Home to over a quarter of New Zealand’s total population, it probably comes as no surprise that Auckland has more than its fair share of quality acts to its name. Boasting an eclectic mix of hip-hop, punk and pretty much everything in between, there is a daunting amount of music emerging from the city situated up in the north of the country.
To save you filtering through everything yourself, we’ve chucked together five acts we reckon are killing it that, although might have migrated in from elsewhere, currently call Auckland home. From tight synth-pop to angsty post-punk, check out our short guide below.
Avantdale Bowling Club
Having recently won the esteemed Taite Music Prize award for his eponymous debut album, Avantdale Bowling Club, the moniker of Tom Scott, is a name you may well start hearing more of. Borrowing more than a touch from the smooth, jazz-inflected hip-hop of To Pimp A Butterfly, the record is a stunning release worthy of its recent award and deserving of any further praise it receives.
Climate change, the banality of office jobs, the human race’s general willful ignorance; Bad Timing only tackle the big stuff. The indie/surf/punk/everything band’s debut EP, It Might As Well Be Cabbage, is at times humorous, often frustrated, and always entertaining. If you’re looking for some not-so-subtle reminders of the negative impact capitalism can have on our world, then Bad Timing are likely your cup of tea.
Smooth synth-pop duo Imugi 이무기 have developed quite the name for doing things a little bit different. The innovative VR video accompanying their new single “Be Here Soon” results in a visual treat almost as good as the music, while vocalist Yery Cho’s lyrics show a sense of social awareness likely to resonate with a lot of people throughout New Zealand and beyond.
James Milne’s Lawrence Arabia project has been knocking around now for more than a decade, and in that time he’s managed to accrue some serious critical acclaim both at home and overseas. His recent single “Everything’s Minimal” (featuring Tiny Ruins’ Hollie Fulbrook and accompanied by a seriously NSFW video) only proved why his eccentric pop output has travelled so well, flagging him as not just one of Auckland’s, but New Zealand’s, most impressive current artists.
One of the multiple additional acts featuring Chris Marshall, also in Bad Timing and The Miltones, Miss June aren’t a band you should take lightly. 2017’s EP Matriarchy was as damning as the title suggests, attacking perceived gender roles and other conventional hierarchies. Their most recent single, last year’s Twitch, continued to showcase the band’s post-punk prowess, building the hype for an eventual full-length from the quartet.