NZ Artists International News: October 2017

October 4th 2017
It may be Awards season at home, but 45+ local artists will still be traversing the globe in coming months, playing in almost every corner of the world.

Neil Finn recently live-streamed the recording of his new album, Out of Silence, from his Roundhead Studio complex in Auckland on August 25th, much to the delight of press around the world.

Prior to the album's completion and eventual release only one week later on September 1st, Rod Yates, editor of Rolling Stone Australia wrote a warm recount of one of the weekly rehearsal nights leading up to the recording, which were also livestreamed.

Andrew Stafford of The Guardian gave the album four of five stars, praising Finn's ability to "make the most sophisticated pop music sound like the easiest thing in the world" and his "completely distinctive, unforced and gentle, whispering melodies". gave the album an identical rating, saying Out of Silence is "another tour de force from New Zealand's finest songwriter". Kristi York Woorten for The Huffington Post said Out of Silence consisted of "the most beautiful string, brass and choral arrangements I've heard in ages".

US-based Mike Mettler took a particular interest in the technological challenges of such a project, in both the streaming and recording aspects, interviewing Finn for


A delegation of over twenty New Zealanders as well as four local musical acts visited Brisbane in early September for the annual BIGSOUND conference. The Kiwi contingent of musicians, which consisted of Bespin, Merk, October and Yoko-Zuna, garnered a lot of attention from the Australian press and blogosphere. called Merk "a band with everything in front of them" with tracks that sound like a "road-tripping summer-tinged polaroid fading into colour" while Mood Media named them one of their 10 favourite acts of the 150+ act line-up, describing the band as an "alt-pop delight... [with] a lo-fi mix of twangy synths, distorted guitar ton and Merk's dreamy falsetto". The Courier Mail called Merk out as an act that "got chins wagging with their showcases".

In the lead-up to the festival music blog Pile Rats premiered Yoko-Zuna's newest track ‘Voltron', calling it "an absolute stomper", and named them a must-see at BIGSOUND. MTV Australia called their shows "nothing short of electric... [with a] unique blend of electronic, progressive, hip-hop". Speaker TV and Purple Sneakers then went on to call them highlights of the festival after the fact too - Speaker TV saying they had "plenty of musical skill between them and plenty of stage presence to go around " while Purple Sneakers called their live show "ineffable".

MTV Australia says 20-year old October has "more than enough individuality to make a name for herself". Rolling Stone Australia agreed, saying her performance at Ric's Big Backyard during BIGSOUND "served up impressive drama and catchy electro art-pop".


Attending the Silver Scrolls in Dunedin as a finalist for her song ‘Life of the Party' wasn't the only great success Chelsea Jade had this September.

Chelsea had her newest surefire hit, ‘High Beam' premier on the American site for sophisticated fashion publication, Harper's Bazaar. Reviewer, Erica Gonzales, called the track "an empowering song that boasts a bare, bubbly track, airy harmonies and the singer-songwriter's own lightweight vocals".

She also recently collaborated with LA-based Australian singer, CXLOE, and fellow-kiwi, producer Sam McCarthy (BOYBOY) on CXLOE's ‘Tough Love' song which is on Triple J in Australia and hit #12 on the Spotify Australia Viral 50 list.


After a successful 10-date US tour in June, reggaedub group The Black Seeds released their first album since 2012, Fabric, in September.

The album went straight to the #1 spot on the iTunes Reggae albums chart in Jamaica and #3 on the Billboard Reggae albums chart in the USA - the highest ranking-debut on the Billboard Reggae albums chart that week (beginning Sept 30).

On September 25, Fabric was named Album of the Day on Bandcamp. The review called it an "apt album for our new end times...[with] enough buoyant reggae-funk to cut the dread". The UK's Clash Magazine called it a "broad, vastly creative return, with The Black Seeds matching low-end weight against some mature, soulful songwriting".

The Black Seeds will continue working towards their world domination with an Australian tour this coming November.


London-based band of eight, Superorganism, half of which are formerly of New Zealand band The Eversons, have signed a deal with the UK's Domino Recording Company. Domino also currently have deals with the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand and fellow-New Zealander, Silicon aka Kody Nielson.

Their first full single release under Domino, ‘Something For Your M.I.N.D.' dropped with a music video on September 6. The track had received attention from current RnB superstar, Frank Ocean, when he played it on his Beats 1 radio show, Blonded and popular UK music publication, NME went on to call it a "fully formed pop banger" in an article from early September.

Superorganism recently played the successful Reeperbahn festival in Hamburg in September but have shows in the UK, Europe and US all before the end of the year. Check our international tour schedule below for dates.


Thrash metallers from Waipu, Alien Weaponry have enjoyed another month of massive strides. Locally, they are currently finishing off their first nationwide tour and took away the 2017 APRA Maioha Award at the APRA Silver Scrolls for excellence in popular Māori composition for their song ‘Raupatu'.

On the international front, the young trio has just signed a three-year management contract with Berlin-based music agency, Das Machine, to represent them in Europe and abroad. The founders of Das Machine have previously worked with the likes of metal giants Kreator and Amon Amarth. With the help of Das Machine, Alien Weaponry are set to announce multiple European and UK festival dates for 2018 in coming months.

Alien Weaponry were recently interviewed for the UK edition of Vice's platform for emerging talent, i-D.


Legendary band The Chills have recently been announced as the subject of a new documentary set to debut in 2019, aptly titled Martin Phillips and The Chills. The film will explore frontman, Martin Phillips' struggles during the iconic Flying Nun band's rise to international cult prominence.

To help complete the film, a Kickstarter campaign has been set up which features more than a dozen awesome rewards including a limited edition silver version of their Silver Bullets LP (2015) and a private solo gig with Martin himself. The announcement of the developing project was also shared on popular music site Pitchfork.


In the midst of her biggest European tour to date with 34 shows over August and September, Nadia Reid performed a very significant one-song set on BBC Two's Later... With Jools Holland alongside US band LCD Soundsystem and the infamous Liam Gallagher, formerly of the band Oasis.

Nadia is the third New Zealand artist to perform on Later... With Jools Holland this year with Lorde and Aldous Harding appearing on the same episode in May. Watch Nadia's beautiful performance of ‘Richard' here.


● Aldous Harding featured in the New York Daily News.
● Rolling Stone Australia hosted the exclusive premiere of Estère's latest video ‘Control Freak'.
● Racing's ‘Let It Slip' was featured on popular magazine, Alternative Press's "29 Songs You Need To Hear This Week" online article.


CLICK HERE to download a PDF of tour dates around the world for NZ artists.

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