9 Dec 2022
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Articles By Ben Ruegg

Dilz - Single/Video Review: I've Been 2
05 Dec 2022 // review by Ben Ruegg
Dilz' new track I've Been 2 hits hard. With a huge bass sound that doesn't overwhelm as much as it just makes you aware of its power, paired with the chimes as a hook and a powerful trap beat, I would say that this Dilz track is a statement about where he has come from and where he is now.
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Taiotims - EP Review: Thank You For Your Patience
22 Nov 2022 // review by Ben Ruegg
Taiotims (Mataio Timaloa) is an Auckland Hip-Hop artist who has independently built a growing fanbase all over New Zealand. His music is known for his relatable story telling, nostalgic tone of voice and his soulful beats.
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Eliezer - Single Review: Certified Professional Dreamer
14 Oct 2022 // review by Ben Ruegg
Eliezer is back after a little while with his new track Certified Professional Dreamer. Produced with long-time collaborator Ten Oh, the track continues to show why Eliezer is name you need to stay aware of.
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Teazse - Single Review: Love, Money Or Drugs
14 Oct 2022 // review by Ben Ruegg
The new single from Teazse, an independent rap artist from Auckland, brings a lot of what people like about modern hip hop and brings it into his own world, while still acknowledging the sound of those that came before. For example, the sampled pitched voice works well when used well, and it's done here well.
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Scalper - Single Review: I'm Life Feat Nawazish Ali Khan
14 Oct 2022 // review by Ben Ruegg
Scalper is Nadeem Shafi, born and raised in East London of Pakistani descent. First seen in Aotearoa New Zealand at WOMAD 1997 as the vocalist for the British band Fun-da-mental.
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Leejun - Album Review: Leejunardo Da Vinci
03 Oct 2022 // review by Ben Ruegg
Leejun is a Hip-Hop R&B Artist who lives and works in the 03 Christchurch, New Zealand. His complex lyricism and smooth delivery alongside his soulful singing voice reflect the amount of time he's dedicated to working on his craft.
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CACO - EP Review: Chisme
21 Sep 2022 // review by Ben Ruegg
CACO is a 23-year-old South Auckland raised Iraqi. Over the last 6 years, CACO has become an all-encompassing musical artist; producing, mixing, mastering, writing and recording the near extent of his 30+ track catalogue.
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Seaside Sloths - Album Review: Claws
31 Aug 2022 // review by Ben Ruegg
Seaside Sloths are a 7-piece, genre-defying outfit, here to remind everyone to slow down. Hailing from the jungle and now residing on luscious shorelines of the Kapiti Coast.
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Munro - Album Review: The Book Of Isaac
31 Aug 2022 // review by Ben Ruegg
Rapper/producer Munro makes all his songs in a humble caravan studio located in Matakana.On his new album, The Book Of Isaac, he explores different soundscapes that range from acoustic, east-coast jazz influenced hip-hop and others all influenced by the hip-hop sounds of the last 30 years.
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Big Sima - Album Review: Stereotypes of a Polynesian Misunderstood
04 Jul 2022 // review by Ben Ruegg
Currently one of the most active NZ Hip-Hop artists on the live circuit, The Underground King AKA Big Sima is no stranger to the big stage. During his come-up, he has played support for everyone from Busta Rhymes to Bone Thugs 'n Harmony, Guru (Gangstarr), Mobb Deep and Cypress Hill.
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Y$O - Single Review: So Sexy
03 Jul 2022 // review by Ben Ruegg
Y$O returns with a new funky and R&B-infused track So Sexy.From the moment the track starts, I can feel that there is a lot of influence from N.
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SNRXG - Single/Video Review: Makaveli-C Feat. SNRXG - Brothers
04 Jun 2022 // review by Ben Ruegg
The new video from Makaveli-C Feat. SNRXG takes Hip-Hop and puts some New Zealand flavour in it.
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Paul The Kid - Single Review: Close My Eyes
01 Jun 2022 // review by Ben Ruegg
Paul The Kid is an extremely diverse artist, combining an eclectic mix of contemporary genres with prominent themes of hip-hop, dance and reggae to create absolute bangers. Paul is most at home performing live and his shows generate an eccentric energy that invites the audience to get involved in the party.
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Eliezer - MNZ Interview: A/Muse: Eliezer
20 May 2022 // interview by Ben Ruegg
In this episode, Ben sits down with Eliezer and discusses hip hop and his music. Enjoy!
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Yung Ludd - EP Review: Yung Ludd - Two Tone
13 May 2022 // review by Ben Ruegg
Born and raised in Lyttelton, Yung Ludd is the rap alias of musician Connor Strati. Having spent some time in Auckland in his twenties, he was exposed to a lot of the underground Hip-Hop scene there which proved to be very influential on his sound.
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Demons of Noon - MNZ Interview: A/Muse: Jonathan Burgess from Demons of Noon
03 May 2022 // interview by Ben Ruegg
In episode 5 of Ben's A/Muse interview series, he sits down with Jonathan from Doom Rock band, Demons of Noon . This is such a cool conversation and we think you will enjoy what was discussed.
