Artisan Awards 2016 Results

With the awards season now in full swing, last night Recorded Music NZ celebrated its newly badged Artisan Awards, previously known simply as the Technical Awards, on the 14th floor of Auckland’s Pullman Hotel.

Hosted by entertainment reporter Kate Rodger, the awards give nods to producers, engineers, designers and music video makers.

The big winner of the night was Joel Little who, although absent, gained two Tuis ( Best Engineer and Best Producer) for his work in both roles on Broods’ ‘Conscious’ album. In a video message from his home in LA Joel acknowledged his children who had to live with their dad’s late night recording sessions in the room next door to them during the creation of the album.

Graphic designer Anns Taylor won her second Tui for illustrating the cover artwork for ‘Absolute Truth’ by her partner James Milne’s band Lawrence Arabia.

First time music video maker Chris Lane took home the Tui for Best Video – recognition of his work on the music video for Avalanche City’s single Inside Out.

Anna Coddington: A Better Kind Of Luck For A Different Kind Of Time

With her first album, ‘The Lake’, dating back to 2008, Anna Coddington is no viral sensation one-hit wonder – and she has never wanted to be. The decision to take a more gradual approach to audience outreach has ensured a sense of confidence – both for her listeners and from herself as Briar Lawry discovers.

Anna Coddington is an unfailingly creative, charismatic, and pragmatic woman. She has been a Silver Scroll finalist, calls all manner of Kiwi musical luminaries mates, has regularly been part of the evolving Fly My Pretties project, and she’s released two albums to critical acclaim. Her third is inevitably about to rack up just as much appreciation again.

Continue reading Anna Coddington: A Better Kind Of Luck For A Different Kind Of Time

Strikemaster: Sun For A Change

As reported first in the Kapiti Observer, Strikemaster have finally released their debut album – 35 years after forming. Thundering across your speakers as if 1986 never rolled ‘round the trio have found the perfect blend of pre-glam metal pomp and AC/DC chest-beating. People will no doubt be quick to make Steel Panther references, but there are no jokes to be found here, just three (now) old geezers giving it hell. Having knocked it on its head back in 1992 after a decade of rocking Wellington, three years ago the band performed at Bodega ‘for old time’s sake’. Blown away by the crowds that turned out they haven’t looked back since. Well, two tracks are from their earlier days, but the other eight here are new. Let’s not beat around the bush, their music is dated, but that’s not the point. ‘Sun For A Change’ feels like a thank you to the fans and a victory lap for Steve Elliot (bass/vocals), Paul Cullen (guitars) and drummer Brian Desmond. Recorded by Mike Gibson, care has been taken to make it walk the line between studio record and live album, cheers and jeers can be heard over the top of fretboard heroics. Still influenced by the likes of Deep Purple while heavily informed by the punk/metal mix that shook up the metal world via the likes of Motorhead, tracks Obsessed and Neighborhood Spy show more than a touch of classic Mötley Crue. While certainly applaudable (these boys do have some serious chops), at times the songwriting is more than a tad cliché – the chorus to Dangerous Man downright cringey. They released an album of live takes back in 1984, but there’s no doubting this is the record Strikemaster were (eventually) always going to make. • Sammy Jay Dawson

Helen Henderson: London

From her musical beginnings in Invercargill to arriving in London in the late ’70s with a handful of songs and 50 quid, timing and musical fortune were kind to Helen Henderson. After landing a record deal with a label that was home to The Boomtown Rats and Sinead O’Connor, to name a couple of prominent label mates, Henderson proceeded to pair up with prominent session musicians and record the collection of songs that only now has surfaced as ‘London’. The master tapes languished in a vault for a quarter century until co-songwriter Bob Rosenberg uncovered them. Henderson’s gift is the ease in which the songs seem to come to her and her storytelling ability is obvious, songs painting vivid pictures of the characters involved contrasting with others sung in first person. Listen To The Wind is filled with hope while Anyone’s Baby is possibly more autobiographical. Children Of The Night stands out as the album’s gritty rocker amongst a collection of retrospective love songs. With quality songs, musicians and engineering, time has been kind to these recordings and the songs still stand strong. With stylistic parallels to Sharon O’Neill and a confident songwriting individuality, Helen Henderson proves a timeless treasure worth (re-)discovering. • Stu Edwards