Snake Salvador: All-Star Resort

If you thought the sub-genre of trip hop was long since dead and buried, or that it never really existed in any local context, then you clearly haven’t heard the work of Auckland-based duo Darryl Hocking and Kevin Tutt, who collectively make music under the guise of Snake Salvador. Released on their own Punchywah Records label, ‘All-Star Resort’ is the act’s third full-length release, with 10 breezy dancefloor-geared grooves clocking in at just a few ticks over 40 minutes. And while much of that Café del Mar-driven chill-out scene lost favour with the wider masses the best part of two decades ago, Snake Salvador expand on that early template to bring things right back up to date. So much so, it feels a little awkward even attempting to stick any sort of label on some of this stuff, with highlight tracks like Come Follow Me veering towards unashamed nu disco, and the likes of the closer, All You People, being far too up-tempo to be tarred by any downbeat brush. So perhaps it’s best if we simply cast all of these pesky prejudices aside, and call ‘All-Star Resort’ a twilight album, something close to an ideal appendage for those long summer evenings hanging out on the back deck with the cool kids. At least you’ll know where to find us. • Michael Hollywood

Sleepers Union: Machines Of Love And Grace

Psych-pop quartet Sleepers Union released their first album ‘Giant Spheres’ in 2003, waiting 13 years to put out this new long player. There is a heavy dose of jangly alt-pop/rock on this record, with the anthemic Hello far too short at just over 90 seconds. Guitars, keyboards and more guitars are of huge appeal here, with the hypnotic, psychedelic instrumental Insect Breeder only one moment of trippy bliss. ‘Machines Of Love And Grace’ recalls a lot of 1990s alt-rock– unsurprising, since the band’s songwriters and sonic architects are Simon MacLaren (Love’s Ugly Children, The Subliminals), and Mark Anderson (The Onedin Line, Spider), with guest spots from Chris Heazlewood (King Loser), and Brendan Moran (Hasselhoff Experiment). The raucous sound is unashamedly ramshackle in places but the wall of guitars on Magic Hour is like a blast of fresh air, and contrasts with the sweet melodic pop of Satellite, which follows straight after, and is almost anomalous. Sleepers Union have created an endearing and charming album – a little bit Britpop, a little bit shoegaze, a bit Dunedin Sound-y and a lot enjoyable. • Amanda Mills

Armed In Advance: Stitched Up

In a behind-the scenes video for lead single Same Old Story, JP Carroll, the singer and (left-handed) guitarist of Armed In Advance, reveals that it is the Auckland hard rock trio’s video debut. Kethaki Masilamani talked with JP and his bandmates Hugh Hokopaura and Ryan Thomas about their name revision and impressive debut album ’Change/Evolve’.

JP Carroll and Hugh Hokopaura are all smiles as they sit down for a chat, while we wait for drummer Ryan Thomas to finish work. Although the three had never met before forming Armed In Advance, similar tastes and humour bonds them.

“It fit automatically and felt natural right away, pretty serendipitous… and the dad jokes go on forever,” smiles JP.

While bassist Hugh says the guitar was part of his upbringing, the band’s frontman, JP Carroll, had an unconventional introduction to his music career. When his high school class were asked to decide their future professions, JP decided there wasn’t a course he wanted to do, he simply wanted to be a guitarist. Unfortunately his previous attempts at this hadn’t been promising.

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