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Articles By Alistar3000

Primacy - Single Review: Shade Black
15 Oct 2015 // review by Alistar3000
Auckland 5-piece Primacy are one of those bands that don’t try and hide their influences; their new single Shade Black is a healthy blend of all that was good about ‘90s rock, and that’s not a bad thing. Starting out with a Tool-like intro that soon gives way to a heavier, chugging riff, the song maintains a freshness and urgency throughout.
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Cairo Knife Fight - Album review: The Colossus
11 Jun 2015 // review by Alistar3000
Having seen Cairo Knife Fight perform live many times over the past few years I’d always been under the assumption they were performing songs from a number of prior recordings. So I was a little surprised to discover that The Colossus was actually their first album (they do have a few EPs recorded), and more surprised to find that long time guitarist Aaron Tokona (AHoriBuzz) was no longer a key part of the band, and makes only a small appearance on the album – with that revelation I didn’t know what to expect when I pressed play.
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Mel Parsons - Album Review: Drylands
05 May 2015 // review by Alistar3000
Back in 2011 I reviewed Mel Parsons' second album Red Grey Blue and enjoyed it – it had some well written songs, was well produced, and was easy to listen to. When I first popped in her latest album Drylands, I thought she’d taken a bit of a different path to the alt-country that dominated her first album.
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Album Review: Tahuna Breaks Live 10
02 Apr 2015 // review by Alistar3000
It’s hard to believe that Tahuna Breaks is celebrating 10 years making music together, although they do seem to have always been around, and I guess if anyone’s going to be keeping a record of how long they’ve been making their brand of funkified reggae, it’d be them. To celebrate the occasion they’ve release Tahuna Breaks Live 10 – 10 tracks spanning their career, recorded live last year at a one-off concert to celebrate the milestone (so I guess the album should actually be called 10 + 6 months).
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State Of Mind - EP Review: Until The World Ends
12 Feb 2015 // review by Alistar3000
Auckland drum and bass duo State of Mind are no strangers to collaboration, having worked with the likes of Tiki Taane and PNC to craft some big hitting tracks that achieved a lot of airplay. This time round they’re working with the trio from Black Sun Empire, hailing out of the Netherlands, produce the heavy hitting Until The World Ends EP together.
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Album Review: Latinaotearoa in Latinoamerica
09 Dec 2014 // review by Alistar3000
When I started reading about the concept behind the second Latinaotearoa album it sounded like a good idea and I was quite excited to have a listen to it. If you’re not familiar with the story, Auckland musician Isaac Aesili (Solaa, Opensouls, Eru Dangerspiel, Funkommunity) teamed up once again with Venezualan singer Jennifer Zea, and Brazilian-born DJ Bobby Brazuka, to research and write a bunch of songs in Brazil, then record the album of Latin-influenced tunes in Brazil and Auckland with guest appearances by some great musicians (such as Raiza Biza, Julien Dyne, Riki Gooch and Miguel Fuentes) – what should, on paper, lead to some great experimentation and crossovers of styles.
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Beastwars Live at San Fran, Wellington 10/10/2014
21 Oct 2014 // review by Alistar3000
I was finding it hard to believe that it’d been over 18 months since I last saw Beastwars play in Wellington as I stumbled on down to the newly refurbished San Fran in Wellington last week. I’m not sure why it’d taken me so long to go back to Wellington’s number one metal (or at least heavy rock) band, especially since they’d never disappointed me before.
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Into Orbit - Caverns Album Review
24 Aug 2014 // review by Alistar3000
Wellington two piece noisemakers Into Orbit have an appropriate name for the kind of music they’ve created on their new album Caverns; it’s spacey feeling, often out there and is sure to take off. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect from the album before listening to it (or even if I’d like it at all), but came away a devoted fan after having it on constant repeat for a couple of days while I explored everything it had to offer (I’m still not there yet, not even close).
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The Lowest Fidelity - Love Is For Others Album Review
07 Mar 2014 // review by Alistar3000
There are three assumptions you'll need to dispel before listening to Will Saunders and the Lowest Fidelity's latest release Love Is For Others. The first is that the Low Fidelity is a band (or at least that they're a band on the recording - there is a live band); Will performs as a solo artist.
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The Shakedown - Next Movement EP review
10 Feb 2014 // review by Alistar3000
Wellington’s The Shakedown seem to have only been around a short while (or at least since March last year) but have already made a bit of a name for themselves through their live shows and a couple of singles. Next Movement is their first release and is 5 tracks of pretty sweet sounding reggae-laden funk.
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Brockaflower - Build It Album Review
30 Jan 2014 // review by Alistar3000
Wellington’s Brockaflower (or Brockaflowersaurus-Rex and the Blueberry Biscuits to use their full name) have been getting a bit of hype around town lately, as they develop a reputation for a fun-filled live show (although I’m yet to see them live myself). So I was interested to hear what their debut album, Build It, would sound like.
