Hollie Smith and Mara TK - Lives for Living

It's beautifully sunny outside, and I am stuck inside doing the blog. Happy New Year!  I happened on today's video while browsing the Ready!Steady!Studio! website at  (www.readysteadystudio.com).  I have enjoyed listening to Hollie Smith for some time but had not come across Mara TK (the son of NZ rock guitar legend Billy TK). I was hooked on this offering after a single listen. The song is the result of a project put together by Hollie Smith to experiment with a range of artists over a series of albums under the moniker "Band of Brothers", this album of course being "Band of Brothers Vol. 1". The album was released in 2011. You can find out more, and buy the album, at the link below.

http://www.holliesmith.co.nz/band-of-brothers



Hollie Smith and Mara TK - Lives for Living

Dictaphone Blues - Spicy Fruit Loaf

With a commentary on the industrialization of modern society (including some possible "Soylent Green" references?), Dictaphone Blues give us "something to chew on" (nooooo!), and a great song to go with it. The video is by Ready!Steady!Studio! (www.readysteadystudio.com). Dictaphone Blues are Edward Castelow, Myles Allpress and Rob Collins. The "Spicy Fruit Loaf" single is a free download, and is taken from their sophomore album, "Beneath the Crystal Palace". Everything is purchaseable at the link below.

http://dictaphoneblues.bandcamp.com/

Here is an excellent little interview/monologue with Edward Castelow from the great www.cheeseontoast.co.nz website. http://cheeseontoast.co.nz/2012/04/08/watch-our-interview-with-eddie-from-dictaphone-blues/



Dictaphone Blues - Spicy Fruit Loaf

Liam Finn - Jump Your Bones

Most New Zealanders would know the lineage of this very talented songwriter and musician, but for those offshore, Liam Finn is the son of Neil Finn, ex-Split Enz (1970s and 1980s) and Crowded House (1980s and 1990s). Liam deliberately innovates, challenges, and has put together some of the more interesting music coming out of New Zealand today. But global success, apart from niche recognition, has so far eluded him. Maybe it is the shadow of his father's success. Or maybe he isn't really chasing superficial success for it's own sake. That wouldn't surprise me. There is definitely an integrity to everything he has released so far, and I never feel he is compromising. Subsequent to a spell in his first group, "Betchadupa" he has released three albums, "I'll Be Lightning" (2007), "Champagne in Seashells EP" (2009), and "FOMO" (2011). Liam Finn is a rewarding artist to follow. You can buy "FOMO" from which the "Jump Your Bones" single is taken, at the link below.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/fomo/id436427381



Liam Finn - Jump Your Bones

Little Bark - I Need a Shot

I linked this video into one of two posts I did last week on "Little Bark", Sophie Burbery's vehicle for her synth-pop material. In retrospect, I should have probably posted this video at the same time. It is very good. Crisp engineering, mixing, and production on the song itself by Conrad Wedde and Lee Prebble. The first part of the video has echoes for me of a mid-1990s US indie/psychedelic girl band video (that I can't quite place - someone please remind me), that had acres of pink blossom as one of its core images. Credits for the video are as follows: Idea/Concept - Peter Graham; Director/Post Production - Ruth Korver; Director of Photography - Andy Chappell; Art director/Editor - Kate Logan. You might notice The Phoenix Foundation's Luke Buda rather poorly disguised as "The Sloth". The song is from 2010's "Hope is Rubbery" album which you can buy at the link below.

http://littlebark.bandcamp.com/album/hope-is-rubbery-2



I Need a Shot - Little Bark

The Datsuns - Gold Halo

It was getting just a little too comfortable on the blog, so time to throw some hard rock into the mix. "Gold Halo" is from 2012's "Death Rattle Boogie" album. Superb dynamics. The break is a beauty. The album was recorded at Gutterview Recorders in Stockholm and Roundhead Studios in Auckland, and was produced by Nicke Andersson, previously known as lead singer for The Hellacopters. The video was directed by Sam Kristofski. The Datsuns continue to deliver, despite entering their 13th year of existence. I love the band. You can buy "Death Rattle Boogie" at the link below.

https://itunes.apple.com/nz/album/death-rattle-boogie/id558714247




The Datsuns - Gold Halo

Dear Time's Waste - Heavy/High

Claire Duncan's Dear Time's Waste has been the source of some of my favourite music in 2012, firstly on the discovery of some of the older material, then with the new album "Some Kind of Eden". Ms Duncan makes frequent use of 1980s post-punk references as well as some other less obvious ones, for example what I think might be The Blue Nile, in the intro for this song "Heavy/High". As a 1980's participant, it is almost as if that era's back-catalogue has been brought to life again in a range of refreshing mutant strains. "Some Kind of Eden" is a superb album and highly recommended. An album to listen to, it is not background music...unless you like feeling slightly off-centre. Veronica Crockford-Pound's video for "Fortune" from the album was a triumph, and I find it slightly frustrating that there hasn't been the viewership that this video deserves. Her video for "Heavy/High" is also very good, continuing with the use of slow-moving evolutions of a central motif, in this case the female body, upon which a range of images are projected that are indirectly linked to the lyrics of the song. The song itself, in the artist's words "is a highly melodramatic depiction of the distance between humans, the hollow structures we build in an effort to connect". You can buy "Some Kind of Eden" at the link below.

https://itunes.apple.com/nz/album/some-kind-of-eden/id554154192

There is a very good interview with Claire Duncan and Veronica Crockford-Pound at this link. http://www.yenmag.net/artery/dear-times-waste-video-premiere/




Dear Time's Waste || HEAVY/HIGH

Mt Eden produces QuESt - One Way

With well over 100 million views on their YouTube channel, a new deal with big US dance label Ultra Music, and a permanent base in New York, the Mt Eden boys are living the dream. They have been playing to big crowds all over the world and have an enormous loyal fan base. There is apparently a new album on the way as part of the deal with Ultra. Jesse Cooper and Harley Rayner (Split Enz's keyboardist's son) met when 13 and put together a YouTube channel to get the material out. They are now one of the YouTube success stories. Their biggest YouTube hit is 2009's "Still Alive" with over 36 million views. Today's video has them producing US artist QuESt in the song "One Way". The signature washes of aural textures, combined with driving beats, define the Mt Eden sound and this is a good recent example. They are looking to evolve their sound beyond dubstep, hence the change in name from "Mt Eden Dubstep" to just "Mt Eden". Some big things to come. Their YouTube, Soundcloud and official website links are below.

http://www.mtedenofficial.com/
http://www.youtube.com/mtedendnb08
https://soundcloud.com/#MtEdenOfficial



QuESt - One Way (Produced by Mt. Eden) I Directed by SNKNY

Bailterspace - World We Share

From the 2012 album "Strobosphere", Bailterspace give us the video for "World We Share", filmed in it's entirety in the Manhattan area around the Hurricane Sandy period. The video was directed by fellow ex-pat Stuart Page. Bailterspace have been with us since 1987, but in reality, longer, as the genesis of the group was in The Gordons, at one stage promoted as "the loudest band in the world", and credited as an influence by Sonic Youth. They initially came together in 1980! The album is the first since 2004, the band members coming out of what turned out to be temporary retirement in 2008. After a range of line-up changes, current core band members are Alister Parker, and Brent McLachlan. Both were members of The Gordons. I am really enjoying this quite laid-back groove from the band. You can get a free download for "No Sense" off the new album, as well as buy the album at the link here: http://www.archhill.co.nz/profile/Bailterspace .

Here is a link to a Gordon's video to give you a taste of what they used to be like. The Gordons - "Adults and Children": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oThSPqmIRxQ



Bailterspace - "World We Share" - Music Video

Little Bark - New York and The Dead

I profiled Little Bark's "Party" from the 2010 album "Hope Is Rubbery" album yesterday. Today we have Sophie Burbery's latest single, "New York and The Dead", a more intense offering with house/disco roots, and a bloodline that goes back to acts such as the Pet Shop Boys and Giorgio Moroder.  The song is another example of Sophie Burbery's strong songwriting abilities, this recording being very well put together with great dynamics, nicely-balanced arrangements...and a healthy dose of drama. I love that chorus with the “Gregorian monks” on backing vocals!  I could easily imagine the song as a Top 40 hit internationally, but for me, what is interesting is that might also be in the hands of another act. Such is the beauty of Sophie's songs, which I think are eminently "saleable" to a range of artists. For example, (and hopefully not treading on too many toes), I can easily imagine someone like Rihanna using "New York and the Dead".  So where did "Little Bark" come from? Sophie Burbery started recording with Conrad Wedde (ex-The Phoenix Foundation) about seven years ago, the result being the very well-received video "I Need A Shot" (at link below). As a result of the search for a pseudonym, the partnership came to be named after their cat, "Little Bark". Sophie has material that fits less easily under the synth-poppy Little Bark moniker, so she presents those songs under the "Sophie Burbery" tag.  She describes these songs as being more "indie" and they do tend to have a darker, more contemplative feel, although synths remain. The "New York and The Dead" single was a collaboration with Stef Animal (Mestar, Golden Awesome) and took over a year to put together. The video, which Wellington writer Martyn Pepperell appropriately pegged as “possessing an inverse scale to the huge disco/house informed synth rock sound”, was directed by Mike Heynes, assisted by (Little Bark guitarist) Menno Huibers. It was shot at Sophie's parents' bach  (NZ term for a vacation home) at Waitarere (near Wellington), with costume supplied by her mother's wedding dress! The new album, being done in collaboration with Stef Animal, is called "USB". Sophie described it as a combination of "Sophie Burbery" and "Little Bark". You will be able to buy it at the Bandcamp link below. In the interim, you can download “New York and The Dead” for free at the link.