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Will McClean - Single Review: Ego Prison
28 Apr 2022 // review by Ben Ruegg
I'm getting to hear more Will McClean... yes please!
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Arrays - MNZ Interview: A/Muse: JP Carroll from Arrays / Swerve City
22 Apr 2022 // interview by Ben Ruegg
Welcome back to episode 4 of season 2 of Ben's A/Muse video interview series, brought to you in association with Muzic.net.
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Hans. - EP Review: Kimyuntak
20 Apr 2022 // review by Ben Ruegg
Hailing from Auckland, New Zealand, Hans. is an exciting Korean artist that has been dubbed by VICE Magazine as "One of the rising stars of New Zealand Hip Hop.
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Eliezer - Album Review: Diary Entries Vol 1
20 Apr 2022 // review by Ben Ruegg
This is a great album. Even at 30 mins long, the overall feel and vibe of it is fantastic.
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The Not Okays - MNZ Interview: A/Muse: Lauren Kate Borhani from The Not Okays
09 Apr 2022 // interview by Ben Ruegg
In the latest edition of the A/Muse interview series, Ben catches up with Lauren from five-piece emo revival band, The Not Okays.
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Jeivenchy - Album Review: Fatal Attraction
31 Mar 2022 // review by Ben Ruegg
Jeivenchy, not to be confused with “Givenchy”, is a singer/songwriter based in Wellington, New Zealand. His debut album Seenzoned introduced his melodramatic lyrics, 80's inspired vocals and catchy choruses.
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Partyboi Pan - Single Review: Mystical Barz
16 Mar 2022 // review by Ben Ruegg
Partyboi Pan is the founder of The Mason, a vision to upgrade the very idea of what parties are with the sole purpose of showcasing local passions and talents.His latest track Mystical Barz opens with a dialogue that really sets the mood for the track.
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Phil Stoodley - Single/Video Review: Shame Shame
08 Mar 2022 // review by Ben Ruegg
The new single from Phil Stoodley, Shame Shame, is a fantastic track that is not only catchy but has such a vibe to it that you will be hitting repeat over and over. With a solid bass line propping up the main guitar riff, the drums hold it all together and allow for Phil's vocals to sit neatly in place, which by the way sound real and authentic.
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Written By Wolves - MNZ Interview: A/Muse: Michael Murphy from Written By Wolves
01 Mar 2022 // interview by Ben Ruegg
We're welcoming in the second season of the A/Muse video interview series today, with an incredibly in-depth interview with Michael Murphy from Written By Wolves!
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Old Salts - Single Review: Take a Breather
27 Jan 2022 // review by Ben Ruegg
Old Salts are an alternative rock band that are set to leave listeners buzzed with the release of their debut single Take a Breather.Citing influences as Primus and Them Crooked Vultures, you can definitely hear this in the way the song, not only sounds but how it is written and arranged.
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Night Bus - Single Review: Fine Lines
29 Dec 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
The latest track Fine Lines from self-described electronic bedroom pop artist Night Bus is a chill affair. It is a song that builds upon a simple melodic idea and explores it while a consistent beat runs through the background.
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Justin Sane - Album Review: Rising w/ Huz
29 Dec 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
Justin Sane has been DJing at clubs and events around the world since 1997, released countless remixes and bootlegs on numerous labels, hosted Party Hard Mix on The Edge for 5 years and had singles in the Top 20 New Zealand Singles Chart. In 2020, Justin Sane again teamed up with fellow singer/Songwriter Huz and began releasing music again, both tracks of which ended up in the #3 dance singles on iTunes and in the Top 30 overall NZ singles, one reaching the #10 spot.
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Stu J - Single Review: Destination Unknown
29 Dec 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
A Kiwi-born musician, producer and DJ, Stu J loves to create energetic, up-beat indie-dance songs which have an electronic feel, but still include the best parts of rock and pop. His current music feels similar to artists like MGMT and Empire of the Sun.
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SuperFly Killa - Single Review: Hold I Down
10 Dec 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
A vast array of interests, influences, and experiences have come together in an amalgamation of soul, reggae, Dub, and rock. SuperFly Killa are a fresh new sound who reside on the sunny shores of Gisborne, NZHold I Down is a fantastic, fantastic track!
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Rei - Album Review: Enjoy The Ride
29 Nov 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
Enjoy The Ride showcases Rei’s diversity and prowess as a musician and producer with its mix of rap, pop, R&B and UK flavour, it’s a fusion of innovative styles. Written over the past 2 years, mixed and mastered by Kog Studio’s Chris Chetland and supported by NZ On Air, this project is a musical ride in itself.
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Will McClean - EP Review: Will McClean and The Zooks - Live At The Surgery
06 Nov 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
Will McClean and The Zooks - Live At The Surgery EP is a hat tip to live hip-hop. The band is super tight with wonderful guitar licks working wonderfully over top of the rhythm section.
