I was travelling around the USA for much of October and managed to miss the release of this wonderful atmospheric song/video combo - with the great Edward Waaka popping up again,. Wherever Mr Waaka goes, he ends up bringing an extra "something" to the mix e.g. Third3ye. Dan Aux is an Australian but must now be an honorary Kiwi after having lived in Auckland for some years, after originally hailing from Newcastle, NSW. For me "Clockwork" sounds nothing less than Kiwi with echoes of Trinity Roots somewhere in that electronic blend. This track is a co-production with Faster Than Light, apparently Dan Aux' flatmate. The brilliant video, with some weird synchronicity against the release of "Gravity" (released globally in the same month) was directed by Brant Fraser with photography by Andrew McGeorge.Video FX were put together by Mike Robinson. An awesome end-product guys. You can download "Clockwork" at the Soundcloud link below. Enjoyed this much.
Dan Aux & Faster Than Light "Clockwork" ft Ed Waaka
I am thinking that Ophelia might be an acquired taste, but it is also a taste I have started to acquire. There is a need to hear more material beyond the recently released "Face The Sea" EP but "Not So Frightening" has a great vocal delivery, and interesting dynamics set against strong production values. There is also a striking visual identity emerging here. Ophelia are Patrick Shanahan and Alex Louise. They talk of being influenced by "dubstep, indie/folk and orchestral soundscapes". I hear a sound of their own in there. They should head off overseas ASAP and see where they get to (yes I always say that). This single is an indication that this band can write and deliver quirky AND commercial sounds/hooks. Could go far. You can buy "Face The Sea" at the link below.
OPHELIA - Not So Frightening (Official Music Video)
"Mo jikan" ("time up!"). Ok I lived in Tokyo for five years, so won't labour the point but have experienced that particular vibe many times. I think this might be one of the best Shapeshifter videos. Luscious imagery combined with Pokémon "jarmies", Transformers...and luxuriant images of luxury brand-shops. I am not quite sure what it is about, but I have never let that get in the way of enjoying what is often a pretty banal art form. The Shibuya vibe here is awesome, and the lighting/colourization are striking. Tokyo is often a weird blend of isolation and intimacy, especially for the "gaijin" (foreigners), and Nick Dwyer and Tu Neill have done a great job of taking us there on this video. What is one of the better songs off the "Delta" album has ended up in a place it might not have. I remain a big Shapeshifter fan and "Delta" is an awesome album. Of course I own it. You can buy it too - at the link below. Yokatta desu yo!
P.S. At 4:44...is that one of the advertising guys from "Lost in Translation"?
Shapeshifter "Endless" Official Music Video
From their debut album "Fragments Fine" due early 2014, City Oh Sigh have released the single "Sometimes" as a promotional free download. Whimsical vocals from main songwriter Kate Uhe, the rising horn line, percussive strings and a beautifully constructed drum part...all served to hook me on first listening. City Oh Sigh is a four piece band of trained musicians, principally female, with a male jazz drummer (I think) called "Hikurangi". Three of the four were previously known to Wellingtonians in the guise of The Sisters of St Rupertsburg. James Goldsmith was on the faders for this offering and a fine job he has made of it. Wellington and Berlin-based boutique animation and video production firm "National Park" was responsible for the great-looking video (http://www.national-park.co.nz). Thank you to Wellington indie/folk outfit French for Rabbits for bringing the video to my attention. You can download "Sometimes" at the Bandcamp link below.
City Oh Sigh | Sometimes
The new album from David Dallas is diverse, an effortless listen, and a triumph, especially personal favourite "My Mentality feat. Freddie Gibbs", "Transmitting Live", "Runnin", and the new single, "The Wire feat. Ruby Frost". The latter track arose from an original composition by Ms Frost from which the digital stems were reconstituted by the massively talented Fire and Ice (who dominate the album's production credits)...and who can also claim much of the credit for David Dallas' accelerating career. The partnership is a sweet spot. Ruby Frost's voice on "The Wire" is stunning as usual, and as she can claim credit to the musical hook, she can also take the credit for one of the more interesting hip-hop inserts of 2013. In visual terms, Joel Kefali, (he who can do little wrong it seems) supplies another classy video...although it is not the best he has done. New Zealand is lucky to have artists of David Dallas' and Fire and Ice's calibre to set standards. I am looking forward to hearing one day that Ruby Frost has joined Lorde in breaking the US market, as she is clearly good enough to do so. You can buy the new album at the link below. I have bought it.
David Dallas - The Wire ft. Ruby Frost
With one of the year's best local hip-hop tracks (produced by AZA), and an interesting video to give it a nudge, Onehunga's talent-favoured son is delivering tasty beats again. Spycc has been a must-listen hip-hop artist for me since I first heard his free "Self Progression" EP back in late 2012. "Slow Down" is well-helped by the gorgeous vocals of Mahalia Simpson and cruises along beautifully with a syncopated back-beat that for lack of a better phrase, is "toe-tapping"(sorry). Spycc's music is often a melding of a range of sounds/samples/influences into a self-assured and cohesive end-product, and this track is no different. The original and quite quirky video has a deliberately degraded 90s Betamax-video vibe and was directed by Danny Aumua, with photography by David Chan. The synchronization of the bring-to-focus with stammered sample at 0.20 is brilliant! "Slow Down" is a free download at the Soundcloud link below.
Spycc - Slow Down
I have been trying to fathom the phenomenon that is Lorde. I had completely underestimated the power law driving the popularity of this youngster's art. Maybe it's that interesting paradox of the "accessible", combined with an intellectual remoteness. The new single "Team" is well-produced, and the lyrics are very good, though by no means is it "track of the year". Despite that, it still has an "X factor", something Lorde has effortlessly projected since inception. In her own words, from Facebook, and a example of the accessibility..."this video was borne from a dream i had a few months ago about teenagers in their own world, a world with hierarchies and initiations, where the boy who was second in command had acne on his face, and so did the ...girl who was queen. i dreamt about this world being so different to anything anyone had ever seen, a dark world full of tropical plants and ruins and sweat. and of this world, i dreamt about tests that didn't need to be passed in order to be allowed in: sometimes the person who loses is stronger. enjoy xx". The video was directed by Young Replicant.
Describing themselves as "epic indie-alternative immersive folk", Paper Cranes are principally husband and wife team, Fraser and Naomi Browne. Additional members are Joel Bremner, Kristina Roper, Tim Roper and Matt Hoyle. There is a well-projected seam of "Nihon no bunka" running through the identity of the band, courtesy of Naomi's upbringing in Japan. I understand the lingering affection, having lived in Tokyo for five years in the 1990s. It gets in the blood. I first came across Paper Cranes in September 2012 when they released their debut EP "Oh, Love". The debut album "Be My Home" is to be released sometime in the new year, "Little Darling" being the first single off that release. The band revealed the song was the result of an intense personal experience, "written in the middle of a health scare, so the subject matter was a response to that. Its about hope and renewal springing from a dark place". Bruce Lynch played bass on the song. The single was (well) produced by Nic Manders, known for the work he has done with some of the best NZ folk artists including Lydia Cole. The very-good-looking video was directed by regular visual collaborator Nikki Castle, and was filmed in the Crystal Palace theatre in Auckland using a combination of new and found footage. If you would like to know more about the band, or get hold of some of their lovely tunes, please go to the link below.
Paper Cranes 折り鶴 - Little Darling
Delivering his inner Bryan Ferry with loads of sevenths and heavy chorus effects, Connan Mockasin slinks it up in this delightfully sorta-sexy video for the first single from the new, and well-reviewed "Caramel" album. We have a Daniel Brereton video ("Forever Dolphin Love") again. Daniel is not a Kiwi but he has given Mr Mockasin another video that seems so appropriate to the material. The new album has been described variously by the UK's Guardian newspaper as "an LSD binge in a sleazy motel, or an elf covering a Barry White album, or maybe even a rom-com set on Mars". "Eclectic" is probably a dull, but viable adjective. The best way to approach Connan Mockasin is to force oneself to listen to it several times, and then as it works its way into the subconscious, slowly come to the realization that other music favs won't sound quite as interesting again. The album is available on vinyl at the link below. It is also available as a digital download at the Amazon link below that.
