Aldous Harding has been labelled a goth-folk superstar, making a big impression around the world for her daringly original music.
Harding (her real name is Hannah) hails from Lyttelton, south of Christchurch, and released her debut album on Flying Nun Records in 2014. Three years later she was signed to British independent record label 4AD and released her second album Party that same year. As well as getting rave reviews internationally, the album saw Harding win two NZ Music Awards in 2017 and the Taite Music Prize in 2018. Get excited for her new album Designer, with an April release date, and given the buzz around her astute, charismatic tunes, 2019 could be her biggest year yet.
Check her out: https://www.aldousharding.com/
Formed when brothers Henry and Lewis de Jong were still in primary school, Alien Weaponry have become a thrash-metal force to be reckoned with. After a record-breaking run in the Smokefreerockquest, in which they took out both the Pacifica Beats award and first place overall at the 2016's Northland regional final, and support slots with some of NZ's biggest rock acts, the young three-piece from Waipu, Northland, blew up in 2018, releasing their debut album, Tū, and touring the US and Europe. A camera crew went along when the band played several big European metal festivals, resulting in a 10-part documentary series: Alien Weaponry Shake Europe.
All three members have Māori ancestry, sing many lyrics in te reo Māori and write songs that cover personal, political and historical themes.
Check them out: http://www.alienweaponry.com/
SWIDT is a hip-hop collective from Onehunga, Auckland. The crew of five released their debut album STONEYHUNGA in 2017 and won Tuis at that year's NZ Music Awards for Best Hip-Hop Album and Best Group. Two EPs have followed; the most recent was last year's The Most Electrifying. They've been busy doing the rounds of bigger and bigger stages, getting the crowds jumping at summer festivals and supporting the likes of Wu Tang Clan, Six60 and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
Check them out: https://www.swidt.co.nz/
Beginning as a solo project of singer-songwriter Hollie Fullbrook, Tiny Ruins has grown into a fully-fledged band which tours the world. Their first two albums cemented them as critical darlings and brought them a global fan-base, and their third, Olympic Girls, released in February 2019, has received rave reviews. Tiny Ruins' music mixes delicate folk and dreamy pop, with rowdier psychedelic elements, and the Auckland-based group has shared stages with indie powerhouses Sharon van Etten, Fleet Foxes, Calexico and Beach House.
Check them out: https://www.tinyruins.com/
Hailing from Napier, Tom Francis has established himself as a true international hip-hop act, collaborating with many local and overseas heavyweights. His 2016 debut album, Underestimated, featured input from Twista, Dizzy Wright and On Cue, and subsequent singles have featured Royce Da 5’9, Tyler Thomas and J.Tek. On his latest track Lifestyle, Francis teamed up with none other than hip-hop legend Snoop Dogg and a second album, The Follow Up, has just been released. Pretty good going for a young guy who used to chop and sell firewood for a living.
Check him out: http://www.tom-francis.com/
Pickle Darling is the moniker of Christchurch multi-instrumentalist, Lukas Mayo. After releasing EP Spring Onion Pancakes in 2017, Pickle Darling was picked up by Slovakian record label Z Tapes. His first full-length album Bigness came out at the beginning of 2019 and was immediately named Bandcamp's album of the day.
Mayo's music often features the sounds of toy instruments and gets regularly called “bedroom pop”, but that might be understating its musical complexity and beauty.
Check it out: https://pickledarling.bandcamp.com/
Flamingo Pier is a music collective made up of DJs Luke Walker, Dominic Jones and Bradley Craig. The three Kiwis met in London and have been behind some of the best dance parties in both London and New Zealand. For the past five years they've organised the boutique Flamingo Pier Festival on Waiheke, and to celebrate this year's edition, the trio released a four-track EP. The upbeat, soulful dance tunes have been getting worldwide airplay and garnered praise from some of electronic dance music's leading figures, including Gilles Peterson and JD Twitch (Optimo).
Check them out: http://soundwayrecords.com/flamingo-pier/
The Beths' four members all met while studying jazz at Auckland University. Led by singer and main songwriter Elizabeth Stokes, the band have the expected musical chops but still make catchy guitar pop songs with clever vocal harmonies and a sense of humour. After a 2016 EP, their first full-length album Future Me Hates Me came out in 2018. They've been touring hard ever since, both in NZ and around the world, but still found time to release a cheeky Christmas single.
Unashamedly Kiwi, Stokes has said The Beths music puts their hearts on their sleeves and then apologises for it.
Check them out: https://thebeths.com/
TEEKS is the stage name of Te Karehana Gardiner-Toi, a singer-songwriter with a voice that gives people goosebumps. TEEKS comes from Northland and grew up in an environment steeped in music, performance and Kapa Haka. His debut EP Grapefruit Skies was recorded in New York and New Zealand and he won a NZ Music Award for Best Maori Artist in 2017. TEEKS is taking his powerful soul sounds to WOMAD 2019 and will follow it with a special one-off gig with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. He's also promising a debut album later in the year.
Check him out: http://teeks.nz/
City of Souls
City of Souls is an Auckland six-piece that includes members of local heavy music legends Blindspott, Blacklistt and 8 Foot Sativa. Since forming in 2015, the band has released three singles, racking up some big numbers on streaming services and supporting big-name international hard rock and metal acts. City of Souls' music is a high-energy mix of emotion and exploration, and their debut album is currently in the works.
Check them out: https://www.teamcityofsouls.com/
Watch out for...
Tipped to be New Zealand's next big pop star, ASHY is a young Christchurch artist, who's been writing and performing her own songs since she was 13. Now 20, ASHY (her full name is Ashy Batchelor) has recently released three singles - Over You, which reached #5 on the Hot NZ Singles chart, Jersey, which clocked up big streaming numbers, and her latest, Temporary Crush.
Check her out: https://www.youtube.com/user/ashymusicnz