SHORT CUTS: A round-up of recent New Zealand releases

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Goodbyes by Amiria Grenell
SHORT CUTS: A round-up of recent New Zealand releases

Facing down an avalanche of releases, requests for coverage, the occasional demand that we be interested in their new album (sometimes with that absurd comment "but don't write about it if you don't like it") and so on, Elsewhere will every now and again do a quick sweep like this, in the same way it does IN BRIEF about international releases.

Comments will be brief.

Tim Guy; Chords (timguy): An overseas dweller (Australia, heard of it?), who has answered a questionnaire in the past (here), singer-songwriter and frequent Elsewhere favorite Tim Guy bridges that interesting and arbitrary divide between singer-songwriter and power pop where the great Matthew Sweet once abided. So here are chiming and jangling guitars, intelligent lyrics, low folk, and places of darkness and light ("found you on the mountain dreaming of the seas"). With dark echoes of the Searchers and Tom Petty (the minor chord mood of The Needles and the Pins) and smart country rock. And much more (on the lightly orchestrated Goldmine). Sad to say this, but if Guy were an American on an indie label with all the right configurations of hip/indie/cult he'd be as a respected a songwriter as Ryan Adams and all them hip people. But that's me, a fan. Just go here and buy this album for a stupidly cheap price and be rewarded time and time again. Can't recommend it highly enough.

Amiria Grenell; Autumn (Quiet Bird): Undoubtedly talented as Amiria Grenell might be (she intelligently answered our Songwriter Questionnaire here) she almost lost me at her first line: "I am stuck for words" on the opener Rain. Not because we know she's not stuck for words, but it is the wearisome first-person position of singer-songwriters to driftnet trawl the "I" and "you" perspective when more interesting options (Eye of God anyone?) are available. So we get past that to discover an album which sometimes does exactly that. There's the empathetically lovely Evelyn about an older woman -- "crosswords done, the washing's put out" -- and the equally engaging Your Sky: "He was young . . . tried to be just like his dad" (rather spoiled by an unfortunate spelling mistake in the lyric sheet if yuou care about such things), and the trumpet/trombone embellishments on the sympathetically delivered but clear Go Away. Lyrical, poetic, astute with metaphors (deep but fleeting attraction evaporating on Mr Library), exquisitely arranged and crafted to take it well beyond singer-songwriter I/you folk-country. Get past the first person pronoun which opens this and considerable rewards await.

The O'Flahertys; River Sea Wind (oflahertys): Some while ago sixtysomething expat New Zealander Chris O'Flaherty wrote for Elsewhere from his longtime home in France about his life in music and recording his debut album with his adult kids. And although he has obviously immersed himself in the raw lyrics of that whole Gainsbourg/Ferre tradition his heart remains somewhere in deepest alt.country Texas country (Jimmie Dale Gilmour/Joe Ely) where guilt and alcohol and the Big Picture of life all coexist under the indifferent gaze of the world. Available from here. Try this sample.

 

Arli Liberman : Fata Morgana (arii). In many ways, this is an ambient path much traveled. Guitarist Arli Liberman previously signposted himself at Elsewhere in the prog/MIddle Eastern rock genre (heard of it?). But here he gets into post-Fripp/Eno ambient guitar, so this is not new territory (or more correctly cloudscape ambience). A message to massage therapists: at low volume you've just found a new album for your room. For the rest of us, we've probably nodded off to this kind of thing before. S'always gooood but ah, mmmmm ahh .. frommmhere

Try the sample:

 

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