The second full length album from psychedelic-soul musician Janelle Monae has been long awaited by the musical community. Following her critically acclaimed Metropolis: The Chase Suite EP and 2010 full length release The Archandroid, this album had to be impressive, and it had to stand out like the two beforehand. This album certainly has made an impact, continuing her conceptual series Metropolis - this being suites 4 and 5 of the epic story of Cindi Mayweather (Monae's android alter-ego), it transports you forward through the centuries, giving you a glimpse of the future.
From the track-listing alone you can see Monae is out to impress, boasting features with; Prince, Erykah Badu, Solange, and more. Beginning the album with an 'Electric Overture' in her typical style, Monae makes a statement, right from the start she makes the listener understand this album is a strong, powerful piece of music. Each song flows into the other, leading you through the streets of Metropolis.
Monae gets all but one of the collaborations out of the way in the first six tracks, the first of these being the much anticipated Prince duet; 'Givin' Em What They Love'. This song is plain good. It's dirty funk. It makes you want to grit your teeth and snarl for some reason. This along with lead single 'Q.U.E.E.N' with Erykah Badu, title-track 'Electric Lady' with groove goddess Solange, and Primetime, an android love song featuringMiguel, all showcase how well Monae works with other artists and how variable her talent is. But don't get it wrong this album is about Monae or Mayweather, the rest of the album besides the second to last track is all her. Her voice floats through melodies, raps, and keeps you awe-struck for over an hour. Working her way through a number of genres including Punk-Pop in 'Dance Apocalyptic', and Jazz in 'Dorothy Dandridge Eyes', and even some Gospel is thrown into 'Victory' and 'Sally Ride'. Also there is something to be said for the fact that she finishes off the album with a Reggae breakdown in 'What An Experience'. It may sound hectic, and in a way it is. But she deals with this by dispersing three interludes through the album, these are supposed excerpts of an android radio station in Metropolis, pulling you deeper into the story, but giving you a break from the intense aural onslaught of this album. I do admit, that now having listened to the album a lot, I find these interludes annoying and usually skip them very quickly.
In a time where concept albums are slowly dying away, it is always heartening to see an artist deliver a stellar example of this style, and even more exciting when they deliver another just as brilliant - if not more - concept piece after. Not many artists these days are able to continuously deliver lengthy examples of good music, but Monae does. She takes you where she wants, and she makes you believe what she wants. There is something that will just make you smile when you hear this album. It's the sound of hope, the completely outrageous story, and the humour-filled interludes which make you wonder; is Metropolis real? Is this album a reality?
After delivering what I have told many people is my favourite concept album of the past decade, I had great expectations of Janelle Monae with this record. In her typical style, she blew me away, taking my expectations, tearing them apart and then using them as steps to get to something bigger and better than anything she has previously released. The ultimate highlight is 'Sally Ride', with an intense build up and the greatest vocal display you will find on any track by Monae, it's anthemic and genius. It's hard to describe how I reacted to this album, and how it made me feel. This is an album that everyone will react to differently, and that's why you should go and buy it. This album is a slick piece of material that most people will find hard to fault or dislike, and it has certainly already got me excited for the next instalment in the Metropolis series.
There's no denying that at my core, I'm a lover of progressive music - whether that means I love "prog" music or not is a question for another day, and is a topic which I touched on whilst talking to Steven Wilson the other week regarding the upcoming To The Bone show at Auckland's Bruce Mason Centre.
Auckland-based quartet Openside have added an extra date to their first, all-ages, nationwide tour. The group headlines The Seamless Tour will now perform a final show in Tauranga on July 20th featuring special guests DUNES .
Consisting of drummer/vocalist Cat Leahy and guitarist/vocalist Leisha Jungalwalla, This Way Northwill be a part of a very special night in Auckland called ‘Sass the Patriarchy’ an event they have been running in Australia.
As the days and nights get colder, we need something more to laugh about than the unpredictability of Auckland weather and lucky for us, The New Zealand International Comedy Festivalreturns (kicking off this Thursday 26 April).
I Am Giant’s have recently released their third and final album ‘Life in Captivity’. Featuring the singles ‘Dead Flower’, ‘Playing With Fire’ and ‘Don’t Look Back’, the band are currently touring New Zealand; their final tour and last hurrah in NZ.