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Cking - Single/Video Review: No Snakes Feat. Dilz
21 Oct 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
Cking is the Brisbane-based, New Zealand-bred rapper who’s eclectic catalogue of hits has seen him share the stage with everyone from T-Pain to Kerser, and now, he’s linked up with fellow NZ emcee Dilz for a hard-hitting banger, No Snakes. Cking and Dilz each come lyrically strapped with passionate and emotive verses, matching the energy of the rapid-fire, earth-rattling production alongside them.
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Dallas Harvey - Single Review: Patience
20 Oct 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
Auckland City’s up and coming Hip-Hop artist Dallas Harvey is a breath of fresh air with his honest lyricism, piecing his life together through story-telling and music. Mentored by the likes of Church from Church & AP, Chris RL and Melodownz, Dallas has built a well-versed understanding of self throughout his development at Te Karanga Navigators songwriting and production sessions.
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Ms.Take - Single Review: Maybe That's Just What I Am
11 Oct 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
The dystopian Trap Jam Maybe That's Just What I Am is the second official single from Ms.Take, a follow up to 2018's Silver & Gold, and a 2020 lockdown collaboration with Melbourne-based artist F.
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Y$O - EP Review: Young And Slept On
05 Oct 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
Y$O. Note that down.
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Louis Ross - Single Review: Here To Help
27 Sep 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
Local Tauranga DJ and Producer Louis Ross has created a new song Here to Help to bring awareness to mental health issues ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week. After losing his father and Grandma within a few months of each other and navigating his way through loss and grief, Louis is combining his own mental health struggles with his love of music to help others.
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BrokeBoi Ace - Single Review: Watered Down Dreamz
15 Sep 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
Oh man. I like this.
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Sam V - Single/Video Review: Wired
10 Sep 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
Sam V's newest track Wired is another demonstration of how Sam keeps refining his sound. His vision has been getting more focused over time, based on his previous tracks like Cotton Candy which is actually a Y$O track, and Up Up Down.
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InDuna - Single Review: Strange Fruits
08 Sep 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
InDuna's approach to Hip-Hop/Rap is something that listeners should pay attention to. It fits into what kind of feels as almost progressive in regards to the styles it compasses.
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2Fly Ty - Single Review: That Track Feat. Dilz
03 Sep 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
2FLY TY's newest track entitled That Track is out now and features bars from Dilz. Both Ty and Dilz perform well here with TY’s flow being delivered on a rather flat way; not hyped and not like he’s not trying.
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Goodlynx - Single/Video Review: Purple Blue
10 Aug 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
Starting Purple Blue off with a real honest vibe is the sound of a major 7th on a guitar. This interval sets a tone and mood that allows Goodlynx to be direct and honest with his audience.
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Dilz - Single Review: Resurrection Feat. He Ra
22 Jul 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
Dilz is real. He is authentic.
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Souldrop - EP Review: Gypsy Lizard King
21 Jul 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
Kiwi new-wave indie-soul 4-piece Souldrop have released their brand new and much-anticipated EP Gypsy Lizard King via label Meow. Featuring the stunningly smooth singles Cadet and Jive, and new single/ title track Gypsy Lizard King, this latest EP release furthers their reputation as a talented band on the rise.
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And$um - Single Review: Ride The Wave Feat. Valle
26 Jun 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
I’m a big fan of Hip-Hop - I teach it at school to my students. Hip-Hop is about being real and it has an honest vibe to it.
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Y$O - Single Review: Cotton Candy
16 Jun 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
Tracks like this deserve a good amount of attention. It's funky, groovy and makes you feel good.
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Y$O - Single Review: M.I.A
23 May 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
Combining the forces of artists Sam V, Aidan Fine, JARNA, Brokeboi Ace and producers EDY, CreationKit & M4, Young & $lept On (Y$O) is New Zealand's newest supergroup. This stable of talent is set to disrupt airwaves and social media with their eclectic sense of style, talent and vision - demonstrated by the group's first release M.
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Ryan Farrell - Single Review: Teenage Dreamer
22 May 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
I love it when these sorts of things happen. At just 18, the new track Teenage Dreamer from Ryan Farrell is another example of a young artist who had a vision for their sound and delivers on it.
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D.Matthews - Single Review: Melanin Skin
29 Apr 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
Melanin Skin is a new single from Auckland-based Nigerian singer-songwriter, D.Matthews (aka David Matthews) who has curated his own brand of energetic calm Afrobeat/Afropop.
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Silas Futura - EP Review: Pluto
21 Apr 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
The new EP Pluto from Silas Futura feels like a tip of the hat to Hip-Hop, with its roots coming from Jazz and all the breaks that bought together that style.On the opening track Care, the time signature plays games with you but that is fine because you won't really notice.
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Hawkins - Album Review: Hawkins
21 Apr 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
Yep. I knew that voice immediately.
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Alders - Single Review: Hounds
23 Mar 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
The new track from Alders, Hounds, is quite a fun time alright! With a feel that seems inspired by the likes of Smash Mouth's Astro Lounge, The Dandy Warhols and 60's psychedelic pop-rock.
