17 Apr 2024

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Articles By Andrew Smit

1 Drop Nation - Album Review: 1 Drop Nation
20 Dec 2022 // review by Andrew Smit
Opening with a very spiritual Maori haka Intro - Waerea, we were introduced to the opening track Homeland, which is an unashamedly patriotic Aotearoa anthem with repeated strains of "We are one nation". This is a track that proudly declares love for home, while also being a rally call for the future.
Tahini Bikini - Album Review: Fever Dream
15 Nov 2022 // review by Andrew Smit
An album full of very danceable funk tunes, loaded with tight guitar, bass, brass and percussion that provide a perfect foundation for the expressive soulful vocals of Madeline Lucy Taylor. Her unique clarity is reminiscent of Amy Winehouse or our own Kiwi songstress Gin Wigmore.
Haze Lane - Single/Video Review: Natural Feeling
22 Aug 2022 // review by Andrew Smit
Matching the songs title very aptly South Auckland indie band Haze Lane has produced Natural Feeling, a very organic song that does indeed deliver a very smooth natural feeling. The ultra-cool ambient sound is reminiscent to the early roots sound of Six60 and L.
Anthonie Tonnon - Gig Review: Anthonie Tonnon @ Hollywood Cinema, Auckland - 14/05/2022
16 May 2022 // review by Andrew Smit
On a coolish Saturday evening it was great to see a rather large crowd that clearly were so happy and eager to experience a night of live music, and what a perfect venue to stage it at the slightly musty but still majestic Hollywood Cinema in Avondale. Opening the proceedings was the cool 4 piece band Lips with their ambient 80’s groove thanks to the techno synth sounds from keyboardist and singer Steph Brown.
Vogel Town - Single Review: Sludge City
24 Apr 2022 // review by Andrew Smit
Interestingly Vogel Town's new song Sludge City begins with an automated telephone voice, and then a street argument which is soon accompanied by a very groovy walking bass line, quickly growing from just a couple of notes to a broad melody of its own. At first the only addition is some nice, nonchalant drum fills, but as the background street noise fades away, the introduction of vibrant reverberating guitar strums adds a final element that completes the ensemble perfectly, and altogether this provides a very cool bluesy vibe.
SKRAM - Single Review: Living Our Lives
22 Mar 2022 // review by Andrew Smit
Beginning with some straightforward but quite funky keys your soon steered to a very upbeat and chunky ensemble of music that energetically drives along with its super groovy reggae vibe. SKRAM are a very high energy 3-piece pop group that have delivered a fine tune that embodies their claim of “energetic” perfectly.
Tomorrow People - Album Review: 21
02 Jan 2022 // review by Andrew Smit
Tomorrow People have produced a wonderful assemblage of uplifting reggae tunes that are performed and sung with heart and purpose. All 16 tracks are packed with brilliant harmonies that are propelled along by the glorious uplifting off beat rhythmic delight that reggae music delivers so well.
Torn Chorus - Single/Video Review: This City Floats
10 Sep 2021 // review by Andrew Smit
From a simple opening beat to a wonderful flourish of acoustic guitars layered with luscious chorus and flange effects, the new single from Torn Chorus, This City Floats, is brought to life with wailing electric lead guitar licks and slides that sound melodically precise and emotive. Crisp vocals tell you about the labour and reward that you get for following the beaten path to the top, which as the video shows so well, is Auckland’s remnant volcanic cones, but the metaphor could be used for any journey in life.
Villainy - EP Review: Dead Sides (The Lost EP)
18 Aug 2021 // review by Andrew Smit
How wonderful it is to hear 5 new Villainy songs of rip roaring rock tunes that coalesce intimately in this EP format. There is a so much more spice added to this rock pot than the standard rock fare that you might consume from mainstream radio, and while comparisons to Shihad are apparent with their sound influenced by previous Tom Larkin produced material, but these tracks are self-produced and is a touch more raw and edgy.
Lizard Prom - EP Review: Unusual Pain
22 Jul 2021 // review by Andrew Smit
The alternative sound force is strong in this one! With its hypnotic mystical sound Lizard Prom have produced a 3-song EP that is full of compelling transcendent power.
Bingo Fighter - Single Review: On My Guard
02 Jul 2021 // review by Andrew Smit
The latest release from Bingo Fighter, On My Guard, is a very cool song with vivid pulsating guitar which is driven along by stomping drums, that pump through the song with outstanding clarity. The chorus is simple enough with its straightforward repeated phrase "on a far-king train", delivered in a unique singing style from vocalist Hayden, which is strikingly distinct with a clear enunciated style that makes the track sound super sublime.
EJ Barrett - EP Review: Call Me EJ
17 Feb 2021 // review by Andrew Smit
EJ Barrett creates a very fresh and vibrant sound thanks mostly to the organically produced backing loops of breaths and whispers, creating a very emotive ambiance, EJ’s voice and style are comparative to other Kiwi artists like Lorde and Gin Wigmore, but is also quite worldly like Adele and Enya. The backing loops that EJ performs provide a unique kind if organic beat that is full of soulful expression.
Phil Stoodley - Single Review: Long Way from Home
26 Sep 2019 // review by Andrew Smit
New Zealand singer-songwriter Phil Stoodley is a travelling Kiwi musician of some note and he has created a most beautiful song and video clip for his new single Long Way From Home, which shows off his singing and song writing skill spectacularly. The track sounds so good, the recording is impressively immaculate yet still warm and full of character.
Jam Henderson - Single Review: Rainbow
10 Sep 2019 // review by Andrew Smit
Rainbow is a cool little track with a nice funky vibe, the pace is urged along by a bright sparkly guitar that produces a nice upbeat feel. The guitar delivers a splash of spritely sound that provides a nice contrast to the laid-back tuneful vocals that flow effortlessly through the track.
Sonic Delusion - Album Review: Anything Goes
11 Jun 2019 // review by Andrew Smit
What a wonderfully positive experience it was to review Sonic Delusion's new album Anything Goes. 10 tracks of splendidly good tunes that make you feel good, with catchy grooves and upbeat rhythms, the music is best described as a kind of funky folk pop but with extra fizz, and sparkle, that is so easy to enjoy.
Kingsland - Single Review: The Motto
30 Apr 2019 // review by Andrew Smit
A very groovy pop rock sound is the first thing that strikes you when listening to Kingsland’s latest single The Motto. Driven by a very upbeat vibe that seizes you wholeheartedly, this tuneful track is packed with chunky guitar licks that are wonderfully bluesy and soulful.
Eyreton Hall - Single Review: Weekend
26 Mar 2019 // review by Andrew Smit
Another smooth and gratifying song by Eyreton Hall, that soothes the senses with its easy flowing style and melodic grace. With steady rhythmic folk music that rolls along so sweetly and is sprinkled with lovely colour spurts dispensed by a flirting electric guitar and keyboards.