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Sky Village - Landfall EP Review
09 Jan 2014 // review by Alistar3000
Wellington alt-country group Sky Village’s debut EP at first seems quite straightforward but on repeated listens the many subtle nuances and depth contained within its six songs start to become more apparent, and to be honest if you don’t listen to this repeatedly you’re doing yourself, and the recording, a disservice. When you delve into this album with the attention it deserves you’ll uncover a musical richness, which stems from the combined experience of the four talented musicians involved in producing it; although guitarist and vocalist Michael Taylor can take credit for writing the songs on the EP he’s gathered a fine group of musicians to support the songs, with Deane Hunter on guitar, and Craig McDougall and Michael Allen on the rhythm section (drums and bass, respectively).
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Breaks Co-op - Sounds Familiar Album Review
15 Dec 2013 // review by Alistar3000
I’ve had mixed feelings about Breaks Co-op since their second album The Sound Inside was released in 2006. I’d been a big fan of their 1997 debut Roofers and had expected them to continue with that downbeat trip hop sound that worked so well for them.
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JCK - The Vampire Trilogy Singles Review
05 Dec 2013 // review by Alistar3000
JCK (aka Auckland’s James Castady-Kristament) performs alternative hip hop, similar in vein to Wellington’s Tommy Ill, but with more of an electronic/dance feel to it.  His latest work, following up from 2011’s The Bees, is The Vampire Trilogy, a set of three songs fittingly released simultaneously on Halloween.
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Mountaineater - Live @ The San Francisco Bathhouse, Wellington - 11/10/13
17 Oct 2013 // review by Alistar3000
Mountaineater always put on a good show, and when it’s their album release tour, you know it’s going to be bigger than ever; but not content with just a massive show, this time round they partnered with Wellington heavyweights The Nudge. Kicking off sometime after 10pm, the Nudge were a much different beast from last time I saw them, at their own album release show last year.
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Mountaineater Album Review
10 Oct 2013 // review by Alistar3000
Mountaineater are one of the few bands around that manage to somehow sound like their name. Slowly building up layers of sound, with rumbling bass and relentless rhythms, you can almost imagine a mountain crumbling away at the sheer intensity of this sonic assault.
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Hollywoodfun Downstairs - The Mancunian Swing Album Review
10 Oct 2013 // review by Alistar3000
I’ve been following Hollywoodfun Downstairs since their first gig a little over 18 months ago in Wellington. Since then they’ve released a demo and an EP, both of which were fine examples of fast-paced psychedelic, spazz out, post-punk.
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SansArcade - Re Entry EP Review
15 Sep 2013 // review by Alistar3000
About a year ago I interviewed Auckland rockers SansArcade about their campaign to raise funds to record their debut EP. At the time they assured me that it would be out within months.
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The All Seeing Hand - Mechatronics Album Review
15 Sep 2013 // review by Alistar3000
On paper, The All Seeing Hand seems like an unlikely mix; the combination of hip hop turntable wizard Alphabethead, punk drummer B Michael Knight, and trained Mongolian-throat singer Jonny Marks just seems like it would end in a sonic mess, but their second album Mechatronics shows that, in the hands of skilled musicians, the combination of sounds and influences works. Like New Zealand’s version of avant garde rockers Mr Bungle, The All Seeing Hand’s songs are often experiments in combining various elements in new ways, to create interesting, and often intense, bursts of song, frequently with undecipherable lyrical content.
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Shepherds of Cassini Album Review
21 Aug 2013 // review by Alistar3000
I first came across the Shepherds of Cassini earlier this year when I heard a demo of their track Eyelid on Soundcloud. It was an interesting track, epic in length and full of prog-rock goodness.
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Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Live at Bar Bodega, 20/07/13
29 Jul 2013 // review by Alistar3000
It’s been pretty hard to ignore all the hype about Unknown Mortal Orchestra (or UMO as all the cool kids are calling them). If you’d managed to ignore music media, failed to read any music blogs, took no interest in SXSW this year, then you might have just pulled it off.
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El Schlong - Live at San Francisco Bathhouse, 13/07/13
22 Jul 2013 // review by Alistar3000
Wellington seems to be having a good run of metal gigs at the moment; it seems like there are a couple of decent gigs to get to every week, usually with a few bands (at least) on the bill, making them real value for music fans. Mid-July saw one such gig at the San Francisco Bathhouse, when art metallers El Schlong returned from Berlin for a quick tour of New Zealand.
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Shapeshifter - Delta Album Review
22 Jul 2013 // review by Alistar3000
Shapeshifter have gained a reputation for energetic, upbeat and unique drum and bass since their first release in 1999. Each album saw them achieve greater acclaim and win a wider audience, culminating in 2009’s awesome The System Is A Vampire.
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Concord Dawn - Numbers Will Kill Us All EP Review
16 Jul 2013 // review by Alistar3000
Concord Dawn seem to have been churning out albums on a pretty regular basis over the past few years, each seemingly heading more towards the mainstream than the last. That wasn’t really anything to complain about, as the quality of the music was still at a high level and it seemed like a natural progression.
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Solstate Album Review
09 Jun 2013 // review by Alistar3000
It’s always interesting listening to an album where one person has written and recorded the entire thing. There’s that element of risk involved, with no band mates to bounce ideas off, while at the same time allowing the performer to single-mindedly follow their vision for the album.
