2004: How many years you know rock like this?

Much in the same way that every day is Earth Day, New Zealand music is still a great and happening thing even when it?s not New Zealand Music Month. Here in no particular order (but please do feel free to cry foul and argue with your friends) are the top moments in New Zealand Music that happened between now and the last music month:

1. Channel Z, a long time supporter of New Zealand music with its 30% self imposed quota breathed its last gasp (even if according to the ratings no one was listening). All was not lost for, like a flightless nocturnal phoenix, Kiwi FM rose from its ashes, playing all NZ, all the time. Yay.

2. Because the New Zealand music scene was all too much of a love in (Betchadupa’s comments about Dimmer being “Like Marvin Gaye without the Marvin” aside), Scribe’s posse decided to keep it real by giving a bFM exec Phil Armstrong the bash at an industry Christmas Party. Some NZ hip hop artists rap in American accents because it’s official: Grey Lynn is the new Compton.

3. The Straitjacket Fits announced a reformation tour. There’s no verdict yet as to whether or not Andrew Brough will be joining the lineup, or if Miranda Harcourt will be lingering at the side of the stage to hear ‘She Speeds’ which, rumour has it, is about her

4. NZ Idol was the top rated TV show of 2004, with 24% of everyone over the age of five tuning in. Karaoke has never been so popular.

5. John Psathas composed the music for the Olympic Opening ceremony, heard by millions ? if not billions ? around the world. Unfortunately athletes got a lot more attention, funding and Macdonald’s contracts, but his work is no less impressive.

6. Helen Clarke said that it would be inappropriate for Aussie mullet-crooner John Farnham to play at Anzac Cove commemorations. Luckily the situation wasn’t reversed because if John Howard had said no to our Dobbo we’d have to go to war. There’s a joke in here somewhere about Tall Poppy Syndrome, but Pulp will not be making it.

7. Pluto finally released their second album, Pipeline Under the Ocean, and it’s bloody excellent. While Pluto had to battle their old record label at least they managed to escape Second-Album-Syndrome whereby if a band manages to stay together long enough to put out a second album it is generally crap.

8. Wellington’s favourite sons became Shihad again. Forget that Pacifier crap, we’ve got our boys back again.

9. Steriogram got to work with Michel Gondry on the video for their song ‘Walkie Talkie Man’ and the result was nominated for a Grammy for ‘Best Video’. There are some great music videos being made right here in NZ, and on a fraction of the budget, but Gondry’s work is up there amongst the Greatest Videos Ever Made, so that’s very cool. Steriogram also were chosen for an iPod ad in the U.K, which is a well known pathway to success.

10. Lots of New Zealand artists did a lot of charity work. The Asian Tsunami was a popular cause, with a range of gig held to raise funds. Meanwhile The Breast Cancer Research Trust proved it has a sense of humour when choices for a fundraising CD included Stellar*’s ‘Part of Me’ and Bic Runga’s ‘Precious Things’. Pulp is quite glad they didn’t stoop to Strawpeople’s ‘Trick with a Knife’ or Dave Dobbyn’s ‘Slice of Heaven’.

11. A little known movie called Return of the King helped Fran Walsh win a Grammy for Best Song from a Motion Picture? because LOTR hadn’t really done very well in the prize stakes until then…

12. After having been floating around in the charts for over a year, Goldenhorse’s Riverhead finally reached the number one position, in a year positively bulging with NZ music chart successes.

13. The top selling single of 2004 was by Ben Lummis, while the top selling album was by Brooke Fraser.

14. Comedic Folk Duo Flight of the Concords (Black Seeds’ Bret McKenzie and Humourbeasts’ Jemaine Clement) were signed to NBC in the US to develop their own television show, which will still include their trademark musical numbers. Are they destined to be the next Seinfeld? And what would Figwit do?

15. Q: How many NZ hip hop artists does it take to change a lightbulb? A: Not many, if any. In part influenced by just how much that phrase has entered our lexicon, Scribe won the APRA Silver Scroll for songwriting. Hilarious sub editors everywhere are eternally grateful.

16. After being scorned for so long and yet still managing to put out a critically acclaimed first album, The Phoenix Foundation finally managed to get some funding from NZOA for their video ‘Damn The River’ and for their upcoming new album.

17. The Dawnraid Allstars demonstrated that it IS possible to make some money as a musician in New Zealand ? as long as you don?t mind selling something or ‘hooking up’.

18. New Zealand musicians started taking public transport. Remember the days when every video featured the band riding in a car? Now Britomart is the backdrop of choice.

19. Evermore made it big in Australia. Wouldn’t it be nice if artists didn’t have to make it somewhere else before they got attention here?

20. The bands played for free, NZ on Air gave a cool half million and while TVNZ won’t disclose how much it spent, 24 hours of airtime could not have come cheap. The National Anthem ? 24 hours of live New Zealand music, which ranged from the sublime to the asinine raised an underwhelming $148k for the Play It Strange Foundation. Meanwhile, TV2 canceled Squeeze.

Top Five Non Music Moments in NZ Idol
1. Wardrobe malfunctions: the surplus chains, pink ribbons, gold lame jacket on Big Dave, the bird poo, the granny curtains?
2. Ben and Sela announce their engagement. Are they NZ’s Kurt & Courtney?
3. Paul Ellis stuffs up big time when Michael Murphy?s first single is exposed via the Internet as being a cover.
4. The Filipo Family Scandal. Are they NZ’s Gottis?
5. ‘Preformance’ entered our lexicon, thanks to the Dominator’s constant mispronunciation.

NZ Music in the The 2004 Rianz Charts

Singles:
1. ‘They Can?t Take That Away’ ? Ben Lummis
4. ‘Fools Love’ ? Misfits of Science
6. ‘We Gon Ride’ ? Dei Hamo
12. ‘Stop The Music’ – P Money feat. Scribe
13. ‘So Damn Beautiful’ ? Michael Murphy
14. ‘Dreaming’ ? Scribe
17. ‘I Got’ ? Fast Crew
20. ‘Yesterday Was Just the Beginning’ ? NZ Idol The Final Ten

Albums:

1. What To Do With Daylight ? Brooke Fraiser
7. Pure – Hayley Westenra
8. Everyone is Here ? The Finn Brothers
9. Riverhead ? Goldenhorse
11. The Crusader ? Scribe
13. Into The West ? Yulia
19. Beautiful Collision ? Bic Runga.

Pulp 2005

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