Connan Mockasin - I'm The Man, That Will Find You (Official Video)
The next couple of days will be "Connan Mockasin Days", marking the recent release of the "Caramel" album. Today its 2011's "Forever Dolphin Love", and tomorrow, the new video for "I'm The Man, That Will Find You". Both are Daniel Brereton videos. A chance encounter with a fan of the man at a London gig for French for Rabbits reminded me to remind you just how good this expat musician/composer/producer can be. Mr Mockasin's music is an acquired taste, and not for all, but it definitely rewards some listening effort. Although his creativity seems owned by nobody, one can pick up flecks of genre influences which range from 1970s soul to 1960s psychedelia. I believe it pretty safe to say that no one has ever sounded like Connan Mockasin. The layers of textural discordance that come and go, the lashings of syrupy sweetness in between, and the heavily-effected man-child vocals..."unique" is an overused word...but it is. "Forever Dolphin Love" is from 2011's album of the same name. You can download the album at the link below. Remember to come back tomorrow for the more recent material.
Connan Mockasin - Forever Dolphin Love (Official Video)
Connan Mockasin - Forever Dolphin Love (Official Video)
Introduced to me by Wellington-based music writer Martyn Pepperell, Broods has been a notable miss (by about 8 weeks!) as a result of my recent travels. With production by Joel Little, and creating a substantial buzz stateside...this release is clearly (and cleanly) launching off the Lorde bow wave...and doing it well. Albeit not a lyrical offering it is a lovely combination of ethereal vocal textures and subtle dance-infused beats...with the dynamics that I pretty much always need to like something. The lineage is Nelson's The Peasants, posted elsewhere on this blog. The video, shot and edited by Jordan Arts, is a beauty. You can download the "Bridges" single for free at the link below. I have done so gladly. What's in the water down there Nelson?
Postscript: I have learnt that those tracks I keep coming back to are the ones are worthy of being on the NZMusic4U Honour Roll. So up it goes - both on the Honour Roll, and the global charts hopefully!
BROODS - Bridges (Web Video)
This Croatian-New Zealand hybrid sisterhood make catchy, idiosyncratic dance tunes that easily justify their place on NZMusic4U. It might all be just a little bit indie/hipster without 'em. I last posted "Turn Me Out" in 2012. The song was a triumphant cooperative effort with P Money and LA-based vocalist Kaleena Zanders. The Fish'n Clips video was a goodie also. "Run" features Canadian vocalist Mars on vocals. The slightly off-key vocal performance took me awhile to warm to, but now its difficult to imagine the song without that vulnerability of delivery. Currently working on their first album, the duo have plans to base themselves in Europe to further leverage what is an emerging dancefloor/DJ brand. If you like "Run", you can buy the song at the link below. Go on...
MayaVanya - Run
It's only been 9 months or so, but Todd Williams aka Louie Knuxx is back with a new album "PGT/GRR". "Interlude" is a teaser for the album, the video being put together by S.Williamson for "photosbyghost". He's done a great job. Louie goes places other people don't with his writing, and there's almost a silky menace to his delivery. Combined with the production talents of Jay Knight, the end result is just magic. I initially found the vocal too low in the mix on this track but adjusted after a few listens. The driving loop is simple, dominates the track, but doesn't outstay its welcome. I think one of the reasons Jay Knight is so good is texture and mix depth are never missing. So far it has been difficult to be disappointed by his work, and in terms of beats producers, I am pretty sure he is one of NZ's up and coming greats. Of the new album, Louie says it is "more mature, more progressive". I haven't heard it yet, so can't comment. But this teaser is sounding great. I loved "Dying Slow" so the bar has been set high. I own it. If you would like to hear more from Louie, go to the link below. Have a listen, then buy it if you like it.
Louie Knuxx - PGT/GRR Interlude
Although faced with a challenge of similar ferocity to that of the Black Knight in the Monty Python movie "Holy Grail", Grayson Gilmour isn't able to maintain his dignity in mortal combat with a dragon...and dies minus three limbs. No Hollywood endings here. But the soundtrack to this mini-epic is a triumphant, psychedelic counterpoint to his gory failure as a knight. Grayson has had a video posted on NZMusic4U previously, and he returns with this soaring track from his upcoming album, to be released in early 2014 on New Zealand's famous Flying Nun label. "Minus Times Infinity" also features Claire Duncan of Dear Times Waste whose work has featured many times on NZMusic4U previously, including making the NZMusic4U Honour Roll for her "Fortune" video. Put together by Jessie Taylor-Smith, the video for "Minus Times Infinity" was meticulously hand-painted frame-by-frame, as was done by early cinematic pioneers. This fascinating and fun visual work has made the BBC Music Video Festival, an online event celebrating innovative musical-visual collaborations. See the link at the bottom of this post for more. Wellington-based Grayson is a talented multi-instrumentalist and composer who this year won Best Composer at the 2013 SORTA New Zealand Film Awards. Clearly enormously talented, I am looking forward to hearing what he comes up with on the new album. In the interim you can buy "Minus Times Infinity" at the link below. I will be.
Grayson Gilmour - Minus Times Infinity
I don't like posting covers. But against that, I have no problem posting a New Zealand artist covering another New Zealand artists' material...especially where they have taken that material somewhere special. Princess Chelsea is somewhat of an indie icon in New Zealand, continuously delivering defiantly original material, that she has tagged on Bandcamp as "chamber pop", but which in truth is pretty difficult to categorize. It is often, but not always, a combination of nursery-rhyme-like melody combined with ascerbic lyrical observations. The Princess is now famous for having over ten million views of her "Cigarette" video, created in partnership with another New Zealand artist, Jonathan Bree. She is not quite as famous for making very little, if any money out of this extraordinary success. But I suppose this is the artist's burden in a period of structural and technologically-driven mispricing of artistic content. That doesn't mean we shouldn't be paying artists though, so here is your opportunity to contribute. "We're So Lost" is a cover of a song from the long-running, and simply brilliant Auckland band Voom. One of the founding members, Andrew MacCaskill, sadly died just over a year ago at the age of 49...my age. It resonates. Both Princess Chelsea and Voom are available through the brilliant little label that could, Lil' Chief Records. I have supplied a link to the label below. The original version of "We're So Lost" is as compelling as the Princess' version, and I am pretty chuffed that it is still available as a free download (at the link below). Go get it. Then go buy Princess Chelsea's version at the link below that. I recommend both. Make sure to pay if you like it! I have. (Another great video from Simon Ward by the way.)
Princess Chelsea - We're So Lost
Princess Chelsea - We're So Lost
From inception in 2011, The Wyld have gained recognition from international music blogs and other industry influencers. The local industry has been slower to catch on, but there is now growing support. The band's fusion of hip-hop, rock and electronica could have been clumsy, but they seem to have worked out how to integrate these elements to create a cohesive sound, all their own. Strong production values have been applied consistently, even with scarce resources. In fact I have been constantly impressed by their ability to create the illusion of backing by "big bucks" production budgets. This video for "Confusion", for what may be their breakout track (10,000 downloads since mid-October), is a good example of their aesthetic talents. Done on a shoestring it is an interim solution until they finish the official video for the track. The video is a simple idea, but is executed well, not hurt by what is a photogenic band. The Wyld have an integrity, but they are also eminently marketable, and for that reason I am picking these guys for break-out success over the next year or so. The USA is beckoning, and Lorde's coat-tails are there to be ridden. I look forward to seeing the official video. You can buy their new "Abstract" EP at the link below. I like it.
