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Kiwi Music Show Hosts Pick Favs

Ahead of the Student Radio Network Awards broadcasting live tomorrow night, each station’s local music show hosts forecast their favourites.

Student Radio Network Awards

Bianca Bailey AKA Wiri Donna Photo: Kenzie Pigman

The Student Radio Network Awards are broadcasting live tomorrow night, Saturday, November 19th, across all student radio from Dunedin. The station’s programme directors have shortlisted and selected the finalists, but the hosts of the New Zealand music shows on each station are the real agents on the ground, sifting through and discovering the latest local music.

Ahead of the awards, we asked them to recommend their favourite nominees as well as cite the artists they feel deserve a second look. Rather than alphabetical or random, the order of the radio stations references the slow drift of economic power in New Zealand over the last century from the bottom of the South Island to the top of the North.

Violet French and the Horrible. Photo: Ben Woods

DJ: Spencer Hall

Show: The Local

Station: Radio One 91 FM

City: Dunedin

Spencer Hall’s relationship with Radio One spans more than a decade; alongside his long-running show The Odditties, he also picked up hosting duties for The Local since returning from overseas in 2020.

Favourite Nominees: Hall thinks Christchurch was “extremely strong for releases this year”, citing Melted Ice Cream as his favourite label and their artists Ben Woods and Violet French and the Horrible as picks.

Worth A Second Look: While Dunedin releases by Koizilla/Night Lunch and Frog Power didn’t make this year’s cut (Night Lunch are playing at the awards, though), Dunedin has also “been really strong for live shows”. Some up-and-coming Dunedin artists who started playing live in the last year include the all-girl band Riot Gull and Mandate, whose live shows are up on Fraser Thompson’s website DunedinSound.com.

Earth Tongue. Photo: Joel Thomas

DJ: Matt Slaughter

Show: Sheep Technique

Station: RDU 89.5 FM

City: Christchurch

Matt Slaughter has been the host of Otautahi’s local “alternative sort of guitar-based indie show”, The Sheep Technique, for the last three years.

Favourite Nominees: Slaughter’s choice for Favourite Song is “Miraculous Death” by Earth Tongue as “an amazing song”, while also name-checking local artist Ben Woods for his single “Wearing Divine”. For Favourite Group, Slaughter believes Hans Pucket is “the best band we have in New Zealand at the moment,” while also noting that they were originally from Christchurch.

Worth A Second Look: Auckland emo band Melanie’s ABCD EP has “some of the best emo content I’ve heard coming out recently internationally, let alone in New Zealand”. The Mulls single “Two Pie Day” also caught his attention.

Bianca Bailey AKA Wiri Donna Photo: Kenzie Pigman

DJ: Mia Bean

Show: The New Zealand Music Radio Show

Station: RadioActive

City: Wellington

Mia Bean has been hosting the New Zealand Music Radio Show for 14 months.

Favourite Nominees: Out of the nominees, her favourite for both Best EP and Favourite Solo Act is Wiri Donna: “Wiri Donna is so incredible, she’s such a powerhouse and she’s been absolutely killing it with her solo project.” As for Favourite Single, she wants to see the DARTS single “Hoons” win. “They grind so hard it’s insanity.”

Worth A Second Look: Bean recommends the Sure Boy single “Lemon Lady”—”such a banger” as well as “iconic” Hybrid Rose album HyperKunt. “She does her own recording, production, mixing, everything. She’s an incredible person. She’s definitely been robbed a little bit.” Bean paused. “I’m not looking to square up with anyone.” She laughed.

Recitals. Photo: Matilda Boese-Wong

DJ: Aidan Bright

Show: Thursday Drive feat. New Zealand Top 10

Station: Radio Control

City: Palmerston North

Aidan Bright has been a part of Radio Control for the last three years and last year won his own SRN award for Outstanding Contribution to Radio Control, which he considered “pretty humbling” as a volunteer.

Favourite Nominees: Sports Dreams have Bright’s nod for the Best EP, bringing what he considers “the best dream pop in New Zealand”. Recitals is his pick for Best Band for bringing a “really innovative and new sound to NZ music that gives me the vibes of the UK post punk scene”. Another strong contender in the same category is How Get, whose last show Bright caught over the weekend: “They deserve a good win for such a unique style: combination of Te Reo with the hard style of electric punk.”

Worth A Second Look: Although Tom Scott is well known for his work in Homebrew, Bright considers his latest “jazzy hip hop album” with Avantdale Bowling Club “super underrated”. He is also surprised Elliott Dawson of Tunes’ debut album Hang Low flew “under the radar” this year, even amongst the music-obsessed student radio community.

Grecco Romank

DJ: Taylor MacGregor

Show: Freak the Sheep

Station: 95bFM

City: Auckland

95bFM’s Freak The Sheep host Taylor MacGregor fit Rolling Stone in for a late-night chat at Wine Cellar on a Thursday evening before heading over to Whammy Bar.

Favourite Nominees: For Favourite Single, MacGregor singled out Amamelia for “Colourbox”. “She’s really bringing back breakbeat and jungle in a way that is very exciting and everyone needs to get behind Amamelia.” He also maintains a soft spot for The Big Fresh Collective, who are up for Best Album for Footmahi 2022. “Liam K Swiggs who pulled that together is a huge Warriors fan, and I like to see crossover between the rugby league community and the music community. It’s really important.”

Worth A Second Look: MacGregor said dungeon techno act Grecco Romank are putting on “one of the best live shows in the country”. He also called Half Hexagon, featuring James Milne from Lawrence Arabia, Yolanda Fagan of Na Na Noise, and Julien Dyne “the most exciting band to appear this year”, predicting they will be “nominated in every category” in 2023.

“And long live bFM.”

Check back next week for in-depth coverage of the winners.