Gardens Magic 2023: Goodnight My Darling live

Te Whanganui-a-Tara alt/indie/cinematic folk project Goodnight My Darling recently performed in the Botanic Gardens for Gardens Magic 2023, and members of our team were there to film the last song of their set, Until I Return. Along the way we met Sophie Dobschall from who very kindly provided the cover photo for this video.

Goodnight My Darling elsewhere:

In the Wellington City Libraries vinyl collection
Our interview with Maxine

Free CD loans for 2023!

You know what I really love? The CD players in a car. How when you put the CD right up by the slot, it actually takes it out of your hand, like it’s hungry. It pulls it in, and you feel like it wants more silver discs.
– Tom Waits

From February 1st 2023, Wellington City Libraries will be running a one year trial where all CDs will be free to borrow.

A picture of a shelf full of Wellington CDs available at Te Awe library.You can find our browsable collection of CDs upstairs at Te Awe Brandon Library if you like the hands-on approach to finding music, with roughly 5000 items available covering a wide range of genres including: Popular, Jazz, Blues, Metal, Hip-Hop, Electronica, Soul/R&B, Folk, Classical, Experimental, and World Music – and most of these genre splits are there for separate New Zealand and Wellington music collections if you want to keep it local.

Large shelves from our storage facility, packed to the brim with CDs available for reserve

A further 23,000 items are available to reserve from our storage facility, Te Pātaka – while you can’t go through these in person, you can use our catalogue to filter down to the Off-Site Storage collection and Music CD formats to explore what’s available. All items are free to reserve with a valid library card – just sign in with your card number and PIN!

Having trouble deciding what to check out? Our staff regularly put together short reviews of recent CD releases that have caught their ears, and each month we update the new music in our collection on our What’s New page.

How long are CDs issued for?
CDs are issued for one week, and can be renewed once for an extra week.

Will my previous CD fees be removed?
This trial only applies to CDs issued from February 1st, when the costs will stop being applied upon issuing – previous fees will remain on your account.

I still have pre-paid slots for CDs on a Concession Card – can I use these anymore?
Similar to when we retired the Bestseller collection, we can make these concession card slots available to be used on our magazine, DVD or Vinyl collections. If these alternative items aren’t in your wheelhouse, we can also offer refunds.

New collection at Waitohi: Songbooks and scores

We’ve moved a selection of our songbooks and musical scores from storage to Waitohi Johnsonville Library, next to our Tūhura HIVE Studio

These resources can actively be used in the Tūhura HIVE which has a selection of musical instruments available: including piano, guitar and bass.

You can see the full collection currently available at Johnsonville here:



To book studio time at the HIVE, email with the subject “Studio Booking” – the first two hours are free, then $19 p/hr afterwards.

Musician Interview: Paul and Jiji, Dark Divinity

Dark Divinity album covers

Have a listen to our interview with guitarists Paul Stewart and Jiji Aligno from Wellington melodic death metal band, Dark Divinity

The band formed in 2018 and have been blasting away in the local metal scene since, going through lineup changes, opening for several international legends pre-pandemic, and releasing an EP Messianic in 2020. This interview finds them on the cusp of self-releasing their debut full length album on CD, vinyl and digital, Unholy Rapture (released today, 22 September).

Paul and Jiji discuss writing and demoing music in the modern age, influences on their playing and songwriting, juggling multiple musical projects, the full DIY approach, and international acts returning to Aotearoa.

Borrow related items from Wellington City Libraries:

Messianic / Dark Divinity

The blueprint for Unholy Rapture, 5 tracks of blackened melodic death metal. While it features a slightly different lineup to the new album, this is the band’s first full release, locking in the combination of extreme metal blasting with an assault of tremolo picked riffs. The occasional touch of harmonised lead guitar gives just enough melody to balance out the rest of the grim atmosphere.

Annihilation Cult / Scorn of Creation

Straddling the line between the oldschool and modern camps of death metal, Annihilation Cult features a huge amount of forearm-cramping riffs over virtuosic drumming and Jiji contributing guitar heroics, divebombs and hyperspeed licks for the dedicated shredheads – one of those albums that makes you feel the need to practice afterwards.

Unearthing / Into Orbit

Paul and drummer Ian layer it up with live-constructed loops of post-metal bass and guitar, building textures and layers at a higher pace than the post- tag would normally indicate. Once they’ve got their atmosphere laid out and melodies caught in your head, they lock in on some huge doom riffs at the higher tempo until it’s knocked over and they start building the next one.

