Artists on Wellington Music

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    NZMM bonus post! Artists on Wellington Music – Norman Meehan

    02.06.15 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    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.

    This one arrived late in our in-box, but we thought we’d post it even though New Zealand Music Month officially ended on Sunday. This is the last one of these posts (for now anyway), so we’d like to thank Norman and all the other musicians/writers etc. who took time out of their busy schedules to share with us some of their thoughts on Wellington music & some of their favourite artists and albums. We hope you enjoyed this series of posts & found some new music to explore…

    This last post is from Jazz pianist Norman Meehan who is currently an Associate Professor at the New Zealand School of Music where he teaches historical and critical jazz and popular music papers. Norman has studied under acclaimed pianist Paul Bley and performed original music at festivals and in concerts around New Zealand and in Europe, and on radio for Radio New Zealand Concert.

    Something that I love about the music scene in Wellington is that it’s populated with musicians from all over New Zealand, musicians who for various reasons have chosen to make their home in the capital. I think this jumbling up of people from all over, leads musicians to be quite open to collaborating with whomever they come across. I know of quite a few groups comprised of musicians from a bunch of different places. I guess we’re a little like Manhattan in that regard?

    Some of my favourite groups in Wellington include musicians who originally came from different places and met up when they arrived here. There’s something about the mix that these groups achieve that gives their music an edge, and maybe a unique quality. Trinity Roots and CL Bob are two groups that I think exemplify this musical trait.

    There are lots of ‘Wellington’ albums that I like, and from among those made by groups of musicians who came here from all over, one of my favourites is CL Bob’s second record Stereoscope. It was recorded in the city while the band was living here and to my ear is a genuine sonic combination of that unique group of individuals. Steve Cournane’s drum sound and approach (slinky, economical, grounded) is married impeccably to Tim Jaray’s earthy bass. It’s a bit of a dream team rhythm section for me, and provides a perfect foundation upon which the rest of the band can play, and with whom they also freely interact.

    Trumpet player Toby Laing performed with CL Bob on the album and his plangent lines sound joined at the hip to Nils Olsen’s saxophone and bass clarinet parts. The guitarists – Chris Williamson and Simon Bowden – are immaculate together: no easy feat for two guitarists in jazz contexts. The album comprises original compositions by members of the band and they’re all good. It’s nicely recorded, too.

    High points? The guitars (both of them) on ‘Easy Tiger’ – lovely simpatico playing; Toby’s solo on Titicaca for sure; Nils’s melodicism, everywhere, although his abstractions during ‘The Beginning of the End’ are gorgeously beguiling; Steve and Tim’s listening (‘Sacred’ is a great example) and their grooves, especially during ‘Voices’ and the quirky ‘Shallop’ – Bill Frisell’s music refracted through an antipodean lens; and Chris’s composition ‘Voices’, which opens the album, and is probably my favourite NZ jazz composition. It’s a terrific record and was the worthy recipient of a Tui Award for ‘Jazz album of the year’ in 2002. Do yourself a favour and buy a copy. Better yet, write to these guys and suggest they put the band back together…

    CL Bob ‘Smiles’ & ‘My Bass case’ from Trees: Yellow Eye Jazz Sampler

     

    Ellie’s review of Norman’s 2009 album ‘Sun Moon Stars Rain’…
    Cover imageSun moon stars rain.
    I love, and am still loving the latest from Wellington’s own jazz pianist extraordinaire, Norman Meehan. The name of the album is ‘Sun Moon Stars Rain’ and it is just wonderful. Here’s what Attar Media said: “…In 2007 Norman started composing music for poems by E.E. Cummings that he felt drawn to. This album is the result. Working with three of his favorite musicians – trumpet player Nick van Dijk, vocalist Hannah Griffin, and reed player Colin Hemmingsen – Norman has written a series of compositions that reflect the quiet, playful and transcendent aspects of Cummings’ work. Six of the pieces are songs; the other six are instrumental variations inspired by Cummings’ words. Because there is no rhythm section, the music is very open and spacious, leaving room for the individual voices to stretch out and explore – and for the listener to enter into the performances. This is a case of music and poems coming together perfectly. It is music – pure and simple. Just the way we at Attar like it…(Ellie)

    You can read a brief interview with Norman on the Rattle web site here, where he talks about the making of ‘Sun Moon Stars Rain’, and you can buy a copy from Attar Media here and his previous albums on Amplifier here.

    ‘Who are you, little i?’ – Words by E.E. Cummings, music composed by Norman. Performed by Norman with Hannah Griffin (vocals) and Colin Hemmingsen (reeds).


  • General

    NZMM: Artists on Wellington Music – Ross Mallon/Bulletbelt

    29.05.15 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    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.

    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.

    Up today is Bulletbelt guitarist Ross Mallon. Ross & the rest of Bulletbelt are having a busy time of it lately, having just replaced a 2nd guitarist (the newbie is Evan Short from Concord Dawn/Cobra Khan/Subtract), shot a music video, and are recording an ad for TV/radio and another video shoot on Saturday.

