27 Oct 2020
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Articles By Mike Alexander

Raw Collective - Single Review: Good Things (All We Need)
22 Oct 2020 // review by Mike Alexander
Feel-good grooves are part of Raw Collective’s DNA. The Wellington-based 10-piece have been sowing sunflower seeds of optimism and cheerfulness for many a year now and it seems the well of goodness never dries.
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Naircol - Album Review: Isolate
16 Oct 2020 // review by Mike Alexander
Naircol is Tauranga-based synthesiser whizz Matt Hennessey. I like that it is an anagram of clarion because this is quite the impressive calling card.
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Bartells - EP Review: Let's Go
08 Oct 2020 // review by Mike Alexander
Sam Bartells has a way with words. In an interview with Darryl Baser from Muzic.
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Stretch - Album Review: Our Dreams Are Changing
30 Sep 2020 // review by Mike Alexander
Anthony Stretch’s debut album Bury All Horses was one of the most poignant, lyrically honest and captivating albums of 2017. It was a 'dark horse', so to speak, forged in loss and loneliness, and at times a sense of anguish as he contemplated the direction of his life beyond the clouds that seemed as if they would never lift.
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Mini Simmons - Single Review: Silver Cigarette Case
30 Sep 2020 // review by Mike Alexander
A defining moment for Mini Simmons occurred almost a year ago to the day when they performed a version of Benee’s Soaked at the 2019 Silver Scroll Awards. The New Zealand charting No 1 single made the cut when the 20 finalists were whittled down to five and, as has become tradition, it was covered by another artist on the night.
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Social Shun - Album Review: 7/10 of A Fridge
29 Sep 2020 // review by Mike Alexander
It’s always eye-opening when you come across an artist for the first time and discover that they already have a body of work that’s never been on your radar. Such is the case with Waikato-based sound explorer and experimentalist Jason Longhurst aka Social Shun, who has released a steady stream of albums – five in all – since The Garden of Sweden in 2014.
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Ravenhall - Single Review: Wild Hearts
23 Sep 2020 // review by Mike Alexander
It’s slightly surprising that Ravenhall have been so exacting of their own standards, dating back to the release of their 2015 debut single Everything To Me, given that vocalist Chris Brebner and guitarist Joe Ravenhall are seasoned musicians, who had already shown they’ve got what it takes. Wild Hearts is a classic, edgy, muscular rock song – that’s about seven singles on the trot now – that’s ripped in all the right places.
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Arli Liberman - Soundtrack Review: Savage
17 Sep 2020 // review by Mike Alexander
Arli Liberman is a natural fit for a movie score. As anyone who has listened to his three solo albums - Arli Liberman, Fata Morgana and Allegra will have noted, the Israel-born guitarist has a flair for visceral, beautifully textured and other-worldly soundscapes.
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Empasse - EP Review: Ultraviolet
13 Sep 2020 // review by Mike Alexander
Ultraviolet has history – literally. As its composer Nick Johnston explains in the press release accompanying the EP, his first under the moniker Empasse , it is a “soundtrack to a story that is not well known in New Zealand outside the Waikato region where I live.
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Kate Owen - Interview with Kate Owen
04 Sep 2020 // interview by Mike Alexander
It’s been said that extra-ordinary people are simply ordinary people who put the extra into whatever they do. Kate Owen certainly fits that description.
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Lou'ana - Single Review: Feel This
01 Sep 2020 // review by Mike Alexander
It’s no surprise that Lou’ana has been nominated in three categories at the Pacific Music Awards. What would surprise is if she didn’t scoop up the two main ones – Best Soul/RnB artist and Best Female Artist.
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Echo Children - Single Review: Our Parents Fixed It All
01 Sep 2020 // review by Mike Alexander
With the beguiling This Was Our Fault EP and the bitter-sweetness of Flowers still lingering, Echo Children are proving as alluring as they are elusive to define on their latest single, Our Parents Fixed It All. That might be because of the melting pot of nationalities – Amanda Larsson (Sweden), Niamh O'Flynn (Canada) and Oliver Young (Scotland) – that gives them such a sense of other-worldiness, beautifully infused in songs that sparkle like rare pop gems tinged with the earthiness of country and folk.
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Torn Chorus - Single Review: Letting Go
27 Aug 2020 // review by Mike Alexander
Franklin Davis doesn’t have a pure voice. It’s on the slightly brittle side of melodious, more the kind that would blend in well with others.
