Lontalius - Walk Me Home



In a society dedicated to reducing the gap between want and delivery, it was inevitable that there would be a backlash against the last thirty years' tsunami of instant gratification. There have been many strands to this backlash covering music, fashion, design and writing to name just a few. What is now the "hipster" aesthetic is a coagulation of these strands. The aesthetic in itself has created a banality of its own, with, for example, "retro", and "irony" now often existing for their own sake, without context. It has in some cases become almost comic. But there was a reason for all of this. As we lose the ability to be "present", we crave being in touch with those qualities of life that have been waylaid. And in artists like Lontalius (Eddie Johnston) we witness our barren consumer-technological fabric being used as a platform from which to record simple, genuine thoughts and feelings. Eddie has described his music as "sitting in your bedroom feeling sad about nothing in particular". Granted it could be taken as that superficially, but there is more to it. This sounds like our youth trying to survive with soul intact in a frantic, messy, noisy electronic world. "Walk Me Home" as it is heard here is not purchasable, and is actually a collaboration with Canadian producer Ryan Hemsworth from his new EP, "Alone For The First Time". Ryan's interpretation is completely different, but still very good. This version, with raw vocals, surging Casiotone textures and beautiful counterpoint, is just stunning. And the video from Arty Films is brilliantly sympathetic. With wonderful editing (the neon arrows syncing with the Casiotone at 0:30!) and colouring, the video is also notable for the number of quality shots squeezed out of a suburban convenience store. Arty Films is Arty Papageorgiou, a Wellington-based writer/director who clearly has an eye for beauty where others don't initially see it. I have provided a link to his Tumblr site below. Lontalius has a new album coming in 2015, from which the first single is "Light Shines Through Dust" (linked below), in my opinion a candidate for New Zealand song of 2014. The sign of a good songwriter is a song's genre-immunity. Eddie's songs have that. There is also something of the "Thom Yorke" here. It is still early days, but Eddie Johnston is promising to be one of the greats.

https://soundcloud.com/lontalius-official/light-shines-through-dust/s-7tc6F

http://artyfilms.tumblr.com/

Lontalius - Walk Me Home (Convenience Store Performance)

SJD - I Wanna Be Foolish



I have been listening to SJD for over a decade now, and unlike many of the artists followed over the years, it has been easy to keep coming back to Sean Donnelly's music. I challenged myself to get inside why that might be the case, and came to the conclusion it was the balance of elements that keeps it working. No one element dominates. There is melody, texture, dynamics, textural dynamics, and lyrics that are, well basically not shit (which can sometimes be a problem with musicians' musicians). The lyrics are sometimes spectacular. ("Superman, You're Crying" is a favourite.) And there has been a continual reinvention of his sound. Evolutionary rather than revolutionary, although there have been some big leaps. For me the SJD experience has almost always has been a more introverted, more technical, more rewarding Neil Diamond-like experience. I am sure the parallels have been made at least once, and it really comes down to one thing, his voice is similar. I am not going to push that too far, as Sean's music is so much more than Mr Diamond's, but that is how it is experienced. "I Wanna Be Foolish" is off the new album "Saint John Divine" due out in March on vinyl, CD and digital through Roundtrip Mars with distribution through Universal NZ. The next radio single, "Helensville" is more than a pleasure, it is a sublime track. The album was recorded with a team that included James Duncan, Chris O'Connor, Sandy Mill, Mike Hall and Neil Finn. There are apparently other notables also...but I have no names at time of writing. Look out for the second single and video for "Little Pieces" due out in February. As for the very clever video for "I Wanna Be Foolish", this was directed by Greg Page of FishNClips. Has there ever been a bad SJD video?! I have provided some links below where you can find out more about SJD, or maybe buy into some of that back catalogue. Here's to the speedy appearance of the new album!

SJD links:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/SJD/12793501823
https://itunes.apple.com/nz/artist/sjd/id23879610
http://elasticwasteland.com/

FishNClips website:
http://www.fishnclips.com/

SJD - I Wanna Be Foolish

Delete Delete - Broken Heart Kid



In a way this is a trailer for a 2012 short film from Damon Keen called "Last Flight". At the request of the band he distilled a 15 minute short film down to 4 minutes for a video for a song it now seems made for. A spectacular piece of film, it was shot on White Island in the Bay of Plenty, and Tongariro National Park. If you would like to watch the full movie, I have included a link below. It was good enough to be picked up several film festivals. So what about this song? The pop sensibility just drips off it. There is some serious song-writing experience in the Delete Delete team, bringing together Lani Purkis, Kurt Shanks, Chris van der Geer who have all been members of successful NZ bands previously (Elemeno P and Stellar to name a couple). If I were to pick a period and a place that Delete Delete's inspiration seems to have emerged from it, is early 1980s USA synth-pop/rock, what they called "new wave", but which was stylistically so different to the punk-inspired non-electronic "sound" that emerged from the UK in the late 1970s. Successful USA "new wave" often turned up as strong hooks delivered as an electronic/guitar blend with strong female vocals. I hear Berlin, Pat Benatar, Kim Wilde and so many other artists of that era in Delete Delete's music. I also hear radio magic. Go to the Soundcloud link below to see what I mean. The band have their debut album due out in the first half of 2015.  If you would like to see the Delete Delete live, they are on tour through NZ in January. The shows are in Christchurch (DuxLive Jan 8), Dunedin (Chicks Jan 9), Wanaka (Lake Hawea Hotel Jan 10) and Auckland (Golden Dawn Jan 16). Tickets are available from Eventfinder.co.nz for the first two shows, and on the door for the Wanaka and Auckland gigs. Plenty of links below to explore!

https://soundcloud.com/delete-delete-band
http://www.deletedeleteband.com/
https://www.facebook.com/deletedeleteband?ref=bf

Last Flight movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3F9IJPptXyM

Delete Delete - Broken Heart Kid

Louie Knuxx - Sand (featuring Tom Scott & Lui Tui)



I was struck by the maturity and the diversity of Louie Knuxx's "PGT/GRR" album when I first heard it, and continue to play it regularly, despite the onslaught of music I get on a day to day basis. Although there are a range of producers, it is easily bound together by the lyrical acuity of Todd Williams, and (as I have stated previously) the almost feline menace he presents at varying levels through all of the tracks. There are some standouts from the album, my favourites being "You See" which features Jane Deezy, and "Sex and Drugs". But "Sand" is also a favourite, probably because of the effortless interplay of several of NZ's best MCs. At Peace's Tom Scott and Lui Tuiasau make superb contributions to the track, Tom's principally from a lyrical perspective, whilst Lui's is more of stylistic contribution. The subject matter may get a few readers' hackles up, as it is superficially a pro-drugs song. But there is more to it, and it is really about the individual's right to choose their own lifestyle, and contrasts the implicit choice of the risk/reward trade-off of drugs with the hypocrisy of the insensitivity that characterises some public institutions' interactions with troubled youth today.

Todd Williams on the track... "so there wasnt much to the track to begin with. Just a demo with my verse and hook. Sick beat by Jay as usual. Tom's approach to the content was what I expected, the way he approaches a feature I can only compare with Andre3000. He always stands out by exploring a micro concept within the broader concept. Great lines as well, my favourite is "you call it a sentence but it felt like a page" I related a lot to that line. Lui followed my lead content wise I think. Stylistically he killed the song, he used his voice like an intrument and his vocal techniques and recording techniques on this blew me away. Was great to send the demo away barely a song and have these guys turn it into something special."