Etheran - Single Review: Let Me Go
12 Feb 2019 // review by Andrew Smit
Opening with a formidable power riff this debut track from Christchurch based Etheran really grabs you by the throat, and it's a track that has many shades. The strong melodic verses that are sung by the clean voice of lead singer Lita Macabeo is smooth and wholesome, whereas the chorus sections burst with scolding vocals and a burst of drums that lifts the power and emotion with great intensity.
fleaBITE - Album Review: Bite Me
04 Dec 2018 // review by Andrew Smit
Finally, there is a children’s album that you can chomp into with glee, fleaBITE are the band and Bite Me is the album, and it's full of surprises, where every song is like a bursting musical festival. As a father of two young ones I have had many hours listening to albums full of standard nursery rhyming fair that after a couple of repeats would start to affect your sanity.
Chris William - EP Review: Out of Sight
18 Sep 2018 // review by Andrew Smit
Out of Sight is an EP with 10 very easy on the ear compositions, with gentle serenading tunes, accompanied by Chris William's velvet vocals that glide on deft orchestral arrangements. You're struck by the clear and crisp tones of the instrumentation, there is piano, a cello, lots of orchestral keys, and they are all compelled forward nicely with modern beats.
Vallé - Single Review: Love Me
17 Aug 2018 // review by Andrew Smit
After a short and dreamy musical intro, the rap begins and it’s an assured and clear rap, and Vallé's Love Me sounds sublime. The classic syncopation of rhythm and rhyme is performed with a cool style, but it's also intense and stirring.
Scott MCB - Single/Video Review: In Your Mind
26 Jun 2018 // review by Andrew Smit
A tenderly plucked guitar leads to some nice rhythmic strums, which is then united with a suitably soothing vocal, it’s a nice start that presents well the songs musical quality. In your Mind is a beautiful sounding song that also delivers a clear message, a message that many will find heartening to see presented as it is in the music video.
Skinny Hobos - Gig Review: Skinny Hobos @ Galatos, Auckland - 25/05/2018
12 Jun 2018 // review by Andrew Smit
On a cool and wet Auckland night, many faithful rock devotees arrived to experience and enjoy a night of mostly Auckland-made Rock at the inner-city hall that is Galatos. Bam!
Shady Brain Farm - Album Review: 19 Years In The Same House
05 Jun 2018 // review by Andrew Smit
A most wonderful album full of songs laden with a unique and funky mix of rock and blues. Opening with a most funky bass line, Get Up Get Down pumps up the vibe and demands that you do indeed get up and get down, such is the energy and feeling it generates.
Lucifer Gunne - Single Review: HRM
22 May 2018 // review by Andrew Smit
Wellington based 4-piece rock act Lucifer Gunne, fronted by singer/guitarist/songwriter Rory McDonald, have produced a cool track that stands out as something different that's engaging and passionate. This new single HRM is a wonderful mix of bubbly funk rock that is striking and compelling.
Gig Review: Royal Blood @ Logan Campbell Centre - 01/05/2018
03 May 2018 // review by Andrew Smit
The Logan Campbell Centre has seen many years of great rock acts like Nirvana and Metallica and tonight the well-worn 70's decor was rocked by Royal Blood's first headline shows in New Zealand. Dead Favours were up first to warm the crowd, which was pretty much at capacity, this four-piece Auckland band have impressed and progressed steadily over the last two years since I saw them at their debut gig back in May 2016.
Roulettes - Album Review: Venus Burns
27 Apr 2018 // review by Andrew Smit
Opening with a crash of drums and melodic guitar the ever-fresh sound of The Roulettesannounce their latest album Venus Burns with the rousing opening track Stealing Electricity. Thankfully the band have not strayed from their captivating psychedelic sound with songs that are loaded with glorious guitar chords full of sparkling harmonics and hypnotic stomping rhythms.
Apollo SteamTrain - Single Review: Brain Bell Jangler
16 Feb 2018 // review by Andrew Smit
Brain Bell Jangler is a very likeable track full of ripping harmonic guitar strains that heave along to a rock steady rhythm providing a superb foundation for the very catchy vocal tones from lead singer Brendan McCarthy. Apollo SteamTrain are a traditional 3-piece rock Guitar/Bass/Drum ensemble that have produced a killer track with such a crisp guitar sound that bursts with melodic sparkles that combine beautifully with the very Beatle-esque vocal performance.
Gig Review: Paul Kelly @ The Civic, Auckland - 1/12/2017
12 Dec 2017 // review by Andrew Smit
I last saw Paul Kelly in 1987 at the Dee Why Hotel and was eager to hear him again 30 years later, I was confident he would sound awesome, as he is a proven song writer and musician who has not stopped performing and creating beautiful music since 1978, in a stellar career that continues to impress both at home in Australia and abroad. Mr Kelly simply strode to the large stage and started playing his guitar and sang some new songs from his 21st album Life is Fine, they were 3 new songs that are wonderfully fresh, but still typically Kelly songs with his customary sweet melody flowing under his distinctive lyrical comments on life.
Hunt The Witch - Gig Review: Hunt The Witch etc @ The Kings Arms, Auckland 11/11/17
01 Dec 2017 // review by Andrew Smit
The Kings Arms was a buzz with a wealth of punters keen for a dose of loud heavy rock music, all keen for a good time but regrettably the imminent demise of this entertainment institution was a sad topic of conversation for many, "it's all because of the council's greed and neglect, they change zoning to suit their bottom lines, with no thought to societies true needs", and so we paid our respects to the last Auckland beer garden rock pub, she will be remembered well. Of course, live music will live on and tonight it was alive and well, kicking off impeccably with the energetic pounding rock supplied by West Auckland rock outfit AnimalHead, this threesome gel brilliantly to create a powerful rock grind that could also be described as a bluesy kind of punk.
Immi Paterson - Single review: Nightingale
10 Nov 2017 // review by Andrew Smit
Here is a most surrendering and peaceful new single from James Summerfield featuring Kiwi Immi Paterson that can really help you escape. Furnished with delicate vocal harmonies from James and Immi that drift perfectly over the smooth and stylish orchestral music which plays serenely throughout the track.
Paua - Single Review: Play By Your Rules
01 Nov 2017 // review by Andrew Smit
Paua’s latest single Play By Your Rules is so smooth and catchy, driven along with the hipest reggae beat that warms your heart and gets you bopping along instantly. Loaded with the most soulful and harmonious choral singing you could imagine, it's upbeat and fun with a very island come summer reggae feel.
The Black Seeds - Interview with Barnaby from The Black Seeds
06 Oct 2017 // interview by Andrew Smit
It was with a real sense of pride that Barnaby proclaimed his eagerness to discuss The Black Seeds fresh “new” sounds on their new sixth studio album Fabric, saying that “all the guys in the band are really looking forward to sharing the music again, with the last time they did an album tour like this was back in 2013 for Dust and Dirt”.  Is the new album going to be a shock to core fans?
