Who will win the 2012 Taite Music Prize?

Last updated 09:15 03/04/2012

They started this thing called The Taite Music Prize. It's named after the great Kiwi music journalist Dylan Taite.

The Taite Music Prize is in its third year. In 2010 the winner was Lawrence Arabia's Chant Darling. Last year the winner was Ladi 6's The Liberation Of...

Its aim is to be like The Mercury Prize - and other international prizes that are awarded for artistic merit; rewarding a collection of music for being good, not for sales, Facebook-likes and so on.

This year the finalists have been chosen. There are seven.

They are:

Andrew Keoghan, Arctic Tales Divide
Beastwars, Beastwars
David Dallas, The Rose Tint

She's So Rad, In Circles
The Bats, Free All the Monsters
Tiny Ruins, Some Were Meant for the Sea
Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Unknown Mortal Orchestra

You can read more about the award here - including the names of the judges for this year. Music magazine and website editors, radio people, the usual suspects.

The winner will be announced on April 20 at a thing somewhere in Auckland. That's also on the link. And PPNZ Music Licensing stumps up with the price, $10,000 in cash-money. A good score.

Almost remarkably the seven finalists were whittled down from an absurd list of about 80 entrants. Did you know we had that many people releasing music last year and so sure that what they were doing was decent? On the one hand we can say that the industry is healthy and all that usual empty-gesture carry-on or we can be deeply troubled that a bunch of people hacking about releasing terrible rubbish think that it's good enough to score some free coin.

Anyway, it's down to seven now. And it's down to some judges. Some experts will make the call.

But I thought that before they got to have their say we could all have a punt - make our selection as it were. Let's pick the best of the bunch as we see it.

Well Andrew Keoghan's album is out for me. I thought it was a ghastly thing. People seemed to get right behind this fellow and fell in love with his finger-plucking violin styles. I would rather go directly to the source (Andrew Bird). And I think this album is artistically bankrupt.

Beastwars - well I gave you my thoughts on the album and the band here last year. And I've continued to enjoy the album. I like that this band has built its reputation the old-fashioned way, word of mouth, playing gigs, releasing an album that delivered on the back of the hype. I see them as having a good chance.

David Dallas is worthy. He deserves the win for releasing an impressive album; for doing it in a bold way too. The Rose Tint was given away free - released later as a "deluxe edition" CD (with extra tracks). He has had success touring in America, licensed a track for use with WWE and built on his reputation. I interviewed David Dallas a couple of years ago. I found him to be great to speak with, intelligent, passionate, aware. I wasn't that keen on his debut solo album - it was nice but not great. The Rose Tint is a different story.

She's So Rad is okay. But it's really nothing new or exciting. It's a no from me. Feels like something that's slipped in by being part of the Auckland scenesters. Typical. I'm sure a friend or two on the judging panel will give it the nudge.

The Bats are a decent band and I like the new album but I'm just not feeling it as being the best within this list. A solid effort, B+ probably. But I don't think it's any great surprise that a decent band delivered a decent album again. That's consistency. But it's not a prizewinner for me. I'd not be disappointed if they won but I wouldn't give the album my prime vote if I was a judge for this caper.

Tiny Ruins - nice voice. And if I don't have any Jolie Holland handy then I will listen to this. Sure. But it's not a prizewinner. At least I hope not. Similar feelings toward this as with The Bats. Nice enough album, good job done. But nothing above and beyond.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra played a pretty sweet gig before Christmas. But as I said here, this is not a Kiwi band. There is a Kiwi in the band. But he took the money from an American label - and all the press-kudos that came with that. Then called in with his New Zealand address when it was video-funding time. Our desperate-to-appear-hip and tragically clueless funding body - The Joke That Is NZ On Air - decided that UMO should definitely get some money. Why? Because a NZ On Air logo would look great flashing up on a video that might get looked at online by some of the band's American fans, that's why. It could go in the next report that we all pay for.

So it's a no to Unknown Mortal Orchestra for me. I enjoyed the album, liked seeing the band live but I don't feel they fit the criteria. I would not be disappointed if Tiny Ruins or The Bats won the award - their albums are certainly not terrible. She's So Rad - well, it's a no from me. Don't hate the album but don't see or hear anything special (i.e. award-winning) in it. If Andrew Keoghan wins I'm calling for a riot. Plain and simple.

