Graham Reid | | 4 min read
And now it's New Zealand Music Month and what that means – among other things – is Elsewhere's inbox is jammed with local artists releasing singles, EPs and albums to ride the wave.
In an effort to keep up – and we don't do singles or videos and pass on EPs to Yasmin – here is a short acknowledgement of a bunch of albums now out there in the world on bandcamp.
These comments will be brief.
Blair Parkes: Never Go
Parkes out of New Brighton has appeared previously at Elsewhere a few times in his highly prolific career and this tight 10 song collection touches on shoegaze, power-pop (Never Go), dream pop (Times Like This), alt.rock and dense but melodic guitar noise, all pulled into economic and discrete pop-length pieces. It's an exciting, swirling collection (try the terrific Cut Lose which packs a lot into fewer than three minutes) and as before there is often a motorik groove pushing things along at a pace (Turn Off Turn On).
You can hear and buy this (and other Parkes albums) at bandcamp here
Known Associates: Ride the Wave
Warren Cate of Known Associates takes his releases at a leisurely measure – this only the second with Known Associates, the last in 2011. But he too has also appeared at Elsewhere a few times, and was around before Elsewhere took to webworld.
A tough-minded collection of pop-rock songs (edgy, pressed tight guitars and choruses), this actually came out a few weeks back but has only recently been brought to our attention.
They leaven matters with the folksy self-deprecating Rockstar, the grit-funk of Reparation and the opening rumination on aging in the slightly unusual and downbeat Three (which explodes after a couple of minutes) . . . but among the most invigorating here come with big chiming guitars and the feel of the open road beneath the rubber (No One to Blame, Someone Still, Dream Baby, Deep Sea Diver).
However the spooky and intense Satin Love towards the end is also quite something.
An interesting and diverse collection, as always from Cate.
Available through bandcamp here
Otis Mace: SHUCK
The irrepressible and productive Otis Mace who – as with Luke Hurley – has been an idiosyncratic and visible performer (on streets as much as concert bills) returns with a seven track album recorded in Auckland and London.
So here are more of his poetic, often personal, songs which are lyrically quirky and sometimes peppered with local observations (L&P doesn't often make it into a lyric).
Mostly along the folk/folk-rock axis (with lap steel by John Segovia in places), they are quietly engaging and make their points through stealth..
Pale Bulb has a raw and raunchy spirit but a lovely quasi-Pacific musical setting.
There's a deliberately untutored and honest feel to Mace's lyrics and songs but they are always smarter and more subtle than they first appear.
And there is wry or dry humour too.
Check it out on bandcamp here
The Puddle: Live at the Glengarry Tavern, Invercargill 1985
Just as it says on the label, but here's the backstory. This was recorded onto cassette from the mixing desk on the second of two nights when the band was on tour with the Chills and before the recording of their Pop Lib EP (four of those seven songs appearing here).
So this catches this early incarnation of the band of mainman George D Henderson, Lesley Paris (drums, Look Blue Go Purple), Norma O'Malley (flute), the late Peter Gutteridge (keyboards, Clean/Chills/Great Unwashed/Snapper), bassist Ross Jackson and Lindsay Maitland on French Horn and cornet.
At times – In the Country – you could almost discern a gentle head-bumping of brittle post-punk with ambitious but contained prog, but songs like the excellent Jealousy and Junk have a white-knuckle intensity to their edgy pop (the latter made even more unnerving by the VU-with-horns energy).
And they revisit the early Floyd-like Interstellar Gothic wig-out which Henderson jokes was a “big hit for the And Band [his earlier group] in 1980something”.
Magic Words shows this exciting line-up capable of reinventing the most obvious and appealing pop music and turning it into a carnival of sound.
Clever, crafted more carefully than you might expect and yet sounding spontaneous as the musicians enjoy the creative opportunities for noise and effects alongside the core songs.
Check it out, loudly. And the Puddle's more recent releases here.
This is available on bandcamp here
ELSEWHERE ENCOURAGES ITS READERS TO SUPPORT NEW ZEALAND ARTISTS BY BUYING THEIR MUSIC DIRECTLY RATHER THAN STREAM THROUGH SPOTIFY WHERE THEIR RETURNS ARE NEGLIGIBLE