Hard News by Russell Brown


Friday Music: Schooling Up

There's been a lot written about Lorde in a relatively short time, but I think the interview that revealed most about what makes her tick musically was Jim Pinckney's story in The Listener, which contains this passage:

“When I wrote Royals, I was listening to a lot of rap, but also a lot of Lana Del Rey, because she’s obviously really hip-hop influenced, but all those references to expensive alcohol, beautiful clothes and beautiful cars – I was thinking, ‘This is so opulent, but it’s also bullshit.’”

I’m curious to know O’Connor’s thoughts on Del Rey, one of the most polarising pop stars of recent times, an artist she will almost inevitably be compared to, on some level.

“I pretty much get compared to every sort of pop girl; I want to get some guys,” she laments. “With her, it’s really manufactured. I never really believe anything she’s talking about, but at the same time I think there’s really a writer there, and I think she could have something really cool, if she stopped and looked at herself. Everything is about a boy … I think we’re past that – it’s 2013. Every song doesn’t have to be ‘I’m absolutely nothing without you, I’m holding onto your leg, don’t let me go!’ It’s tired. Her real story is more interesting than her fantasy.”

Lorde's new single (you can buy it here on iTunes) sounds like nothing so much as 16 year-old Ella Yelich O’Connor giving Del Rey some schooling. It's been blowing up on internet hype sites all week -- and it deserves to:

But the flipsde is pretty interesting too. It's a cover of The Replacements' 'Swingin' Party'. It's an admirably non-obvious choice, and she takes it somewhere:

I confess, part of me really wants to hear a mash-up of this and the original. That doesn't make me a bad person.


 Over at The Corner music blog, Hussein Moses has again marked New Zealand Music Month by rolling out a daily track from an emerging local artist then bundling the whole lot up as a free download of Awesome Feeling 7, the latest in the series that originally began with the late Real Groove magazine. I admire this guy's attention to detail -- each of the 20 acts gets a profile written by one of The Corner's bloggers.

Artists this time include The Salad Boys, Trick Mammoth and Death and the Maiden. You probably won't like all of (I don't) but you may well really like some of it (I do). You can download the whole thing for free as a zip file, or audition and download individual tracks via The Corner's Soundcloud. All the links are here.

I'm really pleased to see that NZ On Air has helped out Hussein this time. He originally applied via the agency's Ignite digital funding scheme, but missed out (there were many applications and not many grants available). But he tells me NZ On Air subsequently "reached out" and he secured a modest grant that let him spend $795 on artwork, Souncloud hosting and paying his writers. This is an excellent result.


Meanwhile, over at TheAudience, I'm quite taken with Kittens of the Internet's kooky, catchy single 'Livin' the Dream':

There's a short profile of the pair there too.

I'm also liking this, which is topping TheAudience's Blues/Country/Folk chart:

And this highly-literate composition from Wellington's Joe Blossom:

Click through for a free download of that.


Some further Soundclouding ...

The best, most fun mash-up I've heard in ages:

A yummy cover of 'I Feel Love' in a "Balearic lounge" style:

In 1988, Tom Tom Club released a pretty average album with the ghastly title Boom Boom Chi Boom Boom. The single from it,  'Suboceana', got some club play and, more importantly, was released on 12" in the UK with a couple of Marshall Jefferson remixes. This is an edit of one of those mixes:

Having checked all the usual places to attempt to buy the obscure and fabulously tasty original release, I'm calling it: there's a 192k MP3 here on Mediafire.

And just for fun, A. Skillz' recent re-rub of 'Dub Be Good to Me':


And finally, this week's Audioculture gem: Terry Dean and the Nightbeats, out of Auckland. 

Find out who the hell they were on their Audioculture page.


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