2 Oct 2022
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Articles By Kev Rowland

Xile - Gig Review: Xile @ Whammy Bar, Auckland - 01/10/2022
01 Oct 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
So, it is back out on K Road again for another gig, but strangely enough I am sure this is the first time I have been at Whammy Bar in more than a year, and tonight it is for Xile’s album release show. It shows just what strange times we have been living in as I Am Your God has been out for a couple of years, but this was the first opportunity for them to get out and play, so they were making the most of it.
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Dead Beat Boys - Album Review: Dead Beat Boys
01 Oct 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
I’ve always had a soft spot for punk, ever since it exploded in the UK and my dad told me he would kick me out if he ever found any of that music in my collection. I was just 14 when the Pistols were due to play in the next town over (they were banned instead), and it was the most exciting thing to happen in the local music scene until 1980 when Genesis kicked off their national tour with two dates in Paignton.
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Gabriel Bond - Single Review: Temporary Insanity
01 Oct 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
I was very impressed with the last single I heard of Gabriel’s, 2021’s Lights Burn Low, so when I asked to review this, I was looking forward to it. As I noticed last time, this is full of class with very high production, and does not sound like the performance of a musician who has yet to release his debut EP (out soon).
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Gig Review: Investigator @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 30/09/2022
01 Oct 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Back to Dead Witch for another night of rock ‘n’ roll. I have reviewed Investigator quite a lot and saw Crystalator support them the last time I saw them at the Cupid, but tonight the band opening was new to me, Glasshouse Keepers.
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Dead Favours - Single Review: Sink or Swim
29 Sep 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Just the opening few bars of their new single lets the listener know that Dead Favours are back, and yet again they mean business. Charlie sets up an intricate backbeat, Kyle and Jared have their guitars in sync, and at the heart of it all is a filthy bassline with Alex providing melodies and countermelodies, so one is brought into the music long before Jared even starts singing!
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Impostor Syndrome - Single Review: I Talk Too Much
29 Sep 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Here we have the latest single from Auckland trio Imposter Syndrome, which is based strongly on a riffed acoustic guitar (the sound of which is superb, congrats whoever engineered this), with vocals over the top. Due to its nature this has plenty of space within the arrangements as even when additional instruments are added they are sparse, so the concentration is always on the voice and the guitar.
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Old Salts - EP Review: Stories Told by the Sea
29 Sep 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Alt rockers Old Salts hail from the shores of Bream Bay, Northland, and features John Buckle (lead vocals, guitar) Scott Brown (lead guitar, BV) Marcus Jones (bass, BV), and Lucas Hargreaves (drums, BV). This four-track EP contains three previously released singles plus the new one, Casual Smoker, which they describe as being reminiscent of Barry Manilow meets RHCP.
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BO And the Constrictors - EP Review: Love
29 Sep 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
These guys are new to me, and when I checked them out, I realised they are from Dunedin, which is why I have not come across them yet on the Auckland circuit, but I do hope they can make it up here at some point as these three songs are a nice slice of rock, and they are doing something quite different with their sound. Named after lead singer/guitarist Boaz Anema, the band also comprises Dean Armitage (bass, backing vocals), Jacob Rutherford (slide guitar) and Callan Carne (drums).
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Trepidations - EP Review: Time Flies
28 Sep 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
The latest EP from Trepidations follows a rather unusual format in that we have one vocal track which was recorded in a studio, and then three instrumental tracks which were played live which are quite different in approach and sound quality. Having not played any of their music before I must confess, I do not know if these distinctly different approaches are what one would expect from the trio, or whether one of these paths is new to them.
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John Michaelz and the Black Brothers Band - EP Review: Limited Edition
26 Sep 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
It is not often that I am asked to review reggae, as it is an area which is very much a strange land to me, so I am coming at this as a straightforward listener as opposed to having any knowledge in the genre. This EP is a collection of three previously released singles, plus dub versions of the same, one of which has been broken in two to provide us with seven numbers.
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Ekko Park - EP Review: UnMute
25 Sep 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
There are times when it is just impossible to write a review as I am having so much fun playing the music that I find myself hitting the desk in time with the drums, bopping to the beat and fully in the groove. Then the damn thing is finished, and I have to put it on again (not really an issue) and the debacle repeats!
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Gig Review: Smokefreerockquest National Finals @ Q Theatre, Auckland - 24/09/2022
25 Sep 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
I must admit I had to look up the address for Q Theatre on Google as I had never heard of it but having found it, I realized I must have been past it hundreds of times as it is right next door to Auckland Town Hall. Tonight, I was at the finals for Smokefree Rock Quest, the most important school competition for music in Aotearoa, and it would not surprise me if it was one of the longest running in the world as they were celebrating 35 years of the event.
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Achilles Complex - Gig Review: Achilles Complex @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 23/09/2022
24 Sep 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
I cannot believe I have not been at Dead Witch since the beginning of July, but there has been so much music going on that I kept having clashes. Luckily, Harley asked if I could come and see Achilles Complex quite some time back so this date was locked in.
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Planet Hunter - Album Review: Moscovium
22 Sep 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
On April 19th, 2018, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite was launched on a two-year mission to find a rocky world with an atmosphere which could be probed for signs of life. Although it had an official name, the media just called it a planet hunter which seemed more exciting, and a Wellington rock band finally came across a name they felt was fitting for the music they were creating.
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Medusa Glare - Single Review: Lay It To Rest
21 Sep 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
It is not unusual for me to have conversations with music lovers which revolve around me attempting to convince them there is a vibrant and exciting music scene in Aotearoa as sometimes it feels like I am coming across a wonderful new band on a daily basis, and here is another. I am sure if Medusa Glare were an Auckland act as opposed to being from the ‘Tron I would have come across them long before now, but given they were formed back in 2014 there really is no excuse on missing out on this classic hard rock band until now.
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PolarisRadio - Album Review: Legend of the Broken Claw
21 Sep 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
I was not too sure what to expect from PolarisRadio, which is the pseudonym for Dean Moroney, but I am pretty sure this wasn’t it! Dean’s music is normally described as Synthwave, and in some respects that still fits as here we have an instrumental album which appears to be based on a video game, yet while there are some tracks (such as Sea of Stars) which are solidly sat within that genre, there are plenty of others which do not.
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Thousand Limbs - Single Review: The Aurouchs - Ensnared
19 Sep 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Here we have the second single from Auckland-based instrumental doom outfit Thousand Limbs. It is taken from their forthcoming debut album The Aurouchs, which is a ten-part song-cycle based on Kakuan Shien’s Ten Ox Herding Pictures, and is set to be released later this year, with each of the ten songs being based on one of the ten woodcuts.
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Jaqualyn Taimana Williams - Single Review: In Between
18 Sep 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
In Between is the third single from the upcoming 2023 EP Guns Of Dialogue, but is the first time I have personally come across Jaqualyn Taimana Williams. As with her debut album she has been working with producer Tim Skedden and Chris Chetland, and when I read that I was somewhat confused as the way this song starts there is no way that it sounds as if Chris has been involved as I have huge admiration for what comes out of Kog Studio.
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Dub Asylum - Album Review: Beg, Steel or Borrow
18 Sep 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
I have no idea who many albums I have reviewed over the last 35 years, but it is countless thousands, while the words written are well into the millions, but I must confess this is the first time I have ever been asked to review an album where steel drums are the main instrument, let alone when they are being used to play dub versions of Kiwi classics! The man behind Dub Asylum is Peter McLennan, who formed this project after leaving reggae-thrash-punk-ska outfit Hallelujah Picassos in the Nineties.
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Gig Review: Volts @ Wine Cellar, Auckland - 16/09/2022
16 Sep 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
To be honest, I wasn’t supposed to be here tonight, but yesterday I was checking out the gig I was supposed to be attending only to discover the band had pulled out due to injury. Although I had already reviewed one show this week (the excellent Pop Will Eat Itself at Tuning Fork) I had been geared up for this one so wondered, what else was on in Auckland?
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Silcrow - Single Review: Keep The Silence
15 Sep 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Silcrow will be a new name to many, it certainly was to me as it was only when I was arranging to see them play recently that I discovered this is the new name for Close to the Bone. I was aware of that band, but had not seen them play, although I had seen lead singer Lorenzo Hazlewood undertake an acoustic set.
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Anxiety Club - Album Review: Old Dreams
15 Sep 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
A little while back I was fortunate enough to hear the single Carousel, and now Wellington-based Anxiety Club are back with the album. As I said in the earlier review, due to various reasons Kev Fitzsimons (Thom Cross) and Clint Meech (Matt Langley band) found themselves as the only band members left, and with Kev suffering an injury which meant he could not play guitar they could either quit or bring in some others to help out.
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Landlords - EP Review: Codeine
12 Sep 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Here we have the second EP from Hamilton-based quartet Landlords containing five songs at approximately 20 minutes in length. Interestingly the band are signed with a UK label, something I only realised when I checked out their Bandcamp page and could not work out why prices were in sterling instead of NZD.
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Shepherds Reign - Gig Review: Shepherds Reign @ Galatos, Auckland - 10/09/2022
12 Sep 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Tonight, was another rescheduled gig from Covid, as this was originally planned to take place to celebrate Matariki, the Maori New Year, but because of band illness could not take place at the time. Due to other commitments, I had missed seeing Shepherds Reign when they supported The Hu last month, so was really looking forward to this I had not seen them play since the middle of last year.
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DateMonthYear - Single Review: Slipping Through My Hands with Black Velvet Butterfly
08 Sep 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
The first thing which struck me about this single, even before I listened to it, is that the artwork is such a strange shape, but given that many of these are only released digitally these days there is no actual reason they need to be square at all, and I really like it! What we have here is the most recent collaboration from Trevor Faville of DateMonthYear who this time is working with fellow multi-instrumentalist James Castady-Kristament of Black Velvet Butterfly.
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Electric Tapestry - EP Review: The Origins EP
08 Sep 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Any group who say they are inspired by bands as diverse as The Beach Boys, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, King Crimson, Genesis, Van Halen, Radiohead, Crowded House, The Chills and Straitjacket Fits are going to be interesting to say the least, and with three guitarists in the line-up, they are going to have a distinctive sound. With this release, Electric Tapestry say they aim to mix the atmospherics of post rock with the immediacy and sensibilities of pop, and while I am not 100% sure if they have achieved this, they are certainly doing something different.
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Tablefox - Single Review: Give It All
08 Sep 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
I thoroughly enjoyed the last Tablefox album, Battles, while I was also fortunate enough to recently catch them supporting Capital Theatre so was looking forward to their new single. Musically they are based in alt rock, but that covers a multitude of sins, and they are also heavily influenced by the sound of some Eighties bands such as Simple Minds, and that really comes through here.
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Greta O'Leary - Single Review: Body, Now
08 Sep 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
It has been quite a while since Greta O'Leary released her debut single, Outnumbered, but now she is back with the follow-up which is a precursor for an EP which is hopefully not too far in the distant future. What we have here is a solid case of alt-folk/dream pop which is full of passion, pain, angst and so much more.
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Black Sands - Album Review: Black Sands
08 Sep 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Black Sands are a real rarity in that they are a totally instrumental act, and while they bring in plenty of progressive tendencies, they are always first and foremost a metal band. The band started life as a duo of Cameron Owens (guitars) and James Trimmer (drums), with Ruaidri Keens (guitars) joining later and it was only when they went into the studio with producer/engineer Matt Hammond who then offered his services on 5-string bass that they ended up as a quartet.
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Danica Bryant - Gig Review: Danica Bryant @ The Tuning Fork, Auckland - 7/09/2022
07 Sep 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Back into central Auckland on a school night, but it was for a good reason as Danica Bryant was in town and as I had yet to see her perform but had heard some of her releases, I just had to make the effort. Before Danica started, we had Katie—Lee, (they/them), a young singer songwriter who was new to me.
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felix danilo. - Album Review: The Territories West
07 Sep 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
The latest album by Felix Danilo finds him exploring different musical textures where the main (and often only) instrument is a multi-layered guitar full of reverb. Although the album is mostly instrumental, he is joined by singer Kayla McGee one song, and by his SkeletonCrew bandmate Nicole Obren on two others.
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Personal Igloo - Single Review: Old Me
06 Sep 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Personal Igloo is the solo project of Auckland based song writer/producer, Hamish Nixon, which brings together soul and pop with some raspy vocals and a love for bands such as Kings of Leon. Old Me is the first track from his forthcoming second EP, which will be out in the next month or so and is a very clean representation of modern pop with some look backs to Eighties-style soul.
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Ripship - Single Review: Ripship Is Online
05 Sep 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
I first came across these guys a few months back when I saw them open for Daniel Armstrong & The Monsoons and I was immediately impressed by their approach which was both effective and infectious, so I was pleased when this single recently came my way. They are a duo comprising Callum Lincoln (guitar, vocals, loops) and Eva-Rae McLean (drums, vocals), and they mix together live loops, crunchy guitar and live drums to create something which would be what Ozric Tentacles would be doing if they were more into space rock.
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One Man Bannister - Album Review: The Saddest Noise
05 Sep 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
One Man Bannister is the name used by Hamilton-based Matthew Banister when he is not performing in one of his bands such as Sneaky Feelings or The Changing Same, and this is his latest album. It is somewhat unusual in that for the 16 songs he took poems written by Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) and then put them to music.
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The Jordan Luck Band - Gig Review: The Jordan Luck Band & Ekko Park @ The Tuning Fork, Auckland - 3/09/2022
03 Sep 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Tonight, it was back to The Tuning Fork for another fun night of great rock music. I knew Midnight Oil were playing next door so got here early, and not only managed to get a free parking space, but the lighting guys made sure I had a great place to be able to review from and even provided me with power and my own lighting.
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Goldsmith Baynes - Album Review: E Rere Ra
01 Sep 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Earlier this year I was fortunate to be asked to review To Ihu, one of the four singles to be made available from this album so far, and I was just blown away by what I was hearing. Allana Goldsmith is a classic jazz songstress with warm and embracing vocals while Mark Baynes is a compassionate and empathetic accompanist on the piano, and together they create the bedrock of a very special experience indeed.
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The RVMES - Single Review: What's Troublin' You
31 Aug 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
It seems to have been ages since I last heard from The RVMES, and I can see from looking through my records that it is more than a year since I last saw them play, and also more than a year since I reviewed their excellent album, Lifetime. Now they are back with the first single from their next album, Simple Things which will be out in a few months’ time.
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Silcrow - Gig Review: Silcrow @ The Thirsty Dog, Auckland - 27/08/2022
28 Aug 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
After three gigs last weekend it seemed a little weird to be doing just one this, but that’s what happens sometimes. I had been planning to come to this gig to see support act Venom Dolls, as I had no idea who Silcrow were, so it was something of a surprise when Lorenzo Hazlewood responded to my message and let me know that Silcrow is the new name for Close To The Bone.
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Electric Temples - Single Review: I Want The World
25 Aug 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
This is the debut single from Christchurch-based rock group Electric Temples, and the thing which impresses me most right from the off is the use of space. When a band starts, it is easy to throw the kitchen sink into a recording instead of understanding that often less is more, yet here we are provided with music in waves so there is plenty of contrast.
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Matt Joe Gow - Gig Review: Matt Joe Gow @ Wine Cellar, Auckland - 21/08/2022
22 Aug 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
So, it was off into central Auckland for my third consecutive gig, this time to Wine Cellar to see country musician Matt Joe Gow on the final date of his NZ tour, where every gig had sold out. Given how difficult the market is at present, which has been some vindication for Matt, and it was no surprise he was happy with how things had gone.
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Fur Patrol - Gig Review: Fur Patrol @ The Tuning Fork, Auckland - 20/08/2022
20 Aug 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
This was the first time I had heard anything from support act Wellington-based Soft Plastics, who comprise Sophie Scott-Maunder (vocals/bass), Jonathan Shirley (guitar) and Laura Robinson (drums), but I had heard good things and right from the off I could see I was not going to be disappointed. They started with Day Job, and right from the distorted jangly guitar chord opening, the audience responded and made their way from the bar to the front.
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Troy Kingi - Gig Review: Troy Kingi @ Auckland Town Hall - 19/08/2022
20 Aug 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
At the Auckland Folk Festival last year, Tory Kingi and Delaney Davidson premiered material from the forthcoming Black Sea Golden Ladder album, which they had written together when Troy had the Matairangi Mahi Toi Artist Residency in Wellington. Looking around the full marquee, at that time no-one knew we would be going back into extended lockdown, or the impact it would have on the forthcoming tour.
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Adam Hattaway & The Haunters - Single Review: Salt
18 Aug 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Only nine months since their last album, and Adam and the band are back with the first single from the next, Bug Eyes, which is due out in November. Salt clearly shows that here we have a band who have paid their dues by working the circuit since they released their debut in 2018 and soon, they will be back with their fifth – the work ethic puts many other bands to shame.
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Scapegoat - Album Review: Reality and the Hanging Tree
12 Aug 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Rene Black can often be found out and about on the Auckland scene, either playing in the premier NZ Sabbath tribute band After Forever, or just supporting other bands and enjoying the vibe. We regularly bump into each other at our favourite dive, Ding Dong Lounge, but whereas that is a relatively new place for me, Rene has been on the circuit for years as he was also drummer and founding member of both His Masters Voice and {Cripple Mr.
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Caitlin - EP Review: States
12 Aug 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Here we have the debut EP from young Christchurch-based indie-pop musician Caitlin (Caitlin Bradley) who is currently studying at Ara Music Arts in the city. She took the songs to Ryan Chin (Fisherman), and together with Will McGillivray (Goodwill), Thomas Isbister, and Shaun Malloch they worked to capture her innocent vocals and songs in a manner which brings together lots of different styles.
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Corduroy. - Single Review: Ozone
11 Aug 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Ozone is the latest single from Wellington-based band Corduroy., and is taken from their forthcoming EP, Halftime Oranges.
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Mim Jensen - Single Review: Germaphobe
11 Aug 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
This is the debut single from Otautahi artist Mim Jensen, and a load of fun it is too. It commences with jangly guitar and Mim’s vocals, and soon we are taken into commercial indie rock which has definite nods back to the likes of Fur Patrol.
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Moone - Single Review: I Am Who I Am
10 Aug 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
There are some people who come into this world and put the rest of us to shame as to what they achieve, and undoubtedly one of those was Eva McGauley, who at the age of 15 was diagnosed with terminal cancer, to which she succumbed a little more than 3 years later. Eva was involved with the Wellington Rape Crisis Organisation, was an intern with the Green Party, ran her own charity 'Eva's Wish' raising more than $70,000 to help sexual abused survivors, was involved in the '200 Women Who will change the way you see the world' book and exhibition and was nominated for Youth Wellingtonian of the year award, among others.
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Oliver Birch - Album Review: Burning Daylight
05 Aug 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
This is the debut album from Auckland musician, Oliver Birch, although older versions of many of the songs contained within have already been made available as singles. When the album started with the lengthy keyboard chords and feedback intro I thought it would fall into krautrock, but instead it quickly changed into a psychedelic experimental art rock number with emotionally charged vocals and an outright refusal to conform to any expectations.
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Black Velvet Butterfly - Album Review: Black Velvet Butterfly
03 Aug 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Black Velvet Butterfly are a one-man band from Auckland featuring James Castady-Kristament. I was intrigued to be sent this as when I looked on their Bandcamp page it said, “It may just well be the coolest thing you’ve heard in the Goth scene since Type O Negative.
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Bill Angus and the Mighty Ways - Album Review: All Night Before the World Began
01 Aug 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Bill had a musical career in England before deciding to do something different, and returned to his roots when he started working in New Zealand. This is his third album.
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Antagonist A.D. - Gig Review: Antagonist A.D. @ Galatos, Auckland - 30/07/2022
31 Jul 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Once more into the breach dear friends, as I made my way into the city for the third night in a row. I knew this was going to be the most dramatic gig of the week and was one I had been looking forward to for months.
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Reb Fountain - Gig Review: Reb Fountain @ Town Hall, Auckland - 29/07/2022
30 Jul 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Back into central Auckland for the second consecutive evening, this time to see an artist for whom I have great admiration for the first time, and whose latest album, Iris, was rightfully in my Top Ten of 2021. Until last month it had been years since I had been in Auckland Town Hall for a gig, but here I was again, this time for one of the series of Auckland Elemental events, and I could see lighting gantries across much of the venue so knew we were in for quite some night.
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Capital Theatre - Gig Review: Capital Theatre @ The Tuning Fork, Auckland - 28/07/2022
28 Jul 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Down to the Tuning Fork on a school night, whatever next?! Mind you, it was for a special occasion as Capital Theatre were back in town and it has been way too long since I last saw them play (thanks Covid).
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Infinity Ritual - Infinity Ritual - EP Review: Infinity Ritual
28 Jul 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Here we have the debut EP from New Plymouth trio Adam Colless (guitars, vocals), Jason Karam (bass, vocals, mellotron) and Mark Thomas (drums and percussion). The four songs, 23 minutes in length, show a band who are bringing together groove metal with stoner, displaying plenty of bottom end with rich distortion.
