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    New library ‘Wellington’ music on CD & Vinyl Jan-Apr, Part 2: The All Seeing Hand/The Nudge/Cave Circles/Deathgasm/Dave Lisik/French For Rabbits/Julie Lamb/Jeshell/Teeth & Tongue/Lake South

    01.06.17 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    Every month, Wellington City Libraries acquires new CD’s for its large, broad, eclectic collection, and Wellington music is no exception. We regularly inspect Bandcamp, local music websites, trawl music vendors latest releases and check out independent labels like Flying Nun, Arch Hill, Rattle and Lil’ Chief for the latest in Wellington and New Zealand music. So, with this influx of mint music in mind, every month we’ll provide the latest titles and artists added to our Wellington music collection…

    Mechatronics / The All Seeing Hand. [VINYL]
    Vinyl version of the band’s 2nd album. Deane Hunter adds guitar to three songs but the massive soundscapes of the rest of the tracks are just (amazingly) the drums of B. Michael Knight, the turntables of Alphabethead and the throat-singing of Jonny Marks. A dark percussive collision of spooky grunts and doomy metal riffs, avant stylings and structured playing. Intense and other-worldly, it sounds like an end point conglomeration of all places other musicians from differing modes of sound wanted to get to but never could. Bandcamp here. Facebook here.

    Dark arts / The Nudge. [VINYL]
    The 2nd album from The Nudge only has 3 tracks, one of which clocks in at 13 minutes, the other at 24. The four minute opening title track (and single) is just a hint of the genre mashing that is about happen, but provides a basic reference point for the bands diverse sound. If you’re not enamoured with anything vaguely ‘prog’ and hate tracks that are basically longer that 3 and half minutes, be prepared to have your opinion changed by this addictive record. With relatively few vocal interludes, it’s all about the structure of the sound here and they manage to weave in out of different styles and atmospheres within the same track with nothing feeling overly laboured or obvious. All the tonal shifts seem like smaller songs within the larger canvas of the track and by the end of 13 or 24 minutes they leave you wanting more not less. Bandcamp here. Website here. Facebook here.

    My heart is a beating drum. [VINYL]
    Cave Circles is the moniker of drummer/producer Riki Gooch (Trinity Roots,Eru Dangerspiel). A merging of drums and electronica as a concept seems insular but Gooch manages to create a warm funky techo vibe as the tracks percolate along happily, with melodies burbling out of the faulty Drumtrax and synthy blips. The 12″ EP has four tracks, with an extra track on Bandcamp here.


    Deathgasm : original motion picture soundtrack. [VINYL]
    Onslaught of local & international Metal from Kiwi film Deathgasm. Watch the movie here. Buy vinyl here. Features tracks from Wellington bands Bulletbelt, Razorwyre and Beastwars.




    Machaut man and a Superman hat: the music of Dave Lisik.
    Canadian composer and trumpeter, Dr. David Lisik teaches jazz composition, arranging, theory and pedagogy at the New Zealand School of Music. Recorded in 2012 at Systems Two Studios, Brooklyn, New York & mixed by Dave Lisik in New York City and Wellington the compositions on this album were collected over several years, a few older originals and others written recently specifically for this recording. Some quality playing by pros who are clearly enjoying bringing out the different facets in Lisik’s explorative writing, the tunes wind in and out to the point of collapse before being brought back into the structure of the song. Bandcamp here. Elsewhere review here. Website here. Facebook here.

    The weight of melted snow.
    Lovely new meditative album from French For Rabbits based around the dissolution of the romantic relationship of band members Brooke Singer and John Fitzgerald. Male vocals provide a counterpoint to Singer’s softly lilting voice, and the dreamy atmospheric ambient sounds that the fully fleshed out band provides. Previous albums have drawn inspiration from nature and the physical, but ‘The Weight of Melted Snow’ while not short of imagery of the natural world is all about the internal, the dynamics of the heart and how to keep it beating when you lose part of it. Bandcamp here. Website here. Spotify here. Facebook here.

    Ordinary days.
    Is there a more consistent singer and band on the scene than Julie Lamb and her group? With each release you know you are going to get a set of melodic bluesy rockers that tackle everything from personal relationships to social issues and the quirkiness all tightly played by a group of total pros. The combined talent, the time and gigs they have played together, and the respect everyone has for each others contributions all come together in the subtle flourishes on each track. This album seems to have a specific focus on the increasingly pervasive influence of the digital in all its mediums on our everyday lives, and just how ordinary people and relationships of all kinds cope in response. Plus did I say it rocks….Bandcamp here. Facebook here. Website here.

