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Newsletter Issue #547: 07 Feb 2022

Our newsletters are sent out once a fortnight and are displayed here for archival purposes only. Some of the content will be outdated and some layout issues may be present in the translation from email to the web. We recommend that you subscribe to our newsletter for the best results!

We made it!
After all the ups and downs of the past two years, we have finally made it to 2022, and regardless of recently being placed in red, it's still set to be a stunner of a year for NZ music and Muzic.net.nz.

The year started off with an incredible array of live music gigs and tours from some of New Zealand's finest bands and musicians including; Ainslie Allen, Bin DayBlindfolded and Led to the Woods, Checaine with After Forever, L.A.B., The AfterThe Butlers with DaffodilsThe Jordan Luck Band with Ekko Park, The EasternTomorrow People along with many others. And despite our red status, several gigs are still happening - keep an eye out on our Gig Space FB page to see what's going on.

Although it will take a bit longer than we would have liked, we may still get the chance to see incredible live performances from the likes of Blindspott with Written by Wolves, Dimmer with Proteins of Magic, Don McGlashan, Fat Freddy's Drop, Garageland, Gin Wigmore, Kendall Elise, Ladyhawke, Mako Road, Salmonella Dub Feat. Tiki Taane, Six60, Stan Walker, Troy Kingi and Delaney Davidson, along with many others.

And if that wasn't enough to whet your musical appetite, there's also several festivals with stunning line-ups which we hope will still see the light of day including; Wellington's Jim Beam Homegrown, and  CubaDupa, New Plymouth's WOMAD and Auckland's Music in Parks.

There's also lots of happenings on the calendar for our local musicians; Songhubs Otepoti in April, the From The Pit photography exhibition, the 2021 Silver Scrolls in March, the Smokefree Rockquest and Smokefree Tangata Beats, the Taite Music Prize, as well as NZ Music Month in May, and Te Marama Puoru Waiata Maori – Maori Music Month in August.

It's going to take a hella lot more than a level change to stop NZ music!

Over in the world of Muzic.net.nz, we'll have plenty of goodies on offer throughout the year. Will's interview series The Distorted Transmission has several interviews lined up over the coming weeks including chats with Vixen Execution and Thy End Cometh. We'll also see interviews from Beth's 'Capital BS', Dani's 'Temperate Island Talks', Gaby's 'Background Noise' and Roger's 'It's a Wrap with Roger' interview series'.

Keep an eye out on the Muzic.net.nz Facebook page throughout the year for ticket, music and merch giveaways as well as updates on all the latest and greatest NZ music news. We'll also continue to share with you a huge selection of reviews and live gig photos - you know we wouldn't have it any other way!

In association with Scallywag RecordsAJM NZ Photography and Primal Mastering, Muzic.net.nz is also co-presenting 'The Live Rooms' - a collection of live performance videos of your favourite bands, presented in stunning 4K video and studio quality sparkling audio. The first video with Venom Dolls is now available for your viewing pleasure here. Want more? Subscribe here. Interested in having a video of your own? Send an email to Aidan here.

Over on the Aotearoa Music Industry Collective (A-MIC) website we'll be unveiling a comprehensive list of NZ's live music venues very soon. We also have plans to upload a number of new and informative articles throughout the year, designed to help our local bands and musicians to navigate the NZ music industry.

There's an incredible 2022 in the works, and we can't wait to share it with all of you!

- Lisa and the Muzic.net.nz team

Words by Beth Mountford

It’s our responsibility here at Muzic.net.nz to make sure you stay up to date with the best new music. There’s nothing we love more than a new release. Better yet, a debut release. So, for the kind supporting members and subscribers to our newsletter, I have put together a list of what’s Hot Right Now. There’s recent releases, impending releases and, for the very patient reader, releases to keep an eye out for later in the year.

As you know, we are committed to finding and supporting literally every genre of music. Consequently, I can guarantee that there are a few artists on this list that you’ve never heard of. Tuck in and check them out!


More Info

The Artist: Noisy, grungy, maybe even a little bit groovy – Wanaka-based band Powder Chutes.

The Release: Sweet Noise Pollution - a 5 track EP.