The Steffan van Soest Smoke Machine - Album Review: Hot Boxin'
19 Sep 2017 // review by Andrew Smit
Kicking off with the mesmeric HOT!, a track that has hints of Bowie with a bit of Lou Reed, an expressive ditty that is decorated with great vocal harmonies and a very catchy melody.
Fallstate - Single Review: Live Forever or Die Trying
16 Aug 2017 // review by Andrew Smit
A full-on rush of guitars and drums that kick you in the face will stir and arouse you to attention. This new track by Kiwi pop punk rockers Fallstate is a momentous cacophony of harmonics and noise that gloriously spills its guts out without pretentiousness, in fact you could say it’s a track that certainly lives by its name.
The AJ Crawshaw Band - EP Review: In Light And Shadow
11 Jul 2017 // review by Andrew Smit
There is no doubt that this EP is a result of pure commitment to the craft of creating true music, such is the impact of the music, with tunes that are alive and full of earthy tones that simply delight your senses. The bright and real sound of acoustic guitars gratify each track and provide a beautiful sustenance for singer songwriter AJ Crawshaw’s smooth and expressive singing voice, just think James Blunt meets Ed Sheeran, but with even more feeling!
Thee Rum Coves - EP Review: Out Tonight
02 Jun 2017 // review by Andrew Smit
Thee Rum Coves new 4 track EP carves into your ears with an uncompromising rock energy that grabs you wholeheartedly and never relents in its quest to raise your heart beat and fire your soul. From the first track Behind Your Smile you're hit with the energy of the music, it’s a real surprising mix of funky retro style punk, the tight guitar riffs and subtle melodic vocal arrangements gel together so well that your hooked in and never released from its unyielding hold.
Hunt The Witch - Single Review: Afterburner
23 May 2017 // review by Andrew Smit
The scorching guitar intro commands your attention and declares you better be ready to rock. This superb new song by Hunt the Witch rocks along with a guitar sound that is white hot and feverish, coupled by a potent lead vocal by Sam Whitley that fits the symphonic guitar sound so well, Sam has a smooth and yet powerful and slightly demonic voice, a mix of Eddie Vedder and Marilyn Manson.
Moisty Atsushi - EP Review: International Sound
12 Apr 2017 // review by Andrew Smit
The funky upbeat rhythms and the expressive plucking guitar riffs are abundant throughout this vivacious EP, 6 songs with no vocals but furnished with a real vintage guitar sound that is very soulful and melodic, and more than makes up for the lack of vocals. Overall the warm and genuine Jamaican ska sound is so enjoyable, as the recordings have a real warm live sound, sometimes studio recordings can be too clinical and sterile but 'Moisty and the Wheeler-Dealers' have somehow managed to capture a vibrant and raw feel, which is even more surprising given that the backing parts were recorded in Moscow and the lead guitar in Auckland!
Both Sides of the Line - Album Review: Party Line!
14 Dec 2016 // review by Andrew Smit
Five-piece alt pop country band Both Sides of the Line have produced an album which is easy to listen to and a pleasure to experience, with 12 songs that tantalise you with smooth and vibrant tones, guided by gentle but upbeat country rhythms and a sound that is earthy and real. Opening with Hanging Out For Love your presented with bright and clean guitar licks and a sparkling vocal that guides the bright and melodious tune, it's kinda country and kinda folk, but it’s all good.
His Masters Voice - Gig Review: His Masters Voice @ Whammy Bar, Auckland - 15/10/16
22 Nov 2016 // review by Andrew Smit
The underground tavern that is the Whammy Bar filled with an attractive blend of young and old to experience 3 bands peel off their rowdy musical sweats. First up was Dead Favours, a relatively new 4 piece from Auckland.
Jason Kerrison - Interview with Jason Kerrison
10 Nov 2016 // interview by Andrew Smit
NZ Musicians Unite For Bob Marley Tribute AlbumNorthland fans to celebrate the legend, Bob MarleyWhen Andrew Smit from muzic.net.
Villainy - Gig Review: Villainy @ The Kings Arms, Auckland - 14/10/16
28 Oct 2016 // review by Andrew Smit
Auckland's Iconic Kings Arms has witnessed many celebrated nights of rock revelry and this particular performance from Kiwi Rockers Villainy with Skinny Hobos will go down as one of the best. Kicking off with Skinny Hobos the impressive crowd was amped and attentive to the two men on stage, opening with their mesmerizing track Sevenatenine we all were awoken and hurled into the rock frenzy that they create so well.
Amos/Anon - Album Review: Toil On, Poor Heart
13 Oct 2016 // review by Andrew Smit
A single piano keynote rings like a toiling bell beckoning you to another realm, its haunting and spellbinding sound builds and before long you have entered a dimension where the music conjures imagery and feelings that you may not be prepared to experience. The opening track Toil On introduces you to the transcendent sound of Amos/Anon with its pensive slow rhythms and building ambience that takes you away from your comfort zone.
Illuminus - EP Review: Lost Souls
19 Aug 2016 // review by Andrew Smit
Illuminus have supplied a very distinctive EP to arouse your ear lobes, and while there is some surprising variety to the music it keeps to a homemade recipe of heavy grinding guitar licks and riffs contrasted with clear vocal tunes that are slightly muffled and not dominant like your usual made for radio mastering. This unique mix generally places the drums clean and upfront while the guitars are slightly muffled with the vocals set more in the background with its heavy reverb and other effects.
Andrew Keoghan - Album Review: Every Orchid Offering
01 Aug 2016 // review by Andrew Smit
This album is quite a stylish collection of sophisticated pop music that exudes into your ears and surprises you with its dreamy soundscapes and eclectic rhythms. Each song is subtly different with each possessing a unique and interesting diversion from the overplayed mainstream pop music of today.
Stomping Nick - Album Review: Shake For Your Cake
08 Jul 2016 // review by Andrew Smit
There is a one-man band with a difference, someone in 2016 who is not utilising technology or even a drum machine to back him, oh no Stomping Nick is all Nick, he sings, plays harmonica, the guitar and drums all at the same time, and his new album Shake Your Cake was even recorded that way! With all but one song on the album recorded "live" in one take, so what you hear is the real sound of Nick's songs as he performs them, the only thing missing is an audience's applause, but he sure does deserve some applause.
Pacific Heights - Album Review: The Stillness
01 Jul 2016 // review by Andrew Smit
The Stillness by Pacific Heights is a wonderfully transient modernistic album full of sophisticated electro beats and atmospheric synth laden soundscapes, an ephemeral album that takes you on a pleasurable trip into your own imagination. The term Electro might make you think of dance dub beats but this is definitely not a dance album for this collection of music provides a totally immersive experience that generates a multiple sensory encounter where you see and feel a variety of colours and light, and a vast range of temperature and emotion.