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Aidan Fine - Single Review: CLV
21 Mar 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
Quick fire rapid lyrics. That’s what I like here.
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Swerve City - Swerve City @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 13/03/2021
14 Mar 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
It's a packed house. That's for sure.
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Keeley Shade - Single Review: On My Mind
11 Mar 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
On My Mind is a perfect example of how simple ideas can become fleshed out to provide the listener an experience worth repeating.Keeley Shade, a Canadian-born New Zealand-based singer-songwriter is releasing her debut single On My Mind.
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James Loan - EP Review: The Loan To Society
10 Mar 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
James Loan is a new young Rap/Drill artist that at only age 16 has just released his EP, The Loan To Society. I commend this effort.
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JAN - Single Review: Wud?
06 Mar 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
Wud? is a new track from JAN featuring Anna Bennetto and Sam Higham.
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Jericho - EP Review: Rhythm
26 Feb 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
Jericho are a 3-piece band made up of people who obviously love music. I say this because on their opening track Silence Won't Last, I kind of think it went through a lot of different styles and ideas that I actually didn't expect.
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Raw Collective - Album Review: The Good Things
18 Feb 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
The Good Things is the latest LP from the 10-piece live hip-hop band Raw Collective from Wellington. The album is quite something that showcases the versatility of the group's ability to swing from different styles of hip-hop, funk and soul.
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Fire For Glory - EP Review: Life Of The Party
16 Feb 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
Yeah, bro. Get that punk-pop/rock vibe.
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Craig Payne - Album Review: I'm Not Giving The Game Away
10 Feb 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
Ah. That's refreshing.
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Swerve City - Single Review: Sink Like Stones
05 Feb 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
Right now, across New Zealand, there is a storm that keeps getting bigger and stronger. That storm is made up of an incredible group of artists and bands who are working to get more exposure to and notice from what I would call 'the mainstream'.
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Dilz - Single Review: Don't Trip
30 Jan 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
Don't Trip is the latest track from Dilz, and slick production with a catchy chorus kicks this song off.  In what I would classify as pop-rap (this isn't a negative), it captivates the audience with a catchy hook.
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Will McClean - Single Review: One Way Road
30 Jan 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
Will McClean's new track One Way Road is a stunner. The way the beat starts with backwards loops and trap style beats that have a hip-hip feel all work well.
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Mema Wilda - Single Review: How I Long
21 Jan 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
Mema Wilda's newest track How I Long starts off with a simple acoustic guitar and vocal, but it's quick to showcase a track full of plenty of goodness. It's the type of song I would want to hear on modern pop radio; it's catchy and you can easily sing-a-long to it.
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Ignatia : Rising - Single Review: Don’t Know For Sure
12 Jan 2021 // review by Ben Ruegg
Ignatia : Rising are a 4-piece, occasional more piece, pop/rock group who crafted their style in the Wild West (Auckland, NZ) party and club circuit in the mid 90's. Their newest track, Don't Know For Sure brings about a sense of nostalgia.
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Th' Dudes - Gig Review: Th' Dudes @ Town Hall, Auckland - 19/11/2020
21 Nov 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
Arriving at the Auckland Town Hall and subsequently finding parking was a lot easier than I had anticipated. The town seems very quiet at around 7:30 pm, although there is a large gathering of people around the Town Hall, an indication that something big is happening.
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Boy Virgo - Single Review: Psycho
15 Nov 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
Here is a track that takes what you think you know about genres of music and says, "Nope, you are wrong". On the new track Psycho from Boy Virgo, I think this is the one thing I really enjoyed.
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The Jordan Luck Band - Gig Review: The Jordan Luck Band @ Pukekohe Cosmopolitan Club, Pukekohe - 6/11/2020
08 Nov 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
It’s a Friday night in Pukekohe and as I walk into the Pukekohe Cosmopolitan Club just before 8 pm you can feel the anticipation in the air. Looking like a high school ball, there is a large dance floor in front of the stage while the rest of the venue is lined vertically with tables.
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Krispy & The Pooch - EP Review Drop The Needle
06 Nov 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
Wow. Krispy & The Pooch have quite the EP here.
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And$um - EP Review: Late Nights
29 Oct 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
And$um has returned with a new EP. Made up of six tracks, this is yet another collection of songs that demonstrate the sound Sam brings to this project.
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BENEE - Gig Review: BENEE @ Spark Arena, Auckland - 16/10/2020
17 Oct 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
As I got to Spark Arena for the first time since February this year, I couldn't help but notice how many families were there with smiling kids, and parents alike, all waiting for doors to open. BENEE has become quite a superstar over this past year which has been awesome to see.
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theajsound - Single Review: Sorrow
12 Oct 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
Auckland based Indian born singer and songwriter theajsound (AKA AJ) has released a string of singles this year which have amassed hundreds of thousands stream on Spotify, and his latest, Sorrow is a catchy new tune that instantly catches your ear.The guitar sound is clean and an instant classic.
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Sam V - EP Review: Cruisin'
08 Oct 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
The new EP from Sam V, bKidd and EDY is a blast. With a few skits interwoven into the EP, the whole package feels well thought out and it sounds great.