The Wyld - CONFUSION (Online Video)
I am off to Ronnie Scott's in Soho (London) tomorrow evening. It is something I have been looking forward to as it marks approximately 25 years since I last saw Nathan Haines play. The last time I think was at Ellerslie Racecourse where he was accompanied by his brother Joel on guitar, and Steve Harrop on bass. I cannot remember who was on drums (sorry). "The Poet's Embrace" from "Ancestral Dance" is taken from an album that saw Nathan return to more traditional jazz stylings. I enjoy this just as much as his older material that drew on a much wider range of influences. "Squire for Hire" is probably still my favourite of that early period. This quirky little video is a little synchronistic as some of the shots show the Chelsea area where I will be later on in the evening, hopefully to meet Andrea Madden who curates the syncs for "Made in Chelsea", the enormously popular show about young 'toffs' in London. I will be representing the amazing breadth and depth of New Zealand music...although I am not sure how much reminding she needs. "MIC" as it is known has already featured The Phoenix Foundation, Avalanche City, the Naked and Famous, and last week, Lorde. If you like the retro sounds of Nathan Haines, why don't you try his most recent album "Vermillion Skies"at the link below.
Nathan Haines - Ancestral Dance
The lyrics that drive "I Kill Giants" are a result of a young Alisa Xayalith's early adaptation to a world without her mother, a victim of the Big C. They are heart-felt, although somewhat swamped in the powerful textures that The Naked and Famous (TNAF) build around their sound. That is no problem for me. I take the offering as it comes, and enjoy this particular lyrical/textural blend. I actually prefer this sophomore album "In Rolling Waves". Although impressed by the first album "Passive Me, Aggressive You", it was almost as if from a distance. I knew it was good. I was just tired listening to more than 5 songs. This album is more mature, warmer and confirms TNAF as no flash in the pan. I have happily purchased it. As for the video here. Joel Kefali (video director) continues to take the everyday mundane, and imbue it with flecks of the suburban gothic. Here the child-women's dancing morphs gradually into contortions. I assume this is a subtle metaphor for the ongoing torture of having lost such an important person in one's life. It is inspired work to watch. Joel Kefali is at the top of the international game. He must be in such demand now, what with the Lorde videos as well. If you would like to buy "In Rolling Waves", you can do so at the link below.
http://www.amazon.com/In-Rolling-Waves-Naked-Famous/dp/B00E4JGPIOThe Naked and Famous - I Kill Giants
#summershot2014 is a follow on from February's #summershot2013.
#summershot is my way of recognizing, and giving back to, the small, diverse and talented New Zealand music community. This often financially-challenged community helps reinforce our identity as New Zealanders, and confirms that we may take on the world in our way, on our own terms. They also make wonderful tunes!
#summershot2014 manifests simply, as before. I select 50 tracks, each from different artists. Each has supplied a feel-good "dopamine hit" over the last year. I will then put the artists behind those tracks into a random draw. The three drawn will get a gift of $1000 each. (I am sorry, but bands count as a single person)
The first recipients of #summershot2013 were:
Janine and the Mixtape
The Golden Awesome
The #summershot2014 draw will be held live on Twitter (@NZMusic4U) at 7 pm NZ daylight saving time on January 31st 2014.
I hope it helps just a little.
#summershot2014 comes to you from NZMusic4U and Pure Capital Thinking.
Let's be honest. I could ask, but I haven't. (A little embarrassingly) I have no idea whether Males are called "Males", or "Males Males Males"! There are different versions all over the place. I am defaulting to the former. Superficial I know, but if I did know, I couldn't have started the post this way. A useful creative device. But it doesn't matter anyway, as I only post music I like, and I have heard a bit from these indie Dunedinites, Richard Ley-Hamilton and Sam Valentine. They're posted so clearly I must like them. "So High" was released as a single a year ago, but has been re-released with this video as part of the lead-up to the release of the band's "Run Run Run/MalesMalesMales" EP in November this year (Fishrider Records). The song was produced by Oli Wilson from the sadly-now-defunct Knives At Noon (posted elsewhere on this blog). The Dunedin musical lineage is clear to hear, but in the context of an infectious, poppy offering with tight production, it sounds very fresh to me. Loving the vocal styling. And what a hook! The video was directed by Levi Beamish (Sherpa, Rackets), and produced by Adam Thompson. There is a new single "Lucky Too", released about a week ago, which definitely needs a video also. If you would like to listen/purchase Males' music, please go to the link below. Can't wait to see these guys live sometime.
Males - So High
I am currently in Los Angeles. I was talking last night with Michelle Bakker, manager of The Wyld, who is well-known locally for taking New Zealand artists into the USA market (Greg Johnson was another). I was asking her why there was such slow pick-up in the NZ market for some acts. I have been fascinated by this phenomenon, having noticed that The Wyld have put out reliably excellent song/video combinations, clearly have the "X factor", yet they have struggled (until now) to get buy-in from the local industry. (That might just be changing as I hear the ZM radio network is doing a promo with their new "Abstract" EP.) The band have been getting noticeably good noise out of the big international blogs, and are landing, or close to landing, some big syncs etc. And international record company interest is definitely there. But local buzz has been pretty pathetic. The same can be said of The Neo-Kalashnikovs whose "Gorgeous Baby" video has now picked up 180,000 plays, yet they have struggled to get it broadcast on NZ TV. Most of the local gatekeepers I think have been unfair in their evaluation of what is a very good song (I can imagine many syncs as well for this song). The Neo-Kalashnikovs have plenty of fans offshore. I suspect (this is my view alone) that NZ's selection of taste arbiters (reviewers, A&R, grant-deciders) may be just too narrow, and this is causing a problem for those acts that actually have broad appeal offshore, but don't quite fit into the NZ market. I am interested in people's thoughts on this. In the interim, here is the video for the new edit of "Revolution" from The Wyld, off their upcoming "Abstract" EP. I have heard the EP, and it is very, very good. I think we are going to hear some big noise from offshore on these guys. You can hear more from The Wyld at the link below. The new EP will be available at this link I imagine.
The Wyld - REVOLUTION (NEW EDIT) Official Video
Stunning. NYC-based LIPS (Steph Brown) justifiably won the 2012 Silver Scroll for "Everything To Me", but the song really didn't get the video it deserved. The follow-up single "We Don't Have Much Time" (which I prefer) gets a video shot on location in the Big Apple which augments the power of this beautiful, but sad song. With clever photography, capturing dancers' bathed in that lovely early evening, early morning light that New York seems to generate in abundance, this song/video combo delivers on all levels. Steph Brown is a great New Zealand songwriter. Not prolific, but what there is cuts through for its authenticity, often laid against bare electronic textures. This video was directed by Shern Sharma, with photography by Maria Ines Manchego, and choreography by Chloe Kernaghan. Editing was by Nick Carew. Everyone gets credit here as this video is going on the NZMusic4U Honour Roll. She's So Rad's Jeremy Toy was involved with this as well. You can buy LIPS' "Look, Listen" EP at the link below. I own it.
