Callum’s phone is always on standby to add what you’re listening to to his library. Don’t ever ask him about Stevie Wonder’s discography or the biblical magnitude of Kendrick Lamar’s Damn. Trust us, you don’t have the time.
Streaming services have made Pollock paintings of our listening behaviour these days. While they make for endlessly eclectic playlists, there’s an unbeatable immersion in playing an album front to back. Experiencing a record as intended engulfs you in an artist’s sonic tapestry, threading the album around you as it reveals itself.
As we enter the second half of the year and the weather packs in, we asked our friends at Radioactive to pick their favourite albums of 2021 so far, and when you should listen to them. Whether you’re on the morning 18e bus ride, or making an icy trip to the markets – set the volume, and get lost in these albums.
The Breakfast Show, Weekdays 7am – 10am
Album: New Long Leg Artist: Dry Cleaning
Imagine a South London accent, nonsensical lyrics, and a dry monotone that straddles humour and pessimism – This is Dry Cleaning. Florence Shaw’s post-punk sprechgesang pins the listener into a familiar state of mind – winter survival.
Listen to Scratchcard Lanyard, Strong Feelings and Unsmart Lady, while walking to Moon 1 in the punishing wind on a cold Monday night.
This album will prepare you for a berating by quiz host Hillsy and make you feel deserving of a beer so early in the week.
Amplifier, Weekdays 10am – 1pm
Album: The Good Things LP Artist: Raw Collective
This Wellington 10-piece hip hop band brandishes a sonic tapestry that incorporates rap, jazz, soul and even funk in their delivery. The rap lyrics weave between social commentary and introspective themes, while the catchy hooks that bridge them offer the smooth and sweet to counteract the MCs’ ruggedness.
The varied tempo and diverse beats alongside their commanding signature horn lines make this LP a perfect road trip/adventure soundtrack or the sound-bed for your next house party, – just add volume.
Across the Board, Tuesdays 9pm-11pm
Album: Nedarah Artist: Leeyuh Neptune
I enjoy bumping this album on a drive to town as I head into Left Bank for a fade at Cuba St Social, where I feel at home amongst the vintage furniture, the graffiti, and the mural of Virgen de Guadalupe hugging my diaspora soul. All the barbers vibe to boom baps and baby maker tunes, and will occasionally let you take over the bluetooth if your selection is fire.
R&B is essential for winter warmth. While stans await a Frank Ocean/SZA drop, Leeyuh Neptune answers with her own misgivings on heartache, contorting the oppressive patriarchal gaze, and self-care amidst the shadows of the pretty privileged. Galactic Cloud Mermaid is exactly that, bringing an ethereal vibe as she kisses 90s slow jam nostalgia and gives bootie-throwing bass in dreamy techno tracks. Nedaruh helps me explore vulnerable spaces and healing processes, and validates me as a brown baddie.
Behaving Strangely, Saturdays 4pm-7pm
Album: Rare, Forever Artist: Leon Vynehall
You’re home alone, but you’re feeling yourself. So, you decide to take yourself on a wild night out in Pōneke. You start with Rare, Forever, and a drink of your choice to get in the mood.
Leon Vynehall’s 2021 album is best played loud on your dad’s old Technics, but a UE Boom on max volume will do the trick. It ends, but now you’re just left wanting more of that jazzy, orchestral, techno-y, mind-blowing goodness. You try on five outfits, minimum. Now you’re ready to hit Laundry and end up at Valhalla at 2am, before hitting Camel Grill to sate that craving for the best falafel in town.
Monday Drive, 5pm-7pm
Album: Rektified Artist: Dr. Reknaw
Listen to this album while walking along Wellington waterfront, feeling the energy of Te Whanganui-a-Tara. Or if it’s a wet windy day – anywhere that you can see te moana!
Listening to Dr. Reknaw feels like coming home. Being reminded of enlivening truths that we have collectively forgotten in the pace of modern life. It’s a comforting, moving, and inspiring listen that refreshingly reinforces our connection with te whenua and with our own wairua as we listen to the lyrics of the Cooper sisters, enveloped by the sounds of this eightpiece supergroup. Dr. Reknaw share vibrations of organic healing that will warm up your wintry spirit – relax into the moment and allow them to take you on a journey.