Luke Hurley

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Luke Hurley is a living legend in New Zealand music. He has been writing, recording and playing in Aotearoa since 1970.

Currently based in Auckland, Luke has travelled widely in the past throughout New Zealand and Europe playing festivals, pubs, cafes and private parties. In the past he has toured with iconic singer/songwriters Michelle Shocked and Marianne Faithful.

Luke stands out from the crowd both for his incisive, insightful lyrics – on topics ranging from the meaning of life to the search for a good cup of tea – and his unique and powerful guitar technique.

Luke’s live performances and 8 studio albums have won him fans around New Zealand and the world. Several of his songs such as “Mona Lisa”, “2 Degrees Out” and “Reha” have achieved Kiwi anthem status.

Luke Hurley has developed as a highly accomplished singer songwriter over the last 25 years. Thousands of New Zealanders and many fans from abroad have followed Luke’s original technique. Luke never ceases to continue playing, his guitars and studies reflect a meaningful journey; uncovering and challenging the most oppressive barriers consumer culture places into today’s pop culture.

Introducing Edwina and Deko

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Two travellers leave their homes by the sea and meet in a German class in Berlin. He was searching for a change. She wasn’t searching for anything. They decided to play music together for fun, but soon discovered a shared passion for harmonies and 60s folk. After only a few gigs the pair locked themselves away in a studio for three days to record their joint album “Berlin Seasons”. Nostalgically seeking the sound of an earlier musical era, their album was recorded almost totally live bringing out their pure, acoustic sound and raw emotion.

Deko is a musician, songwriter and producer from the seaport of Trieste in northeastern Italy, where the mountains meet the sea. Edwina grew up on the northern beaches of Sydney, Australia.

Berlin is their debut single from their forthcoming album to be released early March. Download the single for free from our SoundCloud page.

Edwina & Deko’s debut album Berlin Seasons out now

Introducing Edwina & Deko, two travellers who left their homes by the sea and met in a German class in Berlin.

Deko (Enrico Decolle), is a songwriter, musician and producer from Trieste in northeastern Italy, where the mountains meet the sea. Forced to choose between music and his career as a sociologist after university, he chose to be himself: a musician at heart. He became well known as an independent rock musician in Italy through his bands “Alias” and “Breakfast”, but as the band’s enthusiasm dwindled he needed new inspiration, which he found in Berlin. The city’s unique acoustic music scene made him realise he could reinvent himself as a one man band and inspired him to record his first solo album, The Last Goodbye, in 2011.

Meanwhile in the antipodes Edwina Dunn was growing up listening to the Beatles and Don McLean on vinyl. She inherited her brother’s guitar at age 15 and taught herself to play it well enough to be able to sing along with her Beatles songbook. During the years she spent at law school in Sydney and Paris and then working as a lawyer in London, the guitar mostly collected dust, until she moved to Berlin.

Edwina and Deko met in German class, both trying to adapt to their new city and speak its language. Their teacher set the class the task of describing a famous person in German. When Edwina chose Paul McCartney and Deko chose John Lennon it wasn’t long before Edwina had dusted off her guitar and the pair got together to play some Beatles covers. Deko was surprised by what he heard. There was something in Edwina’s voice and the emotion she conveyed when she played which reminded him of an earlier era, something very pure and free from modern singing techniques, something very 60’s. With Deko’s encouragement, Edwina started writing her own songs and not long afterwards the pair recorded an EP in Edwina’s Berlin flat. Soon after Deko invited Edwina to follow him on tour in Germany and Italy. Audiences started to ask whether they had a joint CD and with more new songs on the way Edwina & Deko now had enough new material to record an album together.

One snowy weekend in March 2013 during a short break from touring the duo locked themselves away in a studio in East Berlin, along with their co-producer Jacopo Vannini and sound engineer, Tobias Neugebauer, and recorded “Berlin Seasons” in only three days. It was no mean feat, but recording the ten songs almost totally live, they managed it. The result was an authentic album with a pure, acoustic sound and raw emotion typical of their live performances.