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The Upbeats - Primitive Technique Album Review
21 Apr 2013 // review by Alistar3000
Wellington drum and bass duo The Upbeats have forged a reputation over the past 9 years for their hard hitting, dance inducing tracks and they’ve kept to that winning formula on their latest release, Primitive Technique. It’s packed full of 14 huge tracks, ranging from the jaunty One Step, to the almost menacing opening track Beyond Reality, with a few mellower tracks thrown in for good measure.
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Tahuna Breaks - Live @ San Francisco Bathhouse, Wellington - 13/04/2013
14 Apr 2013 // review by Alistar3000
I’ve been listening to the new Tahuna Breaks album, Shadow Light, a bit lately and got to go see the release show for it at Wellington’s San Francisco Bathhouse on Saturday. I’d enjoyed the album, which is quite energetic, upbeat and fun, so I was expecting a pretty good show from the Auckland 7-piece.
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Tahuna Breaks - Shadow Light Album Review
07 Apr 2013 // review by Alistar3000
Tahuna Breaks were one of those bands that I’d heard mentioned a lot but never got around to listening to, until I got sent a copy of their third album Shadow Light. After listening to it I don’t know why these guys aren’t better known here, or why I hadn’t listened to them earlier.
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Beastwars - Blood Becomes Fire Album Review
07 Apr 2013 // review by Alistar3000
Beastwars’ debut album in 2011 was an impressive display of sludge that garnered them a lot of attention, so I was a little apprehensive when I found out that I would be reviewing the follow up, Blood Becomes Fire. Would it be as good?
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Urbantramper - Tomorrow We Leave Here EP Review
24 Mar 2013 // review by Alistar3000
Wellington’s Urbantramper really impressed me with last year’s album Internet Freedom Is Love. I really liked their blend of indie folk and downbeat electronica – it had a dark streak through it that I found interesting, yet they maintained a pop feel to their songs.
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Badd Energy - Underwater Pyramids Album Review
17 Mar 2013 // review by Alistar3000
When I tried listening to the new Badd Energy album the first time I had to stop it and walk away. There was something about it that just put me off and I couldn’t listen to it.
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Homegrown 2013 Review
11 Mar 2013 // review by Alistar3000
The 2nd of March brought the annual Homegrown festival to Wellington once more and I headed along to get some photos, check out some bands I hadn’t seen live before and soak up the atmosphere of 17,000 happy music fans enjoying the best of our local talent. Last year I seemed to spend most of my time at the Rock Stage, so this year I thought I’d try and check out the stages where I wouldn’t normally hang out.
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Killing Bear and About The Deadlines @ Mighty Mighty, Wellington, 15/02/13
20 Feb 2013 // review by Alistar3000
Wellington was treated to not one, but two, album releases last Friday at Mighty Mighty. Kapiti duo Killing Bear and Wellington four-piece About The Deadlines both had new recordings to celebrate and where better to do it than at Mighty Mighty.
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Hollywoodfun Downstairs - So Post Modern EP review
17 Feb 2013 // review by Alistar3000
Hollywoodfun Downstairs are one of Wellington’s hardest working bands. They seem to play live more than most bands in town, and if they’re not gigging then they’re rehearsing four or five times a week to tighten their songs up.
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Killing Bear - The Vine of Souls Album Review
16 Feb 2013 // review by Alistar3000
Having seen Wellington two-piece Killing Bear perform a few months ago I was looking forward to checking out their newly released second album. Live they came across as dark bluesy rock, at times almost touching on folk, but with this driving drumming that propelled the music along.
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Benny Tones - Chrysalis: The Remixes Album Review
13 Feb 2013 // review by Alistar3000
Benny Tones, star producer and member of Wellington's Electric Wire Hustle, released a pretty solid album of electronica with 2011’s Chrysalis. This year he's looked to follow that success up by releasing an album of remixes.
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Nina McSweeney - The Bitter Sea Album Review
07 Feb 2013 // review by Alistar3000
The first thing that strikes you when you hear opening track Lost In Translation on Nina McSweeney’s debut solo album is the remarkable similarity to Portishead. It’s not just the downbeat backing track, it’s that Nina’s voice sounds eerily like Portishead’s Beth Gibbons.
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J Plates - Look Within Single Review
27 Jan 2013 // review by Alistar3000
J Plates (aka Jeremy Graham) is a Hamilton-based electronic music maker who isn’t that well known here, or known at all outside the club scene, but he seems to be getting plenty of notice abroad. He’s just released a track on a compilation by Russian label Liquid Brilliants.
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Silence The City - Holdfast EP review
12 Dec 2012 // review by Alistar3000
Silence the City claim to be high-energy rock and their debut EP, Holdfast, certainly sets out to live up to their lofty claims, and for the most part does a good job of it. The seven track EP starts out with an intro that in no way represents their music, and misled me at first into thinking that I was about to listen to some sort of poppy retro electronic dance outfit; there was a hint of Kids of 88, mixed with something I can only describe as Baywatch-esque.
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Evil Mule - Remnants of a Lost Science Album Review
27 Nov 2012 // review by Alistar3000
A while ago I got to review Evil Mule’s 2008 debut album P-Hood Prophecies. At the time I recall having pretty low expectations for the album yet being completely blown away by how fresh it sounded.