    I guess I look at the Wellington scene from a bit of an outsiders perspective. Moving here from Otago in 1998, immersing myself in the music scene as a fan, and then a musician a few years later. I think the unique part of the Wellington scene are that it’s geography funnels people into the CBD and Cuba St, and that for metal bands specifically, the Valve/Hole In The Wall/Medusa/Valhalla on Vivian St has provided a crucible for heavy music to form and flourish. So there is a central focal point, and a community/venue evolution around that. Add a relatively small population, and different genres interacting with each other, it all contributes to the unique music of the city.
    My picks of Wellington band releases:

    Shihad Devolve (EP, 1991)
    Head Like A Hole – 13 (1992)
    DemoniacPrepare For War (1994)
    Sadius Fiend – Cremate (1999)
    Backyard Burial – Repeat Offender (2002)
    Meth Drinker – S/T (2011)
    Red Dawn – Ironhead (2013)

    Shihad – ‘It’

    Demoniac – ‘Prepare For War’

    You can buy some Bulletbelt on Bandcamp here.


  • General

    NZMM: Artists on Wellington Music – Jesse Finn/Towers

    25.05.15 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    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.

    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.

    Up today is Jesse Finn from the indie-pop band Towers who have been performing covers of well-known New Zealand songs around town on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays throughout Music Month. In May of 2015 Towers traveled to the Gold Coast to record their official debut EP ‘Brontide’, which was recorded, produced and and mixed by Loose Stones Studio who have worked with artists like Angus and Julia Stone, Broods, Jarryd James and Matt Corby. ‘Brontide’ will be released late 2015.

    Wellington just has this great abundance of musicians, it’s quite cool that there are just so many people in the city who have the ability to pick up a guitar and play a few licks, to sing a few notes, to tinkle the ivories. Our bands always been lucky to play at great venues who want to work to get a good result for both parties and I think that’s a very Wellington thing – there’s a bit of a ‘I’ll take a chance on you guys’ sorta thing going on – I don’t know if you get that in bigger cities. Then, because the place is so damn small, you get this huge concentration of a tonne of different genres in a really small area. You get a bit of heavy punky-rock and metal at Valhalla, just round the corner you grab a bit of country and indie stuff at San Fran, then you get a helping of bluesy jazzy soulful stuff at Rogue & Vagabond and then 2 minutes walk from there you finish up with great big serving from EVERY genre at Bodega. It’s great! We’ve been trying really hard to get out and see more of the live scene that Wellington has to offer – cause that’s the key; getting out there and supporting the bands and the venues that work so hard to put it all on for everyone.
    Miles Calder & The Rumours – The Crossing Over
    The Wellington City Shake-‘Em-On-Downers – Shake It On Down
    Ryfe – Ang’eyo Nengo

    You can check out Towers performing a cover of ‘Nature’ by Wellington band The Fourmyula on Stuff here, and the rest of the songs they have performed over the course of May here.

    Towers will be playing a couple of songs in the Library for Music Month on Wednesday 27th at 1pm. They will be covering the Goldenhorse song Maybe Tomorrow and playing a couple of songs from their upcoming EP.

    You can buy some Towers music on Bandcamp here.


  • General

    NZMM: Artists on Wellington Music – Steve Francis/Bulletbelt & Red Dawn

    20.05.15 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    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.

    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.

    Up today is Steve Francis, who holds down the drum chair on two top local Black Metal bands Bulletbelt & Red Dawn.

    Wellington is such a big melting pot of people from all over NZ who have migrated here for Uni, or just to get out of their small town. To me that is one of the big reasons the Capital has produced so many great bands. People coming together as strangers, forming bands and evolving. Members come and go and sometimes some great music is made along the journey. Coming from the metal scene most bands I know have at least 1-2 members who are originally from small town NZ. Usually if you were a metalhead in provincial NZ you are an outcast. This adds steel and determination to what you do. It’s a you against the world mentality. When you hit the big city and meet a lot more like minded metal maniacs, bands are formed and there are actually venues to play and people to come see you!
    Some of my favorite Wellington releases.

    Shihad – Devolve (EP)
    Tokyo – Lonely Hearts
    Smut – False promises

    Shihad – ‘It’

    Tokyo – ‘Lonely Hearts’

    Smut – ‘False promises’

    You can check out the latest Bulletbelt CD we have in our collection here, or buy some Bulletbelt on their Bandcamp page here, and some Red Dawn here.


  • General

    NZMM: Artists on Wellington Music – Chris Prowse

    19.05.15 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    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.

    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.

    Up today is guitarist & singer/songwriter Chris Prowse, whose first album ‘Trouble on the Waterfront’ won the Tui Award For Best Folk Album in 2009.

    What is wonderful about the Wellington music scene is the collaboration between the musicians. Everyone supports one and other, regardless of musical styles or genres. My top Wellington albums would have to be:
    I Can’t Keep Secrets – Eva Prowse
    Any album by the Windy City Strugglers

    Windy City Strugglers – ‘Can’t Get Back’

    Windy City Strugglers – ‘Snow On The Desert Road’

    You can buy Chris’ music from his website here & listen to some of his tracks on Soundcloud here.

