Tommy Ill

Thursday, June 28, 2007

New Zealand indie Hip Hop doesn't come much better than Wellington's Tommy Ill. His rhymes are well thought out and filled with blatant honestly about life as a twentieth century boy. While Tommy may not look like the average cliche of a modern Hip Hop star, he's taken the hard path to success. In fact he's still taking that path, still spending many nights playing to small dedicated indie music fans across Wellington. What makes Tommy unique however is his fan base within the local music scene. You're more likely to find him hanging out and playing gigs with So So Modern, Thought Creature or Holiday With Friends than the Polynesian artists that dominate Hip Hop in the outer suburbs.
Late last year saw the release of Tommy Ills debut EP, titled Toast & Tea Kettles. It got rave reviews from the New Zealand music press and Tommy featured on his first magazine cover. Whether you like hip hop or not, Tommy Ill is an artist that can be enjoyed across the board.

Tommy Ill- Clouds Is Shaky: MP3

Tommy Ill- Bar Stool Personals: MP3

Tommy Ill- Myspace

Damn Shames

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

In recent years Scotland has become a hub for quality indie bands. Damn Shames are the latest discovery and unlike anything else from the Northern UK they are raw, uncomplicated and sharp as a knife. Keeping things simple and staying within the boundaries of minimalism, the trio of Matthew Deary, Simon Richardson and Jacob Burns have created a striking sound tinged round the edge by modernist blues.
Currently self distributing their debut 7", Dancing In The Aisles can be purchased via the bands myspace page (Link Below). For a band on the rise and without a record label, the recording is of startling quality. It exposes the bands raw capabilities, capturing the sharpness of the guitar's perfectly. Damn Shames could well be one of the best unsigned bands in the UK.

Damn Shames- Dancing In The Aisles: MP3

Damn Shames- Myspace

Ginger Brown (Live) Review

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Ginger Brown- Saturday June 23rd Live at The Matterhorn, Wellington

Playing another one of their free Matterhorn shows, Ginger Brown again distracted the audience from their pretentious political debate. Crashing out their own hazy blend of psychedelic blues to a small intimate crowd (most of whom were sitting drinking wine and cocktails), can be quite a frustrating task, but it doesn't seem to bother the duo of Lawrence Taula and Joe Dobson. It's never takes long for everyone to turn around their chairs and tune in. This gig was no exception with half a dozen people dancing and the rest sitting with eyes firmly fixed towards the stage. Dobson did however inform me after the show that it isn't his favourite place to play, for that very fact, lack of audience participation.
For many in the room, and many who have witnessed the Ginger Brown experience it's hard to believe the band haven't been given a chance to record. The bands next show this coming Friday at Tupelo is a small fundraiser, hopefully funding some recording time to store the magic for permanent memory. If you want to help one of Wellington's best undiscovered treasures I suggest you get to this gig. Ginger Brown never fail to disappoint, the demographic of Ginger Brown's fan base is one of the most diverse in the city.

Ginger Brown- This Ship: MP3

Ginger Brown- Myspace

Teenager V Teenagers

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Why is it that two bands with almost identical names are both in the running for most un-PC song of the year. Well honestly who cares, teens and sex go together like tits and arse. Both these bands take it to the extreme, hardcore. Some may say they are plain out rude, others will say they are highly erotic. Which ever side you're on, hopefully you can appreciate the statement these songs make. The two tracks under the spotlight are 'Homecoming' by French band The Teenagers and 'Pony' by Australia's Teenager.

The first touches on the subject of forbidden romance adding in a touch of incest. "last week I flew to San Diego to see my auntie /on day 1 I met her hot step daughter/shes a cheerleader, she is a virgin and she is really tan...on day 2 I fucked her and it was wild/she is such a slut". This is just the opening verse, the chorus repeats the line "I fucked my American cunt". You hot enough yet, sweaty, a little horny?