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Cairo Knife Fight Live @ Mighty Mighty, 23/11/12
27 Nov 2012 // review by Alistar3000
Last Friday seemed to be the busiest night of the year for rock fans in Wellington, with Beastwars, the Bleeders and Cobra Khan, Cairo Knife Fight and Decortica all playing at various venues in the city. I was lucky enough to get along to Mighty Mighty to check out Cairo Knife Fight and Decortica.
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Decortica - 11811 Album Review
21 Nov 2012 // review by Alistar3000
Decortica's last album, the stunning Love Hotel, showcased their unique sound, drawing on elements of rock and metal to create something that sat somewhere in between, yet almost transcended both genres. It garnered them some attention, through a couple of well-produced videos, but they never really seemed to take off in a big way.
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The Adults - Live with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra Album Review
18 Nov 2012 // review by Alistar3000
It seems to becoming trendy for NZ bands to perform with an orchestra these days, with some doing it better than others. Shapeshifter’s recording with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra is one of my favourite live albums, but other bands either haven’t had songs that translate well into an orchestral sound, or have trouble arranging their music to take advantage of the orchestra.
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The Datsuns - Death Rattle Boogie Album Review
08 Nov 2012 // review by Alistar3000
The Datsuns are one of those New Zealand bands who seem to have been around forever, churning out dirty garage rock, releasing well-received albums, but never seeming to do as well at home as they do abroad. Their new album Death Rattle Boogie, the fifth the band has released, may go some way to address that problem.
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Kora - Light Years Album Review
05 Nov 2012 // review by Alistar3000
Kora made a pretty big splash back in 2007 with their self-titled debut, combining funk, metal, electronica and more to create something unique. Following up on that could have been a big ask, but with Light Years Kora have shown that they can evolve their sound and continue to innovate, without compromising what they do best.
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Kieran Cooper - Live @ San Francisco Bathhouse, Wellington 30/10/12
01 Nov 2012 // review by Alistar3000
It takes a brave person to quit their day job and spend months touring New Zealand; an even braver one to play acoustic folk at the San Francisco Bathhouse, traditionally the home of rock music in Wellington, on a Tuesday night. But Kieran Cooper has made the decision to work hard at being a solo artist and that's all part of the journey for him.
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Danny McCrum - Letters to the Future Album Review
18 Oct 2012 // review by Alistar3000
Danny McCrum is an Auckland musician with a big reputation and a wide range of influences. He's supported a lot of big names (Eric Clapton  and Jeff Beck to name just a couple), plays in the LA-based Magnolia Memoir, and has released 8 albums and EPs over the past decade.
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Home Brew album review
13 Oct 2012 // review by Alistar3000
Releasing a debut album is a daunting feat for any musician; choosing to make your first release a double album may be bordering on crazy. But Home Brew have proven time and again that they are no ordinary musicians and don't do play by conventional rules.
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The Neo-Kalashnikovs - She's On Heat Review
19 Sep 2012 // review by Alistar3000
It's a difficult task trying to describe the Neo-Kalashnikovs, both in terms of a band and their musical output. You could try pinning them to a location, but with the band split between Auckland and California, they're not tied to the musical culture of either place.
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Going Global Showcase, 6 September 2012 @ San Francisco Bathhouse, Wellington
08 Sep 2012 // review by Alistar3000
Unless people are involved in the music industry, or play seriously in a band, they probably wouldn’t know much about the Going Global summit that took place in the first week of September in Wellington and Auckland (and the second week in September in Christchurch). What people might have seen is the music showcases put on as part of the summit.
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Artisan Guns - Coral Album Review
08 Sep 2012 // review by Alistar3000
Artisan Guns don’t just write songs, they make musical poems where lyrics and instrumentation work in perfect harmony with each other.  Each song paints a musical picture telling of heartbreak, longing, loss and frustration.
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Heathen Eyes Interview
28 Aug 2012 // interview by Alistar3000
Auckland's Heathen Eyes are creating a real buzz in the local rock scene. Alistar Wickens caught up with front man Jason McIver to find out what that band has been up to and where they're heading.
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Sola Rosa - Low and Behold, High and Beyond Album Review
25 Aug 2012 // review by Alistar3000
Sola Rosa seem to be one of those bands that's always been making great music, and forging a sound that has often been imitated but seldom matched. Starting out as the solo project of Andrew Spraggon, Sola Rosa now combines the talents of some of the best local and international musicians to produce their distinctive tunes.
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Nightchoir - See The First Star Album Review
25 Aug 2012 // review by Alistar3000
It'd be easy to try and compare the new Nightchoir album to Pluto's music. After all, Nightchoir consists of three members of Pluto, so you’d expect there to be some musical similarities and spillover.
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Heathen Eyes - Ocea single review
19 Aug 2012 // review by Alistar3000
Auckland’s Heathen Eyes have just released their second “official” single - having previously recorded a number of demos with their original line up they now seem to be slowly releasing singles. Ocea is a plea to save our oceans, although it doesn’t sound like your typical environmental ballad.