So it's down to Beastwars and David Dallas. Both are worthy, for my money. I would really like to see either of these acts win. I like that both acts are very different. But they've built their reputation and fan-base the same way: hard work, clever marketing, strong presence. And decent music, the crucial factor in the end.

I'd like to see Beastwars win because the metal/hard-rock genres are blatantly uncool. Particularly when it comes to awards. Good on them for standing proud, doing the job and bringing the noise.

I'd like to see David Dallas win because I think he's a class act. I also think we have some really terrible hip-hop in New Zealand masquerading as the real thing. It would be nice to see the real thing celebrated for what it is and what it is worth.

But I shouldn't sit on the fence - so my call is Beastwars, because I think that would be the biggest surprise. Well, the biggest pleasant surprise.

What's your call? Who do you think will win? And who do you want to win? And what do you think of the lineup; are these the best seven albums/artists for us to be honouring in 2012? Who do you think was unlucky for not making it as a finalist?

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Post a comment
Ben Howe   #1   09:36 am Apr 03 2012

Thanks for the above Simon...can I also add that the event is put on by Independent Music New Zealand (and also PPNZ). IMNZ is an organisation representing the interests of NZ owned Independent record labels, self releasing artists and distributors. We have around 80 member labels, - ranging from self released local artists to larger distributors/labels. You can read more about IMNZ, the Taite and the events generous sponsors over here http://www.indies.co.nz/taite-music-prize.html

jasmine   #2   09:48 am Apr 03 2012

Beastwars, Beastwars, Beastwars, Beastwars! I saw them on Saturday and was blown away. Super amazing. That being said, however, I've never heard any of the other nominees' offerings - live or otherwise - except for some old Bats albums.

Metal for the win :)

Shifty   #3   10:09 am Apr 03 2012

Personally I wouldn't object if Beast Wars or David Dallas won the award. Those would be my top two choices. They both deserve it. David Dallas's star is on the rise, so maybe Beast Wars would be a more worthy recipient, if only because this would probably give them a little more exposure.

Musically, I think UMO have the most interesting and musically diverse album. It wouldn't surprise me if they won the award. Good luck to them.

Michael   #4   10:19 am Apr 03 2012

I Actually agree with you , David Dallas deserves to win . He should of won stuff at the Vodafone music awards; but everybody knows the music awards awards are a Rianz coup .. The Rose Tints is the best local album of the last two years .. Also, I disagree with what you said about U.M.O , It has a kiwi in the band he writes all the songs , why shouldnt he get funding, hes paid his dues in N.Z...

Hazzard County Cricket Club   #5   10:26 am Apr 03 2012

I'm more interested in next year's award which will undoubtedly go to The Stereo Bus and their as-yet unreleased masterpiece, assuming it is released within the qualification period. c'mon Yetton - get it out!

Sven   #6   10:33 am Apr 03 2012

I have been here in nz for 7 years and I can honestly say that the music here is about 20 years behind the times.

Nothing here has any musical merit. If you would like to argue the point please tell me who has made a dent in the international market ( that isn't a comedy duo).

nz- if you spent more time perfecting the craft rather than hanging out in silly auckland bars, high fiving each other, you may make something with some artistic merit

Jed   #7   10:39 am Apr 03 2012

My vote is definitely for Beastwars, although UMO is the only other album of these I've actually listened to...

Rich   #8   11:20 am Apr 03 2012


"Nothing here has any musical merit. If you would like to argue the point please tell me who has made a dent in the international market ( that isn't a comedy duo)."

Why don't you prove that putting a "dent in the international market" is evidence of musical merit. Actually, why don't you also explain what you mean by "international market." Clearly Sven is the go to guy when it comes to what's happening everywhere in the world as far as good music goes. Sven is everywhere at once, speaks a 1000 languages, and has an in depth of of the musical cultures of the world.

Which leads me to my next question, Sven: what music will NZ musicians be playing in 7 years time?

Dave (not Doug)   #9   11:22 am Apr 03 2012

Sven #6 - well, we don't hear much Russian music here either. Not even the odd Russian comedy duo (except of course for the Putin/Medvedev double act).

Shane   #10   11:48 am Apr 03 2012

Nice work Rich #8, all hail the mighty Sven.

I'm leaning towards David Dallas as my pick. I got this album ages ago and it's a cut above a lot of other local hip hop. Beastwars - okay with in small doses and think as they continue to develop they will pick up more fans, but not yet a Taite Prize winner.

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