TOM LARK — PHOTO SUPPLIED / WORDS BY CARLA CAMILLERI / LOGO BY ZOE HANNAY
TOM LARK — 'LIVE WIRES'
I am absolutely loving Tom Lark’s return — his songwriting chops never seem to falter, delivering sweet melodies that always hit the spot. ‘Live Wires’ is the latest reveal from his upcoming album BRAVE STAR, which is due be released on June 9 via Ōtautahi output Winegum Records. Once again, 'Live Wires' strikes a powerful balance of sound, each element mixed with a unique tenderness to harbour Lark's gentle country-tinged pop. If the first two singles are anything to go by, BRAVE STAR is shaping up to be a very fine record indeed.
BRAVE STAR is out on June 9 — you can preorder it via the Flying Nun Record Shop HERE.
SALT WATER CRIMINALS — 'MY GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT'
Salt Water Criminals, project of Ōtepoti musician Reuben Scott, have announced their debut album House Of Highs, out mid 2023 via Garbage Records. The first track to be revealed is 'My Greatest Achievement', which drives along with a fervent, unfaltering energy. I wouldn't have guessed that this song was born out of an impromptu jam session — each element of the track is delivered with masterful intention. But that just goes to show that sometimes, the best songs are the makings of pure emotional catharsis — the tense, snappy energy of the guitars both steer and embellish the piece, fuelling an "inability to feel self-fulfillment, even through the most significant triumph".
Listen to this and support the track via Bandcamp HERE.
ROBERT SCOTT — ENDS RUN TOGETHER
REVIEW BY MILKY JOE
Robert Scott’s 2010 third solo album, Ends Run Together has remained a hidden treasure in the Flying Nun back catalogue. It has only been available on CD for the past few years, so we were especially pleased to see 20 vinyl copies amongst the recent arrival of Flying Nun back titles rescued from the dusty corner of a warehouse somewhere in the USA.
Robert Scott is well known as the bass player for The Bats and The Clean, and hearing the first track, ‘On the Lake’ one could be fooled into thinking this album was a collection of tunes that didn’t make it onto a Bats album. However, as the following tracks unfurl, it becomes apparent that this is Robert Scott exploring a different and very personal sonic environment. He is credited on most of the tracks with guitar, keyboards, bass and vocals and he wrote all of the songs, so it is very much a solo album, and while his voice is familiar to Bats fans, beneath the vocal lines of these 13 tracks Robert explores a wide range of excellent guitar textures and keyboard lines. Guest contributors include Alan Starrett (viola & dulcimer), producer Dale Cotton (space guitar), David Kilgour (guitar), Geva Downey & Rainy McMaster of Tainted Love (backing vocals) plus Don and Ants from Onanon.
Despite the tunes encompassing a wide range of styles, the album holds together beautifully as a cohesive whole, from the driving indie of ‘Too Early’ and ‘The Rising Tide’ to the atmospheric ‘Carmilla’, the gorgeous ‘Days Run Together’ and ‘Born In A Tent’, the Bats-like ‘The Moon Upstairs’ to the gentle piano of ‘Messages’.
This is a lovely record - by turns atmospheric, lush, rocking and experimental - and is definitely not a lost Bats album – if anything its something even better – a peek under the hood of one of the most iconic NZ musicians around – and 13 years on it sounds as fresh as ever.
GEORGE CLANTON — 'I BEEN YOUNG'
This week has been a good week for show announcements, and I'm going to tell you about one of them because it happily coincides with the release of one of my new favourite songs 'I Been Young'. George Clanton is the face behind US label 100% Electronica (who houses Tāmaki Makaurau musician Satin Sheets), which has been a globally influential imprint since its inception in 2015, popularising the glossy sounds of vaporwave. George Clanton is one of those artists that manages to toe a fine line between futuristic and nostalgic (very well displayed in 'I Been Young'), pulling of something truly euphoric whilst tapping into 80's George Michael pastiche, without sounding gimmicky. George Clanton will be appearing at Neck Of The Woods in Tāmaki Makaurau on Sunday, June 18 — tickets available via Undertheradar HERE.
