City Oh Sigh
City Oh Sigh’s debut EP Like a Light was one of the more special moments for Wellington folk music in 2011. Utilising voice, guitar, trumpet, cello, keys and minimal percussion, the trio of Catherine Henehan, Kate Uhe and Sarah Smythe presented an intimate, mature and reflective sound-world, which, while sitting within the Electric Eden folk traditions of the United Kingdom, also repurposed them for lives lived in the capital city of New Zealand.
Three years on, they return with their first long player, titled Fragments Fine. Now a quartet, City Oh Sigh and the songs on Fragments Fine benefit from the arrival of highly sensitive drummer/percussionist Hikurangi Schaverien-Kaa. Building on City Oh Sigh’s predominantly melody- and harmony-led shapes and lines, Schaverien-Kaa fills in the rhythms that probably should always have been there, pushing an already vibrant set of arrangements into a space where thoughtful melancholia pulses with the heartbeat of life.
Elsewhere on the record, bedsit folk singer Timothy Blackman drops by to contribute guest vocals on ‘Cotton Cocoon’ and ‘Let It Roar’, serving as translucent counterpoint to Uhe’s voice, and in particular on the latter, Schaverien-Kaa’s clockwork grooves.
Moody, haunting and powerful, Fragments Fine delivers exactly what Like a Light promised.
Whaia Te Maramatanga
Palmerston North-based musician Rob Thorne spent a decade gigging around the local experimental rock and free-noise scenes before falling in love with taonga pūoro (traditional Māori instruments) in the late 1990s. He then proceeded to spend the next decade learning not only how to play a selection of these instruments, but developing his own contemporary musical vocabulary through combining their ancient sounds with his past experiences in noise/experimental music.
While the likes of Richard Nunns and Hirini Melbourne were the taonga pūoro revivalists, Rob is an innovator, moving it forward creatively in new directions on Whaia Te Maramatanga.
@Peace and the Plutonian Noise Symphony
(Young, Gifted & Broke)
Between their self-titled debut mix tape in 2012, their follow-up Girl Songs EP in 2013 and a stream of beloved live shows around the country, Auckland based hip hop/beats collective @Peace may be one of the more discussed emerging New Zealand acts of the early 2010s. On their proper debut album, @Peace and the Plutonian Noise Symphony, they mine the histories of psychedelic rock, space jazz and modern electronica, creating a local hip hop record that has very little in common with most local hip hop. This isn’t a bad thing. Join them on a journey though the mysteries of space and time.
Delaney Davidson and Marlon Williams
Sad But True Volume 3: Juke Box B‑Sides
On Sad But True Volume 3: Juke Box B‑Sides, Delaney Davidson and Marlon Williams, the iconic yet world-weary country/rockabilly troubadours of Lyttelton, reunite for another round of spectacular songs from the line and prairie. Davidson is the twinkly-eyed old fox with a crooked smile, and enough musical character to go around the whole campfire. Williams is the young rock ’n’ roll god with an old soul, and impressively mature lyrics and melodies to boot. With Tami Neilson, Dave Khan, Ben Woolley and Joe McCallum dropping in for musical features, it’s a trip to the right bar on the wrong side of the tracks.