Friday, 12 August 2016

This week I are mostly listening to...

Headphones are like the best friend that occasionally eats all the food out of your cupboard. You always want them around, but occasionally they screw you over. My headphones conked out this week and so I subsequently started missing my tunes. These ones in particular:

Double Blind by Trust Punks – From Auckland, NZ, these, well... punks I guess? Trust Punks are back with a stunner. These songs have a lovely melodic flavour to them even as they ebb and bubble through distortion. This record feels very local and maybe because there seems to be a hint of Toy Love in the delivery, but it is great to hear wonderful punk rock out of Aotearoa again. Grab it here.

Negus by Kemba formally known as YC the Cynic - Bronx, New York native YC the Cynic has morphed into Kemba and in doing so created a new album of eerie black pride hip hop. Normally people would describe this kind of rap as conscious, but as he opens the record, Kemba growls, “Please don’t call me conscious/don’t call it political/don’t deem this lyrical/these are negro spirituals”. So I won’t refer to it as conscious et al., but I think you get the gist. Download for free/kohahere

Leeds, UK production group Paper Tiger have a few electronic beats and bobbles worth checking out here. I’m a Cyborg (but that’s Ok) is my pick.

We are at Home in the Body by For Everest – These indie rockers from New York get complex thoughts to dance and sparkle over upbeat songs. Vocalist Sarah Cowell has a Sleater Kinney quality to her delivery though not all of For Everest’s songs are as hard hitting as Sleater Kinney. Both groups; however, are much needed voices in rock and/or roll. Grab this one for free/koha here

In London, England, Cult Classic Records have put together a Complimentary compilation which has some of the best electronica, break beats and hip hop tracks from their catalogue. A great little taster of things that you can download for free/koha here

Colouring Book by Chance the Rapper – A new mixtape heralded all over the place by the likes of Pitchfork  and HipHopDx meaning people whose reviews are actually respected can tell you why this is worth your time. I just so happen to agree with them.  Grab it for free here.

And that my friends and friendettes will hopefully get you through your musical dessert for the next little while. Remember to chuck some dollars and internety sharey likey things at the musicians out there you love. 



PS I occasionally Facebook and/or Twitter if you would like to too.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Some Music I like and other stories

So some people like this thing called Spotfy. I see the place for such a beat though I ish that music was like engineering and everyone got paid appropriately for their level of skill and output, Until then, here's some tunes I like and that I hope you'll like. 

Monday, 18 July 2016

This week I are mostly listening to...

Music comes through pretty fast these days. It turns out we have something called the Internet. It's what lets you play Pokemon Go. But through this magical device you can also get music. So, yay.  Some of this stuff has been out for a minute, some if it is as new as your interest in kale, but this week I am mostly listening to...

The Naked and Famous - Simple Forms - What started as NZ's most loved duo (Broods? Who are Broods...) have expanded to be an ass-kicking rock and eletronica smush. The new albumSimple Forms is super grest check these guys and gals and the single Higher out here

Aaradhna - Brown Girl. Lots of people are talking about Porirua's soulful songstress's new one. But they should. And you should too. I've only heard a couple of tracks, but they're great and I can't wait to hear more. Yes, yes, she is a sultry stunner on the cover, and yes men  and most women are falling over themselves when they see her, but her music is what's happening. Hear more here

Joey Purp - iiidrops. Man this mixtape is good. Wholly moly, I don't normally spend a lot of time with mix tapes, but glad I found this one. Straight rapping with very few fancy hooks. He's just killing it on every track especially Photobooth and when I,m gone. Download it for free here

Car seat Headrest - Teens of Denial. Actually everything these Lo-fi indie rockers do, but this new one is tops. Best track, Drunk drivers/Killer Whales. It's here if you want it

Adrienne Fenemor - Mo' Puddin'. NZ Jazz organist has roped in a couple of the best to put out this one. Funky jazz that has been influenced heavily by her time in Harlem NYC. There a real groove here to get your teeth into. But don't. Use your ears. Get it in your ears here 

Sidibe - Good Luck - This R n B singer from LA has a stunning voice and yes she is also stunning, but thats not the point I am trying to make. Her 7 track EP is all of $7, but to be fair thats US dolars and so in NZ that $38.63 or a bit less. She has some beauts up for free though including my fave, I'm only Dreaming. That and more here

Chambers - Ring Ep . Synth pop duo Lucy and Gregorio have some of the best ever beats, pop songs and general dancey dace dance numbers. My fave is Kevin Spacey but that is partly because I like Keven Spacey. Get more and occasionally free tunes here

In love with a Ghost - Let's Go. Speaking of beats, French chilwave producer has some good looking numbers for you. This downbeat smooth and funky instrumentals are so wORTH your time and ear canals. They're here if you want to check them out.