Tokyo Rock Machine - EP Review: New Ink
01 Jun 2016 // review by Andrew Smit
London-based kiwi hard rockers Tokyo Rock Machine's latest EP New Ink offers four tracks of uncompromising full blown guitar rock, with songs that are full of well-structured riffs leading to hard driven verses furnished with strong vocal lines that build towards glorious choruses full of power chords and explosive rhythms. Each song just bursts with pop in the mouth crunchy guitar grinds from Sam Halen all set to the sharpest of drum beats from Waka the Drummer, and strapping vocal work from the appropriately named lead singer Kevi Metal.
The Jordan Luck Band - Gig Review: The Jordan Luck Band @ Kings Arms, Auckland - 14/5/16
23 May 2016 // review by Andrew Smit
The out of season warm night air was inviting and embracing the great crowd that came to Auckland’s best live pub to experience the enduring music of the legendary Jordan Luck and his Band. The eager crowd was warmed up very nicely with a rocking set from brand new rockers Dead Favours who impressed with their broad rock sound and robust look.
Shihad - Gig Review: Shihad @ The Powerstation, Auckland - 1/5/2016
06 May 2016 // review by Andrew Smit
Unlike the anxiety felt by a congregation waiting for the obligatory late bride, the crowd waiting for Shihad to arrive after a cancelled flight were merely suppressing the energy required to jump through a banging set of "real fucking drum and bass" (quote Jon Toogood). In what was supposed to be a 50 minute set on a Sunday night after two previous gigs earlier in Christchurch and Wellington, our four home-grown heroes ripped the snot out of the Mt Eden night to prove that the NZ music industry is still in good hands.
The Jordan Luck Band - Album Review: Not Only... But Also
04 May 2016 // review by Andrew Smit
Jordan Luck and his band have produced an album that is full of energetic and uncompromising rock, fortified with a majestic retro pop rock sound. The feel good up-tempo vibe stands alongside anything you would expect from The Exponents in their heyday.
Jesse Wilde & The Drive - EP Review: Ghost Town Road
29 Apr 2016 // review by Andrew Smit
The song, and indeed the whole EP Ghost Town Road, instantly transports you to an American heartland that is full of genuine rock and blues music full of emotive soul and meaning. Each song on this EP is full of catchy melodies and wonderful lyrics, while most are upbeat rhythmic pop songs they are all full of meaning and purpose, like the beautiful story of Juliet's Fallen, set to wonderful piano by multi-instrumentalist Stephen Small, the song sounds so smooth and powerful, and yet it also reminds you of a song you've heard before, maybe something that Bob Seger or John Mellencamp would have produced in their heyday.
Hollie Smith - Album Review: Water Or Gold
15 Apr 2016 // review by Andrew Smit
The first song begins all mellow and mystic accompanied by the cool strains of Hollie's yearning voice which provokes your ears and then like being catapulted onto a ride you're delivered to the soulful and very funky sound that is Water Or Gold. The title track personifies the whole albums sound, it is real and vibrant and bursting with character and overall is a joyous experience.
The Jordan Luck Band - Gig Review: The Jordan Luck Band @ The Thirsty Dog Auckland 11/3/16
01 Apr 2016 // review by Andrew Smit
A cosy crowd congregated at K Rd’s The Thirsty Dog, with the promise of rock music from a man we all know, performing songs we all love, with a group simply called the Jordan Luck Band. The air was thick with unspoken anticipation, would Jordan be the man we know from 20 or 30 years ago, and would he sound any different?
Steezin' Hawkings - EP Review: Steezin' Hawkings
26 Mar 2016 // review by Andrew Smit
After a mellow 1 minute intro, the grooves kick off in the opening track We Been Steezin’ and we are introduced to the young funk sounds of the Wellington based Steezin' Hawkins with a tune layered with smooth vocal harmonies and a most soulful melodious tune, and although it's driven by a steady tempo the feel of the song ebbs and flows from groovy to dreamy, with a crafted sound that is very real and expressive. You may not hear the 2nd track Funk up the Radio on the radio, due to the obvious use of funk as a profanity replacement, forget about it, you will dig the funky feel and jive guitar grinds that move to a most gratuitous rock/blues riff, and the lead vocal from Moira Jean is a dramatic performance full character and power not to be missed.
Swamp Dixie - Album Review: Beautiful Forever
17 Mar 2016 // review by Andrew Smit
The music on this album sounds very “real” with its unrefined home-style recording, which although is a little raw, it does sound very genuine. Swamp Dixie are a duo based on the Kapiti Coast with Tracy Bateman and Steven Hall on vocals and guitars, and you can tell that the music is a craft of their making.
SOL3 MIO - Gig Review: Christmas in The Vines @ Villa Maria Winery, Auckland - 20/12/15
18 Jan 2016 // review by Andrew Smit
A near capacity crowd of 8500 gathered at the picturesque Villa Maria Estate for another dose of the much loved musical encounter that is Sol3 Mio. This time the boys were backed by the wonderful Auckland Symphony Orchestra and who warmed their instruments with the perfect intro of Tchaikovsky's Waltz of the Flower Fairies.
Dead Celeb - EP Review: Urge Empire
13 Jan 2016 // review by Andrew Smit
Wellington based 3 piece alt rockers Urge Empire have produced a 5 song self-titled EP with a great mix of upbeat high energy rock, where each track has its own character and feel due to clever subtle changes to the arrangements. Every song is full of clear and expressive guitar and vocals from Julian van der Krogt, backed by the solid live sound of Bass and Drums by James Cartwright and Hans Weston.
Outside In - EP Review: The Nature of Dreams
22 Dec 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
A 5-song EP that is wonderfully alive with a cool mystical sound that is a stimulating mix of modern and traditional music styles. Kicking off with the dreamy electric pop song Sophie’s Ghost with its shimmering guitar and synth, providing an atmospheric sound set to a pulsating beat, and the melodic vocals have just a hint of effect that sounds just right and caps off an impressive trip.
No Broadcast - Album Review: The Blueprint
09 Dec 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
Opening with a theatrical instrumental with piano and scorching choral like keys, you are stirred and aroused, the tension builds and you’re curious, where you are headed? but there is no doubt your listening to something different, something that is very powerful and good.
Poison Skies - Single Review: City Streets
20 Nov 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
City Streets is a full on heart-rate lifting track, starting with a chorus of harmonic guitars that deliver us to a pumping rockabilly beat that’s full of energy and just sounds awesome. Sounding very much like The Living End but with a harder rock edge due to the 3 gritty guitars.
Mel Parsons - Gig Review: Mel Parsons @ Crystal Palace, Auckland - 31/10/15
16 Nov 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
A hearty and enthusiastic crowd packed into the grand old Crystal Palace to experience the beautiful Mel Parsons and band, and the audience was won over by the music coming from the stage, a vibrant folk music played to a rhythmic country beat full of warmth and stirring emotive tunes. Many in the crowd eagerly yelled their approval which on most occasions was humorously responded to by Mel, and with each song the positive vibe was lifted as Mel and her band entertained us with beautiful songs with wonderful down to earth themes that were full of delightful melodies and harmonies.
