Listen To Grecco Romanks Debut Single Waterboard Me

Chris Cudby / Tuesday 13th October, 2020 12:43PM


Tāmaki Makaurau’s creative underbelly has again borne fruit with the intoxicating debut single from "post-empire themed dungeon power techno" trio Grecco Romank. A brooding industrial-tinged electronic beatscape,’Waterboard Me’ is described by the group as being about "about consensual waterboarding as a form of kink, possibly a trust exercise or professional development and upskilling," to which we say: we can’t wait to see Grecco Romank playing as part of Audio Foundation’s Now Hear This! 2020 festival at Whammy / Backroom / The Wine Cellar this coming Friday!

Swallow The Rat Announce North Island Tour

Chris Cudby
/ Tuesday 13th October, 2020 11:49AM


Triumphing over the numerous Covid-related curveballs biffed their way in 2020, Tāmaki Makaurau noiseniks Swallow The Rat are leaping back into action for their first run of shows since the global pandemic required them to cut their USA tour short back in March. Playing in Wellington with Hiboux and First Move, and in Palmerston North with Dick Move, First Move and Swamp Witch, the freshly reconfigured Swallow The Rat will be road testing a selection of new tunes hot on the heels of their very fine latest album Leaving Room, and are set to announce more special guests for their tour of Te Ika-a-Māui very soon. Grip the details revealed so far here…

Swallow The Rat

Thursday 26th November – Whammy, Auckland
Friday 27th November – Nivara Lounge, Hamilton

Saturday 28th November – Hop House, Tauranga

Friday 4th December – Snails, Palmerston North w/ Dick Move, First Move, Swamp Witch*
Saturday 5th December – Valhalla, Wellington w/ Hiboux, First Move^

Palmerston North tickets available HERE via UTR*
Wellington tickets available HERE via UTR^

Experience the animated clip for Swallow The Rat’s ‘Bird of Ill’ from Leaving Room…

Julia Jacklin Shares Two Songs For Sub Pops Singles Club

Annabel Kean / Tuesday 13th October, 2020 10:10AM


Australia folk angel Julia Jacklin shares her first new music since the roaring success of 2019’s Crushing. The two fresh tracks have been released as part of the long-running Sub Pop Singles Club, and dive head first into the woes of pandemic living. Title song ‘to Perth, before the border closes’ explores Jacklin’s fear of missing out on good things as she moves on from place to place "chasing things, love, work, something new", only made heavier by the potential long-term commitment of a state in lockdown. Also highly relatable, the musically romantic but lyrically bleak ‘CRY’ recounts the experience of a new flat with new people, "hiding my depression from my housemates" because she doesn’t "know them well enough yet to cry in the kitchen". Have a wee sob to Jacklin’s small town gothic handycam video for ‘to Perth, before the border closes’…

Julia Jacklin’s singles club release ‘to Perth, before the border closes’ is out now via Sub Pop.

Primer Now Hear This! Festival 2020 Tuesday 13th to Sunday 18th October

Chris Cudby / Image: Pumice
/ Tuesday 13th October, 2020 9:52AM


Audio Foundation’s six night and two day Now Hear This! mega-festival of "glorious noise, sublime sounds, singular songs and ecstatic improvisation" kicks off tonight, taking over venues throughout Tāmaki Makaurau’s Karangahape Road district up until Sunday 18th October. There’s more than seventy artists and groups from throughout Aotearoa performing at Now Hear This!, with many combos playing in special one-off configurations for the biennial occasion. Taking the bull by the horns, former Audio Foundation team member and now UTR editor Chris Cudby has cooked up an accessible selection of off-the-cuff, non-comprehensive daily highlights from the fest — to help you navigate through its sonic waters and provide some bearings for newcomers to the infinitely rewarding, often obscure, and always changing world of experimental music in NZ. Enjoy the incredible diversity our live music community has to offer and open your ears to something new this week…

Tuesday 13th October – Audio Foundation, Auckland, 7pm start

The Theatrical Panopticon, Clinton Watkins, Centre Negative, Antonia Barnett-McIntosh, Dropzone, Ducklingmonster, Nihilist Assault Group

Offering a diverse lineup to kick it all off at Audio Foundation’s subterranean HQ in the bottom of the Parisian Ties & Belts factory building (where ties and belts are in fact still being made), Tuesday night will likely be a casual affair before the festival madness truly takes hold. Ducklingmonster, Centre Negative (the project of Michael McClelland), and Dropzone should be familiar to dedicated UTR readers, and (fun fact) sound artist Clinton Watkins is half of robo-worshipping techno duo Go Nuclear, although audiences should go in expecting a more experiential sonic offering from him this evening. The night also features a performance by composer, performer, sound artist and freelance curator Antonia Barnett-McIntosh, the very first anti-performance by UK "noise-racketeers" Nihilist Assault Group, and will be opened by The Theatrical Panopticon who officially "cannot be described" and therefore must be witnessed first hand to take in the forbidden knowledge. Have a listen to Ducklingmonster’s ‘woo woo Beach’ from her 2019 album Parts Of The Flower…

Wednesday 14th October – Audio Foundation, Auckland, 7pm start

Reuben Derrick & Ruby Hinepunui Solly, Tim Player, Simon Allen & Phil Dadson, Pumice, Blood Mothers, Stef Animal, P Wits, Jess Morgan

Another incredibly diverse selection of experimental and related artists from all around Aotearoa, already exposing the folly of this feature as every performer is truly top tier. UTR regulars Pumice, Stef Animal and P Wits / Jess Morgan are playing on a lineup which also includes legendary Intermedia artist Phil Dadson (From Scratch) performing with artist and instrument maker Simon Allen, and avant-nesian binary bending live favourites Blood Mothers — check out a very informative video spotlighting their artistic practice here:

Thursday 15th October – Unitarian Church, Auckland, 7pm start

Rachel Shearer, Rosy Parlane, Richard Francis, Lucy Hunter, Hermione Johnson, Peter Porteous, Chris O’Connor, Ruby Hinepunui Solly, Rasoul Abbasi, Tom Callwood, Anita Clark, Ro Rushton-Green, Eamon Edmundsen-Wells, Marija Dumitrijevic / mHz

Artweek open late (Sophie Sutherland) at Audio Foundation, 6pm-8pm

A deep listening evening in the resplendent surrounds of Unitarian Church, hosting a variety of NZ noise / soundscape veterans including Rachel Shearer, Rosy Parlane, Richard Francis, Hermione Johnson and Peter Porteous (Eye), alongside the multi-faceted sonics of percussionist extraordinaire Chris O’Connor (The Phoenix Foundation, who famously sometimes dons a tin can suit), violin virtuoso Anita Clark (Motte) and Dunedin’s Lucy Hunter. Experience recent live footage of Hermione Johnson performing on grand piano late last year in Austria…

Friday 16th October – Wine Cellar / Whammy / Whammy Backroom, Auckland, 8pm start

The Pyramids Were Built From the Top Down, Ghost Bells (Porteous / Elborado / Yeats), Aotearoa Snuff Jazz Sextet, Grecco Romank, Riki Gooch & Al Fraser, Mo Zareei, Big Fat Raro, Citacsy, Native Bush, Stefanimal, Renee Barrance, Alice Sparrow, Lucky Paul, Samara Alofa, Motte w/ Chris O’Connor, Guardians

While most festivals would be wrapping it up at the day four mark, Now Hear This! take it up a notch with a whopping triple venue extravaganza at Wine Cellar / Whammy / Whammy Backroom. The unofficial "party night" of the fest (to me at least), there will indeed be sounds created to shake clubs in the midst of more freeform sonic wizardry and high decibel, ear-bleeding extremity. Newly formed noise rock supergroup Ghost Bells (Porteous / Elborado / Yeats) are playing a set, Riki Gooch & Alistair Fraser appear following the launch of their very fine album Rangatira via Noa Records, Pōneke-based electronic artist Big Fat Raro (of Fanau Spa) is always a must-see, Dunedin’s Stef Animal plays a second set for those who missed her on Tuesday, Citacsy is the new solo project of Tash van Schaardenburg formerly of Bib Kids, and "post empire themed dungeon power techno" new trio Grecco Romank sound like a spicy proposition indeed. Get in the zone with recent footage of Big Fat Raro performing a live hardware set in the studios of 95bFM…

Saturday 17th October – Audio Foundation, Auckland

11am – Stephen Bain DRIFTING (free)

1pm to 6pm – MEL showcase, Reuben Derrick with Morphology, Jonny Marks, Al Fraser, Ruby Solly, Liam Bowen, Bonnie Stewart, Jo Burzynska, Knotted Throats

7pm to 12am – Mercedes Cambridge, CRUDE, Malcolm Riddoch, Bruce Russell with True Bliss Experience, BIG ROSES (Robbie Yeats / Joan George / Rachel Shearer), Mental Health Triangle, Mick Elborado, Riki Gooch, Pat Kraus, Anita Clark, Ro Rushton-Green

