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Release Roundup: Vera Ellen, Paige Julia, The Big Fresh Collective, XRVR x Displeasure, Sam Bambery + More

Release Roundup: Vera Ellen, Paige Julia, The Big Fresh Collective, XRVR x Displeasure, Sam Bambery + More

Chris Cudby / Image: Vera Ellen / Friday 17th May, 2024 4:42PM

Week three of NZ Music Month / Te Marama Puoro o Aotearoa brings with it a generosity of sonic riches. Tuck into this week's coverage of Carb on Carb, Earth Tongue, The Advocators, Tess Liautaud and Black Comet, then scroll down for more new / recent release highlights from Vera Ellen, Paige Julia, The Big Fresh Collective, Sam Bambery, Alec, beet-wix, XRVR x Displeasure, Heresiarch, Karl Sölve Steven & Rob Thorne, Fanfickk, Goodnight My Darling, Ny Oh & Finn Johansson, and Terrible Sons.

Winner of the Taite Music Prize for her breakout 2023 album Ideal Home Noise, Vera Ellen reemerges with new six song collection of bedroom-crafted, emotionally frank tunes heartbreak for jetlag via Flying Nun — including collaboration with Hans Pucket's Oli Devlin 'danger i'. Go catch Ellen touring nationwide with Voom and Reb Fountain in late May / early June. "For my own sanity I needed to make work like I used to, hunched over my laptop with the sticky keys, sock over a mic, concocted in my bedroom at my most vulnerable, touched by no hands but my own from start to finish. None of these songs I planned to share beyond a couple of close people. But each got me through some heavy feelings and out the other side. May they be a comfort in your lowest moments, which to me makes it worth going through mine".

Paige Julia channels hyped rave stabs, future-shocked synths and mind-scrambling sound design textures into the ominous drum and bass atmospheres of her new Anathema EP, out today via Alix Perez's 1985 Music. Catch the Aotearoa electronic producer and DJ touring nationwide in May / June / July, including a headline spot at Tāmaki Makaurau's Neck Of The Woods (tickets HERE via UTR).

Also aficionados of speaker-bashing breakbeats, Ōtautahi's The Big Fresh Collective raise a swappa crate bottle to NZ Music Month / Te Marama Puoro o Aotearoa, unleashing the 2024 instalment of their SRN Award-winning FOOTMAHI compilation series. An amped-up and inclusive 22 track roll call of bleeding edge and bolshy Aotearoa club talent, contributors include deepState, Caru, AndWahn, Current Bias, Young Gho$t, label helmsman / curator Liam K. Swiggs, and many more. "The Journey of Footmahi has taken us all over AOTEAROA working with & entertaining people from all walks of life that we are proud to call our Whānau".

Keeping it in Canterbury, Sam Bambery's new album Rubricator feels like a distinct and accomplished evolution of his sound, incorporating a variety of adventurous, sometimes straight up wonky sonic strategies bound together by rock-solid songwriting skills. Co-produced with De Stevens at Roundhead Studios and mastered by Jonathan Pearce, you can catch Bambury celebrating his new record with friends Jobs, Holly Kimber and Craigslist Soundsystem at Space Academy on 7th June, grab tickets HERE. "This album felt like an ecstatic jigsaw, pieces coming together in spontaneous takes whilst also holding songs and feelings tightly to our chest. It felt like present music at the time, dominated by process, nothing to do with the past or the future. It was a therapeutic escape at a time where I felt a bit lost as to what direction I should take my songs".

A name new to myself, but not to those who enjoyed his 2019 self-titled album, Alec is the newest addition to the Sunreturn roster, making a splash this week with his first single in five years 'Another Party'. The solo project of Tāmaki Makaurau songwriter / producer Hugh Piesse — whose credits include the legendary Caroles, Purex, New Folder and Tied On Teeth — Alec's new tune feels playful and sophisticated in its undulating instrumental grooviness and daydreamy lyrical reflections, inspired by the character Tze in Rebels of the Neon God (1992). We're looking forward to his forthcoming second long player Endless Pasture, out on 16th June. "Endless Pasture sort of revolves around people trying to escape the circumstances that they’ve ended up in, but are too mired in them to change I think amongst other things. Another Party is about a guy trying to escape his flooded apartment after partying all night. It’s probably about a gradual accumulation of problems that he’s brought upon himself, manifesting in naive escapist fantasies of running away with someone they’ve already dragged down with them".