I’ve often thought that noise pollution is the most forgivable form of pollution, and herein may lie the proof. The EP was recorded at Studio Sublime, and has artwork by Jersey born Producer, DJ, Snowboarder, Skater, and Graffiti Artist, Scott Nixon. It received 4 out of 5 stars from the harsh critics here at MNZ earning it a firm place in the Hot Right Now charts. Be sure to check out Mellow Song, written during NZ’s first national lockdown, back in 2020.


The Artist: Heavy Chest is a project started by Andre Smith, evolving from a solo acoustic act into a full band.

The Release: Guidance In Dreams - the second full length album from Heavy Chest.

Long awaited by Heavy Chest fans across Aotearoa (myself very much included) and likely much further than that, this is the band’s first release in a year. Guidance In Dreams is a collection of 10 tracks, recorded at Andre’s home in the Coromandel. Written and recorded through 2021 the album has an eclectic mix of sounds and feels like a step into a new sonic territory. If you’ve been to a Heavy Chest show you’ll be familiar with their sweet, dreamy pop presence – if you haven’t, then I highly recommend you do.

More Info

The Artist: Emma Dilemma, from Christchurch to the world.

The Release: Vulnerability.

**Calling all self-depreciating Uni students, struggling artists and bedroom musicians.** Stop doing that and start rating yourselves. Emma Dilemma delves into her own struggles with anxiety and imposter syndrome in the new guitar-driven dance track, Vulnerability. It’s an epic and inspiring listen with a Napoleon Dynamite inspired music video that showcases her sense of humour. What could be hotter? Watch and listen here.

More Info

The Artist: TOI: A six-piece soul//funk band from the Capital.

The Release: A live recording of the never-before-released track I Wanna Rock.

I Wanna Rock was recorded on the band’s home turf, at Wellington venue Meow, on their 2021 EP release tour. The track showcases a band in their element – on stage performing to a sold-out hometown crowd. There’s a video too AND more new music on the way, to be released later in the year!

More Info

The Artist: Everyone in Te Whanganui-a-Tara knows (or should know) this name by now. Singer, pianist and songwriter Arjuna Oakes is now becoming a recognized name much further than that. His 2021 release, First Nights, was released by the LA-based record label Innovative Leisure and has had extensive play on BBC6 and BBC1xtra.

The Release: Recovery Pt. 2 was recently released on Feb 4th, following the release of two singles I Got Mine and As I Am.

Oakes’ Recovery Pt. 1, released back in February of 2020, delved into themes such as climate change, identity and healing. Recovery Pt. 2 is the continual exploration of these journeys. The singles have proven to be a full experience, haunting and beautiful, and we can’t wait for the rest.

More Info

The Artist: Oceanspace.

The Release: A live recording of Gypsy With A Mortgage.

Live recordings are so apt in these turbulent, traffic-lighted times! Gypsy With A Mortgage (Live) is a direct showcase of the band’s high-energy, theatrical performances. Recorded at Te Tairawhiti Arts Festival in Gisborne, mastered by band member Nathan Seaver. It has been quoted as vocalist Emma Moore’s favourite song to perform live.

More Info

The Artist: SKRAM. The dynamic, electric, magnetic sound of Henry Ashby (vocals), Felix Nesbitt (drums, vocals) and Lee Pryor (keyboard, bass).

The Release: Inside Your Head, the band’s third single was released on Jan 7th.

Still mere infants on the music scene, SKRAM made their debut just last year. Already certifiably hot, SKRAM’s second single, Please Give Me Some Peace, made it onto What’s Hot - the NZ Official Music Chart playlist. Is there an album coming? We’re not sure…but watch this space.

More Info

The Artist: Jock Nowell-Usticke AKA BAYNK - New Zealand-born, London-based electronic artist and producer.

The Release: His debut album Adolescence.

Adolescence is the first full 10-track album from BAYNK, after 3 EPs, 350 million streams and festival spots at Lollapalooza and Coachella. The album was recorded between Los Angeles and London and includes a feature by Australian band Cub Sport on a track (Mine) which was co-produced by Canadian act Chiiild. The single Naked has an accompanying music video which you can check out here.


