Tag: Wellington New Zealand

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Yumi Zouma Share a Hallucinogenic Visual for New Single “Astral Projection”

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of its almost 12 year history, you may recall that the acclaimed indie synth pop outfit and longtime JOVM mainstay outfit Yumi Zouma signed to Polyvinyl Record Co back in 2020. That same year, they JOVM mainstays released their critically applauded, self-produced third album Truth or Consequences, an album that thematically focused on distance — both real and metaphorical; romantic and platonic heartbreak; disillusionment and feeling (and being) out of reach. 

For the overwhelming majority of the bands I’ve covered over the past 12 years, touring is often the most important — and necessary — part of the promotional campaign for an artist’s or band’s new release. Before they hit the road, that artist or band will figure out how to re-contextualize their new material and even previously released material for a live setting, imagining how a crowd will react to what — and how — they’ll play the material in a live set. Like all of the acts across the world, who were touring — or were about to tour–- as COVID-19 struck across the world, the members of Yumi Zouma were forced to end their tour, which included their first ever sold-out, headlining North American dates, and quickly head to their respective homes, leaving scores of their most devoted fans without the opportunity to hear the new album in a live setting. 

That October, the JOVM mainstays released Truth or Consequences (Alternate Versions), an album conceived as the band’s response to the lost opportunity to re-contextualize and explore the boundaries of the original album’s material through live engagement with fans.

Last year, Yumi Zouma released two singles: 

  • Give It Hell,” a wistful and bittersweet song centered around a classic Yumi Zouma breezy arrangement. But underneath the aching melancholy is a subtle but necessary celebratory note, a reminder that we will find a way to survive and thrive in the most difficult and unusual circumstances — and as someone far wiser than I once sang “all things will pass.” 
  • Mona Lisa,” an expansive and breezy pop confection that’s one part New Order and one-part Bruce Springsteen that manages to convey a complicated, shifting emotional state, seemingly influenced and informed by our weird and uncertain moment. 

Both of those tracks will appear on the band’s highly-anticipated fourth album, Present Tense. Dedicated to an embattled past, Present Tense is the JOVM mainstays’ offering to a tenuous future. With the members of the band forced to go their separate ways and return to their homes, Yumi Zouma found themselves in an unusual place: “It was disorientating,” the band’s Charlie Ryder says in press notes. ““We generally work at a quick clip and average about a record a year, but with no foreseeable plans, we lost our momentum.”

In response, the members of the band went to work, setting a September 1, 2021 deadline for the album to be finished, regardless of world events. What initially began in fits and starts became a committed practice again as the band worked on new material, digging through demos from as early as 2018 and making them relevant to that particular — and peculiar — moment in time. “Someone brings in a seed,” the band’s Josh Burgess says, “and through collaboration, it grows into a song that is vastly different from its original form.”

“The lyrics on these songs feel like premonitions, in some regards,” says Yumi Zouma’s Christie Simpson says. “So much has changed for us, both personally and as a band, that things I wrote because the words sounded good together now speak to me in ways I didn’t anticipate.”

The album’s material evolved through remote and in-person sessions in Wellington, New ZealandFlorence, ItalyLos Angeles, NYC and London. Those sessions found the band exploring a broader sonic palette that includes pedal steel, piano, sax, woodwind and string arrangements played by friends around the globe.  The complex scope of the recordings were then fine-tuned by an array of top mixes including Ash Workman, Kenny Gilmore, Jake Aron with mastering by Antoine Chabert. 

“This is our fourth album, so we wanted to pivot slightly, create more extreme versions of songs,” Ryder says. “Working with other artists helped with that and took us far outside of our normal comfort zone.”

Last month, I wrote about “Where The Light Used To Lay,” a single that continued a remarkably run of bittersweet pop confections, centered around Christie Simpson’s achingly tender vocals, shimmering guitars, glistening keys and the JOVM mainstays’ unerring knack for crafting a razor sharp and infectious hook. Interestingly, “Where The Light Used To Lay” has a hopeful, adult perspective on heartbreak, one that seems to say that while you may be down in the dumps today, this too, like all other things, shall end. And you shall yet again find love in all of its complicated, conflicting, nonsensical glory in its due time. 

“‘Where The Light Used To Lay’ eventually revealed itself as a bittersweet song about the agony of detangling your life as you break up and the enticing future, clarity, and lightness that the end of the tunnel can offer,” the band’s Josh Burgess explains. “When we first started writing the song in 2019, we were all in long-term relationships. By the time the final mix was completed in the Fall of 2021, only one of those remained (thanks COVID). It’s funny how songs can end up revealing themselves in surprising ways, even to their writers. It’s equal parts confronting and calming, knowing that the subconscious starts processing long before the conscious comes to it. Regardless, it’s nice to have a moment with a song where you go ‘damn, ain’t that the truth.’”

