This is a typical slow African Head Charge groove, based on a nice descending horn line. No vocals or even vocal samples, unlike Songs of Praise, which is the only other AHC album I have. It’s well worth listening to, but I’m especially interested in the song’s name. Apparently Dave Dobbyn, one of New Zealand rock’s elder statesmen, made an album with the On-U Sound crew a couple of years ago. African Head Charge are also in the On-U Sound stable, so I guess that’s how they ended up namechecking Dobbyn in their song title, though I don’t know if he actually plays on the track.

Anyway, now I want to listen to the Dobbyn album. But in the meantime, Dobbyn Joins the Head Charge is from the new AHC album, Voodoo of the Godsent.

Source: On the Wire, 2 July 2011

Great to hear this slice of fun this morning. I though MDE had disappeared ages ago. But Beep Sweep sounds like what happens if you plug in a synthesizer and drum machine and set all the dials to “smile”. This accelerated upbeatery reminds me of Citrus, another of my favourite Japanese bands. They have also disappeared from view. Perhaps it’s time for a Citrus revival?

Source: Japanator Radio 169

I didn’t like this song at first. But at the second chorus I started hearing the lyrics:

When you love the truth enough you start to tell it all the time
When it gets you into trouble you discover you don’t mind
‘Cause if good is finally gonna trump
Then man you gotta take stock and you gotta take your lumps
Or else they trickle down into someone else’s cup below.

This resonates with me. It sounds like something parents might (should) tell their children. The music goes with the raw and heartfelt vibe too — makes me think of Bruce Springsteen. That’s not always a good thing, but it is in this case.

Source: KEXP Song of the Day for 8 June 2011

Perfume’s new single sounds even more like a ’90s video game soundtrack than usual. So many bleeps, so much energy. And the autotune is in fine voice as ever. My favourite part is the chorus, which starts with the word “straight”. That’s “straight” pronounced “su-to-re-e-to” in that transliterated Japanese way. Cute!

Source: Japanator Radio 168.

A lovely slow pop-country anthem. Shelby Earl (how country is that name?) has a clear voice singing a strong melody with C&W guitar twanging in the background. Builds to a stirring crescendo, as so many good things do.

This really gets the blood rushing. It’s that sped-up drum ‘n’ bass vibe, maybe a bit dated, but still full of energy. Nice high-pitched female vocals at the beginning, but they become more and more processed as the track goes on, eventually merging into the general wash of synth.

I just started listening to Joanna Newsom’s early album The Milk-Eyed Mender. I’m a bit surprised to recognise the tune “The Sprout and the Bean”. It’s very cute. It was used in a TV ad for something or other here in New Zealand recently. As with so many ads, I remember the music but forget the product being advertised.

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This is a very fun album. I liked a recent Pipettes track called Thank You, which I heard on Fluxblog, so when I saw this earlier album I picked it up. The Pipettes are a girl group in the style of ’50s or ’60s vocal groups. This album is full of perky pop gems, mostly 2-3 minutes long, with bright choruses and a jump-around-the-room beat.  “Pull Shapes” is my favourite: with its call-and-response chorus it’s hard for me to sit still while listening to it here at work…

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Here’s some more NZ music for my wish list. If I can pry open my wallet I will purchase one or more of these and write a bit more for this website. These were all reviewed in New Zealand Musician magazine, Oct/Nov 2010.

Wai: Ora — Ancient rhythms merged with modern technology. I heard some of the tracks on the radio and they did sound good.

Ghost: Postcards from the Edge — Electronic dance music.

Luckless: Luckless EP — Simple, stripped-back.

Tono and the Finance Company – Fragile Thing EP — Fresh and original, while recalling Flying Nun and The Smiths.

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