EPS by Yasmin Brown

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EPS by Yasmin Brown

With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column by the informed and opinionated Yasmin Brown.

She will scoop up some of those many EP releases, in much the same way as our SHORT CUTS column picks up albums by New Zealand artists, and IN BRIEF does for international artists. 

You can read her previous columns here and Yasmin's profile appears at the end of these brief but pointed reviews . . .

All of these EPs are available on Spotify (links provided).

George After James: Wait For You

george_after_jamesIf you’re looking for some folky loveliness borne straight out of New Zealand, then George After James is definitely worth a few minutes of your time. Carrying the music is James Fistonich, the mind behind this project, bringing listeners five soft and emotive tracks through the use of his raspy vocals that soar easily into falsetto, supported by consistent riffs and soothing acoustics throughout.

One I Call Home is a strong contender for stand out track, a sweet song that’s filled with ideals of a comfortable and strong love with a sound reminiscent of Bon Iver, but the real highlight comes with the acoustically driven Goodbye, a track that pulls you in despite its simplicity, leaving you in a trance-like state as you reflect on your own sad farewells.

The EP’s finale is a strong one, coming in the form of Wait for You, driven by a subtle electric guitar and soft vocal breaths. It’s a catchy and emotional track, leaving your chest thumping as it builds up with a number of additional elements as it progresses to its end.

As far as debut releases go, Wait For You is simply stunning, continuing to highlight the fact that New Zealand is home to some of the best modern folk music the world has to offer.

You can hear this EP on Spotify here.

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Robinson: Watching You

robbieIf there was ever going to be a New Zealand success story that rivals that of Lorde, it may well be Robinson. Understandably having become platinum levels of popular across Australia and New Zealand, Nelson-born Anna Robinson has dropped her first EP - a release that is on a level with the strongest and most appreciated female pop artists in the current industry.

The EP consists of just four tracks, but each one will easily appeal to pop fans internationally, their catchy nature and relatable themes making them accessible to all. If -- as a 20-something person dealing with heartbreak -- you’re not being made to feel completely understood in I Tried, you may be relating to the pain and desperation of wanting blissful ignorance in Lie to Me. You’ll still be choking back your tears as Don’t Say kicks in, allowing for three and a half minutes of wistful reminiscing before you truly let everything go in the EP’s title track, Watching You, almost too clearly imagining the one you love fall for someone else.

Robinson’s vocals throughout cannot be faulted, and her superstar qualities will shine through from beginning to end. While for the most part, her popularity begins and ends in oceania, with tracks like these, it’s only a matter of time before she finds herself a household name in pop music internationally.

You can hear this EP on Spotify here.

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Dr. Reknaw: Earthly Delights

doctorIn recent years, creating music that fits into just one genre has become something of a faux pas in music, and Kiwi 7-piece Dr. Reknaw have taken that knowledge and put together an EP filled with a multitude of sounds in an attempt to keep things interesting.

Aside from Intro, however - an electronic track that uses sample sounds of what you can comfortably assume have been taken from NZ nature - much of the album could be said to fall heavily under the reggae and soul umbrella, with wind instruments taking centre stage and saxophone solos aplenty. Front woman Julia Cooper’s vocals sit alongside the music seamlessly with their smooth, velvety, jazzy tones, and there are a number of unpredictable moments that startle you out of your complacent enjoyment of the tracks, making it more interesting than similar artists on the market today.

While the music is technically perfect, during longer tracks such as Face to Face and Lover - both of which clock in at over five minutes each - you may well find yourself feeling a little bored by the repetitiveness of the music and lyrics, a shame considering the excitement that they evoke at the beginning of each piece. It is the band’s first release, and it may be with time and experimentation that the music starts to evolve into something bigger - the foundations are certainly there.

You can hear this EP on Spotify here.

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Jake Love: Soccer

jakeThere’s nothing sweeter than an EP that circles the idea of proud and cheesy love, and stripped back to its simplest form, Jake Love has provided us with just that. With subtle nods to MGMT’s statement sound, his debut EP Soccer has promise, however as you make your way through, you’ll find it falls slightly short of hitting the mark.

Thematically, Love shows himself to be a respectful and thoughtful man, and credit should be given for the warm sensations that will envelop you as you take in his words, however the music itself is unfortunately repetitive to the point of verging on dull, and the monotony of Love’s voice will leave you desperately wishing for some variety. The EP is sprinkled with moments of greatness, and from the lovely vocal effects that appear in Blue and the sleepy chimes that define Going to Sleep, there is certainly an opportunity for growth. With that said, however, the six tracks blend into one another, with very little setting these songs apart, and as the EP draws to a close you’ll find yourself feeling uninspired, wanting just a little bit more than Love currently has to offer.

You can hear this EP on Spotify here.

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Yasmin Brown is a dedicated music lover and avid critic, who completed her PGDip in Communication Studies at Auckland University of Technology. She’s at her peak when buried in the middle of a mosh pit, and now continues to pursue her love of live music journalism in Cambridge, UK, often finding herself popping to London to check out her favourite bands, as well as discovering a mass of new talent.

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