26 Jan 2019

Song Crush - Ep 1: Sharon Van Etten/Lawrence Arabia

From Song Crush, 1:30 pm on 26 January 2019

Song Crush is RNZ Music's new weekly podcast where we bring you the best new music. Hosted by audio obsessive Kirsten Johnstone, SongCrush is a handpicked selection of what's good and great from Aoteraoa and abroad. No algorithms were used in the making of this program.

Lawrence Arabia

Lawrence Arabia Photo: Amelia Handscomb

This week host Kirsten Johnstone is joined by RNZ music producers Tony Stamp, and Yadana Saw, The Sampler’s Nick Bollinger (who is off writing a book for the next six months) and Sharon Van Etten super-fan John Campbell.

Lawrence Arabia - Just Sleep (Your Shame Will Keep)

The twelfth and final track from James ‘Lawrence Arabia’ Milne’s twelve-singles-in-twelve-months Singles Club project is the crowning glory of the now-complete album: a wistful lullaby for anxious adults, adorned with a Van Dyke Parks arrangement. For the uninitiated, Parks was Brian Wilson’s collaborator on the legendary Smile, his lush and idiosyncratic orchestrations have graced records by everyone from Ry Cooder to Joanna Newsom, and his work on this track is up there with the best of them. As for Milne, he sounds right at home in such rarefied settings, with a song worthy of any of Parks’ past collaborators. Nick Bollinger

Sharon Van Etten -  Seventeen

The kind of triumphant, swing-for-the-fences song that could fall flat in the hands of a lesser artist, ‘Seventeen’ is Sharon Van Etten channelling Springsteen and nailing it. An ode to NYC that feels like an accompaniment to one of The Boss’s New Jersey anthems, Van Etten’s voice soars over John Congleton’s maximalist production as she addresses her younger self, to both heart-warming and heart-rending effect. Tony Stamp

Sharon Van Etten - No One’s Easy To Love

"This is just such a great song, and for me it’s doing two things simultaneously - it’s new Sharon and old Sharon, with this grinding, dirging drive, which is quite dark and industrial and really electronic, but then she goes up, to the upper vocal reaches, in the chorus she goes high and I love it when she does that, because it’s so raw and real and human and visceral." John Campbell

Miss Grit - Talk Talk

Sometimes a song embeds itself in my brain so quickly that I wonder if I’ve heard it before. And there are definitely a few familiar elements - that shimmering arpeggiated chord that starts the song is reminiscent of Phoenix Foundation’s Buffalo. That gritty guitar sound is one that St Vincent is known for. But then the song takes a sudden, surprising swerve, into something more original. The tension is palpable, as she sings ‘dear, be kind to me, don’t talk, talk’ and skitters up to unleash the crowning chorus.

Miss Grit is a band fronted by Margaret Sohn, an audio engineering student in NYC who makes guitar pedals and music in her spare time from her dorm room. If this first EP is anything to go by, we’ll be hearing lots more from her. Kirsten Johnstone

Masego - Prone

This is a certifiable earworm. From his debut studio album Lady Lady, Masego describes himself as Trap House Jazz artist. He is the son of a pastor, his mother was also the musical director of the church, so music - in particular gospel is definitely something the twenty five year old is steeped in. He’s a bit of a musical polymath - he played drums in church, but can also have a hoon on the sax.

File Masego under Maxwell, Usher and all the kinda smooth laid back jazzy beats that work in the summertime - or an afternoon in Albert Park. Yadana Saw

Dbldbl x Trapjaw Kelpie – Bumpy

The first thing that gets you is Kelpie’s irresistible beat. Then Dbldbl’s flow adds another layer of amiable seduction. It doesn’t sound quite like any hip-hop I’ve heard before. Pīki Tanguru jumps on a verse. ‘Bout to pop a manu off the jetty’. I love it. Tony Stamp

Listen to Bumpy here or on our Spotify playlist, below

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