Pretty Stooked debut “My Line”

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We first discovered Pretty Stooked last year at a spontaneous Wunderbar gig post lockdown. We were taken by the humble way he owned the stage, and his epic songwriting. Christchurch was riding the high of any kind of outing, and the audience clung to each moment of music and magic. Eddie, the man behind Pretty Stooked had just returned from a stint in Melbourne and was hoping to gain momentum in the NZ music scene. A packed out Wunderbar served as an excellent welcome home party.

Over a year later it’s exciting to see Pretty Stooked backed by a star studded five piece. The band have already lit the fire, touring the South Island and playing a sold out headline show at Grater Goods. Now, with the help of Josh Logan (Loho Studios), they’ve prepared their debut single “My Line” for your ears.

Groovy from bar one, “My Line” is a meandering tour through the much loved indie pop-rock genre. The opening lyrics reveal that Pretty Stooked can’t sleep at night, wondering if they’ve lived their life the right way. The soundscape is one of pensive melancholy – they’re reflecting on mistakes, but not outright defeated by them.

The drop into the first chorus is satisfying, as Eddie holds back on a full belt, delivering the defeated line “I want you to feel it”. It’s a controlled performance; each moment feels intentional. This isn’t a proper breakdown, but these thoughts have lived in his head for a while now. Eddie’s brother Cullen Kiesanowski keeps it groovy with a driving bassline, and Mitchell Bowley-Black (The Hootz) keeps it steady on the drums. His tasteful fills in the chorus drops added energy without detracting from the vibe. Jayden Bowley builds a dreamscape with his affected guitar lines, aided by Tyler Robbins on the keys.

The track comes with a stunning music video. Colour graded and filmed to perfection, the team (Adam Hogan and Soane Jones Pamatangi) capture the natural overthinking state of your 20s. The slow motion shots and dreamy garden-city moments were so familiar to me, having grown up in Christchurch and spent enough time doing “nothing much”. “My Line” a stellar first track, and I can only imagine where Pretty Stooked will go from here. The band have plans to slow release an EP over the next 12 months.

Grab your safety hats kids, because Odds & Ends dropped “Picture” today and it hits hard

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Grab your safety hats kids, because Odds & Ends dropped a track today and it hits hard. After leaving us waiting for two years their much anticipated single “Picture” tackles the tricky subject of mental health. “Picture” is a gut-wrenching exploration of life on the brink, driven by musicality and power wrapped in an indie rock bow.

Powerhouse vocalist Koen Aldershof captures what it’s like to scream into the void. “Picture” boasts a stunning and emotional delivery of sensitive lyrics. The hookline “let’s take a picture by the edge… I’m not scared in case we fall down” promises to both rile you up and give you chills. It’s a timely reminder, with New Zealand’s latest lockdown to check in on your mates.

While this latest track takes on a “darker flavour” than the band’s tasty earlier work, it’s still characteristic of the Odds & Ends sound. “Picture” features cheeky verse licks and a monster guitar solo that shreds like a cheese grater. Josh Johnston delivers a heart palpitation of a rhythm section, while Jonathan Meyer (underscore) holds it all together with steady bass.

Don’t forget to support the lads on Facebook and Instagram, and raise those dreamy streamy stats on Spotify / Apple Music.

Never Coming Back – Underscore

Indie Rock, Uncategorized

After an enticing build up for their new single on Tik Tok, Underscore have finally released their sophomore single Never Coming back, and oh boy it slaps like a prima donna.


Unlike their first release Dirty Word, Never Coming Back hits hard and heavy with a lumbering blues groove that finishes on a crunchy chromatic descent. Front man Jonathan Meyer describes the track as a “bitter breakup song that draws on progressive rock influences”. Never Coming Back builds on this idea switching between sarcastic verses and emotionally charged choruses. A soulful solo leads into a fast paced bridge that carries the song into a final heavy iteration of the tracks iconic riff.

Underscore features Hon Manawangphiphat on bass guitar, Josh Johnston on drums, and Jonathan Meyer on guitar and vocals. The trio started playing music together as students at the University of Auckland, and have performed shows throughout Auckland ever since. While Jonathan is the principal songwriter and guitarist, the whole band brings together their backgrounds in pop, rock, metal, and jazz to create the one-of-a-kind sound Underscore is known for.

This track was a lot of fun to listen to, and we’re keen to see where Underscores following releases take them.

Make sure to follow them on Spotify, Facebook, Instagram and Tik Tok.