More Info

The Artist: Oh come on. You surely know who Aldous Harding is.

The Release: A new studio album Warm Chris will be released on 25 March.

Why is it called Warm Chris? We don’t yet know. Christopher Luxon? Chris Hipkins? Chris…tmas??? Watch this space to find out. What we do know is that the album, recorded at Rockfield Studios in Wales, includes contributions from H. Hawkline, Seb Rochford, Gavin Fitzjohn, John and Hopey Parish and Jason Williamson (Sleaford Mods). The first single Lawn is already out with an incredible (and baffling) video that you can watch and listen to here.

More Info

The Artist: Trip Change is the collaborative and eclectic efforts of Waru Waiwiri-Hetet (vocals, guitar), Ben Payne (drums), Matt Sagen (keyboard) and Phil Hoskin (bass).

The Release: Lies & Lullabies, the debut album (we love a debut album), out May 6th.

A Taranaki love story, Hetet (vocals, guitar) and Payne (drums) met whilst performing with other music projects in the New Plymouth music scene. Their collaboration expanded with the addition of Sagen (keyboard) and Hoskin (bass), and now they bring us the result. In this release you’ll find soul, jazz, psychedelia, ska, reggae, and rock. If you feel like being taken on such an eclectic journey, do check this one out.


The Artist: Diverse and eclectic music composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist - Reyne Robati.

The Release: His debut The Motions. To be released “soonish.”

Robati received training at Whitireia, in the nation’s capital playing bass and developing his producing skills, graduating with a Bachelor of Music. Now, qualified and excited, he releases his debut. Self-described as “odd” The Motions pulls together a bunch of diverse influences creating a trip through psychedelia, touching on rock, metal, and ambient electronic. Entirely self-recorded and produced, it's an introspective look at his journey so far as musician.

Arjuna Oakes is a singer-songwriter and producer based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Aotearoa (Wellington, New Zealand). Following the release of his debut EP The Watcher in 2019, Arjuna has released 2020’s Recovery Pt. 1 and 2021’s First Nights to widespread acclaim, both of which were followed by last week's long-awaited EP Recovery Pt. 2. Muzic.net.nz caught up with Arjuna about his music, inspiration and NZ music favourites.

How did you become involved in music?

My love for music started at a very young age. I remember singing as soon as I could talk, and started learning the piano when I was 7. Music was always being played around the house and was a big part of my family, so it was impossible not to fall in love with it.

Which one of your songs are you most proud of, and why?

Probably Building an Army from Recovery Pt.2. We recorded the whole EP back in Feb 2020 and I think that song really encapsulates the talent of the band that I play with. Everyone is being so creative and improvising like crazy, it makes me smile remembering recording it.

How would you describe your music to someone who hasn't heard it before?


Who are your favourite NZ bands and musicians?

Name UL is an incredible artist on so many fronts. He’s an accomplished rapper, performer and a genius producer, I’m so excited to see where his career takes him.

What is your favourite NZ venue, and why?

I was lucky enough to perform at the Opera House in Wellington opening for Louis Baker, and also as a guest with Nathan Haines at the Wellington Jazz Festival. It's such an amazing venue, one day I’d love to play a headline show there with my full band.

Have you got any tips for dealing with nerves before a gig?

Everyone feels nervous before a gig, I think I’ve learnt to channel those nerves into excitement and it helps to fuel me before a show. Usually the nerves disappear as soon as I’m on stage, I often close my eyes and forget the audience exists.

What NZ bands and musicians would you like to tour with, and why?

Fat Freddy’s Drop, no question about it. I grew up with their music so it would be a dream come true.

Where do you get your inspiration to create music from?

Inspiration for writing music is often very random and spontaneous in my case, but it usually comes from something I’ve internalised and has come out naturally over a longer period of time. This could be another piece of music I’ve been listening to a lot, or something that has happened in my life that has found its way into my music. I always try to let the spark of a song come naturally, and then I can put in a lot of time and effort into developing it into a piece of music.

Check out Arjuna Oakes on Muzic.net.nz

“Rupert Murdoch’s got a lot of blood on his hands,” Jon Toogood, Shihad’s front man and lyricist tells me when i start our interview. I’d asked, by way of a reference to the title of the first single Tear Down Those Names, which name would you tear down first?

