CSS, something a little new

Thursday, May 31, 2007

After a bit of a wait we can all enjoy something a little new from CSS. Recorded during a BBC session, this track is a take on Sleater Kinney's 'I wanna be your Joey Ramone'. It's not quite as quirky as the tracks off their debut album but hey, it's CSS yoll.
The reports say the song has been added to their live set along with another new track titled 'Pretend We're Dead'. Many people thought the novelty off a Brazilian pop band would die quickly, but this track proves CSS are here for a good while yet. Their live show in Wellington in January was the best I've ever seen, it blew every one's mind. Hopefully they get the chance to come back one day, I know Lovefoxxx and the crew enjoyed their time here. Peaches even showed up to hang out the band while on vacation in NZ.

CSS- I Wanna Be Your J-Lo: MP3

Tiger Tones

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Listen to 'Be Your Star' and you will think you are listening to a lost track from Bloc Party's Silent Alarm, I kid you not. The song is so good it probably would have been released as a single. Comparisons aside, Tiger Tones do have their own modern approach to music. The Christchurch quartet are an interesting bunch, they apparently all meet in a grain silo where they'd all gathered to record silence. But how things changed; the Tiger Tones are anything but silence, fitting into such genres as dance punk, indie electronica and new rave. Who new arcade computer game music would one day be adopted by the indie music community.
This wraps up the months feature on New Zealand Music. Hopefully all the artists have been enjoyed, and perhaps someone has a new favourite band.

Tiger Tones- Be Your Star: MP3

Wellington's Homegrown Talent

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Over the course of May Wellington's City Gallery has played host to an exhibition called 'Radio With Pictures'. The exhibition on display in the Michael Hirschfeld Gallery has been showcasing some of Wellington's finest up and coming musicians. On constant rotation are a number of recent music videos using a range of different cinematic techniques. Lining the walls are some of the creative images we know as album art.
My post today contains some of those music videos. Not everyone lives in Wellington so I've decided to share part of the exhibition with you all. I'll also post a selection of songs from some of my favourite local musicians.

First we have a video from Mestar. Formed in 1998 in Dunedin, Mestar won critical acclaim for their debut album titled Mestar. After two more releases in 2000 and 2002 the band moved to Wellington. In 2006 they released Shut the Squizwot Factories Down, this video for the song 'Konked Out' was designed and produced by band member John White.

Next up is a song from Charlie Ash. 'O' Baby' features on the recently released Can Can EP. The song won several awards, including 'Overall Best Concept' at the 2006 Handle The Jandle Video Music Awards. I don't have that video for you today but here is the album art and the song.

Charlie Ash- O' Baby: MP3

And know another Video, this time it's Luke Buda. The Charismatic front man of the Phoenix Foundation has worked on his own solo project for a while now and the results were magic. In 2006 he released Special Surprise which saw him nominated for Best Vocalist in last years B-Net awards. This video is for the title track 'Special Surprise'.

Cut Off Your Hands didn't feature in the exhibition but they deserve recognition. Starting out in Wellington the band quickly rose to fame playing gigs at Happy. They soon relocated to Auckland to pursue bigger and more illustrious projects. 'You And I' is the first song released by the band, and to date remains a staple of the New Zealand Indie sound.

Cut Off Your Hands- You And I: MP3

The final video is from Connan and the Mockasins and has featured on this blog before. Now living in London, the band has received rave reviews from BBC Radio and NME. NME even compared them to The Beatles and said Connan plays guitar like Hendrix. This video is for 'There Goes Tane' and was shot in London.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

I saw TeenWolf play live for the first time a few weeks ago, they were pretty rad and the Wellington hipster's seemed to like their music. They've been around the traps a couple of years now and have managed to record a few tracks. 'Bloxxx War' is the first to gain any type of hype (hype from Me that is) and is a horror slash zombie track that will have Alfred Hitchcock cutting his wrists in the corner. I dig these guys, maybe not as much as some other bands right now, but I reckon they could be a band to watch out for.

