Wednesday, 20 March 2013

The sound of young Dunedin

If Flying Nun and Arch Hill weren't fixated on Auckland then they'd know the new New Zealand scene is really happening in Dunedin.

Trick Mammoth
They capture rattling garage pop with the sadness of soft rock. I can hear the melancholy of The Carpenters (seriously!) and the lugubrious outtakes of Alex Chilton's Lost Decade. There's that same distinctive unease you get from English psychedelia - XTC, for instance - and an Americana-flavoured backwoods songwriting (Elliot Smith, say) dressed up in a full-band treatment. Give them $50 more of studio time and they'll make a record that sounds a million dollars. Which is what Fishrider in Dunedin are doing.

The Prophet Hens
There are three things you need to know:
Trivia: they number Darren Stedman of The Verlaines on drums.
Fact: There's an album later this year on Fishrider.
Music: There's one song, All Over The World, that picks up where The Chills' Heavenly Pop Hit left off and finds new heights.

It's customary to say that new NZ bands this good sound like The Bats or The Clean. Males don't, but they do occupy the same category filed "classic guitar pop" having the fire, fury and tunes of REM's Chronic Town. So High, their single coming out on Manic Pop! in the US (NZ A&R departments - hang your heads in shame!) sounds like the best Delgados song you never heard.

There is, of course, a Bats connection. Males songwriter Richard Ley-Hamilton plays with Robert Scott and The Puddle's Ian Henderson in a new band, Kilmog.

By the way, Males bassist Sam Valentine plays drums in Trick Mammoth - there's a real scene in Dunedin. Time to take notice.


  1. Yeah, Dunedin is OK but Christchurch is where it's really at ;)

  2. Give me some bands to check out (seriously).

  3. Bands generally lean towards something a little heavier here but these are a good starting point.

  4. In particular this song.

  5. Some good stuff there, but I think Shayne Carter got it right about NZ music when he said about the Dunedin scene: "you're braver when it doesn't really matter, less self-conscious when you think nobody's listening,"