Category Archives: All Music Reviews

No One Knows Me – Billy Roberts and the Rough Riders

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Another country classic from Billy Roberts and the Rough Riders.

No One Knows Me is a track on their album Greenbah. A traditional country-rock song that draws on the band’s characteristic sound.

Beginning as what sounds like the line-dancing scene in Thelma & Louise, followed by a ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ rhythm of the guitar, this song is sure to be enjoyable by all country-rock music fans… Continue reading

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Little Johnny – Billy Roberts and the Rough Riders

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You’ve probably seen my reviews of Billy Roberts and the Rough Riders here, here and here. Here’s another – their new song, Little Johnny.

This slow rock song is featured on their third album, Greenbah. A dark and moody tune akin to that of Johnny Cash and The Eagles, I reckon.

The band’s distinctive husky voice, whining violin and tense guitar can still be heard – Billy Roberts and the Rough Riders are loyal to their sound… Continue reading

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Love Ain’t A Prize – Donica Knight

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Another country princess makes a pop song.

Despite being a high-production-value song and music video, Love Ain’t a Prize left me feeling like I had heard it all before. The country-pop genre tends to be quite monotonous for me.

This is not a poorly-made song, but the chorus repeats itself, which makes the writing appear lazy.

The style and sound becomes a self-fulfilling stereotype. The classic black-tassel-wearing and silver-studded band members came as no surprise in Donica Knight’s video… Continue reading

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Lie – Blue Moon Harem

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This classic 1990’s-sounding ballad, Lie, is a melancholy rock anthem with heavy guitar and drums backing strong and gravelly vocals.

With powerful guitar solos and a hard rock bridge, Blue Moon Harem’s song reminds me of string-heavy ’90s bands such as Nickleback and Soundgarden.

The vocalist has a husky voice, that reminds me of Collective Soul’s vocalist Ed Roland in their song The World We Know. Blue Moon Harem’s vocals are emotionally-charged and compliment the band’s rock genre well… Continue reading

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Glitch #1

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With a mere $200 budget, Glitch #1 is a music video that shows a post-apocalyptic world in all its darkness.

A woman types frantically on a tinfoil-covered laptop as her apparent space ship is hurtling through the stars.

The music is really quite unique; every individual sound effect is made from scratch, and never repeated… Continue reading

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Top 5: Why Fiona Apple and Sharon Van Etten should be best friends

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My two favourite singer-song writers: Fiona Apple and Sharon Van Etten need to be BFFs.

I can’t believe it – there isn’t even a photo of them together, a cover of each other’s songs, or a duet by either of them. I’m hoping they don’t see each other as direct competition or foes…

Therefore, I have collated five compelling reasons why they need to be besties forever… Continue reading

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Brave Man – Will Young

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A timely and heart-breaking video to match a strong and inspiring song.

At face-value, Will Young’s Brave Man is an empowering and uplifting tune to say the least. However, the controversial music video puts the song in context, which follows a young naked transgender man’s journey, making it a timely and inspirational message… Continue reading

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15 Minutes of Fame – Belle Vex

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I don’t really listen to pop music. But I’m pretty sure Belle Vex sounds similar to how I would imagine One Direction and the Johnson Brothers… Oh wait, that’s not right… Jonas Brothers, rather, would sound.

Belle Vex’s (AKA Beautiful Curse) sound is typical of the genre – nasally vocals with a frantic electronic vibe – which is popular these days. His music would likely be a hit in the nightclubs with today’s youth, especially if remixed… Continue reading

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Gone to the Dogs – Billy Roberts and the Rough Riders

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This is the third song I’ve reviewed of Billy Roberts’. Seen It All Before, No More Mr Nice Guy and now Gone to the Dogs. This latest tune has lived up to the country-rock sound of Billy Roberts and co. for sure. As I’ve mentioned in my previous reviews, the vocals are wee bit flat, in a spoken-word tone. This doesn’t quite live up to the energy of the electric guitar and sliding guitar sound… Continue reading

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Your Love Is Killing Me – Sharon Van Etten

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I’m obsessed. Absolutely. This is the second song of Van Etten’s that I’ve put on repeat – the first being Give Out. Your Love is Killing Me has an exceptional story. I think it’s about an over-bearing partner, and being too numb and too blinded to take notice. If you marry that up with this beautiful music video, it supports this idea so well… Continue reading

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Humanity – Radio Drive

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Written as a reminder to people that “deep down we are all the same,” Humanity is certainly meaningful and relatable. It is a very well produced song for sure – produced by Stuart Epps. You can definitely hear the work that has gone into it. Because of the band’s name, I was expecting a Radiohead Karma Police sound – intense and deep – which was why I was surprised to hear a relatively bright pop song… Continue reading

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Aloha – Vero (Produced by Chuck Strangers)

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The drumming and keyboard reminds me of an Incubus song called Aqueous Transmission – an equally layered and relaxing song. Both Aqueous Transmission and Aloha use a similar technique of having instruments sound like breathing. The Incubus song uses violins to have that sort of ‘in-out’ rhythm, Aloha uses layered vocals in the chorus… Continue reading

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Seen It All Before – Billy Roberts and the Rough Riders

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This is the second song I’ve reviewed of Billy Roberts’.