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An Electric Heart - Album Review: Otiose Me
06 Oct 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
As you press play, the prologue hits you hard and it is obvious that Luke Pell, known as An Electric Heart, has a great understanding on sonics and dynamics on his new album Otiose Me.Luke Pell describes the An Electric Heart sound as 'alternative pop'.
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Matt Bizzle - Single Review: Just Let Me Know with Kevin Posey Feat. Lily Jackson
05 Oct 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
The reggaeton beat has been quite the staple in music trends for some time now, and with the new track Just Let Me Know from Matt Bizzle, it isn't the main feature. Instead, it is used in the right places to give this track a different vibe at the exact moment it is needed.
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Lester - Single Review: Sometimes Feat. Aunty Rae
29 Sep 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
On Lester's latest track Sometimes, featuring Aunty Rae, the New Zealand Hip-Hop artist turns his focus inward and discusses the things that we miss when we are away from home; which in his case is a list of memories that make home what it is. And yet, the real meaning of home is blurred and put to question.
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The RVMES - Single Review: Big Bam Boom
14 Sep 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
The RVMES newest track Big Bam Boom is a good time that deserves your attention.The rawness and realness of this track cannot be denied.
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Troy Kingi - Album Review: The Ghost of Freddie Cesar
10 Sep 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
Genius. Honestly.
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Dub Boys - EP Review: Fortune Favours The Bold
10 Sep 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
The newest EP from the Dub Boys is fantastic. As someone who appreciates all styles of music, Hip-Hop continues to be one I stay fascinated with due to the current climate and success of certain artists.
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The Settlers - Single Review: Love
06 Sep 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
Driven by a catchy guitar loop and backed up with a beat that ebbs and flows, the new track Love from The Settlers really puts its focus on its lyrics and delivery.Keeping the vocal effects to the minimum here allows the verses to sound authentic and real.
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Ekko Park - Album Review: Horizon
24 Aug 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
The latest album from Ekko Park is an absolute blast of a time to listen to from beginning to end.All Eyes On Me sets the scene by just giving it everything.
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Investigator - Single Review: Bad Luck Shoebox
17 Aug 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
Classic rock vibes crossed with modern rock sound drives this new track from Investigator. Driven by Adrian Drew, Investigator has a sound that is clear and defined and Bad Luck Shoebox adds another track to an ever-growing catalogue that showcases his ideas and sounds that make up Investigator.
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Will McClean - Album Review: Can't Sleep I'm Dreaming
07 Aug 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
The new album from Will McClean takes a lot of well-produced beats and combines them with his flow and lyrics. It's a smooth ride most of the time as is demonstrated in the opening track Front Desk featuring JClean.
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TheOpHilus - Single Review: My Little Rugrat
02 Aug 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
Authentic and real; that’s the best way to describe the new track My Little Rugrat from TheOpHilus. True Hip-Hop has always been, in my mind, sampling and talking about how things are where you are right now.
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InDuna - Single Review: Black Man Running
30 Jul 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
Black Man Running is the new single from InDuna. It is a personal illustration of InDuna's racial experiences both here in New Zealand and South Africa.
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Steffany Beck - Single Review: I Have A Dream
13 Jul 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
The new track I Have a Dream from Steffany Beck is a wonderfully uplifting song that feels authentic and honest. The mix and overall sound of the track allow for the recording to feel natural and heart-warming.
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Lauren Gin - EP Review: Supernova
13 Jul 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
The EP Supernova from Lauren Gin is subtle and done so elegantly. The opening track Need To Know showcases a more thoughtful and relaxed, almost conversational like vocal that bucks the trend for the big vocal you would typically expect from a track like this.
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The Beths - Gig Review: The Beths @ The Powerstation, Auckland - 11/07/2020
12 Jul 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
The Beths truly showcased why they are so beloved by so many people. The way Elizabeth Stokes and her band, made up of Jonathan Pearce, Benjamin Sinclair and Tristan Deck, commanded the stage so effortlessly was refreshing.
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And$um - Album Review: Volume 1
26 Jun 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
And$um's album entitled Volume 1 is a trip through a whole range of ideas and concepts.Armed with an idea, a sound and a vision, And$um takes ownership of his sound and runs with it.
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Ekko Park - Single Review: All On Eyes On Me
24 Jun 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
Wow! Hit repeat.
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Darryl Baser - EP Review: #SecondSelfie
11 Jun 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
The room sound really comes through in the opening track of the new EP, #SecondSelfie, from Darryl Baser. It brings a real sense of honesty to recordings.
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She Loves You - Single Review: Devout
28 May 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
Devout is the latest single from She Loves You, a 4-piece Auckland-based fast-talking all-action girl group.The track starts off quietly but quickly builds in a dance-rock song in the chorus.
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Mazbou Q - EP Review: Afroternity
20 May 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
The debut EP from Mazbou Q is a powerful statement. Not only musically in the world of the now trap dominated rap and hip-hop scene, but also through the lyrical ideas that make up the 6-tracks of Afroternity.