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Swiss - Mr Slow Wind EP Review
18 Aug 2012 // review by Alistar3000
There's always been two camps in reggae music - the musicians who just want to make party music and get people dancing, and those who view reggae as a political outlet. Auckland's SWISS is firmly in the former camp, his music imparting no great wisdom, or long lasting message to the listener, but bound to get the dance floor seething.
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SansArcade Interview
07 Aug 2012 // interview by Alistar3000
Auckland’s SansArcade describe their music as being a little 'all-up-in-your-face' with a bit of 'let-me-down-gently'. Alistar Wickens caught up with guitarist Stu Preece to chat about their music and plans for releasing an EP.
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Amos/Anon - AmosAnon DVD Review
29 Jul 2012 // review by Alistar3000
There aren’t a whole lot of musicians in New Zealand releasing DVD’s of their work, for whatever reason – cost of production, the hassles of making enough videos to fill a whole DVD, or people aren’t generally into buying DVD’s of local artists. Or probably a combination of all three I suspect.
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Loop Winter Compilation
17 Jul 2012 // review by Alistar3000
Over the past decade Loop has forged a strong reputation for releasing the best in New Zealand electronica and roots music, with many of their artists becoming household names, or as close to it as you can get here. Their latest release, Winter, provides a good introduction to some of the more recent releases and signings for those unfamiliar with the label, as well as showcasing some unreleased works if you're already a follower.
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Concord Dawn - Air Chrysalis Album Review
10 Jul 2012 // review by Alistar3000
Concord Dawn have always seemed to be ahead of the drum and bass game, innovating and pushing the genre with each release, and in the process becoming well known here and around the world. That innovative streak seemed to diminish a little with the departure of Evan Short (who has now returned to his metal roots with Cobra Khan and Subtract) and the last album, The Enemy Within, had more of a commercial/mainstream feel than their earlier work.
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Gatherer - So Be It Album Review
03 Jul 2012 // review by Alistar3000
Not enough albums come along and, by showing what can happen when a band forges their own unique sound, make you question why so many other bands stick with trying to emulate everyone else. Gatherer manage to force that question home, and make it seem effortless at the same time, with the release of their debut album So Be It.
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Gatherer - Live @ Medusa, Wellington 22 June 2012
28 Jun 2012 // review by Alistar3000
Medusa in Wellington has a bit of a reputation for putting on interesting nights and Friday was no exception. Kicking off the night was local band Spook The Horses, whose album Brighter was one of my favourite New Zealand releases of the past year.
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Urbantramper - Internet Freedom Is Love Album Review
24 Jun 2012 // review by Alistar3000
Sometime you get an idea about a band without even taking the time to find out what they’re really about. That happened to me with Wellington’s Urbantramper – a band that’s been around town for a while, yet a band that I hadn’t checked out because I had some weird preconceived idea about what I expected them to sound like.
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Clap Clap Riot - Counting Spins Album Review
01 Jun 2012 // review by Alistar3000
You might listen to Clap Clap Riot’s debut album Counting Spins and think that you’ve heard some of the songs before. And you’d probably be right; the band has released four singles from the album over the past year, with the tunes getting airplay all over the place.
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Clap Clap Riot Interview 29/5/2012
29 May 2012 // interview by Alistar3000
It seems as though Counting Spins has been a long time in the making. What made you decide to start releasing tracks as singles and on EPs so far ahead of the album release?
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Knives At Noon - Second Skin EP Review
27 May 2012 // review by Alistar3000
It's always good to see bands trying new ways to get their music out to the masses and Knives at Noon seem to be doing better than most at it. Managing to get their music on Telecom's smartphone ads was a good start and now they're offering an exclusive downloadable EP to everyone who buys a t-shirt from them.
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Capital Punishment @ Bar Medusa, Wellington 12/05/2012
15 May 2012 // review by Alistar3000
Medusa in Wellington has been a proud supporter of local metal since day one, continuing a long tradition of bars in that site. 2012 saw the third year of their Capital Punishment festivals, featuring 12 hours of the best of New Zealand (and Australian) metal.
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Sound of Amsa Album Review
06 May 2012 // review by Alistar3000
Sound of Amsa is a difficult album to categorise – it starts out with a dancier track, moves through retro, before settling on being a downbeat hip hop album. But at the end of the day, it’s definitely an interesting album and that’s probably all that matters.
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The Black Seeds - Dust and Dirt Album Review
26 Apr 2012 // review by Alistar3000
The Black Seeds are a staple of the New Zealand music scene and could be considered one of the founders of the current Wellington music renaissance. That reputation is a double-edged sword; they garner a lot of respect for what they've achieved but at the same time there's a tendency for some people to take them for granted.
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Spook The Horses - Brighter Album Review
09 Apr 2012 // review by Alistar3000
Spook the Horses may be New Zealand’s answer to seminal post-metal band Isis. They share many similarities – the layers of sound, sparse vocals, driving heaviness.
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Fly My Pretties IV Album Review
01 Apr 2012 // review by Alistar3000
Fly My Pretties has become something of a New Zealand institution, a local super group. You know they can always be depended on for high quality entertainment, and their ability to rope in many of our top musicians, as well as the best up and coming artists, means that their sound retains a freshness and that Pretties sound at the same time.