Devilskin - Gig Review: Devilskin @ The Powerstation, Auckland - 19/09/15
06 Nov 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
Another eager crowd packed into Auckland's Powerstation ready to be rocked with the promise of live and loud kiwi talent. Starting with City of Souls who filled the stage and the room with their tight metal core sound, it took a song or two to hear the lead vocalist but thankfully the sound and the band improved with every song.
Holly Arrowsmith - Gig Review: Holly Arrowsmith @ The Tuning Fork 5/09/15
16 Oct 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
The evening kicked off with Tom Cunliffe, shining bright and all alone with his guitar and flowing beard where he bravely produced a set of stirring and emotive songs filled with themes of torment, greed and loss. Tom sings with a smooth grit that is tender and expressive and it works well to expose the deep content of his songs subject matter.
Lucid Effect - EP Review: I Came From A Dark Place
21 Sep 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
From the opening sounds of this EP you are treated to folk art beauty that is honest and pure, music that clearly has been crafted from a deep desire to deliver emotive music that is acoustically beautiful yet powerful and meaningful. This EP comprises of 4 stunning songs all of which are written and produced by Declan Ramsey, in fact other than some backing vocals from Rose Ramsey it’s all his work, and the result is majestic music with great fidelity and sentiment.
Miho Wada - Album Review: Bumpy Road
10 Sep 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
The Miho Jazz Orchestra (MJO) has produced another album bursting with character and full of vibrant music that is real and alive. With 9 instrumental tracks that take you on a musical journey, where the experience and its meaning is yours to interpret and enjoy, however the linear notes tells you how the inspiration and perspiration behind the songs are from Miho Wada’s “Bumpy” experiences with her pregnancy.
Shady Brain Farm - EP Review: Robot Radio
26 Aug 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
This new EP from Shady Brain Farm sounds so youthful and alive, with 5 real songs that have a great psychedelic rock sound driven by a feel good up-tempo rock beat. The first two songs lean toward the psychedelic rock form, with tuneful crooning from Ben Furniss, who also supplies superb flangy melodic guitar riffs.
AHoriBuzz - Double EP Review: Into The Sunshine
20 Aug 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
Modern Funk with ballsy riffs and beats are abundant in this double EP, with 5 original songs and 5 remixes. The 1st full length release for the talented singer songwriter Aaron Tokona, and his band AHoriBuzz, Into The Sunshine simply resonates with songs that are a wonderful mix of traditional funk fused with new sounds and percussive beats, like the opening track Turnaround with its thick bass riff, mixed with keys and brass elements that groove to a steady beat and bubbles along for over 8 minutes.
I Am Giant - Gig Review: I Am Giant @ The Powerstation, Auckland 1/08/15
18 Aug 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
The anticipation and expectations were high and thus like me a good crowd rocked up early to experience a night of live rock music that was kicking off with the only X factor “band” finalists in the world Brendon Thomas and the Vibes. Many may have seen and heard of BT and the V from their amazing run on the popular talent exploitation show, and they now could see if they can live up to the hype, I had little doubt they would as I have seen them live twice before and as said many times on the show these guys are real, and they know how to deliver pure blues that rocks, and so it was.
Gin Wigmore - Album Review: Blood To Bone
13 Aug 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
There is a lot of character in the 10 tracks in this new album, and while it’s unmistakably "Gin Wigmore", it has a fresh modern electronic sound that is delivered with a raw and earthy feel, achieved by its mix of techno sound, powered by a driving tribal rhythm. Like in the opening track New Rush with its deliberate distortion on the drum beats giving it a uniquely gritty and vibrant feel.
The AJ Crawshaw Band - EP Review: Phoenix Burning
12 Aug 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
I have just had the pleasure of listening to a 5 Track EP with real music packed with positive themes that just flow with acoustic beauty. Mr Crawshaw's has crafted a modern folk sound with real feeling and his singing is just beautiful, the vocals are crisp and expressive, and the feelings he exposes comes through as very tender and emotive.
The Phoenix Foundation - Album Review: Give Up Your Dreams
03 Aug 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
From the rather theatrical opening burst of sound you know you’re about to experience something quite dramatic in The Phoenix Foundation’s sixth studio album Give Up Your Dreams. With 10 tracks that offer something to really sink your ears into, with soft techno rhythms and soaring melodies that really take flight.
Avalanche City - Album Review: We Are For The Wild Places
16 Jul 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
A crystal clean acoustic sound that should lift anyone’s spirits is what your ears will be exposed to in this sophomore album by Avalanche City. The creation of Mr Dave Baxter, he has perfected a very radio friendly mainstream sound, the songs have slow and steady beats that flow nicely and provide a very pleasant foundation for his fine tuneful singing.
Jupiter Project - EP Review: #Get It Boyz
15 Jul 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
#Get It Boyz is a sparkling EP, with a contemporary and engaging Hip-Hop sound, it’s very tuneful and full of smooth grooves that get your head nodding and body swerving. With the tightest of wraps that are fast and succinct, and although they are generally tough sounding they are littered with lighter moments and insightful commentaries on the world we live in.
Dudley Benson - EP Review: Muscles
13 Jul 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
Music in its many forms can conjure many feelings and atmospheres, it can induce a subconscious desire or dream, and be a welcome escape from reality, well I can tell you I found listening to Dudley Benson's Muscles EP a dreamy trip indeed, he has created a tantalising and atmospheric sound that draws you in and opens your ears and your mind. It’s quite tantric and surreal, a journey that is pleasant and enquiring.
Wellington Sea Shanty Society - Album review: Now That Is What I Call Sea Shanties Vol. 02
09 Jul 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
A refreshingly traditional collection of sea faring tunes have set sail and once on board you will be smiling and swaying with its fine sound and rollicking rhythms. This is music that will warm the soul and lift your spirits with its fun and frivolity, but it’s no novelty music, oh no it's real music with strong worldly arrangements and a rich form of melodic storytelling, which the Wellington Sea Shanty Society have achieved so very well with this album.
Elliot Brown - Album Review: Jingles 4
02 Jul 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
Smooth and stylish music abounds in this cutely titled Jingles 4 album, 10 songs with high quality modern folk arrangements that are accompanied by slick vocal harmonies and melodies that have a very charming quality. Elliot Brown tells stories of life and wonder in a comical but cool way, narrating real world hopes and experiences with an audible and tuneful voice that is engaging and wholesome.
Tapri - Album Review: Good Mama
25 Jun 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
Good Mama is loaded with classic rock blues numbers that showcases wonderfully the very expressive vocals of singer songwriter Tapri, she has a very distinctive raspy voice that’s full of earthy character, and she has perfected a great high pitch squeal which she dutifully uses to help accentuate the end of most phrases. She has a Kim Carnes sound that’s delivered with a Bjork dynamism.
