TERROR OF THE DEEP - The A Team
Wellington guitar-pop band TERROR OF THE DEEP return with an album of laid-back catchy tunes on awesome Christchurch label Melted Ice Cream Records. They self-describe their sound as 'electric folk music,' and for me it crosses over into hazy country feel. Listen if you enjoy melancholic melodies of a similar vibe to War on Drugs / Kurt Vile.
SURF FRIENDS - Doing Your Thing
It's been six years since their last album but SURF FRIENDS are back with a new LP filled with electronica, layered guitar hooks and pulsing rhythms. The Auckland duo describe themselves as two friends who like surfing and making music. I don't know what their surfing is like but I'm into the music. Listen below.
LOUIS BAKER - Open
Another Kiwi about to hit the UK with his distinctive soulful voice is Wellington singer-songwriter LOUIS BAKER. His debut album was recorded in studios across the globe with several big-name producers. It is a deeply moving, uplifting listen, following closely in the footsteps of Jordan Rakei (who appears on the album).
PURPLE PILGRIMS - Perfumed Earth
Sister-act PURPLE PILGRIMS have released the follow up to their 2016 debut album Eternal Delights on Kiwi label Flying Nun. Melodies and harmonies mix hauntingly, drawing the listener in with beautiful, dream-pop soundscapes. It's spell-binding and it's well worth a listen.
BEASTWARS - IV
If you like your music heavy you will be stoked to hear that high-selling sludge-metal, stoner-rock stalwarts BEASTWARS are back as loud and riff-heavy as ever. This, the fourth LP by the Wellington heavies, went straight in at #1 in the NZ album charts - listen below.
JORDAN RAKEI - Origin
London-based multi-instrumentalist JORDAN RAKEI earned unanimously glowing reviews for new album Origin, released on the esteemed Ninja Tune label. Taking soulful sounds in original new directions while incorporating electronica and alternative pop, Rakei embarks on a full UK tour in October, including a show at London's wonderful Roundhouse.
LEISURE - Twister
Making big waves in dance circles are Kiwi collective LEISURE. The debut self-titled album by the former members of bands Kids of 88, Goodnight Nurse and Kidz in Space amassed 65 million streams. This follow-up smoothly blends funk, soul and electronica with a warm house groove - have a listen below.
MISS JUNE - Bad Luck Party
Gaining a big live reputation back in New Zealand are Auckland rock-pop-punks MISS JUNE. They are loud, powerful and this is one of the most anticipated local releases of the past year. Listen to their much anticipated album below and get along to their UK shows in September/October.
MERMAIDENS - Look Me In The Eye
The new album by Wellington trio MERMAIDENS is out now...just in time for the band's UK tour starting in September. Their London show earlier this year was an intensely sonic experience and the new tunes sound great live. Listen to the new album, described as 'experimental and accessible,' below.
Repulsive woman - Relief
Repulsive Woman is the moniker of Dunedin duo Astro Children's Millie Lovelock. Relief, Lovelock's solo debut, is a beautifully haunting, often melancholic collection of introspective songs. The Astro Children gig in London last year was a powerful emotional rollercoaster ride for all in the venue. Lovelock is doing her PhD in Literature at the University of Manchester later this year so hopefully we will get the opportunity to see this album performed live...it will be another soul-baring performance not to be missed.
Blair parkes - liveable city
Christchurch songwriter and visual artist Blair Parkes' new album has all the fuzzy shoe-gazed warmth and reverb you could want for your summer bbq tunes. Parkes released two wonderful albums in 2018 - Always Running and Little Rapids (with Cardigan Bay) - this album continues his rich form with standout tracks Habit to Break, Our Eyes and the title track. Listen to the new release below.
Scott Mannion - Loving Echoes
This may be Scott Mannion's debut solo album but you've likely heard his work and influence throughout NZ music over the past 15 years. Previously a member of popular duo The Tokey Tones, Mannion is also co-founder of the wonderful Lil' Chiefs Records label that has brought us a steady stream of quality albums from the likes of The Ruby Suns, Jonathan Bree, The Brunettes, Lawrence Arabia, The Reduction Agents, Princess Chelsea and others. This album is boldly ambitious, fragile and understated…I’m loving it - have a listen below.
Elroy - Elroy
Elroy Finn, son of Neil and brother of Liam, honed his skills playing in the bands of his dad and bro as well as Connan Mockasin, Lawrence Arabia and Wild Nothing. The music he makes, however, is personal and unique. Chilled, relaxed, melancholic...however you want to describe it, this is an album to put on when you want to unwind at the end of a long day and lose yourself in emotionally driven songs over a glass of wine. I think he might be my new favourite Finn. Listen below.
