So this Friday will mark the last New Zealand show (at least for the foreseeable future) of Mason Clinic. It is a sad day for me, as they are one of my favourite bands; releasing their 2012 EP Prisoners was a personal highlight and I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve seen them live. They are a band that will leave a large hole in the Auckland music scene. Every time I see them I can’t help but feel elated. Along with a deft musical touch and a bucketful of talent, the band have always managed to inject that most important of elements into their live set: fun.
This Friday 31st of January 2014 come join me at F Bar in Kingsland in raising a glass to a band that can legitimately be referred to as an Auckland institution. The show kicks off at 8pm and will have some great bands supporting (including another favourite of mine Mr Slackjaw). It’s a bitter-sweet moment but will surely be an amazing evening.
You can also check out their Prisoners EP below:
And the follow up Places I’ve Never Been which came out last year:
Roku Music - Collider
I know I’m in danger of becoming a propaganda mouthpiece for Sonic Masala Records here, but when their releases are this good it’s pretty much unavoidable.
The problem I have with most bands that fall under that broad and generic category “shoegaze” is that they tend to adhere too strongly to the restraints of the genre. All downward gazes, making sure to wash any semblance of excitement away in a sea of delay pedals, pale imitation that never gets close to the ear-destroying heights of You Made Me Realise.
Thankfully Roku Music offer something that transcends any of the above gripes. The band have a fine pedigree, featuring members of Tiny Spiders, Butcher Birds and the spectacularly brutal No Anchor and from personal experience their live show is killer. The new single Collider (the titular offering from their upcoming LP) is a slice of absolute genius.
The song has an edge to it amidst the waves of dreamy vocals, retaining a vibrant and driving force throughout. Each element has been carefully placed; the mixing on the track is absolute perfection. The forthcoming album has been a long time in the making and listening to Collider the care and patience put into it definitely shows. Even at 5:40 the song never seems to drag, the spaces between allowing breathing room at exactly the right moment, little bursts of fresh air amidst the fury.
I know I have already used a bunch of superlatives so far but I stand by them completely. Collider is a work of pure genius, a point of reference for how to make every element of a song work together to make something sublime.
Good news, everyone! Auckland sonic rock trio Lost Rockets are back in the studio.
As well as a long overdue new single, ‘100 Year Cough’, the guys are recording their version of two Wipers tracks - ‘Over The Edge’ and ‘Doom Town’. Both songs featured in a raucous set at a Wipers’ tribute night (held at the mighty Lucha Lounge earlier this month), with Martin Phillips (of fellow Auckland noise-merchants god bows to math) lending his guitaring chutzpah for the night. Mr Phillips also plays on the recordings of both covers.
Check out the awesome live footage of Lost Rockets covering “Doom Town” below:
‘100 Year Cough’ is due out mid-February, but in the meantime here’s some photos of the recording session in question. Huzzahs are in order!
So one of my goals for this year is to write a lot more about things I like, to post more blogs, interviews and publish some good old physical zines. I thought I would start out by writing about my favourite blog: Sonic Masala.
Sonic Masala started up in early 2010, I first came across the blog when I discovered a post about the now sadly defunct Auckland band Cool Cult. After following it for a year or so I had the pleasure of meeting Brendan when he put on an awesome show for my band in Brisbane and can confirm without a doubt that he is a stand-up guy.
At the core of what Sonic Masala does is an unrelenting passion for music, coupled with an affinity for the genius of Andrew Falkous, an understanding of the brilliance of Mogwai and an unwavering support of local music; all qualities that make it my favourite blog. Based on that I imagine they will be one of my favourite record labels as well.
It’s interesting to see the way the music industry is panning out these days, roles become blurred and new ways of doing things are always cropping up. I like the idea of fans being in control, people who care for and understand the music. People who write about things because they love them, who put on shows in order to help out local bands and who do it all without the possibility of making any money - they’re the ones who will still be around in twenty years, long after all the majors have divested themselves from anything resembling “music”. All those attributes listed really boil down to simply giving a shit about music, and from there I think it’s almost unavoidable to start releasing records, which is what Sonic Masala are doing.
The first Sonic Masala release is from Brisbane’s Gazar Strips, four minutes of goth-y (that’s an adjective, right?) goodness. Reverb drenched guitars and a mesmerizing rhythm section make Oversight a damn sight better than most of the 80s inspired stuff out there today. I’m looking forward to hearing a whole album’s worth (I’m not a writer, so probably best to just listen to it yourself below).
There’s also a rumour that Roku Music's next record will be released through Sonic Masala. If true then this is very good news indeed (I'll share my thoughts on Roku Music another time, needless to say they are an incredible band).
So I decided to jump on the end of year bandwagon and put together a list of my favourite things from 2013, I no doubt managed to miss a lot of albums so there will inevitably be glaring omissions but here are my top ten:
#7: T54's In Brush Park.
Another long-awaited one that didn’t disappoint. Another sign that NZ music is in a really good place right now.
#6: P.K.14's 1984.
They’re already legends but that doesn’t stop them from breaking new ground with every album.
#5: Wilberforces' Paradise Beach.
The best thing they’ve done yet, and on vinyl as well!
#4: No Anchor's The Golden Bridge.
This one is cheating since it actually came out in November 2012 but I only heard it this year and it’s so damn good!! Bonus points for the packaging and coloured vinyl.
#3: Parents' Eponymous LP
So good!! Can’t wait for the next one!
#2: After Argument’s Furs of Time.
Another one of Yang Haisong’s many bands. DC-inspired post-hardcore is the best kind!
#1: Yes I’m Leaving's Mission Bulb.
..and here it is, my number one album of 2013. Not only my favourite album of the year but possibly one of my favourite albums of all time (I am aware that this is a big call). Absolute perfection reached with this one. Another fine example that no matter how many releases tenzenmen puts out the quality is always top notch (The label also distributed another 3 records from this list in Australia).
Here are some photos form last night’s Rat On Swamp Dog (and some karaoke photos). Not great photos but a great night!
Thanks to everyone who came! See you on November 22nd and 23rd!