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Module - Imagineering Album Review
22 Mar 2012 // review by Alistar3000
Imagineering is the first proper album from Module (aka Wellington – via Canada – musician Jeremiah Ross) since 2005's Remarkable Engines; that’s not to say Module has been idle in the past 6 years – there’s been the 70+ minute, single track Dreams For The Sleepless, and a live album released to keep us, and Module, occupied. Those releases haven’t seemed to garner the attention that Remarkable Engines did though, which is a shame as it’s seen Module sort of disappear from our musical landscape (or perhaps just mine).
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Julien Dyne - Live @ the San Francisco Bathhouse, Wellington - 9 March 2012
18 Mar 2012 // review by Alistar3000
Julien Dyne has already had a varied career as a musician. From playing in punk/hardcore bands at a young age, to playing jazz (notably with his father, Paul), then to the funky grooves of Opensouls and onto the hip hop/R&B of Ladi6.
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An Emerald City - Live @ St. Peter's Hall, Paekakariki
05 Mar 2012 // review by Alistar3000
It starts with a single violin playing an eerie lament, on a stage lit only by antique table lamps on a dark and stormy night in Paekakariki, half an hour out of Wellington.  One by one the rest of An Emerald City stroll onto the small stage to take up the tune, in a way reflecting the band's approach to song writing.
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The Lowest Fidelity - Curious Maladies Album Review
26 Feb 2012 // review by Alistar3000
Will Saunders has been in the New Zealand music scene for a while, playing in Auckland psychedelic rock outift The Quick and The Dead (as well as London trio Siren), and has been releasing material as a solo artist for the past 2 years. His latest effort, Curious Maladies, is released under Will Saunders and the Lowest Fidelity, but don’t let the name fool you; there’s no band here, it’s just Will, a couple of guitars and a microphone.
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JCK - The Bees Album Review
12 Feb 2012 // review by Alistar3000
JCK (aka James Castady-Kristament) has been producing his brand of hip hop since 2002 with songs being picked up by radio stations and music TV.  It’s easy to see why he gets so much interest after listening to his latest album, The Bees.
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Psyrok - Calculus EP Review
12 Feb 2012 // review by Alistar3000
It’s hard enough getting a bunch of musicians together to write and record songs when they all live in the same city, so it must be an absolute nightmare when they live on opposite sides of the globe.  It would become damn near impossible when those musicians haven’t even met and have only spoken once (for a radio interview at that).
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Illuminus - Until The End Album Review
06 Feb 2012 // review by Alistar3000
Every now and then an album comes along that surprises with its’ fresh sound and bold song writing.  Illuminus’ debut album, Until The End, has been the first such surprise of 2012.
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Throw It To The Fire, Captain Sergeant Major, Force Fields, Hollywoodfun Downstairs @ San Francisco Bathhouse, Wellington, 6 January 2012
10 Jan 2012 // review by Alistar3000
For some reason live music seems to disappear from our cities every summer and the only way to see a band is to trek to one of the holiday hotspots (or rain spots) for a festival. So it was with great anticipation that I headed to Wellington’s San Francisco Bathhouse for my first gig of the year, featuring up and coming locals Hollywoodfun Downstairs.
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Spartacus R - The View Album Review
20 Dec 2011 // review by Alistar3000
With their second album, The View, Wellington 6-piece Spartacus R prove that it’s quality, not quantity that matters.  In 6 years together they’ve released a couple of EP’s, their debut album (When The Fever Takes Hold) in 2009 and toured a handful of times.
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Knights of the Dub Table - Way of the Dub Album Review
09 Dec 2011 // review by Alistar3000
The Knights of the Dub Table attempt to live up to their name with their debut full length and for the most part they succeed.  They’re not quite at the head of that table yet, but they come close.
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High Dependency Unit - Live @ the San Francisco Bathhouse, Wellington - 11 November 2011
20 Nov 2011 // review by Alistar3000
High Dependency Unit (HDU) are one of those bands that just seem to have always been a part of the New Zealand music scene.  They were part of the Flying Nun stable in the 90’s until they went their separate ways in 2008 and gained a cult following for their post-rock sound and for their live shows; the latter being remembered for the huge wall of layered sound that the trio would create.
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Shotgun Alley Album Review
06 Nov 2011 // review by Alistar3000
I wanted to like Shotgun Alley, I truly did.  Like any other band I felt they deserved a fair go.
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Bannerman - Dearly Departed Album Review
06 Nov 2011 // review by Alistar3000
I've got a hunch that the new Bannerman album, Dearly Departed, is going to be played a lot in my house.  From the first track I was hooked on the richness of the album, the layers of sound, the songwriting, the melancholy yet whimsical tone of the songs.
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Jackal - Furnace Creek review
25 Oct 2011 // review by Alistar3000
Auckland's Jackal remind me of a lot of several bands that I've liked since my wayward teenage years.  That's not too much of a problem for me - a lot of bands imitate the sound of other bands - but it does make it difficult to describe their sound, or sometimes even determine what that sound is across their songs.
