It’s still New Zealand Music Month! There are so many awesome New Zealand acts around right now, but have you heard of Black City Lights?
They’re a Wellington duo consisting of Calum Robb and Julia Catherine Parr, a producer and vocalist respectively, and they are certainly on the way to making it big. Just over a year ago they released their debut EP called Parallels (which you can listen to here) and since then they’ve gone from strength to strength. They’ve opened for Grimes, Baths and Van She, and done a whole bunch of headlining shows too. They received two highly sought-after grants which allowed them to make this stunning video for their song Parallels:
Their song Rivers is a personal favourite, so check that one out too! Black City lights are just about to begin releasing their new material (a new single is being released on Thursday) leading up to their debut album release in August. AND they’ll be heading to the States shortly touring the East and West coasts for three months! Phew!
If you get a chance, check them out playing live as they are incredible! I’ve seen them at least three times and they impress me more every time.
R n R
Here’s our weekly run down of what’s on about this splendid city during the weekend.
The mind blowing moving image exhibition “Moving On Asia” has only a fortnight left at Wellington’s City Gallery.
Our freshest up and coming young comedians perform at Bats theatre in “Class Comedians“.
After some free film? The New Zealand Film Archive is currently hosting Samin Son TV – a self titled exhibition of Son’s time in the Korean Army. It sounds pretty interesting and is… the big ol’ price of NOTHING.
The Documentary Edge Film Festival continues.
In music news it’s still New Zealand Music Month. Lorde released the music video for Royals (below) this week – she’s going to be a superstar. The Naked And Famous snuck this single, ‘A Source Of Light’, into the webosphere off of their upcoming remixes and b-sides follow up to Passive Me, Aggressive You.
Big international drops for the weekend playlist include The National’s ‘Trouble Will Find Me’ (itunes streaming), Daft Punk’s ’Random Access Memories’ (itunes streaming) and Vampire Weekend’s ’Modern Vampires Of The City’.
Canada’s most famous (and only) astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield returned to earth this week but not before gifting planet earth another of his amazing videos. Music + science = awesome!
Brr! What a week. Floods, a (very tiny) earthquake and although the great day star showered us in splendour the mercury hasn’t climbed very high. It’s probably safer indoors with weekend warmers. We’re going for a blog in two halves today Wellington’s what’s on closely followed by a continuation of last weeks NZ music scrape over.
High note… Geddit? Music puns are such fun. Since you’ve all been reading about music after last week’s list in honour of New Zealand Music Month, this week we thought we’d let you know what’s happening!
Unfortunately for us, Auckland seems to be getting most of the action HOWEVER, based on this list of Wellington events, at least lots of the events here are free
NZ Music Month is a promotion run by the NZ Music Commission that takes place each May, in association with other organisations including NZ On Air, RIANZ, APRA, Independent Music NZ, and the Radio Broadcasters Association. You can find out more about the organisers here. NZ Music Month is a 31 day celebration of our homegrown talent across the length and breadth of the country. So get involved! Go to a gig, buy some merchandise, or just rent some New Zealand music from the library this month! Here are our personal favourites:
Flight of the Conchords because, if nothing else, we love a good laugh. And because Bret McKenzie was in the library the other day. But mostly because no one combines comedy and music quite like they do. Don’t believe us? Check out our exstensive collection in the library or check out this rather amusing charity song written for Cure Kids last year.
Essentially that video plays like a who’s who of New Zealand music, including the wonderful Brooke Fraser. We love her, not only for her incredible talents as a singer and songwriter, but also for her willingness to use her fame to get behind a cause. As well as Cure Kids, there’s World Vision (which inspired the song “Albertine”) and in 2010 while on tour in the States, she raised over $54,000 for charity: water to build clean water wells in Ethiopia.
The favourite that you may not have heard of: Ivy Lies. I fell in love with these ladies after hearing “Never Enough” and it’s safe to say the rest of their album, Little Mind Games, is just as good. The girls of Ivy Lies have perfected pop-rock with high energy, aggressive drums and assertive rock guitar, making music that makes you pound your invisible drum sticks.
Not your thing? Come check out the New Zealand music selection here at the library. In case you didn’t know, the YA CDs are FREE on your YA card so really, what’s to lose?
We’ll leave you with some photos of NZ Music Months gone by…
R n R
Welcome to the last weekend of the school holidays. First thing’s first, pump up the volume and press play.
Marvel at John Williams conducting. Now there’s suitable ambiance may the fourth be with you! Today is Star Wars day – woohoo. George Lucas’ profound trilogy unleashed a science fiction frenzy on the world just short of 40 years ago and today geeks and not-geeks unite to celebrate the great trilogy-cum-saga. Light saber warbling and “Luke I am your father”-ing is totally appropriate today (and the other 364 days).
Nearly every day or month is a celebration to somebody somewhere. Obviously today (Saturday) has Star Wars covered and tomorrow, for instance, is Children’s Day in South Korea and Japan as well as Cinco de Mayo in The States and Mexico. Cinco de Mayo isn’t the celebration of mayonnaise I will add. Now in that vein I am proud to announce that, for those who aren’t already aware, we are four days into New Zealand Music Month. Throughout the month Teen Blog will bring you all sorts of NZ music know-how. Our libraries will also transform into venues for local musicians to perform – take that shush-fingers!