Flow Signs, the haunting album by Francesco Giannico & Theo Allegretti

The project “Flow Signs” was born by the encounter of Francesco Giannico, electroacoustic musician and video artist, with Theo Allegretti, ambient-jazz pianist and composer, based on a common poetic and musical sensibility that favors natural landscapes, surreal environments and rich interior scenarios, such as particular places from which emerge suggestions that would provide a different view also of our daily life worlds.

The flow can catapult us into a mental state of conscious unawareness, as though being swept away by a current of water and similarly Francesco Giannico (laptop, field recordings, objects, guitar) and Theo Allegretti (grand piano, prepared piano), with such an expressive approach, create a single cinematic and visionary stream.

The intuitive, improvised and atypical use of the piano, dropped within ambient and minimal atmospheres and enriched by contemporary jazz strokes, moves hovering always on the lookout for a blend with the interventions brought into play by the other artist that are realized in real-time reprocessing of sound material, distended atmospheres created thanks to the help of pads, glitch, rattles, squeaks and sounds of memory.

Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) wrote about Francesco Giannico: “This young Italian electro-acoustic composer in whose work we can hear tendrils of everything from Luigi Nono to Toru Takemitsu. Filled with odd details, the music is fascinating.”

Sleepy Wolf’s beguiling debut album out now

Sleepy Wolf are a New Zealand-based duo that play whimsical, beautiful stripped-back acoustic music. Their self titled debut album is out now.

Sleepy Wolf consists of Karin Bettley on vocals and Sam Benge on guitar and baking vocals . Their sound is made unique by Karin’s soulful and timeless voice and well as Sam’s rich textured guitar playing.

The core of the album was recorded in just one day with the main vocal and guitar takes done live in one take as if they were playing in the living room like they have always done. Very little editing was done with all the added layers done in uninterrupted takes. Sam then played around with adding extra guitar layers including electric slide guitar, electric lead guitar, keyboards and backing vocals. Sam Prebble aka Bond Street Bridge was brought into to add violin on the tracks which has brought an extra dimension to the songs.

Sam Benge began his musical journey learning classical guitar which he took all the way through to completing a Bachelor of Music specializing in performance classical guitar. It was during his time at university that he met the members of Eightfold and recorded the album Bright Colours with producer Nigel Braddock. This album showcases his talents on nylon string guitar. Along the way Sam has recorded and composed music with SJD and Joost Langaveld which led to recording on Strawpeople’s album No New Messages. From 2003 to 2006 Sam moved to Australia and played with the band Metaphor which toured extensively up and down the East Coast playing Australian festivals and venues. It was in 2008 that Sam and Karin began working on Karin’s songs and developing the sound that they captured on their debut self titled album.

Since moving to Raglan from Auckland in 2006 Karin Bettley has been strongly involved in the arts community there collaborating with various musicians and artists. She has various projects on the go and recently put together a collective show that was in the nearby Hamilton Fringe Festival 2013. She draws people in with her songwriting and vocal style creating a mood and story that reflects her colourful character. In the past she has recorded with electronic based artists such as Epsilon Blue and Auckland based producer/musician Jamie Newman of Bright Child.

Introducing Francesco Giannico & Theo Allegretti’s project Flow Signs

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The project “Flow Signs” was born by the encounter of Francesco Giannico, electroacoustic musician and video artist, with Theo Allegretti, ambient-jazz pianist and composer, based on a common poetic and musical sensibility that favours natural landscapes, surreal environments and interior worlds. Preorder the album here and watch the dreamlike music video for the first single At Sunset here.

Their Concept of the project “Flow Signs” is presented as follows:
The flow can catapult us into a mental state of conscious unawareness, as though being swept away by a current of water and similarly Giannico (laptop, field recordings, objects, guitar) and Allegretti (grand piano, prepared piano), with a diversity of expressive approach, reach a mediation creating a single cinematic and visionary stream.

The album was recorded in the countryside of Rome early 2013 with both artists favouring an intuitive and improvised approach in order to maintain a certain freshness of the compositions, always sharing any necessary rearrangements and trying again until they achieve the desired result. Afterwards. at the home studio of Francesco, they shared all the subsequent phases about collecting sounds, arranging, and so on, until the final stage of mixing.

