Daniel McClelland's album Anxious Heart is nominated for this year's Auckland Live Best Independent Debut Award. The prize celebrates the freshest talent of Aotearoa (New Zealand). The winner receives a $2,000 cash prize from Independent Music NZ and a live performance slot programmed by Auckland Live.
Fellow nominees include Kendall Elise, L.A.B., Strangely Arousing, and The Miltones. No pressure! A Spotify playlist of all finalists can be found here. If you haven't heard Anxious Heart yet, follow that playlist to check it out. The press release follows:
"At some point in the last few years, pop became minor-key, minimalist, and guitar-averse. Daniel McClelland got the memo… and then threw that memo in the bin. In a fit of cultural desperation, he locked himself in his New York-based home studio. For a month, he recorded hundreds of harmonies, guitars, synths and drums. His mission was singular, and ambitious: revive the pop/rock genre.
The resulting product was McClelland’s debut album, Anxious Heart. In his own words, “it sounds like The Beach Boys listened to a lot of Michael Jackson and Nirvana, in 1991.” Nick Bollinger heard influences like Poison, Paul McCartney, T-Rex, Janet Jackson, and 10cc. Like those artists, McClelland’s music is bombastic and major-key. It embraces exuberance. Anxious Heart flies in the face of the norms of today’s pop scene."
Other awards on the night will include the Taite Music Prize and the Independent Music NZ Classic Record. They will all be announced at a presentation at The Civic’s Wintergarden in Auckland on Tuesday 17th April 2018.
Anxious Heart featured in the Taite Music Prize and Auckland Live Debut longlist. It's surrounded by fantastic other entries, which you can check out here in this Spotify playlist. The grand prizes are awarded in April 2018. Both prizes show off the best in New Zealand music over the past year. I'm particularly a fan of Estére, Kendall Elise, Disasteradio, Kane Strang, The Map Room, Glass Vaults, Totems, TEEKS, and Reb Fountain
Positive review from Mark at the Wellington Music blog here. He says "the album has a slew of pop references from the 60s to the 80s, with crunchy guitars, hard snares, synthy throwbacks and lots of layered vocals. The cumulative effect is definitely more than the some of the parts and the overall tone feels a lot like 90s power-pop bands like Gladhands or Jellyfish who had a similar love of merging classicist pop elements"
Anxious Heart featured on RNZ, on Nick Bollinger's 'The Sampler'. He said Anxious Heart is "an album that aims to rehabilitate the genre of classic pop-rock - no small goal - and in its best moments comes close to achieving it." The review is available in written and audio form here. Bollinger plays several songs from the record over a 6 minute feature, and reviews the album positively overall, saying "these may be love songs, but they are love songs for the age of anxiety
Muzic.net.nz's reviewer Alex Moulton reviewed Daniel McClelland's album Anxious Heart, and the news is all good. He said it's "unapologetic in its forthrightness; you won't find a generic, by-the-numbers, formulaic track on the album." The review closes with this gem of a quote, that the album is "a delightful reminder of how music should be made." You can check the review out in full here on Muzic.net.nz, one of the most extensive resources on the New Zealand music industry.
Feature on the Spotify performance of Anxious Heart in its first week on sale; the record has "now been played on every continent where Spotify exists". Read more about the #2 NZ Heatseeker Album here at muzic.net.nz
The Eighth Note is a series by the Wellington Music blog, interviewing Wellingtonian musicians with 8 quick questions. This was the first interview with Daniel McClelland in the lead-up to the release of Anxious Heart. The interview covers the production of the record, Daniel's biography, influential albums while growing up, where to pre-order the record, and which Wellingtonian musicians he'd like to work with. Read the full interview here
Be the first people in the world to hear Daniel McClelland's debut album, Anxious Heart, at Wellington's BATS Theatre. Doors open at 3pm August 6th, and the album will play from 3:30pm. For more details, check Event Finda or Facebook. CDs will be on sale, and the album will be released worldwide shortly afterwards.