NEW MUSIC: Wax Chattels – Career

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Wax Chattels from Auckland, NZ have released the first single from their self-titled debut LP, set for release on May 18th via Flying Nun Records and Captured Tracks.

‘Career’ is a dark and ominous slow building track that conjures up images of fried circuit boards and ghostly monks in a post-punk landscape where sonic stabs pierce the gloom and deadpan vocals are the calm before the storm of swirling dissonant noise.

Album preorders available HERE. If you head to Bandcamp you can also hear the tracks ‘In My Mouth’ and ‘Disappointed’.

Wax Chattels are:

Peter Ruddell (keyboards/vocals), Amanda Cheng (bass/vocals) and Tom Leggett (drums).

VIDEO: Dictaphone Blues – Bully

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Aucklander Edward Castelow has unveiled a new pop-tastic sound with the first single from his new EP due out next month. The video has been floating around the internet for a few months now but it’s worth revisiting or checking out for the first time if you haven’t seen/heard it. In the past Edward has written in more of an indie/alt-pop style, more similar to The Shins than the day-go pop of ‘Bully’. Here it’s all about the production and that sugary melodic, musical rush.

EP REVIEW: Sere – Sere

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Rating7.5Sere hit the ground running on their debut self-titled release. It’s a three track EP but it could easily be considered a mini album with its 24 minute runtime and the varied terrain they cover. The doom quota is high from the Auckland quartet yet never in a super-serious, studied manner. These guys can hammer down but they also show a desire to expand the horizons of the style. Art-doom perhaps?

‘New Path’ is the band’s monolithic calling card. A coruscating landscape of air raid siren guitars and eviscerating distortion that sounds like The Stooges, Black Sabbath and Earthless jamming in Hades. Over thirteen minutes the only relief is a middle section of reverb-swathed chugging chords and howled vocal incantations before everything tumbles back into the sonic abyss.

‘Hazy’, by comparison, is a Velvet Underground, tambourine-rich and bass-weighted slice of underground sewer rock. More psych and dark garage rock than it’s predecessor. It shows the band can marry hooks with a heavy vibe and pack them into a standard rock song. Rounding out the EP is a cover of Roxy Music’s ‘In Every Home A Heartache’ (For Your Pleasure, 1973). The original was part ambient, part psych-rock freakout but Sere have taken it and twisted it into a much weirder and disconcerting piece of music. The first half is like a Butthole Surfers outtake before we return to the storm and drang density of ‘New Path’ for one last run of speaker shredding heaviness.

Sere’s debut EP is an endurance ride but with volume and the right frame of mind it’s an impressive and all-consuming one.

Chris Familton

ALBUM REVIEW: Trust Punks – Double Bind

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Rating8Auckland band Trust Punks return with their sophomore album and in the process they’ve tightened their sound, ratcheted up the tension and broadened their interpretation of post-punk.

On 2014’s Discipline they mixed jangling guitars and sparkling, ramshackle melodies and, though those are still a key part of the mix, they’ve now emboldened their sound with a brasher rhythmic attack while bringing in seemingly contradictory sounds such as a xylophone on ‘The Reservoir’.

Their sense of urgency is at the forefront on ‘Good Luck With That’. It’s a rapid-fire, two-minute indie punk song, bristling with melody and intent – in a similar vein to fellow countrymen Die! Die! Die! The editing and arrangements also mark the band out as forward thinking musicians, never content to sit in the box. Instead they kick out the sides and re-fashion it into new, unpredictable shapes. ‘Leaving Room For The Lord’ shows they can push things right into the red with it’s eviscerating, repeated and yelled, chorus of desperation.

Double Bind is also an album that keeps on giving. From the drunken deconstructed waltz of ‘Lawrence’ to the disorienting yet sweet wooziness of ‘Beneath The Commons’, the band keep twisting and manipulating relatively simple songs into inventive musical shapes. That’s the key here and they find just the right balance every time.

This is the type of progressive punk rock that bands like Fugazi, Straitjacket Fits and Sunny Day Real Estate furthered in the 90s and in 2016 Trust Punks are again leading the charge with distinction.

Chris Familton

NEWS: Trust Punks Announce New LP ‘Double Bind’

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Currently split between Auckland and Sydney, Trust Punks have been focusing their time recording their second album. Double Bind is out on July 22nd via Spunk Records. Below you can check out two tracks from the new LP, the driving, catchy and speed-changing political commentary of Paradise/Angel-wire and the lurching, clatter and ominous chanting of Leaving Room For The Lord.

 

NEW MUSIC: Street Chant – Pedestrian Support League

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They’ve been quiet for a while now but finally Auckland trio Street Chant are back with a new song and video ahead of the release of their second LP. ‘Pedestrian Support League’ is an epic 5 minute track that ebbs and flows across wistful guitar, some great melodic basslines and some incisive observational lyrics from Emily Littler.

Pedestrian Support League is a song loosely about Auckland life. Coming back from being on tour a lot and moving back into a crummy flat in Grey Lynn I felt an extreme sense of ennui amongst my peers and especially in myself. A few years ago I had felt excitement for the future and now I was paranoid my flatmates were stealing all my margerine. The chorus “enrol to vote and so it goes, everyone dresses like us nowadays..” expresses the amusement and dissatisfaction I felt with my surroundings – amusement because I felt like I was living out some “food for flatties” cookbook cliche, but watching National win another election as well my seemingly endless ability to stagnate bought about an extreme sense of apathy. 

Street Chant’s new album Hauora will be released in November 2015 on Arch Hill/Flying Nun.

ALBUM REVIEW: New Gum Sarn – New Gold Mountain

Rating7.5a0860184929_10The Auckland quartet have made an auspicious start to their recording career, signing to Spunk who are releasing their debut album across Australia and New Zealand. They’re one of many acts currently making waves with a 90s flavoured sound yet theirs is a blend of influences that makes it hard to pin them down as recyclers of any one band’s sound. That is of course a huge plus among the saturated onslaught and immediate availability of new music where the market is crowded with generic copyists. New Gum Sarn pull you in from different angles, keep you guessing and lead you down a myriad of fascinating musical paths.

Television, Pavement, African psychedelia, post rock and woozy melancholic indie rock all get a look-in across the album’s nine songs with rhythm being the common factor to most of them. There is little loose flailing of guitar strings as they construct tight pieces of music, from the bendy elasticity of ‘Bad Soy’, to the sparkling post rock and time changes of ‘Money Talks’ and the dramatic slow burn of ‘Blue Flag’. The music in all reality does most of the talking. The vocals aren’t redundant but they do serve to add melody and emotion more than important lyrical themes and stories. The exception is the Velvet Underground circa ‘Sweet Jane’ vibe of the closing track ‘Saigon- Paris’ with its lazy, drawled vocals and chugging garage rock guitar that blossom into a call and response chant with an earworm of a chorus in ” Baby come over, come and sleep inside of my bed…”

Barely 30 minutes of music make up New Gold Mountain yet it feels like a complete album, such is its sonic range and abundance of textural variation. On the right side of clever it still retains the understated carefree vibe that gives the album its heady and relaxed flow. At the same it’s a tight collection of intelligent songs that visit the same polymorphic territory of prime Talking Heads.

Chris Familton