To say the new album is loaded with venom would miss the point. “There’s a misunderstanding with the anger on this record” says Toogood, “it’s not anger so much at people it’s anger at seeing the potential for good in humanity and seeing it stifled by these crazy sort of fevered egos that are making a lot of money off of this fear and anger and stopping people from fucking evolving and getting to a better place”.

The new Shihad album is a dark, brooding slab of heavy rock that delivers from start to finish with a rhythm section that absorbs all the light like some obsidian hammer and dutifully sets the tempo as if it were tolling an apocalyptic warning. The structure and the melodies deliver enough twists and turns to keep you hooked and speaking of hooks, there are some blinders on this record. The aforementioned Toogood states his case for the guilty and Phil Knight’s guitar work is as exquisite as ever.

It’s also a brutally honest view of history and the role Europeans have played; it’ll make you think, and it’ll make some people uncomfortable. “We need to re-evaluate our history and our place in history” Toogood continues, “We need to see that though we may not have performed those original injustices. Taking land that was actually already lived in with cultures that were old and had their own ways of living, we still live in a society where we benefit from it as white men … we need to reassess our place in history and have a REAL conversation about it. Not only because we’re living in 2021 and a hierarchy based on race seems quite fucking immature … we need to grow up as a species and get over it if we want to move forward into a brighter future”.

Tom Larkin, the band's engine room as both drummer and de facto manager, has already seen some backlash to this message, “if you were to encapsulate the dialogue you receive from people going against what we’re pointing out or saying it’s some sort of act of self-flagellation - underneath all of it is an objection to change.”

The way both men talk about the new album they’re delivering it sounds like a statement of intent, “we are putting out a provocation” Larkin continues, “to (get people to) examine what you may have inherently as you’re born and how that affects others and how we can rebalance that.”

While Rupert Murdoch received a curt mention earlier, it is not just new names that need tearing down according to Tom. “There’s a massive problem with framing the history of a country from when the Europeans arrived...That instantly is wrong, especially somewhere like Australia where the 1st Nation people were here sixty thousand years before the Europeans even discovered that continent and this idea of year zero, that’s a complete colonialist framework and it’s not. What we’re really trying to communicate is, hey we just need to incorporate that and rebalance that story, once we do, we’ve got a better understanding of where we are and where we can move forward too.”

Talking to Jon and Tom it’s clear that there has been a lot of reflection between this record and the last and COVID has been a major factor in that. “I lost nine months of work but just before it (Covid) the sky was red because Australia had been on fire for three months, so there’s that humming in the background and then Trump’s been in power for … three years, Bolsonaro is basically killing his own people in Brazil. You know it’s the rise of the populist strongman and we’ve seen where that goes if you read a book or if you look at history. These people aren’t interested in you, I’m talking about the people who vote for them, these people are using you for power and unfortunately it never ends well. We’ve seen it historically and the pandemic really showed it up as well because outside of anyone being into Trump and what he was representing, five hundred thousand people died in your country. Ultimately when it comes down to it, he’s not interested in your wellbeing because when it comes down to it, he’s a traumatised individual whose been taught to distrust other human beings and to assume the worst in them so you might as well in quick before someone else fucks you over.”

If, like me, you wondered where the rest of the band were on these topics Jon and Tom confirm that the guys are all on the same page. “I do pretty much write all the lyrics, but I run everything past them” (the band) explains Toogood, “they’ve got to stand on stage beside me and you know what? Most of the lyrics come from conversations between the band anyway. We as a band have always been, politically are quite centrey, centre left … but when things get too extreme one way or the other way it’s never a good thing. We’re getting accused of being socialists or whatever blah blah blah ok but we’re not even thinking about that. We’re just watching con-men kill people you know and taking them for a rise, and they’re legitimising ideas like white supremacy and I’m a father of two bi-racial children myself so I’m not going to sit around and not fucking say something about that. Ultimately it’s (The album) a provocation for discussion.”

