Friday, June 1, 2012

Five CDs that made NZ Music Month rock

List by Danielle

'There's only six miles of bad road between you and I
Only six miles of bad road and blue sky
If he gets there fast, you won't feel his breath
You won't catch my eye
But I count the time and I watch the days
Till he helps you fly'
~ Jordan Reyne, from 'The proximity of death (Blue eyed boy)'

Last year, I listened to a cd a day for NZ Music Month. The only criteria I had: the artist had to be from NZ, and the cd had to be one that I'd never listened to before. I don't listen to the radio much, so the artists were often completely unfamiliar, too. I totally recommend this as an exercise in musical exploration, especially if, like me, you're normally a bit timid in your listening habits and tend to 're-listen' (the musical equivalent of re-reading).

This year, I listened to about 35 new cds over the course of May, and while there were certain cds that I couldn't even finish despite the always-intriguing cover art and inventive band names, there were plenty that I plain loved, and a list of 13 or so that I plan to buy. I had too much trouble choosing just 5 favourites, so there is another top 5 queued up as a companion to this one. There is a big helping of boy angst on this year's list, lots of guitars and percussion and pop/rock with the kind of energy that keeps you awake on cold winter mornings when even your pc doesn't want to start up. I'm not much good at describing music, so thanks to Kiwi music site Amplifier for info on the bands, it's an awesome site and a great source of NZ music. They even sell the Shortland Street theme! Huh.

Honourable mention:
New Hot Nights / Luger Boa: big loud fun rock which is not entirely worksafe

Perfect Flaws / Black River Drive
Call the doctor -- Bullet for your gun -- Down by the river -- 15 minutes -- Everywhere -- Here beside you -- Start again -- Lipstick -- Pass you by -- Is there a light.

More about Black River Drive: they're an Auckland-based rock band who name Massive Attack, The Killers and Metallica as some of their influences. Angsty in an enjoyable, Linkin Park kind of way. Also - lovely album cover photo.

Dead Fools Fiesta (self titled)
Journey men -- Another lady -- Three little mice -- Run away (feat. Kronic Re) -- Blood money -- Got the fire -- Caught green handed -- Piece of mind (live)

More about Dead Fools Fiesta: a dub-rock band from the Waitakeres who play Ska/Reggae style music. Check out the psychedelic Mexican-inspired art on the cd cover! 

The Lookie Loos (self titled)
How fast can you run -- What you cryin for -- Sweet release -- Movements got you down -- Don't let it blow away -- Will I be lonely -- Safe and sound -- A change will come -- Shaky laughter -- I told you so -- Heavens -- Wiggle and more.

More about The Lookie Loos: indie pop/rock group who met while studying in Hamilton, and who have played with one of my favourite bands from last year's NZ Music Month cd challenge, Clap Clap Riot. Heaps of energy and really catchy songs.

Favourite Fears / The Earlybirds
Cold to the touch -- Low -- I can't live without you -- On your shoulder -- Truth -- Runaway -- No you in youth -- Metaphobia -- I killed the DJ -- Kill to love -- Sleep.

More about The Earlybirds: a rock band from Devonport who played their first live gig at the Masonic Tavern and held band practices in the old Victoria Theatre. Big emotive string arrangements and lovely soaring lead vocals - the kind of songs that are great fun to sing along with.

How the Dead Live / Jordan Reyne
From Gravesend -- The Micheal Angelo -- The witness -- The brave -- The dead -- The proximity of death (Blue eyed boy) -- Ghosts (Lest we forget) -- Blood -- Remembering the dead.
How the Dead Live is Jordan's 5th album and is inspired by the story of one of New Zealands first pioneers, Susannah Hawes. The CD follows Susannah's dialogue with "History", who is a bloodthirsty female character bent on dramatic tales and battlescenes rather than the 'ordinary' life Susannah leads.

More about Jordan Reyne: Amplifier describes her as an 'experimental musician' and mentions electronic and folk noir stylings... this is a wonderful album, using 'found sound' such as ocean waves and creaking rigging to give you an eerie sense of listening to some dark and cinematic moments in our country's past. Loved it - first on my list to buy. 

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