Music

Music

October 8 2008

It’s difficult to find a new world culture that's as musically rich as that of New Zealand. Picking up your brother’s guitar and starting a band with your best friend and his sister is a rite of passage for most Kiwis. The Cool Hunter finds three grown-up versions of these backyard operations who are now taking the music of New Zealand to all corners of the globe, and that's just scratching the surface.



Liam Finn is very much a product of his genealogy, but that only partly explains the appeal of his beguiling music. Finn plays through a memory of family holidays and kids toying in the backyard while his delicate arrangements cast you into a spell conducted only by your own reminiscences.



Equal parts fastidious and inspired, there is barely a hip-hop album coming out of New Zealand that doesn’t have P-Money's production and DJ nous behind it. The epitome of the quiet performer, P-Money keeps schtum and lets the stomp of his gleaming productions blow your headphones.



In a world plagued by the manic, Fat Freddys Drop stand back, holding up a ‘hi-tek soul’ elixir.  This is music to be shared by close friends over a quiet cookout that runs from the long breezy summer afternoon into a warm, star-lit evening. By Matt Shea




Music

August 25 2008


Empire of The Sun. Little is known - no bio, no press kits, no explanations. The vital components are Nick Littlemore (Pnau) and Luke Steele (Sleepy Jackson) and the music is a precise dovetail of the two. The silky strings, tight-strums and cheeky hi-hats give 'Walking On A Dream' a distinctly French-house flavour. In stark contrast, the accompanying clip in all its weird and colourful glory was shot entirely in Shanghai. In the words of the song, this is the sound of two men at the peak of their powers 'pushing up the hill, searching for the thrill of it'.

Download the Sam La More remix here - Nick Christie

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Music

July 31 2008




Alan McGee, the man who gave the world Oasis and The Libertines, has found the latest diamond in the rough. Scottish band Glasvegas are a four-piece that manages to combine all that was good from the Ronettes-era with all that is bad from modern-day Glasgow to brilliant effect.

Despite their obvious influences that range from Phil Spector to Elvis, what they come up with is so remarkably unique that they sound like The Jesus & Mary Chain getting drunk and having a go at covering the Grease soundtrack.

They draw you in with euphoric and unbreakable walls of sound but there is something so unmistakably bleak - something so unmistakably Scottish - about their sound that, in 2008, they manage to say a hell of a lot more about the state of things than sweaty, prepubescent boys with guitars ever could.

Lead singer James Allan has done for a thick Glasweigan accent what Alex Turner did for Sheffield and what Mike Skinner did for Mockney.  And singing along in cod-Glaswegian is all part of the Glasvegas experience, as it is live where they excel. - Rob Facey

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Music

July 21 2008



Joining together two modern musical madmen like Beck and Danger Mouse seems almost dangerous, like it could easily descend into a battle of two outrageous imaginations. Instead, ‘Modern Guilt’ comes off like a sonic peanut butter and jelly sandwich, where the different elements meld together so simply and naturally that it defies the incomprehensible bent of their partnership. Beck and his music have always belonged in the sixties and Danger Mouse’s captures this in a twisted dream state. You only need to taste 'Modern Guilt' once before you’re stuck in its kaleidoscopic rapture. - Matt Shea

Music

July 14 2008



Hercules And Love Affair, the musical odyssey of DJ Andy Butler and the likes of Antony Hegarty from Antony & The Johnsons, are the current stars of the dance scene.  Their sound is so sleek and shiny that it makes you want to don your rollerskates and glide right back to the 70s.

Only, this is disco for the modern era. More underground than the pointless retro homages that clog up club playlists every weekend, there is something irresistibly dark and alluring hidden between the synths, trumpets and smooth vocals.   Music critics are fawning over the album and the fashionistas are becoming wise to their ways too (Chanel used ‘You Belong’ in a Fall/Winter fashion show).

Tracks like ‘Blind’ and ‘Hercules Theme’ are so fresh they leave you aching to strut your stuff. Only in a really cool John Travolta disco way.

So, as Hercules And Love Affair finally starts to get the recognition it deserves, The Cool Hunter pays tribute to the label/production house DFA Records behind what could be the album of 2008 by looking back over their best musical creations.

The Rapture ‘House of Jealous Lovers’

Although it’s little more than Talking Heads fighting Television over a synthesizer, this soundtracked a million teenage parties and had drunken scenesters admiring New Yorkers who had a penchant for jerky riffs and cowbells, rather than skinny jeans and Converse.

LCD Soundsystem ‘Daft Punk Is Playing At My House’

James Murphy has a vocal style so unique it needs to be heard to be fully understood. Imagine a bear with a cold singing in the shower and you’re halfway there. Here, he simultaneously scares off the neighbours while inviting in for an impromptu rave.

The Juan Maclean ‘Happy House’

This dirty track is so sleazy it has ‘4am at some grotty indie disco, staring at some god awful concoction of a drink you’ve ordered and wondering whether that person with the angel wings and eyeliner is actually a man’ written all over it.

Hot Chip ‘Over and Over’

Not big but certainly clever, this is the sound of pre Nu Rave dance, when crisp yet clunky beats belonged to the streets rather than the High Street. By Rob Facey


Music

July 9 2008

Economics, technology, ice hockey, tennis, personal grooming: the Swedish list of triumphs is long and extensive. With the new breed of indie pop artists emerging from the kingdom, the rest of the world has yet something else to be jealous about. Here are three brilliant exemplars:



When Lykke Li sings her voice is so delicate, so ethereal that she sounds as though she’s transmitting from a submarine stranded on the seafloor.  What’s more, Li brilliantly plays to this amazing strength, matching it to productions so lean and carefully stripped back that they drive you straight to the heart of her bristling songcraft.

Lacrosse



West coast-flavoured guitars struck through with bittersweet lyrics and anchored by a skin tight rhythm section, with their debut ‘The New Year Will Be For You And Me’ this sextet have written the soundtrack to the relationship you’ve just ended and are taking a weeklong surf trip to forget.  Sweet, cathartic tunes to sooth your irascible soul.

El Perro Del Mar



Imagine that Burt Bacarach once shared a piano stool with Brian Wilson while Neil Young crooned a lyric about the trio’s favourite girl. The girl they were singing about was probably El Perro Del Mar’s Sarah Assbring. Assbring matches beautiful laments on busted love with music that squeezes every last drop of hurt from her stricken soul. Amazing stuff. By Matt Shea

Music

July 3 2008




Ah Presets, you haven't let us down. When a pre-release copy of The Presets new album 'Apocalypso' landed on the Coolhunter desk last week, it was with great anticipation that we gave it a first spin. And Bam! straight away, it hit us - that crispness of sound, Julian Hamilton's semi-comatose delivery and the wailing synths - it was indeed The Presets we have come to know and love. 'Apocalypso' is a more complete album than its predecessor 'Beams', the songs more fully formed and subtly layered.

With the pounding 'My People' a club staple for months now, the album's second single 'This Boy's In Love' has all the hallmarks of glittering synthpop classic with its rising verses and dream-like chorus backed by tear-drop piano keys.  Elsewhere, 'If I Know You' sails by on skittering hi-hats and while Hamilton croons atop pulsating bass. On the album closer 'Anywhere', The Presets get emotional as sparse four-to the floor drums and empty vocals get overtaken by bouncy synth stabs and a New Order-esque, lighters-in-the-air crescendo.

The new album 'Apocalypso' drops on April 12, followed by a world tour. It's going to be a monster year for The Presets. By Nick Christie.

www.myspace.com/thepresets
 

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Music

July 1 2008



Unlimited credits are in the offing for whoever brought the majestic Al Green together with producers ?uestlove and James Poyser. Green’s new album, ‘Lay It Down’, is the best cut of soul you’re likely to hear all year. With guest spots featuring Anthony Hamilton and John Legend this is one very modern album and an absolutely essential addition to your Al Green collection.

The other essential Al Green albums?!  The Cool Hunter has you covered.

Let’s Stay Together — 1972


No introduction needed, with a title track that stayed at number one in the US for nine consecutive weeks. The rest of the album may not have been chart-worthy, but it’s nevertheless just as strong.

The Belle Album — 1977

Expected at the time to be his last secular LP, Green produces himself and lets loose a cracking series of meditations from a man caught between the religious and the secular.

I’m Still In Love With You - 1972

Released at Christmas of 1972 this, the most slickly romantic of Green’s albums, begs to be busted out next to a roaring fireplace with only the most special of wine and women in accompaniment.

Gets Next To You — 1971

The template-setter for the early 70s Green albums, this sounds like tightly reigned wanton madness.  Absolutely brilliant.

Call Me — 1973

Built on Willie Mitchell’s fastidious production, this is Green’s artistic zenith.  A masterpiece that totally beguiles the listener. By Matt Shea.


Music

June 28 2008


In the midst of festival season, The Cool Hunter thought it timely to highlight the world's greatest festivals.  Some of them you may have heard of, others you most certainly haven’t.  Regardless, all of them are essential for the worldly music lover.

Sonar — Barcelona, Spain

It would seem that going to a music festival doesn’t necessarily mean duking it out for three days in conditions not fit for human habitation.  Sonar is the festival for the discerning type, swapping mud-swamped squalor for the beautiful Ramblas village district of Barcelona.

Exit Festival — Novi Sad, Serbia

Held in the Serbian city of Novi Sad, Exit began life as a softly-softly political protest against the Milosevic regime.  Now staged within the grounds of an eighteenth century fortress, Exit has grown into a massive four-day cauldron of music and mayhem.

Aldrei For Eg Sudur (I Never Went South) — Isafjordur, Iceland

Forget rockstar egocentrics and drift to the north of Iceland in the fist thaw of the Easter weekend for a music festival that concentrates on Icelandic talent.  With conditions that scare off the average festival monkeyman, Aldrei For Eg Sudur is the most communal of music festivals.

Fuji Rock Festival — Naeba Ski Resort, Japan


Set amongst the lush forest of a summer ski field, Fuji Rock takes the music festival’s need for a large outdoor area and runs with it, providing one of the most spectacular and tranquil settings you could possibly imagine for a major rock festival.

Splendour In The Grass — Byron Bay, Australia

Australia isn’t as cheap to visit as it used to be, but suck it up to make it to Splendour In The Grass.  Great line-ups are complemented by a relaxed vibe and the spectacular beach surroundings of Byron Bay.  - Matt Shea

Music

June 19 2008


Brooklyn quartet Yeasayer’s music is a concoction of indie rock and worldbeat that should probably come off as stilted and manufactured but the band instead, like a pack of hip-shooting alchemists, mesh these genres together in experiments that pay off brilliantly. 

Guitars, sitars, mandolins, bongos, cowbells, and fretless bass are all run through with driving synthesisers, while ceaselessly harmonising vocals tend to stay deep in the mixes, adding to the ethereal quality of their music.

Obvious touchstones David Byrne and Peter Gabriel would be proud to turn out music as brilliant and thoroughly engaging as this. 

By Matt Shea

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