Posts Tagged ‘Kiwipop’

Kool Aid – “Family Portrait Revisited”

Some new activity bounding out of Christchurch’s always entertaining Melted Ice Cream collective. The NZ label’s always a beacon of consistency and they pick up a new cut from Kool Aid (formerly Brian Tamaki and the Kool-Aid Kids) and its a faded track full of sun-in, bleary indie ramble. “Family Portrait Revisited” sways in the breeze, lays in the cool parched meadow and squints at the sun for a spell. The songs got a built in breeziness and a touch of summer sweat on the surface. Hoping this is a lead up to a full album because this one is too good to just leave us all hanging. Pick up the single over at MIC’s bandcamp now.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Tiny Ruins

While Hollie Fullbrook hasn’t made as much of a dent stateside, at home in New Zealand and neighboring Australia she’s becoming more of a known name, and with good reason. With her third album, she aims to make the same impact worldwide finding homes at Ba Da Bing and Marathon as well as Milk! (Courtney Barnett, Loose Tooth.) Olympic Girls might just do the trick too. Fullbrook has often skirted the boundaries between folk and pop, but here she’s draped in the tresses of deeply wounded and introspective folk – the kind that bore fruit in the ‘70s as lost presses just now getting snatched up for reissue. Echoing the bloodlet beauty of songs by Linda Perhacs, Elyse, Karen Dalton or Judee Sill, Fullbrook has a penchant for finding the saddest corners of the soul and lighting them up in dazzlingly brief beauty that lingers on the mind long after the light has left the room.

The album fills its coffers with more than just strums and swoons, though. With the help of bandmate Tom Healy, Fullbrook’s songs swell the banks of each song with the knotted-smoke embellishments of Laurel Canyon’s heyday and the rain-soaked humanity of Brigitte Fontaine’s Est… Folle. Fullbrook’s voice has a habit of rack-focusing the instruments to the background, something that works well on the cavernous sparseness of “School of Design,” but Healy gives her moments of competition wrapping her voice elsewhere in the bleary gaze of synth, echo and strings that feel torn from the reels of Jean Claude Vannier’s personal stash.

In her short career, Fullbrook has made a point of leaving listeners with pinprick impressions on their soul, but Olympic Girls digs the scars deeper. The record breathes only in vapors becoming an organism of anguish and memory. It’s a testament to loneliness and living in that loneliness like a comfortable skin. With this, Tiny Ruins enter into the greater vernacular, and hopefully, into a greater number of speakers as well.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Adam Hattaway and the Haunters

New Zealand’s Melted Ice Cream collective binds up a loose collection of jangle-prone, indie scrapers and post-punk purveyors with just the right mix of off-kilter sensibilities to keep the mind spinning. The label adds the solo debut from Christchurch’s Adam Hattaway (of Wurld Series) to the stable and it’s a delirious mishmash of crimped-tinfoil punk, fuzzgut indie and wistful power pop that laminates the Memphis school into a hot glued gauze. Hattaway might not be pulling down Big Star soul, but he’s getting runner up vibes a la The Hot Dogs on “Turn Around” and “Too Tired” and making it sound sweet. The dial twisting approach poaches well from his country’s past just as often though, finding a wobbly kinship with Chris Knox in various forms (his scattershot solo shamblin’ and Toy Love come to mind) not to mention indie lancers The 3Ds or Able Tasmans. Hell, maybe even a touch of Tall Dwarfs creeps in around he crimped edges.

There’s a sense that Hattaway coulda played it all straight – he’s got the hook chops to whip it ‘til smooth – but the record works because he refuses to do any such thing. Tape hiss creeps in to remind the listener that decorum isn’t at stake here. Whenever things threaten to get too close to the kernel of pop, Hattaway stomps down on the squelch to twist the feedback knife a little closer to chaos. As much as Australia has a knack for loose-knit indie wranglin’, their Eastern counterparts seem to push just a touch further towards the fringe, which is what makes them such a wellspring of great pop. Add Hattaway to that legacy. This collection is rough under the chin, but that’s what made some of the best Flying Nun platters so desirable in hindsight. All Dat Love is proving to be a late entry favorite around here, and I’m keeping an ear to where Hattaway’s headed in the future.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Wurld Series – “The Bend”

