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