Kiwi Jams: Notable Bands From New Zealand
Have you ever wondered about the many talented bands that Kiwis fancy from New Zealand? Well, unless you have ever been there or know someone who has, then probably not—but that’s okay, since that’s an unusually specific thing to consider. However, it turns out that New Zealand is extraordinary for more than just rugby (go All Blacks!). This past fall, my brother was fortunate enough to spend a semester on the North Island, and when he returned home, he couldn’t wait to tell me about all the cool bands he discovered there. Some of these bands actually live and perform in the States now, so it’s likely that some of you have heard of them already. Others have stayed in New Zealand and have since become local legends. Either way, all of these bands have great music to offer, and though they might differ from what is commonly heard here on the other side of the world, they are all worth checking out for sure. 1) Lorde
By this point, everyone probably knows who Lorde is. Some of you may even know her as Stan’s Dad in South Park (featuring the hit song “Push”). But I feel the need to clarify that Randy Marsh, in reality, is not actually Lorde. In fact, she is a female electronic pop singer born in Takapuna and raised in the city of Auckland, NZ. Lorde exploded into popularity following the release of her hit song “Royals” in August 2013. While I’m not a huge fan of pop music, I found “Royals” along with other songs from her debut album Pure Heroine (2013) to be incredibly catchy and original.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMZKRUEwOk8 2) Streets of Laredo
For those of you who are fans of indie folk music, you will probably love this band. For those who are not, you’ll still probably like them anyway. Streets of Laredo is an indie-folk rock band originating from Auckland, NZ. The band is currently based in Brooklyn, NY, so fortunately you won’t have to make that eighteen-hour flight halfway around the world to see them perform (but it’s a beautiful island so if you get the chance, I’d say take it). The band released their latest album Volume 1 & 2 in 2014, and it’s got its share of folk gems, like “Girlfriend”.
Kimbra is a well-known singer and recording artist from Hamilton, NZ whose music encompasses an impressive range of genres including indie pop, electropop, jazz, soul, and R&B. With millions of listens on several of her top songs, it’s easy to see that her music is enjoyed not just in her home country but also internationally, as well. Hear for yourself what all the hype is about!
Six60 is the kind of band that you put on when you want to chill out and feel like you’re on vacation (or maybe when you actually are on vacation). With their soulful R&B rhythms, smooth guitar solos and occasional reggae influences, their music is great for easy-listening when you feel like mellowing out. The band formed in Dunedin, NZ in 2008.
4) Sheep, Dog, & Wolf
Not too often do you come across a multi-instrumentalist who records and produces music entirely by himself—I guess that’s what makes Sheep, Dog & Wolf rare. Daniel McBride’s alternative indie-folk acoustic project started when he released his first EP independently from his own bedroom. Soon after that, he was signed by Lil’ Chief Records, which led to the production and release of his first full-length album, Egospect (2013). Instrumentally, this record is beautiful. And am I the only one who thinks that his guitar strumming is somewhat reminiscent of TTNG (formerly This Town Needs Guns—also great, but from the UK, not New Zealand)? Anyway, I’m starting to realize why The Guardian UK referred to McBride as a “young Sufjan Stevens”. Find out for yourself!
For such a small country, New Zealand certainly has quite a few talented musicians. So whether you’re a human or a hobbit, there’s bound to be something you’ll like from this wide collection of different genres and styles. Cheers!