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Outside In - Album Review: Karmatrain
17 May 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
The debut release from Outside In is incredible, and it's currently up there as of the greatest debuts from a New Zealand band. Ok, let me explain.
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Dharma Dan - EP Review: Sotapatti
12 May 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
On the latest release, Sotapatti, from Dharma Dan, the artist finds himself with a set of beats reminiscent of the early New York hip-hop scene. Over the top, Dharma Dan lays down cool, chilled and thoughtful lyrics; "Just a drop of h2o just trying to find its way home to the ocean".
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Demons of Noon - EP Review: The Summoning
30 Apr 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
Doom rock, metal or whatever you want to call it has been a fascination of mine since hearing it on a Guitar Hero game a while ago as a young lad. There was something about that wall of sound guitar and bass sludge sound that was almost hypnotic.
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Chris Bates - Single Review: Focus
22 Apr 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
Focus is a stunning track showcasing the combined efforts of Luan and Chris Bates. The production quality here from Luan is outstanding.
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General Vibe - EP Review: California Rocket Fuel
22 Apr 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
From the low-fi sound that kicks off with the opening track Secondhand, the jazzy elements are right there interwoven amongst beat and pulsing beat. And then, so subtly the vocals transition out of the low-fi realm into crystal clear, as does the rest of the band.
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Apollo SteamTrain - Single Review: Nothing Stupid
10 Apr 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
Starting an acoustic guitar and then adding texture through melodic lead guitar and powerful drums and bass, the new track from Apollo SteamTrain, Nothing Stupid, starts off strong and solid. And from there it only builds and gets stronger.
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DRXNES - Video Review: Zero
02 Apr 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
Wow. This video is an incredible insight into the life of DRXNES.
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Enter Venus - EP Review: Enter Venus
26 Mar 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
The explosive start of Throw It Away is hard to ignore. Right away, the guitar and bass smashes you in the face with a killer riff, accentuated further by the pounding drums.
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Column of Sand - EP Review: Head Damage
18 Mar 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
Wide-open space greets the ear from the opening track Head Damage. In the modern world of music, sometimes I forget just how much has changed so it is so nice to hear reverb-soaked guitar lead lines over the top of a driving rhythm section.
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Kong Fooey - Single Review: Charade
13 Mar 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
The new single from Kong Fooey, Charade, has got a lot going for it. Full of detail and a mash-up of genres I am blown away by how authentic this track is, coupled with its catchy melodies and tasty lead lines sprinkled all over the place.
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The Wake Up - Single Review: Dark Horse
06 Mar 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
This new single from The Wake Up is a solid pop rock/pop punk track with a fantastic chorus. From the moment Dark Horse starts, you can tell you are about to have a rocking good time and I certainly wasn't disappointed.
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Arrays - Single Review: Too Late
03 Mar 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
Array's newest single Too Late is a solid track that continues the rock sound that JP Carroll is exploring through this solo studio project.From the chugging guitar part that sets up the verse, the focus here is on the lyric with a mantra like 'over and over' repeated after each line.
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The Settlers - Single Review: Swimming
25 Feb 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
New Zealand hip-hop is a thriving collection of artists who bring who we are and present it in musical form. The latest track Swimming from The Settlers is a fine example of what NZ can do.
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Six60 - Gig Review: Six60 @ Western Springs, Auckland - 22/02/2020
24 Feb 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
"We are the mighty, mighty Six60", proclaims Maitu Walters, lead singer of Six60. And he is in right to say so.
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Domes - Single Review: Time and Relative Dimension in Space
22 Feb 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
Domes newest release, Time And Relative Dimension in Space, is an incredibly deep track that offers so much to the listener. It interweaves soaring melodies and harmonies into what you would be forgiven in thinking was a thrash metal song from the explosive introduction.
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And$um - Single Review: Look At Me
10 Feb 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
The beginning of Look At Me confused me at first. The vocal delivery seemed dull and with low energy, but by the time the raps kick in, it has definitely picked up and raised the level.
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Sam V - Single Review: Shawty
10 Feb 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
The production is very slick on Shawty, the new track from Sam V. The vibe and the melodic idea captures you right from the get-go; and there's a real middle eastern vibe to it.
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Robbie Scott - Single Review: Gaze
10 Feb 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
One of the most inspiring things about songwriting is it allows for the listener to hear into the world of another artist. Such is the experience of new song Gaze from Robbie Scott.
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Tony Lee - Single Review: Man On Mars
24 Jan 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
Man On Mars is the latest single from Tony Lee.A mix between a sort of country vibe and rock, this song is well written, recorded and arranged.
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Fat Freddy's Drop - Gig Review: Fat Freddy's Drop @ Western Springs, Auckland - 18/01/2020
24 Jan 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
If you haven't seen Fat Freddy's Drop before, like I had not, you need to get out and see them.Walking around the crowd it was awesome to see so many parents bring their kids along to it.
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Saurian - Single Review: Tyre Tracks In The Sky
01 Jan 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
“You left this world with tyre tracks in the sky.” The new single from Saurian opens with this line and it sets the tone for the song, a story about living life with no regrets.