So Teenager come up with this, a absolute little ditty about taking the hottest girl in the bar home, fucking her and telling all your mates. "Pony, Pony arse bitch, what you what you want when you drop your knickers to the floor, and you rub and rub/ walking up to me like we is together/ but we ain't". Ok, so it's a sexist anthem. The chorus goes on to rate the girls body parts, "Legs are eleven...tits are a seven". So you be the judge, they are both pretty quirky. In my book The Teenagers win, they have the edge when it comes to creativity. It's a much better story, and you get the male and female perspective which is pretty laughable at times.

The Teenagers- Homecoming: MP3

Teenager- Pony: MP3

Tegan and Sara

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

It's almost here, yep, a new album from Tegan and Sara. After a song on Grey's Anatomy in 2005 the sisters hit the stars (like most bands who've appeared on the show) gaining a following all over the globe. Their previous work which includes the highly acclaimed 2004 album So Jealous is absolutely amazing , so all you people out there thinking they are only famous because of the TV show need to take another listen. Singing about lost love and complicated relationships are what the girls do best, the two latest songs are no exception.
While a little more gritty than So Jealous, the songs taken from the upcoming album The Con remain simple, relying on a catchy pop melody. Both Tegan and Sara's voices seem to have aged, sounding deeper and a little rough around the edges. No worries though, the formula of two cute girls with amazing musical talent is enough to get the guys hooked. The girls probably won't complain about that much either.

Tegan and Sara- Back In Your Head: MP3

Tegan and Sara- The Con: MP3

Tegan and Sara- Myspace

Shout Out Louds- Our Ill Wills

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Disappointment is the first word that comes to mind when describing Our Ill Wills, the latest album from Swedish popsters Shout Out Louds. The album had been eagerly anticipated after their debut record Howl Howl Gaff Gaff was a such a success. The two years between albums however has seen the band work towards a different sound, employing Peter, Bjorn and John's Bjorn Yttling to take the production controls. The result is less scratchy guitar, more melodic harmony, producing a gentle underwhelming sound that gets lost far to easily.
The high point of Our Ill Wills is the first single 'Tonight I Have To Leave it', being the most likely song to fit on their debut it's a clear reminder of why many of us first fell in love with the band. There's few highlights after that, the remaining tracks proving very anticlimactic. Adam Olenius vocals provide some relief mainly due to his Swedish accent. 'Impossible' is the best of the rest, and at just under seven minutes shows the band's maturity and complexity. Our Ill Wills is still enjoyable but more suited to the afternoon than a late night dance party.

Shout Out Louds- Tonight I Have To Leave It: MP3

Shout Out Louds- Impossible: MP3

Shout Out Louds- Myspace

Trevor Childs

Friday, June 15, 2007

Honest folk musicians seem harder and harder to find now days, weather it's the influence of consumer culture or the silencing of indie media, who knows? One thing I do know is that Trevor Childs remains defiant, his album Terrified criticises all things from religion, popular culture and corporate branding to the Bush dictatorship and their Middle-Eastern Vietnam.
For Californian musician Childs, a former member of The Lovemakers, keeping things simple comes naturally. He takes on subjects close to his heart, giving them a polished quality that only a few distinguished artists have succeeded at (fan's of Neil Young, John Sebastian and Jarvis Cocker will absolutely love this). The lyrical content gives the songs a timeless quality, so forget the 60's comparisons, we weren't a world divided by obesity and poverty quite so much back then (So we like to think). However saying Childs sound was influenced by the 60's is spot on.
Here's the first two tracks from Terrified. The first 'Terrified' tackles the issue of the increasing fear orientated society, declaring "anybody who's got God on their side, makes me terrified". 'Don't Get Old' is a classic pop tune with Beach Boys melody to boot and again displaying Childs liberal identity.