Lips - We Don't Have Much Time
This video is actually several months old. Introduced to me by Wellington music writer Martyn Pepperell, Noah Slee is a Tongan Kiwi 'future soul' artist now based in Brisbane, Australia. With a look that says "star", we have someone who has the potential to break internationally in a big way. He has had good blog coverage for "Can't Stop" and will be supporting Jill Scott on her November Australian tour. I hope Noah doesn't get himself lost in the career dead-end of Australia. He has spent some time overseas and has quite a pedigree. I am not sure how Noah is thinking, but I know the attraction of support networks, enabling a relatively normal life, leads many to head to Australia as the "international move". But it is as difficult to break Australia as it is to break the USA, and breaking Australia doesn't automatically open up other territories. Ok I am only a blogger, but I do believe someone with the talents of Noah Slee should seriously consider making a permanent move to the USA. Work at it for several years and go through the inevitable ups and downs. From what I can see there is everything here for stateside success. Sure it's difficult in the USA, but there is now a small but cohesive network appearing in Brooklyn, NYC with artists such as Streets of Laredo, Janine and the Mixtape, Lips and Bird Courage (1 member is Kiwi) starting to get noticed. And of course there is the recently-signed Mt Eden, who are also based there, and getting big crowds around the globe. Noah wrote "Can't Stop" with production by Ryan Hemsworth. You can listen to more from Noah Slee at the Soundcloud link below. Watch this career.
Noah Slee - Can't Stop
The real star of this video is Terra, a six year old B-Girl prodigy from UK B-Boy group Soul Mavericks - in a video done very quickly (filmed over seven hours), that delivers remarkably well for the resources available. Talent helps. The video was directed by Francis Wallis for http://www.eiokay.com/. The instrumental is amazing also, like some long lost original gem from a long-dead 1960s group, 'cept its actually new. Terra's shuffling and spins integrate beautifully with the rhythm track. You can almost feel director Francis shuffling his feet as he put together the concept. "Demons" is off Kody Nielson's (Opossom, ex-Mint Chicks) "Devils" album released earlier this year. Pretty special. You can buy the album at the link below.
KODY NIELSON - DEMONS (Official Music Video)
I have always thought this song had a chance commercially. I hope it still does. It will no doubt eventually get sing-alongs at Phoenix Foundation gigs, with a chorus that is one of the all-time classics..."evolution did what creation was afraid of....it turned a monkey to a man". So loaded. Am I the only person who hears a little bit of Empire of the Sun in there? It's not meant as a slight as I love both bands. The album is "Fandango" and I have had it on high rotate for several months now. Is it their best? It might be, but it is definitely "up there" if not. The video was directed by Simon Ward with photography by Joe Hitchcock. Memphis Industries are The Phoenix Foundation's label. You can buy the album at the links below.
The Phoenix Foundation - Evolution Did
My third day of MCs. A bit of activity out there? I know my angle here is so 'not' these guys, but there is something big going on with hip-hop collective Third3ye. Their politics/spirituality probably won't sit easy with the word, but "star" comes to mind. The visual aesthetic is close to complete, their material has depth and range, and it is just not the usual. Self-declared members of the Young, Gifted and Broke collective, and the GVRDEN GANG, they have a new EP release "On3ness" from which "Black Tea" is the first single. This track was put together with Ben Jamin' (a very good Auckland producer), although I am not sure if this production relationship carries across the whole EP. "Black Tea" is definitely more lyrically-emphasized than previous releases. The video was directed by Jordan Cherrington. You can download "Black Tea" for free at the link below. I imagine the EP will be available at some stage soon-ish (I guess), at the same link. Have a listen to the lyrics by the way.
Third3ye - Black Tea (Official Video)
In yesterday's post I made a point of the difference between INF (Onehunga-based MC/producer) and those MC's who feel the need to shout incessantly about their climb to the top. And here we have a song/video that at face value is delivering that over-worked diatribe. Apples are not oranges however. David Dallas's work is focused on the challenges of the long road he had chosen, and it can hardly be described as bombastic. More likely it is uplifting, close to inspirational, and for me is often used an aural back-drop to crossing personal barriers - such as extreme exercise (my "extreme" may be your "low level"). Go look up what 'dopamine' is. It is a great natural drug (but still addictive apparently), and David Dallas' music often supplies those natural highs, especially the last five years' material. Any praise of David Dallas needs to acknowledge the amazing production talents of Fire and Ice. Here there are echoes of the Bristol sound, driving the track along in a trip-hop/hip-hop fusion. The video from Tom Gould looks a million dollars, and I hope this helps David sell his catalogue offshore. The whole offering is world-class. For that reason "Runnin'" is going up on the NZMusic4U Honour Roll. You can buy it at the link below.
David Dallas - Runnin'
I first came across INF in August 2012, although he had already made a name for himself in 2011 in a joint effort with Spycc - who has also been featured on this blog previously. Both come out of the very small, but intriguingly strong Onehunga scene in Auckland, which has been self-described as "Eauxnehunga" (!). Their catch-tag "SWIDT" confounded me for some time, but I have since found out it means..."see what I did there". Now you know. INF delivers challenging, honest rhymes, often against atmospheric, sometimes disturbing sonic backdrops. This is hip-hop/beats delivered as well as anything I have heard, and it is definitely not the usual yell-at-the-mike, "look at me and my career" bombast. "O.D" is off the "Mary Jordan" EP and is produced by Smokey, a prolific and talented Auckland-based beats producer, whose material I often come across. The (very good) video was directed by Tony Douglas and TWEEQ. Ninja Turtles rock! If you like "O.D", it is a free download at the Soundcloud link below. The "Mary Jordan" album is a free download at the Mediafire link below that. Highly recommended for beats fans - and others.
INF - O.D (Prod. Smokey)
An exquisite song/video offering from the very talented Louis Baker, sometimes known as Alby Love, and a founding member of Wellington musical collective Brockaflowersaurus Rex. "Birds" is off Louis' yet-to-be-released debut EP recorded in London over the English summer of 2013. The song was produced and mixed by Andy Lovegrove, known to some as one of the three members of Breaks Co-op from which I understand there is new material coming. Can't wait for that. The new EP from Louis Baker is also keenly awaited as if the standard is anywhere near the level this offering has achieved, it might just be a New Zealand classic. The elegant simplicity of "Birds" with its delicate string arrangements puts this up there with my favourite tracks of the year, making this an obvious candidate for the NZMusic4U Honour Roll, which it is now part of. The similarly simple but elegant video was directed by Mat Baker with photography by Richard Parsonson. You can buy "Birds" at the links below.
Louis Baker - Birds
Little Lapin, previously of indie-pop collective Hand Me Downs, went solo in 2012, and from her debut solo EP comes this distinctive, well produced (Ben King) song with beautifully-developed video directed by Jared Stevenson. Little Lapin actually hails from Plymouth in the UK but discovered Raglan back in 2009. She is now resident in Auckland. Little Lapin's recent single "Waiting Room" gained some international exposure in the winter 2013 digital sampler from hipster mag "Under The Radar" in the USA. Today's song actually made it to the semi-finals of the "Unsigned Only" international music competition. If you would like to hear more, and maybe make a purchase, please see the Bandcamp link below.
Little Lapin - Foreign Places
Even without what is no doubt a very worthy cause, this track stands on its own. Superb production, and a brilliant video from Craig Dunn and Ben O'Hanlon. The video was shot by Drew Sturge. And Tiki Taane is one of NZ's greats of course. The song was written as a co-operative effort between Paw Justice and Tiki as part of a campaign to stop dog-fighting and animal abuse. With production by Tiki and additional production by Optimus Gryme, it is a compelling track. You can buy it at the link below. Want to know more about Tiki? There is a website link below the iTunes link. And of course, enough is enough! Find out more at the Paw Justice link.
Tiki Taane x Paw Justice / Enough is Enough (Official Music Video)
I couldn't really ignore the success of this video on YouTube. It has had over 10,000 views, in a short time, with very little publicity, and it is pretty clear why. It is catchy, infectious, alternative electro-pop. Delete Delete are Lani Purkis (ex-Elemeno P) and Kurt Shanks (ex-Stellar), both from bands that delivered very strong pop tunes that with the right support, may well have "cracked it" globally. "What Do You Take Me For?" is pop gold. I would not be surprised if it is getting quite a bit of airplay in NZ at the moment. If not, what a crime! If Delete Delete keeps delivering songs as strong as this, they should be making some decent money off selling the song (at the very least). This material is well-produced, and hard to fault. Go buy their music at the link below. Have a listen to "Sedated" by the way...
