So many people are starting to base their listening on songs these days, such is the reduction in attention spans, the proliferation of YouTube browsing and the ease of compiling ones own playlists featuring the best stuff you want to hear. Separate to my Top 50 LPs of 2011 I’ve also put together a list of songs that caught my ears and became hard to shake. There were of course dozens of others that could be included here but this is a lucky dip of sorts into some of my favourite tunes of 2011 that might lead you further into the artist’s work if you havent checked them out yet…
Featuring all NZ acts Jim Beam Homegrown happens on February 18th 2012 on Wellington Waterfront. Below is the first line-up announcement with another 20 bands and DJs to be added at the end of October. Tickets for GA are $95, head HERE to get yourself sorted…
The Scientists of Modern Music is a fairly pretentious name at best but once you see/hear this Tasmanian duo it kind of makes sense. They don’t do anything by halves and delivered a strong set that was high on 80s electro pop anthems, a barrel of fun and an infectious stage presence. There were seemingly no boundaries to their healthy embrace of guilty pleasures. From Linn drum breaks and vocoder vocals to energy drink synth stabs and an unabashed party vibe they know how to create music for the dancefloor, Yes it was hard to keep a straight face but they somehow pulled it off, walking (or bopping) the fine line between cheese and day-glo synth pop.
The Adults are a somewhat more serious proposition with three highly successful New Zealand songwriters/front-people in Jon Toogood (Shihad), Shayne Carter (Straitjacket Fits/Dimmer) and Julia Deans (Fur Patrol). Essentially Toogood’s solo project he was prudent to gather a large group of collaborators for the album and then narrowed it down to Carter and Deans for the live show.
Sans drums (prerecorded tracks were used) they quickly showed their versatility as players, switching between guitar, bass and keyboards as tracks required. The overwhelming and binding theme of The Adults sound is dark and often brooding pop music. Many of the songs were built on droning guitar and synth lines allowing the trio to layer the vocals on top of rather than within the music. At times Toogood hasn’t strayed far from his Shihad songwriting, especially on a song like the surging One Million Ways. The best moments of their generous hour+ set were the uber catchy A Part Of Me with its New Order rhythmic approach and the brilliant single Nothing To Lose. Deans replicated the vocals of Ladi6 exceptionally well while Toogood relished his chance to lock down a two note krautrock bass groove. Carter was given the room to create some widescreen textures over the top of it all – twisting his body into all manner of shapes to squeeze the notes out.
The trio appeared to be having a blast together on stage, even the aloof Carter allowed a smile or two while Toogood was his usual effusive and grateful self – thanking the crowd, employing dance moves to rival Thom Yorke and showing that he is still passionately living, breathing and exploring music.
this review was first published in The Drum Media.
Shihad’s Jon Toogood is set to release his solo album of sorts on June 22nd via Warners. I say ‘of sorts’ as it is comprised of a bunch of collaborations with the likes of Shayne Carter, Julia Deans, Ladi 6, Anika Moa, Tiki Taane, Shapeshifter’s Redford Grenell, Little Bushman’s Warren Maxwell, Ruban and Kody Neilson from the Mint Chicks. Carter and Deans will make up the live band which is bound to be a interesting line-up.
Thursday 14 July Gravity Bar, Hamilton
Friday 15 July Bacco Room, Auckland
Saturday 16 July Bacco Room, Auckland
Sunday 17 July Sawmill Café, Leigh
Friday 22 July The Cabana, Napier
Saturday 23 July The Garden Club, Wellington
Sunday 24 July The Garden Club, Wellington
Wednesday 27 July No. 8 Wired, Timaru
Thursday 28 July Revolver Bar, Queenstown
Friday 29 July Refuel, Dunedin
Saturday 30 July Al’s Bar, Christchurch
Click to check out a very brief preview of the first single off the album One Million Ways.
Wow, this one came out of nowhere but damn it is a great track. Featuring the combined talents of Jon Toogood (Shihad), Shayne Carter (Dimmer, Straitjacket Fits), Gary Sullivan (JPSE, Dimmer) and Ladi 6 the song is like some futuristic sci-fi soul track with some heavy rhythmic mood and a mind altering guitar riff courtesy of Carter that gives it some real bite. The track comes from Toogood’s solo album due for release in June and if this is anything to go by it could be a real gem of a record.