Seen It All Before has a different sound to No More Mr Nice Guy. The last one was more country, but this one sounds more like a garage band. A bit rockier!

But this song still carries the same unique sound of Billy Robert and the Rough Riders, with the same spoken-word kind of singing style… Continue reading

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Come on Girl – AJ Smooth

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Easy listening for the over 25-year-old single or broken-hearted ladies out there.

Every Bridget Jones-esk spinster, or recent singletons, would have this track on repeat during their Sunday afternoon wine.

It is the new smooth sound – quite literally. You may have been equally deprived of this fact, but New Smooth Sound is a legit genre combining R&B, pop, and jazz… Continue reading

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Council House Opera – Warme

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I really love this track!

They remind me a lot of Radiohead, mixed with a sort of Shihad kind of deal – sort of grunge, but upbeat.

I cranked this baby up, and the layering of the vocals is what makes this song! His gravelly voice raises the song above a typical pop song into a something with a sound I haven’t really heard anywhere before… Continue reading

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New Guy – Sarkodie ft. Ace Hood

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First of all, I should declare that rap music really isn’t my jam.

But I do appreciate the general gist of the song meaning, which I understand it to be about making something of yourself when everything is against you.

Every story got a two-side
T-shirt tryna make it to the suit and tie

I think New Guy would be a great candidate for a remix… Continue reading

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When You Lost Your Situation – David Arn

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The first thing I thought was ‘Nick Cave’. I think it’s David Arn’s gravelly voice and story-telling songs.

I agree with Arn’s previous critics who say that his strong point is certainly the lyrics.

“When you lost your situation, gypsies went home sick”

When Lost In Your Situation sounds like a song I’d expect to hear on one of my favourite films, Thelma & Louise, or on classic indie stations and films with its lost-sounding guitar and the grounding vocals… Continue reading

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Pokey LaFarge Comes Back to Town

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It seems I didn’t scare them off!

You may remember my hypo blog post this time last year… Here’s another:

Pokey LaFarge returns to Auckland! It was grand. This time, promoting their brand new album Something In the Water, which was released in New Zealand on the night – well before the official April 7 release date.

A lot has changed with their sound, still keeping their fantastic ragtime/blues genre and tempo, but with an extra player added to the team… Continue reading

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Top 5: Forgotten Music Videos

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These may have slipped your memory because they are from the late 90s/early 2000s. But for some, they are embedded in childhood brains… Continue reading

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Chandelier – Sia

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While we are on the topic of Sia, I love her earlier song: Chandelier.

It’s just as emotionally-charged and high energy as Elastic Heart. In fact, I see Chandelier as the prequel to Elastic Heart, because the videos are both directed by Sia and Daniel Askill and features the same dancer in the music video, Maddie Ziegler. You can definitely tell the dancing was choreographed by the same person too, Ryan Heffington, as some of the moves are the same, and so is Ziegler’s costume.

It’s still fantastic though. The video was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Music Video, and became the seventh most watched YouTube video of 2014… Continue reading

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Elastic Heart – Sia

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I am so slow to the party.

This song was on The Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack, and boy is it powerful.

I think the song can speak for itself, but it’s a chilling story of the singer’s two emotional versions of herself. Each side wrestles to become dominant.

I imagine it’s the side that’s strong, flexible, and can cope with trauma, versus the side that’s negative and fragile… The music video is equally as powerful – but has been rather controversial.

This concept of dominance is portrayed by Shia LaBeouf and 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler through dance. It is directed by Sia and Daniel Askill, and choreographed by Ryan Heffington… Continue reading

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Never Tear Us Apart – Paloma Faith’s cover

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Originally created by Australian rock band INXS in 1988, Never Tear Us Apart was written in a bluesy genre with a similar sound to Fats Domino.

Oh how I would have loved to here that version.

I do like the INXS version, but mostly because of the gnarly saxophone solo – which simply isn’t long enough!

However, Paloma Faith covered their song in 2012. She brought her jazzy/pop/blues sound to it and created a spine-tingling version. I love it. Particularly the high note she pulls on this line… Continue reading

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Top 4: Favourite Christmas Songs

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I’m honestly not a massive fan of festive music. However, here are four (and a half) songs in my December play list… Continue reading

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Are You Thinking What I’m Thinking? – Bernie Journey

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Are You Thinking What I’m Thinking? is a funk/electro track being released by Bernie Journey. He is New York-based and a self-described dance/pop singer-songwriter.

His sound reminds me of a psychedelic/glam 90s band. So certainly not a typical ‘pop/dance’ sound, but a perfect karaoke track. I think a heavier bass and bit more variety would make it the JAM… Continue reading

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Hideaway – Kiesza

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This is such an amazing video!

The choreography is spectacular, the costumes are awesome and the four and a half minute video is all done in one shot. Gorgeous!

My dad actually pointed this out to me because he likes the song (which was written and recorded within an hour and a half), but the video is twice as cool.

Kiesza danced in this despite having a broken rib! She said she couldn’t move for a month after shooting it.

Kiesza’s brother shot the video in Brooklyn, and it was choreographed by Ljuba Castot. It received an MTV Music Award nomination for best choreography.

Check it out! It’s very 90s… Continue reading

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