Naming 20 best NZ songs of the year

Apra has announced the top 20 songs in the running for this year's Silver Scroll award. Selected by a judging panel of Apra writer members, it's now over to the 10,000-strong New Zealand Apra membership to decide the top five.

The winner will be announced on Thursday October 30 at Wellington's TSB Arena.

Lorde took away last year's trophy for Royals, here we cast our eye over the new contenders.

10,000 Things by School For Birds (Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper and Sean Sturm)

This song has the fewest lyrics of all the top 20, with 94 words. This chameleonic act was formerly known as the Exiles, and Cooper is frequently in demand as a musical arranger/string player too; he was shortlisted last year for his other project Kittens of the internet.

Back On My Feet by Louis Baker.

This delightfully intimate slow-burner was recorded by the 23-year-old Wellingtonian in London, with producer Andy Lovegrove (Breaks Co-op), when Baker was on his way home from a stint at the Red Bull Music Academy in New York.

Bob Lennon John Dylan by the Phoenix Foundation.

The Phoenix Foundation have been shortlisted for the Silver Scroll award three times so far, but are yet to come away with the trophy. This eccentric, frenetic love song from the Tom's Lunch EP could be the ticket.

Bridges by Broods.

There have been three different videos for this debut single from Nelson brother and sister duo Georgia and Caleb Nott, but they've still managed to clock up a million views on YouTube. With a co-credited Joel Little producing, Broods are often tipped as "the next Lorde", but their lush synth-pop takes a different approach.

Celeste by Ezra Vine (Joseph Faris).

This go-getting young musician signed a global deal with Parlophone in May this year. The only song he has released so far, you might recognise it as the soundtrack to TVNZ's own ads for Channel One.

Cry If You Want To by Jol Mulholland.

This is the first single from Mulholland's upcoming solo album Stop and Start Again, and it uses some of the most interesting vintage synth and guitar sounds across the top 20, plus it has the distinction of showcasing the highest male falsetto.

Duckies Lament by Jonathan Bree.

Taken from his Taite Music Prize-nominated album The Primrose Path track, an anti-love song, sees former-Brunette Jonathan Bree at his most biting.

Glare by Sheep Dog & Wolf.

Sheep Dog & Wolf's Daniel McBride won last year's Critics Choice award, and now he's up for the Silver Scroll with what's been described as "a soulful hate-ballad about the sun".

Good Keen Man by Lake South.

Perhaps best known in his previous musical guise as Urbantramper, Wellingtonian Brendan McKenna has here taken references from our unfeeling world of smartphones and student loans to create a dreamy electro-pop concoction that's like a downbeat anthem for disillusion.

Gravity by @Peace.

Quantum compositions, the sun burning out, dehumanisation, faith, carbon and stars are the complex subject matter @Peace tackle in this jazz-soul-rap mash-up, which comes hot on the heels of their top 20 entry last year, Flowers.

Her Heart Breaks Like a Wave by Dictaphone Blues.

The very recently released first single from Edward Castelow's/Dictaphone Blues' forthcoming third album Mufti Day, this song tells the story of a relationship torn apart by a man's love of surfing.

I'm the Man That Will Find You by Connan Mockasin.

The longest song in the top 20, this single from Paris-based groover Mockasin wins the Prince soundalike prize. On releasing the album from which it came, Mockasin said: "I wanted it to sound like what I thought a record called Caramel would sound like -- flirty and slick."

Levels by She's So Rad.

This single marked a triumphant return for She's So Rad after Jeremy Toy was badly beaten in an unprovoked attack last year, suffering a serious head injury. Instead of giving up, they've turned out a brilliant, toe-tapping, effervescent piece of shoe-gaze pop.

Make You Mine by Anna Coddington.

Having impressed with her 2013 song Bird In Hand, which made the shortlist last year, Coddington then went on to team up with SJD to make this sweet new single about separation and loneliness.

Me At the Museum, You In the Wintergardens by Tiny Ruins (Hollie Fullbrook/Alexander Freer/Cass Mitchell).

This first single from Fullbrook's second album Brightly Painted One may be the shortest song in the bunch at just over two and a half minutes, but its beautiful, evocative lyrics are perfectly formed -- and immortalise the Auckland Domain in such a romantic way.

Runnin' by David Dallas (David Dallas/Aaron Iusitini/Jordan Iusitini/King Britt/Tim Motzer/Gertrude Morgan).

With 645 words, this is by far the wordiest track in the list, but they fly by, with Dallas rolling them out in his distinctive flow. It's also the most successful song here -- the video has 1.2 million views, it has been certified platinum, reached No 7 in the charts, and was synched worldwide with two EA games: Madden NFL 25 and Fifa 14. Plus it samples a Catholic nun.

Simplicity by Mark Vanilau.

Mark Vanilau is one of the hidden treasures of the local music scene -- he's played with Dave Dobbyn, Trinity Roots, Hollie Smith, Eru Dangerspiel, Ladi6 and Scribe. Here he's striking out on his own with a heartfelt song which combines his velvety voice with production from Warren Maxwell.

Speakers Blown by Sid Diamond (Sid Diamond/Isaiah Libeau).

It's the only track to have an "explicit" version in the list (though it's not the only one to contain coarse language). It also weaves some Spanish into its Cuban-inspired beats, from Smashproof alumnus Sid Diamond (formerly Young Sid).

Sunshine On the Water by Tama Waipara (Tama Waipara/Mateheke Waititi).

Tama Waipara made the top 20 last year for his urgent, rocking Medicine Man. Sunshine On the Water, which comes from the same album, takes a very different direction, with a traditional strum and stripped-back arrangement.

Walk (Back To Your Arms) by Tami Neilson (Tami Neilson/Joshua Neilson).

She's won a whole swag of Best Country Album and Song awards since she moved to New Zealand eight years ago, but this is Tami Neilson's first time in the running for the Silver Scroll with a swingin', soulful number.

- TimeOut

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