Saturday evening’s lineup could also arguably be considered a "party night" as it features an all too rare Auckland performance by the legendary Crude, so there goes my plans for getting anything else done this weekend. More unmissable rare treats amongst the rock-solid bill include Bruce Russell of noise giants The Dead C with the intriguingly titled True Bliss Experience, irrepressible rap crew Mental Health Triangle, and supergroup BIG ROSES (Robbie Yeats / Joan George / Rachel Shearer). The Musical Electronics Library (M.E.L.) are also hosting a showcase event at Audio Foundation all Saturday afternoon — experience a taste of the good stuff to come with founder Pat Kraus‘ home recorded DIY video of ‘Octatrack Black Diamond’…

Sunday 18th October – Auckland Old Folks Association Hall, Auckland

2pm to 6pm – 10 Acre Bloc, Māpura Studios, Kristian Larsen Bluetooth Orchestra, Parks, Nava, Larsen, Riki, Ivan Mrsic Group, Selective Noise Reuptake Inhibitor Increases Serotonin Burst-Induced Unconditioned And Context-Conditioned Freezing

Wind down with a Sunday afternoon event of sonic adventuring at the enjoyably named Auckland Old Folks Ass. — including a long-running improvising big band 10 Acre Block and a performance by participants in the Māpura Studios creative music programme (tutored by Pumice’s Stefan Neville).

NOW HEAR THIS! – full programme and artist info available at

Glass Vaults Drop Sizzling Single Video Boys On Boys

Chris Cudby
/ Monday 12th October, 2020 3:09PM


With their third studio album Sounds That Sound Like Music launching later this month, Glass Vaults keep us grooving with the record’s third single ‘Boys on Boys‘. Held down by a shapeshifting disco beat played by Cory Champion (Borrowed cs) and snakelike fretless bass courtesy of Tom Callwood (Phoenix Foundation), the subtly catchy ‘Boys on Boys’ works its way under your skin with squiggles of cosmic synth and dreamy guest backing vocals provided by Womb’s Charlotte Forrester. Released with a snazzy clip drawing on their shared love for the shimmering sounds of vintage Italo-Disco (with visuals provided by online archivist Jaime Rios aka ‘DJ Jaime), ‘Boys on Boys’ gets us even more amped for Glass Vaults’ sure to be sizzling summer tour, happening all across Aotearoa in December…

UTR proudly presents…

Glass Vaults – Sounds That Sound Like Music album release tour

Friday 4th December – Space Academy, Christchurch
Saturday 5th December – Dive, Dunedin
Friday 11th December – Meow, Wellington
Saturday 12th December – Whammy, Auckland

Tickets available via Banished Music

‘Sounds That Sound Like Music’ launches digitally and on vinyl LP on Friday 30th October, preorders available here.

Dead Famous People Share New Album Harry

Chris Cudby / Photo credit: Frances Carter
/ Monday 12th October, 2020 1:13PM


Tāmaki Makaurau songwriter Dons Savage‘s long-running project Dead Famous People at last revealed her debut album Harry late last week, following 28 years of artistic activity and surely setting some kind of musical record in the bargain. Joining recent student radio faves ‘Looking At Girls‘ and ‘Goddess Of Chill‘ are eight more guitar-pop hits in switched-on alternate realities. Highlights include celestial anthem ‘Dead Birds Eye’, organ-pop bop ‘Groovy Girl’ and upbeat tear-jerker ‘Dog’, but you’d have to be some kind of straight up sucker to deny the exceptionally catchy and emotionally vast sublimity of it all — listen up to Harry right here…

‘Harry’ is out now via Fire Records.

Listen To UMOs Remix Of Soccer Mommys Circle The Drain

Chris Cudby
/ Monday 12th October, 2020 11:14AM


Amongst the unprecedented deluge of significant NZ releases last Friday lurked a fresh creation from none other than Unknown Mortal Orchestra, the ongoing project of Ruban Nielson with friends and family, whose staggering international success continues to know no limits. Nielson revealed a remix of US songwriter Soccer Mommy‘s fuzzily emotive 2020 anthem ‘circle the drain‘, honing in on the song’s hypnagogic qualities and scrambling our senses with a healthy dose of crunchy beats, liquid bass and sun-baked sonics. No stranger to being in fine company, UMO was joined on remixing duties by UK electronic innovator Actress, who dropped an excellently gothed-up remix of Soccer Mommy’s ‘crawling in my skin‘, also featured on February’s color theory album — immerse yourself in both tracks below…

‘circle the drain’ and ‘crawling in my skin’ are out now via major streaming platforms.

French For Rabbits Announce The Dark Arts Tour Of Aotearoa

Annabel Kean / Photo Credit: Lily Paris West / Monday 12th October, 2020 10:14AM


Masters of dreamy folk-pop French For Rabbits are taking the band on a country wide Dark Arts tour this summer season, and have revealed eight shows from Tāmaki Makaurau down to Ōtepoti.  Brooke Singer and John Fitzgerald will be joined by the wonderful Ben Lemi (Trinity Roots, Dawn Diver), Penelope Esplin (Grawlixes) and drummer Hikurangi Schaverien-Kaa, and plan to roll out brand new songs from their upcoming album Dark Arts. Singer spoke on the record, due out early next year, saying "I’m still singing about climate change, how dire social media is and anxiety, but the album was just a joy to make – it feels really optimistic to me". Join the joy and the dread, and book your spot below…

Undertheradar proudly presents…

French For Rabbits Dark Arts Tour

Thursday 12th November – Wine Cellar, Auckland*

Friday 13th November – Nivara Lounge, Hamilton*

Sunday 15th November – Palliser Bay Estate, Martinborough

Friday 27th November – Bark, Dunedin*

Saturday 28th November – Space Academy, Christchurch*
Saturday 5th December – Sitting Room Sessions, Hawke’s Bay

Saturday 12th December – City Gallery, Wellington

Saturday 12th December – City Gallery, Wellington

Tickets on sale HERE via UTR*
More info available via

Watch the breathtaking clip for recent single ‘The Tunnel’

Press release:

Ethereal dream-pop luminaries French for Rabbits create music that feels as if it was crafted from the fabric ¬¬of the New Zealand landscape – guitar lines gliding and unfurling like salty waves breaking, drums echoing against isolated coastlines, and harmonies glistening like sunrays upon rippling ocean currents.

They will be bringing their naturistic musical alchemy to intimate venues around New Zealand in November and December on the Dark Arts tour for eight dates across the country, including two multi-dimensional shows in the Adam Auditorium at Wellington’s City Gallery.

The tour will see the full band perform at all shows (except for Napier and Martinborough in trio formation) testing the waters with new songs from their forthcoming album recorded with producer Jol Mulholland (Tami Neilson, Delaney Davidson) in between Covid-19 lockdowns. It isn’t due out until 2021, so this run of shows will be an opportunity to hear an early preview.

Originally formed in the small coastal township of Waikuku Beach by vocalist and songwriter Brooke Singer and guitarist John Fitzgerald, French for Rabbits expanded to include multi-instrumentalists Ben Lemi (Trinity Roots, Dawn Diver) and Penelope Esplin (Grawlixes) alongside drummer Hikurangi Schaverien-Kaa. They have released three records including the NZ Music Award nominated debut EP Claimed by the Sea in 2012, and have since established themselves as a world-class act creating intelligent, evocative music for the discerning listener.

Of the album and tour, Brooke says “given the rather twisty-turny year we’ve all had, I’ve had a yearning to write and share music that feels uplifting. Not in a cheesy way, I’m still singing about climate change, how dire social media is and anxiety, but the album was just a joy to make – it feels really optimistic to me. We had a very nice time trying out different harmonies and arrangements – it’s poppier, brighter, and more creative too”.

Live Photos Review Cut Off Your Hands Whammy Bar Auckland

Review: Ali Nicholls / Photography: Connor Crawford
/ Monday 12th October, 2020 9:47AM


In anticipation of their soon-to-be-released third album, Auckland locals Cut Off Your Hands wish the hallowed halls of Whammy! farewell in what is to be one of their last performances together.

2008 was a pretty good year to be starting high school in Auckland. The remaining drips of Brit rock were slipping through the fingers of the indie scene into the gargantuan mitts of the commercial pop industry in the UK, but the scene in my home town was still gripping on to those threads of janky guitars and dry snares, and carving out a little corner of indie pop space amid the Tāmaki post-punk renaissance.

Now the band are ready to bring their Cut off Your Hands experience to a close, and said farewell to a crowd of seasoned moshers with an astonishing night celebrating the scene that has shaped their sounds, and gratitude to the crowds that have looked forward to each new release. Packing their broad musical range into a carefully sequenced double-set show, with three different renditions of COYH taking the stage, it was clearly no small gesture for the band to call it a day. Opened by Pash, an ambient duo fresh off the press in Auckland, then by local psych-rock trio ECHO OHS, the night played out over a mammoth four hours with not a moment wasted.

