Extended Play - New Releases June 08

These days with cheap recording and CDs that can hold 80 minutes of music some releases just go on and on. But, just because you can, doesn't mean you should. That's why I like the EP as way for artists to present their music. Short and sharp, all killer, no filler. But with enough space to present some different ideas and styles. Some of my favourite NZ releases ever have been EPs - The Gordons Futureshock EP, The Tall Dwarfs Slugbuckethairybreathmonster, The 3Ds Swarthy Songs for Swabs. So I'm pleased that bands and musicians are still putting out EPs. There may even be a bit of a resurgance. This episode features new releases that are all EPs.

Just a few months ago I was wondering whatever happened to Gin Wigmore, who in 2004, as a teenager, won the prestigious International Songwriting Competition. She disappeared from view but mere minutes after I said that she was sadly lost she re-emerged with her first release, an EP on a major label called Extended Play. NZ has no shortage of female singer-songwriters at the moment, but what sets Wigmore apart is her extraordinary voice, the kind that polarises opinion. I'm firmly in the "love it" camp and I'm impressed by this EP, where the songs place that voice alongside strings and piano but in a way that doesn't sound too lush or overpowering. The EP includes a newly recorded version of the song that won the International Songwriting Competition, 'Hallelujah'.

Cassette are renowned for taking a long time between releases. There was something like a six year gap between their debut, the Emo EP, and album Cut For Summer. Now, a year or two later with what seems like unseemly haste for Cassette they have a new EP, Cancer. Well, not really new. The songs were actually recorded before the album but have been unreleased up till now. The EP is no collection of left-overs though. Cancer includes plenty of the kind of languid, laid-back, country rock that the band are so good at.

Also recently releasing EPs are lo-fi artist Bannerman who has recored an EP of pop songs featuring horns and strings, but using only one microphone, and young Christchurch dance-punks Bang Bang Eche who have a self titled EP out now. Both are great, although the Bang Bang Eche EP is really hard to track down. Why is it that so often I go to the record shop to buy a new kiwi release and its not stocked, even by the stores with huge and varied stock like Real grovvy or JB Hi Fi. (By the way I have no idea whether the band's name should be pronounced Bang Bang Ekk, Eek or Etch.) You can hear a live Bang Bang Eche song here and there are videos for both them and Bannerman on the video page.

Download the Counting The Beat - Extended Play podcast



Anonymous said...

You can download the whole bang bang eche ep for free off of their myspace

Chris said...

Hey, thanks for the tip. Call me old-fashioned if you like, but I would much rather have a CD or vinyl than some crappy low bit-rate mp3.

A friend recently lent me a bunch of long-lost NZ releases from the 80s and having the record itself meant so much more than just getting an mp3 of the songs. It was then I realised that, at least when it came to NZ music, I want the real deal.