Amiria Grenell - It's a family affair -
The first Tui awarded each year is for the country’s Best Folk Album, and in January this year it was announced that Amiria Grenell had pipped her fellow finalists to win the 2012 award. She celebrated by playing at the Tuborg Summer Sunday in Matakana the following afternoon, telling the welcoming audience that it was her award after-party. Laura Dooney caught up with the latest Grenell family member making musical headlines.
Arcades - Who's Lost Who The Most -
On a particularly rainy early February afternoon, I arrive in a depressingly drenched rat state at the somewhat austere New Zealand School of Music buildings, located on Victoria University of Wellington's campus. Upon entry, I’m greeted by Dugal McKinnon, Director of the Lilburn Electroacoustic Music Studios and Programme Leader in Sonic Arts. A thin, bespectacled fellow, he looks at my soaked state with sense of empathy, eventually offering me a coat hook to hang my jacket on once we've settled into his small office space.
Batucada Sound Machine - Music For A New World Order -
The band name must rank among the most commonly misspelt and mispronounced in contemporary New Zealand music, and the line up changes so frequently that even the core members seem to have given up on trying to keep the band bio accurately up to date. All of which seems like recipe for disaster, but somehow, for Batucada Sound Machine, it is certainly not so. Mainstream radio doesn’t really play their songs either, yet BSM can spend a quarter of each year touring and are in consistent demand overseas, particularly in northern Europe. Westley Holdsworth took on the challenge of interviewing the Hydra-like beast that is BSM to find out about their second album, released in January, and ask how they keep it fresh.
Book Review: Amazing Guitar Facts and Trivia -
Attention guitar geeks and trivia fiends! Amazing Guitar Facts and Trivia could well be the best go-to-guide for useful and useless pieces of guitar history ever. Compiled by Nigel Cawthorne, whose writing career spans over 80 books, including the biography of rock’n’roll legend Ike Turner, this spiral-bound hard-cover includes 180 info-soaked pages, all dressed to the nines with glorious bizarre and beautiful images of the instrument, that will positively whet the palate of any self-respecting gat fanatic.
Book Review: Dunedin Soundings -
Dunedin Soundings is a dense read, split into three main parts: Performance As Research, Music Communication and Community and finally Music History And Local Identity. The first section puts emphasis on how research within music works, focusing on the process of actually creating music and has some enlightening examples of experimentation within that subject.
Caitlin Smith - In Sight of the Finishing Line -
In her regular NZM column called ‘Finding Your Voice’, celebrated Auckland jazz vocalist Caitlin Smith freely passes on a broad range of tips, both physical and spiritual, invaluable for singers of all ages and stages. As with all this magazine’s esteemed columnists, the motivation is not financial, more an expression of her love for the craft and perhaps a giving back to the gods of music, who have blessed her with a voice of honesty and excellence that is widely lauded in the jazz arena, where she has focused her own musical creativity. Of course, as those same columns indicate, such excellence is never achieved without years of considerable effort. In April this year Caitlin will independently release her second album of originals, entitled ‘You Have Reached Your Destination’. The album, as its name suggests, has itself been a considerably challenging seven year journey, as Mark Bell discovers.
Delaney Davidson - Man With a Thousand Faces -
Less than well known around his own country just a year ago, Delaney Davidson made quite a splash here in 2011, featuring as a member of The Harbour Union on the Lyttelton collective’s eponymous album, and on the similarly wonderful ‘Love Christchurch’ compilation CD – capped off with being named as a finalist for the 2011 APRA Silver Scroll Award. The irony that it was the disaster of the Christchurch earthquakes that brought his songwriting to wider local attention seems matched with the title of his latest album, ‘Bad Luck Man’. The CD cover pictures him as a vaudevillian character of rather tragic circumstance, the accompanying text and some song titles leaving little question as to its message. Richard Thorne caught up with him to see if Delaney Davidson is indeed as sad as he is sardonic – far from it.
Labretta Suede & The Motel 6 - Rock n' Roll Innocents Abroad -
It takes some real naked ambition to try selling sand to the Saudis, coal to Newcastle or, for that matter, Kiwi rock’n’roll to America. Fortunately the 5’ 3” frame of Labretta Suede is chock full of ambition, and judging by the cover of the newly released second Labretta Suede and The Motel 6 album, ‘Dirty & Dumb’, she’s not at all shy about the naked part either. Well, being tastefully underdressed at least – she is after all wearing black stiletto thigh boots, lace up hot pants and a tiara – oh, and some strategic nipple tape. Nothing so naked as the ambition then. Richard Thorne caught up with the New York-based Labretta Suede ahead of her band’s arrival back in NZ for a 10-date tour.
Lucky Paul - Feist's No Fuss Kiwi Drummer -
One of the most enthusiastic of cheers at Auckland’s Laneway Festival in January came when Canadian songstress Feist told the crowd that her drummer, ‘Lucky Paul’, came from Auckland. Despite having played previously with the likes of One Million Dollars, Opensouls and this issue’s cover act Batucada Sound Machine, few might have been expecting to find a former Western Springs College pupil providing the rhythm for such a high profile international artist. Indeed, just six months earlier such a globetrotting role would have seemed unlikely to Paul Taylor himself – he was enjoying life in Berlin and planning to spend the next several years there. Richard Thorne rolled the dice with ‘Lucky Paul’ Taylor ahead of his homecoming festival performance and found the sobriquet fits.
Myele Manzanza - Man On The Move -
“Myele, hello. It’s half past nine and you’ve been drumming since before nine. And... we’ve said nothing about it for a very long time but it’s just driving us mad. The low frequency, the boom boom goes right through our house and right through our bodies, and it’s just unacceptable Myele, absolutely unacceptable. You have to make alternative arrangements... You’re a nice boy, we like you heaps but it’s just unacceptable.”
“Myele, it’s Jill from next door. It’s 11.25pm on Tuesday and I don’t honestly expect you to be drumming and keeping us awake.” (Phone hangs up.) NZM’s social issues reporter, Adam Burns, investigates these unusual and disturbing complaints about Wellington’s Myele Manzanza.
Tono and The Finance Company - Beyond The Primordial Soup -
2011 was a good year for Tono and The Finance Company with the release of an Off The Cuff documentary filmed in the band’s native home of Dunedin, a bFM In Session shot in the band’s other home of Auckland, and a headlining slot at that station’s Fancy New Band Showcase. Not to mention being video blogged by NZM’s last issue cover stars Homebrew. It might have been hard to imagine this year getting any better, until U.S indie darlings Beirut handpicked the band as main support on their two NZ dates in January. Now Anthony Tonnon and his ‘Finance Company’ are ready to release their first full album, ‘Up Here For Thinking, Down There For Dancing’, in March. Westley Holdsworth talked with the Tonnon/ Tono.