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Monday, September 15, 2014

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.

Streets of Laredo - Slow Train (Official Video)

Friday, September 5, 2014

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.

Louis the Zu "In The Winter":


Saturday, August 23, 2014

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.

Bio here:

Grayson Gilmour - Silence & Youth (Music Video)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

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.

School for Birds - 10,000 Things

Monday, August 4, 2014

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.

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

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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.

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

Friday, July 18, 2014

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.

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

Sunday, June 29, 2014

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.

Candlelit Pictures's website here:

An influence?

Doprah - Stranger People (Music Video)

Monday, June 23, 2014

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.

G U A R D S at this link:

DOPRAH - Whatever You Want (Music Video)

Monday, June 16, 2014

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.

The Rip It Up interview is at this link:

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