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.
Tim Stewart and Nick Atkinson, the two-man brass attack that is Hopetoun Brown, have discreetly fleshed out their sound for their second album but the irrepressible busking vibe of their live shows still shines through.
Anyone who has caught Hopetoun Brown live will have been blown away by the punch and verve of their two-pronged brass attack.
But while the new album from Tim Stewart (trumpet/trombone) and Nick Atkinson (bass clarinet) retains the exuberant busker vibe of their live work, the former Supergroove bandmates relished the chance to stretch their wings a little on their sophomore set Look So Good, which is released this month.
Part of that is down to the fact that the record features an expanded line-up of singers and musicians, including old friends such as Tami Neilson and Marlon Williams, Lawrence Arabia drummer Al Deverick and fellow horn players Finn Scholes and Kingsley Melhuish.
Truth & Soul is not only the name of Aaradhna’s new label, but can also be seen as a statement of intent from the New Zealand singer.
The ‘soul’ speaks for itself – like her award-winning Treble & Reverb (2013), her latest Brown Girl offers a classy, modern take on classic R&B and funk – while the lyrical content of the record is very much drawn from her own life and experiences.
Below, Aaradhna talks about the production process and catching up with fellow Kiwis in Los Angeles.
There’s a relaxed, live-sounding vibe to Water Or Gold, Hollie Smith’s eagerly awaited follow-up to her 2010 sophomore set Humour And The Misfortune Of Others.
It’s a remarkable achievement, not the least because there was not a lot that was either relaxed or live about the making of the record.
“It was a bit of a jigsaw puzzle,” Smith tells us from the offices of her record company in Auckland.
“The core recordings – bass, drums and keyboards – were done down in Wellington at my drummer’s house in his little home studio there. And then we had a couple of extra musicians do a couple of sessions at their own places, and then I did all my vocals at home. So by the time we got to New York, I had never really heard it all put back together again.”
The cover photographs suggest that this Kiwi singer-songwriter has undergone something of a retro makeover for her second album, her follow-up to 2011’s Everything I Have Seen.
As she acknowledges with a “Christchurch to Motown” shout-out on ‘Slow Ride’, Ladi6 has come a long way since the award-winning Liberation Of… (2010).
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.