Aldous Harding wins the 2018 Taite Music Prize

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The winner of the ninth annual Taite Music Prize is the inimitable Aldous Harding for her bewitching sophomore album ‘Party’.

The Auckland Live Best Independent Debut 2018 is awarded to West Auckland’s bayou-blues folk quintet, The Miltones for their self-titled album.

The iconic Headless Chickens were presented the Independent Music New Zealand Classic Record award for their landmark 1988 album, Stunt Clown

In a message from her current base in London, Aldous (Hannah) Harding reacted to the win with her trademark thoughtful delivery thanking “everyone involved in the making of Party, not just the music itself but the air around it, things around it and the people supporting the future of Party.” Hannah also revealed future plans in her message with a wry smile, “We start recording in the next couple of days, the new album, so I’ll put the money towards making the same mistake.”

The Taite Music Prize highlights outstanding New Zealand albums released in the past year. The award is open to all genres of music from any record label and judged on artistic merit, regardless of genre or sales. Named after the late Dylan Taite, one of the country’s most highly respected music journalists, The Taite Music Prize‘s purpose is to recognise outstanding creativity for an entire collection of music contained on one recording. Hannah receives a cash prize of $10,000 from Taite Music Prize founding partner, Recorded Music NZ. Additionally through the support of Red Bull Studios Auckland, the winner receives recording time at the Red Bull Studios and a year’s supply of product.

As the main prize was announced, the room was hushed in high expectation that met with a roar matching the enthusiasm of the unanimous decision by this year’s panelist of judges. Homage was paid to the undeniable calibre of all of the other finalists and their 2017 releases; Nadia Reid, Kane Strang, The Bads, Grayson Gilmour, Mermaidens, TEEKS and Fazerdaze.

IMNZ Chairperson Matthew Davis comments, “The eye-watering high standard of albums released last year gave us all such inspiration and sense of gratitude to be able to hold these awards again. It’s no surprise looking at the calibre of these nominees that the international attention on New Zealand music continues to grow”.

The Auckland Live Best Independent Debut award went to West Auckland five-piece, The Miltones for their self-titled, self-released, debut album delivering their unique spin on bluesy folk-rock Americana. Their calling card debut has provided a massive year for the young band including performance slots at WOMAD, Marchfest and a sold-out album release tour. They receive a $2000 cash prize from IMNZ plus a live performance slot programmed at Auckland Live.

Auckland Live’s manager of Programme Development, Georgina Cervin comments, “Representing Auckland Live on the Taite Music Prize judging panel this year has been as much of a challenge as it has been a pleasure. There is a wealth of major talent amongst NZ’s independent artists, and selecting winners from the excellent shortlists was never going to be straightforward. Auckland Live is a strong supporter of NZ music and musicians, and we look forward to developing our relationship with the independent sector as work continues on the Aotea Studios development over the coming years”.

The ceremony included the award presentation of the Independent Music NZ Classic Record. This award acknowledges one New Zealand record released over 20 years ago on an independent label. These records, whether a 12”, a compilation, EP, or full-length album, have become quintessential gold nuggets of our musical history.

This year’s panel gave the nod to the Headless Chickens’ Stunt Clown album as one of Aotearoa’s classic records. The award was presented by Public Address founder, Hard Newsjournalist and Flying Nun Records aficionado, Russell Brown and was accepted by members of the band. Tribute was made to late bandmate Grant Fell who passed away early this year,  before launching into an impromptu rendition of a favourite from Stunt Clown, ‘Fish Song’

The Taite Music Prize winner was announced this evening at an event attended by around 350 people in The Wintergarden, the musical belly of Auckland’s magnificent theatre, The Civic. MCs for the evening’s proceedings were 95bFM’s Geneva Alexander and Radio New Zealand’s Alex Behan. The event was live-streamed to the public thanks to Radio NZ National.

IMNZ members Loop Recordings assembled Taite Music Prize House Band featuring Frank Eliesa, Swap Gomez, Kenji Iwamitsu-Holdaway & JY Lee of Yoko-Zuna with guests Anna Coddington, Joel Shadbolt of L.A.B. and Randa. They performed a variety of covers throughout the night including previous Taite Prize Winners – Street Chant’s 'Pedestrian Support League’, alongside Headless Chickens – ‘Expecting To Fly’ and Aldous Harding’s ‘Imagining My Man’.  

The Taite Music Prize panel to determine the finalists was made up of a broad section of music/media/industry specialists. The finalist judges made their decision based entirely on the artistic merit of the winning album. Sales, genres, artist recognition or popularity were not contributing factors in their decision-making process.

2018 Taite Music Prize Judges:

Alan Holt - NZ Music Commission

Billie Rogers – Artist (Street Chant)

Georgina Cervin - Auckland Live

Hugh Sundae - Hollywood Avondale

Joost Langeveld - Big Pop Studios / Artist

Russell Baillie - NZ Listener Arts Editor

Sandy Mill - Artist

Savina Fountain - Ignite / Auckland Stadiums

Silke Hartung - NZ Musician

Teremoana Rapley - Artist

Finalists for the Taite Music Prize 2018  were from a lengthy list of 92 nominations submitted by record labels both independent and major from across the country:

Aldous Harding - Party  (Flying Nun Records)
Fazerdaze - Morningside  (Flying Nun Records)
Grayson Gilmour - Otherness (Flying Nun Records)
Kane Strang - Two Hearts and No Brain (Dead Oceans)
Mermaidens - Perfect Body (Flying Nun Records)
Nadia Reid - Preservation (SPUNK!)
TEEKS - The Grapefruit Skies (TEEKS)
The Bads - Losing Heroes (The Bads)

Previous winners of The Taite Prize:

2010 - Lawrence Arabia Chant Darling (Honorary Bedouin Records)

2011 - Ladi6 - The Liberation Of (What? Music)

2012 - Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Unknown Mortal Orchestra (Seeing Records)

2013 – SJD - Elastic Wasteland (Round Trip Mars)

2014 – Lorde - Pure Heroine (Universal Music NZ)

2015 – Jakob – Sines (Shoot The Freak)

2016 – Silicon - Personal Computer (Weird World/Domino Recordings)

2017 - Street Chant - Hauora (Arch Hill Recordings)

Previous Winners of the  Independent Music NZ Classic Record:

2013 – Gordons – Gordons (Flying Nun)

2014 – Various Artists – AK79 (Ripper Records)

2015 – Herbs – What’s Be Happen? (Warrior Records)

2016 – Upper Hutt Posse – E Tū (Jayrem Records)

2017 - The Clean - Boodle Boodle Boodle (Flying Nun)


Previous Winners of the Auckland Live Best Independent Debut:

2017 - Merk - Swordfish  (self released)