Released August 22nd, 2014 - Atlantic Jaxx Recordings
So, I finally finished my Basement Jaxx review. Not that you knew I was writing one, but under the circumstances I feel the need to somehow exonerate myself seeing as the album has now actually been released for two months.
To be brutally honest, on first taste back in a somewhat wintery August I wasn't really that taken by it. However, instead of being 'that guy' and banishing it straight to the bargain bins, I remembered that sometimes a fresh listen and some sunshine can make for a slightly more informed decision on things. Well, that's the theory anyway. Coupled with the fact that they will undoubtedly play on our shores at some point over the coming Summer, it's only right that my review of their latest offering Junto is given the light of day. Consider it a dedication to those who, like me, are still on the fence about whether to purchase it.
A smouldering voice over African drums starts the proceedings: "Lords, Ladies and Lowlives - Welcome to the world of Basement Jaxx", as if they needed an introduction. Or perhaps they do? This British electronic dance duo, aka Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe, haven't really been on my radar since their 2003 stormerKish Kash. With the dark noodlings of 2009's Scars not really leaving a mark and two further film scores plus an orchestral album now under their belt, I wasn't aware that they were still aiming for the dancefloor.
What is very clear is that for this seventh album, they have finally left the confines of the XL stable in search of something much more vibrant - and it shows. Now working with [PIAS] Australia via their own long-running Atlantic Jaxx venture, they present a much more upbeat assembly. No Big-Name Stars, just a collection of songs featuring walk-on vocals "from singers they met in the carpark of their studio".
Of the twelve tracks on offer here, some really shine. The very obvious single Never Say Never Again has been going great guns on the radio circuit and is a standout. ETML's blissful vocals over disco'd house (although sounding remarkably like Womack & Womack's Teardrops) is a real belter. Another winner is the funkadelic vibes of Summer Dem featuring the brilliant Patricia Panther on vocal duty. This soulful beauty drops things down a few paces with the grinding bassline, knocks things sideways for the middle eight, before finishing right side up again back on the beach. I can already feel the sand between my toes.
There are also some tell-tale notes in session here: We Are Not Alone adds a suitable bounce to proceedings over a wobbling bass, but it's that subtle pinch of erratic that the Jaxx are so well known for that really sets it apart. Although contrived in places, its digitised lyrics over the string stabs pull it through. Same goes for the glitchy Sneakin' Toronto with its battling rappers and mad laughing sample, or the haunting Something About You, which offers some great contrasts among eerie musical boxes.
Another of the more engaging tracks on the album is Buffalo which is a whirlwind of a tune. Featuring transgender rapper Mykki Blanco, it transgresses between footwork and jungle like a possessed fairground ride. Standing head and shoulders above the other 'fairy-light' tracks on the album, at only a mere 2.28 mins, it left me a-begging. I likened it to a friend who turns up at a party, gets everyone dancing, then disappears back into the night. This was the first real evidence of a change in style from the Jaxx camp. It will be interesting to see if the boys decide to pursue this one further.
Apart from the standouts, the rest of the album is pretty much peppered with predicti-house plastic.
Power To The People takes us back to the Jaxx Carnival again, but even the latin drums can't save it from ending up sounding more like a sickly side show: "come with me into the rainbow"? I'd rather not, thanks; I was also not tempted by Unicorn, as it took me back to 1995, but not in a good way. The lyrics "lose yourself with me, rewrite history" could not be any further from the truth in this rave-twee nightmare; even the familiar flamenco guitars of their 1999 hit Rendez-vous make an appearance for Mermaid Of Salanis, but unfortunately it ends up sounding more parody than party.
It seems clear that this time around, the Jaxx boys were wanting to keep things light and poppy, but in all fairness those tunes tended to annoy rather than excite compared to those that possessed a darker, more distinctive edge.
A few snatches of brilliance in an otherwise faceless, unnoteworthy album.
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.