    Illinois-born American has a had a highly significant impact in various fields of endeavours, including law, academia and activism and as a published novelist and poet and reborn singer-songwriter. He led the Rank Strangers Bluegrass Band in Australia for many years, with awards at Australia’s Country Music Festival in Tamworth and a tour of the USA, appearing at top Bluegrass venues. The Rank Strangers put out a series of award-winning LPs in the late 1980s and 1990s. As a lawyer, he has taught ethics at various universities around the world most recently, 10 years at Victoria University. Taking songs from 2015 album ‘Alma Rose’ he has added 10 more to create a double album of sparsely arranged country folk that mixes a few covers with his folky straightforward Americana narratives. Bandcamp here. Wikipedia entry on him here. Listener article here. Stuff article here.

    Melbourne based, Teeth & Tongue’s (Jess Cornelius) 3rd album, Grids was released in 2014. It was named Album of the Week on RRR FM, Radio Adelaide, and Beat Magazine, and Feature Album on ABC’s Double J and RTR Radio. The album led to three The Age Music Victoria Award nominations, for Best Band, Best Album and Best Female Artist. If ‘Grids’ isn’t quite as good as what was to follow with 2016’s Give Up on Your Health it’s probably because all the musical elements she has in play here hadn’t quite yet coalesced the way they would on the outstanding 2016 follow up. The textured layers often bump up against the more traditional pop & folk leanings and the album lacks a sense of cohesiveness in the different styles. Shades of uncertainty and a search within oneself filter through the lyrics. The destination is unknown, but the beats impart shifting lights in the grandiose gloom. Wikipedia here. Bandcamp here. Website here. Facebook here.

    If you’re born on an island the ocean heals you.
    Great new album from Lake South before he departed our shores for a new home in Canada. With the exception of bass and drums on a few tracks and backing vocals everything is played by Lake, along with all the writing and arrangements. The synthy pop structure of a lot of the tracks enfold the layered vocals (and lovely backing voices of Seamus Maguire, Penelope Esplin, Felicity Herbertson and Nadia Reid) with a sense of warmth rather than cold beats. He uses a distinctively ‘kiwi’ voice on the brilliant ‘Good Keen Man’ that cleverly updates a series of iconic NZ images with the realities of the now. A mini-album exits within the larger work, with ‘Renters’ & ‘The Cost of Living’ addressing what he sees as the social crises’ facing people in NZ today. A love of nature, the land and the beauty that surrounds us pervades against the avarice and capitalism of modern life. Really good. Bandcamp here. Facebook here. Website here.

  • General

    New library ‘Wellington’ music on CD & Vinyl, Jan-Apr Part 1:- Unsanitary Napkin/Myele Manzanza/The Cattlestops/The Spirals/Spook The Horses/The All Seeing Hand/Miles Calder & the Rumours/Bleakley, Crayford, Donaldson

    16.05.17 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    Every month, Wellington City Libraries acquires new CD’s for its large, broad, eclectic collection, and Wellington music is no exception. We regularly inspect Bandcamp, local music websites, trawl music vendors latest releases and check out independent labels like Flying Nun, Arch Hill, Rattle and Lil’ Chief for the latest in Wellington and New Zealand music. So, with this influx of mint music in mind, every month we’ll provide the latest titles and artists added to our Wellington music collection…

    Patriotic grooves. [VINYL]
    Awesome anarcho-punk feminist diatribe against everything from Trump to neo-liberal politics, capitalism, misogyny, patriarchal violence, oppression, misogyny, transmisogyny, sexism, and cissexism. If this sounds didactic it’s not. It’s just relevant and timely. Also has great tunes that channel all the best elements of the classic Riot grrrl aesthetic. Bandcamp here.



    OnePointOne : live at the Blue Whale, Los Angeles. [VINYL]
    The new album from Myele Manzanza features the stellar talents of pianist/programmer Mark de Clive-Lowe, and the Quartetto Fantastico string quartet led by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson (Suite For Ma Dukes), virtuoso bassist Ben Shepherd and guest vocalists Nia Andrews and Charlie K. As well as live takes on some of the material from his debut album, there are covers of Theo Parrish, Jill Scott and the late, great Bobby Hutcherson. Grooves between propulsive straight ahead jazz, and a swaggery soundtrack vibe. The strings meld into each song organically, and the whole project sounds like an updated take on 70s Fusion, or a soundtrack to a really cool movie. First listen: ‘Absent friends’.Due to time restrictions on vinyl, there are only 6 tracks. Check out the rest of the album on Bandcamp here. Follow Myele here.