The first set began with ‘Lows’ and transitioned seamlessly into ‘Higher Lows and Lower Highs’ from which the latest album HLLH earns its name. The track pops off with a four on the floor beat, shiny synths, and some very enthusiastic tambourine. Their funk and dance influences come through unapologetically on their most boogie friendly release yet, and seeing it live lifted the euphoric body rhythms to a whole new dimension. ‘Hate Somebody’ follows and the four vocalists carry the sound further still into their influences where Tina Weymouth style bass licks meet their ever-popular indie pop origins.

‘Oh Girl’ falls seamlessly into place amid the review of their new material, and it’s a solid opportunity for the band to remind us that while their style may have evolved, they’ve been refining a signature sound for years that weaves between genres without losing focus. Produced under the influence of Brit rock giant Bernard Butler (of Suede), COYH’s first album You & I is absolutely dripping with nostalgia for the golden era of haphazardly organised scout hall gigs and upbeat teenage post-punk. ‘Live For Each Other’ follows, bringing us back to the bass, kicks, cowbells, and dreamy vocals of the new album.

‘On The Sea’ flows into ‘By Your Side’, the third track of sophomore album Hollow. The dream-casting soft synths solidify the sentimentality of the night. ‘Blue Smoke Draft’, written about Nick Johnston’s last visits with his grandfather at a hospice, casts a warm emotional light over the new material. For all of its finger-tapping, party starting potential, the album is also smoked with reflection. A whole range of contorted experiences, realisations and aspirations unfold throughout the first set, which takes us far beyond the indie pop-punk thrills of their first release twelve years ago. But the playful groove that runs through the album evaporates any self-consciousness that could have defined these emotional portraits of settling in to your own life, and the heart pumping rhythm that carries us into the second half of the show sets a perfect balance of dance-floor introspection and celebration.

Set two dives into ‘Hollow’, dishing out a healthy serving of dream wave mixing with a touch of psychedelia. Two feet stay on the ground of their signature sound, and the whakapapa of their work and style becomes more apparent as the tracks roll on. By about halfway through the set, things are amping up. The crowd, struggling to contain their pent up excitement, needs a lift. A quick change from producer Jeremy Toy to original guitarist Michael Ramirez hints at what we’re gasping for. As the first ripping chords of ‘Turn Cold’ shred through the air, so do a hundred grasping arms and raucous cheers. The bodies are packed, and systematically folding over the feedback amps and falling back against the padded pillars that have narrowly saved countless concussions. Johnston is writhing around and clambering up to the crowd, offering the mic out to anyone close enough to reach.

A sharp elbow to the ribs is all the signal needed to throw me back to my first COYH show, at Cassette 9 in my late high school years. There just aren’t any other acts like them in Auckland, and it hit me then that this really was our last time to do this with these guys. We’re climbing over one another, thrashing out angst, swimming in a churning pit of bodies as the band takes us back with ‘Expectations’, ‘You and I’, and ‘Still Fond’. Someone’s crowd surfing, which I only realise when the sharp edge of well worn Docs smack me in the back of the head. There isn’t any time to turn around and see who it is, it’s just everyone for themselves as we all fight to the last line.

Nick Johnston dishes out his thanks and the band heads out the side curtain. It’s a bit of a shell shocked moment as it begins to dawn on us that some of the most beloved and renowned musicians to come together in this city are calling it a night. But among the melancholy of the end of a night that showcased a journey through sound and style are hundreds of grinning, sweaty and euphoric fans experiencing the last little taste of a golden era in our musical history. There are two shows left this month, and that’ll be it. Get your fix while you can — there won’t be anything else quite like it. Ali Nicholls

Cut Off Your Hands play two final send off events this month, at Auckland’s Whammy Bar on Thursday 29th October and at Wellington’s San Fran on Friday 30th October, tickets available via Banished Music. ‘HLLH’ launches on Friday 16th October, vinyl preorders are available via Flying Out.

Click on the thumbnail images below to view a gallery of Connor Crawford‘s snaps of Friday night’s event…

View all photos

Weekly Roundup Friday 9th October

Chris Cudby / Image: Jordan Luck Band / Friday 9th October, 2020 4:11PM


The major news this week was Auckland has finally rejoined the rest of Aotearoa at Alert Level 1, as announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday, along with a message to New Zealanders to remain vigilant and keep using the NZ Covid Tracer app to help minimise potential future outbreaks. We couldn’t be more bloody stoked — we encourage everyone to make the most of our thriving gig scene, get out there and support our community this weekend.

We’re happily back to gig season a-go-go. Announcement highlights for the week included 2020 Silver Scroll finalist Reb Fountain revealed a third Tāmaki Makaurau headline date for her spring NZ tour, with none other than special guest Shayne P. Carter joining her for all three super city events, Ha The Unclear announced supports for their spring national tour celebrating their sparkly new single ‘Strangers’, Aotearoa thrashers Stälker are launching their second studio album Black Majik Terror at the windy city’s heavy music hub Valhalla in early November, party punks Dartz are hosting a hometown Halloween knees-up at Wellington’s San Fran, Pōneke dreamboats O & The Mo revealed a magical video for their latest single ‘Pistachio Moon’ and announced a summer NZ tour, country icons The Warratahs are revving up the engine for a very special headline show at Christchurch’s Cassels Blue Smoke in November, and Cut Off Your Hands announced a second Auckland send-off event at Whammy Bar in late October.


Friday 9th October

Auckland: Cut Off Your Hands – Whammy Bar

Auckland: Sam Bartells – Anthology Lounge

Wellington: The Beths – San Fran

Wellington: Church & AP – Meow

Palmerston North – Swampfest20 – The Stomach

Christchurch: Soaked Oats – Cassels Blue Smoke

Christchurch: The Convincers, Lil Chuck – darkroom

Dunedin: You Should Be Dancing – Port Chalmers Town Hall

Dunedin: Goya, Soft Plastics + Friends – Dive

Saturday 10th October

Auckland: Reid & Ruins – Tuning Fork

Auckland: Church & AP – Hollywood Cinema

Auckland: Miguel Bd Performs Cartola – Ponsonby Social Club

Whitianga: Ebony Lamb, Gram Antler – The Monkey House Theatre

Wellington: The Beths – San Fran

Wellington: Julie Lamb Outfit – Eva Beva

Greymouth: Jordan Luck Band – Paroa Hotel

Queenstown: Soaked Oats – Yonder

Christchurch: Goya, Soft Plastics + Friends – Space Academy

Christchurch: Some Girls Sing The Stones – Wunderbar

Dunedin: Wax Mustang – Starters Bar

Head over to our Gig Guide for more listings!!


Kathy Bates Motel Unveil Single Video Cool Your Heels

Annabel Kean / Photo Credit: Joseph Leary / Friday 9th October, 2020 3:52PM


With the enticing line-up of Joe Lonie (Supergroove), Milan Borich (Pluto), Jol Mulholland (The Reduction Agents) and Morgan Leary (Cindy), Tāmaki Makaurau supergroup Kathy Bates Motel share their latest ear worm ‘Cool Your Heels’. The class act’s second single, following up debut track ‘Damaged Goods’, is dangerously catchy, with killer harmonies from vocalists Lonie and Leary. ‘Cool Your Heels’ will have you moving your feet and hankering for a dance, a need so perfectly met by the Footloose inspired, Joe Lonie directed visuals. Everybody cut foot loose, the weekend and ‘Cool Your Heels’ have arrived…

King Sweeties Share Single Video Tonight We Could Go Out Dancing

Annabel Kean / Friday 9th October, 2020 12:16PM


Dream duo King Sweeties share the third single from their forthcoming debut EP We Are The Bosses, a track they swear was written pre-Covid despite it’s uncanny relevance to pandemic living. It’s called ‘Tonight We Could Go Out Dancing (As If It’s the Last)’ and is about "remaining hopeful in tough times", a sentiment I think we can all get behind ahead of Auckland’s first weekend at alert level one. Members Bic Runga and Cass Basil (Tiny Ruins, Carnivorous Plant Society) crank up the heat on the new dance track, pumping the bass and beats at full tilt from the onset, as dynamic and off-kilter as the high-contrast Frances Haszard animated visuals. The APRA Silver Scroll nominated act perform live for the first time on the 20th of October as part of Elemental Nights: Hopetoun Alpha Series, joined by Opossom for a not-to-be-missed Tuesday night in Auckland. No worries if you can’t make their Elemental Nights set, Bic Runga has a stacked Te Ika-a-Māui tour lined up through late this month and early November. Get hyped for some Level 1 dancin’ tonight with the brand new King Sweeties…

Interview Cut Off Your Hands Discuss Their New Album HLLH Final Shows

Chris Cudby
/ Friday 9th October, 2020 11:21AM


It’s all too rare in Aotearoa that bands give fans advance notice when they’re calling it a day, often even artists themselves don’t realise it’s happening until it’s too late. Cut Off Your Hands are graciously going out with a bang, wrapping up a career spanning nearly 15 years with can’t-miss send off events featuring eight piece band in Auckland tonight (and a newly announced second Tāmaki event on 29th October) and in Wellington on 30th October, plus the long-awaited launch of their third studio album HLLH (Higher Lows and Lower Highs), out next week. Given the significance of the occasion, now was an ideal time to chat with frontman Nick Johnston about the new record, the triumphs and challenges faced by Cut Off Your Hands over the years, as well as his own future musical plans — read his in-depth conversation with Chris Cudby below…

Undertheradar is thrilled to present…

Cut Off Your Hands

Friday 9th October – Whammy, Auckland [sold out]
Thursday 29th October – Whammy, Auckland [new show added]
Friday 30th October – San Fran, Wellington

General tickets on sale via Banished Music

Chris Cudby: I’m wondering how you’re feeling ahead of this week’s show in Auckland. What an interesting position to be in: concluding a musical career with Cut Off Your Hands and launching a brand new album simultaneously. The preparation for your shows must be a significant undertaking as well — are you excited? Looking forward to having it all wrapped up?