Little Bark - New York and The Dead

Little Bark - Party

I caught the last two thirds of "Party" by Little Bark on C4 many months ago, and since then I have been trying to find out who it was, and where I could get access to the song. I got there finally yesterday, and unusually for NZMusic4U, I will be posting two videos in succession as I believe we have an enormously talented songwriter in Sophie Burbery. There are clear 80s and 90s influences in her work, but the songs are strong enough to transmit across genres and could be used by a variety of artists. I wonder to what degree she is "published" offshore? More on Sophie tomorrow. "Party" was co-produced with Conrad Wedde (ex-The Phoenix Foundation), and mixed/mastered by Dale Cotton (The Bats, Bachelorette, Beastwars). The video was directed by John Lake. You can buy the 2010 "Hope is Rubbery" album from which "Party" is sourced, at the link below. Tomorrow, we will cover the latest material.

http://littlebark.bandcamp.com/album/hope-is-rubbery-2



'Party' - Little Bark

Earthquake on the NZMusic4U Honour Roll...

The NZMusic4U Honour Roll must change, and so for the first time we have two new members...Streets of Laredo "Girlfriend" and Watercolours "Pazzida". Both are very strong songs, well-produced with extraordinarily good videos - especially considering the resources available for putting them together. I have now included a section that shows previous Honour Roll members to make sure they continue to be recognized for their high quality.

Watercolours - Pazzida

It can hardly be said that Chelsea Jade Metcalf has been prolific under the Watercolours moniker. But what has appeared so far has been of such high quality, that there was a palpable mood of expectation around the release of the new song "Pazzida" over the last couple of weeks. The song is a moderate stylistic divergence from the more ethereal releases "Under" and "Nightswimmer" (not purchasable yet), and is a cooperative effort with the talented James Duncan. Where James' previous work has often been deliberately challenging, this eminently commercial little number takes the best of his creative repertoire, but still leaves it a Watercolours' song. The lyrics, as is usual with Chelsea Jade, are elegantly simple, and evocative. I saw Chelsea Jade with the James Duncan Experience as a support act for The Phoenix Foundation back in 2010, and even then the two seemed like potential stars in the making. This song again highlights the potential the duo share, especially if taken down the more melodic Watercolours pathway. The video for "Pazzida" was shot at a new artspace in Grey Lynn, Auckland called "Flagship" and was directed by Alex Gandar, produced by Tom Townley, with photographic direction by Tim Flower. The photography and editing work brilliantly within the overall aesthetic. In Mr Gandar's words "I pieced it together in my head by thinking of it ...as an exploration of a sculptural aesthetic...the elements of the sculpture being...everyday normal objects; chairs, clothes, light, people - especially Chelsea". Re. Chelsea's perspective on the video..."I think a curious little narrative has emerged where all of the characters are witnessing something or headed somewhere that we are never privy to...it speaks about lateral thinking". It is one of the best videos of 2012. The song is purchasable at the link below. If you like it, I dare you to pay a little more than the nominal $1 price. I paid $4 which reflects my view on the quality of this offering.

 http://chelseajadeiswatercolours.bandcamp.com/track/pazzida

UPDATE: Since writing, Watercolours have released a 4-track EP of remixes by some of my favourite local artists including Jeremy Toy (She's So Rad), Alistair Deverick (Boycrush), Haz'Beats and James Duncan. At this link: http://chelseajadeiswatercolours.bandcamp.com/album/over-and-under-remix-e-p



WATERCOLOURS - Pazzida

Collapsing Cities - Favours for Favours

From Collapsing Cities "Strangers Again" album, their second, this track "Favour for Favours" has a slow-burn on it. First listen it doesn't do much, but repeated listenings drag one in. I have previously posted the video for "Regret" on this blog and it was on the NZMusic4U Honour Roll for a couple of months. A superb song/video combination that one. This is not quite in the same league, but still worthy of a post. Can't help feeling there is a bit of a Morrissey influence somewhere back there. I really like the song. The one-shot video is nicely done with some pretty clever crane work (I assume). The video is a Blur and Sharpen production, directed by Tim van Dannen and produced by Alex Gandar. The (very good) "Strangers Again" album is now available at the link below on a "name your price" basis. Have a listen.

http://collapsingcities.bandcamp.com/



Collapsing Cities - Favour for Favours

Streets of Laredo - Girlfriend

Hailing from Elemeno P roots, but heading in a new direction entirely, including geographically, Streets of Laredo are an alt-folk band that proudly wears it's Kiwi credentials while basing themselves in Brooklyn, New York. (This works better than it does in the UK). I have stated in previous posts that anything that has the word "folk" attached to it, I tend to immediately fall back on old negative stereotypes. But bands such as Streets of Laredo are changing that for me. I saw them live at Union Hall in Brooklyn a couple of months ago and was blown away by the energy, dynamics and professionalism in their short set. They had several tunes available on Soundcloud which I listened to, and enjoyed, but I have to admit there was a "tinniness" (technical term!) to the demos. It worried me that the band's live energy might not translate to the fully finished product. And man they have really done it here. A great song, superb production, and a world class video that has been worth the wait - and must have required much waiting around! I got friendly with these guys after the gig in Brooklyn so I have been checking myself to make sure that I have not got a bit close to judge this objectively. But working it through, I just can't fault the offering. I am currently deciding whether to put this video into the NZMusic4U Honour Roll. If it doesn't get there, it will be a close-run thing. I highly recommend you catch up with Streets of Laredo, both live and recorded. You can buy the track at the link below. I will be. And looking forward to an album!

http://streetsoflaredo.bandcamp.com/



Streets of Laredo | Girlfriend (Official)

Teen Fortress - Say

I first came across Teen Fortress a couple of months ago and liked the "Tepid Vapid Callow" album enough to purchase it. Teen Fortress is the solo project of Christchurch-based Zach Doney from Bang Bang Eche, and is a further example of the high quality of music coming out of Christchurch scene at the moment. The album was released in May 2012 but has since been remixed and remastered which has improved the sound substantially. Zach has put the video for "Say" together himself. In his words, "I conceived the video as a collage of the video art relevant to me at the time of completion". It is excellent. You can buy Teen Fortress' music at the link below. I am also a bit of fan of the track "Sick". Have a listen.

http://teenfortress.bandcamp.com/



Teen Fortress - Say

Princess Chelsea - Frack

In space, no one can hear you giggle. Directed by Simon Ward (director of Lawrence Arabia's latest - also posted on this blog), this video is an ode to a variety of science fiction movies/shows (including Battlestar Galactica) and features spaceships, cryostatic bed hair and the Princess looking a bit bored in space. Psychopathic traits exhibited in terms of a lack of empathy for the loyal skeleton. Fun video. Great "futuristic" production. Also contains personal biblical themes apparently! You can buy the track at the link below.

 http://princesschelsea.lilchiefrecords.com/track/frack



Princess Chelsea - Frack

Popstrangers - Heaven

Auckland's Popstrangers are now signed to Carpark Records (www.carparkrecords.com) although the new "Antipodes" album is released in NZ and Australia on Spunk Records (www.spunk.com.au) in February 2013. They have clearly been earmarked for potential global success within their niche. There is no-one in New Zealand making music like theirs, and the only parallels I can make are with the Nielson brothers' two offerings (and I don't necessarily classify that as purely local now). What I love about Popstrangers is the contrasts they build into their music...unusual changes both in terms of texture and tonality, and deliberate discordance which puts just the right amount of "crunch on the cream". It is so rewarding to listen to. This "Heaven" chorus is one of the best transitions I have heard in a long time. Have a read what NME says about Popstrangers at the link below. There seems to be wide agreement on that chorus.

