Sunday, August 19, 2012

New Zealand Musics

As mentioned elsewhere on this blog, I was for a long while a bit of a reggae fanatic and remain a healthy fan.

I am also rather fond of my adopted country of residence (New Zealand).

You would as thus assume that I am therefore a keen supporter of this countries third largest export.

After dairy and wine, I am talking about easy going, soulful reggae.

Tiki Taane, Salmonella Dub, Kora, Katchafire, Trinity Roots, The Black Seeds and the mack daddies of the whole scene, Fat Freddy’s Drop.

You’d be very, very wrong.

I hate New Zealand reggae; it's bland, eighties lovers rock sound, it's shared horn section and particularly it's lyrical preoccupation with 'fire'

Whilst NZ reggae treats are few and far between (I did see a video once for a tune called ‘Clav Dub’ by Rhombus, which I kinda liked at the time. I have been too scared to watch it a second time, however) I have, since moving to NZ, stumbled across a few considerably less hyped and considerably more tasty local musical morsels.

Tiny Ruins
Acoustic folk act (a vehicle for songwriter Holly Fullbrook, whom perversely for the topic of this post is originally from my previous adopted home of Bristol).  Gently finger picked, slack tuned acoustic guitar ballads with propulsive but melodic double bass backing and lilting girly harmonies. Made a great job of opening for Fleet Foxes at Wellington Town Hall in February 2012, despite the majority of the trend following hipster audience talking through their gentle set. Their album, “Some Were Meant For Sea” was deservingly entered for an Taite Award (think of a less lucrative Brits/ARIA’s with a considerably less hyperbole and you’re on your way).

Beast Wars
Stoner/doom metal band with an awesomely hirstute singer of indeterminate age whom when playing live assumes a similar expression to a greyhound trying to follow a card trick, whilst standing side on to the microphone and occasionally bellowing towards it. Grungy, sub Sabbath down tuned guitars grind away in the background ad infinitum. Now that’s my kind of party.

I bought one of the 300 copies of their debut LP printed to marble coloured vinyl with amazing cover art drawn by Nick Keller, whom is a conceptual artist whom works for Weta (the studio that made the 'Lord Of The Rings' films).

Seth Frightening
Trebly, falsetto voiced, Daniel Johnson-esque singer/songwriter whom regular pops up the bill opening for touring Americana acts. His aggressively lo-fi album “The Prince And His Madness“ is a bit of a weird, outsider music influenced treat. Imagine Jay Reatard, only without the humour, punk influence or hooks and you’re half way there. 

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