Somehow, although the improvisation occupies much of the work, you feel magically emerging an articulation of sounds forming a harmonious whole that perhaps cannot be expressed otherwise. Figuratively, it seems as if Francesco defines a space in which the different sounds create a physical environment and within this Theo articulates the stream of consciousness evoked by a piano that expresses a thought without words.

Introducing Sleepy Wolf

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Conjure is the dreamy debut single from New Zealand-based band Sleepy Wolf from their self-titled album to be released early November. Presales here.

Sleepy Wolf are a duo featuring Karin Bettley on vocals with Sam Benge on guitar and backing vocals. All the songs are written by Karin while Sam develops the musical arrangements. Sleepy Wolf were formed in 2008 and have played shows in Raglan and Auckland with Bond Street Bridge. Their sound is made unique by Karin’s soulful and timeless voice as well as Sam’s rich textured guitar playing.

Sam is the guitarist on Eightfold’s album Bright Colours, also released on Monkey Records and Karin previously featured on the track So Sweet by Cinema 90.

New video from Graveyard Love

The third single off the EP “Dissociate” by Graveyard Love has been brought into video form with the vision of Stella Gardiner (creator and director).

Moving through the streams of bokeh and blurred night life, this video plays out a modern urban narrative. From a delirious viewpoint of a thousand and one car seats a story is told of neon lights, night time epiphanies and moving from point A to B.

Charity Children release debut single and video

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Monkey Records is very proud to present Elizabeth, the wondrous debut single from Berlin-based indie folk duo Charity Children. It’s available as a free download from our SoundCloud page here and you can watch the amazing video here.

“We are hopelessly hopeful.” Charity Children are two lovers from New Zealand who send their intimate melodies flying through the graffitied streets and smoky bars of Berlin. Soon after Chloë Lewer and Elliott McKee fell in love making music, they embarked upon a musical adventure to Germany where their street grown indie-folk very quickly became a Berlin institution – their music becoming a soundtrack to the vibrant but wounded city. Enchanting large audiences with their endearing style, raw energy and miraculous vocals, their ukulele driven sound, so innocent, yet wholly powerful, has the ability to disarm the most robust cynic, reminding those who listen the necessary place of idealism in a less than ideal world.

‘The Autumn Came’ (their debut album, Out mid-2013), represents a selection of songs written and performed over their first summers in Berlin; collaborating with an orchestra of other musicians to transfer their distinctive street-folk sound into the studio. Some songs are joyful, some painfully tragic but all heartfelt. The album was recorded and produced by Monkey Records boss, Nigel Braddock, over the course of three months in their Kreuzberg apartment and then mixed at Masterlab by Braddock and co-producer Andreas Balaskas.

Elizabeth, the first single from Charity Children’s debut album, ‘The Autumn Came’, is a folk anthem written on and for the streets. A ballad of marching defiance; it begins in tender tragedy and builds to a tumult of stirring optimism. Capturing the street spirit of their sound, Elizabeth, a tribute to the bullied and downtrodden, is a remarkable song, a resounding debut from what promises to be a raw and exciting addition to the ‘Indie-folk’ movement.

Gypsy Fever Compilation Out Now

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Starting with a legendary warehouse party in Auckland in 2007 featuring The Benka Boradovsky Bordello Band and DJ Balkanetic, Gypsy Fever has grown into a national phenomenon with many packed out events in Auckland and Wellington, four national tours and appearances at several major festivals including Splore, Parihaka and Prana.

Now DJ Balkanetic has compiled a CD featuring 12 East European influenced bands from New Zealand and Australia including Gypsy Fever favourites such as The Benka Boradovsky Bordello Band, The Mamaku Project, The Jews Brothers and Niko Ne Zna. From gypsy swing to Balkan brass to electro to gypsy punk, this compilation explores many facets of this burgeoning scene with a firm eye upon the dancefloor.

Gypsy Fever is a celebration of the cultural collisions that happen in Australia and New Zealand, countries that are very remote from Europe but yet are connected culturally. Where else can you find an Australian born Polish artist singing in a Papua New Guinean language with a Balkan feel being remixed by one of France’s top producers?