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151155046289247&set=a.147608609246.113016.8448179246&type=1&theater



Popstrangers - Heaven

The Ruby Suns - Kingfisher Call Me

One of my singles of the year, "Kingfisher Call Me" from The Ruby Suns demanded a video of comparable quality, and here we have one, directed by Sweden's Frode & Marcus (Lykke Li, El Perro del Mar). Coming from an unusual tangent with a very hairy, very primeval-looking Ryan McPhun, it is not what I imagined for the song with it's 80s musical references, but works brilliantly. The song is off  The Ruby Suns' (keenly awaited) new album "Christopher", which was recorded, at least partially, in Norway. The album will be released in January 2013 on the Memphis Industries label. Knowing very little about Scandinavian mythologies, but still a little, I can picture the cultural fabric this video might be emerging from. We have ended up with a sort of Scandinavian forest psychedelia. I love it. You can find out more about The Ruby Suns at the link below.

http://www.memphis-industries.com/artist/the-ruby-suns/



The Ruby Suns - Kingfisher Call Me

SJD - I Wrote This Song For You

Sorry the blog has not been updated daily the last few days. I have been in Paris on a work trip. Following on from our recent sojourns into SJD-land, here is "I Wrote This Song For You" from 2007's "Songs From A Dictaphone" album. This was not the best of his albums...but still a very good one. If you would like to hear more, or purchase the album, it is available at the link below.

http://sjdnz.bandcamp.com/album/songs-from-a-dictaphone



SJD - I Wrote This Song For You (Round Trip Mars 2007)

Die! Die! Die! - HowYe

From 2010, and the last album with Flying Nun Records called "Form", this Die! Die! Die! video is directed by the enormously talented Special Problems team. As usual there is the unusual juxtaposition of imagery/themes/elements. What rabbit hole this creativity comes out of I don't know. It is special! Die! Die! Die! have a new self-released album called "Harmony" which is very good. From what I understand it was largely recorded in late 2010 at France's Blackbox Studios. If you would like to listen to the album, it's at the link below. Both the albums mentioned today are available on iTunes.

http://goldenantennarecords.bandcamp.com/album/harmony



Die! Die! Die! - HowYe

Great North - Lead Me To The Light

Well I'm not used to Bob Harvey looking sad/pensive - but we all have our moments! A lovely song from Auckland-based alt-folk indie outfit Great North, driven by Hayden and Rachel Donnell (husband and wife). Hayden has cited Bruce Springsteen as an inspiration to his writing. Some may recoil at referencing an artist that is sometimes perceived to be bombastic and stadium-driven, but "The Boss" has written some beautiful music in his time. I can feel the influence here, and it is a positive one. Great North have released three albums now - "Soldiers" in 2009, the critically well-received "Newfoundland" in 2010, and the latest, "Halves", released in May 2012, from which this song is sourced. I like it. Get yourself a dose of poignant Americana at the link below. The "Lead Me To The Light" single is available free!

http://greatnorth.bandcamp.com/



Great North - Lead Me To The Light

SJD - Beautiful Haze

From 2007's "Songs From A Dictaphone" album, we continue with our SJD project and give you "Beautiful Haze", another in the series of astonishingly-consistently-good song/video combinations from Sean James Donnelly. He has recently released a new album, "Electric Wasteland", which is easily one of his best, albeit darker. This is from a slightly lighter period, but still special. One of the comments on YouTube suggested this song should replace Dave Dobbyn's "Loyal" as an informal Kiwi anthem. Couldn't agree more. You can buy the album this song at the link below...

http://sjdnz.bandcamp.com/album/songs-from-a-dictaphone




SJD - Beautiful Haze

Badd Energy - How Do You Sleep

Been getting a bit dark around here lately, and the scary videos aren't helping. This Badd Energy song is from their "Underwater Pyramids" EP, released early in 2012. I think there is an album due early in 2013 although can't confirm. The Auckland-based band describe themselves as thus: a "trippy quartet that kick out motley jams blending stoner-swamp riffs with laid back 808 raps". The sound on the EP is certainly quite diverse, albeit as diverse as you can get from four tracks! The slightly-disturbing video is directed by Thom Burton. Good job done on that. Nice clean but bold sound to the song's production. If you would like to purchase their music, it is available for a song (no! no! no! - no pun intended)...at the link below.

http://baddenergy.bandcamp.com/




Badd Energy - How Do You Sleep

The Golden Awesome - Astronomy

From Wellington we have the awesome Golden Awesome (yes - that was awful). An indie/shoegaze hybrid, I adore the texture they have created through this song. I am always a sucker for overdriven bass (that started with the post-punk bands way back when I was 15), and the way they have integrated this into a structure with melodic and harmonic dynamics of just the right amount, at just the appropriate time. This has had me playing the video over many times. I really like the video concept too. (Missing home!) You can buy their 2011 album "Autumn", from which "Astronomy" is taken, at the link below. I will be. I love this! I can't wait to see them live.

http://thegoldenawesomenz.bandcamp.com/



The Golden Awesome - Astronomy

SJD - Rising Falling Rising

From SJD's "Southern Lights" album, here is the video for "Rising Falling Rising". This video was put together by Dominic & Simon Taylor, and continues the high standard of videos that have accompanied SJD's single releases. The "Southern Lights" album was his fourth album and was released in 2004. This post is one of a series reflecting on the creative brilliance of Sean Donnelly. To buy this track, the album, or other SJD material such as the excellent new album "Electric Wasteland", please go to the link below.

http://sjdnz.bandcamp.com/



SJD - Rising Falling Rising

Spycc - Life Feat. Che Kamikaze

Spycc's "Self Progression" EP/album (not sure which is what these days) is one of my releases of the year. A world class compilation of personal perspectives and vignettes from the writer's life. "I'm trying to beat life cos I can't cheat death" is one of those great lines. I highly recommend you download this offering - (ridiculously) free from the following link. I suspect there is much more to come from this very talented artist. (I like the video also with it's Louie Knuxx "Stan Howse" feel to it). The download link is here:http://spyccmusic.tumblr.com/ .



Spycc - Life Feat. Che Kamikaze

The Leers - Come With Us

The Leers are ex-Mount Maunganui, having grown up there, but moving en-masse to the big smoke several years ago - there only really being one of those in NZ, Auckland. (and that is a good thing about Welly, Chicha and Dunners!). Members of the band are: Matt Bidois, Jack Furniss, Jacob Buchan and James Kippenberger. This song is from the band's second yet-to-be-released EP, the first being self-titled and released in 2010. The song is produced by James Dansey (talented bloke), and the video is directed by Tom Furniss (winner 2011 48 Film Festival). He's done a good job. Not much info on the band out there but I am sure that will change. They've got quite a few friends on Facebook. You can buy The Leer's music at the link below.

http://theleers.bandcamp.com/

Thanks to www.cheeseontoast.co.nz for contributing some info.



The Leers - Come With Us (Music Video)

SJD - Southern Lights (Kid Loco remix)

SJD will be a feature in coming weeks as I post many of his historical videos as a tribute to the new album "Electric Wasteland", one of the albums of 2012. My injection of SJD-enthusiasm led me to listen to most of the last ten year's releases over the past couple of days and it wasn't difficult reminding oneself of the genius of Mr Donnelly. This Kid Loco remix of "Southern Lights" is off the Picnmix collection of remixes put together back in 2005. Great (sympathetic) video. You can buy the album, and historical material, at the link below:

http://sjdnz.bandcamp.com/



SJD - Southern Lights (Kid Loco remix)

Cobra Khan - Borderlands

Warning: Some nasties in this video. Not for delicate eyes or ears - or toes! (big stick stomps) Superb video directed by Jeremy Blackwood, and shot on location in Spain, "Borderlands" is not your average rock horror video. Production quality is extremely good. The song is from Cobra Khan's recent album "Adversities". It is clearly not the usual sort of thing that gets on this blog but in terms of it's genre, production and overall delivery, it is very good, so I am happy to post it. Well done to all involved. You can buy their music at this link here: http://cobra-khan.bandcamp.com/

Thanks to www.undertheradar.co.nz. I spotted this video there.



