NZ Artists International News: March 2018
As the summer touring season comes to an end in Aotearoa, the northern hemisphere festival announcements are really starting to pick up pace.
NZ @ Folk Alliance 2018
From 14 - 18 February, the 30th annual Folk Alliance International Conference took place in Kansas City, Missouri in the USA. The conference is the the world's largest gathering of the folk music community and industry with over 2,500 people attending each year. This year Anika Moa attended in an official capacity, performing several showcases and participating on a panel called "Indigenous State" about the vital and critical place First Nations people have in the the music ecosystem and community at large, and the challenges faced by indigenous practitioners. Auckland's Milly Tabak (of The Miltones) and Parua Bay's Erin Cole-Baker also attended and performed several showcase sets each, including in the New Zealand Australia room, receiving plenty of great feedback over the course of the week. Considering the success of the week, and Folk Alliance Conferences before it, the New Zealand Music Commission looks forward to supporting artists and delegates in attendance in 2019 and beyond.
Make Way For Marlon
All eyes are on Marlon Williams as he carries out the release of his new album. Having just completed a world tour late last year in the lead-up to the February 16 release of Make Way For Love, he's already completed the UK leg of his album release tour this week - and the rest of the world is ready for their turn if the press and charts are anything to go by. Make Way For Love debuted at #1 on the New Zealand album charts, #8 in Australia and #60 in The Netherlands. Prior to its release, US-based The AV Club named Make Way For Love one of their most anticipated albums of February and it seems to have lived up to its expectations with The Guardian's Kitty Empire and Joe Breen of The Irish Times both giving it 4 out of 5 stars and Madison Desler of Paste Magazine giving it 7.7 out of 10. He also performed a beautiful NPR Tiny Desk set in February with his band, The Yarra Benders. If that set is anything to go by, the audiences at Latitude Festival in the UK - where he'll play on the BBC Music Stage - and at the remaining shows of his world tour are in for a treat. Marlon will be heading to Canada in the first week of March before ducking down to the USA where fellow New Zealander Tiny Ruins will be support for his headline shows, and they'll both be performing, separately, at SXSW in Austin. He'll then head across to Europe where he'll have support from his frequent collaborator, Delaney Davidson of Lyttleton, NZ, before his Australia and New Zealand shows in May. More info and tickets at https://www.marlonwilliams.co.nz/tour-dates
Unknown Mortal Orchestra new album due in April
The highly-anticipated fourth album from Unknown Mortal Orchestra is finally on its way. Sex & Food is set to be release on April 16 2018 via JagJaguwar Records in the USA. The first track off the album, ‘American Guilt', hit the internet in January, followed by ‘Not In Love, We're Just High' in late-Feburary which received its premiere on Apple Beats1 accompanied by an interview with lead singer-songwriter, Ruban Nielson from fellow kiwi, Zane Lowe. The song received coverage from SPIN Magazine, Pitchfork, The Fader, and The Rolling Stone US. Both tracks off the album so far have also been accompanied by striking animated videos. Ruban and UMO drummer, Kody Nielson (both of Auckland) performed another new track from the album called ‘If You're Going To Break Yourself' for the BBC 6 Music Live Room. Following the album's release, fans in the northern hemisphere can look forward to live performances as UMO set off on a tour of the US, Canda, Europe and UK from late-April to midway through this year, including Primavera in Spain and Portugal and Forbidden Fruits Festival in Ireland.
Merk returns to Australia
To coincide with the re-release of his 2016 debut album Swordfish in Australia via independent label, Dew Process, Merk (aka Mark Perkins) has set off on a near sold-out tour of Australia supporting Brisbane alt-pop group, Cub Sport. Both acts met and performed at BIGSOUND in Brisbane in 2017, and are currently in the midst a ten-date Australian tour, with nine shows already sold out including all upcoming dates in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney. In the lead-up to the re-release of Swordfish, Merk also released a new track called ‘Lucky Dilemma'.
Alien Weaponry sign to Napalm Records
The excitement around Waipu thrash metal band Alien Weaponry is still building at home and abroad. North America's leading hard-rock and metal media brand, Revolver Magazine, list them as one of their '5 Artists You Need To Know' this February and in even bigger news, they've also signed to the hugely popular independent label, Napalm Records, based in Austria. The band said of their signing "Being based in the tiny town of Waipu, New Zealand, we are pretty much as far away as you can get from the heavy metal centre of the world, so this is a massive step for us towards establishing our career internationally." The group have set some great foundations for the upcoming release of their debut album, which has recently been confirmed for 1 June 2018.
Bits & Pieces
- DJ K-SWIZZ opened the stage at the Global Spin Awards, honoring DJs and DJ culture. The event featured Pharell, DJ Khaled, Timbaland and Diddy.
- Chelsea Jade co-wrote a song released by US #1 artists, The Chainsmokers this month called ‘You Owe Me' which has reached over 12 million streams in the two weeks its been online.
- Hip-hop duo, Dark Tower, received a shout-out for their 2001 album Canterbury Drafts in Mojo Magazine from UK dub-poet laureat Benjamin Zephaniah.
- Arrowtown singer-songwriter Holly Arrowsmith's ‘Love Together' was featured on a Spotify playlist curated by Taylor Swift called ‘Songs Taylor Loves'.
- ‘Without The World' - the first track form Birds of Passage's upcoming EP, The Death of Our Invention featured on Australian site, Cyclic Defrost.
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