Prince join Mr. Bungle, then mix it with MGMT and a mellowed out Aphex Twin. Then master up the new craze that is now Shamir. He might resemble past baby-faced rap and R&B stars such as IMx or B2K, minus the alpha masculinity, but Shamir, who is only 20 years old, fits in with today's genre-bending pop stars. There's both unique simplicity and tough diversity that come at you in waves on his debut album,Ratchet.
Less than two years after sending a demo to Brooklyn's "Godmode", Shamir has signed to XL Recordings - a label known for indie pop/rap outgoers like Dizzee Rascal, M.I.A., and FKA twigs and, pressingly enough got his face on Times Square billboard. On Ratchet, an album that makes you feel as if you are walking on the Vegas strip with a late 80s theme song blasting in your ear, Shamir elaborates on the gutsy melodies of those early demos and singles and makes good on the hype. Shamir Bailey, born November 7, 1994, better known by his stage name is an American singer and songwriter from Las Vegas, Nevada and he coming in full swing to make some noise. Shortly after graduating from high school, after sending the demo tape to the "Godmode" label in New York City, the label founder Nick Sylvester contacted Shamir, and signed him immediately and released his first debut EP "Northtown" back in June 2014.
In songs such as 'Call it Off', which was premiered at the YouTube Music Awards in 2015 and was the first single off the album, is a theme song from a disco-worshipping, androgynous teen that hailed from Las Vegas. But on the strength of these songs, with its laser synth peaks, it's fair to say his spirit is connected to late-'80s Detroit and his "...god an ill-behaved hybrid of Grace Jones...". If this is the house that Shamir built, I'm definitely getting the directions ASAP. "On the Regular" is another song that was released with great critic reception and introduces Shamir as a more of boss as bitch type persona. He states that he may "...only be 5'10 but he is nothing to F*% with, wise as a 50, don't try me I'm not a free sample..." With lyrics like these, it's not hard to figure out why this generation is loving this breath of fresh air.
'Darker', and 'KC' shows a more sensitive and deeper side to the album, and we start we see the complexity of Shamir's voice and vocal range, and simplicity in his voice, as he plays along an acoustic guitar, if you close your eyes you wouldn't know it was a man singing, and that too me is beyond talented and quite frankly draws you in deeper.
Produced entirely by Nick Sylvester, Ratchet feels like a well wrapped gift of the best dance-pop of the past decade, from the dank basslines, to the melodic moody visual you gain from his voice, the flamboyance, to the technical finesse, this powers a record that's about the sincere winds of adolescent emotions; Shamir, a cookie cutter type fashion kid with a voice like Crystal Waters, flips easily between vulnerability yet huge amounts of confidence and swag.
Shamir has been making his name known these past few months, he has been bumped up to MTV's Push Artist for the month and you can catch a few more facts about him on the website. He has been interviewed on Spotify when he released the album, on his Ratchet playlist, "growing up in Vegas, and being weird, you had to put on tough face" - he laughs, its impressive to see what has forged out of this young man.
Ratchet is as melodically and theoretically confident and bold as Beyonce and as abrupt and sassy as Rihanna, but it's the black man making poetic and flagrantly disco dance pop, with a pixie sound, that is a challenge and reclaimed artistry. Not just of "ratchet," but the queer, racialised roots of house music and the flamboyant history of black pop music is what makes this artist so incredibly interesting and curious to many people.
If you're looking a new, fresh, electronic indie based artist to dive into, I wouldn't look any further, its rarely in my nature to listen to a new album more than once at a time, I have listened to this album at least 5 times already back to back. The music, the lyrics, the way it makes my head nod without me noticing is definitely I sign I may be obsessed.
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.