February’s New Music for Te Awe Part 2

You can check out our first round up of new music for February here.

Silver / Say She She
Mark Says: This sophomore album from New York trio Say She She ended up on some of the Best of 2023 roundups. Three classically trained vocalists create dreamy disco-soul, channelling early 80s NY, with a core band behind them providing an ever grooving funky backbeat. Smooth silky vocals float in and out of the fun, frothy beats, each track taking it’s time to peak, and revel in all the elements at play. At 16 tracks (all close to the 4 minute mark) it’s perhaps overlong, but still takes you on a relaxing journey.
Neil Says: The sophomore album from Say She She is a soulful, disco focused outing that has echoes of the disco gods Chic. However, this album is much more than a homage, it pushes the boundaries of both these popular forms, without losing sight of what makes the genres so successful in the first place. There are even a few moments of very dreamy lite-psychedelia thrown into the mix. The feather smooth tight interlocking vocals are fantastic, and this modern twist on the soulful funky disco vibe is sure to win lots of fans.

Rainbow revisited / Ntuli, Thandi
Mark Says: A collaborative studio album by South African pianist-singer Thandi Ntuli and American ‘Ambient Jazz’ composer/producer Carlos Niño (producer of André 3000’s debut solo album New Blue Sun) deconstructs more Jazz orthadoxy via the inherent improvisation a the heart of African music. Essentially a solo piano-and-voice session, recorded in 2019 in one Venice Beach afternoon at the studio of LA multi-instrumentalist Niño. A minimalist affair, with some minor overdubbing & post-production, it’s fluid delicate runs explore the nature of freedom and the beauty of the natural world with feelings of hope, loss and serenity. A very intimate, vibey type album; you have to be in the right mood and place for. Made the Guardian’s Top 10 Global Albums of The Year, and ended up on Mojo’s top 10 Jazz albums of 2023.

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A Little Bit of Everything to Eat: new cook books

Here are some of the latest cook books that have arrived. Each book is uniquely different to suit a large variety of meal ideas.  From pairing cheese with wine, making preserves, quick vegan meals, first time baker and more… there’s something for everyone.

One pan chicken : 70 all-in-one chicken recipes for simple meals, every day / Thomson, Claire
“Providing solutions for if you’re cooking in the oven, on the stovetop, or need to use up leftovers, best-selling author and professional chef Claire Thomson offers up her best 70 recipes with chicken as star of the show, revealing just how simple it is to create delicious one-pan meals that all of the family will love. Whether you’re using a casserole dish, roasting pan, sheet pan, skillet, or stockpot, you’ll find delicious and inventive recipes using all your favorite and most popular cuts.” (Catalogue)

The little book of marmalade / Deedes, Lucy
“Marmalade had been around for hundreds of years – as a Portuguese sweetmeat, an after-dinner digestif, an aphrodisiac – before it turned into the most famous breakfast ingredient ever. It has been a household staple for over 200 years. Some like a clear jelly marmalade, with just a few wafers of peel; some a firm orange mixture with no extras. Some refuse to touch it unless it’s a dark paste, boiled down almost to toffee with a passing suggestion of booze about it. Whichever way you like yours, there’s the perfect recipe in The Little Book of Marmalade for you.” (Catalogue)

The best things in life are cheese : how to buy it, store it, cook with it and wow your guests with it / Studd, Ellie
“Cheese experts Ellie and Sam Studd unlock the world of cheese and share all the practical info you’ll need to up your game: how to buy and store cheese, how to pair cheese with drinks, crackers or fruit and how to put together the ultimate cheese board. Learn about the different categories of cheese – from blues and washed rinds to fresh cheeses such as mozzarella – and discover Ellie and Sam’s top picks for both Aussie and international varieties of each. Get ready to fall (even more!) in love with cheese and arm yourself with all the knowledge you need to select, store, serve, taste and cook with cheese like a true pro.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

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Illustrated Lives: Biographies and Memoirs in Graphic Novel Form

If you have never read a graphic novel – maybe because you find yourself reluctant to pick one up or assume that they’re all superhero stories or just for kids – perhaps an illustrated biography or memoir might tempt you to give them a try. Illustrated biographies are a very popular genre and there are plenty of them to get into. Perhaps you could give one or two of these suggestions a go?

Johnny Cash : I see a darkness : a graphic novel / Kleist, Reinhard
“Cash was a 17-time Grammy winner who sold more than 90 million albums in his lifetime and became an icon of American music in the 20th century. Graphic novelist Reinhard Kleist depicts Johnny Cash’s eventful life from his early sessions with Elvis Presley (1956), through the concert in Folsom Prison (1968), his spectacular comeback in the 1990s, and the final years before his death on September 12, 2003.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

It’s lonely at the centre of the Earth : an auto-bio-graphic-novel / Thorogood, Zoe
“The 2023 Russ Manning Most Promising Newcomer Award winning cartoonist, Zoe Thorogood, records six months of her own life as it falls apart in a desperate attempt to put it back together again in the only way she knows how. It’s Lonely at the Centre of the Earth is an intimate and meta-narrative look into the life of a selfish artist who must create for her own survival. A poignant and original depiction of a young woman’s struggle with mental health–through the ups and downs of anxiety, depression, and imposter syndrome–as she forges a promising career in sequential art and finds herself along the way.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Andre the Giant : closer to heaven / Easton, Brandon M.
“He was called the “Eighth Wonder of the World” and became an inspiration for millions of wrestling fans all over the globe. While his in-ring exploits were full of flash and spectacle, the personal life of Andre “The Giant” Roussimoff was complicated by an excess of partying and the devastating physical toll of his deteriorating health. This graphic novel biography explores the bookmarks of Andre’s story.” (Catalogue)

