By ALEX LYALL

 

Mainstream radio’s gonna be real good this winter.

Two brilliant new pop songs courtesy of Carly Rae Jepsen and NE-YO are out this week, but if that’s not your thing we also have brand new music from Arcade Fire. Then we look at which Kiwi rappers are opening for hip-hop heavyweights and which Kiwi band is off to Europe.

 

Carly Rae Jepsen – Cut to the Feeling

Thank you Carly Rae Jepsen for dropping some power-pop that’s actually powerful and pop. We’ve all come to expect this from Carly Rae Rae, music so heart-on-sleeve and committed that it’s hard not to stop in awe. Cut to the Feeling is particularly spirited: angular guitars, hand claps and a pounding bass drum al support Jepsen in her wish to “play with the angels” and “sleep where her love sleeps.” Oh, and she really wants to “cut to the feeling.” I don’t know what that means, but it sounds pretty good.

 

NE-YO – Another Love Song

NE-YO returns with just another love song. Except, it’s totally not just another love song because it features the coolest bass line I’ve heard on a major-label release in ages. It’s a funky number with every instrument coming together for an unforgettable groove. NE-YO’s voice rises above it all of course, and the smooth operator blasts his love all over the party-tinged jam.

 

New Arcade Fire!

Come all and hear Arcade Fire’s most graceful song in ages. Strings and keys sound elegant over Win Butler’s flustered stream of consciousness and Jeremy Gara’s punchy drumming. Like so much from their last album Reflektor, Everything Now is groovy and heart-felt. Also like Reflektor, Everything Now has a world-music influence. Last time it was a Caribbean shimmy, this time it’s the constant playing of a pan-flute, giving the song a South American taste.

The band have also announced the upcoming release of their fifth album, Everything Now. Usually every Arcade Fire album comes out three years after the one prior. Their last album was in 2013. Better late than never of course, but July 28th can’t come soon enough.

 

And New Foo Fighters too!

The Foos always do just that bit extra for their music videos. And by that I mean they really really like to play dress-up. The video sees Dave Grohl and the Boys as old men, playing to a group of rowdy seniors. The song itself is called Run, and is the heaviest opening single the band have ever put out. Grohl kills his voice with gruff yells and Taylor Hawkins drums with more flair than ever before. Having three guitars comes to their advantage and the track is one of their richest.

 

SWIDT to open for YG

Straight Outta Onehunga supporting Straight Outta Compton.

SWIDT (AKA See What I Did There?) are supporting Compton rapper YG on his upcoming show at the Logan Campbell Centre this month. The five-piece hail from the Auckland suburb of Onehunga and create some of the smoothest stuff out there. For people like me who spent a large part of their teen years in this part of Auckland, it’s really exciting to see its cultural flavour translating so well into music.

SWIDT will be worth the price of admission alone as these lads have really great chemistry. Of course, YG’s playing too. He was great when he broke out in 2014 and has only grown as an artist since. Last year he dropped FDT, the ultimate protest song – political and funky as heck. If you’re over 18, attending this show is a no-brainer.

 

Oh, and David Dallas is opening for Future

Our other South Auckland great is David Dallas. Like SWIDT, Dallas will be opening for a hip-hop superstar later this year. We were chuffed last week when news broke that Future would be playing Spark Arena in September, and the fact that DDot will be opening just makes it that much better.

 

The Bats smash it home-town style

The Bats have just finished their New Zealand tour in Christchurch and I seriously pity anybody who missed it.

The band broke out with the rest of the Flying Nun class some thirty years ago now, but listening to the power still present in their voice you would never have guessed that it’s been so long. The band has the ability to really utilise the chemistry between the members. Consequently, the vocal arrangements between the guitarists was easily the best part of the night. The show however, was far more than just a pleasant sing-along. The band’s musicianship is unrivalled, and the passion they have for churning out new music is evident by the standard in which their latest, The Deep Set, was played live. 

The band were in their natural home at The Gym (and literal home – The Bats are actually from Christchurch). The venue has recently re-opened with the rest of the Arts Centre in central Christchurch and the Gothic architecture reflected their mournful sound. They’re definitely not your typical 80s indie rockers though. Their stage banter alone suggests they’re not really sad sacks.

Ka pai The Bats, and good luck in Europe! 

 

Click here if you missed out on last week’s Haul.

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