Label: Popfrenzy records
Tell me more: Nevermind the Great Pavlova War, Australia and New Zealand unite under one umbrella in a band that includes two former members of the under-rated This Night Creeps.
The Lowdown: Songs have a deep love of the kind of music that sprung out of New Zealand in the 1980s, headed by the likes of Bats (who they’ve recorded a split single with) and The Clean. Those bands gained a sort of worldwide cult status, and rightly so. It was a curious mixture of minimalism and pop music, of making nothing sound like everything. Songs the album starts with the brilliant Farmacy, a crescendo of guitars, and contains many more like it. Different Lights shimmies along, while there’s the heartache on your sleeve of Pain.
Anything else? You’ll never find anything on google with such a generic term as songs so here’s the direct website link: http://www.songssongs.net.
Who? The Strikes
Title: Out of Luck
Tell me more: A four-piece hailing from Wellington, the boot of New Zealand’s North Island. And boy do they wear their influnces on their record sleeves with the insert to this six-track mini containing album covers by the Sex Pistols, Jerry Lee Lewis, Richard Hell and D4. Yup: punk, garage, noise.
The Lowdown: There’s many bands in the same genre but The Strikes have hit the mark because they’ve been gigging and practising hard for three years. Simple but effective sound with lyrics that remind me of Jonathan Richman or Iggy maybe and the D4 are certainly audible. The wonderfully-named singer Lafcadio G. Zuccarello resonates with energy and anger.
Anything else? http://www.myspace.com/thestrikesnz
Title: Next We Bring You The Fire
Label: A Low Hum (CD)/ Carpark records (vinyl)
Tell me more: Bevan Smith makes music under various monikers: Skallander, Aspen, the Ruby Suns and he was also a cog in Over the Atlantic. This is his solo project.
The Lowdown: I listened to this straight after putting The Strikes’ record back in it’s case: an equaivlent of having vindaloo followed by salad. Experimental is a term used to describe this in some reviews. That’s partly true – Next …. is accessible without being overtly radio-friendly. It has the feel of a more temperate My Bloody Valentine, evocative and holding the rhythm consistently. The second track, +kicks and kicks, is the undoubted standout, full of waves of whatever instruments Smith’s using. Overall, it requires time to mature in the brain.
Anything else? Smith admits to a love of massively produced 80s albums, like Talk Talk, Peter Gabriel’s So and, ahem, Phil Collins.
Who? Te Vaka
Label: Spirit of Play
The Lowdown: Te Vaka are a conglomerate of nearly a dozen artists from Samoa, Tokelau, Tuvalu, the Cook Islands, and New Zealand and they describe themselves as South Pacific fusion. Pacific music is usually heard at Polynesian festivals in countries like New Zealand and Australia so it’s heartening to see a group giving this genre a wider appeal by incorporating a range of western influences. That aside this is clearly an album made from the Pacific heart with recent devastating natural disasters looming over the recording. But with Pacific island culture so focused on family and love this is overwhelmingly an uplifting record.
Anything else? Available on http://www.tevaka.com