Delete Delete - What Do You Take Me For?
Short, but very sweet. "Tail End" is off the "Still There" EP released in June. Skymning is part of the emerging vanguard of very young, remarkably sophisticated artists emerging from New Zealand - that embrace ambient, loop-driven montages...and I have to say creating music that I would have loved to have around me a couple of (or several!) decades ago. I own the "1993" album. This reminded me I needed to purchase the "Still There" EP - which you can buy at the link below - and I have just bought! Look up Kerosene Comic Book by the way (Bandcamp link below also). This video was directed by Liam Seear-Budd with editing by Orion Holder-Monk.
Skymning - Tail End
I keep posting S.F.T. on Twitter and Facebook. There hasn't been much music video material to work with, but what there is hasn't been difficult to post when it has shown up. It is almost always a good combination of music and visuals. This cooperative effort with Lifers is no different. There is a new S.F.T. album coming...which I assume will be available at the Renaissance Bandcamp link as per usual. I am definitely a fan of the multi-textural vibes, despite the absence of conventional song structures. In my research function, I found the following promotion blurb...."with this project S.F.T. has tried to channel the incomparable genius of his wife's husband and also the amazing looks of his children's father to create a sound that is truly unique.". hehe..! The Soundcloud link below is good place to go hear some of S.F.T.'s other material. Otherwise go to the Renaissance link and buy something.
S.F.T - UMakeMeWanna // Lifers.Co
Channelling late-1980s Peter Gabriel, Urbantramper are back with a new album - coming soon-ish (2014). The Peter Gabriel reference I hope is not taken badly. I love his "So" album and "Your Lung Meridian" could well have been on that anthology. I first came across Urbantramper with the release of the 2012 "Internet Freedom is Love" album and posted the "Stephen Dedalus is My Homeboy" single on this blog (link below). Urbantramper are Phill Jones, Andy Hoy, and the mysterious Lake. For this single they were lucky enough to get Brooke Singer of French for Rabbits, another Wellington band favourite of mine. If you like the single, go buy it at the Bandcamp link below. I will be.
Bandcamp link here:
Urbantramper | Your Lung Meridian (Featuring French For Rabbits)
"Bubblewrap" is off the "Tiny Terrors" EP released in October 2012, the second from the two Dunedin-based musicians that make up Two Cartoons, Brad Craig and Isaac McFarlane. I hear both are versatile instrumentalists and I look forward to seeing them live at some stage. I previously posted the charming "Better Coast", and this is similarly fresh with obvious roots in their southern musical forebears. A competent production job here as well. I understand the band have been recording in Thailand recently so I imagine we have a new EP or album due in the not too distant future. The video for "Bubblewrap" was directed by Jesse Taylor Smith (www.jessetaylorsmith.com) with photography by Jenna Eriksen. If you like "Bubblewrap", the EP is available at the link below. I have just bought it.
Two Cartoons - Bubblewrap
Nik Brinkman (better known to some as "Junica") has been releasing ambient/atmospheric tracks with a distinctly cinematic feel for some time. This is his latest - with a self-directed video. If you like this side of Nik, you can download his "Night Music" album at the link below. It is a personal favourite of mine. (N.B. "A New Language" is not on this album).
Nik Brinkman - A New Language
This is not strictly my usual promotion of New Zealand talent, but never mind, there is plenty of talent at work here, from Pieter T to Tyna, to Chris Graham, one of New Zealand's best video directors. It's a very moving video (great job Chris), and it's a very serious message. NZ has a high suicide rate. "Live For Tomorrow", the project which drives this video, is looking to spread the word about what they do and (in their words) "is a project for those that are struggling with, care about, or are affected by youth suicide, depression, alcohol use, self-harm and bullying. We run media-based initiatives encouraging young people to believe in the possibilities of their future…". I have included a link to the project's website below. There is also a Facebook link. Go have a look. Especially if you are a New Zealander and your life is not great right now... I have also included a Facebook link for Pieter T, although that is probably unnecessary for 50% of NZMusic4U's readers. (I assume most NZ women have that in their favourites already).
Pieter T - Tomorrow feat. Tyna OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO
Psychic Powers was a one-off collaboration in 2010...between LA-based DJ, producer and composer Ale Cohen, and Nik Brinkman, driving force behind NZ's Junica. That band should be well-known to regular readers of this blog. Junica's mostly positively-reviewed album "The Celebration" has been well-represented on NZMusic4U, and this is no accident. I believe Nik is one of NZ's best commercial prospects as a songwriter, and the knowledge of a new album in the works (with some big names attached) has me impatient to see how Nik has developed his art this time round. "The Portal" was written about the "Norway Spiral" event of 2009...explained away as a Russian missile experiment gone wrong...but which once you have seen the footage, is an explanation that is possibly a little difficult to believe in. The video for this track was recently finished off by Nik from footage put together in 2011. He's pretty good at this direction thing eh? The amazing thing is the Psychic Powers "Infinity" album is available as a free download. The whole thing. And if you like well-executed 'poppy' post-punk sounds, that looks like a bargain to me. The download link is below. I have it of course.
Psychic Powers - The Portal
"Sit With A Slouch" is one of the best tracks off Aaradhna's 2012 album "Treble and Reverb". It's a great song, and I am always a sucker for strings (real or sampled), especially retro-sounding arrangements. The vocal performance on this track is also one of the best on the album. Aaradhna was recently signed by Republic Records (Amy Winehouse, Nicki Minaj) in the USA on a multi-album deal. The "Treble and Reverb" album is everything that Aaradhna needed to do to get her career to the next level, and the material fits her vocal abilities, and styling, beautifully. Looking forward to hearing how this one evolves. The video was directed by Guy Blelloch. You can buy the album at the link below.
Aaradhna - Sit With a Slouch
Produced by Kody Nielson (Opossom, The Mint Chicks) and off their upcoming album "Nobody/Everybody", Clap Clap Riot's new single "Everybody" was actually recorded live with only a few overdubs. In order to further 'rough' the finished product up a little more, the recording was subsequently run though a tape machine. I like it. FYI the band are hitting the road in September/October and can be caught live in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Songs don't get posted here without a good video. This one is by filmed, directed and edited by Jeremy Toth with additional help on the editing by Karlie Fisher. You can download "Everybody" for free at the link below...(until the end of the tour). I have included a Bandcamp link for back-catalogue.
Clap Clap Riot - Everybody (Official)
I just love this band. It took awhile to get there, but the "Harmony" album is a regular listen for me now, "Twitching Sunshine" being the third single off that anthology. Although not directly related to the lyrical content, the video is brilliant and an awesome diversification of the Die! Die! Die! video catalogue. It's about time this bit of 1960s history was remembered again. There were some enormous injustices that both the Black Panther Party and Malcolm X attempted to right, but the forces up against them were formidable. You can buy the "Harmony" album at the links below. I have bought it obviously!
The histories of both the Black Panther Party and Malcolm X are available at the links below:
Die! Die! Die! - Twitching Sunshine (Official Video)
The histories of both the Black Panther Party and Malcolm X are available at the links below:
Die! Die! Die! - Twitching Sunshine (Official Video)
This new production/arrangement partnership with Sean Donnelly has been good for the Anna Coddington sound. "Make You Mine" doesn't have the immediacy of "Bird In Hand" (which made the NZMusic4U Honour Roll for being all-round excellent), but it is creeping up on me, definitely helped by the re-appearance of clever string arrangements from Mr Donnelly. Chris O'Connor augments a drum machine backdrop with some of the real thing. Anna is on guitar and bass. The bass line I like. It doesn't shout at the listener, but I can't imagine the song without it. And of course the production is superb. It's a sad little video, ably directed by Aidee Walker with editing by Alexander Gandar. That beautiful bird artwork is by Matt Timpson. You can buy the single at the link below. I just have.
