Ever looking to get swept up in the power of narrative and songwriting? Trust me, this is the only way to listen to New Zealand’s Tiny Ruins. I’ve always loved the fragility of Hollie Fullbrook’s voice, striking in its tones, especially when its placed in the perfect setting like these sharp guitar notes that spin all around it in this brand new single. As the tune moves forward, there’s a slight musical lift as strings add some buoyancy, almost lifting the tune to your ears so you can’t escape. But, don’t worry, this beautiful tune about finding your own ritual/ceremony will resonate with you throughout the day. Such a joy to hear his project back, so here’s to hoping we get to hear more!
Another song that I came across just as the year was wrapping up was this fresh single from New Zealand’s Sunsee; it’s the project of Hamish Berkers, favoring no genre, but crafting these dreamy soundscapes for escapism. Personally, I love the contrast between some of the sunnier guitar licks and the weighted tones of Berkers here, offering up this brilliant juxtaposition. Plus, there’s this far out middle meandering piece that just kind of lets the song spin off into a new world and stop abruptly. Give it a quick spin and reap your rewards.
Feel like there are still so many good tunes to be had at the end of the year, and I wanted to make sure we didn’t miss out on the latest from New Zealand’s T.G. Shand. A new EP is in the works, and this is our first listen, bringing the artist back to some of her darkened shoegaze roots. There’s a whole lot of cavernous scaffolding, first with subdued jangles ringing slightly, allowing the vocals to layer in an icy dreaminess. Soon, the vocals begin to layer atop one another, continuing to add in this dense texture that makes the song a marvel. Here’s to hearing more real real soon.
New Zealand’s Jim Nothing are no stranger to these pages the last few months, but seeing as they’re a little bit ahead of us in terms of daylight, we get to stream their debut LP a bit earlier than Friday! For those of you into the traditions of lo-fi and early 80s DIY aesthetics, you’re certainly going to feel the charms of this entire listen. Take “Seahorse Kingdom,” for example, using this thumping rhythm and aura of whimsy to carry the exuberance of the song immediately to the listener. Maybe you want to swing the other way and hit on one of the great singles like “Fall Back Down,” which reminds me a lot of their Oceanic neighbors Twerps (and other “dole” wave) acts. Brief songs and steady bounce just guarantee you’ll run right over to Meritorio Records/Melted Ice Cream and grab yourself a copy of In the Marigolds!
Those of you following the New Zealand scene, or anything Oceanic in nature, should keep your eyes on Jim Nothing, as this fresh single from their debut record is pretty near perfect. The riff work in the song has that sort of purposefully sloppy vibe, sort of chugging along haphazardly while the ship rocks around on the back of the rhythm section. Elements of this sound like they’re rooted in 90s pop rock, though you can hear other little DIY bits of flare in the way the vocals work together to build the melodic core. Just before you announce your devotion, the song calls halts, and you’re forced to rush over to the Meritorio Records/Melted Ice Cream sites and grab a copy of the group’s In the Marigolds LP…out September 15th.
Social Union is an up and coming duo out of New Zealand who may not yet be well known in the music world, but will likely generate a ton of buzz as more people hear their new EP Fall Into Me. I am not one to post in the electronic or goth wave genre much, so when I do, you’ve got to know I am feeling these sounds. The title track stands out as tops from the 4 song EP and could easily be a song of summer for those who prefer cold, dark bars in place of lakes and general heat related things. This EP is an electronic banger that totally caught me be surprise today. You can stream the whole thing below and purchase a tape or CD from German based label Blackjack Illuminist Records.
There aren’t too many people making pop rock as good as Elizabeth Stokes and The Beths; today the band announce their brand new LP, Expert in a Dying Field. This new jam kicks off in true Beths fashion, using sharp drum hits and tightly tense guitar notes to raise Stokes’ voice into the forefront. I love how they pull back the punches just before the minute mark, setting up another verse in perfect fashion. I do hear some noisier elements, or at least some flare in the background, which was promised in the press release; it’s pretty pronounced with the ripping guitar solo and smashing close. Time will tell if they can balance the noise and the pop, but so far so good! Expert in a Dying Field is out on September 16th via Carpark.
Strangely, as the summer comes, which is usually my heavy jam season, I’ve been mellowing, looking for more moving pieces, like this Ben Woods track. Ben just announced a new LP titled Dispeller, and I’m totally awe-struck by this lead single. It’s a combination of bedroom strumming and sampled noise used to structurally build the sound. There’s this slight tonal shift that gets me every time he drops it in; he’ll deliver two lines, then twist the tone into this slightly more melodic charm. Plus, every time the song builds into cacophony, it all seems to make perfect sense, only raising the bar on the modern trends of songwriting. Dispeller is out in July via Shrimper/Melted Ice Cream/Meritorio.
It takes a lot to tickle my angsty tendencies, but man if Die! Die! Die! aren’t doing their damndest to keep me on board. This last week they shared the title track from their new LP, thundering with the rhythm section from the get go, while the guitar operates like a noisy transmission from another galaxy. It feels like the song’s lurching, stopping then starting until it can no longer control itself and unleashes a blast of fury, tearing through your speakers before the song is no more. The new album, This is Not an Island Anymore will be released this Friday.
Having had two North American tours cancelled by this damned pandemic since the release of Jump Rope Grazers, The Beths are ready to finally make their way back over here on the backs of their latest release…doing it with a fresh tune in their pockets to rock your way. Liz Stokes of course is the dominating force here, with the rise and fall of the hooks revolving around her delivery. That’s not to say the band aren’t hitting it heavy together, as the drums hit furiously, pounding out a frantic pace that matches with the fever dream that influenced Stokes’ writing on this particular tune. Plus, I’m not sure any power-rock group is writing choruses with as many catchy moments as this lot. They’ll be hitting the States throughout the rest of February, and then heading over to Europe for the rest of the Spring…so catch em’ when you can! Austin date at Empire Garage on February 15th!