KITA – Self Titled Debut Album

INDIE, indie pop

KITA is the debut self-titled album by Wellington musical alumni Nikita Tu-Bryant, Ed Zuccollo and Rick Cranston. Between them, these talented musicians have played with such artists as Holly Smith, The Black Seeds and The Bushman. Combine this with Grammy award-winning producer Tommaso Colliva and you have an album heavily influenced by a wide range of genres and styles.

The overall feel of the album is very calm and down to earth, with rich instrumentation, warm tones and a rain motif featured in more than one track. I particularly enjoyed the solos and licks that showcased the skill of the musicians without overpowering the vibe of the track – KITA feels like the perfect album for a midnight swim, drive down an empty street or to have a quiet drink in a dimly lit speakeasy. Almost as though they are aware of this, KITA found a few moments to check if you’re really listening with massive musical moments. For this reason, a personal favourite was River in My Veins.

The single from this album is Everyday, released with a music video one week prior to the album release. The relaxed jazzy, indie pop feel of the song is perfectly portrayed in a music video of slow, dead-pad dancing and soft pink and blue lighting. This track is a great introduction to some of the more complex songs on the album. Tickets are on sale now for their album release tour and I reckon it will be one to catch!

Can’t get Keeley Shade’s track off my mind

Ambient, Folk, INDIE, indie pop, Pop

Canadian born alt-pop-folk artist Keeley Shade seems to have materialised from nowhere. Her debut track On My Mind has sparked intrigue, featuring on the NZ top 20 and earning over a thousand streams on Spotify. The track is an impressive first release, establishing Shade as a force worth watching.

Keeley Shade’s On My Mind swells into existence like waves on the sand. The instrumental intro is built by fading piano and a crackling microphone. The producers use every ounce of sonic space. The simple melody in the first verse allows the dreamy soundscape to speak for itself, and Shade’s lyrics are mysterious, allowing for an open interpretation.

The introduction of high guitar in the interlude feels like your mind opening. One My Mind’s production is flawless and creative, experimenting with texture and painting colours. The empty space is always meaningful, building a pensive atmosphere. The purity in Shade’s vocal delivery is calming.

The bridge provides a low moment in the song, as Shade thinks about throwing it all away. The backwards vocals are otherworldly, giving the sense that we are caught in a trance as the piano plays reverberating scaled. The sudden shift in tone is a risk that pays off when the track returns to its original vibe.

On My Mind is an innovative first release, and I look forward to seeing where Keeley Shade goes next with her sound. You can keep up with here on Facebook and Instagram.

Ministry of Folk – Hoop, Jazmine Mary, Being., Looking for Alaska

Acoustic, Folk, folk rock, Live Music

Artists meet sporadically at the Ministry of Folk to deliver intimate live performances in an old church hall. The audience munches on snacks brought from home, enjoying the fairy lights and ambience. The event is hosted by the inimitable Hoop, who make the stage feel like the lounge of a family friend.

Running a little late, we stumbled through the door at 7.35 with a bottle of what we’d just realised was cork wine. Hoop’s talented and kind violinist Emily welcomed me into the kitchen where we found a rustic corkscrew, and their drummer used brute strength to release the stopper. The band was huddled in the kitchen for a pre show chat; it’s clear that they’re a well bonded and comfortable group of musicians.

Hoop opened the stage like the audience were old friends. Based on the Australian bush fires, Devil’s Choice is a stand out track written in 5/4. The violinist imitated an ambulance’s siren, and the band built the atmosphere with a jungle rhythm on the flute. Nick and Al’s voices blended impeccably, allowing for that classic “folk” sound riddled with harmonies. 

This Year was written from the perspective of a family who had battled COVID, cancer and chemotherapy throughout 2020. The song claims 2021 as a new and brighter year – a sentiment the room was holding on to with hope. It was a pleasure to watch Hoop perform again.

Jazmine Mary and Being. are a duo founded on the common ground of the name Jasmine. Both artists appeared comfortable on stage, drawing the audience in with sarcasm and a genuine friendship. The set began with Jazmine Mary’s latest release Dancer. The track is melancholy and features impressive vocal depth from Jazmine Mary. We rediscovered our love for Dolly Parton when the pair delivered a haunting cover of Jolene. 

Being. fronted the second half of the set. Her music was driven by modal shifts and a precise vocal performance. Count Me In was moving, arranged with sliding synths under a soft guitar. Beings.’s lyrics have a poetic quality to them, as she described the feeling of defeat as “dragging around a lifeless body. Truly, the clarity in her voice held the audience captive.

