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Matt Langley Q&A

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New Zealand singer-songwriter Matt Langley first came to prominence when his composition 7:13 won the 2010 APRA Country Song of the Year award. He made his recording debut three years earlier with the EP Lost Companions, which was followed in 2010 by his first full length album Featherbones.

Earlier this month saw the release of his eagerly anticipated follow-up, Virginia Avenue, which was named after the street in Broad Bay on the Otago Peninsula where he lives and wrote the album. It was produced by Brett Stanton (The Phoenix Foundation) and Riki Gooch (Trinity Roots, Eru Dangerspiel), while the musicians include Gooch on drums, Tom Callwood (Phoenix Foundation) on bass and Thomas Watson (Cassette, Fly My Pretties) on guitars. We caught up with Langley on the eve of an extensive New Zealand tour he is embarking on with Lindon Puffin, which kicks of June 6 in Christchurch.

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Delaney Davidson Q&A

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The wandering minstrel of the New Zealand’s roots scene, Delaney Davidson’s music takes in everything from junkyard blues to traditional honky tonk.

As well as four solo albums, last year he teamed with country singer Marlon Williams for the acclaimed Sad But True.

And next month, he and Williams will team up with Tami Neilson for the Grand ‘Ol Hayride national tour.

Below he talks about what fans can expect on the new tour and his plans for the coming year.

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Kids of 88: Sam McCarthy on their new album Modern Love

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While their hit-laden debut album Sugarpills reveled in the joys of being a teen, Kids of 88 founders Sam McCarthy and Jordan Arts have so far shown a pretty grown-up approach to the business of pop: one of the first things they did when the money started coming in was to thing of investing in their own studio called Creature Clun.

And follow-up Modern Love, most of which was at their new studio, is informed by a similar mix of youthful enthusiasm and maturity. So while it is still stacked with joyful electro anthems, there are also few darker tones and textures, like on the brooding electro of ‘Raza’.

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Sola Rosa: Andrew Spraggon reluctant to be pigeon-holed

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Main-man Andrew Spraggon admits that the last Sola Rosa album Get It Together was a “real gumbo of styles” taking in everything from funk and soul to Latin and jazz.

It proved to be a winning combination but for his latest, Low and Behold, High and Beyond, the electronica wiz has gone back to basics to a degree, although he remains reluctant to be pigeon-holed into one particular style.

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Opossum: Kody Nielson Q&A

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Kody Nielson first came to prominence with his brother Ruban with The Mint Chicks, whose second full length album for Flying Nun Records, Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No!, cleaned up at the 2007 Tuis winning five awards including best album and a best group.

Since their split in 2010, Kody has concentrated mainly on producing as mainly a producer, working with the likes of Bic Runga and Jon Toogood. However, this month sees the release of Electric Hawaii, the debut album of his solo project Opossum.

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Lawrence Arabia interview

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On the face of it, the “difficult second album” syndrome wasn’t really an issue for Lawrence Arabia – AKA James Milne.

Not only did his sophomore effort Chant Darling win the inaugural Dylan Taite Prize in 2010 for best New Zealand album, but the single ‘Apple Pie Bed’ also picked up the Silver Scroll for song of the year. If anything, the pressure would seem to be on for his third long player The Sparrow, which is released this month.

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Laneways 2012: Shayne Carter

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An iconic figure on the New Zealand music scene for three decades, Shayne Carter first came to prominence on Flying Nun with his school punk band Bored Games and then the Double Happys.

His 90s outfit Straitjacket Fits gained international recognition, while his solo vehicle Dimmer won him a new generation of fans. He will be revisiting his distinguished career with a solo set at this month’s Laneways Festival.

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Singing her soul: Gin Wigmore talks Gravel & Wine

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Gin Wigmore soaked up the sounds of the Deep South in preparation for her sophomore album.

Gravel & Wine is the eagerly awaited follow-up to the Kiwi songstress’s chart-topping debut Holy Smoke, which was not only last year’s biggest selling homegrown release but also won the album of the year award at the 2010 Tuis.

Although it was recorded primarily in Los Angeles, Wigmore tells us that the music of the Deep South was a big inspiration.

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Robert Scott interview: 30 years of Flying Nun Records

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“It does seem a lifetime a go,” muses Robert Scott when thinking back to the launch of Flying Nun Records 30 years ago. It’s not surprising really because he has been there from virtually day one.

As a member of The Clean, he was on board for the label’s second release, the 1981 single ‘Tally Ho’, while The Bats, the band he formed the following year, was also one of mainstays of Flying Nun throughout the 1980s and 90s. Add to that assorted side-projects like The Magick Heads and The Weeds, Scott’s career has long been entwined with the pioneering indie.

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