Shane Gilchrist continues his rummage through his album
collection. Today he enjoys compositional twists, some
electronic noodling and stabs of guitar noise.
Nightchoir 'See The First Star'
Born from the ranks of now-defunct chart-threateners Pluto,
Mike Hall, Matthias Jordan and Mike Franklin-Browne clearly
view albums in that old-fashioned way, where one listens from
start to end and delights in the twists and turns (sometimes
within a few bars), the ebb and flow. Clearly, the
Auckland-based trio like to play together, too. And that
jam-like ethos, combined with oh-so-tight compositions, has
resulted in a 13-track record (the follow-up to 2010 debut 24
Hours of Night) that brims with warm textures, complex
harmonic interplay and a sense of upbeat fun.
For those who like: Wilson, Phoenix Foundation.
Great North 'Halves'
A year and a-half since releasing debut album NewFoundland,
Auckland folk-country outfit Great North's sophomore effort
is a more contemplative effort. Conjuring images of embers
glowing in the small hours, songwriter Hayden Donnell writes
(and sings) of relationships both strong and fragile, love
bright and dimmed and occasionally veers off into social
commentary (All Our Lies). In fact, Donnell's lyrics are the
real strength here, helping to lift this material well beyond
the obvious or trite as his fellow band members add stabs of
piano, staccato drums and chiming lead guitar, albeit in a
restrained, almost gentle manner.
For those who like: Okkervil River.
Urbantramper 'Internet Freedom Is
Wellington three-piece Urbantramper might espouse a
dedication to the dissemination of ideas via Wi-Fi, email and
the internet, but let's ignore its motivations and focus
instead on the at-times achingly beautiful results. Blending
electronic elements (loops, samples and keyboard noodling)
with tribal percussion and occasional dance-floor inspired
filter sweeps, the trio also make sure there's plenty of
human heart at play, largely courtesy of dreamy, emotive
vocals allied to a pop sensibility that refuses to be buried
beneath the carefully constructed layers. Clever stuff.
For those who like: Peter Gabriel, Mulholland.
Die! Die! Die! 'Harmony'
The fourth album from Die! Die! Die! is clear evidence of
just what a hectic touring schedule can do. In the case of
the former Dunedin, now Auckland-based noise merchants, it
means a knife-sharp tightness allied to an ever-experimental
ethos that allows singer Andrew Wilson to whoop and yelp as
his guitar bleeds distorted melody, cascades into walls of
echoing swirls or serves as an ice-pick in the ear. Drummer
Michael Prain, meanwhile, provides a staccato, angular and
often bruising rhythmic pulse that lets up for the occasional
cinematic flourish (such as on the introductions to
Oblivious: Oblivion and Shades of Blue).
For those who like: Bailterspace, Shellac.