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New library ‘Wellington’ music on CD – May: Thomas Oliver/Teeth/Lord Echo/Into Orbit/Meech Brothers/Ebb/Fazerdaze

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…

Floating in the darkness.
Thomas Oliver has such an amazing voice that just glides along making it easy to just get lost in the textures of his falsetto, and not really pay attention to all the quality musicianship on display on each track on his new album ‘Floating in the Drakness’. Oliver’s Weissenborn/slide playing is a key element of course, but there is plenty of acoustic textures, some cool organ from Ed Zuccollo, Louis Baker lends some electric guitar to ‘Shine like the sun’, some nice backing vocs from the likes of Lisa Tomlins &Bella Florence & strings on a few tracks. The songs revolve around relationships and love and the losing of both, but there is a broader meditative focus on tracks like ‘Let it Be This One’ & the coming of Age tale ‘Boy’, a collaboration with Rhian Sheehan. Just a classy album all the way through. Facebook here. Website here. Bandcamp here. Wireless interview.

Welcome to your new favourite band. When you heard that Luke Buda & Tom Callwood (Phoenix Foundation) were teaming up with David Long (The Mutton Birds), & Anthony Donaldson (The Labcoats) you could be forgiven for thinking that the result would be more along the experimental spectrum. But Teeth turn up the indie guitar dynamics to just rock out, in a straight ahead way that differs from its members previous bands. You get the feeling that the entirety of Teeth is a great palette cleanser for everyone involved. Trippy guitars, riffy bass lines, shimmery reverby vocals, songs that bounce from the cosmic to the angsty to tongue in cheek and back. Every song is so catch & melodic it’s hard to pick highlights but ‘Glass Ceiling’ & the wry ‘Looking Good, Feeling Great’ are both super fun. Facebook here. Buy a copy from Slow Boat here. Nick Bollinger review here.

Super funky new album from Lord Echo. A melange of analogue dance floor grooves that take in everything from ‘Rebirth of the Cool’ Acid Jazz, Caribbean disco vibe, African funk, classic American R&B and back. The ever awesome Mara TK takes vocal duties on 4 tracks, with Lisa Tomlins on 2, and Toby Laing & Echo himself on one each. Lucien Johnson’s sax & flute float around the beats with Daniel Hayes synth’s. It all somehow meshes into a groove that becomes more than the sum of its parts and the funky retro-ness always seems genuine and never a deliberate pastiche. Bandcamp here. Facebook here.

As with listening to Into Orbit’s debut album ‘Caverns’ it still seems amazing that the group just consists of two people, guitarist Paul Stewart and drummer Ian Moir, as their immersive soundscapes sound so epic. The hybrid post-rock/metal/experimental template of the first album is expanded on. Elements shift up against each other, heavy guitar riffs meld into moments of calm and delicate playing, only to explode into crushing drums. But it’s not just a series of loud/quiet/loud moments tied together as ‘tracks’. Into Orbit never seem to be welded into a particular set definition of what each track should be in terms of sound and atmospherics, and the subtle layering of complex patterns & textures make each track a unique experience. It would take someone with a greater musical knowledge than me to analyse just all the intelligent nuances and technique on display here, but just know it all sounds awesome. Bandcamp here. Facebook here. Website here.

Brown owl.
Clint and Gareth have been producing indie folk-pop under the Meech Brothers moniker since 2007. When not working on Meech Brothers material, Clint also plays in Matt Hay & the Makers and Anxiety Club. He also played keyboards on Matt Langley’s critically acclaimed Featherbones album. New EP ‘Brown Owl’ was recorded mostly in Clint’s study with some parts of the EP’s centrepiece, “Diving Bell” coming from sessions that took place towards the end of their tenure at the Toi Poneke Arts Centre in Wellington. Acoustic guitar and piano underpin the tracks, with more synthy keys and electric flourishes mix the sound up a bit, but overall the EP has low key intimate feel. A reference point musically might be Americana heavyweights The Jayhawks, which isn’t a bad thing at all. Bandcamp here. Facebook here. Blog here. Youtube here.

Plush bomb EP.
Out of print limited edition EP from Loop group Ebb, who were a project of vocalist Lisa Tomlins, with musicians Iain Gordon (Fat Freddy’s Drop) and Reuben Sutherland. A big presence on the local electronica/dance scene, the EP release part for ‘Plush Bomb’ in 2001 was a sold out audio-visual extravaganza at The Embassy Theatre. The 5 track EP melds organic instruments and dance floor beats, with Lisa’s sultry vocals gliding over the top of an amalgamation of break-beat rhythm’s, techno, house & soul-dub.

Fantastic new album from Auckland based Amelia Murray (AKA Fazerdaze). Fuzzy guitars, programmed drum patterns and the odd sinewy keyboard line make up the sonic palette of most tracks, but her sweet airy vocals soar over all of it. The shimmery reverby guitars invoke a summery sense of well being, but the ‘poppy’ musical framework hides a lyrical disillusionment and uncertainty. A pervading sense of anxiety permeates nearly every track, inhabiting every relationship and interaction, and hovering cloudlike over the future itself. While signed to Flying Nun the album eschews the archetype Dunedin sound, and seems to draw influences from the 90s with shoegazy Britpop reminiscent of the Sundays or Lush, or US Sub Pop bands like Velocity Girl or The Spinanes. While there is not a lot of musical variation on the 10 tracks it only clocks in at 31 minutes, so never overstays its welcome. Short but super sweet. Bandcamp here. Facebook here. The Spinoff interview.

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