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October 11, 2010 | by  | in Music |
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Salient Artshole Awards 2010

It’s our end of year issue—which means one thing—wanks. Lots and lots of wanks. Plus, it’s boring if we just filled our last issue for the year with some more CD reviews—who wants to read that when we could opine, and have you all tell us how much we suck?!

So, without further ado, here is my summarising piece for how NZ music fared in 2010—‘Where We At?!’

Cities Category:

Winner: Auckland: A-
The chronic insularity of its scenes aside, Auckland has consistently been the source of some incredible albums this year—see Street Chant, Golden Axe, Surf City. It really is just a size thing, but they’ve also fostered great bands across all genres: Homebrew look set to take on the world, Golden Axe took on italo (and won), all the while labels like MUZAI and Mole kept the garden plentiful with ferocious releases from Fatangryman, Sharpie Crows and others. There are still albums from Nevernudes, Sidewalk Meese and to come too. Yikes. Beef and bitching may run rampant around many Auckland bands, but they also provide
the goods on a higher level, more consistently than anywhere else.

Runner-up: Wellington: B-
By comparison, Wellington’s 2010 output has been pretty bleak. Of course, it’d be criminal to ignore the success of acts such as Glass Vaults, Tommy Ill, Seth Frightening and So So Modern—these acts all managed to put out well-crafted pieces of work and, in the case of Seth Frightening/So So Modern, albums that really should go down as some of the best this city has produced in the last ten years. I wasn’t as full of praise for Crude Futures earlier in the year, but it’s ended up being a clear head and shoulders above so much of the work from anyone else in New Zealand.

Obviously, with a smaller population than our northern neighbours, it’s always going to be hard to keep up in
terms of creative output. It really doesn’t help that week after week, bands have to deal with punters who value the meat over the music—2010 has seen Mighty Mighty turn from hipster grind bar into full-blown meat market, reneging on their status as a premier music venue in Wellington. As a rule, people don’t seem to go to shows unless blindingly drunk, so it’s hard to get anyone there until after 11pm. It’s all pretty epressing—you’d think inundation with cheap shows (often free) would be an inviting prospect, but apparently not.

Despite there being very few exciting things to come out of Wellington this year, and despite the fact that gig-goers have upheld their status as apathetic drunks, there are three things that maintain Wellington as a paragon of excellent music.

  1. The Golden Awesome. Ho-ly shit.
  2. Sonorous Circle (see last week’s issue).
  3. O-Week—This year was amazing, and if rumours are to be believed, next year will be even better.

Loser: Christchurch: D
Lost two of their most popular bands to Wellington and Auckland, got hit by an earthquake, Tally Ho magazine lasted about four issues, and they now have to contend with Jason Kerrison’s relief
efforts. The poor dudes just can’t cut a break. It’s now up to T54 and Secrets to lead the charge. Hopefully their new ‘Gold Soundz’ label kickstarts something good too.

‘Money, etc’ Category

Winner: Arch Hill: A
Arch Hill released records by Surf Cityand Street Chant to rapturous applause, the latter breaking the Top 30 in New Zealand without a shred of funding from the powers that be. (For a frame of reference, Autozamm have been granted over $100,000, and are yet to have anything chart. Ever.) Arch Hill are also
releasing one free album a month, and no small fare either—this month’s is the new release from the excellent Pine.

Runner Up: the Naked and Famous: B
The Naked and Famous, a bad band with a worse rep for their direct entry into ‘the industry’/serious funding thanks perhaps to a saucy relationship with CRS management, and general tendency to ‘go bananas’ at other musicians, managed to turn their obvious influences into the first New Zealand number one debut single in forever. Yip, it’s a shameless Skins-baiting pastiche of M83/Passion Pit, but really, better this
at number one than a copy-paste of US/Modular success three years too late (see: Sugarpills).

Loser: Pretty much every remotely heavy band in the country
It’s pretty much always going to be the way, but punk/hardcore/metal bands in NZ have it way harder than
anyone else—the nature of their music precludes them from almost completely from the same funding and furthering opportunities afforded to more radio-friendly types of music. That being said, Antagonist AD managed to squeeze some blood out of the stone. That also being said, they kinda suck balls.

Lessons from the year:

  • If ‘I’m not drunk enough’ is your excuse for not getting to a show on time, fuck you.
  • If you can’t get on TV, band beef is your best bet for maximum exposure.
  • 2010’s release schedule for NZ albums is unfuckwithable. Even The Coolies got in on the action. Go forth and buy!
  • (Danger—bias ahead) VBC is the best, they’ve managed to find enough bands to put on a free show nearly every Wednesday of the year. Give them your love.
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About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

Comments (14)

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  1. Kelvin says:

    This year sucked cause there was no more crack wednesday LOLOLOLOLOL but seriously fuck you james i put on about 40 fucking showes this year. lol, xoxox

  2. smackdown says:

    i went to 23 of them and had a reasonably enjoyable time :-)

  3. Kelvin says:

    thats a good rate

  4. smackdown says:

    nobody in my treehouse club comes close

  5. James Beavis says:

    Kelvin what? I said Wellington was inundated with shows, don’t really understand the fuck you

  6. kelvin says:

    i guess i should read better lol i was mainly referring to “being very few exciting things” and not the part of your argument which completely discredits my comment, lol. the eff you was meant to be a joke too btw, don’t think sat meant nothing to me. xoxo

  7. U Bromee says:

    You’ve once and for all ruined M83 for me James.
    Actually, no. I still love Saturdays = Youth and it’s nowehere near as easy to find in Real Groovy as Manners or TNAFs album [title unbeknown to me cfb googling] so I still feel cool

  8. smackdown says:

    i bought the latest rufus wainwright album and spent all 18 tracks nodding about how dum the world is

  9. smackdown says:

    prediction for 2011: kim wheatley will see a gig, will articulate attending said gig through multitude of postgrad media studies material hand written for him by mighty mighty celebrity tv disko.

    kim wheatley will then turn super sayian

    the end

  10. blink says:

    haha, I love how Dunedin constantly gets ignored in any city breakdown of music scenes. Fuck bands down there must get pissed off.

    The Proxy Music kids down there are doing amazing things, putting on events, festivals!!!, got some great bands on their roster. They deserve some kudos.

  11. Miller says:

    Dunedin is a city?

  12. smackdown says:

    have u ever heard of the infamous dunedin satirical band KNIVES AT NOON

    theyre something of a big hit amongst freyberg high school alumni

    which is hardly worth mentioning anywhere outside of an insane asylum

    ahaha freyberg dunked

  13. dumb says:

    I don’t really think it matters at all if Dunedin gets annoyed in music-scene breakdowns. Their bands don’t get ignored. TFF just the other week were up here and got an awesome reception.

    Who gives a fuck if their scene gets ignored in some stupid list. Everyone knows an awesome band when they see one.

  14. Will says:

    James, you trippin’ dogg.
    There’s a bunch of good bands in Christchurch at the moment.
    Definitely agree on the Auckland-front though. Dayumm.

    Time to organise another tally shmoe compilation methinks.

    aww yeeehhh

    (cue: fucking around, not delivering)

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