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Deepen Your World View: New Travel Books

Up to the peaks of mountains and down under the ocean, following locals and adventurers alike, these new travel books will take you to all the corners of the world! You can discover some interesting hotels in Unusual Hotels or be inspired by adventurous women in Adventuress. Check out what you can discover in our new travel books:

Unusual hotels : world
“Discover the finest unusual hotels from around the world in this exceptional photographic guide. How about spending the night in a see-through capsule stuck on the edge of a cliff, in a secret contemporary work of art, in an old church, or in a house sitting atop a water tower? Would you like to treat yourself to a night in an igloo, in a circus, in a futuristic tree house, in an underwater bedroom or at an open-air suite? Sometimes, hotels can be destinations in their own right.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Adventuress : women exploring the wild / Amell, Carolina
“In turn inspirational and extraordinary, these profiles in female courage, determination, and adventure are illustrated with breathtaking photography from some of the most intriguing corners of the world. From the ocean’s deepest canyons to the earth’s highest peaks, these extraordinary women offer readers the inspiration and encouragement they need to pursue their dreams-whatever they are, wherever they may be.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Windswept : life, nature and deep time in the Scottish Highlands / Worsley, Annie
“Annie Worsley traded a busy life in academia to take on a small-holding or croft on the west coast of Scotland. Windswept explores what it means to live in this awe-inspiring place of unquenchable spirit and wild weather. Windswept evokes a place where nature reigns supreme and humans must learn to adapt. It is her paean to a beloved place, one richer with colour, sound and life than perhaps anywhere else in the UK.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

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Keeping up with the Jones: new mysteries in our collection

Tesla Teslasdeathray GIF by Discovery Europe

Image via giphy

Welcome to this month’s selection of newly acquired detective and thriller titles. There is a host of goodies on offer this month but the title that caught our eye was The Wharton Plot by Mariah Fredericks, in which the acclaimed author and socialite Edith Wharton solves a tricky mystery.

Author Edith Wharton is perhaps better known as the chronicler of America’s gilded age, approximately the mid-1870s to the late 1890s, through which Edith Wharton lived.  This time in America’s history is known for its rapid economic expansion, materialistic excess and associated political corruption – in short, a perfect period and location in which to set a detective story.

Edith Wharton was born in 1862 into New York aristocracy. Her family name was Jones and their  wealth was such that it led to the phrase, still in use today, “keeping up with the Jones” being coined about them. She became a hugely gifted writer, realistically portraying the morals and lives of her time. Her novel The Age of Innocence won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and she was the first ever female recipient of the prize. She went on to write numerous other well-known novels such as The House of Mirth and her ghost stories are highly recommended. She passed in 1937 and was posthumously inducted  into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1996.

Our other top tips in this month’s selection can be viewed below.

The Wharton plot : a novel / Fredericks, Mariah
“New York City, 1911. Edith Wharton, almost equally famed for her novels and her sharp tongue, is bone-tired of Manhattan. Finding herself at a crossroads with both her marriage and her writing, she makes the decision to leave America, her publisher, and her loveless marriage. And then, dashing novelist David Graham Phillips–a writer with often notorious ideas about society and women’s place in it–is shot to death outside the Princeton Club. Edith herself met the man only once, when the two formed a mutual distaste over tea in the Palm Court of the Belmont hotel. When Phillips is killed, Edith’s life takes another turn, as she becomes obsessed with solving a crime.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

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February’s New Music for Te Awe Part 1


Statler: Well, it was good.
Waldorf: Ah, it was very bad.
Statler: Well, it was average.
Waldorf: Ah, it was in the middle there.
Statler: Ah, it wasn’t that great.
Waldorf: I kind of liked it.”
-‘The Muppet Show’.

I’m Mark, the Music & Film Specialist at Wellington City Libraries. I buy music for the CD & Vinyl collections, and also run the Libraries’ Wellington Music Facebook page). My Music Specialist colleague Sam, and Fiction Specialist (and avid music fan) Neil, join me every month to cast an eye over the new material we have been buying for the music collection at our CBD Te Awe library. We pick out some interesting titles across a range of music genres, and try to limit our reviews to a few lines only. Can we encapsulate an entire album in just a couple of lines? [Ed. This is probably unlikely at this point]. Do we actually know anything about new music? Or, are we just too old to understand what most of this is banging on about? [Ed. This is more than likely]. Read on to find out…

Outta sync / Letts, Don
Neil Says: Legendary filmmaker, D.J, producer and musician Don Letts has released his first musical project since his work with Big Audio Dynamite in the 1990’s. He has worked in various creative guises with the likes of the Clash, The Psychedelic Furs, Elvis Costello, The Pretenders and Bob Marley, to name but a few, was a key instrumental figure in the British punk and reggae scenes, and has for many years presented his BBC radio six’s culture Clash radio show. ‘Outta sync’ is a personal album in many ways, and reflects his unique eclectic tastes and worldview. It is a mix of heavy-duty dub bass tracks with spoken word interwoven through, featuring a plethora of musical guests including Terry Hall, Wayne Coyne, Hollie Cook and his daughter Honor. He described the album as “a soundtrack to my mind with some cool bass lines”, which pretty much sums it up.

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