Free The Universe is the highly anticipated sophomore release from the hypnotic dancehall revival that is Major Lazer. Rich in finesse, the return of the Major is laced together with an enviable collection of guest musicians that give the ride much character, but it's really the silky-smooth production that will be left ringing in your head for weeks.
Over the last few years, Major Lazer has become quite a domineering force in the music industry. The mindchild of legendary producers Diplo and Swift, the hypnotic dancehall revival fast became a household name, making tracks for Beyonce, No Doubt, La Roux and Rita Ora. More recently, Diplo served as executive producer for Snoop Dogg's Reincarnated as Rastafarian reggae singer Snoop Lion.
After half of the duo, producer Swift, left after creative differences, the future of the project was uncertain. Fortunately, Diplo recruited some of his friends to keep the Major alive, and he sounds as strong and as defiant as ever.
The album kicks off with the cool You're No Good, which eases you into the roller-coaster groove of the rest of the tracks, and hearing Santigold on anything is always welcome. Jet Blue Jet jumps straight into the familiar high pitched squeals and unrelenting snare hits that have become associated with Lazer's sound. There's been way too much already said about the lead single Get Free, but it still remains defiantly one of the highlights of the record, driven by Amber's cool vocals and an excellently restrained production that still manages to keep the down-tempo from upsetting the danceheads.
Jah No Partial, Scare Me and Sweat are back to business. By business, we're talking the sweat dripping grime-fest that gave Lazer the deserved status in the Jamaican Dancehall revival game.
The rest of the record remains strongly in the percussion jungle-fiasco department, the two exceptions beingJessica and Reach For The Stars. The appearances by Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig and Wyclef Jeanrespectively are not as promising as they sound, but strong production on both songs manages to save the day in the end.
The one (minor) let-down of the album is that it comes across sounding more like a mixtape than a full-fledged studio release. While it is not short on variety, the album feels somewhat disjointed. That, and the continued vocal reminders throughout most songs that you are, in fact, listening to a Major Lazer album.
Now take that last paragraph, rip it up and run it through a garbage disposal, because it really doesn't matter. This album is deliciously good, and its songs' almost too-good-to-be-true remix-ability will surely cement its place on DJ lists for some time to come.
Overall the second release from Diplo's pet project is as rewarding as the hype around it. Let's hope this isn't the last we hear from the Major.
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!
Due to significant weekend rainfall, and the forecast of more rain over the next 72 hours, Coffs Harbour City Council, Frontier Touring, John Logan Entertainment and Midnight Oil management have met and reviewed the site for Midnight Oil’s show on Thursday 19 October.
After their 2012 Mercury Prize-nominated debut and 2015’s Top 20 follow-up Born Under Saturn, musical adventurers Django Django are back for 2017, exploring new sounds with their brand new album Marble Skies
After stunning, sold-out concerts across the US, legendary Led Zep drummer Bonzo's greatest legacy - his son Jason - brings his critically acclaimed concert, Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience, to New Zealand for just two performances.
Playing their breakthrough debut self-titled album in its entirety, pop rock sensations We The Kings will return to New Zealand and Australia to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of their breakthrough self-titled debut album.
Instrumentals, imagined soundtracks and cut and paste experimentation sets a bracing, perception-shattering course for Who Built The Moon? - the keenly anticipated, WORLD TOUR-triggering third album from Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.