Jamie McDell - Gig Review: Jamie McDell @ The Crystal Palace, Auckland 16/5/15
29 May 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
The resplendent Crystal Palace in down town Mt Eden was the venue for the wonderfully talented Jaime McDell, performing the penultimate gig of the nationwide Ask Me Anything tour. The classic old theatre was full of happy young fans and their mums with a few dads too, would this be a night where the parents would have to grin and bear it for their children?
Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Album Review: Multi-Love
28 May 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
If you’re ready for something a little different then Multi Love is ready for you, Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s latest collection of dazzling tunes just oozes style, with nine tracks filled with smooth sophisticated grooves and funky rhythms. The synth laden orchestral arrangements are quirky and curious, with synthetic sound effects mixed with traditional brass elements that keep you very interested.
Six60 - Gig Review: Six60 @ Vector Arena, Auckland 23/5/15
25 May 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
A sold out Vector Arena was brimming with the fit and feisty young people of Auckland and although very few were sober or in the case of the young ladies adequately dressed they were happy and very amped to see, hear, dance and sing along to their adopted brothers from Dunedin. From the first to the last song the crowd were singing and swaying in joyous union, the audience were so appreciative of every song and they showed it with healthy applause and loud hoots and howls.
Carb On Carb - Album Review: Carb on Carb
22 May 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
If you deserve a good pop punk thrashing then Carb on Carb will be the best to administer it with their debut self-titled collection of upbeat emo punk rock. The two piece boy/girl team of James Stuteley and Nicole Gaffney deliver quite a positive style of emo punk where the energy and character of their vocals over the fast and practically funky rhythms really keep your blood flowing.
Trinity Roots - Album Review: Citizen
20 May 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
Citizen is a formidable collection of Waiata/Songs that encompasses an amazingly broad range of styles and influences from old and new, it somehow manages to cross cultures and genres without sounding contorted, and thus delivers a compelling presentation of sound that marks new territory for the three piece band from Wellington.Wow where do I start, it’s so broad and colourful, there is surprising classical guitar and jazz piano, also there is piano accordion, saxophones, flutes, funky keyboard sounds and effects, all providing a wide pallet of experiences.
Cian Lynch - EP Review: Away From Here
15 May 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
A sweet little EP containing 4 uplifting folk songs, with lovely guitar picking, and interesting vocal arrangements, highlighted with subtle harmonies and steady walking rhythm. Irish singer songwriter Cian Lynch has a warm almost spoken vocal sound reminiscent to Nick Cave and/or Peter Garrett, delivering his songs with a mix of subdued authority and dry wit, he sounds a bit raw yet polished at the same.
Amos/Anon - Album Review: Anomy
15 May 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
A quite untraditional creation is this Anomy album, best described as an expressive and dark “sound art”, the fluid melodious music has a slow and steady rhythm, with coarse demon vocals. The images and feelings it invokes leave you in no doubt you’re in for a trip, and whether you like it or not you’re going to escape to a place that is dark and gothic.
God Bows To Math - Gig Review: God Bows to Math @ Lucha Lounge Auckland 18/4/15
07 May 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
Newmarket’s Lucha Lounge may have a small stage but it made some big noise when God Bows to Math ripped into recreating their new albumBrighter Futures, with a live and loud performance that left the crowd with just enough breath to yell for more! Martin Phillips looked slightly uncomfortable, stooping over slightly to reach his mic, but it didn’t seem to hinder his ability to play his guitar or provide enthusiastic vocals through the set.
Hannah in the Wars - Gig Review: Hannah and The Wars @ The Wine Cellar, Auckland 18/4/15
30 Apr 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
A well attired and intelligent looking group settled into the cosy chairs and couches at Auckland’s intimate Wine Cellar to hear the 1st NZ performance of Kiwi girl Hannah Curwood's latest release Hannah and the Wars. Recently I had listened and positively reviewed the album and was now eager to hear her performing live, and here she was armed only with a guitar and a microphone, and so unaided by an band she was laid bare to the audience and we to the influence of her music.
Hannah in the Wars - Album Review: Hannah in the Wars
24 Apr 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
A guitar strums its sparkly harmonic tones to an earnest marching rhythm, and then she sings, and what a voice, very pure and expressive, were talking about Singer Songwriter Hannah Curwood from Central Otago and the opening track, Burning Through the Night from her latest project Hannah and The Wars. The repeated refrains of the chorus grow on you as you can hear and feel her breathing and strength intensify with each heartfelt recurrence, and thus from this introduction you know you’re in for a treat.
God Bows To Math - Album Review: Brighter Futures
22 Apr 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
God Bows to Math have produced an album that’s delivers hard rock that doesn’t follow any standard rock pop song formula, oh no we are talking a very hard edge 3 piece rock, full of relentless energy and raw power. Think of Queens of the Stone Age meets Pantera!
Jamie McDell - Album Review: Ask Me Anything
15 Apr 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
Jamie McDell's sophomore release Ask Me Anything is a wonderfully rhythmic and melodious album, each tuneful track has a very warm melody with strong uplifting choruses and beautiful harmonies. The hit pop tune Dumb makes me want to be a teenager again, a well-crafted pop song with a very engaging tune, filled with the attractive and fun tones of Jamie's sweet singing.
Anika Moa - Album Review: Queen At The Table
14 Apr 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
A fresh new collection of smooth and stylish tunes awaits you in the form of Anika Moa’s new album, Queen At The Table. The PR people say she has returned her attention back to her never departing fan base, and I can faithfully say yes she has done that and more, she could have followed a tried and tested pop song formula, but thankfully you can hear a mature artistic creativity at work here.
Ophelia - EP Review: Invisible
27 Mar 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
It only takes one listen to hear that Ophelia’s second EP invisible has a very artistic influence, the stylistic collection of dub/electro pop tunes have a lush orchestral flair, and are well furnished with mellow and moody atmospheres. The song writing team of Patrick Shanahan and Alex Louise have created a persuasive set of tunes, where the instrumentation is a mix of organic and synthetic precision that delivers a perfect platform for a wonderful Lorde meets Adele sounding lead vocal from Alex Louise.
Flirting With Disaster - Album Review: Live It Up
06 Mar 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
I put the new Flirting with Disaster album on in the car and turned it up, and BOOM from the opening track, Live It Up, I was struck but the super pumped pop punk rock groove. Sounding very much like Blink 182, but better, as it's more raw and real.
Gig Review: Music Is Dead @ The Kings Arms, Auckland 13/02/2015
26 Feb 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
On a warm summer evening the Kings Arms was the place to be for a prodigious night of metal mayhem, organised by the super dedicated Seb Mackay and his company Music is Dead. With six bands on the bill I knew I was in for big night, and what I night it was.
