Oyawa: Won’t Even Try To Scale It EP

Recorded and produced by Daryl Tapsell at Blackdoor Studios across the second half of 2015, ‘Won’t Even Try To Scale It’ is the latest from Waiheke Island-based three-piece Oyawa. Checking in at just under half an hour the EP amounts to six tracks of varying degrees of heaviness, headlined by student radio popular Heads On Fire. These tunes are not so much outright heavy, as they are merely weighty, and the band’s careful use of the art of repetition tends to create a sort of dark brooding intensity throughout. There’s an underlying anxiety, a sense of impending doom perhaps, without the music ever really breaking out into anything resembling unabashed card-carrying hard rock. Part of the reason is the occasionally menacing vocal stylings of lead singer Nikki Ngatai (who also plays guitar), as she squeezes every last smidgen of meaning out of a set of lyrics that frequently stare into a rather shadowy abyss. The rhythm pairing of Brett Garrity (bass) and Miles Gillett (drums) complement this voice-as-main-weapon approach perfectly, giving Ngatai’s upfront personality enough room to flourish in its own right. Guitarist Willem van der Plas joins the band for a couple of tracks without radically altering a formula that clearly works, and on this evidence, we certainly won’t have seen or heard the last of Oyawa. • Michael Hollywood

Toni Huata: Kahungunu Maranga EP

If you ever get lost, the best advice given to me is to go back to basics and this is where Toni Huata has nailed what is good in music. Sing what you know, blend it in with the right instruments and harmonies, but most importantly, when you sing from your roots your message transcends beyond what you could ever imagine. The warmth of each song lifts any negativity from the air. The title track Kahungunu Maranga is originally credited to have been written by Huata’s grandfather. Odes to tipuna, whanau and iwi. Each song firmly holds the roots of these pillars in the jazz-country-swing styled writing. The EP is different to other albums of Huata’s as she explores tradition in this smaller set as opposed to her often more vast creations. A light refreshing EP that celebrates history and reminds us of how important it is to keep tradition and culture as precious memories and never forget them. • Holly McGeorge

Song By Song: Phil Doublet’s Endless Highway

“I’m very proud of this recording and I hope ya’s enjoy it,” Christchurch country artist Phil Doublet ended his email to us when sending through the following article. Phil was judged the  Male Artist of The Year at the Country Music Awards 2014 for his debut ‘Stone & Wood’, and kindly agreed to run NZM through through the songs of his sophomore album ‘Endless Highway’.

Continue reading Song By Song: Phil Doublet’s Endless Highway

Fresh Talent: Bakers Eddy

In 2009, childhood buddies Ciarann Babbington (vocals/guitar) and Jamie Gordon (drums/vocals) formed a punk rock band: Bakers Eddy.

“It was originally a three piece. Me, Jamie and this guy called Ed, who was a fantastic guitarist. He was amazing and could shred like Jimi, but me and Jamie weren’t at that level at all. We were still playing two-chorded songs. So we decided, ‘Nah, you’re too good’ and we kicked him out of the band,” explains Ciarann laughing. “But before all that Ian [Spagnolo, bass/vocals] was like, ‘Bro, can I be in your band? Come on man, I’ll even play bass!’ He was a guitar player back then… now he plays bass.” Continue reading Fresh Talent: Bakers Eddy