Cobra Khan - Borderlands

Concord Dawn - The River Feat. Nina McSweeney

Something's working when 15 days after posting a video there are almost a hundred thousand views on YouTube. Most of you will have heard of Concord Dawn (creating D&B since 1999) - Matt Harvey and Evan Short. The (hard to pigeon-hole) Nina McSweeney of Bat Country joins them for the second time on "The River". I include a link to her website below. You can download Concord Dawn's new album "Air Chrysalis" for free by going to the links below.

https://www.facebook.com/concorddawnNZ/app_220150904689418

http://soundcloud.com/concord-dawn

http://ninamcsweeney.co.nz/



Concord Dawn - The River (Ft. Nina McSweeney)  (Official Video)

Xy - Wait Until Tonight Feat. Dei Hamo

The GC's Luther Vandross? ! That's the first thing that came to mind when I heard this brilliant groove for the first time. Xy Latu is a Tongan, Gold Coast-based ex-Aucklander building a reputation for songwriting, arranging and production. Responsible for the GC's Jade Louise's recent material as well as penning the theme music for reality TV show "The Ridges", he sounds capable of creating commercial gold. (He was also a winner of Australia's X Factor). I would love to hear this song in a night club. I am pretty sure it would fill the floor. Nice rap in the middle from Dei Hamo (looking forward to more material from him). Good video by Sani Sagala. I can't tell you how much I love this track! For more, go to the Soundcloud link below.

http://soundcloud.com/xybeatkamp



Xy - Wait Until Tonight Feat. Dei Hamo (Official Music Video)

Five Mile Town - Kids and Their Chemicals

I first came across Five Mile Town several months ago with the release of their first (and quite stunning) single, "Saturated". This song is a worthy successor to that song, probably with broader appeal. These guys are clearly very talented, and have some superficial similarities, as well as similar potential, to Evermore in their early days. That is not going unnoticed. We have a very good video here from Stem Creative, filmed in Wellington. I sincerely wish these guys the best. They deserve to do very well. To find out more go to the link below.

http://fivemiletownband.com/



Five Mile Town - Kids and Their Chemicals [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO]

SJD - Tree People

Local luminary Steve Gray sent this out into the tweetosphere yesterday, reminding me that this track would be an appropriate way to remind people of the new album from SJD (Sean Donnelly). (There is no video for the album yet as far as I know). We haven't heard anything from SJD for awhile but he gives us a quality offering in "Electric Wasteland", available at the link below. I will be buying this within the hour. Today's video is"Tree People", a track off the excellent "Lost Soul Music" album from 2001. He has never released a mediocre album, and for those offshore, if there were a group of artists I would recommend as a cross section of NZ music, SJD would be one. In addition to the Bandcamp link I have included a Wiki link for those who want to find out more.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SJD_(musician)

http://sjdnz.bandcamp.com/



SJD - Tree People

Zen Mantra - Fossils

The recent Zen Mantra album "How Many Padmes Hum?" has been in my headphones many times over the last month, and I am not tiring of it yet. This is one of the better tracks on the album. Main driver of the band is (from Christchurch via Australia) Sam Perry who I believe is still at school. Listen to this and try to believe that one. A pretty significant talent emerging here. You can listen to the album at the link below, or buy it through Muzai Records or iTunes. Nice video using found footage from Nicol├ís Prados - http://7inchvideos.tumblr.com

http://zenmantra.bandcamp.com/



Zen Mantra - Fossils

Eddie Numbers - Numbers Game

Eddie Numbers with a very well-produced, well-arranged, commercially-viable song for the summer. Although clearly hip-hop at core, there is much more to this song. I like the combined vocal/keyboard texture they have built around the chorus. I have yet to hear through big speakers but I am sure it would sound enormous through a good P.A. The band is made up of musicians from a range of backgrounds. Edgar Mahon is MC/lyricist. Backing him, instead of a purely electronic infrastructure, there are vocals from Tyla Pere, live guitar and bass from Ben Healey, and drums/production from Regal Norris. This video is pretty well put together by Faded Films. Not sure about the "sex video" inclusion but I'll look past that. These guys know how to put it together and they are differentiated from many out there so I'll be interested to watch their progress. If you would like to buy their material, an older offering is available from the link below. A download for this single should be available from iTunes by the end of this week.

http://eddienumbers.bandcamp.com/



Eddie Numbers - Numbers Game (Official Video)

Loui the ZU - Stranger

New Zealand's Bulawayo-sourced beatmaster continues to impress. In a different vein, but much like Zen Mantra, Loui the Zu has a precocious energy, his youth being almost irrelevant to the quality of music he has put out so far. I have said previously that I expect a pretty serious career for Loui as the word spreads. Nominated for "Critic's Choice" at this year's music awards, I am sure there is a bit of jostling by agents and the like. From his new album "The Fruits Of My Labour", this track's sparse production and big drum track are served well by a great vocal delivery. The video doesn't let things down. You can download the track for free at the link below.

http://www.mediafire.com/?91qyqwd4916wq6i



Loui the ZU - Stranger : (Official Video)

The Impending Adorations - Advice To The Young At Heart

Paul McLaney was known to many in the early noughties as "Gramsci" and was reasonably prolific in that period. His distinctive vocals have shown up across a range of offerings over recent years, and he has worked behind the scenes with several local luminaries. In recent years however, he seemed to have faded from view somewhat. I had a love-hate with Paul's earlier music, often loving the songs, arrangements and production, but finding sometimes the vocals were close to contrived. Still, on balance I liked it. His new moniker is "The Impending Adorations" and it is under this name he released a few tracks several years ago, of which today's 2010 video is one. A simple but effective visual for a very good song. But the video is just an excuse for me to introduce his new album "Gestalt". I have listened to the album several times over the last 36 hours or so and can confidently proclaim that the wait has been worth it. This is a sublime work which grows and grows. The vocals are perfectly balanced. It is music to get lost in and I have enjoyed today, walking through a cold but sunny London, lost in the vibe he has created. You can listen and purchase the new offering at the link below.

http://theimpendingadorations.bandcamp.com/



"Advice To The Young At Heart" - The Impending Adorations

Third3ye - Third3ye #Loaded

There have been several finds this year, and Third3ye is one of them. This video has been posted not because it's great but because it gives me a reason to post the link to the superb recent EP from Third3ye called "Earth Raps". ("Third3ye #Loaded" is not actually on the EP). I have been playing this 5-track collection a lot recently, and have yet to tire of it. Incredibly you can download it for free from the link below. Third3ye is two beats artists, MCs Angelo King, Melowdownz with producer SwervinMervin. On this EP they are also accompanied by Edward Waaka on both vocals and production. This is not your usual (spirituality + beats), but is representative of the surge of creativity coming out of the New Zealand hip-hop scene at the moment. The download is available at the link below. Highly recommended.

http://third3ye.bandcamp.com/album/earth-raps-ep



Third3ye - Third3ye #Loaded

Josh Fountain - A Day in the Life of the BIG little City

Josh Fountain (Kidz In Space) has put together a lovely little ode to the city where he lives - Auckland. Auckland is my original home town (now Wellington) and I have struggled with it for years. But now it finally seems to be getting it's act together and I can understand where the enthusiasm is coming from. Josh is a very talented musician, songwriter and producer, and has been featured on this blog previously. This piece showcases his ability to write incidental music. His ability as a writer of high quality pop songs is pretty well proven. To get a taste of some of Josh Fountain's pop magic have a listen to the new Kidz In Space single at the link below. Otherwise take a few minutes of "me time" to enjoy the "BIG Little City"...

http://soundcloud.com/movethecrowd/kidz-in-space-best-one?utm_source=soundcloud&utm_campaign=mshare&utm_medium=twitter&utm_content=http%3A%2F%2Fsoundcloud.com%2Fmovethecrowd%2Fkidz-in-space-best-one




Josh Fountain - A Day in the Life of the BIG little City

The Ruby Suns - Cinco

Driven by Ryan McPhun (hailing from stateside, but more than a little Kiwi), The Ruby Suns have occupied an interesting niche in New Zealand music for the last half-decade. Having started in the mid 2000s sounding a little more lo-fi alternative, with a touch of World Music thrown in ("The Ruby Suns" and "Sea Lion" albums) , they now sound like they have raided my record collection of the early-mid 1980s. This is likely to change, but I'm hoping they'll spend a little longer in that decade as they have taken the essence of that decade's electronic generation, and improved it. This song "Cinco" is from 2010's (extremely good) "Fight Softly" album. I have been listening to this album almost non-stop for the last few days. The band have released a beautiful new single "Kingfisher Call Me"  which bodes well for the upcoming album. To listen to the latest single, go to the link below. They don't have a video that I know of yet. I will post it when I get it. (P.S.look out for the The Ruby Suns' drummer's EP - called Boycrush - "Everybody All The Time" - superb)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjw35JvbLOE&list=UULf-3768gEw4wA81xLP1c1g&index=3&feature=plcp



The Ruby Suns - Cinco

Junica - Stay

Can't stay away from Junica for long. This video is self-directed by Nik Brinkman and is for one of the several singles released in 2012. We still don't have an album, but that is on it's way I understand. This video, considering it's budget, is a good example of what can be done with limited resources when one has imagination, a vision and some technical skills. I am a big fan of Junica, lumping him in with a bunch of New Zealand acts with music that plays with a range of retro-electro influences - that has had me over-representing them in blog posts over the last few months. Examples are She's So Rad, Knives At Noon and Kids Of 88. On top of that there are the less retro, but genre-related artists such as Watercolours, Scratch 22 and James Duncan - that continue to nourish my enthusiasm for writing this blog. There just seems to be so much to write about. I am about to post another band that doesn't seem to get too much recognition in New Zealand, but which I think is pretty bloody clever. The Ruby Suns - coming soon.