To this day I still remember my introduction to Sepultura - camped out in the granny flat bedroom of long-time friend Kerry - a live version of their cover of Motörhead's Orgasmatron, and from there it continues to this day
The wait is almost over as Auckland City Limits is set to take place this Saturday (March 3rd) at Western Springs Stadium. Included on the bill are one of France’s most famous four-piece band's Phoenix.
“I find inspiration from people who are trying to do something different. There's a lot of producers trying to copy each other, eg Terror Squad. But it’s really cool to hear guys like SumthinSumthin, completely unchallenged in their own lane.” – Graham Matthews
John Butler Trio announce their return to New Zealand in March to play Nelson’s Trafalgar Centre on Saturday 2 March and an afternoon set outdoors at The Hunting Lodge in Waimauku, Auckland on Sunday 3 March.
British rock royalty Arctic Monkeys have ushered in a spectacular new era with their sixth studio album, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, and it has now been announced that the band will return to New Zealand for a mammoth arena show in March 2019.
Californian rock legends Jefferson Starship will join TOTO and Dragon on next year’s ‘A Summer’s Day Live’ series, which will take in some of the most picturesque locations and popular concert venues across New Zealand.
In celebration of the highly anticipated November release of their fourth studio album Delta,English folk conquerors Mumford & Sons today announced details of a massive 60 date world tour which will include a very special one day event in Auckland this Summer –their first New Zealand show since 2015!
George Ezra toured the world nonstop for more than two years following the release of his debut LP Wanted On Voyage, finally making it to Aotearoa for one of the standout sets of this year’s Auckland City Limits.
Following the release of her critically-acclaimed My Design, On Others Lives in April this year, Estère teams up with the poetically tongued NZ/Rwandan MC Raiza Biza, to take on the myth of an infamous figure in cross-continental African folklore, the Tokoloshe.
If Anika Moa was feeling ready to kick back for the remainder of 2018, then things haven’t really run to plan. In fact it’s about to get a whole lot busier for the multi-talented entertainer with a new album release, tv series and live shows all on the way.
Since achieving international recognition from Rollingstone.com and Billboard.com for hit singles Too Strung Up and Stone Cold, and amassing over 3 million Spotify streams for their releases to date, Alae now unveil All Gived Up.
'Call Me', the latest track by Wellington electro-pop singer and producer Josie Moon made last week's New Music Friday playlists from Spotify Australia/NZ and Japan and influential UK blogger Popjustice.
Colin Mochrie, Brad Sherwood and Greg Proops the popular stars of the Emmy nominated Whose Line Is It Anyway? have teamed up to present an evening of extraordinary improvisational comedy for one show only at the Bruce Mason Centre in Auckland.
In a New Zealand first, five of the stars of Twin Peaks, Sheryl Lee, Kimmy Robertson, Michael Horse, Al Strobel, Dana Ashbrook and the Executive Producer of Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series, Sabrina S. Sutherland, will visit Auckland and Christchurch for an exclusive and unique CONVERSATION WITH THE STARS evening.
Singer Elaine Paige has announced an 8-date series of concerts from October 10 to October 25 2018, which will see her perform songs from her illustrious career along side an array of her favourite tracks by contemporary songwriters.
The critically acclaimed, award-winning comedian and actor, Catherine Tate, is bringing The Catherine Tate Show - Live to New Zealand for the first time, with shows in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch commencing November 28, 2018.
It has been announced overnight that Last Tapes Theatre Company's original production Valerie has been selected for a month-long season in the prestigious Summerhall programme at Edinburgh Festival Fringe this August.
Featuring Brouhaha: choreographer Malia Johnston, composer Eden Mulholland, AV designer Rowan Pierce; In Transit: choreographer Louise Potiki Bryant, composer/AV designer Paddy Free; The Geography of an Archipelago: choreographer Stephen Shropshire, composer Chris O’Connor.
The last hurrah of the Comedy Fest! The Season Finale! The bit at the end where the awards are decided, everybody relaxes and much fun is had. It’s the titled Last Laughs on Sunday 20 May at SkyCity Theatre.
The 13th Annual Doc Edge, International Documentary Film Festival opens today - Wednesday 9th May at Wellington’s Roxy Cinema followed by Auckland’s Q Theatre on Wednesday 23rd May, bringing an influx of prestigious directors and documentary subjects from all over the world.