May’s new music for Te Awe


via GIPHY

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…

Continue reading “May’s new music for Te Awe”

April’s new music for Te Awe


via GIPHY

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…

Jon Savage’s ambient 90s : 1991-1996
Neil Says: Jon Savage’s ambient 90’s is a sonic snapshot that evokes a particular time and moment in ambient music’s development. The nineties were a transitory phase in music, driven by new digital technology in the form of digital synths and samplers, and the arrival of new illegal recreational drugs. This potent combination spawned the rave and dance scene. As such, ambient music of the time is more connected to these scenes and is much more rhythmic, loopy and early sample driven, than the dreamy spacey analogue ambient works of the 70s or eighties. This excellent compilation does a fine job in capturing this scene…. Rave on, chill out.

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New Zealand Music Month at Wellington City Libraries

It’s New Zealand Music Month we’ve planned a few community performances at the Johnsonville, Tawa and Te Awe Libraries to help celebrate local music — find links to each event on Facebook below. Nau mai rā tātou katoa – everybody is welcome!

Community Performances at Te Awe Library


Tāmira Pūoro – Saturday, 11 May 2024, 3 – 4pm
For New Zealand Music Month Te Awe Library will be hosting a special performance by Tāmira Pūoro, featuring the taonga pūoro and vocals of Ruby Solly, alongside Orchestra Wellington’s principal harpist, Michelle Velvin.

 

Community Performances at Tawa Library


Testore Jazz Trio – Saturday, 4 May 2024, 11 – 11:30am
Testore Trio is a jazz trio that also likes to squeeze a few Neapolitan (Italian) tunes into its repertoire to mix things up a little. The line-up is Richard Prowse – violin, Daryl Prowse – guitar and George Prowse – six string bass.

 

 

Prog Folk with Patrick and Bradley – Saturday, 11 May 2024, 11 – 11:30am
Hear a combo of original numbers and covers of eclectic folk/prog tunes from the 1960s and ‘70s as well as some originals. Featuring acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, flute and voice.

 

Continue reading “New Zealand Music Month at Wellington City Libraries”

March’s New Music for Te Awe…


via GIPHY

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…

Purge / Godflesh
Sam Says: Godflesh established themselves as a major pioneer of the industrial and post metal genres back in the late ‘80s into the ‘90s and went on to become influential to many artists across a variety of metal genres, including such major names as Metallica, Fear Factory, Korn and Mike Patton. They disbanded in the early-2000s, before forging a successful comeback a few years later. Purge is their third album since then and finds them in a comfortable and familiar place, infusing musical features from various stages within their eclectic career. Particularly of note is the inclusion of trip-hop and breakbeat elements, which came to the forefront in their mid ‘90s output on albums such as Songs of Love and Hate and Us and Them. This is slathered with noisy and punishingly discordant heavy guitar riffs recalling their earlier work, albeit with much slicker production values, which in turn makes it firmly feel like a Godflesh album in the present day. Purge carries a real sense of catharsis, with the title being a reference to Godflesh’s music providing a temporary relief from frontman Justin Broadrick’s diagnosed autism and PTSD. Overall, this is an impressively potent collection of songs for a band now several decades into their career.

Madra / NewDad
Mark Says: A pandemic success story, this Irish rock band put out a series of singles & videos over the lockdown, building an online audience and millions of streams. Their debut full-length throws up a strong entry into the shoegaze revival, very much reminiscent of the 90s Trip-hop/shoegaze sound, channelling elements of Curve, Garbage, early Sneaker Pimps, and also Robin Guthrie’s post Cocteau’s band Violet Indiana (with vocalist Siobhan de Maré). There’s nothing really new here, but it’s done really well. A nice slice of spiky, angsty pop from a young band who are sure to rise above their influences with further releases.
Neil Says: The debut album from London Via Galway pop shoegaze band NewDad clearly shows their influences, but also shows their desire to move beyond them. It is clear that the dulcet tones of bands like Garbage, The Pixies, The Breeders and The Cure frequently grace their turntables. The lyrics are more personal, and are focused around themes of self-doubt and the emotional turmoil of being a young adult. It’s a fizzing dream pop outing with heavy fuzzy guitars and solid bass lines; the sound of a band who know where their roots lie, but who also want to stamp their own musical identity on them.

Dangerous day to be a cold one / Dartz
Sam Says: Over the past five years, Dartz have rapidly become one of the most exciting and prolific acts within the local Wellington punk scene, with several EPs and singles put out since 2019. Released on the famed Flying Nun records, the aptly (and humorously) titled Dangerous Day to be a Cold One is their sophomore full-length effort, and finds them sounding more confident and polished than ever before. Packed full of infectiously catchy and highly energetic pub-rock party anthems over the space of 30 minutes, it is a fiercely immediate and decisive album from a band firing on all cylinders, a notion made all the more apparent by the quick turnover since the release of their debut little over a year ago. With Dangerous Day to be a Cold One, Dartz have clearly established themselves as a major up-and-coming force within the local scene.
Neil Says: The second album from the New Zealand slash and burn punk rock outfit Dartz sees them capitalising on their reputation for high octane explosive live gigs. They’ve been playing to packed audiences of ecstatic heavily involved fans, and this resulting new album doubles down on their brand of raucous, anthemic, fast and furious punk sing along tracks, all with a unique local bite to their lyrics.

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February’s New Music for Te Awe Part 3

You can check out our first round up of new music for February here and part 2 here.

Albion / Harp (Musical group)
Neil Says: Albion is well named, as former Midlake frontman Tim Smith and his new musical partner Kathi Zung (who is also a puppet maker who has worked with the likes of Guillermo del Toro) have created a work immersed in lonely, windswept, bittersweet English landscapes where the misty moors are shrouded in perpetual twilight. They sought lyrical inspiration from the poetry of William Blake and musically inspiration from the likes of dream pop pioneers The Cocteau Twins and Fleetwood Mac. There are also, unsurprisingly, a few moments that suggest Tim’s previous band Midlake. A dreamy 80’s dream-pop inspired creation that also encompasses English pastoral music, and has a loneliness and eerie sadness running through it.

Gold / Sol, Cleo
Mark Says: Having released Heaven in September last (which made the Best of 2023 list of one of our colleagues), she followed it up with the surprise release of another album ‘Gold’ later that month. As always her music combines the best elements of neo-soul, classic 70’s soul, Jazz & spiritual touches. There’s just something about her music that makes her stand out from the other (too numerous to list) female artists currently mining the same retro sound. Perhaps it’s the organic minimalism of the music that leaves plenty of space for her brand of hopeful personal lyrics, the lack of processing around her vocals, or the way the albums function as a whole to create a sense of soothing calm and quiet strength. Another winner.
Neil Says: Wow, what an album. Intense, intimate, soulful, euphoric, languid and chilled; but it doesn’t achieve this at the expense of ignoring the darker aspects of life. The lyrics are as strong as the music and vocal delivery; everything about it fits and works perfectly. What makes it even more remarkable, is that it just a part of a creative explosion Cleo Sol is undergoing at the moment. She released another album barely a month before this, and is a core part of the phenomenal Sault outfit. It’s neo-soul with strong gospel influences, with a 70’s feel to the musical arrangements that, in places, reminded me of the mercurial Aretha Franklin. As I said at the start: Wow.

Continue reading “February’s New Music for Te Awe Part 3”

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.

Continue reading “February’s New Music for Te Awe Part 2”