2008 Alternatuis

It's that time you've all been waiting for - the 3rd annual Counting The Beat Alternatuis. The Alternatuis, as you can probably discern from the title are our alternative to the mainstream NZ music awards. They differ in many ways -firstly the process is completely subjective - there is no attempt made to have a representative or democratic selection of winners. Secondly, the award categories change from year to year - it's more a case of choosing acts and releases we like and fitting the categories around them. And thirdly, there are no trophies and there is no material gain for the winners - they simply get to bask in the glory of being selected as the very best by Counting The Beat.

Single Of The Year
My criteria for this award isn't necessarily a song that gets released as a single, after all what does that mean these days, but a song that reaches out and grabs you, sticks in your head and is undeniably catchy. In May this year Real groove magazine issued a CD of up and coming kiwi acts to mark NZ Music Month. For weeks after I drove everyone in my house made playing one song again and again, and I still love it now. Monkey Eats Bananas by Princess Chelsea is silly but incredibly compelling. Xylophone, electric piano, a nonsense lyric that doesn't kick in until two thirds of the way through the song, all atop a great rolling bass line. Brilliant.

Band Of The Year
The Broken Heartbreakers are a fantastic band. Their songwriting goes from strength to strength, they're are a great live act and they're always out playing. They have a real sense of how to make each show seem special, they connect and care about their fans. And this year they released an outstanding self-titled album of touching and tender country-folk songs. I've long been a fan but this year is the year that The Broken Heartbreakers have really hit their stride. (Listen to a National Radio live session - stream, or check out the clip of them performing live on TV on the video page)

Newcomers Of The Year
The Sing Songs have made life hard for themselves by choosing a name that makes it impossible to google them, but if they can overcome that they should have a great future. They write catchy acoustic indie-pop tunes that combine simple but memorable melodies with clever leftfield lyrics about things like HTML, pamphlet delivery and the Olympics. Fans of The Brunettes should check this band out. The Sing Songs have gone straight from Myspace to the Waiheke Radio playlist. Hopefully there will be a CD release soon so more people can hear them too. ( The video for their song Pamphlet Baby is on the video page and there's a good profile on Einstein Music Journal)

Rock Release Of The Year
There is not a dud moment of Elixir Always, the debut album from Collapsing Cities. Last year they picked up the Single Of The Year Alternatui, and then this year they released this album on which every song could stand up as a single. Collapsing Cities write great infectious post-punk-pop-dance tunes perfect for dancing but check the lyrics - funny self deferential tales of young adult life - "if I'm still a telemarketer next year I think I'll end my life". This is one of my favourite albums to take along when I've got a long drive, it lifts my energy every time. (Check the clip on the video page and their Myspace remix page for free downloads)

Album Of The Year
It may make for disturbing listening but Renee-Louise Carafice's album Tells You To Fight is a stunning and unique album. By now, surely everyone knows that the songs on the album were her reaction to a period of hospitalisation for depression. On the basis of the early demos she went on to win a major cash prize and then produced this album in the USA. Carafice avoids the trap of producing a bunch of overwrought solo recordings that the subject matter may have suggested. The arrangements and production and Carafice's unique voice result in songs that are dramatic in their content and delivery. This stands out as a great NZ album. (Check the clip on the video page, or take a listen to a live session recorded for National Radio - stream)

So that's it for another year. These are the third Alternatuis and each year we discuss the need to up the ante and the profile of the awards. This year the launch of Waiheke Radio got in the way out for next year when big things will happen -maybe.

Download the Counting The Beat - 2008 Alternatuis podcast

2007 Alternatuis

2006 Alternatuis



Chris said...

The Sing Songs say:

Awesome, thanks! This was honestly just so unexpected, can we just take a minute to thank one or two people? Um, just our parents and our families and that. Warwick, who recorded one of our songs once. The big man - John Candy. And Steve Par. Or Parr.

Chris said...

Message from Collapsing Cities:

Thank you Chris,

we are flattered yet again!
we really will have to make it over to waiheke some day..

Chris said...

Message from the Broken Heartbreakers:

Hi Chris,

All the Heartbreakers were truly surprised and completely stoked to get the news.
We gratefully accept the honour of this Alternatui.
Thanks a million for all your incredible support and thanks for
your great website.Cheers!

See you soon
John and Rach

Chris said...

Message from Princess Chelsea:

wow thanks a lot thats awesome