I'll say this now - AM is Arctic Monkeys' first great record. I use that term strongly. It's the first time a 'plan' hasn't preceded and tainted one of their albums. I suppose it's hard to forget just how game changing their debut was back in 2006, or how the NME pedalled the hype bicycle to the guitar starved masses for their second. These days, a bands fifth album is so dialed in that I could write this review mowing the lawn (I could do it for Kings of Leon's sixth),but flick away that initial hype fluff and Arctic Monkeys have surpassed their peers, crafted a distinct sound, and in the process sound assured, grown up - hell, they're rock stars on AM. They had to get there eventually.
The music industry has seen these wry, pimply kids from Sheffield develop over the last 7 years, creating quite an interesting legacy: frantic, heavy and melodic, they've made a not so fair-weather friend in QOTSAhoncho Josh Homme too. He's been involved since Humbug, (which has remarkably improved with age) and his influence shows. It's ironic then that the boys have somewhat out-Queened the Queens - especially on marching, sexy opener ‘Do I Wanna Know?'. Probably their greatest album opener yet.
Alex Turner is the star of the show, but the fellow members have developed a captivating, hip hop based groove that fattens the previously thin Monkeys sound. The "Turner-turn of phrase" is so captivating, so sardonic; you need to hear the words repeatedly to peel the layers off. ‘Arabella' is a bastardized bit of Sabbath pop, whereas ‘Number 1 Party Anthem' and ‘Fireside' are intricate songs that stress the side-streets of love, a theme explored in earlier favourites ‘Cornerstone' and ‘Hellcat Spangled Shalala'.
The most remarkable thing about AM is that the tender moments are interspersed with straight party songs, stuff that Turner wanted to blast in his car at full volume. Boasted influences of Dr. Dre and Aaliyah have morphed the melodies and birthed an amalgamation, a mind fuck of sound. ‘Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High?' is an example - an outrageous title and video that shows a coiffed Turner stumbling around as he hallucinates - all based on a punchy riff and beat. ‘Knee Socks' is warbly, gender hopping weirdness, pulled off without a hitch.
The boys completely embrace their rock star status on AM; as it turns out, this was the right path to strut down. If you watch their blistering headlining set at Glastonbury 2013, you will see a reinvigorated band - confident and hungry. They don't take themselves seriously, and they don't take their hard earned audience for granted either. If you haven't considered Arctic Monkeys, get into this album. Go back and analyse the rest. They're a breath of fresh air.
In the mid to late 90's, when grunge began to wither away and MTV strived to find the next easy to access label to attach to new batch of up and coming rock bands, global attention started to shine on the Alt Rock scene.
The I Love The 90s Tour returns to Auckland next year March 23rd at Auckland’s Spark Arena, with a completely off the chain lineup featuring classic Hip Hop crew Naughty by Nature. Vin Rock from the Grammy Award winning rap group speaks fondly of this country and love of our people.
The Soundsplash Festival is returning to Raglan in January 2018. Local reggae favourites Katchafire are returning to feature on the bill. We sent a few questions over to lead vocalist Logan Bell ahead of the festival.
Following 2015’s Kitty, Daisy & Lewis'The Third', the sibling trio are back stronger than ever, harnessing their ability to create pop-infused soul, blues, rock n roll and a large mix of genres to perfection, in the shape of their fourth studio album, Superscope.
Kylie Price has just released her new album Bones. Last week she appeared on theNZ Entertainment Podcast, where she sang a new song I Dont Want To Go off the album while talking shop about her dream gig to play with Ed Sheeran and her Philipino roots.
Last week I caught up withPeter Hook ahead of returning down under for Australasian leg of the Joy Division and New Order Substance tour. We had a great chat about the spirit of punk, what it takes to write a book and why shows like the X-factor are so unhealthy…
Long established as one of New Zealand’s finest acts, South Pacific reggae-soul legends, The Black Seeds are set to tour the country in September, following the release of their long awaited 6th studio album Fabric, (out today - Friday September 8th).
Jacqueline Nalpant is a Booking Agent for the Paradigm Talent Agency, and is heading to New Zealand early next month where she'll be one of the speakers for the Going Global Music Summit (Friday 1st & Saturday 2nd September at Roundhead Studios, Auckland).
Since making her musical debut with her song Drift early last year, fast attracting a solid fan base and over 1 million plays across Spotify and Soundcloud in just a few months, Madeline North, better known by her musical moniker So Below, has once again blessed us with a moodier, masterful electro-pop banger, titled Ruin.
Since forming in 1998, the Antwerp, Belgium based trio Triggerfinger have long become a mainstay on the rock scene, building a solid reputation across Europe, the US, Canada and beyond, as one of the hardest-driving and sharpest dressing bands around.
Popular metalcore group Northlane are on their way to New Zealand. The Sydney band are touring North America taking in countries like Chile and Mexico as they head our way down-under next month to play Wellington’s San Fran then Auckland at the iconic Kings Arms.
Returning to New Zealand for the first time in three years, Australian metalcore band In Hearts Wake are on their way to our shores next month for a quick run of shows supporting their label cohorts Northlane.
Courtney Marie Andrews has landed in New Zealand, and set to play two concerts this week with Joe Pug - tonight at San Fran in Wellington (Wed July 19) and tomorrow night at The Tuning Fork in Auckland (Thu July 20).
Auckland two-piece Skinny Hobos, Alex Elvis and Texas Holdom, are heading on a 5 date New Zealand tour with headliners Decades, Bakers Eddy and Dead Favours. Kicking off tonight in Hamilton (July 14), the tour will also take them to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and finishes up in Dunedin.
Have you ever considered sharing your most personal experiences with the entire world? Well come this Friday 14th July, that’s what Emma Cameron, the rocking front-woman of kiwi band Decades is about to do, when they release their long-awaited full length debut album, The Truth And Other People, so we sat down with the cheerful front woman to discover just what truth this album reveals..
Whilst Sonny Landreth is a well known slide-guitar master, zydeco enthusiast and phenomenal blues legend, what you may not know about him, is that he is one of the nicest gentlemen in the entire universe.
He was always the boy next door type energy, that type of person you just always wanted to be around. From day one, Shay Taylor has always been one to break the mold and live life in such a vibrant and contagious manner, that no matter who he spoke to, they walked away feeling great!
Anthonie Tonnon is taking his new Extended Player and single to Australia, and to New Zealand towns that missed the first run of dates, or sold out too quickly. He’ll also be appearing at three summer festivals this February.
After a stand of three Auckland concerts that sold out in minutes in January, Connan Mockasin is hitting the road across Aotearoa for the first time in eight years this summer for a select run of headline shows.