Junica - Stay

Ariana Tikao - Te Heke

The musical motif that drives this is very simple. A sort of drawn-out "ostinato". It is well-performed and produced, and justifies itself easily on this blog. The video is beautifully put-together. But that alone didn't bring me to this offering. What attracted me to the "Te Heke" video was the authentic family story behind it. I quote the YouTube video introduction: "This is about whakapapa and our responsibilities to it. Whakapapa defines the connection between all things. This song particularly celebrates the lines of descent. The rope represents the lines of descent of whakapapa. So it is a connection between different generations. It was made by our Great-Grandmother Amiria Puhirere from Onuku who was a talented weaver. It was possibly the first time held by a family member as had been locked away in the museum for a very long time. It felt quite amazing holding it and moving with it, it was like it had a life of its own!" So there you have it. Time to look a little deeper. You can find out more about Ariana Tikao at the link below...

http://www.arianatikao.com/



Ariana Tikao - Te Heke

Artisan Guns - Heights

The latest Artisan Guns video from their recent album "Coral". The album was produced by Djeisan Suskov, an up and coming producer (Cool Rainbows), using live takes at Waiuku's Revolver Studios. The album has an atmospheric, haunting sound to it with Matthew Hope's vocal performances being a highlight. Not so much soaring, as intimate and evocative, although they have dynamics, so no chance of it becoming soporific. I highly recommend this album. It has crept up on me...a "slow-cooked meal" as opposed to a "sugar rush". The album is available from their own label "Raccoon Jacket". The band members are talented visually and their videos continue to be pleasant on the eye. This latest video for "Heights" was directed, edited and produced by Reuben Stephens and Matthew Hope. Probably done on the cheap, but it doesn't look it. You can buy the album at the link below.

http://www.amplifier.co.nz/default,90011.sm



Artisan Guns - Heights

Opossom - Girl

In a pretty good, self-directed video, Kody Nielson's Opossom gives us "Girl" from the "Electric Hawaii" album. Can I hear Burt Bacharach in here? Comparing both Kody and Ruban Nielson's projects is interesting, with a lighter, possibly more commercial (relatively speaking) sound coming from Opossom, whereas Ruban Nielson's Unknown Mortal Orchestra is slightly darker. But the common genetics behind the music aren't difficult to sense. I initially found it a little challenging to warm to both bands, but continued exposure has found the fan in me and this music is ultimately very rewarding to listen to. And it can be "listened to", unlike much music which can only exist on an indeterminate gradient somewhere between one's focus and the background.



OPOSSOM - GIRL (Official Music Video)

Kimbra - Settle Down

This came on the TV when I was in Hong Kong recently. It was interesting watching it from another perspective...and I was reminded of the brilliance Kimbra is capable of. For me, this track (and I include the video) is possibly one of the greatest commercial offerings in recent music history. I don't say that lightly. And I suspect there might be a few others who are similarly enthusiastic. At time of writing the video had 20 million views. To me it's close to magic. I read recently that the US music executive responsible for signing Kimbra had thought maybe her music had needed brightening up (paraphrased) for the global market. I just hope they don't kill it. For me "Settle Down" is perfect balance between commercial viability and artistic integrity. I don't think the more recent offering, "Warrior" (done since the marketing machine launched), works nearly as well, and I can almost sense the head honchos wielding the big levers behind the scenes. Have a look at the "Warrior" video at the link below. Let me know what you think.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hy3HT34IrUU



Kimbra - Settle Down

JBrown & The Mic Smith - I'd Like To Know

Further evidence of the talents of JBrown & The Mic Smith. A nice little rap asking some big existential questions. "I'd Like To Know" is off 2011's "JB&TMS EP". Maybe it's just me, but everything I have heard from these two indicates massive commercial potential. The songs are fun, hooky, and well-produced. It's hard to fault them. I know there is a computer program out there which one can run songs through, and after crunching the musical numbers, it forecasts the level of potential commercial success. (Ok I agree this is a little sad). Cynicism aside, I can't help thinking JBrown & The Mic Smith songs would be pushing the top end of that program's scores. They seem to have that balance of elements that is often difficult to achieve. I hope this is being noticed by the "big end of town" offshore. You can buy JBrown & The Mic Smith's music at the link below.

http://jbrownmicsmith.bandcamp.com/



JBrown & The Mic Smith - I'd Like To Know (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO HD)

Luckless - Skin & Bones

I had been meaning to post Luckless' "Hawks" for some time, but they have beaten me to it with this video for "Skin & Bones". Luckless is Ivy Rossiter, loop pedal specialist, and Will Wood, percussionist. The music is lyrically-driven and stripped-back to basics creating what I like to think of as an organic mix of elements. I like it. If you want to pigeonhole the music within a genre, indie-folk/rock would probably be appropriate. This is very well put-together video, and beautifully photographed. The video was directed by Ryan Mansfield, edited by Ben Chesters, and produced by James Watson. You can buy Luckless' music at the link below.

http://luckless.bandcamp.com/



Luckless 'Skin & Bones' Official Music Video

Shapeshifter - Diamond Trade

Well this one hasn't disappointed. How Shapeshifter have managed to maintain such a high standard of material over so many years is quite impressive. And there is always some form of aural evolution which gets us past the "been there, done that" hurdle. This time it's the introduction of a "house" feel to their track inventory. "Diamond Trade" is from the new album and is available for download from (this) Friday 9th November. Good looking video as well. If you are interested, the link just below here is for a mini-documentary on the making of the "Diamond Trade" video. Talks about the use of high speed cameras. 5000 frames per second in HD! Nice all-round package chaps!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaWnp86imwA



Shapeshifter - Diamond Trade

Tamaryn - The Garden

A USA/New Zealand hybrid here. Tamaryn is a two-piece fronted by Tamaryn, New Zealand-born, but out of the country for quite a few years now. Meeting Rex John Shelverton in New York in the early 2000s, Tamaryn looks after vocals while Rex handles the instrumental arrangements and production. I assume the two write the songs jointly. Having moved to San Franciso, Rex's hometown, a few years ago, Tamaryn have released two albums..."The Waves" (2010), and "Tender New Signs"(this year). They have been described as a "shoegaze"/"dreampop" fusion and that seems pretty accurate. This is the second of two videos for songs from the second album, the other being "Heavenly Bodies", which I will post at a later date. I really like this band. Not meaning to step on any toes, but a short-hand description might be as a Dear Time's Waste / She's So Rad hybrid. You can buy Tamaryn's music at the link below.

http://www.mexicansummer.com/shop/tamaryn-tender-new-signs/



Tamaryn - "The Garden" (Official Music Video)

Annah Mac - Bucket

Fooood fight! An enjoyable folk-influenced, summer-radio-friendly offering from Annah Mac who has previously been posted on this blog for her "Girl In Stilettos" video. Annah writes good pop songs and "Bucket" is another example. I would like to see something a little more edgy/dissonant from her though. Maybe that is coming? The video for "Bucket" is well-executed and apparently shot on a brand new Sony HD camera. On 1080 HD the photography definitely has superb clarity. You can buy Annah Mac's music at the following link:

http://www.amplifier.co.nz/default,56625.sm



Annah Mac - Bucket

Timmy Schumacher ft. MC Spyda - Rock Out

I got this off Cheese on Toast (www.cheeseontoast.co.nz). I didn't know Auckland's Timmy Schumacher prior to this morning, but I am glad I do now. Of course I now wish I had this video prior to October 31st! Timmy produces/arranges here with MC Spyda from Nottingham, England on the rhymes. Has a bit of "Firestarter" feel to it - as well as "Come Dancing"! (The Kinks 1982). The superb, well-edited, and rather scary video is directed by Marc Swade. For more from Timmy Schumacher, go to the link below:

 http://soundcloud.com/timmy-schumacher



Timmy Schumacher ft. MC Spyda 'Rock Out'.  Director - Marc Swade

The Phoenix Foundation - Bright Grey

2007's "Bright Grey" single was a bit of a benchmark for The Phoenix Foundation, bringing a new group of listeners to the band. The "Happy Ending" album was also (IMHO) a creative highpoint, followed in late 2009 by the "Merry Kriskmass" EP which was a disappointment to many. Fortunately we had 2010's superb "Buffalo" to follow.  The "Bright Grey" video was directed by Taika Waititi, and for the usual modest budget, reveals no limitations, working perfectly with the song using a retro 70s/80s device. They even managed to get a De Lorean into the video. The Phoenix Foundation remain one of my all-time favourite bands.



