Ancient Tapes: Demo

I’m old enough to have witnessed both the birth and heyday of shoegaze back in the late 80s and early 90s. And it’s been fascinating to watch the genre’s dreamlike atmospherics subsequently spread throughout the world of rock, pop, experimental music, electronica, and even — Satan forbid! — heavy fvckin’ metal. Shoegaze has adapted and survived. But, more importantly, broadening its audience helped shoegaze stage a comeback in recent times.... Read More

Noel Meek with Richard Youngs, Neil Campbell and Lasse Marhaug

Wellington, New Zealand musician Noel Meek founded and curates the critically applauded label End of the Alphabet Records. Over the past few years, the label’s built a considerable fanbase and released an increasing number of compelling recordings — including a few of Meek’s own. End of the Alphabet’s focus is on underground and outlier artists, and although the label’s dealt in a diverse range of outré music, a stubborn sense of nonconformity... Read More

Fuckalt: Archeology Vol​.​1: Dust & I Spent So Long Trying to Kill Myself…

I’ve posted before about the ambient sound experiments of Dunedin, New Zealand artist Fuckalt (aka musician Karl Leisky). Fuckalt’s six-track debut, Sine Works Vol.1: Organics, was a deep dive into ultra-minimalist waters, and the microtonal manipulator’s latest Bandcamp releases, Archeology Vol.1: Dust and I Spent So Long Trying to Kill Myself but Now It’s Time for Something New, also feature blissful electronics with a side-helping of... Read More

Sol Mortvvs: Sol I, II, III

If you can make it through the 22 minutes of nerve-stabbing frequency manipulations on Sol Mortvvs’ Sol III, then other two recordings in the one-man sonic sorcerer’s Sol series will be a breeze. Well, maybe not a breeze. That’s not fair on all the effort Sol Mortvvs clearly puts in to making harsh and discomforting music. Even experienced noise-ingesters might find some of Sol Mortvvs’ ear-splitting electronic distortions unpleasant,... Read More

Ov Pain: S/T

Ov Pain are a cold wave duo from Dunedin, New Zealand featuring Renee Barrance and Tim Player. The two-piece’s self-titled debut is being released on cassette by NZ punk label Zero Style, on cassette and digitally by Australian label Vacant Valley, and there’s an upcoming vinyl edition due out via CocoMuse Releases: pro tip — keep an eye out for that. Ov Pain mixes ice-cold synth and keyboards with minimalistic percussion and dramatic vocals.... Read More

Bent Folk: Why / Liar / Gone

I got an email recently from Wellington, New Zealand fringe folk band Bent Folk to let me know their debut full-length, Why / Liar / Gone, had been released. That email was signed by multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Dick Whyte, and it featured a great big dangling hook. Whyte said that Bent Folk sounded a little like Girls Pissing On Girls Pissing and Dylan Carlson covering Leonard Cohen — and that sounded like an amazing combination to me. Obviously,... Read More

Arc of Ascent: Realms of the Metaphysical

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who breathed a sigh of relief when Hamilton, New Zealand trio Arc of Ascent announced the release of their new album, Realms of the Metaphysical. It’s been five years since the heavyweight three-piece’s last release, and with the band’s status uncertain for a spell, and a long stretch between live shows, it felt, for a time, like Arc of Ascent might be heading towards the great beyond. Obviously, noteworthy... Read More

Homegrown Ambient Music With Omit and Fuckault

Many years ago, someone handed me a scratched-up CDr with the word ‘Omit’ scrawled on the cover. I had no idea who/what/where Omit was at the time, but there was something undeniably entrancing about the dark minimalist electronics on that disc. Much of that music reminded me of the early, analog years of ambient music –– that kosmische era, which I love. But rather than being the product of some long-lost Berlin band, I eventually discovered... Read More

Northumbria: Markland

Canadian musicians Jim Field and Dorian Williamson formed drone duo Northumbria in 2011, and they’ve since carved out a hypnotic presence, and received a lot of well-deserved praise, with their dark and expressive ambient drones. Field and Williamson use guitars and bass to sculpt spellbinding tracks, and they record Northumbria’s improvised songs entirely live. In lesser hands that could easily result in makeshift music, but Northumbria’s soul-stirring... Read More

Long Distance Runner: No Value

No Value is the debut recording from Auckland five-piece Long Distance Runner, and the 7” and digital release sound nothing like I’d expected — which is no bad thing. My expectations were based on the fact that Long Distance Runner feature members from a few other great Auckland bands, including blistering hardcore/screamo outfit Parents, and psychedelic genre-smashers sere. I thought maybe some kind of acid-fired hardcore hybrid was on the... Read More

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