Five New Zealand albums are vying for a new music prize named in honour of the late Dylan Taite - one of the country's most respected music journalists.

The finalists for the Taite Music Prize, which acknowledges the best album released in the previous year, are dapper blues rockers The Checks for Alice By The Moon; David Dallas, the hip-hop artist formerly known as Con Psy, for Something Awesome; APRA Silver Scroll winner Lawrence Arabia is in line for more recognition with Chant Darling; drum 'n' bass stalwarts Shapeshifter are up for their fourth album, The System Is A Vampire; and Auckland instrumental noise trio Kerretta for their debut, Vilayer.

The award was established by Independent Music New Zealand and Phonographic Performances New Zealand, in conjunction with the Taite family, and carries a $10,000 first prize.

Last year when the prize was announced, John Taite, Dylan's son, said it was intended to acknowledge both the work of his father and some great New Zealand talent.

A 10-person judging panel from the radio and music industries, along with John Taite, will decide the winner, which will be announced on March 31. The judging focus is based on originality, creativity, and musicianship displayed on an album, rather than sales or any other commercial factors.