TeenWolf- Bloxxx War: MP3

TeenWolf- Myspace

The Mint Chicks

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Last year the Mint Chicks emerged from the darkness and plastered themselves onto the world stage. Their album Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No! shot to the top of the New Zealand charts and stayed there for many weeks. All of a sudden a New Zealand band was the hottest new thing and we loved it. Several singles from the album went to number one on the charts and the bands live shows attracted record numbers. I had the privilege to see The Mint Chicks on several occasions, and their live show is even more explosive than their recordings. The Neilson brothers jump about the stage like men possessed, while the bass player and drummer sporting crazy glasses play louder than the wall of sound.
The band now have two albums under their belt, the best being last years effort. Signed to the legendary Flying Nun Records, I repeat myself in saying the band are the most explosive thing out of this country to crash the world stage in years. They have just finished a tour of the USA and will hopefully be back for more shows in New Zealand and Australia real soon. The two MP3's come from Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No! and are my two favourite live tracks.

The Mint Chicks- Don't Turn Me On Just To Turn On Me: MP3

The Mint Chicks- Funeral Day: MP3

The Mint Chicks- Myspace

Licking Letters- Mint Chicks Fan Site


Sunday, May 20, 2007

It happened a couple of days ago, a song came on my MP3 player that sent shivers down my spine. I pulled my MP3 player out of my pocket and it revealed Bachelorette. The brains behind Bachelorette is Christchurch's Annabel Alpers, along with her computer she creates some sort of musical genie that's both whimsical and charming. Last year saw the release of her debut record titled Isolation Loops, and while I never picked it up then I'm glad to be enjoying it now. Essentially a pop record, the album describes itself in the title. The combination of Alpers harmonic voice with looping keyboard and guitars offer a dreamy posture of isolation and emptiness.
The song that got my attention was 'I Want To Be Your Girlfriend', an out-take from the recording sessions for Isolation Loops. It features on the Awesome Feeling compilation being distributed with the latest Real Groove magazine.

Bachelorette- I Want To Be Your Girlfriend: MP3

Bachelorette- Myspace

Holiday With Friends

Thursday, May 17, 2007

You may have noticed that throughout this month I have posted only about New Zealand artists. This is because it's New Zealand Music Month and we are celebrating all our great homegrown talent.
Another group with enormous potential are Wellington's Holiday With Friends. They're a band the die hard indie kids around these parts adore, for their music and the party that comes with them. To describe their sound, it's a bouncy mixture of love and heartbreak sprinkled on the top of warm apple crumble (I'm not sure what that means, but it sounds good). I recently had the pleasure of picking up their self produced EP at a gig. It's been on high rotation ever since, and I think it's only fair to share the love of Holiday With Friends with all you fun loving indie music aficionados.

Holiday With Friends- Hot Water Bottle: MP3

Holiday With Friends- There's Something In Your Eye: MP3

Holiday With Friends- Myspace

The Sneaks- I'm Lame: Video

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

So the story goes like this. Auckland band The Sneaks take their $5,ooo government music grant and bet it on a racehorse. The thinking behind it, if they win they will have way more money to make a high budget video. If they loose it'll be a funny video none the less. The government may not approve of this practice, but who cares. To help shoot the video the band linked up with The Down Low Concept, an Auckland production company who won last years 48 hour film festival. The result is this funny wee video. Enjoy!

The Sneaks- Cindy's a Zombie Now: MP3

The Sneaks- Myspace

Thought Creature

Sunday, May 13, 2007

It's no secret that one of favourite Wellington bands is Thought Creature. Their raw psychedelic disco house has been stuck in my mind ever since I saw them perform live at MVP bar last year. To date the band haven't released any recorded material, but the rumours are true that Thought Creature have an album set for release in the coming months. If their myspace tracks and live performance are anything to go by we can look forward to something fresh and original. Words from the band however suggest it may be more of a musical jamboree, with an array of other instruments accompanying the usual guitar, drums and bass. We can all wait in anticipation.

Thought Creature- Your Telepathy: MP3

Batrider Go Acoustic

Friday, May 11, 2007

Melbourne based New Zealand band Batrider have just released a very limited edition EP. Titled Pink Guitars Yellow Stars, the album is entirely acoustic and features three previously unreleased tracks, two tracks from their upcoming album Tara and two tracks from their previous work. The EP showcases the softer side of the band and has some very memorable performances. Again Sarah Chadwick stands out as a vocalist with an amazing set of gravelly pipes. Just how you can get your hands on this EP I don't know, maybe drop the band an email via their myspace page. Here's one track to wet your appetite.

Batrider- Pink Guitars: MP3

Batrider- Myspace

Batrider- Take Me Back (EP): Review

The Brunettes (Live) Review

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Brunettes with TeenWolf and Holiday With Friends at Bar Bodega, Wellington, Saturday May 5th 2007

I'd been talking about this gig for a while so my when I burst into Bodega on Saturday night I was in a very cheerful mood. Wellington folk hadn't had a chance to see the Brunettes for more than two years. Now living in the states and signed to Subpop, the band very rarely venture back home.

