Welcome to the first letter of the cmd+f advent calendar–or should I say, the cmd+vent calendar?
You may be scratching your head thinking, "what? It isn't Friday now, is it?" (more likely in far simpler terms floating about your head). Fear not: it is indeed the middle of the week. Hanukkah has already kicked off, and we are only (approximately) 12 days until Christmas.
As a special thank you to all the faithful readers of cmd+f (and to avoid having to compose a very cliche list of my favorite songs released in the past 12 months), I've reached out to a handful of dear friends to write about how and what particular music has impacted their time living through 2017. Consider this project an extension of the bonus section that lingers at the bottom of the cmd+f letter each week.
For Day 1 of the cmd+vent calendar I'd like to introduce Ana. She currently resides in the southern Hemisphere and was likely sweating her ass off in front of a volcano writing this up. I'll leave her to the rest of this letter.
Hey, I’m Ana–a 20 year old community radio host in New Zealand.
No, I don’t know Lorde. Yes, like every other New Zealander, she is a friend of a friend of a friend. I thought this cmd+f advent calendar was such a cool idea from B, and when she said she wanted people to share how music helped them find joy in 2017, I knew exactly what to write about.
I’ve been trying to make my way into radio for a couple years now, but it wasn’t until this year I solidified myself a proper announcing job. Sure, it’s a small community radio station based inside a record store, but it’s a radio station nonetheless. Thanks to this job, I’ve grown a new passion for New Zealand music because one of our goals is to try enlarge the focus on local acts. From playing ‘70s Kiwi bands (Dragon) to the newest voices in soul (Ria Hall), we try to cover as many bases as possible.
In this letter, I thought I’d highlight some of the NZ artists and songs that have come to my attention in 2017, and maybe you’ll learn about someone new!
I’m starting with Matthew Young because he’s the one who really got this ball rolling. A few months ago I was looking at what new music had been added to our rotation, and his song "Collect" popped up. I was immediately obsessed, and added it to my own Spotify playlist. A few weeks later he released "Hey," which (at the time of writing this), has now racked up almost a million streams! Both of these songs have a really cool, chilled out vibe, paired with relevant lyrics and his pleasing voice. He has some other songs available from a 2015 EP, but personally I’m waiting to see what his next project delivers us.
Listen to his voice. That’s all I really need to say. TEEKS (or, Te Karehana) came out with his debut EP ‘The Grapefruit Skies’ this year and it’s a 6 track mix of his deep and soulful voice alongside some emotive storytelling. He’s also not forgetting his roots, accepting his recent VNZMA Best Māori Artist award with a speech fully in te reo Māori. In a country where we are currently having debates on whether or not te reo should be compulsory in schools, I’m glad artists like TEEKS are keeping it in the forefront. "If Only" is one of his singles from the EP, detailing the perspective of a person who is apologising for not being in love with someone who is in love with them. I’d recommend checking out the music video while you’re there, to catch him in a very handsome orange turtleneck.
The Miltones are an Americana/blues group who released their self-titled debut album this year. They’ve taken on a genre which some people (e.g. my pop trash-loving self) will easily dismiss out of concern for it sounding dated and boring… but it’s anything but that. The quintet bring a lot of life and relevance to each song. My personal favourite is "Glory," which starts off a bit eerie, then ventures into the psychedelic realm. I’m gutted because they actually performed at a tiny intimate venue in my town this year–but it was a couple of weeks before their music had even been introduced to me! I won’t be missing it if they return, that’s for sure.
Okay, honestly? I’m not even a fan of Montell’s music. He’s a trap/hip-hop producer who found his success through Soundcloud, which isn’t generally what I gravitate to. I’m still *so proud* of how far he’s gotten and am following his every step. Montell comes from a small town near me with a 4.6k population, so it’s really impressive that he’s managed to break away from those restrictions and end up with a 21 Savage collaboration; "Hunnid On The Drop." Fingers crossed he manages to connect with other big names in the music industry and 2018 brings him more success!
SACHI!!! These two guys have been at it for a couple years now, but they only came onto my radar in 2017 with their hit "Shelter." Looking at my Shazam, I can actually say I discovered that song on the 5th of June! It’s fair to say they’re the most successful out of the acts I’ve covered, but I still wanted to mention them because they’ve been releasing consistently quality tracks over the past few months, and it’s always a highlight when I check New Music Friday/Release Radar and I see they have a brand new song out.
You can find Ana on the net via Twitter: @anadayviez
Stay tuned for Day 2 of the cmd+vent calendar dropping tomorrow!