On her last album 2008’s Sweet Soul Music, Aaradhna bravely tackled classics from the likes of Stevie Wonder, The Jacksons and The Temptations, but she is on much surer ground with this, her third long player.
It’s an unlikely Kiwi combination: Davidson, the gravelly master of junkyard blues, and Williams, best known for his heavenly harmonizing with The Unfaithful Ways.
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’.
The fact that this was recorded in part on a mobile studio during a jaunt around the globe shows how far the Hume brothers have come since their Levin days.
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.
Their last record Hearts showcased their power pop credentials but the first full-length album from Auckland outfit is closer in spirit to the folkier jangle of their 2009 debut EP Bird & Bone.
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.
To some, he will always be Ronny Recent, leader of the seminal Kiwi punk band The Scavengers, but to most Brendan Perry is better known as one half of Dead Can Dance, which arguably pioneered that distinctive New Age-y world music sound later popularized by Enya.
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.
Big things have been expected of this Kiwi songstress – AKA Jane de Hong – ever since she won the MTV 42Unheard competition at the end of 2009 and her long-awaited debut album shows that faith was not misplaced.