kiri [sound recording] : the early recordings, 1964-70.

New Zealand Music Month: Svend’s picks

New Zealand Music Month logoTo mark New Zealand Music Month our librarians have been thinking about local music memories, albums and artists. Here’s what Svend had to say:

Loop Select 003 cover link Loop Select 004 coverIf you’re looking for an introduction to a bunch of good New Zealand music at the electronica/dance/dub end of the spectrum, the LOOP compilations are a great place to start. They were released around the turn of the century, but many of the artists featured on these albums are still making cool music, and the library has a fairly good selection of them; it can be interesting to look at how they’ve changed over time, and interacted with each other.

For example, listening to the first, unnumbered LOOP compilation, the catchy breakbeats of Minuit might catch your ear, leading you to their EP Luck; or you might enjoy Species II from LOOP Select 003 (also on their first album, The 88):

But they haven’t stayed still. For example, if you listened to their recent albums, like Find Me Before I Die A Lonely Death.com, you’d find the expected tracks that menacingly whir and click along, like “Run Run” (with the awesome opening line, “I’m not so brave; I’m just surrounded by cowards…”); but there are also stripped back, almost folksy tracks like “Vampires”:

Or there’s the unstoppable Rhian Sheehan, whose dreamy electronic soundscapes are all over the various LOOP compilations. He’s ended up doing a lot of film and television work (and, thanks to an agreement between LOOP and the 48HR Film Competition, can be heard over the credits of a surprising number of ramshackle short films). Here’s a live version of the first track from his album Standing In Silence:

Rhian Sheehan – Standing in Silence Pt.1 (Live) by Rhian Sheehan

Or how about the rambling but funky supergroup Fat Freddy’s Drop, who’s first album Live at the Matterhorn (with the iconic Bucket Fountain on the cover) manages to make four tracks jam for an hour. Their album Based On A True Story is slightly less meandering, but no less soulful, as the track “Wandering Eye” demonstrates:

Of course, the other nice thing about Fat Freddy’s Drop is that it’s a springboard into a whole constellation of bands… but it might be better if that was another post.

New Zealand Music Month: Monty’s Picks

New Zealand Music Month 2012To mark New Zealand Music Month our librarians have been thinking about their favourite local music memories, albums and artists. Here are some of Monty’s favourite recent releases:

Real Groovy cover linkHappy heartbreak! / the Sami Sisters.
Infectous, singable, hummable, danceable pop fun with Auckland’s Sami sisters. Mixed by NZ music scene recluse and eccentric legend, Ed Cake, so lots of bittersweet lyrics and happy music!

Real Groovy cover linkThe Vietnam War.
Touchstones might be alt-country groups like Son Volt or early Wilco but Vietnam War are a distinctly memorable and authentic NZ country/folk act. Songs like the brilliantly lethargic and chugging ‘Heavy on my mind,’ couldn’t be from anywhere but New Zealand, I reckon. See the video below:

Real Groovy cover linkHits and love songs.
The man, the music, the hits. You’ve got to give respect to a man who can cover Sexual healing and MacArthur Park on the same comp and I haven’t yet mentioned Cheryl Moana Marie, Tania and, for a man meeting middle-age, the increasingly stirring If I only had time. Not a dry eye in my house, anyway.

NZ music reviews to end NZ Music Month

Sadly, it’s the end of New Zealand Music Month !  We have been collecting up a few reviews from staff – here are some from John, one of our librarians:

ghostplaneGhostplane – Beneath the Sleepy Lagoon: ‘Southern gothic’ was a genre name coined especially to describe the sound of Wellington’s Ghostplane. They only made this album and one EP in their short career but left a highly distinctive memento. A dark, moody ambience, punctuated by searing guitar lines, pervades these lovely textured songs that carry a NZ flavour not often explored. In their own idiosyncratic way, this band rock.

Mestar – Shut the Squizwot Factories Down: In a more just world John White would be ultra famous. His Mestar project carries the original classic Dunedin indie guitar sound into the future. Huge fuzzy guitars under his distinctively twee sweet vocals create songs that represent the pop music of an imagined parallel Earth.

Sola Rosa – Get It Together / Get It Together Remixes: Starting out as a solo laptop artist, Andrew Spraggon has unrelentingly pursued his musical vision to finally emerge at the helm of a large band of fine musicians, and this record represents the pinnacle expression of his vision so far. It is a record that includes a variety of influences – dub, lounge, jazz and soul – and the inclusion of international vocalists such as Bajka and remixers such as DJ Vadim herald a truly international sound.

The Haints of Dean Hall – The Haints of Dean Hall: A record of haunting post modern lullabies and possibly one of the gentlest records I have ever heard. This trans-Tasman duo create an ambience with electric guitar and vocals so sweet and gentle that it is hardly there at all, yet listen carefully and these are lovingly crafted songs about love, sorrow and experience. “They are trying to recall something but it is like passing shadowy figures in a hallway”.

The Bats – The Guilty Office: When a band can release an album 20 years into their career that matches or even tops anything else in their back catalogue then you know there is something very special going on. In 2008, The Bats very quietly released this record that was like a reminder to indie kids the world over just what ‘indie’ truly means. Great songs, slacker grooves, elegant understated guitar and laconic yet heartfelt vocals – The Bats – a national treasure!