New Music Friday: 13th Floor New Album Picks: May 10, 2024

New Music Friday is looking good today with plenty of new Kiwi releases to help you celebrate New Zealand Music Month.

There is an abundance of riches today with LPs and EPs aplenty. So, let’s see what’s worth your time and attention.

The 13th Floor’s Marty Duda picks these five new releases for your consideration:

  1. Sam BamberySam BamberyRubricator (Under Underground) Straight outta Christchurch, here is Sam Bambery with his second album and he calls it Rubricator. We are told that it was recorded in houses, old photography studios and lounge rooms across Aotearoa/New Zealand. Sam says, “This album felt like an ecstatic jigsaw, pieces coming together in spontaneous takes whilst also holding songs and feelings tightly to our chest. It felt like present music at the time, dominated by process, nothing to do with the past or the future. It was a therapeutic escape at a time where I felt a bit lost as to what direction I should take my songs.”

2. Vera EllenVera Ellenheartbreak for jetlag (Flying Nun) This new EP comes hot on the heels of Vera’s big win at The Taites. A truly solo effort it was completely self-recorded, mixed and mastered in Vera’s bedroom. “For my own sanity I needed to make work like I used to, hunched over my laptop with the sticky keys, sock over a mic, concocted in my bedroom at my most vulnerable, touched by no hands but my own from start to finish,” shares Ellen, “None of these songs I planned to share beyond a couple of close people. But each got me through some heavy feelings and out the other side. May they be a comfort in your lowest moments, which to me makes it worth going through mine.”

3.Thomas Powers Thomas PowersA Tyrant Crying In Private (Sensible Anomie) Co-founder of The Naked And Famous, Thomas kicks off his solo career with this, his debut long player.  “This record is a new chapter,” says Thomas. “It’s a vessel for my most personal artistic ideas – a path forward.” The record was written and recorded at Thomas’ Los Angeles home and features guest appearances by Julien Baker (boygenius) and fellow NZ-born, LA-based artist Chelsea Jade. “While my 20s were defined by my career with The Naked And Famous, my solo project represents a musical reinvention – it’s authentically me,” explains Thomas.

4.Carb On Carb Carb On CarbTake Time (Black Wire) The third album by these Kiwi emos finds the duo back home. In fact they are playing in Auckland at The Wine Cellar tonight. Drummer James elaborates on the title, “It’s many things at once, a joke: it took a long time; an exhortation: we could both do better at taking our time with things; and a proclamation of the theme of the album – time.” The album release tour sees the band continue the road trip, visiting 5 cities in each country. The band describe touring as, “what Carb on Carb has always been about. We love connecting, hearing new bands and making friends all over the place. It’s kind of magic.”

5. South For WinterSouth For WinterOf Sea and Sky (Self) The connection between Nashville and New Zealand keeps getting stronger. South For Winter features ex-pat Kiwi Nick Stone along with Colorado native Dani Cichon (Stone) and Michigander Alex Stradal. Of Sea and Sky was recorded in Nashville and produced by two-time GRAMMY award-winner, Matt Leigh. Dani says, “From the moment we had the idea for this concept album, every choice had to be really intentional, like the amount of reverb on the vocals, the simplified drum parts that give the acoustic instruments room to breathe, the song stories and the lyrical choices… everything had to fit the album’s concept perfectly. We did lots of pre-production, re-writing, song critiques, and touring for two years before recording, to make sure we could achieve the vision we wanted – and we’re really proud that we managed to do it.”

Also, keep your ears open for new music from Valere, Skymachine and The Advocators. For non-NZ music we recommend new albums from Beth Gibbons, Barry Adamson, Isobel Campbell, Avett Brothers, The Mavericks and…Billie Eilish and Kate Hudson!