Oh and I don't know 100 more.

Hope this finds you well



Tuesday, 17 May 2016

That time I wrote some stuff and other stories

I like to pretend. I think every morning when I put on my work clothes and go to an office I feel like I am pretending to be an adult. God, sometime I even where a tie and I swear it should be a Batman mask. When the lovely wee lass in my life asks me some odd question (as kids do) I pretend to be a parent. And every now and then I pretend to be a writer. I like short stories and I really like short, short stories so enter the National FlashFiction Day competition every year. I’ve done ok in the past, made some placings, won regional prizes that sort of thing. The kind of kudos you tell your mum about but is otherwise too embarrassing. This year, no prizes, no long listing. Stink, but no one to blame but me. Just have to get better. Thought I would put up the story I entered here anyways because otherwise it never sees the light of day. Feedback always welcome. Chur. 

Paint by Numbers

Scope was a skinny little bastard. I don’t think I ever saw him eat. Just smoked and painted. Rocked these tight jeans every damn day, half camo’, half paint splatters and was always out to the wee smalls. So did I know him? Yeah, I knew him.

He’d been tagging out by the tracks in Frankton. He was huffing and painting out there every time I heard his name mentioned. So one night I decide to go see to see him. He’s there alright, got this girl with him. All kinds of metal in her face and she’s got this dog. She’s sat on stacked wooden pallets from the train yards and sitting on her is this dog. She talk too, like her mouth been holding words hostage and she’s just agreed to let ‘em go.

We talking and this dog goes over to Scope. You know what dogs are like? Dog’s rubbing around his legs and generally fuckin’ him off while he’s trying to paint. So he kicks out at him. Don’t even think he connects, just kicks out. But the dog runs out over the tracks. That pisses off the girl and then she’s running too. Then ‘course me and Scope go running after them. 

I hear a train coming from behind us so I gets out the way. Scope moves to other side and the train comes between us like we’re on two sides of a zip. That train was so loud and so long, I didn’t hear the other one. Couldn’t really see shit either so I didn’t even know it had clipped the girl ‘til both trains passed.

Yeah Scope was bent over her and yeah her blood was on him, but do I think he killed her? No officer, no sir I don’t.

By Hp

Friday, 8 April 2016

Coco Davis at the Meteor Theater

Friday nights are often an effort. You've crawled through your week on your eyelids and the mere idea of going out again after you've reached the safety of home seems daunting. But I did. I did it for blues singer,  Coco Davis, Having heard her brilliant little EP, Electric Chair, I was able to convince myself that a live performance promoting her new album, Old Haunts, was the way to spend Friday night. But when I got there, when I sat in the black hole with a sprig of tinsel, that is the Meteor Theater, all my concerns and even knowledge that it was a Friday night were whisked away through Davis' voice.

Opening the evening was the incredibly talented Tom Rodwell. His guitar snaked through a couple of tracks before he brought out Davis. The pair realigned and redesigned old blues songs and we were treated to the likes of Memphis Minnie and Big Mama Thornton through the guise of Rodwell and Davis. Rodwell's multi-functional  performance was expert as he banged out bass lines scattered with guitar melodies and kept rhythm all at once. Davis' voice skipped over and through Rodwell's backing and clearly the pair click, though Davis very quickly stole the show.

Her vocals simmer. She can (and did) sing murder ballads and tales of capital punishment all the while throwing beauty around the room. It might have to have been the sexiest time I've seen a woman planning on killing her man. The second half had Davis launching through some more funky numbers and the night's highlights were two Nina Simone covers that the pair executed flawlessly. To be in a little town like Hamilton and having Davis channel her voice through Nina Simone's songs was something to behold. A true gift.

By Hp

PS I do the twittery thing and the facebook lark if you want to hang out there.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Hardcore with open arms: A chat with Hamtown Smakdown organiser, Sam Chumz

I get lost. I am neither proud nor pleased that this is the case, but Sam Chumz, Hamilton musician
and general music guy doesn't make me feel bad about it. He waves off my apologies and we take up residence in what I am certain is a cafe on the brink of closing for the day. So as waiters mop floors and balance tills, I try to unravel the annual punk and hardcore show Hamtown Smakdown just before it launches it's 16th event over the weekend of the 18th and 19th of March.

