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Monday, May 25, 2020

New Zealand Music T-Shirt Day Friday 29 May 2020

Wear and share your favorite band tee
Donate to the MusicHelpsLive appeal!

@musichelpsnz  #musichelpstshirtday

You can text  MUSIC to 2448 to donate $3 
(that's less than a price of a coffee!)

Uniting in support of the unsung stars of the New Zealand music scene
New Zealand’s musicians and the teams behind them are always there for us in times of trouble and tragedy, like the Band Together concert after the Christchurch earthquakes and You Are Us/Aroha Nui concerts following the Christchurch terror attacks.

Now they are the ones that need our help.

COVID-19 is having a devastating effect on the live music industry and the livelihoods of thousands of kiwi music people and businesses. Shows are cancelled, venues are threatened; production suppliers, roadies and crew are without work. With almost no notice, these hard-working, ordinary New Zealanders and their dependents are facing levels of distress and hardship never seen before.

For 8 years MusicHelps has been the music industry’s charity, providing emergency financial support and professional counselling to kiwi music people when crisis strikes.

With the onslaught of COVID-19, MusicHelps faces unprecedented demand for its vital services.

Check out more at:


Over the weekend the the 2020 finalists for the APRA Best Jazz Composition and Recorded Music NZ Te Kaipuoro Tautito Toa

The creativity of New Zealand’s jazz scene is exemplified by this year’s finalists for the Best Jazz Artist, with ALCHEMY, Dixon Nacey and Michal Martyniuk up for the Tui this year.

It was another impressive year for composers as well with three top finalists for the Best Jazz Composition.

Callum Allardice is in the running for  Phobos and DeimosJake Baxendale for  Tui, and Myele Manzanza for Mortality (all pictured above).

The winners will be announced live on Radio New Zealand’s Music 101 on Saturday 6 June and Groove will also be reporting right here.

APRA Best Jazz Composition 

After winning APRA Best Jazz Composition for the third time last year for his composition Chugin’Callum Allardice is back for the fourth consecutive year with his song Phobos & Deimos.

In 2016 Callum’s Sons of Thunder took home the inaugural Best Jazz Composition Award at the NZ Jazz Awards, and he followed that up by winning the same award in 2017 for Deep Thought.

As part of the group Antipodes, Jake Baxendale is no stranger to the Jazz Awards.
In 2018 the group released their debut album Good Winter and went on to be a finalist for Best Jazz Artist at the 2019 awards.  Regularly touring both New Zealand and Australia, Jake has released the composition ‘Tui’, which is up for APRA Best Jazz Composition at this year’s awards.

Born in New Zealand to a Congolese master percussionist, Myele Manzanza is a drummer and composer who has since established himself on the world stage, collaborating with artists like Theo Parrish, Mark de Clive-Lowe, Amp Fiddler, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and Jordan Rakei.  In June 2019, Myele released his eagerly anticipated third album A Love Requited, and his song Mortality is up for APRA Best Composition this year.

“The quality and inventiveness of  Aotearoa’s jazz composers continues to impress and delight us. 

While we’re disappointed that we’re unable to present these awards at the Wellington Jazz Festival as we normally would, these works all deserve celebration and recognition.” 
APRA Head of NZ Operations Anthony Healey

Recorded Music NZ Best Jazz Artist 

ALCHEMY was created with one goal in mind: the reinvention of iconic Kiwi pop songs as leading-edge jazz.  Featuring six of New Zealand’s finest jazz vocalists – Allana Goldsmith, Bex Peterson, Caitlin Smith, Chelsea Prastiti, Lou’ana Whitney, and Marjan Nelson – and six of New Zealand’s most accomplished jazz instrumentalists – Kevin Field (piano), Richard Hammond (bass), Roger Manins (tenor saxophone), Ron Samsom and Stephen Thomas (drums), and Michael Howell (guitar) -  the talent on display is formidable.  

The eponymous ALCHEMY album was released on 13 December 2019 to critical acclaim and remarkable sales results, reaching Number 11 on the Official New Zealand Top Twenty Albums Chart.

During a 27-year long career, Dixon Nacey has worked with some of the finest local and international musicians across a wide range of genres. He is in high demand as a session musician and sideman, and has been the Musical Director for the “Coca- Cola Christmas in the Park” since 2016.  His 2019 album The Edge of Chaos was his debut as bandleader, featuring seven superb compositions and a raft of talented musicians including Dixon on guitar, Roger Manins (saxophone), Kevin Field (piano), Olivier Holland (bass), Andy Keegan (drums), and Jonathan Leung & Chelsea Prastiti as vocals on Taupo.