Trevor Childs- Terrified: MP3

Trevor Childs- Don't Get Old: MP3

Trevor Childs- Myspace


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

With the recent blog hype surrounding Motocade, it's probably right to assume you've heard a bit from them already. Their debut Into The Fall has been given promising reviews and the singles 'My Friends' and 'Bomb Squad' have been heavily wrung through the hype machine. The new song doing the rounds is 'BBC Blues', and it's a stunner. More like 'My Friends' then their other songs, it's a sharp little number with some far out catchy lyrics. Listen out for the reference to Jack Nicholson and you'll be hooked.
Probably the most blogged about New Zealand band this year, Motocade are yet to flap their wings and visit the world. If they continue on the current path however, it's only a matter of time before the international pressure becomes to much.

Motocade- BBC Blues: MP3

Motocade- Myspace

Sissy Wish

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Being named by a Norwegian newspaper as the countries 25th greatest artist of all time is just the latest accolade hailed upon singer/songwriter Sissy Wish. In 2005 she also won a Norwegian Grammy for 'Best Female Artist'. So to call Sissy Wish one of Scandinavia's most inspiring, joyful pop singers comes fully backed by a large local entourage.
To make this story even more impressive, Sissy Wish aka Siri Alberg, became the most successful unsigned Norwegian artist when her debut EP Six Feet Tall found critical acclaim in 2003. In 2007 we have the peace offering that is Beauties Never Die, her third studio album. Again her child like voice is whimsical and daisy, bursting with sunshine like an arty Cat Power. Everything ties up to a perfect little bow, making this the best album of 2007.

Sissy Wish- Beauties Never Die: MP3

Sissy Wish- Website

Sissy Wish- Myspace

The Veils

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Arguably one of the biggest New Zealand bands in America right now, The Veils have hit town with an album that last year had kiwi critics wiping back the tears. Currently embarking on an extensive tour of the US and Canada, the new look Veils lead by founding member Finn Andrews have been received openly. After almost quiting music in 2004 when the original Veils fell apart just a week after their British debut release, Andrews moved back to New Zealand. Finding inspiration from his birthplace and a new found passion for making music with his old friends, The Veils were born again.
With the release of Nux Vomica The Veils gained international attention. Named one of the albums of 2006 by many New Zealand critics, Andrews proved his potential as a song writer of the highest calibre. From it's explosive cries of rage ('Jesus for the Jugular') to it's folk Coheneque Ballard's ('House Where We All Lived'), Nux Vomica tells a story of minor complications corrupting mankind.

The Veils- Nux Vomica: MP3

The Veils- One Night On Earth: MP3

The Veils- Myspace

Blood Red Shoes

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Blood Red Shoes are a hard rocking two piece punk outfit from Brighton, England. Like most two piece outfits they combine drum and guitar, but punch harder than most with an edgy, confrontational sound. Listening to Blood Red Shoes it's easy to strike comparisons to bands like Giant Drag or New Zealand's own Bengal Lights.
The band have released five 7" records and are gearing up for the release of a full length debut in January 2008. They are currently on tour with Maximo Park and have recently finished the NME new music tour. With a crunchy raw punk attitude, a sexy disco-eque style and stunning good looks, expect Blood Red Shoes to catch the eye of many a music critic in the coming months.

Blood Red Shoes- Stitch Me Back: MP3

Blood Red Shoes- Myspace

New Young Pony Club

Sunday, June 03, 2007

One of the most anticipated debut albums of 2007 is almost upon us. New Young Pony Club's Fantastic Playroom is set for release in mid July and already the hype' machine's bolted. Bought on strong by the release of two romping singles 'Ice Cream' and 'The Bomb', the New Raver's are already taking over the world. By now the video for 'Ice Cream' will have streamed across many parts of the globe, breaking windows with it's sexy dance simplicity. Described as "A Synth Band with Guitars", NYPC join the likes of CSS and Klaxons as defining a scene that's totally distinguishable as the sound of the 2000's. Forget Emo, New Rave/Electronica is cool! and that's final.
'Hiding On The Staircase' is the first track available from Fantastic Playroom and sounds even better than both 'Ice Cream' and 'The Bomb' put together. If the album can live up to these expectations it will be one of the best this year.

New Young Pony Club- Hiding On The Staircase: MP3

New Young Pony Club- Myspace

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