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Kive - Gravitate EP Review
20 Oct 2011 // review by Alistar3000
Kive are one of those bands that you hear and wonder why you haven't heard them before. Originally a three piece post-rock outfit, the addition of former Brutally Frank vocalist Jeremy Frank has added another dimension to their sound.
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Funkommunity - Chequered Thoughts Album Review
20 Oct 2011 // review by Alistar3000
Funkommunity slightly misled me, or at least the funk part of their name did.  I was expecting something dripping with funk-ness, but instead found an album that was less funk and more soul.
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SINSIN - Layers EP Review
17 Oct 2011 // review by Alistar3000
I spent a good portion of Sunday afternoon looking for something to listen to that would fit in with a stinking hangover.  It takes a special kind of music to slot into a hangover and I wasn’t having much luck; everything was either too loud, or too mellow, or too fast, or too slow.
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Minuit - Live @ the San Francisco Bathhouse, Wellington - 15 October 2011
17 Oct 2011 // review by Alistar3000
Minuit are one of those bands that people seem to either love or hate, and it was all about the love at a full San Francisco Bathhouse on Saturday. The night began with Wellington beat maker D:UNK, playing some funk heavy tunes that quickly turned an empty dance floor into a writhing mass of people and was the perfect warm-up for the main event.
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Cybiont - So Much Work For Love To Do Album Review
10 Oct 2011 // review by Alistar3000
There’s such a proliferation of music being made on the Mac that it almost deserves its own genre. Unfortunately that wouldn’t help anyone trying to describe Cybiont’s fourth album, So Much Work For Love.
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The Rabble - Life's A Journey Album Review
25 Sep 2011 // review by Alistar3000
As soon as you start listening to the Rabble it’s hard to not draw comparisons between a bunch of 90’s punk and ska bands; bands like Rancid, Good Riddance, Green Day and so on.  Their latest release Life's A Journey would easily sit amongst anything released by any of those bands; while there’s nothing distinctive about the music on the album, the songs are all well written and the recording is first class.
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Mel Parsons - Album Review: Red Grey Blue
25 Sep 2011 // review by Alistar3000
Mel Parsons may seem young but her latest album Red Grey Blue shows a weariness and a maturity belying her age. Many of the songs on the album have a dark streak running through them that speaks of harsh life experiences, although they’re balanced out by tracks like Things Will Get Good and We Will Find Love Again, both full of optimism for the future.
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Little Bushman and Electric Wire Hustle @ San Francisco Bathhouse, Wellington - 24 September 2011
25 Sep 2011 // review by Alistar3000
Little Bushman and Electric Wire Hustle always manage to draw big crowds and when they decided to play together over two nights at Wellington’s San Francisco Bathhouse it was always going to be huge. From what I’ve heard the Friday night was a pretty amazing affair, so I headed along to the Saturday show with some pretty big expectations.
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Mountaineater, Left or Right, Full Fucking Moon and Ryan Prebble @ Bar Bodega, Wellington - 16 September 2011
17 Sep 2011 // review by Alistar3000
Music fans turning up to Wellington’s Bar Bodega on Friday night were lucky to be treated to a wide range of musical styles. The Nudge’s Ryan Prebble kicked things off, playing solo for the night.
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Freaky Meat - Delicatessen Album Review
13 Sep 2011 // review by Alistar3000
What do you get when you combine the drummer and guitarist of the Tutts  with a jazz poet (not to mention a funky as bass player)?  It’s not a joke but the punch line is Freaky Meat.
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Alphabethead's Wonderful World of the Weird @ Medusa, Wellington - 3 September 2011
04 Sep 2011 // review by Alistar3000
When I walked into Medusa last night for Alphabethead’s Wonderful World of the Weird tour to find Hamilton’s DJ Indecline mixing and scratching hip hop and punk records, I knew the night was going to be an interesting one. The colourful circus-like backdrop behind him, and flags hanging around the walls, only added to the atmosphere.
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Sonic Altar @ Bar Medusa, Wellington on 1 September 2011
03 Sep 2011 // review by Alistar3000
A handful of hardy Wellington metal fans turned out on Thursday night at Medusa to witness Auckland retro-metallers Sonic Altar as part of their album release tour.  Bringing with them fellow Aucklander's A Beautiful Chaos, and joined for the night by Kapiti Coast band Roadside Theory, we were set for a night of classic metal riffs, headbanging and finely honed stage acts.
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Elliot Brown - Road To Destruction album review
28 Aug 2011 // review by Alistar3000
At first I didn’t know what to make of Northland’s Elliot Brown.  His claims of alt-country put me off, not being a genre I usually get into too much.
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Who is Chess Countess? Album Review
28 Aug 2011 // review by Alistar3000
It's always a challenge for a musician to compose outside their genre of choice, something that Auckland's Chess Countess (aka Tamsyn Miller) seems to have struggled with. With a background in musicals and as a backing singer for several big names, as well as being classically trained in violin and voice, this should have been a strong EP.
