The Neo-Kalashnikovs - Gorgeous Baby

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

The Naked And Famous - Hearts Like Ours

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

KidsOf88 - Bad Talk

"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 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)

School For Birds - I Need

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 (

School For Birds   I Need

School For Birds - Mod Love

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" 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)

GeeGee - Piety

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

GeeGee - Piety

Cavell - Supernova

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)

Tommy Ill - TV

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

@Peace - Be Like

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

Skallander - Rain

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.

Skallander "Rain"

Ladi6 - Shine On

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 "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:

Ladi6 - Shine On Official Music Video

JBrown & The Mic Smith - Cookin Soul

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 - Offering

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 ( 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!


Trip Pony - Now Honey

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