Present Tense‘s latest single “Astral Projection” is a decidedly 80s inspired song centered around glistening, reverb-drenched guitars, gently oscillating synths, jazz-like syncopation, Simpson’s imitable vocals and an infectious hook. The song’s narrator seems to have come to a wobbly sort of acceptance of the end of their relationship and what it means for them and their life,.

“’Astral Projection’ is about leaning into bad feelings and the mixed results it brings,” Yumi Zouma’s Christie Simpson explains. “Learning to sit with the reality of a relationship not working out as you hoped. Looking towards the future and knowing there will be others, there will be better times, but sitting in the present moment, trying to make peace with that.”

Directed by Alex Ross Perry, the accompanying video is the third and final part of a narrative trilogy featuring our familiar trio of protagonists. They’re trapped in the apartment. One of the rooms turns into a forest, where the individual members lose their minds and have wild hallucinations while trying to escape. Some of the experience is playful and hilarious; some of it is terrifying and dark. Once they stop fighting their feelings, the weird experience clears up — and they’re able to finally leave. Their friendship seems tighter than what it was at the beginning as a result.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Yumi Zouma Share a Gorgeous and Trippy Visual for Bittersweet Yet Hopeful “Where The Light Used to Lay”

Acclaimed indie synth pop outfit and longtime JOVM mainstay outfit Yumi Zouma, which features members residing in New Zealand, the States and the UK signed to Polyvinyl Record Co back in 2020. That same year, the acclaimed act released their critically applauded, self-produced third album Truth or Consequences, an album that thematically focused on distant — both real and metaphorical; romantic and platonic heartbreak; disillusionment and feeling (and being) out of reach. 

For the overwhelming majority of the bands I’ve covered over the past 12 years, touring is often the most important — and necessary — part of the promotional campaign for an artist’s or band’s new release. Before they hit the road, that artist or band will figure out how to re-contextualize their new material and even previously released material for a live setting, imagining how a crowd will react to what — and how — they’ll play the material in a live a set. Like all of the acts across the world, who were touring — or were about to tour– as COVID-19 struck across the world, the members of Yumi Zouma were forced to end their tour, which included their first sold-out North American dates, and quickly head home, leaving scores of their most devoted fans without the opportunity to hear the new album in a live setting.

That October, the JOVM mainstays released Truth or Consequences (Alternate Versions), an album conceived as the band’s response to the lost opportunity to re-contextualize and explore the boundaries of the original album’s material through live engagement with fans. Last year, Yumi Zouma released two singles:

  • Give It Hell,” a wistful and bittersweet song centered around a classic Yumi Zouma breezy arrangement. But underneath the aching melancholy is a subtle but necessary celebratory note, a reminder that we will find a way to survive and thrive in the most difficult and unusual circumstances — and as someone far wiser than I once sang “all things will pass.”
  • Mona Lisa,” an expansive and breezy pop confection that’s one part New Order and one-part Bruce Springsteen that manages to convey a complicated, shifting emotional state, seemingly influenced and informed by our weird and uncertain moment.

Both of those tracks will appear on the band’s highly-anticipated fourth album, Present Tense. Dedicated to an embattled past, Present Tense is the JOVM mainstays’ offering to a tenuous future. With the members of the band forced to go their separate ways and return to their homes, Yumi Zouma found themselves in an unusual place: “It was disorientating,” the band’s Charlie Ryder says in press notes. ““We generally work at a quick clip and average about a record a year, but with no foreseeable plans, we lost our momentum.”

In response, the members of the band set to work, setting a September 1, 2021 deadline for the album to be finished, regardless of world events. What initially began in fits and starts became a committed practice again as the band worked on new material, digging through demos from as early as 2018 and making them relevant to that particular — and peculiar — moment in time. “Someone brings in a seed,” the band’s Josh Burgess says, “and through collaboration, it grows into a song that is vastly different from its original form.”

“The lyrics on these songs feel like premonitions, in some regards,” says Yumi Zouma’s Christie Simpson says. “So much has changed for us, both personally and as a band, that things I wrote because the words sounded good together now speak to me in ways I didn’t anticipate.”