MAKE YOU MINE by Anna Coddington
From their upcoming debut album "Wasting", "San Pedro" continues the sound that emerged with the (particularly good) first two singles from Doprah...those being "Whatever You Want" and "Stranger People". But absent those two singles, I am not sure if this video would be here. Don't get me wrong, it is a good album track. I love that Doprah 'sound' and there are some interesting things about the track, especially the delay layering that builds then fades out. But it's not a single. Hopefully there is a video coming for one of those first two singles. They both deserve a good one. And Julian Vares ("San Pedro" director/DOP) is probably the right person to do it. I like what he has done here. Put "San Pedro" alongside the first two singles, and we still have a small but very good body of work that hints at one of the most exciting new bands to emerge over the last twelve months. Wondering who Doprah are? There is now quite a few live extras, but the core is Christchurch's Steven Marr from Ipswich, and Auckland's Indi Force, an extremely promising emerging solo artist in her own right. The single is a free download from the link below.
Postscript/Mea Culpa: Repeated playings of this have me changing my tune. It is still not a single. But there is something really infectious about this track. And I love the video.
Doprah | San Pedro | Music Video
Off their new album "Ages", due out globally on Flying Nun on August 27th 2013, director Stuart Page gives us a good-looking, New York-domiciled video for "Here She Comes"...from a band that sounds like it is the perfect bridge between the old Flying Nun and that nasty little thing which might be called the 'modern music market'. A great hook, dynamics and very good production. And of course the nasally-emphasised vocal performance working against those awesome guitar riffs. I love it. Ghost Wave know how to do psychedelic/indie rock. Please read the excellent Martyn Pepperell interview with the guys at the link below (in "|Rip It Up" mag). And if you feel like buying something, there is the Bandcamp link as well.
Ghost Wave - Here She Comes
Writing this blog has had a profound impact on my awareness of the talent that continues to emerge from this tiny country. It sometimes astounds me. Part of it is the democratization of technology which has liberated what might previously have been suppressed. But there is also something else I have alluded to in previous posts. The environment here, although not completely benign, is still pretty supportive for those who want to just 'be themselves' artistically. I had not heard of Daniel McBride prior to this week. Of course he has only been on this planet 19 years or so, so maybe that's not surprising. But considering in his limited lifespan he has already released an EP called "Ablutophobia" that made it into the pages of Italian Vogue and The Guardian's (UK) music blog, and is about to tour Europe with the same guys who toured Sigur Ros, Antony & the Johnsons and Cocorosie, there is quite a lot to be impressed by. He has recently signed with Lil' Chief Records. They might just have got themselves a corker here. Although it is just this single I have heard so far, it hints at someone with a talent sitting at parity with artists like James Blake. Daniel writes, performs, records and produces all the parts here. He plays 8 or 9 instruments on the new album (also called "Egospect") from which this single hails. Daniel says the album "is essentially an inspection of myself" with " a lot of angst and worries and fears". This single though is more optimistic and looks to "the future and being excited - still scared and worried but also excited and hopeful and happy". He has reason to be optimistic. I have provided a link to Lil' Chief Records below where you can pre-order the new album which is scheduled to be released August 23rd. The video is directed by Ali Burns by the way. So appropriate to the material.
Sheep, Dog & Wolf - Egospect
Sheep, Dog & Wolf - Egospect
New Zealand seems to have a long and growing list of prodigies. One of these is Jay Knight whose production skills came to my attention with Louie Knuxx's "Stan Howse". His ability to create three dimensional vibes which can be simultaneously 'hooky' and challenging, is reason enough to rate him. But his visual creativity stands out as well. This video is a good example. Jay has been lucky to be able to work with some very talented collaborators which have included some of New Zealand's best MCs, such as Raiza Biza, Diaz Grimm, and INF (the list is long). In this example we have the amazing but not widely-known Amarafleur on vocals (w/ an almost Billie Holiday-like performance), and K*SABA adding a saxophone track that lifts the chorus just at the right moment. Amarafleur is Thandi Ntshinga. She was born in South Africa but has since lived in Tanzania and India. This is her first official music release. If "Storm" is any indication, further releases will be noticed. K*SABA is Karnan Saba, a self-taught instrumentalist, composer and producer who has been involved in a range of beats releases/collaborations over the last few years. His "Escape EP" is a personal all-time favourite of mine. "Storm" is off Jay Knight's May 2013 "E + M" album which I own, and if 'beats' are your thing, I strongly recommend it. You can buy "E + M" and the more recent (yes he is prolific!) "Silver Luck" album at the link below. I have included a link to K*SABA's "Escape EP" and other work as well.
Jay Knight - Storm (Feat. AMARAFLEUR & K*SABA)
Jay Knight - Storm (Feat. AMARAFLEUR & K*SABA)
This is the first single off Tom Lark's upcoming new album. Tom was signed to Universal as part of an international deal about six months ago and I know some in the industry have great hopes for him. I do. I will try and find out more and update this post when I do. In the interim, enjoy some Tom Lark awesomeness in this brilliant new video for "Go Get A Job" directed by Sam Kristofski, seen elsewhere on this blog in KidsOf88, Opossom and UMO videos. The single sounds almost a little Mint Chicks/Opossom-ish. It's still Tom though.You can buy his historical material at the link below.
Tom Lark - Go Get A Job
There are probably quite a few of us who did a double-take when seeing an ex-"Coronation Streeter" completely dominating this video by an Auckland indie band. Helen Flanagan has a very high tabloid profile in the UK and she is the last person I would have expected in a New Zealand band's video. But it works. There seems to be a mixed reception to the quality of the video, but if one can get past the obvious sensuality of the visuals, I think it is very good, especially considering it was done for less than $500. Very generous both in terms of time, exposure and performance from an actress who is often much-maligned by the tabloids. The single cover is quite beautiful by the way. As for the song, well in conjunction with the video it works very well. I listened to it in isolation it and it pretty quickly took me back to early 1990s indie-rock (e.g. 4 Non-Blondes). The Neo-Kalashnikovs are from the Bioletti family. Volita Bioletti on songwriting, vocals and guitar, the classically-trained Gabriel Bioletti on keyboards and bass, and Moss Bioletti on drums. They have been playing together for some time and have toured the USA extensively. Wanna buy it? I have included a Bandcamp link below. For your entertainment I have also included a tabloid intro to the video. The Herald on Sunday's coverage is photographed on the band's Facebook site so I have included a link there as well too. Well done the Bioletti family! Time to listen a little closer to the Neo-Kalashnikovs.
P.S. Listen to this a few times and think 'Sofia Coppola movie soundtrack'. Maybe it's the visuals...but the analogy works for me.
Gorgeous Baby - The Neo-Kalashnikovs (Starring Helen Flanagan) OFFICIAL
P.S. Listen to this a few times and think 'Sofia Coppola movie soundtrack'. Maybe it's the visuals...but the analogy works for me.
Gorgeous Baby - The Neo-Kalashnikovs (Starring Helen Flanagan) OFFICIAL
Another superb video from the Special Problems guys (Campbell Hooper, Joel Kefali) launches the visual campaign for The Naked and Famous' new album, "In Rolling Waves". If it's anything near the standard of this single "Hearts Like Ours", it is looking to be a promising sophomore album offering. The new album is available on pre-order at the link below. You can buy the rest at the same link.
