11 Feb 2015

Weekly listening: Best new music

10:51 am on 11 February 2015

Zac Arnold, with a revolving cast of contributors from the Music 101 and Wireless teams, showcase some of the best new music releases from the past week.

Photo: Team Cat Food

Photo: Team Cat Food Photo: Team Cat Food

Team Cat Food - Cushion Plant / Gold In Quartz

Just like that, Auckland’s Team Cat Food have dropped a double release - Cushion Plant and Gold In Quartz. The former "for dancin'", while the latter is "for romancin'”.

I don’t dance and I don’t know how to fire poi, so the likelihood of catching me grinding my teeth at 4am to the six tracks on Cushion Plant is low but the doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the floating synth pads, the busy hi-hats and the ingenious song titles.

Gold In Quartz is of similar to its predecessor but with slower tempos, less high hat and some aching vocals (s/o to Seth Frightening) scattered in for that pre/post coitus spoon vibe. - Zac Arnold

The Other's Way, A Compilation

Full disclousure: I put this compilation together for Flying Out. If that is too #braggadocious feel free to stop reading and just click through and swap your email for the compilation. Spawned from a steamy jacuzzi meeting early in 2014, The Other’s Way was to become an event run once a month showcasing either new bands or more familiar faces with new releases.

The 30 track compilation features the artists in the order the played throughout the year, plus new or unreleased material from Caroles, Shanalog, Avoid! Avoid, Stef Animal and Caitlin Blake. There’s even a comedy track thanks to Joseph Harper. - Zac Arnold

A-1 - 'Good People'

‘Good People’ is the latest track from San Francisco rapper A-1 (born Adam Traore) whose mixtape THURLIAN is dropping next month. For this, the half-Italian, half-Senegalese MC teamed up with BEAR//FACE and says he loved his track ‘Taste My Sad’ so much he decided to “throw some raps on it and make a song about good people, because we appreciate good folks”.

‘Good People’ is a good song, but not his best. It’s smooth and lyrical and speaks to life’s hard moments  (“This for my people juggling them bills / Fighting off depression but still counting up their blessings"), but it doesn’t grab me the way I want it to. If you’re looking for A-1 at his finest, check out 'There I Go' - a bouncy, cheeky piece that has less feels but more bang. - Mava Moayyed

Kendrick Lamar - 'The Blacker The Berry'

Following a pretty upbeat yet unfulfilling night at the Grammy awards, which saw Kendrick Lamar pick up best rap song and best rap performance nods, the Boi-1da produced ‘The Blacker The Berry’ found its way online, capturing the mix of apprehension and aggression that felt purposely excluded from previous single ‘I’.

The track’s a fierce statement, seeing him grapple with an internal dialogue of self-love and self-doubt and the struggles of race and hypocrisy within America. He goes for it too: “I’m African, I’m as black as the heart of a f*ckin’ Aryan”, he says, voice raw with frustration and anger, while his tone reflects the imbalance of the situation he’s describing.

This is the Kendrick we’ve been waiting on. - Hussein Moses

Aporia - 'Pop Plague'

'Pop Plague' is the first single from the forthcoming EP Heaven Force Early Fall by Aporia, the brainchild of Mitchell James O'Sullivan. 

It's a complete and clear vision, although the vocal interplay between the male/female vocals isn’t as balanced as it could be. I could only assume that the male voice is low in the mix so you have to concentrate to understand the lyrics, especially referencing Jimmy Saville’s sex crimes.  All in all though, it's a pretty solid first start. - Zac Arnold

Honourable mentions

Action Bronson - 'Big League Chew'
Unknown Mortal Orchestra - 'Multi Love'
A Place To Bury Strangers - 'Transfixiation'

Did we miss something? Tell us about it in the comments section.