Wellington wax: Local vinyl picks

This month we’re looking at Wellington artists that have braved the world of international shipping and production delays to jump on the vinyl revival train in the last few years. You can get all of these albums from our vinyl collections at Te Awe or Johnsonville (or reserve to the branch of your choice for free!) today and confuse your parents who sold or left their records behind in the wake of the CD revolution.

Estère – My Design, On Others’ Lives

Estère’s solo beat production takes the listener through various sonic worlds on this double album. The nature of having everything written, recorded and produced by her ensures the songs keep focused and punchy – keeping the limelight on Estère’s excellent singing, which varies from minimal, breathy and spacious lines to huge harmonies as the rest of the production bursts into life to bring out the larger-than-life choruses. The gradual implementation of more acoustic elements in the album’s second half On Others’ Lives alongside the electronic production gives the album an interesting progression into some more low-key sections, but the beats and groove are always ready to return as Estère fuses her two worlds together.

Myele Manzanza – A Love Requited

Wellington jazz drummer Myele Manzanza composed all the works on this album and it certainly comes across in the parts that accompany his band-leading drums. From the piano timing freakout in the opening Ritual that resembles an accelerating drummer utilising double strokes on the keys, to the trading interplay between soloists and Manzanza’s energetic crescendo building underneath, and the other phrase-focused passages which break up the more familiar jazz improv, this is definitely an album for those who like a lot going on rhythmically. The origin of this percussive fascination is explored in samples and recordings between Myele and his father, in which they discuss their surname which came about through a nickname for Myele’s grandfather playing rhythms on barrels at his job, adding a personal and verbal touch to an otherwise instrumental soundscape.

Mermaidens - Look Me in the Eye album cover Mermaidens – Look Me In The Eye

Mermaidens return with another album on the iconic Flying Nun label. Dreamy effected guitar arpeggios and odd drum patterns keep things interesting under the harmonised vocal-driven songs, forming a dependable but not cartoonish psychedelic base for the band to experiment with various unique tones or layers for an individual passage or song. The thing that always sets Mermaidens apart from their peers is their willingness to hit a slightly more unsettling note in their chord progressions and riffs – it never descends into chromatic aggression or ear-testing extended harmony, but it always feels a little weird and the band use it to their advantage in their songcraft.

Into Orbit – Unearthing

The post-rock/metal formula is pretty well known by now – quiet, loud, quiet, loud, lots of space, so on. Into Orbit don’t mess with the core elements of the sound here, building bass and guitar loops organically from a single guitar and pedalboard/looper setup while the drums escort through the establishing passages until the anticipated eruption of the riff. Get everything you can out of that, then crash out and rebuild. The details of this execution is what sets them apart from sludgier post metal and cinematic post rock – the instrumentals are much more active than either, as the peaks utilise thrashy gallops of rhythm guitar and double kick alongside fast rolling fills and grooves that punish the hi-hats and crash more in a song than some related bands would in an album. This extra helping of Weet-Bix leads the duo to some different zones of heavy music, hitting up-tempo doom and hinting at elements of extreme metal while still keeping the atmospheric melodic guitar work and comprehensible chord progressions.

Spook The Horses – Empty Body

Spook the Horses’s fourth album sees them remembering where the distortion pedals were, and they don’t seem particularly inclined to turn them off. This record assaults the listener with a constant syncopated attack that forms the hard, spined backbone of every song as the band find new ways to hit accents around it. Three guitars add plenty of interest in the riffs as they sync up for immense impacts and then diverge, sending one instrument into a higher dissonant register before it returns to add to the crushing weight of the next phrase. This wall of riffs is brought further into the realms of the extreme by the cavernous, despairing harsh vocals laid over top, which don’t relent even when the album strips back to one ambient synth and solo guitar passage.

All Seeing Hand – Sand to Glass

The unusual timbres of Mongolian throat singing and ominous synth production combine on this experimental Wellington release. Never afraid to make it hurt, the All Seeing Hand pound, churn and shift through an array of songs and styles, bursting from menacing electronic grooves to chaotic punk speeds. At times the atmosphere is industrial and foreboding, but at others almost comical with elements like video game jump sound effects entering the challenging designed sound world. The dedication to full acoustic drums alongside the synths creates a very listenable juxtaposition – instead of the mangled 808s you might expect to hear alongside the warped electronics, the physicality of the real kit comes across both in the high energy of the punk approach but also the complementary industrial sounds beaten out of the bells on the hats and cymbals.