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Sea Mouse - EP Review: Evil Heart
27 Jul 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
There is a time in many music lover’s lives when they finally fall into the caress of the blues. Everyone has their own genre they prefer, but the best blues is that which really calls to the listener on an emotional level, and for me that means two very different strands, and my favourite depends on what I am feeling like on any particular day.
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Velvet Arrow - Single Review: Dark Was The Night ...Song For Blind Willie Johnson
24 Jul 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
When I started work on my first book some eight years ago, I decided I was not going to listen to anything I was supposed to be reviewing during this period, and instead threw myself into the world of pre-war acoustic blues and Sixties electric blues. I made some wonderful discoveries during this time, not least of which were the famous blind blues musicians such as Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Willie McTell, and of course Blind Willie Johnson.
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Gig Review: By The Power of Rock @ The Thirsty, Auckland - 22/07/2022
23 Jul 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Just a week after being at The Thirsty for Swamp Song XII, I was back for By The Power of Rock featuring three bands, two of which were new to me. First up were Living State, a band whose single One Sided I put in my Top 10 last year, but I had only seen them play live once before so was looking forward to this.
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Silent Torture - Single Review: Omnipotent Reign
21 Jul 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Auckland death metal outfit Silent Torture have been playing some well-received gigs recently, and now here they are back with their first new material since 2018’s Phallic Self Mastication EP. Formed in 2015, Ross Curtain (drums), Aidan McGorry     (guitars) and Liam Hand (vocals) have been there since the beginning while bassist Elijah Pinho joined back in 2017, and it is only guitarist Daryl Hodgetts who did not play on that last release.
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The Knids - Album Review: Rescue Me
19 Jul 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
The Knids are back with their second album, which has one of the coolest covers ever! I was a big fan of their debut, One Small Step for Man, One Giant Leap for Manknid, and I am glad to report that this one continues exactly where that one left off.
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Gerry Paul - Single Review: The Fairy Child
19 Jul 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Gerry Paul surely needs no introduction, as not only he is an established musician who has shared his wares in more than 40 countries around the world (as well as more than 40 American states), a festival organiser and award-winning children’s author, but he is also incredibly well-known within the folk community. Most recently he and his colleagues in T-Bone well-deservedly made it to #2 in the NZ album charts with the excellent Good ‘n’ Greasy, and he has called on those friends to join him again in this new single.
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Gig Review: Swamp Song XII @ Thirsty Dog, Auckland - 15/07/2022
15 Jul 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Originally, I was not supposed to be in Auckland this weekend, which is why tonight I was not at Ding Dong watching the mighty Coridian, but as that gig was being covered by another writer from MNNZ I instead headed out to The Thirsty for another of Sean’s soirées. The Swamp Song events pride themselves on bringing together some of the most metallic and interesting bands around, and tonight was no exception with another four-band bill.
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Ghost Merchants - Single Review: Careless Ones
14 Jul 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
While the band name may be new, and Careless Ones is their debut single, all three of the guys involved in Ghost Merchants are no strangers to success in the NZ rock market, as here we have a combination of drummer Nick Douch (Ekko Park) and multi-instrumentalists JP Carroll (Swerve City, Arrays) and Adrian Drew (Investigator). Both Adrian and JP are singers as well of course, but here Adrian takes the lead while JP is right behind with double-tracked vocals while we get the strong riffs we expect from JP, combined with the more commercial sound of Investigator with Nick always driving them forward.
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Arrays - Album Review: Patience Way
14 Jul 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
JP Carroll (Swerve City, ex-Armed in Advance) is back with his latest album as Arrays, yet again proving what a talent he is as Patience Way takes us on a journey through different styles of melodic rock, often with buzzsaw guitars, and always with hooks and a commercial understanding missing from many other releases. Many of the songs on this could happily find their way onto radio, as even when he is doing his best Devin Townsend impression the vocals and licks keep us tuned into what he is doing.
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Ben Woods - Album Review: Dispeller
14 Jul 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Firstly, this is an album which must be played on headphones as otherwise much of it will be lost, and secondly here we have music which is going to challenge a lot of what people expect from that term. However, of the many words used to describe my musical tastes (my children say it is weird, while I would rather use the term broad minded), conservative is not one of them and for me this is a delight.
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Masslands - EP Review: It Doesn't Matter Anymore
14 Jul 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Last month I reviewed the single Forget What You Heard from these guys, and now I have the four-track EP from which it was taken. Masslands started as a project between Jacob Tait of Orphic Décor (who I also recall reviewing last year) and Mason Blair of Highway Goth, but as they started to build up steam, they were joined by the rhythm section of Orian Green and Ben Liley and this is their debut EP.
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Wills & Wills - Album Review: Ain't Seen The Likes of You Before
13 Jul 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
This trio is formed around singer/songwriters and father and son team Shayn (guitar, harmonica, viola, vocals) and Zephyr Wills (guitar, bass, vocal) along with Freddy Limbert (drums, vocals). Shayn is a well-established singer-songwriter and blues musician who has performed in almost every town in the North Island, as well as supporting artists ranging from Albert King to Junior Wells.
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Leigh Franklin - Single Review: So My Love
13 Jul 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Here we have a song which every parent can totally relate to, as it is Leigh’s song to her 4-month-old son, although it took 4 years to come up with the final version. She sings about the changes taking place and how much she loves him, and it reminded me of sitting just looking at one of my daughters when she was about that age thinking my heart would break and I would do anything for her.
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DateMonthYear - Single Review: Thots and Prayers w/ Golden Plates
10 Jul 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Golden Plates from San Diego, California and DateMonthYear from Hamilton, New Zealand have teamed up for a new single song release called Thots and Prayers. DateMonthYear’s Trevor Faville wrote an instrumental track to which Golden Plates’ Elder Brycen added the vocals and lyrics.
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Gig Review: Crushfest @ The Tuning Fork, Auckland - 09/07/2022
09 Jul 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Back down to The Tuning Fork for a night with six acts, all of whom had just 20 minutes to make an impact. This was going to be a hard one for bands, crew, Ginny and I, but hopefully the fans would have a great time for a great price.
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Gig Review: Laid to Rest @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 08/07/2022
08 Jul 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Tonight’s show was called “Laid To Rest” as it was the last gig for the Yakushima Assassin Clan Metal band from the distinguished ghetto streets and suburbs of West & South Auckland (Forty Bucks Till Tuesday) with singer George Shinobi Mishinoku, who has decided to leave the scene for now. Opening act were Moshpitt, and this was the first time I had seen them since James Trimmer (Black Sands) had joined.
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Moofish - Single/Video Review: Sparrow
07 Jul 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
A short while back I reviewed Ash Tree Lament by MOoFiSh, and the first thing I said was that I had no idea how on earth I was going to be able to describe it, and now I have their latest single I am wondering why on earth I volunteered as I have exactly the same problem! There is just so much going on in this arrangement, from complex layers to simplicity, that one really does not know where to start.
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Daniel Ashcroft - Album Review: Caramel Honey II: Ribbed For Her Pleasure!
07 Jul 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Daniel Ashcroft is a multi-instrumentalist who played in metal bands and released solo work during his mid-20’s, but stopped about six years ago, with no intention of creating any more music. These songs started off as tunes he would play with his acoustic, sitting on the floor next to his daughter when she was a baby.
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CHOEY G - Album Review: Time?
07 Jul 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
It has been some 15 years since CHOEY G has been in a studio, and on this album, he provided all the lead vocals and guitars. Working with producer Reagan McKinnon at The Porch Recording led to Reagan playing drums, providing backing vocals plus all other instruments as well as polishing the result and assisting in the creative direction.
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Finger Tight - Single/Video Review: I Hear It Rains In Seattle
07 Jul 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
The video accompanying this song probably tells you all you need to know about the five guys from West Auckland, as interspersed with playing in the studio is them going to a fancy-dress party, and there is a real sense of humour throughout. Red is a vibrant frontman, even though he does leave the party on his own (or does he?
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Bird Machine - Single Review: Our Kind
07 Jul 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Here we have the second single from Kiwi/Aussie duo Bird Machine, and if the debut is anything like this then I can see I need to check it out. Jenna and Luke Grbin come from different musical backgrounds, one from alternative and the other from pop, and here they combine those influences to meet somewhere in the middle.
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No Man's Land - Single Review: It's All Over
07 Jul 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Here we have the latest single from No Man’s Land, which is quite different indeed to the last one of theirs I reviewed, West Coast. That was heavily based on the piano, but here the keyboards are much far more restrained, with held-down organ chords as there is a far greater emphasis on vocals, harmonies and guitars.
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Matt Joe Gow - Single Review: 'Til My Whole Heart Bursts
07 Jul 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
I first came across Matt when I was asked if I could write a release for his tour, and I was fortunate enough to catch him in Auckland playing solo in the middle of last year. It was a great night, and since then I have investigated all three of his albums and am looking forward now to his NZ tour and his fourth.
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Sonic Delusion - Single/Video Review: Fingertips
06 Jul 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to come across the incredible album When Turkeys Fly by Turkey The Bird which meant I was determined to see them when they came to Auckland and had an amazing evening. One member of that trio is André Manella, who has also been touring as Sonic Delusion, and over the last eight years he has played more than 800 shows and released five albums.
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The Not Okays - Chatting with Lauren Borhani from The Not Okays
04 Jul 2022 // interview by Kev Rowland
I was at the Written By Wolves gig last year, stuck at the end of the bar scribbling away, and this lovely young lady came up to me and asked if I was Kev? That was the start of a wonderful friendship not only with Lauren but her husband B and even her parents, and I have been known to share the odd tipple with her father Clive.
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T-Bone - Gig Review: T-Bone @ The Tuning Fork, Auckland - 03/07/2022
03 Jul 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Down to Tuning Fork for an early start with doors opening at 5:30 and the whole thing expected to be over by 9:30! I was so glad that Al from Hoop sent me the running times in the morning otherwise I would have missed their set altogether as well as possibly missing the beginning of T-Bone!
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Ange.Mac + Shaun Garea - EP Review: Ange.Mac + Shaun Garea
03 Jul 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
What we have here is the debut collaboration from Ange.Mac and Shaun Garea.
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Pale Flag - Gig Review: Pale Flag @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 01/07/2022
02 Jul 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Tonight, I was supposed to be at The Tuning Fork for Ekko Park and Jordan Luck but the dreaded Covid had cast its spell and the gig was cancelled earlier in the week. I did a quick check to see what was on at Dead Witch and discovered there was a four-band bill and knowing three of them I could see it was going to be a good night so decided to head that way.
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Ayla Wesley - Single Review: Say To Me
30 Jun 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Normally, when I am reviewing singles for MNZ the turnaround time we work to is 7 days and it is not unusual for me to work on far tighter deadlines than that, but Ayla was incredibly well organised with the promotion for her second single, and I have been playing this for the last 3 weeks at least. In that time it has become a real earworm, and I have even found myself singing it as I walk around (not a pleasant experience for anyone in the vicinity, let me assure you).
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Ed Waaka - Single Review: E Kura
30 Jun 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
It did not take long for me to fall in love with this song, probably the first 30 seconds I guess, as there is something about it which grabs hold the listener, puts them in a safe place, and lets the singer bare their soul. Soul, yes, this is full of it in a musical sense as well as an emotional one, and when I discovered he was singing about the upcoming birth of his first daughter, whether he would be a good father, and the need to reconnect to his Maori heritage it made a great deal of sense.
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Danica Bryant - Single Review: Crush
30 Jun 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Here we have the lead single from Danica Bryant’s forthcoming EP, Ego Death, and if this is fully representative, then that is something to look out for. For a young artist she has already had considerable success, mentoring with Bic Runga while also gaining a support slot for Elton John on his ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’ tour, and while she has already tasted success on the NZ Hot Singles Chart, I am sure this is going to head the same way.
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Tia Ward - EP Review: Me and Me Too
30 Jun 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
This is the debut EP from Hawkes Bay singer Tia Ward, following on from two singles which were released ahead of time, Under Wraps and Paint Dry, both of which are included here. The first thing which the listener notices are her vocals, which are both understated yet firmly to the fore.
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Dark Divinity - Single Review: Left For Dead
30 Jun 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Formed in 2017 by drummer Ian Moir, melodic death metal act Dark Divinity have been through quite a lot in the last five years, as not only have they supported the likes of At The Gates, The Haunted, The Black Dahlia Murder and Psycroptic but have already released an EP, some singles and have of course been running the gamut of line-up changes. The most recent of these has seen the departure of singer Jolene Tempest and the return to a male singer in Jesse Wheeler, with the line-up completed by guitarist/bassist Paul Stewart and guitarist Jiji Aligno.
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Tryonics - Album Review: Fragmented
29 Jun 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Tryonics is the solo project of Hap Richardson, formerly of My Little Pony, Go Victim and Freezer Child. It is completely a one-man affair as Hap not only provided all the music and vocals but also recorded and mixed it as well.
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Anxiety Club - Single Review: Carousel
24 Jun 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Here we have the latest single from Wellington-based Anxiety Club, taken from the forthcoming album Old Dreams, but anyone expecting more of their guitar-led music is going to be in for quite a surprise as there has been a major shift in their sound, caused by circumstance as much as by design. Like many bands unable to perform or tour over the pandemic, they used the downtime to focus on new songs, but that was not their only issue.
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Capital Theatre - Album Review: A Hero's Journey
24 Jun 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Back in March last year I made my way to the Tuning Fork to catch a three-band bill, one of whom was Capital Theatre. At that point I had not heard any of their material, so was mightily impressed to discover they had recorded a concept album for their debut with Mike Clink (Guns ‘n’ Roses, Megadeth etc) in America, and that night they were playing it in sequence.
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Sam Bartells - Single Review: Good Intentions
23 Jun 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Last year I saw Sam Bartells at The Tuning Fork with a full band, and then a few weeks ago he was playing acoustically at a tiny venue in Ponsonby with just a keyboard player for support (what an incredible night that was). In some ways his latest single is a combination of those two very different facets, as the central core of his music is always his acoustic and vocals.
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South for Winter - EP Review: Acoustic Sessions
22 Jun 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Earlier this year I agreed to review a concert of the Nashville-based husband and wife duo of Nick Stone (vocals, guitar) and Dani Cichon (vocals, mandolin), without previously having heard any of their music and it is fair to say I was blown away. I was fortunate enough to see them on two consecutive nights, and the mix of Dani’s pure, clear vocals with Nick’s more classical tones was something to behold.
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Recitals - Single Review: Rock Dove
19 Jun 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Recitals are a 7-piece band based in both Te Whanganui-A-Tara (Wellington) and Tamaki Makaurau (Auckland) and comprise Xanthe Rook (bass, vocals), Tharushi Bowatte (trumpet), Carla Camilleri (keyboards, vocals), Olivia Wilding (cello), Christian Dimick (guitar, vocals), Josh Finegan (drums), and Sam Curtiss (guitar). Even before playing the first single from their debut album Orbit I (released at the end of August on Flying Nun Records) I was intrigued by the line-up as it is unusual to find both a trumpeter and cellist in the same band, and having now listened to the single I am still intrigued, but now it is because I am wondering what the album is like.
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Matt Joe Gow - Album Review: Break, Rattle and Roll
19 Jun 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
After touring and playing numerous festivals in support of Seven Years, Matt returned to the studio in 2018 to record the follow-up, Break, Rattle and Roll. Released to wide acclaim, it went one better than his previous release and was awarded Best Country Album in the 2019 Music Victoria Awards.
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Jenny Mitchell - Gig Review: Jenny Mitchell @ Kumeu Live, Kumeu - 18/06/2022
18 Jun 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Over to Kumeu Arts Centre tonight to catch two Country singers, along with ace photographer Steve Bone who I had not worked with since Dragon in February last year due to both Covid and his schedule getting in the way of things. We both got there early enough to catch up with the ladies and listen to the soundchecks beforehand and it was obvious we were on for a good night.
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T-Bone - Album Review: Good n Greasy
16 Jun 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Here we have the debut album by Wellington-based Kiwi folk Americana act T-Bone, and mighty fine it is too. The quintet comprises Gerry Paul, Aaron Stewart, Richard Klein, Michael Muggeridge, and Cameron 'Dusty' Burnell, and they bring together an acoustic mix of zydeco, old-time, blues, bluegrass, and folk with Americana to create something which is incredibly enjoyable and full of depth.
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Steve Wells - Album Review: Songs For Summer Rain
16 Jun 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
When I heard that Steve Wells (ex-Fur Patrol) was releasing his debut solo album I had no idea what to expect, but I know it wasn’t this! For a musician who made his name as guitarist in a multi-platinum band, there are way more keyboards here than one would expect, and the production makes this album sound huge.
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Hoop - Single Review: The Brightest in the Land
16 Jun 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
I have seen Hoop play twice this year so far (the third will be in a few weeks) and each time I have come away impressed with the depth and breadth of their Americana-inspired folk. This is due in many ways to having two songwriters in the band, both of whom are singers and multi-instrumentalists while they also have an excellent rhythm section and a great fiddler.
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Coast Arcade - Single Review: Tattoo
16 Jun 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
I don’t know how old these guys are, but given they formed in High School towards the beginning of last year I am guessing not that old, especially as they have been playing mostly all-ages gigs, although they did also open for The Beths in Auckland earlier this year and would have also opened for Clap Clap Riot if the tour hadn’t been cancelled due to Covid. Bella Bavin is the lead singer and lead guitarist, and here she sings about wanting to tattoo a girl on her neck.
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Turkey The Bird - Gig Review: Turkey The Bird @ Ministry of Folk, Auckland - 11/06/2022
11 Jun 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
It was a very wet and windy drive over to The Ministry of Folk, but one I was willing to make as I loved the latest Turkey The Bird album and tonight was the last night of the tour. I made it safely to the old hall, which was very dark and atmospheric which was certainly enhanced by the Northumbrian and Uilleann pipes care of Helen Douglas and Mark Muttley Sanders, otherwise known as The Underdrones.
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Becca Caffyn - Single Review: Stair Kid
09 Jun 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Here we have the debut single from Hamilton native Becca Caffyn who discovered Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan when she was 15 and has spent the last four years developing her own songwriting and performing style. This song is all about the vocals, which are double tracked, so playing on headphones is the best way to really appreciate them and they have deliberately been kept and clear and not over polished.
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Gideon Voon - EP Review: EPsode II: Wanderer's Path
09 Jun 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Gideon Voon is of course guitarist with the mighty Shepherds Reign, one of the finest metal acts in Aotearoa, so when I saw a post from him on FB earlier this week where he put up a teaser for a new track I was intrigued. What would a solo piece be like from someone who is known for crunching out mighty riffs?
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Stealphish - EP Review: No Road To Shadesmar
09 Jun 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
It has been quite a while since we last heard from Stealphish, probably due to a combination of Covid and guitarist Josh Barker busy recording an EP with Café Fistfight, but this time around we have a 3-track EP instead of just a single. He is again joined by his brother Dan who wrote and arranged the drums, while pianist Caitlyn Abbott again makes an appearance on one track.
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Masslands - Single Review: Forget What You Heard
08 Jun 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Here we have the debut single from Hawkes Bay quartet Masslands who feature Orian Green (drums), Ben Liley (bass), Mason McNaught-Blair (vocals, guitar) and Jacob Tait (guitar). They describe themselves as Indie-Rock / Post-Punk, but while I understand the first and agree, I don’t necessarily hear the latter, at least not in this number which sits solidly within alt rock to my mind.
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Celeste Music - EP Review: Beautiful Words
06 Jun 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Beautiful Words is the latest release from Tauranga-based musician Amanda Sloan, who goes under the name Celeste Music. This five-track EP is under 13 minutes long, and for the most part is based around the vocals of Amanda, accompanying herself on picked acoustic guitar, with additional instrumentation such as keyboards laid over the top.
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Investigator - Gig Review: Investigator &, Crystalator @ Cupid Bar, Auckland - 04/06/2022
04 Jun 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
So, it was back out to Point Chev tonight to catch Investigator who are currently on a high with their song Shade at #15 in the Official NZ Rock Airplay Charts. It was my first time to see Crystalator, who may have a new name but may well be known to many on the Auckland Scene as they used to be called Meridian Vibe, and with both Investigator and Crystalator having albums in the works it promised to be an interesting night.
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Written By Wolves - Gig Review: Written By Wolves & Coridian @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 3/06/2022
03 Jun 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
When I was told a few weeks back that Written By Wolves and Coridian were doing another fundraiser for Dead Witch I was blown away, as the same gig last year was my #1 for 2022, and in my Top 10 of all time. I arrived early to ensure I could grab one of the limited-edition t-shirts (only 50, and only being sold here tonight) and was fortunate enough to catch the boys before the soundcheck and then stayed for that as well.