Jay Knight confirms again in this track that he is one of the best beats producers NZ has at the moment. The video from "Subject Matter", also superb, was directed by Tim D. and Jamie McReady. The lighting/filtering is particularly interesting. You can buy the PGT/GRR album at the link below. The title's acronym translation? "Progressive gangster thug, gentleman romance rap". Sums up Louie Knuxx pretty well I think. Go buy it.

http://louieknuxx.bandcamp.com/

Louie Knuxx - Sand (featuring Tom Scott & Lui Tui) prod by Jay Knight

Thomston - Anaesthetic



Sounding remarkably like an almost fully formed artist at the tender age of 18, it is no surprise that Thomston (real name Thomas Stoneman) was picked up by Saiko Management, the management group responsible for Lorde's meteoric rise. A little bird in the USA told me that it was actually Saiko's choice of Republic Records' magical PR team that was the catalyst behind Lorde's ability to cut through the promotional quagmire in the USA. I am interested to see whether Thomston also ends up on that label. If he does, that for me is a shoe-in to an explosive introduction to the American market, which this sounds perfect for. And of course if that works, all other regions will tend to fall in behind. Thomston (from my limited exposure to his music so far) appears to be someone who loves music for itself, and also its connection to the listener. He is clearly technically proficient, with a voice that sounds like it has been trained, but not too much. And that thing that I always go on about...dynamics. He knows how to move the drama around. Directed by Jamie Lawrence, the video for "Anaesthetic" is a sleek offering with some stark suffocation/drowning imagery, conveyed through a cold palette and some magnificent lighting. I have included a link below to a very good Coup Demain Magazine interview with the man. There is also a link where you can buy the "Argonaut" EP. I have already bought it. You won't be disappointed.

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/argonaut-ep/id910329089

http://www.coupdemainmagazine.com/interviews/interview-introducing-thomas-stoneman-aka-thomston

Thanks to Noisey for the video link.

"Anaesthetic" - Thomston (Official Video)

Chelsea Jade - Visions



There has been some well-deserved career acceleration for Chelsea Jade (who previously performed under the "Watercolours" moniker). She has recently been in New York City performing two CMJ showcases, following this up with participation in the Red Bull Music Academy in Tokyo (winning selection against 6000 other entries). With two excellent EPs released over the last year ("Portals" and "Beacons"), she is now signed to Universal Music NZ. Chelsea has a strong record in terms of the integration of her music with visuals, and the video for "Visions" is no different. Demonstrating some athleticism (!), Chelsea channels the video for the 1994 Lisa Loeb hit "Stay", but with far more success, working together again with very talented director Alex Gandar. A central theme to the video is "desperately wanting to be anywhere that you aren’t, but nowhere else seems really appealing either "(quote from Under The Radar linked below). It is a striking piece. I have included a Rip It Up link below if you would like to know more about Chelsea. You can buy both her EPs at the links below also. I own all her releases.

http://iamchelseajade.bandcamp.com/
https://itunes.apple.com/nz/artist/chelsea-jade/id919792612
http://www.ripitup.co.nz/music/chelsea-jade/
http://www.undertheradar.co.nz/news/8922/Video-Chelsea-Jade---Visions.utr


CHELSEA JADE - Visions

Cool it - She's So Rad



From She's So Rad's long-time-coming sophomore album "Tango" (due early 2015 through From The Crate Records), this new single is a little wonder. With great dynamics (often missing from shoegaze), an elegantly lazy hook and a guitar solo/break that somehow reminds me of Boston's "More Than a Feeling" guitar track, the song gets a further visual lift from Dylan Pharazyn's sensual, provocative and funny "hotspringsploitation" video. Dylan also does much of the band's artwork. Jol Mulholland was involved with recording the single at Mt Eden studio The Lab, while the track was produced by band principal Jeremy Toy, and mixed by Tony Hoffer (M83, Supergrass, Silversun Pickups). The back-story to the long lead time on the new album is Jeremy's hospitalization as a result of a cowardly assault. Jeremy remains with some quite serious neural side effects, but somehow he is bravely continuing to deliver soaring pop tunes in his long-time collaboration with partner, Anji Sami, principal writer of this song.  It sounds like "radio" to me if it gets the right promotion/distribution. Here's hoping it gets the oxygen. You can buy the single at the link below. I will be.

Single link: http://shessorad.bandcamp.com/#_=_

Band website: http://shessorad.com/

Cool It - She's So Rad

Jonathan Bree - Weird Hardcore



I suspect Jonathan Bree has a higher profile internationally than he does in NZ, but he is by no means a household name anywhere. However Jonathan has been responsible, either directly, or indirectly, for some of the most original, clever and listenable music to come out of New Zealand. He is probably most well-known for his role as a member of the Brunettes (w/ Heather Mansfield) but in my (humble) opinion his most important contribution was through the founding of Lil' Chief Records in the early 2000s. This label has continuously launched some of NZ's best indie bands. And his music is a highlight of that stable. "Weird Hardcore" is the first single off his new album "A Little Night Music". The last album "The Primrose Path" was stunning, and an easy buy for me. There is something of the disembodied "familiar" about Jonathan's music, and this latest single is no different. According to a Lil' Chief blogpost " while writing and recording A Little Night Music – Jonathan inherited a bunch of second hand classical records and began listening to a bunch of ballet scores by Tchaikovsky, orchestral suites by Grieg and Haydn symphonies. With no classical background but always an obvious appreciation for orchestral pop (Serge etc) A Little Night Music is Jonathan’s attempt to write more free-form ‘classical’ inspired compositions but still always with a McCartney-esque bassline. Simon Ward has come up with one of his best videos ever and the package is complete. You can download the single for free at the link below (although please pay if you can). I have also provided a Facebook link, and a link to Lil' Chief Records. Can't wait for the new album.

https://jonathanbree.bandcamp.com/album/weird-hardcore-single
http://www.facebook.com/jonathanbree666
http://www.lilchiefrecords.com/

Jonathan Bree - Weird Hardcore

Tom Lark - Something To Tell You



Now represented by Saiko Management (Lorde, Mt Eden, Thomston), Tom Lark (real name "Shannon Fowler") I think will finally get the traction he deserves. His songs are fun, hooky, but not clich├ęd. A bit like a more available UMO. "Something To Tell You" is a Tom Lark classic. With such a superb production job, I assumed it had been a big-bucks effort, but in fact it is another of his self-produced bedroom efforts, combined with some great mixing by Eric Dubowsky. The track is very radio friendly, and man I do love that break! As for the video? A wonderful French '60s retro movie vibe. Can't help thinking Tom sort of belongs in that era somehow. Directed/edited by Sam Kristofski with photography by Kieran Fowler, art direction by Brant Fraser, and produced by Dan Higgins. This is a masterful song/video combo, therefore it makes the NZMusic4U Honour Roll. Not the first time Tom Lark as been up there. The new EP has been released and is a free download the link below. Lucky us. Thanks Tom!