For a quick scrub-up on what exactly music month is about check out the official website here. In short though it is an epic celebration of the lads and lasses that have gifted ours and the worlds airwaves with amazing music. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll scratch the surface of some of the sweetest acts from the last few decades of kiwi music for weekend playlisting. This week we’ll start with the current decade. Globe conquering has been a bit of a pattern lately with The Naked And Famous first through the gates followed closely by Avalanche City’s Love Love Love (it was originally free to download). Many more have found international success too, especially Hamilton’s favourite child Kimbra. In our local charts Dunedin lads Six60 happened as too did J Williams & Scribe and Wellington’s Brooke Fraser. Away from the top of the charts acts like The Checks, Ladi6 and Cairo Knife Fight hungout with a huge amount of great and fresh music that is just too numerous to list here. As for new stuff be sure to keep an eye on/checkout The Phoenix Foundation, Minuit, Lorde, Shapeshifter and Beastwars.
For the duration of the month The New Zealand Herald will be streaming new and old recordings including their studio Sundae Sessions daily – a concert a day, sweet!
Finally, a video. We’re going to skip viral this week and stay in kiwi theme. Borrowing some funny from 2001 here’s Goodshirt’s Sophie. Enjoy!
is when one of your senses is triggered but it causes an involuntary response by one or more of your other senses. In this case, we hope you’ll be reading words but hearing music! Or something. It’s a serious disease though.
In a roundabout way, this is a welcome to New Zealand Music Month, and we’re kicking it off with novels about music, musicians and playlists! It’s a challenging thing to write about musicians or bands in a way that is engaging for readers, since the author has to somehow describe the feeling, tone, content and emotion of something which is expressed purely through sound. Here we’ve selected ten who we think have done this pretty well.
Fat Kid Rules the World, K.L. Going
Troy Billings is seventeen, 296 pounds, friendless, utterly miserable, and about to step off a New York subway platform in front of an oncoming train. Until he meets Curt MacCrae, an emaciated, semi-homeless, high school dropout guitar genius, the stuff of which Lower East Side punk rock legends are made. Never mind that Troy’s dad thinks Curt’s a drug addict and Troy’s brother thinks Troy’s the biggest (literally) loser in Manhattan. Soon, Curt has recruited Troy as his new drummer, even though Troy can’t play the drums. Together, Curt and Troy will change the world of punk, and Troy’s own life, forever.
Lemonade Mouth, Mark Peter Hughes
Be warned, this is not the same book as the Disney movie. As is often the case, the character’s in the book are much more complex although the gist remains. This is the story of how five outcasts in Opoquonsett High School’s freshman class found each other, found the music, and went on to change both rock and roll and high school as we know it. Wen, Stella, Charlie, Olivia, and Mo take us back to that fateful detention where a dentist’s jingle, a teacher’s coughing fit, and a beat-up ukulele gave birth to Rhode Island’s most influential band. This is a book that utilizes multiple points of view really, really well. Especially during the concert chapters, where the point of view changes between about 10 different people.
6X: The Uncensored Confessions, Nina Malkin
Four teens suddenly rise to stardom in their band 6X, taking the world by storm and learning the truth first-hand about the real backstabbing world of show biz. The band is made up of 4 members, contradictory to what the book title suggests. There’s Kendall (The Voice), Rich (The Body), Stella (The Boss) and A/B (The Boy) and together they’re on the fast track to pop-rock superstardom. Along the way though, they’ll have to do some serious soul searching, face some hard truths and learn to survive in the glamorous, backstabbing world of pop music.
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
This high-energy romance follows two high-school seniors through a single, music-fueled night in Manhattan. Nick, the nonqueer bassist in a queercore band, is playing with The Fuck Offs, when he spots his ex-girlfriend, Tris. Once offstage, he propositions a girl he has never met, hoping to make Tris jealous: Would you mind being my girlfriend for five minutes? Norah, also heartbroken (and hoping Nick will drive her home), agrees. What begins as a spontaneous ploy turns into something surprising and real in the course of one night as Nick and Norah roam Manhattan, listen to bands, confront past hurts, and hurtle toward romance. What we loved about this one is the characters’ wild yearning for love, and music, which feels powerful and true.
The Disenchantments, Nina LaCour
Colby and Bev have a long-standing pact: graduate, hit the road with Bev’s band, and then spend the year wandering around Europe. But moments after the tour kicks off, Bev makes a shocking announcement: she’s abandoning their plans – and Colby – to start college in the fall. But the show must go on and The Disenchantments weave through the Pacific Northwest, playing in small towns and dingy venues, while roadie- Colby struggles to deal with Bev’s already-growing distance and the most important question of all: what’s next?
