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
With the awards season now in full swing, last night Recorded Music NZ celebrated its newly badged Artisan Awards, previously known simply as the Technical Awards, on the 14th floor of Auckland’s Pullman Hotel.
Hosted by entertainment reporter Kate Rodger, the awards give nods to producers, engineers, designers and music video makers.
The big winner of the night was Joel Little who, although absent, gained two Tuis ( Best Engineer and Best Producer) for his work in both roles on Broods’ ‘Conscious’ album. In a video message from his home in LA Joel acknowledged his children who had to live with their dad’s late night recording sessions in the room next door to them during the creation of the album.
Graphic designer Anns Taylor won her second Tui for illustrating the cover artwork for ‘Absolute Truth’ by her partner James Milne’s band Lawrence Arabia.
First time music video maker Chris Lane took home the Tui for Best Video – recognition of his work on the music video for Avalanche City’s single Inside Out.
The Solomon Cole Band might be from Waiheke Island, but they sound like a very fine American southern rock act on this debut release. Derek Solomon is the vocalist/guitarist, ably abetted by bass player Lee Catlin, powerhouse singer Sophia Faalogo and drummer Dione Denize. The lyrics are pure rock and roll – alluding to all the usual sexual shenanigans contained therein, without being crude or cliché. Clearly a live band, they sound like more than a four-piece and there’s plenty of soul on show. Raw and evidently talented, let them Ring Your Bell. • Ania Glowacz