https://soundcloud.com/tomlark

Tom Lark - Something To Tell You

Spycc - Bad Habit



I am not qualified to comment authoritatively on hip-hop, but I would like to recognize something I enjoy, so I'll have a go. He's been on this blog before, for good reason. Onehunga's Spycc is one of the most satisfying MCs to listen to in NZ today. A superb choice of beats, and honest rhymes with depth. The delivery reminds me sometimes of Kanye West, and maybe Kendrick Lamar at his most straightforward. But Mr Latu is his own, and one of those I think is "most likely to". It's a crowded space, and difficult to cut through, but everything I have heard so far indicates there is the ability and drive to make it. To be honest, he has soared to greater heights on other tracks, but "Bad Habit" is posted on this blog for a reason. It is worthy of being noticed. Visually? It's a simple, effective video, doesn't look cheap, and rounds the offering out nicely. The video was directed by Danny Aumua, produced by One Island Films with photography by Tj Perea. Editing was by Danny Aumua and TamaGotchi (who also produced the track). You can download "Bad Habit" for free at the link below. And go "like" him on Facebook to stay in touch with developments. If you would like to know more, I have included a Martyn Pepperell interview as well (he's picked up the Kendrick Lamar link as well).

https://soundcloud.com/spyccmusic/bad-habit
https://soundcloud.com/spyccmusic

http://www.vanguardredmagazine.co.nz/red-bull-sound-select-meet-spycc/

https://www.facebook.com/spyccmusic

Spycc - Bad Habit

Mzwetwo - Suddenly



"Suddenly things have changed". Not really. Elvis is clearly not completely dead. Mzwetwo channels the King in one of the stand-out singles of the year, confirming both his ability, and his "likely to" status. Mzwetwo says the video "deals with themes of love, purity, and frustration". Umm. I like it. The partnership with Sza Hands remains fruitful. Limited resources, but no sign of it. Such a great video/song combo. You can stay in touch with Mzwetwo at the link below...and look out for the "Gallantino 2" EP. And if you like Sza Hands' work, go to the FB page.

http://mzwetwo.tumblr.com/
https://www.facebook.com/szahands

MZWETWO - SUDDENLY

Raiza Biza - Flashbacks



From 2013's "Summer" album, this video rendition of "Flashbacks" seems well in character. A moody, jazz-infused ode with horns and woodwind from the massively-talented K*Saba, the song further enhances Raiza Biza's commercial appeal. Smooth production job from choiceVaughan. There aren't many who have the potential to cross over from the beats/hip-hop audience into a more mainstream appeal, but Raiza Biza has many tracks that could do just that. The video was directed by Paul Innes and features talented young actress, model and artist, Theodora Allison. You can download the "Summer" album for free at the link below. (or maybe pay the artist if you are able to!). I have been a Raiza Biza fan for a couple of years now. He doesn't disappoint.

http://raizabiza.bandcamp.com/album/summer

Raiza Biza - Flashbacks (Official Music Video)

Chelsea Jade - Night Swimmer



Close to perfect. This song has been around awhile and I was wondering when it would get an official release. It was this track and that other ethereal stunner "Under" that first got me hooked on Chelsea Jade Metcalf's dream-pop. She has just made the transition from her "Watercolours" moniker to "Chelsea Jade". Both work for me, but I think there is maybe more to it, with Chelsea relaunching her identity more strongly. And wow! What a way to do it. This video's haunting ice block metaphor intersecting such sensuous writing brings a lump to the throat. This isn't just a dream-pop video. This is a full-on work of art. Alexander Gandar (director) has demonstrated talent before, but this collaboration with artist Zainab Hikmet (art direction/sculpture) and Chelsea Jade is a masterpiece. Chelsea's aesthetic acuity and visual performance binds it all together. Best video of the year. Hands down. Go buy the track at the link below. It is the first single off her new EP "Beacons" due out imminently. Can't wait.

http://iamchelseajade.bandcamp.com/

Chelsea Jade - Night Swimmer

Suren Unka - Flee ft. Dahnu Graham



One of my favourite tracks off Suren Unka's "El Chupacabra" album released earlier this year, "Flee" featuring Dahnu Graham comes to us via one of the best videos of the year. The video was made by Markus Hofko, a German artist, designer and musician of some note who now lives in New Zealand. The blurb on the press release says the "video hinges on an extreme contrast between states of mental absence and sensation, as performed by actor and stuntman Howard Cyster. His character shifts from a lethargic state into an absurd dream-space of wild-west proportions, a 'hyper roller coaster ride, at least for a couple of minutes". There is some spectacular imagery for sure. Suren, who is also drummer for the Beach Pigs, (and an event photographer!) comes from a talented family, his mother Vasanti Unka having won the NZ Post Children's Book Award for her "Boring Book". The "El Chupacabra" album, which I own, isn't immediate, but rewards repeated listens. You can buy it at the link below. Go to the link!

http://surenunka.bandcamp.com/album/el-chupacabra

Suren Unka - Flee ft. Dahnu Graham (Official Music Video)

Streets of Laredo - Slow Train


These guys have been at it in NYC for over two years now. Hard graft and little glamour, apart from their increasingly well-patronised live shows. But a record deal with Dine Alone records and a USA tour coupled with a proper album release...and this band looks like it might just do it. The "Slow Train" video is a great vehicle to show off one of those songs that has always sounded like it had radio potential. A great live song, it made it into recordings with its live edge intact. In fact, the production on the recent releases is a marvel of restraint, not over-done, but allowing an almost perfect transition of an organic rattle, bang and hum to the digital medium. And now they are getting their sound re-heated by a vinyl release of "Volume I & II", the album due out from October 7th. The "Slow Train" video was done on the smell of an old oily rag by Melburnian Oli Sansom. Loving those 70s vibes. Oli's website is linked below. For more information, go to the Streets of Laredo link below. Go and fall in love with this band like I have.

http://www.streets-of-laredo.com/discography/volume-i-and-ii/
www.olisansom.com

Streets of Laredo - Slow Train (Official Video)

Mzwetwo - Horror



Previously known as Loui The Zu, an identity that has now been almost completely stripped from the web, Zimbabwean New Zealander Mzwetwo, has cast off his earlier incarnation, and reinvented himself. Better written, better produced and with great visuals (he is clearly an aesthete),  "Horror" is an in-between release ahead of his "Gallantino 2" EP due soon. The song was a collaboration with Taste Nasa who also played guitar on the track. Video direction was by Mzwetwo in collaboration with SZA Hands Digital who also did the filming, editing and animation. Art direction and fashion is by Mzwetwo. You can download the song at the link below. There are a number of other links where you can get to know this talented emerging artist. He probably won't like this, but I have included a link to a previous NZMusic4U post on the superb single he did using Lydia Cole's "Feels Like" as a base. Go have a look at it all. If The Wyld can get a bite at break-out in the USA (exciting news by the day from them), I am pretty sure Mzwetwo can follow. Success expected.

