Bella Kalolo - Spin on Soul -
Of Samoan, Tongan and Maori (Ngati Porou) descent, Bella Kalolo has long been involved in the NZ music scene, but is only now starting to become a household name. Working as a vocalist over the last 10 years Kalolo has mixed it with a vast array of top Kiwi talent including Don McGlashan, Dave Dobbyn, Hollie Smith, Fat Freddys Drop, the NZSO and Nathan Haines. Alistar Wickens met with Kalolo to talk about the changes 2011 has brought, most notably the recent release of her debut album, ‘Without The Paper’.
Book review: 10:98 Seconds of Wellington Artists -
Book review: The Cookbook Tour Europe – Adventures in Food and Music -
Music, food and travel are three of my most favourite things so I was delighted to get my mitts on Flip Grater’s latest offering: combining travel tales, recipes and a CD of her music.
As Flip is an extremely talented and eloquent songwriter, it comes as no surprise that I’m hooked from the very first page. ...more
Book review: Tour Trouble -
Surely, at sometime in the near future the Turakina town fathers will erect a statue of Bing Turkby on the approach road from Bulls – either that or take out a restraining order on him. Perhaps the latter is more likely, although in any court petition they will have to acknowledge that, as the Manawatu township’s #1 aficionado, he has done considerably more than all of them in putting Turakina on the map.
Bulletproof - Label Me Crazy -
Back before he began producing drum’n’bass, and then dubstep, as Bulletproof, before he began DJing and releasing music internationally, before he ran his own record label (Cyanide Records), Jason Monds was just a young music-loving punk growing up in Christchurch. He played in a couple of high school bands before moving out of home and beginning what has been a rather epic journey up, down and around the country, and through the breaking landscapes of emerging music styles. He talked with Martyn Pepperell about his musical travels, from house out beyond drum’n’bass to early dubstep and back towards the mainstream with his latest Bulletproof album ‘Dub Me Crazy’.
Fagan And The People - The Admirable Sailor And His People -
It’s no surprise that pop music, as a creative and intrinsically exhibitionist pursuit, has always held a particular attraction for unconventional and extroverted characters. You’d be hard pushed to find a more unique example of the breed than Andrew Fagan – singer, songwriter, poet, author, talkback host, model yacht designer and perhaps most interestingly, fearless (some would say ‘crazy’) solo yachtsman. His life to date has been a catalogue of unconventionality. Fellow expert yachtsman Mark Bell caught up with Fagan after a talk-back session and ahead of the very long-awaited launch of his new/old album ‘Admiral of the Narrow Seas’.
Flying Nun Is Turning 30! -
It’s had a low key start, but with the release of The Bats’ new album Flying Nun’s 30th anniversary celebrations have really kicked off. November is the big month, with ‘new faces’ showcases in Auckland and Wellington, while ‘old faces’ The Clean, HDU, The Bats and Ghost Club will all be touring nationally. Releases will include ‘Tally Ho’, a double-disc 30-year ‘best of’ compilation, plus singles from new kids Popstrangers, Surf Friends and T54. Richard Thorne talked with Flying Nun founder Roger Shepherd about how it is being back at the helm, turning 30, and what else might be on the label’s horizon.
Funkommunity - Sci-Fi And The Spill Over Effect -
‘Chequered Thoughts’ is the debut album from Funkommunity, the new project of acclaimed multi-instrumentalist, DJ and producer Isaac Aesili with emerging vocal talent Rachel Fraser. Both based in Auckland, though originally hailing from south of the Bombay hills, the seed of Funkommunity was sown in 2009, when Fraser recorded two sultry RnB numbers (I’m All In and Media) for Aesili’s first solo album ‘Eye See’. Martyn Pepperell talked with him about his own space travels, looking backward and moving forward at the same time.
Grant Haua - A Drawerful Of Blues -
The blues were always s’posed to be kept simple and in that respect the engaging music of Bay of Plenty musician Grant Haua makes him a bona fide blues-man. As a performer he is aware that being the only one on stage means he and his guitar have to work harder to connect with the audience and hold their attention. Recorded in just a few hours (literally) his exceptional recent album ‘Knucklehead’ admirably captures the dynamics of Haua’s live performance, with minimal studio trickery, as Laura Dooney discovers.