Opening the night were locals Holiday With Friends, the band have become minor celebrities of the Wellington indie scene and if you haven't seen them yet you must have been living in a hole somewhere. Like always the band charmed the hats of the audience, bringing everyone to their feet and reminding many that Holiday With Friends are their new favourite band. I managed to finally grad a copy of their demo (self produced EP) so look out for a coming MP3 post featuring them.

Next up were Auckland's TeenWolf, in between acts I'd talked to a fellow music critic who said they were awesome. Indeed TeenWolf were awesome, much tighter than HWF and more raw and punchy. They describe themselves as 'Basically a Pixies cover band' but their sound is very much their own, heavily influenced by the Pixies. Like HWF, TeenWolf played a good long set, which included the new single 'Bloxx War'

And then the Brunettes, the charming, cutesy cute Brunettes. Heather Mansfield took the stage wearing a polka-dot dress, while Jonathan Bree wore a wicked little knitted vest (which he removed half way through the set, explaining it's just to hot for the vest tonight). As expected they were jovial in their performance, and seemed delighted to be playing to such an appreciative audience. The set was full of Brunettes classics, 'Polyester Meets Acetate', 'The Moon and June Stuff' and the new number one hit single 'Her Hairagami Set' were just a few highlights. After Jonathan Bree declared the Brunettes don't play encores they invited TeenWolf back on stage to finish with a romping cover of Bruce Springsteen's 'Born To Run'. It ended the night brilliantly and at 2am I made the trek home bouncing to the memories of the Brunettes, HWF and TeenWolf.

To see photos from this gig click here, Neonsleep

Die! Die! Die!- 155: Video

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Everyone's favourite Dunedin band Die! Die! Die! have just released a new video. It's for the song '155' and is taken from last years Locust Weeks EP. The song made major waves last year, so hopefully the video will do the same.

New Zealand Music Month

Thursday, May 03, 2007

For those outside New Zealand May is officially New Zealand Music Month. A month where everything Kiwi is celebrated and promoted throughout the country. For my post today I'm going to present three New Zealand bands, all very different but all with a sound that needs to heard on the world stage.

Ginger Brown are a Wellington duo consisting of organ and drums. The guys are famous round town for their free midnight gigs at the Matterhorn. I first got to hear them through a demo CD I picked up for $2 at the local record store. It was the best two bucks I've ever spent. Ginger Brown are explosive, charismatic and vocalist Lawrence Taula sounds a little like Jim Morrison. But it's his organ playing that makes Ginger Brown sound like reborn psychedelic rockers from 1969.

Ginger Brown- Kiss Me Goodnight: MP3

Ginger Brown- Boston Dance: MP3

My favourite female duo from Auckland The Bengal Lights first came to my attention thanks to the famous A Low Hum Tour. I remember walking into the bathhouse to the sound of a raucous Nick Zinner sounding guitar. I was left wondering why I had never heard of The Bengal Lights. They describe themselves as "Fashionably Fucked Up" and go by Japanese Alias'. The Chemistry between these two ultra hot punk songstresses creates a catchy danceable rhythm that makes their live shows so cool like cool.

The Bengal Lights- Black Jean Surly: MP3

Hot Swiss Mistress are a Wellington trio who make music that floats about mountain tops. Relying heavily on their amazing instrumental talents, HSM are the type of band you listen to while taking a long walk in the bush or a leisurely stroll around town. With the ability to play long drawn out numbers, the songs often drift into all out jams, delivering listeners some wonderful displays of musicianship.

Hot Swiss Mistress- Hail To The Fortune: MP3

Screaming Tea Party- Death Egg (EP): Review

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

What a find! What a band! What an EP! and oh what a name! The Screaming Tea Party are white hot and their music is so diverse that they could become a hot commodity very soon. They have just released their debut EP Death Egg on 1o" vinyl and it kicks arse, mixing loud driving rock with bubble gum melody. Single 'Death Egg' and 'Cracked Up Dietrich' are both shinsesque pop tunes while 'Between Air and Air' and 'Let's Do Not Say Another Word' turn Sonic Youth into rocket science. Screaming Tea Party show London hasn't gone to sleep, finally a British band in 2007 showing some creativity.

Screaming Tea Party- Death Egg: MP3

Screaming Tea Party- Myspace

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