10 Aug 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

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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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31 Jul 2022 // 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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Gig Review: Reb Fountain @ Town Hall, Auckland - 29/07/2022
30 Jul 2022 // 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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Gig Review: Capital Theatre @ The Tuning Fork, Auckland - 28/07/2022
28 Jul 2022 // 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 - EP Review: Infinity Ritual
28 Jul 2022 // 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 // 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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