ALDOUS HARDING - Designer
Lyttelton folkster ALDOUS HARDING's new album Designer is out on 4AD and the reviews have been exceptional. Brilliant previous album Party won the Taite Prize and was named Rough Trade UK's Album of the Year so it is no surprise that Harding has again teamed up with producer John Parish (PJ Harvey, Eels). The new album is "both fascinating and frightening, highly eccentric and blisteringly beautiful - a record destined to worm its way deep under the skin." - Q . Listen below.
DELANEY DAVIDSON and BARRY SAUNDERS - Word Gets Around
Two of NZ's legendary songwriters, DELANEY DAVIDSON and BARRY SAUNDERS, met during soundcheck on the Marlon Williams and Tami Neilson Churches tour. There was an immediate spark between the two with Davidson's dark, rocking blues complementing Saunders' heartfelt gospel tones to create something uniquely special. Word Gets Around is the result - listen below.
Unchained XL - The Migrant mind
Amazing hip hop releases continue to drop in NZ and the latest to check out is The Migrant Mind EP by Nigerian-New Zealander artist UNCHAINED XL.
Combining rap, funk and the afrobeat he grew up on, this unique twist on hip hop is as fresh as it is engaging - listen below and get ready to see the live show in the UK later in 2019.
EMILY FAIRLIGHT - Mother of Gloom
Originally self-released by the artist in May 2018 (and completely sold out following an amazing run of reviews), Mother of Gloom has now been reissued on the excellent Dunedin label Fishrider Records.
Fairlight was on the recent SXSW 2019 lineup in Austin, Texas, the same city where this sophomore album was recorded utilising local musicians Cully Symington (Bright Eyes and Okkervil River) andKullen Fuchs, and under the eye of Doug Walseth at The Cat's Eye Studio.
Often compared to the likes of Cat Power, PJ Harvey and Natalie Merchant, take Marlon Williams' advice and start with opening track 'Body Below,' which he describes as "an emotionally complex idea, delivered simply in 2 minutes 30 seconds."
GRANT DUNCAN - Radiant Sublime
Release Date: 29.03.2019
Tokyo-based singer-songwriter Grant Duncan's new album Radiant Sublime unleashes more catchy indie-pop anthems in the vein of previous album Early Morning Rise.
Mixing classic rock elements with an indie feel and heartfelt lyrics with deeply melodic grooves, the former member of The Audio Justice has produced the perfect album to soundtrack your first summer BBQ. Check out the beautifully harmonic No Matter How Much You Might Feel on our New (Zealand) Releases playlist and listen to the full album below.
FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS - Live in London
Release Date: 08.03.2019
Were you at the Hammersmith Apollo for this one? Our world-renowned folk-comedians performed in London in October last year with the show recorded as an HBO special.
Record label Sub Pop have released the show on triple-LP for vinyl junkies, or you can listen to the songs from the show on Spotify. The duo re-visit old BBC classics during the performance and throw in some new tunes to brighten your commute - have a listen and a laugh below.
LAWRENCE ARABIA - Singles Club
Release Date: 29.03.2019
The Singles Club album by brilliant songwriter James Milne, AKA Lawrence Arabia is out now!
Having previously won both the APRA Silver Scroll and the Taite Music Prize under the Arabia name, as well as critical acclaim for releases as The Reduction Agents and as a member of The Brunettes and BARB (alongside Connan Mockasin and Liam Finn), Milne started this ambitious project early in 2018.
The premise was a single released each month of the year, bringing together the talents of Hollie Fullbrook (Tiny Ruins), Heather Mansfield (Brunettes), Ryan McPhun (Ruby Suns), Liam Finn and Beach Boys collaborator Van Dyke Parks.
VARIOUS - Better Already, The Songs of Al Park
Al Park has been in and around the Christchurch music scene for over 30 years as musician, promotor, mentor, record store worker...and almost any other music-related role you can think of. Since 2011 he has played a big role in the incredible post-quake music revival and this tribute album celebrates his support of the Garden City's music and musicians.
The artists covering his songs on this record have all been supported by Park across the years - from Marlon Williams toDelaney Davidson and Jordan Luck (whose band The Dance Exponents, later The Exponents, featured Park as a pimp in their 1983 video for classic single Victoria).
OUNCE - Oz
Release Date: 01.03.2019
Auckland band OUNCE have built a strong live reputation back in NZ for their intensity and improvisational creativity. Their debut LP Oz is out now on 1:12 Records. The album is described as 'heavy kraut rock grooves, surf influenced guitar and 50s exotica percussion' - order physical copies via NZ's awesome mail order music store Flying Out below.