Christchurch’s Wurld Series follows up last year’s Air Goofy LP with an EP stretching for the sweet spot between The Lilys and Pavement. Standout single, “The Bend,” leans much harder on the latter’s influence, ambling and shambling its way through lackadaisical pop like the band’s never been hurried in their lives. The song embodies the soul of slacker pop, driving dirge-laden guitars into frothy beds of fuzz and stretching its length into a woozy six+ minutes. They push a reliance on hooks aside, choosing instead to build a base of atmosphere and working their way towards the alt-flavored jams of Sonic Youth, while battling feedback like an encroaching wave.

They clock the EP in for the excellent Melted Ice Cream Collective that’s bound up so many of New Zealand’s best and brightest of late – Salad Boys, Opposite Sex, Transistors, Terror of the Deep, to name a few. Best to keep an eye out for that cassette and a closer eye on the label, who are an excellent barometer of taste down Kiwi way.


Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Salad Boys

Christchurh, New Zealand has a long standing indie history and Salad Boys seems to take plenty of inspiration from their Kiwipop heritage. There’s a bit of The Bats in the mix, sure, though that probably just becomes DNA for anyone from the town. They dose in a bit of fellow NZ heroes The Chills as well, but the updated sound on This Is Glue is tougher, thicker and more roughed up than either. They come closest to the erratic yet ebullient pop of The Clean. The guitars speak to a love of grunge and garage, driving with a force that’s reckless and rallying in equal measures. They don’t stop at mere gnarled bombast though and that’s what makes this a record worth spinning more than once on the old table.

Peppering in some lush keys and swooning strums, the record is the most accomplished work I’ve heard from the band. They’ve always been kicking in the circles of records that float my way and peak my interest but up until now they’ve always seemed to be lacking that glue to hold their shambolic pop together. I suppose then that the title speaks volumes to their newfound footing and to a confidence in knowing they’ve finally found that spark. The record fizzes with hooks that can’t help but dredge up visions of nineties indie heroes baiting the breath of major A&Rs with money to burn.

They draw on the queasy notions of The Feelies and the heatworn pop of Fountains of Wayne and The Lemonheads. This record pulls them out of the scrappy indie gutter and has them reaching for some rock permanence. This isn’t a record that’s instant in its embrace, but rather a grower that seems to sow fondness with each new listen. While this might not be the one that cements their status its a damn fine start that should pull a few ears their way.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

The Bats – “Antlers”

Five years on from their last foray back into jangle-pop’s halls, The Bats return with a new cut from their upcoming ninth LP, The Deep Set. The song’s got all the hallmarks of a classic Bats tune; low-swung rhythm, the scratch-sway jangle melting with chiming chords, and Robert Scott crooning over the whole affair, demanding your rapt attention. For most bands this far out into their career its hard to make your sound relevant, without seeming dated or gimmicky. In The Bats’ case the fact that the world finally turned its head to the right angle to hear New Zealand’s sound as a widespread influence helps this cut feel like it may well have come from any number of worthy followers. though the magic is that none of them could quite find the timelessness that Scott and The Bats conjure. “Antlers” feels like its always existed, waiting in a pile of classic tunes to hit you right in the ennui center of the soul. Quite like their contemporaries The Chills, they pick right up where they left off and prove that perhaps people should have been paying more attention all along.

Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

The Garbage & The Flowers – The Deep Niche

Prior to the current wave of scrambling, digging and tape dusting to find unreleased material, the ’90s embraced a wave of accessibility with the CD boom, allowing plenty of unheard gems to grasp some light at last. In ’97 Bo’Weavil Records released Eyes Rind as if Beggars, a compilation of mostly lost to time recordings by New Zealand group The Garbage & The Flowers. For many, it was a release that sparked a deeper interest in the island’s fertile scene and gave influence to many who would embrace a folk sound that found equal footing in gentle strokes and noisy outbursts. The original compilation culled together home recordings, 7″s and live tracks that summed up their time after Torben Tilly’s addition. The Deep Niche captures a time even earlier than Eyes Rind, and surprisingly still finds plenty of quality moments that the “definitive” comp missed.