Nick Johnston: The record has been a looooong time coming, I first wrote ‘Hate Somebody’ and ‘On The Sea’ about 6 maybe even 7 years ago and a lot has changed since then for us personally and obviously in the world generally. I always kind of knew it was the last thing we were doing and maybe subconsciously that’s why it has taken so long to complete… but there’s also been some pretty major life events; Brent and Jeremy both having 2 kids each in this time, and there’s been various health issues and all sorts… then 2020 came along and the final shows were booked and album release planned around our May shows with NYC band DIIV, which obviously never eventuated cos COVID.

Yeah, I’m really excited for the shows, as I write this I’m sitting at my work desk procrastinating some imminent work thinking about practice tonight when we will have 10 of us on stage for the first time. Looking forward to having Mikey (Ramirez) back with us for the first time in years, as well as a full ensemble including 3 backing vocalists, percussion and synths as well the usual 4 piece. It’s been pretty hectic experience doing these practices, as back in the day we never really rehearsed cos we were on the road playing 200 shows a year so we could do it in our sleep, but now it’s like 6 new band members and learning up to 25 songs spanning our 15 years of being a band… we’ve had to book in a few extra sessions than we initially thought hah. Plus we’re all old and the bodies are slower and voices don’t go as high and memory is not as good. I am beginning to have more empathy for the ol mates that hop on tour and play their songs at half speed… it frustrated me when we played with bands like Gang Of Four / Pixies etc and they just seemed so tired… I think I get it now.

Why are COYH calling it a day now? What do you guys get up to, in your lives outside of the band?

Well, whilst we are all really busy — like, it is hard enough just getting responses to emails let alone managing tours / album releases, tbh it is more about the end of the passion and life and soul of the project that is the reason to be calling it a day now. When we started this band, we were responding to a music scene we perceived locally as a bunch of tired old bands riding the NZOA gravy train to perpetuate their uninspired passionless projects (harsh I know!). That is the last thing I want this band to be, there is always life and joy in playing music no matter what and I’m certainly less harsh in my thoughts nowadays toward such matters as back then, however I think it’s important to put a mirror up to oneself and realise when it is time to give things a rest. If not for any other reason than opening up space for young excited bands to get the grants and play with overseas touring bands etc.

In a lot of ways I wish we had called it earlier, this decision to make things final might seem unnecessary to some, but for me personally I had to have that line drawn so that I can focus on other things. I’ve got new music and other projects that I need to be putting more attention and energy to, so whilst Cut Off has given me so many great times, it’s just a bit like putting on an old deodorant like Lynx Africa or Impulse… or like, as if an ex partner was with you every time you met somebody new… too many ties to the past.

As for life outside the band, I’m involved in architecture where I work in community sector, designing mostly for social housing and schools, I’ve learnt that I need to keep busy all the time to feel okay, so I’m also involved with university teaching which I love and have been part of a full immersion Te Reo Māori (Te Ataarangi method) class for last 5 years… although COVID has interrupted things a bit this year. Nicky By Nature is a project I have been working a little more in earnest than I thought I would and am releasing songs on my Bandcamp and planning shows for that. And then there is Godman — which is an outlet for my ambient pieces whilst also using ASMR content

The others are all very busy and talented humans, with Brent growing a family and Phil running his content production company called ‘Pop That’ which specialised in video work. Jeremy makes music full time and of that I’m extremely envious, and Mikey has his foot in the music industry still working with the mates at Universal Music NZ.

Your new album HLLH (Higher Lows and Lower Highs) sounds like you’ve embraced a fresh direction for COYH while also acknowledging the past, in collaboration with Jeremy Toy. You spoke about your latest single ‘Blue Smoke Draft’, discussing how listening ‘Blue Smoke’ with your grandfather helped reignite your love for NZ music. Did you feel like you had more work to do before COYH wrapped up — that the songs on HLLH were something you needed to get out into the world? Was HLLH always envisioned as an album?

Yea — I think it felt like we hadn’t created the work we wanted to in our previous releases. You and I was a classic result of major label throwing money at a band that had some pop skills but was ultimately something else, and Hollow was an intense reaction to that experience, and whilst it read far more cohesively than the debut it just lacked a bit of levity and joy… perhaps indicative of my mental health at the time. I would like to think that HLLH has more lightness and colour, the energy of our early EPs but with some of the depth that 15 years of life brings to one’s song writing I guess? I’m certainly less inclined to throw lyrics at a melody to make it fit as I was in the past. I’ve always been a more of a music-focussed producer / songwriter, so the lyrics often came second in the process and suffered as a result… and it shows on those early songs.. like I’m embarrassed to sing most of the early lyrics.

On HLLH it was a conscious decision to bring the vocal and the lyrics to the forefront of the songwriting and production effort. What I mean by that I was studying how David Byrne and Brian Eno were producing Talking Heads records, and the way that some of the great songs were constructed by a simple repetitive motif, one bass part one drum part one guitar part, so that the vocal, the melody and the lyrics carry the structural weight of the song. They have to be relied upon to signal verse / chorus etc… which makes it harder to default to lazy decisions… at least for me in this instance. This is the way all the songs were approached. Take for example ‘Once In a Lifetime‘ by Talking Heads as an example of this. HLLH was always intended as a body of work of sorts, at first it was going to be 6 double A side singles released once a month, and then we forgot to release the follow up to ‘Hate Somebody’ for like, a year, so we scrapped that idea.

COYH cite a number of reference points for songs on HLLH eg. Talking Heads, Chemical Brothers, The Rapture, LCD Soundsystem. To my ears it sounds like a very successful and fitting bookend to the Shocking Pinks’ debut album Dance The Dance Electric, which helped (re) popularise post-punk in NZ back in the early 00s. As a career capstone for COYH, is HLLH like a collection of sounds you love? Are there any specific "influences" bubbling under the surface which may not be readily apparent on the record?

That’s a flattering comparison, I loved that record and it seems funny to say but first time I met Nick Harte when we first went to Christchurch as Shaky Hands in 2005, I was actually "Star-Struck" and shy haha. Sure there’s always tonnes of stuff being thrown into the records we make, we make no secret of the fact that COYH’s records have blatantly worn their influences on their sleeve… I recall a UK journalist trying to press Johnny Marr on how our single ‘Turn Cold’ was ripping him off… he was like, "I take it as a compliment, anyway it’s a great song isn’t it" — I really didn’t give a toss what any YouTube commenters said after hearing Johnny Marr say he liked my tune.

I’ve been making a lot of ambient records lately, and some of that stuff has seeped its way into this record whether through samples underneath tracks, or the opening and closing tracks on the record. ‘Lows’, the first track on the album foreshadows its chaser ‘Higher Lows and Lower Highs’ and was given its title in reference to the back half of David Bowie’s Low record, particularly final track ‘Subteranneans‘. The final track ‘Love Somebody’ was something I made many years ago, perhaps in 2007/8, and I was searching through my emails recently for some other old Cut Off demos when I found that one. It’s from a time when I was obsessed with Loveless and Ride and had just seen MBV play on their comeback shows in London, and we had used Kevin Shields’ Jazzmaster from Loveless on one of our recording sessions we did with the producer Flood, so I thought it was a lovely track to put in at the end of this record.

I remember Ruban Nielson back in Mint Chicks days talking about this feeling of having an overwhelming amount of avenues open with regard to the direction of the band stylistically… like whatever mood you were in at the time changed the genre or category of the band. I think my mind as a young person especially was really drawn to such categorical definitions so thinking in terms of genre was quite exciting for me. I’ve since come to question / confront what values the tendency to categorise and reduce actually signifies and am less comfortable relying on them… however at the time I could really relate to that sentiment of Ruban’s. So we were wanting to be some sort of post-hardcore band, like This Night Creeps or At The Drive-In on one hand, or we were wanting to be some sort of new wave post punk band like Wire or Gang Of Four, or then were we wanting to be like James Chance and the Contortions or DNA or ESG, and then just after I got into the Smiths it was like a quick progression into MBV, Ride, Swervedriver, Bailterspace etc… dunno where this tangent is going but there was something in there that set me off… ‘Love Somebody’… it’s directly out of that world when we were working with Flood and I was convinced we were about to make a shoegaze record.

What was the process of recording HLLH? How and when did you start working with Jeremy, and what does he bring to the group?

This goes back to 2014, we started hanging with Jeremy cos Philip was playing bass in he and Anji’s band She’s So Rad. Jeremy did a mix of an earlier cut off song I think, and it was sweet so we kept talking to him and started jamming in his little studio which was in The Lab. Around this time I was really getting back into electronic production from RnB and Hip hop to House and Techno so hanging with Jeremy who is just so diverse in terms of taste and skills and track-record, it was fun to be extending our recording processes beyond just live and analogue as in the past. Jeremy’s energy was awesome for the project and all the synth sounds and percussion and processing and samples… it was really great to have someone so talented to bounce off after self-producing Hollow. He and I have continued collaborating outside of just Cut Off, so that’s been lovely to build that relationship. ‘Hate Somebody’ and ‘On The Sea’ were recorded in 2014, just before I moved over to Melbourne, ‘Higher Lows’ I wrote while in Melbourne and I think we recorded it in 2017, and then we did ‘Live For Each Other’ a year later and completed ‘Blue Smoke Draft’ around the same time, but I took a bit longer to complete the lyrics of ‘Blue Smoke Draft’.

CUT OFF YOUR HANDS · Blue Smoke Draft


There are some weighty and pointed lyrical themes on HLLH eg. ‘Hate Somebody’ and the title track, which refers to your experience coping with bipolar disorder. Are the lyrics completely your department, or do the rest of the band get to contribute?

The lyrics are hundy mine, so I have to take responsibility and write lyrics that I wont cringe when I sing them to live audiences or hear them being played. Like I said earlier, some of the first Cut Off songs were given lazy lyrical treatment and it’s painful to sing those live… I heard Bic Runga recently talking about road testing songs and how you get a feel for how weird it feels to sing some bad lines and I think i’ve learnt that the hard way — ie. the pace at which things progressed for the band around the first record and the sheer pressure we were under from labels etc meant that things were rushed and we are stuck with the results forever locked in place haha. This time, I took my time and everything is far more deliberate and detailed. I also am just kinda older and maybe more confident in who I am and actually feel like I have some opinions now and some life experience. The desire to write no longer just comes from filling up some melody lines but rather from wanting to talk about stuff that’s important to me. I also must acknowledge that I’m in a really hectically privileged position so it’s my opinion that there’s some responsibility to be rigorous that comes with that.

Can you discuss the decision to close HLLH with the very dreamy and textural, nearly ten minute ‘Love Somebody’?

I like what Brent had to say about it when he heard it, that it’s like this lush beautiful wall of sound that breaks down into a screeching squall of chaos as if the wheels are falling off in front of your ears, like the band collapsing as the song brings the final album to a close. As I stated, it’s this reference to Loveless and the obsession I have always had with that record and provides the "Yang" to ‘Hate Somebody’s "Yin". It was the first song made of this record dating back to 2008 and I like the way that bookending the album with 2 ambient pieces allows the record to breathe and have space for contemplation.

What are some of your favourite memories with COYH? You must have seen a lot!

It’s always been about the great relationships we have built along the way, we have made great friends all around the world who I am still regularly in touch with. We still love each other a lot and this week when Mikey joined me Brent and Philip for the first time in years in the rehearsal room it felt like we slipped right back to 2006 and were giggling like school children.

There were heaps of mean highlights. Touring and hanging in places like Iceland, Tokyo, Throughout Europe, USA, UK, Australia and always coming back to NZ was super fun. I think Brent turning 21 while recording in Jimmy Page’s own studio with Flood was pretty special, or walking down Manhattan on my 22nd birthday to meet NME for a feature double spread interview was quite memorable, harmonising on stage at a house party in Texas with the Hanson brothers and Albert Hammond Jnr… or on stage with Iggy Pop… Less Savvy Fav making us get onstage to sing ‘You and I’ before they played to a huge crowd in London… our first show in Eden’s bar with Teen Wolf and The Whipping Cats tbh was just as good… touring with So So Modern around NZ in 2007, or our mates The Temper Trap releasing ‘Sweet Disposition’ a week before coming on tour with us as our main supports for the Australian ‘You and I’ album tour… was… humbling, I guess.

Edwyn Collins sitting down with me to show me just how similar the chords of ‘Still Fond’ are to ‘Rip It Up and Start Again’ and then asking for royalties with tongue in cheek. Drinking Sizzurp with Lil Jon… Our tours in the early days with Foals and on the Big Day Out and Laneway tours were ridiculous times… dunno, it was all pretty wild and hectic and I had no idea what or how I was in the position I was, but just rolled with it til it didn’t roll anymore. If I could do things differently I probably would, just because I didn’t understand my mental health and so kinda pummelled myself in a way that wasn’t sustainable re: playing many many shows and endless touring, which resulted in major burnouts. Buuut also I enjoyed so much of it and had a pretty unique experience so I cant complain, except to say occasionally when I’m sitting at my desk in an air conditioned office for hours on end with a sore back from sitting all day, I do miss touring, a bit.

What next for you and the rest of the band? Do you foresee any more musical activities in the near / medium future?

This is it for Cut Off, we have the Auckland show at Whammy this week and in Wellington at end of the month and the record comes out on October 16th so absolutely no more after that. But I’ve got some projects on the go namely Nicky By Nature solo project so am hoping to continue releasing music and will figure out the live scenario for that soon.

‘HLLH’ launches on Friday 16th October, vinyl preorders are available via Flying Out.

Ha The Unclear Drop Single Strangers Announce NZ Tour Supports

Annabel Kean / Friday 9th October, 2020 10:47AM


If you’ve been paying attention to Ha The Unclear‘s social media activity you’d have noticed a string of mysterious images of buttons on old lifts, and today all is revealed in their new single ‘Strangers’, a song about the fleeting intimacy of a shared elevator ride. ‘Strangers’ is one of four tracks on their Threads EP, which has been re-released on French label Think Zik along with their other albums. The Ōtepoti four piece were scheduled to tour Europe in celebration of the reissues, but for obvious reasons stayed put in Otago, and channelled the potential energy into writing a brand new song. Songwriter Michael Cathro explained the hidden meaning in the lyrics:

“An emphatic celebration of the most common ground of all: temporally mutual existence. It’s an ode to togetherness; the intertwining of our stories as we dance and destroy, love and lose our way from birth to death.“

Get your feet tapping to ‘Strangers’, and take note of the band’s single release tour dates and freshly added support acts here…

Undertheradar proudly presents…

Ha The Unclear – ‘Strangers’ NZ Tour

Friday 30th October – Whammy, Auckland w/ Lucky Boy

Saturday 31st October – Hocus Pocus Ball, Mt Maunganui w/ LA Women, Joes Van, Half Moon Baby*

Thursday 5th November – Darkroom, Christchurch w/ Asta Rangu

Friday 6th November – Dive, Dunedin w/ Asta Rangu & Neive Strang

Thursday 12th November – Porridge Watson, Whanganui

Saturday 14th November – Meow, Wellington w/ Sofia Marchay & DOONS

Tickets available HERE via UTR (early bird tickets available) 
Mt Maunganui tickets available from TicketSpace*

‘Threads’ is out now digitally via Think Zik.

Future Islands Unveil New Album As Long As You Are

Chris Cudby
/ Friday 9th October, 2020 10:43AM


Baltimore synth-pop heroes Future Islands have returned to regale us with a new album of sweeping, chest-beating anthems, sporting the title As Long As You Are. Launched in the midst of the most turbulent year in recent memory, Future Islands triumph over adversity to gift us eleven panoramic songs, with inimitable frontman Samuel T. Herring giving it his all as he tackles the challenges life throws at us, vanquishing old ghosts and earnestly embracing the new — including recent singles ‘Thrill’, ‘Moonlight’ and ‘Born In A War’. We spoke with the hard-gigging gang (they’ve played exactly 1234 shows!) as they were in heavy prep mode for this weekend’s A Stream of You And Me livestream extravaganza, which they promise will be a dazzling affair, broadcasting for Asia-Pacific region fans from 10pm (NZST) on Saturday 10th October. Tune in to UTR next week for the exclusive interview, score tickets to view Future Islands in action and open your ears to As Long As You Are below…

Check out a teaser video for this weekend’s livestream event…

Watch Future Islands’ new animated video for ‘Born In A War’…

‘As Long As You Are’ is out now on major streaming platforms on 4AD via Rhythmethod. Their special livestream event A Stream of You And Me is broadcasting for Asia-Pacific region audiences at 10pm (NZST) on Saturday 10th October, score yourself tickets here.

Na Noise Announce Debut Album Share Single Sun Stone Air

Annabel Kean / Photo Credit: Annemarie Ott / Friday 9th October, 2020 9:55AM


On the back of releasing ‘Open The Door / Dance With Me‘, the first New Zealand made 7" since 1987, self-described "Thelma and Louise of modern DIY guitar based music" Na Noise announce their debut album Waiting For You. The record’s out on shiny red vinyl late next month via Tāmaki imprint 1:12 Records and locally pressed by the wonderful Holiday Records. Songwriters and longtime collaborators Hariet Ellis and Yolanda Fagan have welcomed aboard Christopher Varnham on the album for organ and percussion duties, and today share the LP’s third single ‘Sun Stone Air’. This track picks up the pace from the sweltering swagger of ‘Bad Dreams’ and Then Who’, and introduces the names of each side of the record: Side A ‘Sun’ and side B ‘Air’. Lock in your own racy red record by pre-ordering on the Na Noise Bandcamp, and listen to the first few tracks here…

‘Waiting For You’ is out digitally and on red vinyl November 20th via 1:12 Records.

Green Grove Reveals Single Mogs House Announces New Album Of Isthmus

Chris Cudby / Photo credit: Olive Cairns-Morrison
/ Friday 9th October, 2020 9:23AM


Kicking off with a spacey swoop, Tāmaki Makaurau’s Green Grove aka the project of Durham Fenwick (New Gum Sarn, Bozo, Guardian Singles) helps ease you into Friday morning with ‘Mog’s House‘, the meditative lead single from a newly announced album named Of Isthmus, launching in mid-November via Sunreturn. With a title calling to mind the hilariously unwholesome world of Simon Hanselmann comics (or perhaps their all-ages predecessor), ‘Mog’s House’ is thankfully a blissful experience for your ears to behold, described as "an aural offering to the space we both spent our second lockdown in and our lil furry friend Mog" — unfurling washes of woozy synths, tinkling keys and celestial vocal utterances from collaborator Emma Hall-Phillips (Aw B) over its somehow too short five minute duration. Envisioned as a six track collection of "ambient and soundtrack soundscapes," Of Isthmus follows on from Green Grove’s very fine 2019 debut long player Machine Music — enter the world of ‘Mog’s House’ below…

‘Of Isthmus’ launches on Friday 13th November via Sunreturn.

Alec Bathgate Shares JaneJohn Mini EP

Annabel Kean / Cover Art: Emma Bathgate / Thursday 8th October, 2020 1:32PM


From the ashes of a year going up in flames, Alec Bathgate of iconic New Zealand bands Toy Love, Tall Dwarfs and The Enemy unveils his third surprise release in as many months. Jane/John follows single ’73 Smash’ and instrumental collection Phantom Dots, Bathgate’s first full length solo album since 2004’s The Indifferent Velvet Void. The mini drop consists of two charming guitar-pop singles, shared in time for the two year anniversary of the death of former Toy Love band mate and keyboardist Jane Walker, who features on the cover art and the opening track is written for. Short and sweet, ‘Jane’ recounts a trip Bathgate took to visit Walker in London in 2010, with reflective lyrics "Goodness me, it’s hard to believe, how we look now, and how we turned out like people we once laughed about". On social media Bathgate’s teased the next single on the way ‘Burble’, another instrumental he’s described as "Ten minutes of insistent rhythms and burbling synths". Can’t wait! Enjoy his latest two tracks here, and take a moment to remember Jane Walker

Pyramid Club Launch New Website

Chris Cudby
/ Thursday 8th October, 2020 11:58AM


Te Whanganui-a-Tara artist-run venue and studio space Pyramid Club have consistently supported a vast array of Aotearoa adventurous music and related activities since emerging from the ashes of the fabled Freds and The Garage back in 2014. Run by the Sound and Light Exploration Society, Pyramid Club play an invaluable role in our community as a crucial node in national (and international) tour networks, organising must-attend festivals including the aptly named Pyramid Power Festival, and annually presenting over 80 concerts, workshops, artist-talks, screenings, exhibitions, and symposiums. With so much going on, they’ve handily unveiled the swanky new Pyramid Club website — "a home for sharing information about future events, documenting the past, and a forum for current conversations" — overflowing with online resources to help inform and expand your knowledge base, as you delve deeper into their sometimes obscure yet always enriching creative universe.

Along with an extremely useful Calendar section, there’s a Mahi section documenting ongoing and past projects including the current Unmaking The Near Future multimedia project of works "created against the backdrop of the unfolding Covid19 saga," a Kōrero section providing space for "conversations around artist’s creative work and the close examination of approaches and motivations" including podcasts, essays and workshop resources, plus a yet to be unveiled searchable audio / video Archive of live performances. All are presented with supreme style and usability, head along to the new Pyramid Club website HERE and get stuck in.

You can help support Pyramid Club by joining their key-holders membership club or making a donation — more info HERE.

Heres Five Oscar Mein Of Soaked Oats Top 00s Deep Cuts

Annabel Kean / Oscar Mein / Thursday 8th October, 2020 11:22AM


They’ve done their breakfast prep and are ready to take their Soaked Oats musical treats on the road, with the Say Hey And Play Some New Ones nationwide tour kicking off tonight in Ōtepoti. Joining them for all ten shows is Jesse Schrader‘s DJ act Hot In The City, with champs Hans Pucket, Ha The Unclear, Wiri Donna and Neive Strang popping in for a jam along the way. Before they charged ahead, we asked lead vocalist and former hip hop dancer Oscar Mein to take a moment to look back — back to the raging ‘Noughties’. With a prompt to select five ’00s deep cuts, Mein took the idea and ran with it; low rise jeans, whale tail and all. First, here’s the tour and ticket info, don’t miss out…

Soaked Oats ‘Say Hey And Play Some New Ones’ Tour w/ Hot In The City

Thursday 8th October – Dive, Dunedin* w/ Neive Strang

Friday 9th October – Blue Smoke, Christchurch*

Saturday 10th October – Yonder, Queenstown*

Wednesday 14th October – The Plant, Blenheim*

Friday 16th October – Lucky Bar, Whanganui*

Saturday 17th October – Hawkes Bay Arts Festival, Napier

Friday 23rd October – Tuning Fork, Auckland w/ Hans Pucket

Saturday 24th October – Longline Classic Festival, Gisborne

Sunday 25th October – Leigh Sawmill, Leigh* w/ Ha the Unclear

Saturday 28th November – San Fran, Wellington* w/ Wiri Donna

Tickets on sale HERE via UTR*

Oscar Mein: Was trying to remember what early teen me listened to then it all came flooding in. Always nice going back over the stuff that got you started and lead on to the next thing. The jouuurrnneyyy…

1. King Kapisi – ‘Reverse Resistance’

My brother had this single on CD with ‘Sub-Cranium Feeling’ on the flip side, routinely played in the household. His voice, strong.

2. P-Money Ft. 4 Korners – ‘The Xpedition’

This album kinda was it for a very long time, P-Money seemed otherworldly. Dj Sir-Vere’s Major Flavours was massive also, heard a whole lotta Hip Hop through those compilations. Vol. 5 got a particularly heavy workout.

3. Sound Providers – ‘The Field’

There was definitely a competitive aspect to who could find the unheard of gem, a friend called Henry showed me this in high school and I was a little jealous.

4. Ski Beatz Ft. Mos Def & Whosane – ‘Taxi’

Another from beyond the border. This might be sneaking into 2010… but it’s a goodun.

5. Tim Moore – ‘Dark Child’

I would’ve come to this after the ’00s but there you go, the original [Made famous by Marlon Williams]! Saw Tim Moore’s old band Von Klap for the first time at their last ever show in Christchurch and it was something. James Davies put me on, danke James.

Aotearoa Music Awards 2020 Finalists Announced

Chris Cudby / Image: Album Of The Year, Best Group and Best Alternative Group finalists The Beths — Photo credit: Mason Fairey / Thursday 8th October, 2020 9:45AM


The freshly rebranded Aotearoa Music Awards have today truly opened up the floodgates, revealing finalists in 21 categories for the annual industry extravaganza formerly known as the New Zealand Music Awards (TAFKANZMAs). Artists up for multiple awards in 2020 include the mega popular Six60, finalists for five prizes following their landmark Western Springs headline event back in February, L.A.B. who are in the running for four awards, Tāmaki Makaurau’s The Beths are finalists for Te Kaipuoro Manohi Toa | Best Alternative Artist, Best Group and Album of the Year, breakout pop sensation BENEE is also up for three Tuis, along with South Island raised songwriter Reb Fountain who is finalist for Album of the Year, Best Solo Artist and Best Alternative Artist. Finalists for two awards this year include UK chart-topping South Auckland producer Jawsh 685, Nadia Reid, Paige and supergroup collective Mōhau.