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Backyard Burial Final Show @ San Francisco Bathhouse, Wellington, 26/08/2011
28 Aug 2011 // review by Alistar3000
The first review I ever had published was of a Backyard Burial gig, so it was a great privilege to be able to photograph and review their farewell show. There were always going to be mixed emotions to this show.
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Head Like a Hole @ San Francisco Bathhouse, Wellington, 25/08/2011
28 Aug 2011 // review by Alistar3000
The opportunity to review and photograph Head Like A Hole was the culmination of a long history/obsession with the band. I first saw a photo of HLAH when I was 11 and became a fan without even hearing their music; it was back when they were becoming known for their onstage antics - dressing up in plastic yellow tubing, playing naked, the sort of crazy behaviour that is appeals to a pre-teen music fan.
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The Red Eyes - Red Army Album Review
14 Aug 2011 // review by Alistar3000
Traditionally reggae has had either religion or politics as its driving force, which is understandable when it’s viewed as an outlet for the oppressed people of Jamaica. Lately though, reggae has tended to be subverted by the middle class and has been churned out in an easy listening format, almost a reggae-lite, more commonly associated with BBQs, beaches and beers.
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The Nudge - Big Nudge Pie Album Review
14 Aug 2011 // review by Alistar3000
I had the pleasure of seeing The Nudge live a week ago (check out that review here), before hearing their debut album Big Nudge Pie this week, which may have slightly ruined the album for me. Playing live, the band are able to spend time exploring their musical ideas, expanding on them and adapting them.
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Beastwars @ Mighty Mighty, Wellington, 13 August 2011
14 Aug 2011 // review by Alistar3000
Wellington’s Mighty Mighty last night became a seething mass of metallers, with local sludge fanatics Beastwars providing an apocalyptic soundtrack that nearly left the crowd in a state of physical and mental destruction. Usually catering to the more sedate sounds of indie hipsters, the bar may have been unprepared for the onslaught of bogans, stoners and general weirdoes, my own bad self included, that seem to accompany Beastwars wherever they go.
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The Nudge @ San Francisco Bathhouse, Wellington, 5/08/2011
06 Aug 2011 // review by Alistar3000
It’s watching a man in a bunny suit bash out a mean five minute drum solo that makes you remember why live music can be so much fun – it's the unpredictable nature of it; no two gigs are ever the same. But that’s the end of the night; let’s start at the beginning.
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The Slur-Tones, Pirate Sons and the Orphins @ Bar Bodega, Wellington 30/07/2011
31 Jul 2011 // review by Alistar3000
I don’t know where Wellington’s music lovers were last night, but they sure weren’t at Bar Bodega. And that’s a shame because they missed a good night of rock’n’roll.
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Outrun the Buffalo - And Now They Live In A Zoo EP Review
31 Jul 2011 // review by Alistar3000
Wow! Outrun the Buffalo should be the next BIG THING in New Zealand music.
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Knives at Noon and The Frisk (Young Lyre) @ Bodega, 22/07/2011
23 Jul 2011 // review by Alistar3000
You go to a gig by the band that provided the tune for the Telecom Android phone ad, yeah that song, and of course you'll go along with certain preconceived ideas about what you’re going to get for your hard earned dollars.  But then when you arrive at Bar Bodega a four piece Irish blues folk rock band, complete with lap guitar, banjo and violin are playing and you don’t even know who they are because they weren’t on the bill originally.
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The Adults Album Review
13 Jul 2011 // review by Alistar3000
Jon Toogood has long been one of my favourite musicians; from the early days of Shihad he has consistently created strong rock songs, and the energy he has for music is always apparent, whether on record or performing live, so I was interested to see what he’d come up with as the Adults. The Adults is an opportunity for him to show another side of himself, a softer, more melodic side - although there would be some who would argue that Shihad have been heading in that direction themselves over their last two albums.
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Paperscissors @ Bar Bodega, Wellington, 8/07/2011
10 Jul 2011 // review by Alistar3000
I missed seeing Paperscissors perform recently with The Checks, a slip up on my part that, having now seen them play, I regret. For Paperscissors rock (I couldn’t resist…), and they do it well.
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Jakob @ San Francisco Bathhouse - 11/06/2011
19 Jun 2011 // review by Alistar3000
I have to admit up front that I've never heard much of Jakob before apart from the odd track on the internet, or played at friends’ houses. But I've yet to hear a bad thing from anyone who's ever seen them play and that, along with the fact that Tool chose them to open for them earlier in the year in Australia, is what got me down to the sold out San Francisco Bathhouse in Wellington last Saturday to check them out.
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NZ Top 10 Singles

  • YOUNG, DUMB AND BROKE
    Khalid
  • TOO GOOD AT GOODBYES
    Sam Smith
  • NEW RULES
    Dua Lipa
  • ROCKSTAR
    Post Malone feat. 21 Savage
  • HAVANA
    Camila Cabello feat. Young Thug
  • 1-800-273-8255
    Logic feat. Alessia Cara And Khalid
  • GLORIOUS
    Macklemore feat. Skylar Grey
  • SORRY NOT SORRY
    Demi Lovato
  • LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO
    Taylor Swift
  • FRIENDS
    Justin Bieber And BloodPop
View the Full NZ Top 40...
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