30 Jan 2023
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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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Back to Dead Witch tonight for my first time seeing The Rising Tide who were up from Palmerston North in support of their excellent new EP, The Hope We Die For. They had also invited a few other bands who I have seen before, namely Brawler NZHC who I saw supporting Xile, plus favourites Unwanted Subject and Pale Flag who were both at the Downfall of Humanity release show.
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Each Summer, the Auckland Council put on a series of free outdoor concerts in different places around the city, and today was the second this year, and definitely had a country flavour with Keith Pereira, Louis Jarlov and Sam Bartells. Not only are the shows free, but they all take place in the afternoon, so this gig was set to take place between 1 and 4!
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Having spent an incredible two weeks at home on South Island, it was now back up to Auckland and it was soon back into the live scene with my first gig at Dead Witch for 2023. Tonight was going to be interesting as I recently reviewed Ovus’s EP, Lucid, and it would be the first time I had seen Afterlight since they changed their name from Antebellum.
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Adam McGrath - Album Review: Dear Companions
08 Jan 2023 // by Kev Rowland
Due to many reasons, I have been somewhat late to the underground NZ scene but over the last few years have been fortunate enough to meet some incredible people, see some amazing performances, and hear some wonderful music. All of these come together in one man, Adam McGrath, leader of The Eastern.
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Holy Crime - Single Review: Play Toy
08 Jan 2023 // by Kev Rowland
Holy Crime are a relatively new band from Auckland, comprising Benny Richards (guitar, vocals), Tom Anderson (bass, vocals), Jacob Stutton (guitar) and Mat Hinton (drums), with Play Toy being their debut single. Sometimes, just sometimes, one hears a song and immediately a smile comes across the face and it stays there right until the end and that is the case with this one with its unabashed influences of The Darkness and Eighties glam rock.
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The Rising Tide - EP Review: The Hope We Die For
05 Jan 2023 // by Kev Rowland
Palmerston North deathcore band The Rising Tide had a great 2022, touring for the first time in six years and here we are now with their latest EP which is being released in time for a quick nationwide tour which sees them playing Auckland, New Plymouth, Wellington, and Christchurch. They may call themselves deathcore, but to be honest they probably have more in common with “straight” death based on these three songs, although there is a lot going on.
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EP Review: Chasing Titans
28 Dec 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Here we have the debut EP by Auckland-based metalcore trio Chasing Titans who were formed in 2018 and comprise Adrian Govender (guitar, vocals), Sylvester Porizakova (bass, vocals), and Torrance Kam (drums). The name is inspired by the original Greek Titans and reflects the philosophy of never giving up on one’s biggest dreams and striving for greatness.
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