Shane Gilchrist continues his rummage through his album
collection. Today he hears the echoes of Flying Nun
drone-pop, enjoys some strong lyricism and bathes in freshly
crafted alt-pop gems.
> The Shifting Sands.
Mike McLeod, former frontman of Dunedin band the Alpha State
(which put out a rather nice album, Lines, in 2008) shows
once again he's no slouch for structure and melody, though
this time he cloaks his songs in more psychedelic shades.
Helped by a veritable who's who of Dunedin musicians,
including David Kilgour, Robert Scott and Jay Clarkson,
McLeod does delve into the angular, chiming, hypnotic
drone-pop of the city's early '80s Flying Nun clan, but
manages to avoid mimicry. In short, he has his own voice and
isn't scared to balance a taste for dark country-esque areas
(Too Late, Outta Here) with wiggy guitar histrionics (Worth
For those who like: Family Cactus, Great Unwashed.
> Two Cartoons. Jelly Tip
The only thing wrong with this cunningly crafted release from
Two Cartoons is the fact it's only five songs long. Dunedin
duo Brad Craig and Isaac Macfarlane prove that good tunes
often require little more than the instruments with which
they were initially created (presumably, in their case,
guitar and drums). Where some would be tempted to overplay
their instruments, this pair opt for quick frills and fills
in an attempt to maintain a sense of space - a delightful,
reverb-filled space into which drip the melodies and
harmonies of choirboys on a bender.
For those who like: Port O'Brien, The Thrills.
> Bill Morris. Mud
Chalmers-based Bill Morris' debut nine-track album channels
pastoral rock, gentle folk and electric guitar-edged alt-pop
into an energetic, eclectic brew-up that offers both focus
and freedom. Morris clearly takes pride in his lyricism,
which ranges from detailed reflections Last Year's Starlings
to socio-historic commentary Mud, Volcano, Shenandoah and,
though seemingly confident in his own compositions, he is
still willing to embrace outside forces (in the form of more
than a few Dunedin musicians, ranging from Robert Scott to
members of The Chaps and beyond).
For those who like: The Triffids, The Go Betweens.
> The Dead Leaves. Cities On The Sea
Dunedin songwriter Matt Joe Gow leads his Melbourne-based Dead
Leaves on a musical journey that is both celebratory and
complex. Given free rein on Cities On the Sea, guitarist Andrew
Pollock throws forth swirls of electrically charged texture as
Joe Gow adopts a baritone croon that, despite the seemingly
relaxed delivery, acts as a melodic tractor beam amid the
various angular (and inventive) rhythms at play, from the
cunningly crafted chorus of opener If The Shoe Fits to a dark
rendition of the Talking Heads hit This Must Be The Place
For those who like: Bryan Ferry meets The Smiths.