As befitting tradition, this year’s main awards presentation will be a glitzy affair happening at Spark Arena on Sunday 15th November, broadcast live on The Edge TV, Three and streamed via ThreeNow. The accompanying Artisan Awards will be pre-recorded at Massey University’s School of Music and Creative Media Production in Wellington and other key locations around nga motu, and broadcast earlier on Three at 11pm, Friday 13th November.

AMA 2020 Finalists (by category):

1. Te Pukaemi o te Tau | Album of the Year

Nadia Reid – Out Of My Province
Reb Fountain – Reb Fountain
Six60 – Six60

Tami Neilson – Chickaboom!

The Beths – Jump Rope Gazers

2. Te Waiata Tōtahi o te Tau | Single of the Year

BENEE – ‘Supalonely’

Drax Project ft Six60 – ‘Catching Feelings’

Jawsh685 – ‘Savage Love’
L.A.B – ‘In The Air’

Six60 – ‘Please Don’t Go’

Troy Kingi – ‘All Your Ships Have Sailed

3. Te Roopu Toa | Best Group

L.A.B. – L.A.B. III

Miss June – Bad Luck Party
 Six60 – Six60

The Beths – Jump Rope Gazers

4. Te Kaipuoro Takitahi Toa | Best Solo Artist

BENEE – Stella & Steve

JessB – New Views

Nadia Reid – Out Of My Province

Reb Fountain – Reb Fountain

5. Te Kaituhura Puoro Toa o te Tau | Breakthrough Artist of the Year





6. Te Māngai Pāho Te Kaipuoro Māori Toa | Best Māori Artist


Ria Hall

Stan Walker

7. Te Kaipuoro Arotini Toa | Best Pop Artist




8. Te Kaipuoro Manohi Toa | Best Alternative Artist


The Beths

Reb Fountain

9. Te Kaipuoro Awe Toa | Best Soul/RnB Artist

Haz & Miloux


Stan Walker

10. Te Kaipuoro Hipihope Toa | Best Hip Hop Artist

Church & AP
Raiza Biza

11. Te Kaipuoro Taketake Toa | Best Roots Artist

Lomez Brown

Ria Hall

12. Te Māngai Pāho Mana Reo Award




13. Te Kaipuoro Tāhiko Toa | Best Electronic Artist

Lee Mvtthews

State of Mind


14. Te Kaipuoro Rakapioi Toa | Best Rock Artist

City of Souls



15. Te Kaipuoro Kairangi Toa | Best Worship Artist


Kane Adams

Te Rautini

16. Te Kaipuoro Inamata Toa | Best Classical Artist

Andrew Beer & Sarah Watkins

Klara Kollektiv

Matthew Marshall

17. Te Kōwhiri o te Nuinga | People’s Choice Award

18. Tohu Whakareretanga | Recorded Music NZ Legacy Award

19. Te Toa Hoko Teitei | Highest Selling Artist

20. Te Rikoata Marakerake o te Tau | NZ On Air Radio Airplay Record of the Year

21. Tohu Tutuki o te Ao | Recorded Music NZ International Achievement

Additional Tuis presented in 2019:

22. Te Kaipuoro Taketake Toa | Best Folk Artist

Winner: Mel Parsons – Glass Heart

Victoria Vigenser & Lindsay Martin – The Gap

Paper Cranes – Voices

23. Te Pukaemi Toa o Te Moana Nui a Kiwa | Best Pacific Music Album

Winner: Olivia Foa’I – Candid

Church & AP – Teeth


24. Te Kaipuoro Tuawhenua Toa | Best Country Artist

Winner: Delaney Davidson & Barry Saunders – Word Gets Around

Katie Thompson – Bittersweet

Kendall Elise – Red Earth

25. Recorded Music NZ Te Kaipuoro Tautito Toa | Best Jazz Artist

Winner: Dixon Nacey – The Edge Of Chaos
Michal Martyniuk – Resonate

26. Te Kaipuoro Waiata Tamariki Toa | Best Children’s Artist

Winner: Anika Moa – Songs For Bubbas
Captain Festus McBoyle

Chris Sanders

Listen to an official AMA playlist featuring the finalists for 2020:

Anderson Paak Timbaland Drop Single JEWELZ

Chris Cudby
/ Wednesday 7th October, 2020 2:02PM


Need a summery bop to get you moving? Anderson .Paak has joined forces with US production kingpin Timbaland plus co-producers Shucati and the BREED on the effortlessly smooth-grooving ‘JEWELZ‘, celebrating the multifaceted merits of looking great in a helium-voiced style. The song was premiered over on the Footlocker website and the accompanying artwork shows off the Californian phenomenon rocking mismatched Vans, which makes me suspect a stylish footwear collab may also be on the cards. Recognising top notch talent when he hears it, Timbaland was singing the praises of Aotearoa producer Brandon Haru (Ladi6, Valkyrie, @Peace) just the other day — boogie down to his new creation with Anderson .Paak right here…

‘Jewelz’ is out now via major streaming platforms.

Stlker Announce Black Majik Terror Wellington Album Release Show

Chris Cudby / Photo credit: T. Mastsunaga
/ Wednesday 7th October, 2020 1:13PM


Aotearoa thrash metal hellraisers Stälker have captured the world’s attention ahead of the launch of their second studio album Black Majik Terror, out in late October via international heavyweights Napalm Records. While fans of the Pōneke trio are still reeling from their maniacally intense visuals for recent singles ‘Intruder‘ and ‘Of Steel And Fire‘, Stälker have revealed they’ll be playing a senses-shattering hometown launch extravaganza at Valhalla, with support from End Boss and super secret special guests. Tell the town crier to alert the peasants and get amongst the heaving masses when Stälker throw down the gauntlet at the date below…

Stälker Album Release Show

Friday 6th November – Valhalla, Wellington w/ End Boss + special guests

Tickets available HERE via UTR

Experience the gruesome NSFW video for Stälker’s new single ‘Intruder’…

‘Black Majik Terror’ releases Friday 30th October via Napalm Records, preorders and merch bundles available here.

The Warratahs Announce Christchurch Headline Show

Chris Cudby
/ Wednesday 7th October, 2020 11:59AM


Now that our live gig scene is back open again and undoubtedly the envy of the world, Aotearoa country music icons The Warratahs are revving up the engine for a very special headline show at Christchurch’s Cassels Blue Smoke this coming November. Beloved by multiple generations of fans since getting the ball rolling back in 1986, with nine studio albums and countless awards under their belts, Barry Saunders and the gang are guaranteed to get the crowd boogieing, with such timeless hits up their sleeves as ‘Hands Of My Heart’, ‘Maureen’, ‘The Only Game In Town’ and of course their undeniably classic theme tune for the Interislander Cook Strait ferry. Lucky Cantabrian punters won’t want to miss The Warratahs with special guests this November…

The Warratahs w/ special guests

Saturday 7th November – Cassels Blue Smoke, Christchurch

Tickets available HERE via UTR

Experience superb recent footage of The Warratahs performing ‘Hands on my Heart’ live on RNZ…

Press release:

Endeared country music icons, The Warratahs return to Cassels Blue Smoke this November to lift our hearts and raise the roof.

Cassels Blue Smoke will be open and offering a pre-show dinner service from 6.30pm, the show will begin at 8:30pm. Bookings are essential, find out more at

From the Far North to The Bluff and all points in-between, hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders have packed pubs, theatres, barns and dance halls and have literally grown up with The Warratahs.

The songs by lead singer and guitarist Barry Saunders are etched into New Zealand’s landscape and this artistry was rewarded in 2016 with The Warratahs taking out Best Country Music album at the Gore Gold Guitars Awards with Runaway Days, an album that entered both the NZ and Country charts in the Top Ten. Their more recent double album Drivin’ Wheel, is a unique collection of their songs and style since the band’s beginning in 1986. To date, a total of eight albums showcase the group and their poignant music. These are songs that paint a picture of New Zealand, from the nostalgia and majesty of the provinces and the cities, to the heartbreak of the Christchurch quake.

For 33 years the band has travelled to and played in 120 different urban centres and towns across the country. Over this period, a favourite travelling companion was poet Sam Hunt at many of the band’s shows. These days, founder member and master of the accordion Alan Norman, will often guest on-stage.

The band has appeared with Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash, Billy Joel, Lucinda Williams and Leann Rimes, among other international stars. Don’t miss the chance to hear Nik Brown’s hands of fire on fiddle as The Warratahs play Hands of My Heart, Maureen, Rescue Me, St. Peter’s Rendezvous, Mount Victoria Rain, Taranaki and other classics by these titans of the backbeat and buccaneers of the road.

