The first clue is the cover. Neil Finn’s 2014’s Dizzy Heights was a complex montage of images, while his latest, Out of Silence, is simply the lad himself – a slightly forlorn figure of quiet dignity.
It’s unlikely to provoke any outraged folkie walkouts or cries of “judas” but the much anticipated sophomore set from Nadia Reid finds the singer-songwriter edging closer into the electric realm.
Hushed vocals, minimalist beats, melancholic bass and guitar lines… there’s no doubt that the debut album by Fazerdaze ticks all the right boxes when it comes to dream pop. But, oddly enough, Morningside also packs a surprising New Wave punch and at times Amelia Curry and her band sound closer in spirit to forgotten icons like Martha & The Muffins and The Passions, than the likes of Beach House and fellow Kiwis Yumi Zouma.
“I love music / just as long as its groovy” croons Lisa Tomlin on ‘I love Music’, the final track off Harmonies – and those lines serves equally well as a sonic manifesto for Lord Echo, aka Mike Fabulous.
Although it does include two new originals, Bic Runga’s latest album is pretty much a covers record in which she pays tribute to some of her favourite artists and songs.
Tim Stewart and Nick Atkinson, the two-man brass attack that is Hopetoun Brown, have discreetly fleshed out their sound for their second album but the irrepressible busking vibe of their live shows still shines through.
The grooves are a tad mellower, the shapes softer, but otherwise it’s business as usual for the Kiwi electronica pioneers, returning here with their first album of new material in almost nine years.
Although it features much of the same personnel – Gareth Thomas (Goodshirt), Geoff Maddock (Goldenhorse), Mike Hall (Pluto) – that performed on his last LP Flax Happy (2008), the third album from the Kiwi alt-folk singer is a sparser, more acoustic affair.
Evan Sinton has come a long way since coming third as a 17-year-old on the 2012 TV show New Zealand’s Got Talent.
The title says it all, really: rather than the banging anthems of his old outfit Shapeshifter, Devin Abram’s second outing as Pacific Heights is wrapped in lush, plush electronica.