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Aanvi . S - Single Review: I See You Now
02 Jun 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
I first came across Aanvi last year when I was approached by her mother to see if I would mind writing her first ever press release. The reason it was from her mum and not Aanvi herself was because at the time she was just nine years old.
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Mister Unit - Album Review: Wake Me When We Get To Utopia
31 May 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
There are times when nothing will hit the spot like a dirty filthy good old-fashioned hard-hitting rock and roll band, and that is exactly what we have here. If I didn’t know they were from Wellington I would have guessed possibly New York, as there is no way they sound Kiwi.
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Revulva - EP Review: Girl's Gotta Eat
31 May 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Here we have the debut EP from Wellington-based octet Revulva which contains six songs at 27 minutes in length, three of which have been released as singles. They describe their music as “nu-jazz, nu-pop, nu-wave” which puts me at something of a loss, as when I think of the word “nu” I tend to put it in front of “metal” which gives us Slipknot et al.
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Sam Bartells - Gig Review: Sam Bartells @ Ponsonby Social Club, Auckland - 28/05/2022
28 May 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Over to Ponsonby on a Saturday night – I must confess I cannot remember the last time I was in this part of Auckland, very different indeed to the rock dives I normally frequent. But given Sam Bartells was playing a special acoustic show, and it had been a year since I last saw him, it had to be done.
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Daniel Armstrong & The Monsoons - Gig Review: Daniel Armstrong & The Monsoons @ The Tuning Fork, Auckland - 27/05/2022
27 May 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Only a few weeks back I was saying I had not been to Tuning Fork for well over a year, and now here I was back again, this time to see a three-band line-up which was due to start at 8:00 pm with the last band due on at 9:30 which is a very sensible state of affairs if you ask me! First up was Ripship who comprise Callum Lincoln (guitar, vocals, loops) and Eva-Rae McLean (drums, vocals).
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Torn Chorus - Single Review: The Meaning of Light/Rhythm of Sound
26 May 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Torn Chorus is Franklin Davis, an Auckland-based songwriter, musician, and photographer, who provides bass, various guitars, and vocals. This is about how he perceives the world through light and sound, as a photographer and musician.
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Moofish - Single/Video Review: Ash Tree Lament
26 May 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
I must confess to knowing very little about MOoFiSh apart from that they are a duo of Rhonda Hofmans Johnson and Chris Fish Johnson, and while Rhonda is the lead singer I don’t know if they create all the music themselves or if other musicians are involved. They have been releasing music since 2018, and my first thought on playing on this was “how on earth am I going to be able to describe this”?
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Shadowcaster - Single Review: Cast a Shadow
26 May 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Although there is a band when it comes to performing live, in the studio Shadowcaster is a one-man affair with Trent Graham performing all manner of guitars and some keyboards. While it contains elements of the likes of Mumford & Sons there is also a very definite nod to The Levellers and our very own Albi & The Wolves (although with no violin).
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STATES - Single/Video Review: Hostage
26 May 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
It has been a year since States released their last single, Relentless, but they were caught up in the COVID lockdowns and even though they recorded drum tracks at the end of 2020 they were unable to complete the songs. However, they are in the studio right now with Zorran Mendonsa (Devilskin, Coridian, City of Souls, Blacklistt) and hopefully they will be releasing material throughout the rest of the year as if this is anything to go by then we are on for a treat.
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Michael Signal - Single Review: Magnetism
25 May 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Now, I must confess to being as much a fan of short song as I am of long ones and given how much I listen to Napalm Death that is probably a good thing. But all short songs I know tend to fall into one of two camps, in that they are either complete in their own right (and are generally brutal), or are introductory tasters for a longer piece of music and I cannot help but feel that what we have here is the latter and my only complaint is that it stops after 90 seconds and I feel somewhat bereft.
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Max Hill - Album Review: M.H.
23 May 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Max Hill (they/them) originally started as Slow Rage, which became a duo with the addition of drummer Sam Hatley, building quite a reputation in the all-ages scene. However, like many other musicians they decided to make the most of the first lockdown in 2020 and started work on what would turn out to be a totally solo album recorded in their bedroom.
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Stephen McDaid - Album Review: Trail Maps
23 May 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Here we have the debut solo album from Stephen McDaid, who has been somewhat busy helping out his in-law’s by playing on both Guy Hobson and Kay Duncan’s recent releases, but now he has found time to go out on his own. Given that he has been adding guitar to both those other albums it is no surprise that this is the primary instrument, but here it is an acoustic which is the perfect accompaniment to his strong vocals.
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Kay Duncan - Album Review: Interstellar Refugee
23 May 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
On this her debut album, Kay Duncan provides vocals and guitar, and she is joined by her husband Guy Hobson on keyboards and brother-in-law Stephen McDaid on lead guitar. I was initially listening to this while working outside on the farm and it took me a while to work out who her voice often reminded me of, namely Karen Carpenter.
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Guy Hobson - Album Review: Latitude
23 May 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Guy Hobson is a Christchurch-based composer and performer who specialises in instrumental music for film and was featured most notably on one by Force Five Films about the unveiling of Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic Spaceship Two SS2. He is a classically trained pianist who describes his music as Ambient, hypnotic and alt/modern classical, bringing in influences from classical, jazz, blues, and funk.
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Cafe Fistfight - EP Review: Mourning Brew
19 May 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
It feels like a lifetime ago now, but I guess it must be closer to 18 months, when I started daring to head into central Auckland and Dead Witch. I had agreed, in a moment of madness, to cover all the heats for the local battle of the bands competition and had no idea what I was letting myself in for.
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Antebellum - Single Review: Resolve
16 May 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
There has never been any doubt in my mind that the most difficult musical format to get right is that of a trio, as while it is expected that the sound will be full and complete, there is also no room to hide. That is even more the case when that trio decide to be instrumental as there is no singer to take some of the load, and then what about when the musical grounding is in metal?
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French For Rabbits - Gig Review: French For Rabbits @ The Tuning Fork, Auckland - 13/05/2022
15 May 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
So it was back to The Tuning Fork for the first time in quite a while. I am struggling to remember the last time I was there, but possibly it was for Dragon, which was well over a year ago.
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In The Shallows - Gig Review: In The Shallows @ Spirit Festival - 05/05/2022
08 May 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
I left work a little early on Thursday, and then fought my way from South Auckland, West to Kumeu Showgrounds, where Spirit Festival was taking place. In many ways this is a sister festival to Earthbeat which I attended last year in that it is very much for the alternative culture movement, with lots of stalls and a wonderful vibe.
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Imperial Slave - Gig Review: Imperial Slave @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 07/05/2022
07 May 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
And so, it came to pass I was back in Dead Witch for the second consecutive night, and my third gig in as many days, which really shows how the scene is ramping back up again under the orange settings. We have all been deprived of live music for so long, and bands are now dipping their toes back in the water while others are resetting dates which previously had been cancelled.
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Pull Down The Sun - Gig Review: Aotearoa Prog Alliance Tour @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 06/05/22
07 May 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
This was the first night of the Aotearoa Prog Alliance tour, which is a showcase of progressive rock/metal over 9 shows in May, featuring three of Aotearoa's leading progressive rock/metal bands - Pull Down the Sun (Whanganui), Elidi (Christchurch), Claemus (Wellington) plus a local support at each stop. First up was Claemus, or at least a close approximation, as due to the wonderful lurgy which is COVID, plus a family commitment, the band was down to a duo of Taylor and Dan.
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Bleeding Afterglow - Album Review: Find Your Taboo
05 May 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Back in 2004 guitarist Sharne Scarborough was looking for a new rhythm section for Just One Fix, and he asked Ant Ward and Gaylene ‘G-Force’ to join. Although the bassist and drummer had bumped into each other on the circuit they were not really friends, and G actually complained to Sharne at one point that she was not sure if she could handle Ant’s persistent innuendos.
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Big Scout - Single Review: Redwood St. Massive
05 May 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
It’s not often that a song can take me straight back more than 40 years on the first time of hearing, only to reinforce that with repeated plays, but that is exactly what happened with this angry trio from Blenheim. This is stripped back music which has a great deal in common with the post punk Oi!
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Saint Mercury - Single Review: Ominous Warning (Ft. Shooless)
05 May 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Saint Mercury is the artist name for electronic producer Mark Linton who doesn’t see himself being at home in any particular genre but is more of a shapeshifter and on hearing this track one can understand why. Ominous Warning is his debut single, and he has given himself enough room to move around as it is more than five minutes in length.
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No Man's Land - Single Review: West Coast
02 May 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
This is the third single from all-girl Wellington-based quartet No Man’s Land, which I am guessing is the rationale behind the name and I must admit it made me smile. That smile continued as I listened to West Coast as there is a naivety and pop sensibility to it which just a delight.
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ARIA - EP Review: Love Songs Till Midnight
02 May 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Here we have the debut EP from ARIA, and a really interesting release it is as well. The focus throughout is on her pure clear vocals which have a tone that bring the listener in close, no matter what style they are performing.
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Gig Review: Rock Resurrection @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 29/04/2022
30 Apr 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Tonight, was my first gig at Dead Witch since we moved into Orange, so I was looking forward to a hot and sweaty night from the three bands involved. First up was Venom Dolls, whose EP I reviewed last year, then Living State who’s single One Sided I had in my top 10 for 2021, while the only band I had seen previously was Gravity Road, who now had a new bassist in Nathan Field who told me he had joined in February, but this was his first live gig in two years.
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Daniel Armstrong & The Monsoons - Single/Video Review: The Company
28 Apr 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Realistically, the cover art for this single tells the listener all they need to know about this song, as here are a band who are determined to have a load of fun and bring everyone along with them. It is actually a still from the video, more of that later.
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Pretty Stooked - Single Review: Wanted
28 Apr 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Songwriter, guitarist and vocalist Eddie Kiesanowski has been involved in music from a young age, and while studying at ARA he formed his first band, Skelter. After they had released their debut EP they headed off to Melbourne with mentor Tom Larkin (Shihad).
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Ellery Daines - Album Review: Failure Thirty Minutes Deep
28 Apr 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Since I came across the single No-One I have been waiting for this album to drop, a feeling which was only exacerbated by the follow-up, Imposter Syndrome, but at long last it is here. I could quibble that there are only eight songs, and it is only 31 minutes long, but seeing as how it took Ellery some five years to get to this point, I am happy to have it at all!
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Janine Mitchell & The Haewai Collective - Album Review: Etched In My Soul
20 Apr 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Janine is a Wellington-based folk artist steeped in the 60’s tradition of protest singers and environmentalism, and on this album, she is joined by Jack Binding (acoustic lead guitar, vocals), Kevin Ikin (mandolin, harmonica, percussion, backing vocals), and Shaun Clifford (production, various instrumental overlays), while she provides vocals and acoustic guitar. On the rear cover she details what each song is about, the message she is conveying, while the songs always have her vocals front and centre, with others joining in on the chorus.
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Ignatia : Rising - Single Review: Not One Step Back
18 Apr 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Apparently, these guys were around in the Nineties before they went on an extended sabbatical, getting back together in 2019. Since then, they have released a few singles, of which Not One Step Back is the latest.
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Pale Flag - Gig Review: Pale Flag @ The Thirsty Dog, Auckland - 16/04/2022
16 Apr 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
So, it was back up to The Thirsty Dog tonight for the first time in quite a while for a three-band bill. I was looking forward to this as the last time I saw Pale Flag they were very good indeed, but it did mean I was missing Deathnir at Ding Dong.
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Checaine - EP Review: Black River
13 Apr 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to catch Hamilton-based Checaine on the Auckland leg of the tour to promote the EP I am now listening to. I came away impressed that night and playing these five tracks remind me again of just why that was.
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Joseph E Harrison - Single Review: Blameless
11 Apr 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Joseph E Harrison came over to NZ from Sheffield at the end of the 90’s, since when he has been performing in different bands, most notably in Brave New Void. His new single, Blameless, is a totally solo performance, with Joseph writing, performing, and recording this on his own, and it immediately evokes one performer and period in particular.
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Nigel Parry - Album Review: Tales of Common Folk: Salt & Sweet Kisses
11 Apr 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Much of the folk music I hear in NZ has other elements added to it, such as bluegrass, Americana and country, but after only a few seconds of the opening number Three Danish Galleys, on Nigel Parry's new album Tales of Common Folk, Salt & Sweet Kisses, I knew we were in for what I think of as “the real thing”, namely English Folk Music which has been brought up to date yet  staying true to the tradition. Even though I think of myself primarily as a metalhead or proghead, there is no doubt that folk has always had a powerful hold on me, and when I travelled from one side of the world to the other for a festival some five years ago, it was to attend Cropredy not Wacken.
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Steve Tofa - Album Review: Koko Stax: The Legend Of Leni Mafu
11 Apr 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
There are times when an album is put on, and the listener starts to smile virtually immediately, warming to what is going on in their ears and Steve Tofa's new album, Koko Stax: The Legend of Leni Mafu, is just one of those. I loved this the very first time I played it, and it has just got better each and every time since then.
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Turkey The Bird - Album Review: When Turkeys Fly
07 Apr 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
When one sees cover art where the band are wearing clothes which were never in fashion even in the height of disco, combined with a somewhat unusual name then this is either going to be something incredibly special, or something spectacularly bad. However, I had high hopes from this band and when the harmonies hit just 25 seconds into opener Orbit, I knew I was in for a fun time.
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Arrays - Single Review: Obsidian Oceans
03 Apr 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
I can’t believe it is more than a year since I wrote about JP’s last album, Light Years, but it was and now here he is with the new single from the forthcoming third album, Patience Way. Arrays never sound like the work of just one man but always come across as a full band, which says a great deal about the skill of the person behind it all.
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Album Review: Various Artists - True Colours New Colours
03 Apr 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Unless you live in NZ it is probably unlikely you will realise just what an important band Split Enz was/is to the local scene. Sure, they had some international hits and I remember hearing I Got You back in the UK when it was released as a single, but in NZ/Aus they were/are royalty and True Colours has rightly taken its place as one of the most important albums ever released in Aotearoa.
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Sam Bambery - Album Review: Songs About Sailors
31 Mar 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
One of the real delights in discovering so much NZ music is most of the artists I am asked to review I know nothing about beforehand, so each piece of music is a total surprise and I have no preconceived opinions ahead of time. I also never read press releases until I have played the album/single, so I approach the music very clean.
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Voodoo Bloo - Single Review: Small
31 Mar 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Wellington band Voodoo Bloo are back with the second single from their forthcoming album, The Blessed Ghost, and given what I have heard so far that it definitely one I am looking out for. I was impressed with Skin, which came out towards the end of last year, and while this one obviously has similarities it is also very different indeed.
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No Broadcast - Album Review: Lie In Orbit
31 Mar 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Back in May last year I was fortunate enough to catch No Broadcast supporting Dead Favours in Christchurch, since when I reviewed the title cut of this album when it was released as a single. Their last album was all the way back in 2015, but after four years hard work the guys are finally back with their third, and it was worth the wait.
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The First Child - Album Review: Sincerely Yours
31 Mar 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
I’ve seen The First Child play a few times over the last year, so was pretty sure I knew what to expect from this 7-track EP, but when it commenced with Lunacy, You’re So Beautiful, I was nothing short of shocked. The reason for that is these guys are a post hardcore act with stacks of aggression, so to have the album start with gentle vocals and plenty of keyboards was not what I expected at all!
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Sin City - Album Review: Welcome to Sin City
31 Mar 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Here we have the full-length debut from Sin City, a duo formed around Jack Beesley and Nick Armstrong, who here have combined with producer Delaney Davidson on bass, John Segovia on lap steel and Alistair Deverick (Boycrush) on drums. Jack and Nick are probably best-known for their antics with garage punk rockers The Cavemen, and it was after that band’s world tour in 2019 that they relocated to Spain and knocked out about 100 songs.
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Slimivich - Single Review: Desert Shimmer
31 Mar 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
This release is probably going to confuse quite a few people when they realise that the person behind Slimivich is none other than Slim Jenkins from Christchurch metal outfit Tainted, here back with his first new music in some time. But this isn’t metal, it is rap/hip-hop being taken in a new direction.
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Corrella - Single Review: Seafarer
31 Mar 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Corrella are a 7-piece band based in Auckland who have real links to the sea as some of their members have been in the navy while others are still serving. The sea is something to which I have always had a close affinity, as I was raised in a small fishing community where most of the men on my mum’s side of the family were trawlermen while my dad was in the navy, and his father was a coastguard.
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Odds & Ends - Single Review: Something Else
31 Mar 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
When I reviewed their last single, Picture, I said I could tell Odds & Ends had a sense of humour just from the cover, and that is the case again as here we have a digital release which features a pile of cassettes (which are apparently very much in fashion again, although I have no idea why). That song saw them break the Top 40 Singles chart, while it was in the Top 10 NZ Singles, and it is possible to see this going the same way.
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Hamish Gavin - Album Review: I've Been Waiting For This
30 Mar 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
This album was originally recorded as home demos while Hamish Gavin was living in a community in Germany. Drums were later recorded at a home studio at a different volunteer project in Pisa, Italy while the mixing took place over the following year.
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The Chaddington Street Milk Collective - Album Review: Crescendo Ultima Morendo
30 Mar 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
When Wellington-based Juddy first heard Love Junkie by California-based Sonnyboy he was so inspired that he started recording similar music himself. From there it was just a simple matter of contacting Sonnyboy and suggesting they collaborate on an album together, and this is the result.
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Juddy - Album Review: I Am A New Tie Wearing
30 Mar 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Juddy originally started off as a guitarist in punk bands before discovering Love Junkie by Sonnyboy, which inspired him to invest in a MIDI keyboard and pull together an album which is apparently influenced by his love of mid 90’s video games. Mind you, even then those games must have been retro, as the sounds being utilised on this have a much better fit with the decade before.
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The Late Starters - Single Review: Quarter To Ten
30 Mar 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Here we have the latest single from Christchurch band The Late Starters, which is a precursor to the EP due out later this year. They released their debut album, Age – A State of Mind, back in 2019 and lovingly describe their music as “an enjoyable nostalgic trip into the future.
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The Flow Collective - Album Review: Flow
27 Mar 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
This is a wonderful album, very New Zealand, but also very much classic singer-songwriter in a way which is not often heard these days. It took me a while to think who they remind me of, but in the end, I settled for English singer Talis Kimberly and Australian Maryen Cairns, both incredible performers who have released essential albums.
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Fire For Glory - Gig Review: Fire For Glory @ Save Ding Emothon, Dead Witch, Auckland - 25/03/2022
26 Mar 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Tonight was the Save Ding Emothon, with DJ sets in the main bar and then Fire For Glory playing a gig at Dead Witch upstairs. Of course, the decision was made that they would not start their set until 10:30 which was a pain in the neck as I decided that I was going to have dinner at the bar, so I was there for just after 7:00!
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Goldsmith Baynes - Single/Video Review: To Ihu
20 Mar 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
There are times when one is sent a song which oozes class from every pore, and that is exactly what we have here in one of the most delicious and delightful jazz numbers I have ever come across. Goldsmith Baynes is a musical partnership between singer Allana Goldsmith and pianist Mark Baynes, but in this number they bring it out to a full band with Hikurangi Schaverien-Kaa (drums), Alex Griffith (electric bass), Cameron Allen (saxophones), Jono Tan (trombone) and Mike Booth (trumpet and horn arrangement).
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OTTS - EP Review: Overboard The Troubled Ship
20 Mar 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
OTTS are a trio from the Taranaki, and this two-track EP is their fourth to date as they work towards their debut album. Formed in 2020, they have a sound which takes me back more than 40 years to the indie commercial punk style which came through in the second wave in the UK when bands decided they would actually like to be featured on Top of the Pops and the radio after all.
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Ellery Daines - Single Review: Imposter Syndrome
17 Mar 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Ellery Daines is back with the second single from his forthcoming album, Failure Thirty Minutes Deep, and I really wish he would hurry up and release that as it something I am really looking forward to, given just how different this is to the last single, No-one, which I also really enjoyed. Originally from Nelson, but now residing in the Norwegian Arctic city of Tromsø, Ellery is a multi-instrumentalist who has been working on his album for some five years.
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Eurenza - Single Review: Victim of Circumstance
17 Mar 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Following on from last year’s Good Luck... You're Gonna Need It EP, Eurenza are back with their next single.
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Scapegoat - Single Review: The Dead of Night
16 Mar 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Rene Black is best known as being the man behind the kit for Cripple Mr Onion and His Masters Voice, and these days can be found in premier NZ Sabbath tribute band After Forever, but anyone expecting a similar bombastic approach to the debut single from his solo project Scapegoat is in for quite a surprise. The Dead of Night commences with a pre-war ballad, even down to the crackly vinyl, before it is replaced by a simple repeated motif on acoustic guitar.
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Lee Martin - Gig Review: Lee Martin @ Wunderbar, Lyttleton - 09/03/2022
11 Mar 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
I had been waiting a very long time for this gig, but finally it was the night of Lee Martin’s album launch for Gypsy Soul. I had promised her I would be there for it, so I had taken time off work and had flown down from Auckland back home to Oxford just for this.