Jess Chambers - The Strength of Desire -
Widely introduced with Stringing Me Along, one of the stand out tracks from ‘The Woolshed Sessions’, Wellington singer/songwriter Jess Chambers has just released ‘Desire’, a haunting album of nocturnal bed-sit folk songs. Drawn from the songbook of material she has been performing live over the last few years, the self-produced album matches the delicacy of her voice with nine sparse and gently-flowing, mostly acoustic-backed tracks. Her evident sensitivity is however, belied by a strength of purpose and global career ambition, as Martyn Pepperell reveals.
Kerretta - Many Ways To Surprise -
Kerretta are a heavy-hitting rock metal three-piece from Auckland. They laugh in the face of convention, especially as far as lead singers are concerned, and after six years together continue to push the boundaries of a purely instrumental sound – while still managing to create and convey the essential elements of darkness and depth. Their debut album ‘Vilayer’, released in 2009, gained praise from fans and critics across the globe, and was among the finalists for the inaugural IMNZ Taite Music Prize. Individually active participants in our music industry, Kerretta is a band full of interesting ideas and philosophies, as Westley Holdsworth discovered when he met with bassist Will Waters for some craft beer and a chat about new album ‘Saansilo’.
Kimbra - The Girl's Got Vow Factor -
Aside from one heavily-hyped free Fashion Week event in Auckland, and a few much smaller invite-only gigs, New Zealand audiences haven’t had much chance to catch this perfectly formed, impossibly talented, pop-coloured Kiwi girl Kimbra perform. At least not since her own Cameo Lover and Gotye’s global chart-topper Somebody That I Used To Know have made her an apparently instant pop radio and video starlet. It must have been an odd kind of back-to-her-roots experience to perform at Auckland’s Kings Arms and compete for the early NZMA title of Critics’ Choice, as she did just days before this issue went to press. That she won it was no surprise, her performance a clear stand out. Kimbra talked with Lydia Jenkin ahead of the Australasian release of her revealingly eclectic debut album ‘Vows’.
Midnight Youth - The Brave Ready For More -
As its name boldly suggests, expectations are high for Midnight Youth’s new album, ‘World Comes Calling’. Two years ago their first, equally brashly-named debut, ‘The Brave Don’t Run’, went platinum here, drew plenty of international attention, won them three Tui awards, and spawned a line of hits including The Letter – the local song receiving the most radio play in NZ during 2009. Gareth Shute caught up with the band’s nerd-cool frontman Jeremy Redmore and guitarist Simon Oscroft, to find out just what the world is calling for.
Pajama Club - Look What Became Of Their Crowded House -
Pajama Club have become an overnight sensation, and not like a sleepover. What began (already famously) for Neil Finn and wife Sharon as a way to fill an empty house, soon turned into a musical midnight feast, with potential to be more than a home studio project. Along with this realisation came Sean Donnelly, better known around these parts as SJD, and it soon became apparent this pyjama party was going to be bigger than its Newton Rd bedroom headquarters. Ren Kirk spoke to Donnelly about his involvement with the Finns’ Pajama Club, the resulting self-titled album and upcoming pillow fights.
The Bats - Don't Throw Away The Keys Just Yet -
Their songs may not have made it to any of the ‘Great NZ Songbook’ compilations, or even ‘Nature’s Best’ 1, 2, or 3 for that matter, but such oversights should take nothing from The Bats’ NZ song legacy. They were, after all from Dunedin, and 29 years since their first gig, remain a staunchly South Island act. So what if they made the cover of Billboard, or once had the NME song of the week? Back then, as again right now, The Bats were a Flying Nun staple. Richard Thorne talked to bassist Paul Kean about his band’s asylum-recorded eighth album, ‘Free All The Monsters’, finding him overflowing with memories and tales of the past, as well as enthusiasm for the new.