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Lizard Prom - EP Review: Lizard Prom
01 Jan 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
Lizard Prom is visceral. Really.
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Marina Bloom and Moving Stuff - Album Review: Back Where We Started
01 Jan 2020 // review by Ben Ruegg
Marina Bloom’s newest album, Back Where We Started is a rock solid modern contemporary record.Starting with the title track, the upbeat pop rock creates an upbeat feel with a catch melody, driving electric guitars and a very catchy chorus.
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Dillastrate - Album Review: Dillastrate
31 Dec 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
Smooth is a perfect way to describe the feel of Dillastrate's new album. It has a Kiwi vibe to it while being drenched in a collection of synth sounds that helps to bring an almost 80's feel to this Summer jam collection.
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The Feelers - Gig Review: The Feelers @ Manurewa Cosmopolitan Club, Auckland - 19/12/2019
19 Dec 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
The Feelers performed tonight to a small but passionate crowd of fans at the Manurewa Cosmopolitan Club. And I was one of them.
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Scizzorhands - EP Review: The Introduction
18 Dec 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
Fresh. Like music to my ears (hold on a second.
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Grace Duncan - Single Review: Come, We Must Go
03 Dec 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
Grace Duncan's new track Come, We Must Go takes sounds from our lands and combines them into a cinematic experience that breathes with dynamics, taking us on a journey that begs to heard again. Te Reo is interwoven into the track, and transitions between languages is smooth and seamless.
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Young Gho$t - Single Review: Weed In My Lungs
29 Nov 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
"I got this weed in my lungs. I got this weed in my lungs.
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The Lite Works - EP Review: 11:11
29 Nov 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
The Lite Works newest EP, 11:11, is a prime example of quality rock music that I personally grew up on. It’s like they have taken some of my favourite rock acts from the 90's and early 2000's and captured it in a bottle.
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Viices - Single Review: Heresy
20 Nov 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
The new single from Viices, Heresy, feels like a mix between low key ska and EDM. It’s a very cool mix.
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Dr.Reknaw - Single Review: Kereru
15 Nov 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
New Zealand dub music is something I feel is rather a special thing to New Zealand. That Reggae sound, shaped into our music, is synonymous for a sunny day on the deck with your mates having a BBQ, or hanging out at the beach.
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Chris Bates - Single Review: Chasing Kites
15 Nov 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
Chasing Kites from Chris Bates is song that pulls a lot of different influences and takes the listener on a smooth ride through turbulent times.One thing that is evident from the first vocal lines are how smooth and silky they are.
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Empire To Ashes - Album Review: Sequence Two: Our Secret, Silent Storms
11 Nov 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
I remember it vividly. I woke up on the ground, face down, looking directly under my dresser.
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Screw Jack - EP Review: Screw Jack III
04 Nov 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
Yes. Christmas is coming.
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Miss Used - Gig Review: Miss Used @ Ophir Street, Auckland - 26/10/2019
26 Oct 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
Miss Used is a group that you should take notice of. Powerful, driving rhythms are just one part of their blues rock influenced sound.
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Devilskin - Gig Review: Devilskin @ Powerstation, Auckland - 19/10/2019
20 Oct 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
Rock is alive in well. The sea of black was ready for rock at the Powerstation tonight.
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The Response - Single Review: Picture Undefined
17 Oct 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
The Response’s new song Picture Undefined is a blend of pop, alt rock and electronic music that works brilliantly. The guitar tone, the way it’s played and how the effects are layered help build an atmosphere which is wonderfully captured in the video shot by Johnny Knopp.
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Corduroy. - EP Review: Good Intentions
03 Oct 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
Corduroy.’s new EP is a journey through that demonstrates the bands ability to write catchy songs that are also deep and entertaining.
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Arrays - Single Review: The Enemy
03 Oct 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
The Enemy is the new track from Arrays, the studio project headed up by JP Carroll. One of the most important elements of rock is to have a riff that stands out and cuts clear through the mix so you get a feel for the song.
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Violet Highway - Single Review: Shake My Head
03 Oct 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
Violet Highway’s new song Shake My Head had me smiling. It’s nice and exciting to hear a band having fun and giving a nod to some of my favourite artists (which will remain anonymous).
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Paige - Single Review: Bloom
03 Oct 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
Paige’s new song Bloom is like a throwback to some of the best RnB songs from the 2000's while still maintaining a modern feel to it thanks to its slick production. Tight vocals are front and centre here, but do not let that get in way to hear the exceptional instrumental track in the back.
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Medusa Glare - Single Review: A Mind Reborn
26 Sep 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
Medusa Glare. Note that down.
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The Echo Ohs - EP Review: Wild Weeds
11 Sep 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
Man, I love music. I love how it can take me back to different memories, times in my life and past experiences.
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Marina Bloom and Moving Stuff - Single Review: Greetings from Sydney
11 Sep 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
In her latest track, Greetings From Sydney, Marina Bloom paints a delicate picture about the feelings of longing to spending time with another. It is an instant classic that ebbs and flows with dynamic.
