Yesterday was Waitangi Day, which is basically a clusterfuck of colonial fuckery, but a little more than that. It’s in many ways the birthday of modern New Zealand, so I usually make a point of posting New Zealand music.
I forgot, so today I’m gonna post some Kiwi tunes. It’s probably something I’ve done here many times over, and I’ll likely post some double ups of previous times. If it means good tracks are spreading to new audiences, worth it.
- Starting with Villainy. I don’t listen to much rock music these days, but these fellas have a soft spot in my heart. The lead guitarist is one of my favourite people in the world, a real sweet dude who’s uncomfortably multi-talented. I flatted with him for a few years. I think the band has had a bunch of NZ Music Awards by this stage, but this song is fun, has great singalong potential and a neat little music video. Villainy – Tiny Little Island.
- The Ruby Suns are a cute indie band who’ve been around for what feels like an eternity. Their lead singer Ryan McPhun is part of a bunch of twee local acts, and I’ve always loved this song. It’s about Tane Mahuta, a colossal tree deemed Lord of the Forest. The Ruby Suns – Tane Mahuta.
- The Mint Chicks are another local band done good. Their album Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No! was their turn at making grossly enjoyable pop. The title track is a blast. The Mint Chicks – Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No!:
- Here’s Supergroove, one of my eternal favourites. An eclectic rap/funk collective from the early 90s. A lot of tongue in cheek interludes, fun in abundance. Supergroove – Can’t Get Enough.
- Goodshirt was one of these bands that emerged from the early 2000s NZ Music boom. The government started pumping tons of money into promoting the industry, mandatory quotas, etc. This song is swell, a track for quiet summer days. The video is also super high concept. Goodshirt – Sophie.
- Chris Knox was a close personal friend of Jeff Mangum, and spent a lot of time with him in the wake of his breakdown. Knox passed away years back, but he was an utterly gorgeous songwriter. If I ever get married, this would probably be my pick for first dance. Chris Knox – Not Given Lightly.
- Fun weird fact, did y’all know Lorde used to surf /b? I remember back in 2012 or so, she posted this song asking if it was any good. I loved it, and a while later when Royals came out I was like “oh, it’s that Kiwi gal from 4chan”. Anyway, I always thought this song was pretty sweet. Lorde – Love Club.
- Tiki Taane is a renown NZ MC known from his work as a frontman for Salmonella Dub. He’s also had a celebrated solo career, and this track from his 2007 solo debut was fierce as fuck. Tiki Taane – TAGNAROA – God Of The Sea.
- Che Fu I think started out back in Supergroove (as seen/heard above) but really came into his own as a singer/songwriter. He has this resonant, lovely voice and it’s in full force on “Waka”. Che Fu – Waka.
- This track is from a rap collective called Home Brew Crew. The album is fucking fantastic, some good ol’ conscious hip hop that doesn’t shy away from the dark kinda stuff. Home Brew – Alcoholic.
- Having been away for a while, I don’t know that much modern stuff. This 2015 album, however, was top notch. A couple of Kiwi musician friends went away for a weekend and put together some jams. Big Glass Animals kinda vibe. LEISURE – Got It Bad.
- This whole list would be remiss without Crowded House. I’m sure y’all know Don’t Dream It’s Over, even if you don’t think you do. Neil and Tim Finn are kind of peak NZ Music royalty, from their groundbreaking weird shit they did back with Split Enz way back when. This song is both very pretty and slightly menacing. I love love love it to bits. Crowded House – Private Universe.
- Blerta – Dance All Around The World has a special place in my heart. It’s goofy and 70s H.R. Pufnstuf aesthetic personified. It even has a dumb little spoken word monologue about a prince learning about the beauty of the world outside the castle. It’s kooky as shit. Blerta – Dance All Around The World.
- This is the quintessential Kiwi rock festival song. It’s great memories all the way down for me. Shihad never quite caught on in the US, but they’re a phenomenal live act that deserved far more than they got. This song is a fucking treasure. Shihad – Home Again.
- Steriogram were kind of a big deal after this video (dir Michel Gondry) got nominated for a Grammy (which it entirely unjustifiably lost to U2’s fucking Elevation). They stagnated and fell apart afterwards. One of my friends worked in Momofuku when she first moved to NYC, and one of the band member was washing dishes. He was mortified to meet another New Zealander. Kind of sad, really. Steriogram – Walkie Talkie Man.
- I knew this gal back in high school. Very talented, super nice person. She got picked up by Sony, they couldn’t quite figure out how to market her and dropped her like a ton of bricks. Was kinda shitty. This song was super twee and cute though. Zowie – Broken Machine.
- NZ can do metal tooooo. Always liked this eponymous jam from 8 Foot Sativa. Still stomps. 8 Foot Sativa – 8 Foot Sativa.
- Deja Voodoo were the “house band” for Back of the Y, a super weird gem of a local TV show. A cross between skits and public access kinda stuff. They couldn’t actually play instruments, they were just dubbed over. Eventually they decided to learn music and make a real band. This song was written from one of our Big Day Out concerts, after one of them accidentally took a beer from stage mates Something For Kate’s cooler (the two stages were side by side. Honest mistake), they got a stern talking to from the band’s manager and wrote this song as a rebuttal. Deja Voodoo – Beers.
- The Veils are a longtime fave. Super evocative and poetic, downright spooky at times. Their album Nux Vomica is superb, but this song from 2016 release Total Depravity draws a very clean line from Nick Cave inspiration. It’s rad and a half. Very dense. The Veils – King of Chrome.
Happy listening, whanau.