    Cover imageTrouble on the waterfront.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Cover of ‘Trouble on the waterfront’ sourced from Chris Prowse.


  • General

    NZMM: Artists on Wellington Music – Nik Brinkman/Over The Atlantic

    15.05.15 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    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.

    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.

    Up today is Nik Brinkman from Over The Atlantic. Nik Brinkman and Bevan Smith came together through shared involvement in a A Low Hum compilation. Two and ½ years of work went into creating their first album Junica

    I think what makes Wellington music unique may be the energy that this city has, which I think is very creative, social and progressive. Geographically, Wellington is far removed from the bigger global cities, as well as the major music industries, which I think this gives Wellington musicians a certain freedom to do what they want, and how they want.
    3 Albums:

    DSuper – Straight To The Sun
    Letterbox Lambs – Not A Private Joke
    Secret Knives – Affection

    D-Super video for ‘We Ride Tonight’. Check out the 5000 Ways (a site dedicated to reviewing every NZ On Air video) commentary here.

    ’16 Songs’. 5000 Ways commentary here.

    You can buy Over The Atlantic’s music on their Bandcamp page here & Nik’s solo album here.

    Special Friday bonus:
    Here is a video of Nik’s early band Ejector live at Indigo, 2003. You can also buy their music on Bandcamp here.


  • General

    NZMM: Artists on Wellington Music – Luke Kavanagh/Sunken Seas

    14.05.15 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    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.

    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.

    Up today is Luke from Sunken Seas, a 4-piece shoegaze band with one Taite nominated album & EP under their belt, and who are currently at work on their 2nd full length album to be released sometime this year.

    Though we’ve relocated to Auckland now, we’ve spent a fair few years in this band and old bands playing in the Wellington scene. The best thing about the Wellington music scene is that Wellington audiences, and Wellington musicians alike are very open minded and accepting of quite wide and varying styles of music and are willing to support it.
    In terms of Wellington albums in particular order we’d say:

    Beastwars – Self titled
    Thought Creature – Teleport Palace
    So So Modern – Crude Futures

    Follow Sunken Seas on Facebook.

    You can find Sunken Seas 2012 album ‘Null Hour’ here. You can buy some of their music on Bandcamp via their website.


  • General

    NZMM: Artists on Wellington Music – David Weinstein/Klezmer Rebs

    12.05.15 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    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.

    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.

    Up today is David Weinstein from Klezmer Rebs, Wellington’s great ‘Ethnic and European’ band…

    Klezmer Rebs have been going since 2002. The Klezmer Rebs play an eclectic mix of up-beat ethnic dance and wedding music, along with a few familiar and unfamiliar Italian, Russian, French Latin and English language tracks.
    What makes Wellington music unique? Great musicians, cool venues, good camaraderie, and of course the Newtown Festival!
    Top 2 or 3 bands/albums:

    Phoenix FoundationBuffalo
    Klezmer Rebs – Just Add Shmaltz

    Cover image

    You can buy some of Klezmer Rebs music here or on their Bandcamp page here.

    Just Add Schmaltz cover sourced from Klezmer Rebs.


  • General

    NZMM: Artists on Wellington Music – Daniel Boobyer

    11.05.15 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    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.

    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.

    Up today is Daniel Boobyer

    I think what makes Wellington Music unique is the number of Bigger Carnival/percussion bands that there are on offer. It is also quite easy to make connections here as it is a concentrated city that has a productive air about it. There are so many bands around.
    Top albums:

    Fuyuko’s Fables – Everybody is Weird (EP)
    An excellent release in 2012. Their sound has a sort of organic quality, and it’s harmonious and sweet.
    Groeni – Groeni (EP)
    2012 5-track EP. Spectacular and ambitiously subtle Electronica.
    Time Killed The Clock – Dan Boobyer
    My first pressed record was released in 2012. It is an idiosyncratic blend of Blues Folk and hypnotic loops.

    You can check out Dan’s 2010 album here and buy his more recent material on Bandcamp here.


  • General

    NZMM: Artists on Wellington Music – Sophie Burbery/Little Bark

    08.05.15 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    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.

    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.

    Up today is Sophie Burbery. Her 2010 debut Hope is Rubbery was divided into two EP sides, each created with a different producer and presented two distinct musical personas. One side was recorded as Sophie Burbery, the other as ‘Little Bark’. The 2014 album U.S.B was released under the ‘Little Bark’ monicker…

    Wellington is a small city (in the scheme of things) so there aren’t a lot of musicians. So we work closely together, often collaborating, playing in each other’s bands to support each other, leading to more risk taking and better musicianship. It’s a potent brew is Wellington.
    Top3 bands/albums:

    Dave Frazer – Cavebirds
    Luke Buda – The C sides
    Cortina – Control Freaks Rule the World

    You can buy Sophie’s music on Bandcamp here, and her releases as Little Bark here.


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