Jimmy Bonar - Album Review: Working Class
20 Feb 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
Working Class is a very polished and clean soft rock album, clearly a work crafted over time and perfected with much care in a recording studio, as the lush sound and clarity of the recordings are of high quality and consistent throughout. Jimmy is clearly influenced by The Beatles and has recreated their sound with a little help of a slight English accent on the vocals, to the point where Jimmy's voice sounds like of a mix of John Lennon and Noel Gallagher.
Running Stitch - EP Review: It's On
13 Feb 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
This little EP offers 4 tracks of original material which is the creation of the creative exploits of singer songwriter Aletta Ashdown. The first 3 tracks are delivered in alternative rock folk style with a grinding rhythmic distorted guitar, providing a grungy edge to Aletta’s clean vocals.
Late 80s Mercedes - Album Review: Diamonds
10 Feb 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
From the opening track Dangerous which sounds very much like a theme from a 70’s TV cop show, you know you’re in for a ride, a ride that will make you smile and dance like you just don’t care. Diamonds is a wonderfully upbeat album full of the most joyful swinging funk songs you could ever hope for.
Gig Review: Music is Dead @ The Kings Arms, Auckland 15/01/2015
23 Jan 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
The resplendent Kings Arms hosted the Music is Dead rock festival, a two night event with $4 of every ticket going to charity. A good crowd for a Thursday night filed in to take in the first show with four hot rock bands on the bill.
Shihad - Gig Review: Shihad, The Datsuns, I Am Giant & Cairo Knife Fight @ Matakana Country Park 3/1/2015
16 Jan 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
On a sparkling day a faithful rock crowd flowed into the picturesque Matakana Country Park and they were ready to rock, the sun was shining and the air was clear, perfect for an outdoor rock event and so at 5.45pm it was a delight to hear the silence broken by a guitar throbbing its distorted beauty - I think it was a just a little sound check but it got our attention, and thus began our very cool warm up as manifested by Cairo Knife Fight.
Nathan Haines - Album Review: 5 A Day
14 Jan 2015 // review by Andrew Smit
Nathan Haines' name is on the album but if you have enjoyed previous Nathan Haines recordings you may feel you’ve been given the wrong album! 5 A Day has a striking new contemporary R&B style, where the B stands for beats, not blues, although behind the modern groove lies a smooth blues and funk feel.
Miho Wada - Album Review: Miho's Jazz Orchestra - Live at The Lab
23 Dec 2014 // review by Andrew Smit
This CD and DVD set is packed with the coolest jazz and funk instrumental tracks one could hope for, 13 upbeat songs to enjoy and appreciate, as they were all performed live in one take! Miho Wada is a Japanese born New Zealander who has formed a great little Jazz Orchestra and together they produce the most delightful music, Miho’s flute sounds so sweet and full, it creates a warm kind of 60’s hippy vibe, she also showcases her exceptional saxophone playing and throughout we are taken on a wonderful musical journey.
SOL3 MIO - Gig Review: Christmas in the Vines @ Villa Maria Winery 21/12/14
23 Dec 2014 // review by Andrew Smit
It’s safe to say a good percentage of the 7000 odd crowd that had gathered to see Sol3 Mio were not opera buffs but were more mainstream “converts” who had seen and heard a lot of the positive publicity on NZ television and were curious and excited at the prospect of checking them out live. Would the experience meet the heightened expectations?
Drax Project - EP Review: Drax Project self-titled EP
22 Dec 2014 // review by Andrew Smit
Drax Project, a 4 piece Hip-Hop/Alternative band from Wellington have produced a superb debut EP with 4 tracks full of groovy beats, loaded with superb vocals from Shaan Singh, whose voice is amazingly smooth yet soulful and full of melodic strength, to the point where its sounds like another instrument, thanks to the occasional addition of some good symphonic sound effects! The not so obvious jazz influences are evident in sections, they appear and reappear around other funk and disco beat elements.
Eyreton Hall - Album Review: Featherstitch
19 Dec 2014 // review by Andrew Smit
Featherstitch is a meticulously crafted debut album with a broad range of musical styles, there is some Country, a little Dixieland, and Gospel too, but the album as a whole is best encapsulated in a single word: “Beautiful”, the whole album is full of beautiful music that is so pleasing to the ears. From the opening track Bellbird with its cool country rhythm and its upbeat message of redemption, you are struck by the serene sound of Toni Randle’s exquisite vocals.
Luger Boa - Gig Review: Luger Boa @ The Kings Arms, Auckland 12/12/14
17 Dec 2014 // review by Andrew Smit
An evening of rock entertainment was supplied in spades by three bands on a cool Auckland night at the ole faithful Kings Arms! I was keen to experience Luger Boa live, I had heard some of their material played on the radio over the last year or two and made a note to one day check them out, the fact that they are now breaking up made it more intriguing.
Poison Skies - Gig Review: Poison Skies @ Paddington, Auckland 5/11/14
12 Dec 2014 // review by Andrew Smit
On a clear Friday night an impressive and good looking crowd gathered for the Video Release Party for Poison Skies' hot new single Victim of Reality. The venue was Parnell's the Paddington and what a cool venue it is with a large temporary stage set up in the main room and great vantage points throughout the bar.
Temples on Mars - Gig Review: Agent @ Kings Arms, Auckland 27/11/14
09 Dec 2014 // review by Andrew Smit
A respectable group of faithful rock devotees assembled at the Kings Arms in Auckland to experience the London based but NZ born Agent perform in NZ for the first time in 6 years. We were treated to an awesome show, Agent were sounding great, full of power and drive, with lead vocalist James Donaldson in fine form, looking and sounding fit and strong - the whole ensemble rocked and drove in determined style.
Poison Skies - Single Review: Victim of Reality
05 Dec 2014 // review by Andrew Smit
Kicking off with a searing hot lead guitar riff which instantly grabs your attention, more guitars then rip in with the drums and bass, leaving you in no doubt that you're about to be delivered to heavy guitar rock heaven, courtesy of Poison Skies! Nick Wilkinson’s vocals are clean and powerful, you can hear the air going in his lungs and returning with cool reverberations attached, the whole song is loaded with great tuneful backing vocals and harmonies that add colour and character.
Gig Review: Up Your Alley Festival @ Ding Dong Lounge, Auckland 20/11/2014
04 Dec 2014 // review by Andrew Smit
There may have been thousands of cheering so called music lovers at the Vodafone NZ Music Awards, but I was with 20 odd faithful rock lovers at the Ding Dong Lounge, where we experienced an expose of good hard progressive rock from four young bands at the Up Your Alley Festival. The line-up of acts delivered well the promise of hard-core rock, it was like a relentless battle of distorted guitars and frenetic drumming with respite provided only by band changeovers and fire alarms evacuations.
Jason McIver Collective - Gig Review: The Jason McIver Collective @ The Wine Cellar, Auckland 26/11/2014
04 Dec 2014 // review by Andrew Smit
After numerous listens to the debut EP The Big Blue I eagerly anticipated the first live performance of The Jason McIver Collective at Auckland's Wine Cellar. I was confident I was in for a treat as the effort and passion that had gone into making the EP and then performing it live was evident through Jason's many Facebook posts.
