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 Black Minnaloushe

Vacant Lot

(BMR Records)

Rat­ings: 4/5

Black MinnalousheReleased 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.




(Mad­cap Music)

Rat­ings: 3.5/5

LaurierHail­ing 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 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.


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