Avalanche City - My Babylon
Release Date: 22.02.2019
Auckland artist Dave Baxter, better known as AVALANCHE CITY, released his new album titled My Babylon. The indie-folkster took the airwaves by storm in 2011 when Love, Love, Love went to number one in the charts and scooped the covetedAPRA Silver Scroll Award that celebrates the best NZ song-writing performance of the year. His 2018 single Prayed for Love was his first release in three years - listen to the new album below.
PAPER CRANES - 折り鶴 - Voices
Release Date: 18.01.2019
Folk ensemble PAPER CRANES 折り鶴 released the follow up to 2015's album The Road Home earlier this month. The latest offering is lighter than its predecessor, with a melancholy warmth spread through the music while lyrically staying true to themes of life, love and death previously explored. Listen to Voices below.
beat rhythm fashion - tenterhook
Release Date: 08.02.2019
Post-punk shoe-gazers BEAT RHYTHM FASHION are back after a three decade hiatus with an album of new material on seminal Kiwi record label Failsafe Records. Nino Birch, Caroline Easther (ex-Chills) and Rob Mayes return with an album of the same kind of dreamy pop tunes that dominated Wellington's Terrace scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Stream and buy the album below.
L.A.B - II
Diverse, genre-spanning Kiwi supergroup L.A.B released the follow up to 2017's debut self-titled album at the end of last year and it's another journey through Pacific-style sound. Two members of popular band Kora, the bass player from live heavyweights Katchafire and bluesy vocalist Joel Shadbolt combine to create a sound of their own, with roots in reggae, electronica, funk and rock. Listen below.
Pickle darling - bigness
Release Date: 04.01.2019
The debut album by Christchurch lo-fi bedroom popster PICKLE DARLING, aka Lukas Buda, is a pure gem. Sweet, sad, funny, tragic...each tune is filled with clever lyrics reportedly recorded in a single take. The follow up to last year's Bandcamp bestselling EP Spring Onion Pancakes is going to take some beating for my album of the year...and it's only February! Stream it, buy the cassette, pre-order the vinyl, just get into it.
the Dead C - rare Ravers
Release Date: 08.02.2019
Formed in 1986 and long regarded internationally as one of noise rock's leading exponents, Dunedin trio THE DEAD C celebrated their latest release with a rare appearance during Laneway Festival in Auckland in January. According to the press kit their 17th album and sixth for Ba Da Bing! records is apparently 'disguised as the meandering outpourings of vacant thought and activity dialled simultaneously from zero and ten.' I'm unsure about that, but it is definitely full of the distortion, experimentation and improv we've come to expect, with just 3 tracks spread over 40 minutes. Have a listen below.
Broods - Don’t Feed the pop monster
Release Date: 08.02.2019
Indie-pop duo BROODS are back with their third album, featuring a very loaded title. Thrust into stardom following smash hits Bridges and Mother & Father from album Evergreen in 2014, the Nelson siblings were signed to a major record label and wore expectations of pop greatness. Then the wheels fell off as they self-admittedly lost control of their direction on the follow up album, which disappointed and ended their Capitol Records connection. Hence the title of the new album and the return of infectious singles such as Peach - have a listen to the album below.
TINY RUINS - Olympic Girls
Release Date: 01.02.2019
The third album by brilliant folkster Holly Fullbrook and her Tiny Ruins band is out now. A full year in the making and recorded at the same studio (Auckland's The Lab) as 2014's wonderful Brightly Painted One, new release Olympic Girls sees band member Tom Healy taking on production duties. If singles School of Design, How Much, Hologram and the title track are anything to go by this album will be a big hit both at home and over here.
Marlon Williams - Live at the Town Hall
Release Date: 01.02.2019
Recent APRA Silver Scroll winner Marlon Williams recently completed a 60 date world tour in support of album Make Way For Love including a one-off London gig back in October. What better way to celebrate than to release a live album bringing together highlights from his back catalogue? This is a stunning performance and setlist worthy of a live release - if you missed his show last year you will not miss his next visit after you listen to this album.
Francisca Griffin - The Spaces Between
Release Date: 25.01.2019
Exciting news for fans of classic Kiwi jangly guitar music - there is a new album out by Look Blue Go Purple member Francisca Griffin(known as Kathy Bull during LBGP's legendary Flying Nun days). The Spaces Between is the follow up to 1998 album Some From The Sky, Bull's debut solo album and first recorded under the Griffin moniker following the demise of Cyclops in the early 1990s.