The Phoenix Foundation - Bright Grey

Spycc - In Love

As a purposely-inclusive music blogger looking to reward talent, I often have to cross borders that are difficult for someone from a cosy, white-middle-class, politically-correct base reality. Sometimes some of the artists I listen to reflect perspectives that I don't necessarily concur with. But these are personal stories being told, and I must reward talent. Spycc's "Self-Progression" EP is one of my releases of the year. The songs are well-constructed, well-produced, well-performed - challenging sometimes, and an absolute pleasure to the ear. This video, clearly done on the cheap, but nonetheless pretty good (dir. Danny Aumua), is for "In Love", off the EP, which is downloadable for free (it shouldn't be). You can find the EP at the link below:

http://spyccmusic.tumblr.com/



Spycc - In Love

Knives At Noon - Violins and Violence

Emerging out of our darkest south...ok, Dunedin (and yes I do love that city), Knives At Noon are a talented bunch, and from what I can glean, there is a healthy infusion of formal musical training driving what has so far been some astutely written and performed pop songs. With a little style, a front man who can sing and (reluctantly or not) pose appropriately when needs be, they are clearly very marketable. But in the end, "marketable" without depth goes nowhere. Knives At Noon have the depth. I have listened to all the songs available on their website. The song construction is sometimes complex, but not overly so, and my usual requirements, dynamics and texture, are available across pretty much all the material. I particularly like "New Lighter for the Underground" which I believe is the best demonstration of the seriousness with which the band take their writing. I am looking forward to hearing more from these guys. The video embedded today is from 2010. A great video for what was probably an extremely restricted budget. Their single "Handshake of the Heartache" was posted on this blog several months ago.

The following, slightly out-of-date article from NZ Musician is a good introduction to the band. The article is available at the following link:

 http://www.nzmusician.co.nz/index.php/ps_pagename/article/pi_articleid/2114.

You can buy their music,as well as merchandise, at the following link:

 http://www.knivesatnoon.com
  


Knives At Noon - Violins and Violence

Rackets - Snake In The Grass

Yessssssss...I really like this. I was just talking to a friend yesterday about hipsters' affection for irony (just creating another hierarchy), and this is an apt antidote. Won't put too much word puffery around it because it would not be appropriate. Sharp, crisp, cutting, tight, visually resplendent (oops). I don't know too much about Rackets live, but going off this, I assume they would be loud, fast and maybe a bit "dangeroussssss". (sorry, failed Humour 101). Off their "Could Do Better" EP. Have a listen at the link below. For fans of "stoner punk" or those who like something a little challenging to the "status quo".

http://racketsonline.bandcamp.com/



Rackets - Snake In The Grass

Zen Mantra - Soothsayer

Coming to Christchurch via Australia, precocious talent Sam Perry (ex-Psych Tigers) describes himself as a "producer" and I see no reason why he shouldn't judging by the standard of Zen Mantra's first album "How Many Padmes Hum?". Great songs fleshed out with texture, dynamics and a wall of noise result in what is a "complete" album. I find it amazing that a seventeen year old can come up with something as mature as this - from a "bedroom" studio. In Rip It Up magazine Sam cited influences such Pink Floyd, Tame Impala and Deerhunter. For me, a short-hand description would be an intersection somewhere between The Popstrangers and "shoe-gaze". Muzai Records is distributing the album locally and there are also offshore distribution deals in place, a testament to how others in the industry feel about Sam's talent. You can listen to some tracks from the album at the link below. You can buy Zen Mantra's music through Muzai Records or iTunes.

http://zenmantra.bandcamp.com/



Zen Mantra - Soothsayer

JBrown & The Mic Smith - Where Ya At

With clear 1970's and 1980's funk, soul and hip-hop influences, both musically and visually (although not sure about the cultural appropriation of the native American headdress), JBrown & The Mic Smith have put together an infectious and quite commercial offering in "Where Ya At". I have listened to all of the music they have available on their Bandcamp website, and for me the obvious question is "why haven't they taken off"? I imagine it is just a matter of time. Surely offshore beckons? Both the videos on YouTube (from 2011) are for potential hit songs in their own right (this video and "Cookin' Soul"). The two know how to write strong hooks and the production values are high across all the material. I hope to hear a lot more from these guys in time. You can buy their music at the link below, which includes their latest single "Deja Vu" - a little piece of disco magic, which is probably their best so far.

http://jbrownmicsmith.bandcamp.com/



JBrown & The Mic Smith - Where Ya At (OFFICIAL VIDEO)

Junica - Let Me Go Out

Nik Brinkman has the touch. A deft songwriter, producer, performer and aesthete, it is pretty clear to me that a major hit single/album will be his one day. I have already stated previously that I see potentially enormous success offshore at some stage. This offering is another typically talented combination of music and visuals, but judged against the high standards set by his previous material, it is not his best. A bit "samey", and the chorus doesn't lift quite as well as it has in other material. Can't win 'em all! (I still like it though.) I assume with a new album coming that we are in line for further treats. I personally would like to see some further variation of tempo, having enjoyed the "Eno-ish" music in his (very) short film, "True North". I understand he has now signed with "Let The People Speak", Matt Coleman's management group. It is great to see the business side falling into place. Looking forward to that album!



Junica - Let Me Go Out

MayaVanya & P Money - Turn Me Out ft. Kaleena Zanders

MayaVanya are ex-Croatia but have made a name for themselves as DJ's in New Zealand and Australia...and here we have them working perfectly with P-Money and Kaleena Zanders, a Los Angeles-based house artist. I am really posting this as I think P Money has done a superb production job, but the overall offering is very good. The track was recorded by Soraya Lapread and mixed by Evan Short. You can download the track at the link below.

http://soundcloud.com/p_money/mayavanya-p-money-turn-me-out



MayaVanya & P Money - Turn Me Out ft. Kaleena Zanders

Glass Owls - Let's Take The Road

I really like this band's sound. Tomas Nelson's distinctive vocals enmeshed with those jangling guitars has star quality written all over it. I am not sure this is their best song, but it is pretty good nonetheless. As with Tom Lark, I see these guys having substantial international potential, but it will require a move offshore to make it happen. After my recent New York sojourn, it seems to me that New York would be a good place to start as a band with as good an overall sound as this could really cut through. "Let's Take The Road" has the makings of a "sleeper". Dreamy and laid-back as this song is, I can imagine waking up one day and suddenly realizing I am in love with it, but I am not there yet. I do like it though. Djeisan Suskov is on the knobs here, further adding to the growing body of evidence he is one of New Zealand's better producers. The video is directed by Simon and Dominic Taylor.

You can buy the single at this link: http://glassowls.bandcamp.com/



Glass Owls - Let's Take The Road

K*SABA feat. HoneBeGood - Nubian Riot

The beats scene has crept up on me. The "Cosmic Compositions" Bandcamp site (from whence this track is sourced) has the following to say: "We feel there is huge similarity's between the Avant-Garde/Free Jazz movement of the 50's & 60's & the beat movement of Today. As both movements attempted to break down, extend & alter the conventions of their original genres (Jazz & Hip Hop) & were never afraid to experiment & improvise to create something that wasn't accepted commercially at the time." Even before reading this I had been thinking similarly. I purchased "Cosmic Compositions Avant Garde Series Vol.1" today, a combination of beats artists working with jazz saxophonist Pharoah Sanders' music as raw material. I highly recommend this 26 track collection. "Nubian Riot", featured in this post, is a collaboration between Karnan Saba (K*SABA), a Wellington-based multi-instrumentalist and beats producer, and HoneBeGood, a well-known Auckland rapper. HoneBeGood (sometimes known as "Johnny Rescue") and member of  "Side Steps Quintet" is part of the Young, Gifted and Broke collective (www.younggiftedandbroke.com). "Nubian Riot" is one of the better grooves I have enjoyed in recent times.