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The Not Okays - Single/Video Review: Better Days
10 Mar 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Here we have the second single from The Not Okays, following on from their cover of Bite Me which came out towards the end of last year. Noriel Wong (guitar), Aaron Prictor (guitar, vocals), Lauren Kate Borhani (vocals), Caitlin Clark (bass) and Bahador Borhani (drums) started this band as a fun excuse to be able to go out and blast some of their favourite Emo tunes, and this is their first original.
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Lorenzo Hazelwood - EP Review: Vol. 3
10 Mar 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
I first came across Lorenzo Hazelwood last year with his single Same Mistake, which I thoroughly enjoyed, but due to one or two lockdowns I had been unable to catch either him or his band, Cut To The Bone, in concert. Thankfully, that was rectified last Saturday when he performed an acoustic gig (it’s hard to undertake rock gigs in Red Traffic Light) and I came away mightily impressed with his voice and approach to music.
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Aro - Single/Video Review: Tohora
09 Mar 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
When it comes to describing the music of husband and wife Charles (Ngapuhi, Te Rarawa, Ngati Te Ata, Te Ati Awa) and Emily Looker (nee Rice), AKA Aro, I have long lost all rationality as I love what they do so very much indeed. I was devastated (as were they, to be honest) when their national tour was cancelled last year when we went into lockdown, as I have not heard anyone quite like them.
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Gig Review: Beauty and the Bogans @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 26/02/2022
26 Feb 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
I have lost count of the number of times I have been to Dead Witch, but I do know that tonight is my third visit of 2022, and definitely the very first time I have been here when everyone had to be seated. For those outside New Zealand, the current rules are that there are set maximums which venues have to work with, everyone must be seated, and wearing masks with spacing between seats.
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Glad Rabbit - EP Review: Pophits & Coffee
24 Feb 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
You must give this Dunedin quartet plenty of kudos for their name, as I don’t think I have smiled so much on seeing one since I came across Mice on Stilts years back. This is the debut release from Jack Ringhand (vocals, guitar), Ayumu Kobayashi (bass, vocals), Tom Corrigan (organ, vocals) and Ryan Finnie (drums, vocals).
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The Barry Holt Cohort - Single Review: 21st Century Rant
24 Feb 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Wellington band The Barry Holt Cohort comprises of Barry on guitars and vocals, Chris Coad on fretless bass and Louie Levin on drum machine. Hailing from Liverpool, Barry grew up when that city was going through a period of austerity, and it is no surprise to hear punk and post punk in his style as well as The Beatles (of course) and T-Rex.
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Greta O'Leary - Single Review: Outnumbered
24 Feb 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Outnumbered is the debut single from Poneke alt-folk artist Greta O’Leary, and from the first delicate picked notes on guitar, violin and double bass, the listener is being brought into an incredibly atmospheric world. Her voice belies her age, as one can never believe that anyone as young as this could have suffered the pain this voice brings us.
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Lee Martin - Album Review: Gypsy Soul
24 Feb 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
I think I need to start this review with a series of statements. I first came across South African born Lee Martin when she signed to AAA Records for her debut NZ EP Lost Girl back in 2019, and my good friend TeMatera Smith asked me to write the press release.
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Darryl Baser - Album Review: Voicemails to my Fiancee
23 Feb 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
There are some albums where the listener feels they are intruding way too much on something which is incredibly private. Back in 1979 Dennis DeYoung had a major argument with the rest of Styx as he felt that even though he had played them Babe it was way too private for it ever to be recorded and made available, but we all know he lost and even though it only made it to #3 here in NZ, it did top the charts in plenty of other countries.
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Human Susan - EP Review: Fun Is Fun
20 Feb 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
According to their Bandcamp page, Human Susan is an alien trying to assimilate herself into the world, navigating the absurdity and mundanity of human embodiment. A crunchy and sparkly cosmic soup.
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Looking For Alaska - Gig Review: Looking For Alaska & Albi & The Wolves @ Nivara Lounge, Hamilton - 18/02/2022
19 Feb 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Last Friday saw me drive more than 100 km north to the middle of nowhere to see Looking For Alaska and Albi & The Wolves on their A Little Less Space tour which sees them share the stage throughout the night. They were just so good that tonight I drove a little further in the other direction down to Hamilton to see them all over again, with the added bonus that South For Winter were tonight’s support.
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Rewind Fields - Album Review: Rewind Fields
19 Feb 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Rewind Fields is the experimental pop recording project of Auckland singer-songwriter Callum Lee, who discovered some previously unfinished and abandoned songs on an old laptop and revisited them to make an album. When one understands where the songs originated from, this makes far more sense as it feels exactly as if it has been recovered from somewhere, as opposed to something organically pulled together at a single point in time.
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South for Winter - Gig Review: South For Winter @ The Ministry of Folk, Auckland - 17/02/2022
19 Feb 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
I knew tonight was going to be a first for me, although in more ways than I originally expected. We had been asked if we were interested in reviewing an American/Kiwi folk duo, South For Winter, who live in Nashville but were in New Zealand for a couple of months and of course I agreed.
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Iveta & Simone - Single Review: Ticking Bomb
16 Feb 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Iveta & Simone are back with their latest single, following on from Obsessed which I reviewed back in October. This starts with some gentle piano chords, with a delicate 80’s synth over the top, and then we get some riffing distorted guitars and bass, one of the ladies starts singing gently, with a husky edge to her voice, we get some more guitars and then we are into the chorus which is bouncy and bright.
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Looking For Alaska - Gig Review: Looking For Alaska & Albi & The Wolves @ Leigh Sawmill, Leigh - 12/02/2022
12 Feb 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
So, Aotearoa is in the red traffic light setting for Covid 19, gigs are being cancelled left and right, yet somehow, I found myself attending two on consecutive nights. Whereas the Thursday saw me in the middle of Auckland, Friday saw me out in the middle of nowhere.
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Villainy - Gig Review: Villainy & Dead Favours @ Raynham Park, Auckland - 10/02/2022
12 Feb 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
For those outside New Zealand, you may or may not be aware that we are currently in the red traffic light response setting for Covid 19. There are a whole load of rules and regulations around this, but the largest impact on gigs is that for anyone to attend they must be fully vaccinated and be able to prove that, while indoor limits are set to a maximum of 100 people, and everyone must be seated.
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Gramsci - Album Review: The Hinterlands
10 Feb 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
My personal introduction to Gramsci was 2020’s wonderful Inheritance album, and in many ways that was a rebirth as it was the first album Paul McLaney had released under that name for 15 years. He credits the revitalisation with his teaming up with Greg Haver, an award-winning Welsh record producer most renowned for his work with The Manic Street Preachers.
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In The Shallows - Single Review: Let It Go
10 Feb 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
One can discover pretty much everything they need about the new single from Wellington duo In The Shallows by looking at the cover, as Let It Go is packed full of sunshine, festivals and fun. Although related to their normal folk style, this sees Danni Parsons and Lance Shepherd produce something which is crossing the boundaries of reggae, ska and pop, with some folk in there just for good measure.
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Pencarrow - Album Review: Live At San Fran
08 Feb 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
One of the (dis)advantages of writing about music for so many years is that it is not unusual for other writers to contact me about bands/albums they feel I should be aware of. So it was, that not long after the release of Wellington band Pencarrow’s second album Growth In The Absence of Light a mate of mine in Norway contacted me to ask me if I had heard it?
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Stephen Riddell - Album Review: Acapella
05 Feb 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Performing with no instruments or studio trickery to hide behind is not for the fainthearted, so probably it of little surprise that it is unusual to find solo artists willing to put themselves out there like that. Possibly the one form of “popular” music where it can be found is folk, particularly folk from the British Isles where there is a long tradition of performing in that manner, deriving from the times in history when performers did not have instruments and songs were passed from one generation to another not through sheet music or recordings but by one person learning it from another.
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Built - Album Review: We've Been Hoping You'd Wake And Now You Have
03 Feb 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Dean Young is probably best known in New Zealand for being a radio DJ on stations such as Radio Hauraki and The Rock, but he has also been producing and releasing his own material since 1998 in different bands and guises. He started using the name Built a few years back, with the last release being the 2018 EP Here's To Sweet Sabotage.
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End Boss - Single/Video Review: Punished
03 Feb 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Lisa (MNZ) sent me a YouTube link one day and said, “Have you heard this?” I was shortly getting back to her saying no I hadn’t but was going to contact the band directly as I could not quite believe what I was hearing.
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Bevan Mical - Single Review: This Year/Resolution
03 Feb 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Thames-based lo-fi alternative indie pop musician Bevan Mical is back with his first single since last year’s Exhausting The Muse album. That was his third album, and following on from the success of that, he is bringing us into 2022 with a song of hope.
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The After - Single Review: Doesn't Matter
01 Feb 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Andrew Featherstone has been a mainstay of the New Zealand music scene for years, running his label/studio Intergalactic Records while for more than 25 years he has been running Battle of the Bands in NZ, as well as launching it internationally. If that wasn’t enough, he is also a bassist and songwriter who has performed alongside No Doubt, Collective Soul, Silverchair and Everclear.
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Fathom - Album Review: The World To Breathe
31 Jan 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
I have often said that to me the purest form of music is when a musician is performing acoustically, with no effects whatsoever, just stood on the stage with no room to hide. There is nothing then between the artist and the listener, just their voice and the unplugged nature of their instrument, relying solely on their songs and performance to make that important connection.
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The Sam Loveridge Band - Album Review: Recovery
27 Jan 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Some albums are intense, some are incredibly hard work and only open up (sometimes, if at all) after a great many plays, and others will never be destined for mainstream radio play as there is nothing there to attract the masses. Then there are albums like this one, where all you need to do is check out the cover to have an idea of what it is going to be like inside.
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Melanie - EP Review: ABCD
25 Jan 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Since releasing their debut EP back in 2018, Auckland pop/punk outfit Melanie have been making quite a name for themselves in the old-fashioned way of doing things, namely playing anywhere and everywhere, and having total belief in themselves and their music. When I first saw them, I was impressed that here was an unsigned band who had invested in having their debut album pressed in vinyl and had a few different t-shirts available as well as some other merch including stickers.
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Checaine - Gig Review: Checaine & After Forever @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 22/01/2022
23 Jan 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
As normal I got in early to the venue, then soon left again to have a beer up the road with the guys from Checaine. I was mightily impressed as they had brought a bus up from Hamilton with a load of fans onboard – one way of guaranteeing playing in a strange town in front of a friendly crowd.
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Blindfolded and Led to the Woods - Gig Review: Blindfolded and Led To The Woods @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 15/01/2022
16 Jan 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
I have been looking forward to tonight for ages, as Auckland went into lockdown in August with all gigs being cancelled until just before Christmas, and even then, that was with limited attendance. This means that tonight was going to be my first gig in five months, and given that I covered more than 30 in the first part of the year, that was some cold turkey.
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Fool's Lagoon - Single Review: Bizarre
13 Jan 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
Bizarre is the debut single from Auckland-based quintet Fool’s Lagoon. Mark, Connor, Joe, Matt and Joshua have created a bright and summery indie pop jangler which is heavily guitar-based yet is somehow light and airy throughout.
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Powder Chutes - EP Review: Sweet Noise Pollution
11 Jan 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
There is always that little hint of concern when reading a press release for a new EP and realise it contains a quote from yours truly for the single which was taken from it. How would they take it this time around if I panned this release?
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Tall Folk - Album Review: Wiser
11 Jan 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
2021 was a wonderful musical adventure for me as I threw myself into the NZ music scene, and towards the end of the year I realised that with nearly 200 reviews of local music I really should work out my Top 10 singles, EP’s, albums and gigs (check out https://www.muzic.
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Pass The Peas - EP Review: Pop
06 Jan 2022 // review by Kev Rowland
This three-track EP is the latest release from Poneke-based quintet Pass The Peas, who describe their music as Wasabi spicy Rock n' Roll, whatever that means. To my ears it means they play mid-paced alternative pop rock with a strong concentration on the gravelly and emotional vocals of Kurt with loads of space within the arrangements, which are well-produced.
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Black Sands - Single Review: Apocalypse of Eden
22 Dec 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
To my mind this single is long overdue, as I have been lucky enough to catch these guys play live a few times this year and they always put on an amazing show. Comprising Cameron Owens (guitars), Ruaidri Keens (guitars), Matt Hammond (bass) and James Trimmer (drums) they are one of those very rare breeds, a hard-hitting metal act with no need for a singer.
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Kev's Top 10's - 2021
20 Dec 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
2021 has been a strange year, of that there has been no doubt whatsoever, but although everyone in Auckland is champing at the bit to be let out into the real world, it is probably best to remind ourselves that until we went into lockdown in August we were the envy of the world with festivals, plenty of beer, and the country being totally open (apart from the borders). At that time, I had been to more than 30 gigs, and was on course to hit 50 for the year, never thinking for a minute that August would be the last time I saw a band play live.
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Samantha Josephine - Album Review: The Finished Touch
19 Dec 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
This is a direct continuation of the work displayed by Samantha on the Fly Bird Fly EP which came out a few months ago, except this time around she has managed to secure the services of drummers Mars Slater Vitai and Olive Konai, who between them share the duties on this 16-track 39-minute-long album. They fit in well with the ethos and spirit of Samantha, not attempting to bring in any finesse of polish, but instead keeping to the very lo-fi and naïve approach demonstrated by the singer/guitarist.
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Brent West - Single Review: Run From The Fear
15 Dec 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
It has been a couple of years since the last release from South Auckland boy Brent West, but he is now back with his latest single. Run From The Fear is fairly lengthy for a single, at more than 5 minutes, and is packed full of emotion and angst.
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Gabriel Bond - Single Review: Lights Burn Low
14 Dec 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Class, sheer class. When I first heard this a face kept popping into my head as to who this reminded me of, but it took ages for the synapses to snap and finally it came into focus, Richard Marx.
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Brian Baker - Single Review: Everywhere You Go
13 Dec 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Brian Baker left Aotearoa some 40 years ago to find fame and fortune in Australia, and after a successful recording and touring career he has now returned home, setting up a studio and settling in an off-the-grid permaculture farm north of Auckland. His long-time sparring buddy Eddie Rayner (Split Enz, Crowded House) has provided tips and critique on this his new single, but multi-instrumentalist Brian not only produced this, but provided all the instrumentation and vocals.
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Coridian - Single Review: Endless War
12 Dec 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
If you had told me at the beginning of the year that we would be ending 2021 and I had only seen Coridian play a few times I would have laughed at you. Mind you, we also expected the full-length album, Hava, as well but COVID 19 has a way of messing up the best laid plans.
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Channeled - Single Review: Breathe
12 Dec 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Multi-instrumentalist Ben Ruegg is back with his latest single as Channeled, which also now appears to have a new logo. I have always been impressed with this band, either live or in the studio, but here Ben is moving in a slightly different direction, and I am not sure if it has come off entirely as he would have liked.
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Kaylee Bell - Album Review: Silver Linings
12 Dec 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Kaylee Bell is the most streamed female Country artist from Australasia, with more than 30 million to date, with her recent hit single That Summer breaking the million and being the most added song to mainstream radio in New Zealand in the month of release. That is one of the eight songs on this rather short album, which is less than 25 minutes long with every song being just either side of the three-minute mark with the longest being the title cut at 3:33.
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Investigator - Single Review: Don't Touch Me!
09 Dec 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Earlier this year Investigator made it into the official NZ charts for the first time with Lake of Eyes, a wonderful achievement for a fully independent self-funded outfit. Since then, there has been the minor issue of an Auckland lockdown which prevented them from building on that success on the live circuit, but now they are back with the next single.
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Written By Wolves - Single Review: Papercut
09 Dec 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
There is no doubt that 2021 has been a hard ride emotionally for Written By Wolves. They went through the process of re-recording tracks from their ‘Secrets’ album and putting them out as The Collab Project//Secrets, baring their soul to get people talking about mental illness.
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In The Shallows - Single/Video Review: There You Are
09 Dec 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
2021 has been a voyage of discovery for me in the NZ Music scene, and it may have taken a lengthy road trip, but earlier in the year I finally managed to catch up with In The Shallows who have the temerity to live in the capital as opposed to Auckland. I fell in love with their debut album last year, which includes the wonderful singles Hold On and Take It Easy, and here they are now back with new music.
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Ayla Wesley - Single Review: Salamanders
09 Dec 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
This is the debut single from Ayla Wesley, a young alt folk/indie artist who has been playing gigs in Tauranga and Auckland over the last few years. It commences with a few electric guitars combining to set an ambience until it settles down to just one guitar being gently played as if it were acoustic, just strummed to accompany Ayla’s fresh and inviting voice.
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Aro - Single Review: Muramura
09 Dec 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
At this time of the year, it is common to look back and think about what we have experienced, and while anyone living in Auckland will happily complain about the last 3+ months (with good reason), we were all able to experience live music earlier in the year if we so wished. One of the highlights of 2021 for me was seeing Aro at Auckland Folk Festival, and since then I have been busy discovering their music.
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Lee Martin - Single/Video Review: Finally Going My Way
07 Dec 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
One of the sheer delights of Lee Martin’s new album, Gypsy Soul, which is due out in February, is the incredible amount of diversity contained within it. During the recording process, songs were rearranged, many discussions were had, and the album ended up being taken in some directions which probably were not in anyone’s minds at the beginning of the process.
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One Dead Man - Single Review: Angeline
05 Dec 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
One Dead Man is Michael Baxter from Tauranga bands The Dead Man 6 and The Knids, who came up with the idea during lockdown of putting together a collection of songs which would work together as a rock opera or concept album, and he settled on the idea of relationships and making deals with the devil (both metaphorically and spiritually) to satisfy your own needs and wants. The Deal will be released by the end of the year, so for now here is the single, Angeline, which is sung by the character of Gabriel, played by Kingsley Smith (Knightshade) who also provides piano on the track.
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Mahoney Harris - Single Review: Band in Town
02 Dec 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Band In Town is the latest single from folk/pop singer Mahoney Harris. Inspired by memories of her mum and friends getting ready for nights out, the cover actually features both her mother (on the left) and her godmother.
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Lazy Fifty - Album Review: 2021: A Lazy Odyssey
01 Dec 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Lazy Fifty are Adrian Athy (vocals, guitar), Ryan Raggett (bass), and Ali Sochacki (drums), and they play traditional solid Seventies-style melodic hard rock. This is their fourth album, and to put is simple is an absolute blast from start to finish and a load of fun.
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How To Escape Reality - Single Review: Not Another Pop Punk Christmas
30 Nov 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
How To Escape Reality were formed in 2020, by songwriter Samuel Fistonich with the help of his brothers and his wife to create music which was heavily influenced from the Emo and pop punk movement. Samuel and his family grew up in China, and this song was written with Mason May, a friend of the band from those days.
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A Radical Sun - Single Review: Love Shakes
28 Nov 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Everyone in Auckland has been incredibly frustrated with the lockdown which has now stretched past 100 days, impacting everyone inside the borders. Obviously one group which have been unable to work are the gigging musicians, which has seen some of them go into the studio or even start new projects.
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The Not Okays - Single/Video Review: Bite Me
28 Nov 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
The Not Okays are a band who originally formed a few years ago just to have some fun at the Emo nights put on at Ding Dong Lounge. They comprise Noriel Wong (guitar), Aaron Prictor (guitar, vocals), Lauren Kate Borhani (vocals), Caitlin Clark (bass) and Bahador Borhani (drums).
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Ellery Daines - Single Review: No-One
27 Nov 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Ellery Daines is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer, and mixing engineer from Nelson, now based in the Norwegian Arctic city of Tromsø. Over the last five years he wrote, recorded, and mixed his debut album, Failure Thirty Minutes Deep, scheduled for release in 2022 and No-One is the first single and is a truly solo affair as Ellery performed all instruments and vocal parts, as well as producing and mixing the song.
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The Sam Loveridge Band - Single/Video Review: I Wanna Dance
21 Nov 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Sam and the guys are back with the second single from the forthcoming album, Recovery, and if ever they were looking for radio play I can pretty much guarantee this will not be getting it with this one. The simple reason is that in the key part of the chorus, people get asked to go forth and multiply, and somehow, I don’t think the mainstream are quite ready for that yet.
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Gramsci - Single/Video Review: Ourselves
18 Nov 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
I first came across Gramsci last year when they released the amazing album Inheritance, which was then followed up with a theatre performance which was stunning by all accounts (I was gutted not to be able to make it). But I am very late to the piece indeed, as Gramsci are the brainchild of Paul McLaney who is so productive that he has lost count of the works he has undertaken to date.
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Pervertor - Album Review: Putrid Dominion
18 Nov 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Wellington-based blackened thrash outfit Pervertor are back with their third-full length album, Putrid Dominion, some four years since Perverted Tales of Depravity. Since they released their first demo back in 2009 the band have had the same line-up throughout of Necroar (vocals), Inebriator (guitar), Carnage (bass), and Rots (drums).
