28 Jan 2022
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Kev's Top 10's - 2021

20 Dec 2021 // A 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.

I have been writing reviews for more than 30 years, and although I have been in Aotearoa for the last 15, for some reason I had never really thrown myself into the NZ Music scene. That all changed in 2020 when I put my hand up for MNNZ, and I can safely say my musical education has been ongoing since then. I have tried to help out where I can, writing more than is healthy for most people, and generally doing what I can to promote the scene, making loads of friends on the way.

Given I experience more music than is normal, I got to wondering what would my own top ten lists be like?  Many of the bands below I hadn’t even heard of this time last year, but it shows what incredible talent there is in NZ, even if it is mostly hiding in the dark corners (often not out of choice) and it takes Lisa and the wonderful team at MNNZ to shine a light on them. Please note the lists below are my personal opinion and does not reflect that of the site itself (and will probably change tomorrow anyway). I did also give myself certain rules – no band can appear in the same list more than once (although they can be in more than one list), and no single can be included if either the album or EP it is taken from also appears.

This is just a bit of fun, and hopefully it will encourage you to investigate some of the reviews which go with them. This list veers from country and folk through to extreme metal and grindcore, with some ethereal stops on the way, and I highly recommend every band included.

Singles

1 Lee Martin - What If I Die

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/92782/lee-martin-singlevideo-review-what-if-i-die

2 Capital Theatre - People

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/92270/capital-theatre-singlevideo-review-people

3 Jenny Mitchell - Trouble Finds A Girl

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/92700/jenny-mitchell-single-review-trouble-finds-a-girl-with-tami-neilson

4 Living State - One Sided

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/92078/living-state-single-review-one-sided

5 The Not Okays - Bite Me

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/92857/singlevideo-review-the-not-okays-bite-me

6 Written By Wolves - Papercut

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/92904/written-by-wolves-single-review-papercut

7 In The Shallows - There You Are

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/92903/in-the-shallows-singlevideo-review-there-you-are

8 Seas of Conflict - XII.IX

https://houseofprog.com/blog/2021/09/26/seas-of-conflict-xii-ix-2021-single/

9 Café Fistfight - Pocket Change

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/91839/cafe-fistfight-single-review-pocket-change

10 White Noise Mafia - The Divide

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/92284/white-nise-mafia-singlevideo-review-the-divide

EPs

1 Written By Wolves – Secrets//The Collab Project

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/92585/written-by-wolves-ep-review-secrets-the-collab-project

2 Dead Favours - Riffing and Yelling

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/92171/dead-favours-album-review-riffing-yelling

3 Aro - He Wai

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/92523/aro-ep-review-he-wai

4 Channeled - Perception

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/92561/channeled-ep-review-perception

5 Ravenhall - The Coming Storm

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/92596/ravenhall-ep-review-the-coming-storm

6 Downfall of Humanity - Deceit

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/92677/downfall-of-humanity-ep-review-deceit

7 Anderson Rocio - We're So Fine

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/92524/anderson-rocio-ep-review-were-fine

8 Emily Rice - Auhua

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/92086/emily-rice-ep-review-auhua

9 Edge of the Woods - Lookin' For Somethin'

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/92428/edge-of-the-woods-ep-review-lookin-for-somethin

10 Tall Folk - Live From Martin's

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/92352/ep-review-live-from-martins

Albums

1 Troy Kingi - Black Sea Golden Ladder

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/92278/troy-kingi-album-review-black-sea-golden-ladder

2 Grawlixes - Love You To Death

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/92357/grawlixes-album-review-love-you-to-death

3 French For Rabbits - The Overflow

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/92792/french-for-rabbits-album-review-the-overflow

4 Plum Green - Somnambulist

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/92618/plum-green-album-review-somnambulist

5 Henika - Strange Creatures

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/92812/henika-album-review-strange-creatures

6 Reb Fountain - Iris   

https://houseofprog.com/blog/2021/11/06/reb-fountain-iris-2021/

7 Grant Haua - Awa Blues

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/91753/grant-haua-album-review-awa-blues

8 Alien Weaponry - Tangaroa

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/92583/alien-weaponry-album-review-tangaroa

9 Bridge Burner - Disempath

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/91969/bridge-burner-album-review-disempath

10 Blindfolded and Led To The Woods - Nightmare Withdrawals

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/91960/blindfolded-and-led-to-the-woods-album-review-nightmare-withdrawals

Concerts

1 Written By Wolves - Dead Witch

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/92007/written-by-wolves-gig-review-written-by-wolves-dead-witch-auckland-09042021

2 Auckland Folk Festival

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/91797/festival-review-auckland-folk-festival-2021-30012021

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/91799/festival-review-auckland-folk-festival-2021-31012021

3 Beastwars - Powerstation

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/92098/beastwars-gig-review-beastwars-with-earth-tongue-and-demons-of-noon-powerstation-auckland-08052021

4 Dead Favours - Darkroom

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/92193/dead-favours-gig-review-dead-favours-darkroom-christchurch-04062021

5 Capital Theatre - Tuning Fork

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/91948/gig-review-capital-theatre-cherry-blind-white-noise-mafia-the-tuning-fork-auckland-20032021

6 In The Shallows - Earth Beat Festival

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/91939/in-the-shallows-gig-review-in-the-shallows-earth-beat-festival-kaipara-18032021

7 Metal Blitz - Dead Witch

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/92229/gig-review-blitz-metal-fest-dead-witch-auckland-12062021

8 Sol3 Mio - Spark Arena

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/91974/sol3-mio-gig-review-sol3-mio-spark-arena-auckland-30032021

9 Pencarrow - Dead Witch

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/92071/pencarrow-gig-review-pencarrow-dead-witch-auckland-01052021

10 Mudbelly - 12 Bar

https://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/92175/mudbelly-gig-review-mudbelly-12-bar-christchurch-29052021

Band of the Year

Written By Wolves

This time last year I had not even heard of these guys, let alone their music, so to experience them in the flesh and then be involved in a very small way with their EP has been an absolute revelation for me. Not only my musical life but my personal life is enriched by having them in it.


Photo Credits:
Auckland Folk Festival, The Eastern - Steve Bone Photography

Sol3 Mio - Ngamihi Pawa

 

Other Reviews By Kev Rowland

The Sam Loveridge Band - Album Review: Recovery
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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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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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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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Gig Review: Blindfolded and Led To The Woods @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 15/01/2022
16 Jan 2022 // 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 // 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 // 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 // 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 // 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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View All Articles By Kev Rowland

NZ Top 10 Singles

  • DOWN UNDER
    Luude feat. Colin Hay
  • COLD HEART (PNAU REMIX)
    Elton John And Dua Lipa
  • MR REGGAE
    L.A.B.
  • ABCDEFU
    GAYLE
  • IN THE AIR
    L.A.B.
  • HEAT WAVES
    Glass Animals
  • EASY ON ME
    Adele
  • FINGERS CROSSED
    Lauren Spencer-Smith
  • SHIVERS
    Ed Sheeran
  • STAY
    The Kid LAROI And Justin Bieber
View the Full NZ Top 40...
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