Polish-born, New Zealand-based Michał Martyniuk is the third finalist for this year’s Recorded Music NZ Best Jazz Artist award for his album Resonate.  Dividing his time between Poland and New Zealand, Michal is a pianist, composer and a music producer whose jazz career skyrocketed after placing second at the prestigious Made In New York Jazz Competition in New York City in May 2018.

After performing his own compositions on stage alongside judges and jazz legends Randy Brecker, John Pattitucci, Mike Stern and Francisco Mela, he went on to release his first solo album Nothing To Prove later that year.   Recorded Music NZ CEO Damian Vaughan said the Best Jazz Artist Tui always brings an exciting collection of skilled musicians crafting unique compositions and 2020 is no different.  “Over the last 12 months there have been a wealth of technically impressive, emotionally charged jazz record.

For for info check out the APRA AMCOS website

Monday, May 04, 2020

A New and Crazy Release: JOHNNY COOPER & The RANGE RIDERS The Sonic Recordings 1950 - 1953

As the smokey mist was still settling from Pixie William’s ‘Blue Smoke’, Johnny Cooper (also known as the 'Maori Cowboy')entered Wellington’s Sonic Recording Studios in Island Bay for the first time.

At this session Johnny recorded the 1944 Gene Autry song ‘Too Young’. Johnny would return to the Sonic Studio over the next few years with his band The Range Riders who included Will Lloyd-Jones ( bass), Don Aldridge (steel guitar), Jim Gatfield (guitar & vocals), Ron James (piano accordion).

These historic Sonic recordings feature Johnny’s complete output from this period before he was signed to HMV Records in 1954 where he was reluctantly groomed as a Rock & Roll singer while his heart stayed with country music.

Johnny Cooper (left) and his band the Range Riders
Highlights from these recordings include the first track ‘Ridin’ Along’ which would become his theme song throughout his long and illustrious career. ‘Chew Tobacco Rag’ is an impromptu recording with Johnny introducing the band members before breaking into song while barely able to contain his laughter throughout. ‘Poor Lonesome Cowboy’ is Johnny’s first recorded composition. ‘Hoot Owl Boogie’ sees Johnny and the band rocking out on New Zealand’s first example of pre Rock ‘n’ Roll rockabilly styled boogie.

The original Range Riders returned to the studio 25 years later and recorded a new backing track and is the version that is included on this collection.

New Zealand’s rock and roll pioneer was a cowboy at heart. Although in rock histories Johnny Cooper is praised for making NZ's first rock and roll recording, a cover of ‘Rock Around The Clock’, his most significant release was a self-penned country song, ‘Look What You've Done’. Cooper had a busy, varied career.

In the early 1950s, before he ever heard the words “rock and roll”, he recorded several country 78s. He toured Korea three times as an entertainer for the New Zealand troops. He wrote what is regarded as the first original New Zealand rock and roll song to be recorded, ‘Pie Cart Rock and Roll’. New Zealand music wouldn’t have been the same without Whanganui.

It was at a pie cart in this North Island town in 1957 that New Zealand rock ’n’ roll was born, at the hands of a country singer.

Country meets rock 'n' roll Johnny Cooper grew up on a farm in Wairoa where he played guitar to the shearing gangs. He became known as ‘the Maori cowboy’, crooning country ballads with his band, the Range Riders, which was formed in 1952.

Cooper made New Zealand’s first rock ’n’ roll recording in 1955 with a cover of Bill Haley's hit ‘Rock around the clock’. Unlike the country's teenagers, Cooper wasn't thrilled by this new sound. By all accounts, his version of the Haley hit wasn't the best rendition.

First New Zealand rock 'n' roll It was Cooper's third rock ’n’ roll recording – ‘Pie cart rock’n’roll’ (1957) – that took him into local music history. Cooper often had a meal at the Whanganui pie cart late at night after a talent quest or dance.