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Riqi Harawira - Single Review: Suffering
25 Aug 2020 // review by Mike Alexander
Riqi Harawira has made his calling an open book that has dealt with his personal experience of addiction and mental health challenges. His latest single Suffering, is his most powerful statement yet, precisely and eloquently encapsulating aspects of the recovery journey.
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Alae - Interview with Alae
22 Aug 2020 // interview by Mike Alexander
With a Taite Music Prize nomination for their 2016 self-titled debut EP and a Spotify streaming record for their single Too Strung Up, Alae have been turning heads from the get-go. Alex Farrell-Davey and Allister Meffan met in high school, crafted a unique indie folk style as a duo and then fleshed out the band with the addition of bass player Marika Hodgson and drummer Jayden Lee.
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Lee Martin - Single/Video Review: Falling Down
20 Aug 2020 // review by Mike Alexander
Now is the time Lee Martin was due to take a trip to the US.Covid has scuttled those plans and, instead, she’s released the stunning single Falling Down (and 360-degree music video) from her Lost Girl EP, which came out last year.
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Maciek Hrybowicz - Single Review: Mr Ponsonby
17 Aug 2020 // review by Mike Alexander
As far as introductions go, Poland-born composer and guitarist Maciek Hrybowicz has left quite the impression with this calling card. Mr Ponsonby is taken from his 2019 album AWA, a collection of pieces inspired by the beauty of his adopted home land New Zealand.
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Chris Bates - Single Review: Find A Way Feat. Jarna
15 Aug 2020 // review by Mike Alexander
Big ups to the multi-genre production team of EDY for this inventive, crisp and clear production take on contemporary RnB. They’ve already hit the sweet spot with rising star and recent university graduate Chris Bates, with Say The Word and have done it again on his latest single Find A Way, featuring Jarna.
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NEEKOH - Single Review: Falling
15 Aug 2020 // review by Mike Alexander
It’s a delightful rarity to have a Finnish pop idol move to New Zealand and re-boot what was once a burgeoning career in his home land. That’s the back story of NEEKOH, a Finland Pop Idol finalist in 2014, and Falling, his second New Zealand single from the soon to be released EP Dark Light.
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Jeramiah Ross - Album Review: Infinity Forever Part 1 – Time (The Studio Sessions)
12 Aug 2020 // review by Mike Alexander
For a time, it appeared Jeramiah Ross might have put Module into permanent hibernation after the release of his last official album Imagineering in 2013. The arrival of the first instalment in the Infinity Forever trilogy puts paid to that theory in no uncertain terms.
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Antipodeans - Single Review: Lights Out
09 Aug 2020 // review by Mike Alexander
In the not so distant past, a Kiwi – Sam Shirley - and a mate from across the ditch – Paul Hutton - teamed up to form Antipodeans and were last heard of signing off in Singapore. At first, I thought they had finally resurfaced but it turns out these Antipodeans, are both Kiwis – Dave Hodgson and Guy McIndoe - who played together in Palmerston North’s infamous Noddy On The Cross (props to the brashly delightful [email protected] Off Rugbyhead), but now live on either side of the world.
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Gareth Thomas - Single Review: My Dog
09 Aug 2020 // review by Mike Alexander
Gareth Thomas has always had a knack with words and a persuasive way of weaving them into appealingly off-kilter pop songs. Think back to the days of Goodshirt and the delicately spun and woozy Sophie, and Fazerdaze's churning guitar epic Misread or the gentle rush of The Google Song from his 2010 debut solo album Lady Alien.
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PRINS - Interview with PRINS
05 Aug 2020 // interview by Mike Alexander
You might have seen Alannah Prins in the cheer-leading squad for the Crusaders or you might have heard her delightful dance pop gem Notion, released under her stage name PRINS. One thing for sure is that with the release of her five track EP Magnetic and an upcoming tour you are going to see and hear a lot more about her.
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PRINS - EP Review: Magnetic
03 Aug 2020 // review by Mike Alexander
If 2019 was the year when BENEE ruled the New Zealand pop charts, then 2020 could well be the year of another emerging talent, PRINS. It’s would be a bit cute to add an -ess, as in PRINC-ess, but, nevertheless, the Christchurch based singer and songwriter has the style and substance to wear the mantle of dance pop princess and wear it well.
