The Critics' Choice Prize has for several years been an interesting part of the New Zealand Music Awards build-up. It aims to recognise emerging talent and reward it with in-kind support like business and legal mentoring -- and its record is pretty good. Kimbra and won it and the Naked and Famous were finalists before going on to greater things, and last year's winner was Watercolours.
The 2013 finalists were announced on Tuesday evening -- and quite an intriguing bunch they are.
The first two EPs from their three-EP product can be had for a thoroughly reasonable price at their Bandcamp page.
Janine and the Mixtape is Janine Foster, singer, songwriter, producer and current resident of Brooklyn New York, where she's -- understandably -- attracting attention. Her moody soul sound is captured on her EP Dark Mind, which you can stream on Soundcloud:
And download here.
Naturally, she makes her own videos too:
And then there's Sheep Dog & Wolf (the name comes from a video game, i think), aka19 year-old jazz-trained multi-instrumentalist Daniel McBride, whose layered, complex debut album Egospect sounds a bit like this:
And you can hear all three play 30-minute sets at the Critics' Choice evening at the King's Arms on November 6.
I've looked previously at the Big Day Out and Laneway lineups for the coming summer, but there's a lot more than that going on.
Most notably, the two-yearly Splore festival is on again -- and the announcement this week that DJ Shadow will be on the main stage bill was a bit exciting, assuming you like the idea of hearing a legendary California/New York DJ-producer play on a stage that sits right on a beautiful beach. Which I do.
Meanwhile, Northern Bass, the New Year's Eve blowout in Mangawhai, has taken a real step up for 2014. Talib Kweli headlines a bill that also includes Ladi 6 and LTJ Bukem.
If you've been up for the idea of David Saunders playing with Street Chant but are less keen on hanging out in dark, smelly music venues past midnight, Sunday is your chance. They play the Waitakere Festival at Henderson Park on Sunday, along with Tiny Ruins, The Eversons and a bunch of other bands. Dave's on at 4.15. See you there.
Also on Sunday, the rapper-poet Tourettes spans the generations and gets together with Sam Hunt for a late-afternoon show at Golden Dawn. I'll have a look at Tourettes' new EP Dead Dog Dance on its release next week.
This is pretty awesome: the whole of Chris Bourke's Blue Smoke radio series, based on the book of the same name, available as podcasts from Radio New Zealand.
Neneh Cherry not only has a new album on the way, it's a new album produced by Four Tet. Here's a hint of how it might sound:
The mysterious and prolific Christoph El' Truento has a new album, a series of oopsie daisies and various other flora, out next week. It's full of surprising little soundscapes and you can listen to and download a preview track today:
The Flaming Lips Twitter account says the Flaming Lips have broken up. Aw.
There's a superb new entry by Andrew Schmidt on Christchurch cultural legend Tony Peake on Audioculture.
And, finally, Television had their moments at the Powerstation last night, but were largely pretty meh. There was a really odd lack of urgency about them. But Ed Kuepper in support, on the other hand -- wow! He was magnificent, and rocked a hell of a lot more on his own than the four dudes who followed him managed at any point. I got a bit emotional when he played this:
That was Ed Kuepper's first ever show in Auckland. I don't want to wait so long for the next one.
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