The menu was basic: pea, pie and pud, with a choice of takeaway or dining in by perching on the narrow seats in the hot and stuffy carts. It was there one night that Cooper told the pie cart proprietors, Arthur and Geraldine Dalley, that he’d write a song about their cart. ‘Pie cart rock’n’roll’ was born and, with it, New Zealand's first home-grown rock 'n' roll song. There’s a story that Cooper traded the song for free meals at the cart. Asked about the episode in 2007, Geraldine (who still lives in Whanganui although she has long given up the pie cart) has a different version. ‘Oh, no,’ she says, ‘it was only the police who got free feeds.’

Available of most platforms - from Frenzy Music


#Boosted LIVE presents #saveourvenues

With help from Boosted LIVE, #saveourvenues have created a national, ‘Pay it forward’ fundraising strategy.

The campaign is to help raise money for dozens of crucial, small live music venues across Aotearoa this New Zealand Music Month…

Dozens of campaigns over music month will go ahead, and each with a $1000 koha from Arts Foundation Future Fund, plus 5% of their Boosted campaign target, donated back to them. Starting with the campaigns from Whammy & Wine Cellar (Auckland), Darkroom (Christchurch) and San Fran (Wellington), each venue will nominate another venue to kick off their very own Boosted campaign, with their very own seed fund to get them started.

Pay it forward... Starting on Monday, May 4th at 12pm: Wine Cellar nominates Cassels Blue Smoke (Christchurch) San Fran nominates The Cabana (Napier) Darkroom nominates Dog With Two Tails (Dunedin) Whammy nominates Neck Of The Woods (Auckland) 

And on it goes… throughout music month we will see new daily nominations, with New Zealand’s crucial, small venues asking their communities, and the wider community of Aotearoa to help. #saveourvenues alongside Boosted LIVE aim to help raise over $500,000 for venues across Aotearoa.

If planning her album release tour amidst a global pandemic wasn’t enough, all of a sudden the future looked even bleaker for musician Reb Fountain when she realised there might not be any venues for her to perform at once the lockdown was lifted.

Spurred on by the desire to save her 'second home’ and secure both audience entertainment and artist growth in Aotearoa, she gathered together a stalwart team to create a Boosted campaign to raise funds for, and showcase the plight of two iconic Auckland venues - Whammy Bar and The Wine Cellar. 

Alongside Reb Fountain, artists such as Marlon Williams, Aldous Harding, Ladi6, Nadia Reid, Tiny Ruins, Tami Nielson, Soaked Oats and The Beths stepped up to support what would be the beginning of a movement. This was an artist-led project aimed at a viral response to support these community spaces to survive and thrive.

And true to form; artists, reviewers, photographers and punters alike have been sharing their memories and support for these beloved venues, and the need for live music to survive the lockdown. 

Within 8 hours the #welovewhammywinecellar Boosted campaign had surpassed its initial goal of $50,000. “Our initial goal was somewhat reserved,” Reb says, “We knew that these venues weren’t going to make it with our funding alone - they needed a comprehensive national funding strategy - but $50,000 seemed like a good place to start. We never could have imagined the campaign would explode as it did, tripling the number of donors recorded for any one Boosted campaign .. and we’ve only just begun.”

With such an incredible start it was clear the community at large were invested in their ‘home away from homes’ and genuinely cared about the fate of our local music scene. Reb and team stretched the goal to $100,000, but again were aware that this would only touch the sides of what is needed. “You run a music venue for the love of it; because you are passionate about live music and want to provide a space where your community can congregate to hear it .. not for the money."

Funds have continued to roll in as the #saveourvenues campaign shine a much-needed light on the plight of our nations venues, artists, and our creative industry as a whole. And others started: Darkroom in Christchurch hit their $10k target within two days; San Fran (in Wellington) kicked off with almost $20k support in 24 hours.

Excited that these campaigns could become a movement to support venues around the country, this blossoming & dedicated committee (including Reb, Matthew Crawley (Golden Dawn / Strange News), Lucy Macrae & Tom Anderson (Whammy Bar), Rohan Evans (The Wine Cellar) and Reuben Bonner (Banished Music)) started working behind the scenes.

Under the banner of #saveourvenues the team seek to unite in support of Aotearoa's live music venues and music scene, to raise awareness and funds, and trigger a national response strategy in support of a thriving musical culture in New Zealand. #saveourvenues have been working to create a national Boosted fund-raising strategy to stand in solidarity with small, live music venues around the country who are on the brink.

If the record-breaking Boosted campaign for Whammy Bar and The Wine Cellar has shown us anything, it’s how a cause can transcend the divide and unite music fans, artists, and industry professionals alike to create positive change.