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On Tick - Album Review: Nothing New
18 Nov 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
On Tick was formed by brothers Brendan (vocals and drums) and Aidan O'Loughlin (vocals, guitar), out of the ashes of their previous band, Evil Tomato. They decided to work as a rough and raw punk duo, adapting some of the older songs to their new style, a few of which can be heard here.
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Powder Chutes - Single Review: Take It Or Leave It
17 Nov 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
I must confess to doing a little bit of a double take when I first saw a photo of these guys, as it looked like none of them were old enough to shave! A check of their bio and I was able to see that the band comprises Archie Orbell (16), Clarke West (16), Henry McConnell (16) & Otis Murphy (14) – when a group put their age into their bio you know they are young.
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SOL3 MIO - Album Review: Coming Home
17 Nov 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to catch these guys at Spark Arena and it was truly one of the greatest concerts I have ever attended. Given that my idea of a great night often consists of high energy metal of one type or another, I would not normally say that about an evening of light opera.
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Henika - Album Review: Strange Creatures
16 Nov 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
It is safe to say that I listen to more varied music than the average person, and I have no idea how many albums I have reviewed over the last 30+ years but it is many thousands, and I have written well in excess of a million words on the subject. This means I am rarely surprised, and it is not often I come across something and can honestly say I have never heard anything quite like it before, but this is one of those times.
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Sit Down In Front - Single/Video Review: Pixie Caramel Feat. Tiki Taane
11 Nov 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
When punk hit the UK in 1976, I loved the high-octane high energy music which came out of the scene and was quite surprised when the adults around me said there was no melody, and it was just a load of noise. The first wave of the new punk scene was made up of musicians who had been part of the earlier pub rock craze, so they knew what they were doing, and were far more musically inclined than many gave them credit for.
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Before The Snooze - Album Review: Wipe The Slate
09 Nov 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Dunedin alt rock jangly indie pop heroes Before The Snooze are back with their debut album, following from the EP which was released a few years back. The lead track of that set, That’s A Fact!
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French For Rabbits - Album Review: The Overflow
09 Nov 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
French For Rabbits are back with their eagerly awaited third album, which is their first for AAA Records (home of Troy Kingi, Lee Martin etc.).
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Jackie Bristow - Single/Video Review: Without You
06 Nov 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Here we have the latest single from Nashville-based Jackie Bristow, and no-one coming across this for the first time would realise that she hails not from America but from Gore, a small town towards the bottom of the South Island with a population in the district of just 13,000. Mind you, one of Gore’s claims to fame is that it is the centre of Country & Western music in Aotearoa (New Zealand), which obviously had a huge impact on Jackie in her formative years.
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Imperial Slave - Album Review: Imperial Slave
04 Nov 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Sam Sheppard is probably best thought of as the powering drummer for the likes of 8 Foot Sativa and Sinate, and now he is back with his latest project, Imperial Slave. This time around, as well as providing drums on the album, he is also the lead singer and main songwriter.
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Lee Martin - Single/Video Review: What If I Die
04 Nov 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
I guess I really ought to disclose that as well as writing the press release for Lee Martin’s last EP, and for the album from which this song is taken from (called Gypsy Soul, it is out in February!), but I was also in the studio when some of the album was being recorded.
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Marianne Leigh - EP Review: Simple Things
04 Nov 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
A few months ago, I came across the debut single from young Auckland-based singer-songwriter Marianne Leigh, Sweet Goodbyes, and now she is back with a six-track EP titled Simple Things. I thoroughly enjoyed her release gig, and at the time I said I would have enjoyed it more if she had utilized an acoustic more, but on that night, there were some technical problems, so she played electric, but the acoustic is well to the fore in this set.
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Something Zesty - Single / Video Review: Footprintz
03 Nov 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Something Zesty are back with their fifth single, Footprintz, which sees the vocal debut of Isaac Chamberlain. This sees the duo of Isaac and Andrew Conlon move away from heavy funk they have become renowned for, and instead strip their music down to its most basic, guitar and voice.
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False Heights - Single Review: Inhale
03 Nov 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Inhale is the third single from Taupo based duo False Heights, April Pirie (vocals, keyboards) and Ashley Pirie (drums, guitars, vocals). They say they are inspired by a wide range of artists (Jimmy Eat World, The Cranberries, Taylor Swift, Bring Me The Horizon, Sigrid, Blink 182, Lorde etc.
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On Tick - Single Review: Rats
03 Nov 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
The On Tick trio are back with the next single, Rats, from their forthcoming album, Nothing New, which will be out later in November. I don’t know how many times I have seen guitarist/singer Aidan, his brother Brendan (drums) and 5-string bassist Matt play over the last 12 months, but it has been a few, and each and every time it is a blast.
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Jazz Night at the Aquarium - EP Review: Tabula Rasa
02 Nov 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Tabula Rasa is the first of three EPs being released by Julian van der Krogt under the name Jazz Night at the Aquarium, who wrote the songs, provided the vocals and guitars (and the artwork) while James Cartwright played bass and drums. Originally, he was planning to release a single 12-track album, but when he was working on the songs, he realized that they were better grouped in three sets of four, which is why he is releasing them in this format.
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This Silent Divide - EP Review: Tall Stories
31 Oct 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
I first came across Wellington-based melodic rock band This Silent Divide last month when they released the excellent single Lucinda, so when I heard they would be playing in Auckland and also releasing an EP I of course signed up for both. While the gig may have been postponed due to a certain lockdown (hopefully they will make it up here next year), the 4-track EP has still been released, which is what I am now listening to.
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Jacquie Walters - Album Review: The Forest
31 Oct 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Jacquie Walters has been active in the folk scene for more than 30 years, firstly as part of the group Pounamu before turning solo, and now performs regularly with bassist/guitarist James Wilkinson. James appears on the final track of this album, and harp player Maria Oxnam also makes an appearance - both James and Maria played on Jacquie’s first album all the way back in 1993.
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Samuel Philip Cooper - Single Review: A Perfect Vision
28 Oct 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Wellington-based pianist Samuel Philip Cooper released his debut album in 2020 to raise awareness around mental health and raise funds for the Voices of Hope Mental Health Charity through a Givealittle fundraiser and physical CD sales. In January of this year, he was sat at home one night reflecting on what had happened so far and what the future may hold, and in that quiet time he sat and gently improvised some music which has now become the basis for this, his new single.
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Voodoo Bloo - Single Review: Skin
28 Oct 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
I first came across Voodoo Bloo at the time of their debut album, Jacobus, which was released towards the end of last year. Back then the band was pretty much ex-Lucifer Gunne frontman Rory McDonald, but now he has been joined by Daniel Maslen (guitars), Oli Cass (bass) and Jackson Kidd (drums) while still providing guitar and vocals himself.
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Rain - EP Review: No Promises
28 Oct 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
I first came across Rain in August last year with the release of the debut single Forget About You, since when there has been a string of singles, all of which have been thoroughly enjoyable. Rain came to fruition when Cathy Elizabeth, lead singer of Wellington-based band No Surrender found herself in lockdown and decided to form a studio-based project with sound engineer and producer Thomas Te Taite.
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Mat Gat - Single Review: Washed Away
27 Oct 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
There are times when some music is so personal that the listener feels they are intruding in an area they have no right to be involved with. That is the case here, as Mat Gat and his fiancée suffered the heartbreak of a miscarriage at 3 months.
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Curlys Jewels - Single Review: Liberate
26 Oct 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Curlys Jewels are a Wellington-based hard rock band comprising singer person, Jel Pollock, Aaron Ludlow (guitar), Andy van der Heyden (bass) and Corey Bell (drums). Over the years they have played with some of the heavyweights of the NZ scene such as Villainy, Devilskin and The Feelers as well as supporting international acts such as Living Color and have also had success in the NZ Top 40 Singles chart.
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Apollo SteamTrain - Album Review: Generation Overload
25 Oct 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
It is safe to say that the debut album from Apollo SteamTrain, which is guitarist/singer/songwriter Brendan McCarthy plus assorted musicians from the Tauranga area, has been quite some time coming. I can count at least 7 singles which have been released from this 11-track album over the last five years, but a project which started in 2014 and took in 3 studios has finally been completed and we should all be grateful for that.
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Claemus - Album Review: Daydream
21 Oct 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
When I heard that Hutt Valley band Claemus had released their debut album I was immediately intrigued, as I came across the single Hedonist a few months ago, and given the number of influences and styles they had managed to ram into 5 minutes what could they do with a full album? These guys have managed to secure support slots with bands as diverse as P.
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Kevin Posey - EP Review: The Story of Francis
21 Oct 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Oklahoma native Kevin Posey lives in Auckland these days, and throughout his musical career he has investigated different types and styles of music, and for this EP he has moved into yet another area, as what we have here is classical music that has been inspired by Halloween and psychological thrillers. Some, such as Fog Forest No.
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Jolandi Ford - Single Review: I'm Ready
21 Oct 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
This is Jolandi Ford’s third single since moving to Aotearoa from her native South Africa, and right from the first note one can why she has already been making a dent in international Country music charts. Although her voice is lighter in some ways, with a nice twang, her approach is quite reminiscent to the more rock-based approach of the likes of Shania Twain.
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Eurenza - EP Review: Good Luck... You're Gonna Need It
19 Oct 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Eurenza were originally formed seven years ago as Timeless, but eventually decided to go with a more uncommon name, and now have delivered their first five-track EP. Interestingly, much of this was recorded some time ago in preparation for an album, but they instead decided to go with the strongest tracks instead and cut it back.
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Sam Bartells - Single Review: Bring You Down
17 Oct 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Sam Bartells is back with his new single Bring You Down, which finds him taking quite a different approach to Where We'll Go, which also featured Mema Wilda. Whereas he normally sits quite happily within alt country, here we see him using that as a base and then moving in a much rockier direction.
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Jenny Mitchell - Single Review: Trouble Finds A Girl with Tami Neilson
14 Oct 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
The Auckland Folk Festival earlier this year was an embarrassment of riches, with so many great Kiwi artists playing multiple sets, and I spent the weekend trying to soak in as much as possible. There is no doubt that one of the highlights was Jenny Mitchell, who with her sisters Nicola and Maegan, provided warm and emotional country music in a style which seemed very much at odds with her age.
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Bianca Rae - Single Review: Flower
14 Oct 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
There are times when the music world is very small indeed, which is why earlier this year I found myself at The Portland Public House in Auckland to see a singer-songwriter, having been put in contact by a fellow reviewer who is in the UK. Even though Bianca Rae was the support, and everything was running late, she refused to let anything get to her, and I thoroughly enjoyed her set.
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Blue River Baby - Single Review: Green Cones
14 Oct 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Following on from the single Pay, which I reviewed a few months back, Blue River Baby (BRBB) are back with the second single from their second album, which is due next year. We find them moving much more into a dub style, with Ree Thomson’s wonderfully clear vocals very much the centre of attention.
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Downfall of Humanity - EP Review: Deceit
10 Oct 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
It is not often that a band can say they have had the same line-up for more than 10 years, but Auckland metal act Downfall of Humanity can claim just that. Daniel Carleton (lead vocals), Alex Carleton (guitars, backing vocals), Bryce Patten (guitars, backing vocals), Ben Pegman (bass) and Ben Bakker (drums) have a reputation for always delivering the goods, and I count myself lucky to have caught them a few times in the last year.
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The Rocky Bay Midnights - Album Review: Songs About People We Know
10 Oct 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
The Rocky Bay Midnights are a Waiheke Island-based group who first started some three years ago when Meredith Wilkie (vocals, percussion) and Kyla Dyresen (keyboard/piano) were both independently looking for musicians, to work with, and decided to form a band together. It took quite a while for them to settle on the current line-up of Simon McDowell (drums), Dione Denize (bass) and Julion Wright (guitar, saxophone) and now they have just released their debut album.
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Iveta & Simone - Single Review: Obsessed
07 Oct 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Although Iveta & Simone have been around for a few years, this single is the first time I have come across them. When it commenced, I felt we were in for some sort of electronic dance music, but I soon realized that in many ways they remind me much more of the Eighties band Yazoo.
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Shihad - Album Review: Old Gods
07 Oct 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
There is no doubt that Shihad are the Kiwi rock band who should have broken America 20 years ago, and if it wasn’t for a series of unfortunate events such as the attack on the Twin Towers, which caused the band to change their name (Shihad being too close to Jihad, but while Pacifier may have seemed a good idea on paper, it wasn’t and they eventually switched back), or accidently upsetting virtually every record label at a showcase gig, then they would have been. The first time I saw Shihad was at Western Springs opening for AC/DC, and there is no doubt that the guys were blown away by the reaction, as it seemed that although everyone was there for the main event, they were all diehard Shihad fans as well, singing along to every song.
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Vera Ellen - Album Review: It's Your Birthday
07 Oct 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Vera Ellen (Girl Friday, Maple Syrup) is back in Wellington after some time in Los Angeles, where she wrote most of the material which can now be found on her debut for Flying Nun Records. Written over the space of a few years, the album captures a time in Vera’s early Twenties where she was going through extremes of emotions.
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Finger Tight - Double Single Review: ineedsomespace vs. Polar Bears & Party Chairs
07 Oct 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
The other night I got a notification to say there was a new episode of The Distortion Transmission available on YouTube (subscribe to the Muzic.net.
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Bevan Mical - Album Review: Exhausting The Muse
07 Oct 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
For anyone who has come across Bevan Mical’s single, Weekend, we now have an album which is very similar in style and approach to that song, which is one of the 11 songs in the set. When I reviewed that previously, I said it needed repeated playing to get the most out of it, but somewhat strangely the familiarity throughout the album works in the same way, so that the more one gets through this the more there is to enjoy.
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Moonflower - Single Review: Karma
05 Oct 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Moonflower are one of those really rare bands, where the drummer is also the lead singer. They are normally described as being an incredibly tight outfit heavily inspired by 60's and 70's soul/rock and blues, but to be honest that is not what I am listening to.
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Aoturoa - Single/Video Review: Brothers Part I: Spirit
01 Oct 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Aoturoa is a new project from Tom Scrase, one of Aotearoa's leading drummers, who performs with the likes of dDub, Corrella and in the percussion ensemble Strike! Percussion.
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OdESSA - Single Review: It's Gonna Get Better
30 Sep 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
They may have disbanded in 2009 after seven years and three albums, but Wellington-based OdESSA are back. Given that lyricist/vocalist Matthew Pender had been living in London for an extended period, it was never thought that this would ever happen, but he returned from overseas just two days before New Zealand went into lockdown last year.
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This Silent Divide - Single Review: Lucinda
28 Sep 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Formed in 2018, Wellington-based melodic rock band This Silent Divide comprise Shaun Jones (vocals, guitar), Kieran Williams (lead guitar, backing vocals), Peter Stitt (bass, backing vocals), and Sunil Jolly (drums). Lucinda is the first single from their forthcoming EP, Tall Stories, which they will be promoting with a North Island tour, and I am definitely looking forward to catching them in Auckland.
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Plum Green - Album Review: Somnambulist
25 Sep 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Born in a squat in England, raised in New Zealand, and presently residing in Melbourne, here we have the latest release from dream folk artist Plum Green. I have not previously come across any of her other albums, but somehow, I can see I need to undertake some investigations as this is a very special album indeed.
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Diehards of Deep Dish - Album Review: Traditional Speciality Guaranteed
25 Sep 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
There is a long history of band members using pseudonyms, with Ramones probably being the most famous, and here we have a band who use pseudonyms for their pseudonyms, so we have Cheese (Joey Provolone), Tomato (Ryley Base), Wheat (Beef Richards), Mushrooms (Mattzarella Gibson) and Herbs (Herbie Handcooked). I thought Cafe Fistfight had probably taken the foodie elements to the extreme with songs such as King Hit Quiche, but here we have six songs all aimed at the pizza lovers among us.
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Power The Light - Single Review: Snowing
23 Sep 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Power The Light is Max Roskilly, an 18-year-old musician who is based in Auckland , and has been self-releasing music for the last four years already, including the album Blueprints a while back. This is his second single in recent months, following on from Skys where he showed an interest more in krautrock than in is normal indie-jazz style.
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Glass Throne - Single Review: Glass Throne
23 Sep 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Glass Throne are an Auckland-based power trio comprising Justin Robinson (lead vocals, bass, guitar), Owen McKibbin (guitar, organ, backing vocals) and Daniel Cutfield (drums, percussion, backing vocals). I have managed to catch them play live a few times over the last year, and what always strikes me is just how different they are to the rest of the local scene, coming through as a mix of classic Seventies hard rock, progressive and modern alt rock.
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On Tick - Single Review: Nothing New
21 Sep 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
On Tick is the brainchild of brothers Brendan (vocals and drums) and Aidan O'Loughlin (vocals, guitar), and was formed from the ashes of their previous musical outfit, Evil Tomato, who began as a band in 2012. They came across 5-string bassist Matt Hammond when they heard the demoes for Black Sands, which he not only produced but played on, and he joined forces to work with them on the album and to allow them to play in the Ding Dong Battle of the Bands.
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Ravenhall - EP Review: The Coming Storm
21 Sep 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Ravenhall were formed by guitarist Joe Ravenhall and singer Chris Brebner in 2015. They were both already veterans of the Auckland scene, and wanted to perform music which concentrated on the power of acoustic guitar, wonderful vocals, plus some gentle electronic backing, and that is certainly what we have here.
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Black Alpine - Album Review: Black Alpine
19 Sep 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
The very first time I looked at the cover of this album I was reminded of Deep Purple’s In Rock, as even though that was a stylised version of Mount Rushmore, there we had dudes with long hair playing Seventies hard rock and that is the same here. I mean, we even have aviator sunglasses!
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Secrets Of The Sun - Album Review: Obon
19 Sep 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Obon is the debut album from alternative metal band Secrets of the Sun, a quartet based in Wellington. It has been a while in the making, in that the first single, Suffer With The Moon, was actually released a year ago while Wretched Tracks came out in February: both are included here.
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Written By Wolves - EP Review: Secrets - The Collab Project
16 Sep 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Since I started writing for New Zealand’s #1 music site, https://www.muzic.
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Alien Weaponry - Album Review: Tangaroa
16 Sep 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
There is no doubt whatsoever that Alien Weaponry have captured the imagination not only of the New Zealand public, but metalheads worldwide, with their combination of groove and thrash metal mixing with their Maori heritage to create something very special indeed. There really is no other band quite like them, although I do sometimes find myself thinking of the impact of Sepultura and their Roots album, but one does need to remember that was Sepultura’s sixth album, some 12 years after their first release.
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Domingo Candelario - EP Review: Sin Palabras
16 Sep 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Although there is always a very Cuban base to his music, Domingo has covered many different styles, as he transcends culture and language: music is about expressing emotions honestly and he tries to be as unique as he can.  As a child, his parents listened to a lot of Brazilian music, and he was fascinated by the way they used harmonies: it was so beautifully put together, so soft and in connection with the soul.
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Glenn Bodger - Album Review: I'll Leave The Light On
16 Sep 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Here we have the debut solo album from Glenn Bodger, who provided most of the instrumentation himself, although he has also been assisted by former Braintree bandmate Darryn Harkness, who helped with additional guitar, bass and keyboards where required. From the gentle, almost cautiously picked acoustic guitar notes on opener I’ll Leave The Light On, we are brought carefully into a world which is dated yet fresh, comfortable but new, as he mixes together different musical elements in an independent, alternative style which is often somehow commercial and others when they are definitely not.
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Samantha Josephine - EP Review: Fly Bird Fly
15 Sep 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Samantha Josephine's six-track Fly Bird Fly EP is less than 13 minutes long, but in many ways that makes total sense, as there is a feeling within this that we are being allowed into a secret and very personal world and that it would be intrusive to stay for too long. One can imagine Samantha performing in a corner, hoping that no-one will see or hear her, and when I read in her bio that only her girlfriend has seen her perform in the last year, and that even she is not allowed to be around when Samantha is writing, then it makes perfect sense.
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The Night - Single Review: Untouchable
12 Sep 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
This cannot be right. According to the information I have in front of me, this Wellington-based band was formed from a group of music students in 2017, started performing live in 2018, and their ages now range from 15 to 18!
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Channeled - EP Review: Perception
12 Sep 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
As I have said previously, 2020 was a breakthrough year for Channeled, as Ben Ruegg recorded the second album and formed an operational live band to make it more than just a studio project. They made it through to the final of the Ding Dong Lounge Battle of the Bands and set up a headline show at the same venue with Cafe Fistfight and Mariner as support to celebrate the release of I Heard Penelope Sing, but then disaster struck with Ben being rushed to hospital following a Grand Mal seizure.
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Empress - EP Review: Trash Dynasty
10 Sep 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Empress were formed by guitarist/singer Lora Thompson and drummer Craig Gilliver after the demise of their previous project, Cheshire Grimm with whom they toured the length of NZ, played with international acts and local superstars, as well as releasing material along the way. The lead track from this EP, Sailing the Seas of Grease, was actually released towards the end of 2020 but it has taken until now for their six-track 23-minute-long debut EP to made available.
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Venom Dolls - Venom Dolls - EP Review: Venom Dolls
08 Sep 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Venom Dolls are an all-female indie punk trio who formed at the end of last year, and comprise lead guitarist Carawai Gao, drummer Summah Auvae, and vocalist/bassist Jessica Frank. From looking at their photos I can see they have played Dead Witch, so I am going to have to pay closer attention to the gig listings as I have been to that venue a lot this past year, but somehow have missed these guys.
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Roulettes - Album Review: Demosphere
08 Sep 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
One may be able to discern from the title that the latest release from Roulettes (they dropped the “The” a while back) is taken from a series of demos and home recordings. Since forming the band in the early 2000’s there have been some additional musicians here and there, but the core has always been Justin McLean (guitars, vox, bass, piano and drum sequencing) with Ben Grant (bass, vox, drum sequencing, synths, and mixing).
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Tempist Fujit - Single Review: Fallen
07 Sep 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
It has been a few years since Northland quartet Tempist Fujit (yes, the spelling is quite deliberate) have released a single, but they are back with Fallen, which is a great introduction to the band for anyone who has yet to come across them. The band are a hard rock outfit with a kick ass singer in Lisa Walters, who has a great ability to hit long notes and keep them pure and on pitch, yet also has plenty of emotion and breadth in her range.
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Soda - EP Review: Nineteen Ninety Seven
05 Sep 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
In the Nineties, guitarist and singer Scott Pilgrim had a band in Melbourne called Soda, who released the Pan EP. Fast forward 23 years and he walked into Warwick Donald’s control room and saw a multi-track tape deck which could play the original tape of that recording.
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Malachim - Album Review: Vitasphere
05 Sep 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
I was sat working away at my desk one evening recently, when I had a message come through from TeMatera Smith, asking if I would be interested in hearing a brand-new album which he had literally just finished mixing. Of course, I said yes, and he provided me with a Soundcloud link to this release, which immediately blew me away.
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Stephen Galvin - Album Review: Modal Behaviour
02 Sep 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Stephen Galvin is a multi-instrumentalist who was invited to teach at the New Zealand Guitar Academy at the tender age of 23, before opening his own teaching studio in 1984. Since then, he has performed in bands of different genres, as well as teaching music to thousands of Aucklanders.
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Anderson Rocio - EP Review: We're Fine
02 Sep 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to see Sol3 Mio at Spark Arena, and I came away as suitably impressed as one would expect, not only from the main act, but also by the support who impressed everyone with her wonderful vocals and delicate touch on the piano. Anderson Rocio was not someone I had come across prior to that night, although one of her songs, Paradise, had previously featured on an episode of Lucifer, but I came away incredibly impressed and said how much I would be looking forward to hearing more of her material.
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Aro - EP Review: He Wai
02 Sep 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
One of the absolute highlights of the Auckland Folk Festival this year were Aro, the husband-and-wife team of Charles (Ngapuhi, Te Rarawa, Ngati Te Ata, Te Ati Awa) and Emily Looker (nee Rice). At that event Charles provided vocals and guitar, while Emily “just” vocals, and I was blown away by the mingling of their voices, in both Te Reo and English, and how they made their stories so wonderful and real.
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Odds & Ends - Single Review: Picture
31 Aug 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
The picture on the album cover is a picture, neat! That got me thinking the guys probably had a sense of humour and when I saw they describe themselves as a perfect fruit salad; filled with juicy melodies, tasty songs, and sweet, sweet harmonies, then I was sure of it.
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Lilith NZ - Single Review: Tears of Blood
31 Aug 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Just one look at the band name, song, and font, and one knows that here we have an act aiming to be on the heavy side. A quick look at Encylopaedia Metallum and one can see they have another nine bands listed with the same name, while this Lilith isn’t even the only one operating in New Zealand.
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Bevan Mical - Single Review: Weekend
31 Aug 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Bevan Mical is a lo-fi alternative indie pop musician from Thames, and Weekend is taken from his third full-length album, which is due out later this year. He says he is inspired by all forms of music from Fraggle Rock to Eminem, Crowded House to Pink, and it must be said that anyone who finds a way to reference Fraggle Rock is always going to be interesting.
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Crying Club - Single/Video Review: Taxi Man
29 Aug 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Crying Club were formed in Wellington at the start of 2021 by friends Sean Beales (drums), Chrissy Pantelakis (bass) and Datu Beech (vocals/guitar), with the stated intention of starting a new emo movement in the capital!  They have been gigging over the last few months, mainly in community halls and house shows, but of course that has now stopped with NZ back in lockdown, so it is somehow fitting that their debut single was written after the first lockdown and is about feeling anxiety on a night going out to town, and the taxi drive has them wondering if they should just go back home.
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WHITE NØISE MAFIA - Single Review: Let It End
25 Aug 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
The boys are back with their second single, continuing from where the last one left off. This was again recorded in sessions with the mighty David Rhodes (Blindspott, Stylus, These Four Walls etc.
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Club Classic - EP Review: Greetings From Club Classic
23 Aug 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Club Classic like to portray themselves in photos as being an interesting bunch of jokers, and indeed their Facebook page says, “Welly’s favourite grass roots sports club + indie-funk band hybrid”, but don’t let any of that fool you, as when it is time to start playing music these guys are serious, and seriously good. This 13-minute-long 3-track EP finds them demonstrating just how slick and powerful they are, with different styles of funk and soul.
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SOG - Album Review: Blooming Buzzing Confusion
19 Aug 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Wellington quartet SOG are back with their third album, with a somewhat unusual but very Kiwi cover photo. There has just been the one line-up change since their 2018 Slate Clean debut, as Bianca Bailey (vocals, drums) joined in time for 2019’s, alongside James Shanly (vocals, bass), Ethan Roberts (guitar, vocals) and Luke Cox (guitar).
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HATT - EP Review: Vol.1 - Emulate + Dissipate
19 Aug 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
HATT are a new band on the scene, but they are already here with their debut 5-track EP. Mind you, although HATT are a new name, those behind it are definitely not, as anyone who has been involved with the Auckland music scene will recognize all those taking part.
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French For Rabbits - Single/Video Review: Ouija Board
12 Aug 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
French For Rabbits started life as the duo of Brooke Singer and John Fitzgerald some ten years ago, but by the time of their last album, 2017’s The Weight of Melted Snow they had become a quartet with the addition of Ben Lemi and Hikurangi Schaverien-Kaa, while Penelope Esplin (Grawlixes) has joined since then. The quintet has just released the second single from their forthcoming album, and based on Ouija Board I am definitely looking forward to hearing that when it is available.
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Speech Act Theory - Single/Video Review: Holding Out
08 Aug 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Speech Act Theory is a new project by producer and musician Pete Hickman which allows him to explore his vulnerable side, putting his insecurities out there for all to see. Musically this is bringing together elements of Alternative, Shoegaze, Electronica and pop, with the focus on keyboards and vocals, although special mention should be made here of the drums (and I still cannot make up my mind if they are programmed or real), which provide cut through.
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Cafe Fistfight - Cafe Fistfight @ The Ding Dong Lounge, Auckland - 07/08/2021
08 Aug 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Back to DD for the second night in a row, but tonight was going to be a very different crowd and musical experience to what had been happening here only 24 hours earlier. First up tonight was Green, which features three members of Big Tasty and in some ways is quite a similar band.
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Marianne Leigh - Gig Review: Marianne Leigh @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 06/08/2021
06 Aug 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
I am pretty sure this is my first time at Dead Witch for a gig which is non-metal or at least hard rock, and that combined with the fact that most of the people playing were younger than my children meant that I was in for quite a strange night indeed. They were planning for the gig to end long before the headline band normally starts, so it was promising to be a nice early night to gently ease me into the weekend.
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No Broadcast - Single Review: Lie In Orbit
05 Aug 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
When I was back in Christchurch a few months ago, I went to The Dark Room to experience the mighty Dead Favours in concert, and that night the support act was No Broadcast. They were a band new to me, but they have been around in one form or another since 2004, and the current line-up has been together since 2007.
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Edge Of The Woods - EP Review: Lookin' For Somethin'
05 Aug 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
This six-track EP from West Coast trio Edge of The Woods shows there is still plenty of room in this musical world for well thought out and delivered music with real soul and heart. They bring together folk, alt-blues.
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Marianne Leigh - Single Review: Sweet Goodbyes
03 Aug 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Marianne Leigh may only be 18 years of age, but she has already won Smokefree Rockquest, has been on TV and Radio NZ, is a three-time finalist of the Play It Strange songwriting competitions as well as being mentored by Bic Runga, so perhaps it should be no surprise that her new single Sweet Goodbyes is like a breath of fresh air in a market that often over-produces young singers. This is indie-pop, and is annoyingly catchy and infectious, so much so that I have been finding myself walking along absentmindedly humming the tune.
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Simp Vader - Single Review: All The Time
03 Aug 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Simp Vader are a South Auckland alternative rock band, heavily influenced by the Shoegaze movement, who were formed by Rory Maddren (vocals, guitar) and Josh Banning-Taylor (lead guitar) towards the end of 2020. With the arrival of Branden Pritchard (drums) and Scott Parker (bass, backing vocals) they have been working on recording their debut EP this year, and this is the first track to be released.
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The Sam Loveridge Band - Single Review: Run Into You
02 Aug 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
It has been a couple of years since I last came across Sam Loveridge and his excellent album, Clarity, and in the intervening time he has turned himself into a full band. At the time of that album release, AAA label boss TeMatera Smith could not stop talking about it, so it is no surprise at all that the new single, Run Into You, was recorded at Red Room Studio by Jamie Crerar, mastered by Chris Chetland at Kog, and again released by AAA.
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Capital Theatre - Single/Video Review: Fire
02 Aug 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Capital Theatre are back with the most recent single, Fire, from the forthcoming album (which is due out in October), following on from the incredible People, which has been on constant repeat at my place. Given just how much I have been playing that, I did have some concerns that Fire may not live up to the same level, but these were soon blown away.
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Sidewinder - Single Review: Walk of Ishi
01 Aug 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Sidewinder are back with their third single Walk of Ishi, which follows on from the powerful Mississippi Fire, which came out a few months ago. Again, what we have here is stoner rock, with very strong links to QOTSA, which are based around the vocals of Jason Curtis.
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Capital Theatre - Gig Review: Capital Theatre @ Botany Commons, Auckland - 31/07/2021
01 Aug 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
I was fortunate enough to catch Capital Theatre earlier this year at The Tuning Fork, and hearing that they were playing Botany, which is not too far from me, meant a trip to a pub venue situated in a shopping complex, not the sort of place I normally visit. Still, it is always good to come to a place which has a nice permanent stage and lighting and walking in I could see the CT drumkit on stage, along with multiple guitars and Marshall amps – the guys certainly know how to make an impression even when they are not performing.
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Dianne Swann - Gig Review: Dianne Swann @ Mt Eden Village Hall, Auckland - 30/07/2021
31 Jul 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Friday night had me out to yet another “new” (to me) venue, namely the village hall in Mount Eden. I stood in the doorway and was stunned by what I saw, as the hall had been filled with long tables covered in black cloth, all with tealight candles.
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Skank Bandit - Album Review: Blood, Sweat and Beers
29 Jul 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Blood, Sweat and Beers is the second album by Skank Bandit, a quartet who describe their music as an explosive combination of reggae, rock, ska, funk, metal, and punk, and to be honest they have hit the nail right on the head. When people think of punk, particularly British punk, they tend to focus on the out and out aggression of Sex Pistols and the like and tend to forget that some of the bands had far broader tastes and influences, and such was the case of The Clash.
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Tablefox - Album Review: Battles
26 Jul 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
What strikes one most about the third album from Tablefox is the sheer diversity of styles on display. True, they are very much rooted in the Eighties and their style is also often very Kiwi, but after that they move all over the place.
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Shepherds Reign - Gig Review: Shepherds Reign w/ Coridian and Just One Fix @ Whammy Bar, Auckland - 22/07/2021
25 Jul 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
As soon as I heard this gig was taking place, I knew I was going to be there, as with three of NZ’s best bands in attendance it was going to be a “must see” event for any serious metalhead living in Auckland, but on a Thursday night guys? Really?
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Grawlixes - Album Review: Love You To Death
20 Jul 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
I have been reviewing music for more than 30 years and estimate I have written something like 2 million words on the subject, and I have often been asked the question, “Why?”.
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Blue River Baby - Single/Video Review: Pay
20 Jul 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Blue River Baby, AKA BRBB, are back with the first single from their second album, which will be due out next year. They created quite a stir with their debut release in 2019, hitting the Top Ten on the Official NZ Music charts as well as topping the NZ Indie (IMNZ) charts.
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Tall Folk - EP Review: Live From Martin's
19 Jul 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Tall Folk are a relatively new band, only coming together at the end of last year and feature Dunedin singer/songwriter Lara Robertson and mid-Western import Jack Ringhand, with both providing lead and harmony vocals and acoustic guitar. It really is a coming together of styles as Lara is obviously more from the folk end of the spectrum, while Jack’s gravellier rasp is far more set in Americana.
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Shihad - Single / Video Review: Tear Down Those Names
19 Jul 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
It is probably hard for anyone outside Aotearoa to realise just how important Shihad have been to the NZ music scene, but they have had five #1 albums, including the most recent, 2014’s FVEY, and hold the record for the most Top 40 singles entries by a local band. The first time I saw them play was at Western Springs supporting AC/DC, and the way the crowd reacted and sang along to all the words was one heck of an experience, and now at long last they are back with their tenth studio album.
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Investigator - Gig Review: Investigator @ Cupid Bar, Auckland - 17/07/2021
18 Jul 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
This was a gig I thought I would have to miss, as I had been invited to a wedding, but after the ceremony I realised I could still make it, so it was back into Auckland for another venue which is new to me. Cupid Bar is situated in the foyer of the old Ambassador Theatre, and with the bar on the right-hand side, there is quite a narrow entrance which then opens into a small space where bands can set up.
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The Gemini Effect - Single Review: Gridlock Party
17 Jul 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
There are some songs which are infectious from the start, with a sense of humour coming through the vocals even before listening to the lyrics, all combined with great hooks and Summer joy. Here we have a number which has been released in the middle of winter, which I am listening to on yet another rainy day in Auckland but is full of the joys of Summer – even if those joys are constrained to being stuck in overheating tin boxes as people make their way out of the city to the beaches or far North.
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Amos/Anon - Album Review: The Empty Afterwards
13 Jul 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Amos/Anon are a Wellington-based project who have been releasing music for more than a decade now. Mind you, if you have not heard of them then that is probably more by design that you may expect, given that on the Bandcamp page it states If you haven't heard of [amos/anon] then the system is working.
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Viices - Single Review: Breath
11 Jul 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Viices have been around the Wellington scene for a few years now, but up until now it has always been the work of Jake McComb, but towards the end of last year the band turned into a trio with the arrival of Liam Crawford on drums, Will Jakicevich on bass. Not only has this meant there has been a change in personnel but also a move in musical direction, which has seen them embrace the punk end of the indie genre.
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Burn the Bridges - Gig Review: Burn The Bridges w/ Bianca Rae @ The Portland, Auckland - 10/07/2021
11 Jul 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
The world of reviewers is a small one, and many of us are in touch with others in all parts of the world, and it is through this network that I know Nick Hudson, a Dunedin lad who writes for The Progressive Aspect and now resides in the UK. He in turn introduced me to Linz Eel, a well-known musician who is back in NZ after spending some time overseas, and at the beginning of the week he in turn contacted me to ask would it be possible for me to go and review a young singer-songwriter?
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Stonehurst - Gig Review: Stonehurst @ Whammy Bar, Auckland - 09/07/2021
11 Jul 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Friday night saw me yet again in central Auckland for a gig, this time to catch Stonehurst and Elidi who were both up from Christchurch, my neck of the woods. I had been looking forward to this for months, ever since I reviewed the last single by Elidi, Witches Brew.
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The Knids - Album Review: One Small Step for Man, One Giant Leap for Manknid
06 Jul 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
I must confess that when punk first started rearing its ugly head in 1976, I was not a huge fan, as while the energy was interesting, too many songs sounded as if they had been created by people who had no musical ability or ideas whatsoever. What was way more fascinating to me was what came out slightly afterwards, the independent alternative scene, where the only commonality between bands was the DIY ethic.
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Gig Review: Star Control & PolarisRadio @ The Wine Cellar, Auckland - 03/07/2021
05 Jul 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Yet again I find myself heading into central Auckland for the second consecutive night on my way to a gig, this time to a two-band bill at The Wine Cellar featuring Star Control and PolarisRadio. A few months ago, I bumped into Felix Lun at a gig where he was guesting, and while our discussion of course concentrated on the mighty and much-missed Shepherds of Cassini (where he played violin), he told me that he and drummer Omar Al-Hashimi were now two thirds of a totally different outfit called Star Control.
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Gig Review: White Nøise Mafia @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 02/07/2021
03 Jul 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
So, it was back down to my favourite venue for another night of great music as it was the launch gig for White Nøise Mafia’s debut single, The Divide. Last year they won the battle of the bands competition, and the prize was a recording session with Dave Rhodes and a video shoot with Francis Wheeler, who was there in the audience tonight.
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The Infinity Chamber - Various Artists - Reflections of the Infinity Chamber
01 Jul 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Dylan Paul Ware was born and raised in New Zealand, and was exposed to music from a young age as his father was a radio rock journalist who interviewed the likes of Chuck Berry. At home there was a massive record collection, and consequently his tastes in music are very broad indeed (I read a fascinating interview where he lists his favourite albums as Dire Straits’ debut album, NIN’s The Downward Spiral, The Beatle’s Abbey Road, CCR’s Bayou Country, ACDC’s Powerage, Simon & Garfunkle’s The Sounds of Silence, Bob Dylan’s Bootleg Series #4 1966 Royal Albert Hall Concert 1966 Disk: 1.
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Orphic Decor - EP Review: Overcross
01 Jul 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
This five-track 14-minute-long EP is the latest release by multi-instrumentalist Jacob Tait, who goes under the name of Orphic Decor. He released his debut EP, Ida, in 2020 and this is the follow-up.
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Sam Bartells - Single Review: Where We'll Go Feat. Mema Wilda
29 Jun 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Rock The Folk event at The Tuning Fork, and two of the three artists there that night can now be heard on this single. Sam Bartells is closer to alt country than he is to alt folk, and has been studying his craft in Nashville, but like many Kiwis he has been in his home country again for quite some time.
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WHITE NØISE MAFIA - Single/Video Review: The Divide
29 Jun 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Last year I was fortunate enough to see all the heats and one of the semi-finals for the Ding Dong Lounge Battle of the Bands competition and came away incredibly impressed with a band who had formed just in time to play a gig at the venue, and to be then allowed to enter the competition. When they played their heat, I was immediately impressed, as were the judges, and I came away wondering if they were like that at their second ever gig what on earth would they be doing in a few years’ time.
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Troy Kingi - Album Review: Black Sea Golden Ladder
28 Jun 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
I was first introduced to the music of Troy Kingi when I was over at Red Room Studios one day at the invitation of TeMatera Smith some years back, who told me I just had to hear the person he was currently working with. I was fortunate enough to be there for some of the sessions of Shake That Skinny Ass All The Way To Zygertron, and I was blown away by the sheer musicality and ear of Troy who was able to listen to a track for a few seconds and then say, “it needs this” and then go back into the studio and record it.
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Alien Weaponry - Single Review: Tangaroa
26 Jun 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
It has been a long three years since debut album Tu, but at long last Alien Weaponry are back with the first track taken from the new album of the same name, Tangaroa. The album is not due to hit for another few months, so until then we will have to satisfy ourselves with this track which sees the sound moving in a more mature, deeper, and more produced aspect than what we have heard in the past.
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Melanie - Gig Review: Tsunami Warning @ The Wine Cellar, Auckland - 25/06/2021
26 Jun 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Tonight was my first trip to The Wine Cellar in the centre of Auckland, a venue of which I was aware but just hadn’t been to, and is exactly as it sounds. I had also been told that lighting would be incredibly dark, which was also correct, and given tonight was a sell-out I really didn’t want to fight my way through to take a couple of photos on my phone and then fight my way back to where I was perching to write the review, so I have no shots of the night.
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Black Gravel City - Single Review: Internal Fix
24 Jun 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Internal Fix is the debut release from Auckland-based trio Black Gravel City, who describe themselves as metal/rock/metal which in terms of this song definitely makes sense. Formed just a year ago, the band comprise Hemi Sachin (drums, formerly Broken Season, Lakius, Order of Mammal), Kerry Cooper (guitars, vocals, formerly Djen, Order of Mammal, various cover bands) and Caz (bass and backing vocals, past groups Tegan, Sairalei, Madame Youth, Lakius).
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Capital Theatre - Single/Video Review: People
24 Jun 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Earlier this year I was lucky enough to catch Capital Theatre in concert, and their catchy, layered, art rock approach to music certainly struck a chord. Since then, I have eagerly been awaiting the release of the album, but until that comes to fruition, we will instead just have to play this single, People.
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Tony Daunt & The Dauntless - Gig Review: Tony Daunt & The Dauntless @ The Wallace Arts Centre, Auckland - 20/06/2021
22 Jun 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Whoever thought of holding an evening concert at The Wallace Arts Centre is a genius, as not only is it just 20 minutes from my flat, and a wonderful venue, but the start time was 6:00 with an aim to be finished by 8:30! I mean, that is almost civilized!
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Albi & The Wolves - Gig Review: Rock The Folk @ The Tuning Fork, Auckland - 18/06/2021
20 Jun 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
So, it was back to the lovely little venue which is The Tuning Fork. It is somewhere I always enjoy going to, as not only is the food and beer very good indeed, but there is a good sound and everyone can see.
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LearningToDive - Single Review: You Said It Best
17 Jun 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Learningtodive is one of a series of projects from Bravo Bonez, a musician and producer currently based in Wellington, New Zealand. He released his first single under this name back in November last year, since when he has followed it up with more singles and his debut album Norwegian Pop, which came out in April.
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Gig Review: Blitz Metal Fest @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 12/06/2021
13 Jun 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Well, today was a first for me, coming to Ding Dong in the daylight! This was because it was time for Metal Blitz, a 13-band event being held which was planned to run for 10 hours but we all thought was probably going to take longer.
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Gatekeepers - Single Review: Always a Rebel, Never a Rogue
09 Jun 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Gatekeepers may be a new name to most of you, but this New Plymouth quartet have managed to secure the opening slot in Hamilton for the Devilskin and Kora show, so they have already started to gain some attention and based on this single one can hear why. The band was only formed earlier this year by guitarist/singer Jeremy Donoghue, rhythm guitarist Sean Phillips and bassist Mat Pipe, since when they have been writing and recording tracks before sending them to the UK to be mixed by Adam Wain.
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Investigator - Single Review: Lake of Eyes
09 Jun 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Adrian Drew and his band of merry men are back with the third single from their forthcoming album and given what I have heard to date I am really looking forward to that when it comes out. While Adrian provides guitar and vocals, the band is now firmly settled with David Crowhen (bass) Undercut, Craig van Kan (drums), The Couch, and lead guitarist Adam Morton-Mason, These Fine Galleons.
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Mudbelly - Single Review: Baby U No Good
07 Jun 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Last weekend I was fortunate enough to both survive the ravages of Canterbury’s wild weather and experience the force of nature which is Mudbelly, with the latter more than making up for going out in the driving rain to get to the gig. This means I am in the somewhat unusual position of having heard this song played in concert prior to coming across the recorded version, and it is interesting to hear just how different it is in this setting.
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DRXNES - Single Review: Junkie
07 Jun 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Prior to hearing this single I had heard only positive things about Whanganui band DRXNES and having now played this I can see exactly why. This is a highly polished, highly produced number which sounds as if it has come out of a top American band and studio as opposed to little old Aotearoa.
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Dead Favours - Gig Review: Dead Favours @ Darkroom, Christchurch - 04/06/2021
07 Jun 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
For the second time in less than a week it was back into the centre of Christchurch and St. Asaph Street, but whereas last time it was to the 12 Bar, this week it was next door, to Darkroom.
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Mudbelly - Gig Review: Mudbelly @ 12 Bar, Christchurch - 29/05/2021
30 May 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
In the middle of a red alert weather warning, I trekked from Oxford into Christchurch to attend Mudbelly’s album launch. It has been a while since I last went to a gig down here, but I have been to some real killers in the past (Sepultura, Death Angel and Blindfolded And Led To The Woods at Canterbury University’s The Foundry will long stick in my mind), so was looking forward to this.
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Lorenzo Hazelwood - Single Review: Same Mistake
28 May 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Lorenzo Hazlewood is probably best known as front man for Auckland hard rock band Close To The Bone, but he also released some solo singles last year in slightly different fashion, and now he has returned with his first for 2021, Same Mistake. This is reminiscent in some ways of classic ballad-style grunge like good Alice In Chains or Soundgarden, with his vocals very much to the fore.
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Dead Favours - Album Review: Riffing & Yelling
28 May 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
A few weeks ago Dead Favours released the single Move On and now they have released Side A of Riffing & Yelling, six songs determined to grab hold of your brain and never let go. When I reviewed the single, I attempted to describe it as possibly Kyuss mixed with Foo Fighters, My Chemical Romance, and The Darkness and here we have 22 minutes which makes me think that comparison still mostly holds true.
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Dead Favours - Single Review: Move On
16 May 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
There has been a slight shuffling in the ranks since the last album from Dead Favours, and Skinny Hobos frontman Alex Elvis has come in on bass, joining frontman Jared Wrennall, drummer Charlie Smith and guitarist Kyle Wetton. Their new album, Riffing & Yelling, which has been produced by Six60’s Chris Mac, is being released in two parts.
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Mad Cow - Single Review: Alone
15 May 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Mad Cow are a Taranaki band who formed way back in the 1990’s and have been going one way or another ever since, releasing their debut EP in 2000 and following it up just 10 years later with the next one. Then in 2013 guitarist Joe Smither returned to Aotearoa after living for a while in Melbourne and made contact again with original singer Jon Churchill (who also provides bass) which resulted in the third EP, Disturbing The Peace.
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Claemus - Single Review: Hedonist
13 May 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Hutt Valley quartet Claemus are back with their latest single, Hedonist, which puts them firmly in the prog metal scene, but possibly not quite in the area one might imagine just from that alone. Most people tend to think of prog metal as being typified by the likes of Dream Theater or Threshold, but as with many of the sub genres, itself covers a multitude of different styles and Claemus are musically all over the place - truly progressing and blending as opposed to attempting to sound like anyone else.
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Barnaby Weir - Gig Review: Laughton Kora and Barnaby Weir @ Auckland Museum, Auckland - 10/05/2021
12 May 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Up until tonight, I am sure the most unusual venue I attended for a gig was the Canadian Embassy in London, when they put on a media showcase for a Canadian rock act. I remember then looking at the walls and candelabra, trying not to spill my wine on the posh carpet, wondering what I was doing there.
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Beastwars - Gig Review: Beastwars with Earth Tongue and Demons of Noon @ Powerstation, Auckland - 08/05/2021
09 May 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
I was a little concerned when I made my way to the Powerstation just 15 minutes before the doors were due to open, as there was no-one else there! A quick check of the billboard confirmed I was in the right place on the right date, but possibly this was somewhat indicative of the poor weather combined with so many great gigs on tonight.
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Emily Rice - EP Review: Auhua
06 May 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Over the last few months Emily Rice has been building up to the release of this EP, and of the six songs included on Auaha (which means to shape, create, form, fashion), four have already been released as singles, and I have reviewed three of them myself, so the EP feels already very much like an old friend, but for anyone yet to come across Emily and her work then this is a wonderful place to start. I first came across Emily and her husband in the wonderful folk duo Aro, but here her music is far more dance oriented as she brings in lots of different styles such as soft jazz, RnB, dub, and even a little touch of folk, but always with her wonderful vocals front and centre.
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Living State - Single Review: One Sided
04 May 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Whenever I hear anyone bemoaning the state of music on the radio, I tell them to get out to places like Ding Dong and actually live and breathe what is really going on in the scene, not what some people just want to tell you. Last Saturday I was there at yet another gig, and while I was having a chat with one of the musicians a guy came up and joined in.
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Stealphish - Single Review: Auri
04 May 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Here we have the latest single from Cafe Fistfight guitarist Josh Barker in his alter ego as Stealphish. The only other person involved on this recording is his wife Nicole who provides piano for the first 35 seconds of the nearly 7-minute-long song.
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Dan Sharp - EP Review: Water Went Away
03 May 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Proud Coromandel boy Dan Sharp is back with his latest EP, Water Went Away, and I can only concur with Corinne’s review of his last EP, Slack Tide, in that we really need an album! This collection of five songs loosely follows through the various stages of a breakup and the significant life changes that happen as part of that such as moving to a new house, moving town, being unable to access certain things, wondering what was going to happen next etc.
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Pencarrow - Gig Review: Pencarrow @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 01/05/2021
02 May 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
I have lost count of how many times I have been to Ding Dong in the last year, I think it is somewhere between “lots” and “loads”, so consequently it is starting to feel very much like a place where every barman knows my name (and what I drink). I have been looking forward to catching Pencarrow since I came across their debut album Growth In The Absence of Light which was released last year.
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Big Tasty - Gig Review: BOTB Winners Tour with Big Tasty & guests @ Anthology Lounge, Auckland - 30/04/2021
01 May 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Back off to the Anthology Lounge for a 4-band bill, which I was really looking forward to. It was going to be the first time I had seen Cafe Fistfight in a while, I had heard good things about The Minnehahas (and I know drummer Neo from White Noise Mafia), I had reviewed the album by The RVMES while this was the last night of the tour for BOTB winners Big Tasty so it was all set for a great session.
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JoshDannMusic - Single Review: Just For A Moment
29 Apr 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Josh Dann is a Hamilton-based multi-instrumentalist whose musical journey started at the age of eleven when he was inspired to pick up an instrument when he heard someone playing a clarinet. Since then, he has also taken up other instruments such as saxophone, piano and bass, and his latest single finds him playing all instruments apart from drums, which are provided by Luke Rodgers.
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Age of Destitute - Single Review: Voiceless
26 Apr 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Age of Destitute are a new band formed by Rezwan Ashraf (vocals, lead guitar) and Sammy Iqbal (rhythm guitar, bass). The duo are both originally from Bangladesh, and only met by chance here in New Zealand, and were soon jamming and trying out different ideas.
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Plague of the Fallen - EP Review: Bleeding and Vehement
25 Apr 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
It has been a long road for Plague of the Fallen who released their debut EP Unleash the Vermin some 10 years ago, but the intervening years have seen line-up changes and even a hiatus, but now they are back with a six-track 15-minute-long EP, Bleeding and Vehement. This is brutal death metal, making for a wonderful attack on the senses.
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Grumblewood - Album Review: Stories of Strangers
25 Apr 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
A friend of mine in Cyprus put me onto this Wellington quartet who are signed to an English label, so I checked in with a Norwegian prog reviewer I work with to see if he had heard of them, and when he responded in the negative, I did not feel quite so bad. But I must confess to taking it personally if there is a progressive rock band in this part of the world of which I am unaware, given that I have spent more than 30 years singing the praises of the genre and bands within it.
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The RVMES - Album Review: Lifetime
14 Apr 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
The RVMES (pronounced “rooms”) are back with a ten-track release entitled Lifetime, following from their 9-track self-titled EP in 2019, plus numerous singles. Here we have a band who are determined not to sit within any particular genre, and while much of what they perform could fall under the banners of indie, alternative, pop and/or psychedelic, they bring much more than that into the mix.
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FYVEYES - Album Review: Elephant Room
12 Apr 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
FYVEYES, a young Hawkes Bay trio were formed by Harry Champion (guitar, lead vocals) with Harry Young (bass) and Harper Champion (drums) to play some gigs which had already been booked by Harry C prior to his previous band breaking up. The Champion brothers had already been in a band together called Elephant Room and loved the idea of picking out an elephant in the room when you are in a room full of elephants, so this time around they used it as an album title.
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Written By Wolves - Gig Review: Written By Wolves @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 09/04/2021
11 Apr 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Tonight was going to be a few firsts for me, including that this was going to be my first time at Ding Dong for a sell-out gig, as well as the first time I had seen Written By Wolves in concert. For the latter, I had been told I was a WBW virgin, while a certain photographer commented he must be a WBW slut!
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Elidi - Single Review: Witches Brew
06 Apr 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Christchurch quintet Elidi are back with their latest single, released just in time for their South Island gigs with Pull Down the Sun in April, before they head out on a NZ-wide tour with Stonehurst in a few months’ time. They describe themselves as progressive, but before you start thinking these guys are Genesis or Pink Floyd clones, understand they are talking progressive in its truest sense, which is blending together different styles and types of music into something which refuses to sit sedately within any particular sub-genre and instead goes wherever it leads, being taken on a journey in the same way as the listener.
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Album Review: The New Blue - Pixie Williams Reimagined
06 Apr 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Before starting on the music on this tribute album, we first need to understand who Pixie Williams was and the impact she had on NZ music. Pixie was the first wahine Maori vocalist to reach number one on the New Zealand singles chart, with the song Blue Smoke in 1949.
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SOL3 MIO - Gig Review: Sol3 Mio @ Spark Arena, Auckland - 30/03/2021
02 Apr 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Tonight was always going to be interesting, as this was the first time myself and my eldest daughter had been to a concert together for more than 16 years. The last time was for Bowling For Soup, and one of her achievements that night was reducing the average age of the audience, something she did again this evening.
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Bridge Burner - Album Review: Disempath
30 Mar 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Following on from 2018’s Null Apostle, Auckland’s Bridge Burner are back with their second album, Disempath. Featuring guitarist Josh Hughes (Vassafor, Graves), vocalist Ben Read (ex-Ulcerate, In Dread Response), bassist Gary Brown, drummer Louis Malloy (ex-Anabyss) and guitarist Maxwell Gravelle (ex-Hexis, Setentis), here we have a group who are determined to push their music and their listeners to the very limits.
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Blindfolded and Led to the Woods - Album Review: Nightmare Withdrawals
25 Mar 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
I first came across Christchurch-based band Blindfolded and Led to the Woods some four years back when they released their second album, Modern Adoxography. It had a huge impact on me, and I described it as having a musical foundation built upon brutal death metal, elements of demented grindcore and bizarre sci-fi tones weaving their way into the complex structures, resulting in an engaging and damaging listening experience.
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The Wake Up - Single Review: House of Cards
23 Mar 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Back in October I reviewed Palmerston North outfit The Wake Up's latest single, Worthy, which introduced new bassist Nathan Charles, and now here they are back with the seventh single of their career, and this time around they have a new guitarist in Trent Fairhurst. It sounds as if he has made an immediate impact as this is much heavier than their last one, and drummer Caleb Hickmott says, “it is the demon love child of Devilskin, Billie Eilish and Motley Crue”.
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Gig Review: Capital Theatre, Cherry Blind & White Noise Mafia @ The Tuning Fork, Auckland - 20/03/2021
22 Mar 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
On Saturday night it was back to The Tuning Fork, at an ungodly hour as this was an All Ages show. It was only from looking at White Noise Mafia’s Facebook page in the afternoon that I realised they were going to be onstage at 7:15pm, so if I had not seen that I would have missed their complete set!
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In The Shallows - Gig Review: In The Shallows @ Earth Beat Festival, Kaipara - 18/03/2021
20 Mar 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
I have been trying to catch up with In The Shallows for ages, but even though they have been touring nationally, I have somehow managed to always be in another part of the country so kept missing them. We were going to meet up at Spirit Festival a few weeks back, but thanks to COVID that was postponed, and then I heard they would be playing at another Auckland festival, so I contacted Danni and we agreed Earth Beat was going to be the one.
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Soul Circle - Single Review: Y.O.U.
19 Mar 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Soul Circle describe themselves as a group of musicians dedicated to making music that touches the soul, and at least in this instance include Rhonda Hofmans (vocals), Chris Fish (guitars, keyboards, noises) and MPhatic (bass). The cover credits this release as featuring Moofish and Mphatic, so I really not much the wiser as to who Soul Circle actually are.
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The Saddleblasters - Single Review: Aupouri Ange
16 Mar 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
There cannot be many acts who can say they kept The Beatles off the number one slot in their heyday, but when John Grenell aka John Hore released Encore back in 1965, he did just that, outselling Help! and going into the charts straight at number one.
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Max Merritt & The Meteors - Album Review: i can dream
16 Mar 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
There is no doubt that Max Merritt is a Kiwi icon, seen as one of the region’s most important musicians to come out of the Fifties, with his impact on soul, rock and R'n'B meaning he was inducted into both the ARIA Hall of Fame and the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame. Sadly, he was diagnosed with a rare auto immune disease in 2007, and died in Los Angeles, California, on 24th September 2020, at the age of 79.
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Emily Rice - Single Review: Arise
09 Mar 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Arise is the second single from Emily’s upcoming EP, Auaha. During the first lockdown, Emily set herself a challenge of being creative everyday in April, and at the end of the month she had 26 songs, of which Arise is one of her favourites.
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Ezra Phoenix - Album Review: Ezra Phoenix
09 Mar 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Ezra Phoenix is the alter-ego of Solomon Esera, who began songwriting some ten years ago when he attended Excel School of Performing Arts in Auckland. Some of the seven songs on this his debut album stretch back nearly as far, all inspired by what has been happening in his life, telling the story as he connects with listeners to have a real conversation.
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Evan Rhys - EP Review: Flickering Stars
08 Mar 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Evan Rhys first came to public attention when he was front man for Somersault, and after working on other people’s material and also with Maori Television, he is now back with an EP of four of his own songs. Recorded with Sam Johnson at Rhythm Ace Studios with drummer Ben Payne and bassist Nate Betteridge, this is a release where the music is brutally honest, and the singer wears his heart on his sleeve.
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Aro - Single Review: Baby Beat
08 Mar 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Any parent will say that the feeling of hearing their baby’s heartbeat for the very first time is an overwhelming experience, but there cannot be many who turn that sound into the basis for a song. Less than three weeks after their appearances at Auckland Folk Festival, Charles and Emily Looker celebrated the birth of Olive Koanui Terangioteata Looker, who took the words of the chorus, "kaua e aukumea" (don't take too long) to heart and appeared three weeks before due date.
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Elmo Strauss - Album Review: Light and Dark
02 Mar 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Elmo Strauss began his musical career on Waiheke Island with the B Squared Blues Band which he formed with Louie Bo Charles IV. Eventually they morphed into Vessel, making the Battle of the Bands final in 2012.
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Polaroids of Polarbears - EP Review: This Is What I Heard
02 Mar 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
This 22-minute-long 5-track EP is the latest release from Daniel Brown, proudly recorded in his shed, in Feilding with Daniel providing guitars, drums and vocals. For those who have previously not come across Polaroids of Polarbears, this is lo-fi which combines shoegaze, post punk, Simple Minds and ambient styles in a way that is naively engaging.
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Primacy - Gig Review: Primacy @ Ding Dong Lounge, Auckland - 27/02/2021
28 Feb 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Saturday at the Ding Dong is always guaranteed to be a good night, and tonight was to be no exception with Primacy finally launching their album Seeds of Change. I say “finally” as previous gigs had been cancelled due to lockdown, and in fact this was going to be their first gig since 2019!
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Cafe Fistfight - Single Review: Pocket Change
16 Feb 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Cafe Fistfight describe themselves as New Zealand's premiere Acoustic-driven Progressive Rock band, with their music fitting in somewhere between John Mayer/Six60 and Incubus/Tool. To be honest, that is probably as good a description as any, but before someone expects to see the latest Yes, Genesis or Pink Floyd clone, be aware that when they describe themselves as progressive, they mean it in the true sense of the word, in that they are blending and mixing  genres and pushing the music in unusual directions.
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Channeled - EP Review: Interpretation
05 Feb 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
2020 was a breakthrough year for Channeled. Instead of just being a studio project, multi-instrumentalist Ben Ruegg was convinced to turn it into a full operational live band which quickly gelled into an incredibly tight unit which grew with experience and confidence each time they gigged.
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David Sutton - Album Review: Planet B
04 Feb 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
This is the ninth album from David, and while he wrote all the songs, he was assisted in the performances by his son Joseph, and between them we get plenty of keyboards, electronic drums, acoustic, bass, Stratocaster, harmonica and vocals. The result is something that does not really sound like a multi-instrumentalist performance, but rather a band, and even before putting it on I had to smile as while the CD booklet itself is low key, I cannot remember before seeing a track listing for Side A and Side B for a CD, plus the album is less than 45 minutes long so it really is harkening back to the 70’s.
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Dragon - Gig Review: Dragon @ The Tuning Fork, Auckland - 3/02/21
04 Feb 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
When The Biggest Pub Gig In The World took place at the end of last year, I truly felt there was a band missing from the bill who would have made the line-up complete, Dragon. Not only are they an  iconic New Zealand band, with countless hit singles and songs to their name, but they have been a solid gigging unit since their rebirth around bassist Todd Hunter in 2006.
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Festival Review: Auckland Folk Festival 2021 - 31/01/2021
02 Feb 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
The final day of the Auckland Folk Festival 2021 started up, and I headed over in time to catch Being. at Midday.
