Shine Like the Sun – Thomas Oliver
I have been waiting for the release of this song for months and months now! I first heard it during Pass The Gat performances at the Taranaki Arts Festival and WOMAD. Played acoustically live it brought tears to my eyes – and now the released version has had the same affect.
Thomas Oliver is a super talented Kiwi musician with an array of talents and this first taste from his album due out in April (and paid for all by crowd funding) is a sign he’s perfected his true sound as a solo artist.
He first burst into the scene years ago with the Thomas Oliver Band who played a foot stomping style of folk music. Following that he showcased his incredible weissenborn playing skills on Beneath the Weissenborn.
Both of these sounds were fantastic and much loved by the people who discovered them, but Shine Like the Sun is more mature and accessible for listeners. The blues style riffs add some grunt to the gentle track, his falsetto shines in the chorus, and those lyrics? Romantic as hell!
I think Oliver is onto a winner with this touching ballad.
10 Feet Tall -Fat Freddy’s Drop
It’s never a true Kiwi summer until you’ve sat in the sun on a glorious day, beer in hand while Fat Freddy’s Drop thuds from the stereo. This dub band is a quintessential New Zealand act and their latest album BAYS lives up to all expectations as always.
My current crank from this LP is 10 Feet Tall. It’s got the Freddy’s dub-beat, snazzy brass section sexing things up, the soulful voice of Dallas Tamaira – how could it go wrong?
10 Feet Tall doesn’t need much explanation, it just needs listening.
Give Up Your Dreams – The Phoenix Foundation
The Phoenix Foundation have released the title track from their forthcoming album Give Up Your Dreams and it’s one hell of a jam.
This song is one great contradiction. It is incredibly upbeat and makes you want to jump out of your seat and dance like it’s the 60s all over again. But take a quick listen to the lyrics, or just read the song title for that matter, and the message it sends isn’t quite as perky as you’d expect. I love that this song makes no sense, but at the same time, speaks to you. It’s a clever little track to mess with your mind and I can’t get enough of it.
My favourite bit is when an ethereal sounding voice booms across the bridge telling us:
“Don’t let anyone tell you that all your dreams will come true, don’t let anyone say that the world is your oyster, the world is not an oyster.”
To sum it up perfectly Samuel Flynn Scott says of the song: I’m screaming ‘I’m a loser and I’m losing my belief’ but the pitch shifted wiser version of myself assures me ‘you’re not a loser, you’re a human…and I love you’. It also has the sort of groove you’d be happy to motivation gym class to, so that’s a great contrast with the message. Ultimately it’s a really positive and uplifting song….The track is like the insane smile on the faces of beauty pageant contestants… Keep smiling keep smiling!”
The album Give Up Your Dreams is released on August 7.
Written in the Water – Gin Wigmore
Yippee!! Gin Wigmore is back with a vengeance!!
This sassy, distinctive and mighty talented Kiwi is one hell of a song writer and her latest track Written in the Water is yet another example of this.
The track is so snappy and upbeat you want to click your fingers along to it and do some ridiculous 1920s style jive. With a tap tap tap on the piano, a deep blast on the saxophone, many trumpets blaring and a drum beat that’s hard to keep up with – the song builds up layer upon layer. As it progresses the repetition helps to pick up the tempo for the electric chorus. Gin’s famously unique voice powers over the top of this big-band style track and shines.
Written In The Water features on Gin Wigmore’s new album Blood and Bone which is due out on the 26th.
She’ll tour New Zealand the following week:
Auckland – Wednesday 1st July, King’s Arms
Wellington – Friday 3rd July, Bodega
Christchurch – Saturday 4th July, CPSA
Neptune – Terrible Sons
This last week I’ve been a happy girl. I’ve been impatiently waiting for some new material from the wonderful Kiwi star LA Mitchell for a while now. Granted, Neptune might not be quite the same powerhouse soul-pop I’m used to from LA (aka Lauren Barus) but this offering from side-project Terrible Sons, is just as spine-tingling, albeit in a different way.
Terrible Sons is the moniker for Lauren and her husband, Matt Barus. Of course these two aren’t newbies on the New Zealand music scene, the pair are both part of rock-band Dukes and each have stellar reputations. This is the first track from their soon-to-be-released album which brings together a bunch of songs telling the tales of life in Christchurch after earthquakes destroyed much of the city.
Neptune is a mellow offering which resonates with me. I’m certain this is due to the lovely contrast in the voices of Lauren and Matt. I’m used to hearing Lauren’s voice booming in her solo work, I love that style of hers, but this I love too. Neptune showcases a different side to her which is just as compelling, even if it’s not in such an attention grabbing manner. Her vocals take on an ethereal quality as they float alongside Matt’s silky and soothing accompaniment.
The delicate song is carried by a gentle acoustic melody which is brought alive in the chorus with the introduction of a chilling violin. With this, Neptune ebbs and flows in tempo and volume, creating a melancholic magic much like the beautiful ocean scenes depicted in the video that goes with it.
You also can’t go past the stunning lyrics in Neptune. Lauren and Matt Barus are poets as well as multi-talented musicians:
“black is the storm, ill-tempered and too hard to please”
“pain is so sharp, sharp as a lover can be”
If you like the works of Sean Carey and RY X, you’ll love Terrible Sons. Neptune has a similar tone to their works and is the perfect track for a bout of easy but compelling listening. I’m now eagerly awaiting the arrival of the duo’s new album.