Download: https://www.sendspace.com/file/v8ea0z
Tumblr: http://mzwetwo.tumblr.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mzwetwomusic
Louis the Zu "In The Winter": http://nzmusic4u.blogspot.co.nz/2013/05/for-some-time-i-have-thought-loui-zu.html

MZWETWO - HORROR

Grayson Gilmour - Silence & Youth



Glorious melody, harmony, dense textures, masses of layered effects, and driving rhythms that come and go with the dynamic surges that are typical of his work. I love it. Grayson Gilmour's "Infinite Life" album is one of my favourites this year.  And its not been a barren year for Grayson, with that album, and a 100 track release of  music sourced from "albums, b-sides, demos, covers, sketches, alter-egoisms, experiments, film scores & compositions" called "Skeletons and Closets". The "Silence and Youth" "journey" video is perfect in this context, directed, edited and animated by Jesse Taylor Smith, with art direction and colourisation by Jenna Eriksen. Great job! I just saw Grayson live at a private gig, and I suppose I had expected a band. But on his own, using technology of course, he filled that small room with a wonderful wall of sound...and occasionally moved like a man possessed. Highly recommended. It is artists like this that are the reason I started, and continue with NZMusic4U. You can read up on his background at the bio link below. If you like this, you can buy both the "Infinite Life" album and "Skeletons and Closets" at the Bandcamp links below. I have bought both and love both of 'em.

http://graysongilmour.bandcamp.com/album/infinite-life
http://graysongilmour.bandcamp.com/album/skeletons-closets-2003-2013

Bio here:
http://www.graysongilmour.com/wp/?page_id=13

Grayson Gilmour - Silence & Youth (Music Video)

School for Birds - 10,000 Things



The twenty-strong line-up of APRA Silver Scroll nominees this year is especially strong. And "10,000 Things" has made the list...justifiably. School for Birds is Sean Sturm and Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper. The band have been blogged upon previously at NZMusic4U, as they make clever, appealing pop music. The School for Birds album, released in late 2013, is a sophisticated offering, which is not really surprising considering the education, musical and life experiences of the two principals. But something nags at me. No one really knows about this, apart from a few "connected" individuals in the industry. I would like to see a more pro-active promotion campaign around this little masterpiece, as public funding has gone into creating/promoting something very special. More effort is needed all round. All that aside, you can buy the (very good) School for Birds album at the iTunes link below. The video was put together by Luke Sharpe of Bunker Media. Very, very, very good. Bunker Media is linked below.

https://itunes.apple.com/nz/album/school-for-birds/id720451472?ign-mpt=uo%3D4

http://bunker.co.nz/

School for Birds - 10,000 Things

Jay Roacher & Nettsmoney ft. Louie Knuxx & Tourettes - Pretty Day To Die



One of the most striking videos of the last twelve months, "Pretty Day To Die" managed to sneak by me in May, but better late than never for this visual feast (sorry). Jay Roacher is accompanied by some talented artists here. Louie Knuxx, Tourettes both cameo (fellow BreakinWreckWordz alumni), and with production by NettsMoney, it works on all levels. The video almost didn't get funded, as it was being finished with a day to go before the NZonAir funding deadline. Jay Roacher (Jared Watene) was living in Japan, Louie Knuxx was at that stage based in Melbourne, and Tourettes was apparently in the vicinity of Iceland when they received the funding decision...but it was some time till they were all in NZ again, and the wayward were corralled. I was told some other anecdotes about the video, but to keep the tone "seemly", I will leave those for private conversations! The superb video was directed by Auckland film maker Hamish Pattison and the offering as a whole is easily good enough to make it's way onto the NZMusic4U Honour Roll. Jay's new project is Karaoke Suicide Club. You can download his new material free at the Bandcamp link below.

https://karaokesuicideclub.bandcamp.com

Jay Roacher & Nettsmoney ft. Louie Knuxx & Tourettes - Pretty Day To Die

K.One - Love Don't Live Around Here

Out of the ashes...or was that the puddles? This was apparently a disastrous video shoot, with meteorological disasters, missing props, no shows...but no sign of it in the finished product. Slick, sharp and easy-to-watch, Illegal Musik's Mark Arona (director), Mikey Rockwell (editor) and Kaleb Vitale (creative direction and star) have put together an expensive-looking video. And the song? Catchy as anything that K.One has put out previously, and there is some hooky back catalogue out there. The 60s feel is helped by some backing vocals from Brooke Duff and horns from "Three Houses Down". I have bought K.One's music previously, with old favourite singles being 2010's "Walking Away" featuring a heavily auto-tuned Jason Kerrison (who clearly doesn't need to be but it worked), and 2011's "So Long" which also features Scribe. So who is K.One? Well he was a small-town forestry worker for seven years, and he ascribes his work ethic to that background. But it's not just a work ethic in play here. He clearly has an ear, and an eye, and I have thought for some time he is one of those "most likely to". "Love Don't Live Around Here" sounds very radio friendly, and with such a well-put-together video, I hope he gets noticed, not just by local fans, but also groups outside NZ which is clearly where his future lies. If you would like to buy "Love Don't Live Around Here" there is an iTunes link below. Go buy it.

https://itunes.apple.com/nz/album/love-dont-live-around-here/id882489419?i=882489463




K.One - Love Don't Live Around Here (Official Video)

Tiny Ruins - Me At The Museum, You In The Wintergardens



"Fantasize your ideal love. With that in mind, write the most gentle, serene love song." So writes Bob Boilen of the USA's NPR. This song is one of those that many songwriters would go with to their death bed, happy, having created something of such simple, elegant beauty. And the ancillary arrangements are stunning. There's not much...just enough. It is interesting that Neil Finn liked the song enough to do a video as the song could almost be his in one of his quieter moments (when I like his music the most). He says of making the video (thanks to Arch Hill Records for the quote) "I’ve been enjoying making little films and was carrying a Pelican case with me on the road , setting up for editing in hotels rooms and the back of the bus. One night I discovered a few images which seemed to suit the atmosphere of this song , so just started making a video without even being asked .The next day I asked her if I could film her singing it at soundcheck and in the show and placed these images left and right . I like the way her hair is crumpled for soundcheck and all smoothed out at the show. I’m glad Hollie likes it and wants people to see it but I would have been happy just making it anyway." This clip is going up on the NZMusic4U Honour Roll. In this case, it is a pretty little video...but it is the song, arrangements and its production that drives this blog's recognition. Some links for you to follow below, including a Bandcamp link with purchasing links for the EP from which this song hails...."Brightly Painted One". I own it.

http://www.npr.org/event/music/331973918/tiny-ruins-me-at-the-museum-you-in-the-wintergardens?ft=1&f=1039
http://tinyruins.bandcamp.com/
http://flyingout.co.nz/collections/tiny-ruins


Tiny Ruins - Me At The Museum, You In The Wintergardens (Music Video)

Doprah - Stranger People



Second week in a row we have a Doprah video, and this is their best yet. From the self-titled debut EP (album on the way apparently), this was the second single they released back in early 2013 - which pretty much confirmed "Whatever You Want" was not an accident. Less obvious, but texturally deeper, and overall, way more interesting, the song, combined with this suberb video might just catalyse something bigger. There has been plenty of blog coverage. Candlelit Pictures have come up with some very, very good videos over the last twelve months...Sheep, Dog & Wolf "Glare", Randa's "Frankenstein" and Evan Sinton's "Prisoner's Cinema". But "Stranger People" might just be out in front. There are clear J-Pop, "Lolita" fashion and Anime influences at play here, but I think it actually improves on some of those videos that might have influenced the makers...videos such as "Pon Pon Pon" linked below. Doprah are exciting, still a little raw, and unpredictable. It will be interesting to see where they take this early promise. You can buy the Doprah EP at the links below. I bought it.

https://itunes.apple.com/nz/album/doprah-ep/id879081930

Candlelit Pictures's website here:
http://candlelitpictures.co.nz/

An influence?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzC4hFK5P3g&feature=kp

Doprah - Stranger People (Music Video)

