By DANA TETENBURG
New Zealand Music Month is well underway! That means celebrating Kiwi artists, including those who aren’t as famous as Lorde and Broods. Here are five underrated local singer-songwriters, duos and bands that deserve a bit of recognition for their talent.
Auckland husband and wife Hayden and Rachel Donnell combine their skills to create Great North, a Southern USA-style folk duo. Working on their craft for over the last eight years, the duo have released three albums and performed in many low-key bars and sheds to play gems such as Up in Smoke. If a more gentle and localised Of Monsters and Men sounds up your alley, these guys aren’t to be skimmed over.
Growing up in Mount Maunganui, then relocating to Auckland a couple of years ago, The Leers are a group of four classic Kiwi blokes. Their debut album Are You Curious? encompasses a style comparable to the Kiwi summer vibes of Six60, but with more of an alternative rock twist. Since starting a band, The Leers have played alongside other New Zealand artists, as well as headlining their own miniature tours around the North Island. A gem from the album to check out is entitled Waste.
Otherwise known as Aaron Clarke, Sinai is a Hamilton-based singer-songwriter who has set out to produce one song a week for a whole year, totalling 52 unique individual tracks demonstrating his skill. Utilising Patreon to interact with his audience and gain a bit of dollar for his regular creations, Sinai maintains various forms of seeking inspiration to try out new techniques. You can read more about Sinai and his project in our chat with him here. A favourite so far is track 29, Sorry.
Mark Perkins, titling himself as Merk, experiments with hazy animated electronic vibes, putting a unique twist on an alternative pop sound comparable to Australia’s Glass Animals. Playing in the live band for Fazerdaze, Merk is a self-managed skillful artist, playing almost every instrument for his debut album Swordfish. Amongst his most popular tracks is I’m Easy.
Indie pop four-piece band Balu Brigada are as eccentric and distinctive as their name! Front man Henry Beasley wanted to produce some outside-the-box content, and thus brought his mate and two brothers together to create some catchy tracks that utilise elements from various genres to explore distinctive situations and emotions. Check out the track that brought them notoriety, Weekend.
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