Bring your dancing shoes to their next live show and in the words of Elvis… if you can’t find a partner, use a wooden chair.

The Subliminals To Reissue Debut Album United State On Vinyl LP

Chris Cudby / Photo credit: Chris Knox
/ Wednesday 7th October, 2020 10:53AM


Flying Nun sonic travellers The Subliminals are reissuing their long out of print 2000 debut album United State in an upcoming vinyl-only edition. Celebrating in style the 20th anniversary of the team of Steve Reay, Simon Maclaren, Jared Johanson and Brendan Moran‘s hugely impactful breakout record (described by Russell Baillie when it first launched as “a real mindbender"), The Subliminals are returning to local stages "in a reunited state" for a very special headline event at Tāmaki Makaurau’s Whammy Bar on day of re-release on Friday 6th November. Including all eleven tracks from the album remastered for vinyl by original engineer Tex Houston, notably re-ordered for optimal playback and pressed to heavyweight 180g black vinyl at Aotearoa’s Holiday Records, the swanky new physical edition of United State will certainly be an object to cherish for the ages and is available for pre-orders now.

The Subliminals

Friday 6th November – Whammy Bar, Auckland, supports to be announced

Tickets available HERE via UTR

Experience the vintage clip for the title track to United State…

United State tracklist:




United State


Freedom Form




Camera Eye

Speed of Sound


Close Your Eyes

‘United State’ is due out on vinyl LP on Friday 6th November via Flying Nun Records, preorders are available now here.

O The Mo Share Video For Pistachio Moon Announce NZ Tour

Chris Cudby
/ Wednesday 7th October, 2020 10:16AM


Pōneke dreamboats O & The Mo have revealed a magical video for their latest single ‘Pistachio Moon‘, a captivating preview of what we can look forward to when their debut album In Transit launches in the near future. Filmed, edited and co-directed by Ollie Hutton, the charmingly theatrical short film tells the tale of a blossoming relationship between a woman in historical garb and a dapper top hat wearing lunar body — looping into O & The Mo’s earlier video for ‘Flying Man’ and "stylistically inspired by the likes of Věra Chytilová and Jane Austen romanticism" — as performed by bandmates Olivia Gallagher and Alvin Bartley, soundtracked by the pair’s gorgeously swoony sonics.

The new clip for ‘Pistachio Moon’ isn’t the only great news from O & The Mo, as they’ve lifted the lid on a 12 date album release tour for In Transit, commencing in their hometown in early December and wrapping up in mid-January 2021.

“We wanted to visually communicate the surreal landscape of our new environment, both through the recording process and the filming of Pistachio Moon. Our approach to songwriting is deeply affected by space, connecting with your own rhythm and that of the world around you.

We also wanted to use the opportunity to revisit our first release, and give it some closure. We liked the idea that parallel worlds could exist, and that when one road ends another can appear adjacent.”

O & The Mo – In Transit Album Release Tour

Thursday 3rd December – Meow, Wellington

Friday 4th December – St. Peters Hall, Paekakariki

Saturday 5th December – Lucky Bar, Whanganui

Sunday 6th December – Anthology Lounge, Auckland

Thursday 10th December – Grainstore Gallery, Oamaru

Friday 11th December – Dog With Two Tails, Dunedin

Saturday 12th December – Wunderbar, Christchurch

Friday 18th December – The Boathouse, Nelson

Saturday 19th December – Roots Bar, Takaka

Sunday 20th December – Toad Hall, Motueka

Friday 15th January – Nivara Lounge, Hamilton

Saturday 16th January – Jam factory, Tauranga

Tickets available via UTR from next week onwards

Here’s O & The Mo’s 2019 video for ‘Flying Man’…

Press release:

Indie dreamers O & The Mo are excited to tour their debut album ‘In Transit’ across 12 venues this summer.

After a busy winter bunkering down in Delaware Bay, Nelson to record and produce the 10 track album, O & The Mo are ready to hit the road and showcase their first comprehensive body of work.

Landing on the scene early last year with their highly celebrated debut single ‘Flying Man’, O & The Mo have had an impressive 2019/2020 of shows across the country, including appearances at festivals such as Tora Bombora, 121, Welcome to Nowhere and Twisted Frequencies to name a few.

With some new songs up their sleeves, expect to be enchanted by romantic guitar melodies, percussive swells, twinkling synth accompaniments and indulgently blended lyrics.

O & The Mo are an exciting new act not to be missed this summer.

Luxury Elite Reveals New Album High Society

Chris Cudby
/ Tuesday 6th October, 2020 2:25PM


Transform your Tuesday into a stylish soirée with High Society, the new long player from OG vaporwave innovator Luxury Elite, launched yesterday following a livestream party featuring NZ midi-pop magnate Eyeliner. A mastermind of the infinitely locked groove, the US electronic artist struts their stuff over seventeen diverse tracks crammed with apex-level stone cold funk, rags to riches sample sorcery and an addicting dose of late nite melodic intrigue to keep us coming back for more. It’s a safe bet this one will be pumping from our stereo all summer long — elevate your ears with Luxury Elite’s High Society…

Listen To Jangs Furious Single So Cold

Chris Cudby
/ Tuesday 6th October, 2020 12:34PM


Tāmaki Makaurau’s Jang charge into October with a killer new single and pair of gigs happening in their (nearly) unrestricted hometown this week. A fist-pumping punk anthem to shake out those down-in-the-dumps no cash blues, the catchy and snappy ‘So Cold‘ is a triumphant cry of defiance sure to move the crowd when Jang tear it up at Tabac on Friday 9th October with buds Silver Surfer, Nuggiez and Dogbox, and the following night at Whammy Bar on Saturday 10th October with Elegant World, Sweet Pea, Witchy, Short Chain and Forced Feminisation

Watch Tami Neilson Pumice On Goin Live With Chabs and Milky!

Chris Cudby
/ Tuesday 6th October, 2020 11:47AM


Humble heroes of Aotearoa’s music community, Chabs & Milky have consistently delivered the livestream goods while things were looking somewhat shaky on the gig front for a moment or two. Hosting a veritable who’s who of local superstars since kicking off in June, the irrepressible pair (aka James Dansey and James Milne) have rounded off their 2020 run of Goin’ Live With Chabs and Milky! shows with in-studio, live-to-air performances by Tāmaki titans of sound Pumice and Canadian soul singer extraordinaire Tami Neilson, beamed out to the public in their reliably vibey DIY style. Chabs & Milky hint they’ll be returning to active duty in 2021, roll that tantalising thought around your noggin while you tuck into the good stuff below…

Dartz Wellington Halloween Party Announced

Chris Cudby
/ Tuesday 6th October, 2020 10:41AM


While Pōneke’s always outspoken party punks Dartz were thwarted in their plans to host an election night rager due to Covid-19, they’ll now be helping windy city punters unleash their inner monster for Halloween. Dartz have heroically "resuscitated the line up that should’ve been" featuring buds Muncho Muncho (Macho Macho), Shaun’s B’day Of The Dead (Shaun’s B’day) and Lilith (whose name is spooky already) for Night Of The Living Dartz at San Fran on 31st October. You can bet they’ll be encouraging punters to dress to impress: groan-inducing David Seymour suit combos, giant piece of toast playing the sax, stylish half man / half crab outfits — let your imagination roam free while you bop along to the group’s certified chart-topping hit ‘High At The Beach‘ and even more killer anthems. Dartz also have a Christchurch gig lined up in mid-October alongside Nervous Jerk, Struth and Mr. Liam K. Swiggs, plus will be joining Bad Hagrid‘s tour for shows in Auckland and Hamilton, details below…

Dartz w/ Nervous Jerk, Struth And Mr. Liam K. Swiggs

Friday 16th October – darkroom, Christchurch

Tickets available HERE via UTR

Night Of The Living Dartz

Saturday 31st October – San Fran, Wellington w/ Muncho Muncho, Shaun’s B’day Of The Dead, Lilith

Tickets available HERE via UTR

Bad Hagrid North Island Tour w/ Dartz

Friday 20th November – The Pitt, Hamilton

Saturday 21st November – The Wine Cellar, Auckland

Tickets available HERE via UTR

Listen to Dartz’s chart-topping hit ‘High At The Beach’…

Press release:

Bringing the election party gig back from the dead it’s wellys favourites, DARTZ!

Ready to rark it up at San Fran on Halloween. We’ve resuscitated the line up that should’ve been and are stoked to introduce MUNCHO MUNCHO (Macho Macho), SHAUN’S B’DAY OF THE DEAD (Shaun’s B’day) and LILITH (Lilith.. of course).

Get spooky and get down, dress ups encouraged, you might win a thing or something.. we’ll figure something out.

The best Halloween gig ever in Wellington on Halloween.