Doprah - Whatever You Want



When I first came across the song about eighteen months ago, despite many early-adopters, it was almost as if no-one took it too seriously, even the band. That may well have been just a misperception by yours truly, but I found it odd that the creators of such a magical piece of 90s-style trip-hop seemed not to realise something pretty special had just happened. I suspect they realise now. There is an industry buzz surrounding Doprah. International blogs like them. Crowds like them. Doprah is principally Steven John Marr, and Indira Force, two substantial and versatile talents. Steven I think is responsible for the overall sound, songs, and structure, whereas Indira adds both lyrics and a stylistic counterpoint that fleshes the sound out, and defines it. I am so glad the song got the video it deserved. Featuring Rebekah Clydesdale & Jed Mccammon, the clip was directed and produced by Dunedin's "G U A R D S" (see link below), who are Daniel Blackball and Alex Lovell-Smith.  I have just bought the band's new self-titled "Doprah" EP. You can own it too at the following links.

http://flyingout.co.nz/products/doprah-doprah-ep
http://doprah.bandcamp.com/
https://itunes.apple.com/nz/album/doprah-ep/id879081930

G U A R D S at this link:
http://www.guardsproduction.com/

DOPRAH - Whatever You Want (Music Video)

The Phoenix Foundation - Bob Lennon John Dylan



Didn't get me at first this one. But a couple of plays and the soaring chorus started to work its magic. From the "Tom's Lunch" EP, "Bob Lennon John Dylan" is an example of what The Phoenix Foundation do so well...mixing layers of melody with acerbic/ironic lyrical observations. The spectacular video is by Puck Murphy and Paul Freeman. I have no idea who they are, but they have created something that leaps off the screen. The band have described it on Twitter as "spermy man spaghetti in a cosmic vagina of light!". "Katey Melody Rodgers" gets a special mention for her costume work here. There is an April 2014 Alexander Bisley interview with Luke Buda in Rip It Up which gives us an insight into the latest material. After the less immediate "Fandango" (which I love), the band have decided to go with a more "exuberant" approach on this EP. I have linked the article below. You can buy the "Tom's Lunch" EP at the iTunes link below.

https://itunes.apple.com/nz/album/toms-lunch-ep/id860201597

The Rip It Up interview is at this link:

http://www.ripitup.co.nz/music/interview-the-phoenix-foundation/

The Phoenix Foundation - Bob Lennon John Dylan (Official Music Video)

Louie Knuxx - Sex & Drugs



Louie Knuxx (real name Todd Williams) can be polarizing. Not afraid of painting quite hedonistic, almost nihilist vignettes, taken at face value, he can get some people's backs up. But hip hop has never been about platitudes, and it is at its best when great production (Max Throw on this occasion) is mixed with well-delivered rhymes that are honest, and from the heart...or ummm, other parts of the body. (hey - I meant brain!) "Sex & Drugs" is off Louie's upcoming album. There is a newer video out currently, a brilliant cooperative effort with Jane Deezy (at link below), and one due very soon. Louie Knuxx is one of my favourite NZ MCs and I suspect international success is finally starting to appear. I am not surprised. The almost-feline downbeat sensual menace of both his rhymes, and their performance, is really quite special. You can buy Louie's last album "Dying Slow" at the link below. I have it. I imagine the new album will be available at this link soon.

Louie Knuxx - You See feat Jane Deezy (prod by Quexxxt)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwIcrdkbQz4

http://louieknuxx.bandcamp.com/

Louie Knuxx -  Sex & Drugs (Official Video)

Louis Baker - Back On My Feet



There will be many people who love this song...and that number must be growing by the day. A song that probably means different things to many people. It has had a special resonance for me. "Back On My Feet" was actually written about music. Louis Baker says "music has a remarkable way of repairing the human spirit. This is the message I intended on conveying to the listener. It is about leaving the depths of downheartedness and showing gratitude to music for gifting overwhelming hope". With a depth and maturity to his song-writing and performance that is clearly at odds with the number of years he has been with us on this planet, Louis is giving us blue-eyed soul as it should be. "Back On My Feet" is the fourth track off Louis' self-titled EP, and by far and away my favourite, although "Birds" is another strong contender for that title. That song/video combination is currently on this blog's "Honour Roll". The sparse elegant production on the EP is by Andy Lovegrove of Breaks Coop. It was always going to be a song that demanded a pretty special video. Aidee Walker has written and directed a simple but stunning visual accompaniment to the song. Alexander Gandar produced (www.humans.co.nz).  The video stars Clementine Howe, Jarod Rawiri and Italia Matautia. Lovely performances. I own the "Louis Baker" album. If you haven't already bought it, go and do so at the Bandcamp link below. I have included a range of other links if you would like to know or hear more. This really is a contender for song of the year. As it is, it most definitely will be on the #summershot2015 list.

www.louisbaker.co.nz
www.louisbaker.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/louisjbaker
www.twitter.com/louisjbaker
www.soundcloud.com/louisbaker

Louis Baker - Back On My Feet

Munashe - Wide Awake Ft. Blaze The Emperor & Raiza Biza



This post is not about the video. New Zealand musicians are budget-challenged. Crime Heat has done what he can within the usual restrictions, and it works. He is a very good director (and beats producer). No, this post is about an exciting new artist...a musically-talented, lyrically gifted MC with an ear for a hook that suggests massive potential. A member of the Ammo Nation collective, Munashe (Munashe Tuwe) is a precociously-talented teenager whose "1st Impression" album released late last year  is one of the most exuberantly assured local debuts I have heard. We all know it would have been made on a shoe-string, and there are production aspects that hint at those limitations. But despite that, it is superb. Munashe is from Zimbabwe, currently living in West Auckland, and the stress of a family moving countries, being permanently away from a troubled home/continent makes for great raw material for a songwriter. And Munashe doesn't waste it. The album is a combination of bravado, satire, romance, and acute socio-political insights that belie his age. Munashe cites influences such as Nas, Lauryn Hill, Bob Marley, J Cole and Erykah Badu. Though the two influences he cites that I see as most relevant here are Kendrick Lamar and Lupe Fiasco. There is also indirect artistic reference to the historical body of work we associate with old RnB such as Rod Temperton, the Jacksons etc. "Wide Awake" features Raiza Biza, a personal hip-hop favourite seen many times on this blog (and who discovered Munashe), and Blaze the Emperor who slinks in midway through the song with a sorta-laid-back style that has me looking up more of his work. Courtesy the immigration from Africa of the last twenty years, New Zealand music is benefitting from an African wave which is further enhancing New Zealand's reputation as punching above it's weight in the world of hip-hop. I have bought "1st Impression" and it has been on high-rotate as I navigate the streets of London. If handled right, I truly believe Munashe's career could be massive. You can listen to, and buy the album, at the link below.

http://illumunashe.bandcamp.com/album/1st-impression

Munashe - Wide Awake (Ft. Blaze The Emperor & Raiza Biza) (Official Music Video)

There's too much - P & S



This video may be a challenge to some readers, but it demanded a post. A brilliant interweaving of stark, disturbing aural texture with striking imagery, "P & S" is the work of two Tokyo-based Kiwis, Bryce Eden (There's too much) and director, Chris Fitzgerald. Chris is an art school alumni who has been working with Bryce for a little time now. Having spent much of the last couple of years between London and Tokyo, Bryce has come up with his new EP, "there's too much for". He describes his music as "my own style of computer pop set amongst dark landscapes",and as capturing a "running theme of psychological something's and paranoia". "P & S" doesn't make that difficult to understand. The EP, which was mixed by Ben Gibson, can be bought at the link below. Go have a listen. I have bought it.

