Hard News by Russell Brown


Friday Music: The Roundup

It strikes me that with the essays that have occupied Friday Music lately, it's a while since I just rounded up a whole bunch of music and related stuff. And there is quite a lot of stuff. So here's a roundup, starting with stuff out today ...

Auckland MC JessB captured attention almost as soon as she stepped on a stage three years ago – the strength she radiates is pretty hard to ignore. She's had a busy summer – Rhythm and Vines, Northern Bass and Auckland City Limits – and her seven-track EP Bloom dropped on your favoured streaming service today. It's all tight rhymes and a booming production courtesy her long-time collaborator  P Money. And the video for 'Take It Down' featuring Rubi Du (aka the excellent Silva MC) is one of my favourite local clips in a while. Looks like you don't mess with Jess and her girls.

Also fresh today, but in a wholly different vein, Carnivorous Plant Society's The New King, an album of sweeping cinematic whimsy featuring the likes of Hollie Fullbrook, Lawrence Arabia and Don McGlashan. This is the video for 'Journey of the Sacred Crystal', which was created, like all their low-fi animated clips, by bandleader Finn Scholes.

Darren Watson, the local bluesman who unexpectedly found himself in a free-speech battle with the Electoral Commission over his song 'Planet Key', hasn't got any less political. This is the video for his new song 'National Guy', from the forthcoming album Too Many Millionaires, which is out in May. I presume no one will try to ban this one ...

Audioculture has matching new articles by John Pain on Bressa Creeting Cake and Edmund Cake and the Ed one in particular is a wild ride, encompassing the Geffen deal that slipped away, a nervous breakdown and "a kind of musical MOTAT". I know Ed a little through friends and he has always struck me as having a wild intelligence, but I didn't know the full drama. Hell of a story.

Also a hell of a story: that of Russ Solomon, the founder of Tower Records, has died aged 92 while drinking whisky and watching the Oscars. I really must track down the documentary ...

Over at The Spinoff, Calum Henderson has done a listicle of New Zealand’s greatest one hit wonders (and their second-biggest songs).

Record Store Day rolls around again on April 21. Here are the 500 releases lined up.

David Dallas has a new video for 'Probably', from the Hood Country Club album. Cool.

The new Unknown Mortal Orchestra album Sex & Food is on the way. Pre-orders and more information here.

Sydney-based soul and hip hop label Low Key Source has released its first mix CD, with Base FM's Dylan C on the mix and tracks from Ladi 6, Raiza Biza, and Haz Beats alongside contributions from all over the globe. It's a really cohesive collection and I like it.

In the build-up to her album Tell Me How You Really Feel, Courtney Barnett has released the video for 'Need a Little Time'. I think it's her best song in a while, and the video is trippy, dystopic sci-fi.

Melancholy, twisted, alone together at the margins: it's 'Hotel Room', a Tourette's poem set to music by Christchurch artist gemma Syme and Nick Harte of the Shocking Pinks and recorded in a room at the Sherwood in Queenstown ...

And yeah, I know Kamasi Washington's play the Powerstation tonight, but I don't have tickets for that and my night out will be at the soon-to-close Golden Dawn, where Orchestra of Spheres and friends are playing and my fried Lady Rox is on the decks.

Note that the GD's last night on earth is the closing party a week tomorrow – and that there's a tightly-packed schedule between now and then. You probably should go there at least one more time ...



Gemma Syme again, in her regular guise as Instant Fantasy, copping a dreamy, housey remix from Boycrush.

A remix too for Wellington's Estere, in advance of her album tour.

A gorgeous track from the forthcoming Africa Seven compilation Mothers Garden (The Funky Sounds Of Female Africa 1975 - 1984).

And there's still something new to be found in the dancefloor classics. Free-download banger ...


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