It’s New Zealand music month and to celebrate I am encouraging people out there in other countries to enjoy some fine NZ music.
I will admit that upon first moving here, I wasn’t much impressed by anything I heard from local acts. But as time has gone on, my opinions have changed as I have discovered some sweet jams.
One of my very favourites is Fraser Ross. Not only is his music amazingly awesome, but he is my former neighbour. Fraser has recently departed the fair heights of Coromandel Street for the Scottish Highlands in pursuit of love, and I wish him all the best. I first met Frase at our yearly Christmas neighborhood bbq this past year, and when he told me he had a special lady friend in Scotland I asked him how they met. With a completely straight face, he told me they met online. I very innocently believed him. About 30 seconds later he told me he was just kidding and they met here in Wellington, and 6 months later when I heard he was moving overseas to be with her I was really glad, though of course I’m sad to lose such a wonderfully musical pal & neighbour. As I know well, long distance relationships aren’t easy, so I’m really happy for him as he makes a go of his musical career closer to his sweetheart!
His new EP is called “To Places” and features some really sweet melodies.
I recommend a listen.
Another local act I adore is called Glass Vaults. It helps of course that the band is comprised of a trio of handsome gentlemen. Their musical style is a big hard to describe, though according to their bandcamp site it’s been called “post-ambient” and “glacial pop”. Whatever name you give it, it’s lovely.
They also make some awesome music videos and are clearly just really talented boys.
I’m a big fan of the fabulous folks from Orchestra of Spheres.
They wear amazing costumes, sound like they’re from outer space, ride bikes, and are awesomely dedicated to supporting experimental music around town. Also they have really mastered the art of having on-stage personas. By day they are book editors and music teachers, by night, Orchestra of Spheres turns into:
Baba Rossa – biscuit tin guitar, sexomouse marimba
EtonalE – electric carillon
Jemi Hemi Mandala – drumkit
Mos Iocos – keyboard, gamelan
Another former neighbour of mine plays in the band Phoenix Foundation. They’re quite popular here in NZ and were even musical guests on a BBC programme. I think that means they’re famous? After hearing he was in a “famous” band, I actually tried to ask my neighbour if he was considered “famous” and if people recognised him in public, and he reluctantly admitted it. I don’t know why NZers would feel uncomfortable about admitting fame… isn’t being famous the whole point of being a rock star?!?! I guess it’s just a testament to the very humble down-to-earth nature of most people in the country.
My pal Matt the music librarian at the National Library of New Zealand is in Golden Awesome, a band definitely worth checking out.
Matt, being an excellent librarian, also compiled and posted an album of NZ music on the National Library website, all songs freely available under the creative commons licence.
It’s called the Turnbull Mixtape, after the Turnbull Library, a national institution dedicated to preserving NZ culture.
Aren’t librarians awesome?
There are literally dozens of other bands I would love to describe in this post, but unfortunately due to time constraints only my top 5 have made it. Others worth checking out in Wellington include: