27 February 2013

Spotlight: Nia Andrews 'Colours'

Los Angeles-born singer/songwriter Nia Andrews has had one of those lives that are worth going into some detail about: the self-taught musician dropped out of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz due to an inability to actually read music. She then pursued a career as a writer, finding success particularly as a treatment writer, with her concepts directly resulting in multiple MTV awards. She then moved back toward music, taking a position as "creative assistant" to Common (though I'd like to know what that really means...) before quickly becoming his background singer, and going on to sing behind Mary J. Blige, Lauryn Hill, Janelle Monae and many, many more. Andrews is currently collaborating with Golden Globe nominated songwriter Andrea Remanda and producer Deron Johnson (Miles Davis, Alanis Morrisette, Seal) on her debut solo album.

Colours is a 4-track EP of all original material which Andrews has written and recorded with Remanda and Johnson, which is being released in advance of the album. As a teaser, I guess.

Whatever. Even if Andrews wasn't Mark de Clive-Lowe's missus I'd still be drawing attention to this release.

She possesses a voice which bleeds emotion, and her lyricism is what one would expect of someone with her credentials. The music is woozy without being wobbly and dreamy without a sniff of Dilla's influence, while the presence of guitar and proper pop hooks put this release somewhere nearer the mainstream that I would've expected.

And in this case, that's not a bad thing at all. I hope folks do sit up and take notice. And you can too, in the player below, or right here.

26 February 2013

Live: High Noon Pool Party

#Jusayin Presents
3pm - 12am, Saturday 2nd March, Point Erin Pool

With: Suff Daddy // Funkommunity Sound System // Recloose // Bro90 // Kutcorners // Wise1 // @Misformatua // Ed G (Sandy Bay Social Club) // WhoDat // Nivin (The Crates) // Marcel Marceau

Family friendly fun at Pt Erin Pool from 3pm in the afternoon, and running til the witching hour - and all FREE. Yep, a FREE pool party, which is even licensed. Propers to #Jusayin and the Pt Erin Pool folks, not to mention Otautahi Tattoo, Base FM, Radio Ponsonby, Higher and Broken Shed.

Seeya there.

21 February 2013

Spotlight: Mara TK 'Taniwhunk'

Mara TK possesses one of "those" voices. You know what I mean: disarming, seductive, almost ethereal. It is no lion's roar, sure, but despite this he delivers his messages with as much intent and clarity.

Mara is the vocalist and frontman (such as they have just one) for one of our most forward thinking and exciting musical groups, Electric Wire Hustle, and son of legendary Kiwi guitarist Billy TK. He is also one of the most gentle, reticient and caring frontmen I've ever met.

The Taniwhunk EP was a double A-side release on a very limited run of 7" singles back in 2011, but this self-confessed 'Maori in Space' has just scored quite the coup: he is re-releasing both tracks (Run and Anyone Here?) through German label OnGravity Records - with remixes by Moodymann and Simbad. I know!

Check the Moodymann mix in the player below, or here; and the Simbad mix here.

Propers to the brother for getting the word out. And speaking of 'the word', check out this link for some serious prose (brose?) describing his sound and the driving force behind his music making. Mauri Ora!

20 February 2013

Reading: Holy Rollers At BB King's

Something a little different with this post: a link to a poem written by Cheryl Boyce-Taylor - the mother of Malik "Phife Dawg" Izaak of A Tribe Called Quest.

The poem is about her son - and her reaction to the way his performance moved a crowd at a gig she was attending.

Now, regular readers will know I'm no head when it comes to hip hop, so it's no life-long love of ATCQ that's prompting me to post this; as a performer I think it's more than worth sharing. Enjoy.

[Propers to Caits Meissner for the hook up. Take a look at (just!) one of her projects, The Well&Often Reader, here.]

18 February 2013

Spotlight: Some Other Planets

OMG, as the kids say. (Do they still say that?!) Some Other Planets is the name for a collaboration of some of my favourite leftfield NZ producers and musicians; namely Riki Gooch (Eru Dangerspiel, Trinity Roots), Julien Dyne (Opensouls), Parks (Ladi6) and (the "grumpy" one, tbh) Christoph El Truento (@Peace).

Seriously? Seriously.