Music picks: Big Riffs from the last year

I’m Reece, part of the Music Specialist team here at Wellington City Libraries. As part of joining the team, I’ve been asked to cast my discerning eye and ear over an area close to my heart – the metal CD collection. This collection kickstarted a journey into the darker realms of music when I borrowed an Opeth album back in 2005 and discovered harsh vocals within 5 seconds, changing the path of my life irreparably. Here’s some mini reviews of heavier albums we’ve acquired on disc in the last year – all of which can be borrowed or reserved today.

Gojira – Fortitude

Gojira have turned their thick brand of groove/death metal into a world-conquering, festival-packing force over the past decade, and Fortitude (their 7th album) seems very ready to keep that ticking along. The band switch between their classic Gojira riffs (syncopated, chromatic, chuggy, spiced with natural harmonics and pickscrapes) to stompy stadium rock beats with harsh vocal lines that straddle the gap between gravelly rock singers and the vocal-chord-scraping stylings of traditional death metal vocalists, but break out into soaring group clean vocals at opportune chorus moments. Despite the album’s release during the peak of reduced capacity shows and cancelled tours, it feels like it was designed to be heard in the open air live environment more than any previous album – even the most technical and intense instrumental sections are used to service the next Big Hook that’s never far away.

Meshuggah – Immutabl

Churning, oppressive and impossibly mechanical, the extended range monsters emerge for another cycle. All the elements of Meshuggah’s modern era are here; bending guitar notes falling off the low register of the 8-string, fragmented kick drums drifting and floating around the anchoring right hand cymbal patterns, emphasised by a snare that always cracks at the perfect moment to ensure groove and continuity is maintained, even when it feels like your ears are being stretched over an extra bar to get there. Atmospheric guitar leads call to mind synthesiser pads and malfunctioning equipment and once you’re shifted past that part of the infinite production line, the harsh vocals begin to venomously articulate each syllable of the band’s dystopian vision, pushing and pulling another rhythmic and textural layer over the instrumental machinations. If you’ve listened to a Meshuggah album before, there’s not really anything surprising added to the core formula, but another body-rearranging journey into their monolithic factory usually goes down a treat.

Big Brave – Vital

Mountainous sludge riffs emerge and crash from textured feedback, guided only by sparse thumping percussion and the occasional crash cymbal as a beacon. Above it all, emotional vocals lift with the peaks of the riffs to add a level of harmony and expression, not normally found in these lands of amplifier worship, and gently glide back down to keep a living, breathing element to the songs even when all the instruments go silent. Vital is built on top of the textures of ambient and drone, but with an extremely organic feel to the band pulling their crushing passages out of the waves. You’ll need your volume absolutely cranked to get everything out of the dynamics of this one.

Alien Weaponry – Tangaroa

Tangaroa sees the Māori young guns expand on their groove metal sound with a few more years under their belts. The proficiency on the instruments has definitely increased, especially when they dig in on the rhythm guitar gallops and heavier fills, and the Te Reo lyric patterns flow in a way unheard in metal music before. When the band brings a little bit more intensity to the instrumentals it really pays off, like the doublekick riff at the end of the otherwise low-key Unforgiving or the main riffs of Kai Whatu. To contrast, the soundscape, sample and taonga pūoro elements that appear from time to time do an excellent job of backing up the identity of the record – a well rounded dynamic album. Hopefully there will be a lot more to come, as the band take full advantage of their overseas touring opportunities re-emerging.

Blindfolded and Led to the Woods – Nightmare Withdrawals

Another New Zealand release, the third Blindfolded album is an absolute force to be reckoned with. Sliding, arpeggiated and raking guitar acrobatics represent Aotearoa to a world class level in the dissonant technical death metal sphere, and the distorted bass and punished drumkit provide a rhythmic foundation for some of the best organic passages in a genre often dominated by sterile and robotic sounds. Furious harsh vocals bring the entire project together, which deal with processing the impact of the Christchurch earthquakes through thoughtful despair, existential dread and a light touch of the band’s earlier absurdity (more death metal releases should have Twin Peaks references, so this is definitely a positive). I still find new flourishes and details on this album with every listen, entirely essential for anyone who loves a blastbeat or twenty. We’ve also got this one on vinyl out at Johnsonville if you’re inclined that way.

Divide and Dissolve – Gas Lit

Another slow one, Divide and Dissolve incorporate what feels like chamber music instrumentation (provided by saxophone and effects) alongside lo-fi fuzzed out drone-doom. Hypnotic and haunting regardless of which instrumental mode they’re choosing at any given moment, the two piece defiantly stride through their murky landscapes, painfully stretching out their doom riffs and drum beats to new tempos and feels. When the onslaught finally relents, layers of rich anguished chords from the saxophone emerge to show you that shelter from the storm might sound like a relief, but there’s still plenty of pain to deal with as you rest.