Naked, Kevin Brooks
Britain in the 1970s sounds like an incredible place to be. Chaos and punk culture went hand in hand and this book is set right in the middle of it: summer of 1976. It was the summer of so many things. Heat and violence, love and hate, heaven and hell. It was the time I met William Bonney – the boy from Belfast known as Billy the Kid. William’s secrets have been kept for a long time, but now things have changed and the truth is coming out. The story begins with Curtis Ray; hip, cool, rebellious Curtis Ray. Without Curtis, there wouldn’t be a story to tell. It’s the story of a band, of life and death . . . and everything in between.
This Lullaby, Sarah Dessen
Raised by a mother who has had five husbands, eighteen-year-old Remy believes in short-term, no-commitment relationships until she meets Dexter, a rock band musician. Remy goes on a whirlwind ride, avoiding, circling and finally surrendering to Cupid’s arrows. More than the summer romance of this novel, we loved the cast of idiosyncratic characters who watch from the sidelines. There’s the trio of Remy’s faithful girlfriends, all addicted to “Xtra Large Zip” Diet Cokes practical-minded Jess, weepy Lissa, and Chloe, who shares Remy’s dark sense of humor as well as Dexter’s entourage of fellow band members, as incompetent at managing money as they are at keeping their rental house clean. Potential spoiler: it’s far from the fairytale happily-ever-after ending.
Audrey, Wait!, Robin Benway
California high school student Audrey Cuttler dumps self-involved Evan, the lead singer of a little band called The Do-Gooders. Evan writes, “Audrey, Wait!” a break-up song that’s so good it rockets up the billboard charts. And Audrey is suddenly famous! Now rabid fans are invading her school. People (magazine) is running articles about her arm-warmers. The lead singer of the Lolitas wants her as his muse. (And the Internet is documenting her every move!) Audrey can’t hang out with her best friend or get with her new crush without being mobbed by fans and paparazzi. Take a wild ride with Audrey as she makes headlines, has outrageous amounts of fun, confronts her ex on MTV, and gets the chance to show the world who she really is.
Five Flavors of Dumb, Antony John
High school senior Piper, who began to lose her hearing at age six, has mixed feelings about her parents dipping into her college fund to pay for cochlear implants for her hearing-impaired baby sister. But one thing is clear: Piper has to replenish the funds. Opportunity knocks when a disorganized rock band named Dumb invites her to be their manager. However, it soon becomes apparent that the members’ egos are more substantial than their talent. Although Piper’s hearing is a characterizing detail that could have been used solely as a gimmick, her abilities are seen as assets: while lip reading allows her access to public conversation, she is not above using sign language to obscure her intentions. The parallel attention to Piper’s hearing family and the strain her parents’ decision to treat her sister with cochlear implants adds to the greater story and informs the novel’s direction and ending in a satisfying way.
Rock Star Superstar, Blake Nelson
Music is Pete’s life. He’s happiest when he’s playing his Fender Precision bass, whether he’s jamming with his dad at 2 a.m. or covering Top 40 hits. Pete doesn’t care about playing the hottest club or getting the cutest girl. For him, it’s all about the quality of the music. Until he meets the Carlisle brothers. Pete could play circles around Nick and Billy Carlisle-the guys are amateurs. But there’s a power in their sound that’s exciting, and they need a new bass player. Pete joins their band, not quite sure what to expect. Before he knows it, he’s on a wild ride that transforms him from jazz band geek to potential rock god. Is Pete ready for superstardom? More importantly, is it even what he wants?
Hopefully that’s enough to kick of 2013 New Zealand Music Month for y’all! Stay tuned for updates and our favourite homegrown acts.
R n R
Great news for the modern man: live at the Auckland Town Hall by Eru Dangerspiel.
Eru Dangerspiel is Trinity Roots band member Ricky Gooch’s side project, though it’s seriously major in concept.
22 piece group (plus choir!) including Whirimako Black, Anna Coddington, Nathan Haines and members of Fat Freddy’s, The Black Seeds, Fly My Pretties, Dimmer, The Phoenix Foundation – whew! It’s funky, it’s futuristic, it’s Great news for the modern man!
Little stranger, by Annah Mac
“We saw Annah in Taupo opening for The Little River Band and The Doobie Brothers. She and her band were great and really got people in the mood for the rest of the day. I particularly like ‘Girl in stilettos (Pohutukawa trees)’. This has a fun beat and when you see the guy live, playing it on the keyboard, he is really funny. They are all so young and he looks about 15!”
Annah Mac’s Facebook page is here.
The Wild are an Auckland alternative hip-hop group. They have not released an album yet! But they have released an incredibly awesome single, Revolution, which may be purchased on iTunes for like, $2 or something? Small change, whatever it is. It came out last year, believe it or not, but because I am old and out-of-touch I have only just discovered it. Anyway, I have embedded the video (for there is a video) below. In fact, their Youtube channel has a lot of decent content. So subscribe to it! Okay!
Seth Haapu by Seth Haapu
Seth didn’t get a lot of fanfare when his self-named title was released in 2011 and it’s kind of a shame because he’s very talented.
Natural voice, melody to spare, multi-instrumentalist – don’t take my word for it though – watch keyboard and vocal skills here: