Tristan from Mountaineater was interviewed for Stuff.co.nz on the eve of their first New Zealand tour in June 2009 by Simon Sweetman here.
This is a review on undertheradar.co.nz of Mountaineater's Auckland show on the 27th of June 2009 on their first tour of New Zealand.
Here's a review of Flipper on the Wellington website Texture, when they had Mountaineater as a support band on the 18th of June 2009 in Wellington.
A review on dunedinmusic.com of the first gig of Mountaineater's first national tour, starting on the 12th of June 2009 in Dunedin.
A live review of Mountaineater when they supported Die! Die! Die! in Dunedin on the 6th of November 2008 can be found on dunedinmusic.com.
This is a review of Mountaineater's live debut at Chicks Hotel, Port Chalmers in October of 2008 as posted by dunedinmusic.com.
Dunedin's dark undercurrent is one half of the Onanon equation. The other is a fine line in the kind of gently twisted melodies that the Clean and The 3Ds once plied. At times this results in odd juxtapositions, as in opener I Don't Know What's Come Over Me. The bouncy, jangling pop motif is somewhat shot down by Glen Ross's lyrical mutilation of a blissful domestic setting. It's both funny and scary, uplifting and bleak. But then Ross in performance seems to be the embodiment of David Mitchell's Man On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown. On Home Baking that underlying darkness is generally nicely cloaked in well-honed spiky guitar pop, peppered with some hugely effective freak-outs. Then suddenly the beautiful Pell Mell-esque instrumental Lammerlaw emerges, penned by guitarist Donald Ferns. Just as the noisier tracks here reflect certain Dunedin realities, Lammerlaw evokes the expanses of Central Otago as few have before. Other than that, Home Baking mostly consists of deliciously skewed tunes that pay a certain homage to the city's past without being overly beholden to it.
I Am Evil Records/Mad Fish Wish
It seems like forever since Hang On, I’m Still Mutating, the last full-length from twisted Dunedin pop rockers Onanon. Now, I’m usually not one to labour the importance of geography on a musical scope, but as has often been noted – often by the band themselves – their sound is firmly rooted in Dunedin’s beatified musical past. The Clean have always been a big influence, and remain so, but while you can find homage in plenty of the guitars or the instrumental, Glen Ross’ songwriting in particular takes a wrong turn somewhere and ends up ina padded cell – at ‘Seacliff’, perhaps, with a head full of daytura. But it’s a trap, and well before it even reaches half way, the album has sucked you in and made a junkie out of you, leaving you itching for more in the days to come.
Don’t let the domestically minded album art fool you, this can be pretty dark stuff, but the majesty is how it never gives the game away. Are they laughing at me, or having a complete mental breakdown, or both? Whatever the case, I don’t trust the recipes in the liner notes. “I don’t we have a choice, Satan is captain,” Ross sneers on ‘Strawberrry Feel Up’, and by the time this is revealed you start to think he might be right. There’s nothing extraordinarily complex in the music of Home Baking. Arpreggios open up a handful of the songs, and Karen McLean’s krauty basslines build the snarling metal road they drive down, passing bitter friends and lovers and all manner of social anxiety along the way. Onanon do write love songs, too, and at one point Ross is even so devoted to offer up the sale of his internal organs. Several times.
The whole album chugs and kicks along, fuelled by fuzzy paranoia, but rarely kicks into the raw fury that you see at their shows, or at a rarified GROSS gig. ‘Angry Monkey’ comes close – ‘Neverending Story’ closer still – but these are made all the more dramatic for the reining in of the dynamic, tempering the nightmare from midnight to dusk. On the opener, ‘I Don’t Know What’s Come Over Me’, they sum it up so perfectly. “No more Norman [sic] in Normandy/ I don’t know what’s come over me/ I like yu I think you’re cool/ I let the devil steal my soul.” The lyrics are insanely clever right through, and it will be worth collecting the 180g vinyl edition [sic] of it for the hand-written transcription that will come with it. It has social conscience, too, with Donald Ferns’ too cute ‘Nice Planet’ both a white flag to global warming, and an ode to the last of the frogs.
Onanon are one of the only things that validate the now seven years I have spent in Dunedin in the name of higher education. In first year, we would play comedy gigs to nigh on nobody. After we packed up, Onanon would play gigs with similar attendance. It was more like we were sharing a practise room than anything else. In the interim years, my comedy career has gone nowhere. They have turned into one of the best New Zealand bands of their generation. Hopefully, Home Baking will make more people aware of that.
Issue 25 2008