http://therestoomuch.bandcamp.com/

There's too much - P & S

Sherpa - Love Film



Pristine pop songs, cleverly, and delicately constructed...and despite a sometimes sorta-intellectual approach to their construction, there's nothing too contrived about it. Is it wrong to call it "fun"? I was looking forward to Sherpa's new album (which is available to listen to at the link before), and they have delivered. "Love Film", the first single, was released last year. I am not quite sure how this glamorous little film didn't make it onto the blog. But it has now - sorry! Directed by Marc Swadel,  http://www.marcswadel.com/ it takes us on a trip through Paris of 1962, with our starlet besotted by a slightly effete, but clearly charming young director. The album sounds like much love has gone into it - close to a work of art - hence the blog post. "Love Film" is a goodie, but I also like "Bzzy", "Can Surreal" and "Eclypse The Night Away" and "Not Today". Go have a listen at the NZ Herald link below while it is still up. The album should be released by the weekend I believe (May 16). Otherwise, there are a bunch of other links you can use to swot up on this charming band. (I love the break and the outro in "Love Film" by the way...especially the outro.)

"Blues and Oranges" album stream: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=11251927

Get "Love Film" here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/lov...

Like the band: https://www.facebook.com/sherpaaa

Band website: http://www.sherpaband.com/

Sherpa - Love Film

Aldous Harding - Hunter



Aldous Harding has generated quite a bit of industry noise over the last couple of months or so...with "Hunter" being one of the reasons, although I think her exquisite (and video-less) track "No Peace" (linked below) might just be driving more of the momentum. It is stunning. With both a vocal and visual presence, all that was needed were truly special songs to help this artist have a shot at international success...and it is all there. It will be interesting to see whether international distribution deals turn up quickly. I think they will. Aldous (real name Hannah Harding) is currently distributed locally through Lyttleton Records. I am not sure when the new album will be released, but you can listen to some of it at the www.directcurrentmusic.com link below. The album was produced by Lyttleton Records' Ben Edwards, and Marlon Williams. The "Hunter" video, beautifully done, was directed and photographed by Julian Vares.

Why not have a read of this while you are at it. It has the link to "No Peace": http://www.directcurrentmusic.com/music-news-new-music/radar-aldous-harding.html

A Radio NZ interview link is here: http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/nat-music/audio/2592327/aldous-harding

Aldous Harding | HUNTER | Music Video 2014

Delete Delete - Between The Lines



Shot by Si Moore (New York-based member of Streets of Laredo) on a Phantom high-speed camera with a cast-of-thousands, this video must have needed some planning to work. The (very talented) Si talked to the NZ Herald about the inspiration behind the video in March (linked below). The video was produced by Fran Coulibaly and Sophia Bayly. Editing was by Daryl Habraken. Delete Delete is Lani Purkis, Kurt Shanks and Chris van de Geer, seen previously on this blog with the excellent "What Do You Take Me For" video. Si Moore's current bandmates actually used to work with Lani in Elemeno P, a band that seems so long ago now, but which was responsible for some great pop tunes (remember "Fast Times in Tahoe"?). Chris van de Geer was also one of the key members of late-90s, early-2000s band Stellar with Boh Runga, a band that really should have done better internationally than it did, with some well-written well-produced pop songs. Delete Delete have an album release planned for mid-year sometime. If you like "Between The Lines" you can buy it at the iTunes link below.

https://itunes.apple.com/nz/album/between-the-lines-single/id832952891?ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Si Moore interviewed at the link below...

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=11215652

Delete Delete - Between The Lines

Sheep, Dog & Wolf - Glare



Sheep, Dog & Wolf (Daniel McBride) launched his debut album (and second anthology), "Egospect" to almost unanimous acclaim in 2013. It is difficult for me to pick a favourite track but "Glare" is one of the high points of the album. All the arrangements, instrumentation, vocals are Daniel's. For the album to end up as cohesively as it has, it is clear he has a well-developed creative vision. The songs are interesting enough on their own, but when accompanied by the startling imagery created by Thunderlips here, I don't think it is going too far to call this "greatness". I can't stop watching it. The thematic transition from "chasing fire" to "daylight" is amazing. How does one think of that? According to the video's blurb, it was shot 12 hours north of Adelaide in the Australian desert, at a place called "The Moon Plains", on what used to be ancient sea floor. It took them 10 days to get the sun in the right place for the shoot. Spectacular. You can buy Daniel's album at the link below. I have it. There is also a link to Candlelit Pictures if you would like to see more of their brilliant work. This video has made the NZMusic4U Honour Roll.

http://download.sheepdogandwolf.com/

www.candlelitpictures.co.nz

Sheep, Dog & Wolf - Glare

She's So Rad - Levels



She's So Rad urbanely surf between genre's...a common thread being rich textures, and a big "international" sound. The skateboarding imagery is maybe a little apt?! They are one of the reasons this blog exists. Wary of boring my (tired) friends with NZ musical talent, it was She's So Rad's "Confetti" video that pushed me to set up this Blogger account. Jeremy Toy, Anji Sami, (now with Phil Hadfield [bass] and John Parker [drums]) routinely spark up the smorgasbord of local offerings. I have always maintained She's So Rad are one of the ones that could do very well internationally. But it doesn't help if someone smashes one's head in...which is what happened to Jeremy a little while ago (no thanks to one of New Zealand's many local psychopaths)...so what should have been a flood of material has been a low volume exercise in creative therapy. Thank goodness it is all still there. This swift-moving, nicely-edited video is directed by Bill Bycroft, and features skateboarder Christian Low. I love this band. See links below.

http://shessorad.com/
http://www.thelineofbestfit.com/new-music/blog/shes-so-rad-levels-premiere-149561

She's So Rad - Levels

Yumi Zouma - The Brae

)

Part 2 of 2. Was that betrayal, or buy-in? "The Brae" might just be my single of the year. As it is, Yumi Zouma show such promise, I am pretty much gagging for future material (hyperbole for effect). I can't quite work out what it is with their material to date, but there is a seemingly effortless elevation above the usual dream-pop fare. For me it sounds a little bit like lazy sunburnt evenings on West Hollywood roof-tops. Boutique hotel Petit Ermitage comes to mind for those who know it's delightful roof terrace. Interesting that the video takes a similar tack. Yumi Zouma emerged from a long-term collaboration between Charlie Ryder and Josh Burgess. They were joined later by friend Kim Phlaum. Both Charlie and Josh have previously been known for their work with Bang!Bang!Eche!. If you would like to buy "The Brae", you can do so at the link below.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/ep/id795031143

P.S. Martyn Pepperell interviewed the band just over a month ago. Have a read at the link below.

http://www.vanguardredmagazine.co.nz/interview-yumi-zouma/

Yumi Zouma - The Brae

Yumi Zouma - A Long Walk Home for Parted Lovers



Having been remarkably busy in my real life, NZMusic4U has had to limp along. But it is time to get back into it...before the next onslaught. I came across Yumi Zouma early this year, and was captivated by their single "The Brae". The single was part of their self-titled EP from which this track is sourced. Kindly sponsored by NZonAir they have put together a two-part video offering that has as it's raison d'etre, the magical poison of a love triangle. Today I give you the first episode. Tomorrow I will follow it up with a little more on the band, and the second instalment of this mini-soap. Yumi Zouma are on the Cascine label. If you want to buy their EP...go to the link below. I am in love with this band.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/ep/id795031143

