The Shifting Sands have been on tour, promoting the release of their album “Feel” on Fishrider Records at the start of April. They launched the album with a small-scale party at Taste Merchants in Dunedin (scene of the Fishrider Records 5th birthday and Opposite Sex album launch back in November last year) before heading to the North Island to play at Mighty Mighty in Wellington (with The Eversons- who have also just released their debut) and She’s So Rad. Then it was on to Auckland where they played the infamous K Road dungeon The Whammy Bar with Ghost Wave and She’s So Rad.
Now it’s the turn of the South Island. Last Friday they played to a packed and happy crowd at Dunedin’s newest venue The National with support from The Scattered Brains of the Lovely Union(a young 7-piece woozy experimental pop ensemble who have been recording at Fishrider Studio recently and who feature Lucy Hunter from Opposite Sex on trumpet and vocals) and The Prophet Hens. The photos are from this show.
This week The Shifting Sands head off (along with John White from the Prophet Hens) to play in Lyttelton/ Christchurch at Wunderbar with T54, the fabulously-named Dharma Bums Club in Wairau Valley near Blenheim, and the Penguin Club in Oamaru (with The Prophet Hens and Scattered Brains of the Lovely Union again).
[Incidentally Tom Bell, bass player in The Shiftings Sands (as well as in David Kilgour's Heavy Eights) has recently recorded albums by Ghost Wave and by T54. And, of course, he's Fishrider's resident mixing and sound engineering guru. T54 and Ghost Wave are both great new young bands and are well worth checking out if you like that typical Kiwi guitar-pop sound.]
More touring is planned later in the year. We still hope to be able to give “Feel” a vinyl release sometime… it’s not easy down here on the edge of the world with no pressing plant and sky-high international freight costs.
“Feel” has been attracting some great responses from music lovers and the media:
Shane Gilchrist, writing in The Otago Daily Times, gave it 4/5 stars, saying:
“Mike McLeod, former frontman of Dunedin band the Alpha State (which put out a rather nice album, Lines, in 2008) again shows he’s no slouch for loose structure and honed melody, but this time he cloaks his songs in more psychedelic shades. Helped by a who’s who of Dunedin musicians, including David Kilgour, Robert Scott and Jay Clarkson, McLeod delves into the angular, chiming, hypnotic drone-pop of the city’s early-’80s Flying Nun clan but manages to avoid mimicry. He has his own voice and isn’t scared to balance dark country-esque areas (Too Late, Outta Here) with wiggy guitar histrionics (Worth Our While).”
Volume Magazine (#30)
“Dunedin’s Michael McLeod has an ear for a good phrase that pulls you into the thick of his somewhat low-key, post-Clean guitar pop – I can’t tell you how much I’m into a line like “Everyone’s presending that they’re organised/ Everyone’s pretending that they’re onto it… I think they’re out of it.” Elsewhere, it ditches the somnambulance of actual songs to jam awesomely on two-chord organ-drone freakouts (see: “The Kitchen Sink”)”
“Dunedin’s Fishrider Records are on a roll at the moment. Following on from the coastal outsider guitar pop of Opposite Sex, they’ve just turned down the road leading to weightless naturalistic psychedelica with the new album from The Shifting Sands.
A collection of songs written by clear, whimsically voiced singer Michael McLeod (formerly of The Alpha State), the ten song deep cycle of sonic waking dreams calls upon a Chicks Hotel style gig guestlist of musicians including David Kilgour (The Clean), Robert Scott (The Clean, The Bats), Robbie Yeats (The Verlaines, The Dead C), Lesley Paris (Look Blue Go Purple), Jay Clarkson (The Expendables, Breathing Cage), Rob Falconer (Operation Rolling Thunder), and Tony de Raad and Tom Bell (David Kilgour & the Heavy Eights).
If you know your Dunedin music, that really says it all doesn’t it. For those unfamiliar, expect a sitar, synth and drone infected take on the classic summer super8 home video jangle oft associated with that most storied of local creative hubs. And while this blip of difference allows aspects of the sound to be remote viewed through a pseudo Eastern eye, the song narrative is straight up landscape informed South East Coast state-of-mind. I.E. There is a lot to like here.”