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Ben Hazlewood - Interview with Ben Hazlewood
28 Jul 2020 // interview by Mike Alexander
Ben Hazlewood is yet another Kiwi who counts Australia as his home. The Wellington-bred songwriter, a former winner of MTV’s The Freshman music video competition, has performed at New York and London Fashion weeks, has been nominated for an LGBTI Music Award in Australia and, despite the disruptions of Covid 19 still managed to recently release his debut album Bloodline.
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Ben Hazlewood - Album Review: Bloodline
27 Jul 2020 // review by Mike Alexander
Ben Hazlewood is a songwriter for those big moments that we all encounter when we fall in and out of love. For all the potential for joy, intimacy, belonging and fulfilment, when things fall apart there’s also the potential for deception, heartbreak, bewilderment and sadness.
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Infinity - Album Review: Icy Blue Planet
16 Jul 2020 // review by Mike Alexander
Infinity suggests the probability of all possibilities and the possibility of all probabilities. It's an apt name for this Hawke's Bay duo - multi instrumentalist Pateriki Hura and drummer Cameron Budge - who have now shown on two albums that their musical sweep is broad and astonishingly expansive for a duo.
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Gramsci - Interview with Paul McLaney
06 Jul 2020 // interview by Mike Alexander
Paul McLaney is one of New Zealand's most prolific artists. As a case in point, last year he released a new The Impending Adorations album, a collaboration with Jakob guitarist Jeff Boyle and a single with his "live" band Her Own Medicine.
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Gramsci - Album Review: Inheritance
06 Jul 2020 // review by Mike Alexander
Paul McLaney has, metaphorically speaking, found his voice again. After a series of largely conceptual electronic albums as The Impending Adorations, he has rebooted Gramsci, the songwriting alias that has lain dormant since the release of Like Stray Voltage in 2005.
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Compilation Review: Home Alone: Winter 2020
02 Jul 2020 // review by Mike Alexander
Wellington boutique label Home Alone has developed an exceptional roster of artists since it announced itself to the world in 2006. And while the creative backbone of the label has always been the triumvirate of Timothy Blackman, who actually launched the label in Dunedin with his debut EP, Lake South and French For Rabbits' Brooke Singer, it has expanded its repertoire and reach with such as internationalists Helena Massey and Shenondoah Davis.
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Sunny Ray - Album Review: Sentient Compass
16 Jun 2020 // review by Mike Alexander
The transformation in Sunny Ray has always seemed inevitable since she made her debut in 2010 with the delightfully visionary EP Mindlessness. Here was a voice that spoke to us of the journey of the soul and the process of its awakening.
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Ignatia : Rising - Single Review: You Found Me Too
03 Jun 2020 // review by Mike Alexander
The retooled Ignatia : Rising continue to surprise with their latest release - a quiet stunner, which is perhaps a reflection of these times when we have all been forced to look deep within ourselves. After three singles that made it almost impossible to pigeon-hole their style or swagger, You Found Me Too is an acoustic ballad "an ode to unconditional love".
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Levi Patel - Album Review: A Shifting Lightness
19 Mar 2020 // review by Mike Alexander
There is a place within all of us where our darkness gives way to the light and our sorrows become our rejoicing. It is elusive but wearies not as we journey through life with all of its disappointments.
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Jackie Bristow - Single Review: Blue Moon Rising
11 Feb 2020 // review by Mike Alexander
For those who have followed the career of Stateside-based, but born and bred in New Zealand, songwriter Jackie Bristow there's an unintentional (as far as I am aware) poignancy about the release of her latest single Blue Moon Rising. It signals a slight wind shift, a change in musical direction, bought about by the musical influences she's been surrounded by since moving from Austin, Texas, to Nashville, Tennessee, in 2017.
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Tom Ludvigson and Trevor Reekie - Album Review: Roto
20 Jan 2020 // review by Mike Alexander
Technology without artifice is a rarity in music nowadays – any 'nerd' with an understanding of the various software programmes available for composing music can create something out of nothing without being compelled by an inner muse. Roto, by Tom Ludvigson and Trevor Reekie, is an exception to such mundaneness.
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Tattletale Saints - Album Review: Under The Dogwoods
20 Jan 2020 // review by Mike Alexander
There has always been a simple charm to Tattletale Saints ever since they announced themselves with the release of their debut album How Red Is The Blood in 2013. That album deservedly took out a Tui for best Folk Album at the New Zealand Music Awards the following year and while the duo of Cy Winstanley and Vanessa McGowan no longer call New Zealand home – they are based in Nashville, Tennessee – their OE has certainly broadened their musical horizons and palette.
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Monty Willers - Interview with Monty Willers
30 Dec 2019 // interview by Mike Alexander
You read it here first – Monty Willers is going to be huge in 2020 and, possibly beyond. He already has 600 plus dedicated listeners on Spotify with his most memorable song Paradox surpassing 50,000 streams.
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PolarisRadio - Interview with PolarisRadio
29 Dec 2019 // interview by Mike Alexander
PolarisRadio has been transmitting music for the past five years under various guises. The man behind the moniker is Dean Moroney, from Napier in the Hawke’s Bay and his speciality is synthwave.
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Your Indigo - EP Review: Your Indigo
17 Dec 2019 // review by Mike Alexander
What a great surprise and start to a new decade. Your Indigo has all the makings of a 'super group' with three very distinctive talents in their own right – 'electric' electro producer Joshua Holmes and songwriting maidens (they do bear bouquets  in their hair on the video to Glass Cloud),  Amiria Grenell (Autumn and Three Feathers) and Bryony Matthews (Little Queen).
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Devils Elbow - EP Review: ID
16 Dec 2019 // review by Mike Alexander
Hawke’s Bay alternative rock band Devils Elbow have been turning heads since their debut single KO in 2010. There’s been a few line-up changes since then and it’s been a five-year wait since their last EP, Golden Flame, but vocalist and guitarist Alec Withers has always had the kind of charisma and stage presence that was never going to remain a state secret for long.
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Miriam Clancy - Interview with Miriam Clancy
08 Dec 2019 // interview by Mike Alexander
Miriam Clancy arrived unannounced with two startling albums, Lucky One and Magnetic, which were greeted with critical acclaim. Then she 'disappeared' off the musical radar for almost a decade before returning home with a new album, Astronomy, and a welcome back home tour that placed her firmly back among the stars.
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Tattletale Saints - Interview with Tattletale Saints
07 Dec 2019 // interview by Mike Alexander
The award-winning duo Tattletale Saints, Cy Winstanley and Vanessa McGowan, will be performing at the Auckland Folk Festival in 2020. They won a Tui at the New Zealand Music Awards in 2014 for their debut album, and then departed these shores before settling up stateside in Nashville, one of the music capitals of the world.
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Peake - EP Review: Fearne
04 Dec 2019 // review by Mike Alexander
I have been a fan of Marigold Music ever since they released their first album, Traces’ Monuments To Souls in 2015. It came with little fanfare and their website reveals little about who is behind the label but, from what I can gather, it’s the "love child" of Chris Van de Geer, a two-time Tui winner with Stellar*,and Joost Langeveld, who some may recall was the bass player for Strawpeople, among other bands.
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Superturtle - Single Review: Wait For It
30 Nov 2019 // review by Mike Alexander
I couldn’t have put it better. In the video that accompanies the release of Wait For It from Darren McShane’s newly invigorated Superturtle, there’s a comment posted by ArapuniWizard: “Another good song from the Birkenhead hit factory!
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Ed Waaka - Single Review: Revolution
29 Nov 2019 // review by Mike Alexander
Ed Waaka might ruffle a few redneck feathers with the powerful video and tribute “to early generations of Maori who fought in the name of indigenous rights amid times of social and political conflict” that accompany his latest single Revolution. Old wounds can still fester and the inherited guilt and shame of guiltless generations still has an ugly underbelly in New Zealand.
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Lasair - Album Review: Lessons
26 Nov 2019 // review by Mike Alexander
Lasair is quite an unusual name so a quick Google search reveals some interesting options. Firstly, it’s old Irish for flame and then there are the various references to a laser diode aerosol particle counter.
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Jason McIver Collective - Single Review: Black Dogs & Babies
24 Nov 2019 // review by Mike Alexander
Black Dogs & Babies is the second single of 2019 from the Jason McIver Collective, and you shouldn't be fooled by the gentle Cat Stevens guitar intro. For one minute (or close enough to it) you may think you are listening to a lullaby for an adult that transports you into a reminiscing space, but then the drums crank up, a soaring guitar riff kicks in and the vocals soar, taking you to another level, especially with the lyric "sometimes I feel like something’s wrong with me, that’s just me".
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TOI - Interview with Tunes of I
23 Nov 2019 // interview by Mike Alexander
December is almost upon us and that means the season of summer music festivals, winery tours and new sounds for the backyard barbecue. An early contender for a party favourite is Get Up, the new single by Wellington dub rockers Tunes of I.
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Miloux - EP Review: Blonde (with Haz Beats)
21 Nov 2019 // review by Mike Alexander
Move over Ladi6, there’s a new urban soul voice in town. Miloux is the alter ego of Rebecca Melrose, a sassy still young thing (no sexism intended), who showed her skills on her 2016 EP, cunningly disguised as the amorphous EP1, and 2017’s equally non-descriptive EP2.
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Chris and the Kingsmen - Album Review: Regular Joe
19 Nov 2019 // review by Mike Alexander
It’s been a while coming but Chris Ward could well be New Zealand’s answer Jimmy Barnes – a genuine working class hero. His debut album is ostensibly a solo record but not without the blood, sweat and tears of the Kingsmen, a band of merry men including Chris Close, David Cloughley, Frankie Daly and Ben Crosson, who co-wrote three of the tracks, boosted by more merry men and women, Aaron Boot, Josh Saville, Ben Lill, producer TeMatera Smith and backing vocalists Jodi Wareing, Tumanako Timirau, Lucy Hiku and Lissel and Magau Stewart.
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Secret Knives - Interview with Secret Knives
14 Nov 2019 // interview by Mike Alexander
The year was 2010 and almost out of nowhere another of Wellington’s best kept bedroom secrets emerged from the rugby grassroots ruck of suburban Poneke, with Affection, a cutting edge pop album released under the guise of Secret Knives.And then its creator, Ash Smith disappeared down a rabbit hole only to emerge recently with the glorious pop symphony Snuff.
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Trepidations: Double Single Review: You Can Never Be Sure & Say Anything
12 Nov 2019 // review by Mike Alexander
It might be a mere perversity, but in typical punk fashion Trepidations have dispensed with the formalities of surnames and are just known as Will, Heath and Jared, at least on Bandcamp. Their Facebook page reveals otherwise – Will Saunders, Heath King and Jack Danger.
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Ryan Kershaw - Interview with Ryan Kershaw
10 Nov 2019 // interview by Mike Alexander
Ryan Kershaw has done unspeakable things to the guitar. He’s made it wail and scream.
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Album Review: SoundDome
08 Nov 2019 // review by Mike Alexander
The SoundDome in Wellington is an experimental sound space, fitted out with 25-speakers that act like the audio equivalent of the capital’s famed transmission gully. Compositions whir and reverberate within its structure adding unexpected resonance to what was originally intended.
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Secret Knives - Album Review: Snuff
05 Nov 2019 // review by Mike Alexander
The knives have been sharpened and the secret is out – Ash Smith hasn’t “snuffed” it.  He’s just spent the best part of a decade redefining himself as Secret Knives, the alias he uses to channel his creative muse,  and refining the follow-up to 2010’s low fi pop high-flier Affection.
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The Impending Adorations - Album Review: Alliances 1: A Handful Of Dust
26 Oct 2019 // review by Mike Alexander
Just a month after delivering the latest The Impending Adorations album, Allies, Paul McLaney announced, via Facebook, “a big day in music” with the release of the single Loose Ends by Her Own Medicine, a band of which he is a member, and the EP Alliances 1: A Handful Of Dust, a collaboration with Jakob guitarist Jeff Boyle. The Alliances EP is a game-changer in so far as it is a welcome return to recording for Boyle (he’s apparently working on another Jakob album) and suggests that McLaney will also be working with kindred souls on other collaborations.
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The Impending Adorations - Album Review: Allies
23 Oct 2019 // review by Mike Alexander
Paul McLaney is one of those artists who never fails to get me where I’m most vulnerable, least alive and yet open to the possibility of being transported somewhere beyond myself. I’ve been listening to Allies, his latest release as Impending Adorations, while attempting to rediscover a new purpose in an old life.
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NZ Top 10 Singles

  • MOOD
    24kGoldn feat. Iann Dior
  • HOLY
    Justin Bieber feat. Chance The Rapper
  • LEMONADE
    Internet Money And Gunna feat. Don Toliver And NAV
  • SAVAGE LOVE (LAXED - SIREN BEAT)
    Jawsh 685 x Jason DeRulo
  • WAP
    Cardi B feat. Megan Thee Stallion
  • DREAMS
    Fleetwood Mac
  • WHAT YOU KNOW BOUT LOVE
    Pop Smoke
  • HEAD & HEART
    Joel Corry feat. MNEK
  • IN THE AIR
    L.A.B.
  • PUT YOUR RECORDS ON
    Ritt Momney
View the Full NZ Top 40...
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