Without doubt, one of Australia’s most unique, eclectic and fearless artists, as evidenced by her electric shows, spine-tingling vocal deliveries and outrageous costumes, Ngaiire was born in Papua New Guinea, and spent her first few years in NZ, growing up listening to opera; reggae; Australian Top 40, and her Mum’s Mariah Carey and Cliff Richard albums. It wasn’t until Ngaiire’s family moved to Australian that her musical outlook went wide lens. She heard Ani DiFranco, Jeff Buckley, Tool, Sarah Vaughan, Debussy and Gershwin for the first time, and went to her first ever gig – Machine Gun Fellatio, officially blowing her mind.
Joining bands and studying for her Bachelor of Jazz Studies at the Conservatorium of Music, Ngaiire somehow ended up on Australian Idol – hint: it was her incredible voice that did it. The more illuminating experiences, though, were touring extensively throughout the UK, Japan, Europe and Canada as a backing singer with Blue King Brown, and commencing an enduring collaborative friendship with electronic music don Paul Mac. Ngaiire, global citizen, now felt she had the universe in the palm of her hands.
Releasing her future-soul debut Lamentations in 2013 to some acclaim, leading to her first ever slot at Glastonbury and shows with Alicia Keys and John Legend, Ngaiire has left no genre unturned in her search for herself. While she’s spent time writing music for dance companies, creating crazy sound installations for David Walsh’s MONA FOMA, collaborating with fashion designers, dreaming of working with Warhol and Phillip Glass and generally being a boho-R’n’B- weirdo-dilettante, the biggest project for this powerhouse performer has been new record Blastoma.
As the corner stone of Australia’s ‘east meets west’ electronic scene, Tijuana Cartel have a knack for blending layers of rich, intricate atmospheric soundscapes with laid back rhythms and luscious vocals to form an electronic beats tapestry that will cut through to your very soul.
Simply, there isn’t another band doing what they do. Having spent the last decade mixing in influences that haven’t been fused in the past, their penchant is for Middle Eastern scales, beats that get a floor moving and a general Psychedelic approach in song structure and ethos. Not married to one genre or another, they happily change direction in search of new flavors and inspiration, whenever the moment takes them there.
Bound together by their mutual love of instrumental, Trippy and mind-expanding music, Paul George and Carey O’Sullivan are a truly formidable force. With shared early memories of hearing tubular bells and falling for the musical escapism they created, they have emerged as one of the country’s most exciting acts and it would appear that their legion of fans whole heartedly approve.
Track: White Dove
Australia’s favourite psych rock sisters Stonefield’s renowned, incendiary live show should be tight as a drum after a massive year of touring worldwide in support of their acclaimed sophomore LP As Above, So Below. The follow-up to 2013’s self-titled debut, the album reaffirms the solid position of the four-piece in Australian’s cranking psych-rock scene. The record is a musical coming-of-age: sprawling soundscapes and lyrical depth showcases the group’s progressing musical maturity. The 10-track juggernaut delicately and boldly displays the Findlays’ signature penchants for kaleidoscopic guitar riffs, swirling melodies and hallucinogenic vocals. If their track record for smashing their sold out live sets is anything to go by, their show is not to be missed!
Track: Golden Dream
Highly decorated at home and abroad, Ladi6’s career is embossed with industry awards, considered critical acclaim, and countless international shows alongside a who’s who of respected music icons.
Ladi6’s just released third studio album, Automatic, was recorded between Studio A in Detroit, Michigan and Revolver Studios in Waiuku. The first single Ikarus has been described as a beautiful amalgamation of soul and futuristic hip-hop complemented by Ladi6’s hypnotic vocals.
Ladi6 has been a vital part of the NZ hip hop scene since its inception. She began her musical career in all female hip hop crew Sheelahroc and developed her lyrically introspective smoky soul sound over years of consistent touring and features alongside an Antipodean elite including the likes of 50HZ, Shapeshifter, Fat Freddy’s Drop and Scribe.
The Kill Devil Hills have once more surmounted the tyranny of distance, that lonely stretch the Triffids wrote about, touring Australia in support of their fourth studio album In On Under Near Water
Live, The Kill Devil Hills play with the swagger and self-assured confidence of a band on top of their game. And rightly so, the highly regarded purveyors of rock angst, sun-ripened restraint and fierce poetry have just released, In On Under Near Water, which Sydney Morning Herald proclaimed “is as intense as it is sparse, with the album’s potency deriving as much from the distance as from the band’s bruising cadences and singer Brendon Humphries’ evocative lyrics” (4 stars), while The Guardian asserted, “In On Under Near Water is a brilliant showcase of what the Devils do best”. In On Under Near Water thoughtfully segues from brooding prog-rock, into eerie atmospherics and spectral balladry. The melodies and arrangements are innovative, and woven tight, while the lyrics and their delivery are both warm, poignant and at turns unsettling.
Track: Drinkin Too Much
From deep in the South Pacific, Cornerstone Roots pay respect to the colossal world of Jamaican reggae, while confidently bringing their own influences and uplifting messages to the mix.
This approach of classic cool and future consciousness has helped set the tone for reggae in Aotearoa New Zealand since 2001 when vocalist/guitarist Brian Ruawai and bass player and partner Naomi Tuao established Cornerstone Roots.
Based in Raglan/Whaingaroa in Waikato (NZ), they bring the power of Maori and Samoan culture with a deep knowledge for authentic roots music, dub and ska to the stage and studio.
Merging Jazz elements in their fusion hip hop with an aggressive vocal style that falls somewhere between the energetic bounces of Rage Against the Machine and the funk come street verses of Mos Def, the six piece hit the stage hard and snatched punters in.Fresh off the back of support for the brilliant Sampa The Great, Remi, Spit Syndicate and Koi Child, Pow! Negro are rocking stages across Fremantle and Western Australia with their dynamic live show. Exploring areas of hip-hop, jazz, psychedelic, grunge and soul music their groovy, sexy, saxy performance is sure to get bodies moving.
Nelson Mondlane (MC) is relentless is his swooping vocals as he swaggers in a Florida Panthers jersey with confidence in spades. With a short and snapping set, Pow Negro have hit the mark as one of the most exciting and unique new breeds of Perth bands emerging at the moment.
“Hard sound to pin down: broken hearted alt-country then it flies off into this amazing duel slide guitar meets lapsteel – almost Television Tom Verlainesq meets Ry Cooder moments all centred around Matt Walkers beautifully dark voice, understated super tight bass and that crazy horse style minimal drumming.”
” It’s like Sturgill Simpson and Beck jamming with the ghost of Harry Nilsson”
Post To Wire, 2015.
Track: Murderous & Insane
Jess Ribeiro is an award winning singer songwriter inspired by artists as diverse as The Velvet Underground to Dusty Springfield. She has been compared to the likes of Karen Dalton and Cat Power and supported and performed with artists including Nick Cave, Steve Earle and Tim Rogers. Her most recent album Kill it Yourself , produced by acclaimed musician/producer Mick Harvey, dives headlong into hazy rock, landscape ambience and melodious 60’s psych.
Track: Kill It Yourself