Niis – Utopia
The hippies always yearned for the open fields, living off the land and returning to a simpler, more primitive way of life. Their music reflected this. In the worlds that they built, it sounded like bands and their families lived by themselves with not a soul to bother them for miles and miles around. Well, that sounds realistic.
The punks on the other hand came from areas where urbanization ran wild. They had no space, little patience left, and few improvements seemed on the way. Their music sounded as if it was made by people who felt surrounded on all sides. This is what a large city sounds like anywhere in the world.
Niis’ Utopia plays like the soul of any large city in the world at rush hour. It’s the voice of numerous kinds of people, different yet looking to find meaning to their life in the same place. Utopia is not merely a statement about promises that are not honoured by the folks in charge, but the sound of people having to find a way of coexisting even when it feels as if they’re living on top of one another.
Michael Llewellyn – Whangamatā
Genre: Garage Rock
The business of rock music isn’t entirely different from any other form of advertising. One of the most important jobs of a would-be rockstar is to convince an, at first indifferent, audience that their lifestyle is one of glamour and mystery, one worth envying.
The great rock writers are able to make simple sentiments sound like grand emotional gestures. A day spent drinking coffee, strolling about town, or drinking in a nightclub is made to sound like the greatest time anyone could possibly have. Rock writers are like magicians who make the ordinary sound profound.
There’s a clever, tongue-in-cheek spirit about Majak Door. But, make no mistake this is is psych-dance made for the big crowds. And, even though Michael Llewellyn might toss lines like week-long caffeine-deprived Lou Reed, Whangamatā is informed by 80s pop and uses the same tricks in order to try to potentially score a hit. We respect ambition and cleverness. The world does as well.