The Cosmic Compositions compilation can be purchased at the following link: http://cosmic-compositions.bandcamp.com/



K*SABA ft. HoneBeGood // Nubian Riot

Pop Mechanix - Jumping out a Window

From 1981, and one-of-the-great-bands-that-never-quite-went-anywhere-but-should've. Pop Mechanix had international success potentially in their hands with great songwriting, a "now" sound for 1981, and a mercurial front man in Andrew Snoid (McLennan). But legal issues plus the usual old-school "lets sort Australia out first before going global" approach sapped the initial energy behind the band. This remastering of what is now one of the great New Zealand pop songs, plus what is a very good video for 1981 makes it a surprisingly contemporary-looking addition to the NZMusic4U blog-post inventory. I do feel for the eggs though...



Pop Mechanix - Jumping out a Window (1981) Hi Res Remastered Audio Version

Janine and The Mixtape - I know it's wrong to say this, but it's on my mind...

Another magical tidbit from Janine and The Mixtape that hints at some very good material to come. Apparently the beat was put together on a plane with vocals added over the last day or so. Just "leaked" and I am loving it...



Janine and The Mixtape - I know it's wrong to say this, but it's on my mind...

Anna Coddington - Bolt

I had a chance meeting with the multi-talented (including karate!) Anna Coddington in an airport lounge the other day and this reminded me to look her music up, driven in part by my affection for her contribution to "Little Lotus EP", Benny Tones' charity project with profits going to children on the Myanmar/Thailand border. Anna's contribution was "Big Life", a slightly Caribbean mix of samples, simple beats, and engaging melody. What I particularly liked was hearing her music with textural layering, amidst a modestly electronic production environment. I personally would like to hear more material similarly developed. I looked up some YouTube videos and came across "Bolt" from the "Cat & Bird" album. A good song, well-produced with a great little video by Sally Tran. The subject matter is clear enough! You can have a listen to the album at the link below.

The "Cat & Bird" album is available to both listen and purchase at the following link: http://annacoddington.bandcamp.com/



Anna Coddington - Bolt

Spring Break - Baby You're Better

Channelling George Michael and Andrew Ridgely from the early 1980s, but sexier (!), here are the guys from Spring Break, a new project from Ryan McPhun (The Ruby Suns) and James Dansey (The Sneaks). Described as by some as "homo-erotic", this single is getting some good reviews both in New Zealand and the UK. You can buy the single at the link below:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Baby-Youre-Better/dp/B008W3MGJ0




SPRING BREAK - BABY YOU'RE BETTER

Julia Deans - Broken Home

I love Julia Deans electronically immersed. I have to admit that I have known she is good (if not great), but never really warmed to her obvious talent. That is just my bias for multi-layered textures etc. But on the flight to where I am now (Boston), I have been listening over and over again to her contribution to The Little Lotus Project, a charity project set up for kids on the Myanmar/Thailand border (Benny Tones). I can't stop listening to "The Space In Between", then I walk into the hotel, do the usual, and discover this gem. Planets are aligning methinks. I just love this. The video is by Stephen Tilley.

You can buy The Little Lotus EP here: http://littlelotusproject.bandcamp.com/



Julia Deans - Broken Home

Connan Mockasin - Faking Jazz Together

A new video for a song from Connan Mockasin's 2010 (2011 re-release new name) album "Please Turn Me Into the Snat (Forever Dolphin Love). Monsieur Mockasin (real name: Connan Hosford) is very well-connected into the music scene in the UK, having been there since 2007. He has collaborated with Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim) and has toured, or is touring with notables such as Radiohead, Pete and the Pirates, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Crowded House. This song "Faking Jazz Together" is a good example of the psychelic/atmospheric music that Connan is known for. Hang out with Connan for a few minutes...



Connan Mockasin - Faking Jazz Together (Official Video)

Dimmer - Cold Water

Shayne Carter's Dimmer is no longer but he has left us with a large reservoir of great videos. And this is one of them. Directed by Dylan Pharazyn with 3D animation by Gary Sullivan. In digital terms, this is quite an old video - June 2009. It still looks great (it is only 3 years of course!). The song "Cold Water" is from the "Degrees of Existence" album. The link below is for a NZ Herald article on Shayne Carter's latest plans.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=10806318



DIMMER - Cold Water

Lips Live Review

Lips played at Spike Hill in Williamsburg, New York last night. Go to www.nzmusic4ulive.com for a review of her performance.

Streets of Laredo Live Review

I got to see Streets of Laredo live in Brooklyn, New York last night. The review of their performance is at www.nzmusic4ulive.com.

Lawrence Arabia - The Listening Times

"The Listening Times" is from Lawrence Arabia's recent album "The Sparrow" and follows on from the "Travelling Shoes" video which I posted back in July. I prefer this song I think. It is one of the best on what is a good album. From an NPR article linked below (showing the international reach of our protagonist), James Milne says this song is "about this kind of conversational dead end that happens at roughly 6 a.m., when you've been up all night partying. When the last vestiges of everyday humanity begin to ebb from the gathered personnel and they become conceited, dumb beasts, talking endlessly about being young and 'living in the moment.'". The video is by Simon Ward and is apparently based on 1960s Polish TV pop shows. I like it. "The Sparrow" is available for purchase at the following link:  http://www.lawrencearabia.com/

As an aside, for New Zealand musicians, James Milne's approach is a "how to" for marketing a musical niche globally. I am impressed by how he has done it. Of course, the material needs to be of the appropriate standard - which clearly it is.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/allsongs/2012/09/27/161906862/first-watch-lawrence-arabia-the-listening-times



Lawrence Arabia - "The Listening Times" Official Video

Loui the ZU - Fake Friends feat. Why S.L

It is pretty clear to me that one day Loui the ZU is going to have a hit single. I don't think this is it but much like with Janine and The Mixtape, all the necessary talent and material is there. I think this song is great, and I really enjoy Loui's delivery, however the production is just a little muddy, and there is some unnecessary distortion on the drum track to my ears. Maybe a remix? But don't get me wrong, this is a thumbs-up for Loui. Just a matter of time before something big happens. He is of course on the Critic's Choice shortlist for the New Zealand Music Awards, and there is good reason for that.



Loui the ZU - Fake Friends feat. Why S.L : (Official Video)

Louie Knuxx - 'Stan Howse'

I found this comment on the YouTube page for this video. Not particularly eloquent but sums it up for me: "louie knuxx you need to get your ass over to america!! a lot of us are tired of the typical "i got this i got that im like this im like that" type of shit that the majority around here is putting out" [danse1]. Couldn't agree further. Much of current hip-hop is formulaic and departs from the original premise of what I like to think of as cinematic musical street poetry. Occasionally someone comes along who has an authenticity, combined with an aesthetic, that cuts through, and Todd Williams aka Louie Knuxx is one of those. The "Stan Howse" song and video succeeds on all levels. Superb, non-intrusive, but haunting production by Jay Knight, a well-photographed and edited video, and of course a personal and defiant rap that uses the volatile life of Stan Howse from Bone, Thugs-N-Harmony as it's basis, which also brings with it a touch of sadness. I suspect a good time was had by all in the making of this video ;) . I like the ironic combination of party with the rap's content. I am very much looking forward to Louie Knuxx's upcoming EP "Dying Slow". You can find out more about Louie Knuxx at this link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/LOUIE-KNUXX/130103447007315



Louie Knuxx - 'Stan Howse' OFFICIAL VIDEO

Dianne Swann / Radiohead Duet; "How Can You Be Sure"

Dianne Swann, one of the New Zealand music industry's treasures, once a member of When The Cats Away (1980s), a founder member of The Julie Dolphin, is currently one of The Bads (both bands in partnership with the talented Brett Adams). This is the story of her career in the 1990s and her encounters with Radiohead. Her duet with Thom Yorke made it onto the Japanese edition of "The Bends", sadly in that country only. But there is more to this story...