Listen to and purchase 'I Been Young' via Bandcamp HERE.
PACIFICAN DESCENDENTS — 'TUESDAY BLUES'
One of my favourite tracks from the seminal Proud compilation (which is getting a long awaited reissue) is 'Tuesday Blues' by 90's South Auckland hip hop group Pacifican Decendants, formed by Sani Sagala, Jim “DJ Fingas” Makai, Fatu Su'a and occasionally DJ Chris Halavaka on turntables. Despite their short run, they left a legendary, and necessary, imprint on the Proud collection, fusing traditional Pasifika elements with the boom-bap hip hop sounds of the time.
Preorder the reissue of Proud: An UrbanPacific Streetsoul Compilation via the Flying Nun Records Store HERE.
VANESSA WORM — 'TITLE NOT KNOWN'
Vanessa Worm's latest album Mosaics is a lesson in self expression — the Aotearoa artist embodies a refreshing ability to use sounds to communicate every energy; the good, the bad and the uncomfortable, uninhibited by fear of the external. 'Title Not Known' moves along with an unshakable groove, intermingling with samples from here, there and everywhere to create a hypnotic concoction of sound. Violet Hirst dives deep into Vanessa Worm's music and creative process in our latest instalment of In Conversation — read the full interview HERE.
Listen to and buy Mosaics via Bandcamp HERE.
KÉDU CARLÖ — 'RESURRECTION'
Techno duet Kédu Carlö (AKA Jess Penson and Carly Gill) from Tāmaki Makaurau have unveiled their kaleidoscopic new album Space Girl Finds Cash. These are two of the most talented producers in the country, and this album only continues prove that point. Tapping into a multi-verse of genres, these two are making music with an inclusive dance floor in mind, and their metamorphosis of sound is a gift of their generous bank of musical knowledge and influences.
You can purchase Space Girl Finds Cash via Bandcamp HERE.
JAZMINE MARY — 'WET MOUTH'
Emerging with a new song from their upcoming album Dog (out June 2nd) is Jazmine Mary. ‘Wet Mouth’ is a woozy ballad that bathes in an innocent tone which masks the song’s depiction of small town Australia, where Mary grew up.
“The memory is a liar and a thief, I find that nostalgia is wildly rose tinted and I have painted these pictures of my past and self that are completely fabricated. There is a romance to being from somewhere no one you love has been - but the reality is like sand stuck in my teeth.”
The track is accompanied by a stunning visual co-directed by Jazmine Mary and Annabel Kean, made with the support of NZ On Air.
BLEEDING STAR — 'WHY DO PARTIES HAVE TO BE SO LOUD'
Te Whanganui-A-Tara band Bleeding Star have released their debut album, Dropper, via Jet King Records. After surfacing in 2021, the four piece (who share their name with Jean Paul Sartre Experience’s final record) released a string of excellent singles, including 'Why Do Parties Have To Be So Loud', and made waves with their passionate, heart-felt live performances. Their new album captures their excellent musicianship, displayed through a camaraderie that can not only be felt, but heard.
You can buy their new album Dropper via Bandcamp HERE.
Sadly, Bleeding Star's guitarist Otis Hill is battling a very rare and advanced cancer. You can donate to Otis' treatment here. We wish Otis and his whānau love and support during this time.
EARTHEATER — 'BRINGING ME BACK'
Finally, Eartheater (AKA Alexandra Drewchin) is returning to Tāmaki Makaurau, after an enchanting pre-pandemic appearance in early 2020. Since then, she has released Phoenix: Flames Are Dew Upon My Skin which is, in itself, a sound-collage that displays the composer and singer's next level abilities to bend sound to her every will. This will no doubt be an unmissable show, and a display of true musical mastery — experience Eartheater on June 16 at Neck Of The Woods — tickets available HERE (tickets on sale at some point today — keep your eye on that link).
You can listen to and purchase Phoenix: Flames Are Dew Upon My Skin via Bandcamp HERE.