25 Oct 2019

Song Crush: Laurie Anderson, Tinariwen, Secret Knives

From Song Crush, 5:03 pm on 25 October 2019

Some dreamy new local releases, thirsty soul, desert blues and Tibetan meditation music feature on Song Crush this week.

Worlds of Music host Trevor Reekie, and RNZ engineer and music commentator Jana Whitta join host Kirsten Johnstone. 

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Brittany Howard

Brittany Howard Photo: Supplied - Sony

Brittany Howard - Georgia 

Brittany Howard was the frontwoman for blues rock band Alabama Shakes, but she has gone solo for this new album Jamie, a diverse listen which would appeal to fans of D’Angelo, Prince, Anderson Paak, Kendrick Lamar and even Tame Impala. 

This song Georgia is named after Georgia Anne Muldrow - an artist who Brittany admires. One day she started singing “I just want Georgia to notice me” over and over, so took that hook and wrote the song from the perspective of a young black girl, having a crush on an older black girl, and not being able to tell her: 

“Georgia, I think if I got you alone
You could tell I'm being really sincere
And I can't help the way that I was born to be
I ain't no little boy’’ JW

Check out her new NPR Tiny Desk session here 

Secret Knives - Spinning Top

Secret Knives is the work of a Wellington man named Ash Smith, whose last album Affection was back in 2010, and perhaps didn’t get the attention it deserved because of the lack of live shows. He’s been whittling away at this one with the help of friends including Grayson Gilmour, Jon Lemmon, Womb’s Charlotte Forrester, and drummer Cory Champion. 

Snuff is an ambitious, maximalist album that takes influence from dream-pop, shoegaze and electronic music, all tightly wound melodies and intensely felt emotions. The opening cut 'Spinning Top' showcases the album well, with swooping strings, cage rattling percussion, repetitive piano and a crunchy guitar solo. KJ

Tinariwen - Kel Tinawen (feat. Cass McCombs)  

Forty year old Tuareg Desert-blues band, Tinariwen, who I’ve heard described as one of the best guitar bands in the last 20 years released their eighth album last month. Amadjar, (meaning ‘the foreign traveler’) was recorded by a French production team in an old camper van converted to a studio, as they travelled between Morocco and Mauritania. Recorded in natural settings, it captures the nomadic soul and hypnotic sound of the band.TR

Sports Dreams - SD 3 

Sports Dreams are duo Shannen Petersen and Fraser Williams from Palmerston North. This is their first Self Titled EP and it’s already gaining them attention. Give it a go If you’re a fan of Cocteau Twins or dream-pop. 

I asked Shannen about the band, she said lots of inspiration for the album was taken from taking the Capital Connection train between Wellington and Palmerston North with lots of sunsets and time for reflection. The EP is mostly about growing and learning to be sure of yourself, trusting yourself and that is the theme of the track I am highlighting today - called 'SD3'. JW

Laurie Anderson,Tenzin Choegyal, and Jesse Paris Smith - JigTen

LA released an album last month called Songs From the Bardo, in collaboration with Tibetian musician Tenzin Choegyal and composer Jesse Paris Smith (Patti Smith’s daughter).  

It’s Laurie’s reading of the Tibetan book of the dead - The Bardo Thodol - which is a guide for souls between death and rebirth. And really, if you’re going to be in purgatory, I can’t think of a more pleasant voice to be guided by than Laurie Anderson. I could listen to it for eternity, if necessary. 

But she doesn’t need to be on this song 'JigTen'. Over a bed of  Tibetan danyen (like a banjo) strings and piano pulses, singer Tenzin Choegyal captivates completely, lulling you in, and then emotionally lifting you up to the final release. KJ

Hear all the songs and more on our Spotify Playlist