Junica - I Know A Place



Nik Brinkman, who is Junica, has fans. Of course he has the usual global mix of demographics, but in contrast to many, he has a high ratio of industry heavyweights (producers and artists) that continue to put their weight behind his creativity. And his is a 360 degree sort of creativity. I personally believe those that will succeed in a do-it-yourself future will have skills, not just in composition, production and performance, but also in their ability to cost-effectively communicate their vision....visually. Nik writes great pop songs, and ensures they are produced to a state-of-the-art level, but what marks him out his is ability to put together videos that look, not just innovative, but professional. His is the complete package. I have no doubt that if he wanted to, Nik could script, produce and direct a movie of his own. The video for "I Know A Place" is vintage Nik, with wide-angle tracking shots, great design and top-notch production values. The song itself is produced by Mark Saunders, a former member of Tim Simenon's Bomb the Bass. Mark was responsible for mixing The Cure's "Wish" album (remember "Friday, I'm In Love"?), and has worked with a wide range of other artists including Neneh Cherry and Depeche Mode. Mark has produced the new Junica EP which I believe is due later this year. This track sounds like the best of both Nik and Mark. I am really looking forward to the EP. If you would like to hear more, or maybe buy some of these pop gems, I have supplied a few links below. Go on.

https://itunes.apple.com/nz/artist/junica/id428851973
http://www.amplifier.co.nz/artist/68740/junica.html

Junica - 'I Know A Place'

Liam Finn - Snug As Fuck



That chorus is just sooo delicious! Maybe I am getting too old making comparisons such as this, but surely this song could  have been written by John Lennon? The acerbity, combined with melody, harmony..and then there are the key changes! It also works better with age. Try listening several times. It does tend to creep up. Also reminds me a little of Wilco...but I am not saying it is derivative. It's not. It's brilliant. The track is from the forthcoming album "The Nihilist" due for release on April 8th through Yep Roc Records. The video is clearly a take on the absurdity of those shared days of celebration that we enjoy and endure at the same time. Reminds me just a little of the thematic angle that Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun" video took with the suburban gothic. You can buy Liam's music at the link below.

http://www.amplifier.co.nz/artist/30726/liam_finn.html

Liam Finn - "Snug As Fuck"

Boycrush feat. Watercolours - Secrets



One of my favourite electro-pop gems of the last eighteen months, "Secrets" is a co-written collaboration between two significant talents, and there is magic in the combination. Watercolours is Chelsea Jade Metcalf, well-known to readers of this blog for her not-particularly-prolific but brilliant atmospheric dream-pop. And some great videos as well. Boycrush, (Alistair Deverick) is less well-known publicly although many in the industry will know him from his role as drummer with one of the other superb bands that emerged out of NZ in the mid-2000s, and which is still releasing amazing material, The Ruby Suns. There is a link below where you can listen to, and buy their music. Having "Secrets" on high rotate for a month or so back in late 2012, I had been vaguely hoping that, if the song received funding for a video, that it would be of the quality of the song. And it is. Directed by Liam Bachler, it is possibly one of the best NZ music videos of the last twelve months. There are many images I could name as favourites from the video, but the exploding balloons, and that imagery's integration with the song's rhythm track almost gave me shivers. The mixing for the track was done by Signer's Bevan Smith. You can buy it, and/or the EP it is from, at the link below. I own everything linked below.

http://boycrush.bandcamp.com/album/everybody-all-the-time-ep
http://therubysuns.lilchiefrecords.com/

Boycrush feat. Watercolours - Secrets

Strange Harvest - Amnesia



A beautifully disturbing video, that according to Martyn Pepperell shows where "nature meets technology, reality meets unreality; and beauty meets decay". "Amnesia" builds out of a simple piano and delayed-snare + tom motif into a guitar-based, over-driven, sonic wall. The evolution of space and texture, and the building dynamic contribute to an offering that gets more difficult to release at each listening. The combination of visuals and sound are perfectly matched, and a tribute to the vision of directors Emily Berryman & Phoebe Lysbeth Kay Mackenzie. I love the strobing at the end of the track. A little embarrassingly, Strange Harvest first came to my attention only about six hours ago, in part due to a VanguardRed article by Mr Pepperell (see link below). The band had in fact released the "Inside A Replica City" album back in May 2013. The reader and I can both buy it at the link below. I'll race you...

Blog Post Update: "Amnesia" has made the NZMusic4U Honour Roll. The quality of the components, but also the integration of those components are what make this video special. A pretty easy decision.


http://strangeharvest.bandcamp.com/

http://www.vanguardredmagazine.co.nz/strange-harvest-amnesia/

Amnesia - Strange Harvest

Trick Mammoth - Delphine (With A Purpose)



Trick Mammoth is one of the very interesting stable of artists that make up Dunedin's Fishrider records (see link below). Males, seen elsewhere on this blog are also on the label's roster. There is a historical and geographical artistic lineage here which I can't help hearing...a lineage which goes back to the The Verlaines, The Clean, The Bats etc etc. I am pretty sure that is not an insult. But this music is also of it's time, and it does need to be fresh to make it onto this blog. Trick Mammoth are Adrian Ng, Millie Lovelock (Astrochildren) and Sam Valentine. According to Adrian, "Delphine (With A Purpose)" is centred around the Holly Golightly quote from the "Breakfast At Tiffany's" movie..."because no matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself". "Delphine is sort of a metaphorical assassin. She kills people in an attempt to leave her former self". Adrian also says this was the first song he wrote specifically for Millie to sing. "This is Millie's song" he says, "she owns it". And I love it. The song is from the new "Floristry" album. I also really enjoyed the video for the song, which was created by Emily Hlavac Green, who also took the cover image for the album cover. Emily was assisted on the video by Alex Lovell-Smith at A&E Studio in Dunedin. You can buy the "Floristry" album at the link below. I will be buying it.

http://trickmammoth.bandcamp.com/

http://www.fishriderrecords.com/

Trick Mammoth - "Delphine (With A Purpose)"

Neil Finn - Dizzy Heights



The title track from Neil Finn's "Dizzy Heights" album is as fresh as some of his earlier material, but clearly written and performed from the perspective of a mature musician. This gives it depth, but it is not dated, is definitely a progression, and had me posting a video from someone I don't think really needs support from blogs such as this (promoting up and coming artists). The Neil Finn brand identity still has cache, probably due to a reputation for strongly competent, and sometimes inspired song-writing, often set within luscious sonic settings. This keeps people like me coming back. Great video by the way. Still can't find out who put the video together. You can purchase the new album at the link below.

https://itunes.apple.com/nz/album/dizzy-heights-bonus-track/id727690973

Neil Finn - Dizzy Heights

Team Dynamite - Do It Slow



From the new "Shepherd's Delight" album, this fusion of genres (hip hop...w/ a sprinkling of funk, jazz and house) is one of my favourite tracks of the year so far. Great production, dynamics and balance, with an idiosyncratic vocal delivery, makes for something pretty special. The track needed a video that delivered at the same level as the vibe, and St John (Street John) has given Team Dynamite something that looks expensive...in the best sense of that adjective. The colour, lighting and of course, the editing, has worked to create a feeling of space, and, dare I say it, elegance. The only criticism would be the fade-out on the song itself. It is a minor criticism. I would like to hear this song on a big sound system. I suspect it would be awesome. If you like the song, I have provided a link to Team Dynamite's Bandcamp page below where you can pre-order "Shepherd's Delight" (February 7 release). Team Dynamite are a member of the "Young, Gifted and Broke" collective. I have provided a link to that as well. Go have a look.

