It's been a good year for New Zealand music releases. I keep finding things I really like - such as Jonathan Bree's album; a highlight of the year for me. A proper-good record that.
Last week I talked about Matthew Bannister's One Man Bannister Evolver project/album where he covers The Beatles' Revolver. Another wee gem, that. And I hear the weekend's live show was a blast; hopefully he gets around the country to spread the love.
This weekend I reviewed the new album by Ladi6; her third full-lengther.
It's the first album from her that I've really loved. I think it's superb.
It's not so much that I haven't liked the previous material from Ladi6 - I just haven't found anything, quite, to hang on to. She hasn't ever made a bad album but it's been nice to follow the progression. Albums one and two were almost throwaway, nothing gritty and tight and necessary - she's always offered that as a performer. The band around her too, the way they operate now, we're talking great players - Parks and Julien Dyne, it's a dream-team, really. So it wasn't even a case of having high hopes for album number three as it was fingers-crossed. I wanted it to be good. I hoped it was, sure. But it's really a very fine album.
I like that she sings essentially gimmick-free, no big trills and spills - all this Hollie Smith/Adele bulls**t has got to end. Sing it straight. Give us the goods. That's what Ladi6 does.
And the production on this album is extraordinary.
So that's my new favourite. For now. I'm excited, of course, to hear a new record from Connan Mockasin. I'm hopeful that there'll be something in the Lorde album beyond empty hype. I'm really not sure on that one though - something's fishy, I reckon. I'm just not convinced, just yet. Something doesn't quite add up. I smell a rat. It's kinda my job to smell rats. I see and hear enough of 'em...
But I'll be the first to gush all about that album if it is the real deal.
For right now the real deal to my ears is this new one from Ladi 6. Automatic. Have you heard it?
Because, you see, I reckon if you haven't ever been a fan you should check it out - and fans of her earlier work are (surely) going to love this also.
You can also check out Off the Tracks for The Vinyl Countdown, reviews and other posts.