Old Gods is a political record but then every Shihad record has been with the exception of Devolve has been and it’s not just racial injustice that’s commented on here. “Everything is tied in” clarifies Jon, “you know you talk about racism, sexism, you know even like financial inequality, which is a massive fuckin issue as well, but I mean humming in the background is the fucking climate you know. That is massive as well so if we’re going to take these things on as a species, we need to have a common language at least, even if we disagree, we need to be honest with ourselves about history, where we came from and why we are what we are. Until we do that, it’s basically a block in the road and we’ve got real problems that need fuckin fixing, real world problems you know and I wanna be part of that movement.”

Unlike the infamous Rolling Stone, this band has gathered plenty of moss. Listen to this new album a couple of times through and you will hear many influences. There is the churn of a Killing Joke inspired rhythm section, the dissonant chugging guitar riffs that owe as much to Sonic Youth as they do Black Sabbath and Toogood’s vocal which can snarl like John Lydon, harmonise like Cobain and in between sound like something that can only be his own visceral wail. These guys manage to keep their sound fresh at each turn and Tom Larkin, whose day job is that of a band manager and producer, expands on how they as a band have managed to keep their identity and voice as a band. 

“The thing about Shihad is, and one thing that’s been really great across the last two albums is there’s been, I think, a broad consensus that what these four people do or the voice that we have. Although we’re strong in all sorts of other areas … really what we do is this heavy, high energy, live focus material and that’s the difference between what we’re really good at and what we are fucking great at. You suddenly realise that life’s become more complex and there’s these other outlets for these things and when we’re together let’s focus on what we’re really great at and use that as a vehicle for that and that I suppose within Shihad it’s about understanding that and working it back to other artists and realising the importance of finding your own voice. It’s about looking for what you’re amazing at and not necessarily what you’re competent at.” 

Previously Shihad have had dalliances with other genres, and you can almost chart it through a period of their career where they released the “Pop” album and then felt the need for the heavier album next time around, from Killjoy to the Fish album, The General Electric into Pacifier. Love Is the New Hate into Beautiful Machine and that ebb and flow was noticeable until the run of Ignite, FVEY and now Old Gods. Tom expounds on not just his experiences but what he has seen other artists being put through. 

“The music industry is guilty many times of taking an artist and saying, you know, that you’re quite good at this or quite good at that, you should do this and pushing them towards something that doesn’t really come from them. What one would do with an artist that you’ve got is ask what are artists, what are songs that you connect to. What’s stuff you connect too, you know you love their art and all that and them you push them towards actually living those songs or those perspectives and bringing that back in to their art and then going you’ve got this lane, you’ve got this kind of identity but what happens when you’re attracted to this or attracted to that and bring that back into your art and all of a sudden it explodes what you do. I remember that was formative for Shihad, we’ve talked about it a lot. We were affected by our peers in bands like Bailterspace and the Skeptics but I was affected and I know others were of the jazz school we were in or anything like that and what made Shihad so compelling was that we had a context that worked for these four people but everyone in those four people were engaged in these other contexts and bought those references in and changed up what Shihad could or would be. That dialogue you have with other ways of thinking and other ways of playing music was always vital to finding an identity and injecting that in but then I think the mature context is kind of going when you are of that mind that you shape shift into identities as opposed to bringing it into something only you guys do.”

Pulling influences into who you are rather than just reflecting them is how Shihad keep things fresh for both themselves and their fans and sometimes those influences come from unexpected places as Tom goes on to explain. “Tear Down Those Names for instance, I went to see one of the very first, might’ve been the second show Dua Lipa ever did in Australia, and it was absolutely mind-blowing, and it was my 4-year-old daughter's birthday who loved Dua Lipa at the time. We went to the show, it was ballistic, it was incredibly loud - it was amazing, and this was just pop music but underlying it all was that kind of salsa beat but it was done at this level that was just lighting the crowd up. So, I just went ‘I fuckin love that beat’ and I’m just gonna kinda work it in and that’s the chorus for Tear Down Those Names. That bom dah boom bah da bof, you hear that and that’s the context, it sounds like a section that’ll fuckin light a crowd on fire, and it does, but I ripped that off Dua Lipa - that’s my context.”

There it is, the context of this record, both musically and lyrically. It’s about growth, finding a voice and joining those voices together for something better. Old Gods is not Henny Penny claiming the sky is falling, nor is it a vacuous wailing and gnashing of teeth. It's a dark, powerful, driving voice of dissent rallying against injustice, ignorance, and bigotry.

Jon, Tom, Phil and Karl should be celebrated in the same way that Rage Against The Machine and System of a Down are - read and listen to what Shihad has to say. It's every bit as poignant as anything from elsewhere on the globe and it’s more relevant because it was written and conceived by a band of artists living, evolving, and understanding the world from our place in it.

Check out Shihad on Muzic.net.nz


Many thanks to Riccardo Ball for providing Muzic.net.nz with this interview.

Delving into the depths of NZ heavier music, The Distorted Transmission is hosted by Will Stairmand (Primacy, Remote). There were plenty of happenings during December and January, check out all the latest interview at the below links:












We have interviews for Vixen Execution and Thy End Cometh coming up - keep up to date with all things Distorted Transmission over on the Facebook page here.

During December we introduced our newest interview series, Temperate Island Talks with Dani.

Dani recently spoke to some of the finalists for the Music Manager of the Year award, and you can read all about what was said at the following links:



For volume 8 of Capital BS, Beth caught up with Captain Festus McBoyle about his new radio show Shipwreck Sunday. Bonus content includes: the history of the band name Buzzcocks, the benefits of theatre performance in NZ and some really positive and wholesome take-aways from Covid (yes, they do exist)!

Read the full interview here.

Check out some of our classic episodes from the past few years. 

On episode #67 we talked to L.A.B. frontman Joel Shadbolt. Joel grew up in Tauranga and quickly gained a reputation as a stand out guitarist on the local scene. He was briefly a member of Batucada Sound Machine before receiving an invite from Laughton Kora which lead to the formation of L.A.B. On this episode Joel talks in depth about his musical heroes, how his career got started, working with the Kora boys and how L.A.B. operates behind the scenes. 

On episode #114 Joe Walsh (The Jordan Luck Band / Ekko Park) stopped by for a drink and a chat.  Joe had been sitting on a completed and unreleased Ekko Park album called Horizon and he suggested we record an episode with a focus on the lyrics and back story to the album. In true Irish style, we met at the pub for a pre-recording drink. Five Guinness later we Ubered back to the studio, opened a bottle of red and fell backwards into an honest, funny and meaningful conversation. Photo credit: David Dunham

Listen to our episodes on our website, iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, iHeart Radio, Player.FM, TuneIn
and all other good podcast apps!




New Artist Pages

The following new artist pages have been added to Muzic.net.nz during January:

X/VAYZ Stu J Old Salts ABYSM
Brian Baker Thy End Cometh Sinner Man Saint Sundialer
Brand New Secondhand Mister Unit Aint Superstitious Noise
The Sun Kings The Shed Dead Mass JS Composition
Psychohistorians Stephen Riddell Fool's Lagoon Trey Porter
Ainslie Allen Nikki Carlson Teraset Western Dip
Sam Heselwood Mirrored Walls Tryonics Ma Bradshaw
Unite The Silence Daytrip Lamp of the Universe The Barry Holt Cohort
Cy Winstanley felix danilo. South for Winter OTTS

New Reviews and Interviews

Check out our latest reviews and interviews at the below links:


New Photos

Have a look at our latest photo galleries at the below links:

Artist Galleries
Feature Galleries


Please note - due to COVID, the gig dates on these features cannot be guaranteed.
Please refer to the band/musician official website or relevant ticketing agency for further information.

View all our previous features here

Our next newsletter is going out on Sunday 6 March

and will feature a super special guest editorial!

If you are a NZ musician and you would like to promote your music,
we would love to feature you in one of our 2022 newsletters.
You can choose the date which suits you.

We can also feature record labels, venues, music stores, music websites...
anything that has something to do with NZ music

Email [email protected] for more info.

Muzic.net.nz newsletters are currently sent out to over 8800 members!
With this number growing every day, featuring in our newsletter is an excellent promotional tool.

Access our newsletter archives here

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