    Dance in the rain/The Cattlestops.
    Great production, with the combined experience of a bunch of seasoned pros, make for a nice lilting country album from The Cattlestops (James Cameron, Andrew London, Wayne Mason, Ross McDermott, Lance Philip). James Cameron & Andrew London split the writing & lead vocal duties. The best tracks are the ones that step slightly outside the prevalent sound, like the West Coast Bacharach organ vibe on ‘Everytime I think of you’, and the Cameron/London collaboration ‘On My Mind’ which features some nice female backing vocals that add a different texture to the song. Bandcamp here. Facebook here.

    Normal / The Spirals.
    Two tracks of female power-pop from this Wellington group who were popular on the scene in the late 80s-early 90s. They put out a self released album (which we don’t have) and then signed to major label BMG. The single ‘Normal’ was the lead off for their 2nd album, which seems like it never materialised in the end. Fronted by Belinda Bradley, both tracks were written by guitarist Bill Wood, and are a nice slice of classicist 80s jangle-pop.



    Rainmaker. [VINYL]
    Atmospheric post-metal band follow up their 2011 release, ‘Brighter’, with this 2015 effort. Beginning with aggressive instrumental opener ‘Footfall’ seems to set the tone for what’s to follow, but the album shifts dynamics and tone with each track, pulling in obvious Metal reference points but also more melodic rock & shoegaze influences, sounding more like the early Cure than any Metal band at some points. Best track: Below out Time. Bandcamp here. Facebook here.


    Sand to glass. [VINYL]. Also on CD.
    Edgy fourth album sees the drums, turntable, & voice of The All Seeing Hand explore new ground musically. An attack of menacing vocal riffs & noise gradually resolves into what sounds like the industrial soundscape of some future cataclysm. Tracks wind between a disquieting minimalism and punishing electro-dance raves. The future may be a barren boneyard as the cosmos collapses in on us, but we can still get down at the end of the world. Bandcamp here. Facebook here.


    Miles Calder & the Rumours.
    Following on from their 2013 EP ‘The Crossing Over’, which was nominated for the 2014 NZ Taite Music Prize, Miles Calder & The Rumours deliver their eponymous debut 5 years after forming as a band. The culmination of a couple of years work, the self produced album was engineered by Lee Prebble but mixed by Grammy-award winning engineer Trina Shoemaker, and features a large array of local talent (Lisa Tomlins, Ed Zuccollo, Dayle Jellyman, Finn Johansson, Chris Winter, Matthew Benton and Lucien Johnson) who add musical shadings from piano to horns to organ on various tracks. From the first track it’s easy to see just how much the songs benefit from the richness of sound the studio environment provides, and there’s a consistent calibre of songwriting across the whole album. An easy comparison would be early Ryan Adams, but where Adams approached country from the POV of a punk musician, Miles & the Rumours pull in an older spectrum of Country & American folk with shades of Dylan (Bob & Jakob), Gram Parson & Emmylou. Bandcamp here. Facebook here. Website here.

    The truth isn’t always ornamental.
    Recorded live at the now defunct Happy, ‘The Truth Isn’t Ornamental’ features Patrick Bleakley (double bass), Jonathan Crayford (piano) and Anthony Donaldson (drums & timpani). The original tunes seemingly teeter on the edge of chaos & formlessness at points but there is always a solid underpinning and sense of direction in place. Challenging without being experimental or pretentious. A sense of fun and exploration pervades. Buy it here.

    All covers used with permission.

  • General


    02.10.15 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    Cover image

    Wellington black metal band Bulletbelt are about to head back across the ditch for the Toxic Holocaust, Nuke the Southern Cross tour, but before they do they’re warming up with a free entry matinee show at Wellington’s home of local metal, Valhalla (this Sunday 4th October, from 4pm).  They’ll be debuting their new song Orpheus, as well as a fresh stage set.  These guys (and gal) have been working super hard and it’s wicked to see their track Deathgasm from 2014’s Rise of the Banshee featured on the soundtrack for New Zealand heavy metal splatter film of the same name, DEATHGASM, directed by Jason Lei Howden.  If you haven’t seen this flick yet, you absolutely have to!  It’s everything you want a New Zealand splatter-fest to be and more because it’s jam-packed full of stand-up kiwi music, including Wellington’s own Bulletbelt, power metal band Razorwyre and sludge demons Beastwars.

    Check out some of the featured artists below, including Bulletbelt’s DEATHGASM, the first video clip from Rise of the Banshee: