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Posts Tagged ‘kimbra’

It has been five years since Wally De Backer has released an album under his moniker Gotye. The wait has proven to be worthwhile though, as Making Mirrors is easily one of the most anticipated albums of this year. The album opens with the title track, a 50 second clip of dreamy synths before launching into the groovy ‘Easy Way Out’. For the most part of the album, we have pop music at its best. ‘I Feel Better’ and ‘In Your Light’ are retro sounding with amazingly catchy hooks, though I’m not sure if they quite compare to the booming chorus of ‘Eyes Wide Open’.

While I can’t say that ‘State of the Art’ is one of the best songs on Making Mirrors, the whole idea behind it is fascinating – right from the story behind Gotye acquiring the second hand organ to the unique style of recording the vocals (as seen in the short documentary of Making Mirrors). In fact, the whole process behind the album is fascinating. There are so many layers, samples and different instruments that it’s impossible to dissect it all (no wonder it has taken 5 years for this album to be released…). Current single ‘Somebody that I Used to Know’ which features New Zealand singer Kimbra  almost seems like the odd one out on the album, being musically sparse by comparison and much more focussed on the lyrics.

The one downfall of the album is that not all of these musical ideas feel like they have been fully developed or fleshed out. Songs like ‘Don’t Worry We’ll Be Watching’, and especially the first two tracks don’t seem as well thought out as other album tracks. However, there’s something to be said about a song ending it before it grows stale, leaving the listener wanting more. While these tracks may not work out so well as individual songs, they fit into the greater scheme of the album extremely well. Gotye is great at capturing the emotion within in his music, whether it be dark and moody or bright and uplifting. Making Mirrors is a completely inspiring album, completely original and certainly worth giving your attention to.

 

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Well, it’s January. And that means that voting is well and truly underway in Triple J’s Hottest 100. In fact, there’s only one more week left to vote so if you plan on doing so, you better start thinking about which songs you’re going to vote for! Some years the voting process is really easy for me, other years it is pretty tough. I’m always torn between voting for the songs that I love, and voting for the songs that I think will do well (in order to keep the songs I don’t like from getting in the top ten!). Basically I put too much thought into something that ultimately doesn’t really matter. To me the Hottest 100 is kind of like an awards show – I know I’ll be disappointed with the results, but I still tune in because I enjoy the suspense.

Alright, so my ten picks for the ‘hottest 100’ of 2010, in no particular order (well, actually, alphabetical)…

1. Ball Park Music – iFly

2. Best Coast – Boyfriend

3. The Boat People – Damn Defensive

4. Cloud Control – There’s Nothing In The Water We Can’t Fight

5. Hungry Kids Of Hungary – Wristwatch

6. Inland Sea – All Fall Down

No video!!!! Check out their Myspace to hear the track.

7. Jonsi – Go Do

8. Kimbra – Settle Down

9. The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio

(it was hard to pick just one song from these guys…)

10. Yeasayer – Ambling Alp

 

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I declare it to be New Zealand Week on Music for the Laundromat!

I’ll be making a new post every day this week, showcasing some new NZ music and presenting some older stuff as well. Whatever, whevener, as long as it’s from our Southern counterpart. Each day will feature a different genre (or at least a loose definition of ‘genre’) and to kick off the week, we’ll start with POP MUSIC!

1. Kimbra

I’ve been ranting about Kimbra to anyone who will listen lately. I first came across her at Big Sound Live a few week’s ago, and was absolutely blown away by her live performance. She plays soul influenced pop music that could border on r’n’b at times.d

2. Ladyhawke

Ladyhawke first made waves in about 2008 with the release of her debut self titled album. Catchy, retro, synth pop.  I swear she’s released about half of the songs off the album as a single and I’m itching to see what her follow up will be like.

3. The Brunettes

These guys (and girl) have been around since the late 90s, but I’m only just hearing about them recently. They’ve been signed to Sub Pop over in the States. I think that’s all I need to say for you to understand the quality of music they’re making.

4. Gin Wigmore

For the most part, I’ve never really been a fan of her music but I’m more than ready to admit that this is some pretty decent pop music.

5. Fur Patrol

Another NZ band that formed in the late 90s – they’ve since moved to Australia, but they certainly still count! Their Myspace describes them as “happy hardcore”. Hilarious.

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I spent about two weeks trying to figure out who to see at my first ever Big Sound Live. I wouldn’t say the line up was spectacular but there was certainly a decent amount of acts to choose from, and at a variety of different venues around the valley.

 

My night started out at the Club House, under the Tempo Bar, waiting for New Zealand artist Kimbra. Performing a pop-soaked mixture of funk and soul, it was a great way to start the night. She has a voice to match Florence Welch and a seemingly endless amount of energy and charisma. It was a bit disappointing that nobody in the audience was really getting into it, but instead it was like the usual trench for Brisbane audiences lately – standing back with their arms crossed (I will admit that I fell into this category during the show). I liken it to a high school dance where the boys and girls really want to dance, but are just too scared to ask each other. You just need that one person to set it off and then you’re good. Despite all this though, Kimbra powered through her set. The layered vocal loops of ‘Settle Down’ worked amazing live and ‘Love is a Two Way Street’ saw Kimbra practically howling into the microphone. By the end of it a few punters were shuffling their feet, and I like to think that next time I see her (and there will be a next time) the atmosphere will be a lot more relaxed.

 

I dashed across the road to the Artisan Gallery’s outdoor venue to see Hungry Kids of Hungary. As expected, it was absolutely packed. What I hadn’t expected though, was that they had already started. I estimate that I missed maybe 10 or 15 minutes of their set since the rest seem to fly by. I still managed to catch the few songs of theirs I knew – ‘Let You Down’, ‘Scattered Diamonds’ and ‘Wristwatch’, which brought out the only real dancing I would see all night. The set lacked the intimacy I expected from Big Sound (and which I got to witness earlier during Kimbra’s set), and there wasn’t really anything spectacular about the performance, but the hungry kids still put on a decent enough show.

 

Next stop was the Troubadour to see Central Coast singer-songwriter Daniel Lee Kendall. This is exactly the kind of show I expected at Big Sound – talented artists who are still unsure of themselves, performing to audiences who don’t really know much about them. He mostly performed on his own, but was occasionally helped out by his lap top on keys or strings. I think utilising this more, like he does on record, would have benefitted him by added a lot more depth to his sound. It was obvious though from his guitar playing and ear for a good melody that he has potential to make something good from this. Or maybe I just have a thing for boys who play guitar. Either way I was glad I was there for his set.

 

 

After Daniel Lee Kendall’s set, the crowds suddenly rushed into the venue for Boy and Bear. The Troubadour was packed to a ridiculous degree, and my Twitter feed told me there were even people lined up past McDonalds. The band played through their singles – ‘Rabbit Song’ and ‘Mexican Mavis’ much to the crowd’s delight. Musically they were tight, and their signature vocal harmonies pitch perfect. The only downfall was when they sampled a new track with a much more country flavour. It was average sounding compared to their other songs and fell a bit flat. Even lead singer Dave Hosking seemed like maybe the style wasn’t the best suit for the band, adding after the song “I warned you all it was a country song…”.

 

I caught the end of Disco Nap at the Club House and was extremely surprised to find the place practically deserted. It must be hard for bands to maintain a decent level of energy when your crowd is so sparse, and it’s a shame these guys didn’t handle it too well. The two or so songs I saw were fairly bland and it seemed like they couldn’t wait for the set to be over. Maybe next time guys.

 

I had higher expectations for Bridezilla. I don’t know if it was an off night for the group, or if the balance of sound just wasn’t right. I feel like every instrument, including the vocals, was just completely drowned out. I’d love to see them again in a better context, because on record they’re absolutely brilliant, but this performance just seemed like a mess despite their enthusiasm.

And now I just need to catch my breath for tonight!

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