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October 2014
October 2014
In this issue:
NZ On Air, Majic, Broods, Miho Wada, Sola Rosa, Little Bark, Eb & Sparrow, Jesse Sheehan, Von Voin Strum, Terror Of The Deep, Freddy Fudd Pucker, The Prophet Motive, French For Rabbits, Hallelujah Picassos
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21 Inspired & Inspirational Kiwi Albums

If it had been a list of 121 it would likely have been easier than identifying just one inspired/inspiring locally produced album for each of the years since NZM was launched in 1988. True there weren’t many real crackers in those first years, but by the mid ’90s we were back on track (in all manner of musical directions), and since 2000, well, things have positively exploded. 21 is really nowhere near enough though, we’ve had to leave way too many valuable albums out. In no particular order then, these albums summarise our voters’ pics.

 
UPPER HUTT POSSE – ‘AGAINST THE FLOW’ – (SOUTHSIDE, 1989)
Powerful and important debut album from the baseline pioneers of NZ hip hop. This was a totally new music and political attitude from a group providing a newly conscious voice for Maori, and the nation’s, youth still reeling in the wake of social changes a global recession.
 
 
 
 
THE 3DS – ‘HELLZAPOPPIN’ – (FLYING NUN, 1992)
Searing visceral twin guitar brilliance from Dunedin’s finest. UK-based Select magazine had this to say in its 5 out of 5 review. ‘In an ideal world all pop would be as vibrant and inspirational as this!’, while Spin mag called it ‘… the number one album you didn’t hear in ’92’. That’s how it was. Paved the way for ‘The Venus Trail’ two years later.
 
 
 
 
VARIOUS – ‘PROUD’ – (SECOND NATURE, 1994)
Flagged the exciting brilliance of South Auckland’s hitherto underground and signalled the dawning of a proud new era. Came with a matching tour and a new awareness of the possibilities of South Pacific flavoured hip hop, ‘streetsoul’ and RnB.
 
 
 
 
 
WETA – ‘GEOGRAPHICA’ – (WARNER MUSIC, 2000)
These Wellington lads rocked like they were born to it but left an all-too-short legacy. ‘Geographica’ was their debut, and only album. Recorded in Melbourne (though never released in Oz) it sold platinum here in NZ before guitarist Aaron Tokona opted out of the band and a new world order was stymied.
 
 
 
EMMA PAKI – ‘OXYGEN OF LOVE’ – (VIRGIN 1996)
The enigmatic genius of Paki had already won over the country with her System Virtue single cleaning up at the 1993 NZ Music Awards, winning her Best Songwriter and Most Promising Female Vocalist among other awards. The video was also the most played local video of 1994. Recorded at manager Nigel Horrocks’ since legendary Karekare home/studio.
 
 
 
 
 
HEADLESS CHICKENS – ‘STUNT CLOWN’ - (FLYING NUN, 1988)
Cheating just a bit here cos the LP first appeared a year earlier, with the CD version released the same year NZM arrived. 19 tracks of seminal Chicken shit including Soulcatcher and Do The Headless Chicken illustrating a bold creativity not widely evidenced in those days.

 
 
 
BAILTER SPACE – ‘TANKER’ – (FLYING NUN, 1988)
The first attention-grabbing album from these archetypal Kiwi noise rockers who subsequently made the transition to the musical rat race of New York and made it stick for well over a decade. Few such acts have the creative resources to last six albums. 
 
 
 
 
CROWDED HOUSE – ‘TOGETHER ALONE’ – (CAPITOL, 1993)
A sumptuous international album made in Karekare, complete with lyrical and musical Kiwiana references. Heralding the arrival home of Neil Finn, our enduring global success story.
 
 
 
 
 
SHIHAD – ‘KILLJOY’ – (WILDSIDE, 1996)
Bit of a lottery to pick one album from Shihad as being more inspirational, however the band’s metal-ist, most distortion heavy release was a popular choice. Their second album, ‘Killjoy’ was produced by York St founder Malcolm Welsford and included You Again and Deb’s Night Out.
 
 
 
 
DLT – ‘THE TRUE SCHOOL’ – (BMG, 1996)
A dreaded hip hop affair that starts with Chains and ends with Tane Mahuta. Former UHP man Darryl Thompson in creative collaboration with Angus McNaughton, Teremoana, Che, Sir Vere, Manchu, Slave et al.
 
 
 
 
 
NESIAN MYSTIK – ‘POLYSATURATED’ – (BOUNCE, 2002)
A great name for a huge album from this fresher, younger and more confident wave of inner city Polynesian musicians that is still washing up hit after hit onto our Pacific shores.
 
 
 
 
 
GARAGELAND – ‘LAST EXIT TO GARAGELAND’ – (FLYING NUN, 1997)
Plenty of genuius in this debut album including the band’s own name. Beautifully-crafted and catchy as hell pop songs that helped others discover their own poppier side.
 
 
 
 
 
BIC RUNGA – ‘DRIVE’ – (SONY, 1997)
Her sophomore ‘Beautiful Collision’ remarkably rates top of our all-comer chart records, but ‘Drive’ gets the nod in this list for that single plus Sway, for introducing the delicate strength that defines Bic’s music, and opening the door for more to follow.
 
 
 
 

MINT CHICKS – ‘CRAZY?YES! DUMB?NO!’ – (FLYING NUN, 2006)Proved they could write consummate pop and still keep pushing the envelope. Went on to win a whole nest of Tuis at the 2007 NZ Music Awards, so helping both acts prove they were current.
 
 
 
 
 
CHE FU – ‘NAVIGATOR’ – (SONY, 2001)
The monstrous follow up to ‘2b Spacific’ that cemented Che’s place in our history with the incredible Misty Frequencies and Fade Away. Deservedly took the 2002 Tui for Album of the Year, along with four other awards.
 
 
 
 
 
SUPERGROOVE – ‘TRACTION’ – (BMG, 1994)
Multi-cultural, multi-talented, multi-directional and multi-platinum. These energetic youngsters put the fun back into funk, youthful excellence back in the frame and Kiwi music into the world market. Four weeks at the top and 41 weeks in the album charts.
 
 
 
 
VARIOUS – ‘TE KU TE WHE REMIXED’ – (RATTLE, 2006)
The outstanding works of taonga puoro researchers and performance (re-)pioneers Hirini Melbourne and Richard Nunns re-contextualised by a mix of very current producers and musicians.
 
 
 
 
DARCY CLAY – ‘JESUS I WAS EVIL’ – (ANTENNA, 1997)
Edgy genius presented in its most simplistic form. Only six tracks, but as history was to determine, the bulk of the recorded output from the tragically short life of this quirky pop music icon.
 
 
 
 
 
FAT FREDDY’S DROP – ‘BASED ON A TRUE STORY’ – (THE DROP, 2005)
Wicked songs, brilliant arrangements and effortless marketing leading to unprecedented local sales success and international recognition.
 
 
 
 
 
VARIOUS – ‘DEEP IN THE PACIFIC OF BASS’ – (DEEPGROOVES, 1992)
The first sign of numerous artists who subsequently came to lead the way in Kiwi electronica, soul, hip hop and production. An unusually good legacy from a label that had big ambitions couldn’t stick around long enough to fulfil many of them.
 
 
 
 
 
SCRIBE – CRUSADER – (DIRTY RECORDS, 2003)
How many local hip hop albums you know sell like this? Likely forever a Kiwi hip hop reference point, arriving at the height of the genre’s mass appeal. A sales pinnacle and street talk generator for the nation
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