Joyous and uplifting, the new album from Jon Toogood’s side project The Adults shows how liberating it can be when a western artist seeks fresh inspiration in the sounds of Africa.
Although ostensibly based on a fairytale he conceived for his son, the second solo album from Hamish Kilgour is not really one for the bubbas – there’s not a lot in the way of soothing lullabies to ease little ones into sleep.
For folk artists, the norm is for a mainly acoustic debut to be followed by a bigger, more band-oriented sophomore set. But for Holly Arrowsmith it’s been the other way around.
Boycrush is the name but when it comes to musical infatuation, Desperate Late Night Energy is all about the girls: aside from Tom Young, the vocals on the stylish debut album from Alistar Deverick’s dance pop project are handled by an eclectic line-up of female singers.
The third long player from Auckland singer-songwriter Ben Tolich – aka Mali Mali – is his most intimate yet. Not that he was exactly rocking out on his previous albums, the acoustic-flavoured As A Dog Dreams and Gather ’round the Gooseclock, but Azimuth is built on spare, rippling pianoscapes, augmented by discreetly deployed guitar and occasional strings and brass from his wife Alice.
The last album from Tami Neilson, Don’t Be Afraid, plotted her journey through the various stages of grief following the death of her father Ron. Family matters still have their place on Sassafrass!, but her new LP is also fuelled by a righteous sense of anger over the prejudices and injustices women continue to face.
When Katchafire first emerged in early 2000s the concept of ‘BBQ Reggae’ didn’t really exist. These days, they can be seen as godfathers of the scene, although given the negative connotations the term now invokes, it’s an accolade they would probably be reluctant to embrace.
In this age of social media hype and YouTube celebrity, Matthew Young is something of a reluctant 21st Century popstar-to-be. Although the young Aucklander is a bonafide internet sensation – two of the songs on the Fruit EP have already clocked up almost 5 million Spotify streams – he says self-promotion doesn’t come naturally to him and maintains that he hates social media.
Proving that punk isn’t just about buzzsaw guitars, the Wax Chattels channel the spirit of seminal acts like Suicide on this splendidly splenetic slice of abrasive electronic bedlam.
With lines like “taking the top spot” and “eyes on the prize”, the opening title track works pretty well as a statement of intent for Sons of Zion on their latest LP. While their debut Universal Love (2013) wasn’t exactly a pure reggae album either, Vantage Point is an unashamed bid for the mainstream, with pop and R&B flavours very much to the fore.