The album’s material evolved through remote and in-person sessions in Wellington, New Zealand, Florence, Italy, Los Angeles, NYC and London with a broader sonic palette that includes pedal steel, piano, sax, woodwind and string played by friends around the globe. The complex scope of the recordings were then fine-tuned by an array of top mixes including Ash Workman, Kenny Gilmore, Jake Aron with mastering by Antoine Chabert.

“This is our fourth album, so we wanted to pivot slightly, create more extreme versions of songs,” Ryder says. “Working with other artists helped with that and took us far outside of our normal comfort zone.”

“Where The Light Used To Lay” Present Tense‘s latest single continues a run of lush yet bittersweet pop confections centered around Christie Simpson’s achingly tender vocals, shimmering guitars, glistening keys and the JOVM mainstays unerring knack for crafting an infectious hook. And much like its predecessors, “Where This Light Used To Lay” has a hopeful, adult perspective on heartbreak, one that seems to say that while you may be down in the dumps today, this too, like all other things, shall end. And you shall yet again find love in all of its complicated, conflicting, nonsensical glory in its due time.

“‘Where The Light Used To Lay’ eventually revealed itself as a bittersweet song about the agony of detangling your life as you break up and the enticing future, clarity, and lightness that the end of the tunnel can offer,” the band’s Josh Burgess explains. “When we first started writing the song in 2019, we were all in long-term relationships. By the time the final mix was completed in the Fall of 2021, only one of those remained (thanks COVID). It’s funny how songs can end up revealing themselves in surprising ways, even to their writers. It’s equal parts confronting and calming, knowing that the subconscious starts processing long before the conscious comes to it. Regardless, it’s nice to have a moment with a song where you go ‘damn, ain’t that the truth.’”

Directed by Alex Ross Perry, the accompanying video for “Where The Light Used To Lay” is the second of a trilogy series, and it features three women — Jessie Pinnick, Lily Sondik and Michaela Brown — trying to enter an apartment. When they do eventually enter, they all walk into a room with velvet curtains, palm fronds and a disco ball. They spend most of the time gently swaying and dancing to music. Each of the women seem locked into their own memories, as though they were dancing the heartache away. They try to leave the apartment only to discover that they’re locked in. And they seem to accept with it a fated shrug.

New Video: Introducing the Hazy Psych Pop of New Zealand’s Richard Dada

Richard Larsen is a Ōtautahi, New Zealand singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, best known as a founding member and creative mastermind behind the Wellington, New Zealand-based dream pop act Glass Vaults. The Kiwi singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s latest solo project Richard Dada finds Larsen crafting dreamy, lo-fi psychedelic music. Deriving its name from the early 20th Century avant-garde art movement, Larsen’s Richard Dada project is also anti-art, anti-war, anti-nationalism and rejects logic and capitalism for the expression of nonsense. 

Larsen’s latest Richard Dada single “Rose Quartz” is a slow-burning and swooning bit of psych pop centered around shimmering guitars, atmospheric synths and Larsen’s achingly plaintive vocals singing surrealistic lyrics. While sonically bearing a bit of a resemblance to JOVM mainstays Milagres, the song is a feverish and lingering dream imbued with longing, vulnerability and desire. 

Directed and edited by Martin Sagadin, the recently released video features Larsen performing the song in flowering fields and the forest, before we see him dancing in front of some psychedelic lighting. It’s appropriately lysergic — but while further emphasizing the song’s longing and vulnerability. 

New Video: Up-and-Coming Melbourne-based Punk Rockers Bakers Eddy Release Mischievous and Colorful Visuals for “Good Decisions”

Comprised of CJ Babbington (guitar, vocals), Ian Spagnolo (bass, vocals), Jamie Gordon (drums, vocals), and Alex Spagnolo (guitar, vocals), the up-and-coming Melbourne, Australia-based indie rock act Bakers Eddy initially formed in Wellington, New Zealand. And since their formation back in 2009, the band has made quite a name from themselves across both New Zealand’s and Australia’s punk rock scenes; not only have they opened for Gang of Youths, The Rubens and the Grammy-nominated act Highly Suspect, they’ve received airplay from Amazing Radio, praise from Pilerats and Tone Deaf. And adding to a growing profile, the band has played their homeland’s festival circuit with sets at Homegrown, Rock the Park and Going Global Music Summit — and earlier this year they made their live debut on British shores with a set at The Great Escape Festival (which they followed with some stops in Germany). 

The New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based band’s Tom Larkin-produced EP I’m Not Making Good Decisions was released earlier this year and the  EP’s latest single is 90s grunge rock, power chord bruiser “Good Decisions,” a track that the band describes as ac coming of age tale about “spending all your money on partying so you can’t pay the bills. Making silly decisions!” Unsurprisingly, the song is deeply inspired by the experience of the band’s members relocating from their native New Zealand to Melbourne where they “were all living together for the first time in a new country and probably having too much fun.”  