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The RVMES - Single Review: Callin' My Name
31 Aug 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
Context. It is everything.
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Kings - Gig Review: Kings @ The Tuning Fork, Auckland - 24/08/2019
25 Aug 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
If you had told me that the ‘sold out’ Kings show at the Tuning Fork in Auckland was the last date on his very first tour, I would have probably slapped you. Why?
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Geoff Ong - Single Review: All The Hours
23 Aug 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
Geoff Ong's new single and video is a flashback to so much great 80's sounds, but yet it still sounds fresh like it's from Geoff. His unique approach to pop music is commendable.
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Corduroy. - Single Review: Good Intentions
23 Aug 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
Corduroy. are releasing their newest single Good Intentions from their upcoming EP.
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Hybrid Rose - EP Review: Awkwardly Eccentric
13 Aug 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
Hybrid Rose’s EP, Awkwardly Eccentric, is an enjoyable ride through different emotions. On the opening track Pearl, featuring Jahleel, the passionate lyrics and delivery take this song through different waves of emotion.
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Louis Baker - Gig Review: Louis Baker @ Tuning Fork, Auckland - 9/08/2019
09 Aug 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
Tight. That would be one of the simplest and most effective ways to describe Louis Baker's sound.
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BENEE - EP Review: Fire On Marzz
17 Jul 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
Fire On Marzz. This EP is actually on fire.
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Stan Walker - Single Review: Give
11 Jul 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
Stan Walker’s new single Give is a concrete example of how diverse and powerful his vocal ability is. I can feel him, feel his passion for change in our world, and his message about needing to be better yourself in order to see the change that you want to see.
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Kings - Single Review: Flex
09 Jul 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
Flex is the new single from one of New Zealand's foremost hip-hop star, Kings. The Don't Worry 'Bout It hitmaker continues to prove that he is not just a one-hit wonder and his momentum does not seem to be stopping.
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BENEE - Gig Review: Benee @ The Powerstation, Auckland - 28/06/2019
28 Jun 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
Benee knows how to own the stage. Tonight, playing at a sold-out Powerstation, she commands the stage in baggy pants and a light blue t-shirt.
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Ahjay Stelino - EP Review: Makes Me Smile
25 Jun 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
Ahjay Stelino has written some fantastic songs that require to chill, find a comfy couch and listen to the way the music tells a story in each song. The is a lot of space, dynamically and instrumentally to allow for each song to breath.
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Randa - Single/Video Review: Rock Bottom
14 Jun 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
Randa is back! The new track Rock Bottom is a funky track that will catch you off guard with its catchy hook in the chorus.
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Missy - EP Review: Strange
13 Jun 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
At 25, Missy is someone that you must keep on your radar. From the moment the EP starts, it is evident that Missy means business.
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Bailey Wiley - EP Review: Bailey Wiley
03 Jun 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
The Bailey Wiley EP is a fresh sound my ears needed to hear. To me, it feels totally inspired by the 90's soul and funk music of New Zealand.
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SHAYNA - Single Review: I Know
03 Jun 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
There is something about modern pop music that seems to resonate with so many people. I'm not entirely sure if it is to do with the general similarity between each pop hit that fills the airwaves that gives the listener that sense of 'having heard it before', or if it the lyrical content that, in most cases, is about getting drunk, regretting it and then singing about it.
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Hunt The Witch - Album Review: Strange Gods
16 May 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
Stop what you are doing. Put down those headphones.
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Will Saunders - EP Review: Oh It's A Sound
09 May 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
Will Saunders EP Oh, It's A Sound is an experience from start to finish.Beginning with the title track, machine-like drums reverberate and create a landscape in which guitars start to play all over.
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Geoff Ong - Single Review: Save Me The Weekend
19 Apr 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
Geoff Ong returns with a new pop banger, Save Me The Weekend. From the moment the track starts you are welcomed with all sorts of goodies for your ear if you choose to pay attention to the little details.
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*JOY* - Album Review: Moonboy
18 Apr 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
The opening track A Hard Blow Kiss sounds lo-fi and telephony at first. But it quickly opens up to become a sonic landscape of all sorts of frequency.
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Hybrid Rose - Single Review: Solitude Featuring Fanfickk
14 Apr 2019 // review by Ben Ruegg
From the moment this track builds, the imagery matches the synth sound. A familiar chord progression catches my ear.
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NZ Top 10 Singles

  • UNHOLY
    Sam Smith And Kim Petras
  • MADE YOU LOOK
    Meghan Trainor
  • ANTI-HERO
    Taylor Swift
  • RICH FLEX
    Drake And 21 Savage
  • UNDER THE INFLUENCE
    Chris Brown
  • I'M GOOD (BLUE)
    David Guetta And Bebe Rexha
  • MISS YOU
    Oliver Tree And Robin Schulz
  • I AIN'T WORRIED
    OneRepublic
  • MESSY IN HEAVEN
    venbee And goddard.
  • CUFF IT
    Beyonce
View the Full NZ Top 40...
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