The Naked And Famous - Hearts Like Ours
"Bad Talk" is the fourth single off the second album from KidsOf88, "Modern Love", and is a reminder of how good that album is. Released in late 2012 it is again on the Dryden Street label, this time distributed by Universal Music NZ. For a very good recent-ish interview with the guys, see the link below to www.thedownlow.co.nz. Some interesting information on being in close proximity to Ke$ha (who they toured Europe with) and who "actually did live up to her cliché of being this down and dirty pop star who just drinks Jim Beam". You can buy the "Modern Love" album at the link below. I already own it. Time to listen again!
KidsOf88 - Bad Talk (Official Video)
Having featured the first single of the upcoming album from School For Birds yesterday ("Mod Love"), today we feature "I Need", their second single. The video is by Shae Sterling, another of that talented bunch of NZ directors who keep coming through with great videos, presumably done on a tight budget. See Shae's website link below. Read yesterday's post for background on Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper and Sean Sturm (previously known as Exiles), or just have a couple of listens to this great piece of electronic pop which was produced by Scott Horscroft (Birds of Tokyo, The Presets, The Temper Trap). Karl Steven (ex-Supergroove, Heart Attack Alley) "provided a discerning ear" also. You can't buy the single yet as far as I know, but that shouldn't be far away. The School For Birds Tumblr site is linked below as are iTunes and Facebook links.
You can see Shae Sterling's website at the link here (http://www.moonlightsounds.com/).
School For Birds I Need
Sean Sturm (PhD and university lecturer would you believe?!) has written some of the best pop hooks in NZ music history. A personal favourite is "One Day Ahead"...an almost perfect decade-old pop song which has been recognized by the local 'powers that be' to the extent it has made its way onto historical 'best of' compilations. He started off in The Nixons, which became Eye TV, which eventually became Exiles...who had two successful local hits in "The One" and "Circles". Now we have School For Birds, and the hook acuity continues. School For Birds is actually a partnership with the classically-trained Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper, who was also a fellow driver behind Exiles. I will be posting their two recent videos over the next two days. Today we have a very nicely done Claire Littler video for "Mod Love". Claire's handiwork is all over NZMusic4U. She is a prolific, and competent director, often creating powerful, internationally-competitive (it is an industry sorry!) visual montages. NZ music is lucky to have her talents. You can buy the song at the link below. I have provided a Facebook link below that.
School For Birds - Mod Love (Official Video)
Eight years ago New Zealand was lucky enough to lock GeeGee (aka George Gough) into New Zealand residency and thus we get to claim this very successful piece of art for ourselves. Originally hailing from the working class suburbs of West London, this 21 year old's formative influences were Grime, UK Garage and Jamaican Dancehall. A poorly attended gig at Whammy fortuitously led to a creative partnership with the Beach Pigs' Suren Unka, seen elsewhere on this blog. Suren both produced this single (well), and directed the awesome video (in collaboration with Zita Featherstone). It surely didn't cost a lot but it looks a million bucks. Super editing. GeeGee has a new EP titled "Piety" of which this is the first single. The EP is a free download. The link is below. Go "Like" GeeGee at Facebook for updates on one of NZ's exciting new guard.
Free Download / EP https://soundcloud.com/geegeebeware/s...
GeeGee - Piety
Cavell really does not know how to do a bad single. Another great track, "Supernova", with a radio hook which starts working about the third listen. I think Cavell might be NZ's best RnB artist, and certainly has so much potential. I love the way he uses space in his recordings, and there is enough pop to crossover into other markets. I hope he is being noticed. The video was directed by David Fanafitu Schaaf, and produced by Harald Austad. Good job. I note Cavell got "blogged" by 'Pigeons and Planes' yesterday. Always a good sign. See the link below. There is a link where you can buy this single below that.
Cavell - Supernova (Official Video)
There is something a little ironic about samples of samples (Fatboy Slim), but who really cares when it works as well as this. I am enjoying this combined personal/social commentary by Tommy Ill with a very good looking (self-directed), 'Nihon no kōkoku'-sourced video, and an enormous hook..."She go to sleep with the TV on, she make love with the TV on, I pass out with the TV on, and on and on, and on...etc". This must be a massive audience participation number at gigs? "TV" is off Tommy Ill's latest album "Fearless Bueller". "Fearless Bueller" is downloadable for free at the link below. It's already in my music library.
Tommy Ill - TV
This track has been posted, not just because it is one of the best @Peace tracks but also to remind people that the Auckland council is looking to ban begging in parts of the city. (I was reminded by a Tom Scott post today). In a country with a welfare system that is slowly failing, this is taking another means of support away from people who are often desperate. I couldn't believe it when I heard it. [At least they have the luxury of not being monitored by the GCSB]. "Be Like" is off @Peace's 2011 self-titled album and was produced by Soul Chef with Isaac Aesili on horn, Peter Scott on bass and Christoph El Truento on 'cuts'. The video is by Stjohn with help from Tim D and was filmed on an iPhone only. @Peace are currently on the road with Ladi6. You can buy all the @Peace material at the link below.
@Peace - Be Like
Signer (Bevan Smith) has been featured on this blog previously ("Set Piece"), and I have made a point to promo a little of his work on Facebook (as artist and producer) over the last 24 hours as a run-up to posting this video. Bevan Smith is also one half of Skallander, a collaboration with Matthew Mitchell, an ex-Wellington jazz musician now based in Hungary. "Rain" is their latest single. The band describe themselves as "psychadelic (sic) pop, rock, folk and electronica". The video was directed by Rowan Pierce and Bevan Smith with photography by Matt Henley and Rowan as well - who also edited the video. I am not sure when/where you can buy the single but I have included a Loop recordings link for future reference, and will FB/Tweet a link when I find one. The NZMusic4U "Set Piece" post is linked below that.
Magical...dripping pizzicato strings and the usual gorgeous vocals. The sounds of Ladi6 (and partner Parks) continue to mature, with (IMHO) the duo becoming ever more viable as major international artists with the help of, in this case, Detroit-based Waajeed and Grammy award-winning engineer Todd Fairall. The YT blurb says of Waajeed, aka Jeedo..."Jeedo needs little introduction to music fans, as his work over the years has spawned absolute classics starting with his first Platinum Pied Pipers album, Triple P. His work spans from Soul, Hip Hop to Electronic, working with the likes of Cee-Lo, J-Dilla, Mad Mike, and countless others" The awesome video was directed by Robert Wallace of www.parallelteeth.com. "Shine On" is the second single off the new album "Automatic" which is due out hopefully later this year. Ladi6 has started to get chart success outside NZ, (Italy for example) and with material of this quality, I can imagine "Automatic" will be a successful album globally. It may not hit the top of the charts internationally (although material seen so far is good enough), but should continue to build momentum. You can buy the single at the link below. I have.
[Post-script: Such is the integrity of Parks that he contacted me after seeing this post to say he wasn't responsible for the production in this song. Says much I reckon. He is still part of that partnership so the post doesn't really need amending beyond this PS.]
"Shine On" is available here: http://ladi6.bandcamp.com/
Ladi6 - Shine On Official Music Video
JBrown & The Mic Smith (Mikey Rockwell and JBrown) have delivered such infectious beats over the last couple of years, I don't quite understand why they haven't achieved some form of world domination. Channelling 1980s/90s hip hop grooves, with hooks all over the place, their videos have some healthy play numbers, so clearly some of us have noticed how good they are. I think the duo are now domiciled in Australia. Hopefully they will pick up an even wider audience there. You can buy their material at the link below. Highly recommended. (also see the Facebook site and link to a 95bfm interview from 2011)
JBrown & The Mic Smith - Cookin Soul (Official Video)
Black City Lights is Calum Robb and Julia Catherine Parr. Working within the 'dark pop' genre, (which I seem to be coming upon quite a bit lately) they intriguingly cite a large number of local influences. For a band that sounds so 'not of New Zealand' I find this satisfying. One of the reasons this blog exists is the realization technology had liberated so much talent locally, it just had to be discussed/promoted. With Black City Lights I can also hear an artistic lineage that goes back to bands such as the Cocteau Twins,who embraced the new digital reverb technology (of the early 1980s) and threw it over everything. I remain a sucker for string pads and reverb washes still. Arpeggiated synth lines also still work! "Offering" is melodic, rich, and delivers on my love of dynamics. I have included a 2011 interview link with the band below as a well as a more recent UTR link. The 2011 interview is a little old, but it is insightful. There is also a Bandcamp link. This single is not yet available on the site (at time of writing), but will come with the release of the "Another Life" album in September on US independent label "Stars and Letters". Bated breath!
