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)