What's going on? There is an avalanche of great new releases at the moment. In fact, there are too many to cover in one episode of Counting the Beat. Watch out for a second April round-up coming soon.
Dudley Benson won a Counting The Beat Alternatui for best male solo artist way back in 2006. This month he has just released his debut album, The Awakening. This is in much the same vein as his two earlier EPs, featuring his trained classical voice, choir and strings. So not your standard pop fare then. Part of what I like about this album is the sheer "what the hell!?" element. Probably not everyone's cup of tea but an accomplished work from an original and talented artist. Worth checking out are a video about the making of this unique album on the video page and a live performance on National Radio (stream).
Collapsing Cities (another Alternatui winner) are an altogether different prospect. Their debut album, Elixir Always, is all tight, guitar driven indie pop, kind of like an antipodean Franz Ferdinand. Like their earlier EP, of which two songs reappear on this album, just about every song has the hooks and drive to be single. There's not a dud here. Great lyrics too - highly autobiographical tales of life as a guy in his early twenties with a wry humorous touch - "if I'm still a telemarketer next year I think I'll end my life". There are a couple of clips on the video page and some free downloadable remixes of album tracks here.
The Winchesters are one of a crop of new bands that seem to be highly influenced by the new indie blues sound of bands like The White Stripes and The Black Keys. And there's nothing wrong with that. Their self titled EP features four infectious fast paced guitar driven numbers. A standout is opening track 'Down in Huntly'. I'm a big fan of songs that feature New Zealand place names. As a blog only bonus you will find links below to download two Counting The Beat placename specials below - I've Been Everywhere and I've Been Everywhere and Back
Concluding this new releases round up is An Emerald City, yet another another Alternatui winner (best instrumental 2007). An Emerald City play moody instrumental pieces that aren't a million miles from Aussie band The Dirty Three, but with an Eastern influence. The band have just released a four track self titled EP that includes the track 'Qing Song' that will be well known to bFM listeners along with two newies, 'A Question' and 'Mr Finn'. This band have been receiving good reviews for their live performances and a heap of student radio airplay for a couple of years. It's good that they finally have something out.
Download the Counting The Beat - New Releases April 08 Podcast
Blog Only Bonus: Counting The Beat Placename Specials
Download Counting The Beat - I've Been Everywhere
Download Counting The Beat - I've Been Everywhere And Back