Aldous Harding and Lawrence Arabia could each become the first artist to win the Taite Music Prize twice.
They're the previous winners among 10 finalists for the 2020 award — arguably New Zealand music's most prestigious — announced today.
The Taite, named after the late Dylan Taite, one of New Zealand's most respected music journalists, honours outstanding creativity for a collection of music on one recording — basically an album — rather than commercial success.
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Arabia won the award in its inaugural year, 2010, for Chant Darling. Harding was the 2018 winner, for Party. This year Arabia is nominated for Lawrence Arabia's Singles Club and Harding for Designer.
The other nominees include the metal monsters of Beastwars for their uncompromising album IV, rising rap star Jess B with her booming, hip-shaking album New Views and the laid-back summer grooves that slid on to
L.A.B's recent album, L.A.B III. The soul-searching that singer-songwriter Louis Baker undertook on Open earns him a spot, as does the hypnotically jagged indie rock of Mermaidens' thunderingly hazy Look Me in the Eye.
Elsewhere, Miss June's energetically raucous Bad Luck Party sees them gatecrash the nominations, while Tiny Ruins' quietly stunning Olympic Girls and Troy Kingi's politically charged roots-reggae on Holy Colony Burning Acres wrap up the list of finalists.
Independent Music NZ's general manager, Dylan Pellett, says the list illustrates the
"extraordinary musical and artistic expression to be found in New Zealand".
Beastwars and Tiny Ruins have made the shortlist twice before.
This year's winner will pocket $12,500 and studio time.
The nominees were chosen from a list of 54 submitted by record labels both independent and major from across the country. Other previous winners include Ladi6, Lorde and, last year, Tom Scott's Avantdale Bowling Club project.
The announcement of the finalists coincides with a call by Taite's son, John Taite, to "digitise Dylan".
John Taite says the reason his father's name is attached to the awards — his career in TV journalism — is in jeopardy in the storage areas of broadcasters TVNZ and Three.
"His stories and his legacy are disappearing on old format tapes like Marty McFly's photo in Back to the Future. There's a whole generation who know the name but never knew the man. So, let's fix that."
John Taite says his dad "always got there first. He'd hear something special, exciting or bonkers and invite us all to listen. He interviewed and befriended the world's biggest and most interesting artists and TVNZ let him to use the 6 o'clock news (!) to intrigue and indoctrinate the ears of a nation."
Taite gave ordinary New Zealanders their first taste of everything from Bob Marley and Sex Pistols to Run-DMC and the White Stripes and Nine Inch Nails "while sitting in front of the telly with their meat and two veg.
"Let's liberate the archive, make his interviews available to everyone and reclaim this important part of New Zealand's cultural history. After all, they're proof we've always had the most open-minded and curious music taste in the world."
This year's Taite winner will be announced in Auckland on April 20.