http://teamdynamite.bandcamp.com/album/shepherds-delight

http://younggiftedandbroke.com/

Team Dynamite    'Do It Slow"

Randa - Cosby Kid



If I had to put together a list of musical NZers under the age of 21 most likely to succeed globally, Randa would be very high on my list. It's superbly innovative material, delivered by a well-defined artistic identity with oodles of visual charisma. I suspect if she is to make it, it may demand some pin-balling from partnership to partnership (see her Dan Aux collaboration), and possibly finding a more permanent melodic/textural production team to work with...or it might just work on its own. Who am I to say? Randa is not the only reason this video has been posted (although she lights this one up as usual). I have been very impressed by the work of Candlelit Pictures and was driven to do a mini-profile on them after discovering their portfolio last week. Yesterday it was Evan Sinton's "Prisoner's Cinema". Today it's "Cosby Kid". Not sure how to describe it. Just watch it. Directed by "Thunderlips", the video was produced by Anna Duckworth and Alix Whittaker. So good. Links to both Randa's website, and Candlelit's portfolio are below.

http://www.larzranda.com/

http://candlelitpictures.co.nz/projects

Randa - Cosby Kid

Evan Sinton - Prisoner's Cinema



This week we have two very good videos from Candlelit Pictures. The first is for one-time "New Zealand's Got Talent" finalist Evan Sinton, the second for "Cosby Kid" from Randa (tomorrow). I am not a fan of television talent shows but very occasionally they do make us aware of really interesting new artists - although I think those same artists need to be careful it does not undermine their initial positioning. I don't think people intuitively link talent shows with creativity. Performance yes, creativity no. "Prisoner's Cinema" is original though, and showcases true creativity and a great vocal presence. The song demanded a strong video, and Candlelit have delivered beautifully. Concept and direction was by "Thunderlips" with production by Anna Duckworth and Alix Whitaker. Go to Evan's website at the link below. You can download the "Phospenes" EP (from which this track has been taken) at the iTunes link.

http://www.evansinton.com/

https://itunes.apple.com/nz/artist/evan-sinton/id598013836

Evan Sinton - Prisoner's Cinema  
 

NO - What's Your Name



I have been playing NO's "Stay With Me" over and over today, and can't quite believe I hadn't chased it up back in 2012. It is a beautiful song, and weirdly, a sadly beautiful video - about crash test dummies. When I feel I have done a band a disservice by not featuring them adequately previously, I will post multiple songs in a row. Today we have "Whats Your Name" from early in 2013, in a short film written and directed by Ryan Reichenfeld. The intial single shot introduction is impressively set-up and executed. The song itself, is another poignant offering from NO, and has been on a similarly high level of rotation to "Stay With Me" in my office today. I have included the band's website link below, as well as a link to their latest single from their new album "El Prado" due out in mid-Feb. The new single's name is "Leave The Door Wide Open". I am looking forward to the video for this song, which is a promising harbinger for the new album. It sounds like it could work on radio as well.

https://soundcloud.com/artsandcraftsmx/no-leave-the-door-wide-opene

NO | What's Your Name

NO - Stay With Me



First pointed out to me by Los Angeles-based advertising executive Blake Crosbie when I was over there last week, I have subsequently found out this band I had not really been hooked into, has not only been starting to make waves in the USA, but also has a lineage that goes back to Steriogram, the Grammy-nominated band that almost made it. Many of those members have moved onto other illustrious careers including managing Lorde and Mt Eden in the USA, and launching NYC-based hair product businesses (www.fatboyhair.com). Bradley Carter, vocalist and guitarist from Steriogram has been quietly doing the hard yards out of Echo Park in LA as frontman and leader of NO for some time now. The band has signed with record label Arts & Crafts, with a new album due for release in February. NO have been compared to The National, the Killers and Interpol and I think these influences, and many older ones are pretty clear. But it is it's own thing, and I like it - a lot. "Stay With Me" was released as a single in 2012 and the video is a classic. I remember seeing this back then, loving the crash-dummy idea and it's execution, but didn't really chase it up. "Leave The Door Wide Open" is the first single from the new album, "El Prado". I have provided a Soundcloud link to that song below. In the interim, go build some visual empathy for crash dummies with the "Stay With Me" video. "No" deserve to do well, with great material, well-delivered, and a work ethic to enable the break-out luck to turn up. Their website is also linked below.

https://soundcloud.com/artsandcrafts/leave-the-door-wide-open-1

http://noechopark.com/

NO | Stay With Me

Lontalius - Plastic House


Eddie Johnston, a Wellington high school student, has been quietly building what is now turning into an emerging global profile through two monikers..."Lontalius" which covers his indie, lo-fi sounds, and "Race Banyon", his electro-pop identity. It hasn't hurt that musical friend Lorde has been forwarding links to his material to her rapidly growing social media audience. I first came across Eddie through his Lontalius identity late in 2012 and have bought pretty much everything he has done since then. This is a man with a future, which may well come faster than he anticipated. There are probably tracks I would rather see with a video (such as the Race Banyon song "Only Sixteen") but the "Plastic House" video is still worthy, and a beautifully executed visual realisation. I initially thought it was self-done but now understand USA native Linnea Nugent directed, edited and produced it. I have provided a link to her other work on Vimeo below. The song is from last year's "The World Will Never Know About Us" available at the link below. I have attached a Race Banyon link as well. Go buy it.


http://lontalius.bandcamp.com/
http://racebanyon.bandcamp.com/


http://vimeo.com/linneanugent

Lontalius | Plastic House

School for Birds - Before Sunrise



School for Birds have been on this blog previously, with singles "Mod Love", and "I Need". With a background of writing strong pop material in bands such as the Nixons, Eye TV and Exiles, there is no doubt as to the talent Sean Sturm and Mahuia-Bridgman are able to lever off...though I am not sure how focused the principals are on building a major career around this latest iteration as they have achieved strongly in their "real life" careers. But "School for Birds" is a very good album. I would not be surprised to see some sort of net-based viral success, especially considering all three singles have excellent videos. Go to the link below to buy the album.

https://itunes.apple.com/nz/artist/school-for-birds/id524541968

School for Birds - Before Sunrise

Eden Mulholland - Mekong Delta



Sometimes I hear Eden Mulholland's songs and they seem like, well, just a little too much effort. There is a clear construction regime at work which verges on the contrived, but in the end, what are beautifully crafted songs do emerge from the often quite sparse soundscapes he puts together. "Mekong Delta" has taken a little longer than usual to creep up on me, but "that" chorus, combined with textural dynamics and contrasts between verse and chorus work beautifully. The video is well-photographed by Erynne Mulholland on a Canon 550D - and it looks great. Amazing what one can do with a DSLR really. "Mekong Delta" is from the "Feed the Beast" album released mid-2013. You can buy it at the link below. I own it.

http://edenmulholland.bandcamp.com/

Eden Mulholland - Mekong Delta