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!
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.
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!
If you love Christine and the Queens as much as I do then you’ll adore Chiara Foschiani. Ignoring the fact that her age makes me feel like a recent retiree, I was incredibly impressed by her debut single Queen of Disaster. Born in 2003, Chiara Foschiani is a Parisian multi instrumentalist and producer who left high school to pursue music full time when she was 16. Having generated notable interest on soundcloud, Chiara released her first Spotify track in October.
I was suspicious at first of the “poppy” introduction, but Queen of Disaster quickly melts away into a super groovy pre chorus. The lyrics are simple but effective, with some killer moments like the line the earth is on fire. The chorus layers epic vocal harmonies and what sounds like an electric banjo. The production is creative, and you can hear how much fun Chiara had in the studio.
Chiara Foschiani is a new kid on the block, but she’s not to be underestimated. Her debut single is both creative and impressive. I look forward to following her musical career! Follow her on Instagram and Facebook.
Lévyne is an alt-pop gem who’s been flying a little under the radar in Auckland for a while now. She’s released consistently intricate and creative singles such as Pause, and Look at Me which culminated in her Debut EP ‘Being Low‘ which easily differentiated itself amongst the sea of kiwi pop released this year. With Misconceptions coming out last Friday Lévyne is ramping up the excitement for new things to come.
Misconceptions is a scathing review of a heartbreak. It’s “ultimately about a relationship ending with each person having a different side to the story.” The song begins meek but cuts to self assurance and an empowered retrospect. The song “serves as a realisation that it’s not worth spending your time stressing about people that don’t want to understand your perspective.” tells Lévyne “It was quite a liberating song to write – to draw a bit of a line in the sand and express that enough was enough!”
Lévyne teamed up with Daniel Martin and Ølympus to write and record the track before adding Oscar Keys, and Matthew Twyman into the mix to make the magical music video released today!
Lévyne has managed to keep busy despite the lockdowns this year sharing the stage with kiwi heavyweights Daffodils and Foley. This summer she will be taking her music to the crows of Rhythm and Vines
In between lockdowns in Auckland, Lévyne has still managed to play shows, supporting the likes of Daffodils and Foley and now she’s set to play NZ’s biggest New Year’s Eve festival Rhythm & Vine! Don’t sleep on Lévyne, this girl is going places.
Laura-mae from Golden Bay spent her lock-down writing music and live-streaming concerts from her backyard. Boasting a nation-wide tour, a performance on Maori television, taking the stage at Wellington’s garden festival, and the NZ X-factor bootcamp experience, the rising artist is no stranger to mahi. Rug of Numbers is the second of three singles Laura-mae has scheduled for a 2020 release.
One of modern society’s downfalls is its tendency to measure worth in statistics. We’re obsessed with followers, likes and quantity over quality when it comes to connections. Rug of Numbers is an introspective indie pop track about how it feels to be “just another number” to somebody. The track begins with a swelling indie-pop soundscape, setting the scene for its pensive nature.
The instrumental after the first chorus is bright and fun, before moving into the more poetic second verse. Laura-mae muses on feeling like a ghost hiding in a rabbit hole before moving into another chorus with the classic hook line. The bridge takes things down a notch, allowing space to build back up for the final chorus. The song’s energy ebbs and flows with expertise, ultimately creating a charming mid tempo road trip song.
Laura-mae shows no signs of slowing down with another New Zealand wide tour planned for the end of 2020, and a beautiful music video on the way. Keep up to date with her adventurous plans on Facebook and Instagram.