As Music Month rolls around (again), I've been pondering (again) the state of the racket the nation's bands and musicians have been whipping up.

And from what I can hear, it's pretty damn good and bubbling along better than ever.

While many of our lot are touring overseas and doing well abroad (Kimbra just won the International Songwriting Competition for Cameo Lover), there are always local shows to go to (even when it's not Music Month) and, best of all, the music being produced means there is something for everyone.


Recently, I was on the panel of NZ On Air's Making Tracks funding round - where more than 100 applicants put their best song forward to vie for $250,000 worth of grants. The most striking thing about the long list of songs - some brilliantly inspired, some just great catchy tunes, and others pure dogs - was the diversity.

Sadly, there was no dark, ambient, death-doom music (though Beastwars had a new song in there) but there was everything from the fruity whimsy of New York-based Kiwi Lips and the impossibly catchy sugar-coated pop of Brooke's Til the End (not to be mistaken for Brooke Fraser), to the slightly twisted but mainstream focused rock of Villainy (Shihad's Tom Larkin is recording and producing them) and, my own personal triumph, convincing the rest of the panel to get behind guitarist and songwriter Doug Jerebine's Ain't So Hard to Do, a cracking and raw rock 'n' roll tune recorded more than 40 years ago.

Because, if you ask me, you can't beat raw rock 'n' roll music that's timeless.

ITEM 2: And speaking of that, how 'bout them boys from the Black Keys then, eh? Haven't they done well? I remember seeing them in 2005 at the Kings Arms, back when Dan Auerbach and Pat Carney were hammering out songs off early albums like Thickfreakness.

Actually, to be completely honest, the night is a bit of a haze because songs like Set You Free, with its devilishly reckless shuffle and groove, inspired my mates and me to have quite a big one.

However, while the finer points of the night may have been lost, the impression they left made the Black Keys one of my favourite bands since.

They last played here in 2008 at the Powerstation in front of a giant rubber tyre, a nod to the band's third album, Rubber Factory and their hometown of Akron, Ohio.

And when they play Vector Arena in November, more than seven years and four albums on from their Kings Arms show, they will be big enough to play in front of the Goodyear Blimp. Good on you, brothers.


And not to pat ourselves on the back or anything, but TimeOut picked it when reviewing latest album El Camino last year, declaring it the album that would make them superstars.

ITEM 3: I have to admit it, I have more in common with TimeOut cover star David Guetta than I ever possibly imagined.

Because, like Mr Guetta, when I am dancing to banging house music on Saturday nights, I, too, tend to dance with my hands pumping in the air like I just don't care.

Though no one does it quite like this crazy frog.

- TimeOut