Into the depths of winter

Nadia Reid is bringing her High and Lonely Tour to The Cook on June 22. Photo: Supplied
Nadia Reid is bringing her High and Lonely Tour to The Cook on June 22. Photo: Supplied
It feels like just yesterday I was loafing about in the summer heat, a thermos full of Bahama Mama at my side, blasting my favourite New Zealand barbecue reggae into the warm night air. But just as drinking an entire thermos full of a fruity rum-based beverage will ultimately end (usually with a little suffering), so does a Dunedin summer. And now, all of a sudden, we're almost halfway through the year and there is snow, cold and darkness.

Which means it is the perfect time to slip into seven or eight jerseys and sit back by the heatpump with some of the hottest local music releases so far this year. There's plenty to choose from, so I thought I'd highlight a couple I thought flew under the radar a bit, starting with Spinster's debut EP, which came out in April.

It's hard to put a label on Spinster. Basically it plays groovy, rhythmic songs driven by beautiful vocal harmonies and supported by hypnotic bass riffs and slappy drum box beats. The vibe is cool as heck, bluesy, but aesthetically more punk with rousing lyrics - "I believe in capitalism, the system almighty, creator of rampant consumerism, accepting of destruction if the ends satiate the means" - delivered in a preacher's feverish drawl.

Coyote has continued to deliver. Taming the Centaur came out in April and sounds a bit as if every member of every mid '90s indie band fell in a pit and decided to form a desperate, angry super-group before they inevitably starved to death.

According to their Bandcamp, Coyote has only released that one EP this year, but I could swear there was a release before that called something like "Wine man 2: back to the shop"? But that sounds crazy, maybe I'm the wine man in this scenario.

The Rothmans released its second EP Astra 2000 in May and it's a tough one for me to describe. As one of my favourite Dunedin bands, and one of the bands which got me into local music in the first place, it's cool to see how its sound has matured while maintaining the fun and energy which drew me in in the first place. It's post-hardcore but without the pretence. Definitely worth checking out.

They're not really under appreciated but I think it's worth mentioning Mild Orange, which released Foreplay in April and has racked up hundreds of thousands of Spotify plays. It is part of the "new Dunedin sound" that someone decided was a thing. It basically means a bunch of dudes playing relaxed guitar jams and projecting good summer vibes. Which is the absolute antithesis of Dunedin right now, but maybe it could act as a nice escape.

MamaZita has a new song, Hey Jazz, which will soon be joined by another three on its first EP Mana Wahine. It's warm and soulful, like a hearty pumpkin soup in musical form, and a nice wee peek at what is to come.

And another lonesome track worth checking out is ​Swallows Nest's A Subtle Knife for New Doors off their split with Crowning. It's sludgy hardcore that lurches and staggers until it breaks into a frantic dash. Thankfully, Swallows Nest did an EP release gig a while back, so I assume that means an EP is on the way.

That's just a wee sample to warm your cockles.

June looks like a busy month for gigs, with some biggies like Nadia Reid and HackedePicciotto coming down, and some good smaller acts - Murgatroyd and the mysterious Tauranga dance punkers Threat.Meet.Protocol. Which means a lot of cold walks home.

But it's worth it.

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