Oh, Hey there
Hello. My name is Isaac. I am the new Critic Music editor. I like cheese and crackers, Mario Ballotelli, jelly tip ice creams, the customer service at the Link dairy, and BYO Japanese. And I love music. Well, most types of music anyway. I probably won’t be writing about freeform jazz or country music. And while I do like hip hop, I admit my tastes in this area are questionable. So I will be calling on the help of some of my very talented wordsmith friends to help out along the way with their ideas on the many areas I may be lacking in. Maybe.
I would never call myself a nationalist. While I enjoy being a Kiwi and living in this country, I will never understand local patriotism. It just seems a bit misplaced to me, like we lose perspective of how small our country is and how comparatively insignificant we are on the world stage. That is, until it comes to New Zealand music. It is my strong belief that not only do we have a strong group of local and national musicians who are pushing the boundaries and doing interesting and different things, but we also have a large amount of people and groups doing the same old stuff but just as well as the celebrated names overseas. I’m going to focus my attention on the latter as much as I can. Why shouldn’t it be celebrated? As a nation, we have had a breakthrough year with music. Post-Mint Chicks, Ruban Neilson has taken North America by storm with his psychedelic guitar virtuoso project Unknown Mortal Orchestra, sending industry eyes over to our fair land for more talent. Kimbra has featured on a number one song in the US while also releasing her own fantastic solo album. Homebrew have been turning the music industry upside down, debuting at number one in the NZ album charts and holding a 48-hour release party at a Shooters bar in Auckland, while only ever doing things they actually want to do. I bet stereotypical record label man fell off his seat at that one.
Locally, it’s been going off. Alizarin Lizard play some of the cleverest and catchiest songs going. Left Or Right hit the New Zealand charts singing about losing tennis balls, and performed with one of the most killer monster stage setups I have seen for a long time while organising and executing a music festival out of their own backyard. Opposite Sex crafted what is to me the perfect pop song, “La Rat”, and got British attention for it. DJ Dhalsim got 10K for recording and video production. The ragtag and venomously excellent A Distant City essentially won everything there is to win in this town, and the big hitters Ink Mathematics and Cult Disney continue to systematically blow people away at every gig. That list may be a bit alternative-heavy, but even if your taste in music is a bit more Monkey Bar there are local heroes out there for you. And Zowie battles Ruby Frost for the crown of NZ popstar princess.
The point is New Zealand is great place to be a band, or be a fan of music. And even if for you music is just background noise, there is something for you to hear. Listen to Radio One, especially to the funky Finn beats on Friday midday. It truly is your music station, and you will be surprised how much of their music you will like. And if you like a band, tell them, like them, follow them, help them out a nyway you can. I assure you, it’s one of the greatest things you can do for a musician.