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Festival Review: Auckland Folk Festival 2021 - 30/01/2021
01 Feb 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
The last folk festival I went to prior to this one was when I flew to the other side of the world, attending Fairport Convention’s 50th Anniversary Cropredy Festival in 2017, but for some reason I had never been just down the road to Kumeu to attend the Auckland Folk Festival, which has been running for a great many years. However, based on this weekend’s experience, I know I will be back.
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WHITE NØISE MAFIA - Gig Review: White Noise Mafia @ The Thirsty, Auckland - 28/01/2021
29 Jan 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
So, it was back to The Thirsty, who are starting to put on more metal gigs, and if they are all like this one then I am sure they are going to be deemed to be a raging success. Tonight, it was a three-band bill and a sensible finishing time, which made something of a pleasant change, especially as many of us would be working on the Friday.
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The First Child - Gig Review: The First Child @ The Ding Dong Lounge, Auckland - 22/01/2021
24 Jan 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
When I sent Mariner the review of their gig the previous week, singer Adam told me they were playing Ding Dong again on the Friday, so I thought to myself why not? So, for the second consecutive Friday I made my way into central Auckland to everyone’s favourite rock dive.
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Achilles Complex - Single Review: Vice
22 Jan 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Achilles Complex started life in Hamilton as a 3-piece power trio in 2019, releasing their debut single Shut It in September of that year, and are now back with their new song Vice having transformed themselves into a quartet of Harley Flynn (guitar, vocals), Jordan Carpenter (bass), Zak Cole (drums) and Reece Gielen (guitar, vocals). They describe themselves as a progressive rock band with roots in rock, funk, indie and metal while also exploring ambient textures such as synthwave, trap, pop and more.
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Cafe Fistfight - Gig Review: Cafe Fistfight @ The Ding Dong Lounge, Auckland - 15/01/2021
16 Jan 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
After going back home to Canterbury for Christmas, it was back up to Auckland last weekend and looking forward to my first gig of the year. When I realised that Cafe Fistfight had organised a 4-band bill at the Ding Dong Lounge on the Friday then of course that was the only place to be.
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Colette Rivers - Album Review: Memory Lake
12 Jan 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Colette Rivers is an American-born, New-Zealand raised, self-proclaimed 'Kiwi', with a deep connection to the earth and sea and has named her album after "the bonny, bonny banks of Lake Taupo" where she moved when she was just 11 years old. Her roots are in folk and singer-songwriter, yet while the acoustic guitar is always very important to the sound, she is not averse to bringing in other electric instruments to create soundscapes which mean the songs are very different to each other.
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Grant Haua - Album Review: Awa Blues
12 Jan 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
2020 saw me write more than 650 reviews of all manner of music, but the one song which for me really stood head and shoulders above the rest was This is the Place - Tenei Te Ao. It has a raw simplicity and passion which is hard to describe, yet is incredibly effective and grabs me each and every time I play it, and I still enjoy listening to it now as much as I did the very first time.
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Voodoo Bloo - Album Review: Jacobus
14 Dec 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Voodoo Bloo is the new project from ex-Lucifer Gunne frontman Rory McDonald who has decided to take his music in a new direction, and consequently has created a new entity, where for this album he recorded it all himself. Mind you, he hasn’t totally left his old band behind, as the opening song on the album was also the opening number on the last Lucifer Gunne EP, One Day You'll Be The Best Thing That's Ever Happened To Someone, but here Pigs On Antibiotics (Exploding Song) is far more dramatic with the song being way more edgy.
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Solo Ono - EP Review: Now We Know Who to Blame
14 Dec 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Wellington’s Solo Ono are currently operating as a trio, with guitarist/singer Frank Eggleton (Tidal Rave, Echo Beach, Kittentank) and drummer Jordan Stewart (Pleasant Surprise) now joined by bassist Birgit Bachler. It has been two years since their last EP Rogue Planet, which was released as a duo, and these three songs were all partially written that same year, being completed during the 2020 NZ lockdown.
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Gig Review: The Biggest Pub Gig In The World @ Spark Arena, Auckland - 11/12/2020
13 Dec 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
On Friday evening Spark Arena took us all back in time, to a period when many of the punters there that night were going out and having a blast. When I picked up my tickets, I was a little surprised to see they were General Admission, and then as we made our way inside, we had our wrists stamped (with a little guitar).
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LearningToDive - Single Review: Falling Leaves
10 Dec 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
This is the second single released by Learning To Dive, the alter ego for musician, producer, vocalist and composer Bravo Bonez. By creating a new persona he is able to create music in a different style to what might be expected from him if he had released it in his normal style, allowing him a great deal of artistic freedom.
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Alien Weaponry - Gig Review: Alien Weaponry @ The Powerstation, Auckland - 5/12/2020
07 Dec 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Saturday evening saw me head towards The Powerstation for the first time in years, and I must confess to really looking forward to the gig as although I interviewed the boys from Waipu a few years ago, this was the first time I was seeing them in concert. I bumped into Matt Holden from White Nøise Mafia outside the venue, perhaps unsurprisingly given he is acting as guitar tech on this tour and was soon chatting with Henry de Jong who really is still very down to earth, even though he has achieved more in his mere 20 years than many metalheads can even comprehend.
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The Finalists - Album Review: First
03 Dec 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
The Finalists may be currently based in Sydney, but ¾ of the guys are actually from prominent Auckland bands with guitarist Robert Young (Semi Lemon Kola), bassist Chris Familton (Fontanelle, Thorazine Shuffle) and drummer Matt Brown (Shaft, {SLK)) joining forces with singer/guitarist and songwriter Mark Tobin (Scarlet, Panic Syndrome, The Black Halo). The coming together of these musicians has resulted in jangly guitar-based indie rock, with elements of psychedelia, power pop, shoegaze and post-punk.
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Max Earnshaw - Single Review: Love It When You Hate Me
03 Dec 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Love It When You Hate Me is the latest single from young Auckland singer Max Earnshaw, who has already received from recognition and radio airplay for his last release, Lonely Love. What we have this time around is a pop/rock number which is incredibly infectious and annoyingly catchy.
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Cafe Fistfight - Single Review: King Hit Quiche
03 Dec 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
For anyone who has yet to catch these guys in concert, they are probably best summed up by how they describe their debut single, "An oven baked heavy hitter packed full of protein and sprinkled with cheese." Here we have a band who refuse to take themselves or their music too seriously, yet are producing incredibly complex arrangements, and are a stunning live act.
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Stealphish - Single Review: Procidens
28 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
I was chatting with the guys from Cafe Fistfight before their recent gig at Ding Dong, when guitarist Josh Barker asked if I would be interested in his brand-new solo release, and I was definitely intrigued. Apart from classical pianist Caitlyn Abbot, and some assistance from Dan Barker who assisted in programming the hi hat rolls at the start and some of the fills, everything on this instrumental release is by Josh.
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Cafe Fistfight - Gig Review: Cafe Fistfight @ The Ding Dong Lounge, Auckland - 27/11/2020
28 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Today was set to be the launch party for the second album by Channeled, I Heard Penelope Sing, but unfortunately singer and songwriter Ben Ruegg was rushed into hospital on Tuesday, only being allowed home on the Friday itself. The thoughts of everyone at Muzic.
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The Solomon Cole Band - Single Review: Lucifer's Rising
26 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
The Solomon Cole Band comprise Solomon (vocals, guitar), Fonnie Jo Davies (vocals), Lee Catlin (bass) and Loujean (LJ) Philander (drums), and one has to ask the question as to when did Waiheke Island become part of the Deep South and go back in time? Their latest release, Lucifer’s Rising, is taken from their second album, A Little South Of Heaven, and takes us almost 100 years into the past and geographically into the Southern states of America.
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Samuel Philip Cooper - Album Review: Breaking The Silence
26 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Young Wellington-based pianist Samuel Philip Cooper is now releasing his debut album, which contains both of his earlier singles, Broken Heart Recovery and Hope In Your Heart. One of the problems I had with Samuel’s work is that it was too short, but hearing the 18 songs on this album (47 minutes long) it makes far more sense as here the different songs become part of one much larger work.
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Album Review: It's Already Tomorrow
25 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
This compilation is the brainchild of leading New Zealand composer, John Psathas, and past-student guitarist, electronic musician and composer, Jack Hooker. With everyone in bubbles around the world, the idea was to create a collaborative environment for New Zealand artists, where John and Jack created nuggets for others to amend and use as a base for their own musical adventures.
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Channeled - Album Review: I Heard Penelope Sing
25 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
I was at a gig the other night and bumped into Channeled's main man Ben Ruegg, and of course we soon started up a conversation. I introduced him to some other friends of mine and tried to think how long I had actually known him, and Ben promptly said, "Six weeks".
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City of Souls - Gig Review: City of Souls @ The Tuning Fork, Auckland - 21/11/2020
22 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Tonight it was off to one of my favourite venues, The Tuning Fork, to see recent Aotearoa Music Award winners for Te Kaipuoro Rakapioi Toa (Best Rock Artist), City of Souls, at the launch party for their debut album, Synæsthesia. Outside the venue I bumped into Ben Reugg (Channeled) who had brought some of his music students from Waiuku College to see what a proper rock show is like while I spent the evening in the company of Jodie (Miss Peach and The Travellin Bones) and Te Matera Smith (AAA Records), also bumped into Chris Webb (White Nøise Mafia), Francis Wheeler (SIS Studios, a judge at the recent Ding Dong competition), and so many others from the local scene.
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On Tick - Gig Review: On Tick @ Ding Dong Lounge, Auckland - 20/11/2020
21 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
When everyone at Ding Dong greeted me by name, and soundman Dave asked why I wasn’t at the final of the bands battle the previous week, it made me realise that possibly I have been attending the venue quite a lot in recent times. But when they have bands playing who are as good as these, where else would I be on a Friday night?
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Kendall Elise - Album Review: Red Earth
19 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to see Looking For Alaska at their album launch, and the opening act that night was Kendall Elise accompanying herself on an acoustic guitar. I enjoyed her set a great deal and was intrigued enough to seek out her debut album, Red Earth, which was released in 2019.
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Russell Harrison - EP Review: Something Over Me
19 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
This four-track seventeen-minute-long EP, Something Over Me, is the debut EP from Russell Harrison, who has been performing on stage since the age of nine. Listening to this is like stepping back in time, to a period where singers had no use for auto tune, and it was all about the voice and the performance.
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Looking For Alaska - Album Review: Light and Shadow
16 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to see Looking For Alaska in concert promoting their new album, Light and Shadow. It was a very special event indeed, as while Aaron Gott and Amy Maynard were joined that night by a full band, there was no doubt indeed that the evening was all about the magic created by just the two of them.
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Alice Foulds - EP Review: The Quieter Ones
16 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
The Quieter Ones is the second EP from singer-songwriter Alice Foulds, following on from her 2018 debut Oxygen. This time around she has partnered with Emily Riordan who produced it as well as providing piano and backing vocals, while Noah Goddard is on guitars and bass.
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Sean Bodley - Album Review: Neon Daydreams
15 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Sean Bodley was first inspired to pick up the guitar at the age of thirteen, being heavily influenced and inspired by Joe Satriani. He followed the normal route of playing in different bands, including cover outfits, and released his self-titled debut album as long ago as 1999.
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Motel Midnight - Single Review: Closer
11 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Motel Midnight are Reuben Keeling (vocals, bass guitar), Bruce Ferguson (vocals, guitar), Ben Stanley (synths, beats, production) and they have just produced their debut single, Closer. When asked to describe their music they say they draw their influences from house, hip hop and indie rock, while combining shimmering synths with screaming guitars, fuzzed-out bass and stomping beats.
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In The Shallows - Album Review: In The Shallows
10 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
I was mightily impressed with the single Hold On, so of course jumped at the opportunity to hear the debut album by Wellington-based duo In The Shallows before the official release date. This finds Danni Parsons (vocals, guitar, percussion) and Lance Shepherd (vocals, guitar, percussion) on a musical journey; sometimes it is just the two of them while at others it can be a full band, or any combination with the likes of  bassist Andy Bain (Fur Patrol),  drummer Nick Brown (Eb & Sparrow, Vorn), cellist Bonnie Schwarz (Good Habits), Steve Rokosh (keyboards), Chris Winter (trumpet), Chris Peirce (sax), Pete Shaw (accordion), Davie Dubman (keyboards) and Matiu Te Huki (guitar).
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Spook The Horses - Gig Review: Spook The Horses @ The Thirsty Dog, Auckland - 7/11/2020
08 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
I had been waiting for this gig for months, but eventually it arrived so just before heading out I checked what time they were playing, which is when I got a shock, as Spook The Horses  were no longer playing at The Whammy Bar, but at The Thirsty. As I was on the guestlist I never received a notification that there had been a change, but a few minutes googling made it clear that there was indeed a venue change, which made me glad I had indeed checked what was going on.
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Looking For Alaska - Gig Review: Looking for Alaska @ Anthology, Auckland - 6/11/2020
07 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
This was my first trip to the famous Anthology in K Road, and I soon found a spot at the bar to be able to see and perch my notebook, which was immediately improved when the barman grabbed a stool and asked me if I wanted to sit inside the barrier. From there I could see Kendall Elise tuning her guitar and it was obvious she was incredibly nervous, due to this being her first live show in ages.
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Gig Review: Ding Dong Lounge Bands Competition Semi Final 1 @ Ding Dong, Auckland - 5/11/2020
07 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
For the second consecutive night it was back to Ding Dong, this time for the first semi-final of  the Bands competition, which is being sponsored by Dave Rhodes Productions, SIS Studios, Real Groovy Auckland and Muzic.net.
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Gig Review: Ding Dong Lounge Bands Competition Heat 4 @ Ding Dong, Auckland - 04/11/2020
07 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
So, it was back to Ding Dong for the final heat of the Bands competition, which is being sponsored by Dave Rhodes Productions, SIS Studios, Real Groovy Auckland and Muzic.net.
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In The Shallows - Single Review: Hold On
05 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Over the last few years, I have been fortunate enough to have come across some wonderful female singers and folk/acoustic acts, and now I have just stumbled onto the Wellington duo In The Shallows which is Danni Parsons (vocals, guitar, percussion) and Lance Shepherd (vocals, guitar, percussion). This song also features bassist Andy Bain (Fur Patrol) and drummer Nick Brown (Eb & Sparrow, Vorn) and guest cellist Bonnie Schwarz (Good Habits, Manchester – UK).
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Sir Dave Dobbyn - Gig Review: Dave Dobbyn @ Spark Arena, Auckland - 01/11/2020
02 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
One thing I have never understood about attending a concert is why so many people turn up in time for the main act, but not for the support. True, sometimes they are dire, but there have also been times when for me they have shown up the main act so badly that I have the left the gig.
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Gig Review: Ding Dong Lounge Bands Competition Heat 3 @ Ding Dong, Auckland - 29/10/2020
30 Oct 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
For the second consecutive night it was back to Ding Dong for the third heat of the Bands competition, which is being sponsored by Dave Rhodes Productions, SIS Studios, Real Groovy Auckland & Muzic.net.
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Gig Review: Ding Dong Lounge Bands Competition Heat 2 @ Ding Dong, Auckland - 28/10/2020
30 Oct 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Midweek saw me back at the Ding Dong Lounge, this time for the second heat of the Bands competition, which is being sponsored by Dave Rhodes Productions, SIS Studios, Real Groovy Auckland & Muzic.net.
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The Wake Up - Single Review: Worthy
30 Oct 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Caleb, Chris and Laura are back with new recruit Nathan, and their latest single as The Wake Up: if there is any justice in the world here is a song which is going to be blasting out of radio stations all over Aotearoa for the next few months.Written by fellow Palmerston North musician Adam Lee, Worthy hits so many sweet spots it is actually quite hard to know where to begin.
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Gig Review: Ding Dong Lounge Bands Competition Heat 1 @ Ding Dong, Auckland - 24/10/2020
25 Oct 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Saturday night saw me back at the Ding Dong Lounge, this time for the first heat of the Bands competition, which is being sponsored by Dave Rhodes Productions, SIS Studios, Real Groovy Auckland and Muzic.net.
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Hummucide - EP Review: Hummucide
15 Oct 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
The debut studio EP from Wellington-based jazz quartet Hummucide is the latest release in what has been quite a busy period for the band, as this is their fourth release in recent months. Both 8 Mullups (which has had more than 30,000 plays on Spotify) and Reacher have been released as singles, and this 23-minute-long EP finds them joined by I’m Just A Bag of Bones and The Mothership Left Without Me.
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Jan Preston - Album Review: Piano Boogie Woman
13 Oct 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Jan Preston was born in Greymouth, and after discovering the piano at an early age she went the normal route of classical music exams and ended up taking a 5-year classical piano degree at Auckland university. Having determined she did not want to become a concert pianist or teacher she tried out various different musical styles, moving first to Wellington and then to Sydney where she still resides.
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Coridian - Gig Review: Coridian w/ Channeled & Mudshark @ Ding Dong Lounge, Auckland - 10/10/2020
12 Oct 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
First time at the Ding Dong Lounge since we went back into lockdown, and tonight was set to be a special night with Coridian and Outside In back from their wonderful sets on 11th July at the same venue. Unfortunately, Mikey Brown from Outside In was struck down with a lurgy and was unable to perform (although he valiantly attended tonight at least for a while, boy did he look crook) but Channeled stepped in at the last minute, having played The Thirsty Dog the night before, and were up for being part of the Dead Witch Relaunch.
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Samuel Philip Cooper - Single Review: Hope In Your Heart
08 Oct 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Here we have the second single from Samuel Philip Cooper, the Wellington-based pianist who will be releasing his debut album Breaking The Silence next month. This was originally inspired when a friend of his told him he was suffering from cancer and was having to undergo chemotherapy.
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Jan Preston - Gig Review: Jan Preston @ Auckland Blues & Jazz Club, Auckland - 06/10/2020
07 Oct 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
I must confess that until this week I had never heard of the Auckland Jazz and Blues Club, but somehow, I do not think this will be the last time I attend. Situated at the rear of the Pt Chevalier RSA, I walked into a warm welcome, and was given a copy of the latest newsletter which detailed the acts they have coming in October.
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Darren Watson - Album Review: Getting Sober For The End of the World
30 Sep 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Darren Watson originally became known in the Eighties as principal songwriter and frontman for rhythm and blues outfit Chicago Smoke Shop, with whom he recorded two albums. Since going solo he has released six studio albums, with his last, 2018’s Too Many Millionaires being his most successful, reaching #3 on the official NZ Albums Chart.
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Velvet Arrow - EP Review: Songs of Solitude
22 Sep 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Velvet Arrow are creative musician/producer Dan Stenhouse and songwriter Hannah Jane, who both hail from Northland and came together as a duo in 2017. This four-track EP demonstrates that here is a band who approaches music with an unusual mix of Alt-Folk and Dark Country, capturing the listener from the beginning and rarely letting them go.
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Grant Haua - Single Review: This Is The Place
03 Sep 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Grant Haua is probably best known for being half of the two-man blues roots band Swamp Thing, but in January 2019 he made the decision to leave the band after 9 years, countless tours and numerous acclaimed albums. He locked himself away with producer and engineer Tim Julian from Colour Field Studios for several months, with the end result being the album Awa Blues.
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Samuel Philip Cooper - Single Review: Broken Heart Recovery
27 Aug 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Here we have Samuel Philip Cooper, a 25-year-old Wellington-based solo-pianist, who releases his first single, Broken Heart Recovery on Saturday 29th August. Cooper is planning to release this and one more tune as singles prior to the release of the album, Breaking The Silence, in November.
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Hadees Drudge - Album Review: On Your Knees
23 Aug 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Hadees Drudge came together in Wellington in 2018, after a covers band featuring guitarist/songwriter Jason Keeler and drummer Jordan Hotton (previously in Bloodshot) disbanded. Hotton liked the songs he heard from Keeler, so they reached out on social media to find some musicians to form a new band and convinced singer Duane Frew (who had previously released some albums as Nort) and bassist Chris Ewers to come along for the ride.
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Coridian - Gig Review: Coridian with Outside In and Hospital Sports @ Ding Dong Lounge, Auckland - 11/07/2020
12 Jul 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Tonight’s gig was a series of firsts for me; it was my first visit to the Ding Dong Lounge, my first gig of the year, the first time I had seen any of these bands play live, and my first ever gig review for Muzic.net.
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NZ Top 10 Singles

  • UNHOLY
    Sam Smith And Kim Petras
  • SUPER FREAKY GIRL
    Nicki Minaj
  • UNDER THE INFLUENCE
    Chris Brown
  • I AIN'T WORRIED
    OneRepublic
  • I'M GOOD (BLUE)
    David Guetta And Bebe Rexha
  • CUFF IT
    Beyonce
  • B.O.T.A. (BADDEST OF THEM ALL)
    Eliza Rose And Interplanetary Criminal
  • AS IT WAS
    Harry Styles
  • BAD HABIT
    Steve Lacy
  • BIG CITY LIFE
    Luude And Mattafix
View the Full NZ Top 40...
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