Still number one on the SRN Top 10 with debut single 'slug level standards', Ōtepoti electronic artist beet-wix makes even freakier Nintendo DS synth-punk moves with second single 'mindblock' — apparently incorporating excerpts from Lucy Pollock's preschool reports. "Difference is easy / when everyone else thinks the same / you're stuck with wasted effort / it's all too hard to explain".

Getting my hopes up that Aotearoa synth-punk is becoming a "thing", Whanganui's unstoppable XRVR unleashes his first ever remix as part of Displeasure's VORTEX OF SHIT II — a vinyl LP release of the politically enraged Aotearoa trio's late '22 insta-classic. Local legends also contributing remixes include Bird Party, Mutation, Synthetic Children, Alphabethead and even more, order the vinyl edition via the Bandcamp link.

On a related tip — during my Whanganui adventure last weekend I was alerted to the fact Aotearoa extreme metal figureheads Heresiarch's new album Edifice is now out, obliterating the ears of fans across the planet. "Here on Edifice, the parameters of HERESIARCH's sound - death metal muscle, black metal atmosphere, grindcore aggression - are all in devastating harmony, creating a hydra-headed beast that betrays a wealth of true-yet-twisted ideas".

A meeting point between two Aotearoa titans in sound — award winning composer / synthesist Karl Sölve Steven and taonga pūoro practitioner / guitarist Rob Thorne (Ngāti Tumutumu, Tainui) — Black Coast Vanishings is a collection of music adapted from the television series of the same name, out now via Rattle Records. "Karl and Rob reworked the original recordings to produce an engaging musical experience that seamlessly blends acoustic and electronic timbres around the evocative tonalities of taonga pūoro".

Unavailable on Spotify as "Spotify is an unethical platform that I don’t want to support", Naarm-based Aotearoa digital-pop singer / producer Fanfickk's new single 'Jacket' is out today. A slow-burning anthem is "about inheriting a friend's clothes, and subsequently struggling with the line between your identity and theirs," 'Jacket' heralds the artist's new ten track album Tirando Basura — launching exclusively via Bandcamp and on MiniDisc.

The project of Pōneke songwriter Maxine Macaulay, Goodnight My Darling maintains the understated excellence of her 2023 album The Empress with new ode to female fortitude 'Ruby'. "I wrote the chorus after the Black Ferns won the Rugby World Cup in 2022. I had just finished my album release tour up north, and it was on the way back that we listened to the final in the van. The next morning I watched Ruby Tui singing ‘Tūtira Mai’ with the crowd and I was so inspired and so happy for our country's women at that moment, that I jammed the little chorus which evolved into what the song is now".

Regular keyboardist and then official opener for no less than pop megastar Harry Styles when he performed in Tāmaki Makaurau last year, Ny Oh shared studio and swimming pool with Finn Johansson in their muscle-flexing, rustically-tinted new collaboration 'We Still Got It'.

Ōtautahi wife and husband songwriting team Terrible Sons send out a tender 'Thank You' following their autumn tour. "This is a small tune that didn’t make the album but was meant to, and we loved it a lot - we wanted to talk about the beauty and confrontation in good friendships — when you love and a little bit hate them sometimes. When their company is delightful AND annoying and when you come up for air you know there is a richness to that experience that’s been good for you both."


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Paige Julia - Anathema EP Release (AKL)
Fri 31st May 10:00pm
Neck of the Woods, Auckland
Rubricator Album Release Show - Sam Bambery *ONE NIGHT ONLY*
Fri 7th Jun 7:00pm
Space Academy, Christchurch