Brotha D & the Dawn Raid Family, ‘Element of Surprise’ (Dawn Raid/Universal) 5/5
Heavyweight Brotha D celebrates Dawn Raid’s triumphant return with an all star cast of local hiphoppers (and Akon).
ipod essential – It’s Alright
Goldenhorse, ‘Reporter’ (EMI) 4/5
More perfectly-formed pop from Morrell and co, who take slightly new-wave direction on some tracks.
ipod essential – Streetlights
The Darlings, ‘The Cicada Sessions’ (Ode) 3/5
Glossy, country-inflected adult contemporary pop from three vastly experienced local musicians.
ipod essential – Crash
Anika Moa, ‘In Swings the Tide’ (EMI) 4/5
A beautiful album (despite a couple of weaker tracks). Assured but subtle songwriting and performances.
ipod essential – The Blind Woman
The Low Spark, Out in the Ozone (Self Released) 3/5
Ambitious indie rock from the mean streets of Dunedin. Occasional Pavement and Crazy Horse moments.
ipod essential – Pale Pire
Johnny Devlin, ‘How Would Ya Be: The Prestige Years 1958-1959’ (Ode) 4/5
Comprehensive, fascinating, and long overdue retrospective of the Wanganui Elvis.
ipod essential – I Got A Rocket In My Pocket
Danny McCrum Band, ‘Awake and Restless’ (Elite) 3/5
Squeaky clean, faultless, and largely dull guitar pop from NZ’s answer to John Mayer.
ipod essential – Put It In the Middle
Batacuda Sound Machine, ‘Rhythm & Rhyme’ (Border Music) 3/5
Rootsy live dance music fusing latin percussion with reggae and funk, and an MC.
ipod essential – Hechicera Parts 1& 2
Tiki, ‘Past, Present, Future’ (Tikidub Productions) 4/5
Heady journey through reggae, jungle, soul, ambient, and the history of Aotearoa, from vocalist and production guru Tiki Taane.
ipod essential – Faded (feat P Digsss)
The Bleeders, ‘The Bleeders’ (Universal) 4/5
Formulaic punk-metal for the kids: pop hooks, designer tattoos, and lashings of angst.
ipod essential – No Hope Left
Pluto, ‘Sunken Water’ (EMI) 2/5
Style beats content in this turgid collection of record-collector pop-rock.
ipod essential – Nineteen Sixty Three