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Weekly Listening: Kendrick Lamar, Zen Mantra, 2 Chainz and more

Wednesday 9th March 2016

A showcase of some of the best new music releases from the past week.


Kendrick Lamar – untitled unmastered.

Arriving with little notice, and a slight nudge from a certain NBA superstar, Kendrick Lamar’s untitled unmastered is formed from a series of outtakes and sketches lifted from his To Pimp A Butterfly sessions. That’s not to say that these songs feel like they’re throwaways or that they’re necessarily unfinished (or even unmastered for that matter) – as Thundercat put it so eloquently, it simply completes the sentence of what TPAB offered up in the first place. Kendrick arrives here in something like a week and a half. Get ready.

Zen Mantra – ‘Second Skin’

While he’s known better these days for his time in Yumi Zouma, Christchurch’s Sam Perry is on the verge of releasing his second album as Zen Mantra, the psych-pop solo project that previously birthed the great single ‘Fossils’. On first impressions, ‘Second Skin’ is heading in the right direction – it’s a little slicker, slightly more dissonant, and perfectly hazy. That’s always a good formula.

2 Chainz and Lil Wayne – ‘Blue C Note’

As with every other Lil Wayne release in recent years, on Collegrove (which, officially, is tagged as a 2 Chainz project with Wayne dropping in on eight of the 12 tracks) there’s both high hopes and low expectations. But here we are with ‘Blue C Note’, or more specifically, the second verse of said song – a quickfire slap to the face that we’ve been waiting on since ‘M’s’ hinted that maybe we wrote him off too soon. And so it goes: “Dreadlock Rasta, hair like pasta / I don’t see what’s your problem, I need an eye doctor / Flying to them dollars, ducking fly swatters / Shoot ‘em in the head, leave his mind boggled.” Weirdly, the song fades out halfway through his next verse. You win some, you lose others.

Ghostwriters Collective – ‘Cosmic Child’

Ghostwriters Collective is an idea developed by Junica’s Nik Brinkman which aims to provide an outlet for musicians to experiment with new ideas without pressure from labels, management or publishers. For the latest in the series, Brinkman teams up with The Phoenix Foundation’s Samuel Flynn Scott for ‘Cosmic Child’, a psyched-out sing-song that sits somewhere between both musicians better known projects.  

Womb – Live at Newtown Bowls Club

The third limited edition vinyl release from local underground label Ilk Ither is a recording from emerging Wellington musician Womb, taken live at Newtown Bowls Club. The 7” comes packaged with a CD of the neo-folk singer’s debut EP and the recordings here include a reworking of her song ‘Airplane #1’ as well as a brand new song, ‘Mother’. Listen above, purchase it via Bandcamp, and – if you missed it – read up on our interview with Womb right here.

Cover photo: AFP

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