The core trio here is Helen Johnstone, Yuri Frusin, and Paul Yates with Tilly adding some drums and eventually keys on some tracks. It captures as raw and as vital a sound as its predecessor, swinging from the John Cale touches of Johnstone’s viola scratch, to a tender twee that would feel right at home with some Sarah Records releases, and the breakdown clatter of centerpiece “29 years.” The album finds the band in their infancy, but still lets Frusin’s songwriting shine through. There’s a nerve that’s touched throughout these tracks, and even with their meager means and scratchy quality, they’re full of enough power to uphold the legend that the band has built over the last couple of decades. Grapefruit gratefully presents this album for those looking to delve even deeper into the band’s history.





Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

The Terminals – Uncoffined

Flying Nun’s recent resurgence and subsequent repressings have required a keen eye to follow where they pop up, HoZac enters the ring as the latest to offer up one of the catalog’s sorely overlooked artists. The Terminals featured members of The more acerbic Pin Group alongside members of the lesser known Victor Dimisich Band and The McGoohans. They too would eventually go down the same noisy, post-punk route as The Pin Group, but on their first two albums they maintained a sound that fell down the same jangle-pop hallways as fellow NZ stalwarts The Clean, The Chills, Able Tasmans or The Verlaines. The shift in sound seemed to stem from the departure of guitarist Ross Humphries, also of Bailter Space and The Great Unwashed, but his inclusion here marks some of the band’s more buoyant offerings.

No mention of The Terminals would be complete, though, without placing a fair amount of credit for the band’s allure to vocalist Stephen Cogle, whose rich tenor/baritone fluctuation and tender quaver adds a welcoming extension of kinship and understanding to the band’s jangle-pop offerings. Despite all the band had going for them, they remain one of the more overlooked bits of the Flying Nun and Xpressway catalogs despite best attempts of a few worthwhile CD reissues and comps compiled through the aughts. Beginning with this debut finding its way back to the vinyl format, though, its starting to look up for the band’s legacy. The record’s been remastered from its original tapes and the sound gets a proper scrub-up in quality, bringing out the subtle brilliance of this antipodean classic. Twenty-five years later, maybe this is the time for The Terminals.

Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Opposite Sex – “Oh Ivy”

Opposite Sex’s last album tapped into the jangle-pop past of their Dunedin roots, but they take things deeper on their sophomore release, Hamlet. “Oh Ivy” starts with the same basic ingredients that the band dipped from on their eponymous debut; post punk clatter and the lilting vocals of Lucy Hunter, but it quickly turns much darker than they’ve gone before. The tension is thick and the guitar slinks with a wild almost inebriated stumble. The song is up on its hackles within the first minute. Hunter’s vocals turn desperate, ravaged, pleading and accusing at the same time. The song slashes and crumples on itself and by the time the end draws near Hunter seems practically beside herself with longing and despair. Its the kind of post-punk that most who use the tag are not making. It wields noise, sheds any sense of self-consciousness and just lets the music embody ragged emotions, raw and nervy. The album is out in the band’s native New Zealand through the ever intriguing Melted Ice Cream Collective and here in The States from Dull Tools. From the sounds of this, its going to wipe any expectations that Opposite Sex set up completely off the table.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

The Chills – Kaleidoscope World Reissue

The Chills are just now really getting their due. Its been a longtime coming but with a new album on Fire and some respect for backcatalog in motion (someone reissue Submarine Bells already) they seem poised to finally capture the West the way they should have all those years ago. Flying Nun is putting one of the band’s long sought after puzzle pieces back in print. By all accounts Kaleidoscope World contains the band’s most familiar track. “Pink Frost” is a post-punk mixtape staple and probably one of the entry points or one-stops for the average person’s familiarity with the band. Though not a first record proper (technically its a compilation of EPs and singles) Kaleidoscope World functions well as a document of the band’s rise and refinement into the jangle-pop heroes they’d come to be to those sifting through the right bins in the ’90s. Its great to see this one popping back up on the horizon. There are plenty of undeserving contenders plugging up the vinyl glut’s reissue pipe, so its good to see a real winner get its day in the sun again.

Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments