A 90s childhood was mostly spent; collecting basketball cards, playing elastics and making mix tapes. I vividly remember loitering around the radio all day, waiting for my song to come on so I could hit play and record at the same time. Inevitably there would be the end of a DJ’s monologue overlapped with the beginning of a TLC song. But it was worth every anxious minute stood by the recorder.
These days, engaging with your favourite music is as easy as asking Siri, and for those of us who love to seek out good music, the internet has revolutionized our addiction to the groovy stuff. There are some rabbit holes that are worth diving into and the musical ones are deep. Here’s what we’re listening to at the moment;
Untitled (Black Is)
There’s not a lot to say about this band, only because they avoid the media like I avoid acknowledging my gluten intolerance. They formed in 2019 and have four albums under their belt. That is pretty much the sum of their write up on Wikipedia, they don’t do social media, haven’t performed, haven't conducted any interviews and there is not one photo of them on the internet. While this shrouds them in thrilling mystery, it really is their music that is the conversation starter. Their latest album ‘Untitled (Black Is)' features songs that cover black issues like my favourite track Wildfires which is an ode to the George Floyd shooting.
Smooth Big Cat
The hazy sounds of Dope Lemon hail from across the ditch. You might recognize the voice of Angus Stone, one half of sibling duo Angus and Julia Stone. This album has a psychedelic vibe that deserves to be heard from start to finish. Listening to it makes me feel like I should be swaying in a dimly lit bar, sipping on a whiskey cocktail, surrounded by bearded folk. There’s nothing quite like rolling into autumn with something that feels good to play in a darkened room!
It looks like I’m stuck in 2019, maybe it reminds me of a time when the world was a simpler place! NME gave ‘Town Centre’ a four-star review saying it is a “fascinating record of left-field post-punk and masterful storytelling”. They remind me of Bloc Party, in the sense that they seem to be forging their own path and creating music following their own set of rules. And this is a punk sound that I can totally get into. The band have been working on material for a new record which they say is ‘really fkng weird’, so get yourself familiarised with them now so that they can completely surprise you with their new stuff!
My partner is from the UK and the thing that shocked him most about Kiwis when he arrived on our sunny, southern shores is our penchant for funk, R&B and hip hop. He was impressed, just as I am with the 16 tracks of this new album. Madlib is a talented guy, a musical all-rounder. But, he has taken a back seat with this album and sent recordings onto Kieran Hebden, aka Four Tet, who has artfully curated and arranged the tracks over a period of two years. With tracks like Road of the Lonely Ones this album is sure to be on repeat.
Music is one of the greatest ways in which we communicate with one another. It connects us across borders and continents and acts as a bridge between generations. Life feels more full when there’s music in it and there is nothing better than a good musical recommendation to follow up on. If you have any recommendations leave them in the comments section, we’d love to hear what you’re listening to.
Author: Bianca Richardson-Read