CuzzyLogic - Ninja Manuvas Album Review
25 Nov 2014 // review by Andrew Smit
Well the name is different and the music is different too, a good different, Ninja Manuvas is an interesting eclectic acoustic folk ensemble of tunes. If this kind of music doesn’t tweak your interest nothing will, it’s a unique kind of folk “world music” with peculiar rhythms and melodies.
Madam Tsunami - Man In The Middle Album Review
11 Nov 2014 // review by Andrew Smit
A unique unplugged collection of tunes, which are refreshingly up-tempo, full of character and feeling, presented not in your normal laid back light acoustic mode, but played with a harder edge. It’s not dominated by placid acoustic guitar and vocals, there are drums that are clearly heard, full of rocking fills and driving beats delivered very adeptly by drummer Jonathan Wilson.
Scott J Mason - Animal Guilt EP Review
24 Oct 2014 // review by Andrew Smit
Without delving into the meaning and inspiration behind the songs one would potentially say how pleasant and serene this EP sounds. Each song is well structured with beautiful folk arrangements that are full of feeling and prose.
Clap Clap Riot - Clap Clap Riot with Buzz Moller and Fazerdaze @ Kings Arms, Auckland - 18/10/2014
22 Oct 2014 // review by Andrew Smit
The good boys of Clap Clap Riot delivered a show with a startling prodigious beat full of power and drive, I cannot overstate how stimulating the effect the incredible beat that these guys created had on the audience. Clap Clap Riot are a very dynamic ensemble that knows how to play together, sometimes there was three guitars and bass going at it and it never sounded overdone or out of sync.
Benny Tipene - Bricks Album Review
17 Oct 2014 // review by Andrew Smit
Bricks has a wonderfully modern folk acoustic sound with meaningful songs bursting with Benny’s soulful expressive vocals and loaded with unique funky rhythms, and crafty guitar accompaniment. There are passionate highs and soulful lows with sweet harmonies and expressive pieces.
Meridian Vibe - Meridian Vibe @ Whammy Bar, Auckland 11/10/14
17 Oct 2014 // review by Andrew Smit
October 11, Saturday night, 9pm, my mission to review a young band called Meridian Vibe, I listened to their newly recorded single which sounded cool and rocked hard, and so armed only with that knowledge, a date, a time and a venue to find I ventured out to Karangahape Road in uptown Auckland. If you don’t know of it, you wouldn’t find it, but off K’Road in St Kevin’s Arcade through a understated door and down a forgotten scrappy stairwell, then through a dark tunnel devised to let your retina’s adjust to the dark there is the cavernous venue known as The Whammy Bar.
Sola Rosa - Magnetics Album Review
14 Oct 2014 // review by Andrew Smit
Andrew Spraggon and the Sola Rosa team have compiled a fabulous soulful collection of tracks full of groove and sensuous singing from a superb array of “featured” vocalists. There are no less than 9 listed singers, with only Kevin Mark Trail listed as the album/bands vocalist.
Villainy - Gig Review: Villainy @ the Kings Arms, Auckland - 3/10/2014
07 Oct 2014 // review by Andrew Smit
The 'Full House' sign was up and an appreciative crowd filled the Kings Arms to see the hometown return of Villainy. First up was the unanimous winner of Villainy's 'search for a support band' Brendon Thomas and the Vibes, this eager young trio have been captivating the smaller stages of Auckland and gaining attention for their expressive blues, funk and rock.
Full Code - Telescapes Album Review
15 Sep 2014 // review by Andrew Smit
This album will blow your mind, a rock symphony that conjures up emotions and atmospheres that were once only in the jurisdictions of Pink Floyd. A bold introduction to some astounding Kiwi talent!
Phil Judd - Play It Strange Album Review
02 Sep 2014 // review by Andrew Smit
Play It Strange is a mind meld of funky pop folk tunes, its what a love child conceived by the pairing of The Beatles and Split Enz would sound like! It’s The Sgt Pepper’s album with amplified eccentric Phil Judd's “Enz” style bohemian theatrics.
Mi-Sex - Mi-Sex & Eddie Rayner Project @ The Studio, Auckland 28/8/14
29 Aug 2014 // review by Andrew Smit
A grand crowd turned out to see some prestige Kiwi Rock talent in the form of the Eddie Rayner Project and Mi-Sex, in the perfectly sized chamber of The Studio on K’ Rd. Mr Eddie Rayner kicked off with a wonderful prelude piano concerto which lead brazenly into Give It A Whirl which brought everyone to attention and in no doubt that they were in for a major treat.
Roulettes - The Roulettes Self Titled Album Review
27 Aug 2014 // review by Andrew Smit
Here is real independent music worth shouting about, yes Ladies and Gentlemen self-funded and produced The Roulettes have crafted a standout debut album. The Roulettes are a 3 piece indie rock set up, with vivid guitar work and cool singing from front man Justin McLean backed by a sublime rhythm section from Drummer Mark Queenin and Bassist Ben Grant.
Kimbra - The Golden Echo Album Review
25 Aug 2014 // review by Andrew Smit
I have been listening, not watching video’s or reading interviews, just listening, and enjoying very much Kimbra's new album The Golden Echo, it's a broad aural explosion, so bear with me as I rundown my impressions of each track. Track 1.
Jason McIver Collective - Look To The Stars Single Review
21 Aug 2014 // review by Andrew Smit
Opening with a pleasant strumming of guitar and percussion we are introduced to Jason McIver’s new single Look To The Stars, a sincere track with a great folk rhythm. Jason has created a tuneful track with an elegant vocal performance that sounds so right.
Tahuna Breaks - Hold You Single Review
19 Aug 2014 // review by Andrew Smit
When you feel the groove of the new Tahuna Breaks song Hold You you better be ready to groove to its upbeat boogie jive! With its catchy chorus and funky disco beat you’re sure to bop to its rhythm and crave a clap n’ slide on the dance floor with your besties.
Jeremy Redmore - Clouds Are Alive Album Review
11 Aug 2014 // review by Andrew Smit
Clouds Are Alive is the excellent debut solo album by Jeremy Redmore, the acclaimed frontman of Midnight Youth. Jeremy has produced a wonderful collection of songs that sound so sweet and soulful, the whole album is easy on the ears and charming in a youthful way, any song would seamlessly slot onto any popular radio playlist around the world.
Golden Curtain - Dream City Album Review
08 Aug 2014 // review by Andrew Smit
Golden Curtain’s latest album release Dream City is a honest independent rock album with 10 songs that engage with real world themes and unpretentious song structures. The sound throughout stays true to its 3 piece Drums/Bass/Guitar structure, it’s atmospheric and moody, no doubt due to Andrew McKenzie’s 12 string guitar which creates an aural space and a floating psychedelic feel.

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