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