The final set for the evening was performed by the enchanting Looking For Alaska. What defined their time on stage was the mesmerising stories they had to share. Each song was driven by human emotion; frontwoman Amy told the tales of her late little cousin and a Grandmother who used to laugh so hard her teeth fell out. The duo’s trust for each other was tangible. It was a mesmerising set.

It’s difficult to pick any one piece that stood out, as each song boasted a certain ‘X Factor’. Where Have You Gone was a sultry slow jam with tight harmony that built to a phenomenal belted section. Home drew the audience to sing along and Hey You was a display of love coupled with a drinking game. Each song in the set was polished and precise, featuring flawless guitar playing from Aaron and out of this world vocals from Amy. The duo’s voices blended impeccably.

Part way through a song the room erupted into surround sound alert level 3 warnings. Despite the anxiety the sound always entices Looking For Alaska remained comfortable on stage, and soon had the audience yelling for several encores. I’m glad we spent our last night of freedom listening to such an astonishing display of musicality.

CHRIS PIDSLEY – Listen to Your Mum

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We like to think we know better than our parents, but sometimes we really need to listen to our mum.

With his latest single, Chris Pidsley talks through the confusion of navigating a relationship with struggle, and the value of just taking advice from your parents who often do know what’s best. The lyrics are beautiful and evoke a general nostalgia that leaves interpretation up to the listener. He takes the song in a similar direction to Cavetown, who also write looking back to teenage years. The sound is fitting and works well.

Chris collaborated with other musicians for the first time with this track, bring in brass from his friend Ryan. Lockdown hasn’t stopped Chris making new music, as this was all done virtually and has come together swell.

Listen in to the full arrangement or the acoustic version below.

Angry Girl – Vikae

electro pop, Electro Rock, INDIE, indie pop

Dropping this Friday is the kind of song that makes you want to hire a security team. Vikae has outdone herself with her latest single Angry Girl, featuring killer production and lyrics that will cut you back like a weed.

Beat one is ominous and expanding. The track utilises sinister synths and percussion to set the tone: she. is. livid. Vikae’s theatrical vocal control creates the believable character of a girl who’s been wronged. I loved the use of octaved vocals in the pre chorus; it’s an effect that’s always satisfyingly unsettling.

The drop into the chorus is perfect. The rhythms are super interesting, and the harmonies are epic. Angry Girl uses silence expertly to build tension, and a sense of foreboding. You can experience Angry Girl in all its rebel glory at Vikae’s Casette Nine release this Friday. Come grab a beer!

Set Me Alight – Georgia Maria

Folk, folk rock

Fire up your steampunk pirate ship surround sound, because Georgia Maria is back. Earlier this year the lyrical songstress impressed us with her complex rhythms and captivating storytelling. Born out of the hellfire of 2020 is her fiery new single Set Me Alight. 

The track begins with an almost theatrical build. The band bores into your mind, building a unison rhythm before falling into a “Celtic rock” groove. Set Me Alight lets you settle in the new feel before introducing Georgia Maria’s distinctive soaring voice. As always, there is an “other-worldly” feel to her composition. She seems to tell tales of another dimension, blending folk with distorted instrumentation. Her sound is unique and distinctive, inspired by the past and future. The middle of the song explores a tasteful distorted solo, paired with the swaying groove of Set Me Alight.  

Set Me Alight is nothing short of epic, which is what we’ve come to expect from Georgia Maria.

Disappear – Lorenzo Hazelwood

Acoustic, Rock, Singer Songwriter

It’s easy to disappear into the beautiful soundscape that Lorenzo creates in his acoustic lead follow up to his Single Pharos. The track is slow and lumbering with rich baritone vocals reminiscient of 90s grunge (but the vocalists who could sing more vowels than urrrr). The soundscape is dark and smokey which is a diversion from Lorenzo’s usual performance with his band Close to the Bone.
Singer Lorenzo was inspired to tackle his solo project with lockdown and managed to self record the three songs released under Lorenzo Hazelwood in his home studio. These were picked up and worked on with Toby Lloyd from Tiny Triumph Recordings and Mastered by Luke Finlay from Primal Mastering.
Lorenzo plans to release more music during the year so make sure to follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Spotify to catch more broody dirges! Hopefully another lockdown isn’t required to draw out more creativity.