Hard News by Russell Brown


Music: New in the Neighbourhood

When I posted a track from the talented young Wellingtonian Estere a couple of weeks ago, I didn't know that she'd be doing a live session at Vanguard Red magazine a few days later. But she did, and there's already a track available. It's striking the way she can make use of an MPC.

Estere Live at VanguardRed from VanguardRed Magazine on Vimeo.

Estere is also performing at the Vanguard Red debut issue launch party on October 12. See the end of the video for the details on that.

Something else that happened: Loui the Zu posted a new track on Soundcloud. It's a glacial pop song that underlines, if there were any doubt, that Zu is a pop artist. He declares "This song was inspired by the movie 'Hope Springs' and the idea came to me when I was washing dishes." But the tags he's chosen are probably a better indication of where he was heading: "Theophilus London" "The Police" "Twin Shadow" "Twin Sister" "Kanye West" "6/8" "Love".

There's a direct download of the tune here.

And then, Sean James Donnelly let slip a cool new SJD track!

It's from a forthcoming new album. You can keep track of that by liking his Facebook page or whatever it is the kids do these days.

On the evening we wrapped Media7's 2011 season last December, a few of us from the show had a night out and ended up at Keegan Fepuleai's Justsayin' party to see @Peace. At one point I turned around and this girl in the crowd was rapping along, not missing a beat. The next second, she was on stage, singing the intro to 'Sky Is Falling'. Wow, I thought.

That was Esther Stephens. Since then, she's guested on the Home Brew album -- and now she has a debut single, with Tom Scott returning the favour with a guest rap:

You can download that for free here.


Not local, and composed of some very familiar elements, but totally, totally fresh from A.Skillz:


And finally, Esther Phillips. I became aware of her good stuff through a couple of versions on Soundcloud, including this one:

And then I heard her incredible version of Gil Scott Heron's 'Home is Where the Hatred Is' ...

And I thought, holy heck, I've got to get some more of this stuff.

That track is from her Grammy-nominated 1972 album From a Whisper to a Scream. When Aretha Franklin won, she insisted on giving the award to Esther.

The album was a little hard to find initially, because it's actually listed on iTunes and Spotify under a different name: Esther Phillips. That's gone on playlist.


Oh, and of course the first Laneway 2013 announcement. I think it's a really interesting lineup. I'm going for certain.

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