While I've not yet uncovered any original material from this little corker of a collective, they have let slip a mix that you can listen to (below), and download (right here), should you so desire.

WARNING: for a group comprising beatmakers, drummers and percussionists, this mix is surprisingly beatless. Open your ears, wide...

Could be worth checking their live debut out at Golden Dawn, Thu 21st Feb too. More info on that here...

13 February 2013

Spotlight: Madeaux 'EP'

One of the perks of this "job" (how my parents laugh when I describe what I do as such) is being sent fresh, exciting, new music (or fresh, exciting, old music, for that matter) and being exposed to a whole bunch of stuff I would've otherwise probably never even knew existed.

Like Madeaux.

Released on LessThan3 Recordings, this four-track EP (which stretches out to 20min in length) showcases the young producer's hip 'sound-of-now'. He describes it as "chopped and screwed electronic soul" and "underwater pop music", and I'm happy enough with that to regurgitate it here without sarcasm; and would add I also feel the influence of the likes of Madeaux's peers Disclosure, Flying Lotus, and perhaps even J Dilla.

(Regular readers of this blog will be aware I can be scathing of folks I feel are leaning a little too heavily on the legacy of Dilla in finding their own sound. Thankfully, this is not the case with Madeaux.)

I'm probably feeling the treacle-deep groove of opening track Departing the most, though the twisting drum patterns of both Transatlantic Rhapsody and Midnight Sun (featuring guest vocalist Beca) recall the best bits of UK garage, two-step and broken beat, which I'm loving re-visiting right now. Closer Accidentals indulges in a little glitch and some heavy, heavy bass, and ensures this EP finishes with a stylish flourish.

Take a listen to the EP in the player below, or follow one of the many links in the piece above. When you're done, head on over to Beatport to nab your own copy...

Spotlight: @Peace

While not being a card-carrying fan of Homebrew by any stretch of the imagination, I am definitely enjoying what I'm hearing from Tom Scott's "other" project, @Peace. He's not the only fella involved, of course, despite being the most recognisable vocally. Also a part of the group are Lui Tuiasau, Christoph El Truento, Dandruff Dicky and Brandon Haru. So a pretty solid lineup of talent, then? Shit yes, and it's not going to waste, either.

Barstool Balancing Act 1 is the perfect example of why I prefer these guys to Scott's "main" outfit. Another good reason is the latest single Flowers. This is unexpectedly gripping stuff lyrically - and musically these guys are pushing the right buttons too, leaning far enough into the squelchy, wobbly stuff to be current but without being predictable. It's a fine line, so propers where they're due.

I do hope @Peace get half the attention Homebrew have managed to rustle up - but being there's no novelty single like Benefit rearing its head, I fear the band may not trouble the mainstream media much at all. That's a shame, because I'd kinda like everyone who bought the Homebrew album to be able to hear and compare it to this stuff. I think that'd help re-dress the balance, as it were.

Check out this mini-movie trailer for the Girls EP, which both of these tracks below are taken from.

Links: Barstool Balancing Act 1 // Flowers

11 February 2013

Spotlight: Opensouls 'Rise Up' (Lewis McCallum remix)

I've always had a lot of love for Lewis McCallum, and also for the Opensouls - and many of the projects the various members of that band have gone on to as well - so it gives me great pleasure to be able to extend further love (as it were) to both parties in one fell swoop.

Check out this link for a free download of Lewis' remix of the Opensouls track Rise Up, originally from their debut album Kaleidoscope. Indeed, Lewis was heavily involved in the recording of the album version. You can also listen to the remix in the player below... and while you're here, why not take a moment to listen to Fly Or Die, one of the most enduring tracks from Lewis' debut solo album Wake.



There, I said it. Moreover, I shall attribute it: I have been slack. Very slack. It's been quite some time since I updated this blog, and there's a very clear reason for it: this summer has been the best on record here in New Zealand for many, many years; so I've been making the most of it and getting out into it as often as humanly possible.

It's been fantastic.

However, it's been too long, so I'm back. 

Check back regularly for a grab bag of all sorts of procrastination aids, inlcuding links to new music, free downloads, new DJ mixes, reviews of music new and old, and all manner of musical mischief - just like it says on the tin.

Let's revisit this Cosmic Disco mixtape I put together, just to get the ball rolling...