#saveourvenues aim is to get to crucial, original, small live music venues right across New Zealand, in cities and towns. And we are calling on everyone to help. Anyone can do it – artists, audience members, reviewers, techies, promoters – all of us.

First up – please donate now – chip in what you can to make a difference. 
Next - using the hashtags 
#saveourvenues and #welove(venuename),

post your own video or photo with your memory of the venue as a response and share this with your community along with the link to this page, so that your friends can donate too. 

Whammy/Wine Cellar #welovewhammywinecellar #saveourvenues / #saveourvenuesnz 

Darkroom #welovedarkroom #saveourvenues / #saveourvenuesnz 

San Fran #welovesanfran #saveourvenues / #saveourvenuesnz 

Blue Smoke #welovebluesmoke #saveourvenues / #saveourvenuesnz  

The Cabana #saveourvenues / #saveourvenuesnz  

Neck Of The Woods #weloveneckofthewoods #saveourvenues / #saveourvenuesnz 

Dog With Two Tails #welovedogwithtwotails #saveourvenues / #saveourvenuesnz Let's build a movement. #saveourvenues #saveourvenuesnz

Saturday, May 02, 2020

CoffeeBar Kid's Mega Music Month Mashup

To celebrate NZ Music Month, The Coffee Bar Kid has created a special Spotify Playlist featuring many of the artists that we've played, supported and interviewed over the years - from Fly My Pretties to Sacha Vee to Rueben Bradley.

Friday, May 01, 2020

A new video by Reb Fountain

Today, Reb Fountain releases her new self-titled album digitally via Flying Nun Records with Special Edition Vinyl, Standard Vinyl & CD out on June 26th. Listen/purchase the album here.
Today, Bandcamp has again waived its cut of sales to support artists via a 24-hour campaign: or pre-order from your local record store.

 'Don't You Know Who I Am' Video Story:
Lola and friends were shaving their heads to raise funds in support of Shave for a Cure NZ.

We took this as an opportunity to share their experience.


Photo: McKenzie Jennings-Gruar
Today marks day one of the annual New Zealand Music Month 

This year is also the 20th Anniversary but it's markedly different from any other time.  Normally, we'd be out every night at concerts, record launches and in-store promotions.
This will be the first (hopefully the only) year that we have to celebrate our fantastic musicians only through digital means.  Social distancing is completely the opposite of what NZ Music is about.  It's about intimacy, raves, partying, celebration, Darkness and Light.

Of course Groove FM is playing a whole heap more Kiwi music than ever. In fact, for the last week of the month, every 2nd hour will be 100% Kiwi music and, to go out with a bang, the final day of May is 100% NZ music all day! We'll also be featuring plenty on this website and our Facebook page, too.

As a result of the Covid-19 lock down, this year's theme is simple: Support local. Stream local. Follow local. Buy local. 
To support that there are heaps of events that had been planned for our small screens, including streamed performances, music releases, and even an online music summit.
The annual NZ Music Month Summit will commence on Saturday 23rd May as an online event in collaboration with the NZ Music Manager’s Forum, including discussions with NZ artists and music industry professionals around the NZ Music Month theme of supporting our local music industry.  This will be a great opportunity for those out of towners to be part of the event and may even be a boost to numbers attending.  We'll let you know more details about the key speakers and panels as the info comes to hand.

Holiday Records are excited to present a special promotion to select an aspiring artist to have their music pressed as New Zealand’s first 7-inch manufactured since 1987!

Entries are open until Wed 13 May.  The prize includes 300 x 7-inch records pressed and packaged by Holiday Records, recording time, plus mixing at Roundhead Studios, vinyl mastering from Munki Studios and artworks and creative services from Sunday Best!

And, off course, you gotta get the NZ Music Month merch.  This year Hallensteins are back, promoting three unique printed tees, designed by local artists - available to purchase from the Hallensteins website.  Purchasing these also helps Kiwi musicians - with proceeds from sales being donated to MusicHelps this year.

Hallensteins are also sponsoring Live In the Lounge, which supports local groups playing from inside their bubble.  Log in here and check out the line ups:

Check out the NZ Music Month Website for all the gigs:

So get stuck in.  It's all coming to your door and laptop or phone - so no excuses to celebrate!
Support local. Stream local. Follow local. Buy local.