Released under the performance name Black Minnaloushe, Vacant Lot is the debut solo album from Wellington singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Carey, previously known for his membership of The Livids alongside Joe Blossom (his cousin). Nine songs long, Vacant Lot sees him teaming up with a bevy of talented local musicians, including Chris Fawdray, Tom Callwood, Will Ricketts, Joe Lindsay, Holly Beals, Craig Poll, Sophie Burbery, Tristan Carter and Elizabeth Wise. In the process, Carey and his team carve out a diverse soundworld, which – rooted in dreamy pop aesthetics – makes nods towards alt-country, electro, late-night electronica/soul and jam band-style song structures.
Equipped with an earnest singing style, Carey spends most of the album alternating between the modal and falsetto vocal registers while a carnival of instrumental styles shift and shimmer around his voice.
For fans of the likes of Wild Bill Ricketts, Flash Harry, The Phoenix Foundation and perhaps Bannerman, chances are Vacant Lot and Black Minnaloushe will deliver a worthwhile listening experience.
Hailing from a background in the independent record label scene, Wellingtonian Huw Wenden has over the last year or so been creating richly textured tropical electronica under the alias Laurier (also the name of a ghost town in Ferry County, Washington state).
With his Madcap Music EP Faded, Wenden pulls together a short cycle of five colourful yet restfully paced compositions with an equal degree of currency in home listening and nightclub environments.
Leaning on skeletal mid-tempo drum-machine loops, Wenden fleshes out his minimalistic grooves with warm digital bass stabs and waves of washy synthesiser pads, all intricately detailed with spiralling lead lines and twinkling incidental textures.
Calling on fellow Wellington electronica producers Nue Bliss and Vox Noise for assistance on ‘Frost’ and ‘Glow’, respectively, he uses Faded to entertain us, and also to introduce us to some emerging talents. Fittingly, Faded’s highlight is the self-titled closing track, a work as desolate and beautiful as the coastline of a deserted island.
March Live Music Recommendations
Saturday 1 March and Sunday 2 March, Brel: The Words and Music of Jacques Brel finishes up a five-night residency at the James Cabaret, featuring performances from Jon Toogood (of Shihad and The Adults), Julia Deans, Jennifer Ward-Lealand and Tama Waipara. From Monday 3 March, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra brings Five by Five: five concerts featuring fifth symphonies by Beethhoven, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius and Shostakovich to the Michael Fowler Centre (see nzso.co.nz for the schedule). Wednesday 5 March, UK pop drum and bass ensemble Rudimental bring their anthem-heavy sound to the TSB Bank Arena. Sunday 9 March, acclaimed Irish pop songwriter Paul Brady performs at the James Cabaret. Wednesday 12 March, US hip-hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis perform with Tinie Tempah at the TSB Bank Arena. Saturday 15 March, well-loved US indie rock band Yo La Tengo perform at the Opera House. Sunday 23 March, UK folk-rocker Billy Bragg brings his band to the Opera House.[/info]