Directed by Fagan Wilcox, the recently released video follows a day in the life of the band, who quickly suspect that the house they live in was once a swingers pad. “There is a fully working spa bath in the middle of our hallway, you can see Jamie sleeping in it in the video.” the band says.  Throughout, there’s the sense that the band parties hard — harder than most, but the footage is grainy and damaged. And as Wilcox says “the execution was always going to have the footage destroyed. The idea was to make it raw and low budget using effects, but rather than just pop a filter on it with a VHS effect, we used pixel bending and channel blending to add an intensity to the final edit.”

New Video: Introducing the Retro-Futuristic Synth Funk Sounds and Visuals of The Black Seeds’ “Freakin'”

Led by primary lyricists and co-frontman Barnaby Weir and Daniel Weetman and featuring Jarney Murphy, Nigel Patterson, Ned Negate, along Francis Harawira, Barrett Hocking, Lucien Johnson and Matt Benton, the Wellington, New Zealand-based funk and dub outfit The Black Seeds can trace their origins back to 1998, and since their formation, the act has developed a reputation for music that thematically may express different things based on the songwriter, focusing on personal triumphs and failures, relationships both good and bad, as well as the personal insights and experiences of the artists involved — while being under-pinned with an underlying message of positivity and optimism, pairing that optimism and positivity with funky, dance floor friendly grooves. And as a result, the act has developed themselves as one of their homeland’s finest acts; in fact, the act has several multi-platinum selling albums in their homeland, and a critically applauded live show that they’ve taken across the world, developing a foothold in Europe and North America. 

After spending several years with an intense and very busy touring schedule that included the act playing some of the world’s largest festivals, the members of the New Zealand spent the past year or so working on their soon-to-be released effort Fabric, which was recorded at acclaimed producer/engineer and long-time collaborator Lee Prebble’s Wellington-based studio The Surgery. And although the album will further the act’s long-held reputation for pairing funky grooves with positive messages, the album will also find the band gentle expanding upon the funk, Afrobeat, soul and dub-based grooves; in fact, “Freakin,'” the album’s latest single finds the band playing the slick, 80s-inspired synth funk that reminds me of both the genre’s pioneers — i.e., The Gap Band, Cherrelle, Prince and others, as well as contemporary practitioners such as 7 Days of Funk, Blood Orange, Rene Lopez, and others, complete with a two step worthy stomp. 

Produced by Owen Watts and directed by Mark Russell, the recently released video employs some pitch perfect retro-futuristic graphics and clothing, while featuring a soul train line and breakdancers — because well, of fucking course. The only thing the video is missing is a dude with a boombox. 

Wallace Gollan is a Wellington, New Zealand-born, Sydney, Australia-based singer/songwriter, who performs under the mononymic stage name Wallace, and she has received attention across New Zealand, Australia and elsewhere for her jazz-influenced, soulful vocals — and for an overall sound that effortlessly meshes jazz, soul, neo-soul, the blues and hip-hop. And unsurprisingly, she’s been compared by some to the likes of Erykah Badu, Little Dragon and Carmen McRae. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site for some time, you may recall that I wrote about Gollan’s collaboration with Sydney-based emcee and poet  Sampa The Great “Beauty,” which paired Gollan’s expressive vocals singing a positive message of how we all have the power to transform our lives for the better with a skittering, off-kilter production featuring jazz and hip-hop-inspired beats, twinkling keys and a shuffling bass line.

“Diaspora,” the Wellington-born, Sydney-based singer/songwriter’s first single of 2017 is a collaboration with the Sydney-based, Nigerian-Australian producer and vocalist Crooked Letter and interestingly the single is inspired by Gollan’s own experience of being part of a Diaspora as her Dundee, Scotland-born father had moved to Wellington as a child — and the single features Gollan’s brash and almost coquettish jazz phrasing paired with a production based around a looping Nigerian funk sample, stuttering polyrhythm and chopped up yet ethereal samples of Gollan’s own father appearing briefly within the track.  As Gollan explains in press notes about her latest single and her collaboration with Crooked Letter, “I wanted to highlight the connection that we both feel towards places where we didn’t grow up. We bonded over the idea that looking back at our roots gave us a sense of affirmation and appreciation for what makes us who we are.” And as a result, the song possesses a profound sense of gratitude and connection to something far older than where you may currently call home.