Watch the video then find out more about The Bads at this link: http://thebads.com/biography.html



Dianne Swann / Radiohead Duet; "How Can You Be Sure"

Late Nyte Hype - We All Are

Late Nyte Hype, self-described as "straight power-pop", have been around since December 2011. Their debut single "So High" had some success earlier in the year and this is their latest offering. Auckland-based Kidz in Space have had more than a little to do with this - Josh Fountain on the production desk, and Ashley Hughes adding some useful words later in the song. I think it works. A little bit of radio sunshine for summer? You can buy the song at the link below:

http://itunes.apple.com/nz/album/we-all-are-single/id562823363



Late Nyte Hype - We All Are

Bryan Bell - Sure Seems A Long Way Down

One of my enduring disappointments is that this brilliant songwriter, arranger and producer did not see his career take off as a result of several singles released in the mid-2000s. Bryan Bell was one of the drivers behind the moderately successful (internationally that is) band "Dead Flowers". He went out on his own in the early 2000s and from what I know, didn't break (please correct me if needed). This is a travesty as his talent is plain to see. Each of his singles has been so easy to both respect and like, and this song, with its intentionally horrific video (censored version here) is one those songs I wish I had written. I am not up to date on what Bryan is doing right now. He deserves at least to be harvesting some substantial publishing dollars as a result of licensing the work seen here. You can see the uncensored version of this video as well as buy Bryan Bell's music at the following link: http://www.amplifier.co.nz/artist/17908/bryan-bell.html



Bryan Bell - Sure Seems A Long Way Down

The Eversons - Terminally Lame

Look what the wind blew in. The Eversons have delivered a re-working of "Terminally Lame" off the "Summer Feeling" album, and they have....delivered! Excellent (rather scary) video. Great song. I love that chorus - "bah bah bah, bah bah bah bah....etc". Great for someone as linguistically challenged as the writer of this blog (something that has gradually become more apparent, the more I am required to write). I am not being sarcastic. It is a fun song and at least we will all know the words to this chorus at their next gig - which I am looking forward to catching when I can. You can buy The Eversons' music at the following link:

http://lilchiefrecords.storenvy.com/collections/22128-the-eversons



The Eversons - Terminally Lame

Honour Roll Change - Scratch 22

It's been nagging at me for a couple of days. The imagery in the Scratch 22 "Cold Hands" video just keeps on coming back at me. Even dreamt about it. The song and visuals work so well together, and the message to me is clear...although I will leave that for readers/viewers to decide. This lovely little piece of art is so good, I need to recognize it - so it is Honour Roll bound. "Moss Green Cape" from Family Cactus has been replaced as a result. As I have said before...this is not a reflection of "Moss Green Cape's" quality, but more that the Honour Roll must eventually change over time. I am really looking forward to Scratch 22's new album.

Cavell - The Crowd feat. Sidney Diamond

Here it is, the long anticipated video from Cavell - "The Crowd". Sidney Diamond adds some words that most NZ musicians would identify with. I have previously posted Cavell as I like what he does with his production - sparse when it needs to be, but with complexity and layering where it makes sense. There is a greater use of (noticeable) delay and reverb in this song and it works well with the simple piano line in particular. Nice voice. Not sure about the ending, but I can live with that as the rest is pretty difficult to dislike. A very good new song from one of New Zealand's up and coming R&B/Hip Hop talents.

This song is on the EP "Last Summer" out on iTunes and available at this link: http://itunes.apple.com/nz/album/last-summer-ep/id562818706



Cavell - The Crowd feat. Sidney Diamond

Lips - One Not Two

In anticipation of catching Lips live at Spike Hill in Brooklyn, New York on October 13th, I thought it prudent to catch up with Steph Brown's back catalogue so purchased "Lips Songs". Released in October 2010, and from which "One Not Two" hails, it's not really an album so much as an extended EP, but well worth the $9 I paid for it. I like "One Not Two" (this video) but my favourite song off the album is "The Man From Amsterdam". The crisp minimalist, stripped-back pop-soul of Lips that one has heard recently in "Everything to me" and "We don't have much time" is very much present in this album and I love it - well all songs except "Scarlett & the Impala", which has yet to grab me. But that is a minor issue. I can't help think that this music is going to show up on movie soundtracks all over the place. I am not great with my verbiage typically, and was searching for some words to describe the album that would overcome that limitation and I ended up with "evocative" and "contemplative". Not sure if that completely encapsulates the album, but do with it what you will. There is clearly a reason I am not a professional writer. I do like this album, and recommend it. You can buy it at the link below:

http://lipssongs.bandcamp.com/album/lips-songs



Lips - One Not Two (2010)

Funkommunity - Dandilion

This song comes from an album I highly recommend - "Chequered Thoughts". Funkommunity is Isaac Aesili and Rachel Fraser, and an ad-hoc range of talented musicians. Their music is an integration that works. A range of influences pulled in to create what ends up as an interesting electro funk/soul blend. You can buy the music at this link: http://funkommunity.bandcamp.com/



Funkommunity - Dandilion

Young - Ruby Frost

Could this be it? The one that breaks Ruby Frost? It has several things going for it including faint echoes of The Naked & Famous"Youngblood" both in terms of video, and to a lesser degree song & sound. And of course there is Ruby Frost (who projects well in the video). The whole thing is very polished. I have to be honest, I don't think this is her best song and she has clearly proven capable of much better. But it is a good song. I think part of the problem is her voice is not pushed to those places which mark her out. I know this song will grow on me, and maybe with a bit of airplay this could be the kicker that Ms de Jong needs. I don't post anything I don't like, and I have posted this. Enough said.



Young - Ruby Frost

Scratch 22 - Distance From View EPK

I bought "Distance From View" a couple of days ago and have since had the realization that Scratch 22 is pretty amazing. He is already successfully building a global awareness base, but there is a depth to the creativity that interests me that makes me think he has multitude of options to work with, including cinema and TV. I highly recommend the album, although for me it is not an album to listen to, so much as an album to experience. It is great music to accompany activity of some sort. And that explains how the integration of a cinematic vision based on movement can work so well with Scratch 22's textured grooves. Following on from that, this EPK shows off Scratch 22 to good effect...the intentional and very effective visual irony being the lack of movement seen in the other videos.



Scratch 22 - Distance From View EPK

KidsOf88 - LaLa

The latest single from KidsOf88, "LaLa" from the new album "Modern Love" which is coming early October from Sony. I have previously posted "Tucan" which I prefer as a single, but this still has merit and sounds like it could be a chart hit. "Tucan" never really sounded like it had chart potential, but it is one of the best tracks they have put together. Old friends for over ten years, having met at St Peter's College, Auckland, KidsOf88 is Jordan Arts and Sam McCarthy. They have a strong body of work now and it seems the new album might just have a few highlights. I am looking forward to it.



KidsOf88 - LaLa (Official Video)

Die! Die! Die! - Trinity

The gorgeous Amy Usherwood (previously seen in "Out of the Blue" and "Shortland Street") stars in what is probably one of the best Die! Die! Die! videos, although not the usual cut. Nice little twist. Just where is Andrew Wilson...? Well done 45rpm - well directed. Nice photography. Oh - and the song? "Trinity" is off the new album "Harmony". Great song although I think it is a little overwhelmed by the video. But we will live with that.



Die! Die! Die! - Trinity

Scratch 22 - Cold Hands

An awesome video from Scratch 22 who have previously been posted on this blog. In each case the video has augmented the musical offering although I think both "Cold Hands" and "Medicine Man" stand on their own musical merits if you like a laid-back, many-textured groove. The man on the walking machine is a recurrent theme in both videos. Not sure why, but it works for me. The imagery is startling in both cases. This video is directed by Bob Van Der Wall. I note the involvement of Veronica Crockford-Pound and one of the Dryburghs in acting roles, which links this indirectly with the brilliant "Fortune" video from Dear Times Waste directed by Ms Crockford-Pound. I suppose not surprising that talented individuals know each other in such a small community! Not even sure why I am commenting on it! This song is from the "Distance From View" album available at the link here: http://www.scratch22.co.nz/releases.html



Scratch 22 - Cold Hands

Mother Goose - Baked Beans

To mark cracking the 100 post mark on NZMusic4U, I am providing a demonstration of the historical depth of talent in the New Zealand music industry, more specifically Dunedin. This was a major hit in 1977. "Baked beeeeans, running down my cheeks, down my shirt, cross my feet...in my hair"...

For info on this song go to: http://www.nzonscreen.com/title/baked-beans-1977



Mother Goose - Baked Beans (1977)

Janine & The Mixtape - Holding Hands with a Dark Mind [Teaser]

Here we have a little teaser for new material from Janine & The Mixtape and it bodes well. The song (excerpt only) is "Holding Hands with a Dark Mind". I think it is footage from her arrival in New York recently. Nicely edited. And that marks the 100th post on www.nzmusic4u.com!



Janine & The Mixtape - Holding Hands with a Dark Mind [Teaser]

Tom Lark - All Night Long

I am a big fan of Tom Lark's writing sensibility. He doesn't seem to write a bad song, and sometimes he gets it very right, witness "Give You All My Lovin", previously posted on this blog. I noticed on Twitter today that someone in Brazil was plugging that song. I am not surprised that Tom Lark's market is offshore as I have always thought they need to target a global niche with the idea that they might potentially crossover and break out. This is another excellent song with great melody and dynamics. The video is by the drummer of the band who they like to call "Fowl Face"(!)...Daniel Fowler. Catch his other work at www.youtube.com/nzmusicvideos. You can buy Tom Lark's music at http://tomlark.bandcamp.com/. I already have done so, and was listening to it as I walked through London today - thinking what potential it had over here.



Tom Lark - All Night Long