If your knowledge of New Zealand’s music scene doesn’t extend beyond Flying Nun Records and Flight of the Conchords, then rejoice — there’s a shitload of excellent Kiwi music just waiting to be discovered! With the excellent new album by James Milne — aka Lawrence Arabia — out this week, we thought it’d be a fine time to survey some of the other great music coming out of the North and South Islands. (We’re focusing on indie stuff here, so there’s nothing from the world of New Zealand dub, which is probably a whole separate post in and of itself.) Anyway, suggestions are, as ever, welcome.
Kiwi bands have long had a way with a jangly guitar and an infectious melody — an entire scene was built around such things in Dunedin in the 1980s, focused around enduringly excellent indie label Flying Nun, and much of the music made its way onto US college radio, which is why you’ll find a surprisingly large number of fans of bands like The Clean and The Verlaines on this side of the Pacific. Anyway, Lawrence Arabia’s work shows that the gift spans generations — his songs are perhaps somewhat more twee than those of his forebears, but they’re no less appealing for it.