Archives for posts with tag: New Zealand Music Month

Peach Milk 2017Day 31 of PopLib’s 31 Days of May marathon for New Zealand Music Month ends the month with the dark minimal techno of Auckland producer Peach Milk and “Heretic”

Peach Milk’s “Finally” EP has been a favourite round here for a while now.  Electronic musician/ producer Madison Eve  has created something as Peach Milk that is part Euro-dance/ post-dance music, part ambient soundtrack/ soundscape.

“Heretic” is superbly tasteful in the sounds and the moods created, the dark sheen and shimmer of the synth washes, the understated beats, and the icy ambient minimalism. When vocals appear they are injected into the ether, dancing through atmosphere of the music like ghostly spirits as a disembodied presence. It’s what Peach Milk leaves out that gives “Heretic” and the music on all of the wonderful “Finally” EP the space to set the mind free to wander and imagine.

Thanks for following these posts throughout May. While it’s easy to be cynical about the tokenism of one 12th of the year being a time to recognise NZ Music – Every month is New Zealand Music Month – it is an excuse to do something like PopLib’s 31 Days of May, and hopefully turn people on to new music they may not have heard before. As always, if you’ve found something you love here share it, and let others know.

 

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for the quailDay 30 of PopLib’s 31 Days of May marathon for New Zealand Music Month is “Election Drinking Party” by Dunedin post-rock/ post-punk/ post-everything trio For The Quail.

For The Quail are Evan Sunley James (Guitar, vocals), Karl Bray (bass, backing vocals) and Samdrub Dawa (Drums). The song was written, recorded and released to mark New Zealand’s 2017 General Election, and captures an essence of the squabbling frustration of the 3 year political cycle of blame and claim, truth and lies and mis-use of statistics. Enough to drive anyone to drink.

The second half of the 8 minute epic goes off into space in a pretty wonderful way with delay guitar looping back on itself over and over to provide a noisy blanket of swirling sound as the percussion starts to become motorik and mechanical and steadily disintegrate and it ends in a kind of apocalyptic ambience.

 

TPH_Tryptich

The Prophet Hens – photos by Phoebe Lysbeth Kay http://www.phoebelysbethk.com/

Day 29 of PopLib’s 31 Days of May marathon for New Zealand Music Month is “Friends” from Dunedin “jangle-pop” guitar & Casio keyboard band The Prophet Hens.

“Friends” is from The Prophet Hens second album, “The Wonderful Shapes of Back Door Keys” released in 2016 just before the band went into indefinite hiatus. While The Prophet Hens tended to be cursed with the ‘Dunedin jangle’ sound thing (in NZ at least – that was seen as a positive overseas) their influences were more from UK 1980s guitar pop and US guitar pop. “Friends” wears its early REM/ Peter Buck influences on its sleeve.

Keyboard player (playing the legendary Casiotone given to her as a child) and vocalist Penelope Esplin and bassist Robin Cederman are now the Wellington-based duo Grawlixes. Esplin is also now part of French For Rabbits.

Guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Karl Bray is busy these days as bassist for post-rock ensemble For the Quail along with the recording engineer for this album Samdrub Dawa and Evan Sunley James. It was in the sophisticated country-ish pop ensemble The Sunley Band (“Dunedin’s least fashionable band” they claimed) that I first saw Karl and Penelope play, many years ago. There are several Dunedin-linked NZ music rabbit holes to fall down in this post – each one well is worth the diversion.

Dear Times Waste 2009

Dear Time’s Waste, Dunedin, 2009

Day 28 of PopLib’s 31 Days of May marathon for New Zealand Music month is a trip 9 years back in time to “Clandestine” from the first EP release of now-retired musical entity Dear Time’s Waste

“Clandestine” is the opening track on the 1st release by Dear Time’s Waste – the “Room For Rent” EP, released in March 2009.

It’s a song that transfixed then, and – as some music is inclined to do – transfixes still, nine years later, from the moment those two drum beats herald its start.

Following the “Room for Rent” EP, Claire Duncan, as Dear Time’s Waste – sometimes with a band, sometimes without – released two ambitious, excellent, and essential albums; SPELLS (2010) and Some Kind Of Eden (2012).

Afterwards came the intriguing slow development of a new and darker NZ Gothic enterprise, called i.e. crazy.

“Emerging from a mist of shoegaze in my early twenties, I yearned to discover a stronger mode of communication” explained Claire in this tribute to 5 of her favourite NZ songs published on The Wireless.

While i. e. crazy is certainly a “stronger mode of communication” it’s worth noting that the lyrics and atmosphere of the Dear Time’s Waste right from the start contained many hints of what was to follow, as a careful listening to “Clandestine” reveals.

That “mist of shoegaze” produced two of my favourite albums and this 5-song “Room for Rent” EP which is my equal-favourite 5 song EP along with the 1st Jean Paul Sartre Experience 12″ EP released in 1986.

Ladi6_6

Day 27 of PopLib’s 31 Days of May marathon for New Zealand Music Month comes from Ladi6 and the superb contemporary electronic soul of “Guru” from her most recent release “Royal Blue 3000”.

Ladi6’s journey started out 20 years ago this month in Christchucrch with hip-hop crew Sheelahroc and her first solo album was released 10 years ago. This interview on PurpleSneakers gives a good overview of the Ladi6 story and influences.

“Guru” blends styles – part soul, part futursistic R&B, part electronica – expertly produced by partner and long-term collaborator Parks.

It’s not exactly “underground” – Ladi6 has toured extensively overseas and had singles and albums on the NZ music charts – but it is on Bandcamp, it is independent, it is from New Zealand, and it is very good.  If this song is your thing get your head and body into the extensive Ladi6 back catalogue, and get along to one of the dates on the extensive national tour Ladi6 has booked for June and July.

Bathsalts

Day 26 of PopLib’s 31 Days of May marathon for New Zealand Music Month is “The Chateau” by Bathsalts, from their “Drive” EP released last month.

Bathsalts are a three piece band originally from Queenstown, but now based in Dunedin, and consisting of Reuben Scott (guitar / vocals) Yuta Honda (bass / vocals) Theodore Baumfield (drums / vocals).  They say “grunge”, “indie rock” and “psychedelic” and that’s a start, but only the half of it really.

There’s also a hint of post-punk/ New Wave at times with those chorus effect guitar interludes evident on this track and also some post-rock progressiveness in those time changes and snappy interplay between guitar, bass and drums.

Keep an ear on Bathsalts – there’s an encouraging blend of influences percolating on this three song EP recorded at Chicks Hotel in Port Chalmers and the skill to develop it all even further in future.

Anthonie Tonnon_Two Free Hands

Day 17 of PopLib’s 31 Days of May marathon for New Zealand Music Month is “Two Free Hands” from Anthonie Tonnon.

“Two Free Hands” is on a 4 track EP which takes Tonnon into new electronic territory, without altering his distinctive mix of songcraft and lyrical storytelling.

Tonnon explains on his website “The new music has partially developed out of touring overseas as a solo performer, and looking for ways to expand the sound with strange and wonderful technology.

In this new music, I’ve been trying hard to play with electronic elements the way I feel an instrumentalist should – in way that is fragile, different every time, and takes repetitive practice and concentration to keep together.”