Sam Chumz is all of 27, but he is an old hand in Hamilton. He has played in scores of bands, including current hardcore heroes Wizz Kids, and new venture, Love Mess. In 2009 he picked himself out of the muck of the legendary house-party-come-concert venue, The Palace, and went on to open Void at the north end of Vic street. Void became like a home to so many of Hamilton's musically enthralled punters and an actual home for many others staying upstairs one too many nights to be called guests and one too few to pay proper rent. Chumz and his bevy of collaborators dedicated the space to a wide array of musical tastes for all ages, though primarily punk and hardcore permeated the air. The stairs leading up into the venue read proudly, "No Racism, No Sexism, No Homophobia, No Violence, No Alcohol, No Drugs," which was always intended to promote inclusiveness. That is what Chumz is trying to replicate with Hamtown Smakdown again this year, a space of inclusiveness where those interested in music rather than the drugs, alcohol or the violence can come and enjoy an evening or two out. 

I ask Chumz about violence, but in no way because he looks like a violent person. He's thin and speaks both quietly and with a hurried confidence. Not only does he seem non-violent, I learn he's vegan and a cyclist. However, hardcore punk has been linked to violence both in it's inception in the late 1970's and early 1980's in Washington DC and LA and, I learn from Chumz, more recently in Hamilton at previous Hamtown Smakdown events and similar shows. Chumz' attitude to how violence and hardcore mix is not all that different from the likes of hardcore bands in those earlier times. When Black Flag guitarist, Chuck Dukowski was  asked about his audience he explained, "[the audience] go there for the intensity of the event...the action at the event is very violent". So it was in Hamilton, where Chumz saw some of the most extreme hardcore dancing anywhere. But it wasn't long before Smakdown started seeing what the likes of Black Flag had seen; people attending the events as an excuse to get violent. That is what Chumz is trying to avoid. It was in the values of Void and has been at the forefront of the last three Smakdown events of which he has been at the helm. He sees diversity in the crowd as key to supporting this culture and to get diversity in the crowd, he has been looking for diversity in the bandss. 

Melbourne hardcore band Outright are one way to move things and their incredibly upbeat front-woman, Jelena Goluza will ensure smiles on every face as they headline this years' Smakdown. It was important to Chumz to see more female attendees at the show and as a friend of Outright's Goluza, he knew they were exactly the right spirit to bring over. Chumz acknowledged that the crowd has been male-dominated in the past and even had a "jock" type feel, but he is making sure that those from every walk of life can climb the Meteor steps on the weekend and open their ears to two nights of blistering music with nothing to worry about and a positive atmosphere. In fact, it's not just a hardcore scene or walking musical encyclopedias that Chumz is trying to attract either. He's hoping it will be the first show attended by many. An introduction if you will. Partly because he remembers coming into Hamilton for some of his first shows and the affect it had on him and partly because he is quietly proud of the event, the music and the place he's had in it all this time. 

by Hp

PS Originally this went up thanks to of the Hamilton Underground Press

Thursday, 10 March 2016

New and perhaps ever-so-slightly underground if not underwater music

There was a time in the not too distant past where music came to me in waves. It was joyous and bobbed through my ears like a buoy. I wanted to share some of my nautical musical adventures for no other reason than it seemed like a good idea at the time. And so here it is, new music that has drifted ashore in  my world and I hope it can in yours too. WILSON!

Hands down one of the best MC's in NZ, Louie Knuxx has just put out a new album, Tiny Warm Hearts. It continues in the same vein as his last album with gruff and husky vocals and funky funky beats. Just brilliant delivery. Get it in your ear holes now. Download for free/koha here

Over in LA, indie rock duo, TV Girl have a new one out that hoisted my sails. They had a blinder with their album French Exit a little while ago and this is definitely the successful squeal. Another free/koha download over here.

NZ folky-type singer, Aldous Harding is a stunning adition to out local musical landscape. She happens to have an absolute blinder with her new song Horizon and it just so happens it was captured by Radio NZ National - Music 101. A must watch

Hip hop gets global through the ever-wonderful Wonder Wheel Records and particularly this free EP from Nicodemus. Grabbing 24 vocalists from six cities, this is exciting stuff.

UK Soul DJ/Producer Jonny Drop, erm, drops this collection of primarily instrumental break beats which you can pick up for free/koha here. Super funky and well worth your ears.

Meanwhile over in Melbourne, Punk, post-punk, rocky rock rockers Masses team up with Death Church for split single thing-a-me you can get for free/koha. More Masses to check out here too

And staying in Melbourne, but heading for Hamilton for Hamtown Smackdown super soon, one of my favorites, Outright. Get there ripping punky hardcorey type music here in preparation  And I talk with them here in case you missed it.

And last but indefinably not least, Mermaidens have a single out called Under The Mountain II which I highly recommend and which you can find for free/koha here

Sooooo, hopefully that holds your ears well and truely tight to your head for the next little bit and you can swim in the glory of new tunes. Remember to throw some koha to the bands/musicians you love so they can keep making hip tunes. Peace, as always, Hp.

PS if you want to do either Facebook or Twriiter, you can get me in your face by clicking those links.