UPDATE August 10th 2013:
I have been informed by Stars and Letters (http://starsandletters.com/) that the "Another Life" album is now available. You can find it at the link below, or on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon etc. Go buy it!
BLACK CITY LIGHTS - OFFERING (OFFICIAL)
This one fairly leaped off the screen! Trip Pony is Priya Sami, the youngest of the three Sami sisters, who perform as the Sami Sisters (see links below), but who are all artists in their own right. Madeleine Sami is well-known for her acting and comedy, whereas Anji Sami, an Otago music graduate, is one of the two main principals within She's So Rad, one of my favourite local bands, and a singer/songwriter individually as well. I am not surprised that as a result of family connections, Jeremy Toy of She's So Rad gets production credits for this. Priya is also on record as saying She's So Rad are one of her favourite bands. Jeremy is very, very good at creating modern disco-influenced soundscapes. He has delivered as usual. The "Now Honey" video is a stunner, and I see some familiar names involved...Tim Van Dammen, Alexander Gandar, Tim Flower and Tom Townley who have variously been responsible for some of the best videos of the last couple of years including "Pazzida" from Watercolours, and "Favours for Favours", "Regret" and "Tazers" by Collapsing Cities. A great song/video package here. You can buy "Now Honey" at the link below. I will be.
TRIP PONY Now Honey Official HD
"How shall we settle this? Let's settle this with bombs" sings Ruth Carr. In a Stuff interview she says "it's about how we ultimately deal with problems and differences. Thinking of all the people we'll miss when the bombs drop". "Warheads" is one of the strongest, more 'hooky' songs off Minuit's "Last Night You Saw This Band", their 4th studio album. The video gives us another local puppetry spectacular (last time was Fat Freddy's Drop) , this time involving a prehistoric hunt, some incidental geophysics, man's transition into the modern world, then apocalyptic end-of-days images leading into an accidental astral expedition...all followed by a heart-warming flattening of the initial hunter-prey hierarchy! Or as the YouTube blurb says, the video shows "Curly the caveman" chasing "his beloved (and juicy) intersex blue rabbit through time and space". The video has a warning on it for "serious non-vegetarian scenes". For puppets watching, please note it is positively gruesome in parts. This cleverly put-together visual work comes from Wellington artist Leda Farrow (puppet and set director), digital designer Alyx Duncan (production director) and director Jason Bock (post direction and editing). Great production with a huge rhythm track. I love the song. I own the album. You can too at the link below.
Warheads - Minuit
An old song gets a re-visitation, and again we have an original take on Wallace Collection's "Daydream". This song has done well out of remixes over the years. Natureboy (Nathan Noone) is an ex-Auckland, Melbourne-based producer and 'jack of all trades'. This is clearly not a purely NZ track, witness the red bricks of Melbourne, but Natureboy probably has a New Zealand passport, and he says he is ex-NZ, so that's enough for me. The MC is GMC (Graeme McIntosh) and is from a Kiwi/Filipino background also. The video is directed by Del-Ray Fruean (Tha Clippers) with some additional footage/direction by our protagonists. I am really enjoying the production vibe here. The visuals are also top-notch. "Daydream" is from a range of tracks they are releasing incrementally as part of "The Compression Sessions", what they call a ’smoker/dreamer/chill series’. You can guess what it is about. Thank you to www.nzmusician.co.nz for continuing to post NZ music videos on your site. That's how I got here. I have provided links to these guys below.
NATUREBOY X GMC - DAYDREAM (by th∆Clippe®s)
This is kind of a repeat post. An earlier version of this video was posted back in July last year but the band took it down as part of their build-up with Carpark Records, so I deleted it. Now its back with some ancillary footage. Not sure if that was necessary as the original was fine as it was. But hey, they are being geared up for wider consumption so who am I to criticise? The band is incredible and is getting critical bouquets all over the place. I can't wait to see how the energy follows through live. For me they are a natural successor to Straitjacket Fits and I can almost hear Shayne Carter sneering in there somewhere. But it's not derivative. I love the unorthodox chord/key changes, rapid shifts in tempo/key signature that turn up throughout their songs. 'Exciting' is an awful word to use...but get a thesaurus out and replace it with something similar. You can buy their album "Antipodes" at the link below. I have.
A bio link here:
Popstrangers "What Else Could They Do?"
It's been a little while since I made changes to the Honour Roll, and it's not as if I felt I needed to. The song/video combinations need to justify themselves there. But there are a couple of changes today. Firstly, Anna Coddington's "Bird In Hand" is triumph for the artist. With fleshed out texture, dynamics, great arrangements and a song/video that really comes into its own in the second half. Such a talented use of colour and editing, matching up wonderfully with some of the best string arrangements I have heard in awhile. It is great to see Anna Coddington taking her music to the next level. The second change is the result of realizing my natural antipathy towards the early hype around Lorde had caused me to overlook "Royals". The song of course is superb, Lorde performs it strongly and the video is really special (NPI). Joel Kefali has done a spectacular job on the video and I note it got a Vimeo staff pick. So a 'mea culpa' on "Royals". A link to Joel Kefali's website is here: http://www.joelkefali.com/
This week has had it's fair share of prodigies. A few days ago I posted Sam Perry of Zen Mantra. Today we have the much-hyped Lorde. I have to admit the hype still irritates me...but that irritation quickly fades when I come across her work. The talent here is enormous. The artistic/performance confidence is incredible for someone so young. And this is a voice that could almost carry any song. There's not a massive range, but what is there is very strong with a character so well-established for so few years (again sorry). And she can write. I really enjoy "Tennis Court", but let's be honest, there is not a lot of commercial hook here, and the song is possibly riding the coat-tails of the previous releases. But it would make a great album track, and put together with this visionary video, it is clear that Ella Yelich-O'Connor is going galactic. Doing my net-detective work I see that the www.ryanseacrest.com had posted the video. Some heavy sponsorship. With the talent, and the buy-in, stateside Top 10 doesn't feel impossible. You can buy both the "Tennis Court" single, and "The Love Club" EP at the link below...
The Ryan Seacrest link:
Lorde - Tennis Court
King Kapisi might be of the old guard but there is nothing sluggish about 'Crush'. A typically powerful track from the prolific and reliably exciting Samoan/New Zealand hip-hopper. One of the reasons I keep on coming back to the King's music is it's relentless momentum, combined with subject matter that actually says something. I have yet to be disappointed. I love the way he challenges some of the holy cows, and this sort of socio-political content is intrinsic to much of his art. Re the substantial impact of this production job, I was not surprised to find out Scratch 22 had a part to play. It is of course Kapisi, but I am pretty sure I can hear Scratch 22 in there. Dilated Peoples' Rakaa Iriscience is an awesome addition to this track. There are plenty of cameos in the video including Jerome Kaino, Che Fu, Teremoana Rapley (Kapisi's wife)...Marie Antoinette. The video was directed by Daniel James Gordon, and King Kapisi, with editing by King Kapisi, and a nice job of it by the way. An all-round quality job on this song/video combination. You can buy King Kapisi's music at the link below. I have also included a Wiki link to educate those who didn't know the depth of this career.
KING KAPISI "Crush" feat Rakaa Iriscience
KING KAPISI "Crush" feat Rakaa Iriscience