I recently did something that my teenage self would be thrilled about: I booked a trip to Australia and New Zealand. Though she’d probably yell at me, too: why did you take so goddamn long?!
See, at age 15 I first discovered The Church (via local “alternative” radio station WFNX), quickly followed by the Go-Betweens (thanks, MTV’s 120 Minutes!). My love of those two bands put Australia firmly on my musical radar.
Then a short year later, based on a rave review by Mike A in his zine Writer’s Block, I took a chance on buying a rather expensive import CD at the Newbury Comics store in Harvard Square. The disc was Flying Nun label comp In Love With These Times, and from the kickoff track—”Rain” by The Chills—I was hooked. So much amazing music from this one label in New Zealand! I started scouring local record stores for any and all releases by my favorite bands on that comp: the Chills, the Verlaines, the Bats, Look Blue Go Purple and Able Tasmans.
Throughout the years I’ve followed my favorites throughout their careers, buying countless additional records and considering myself lucky to have seen most of these bands live at one time or another. And I’ve occasionally added a band here and there to my list of Aussie and NZ faves.
But it’s only recently that I’ve started paying much closer attention to some of the newer indie bands from that part of the world. And it turns out that now is a pretty fantastic time to be listening. Because many different cities have been brewing up not just great bands, but thriving music scenes, with members swapping and recombining themselves with results that keep me clicking the “Buy now” link on a dizzying array of Bandcamps.
So I want to share with you my favorite recent music from Australia and New Zealand, a whopping 38 bands in total. All songs are from the past couple of years (2013-2015), though most have been released this past year. I featured a number of these bands in my summer 2015 new music mix, so in those instances I’ve chosen different tracks here.
And pssst, bands: play lots of shows in March! Together! And pleaseohpleaseohplease don’t break up! At least not before my boyfriend and I are able to arrive in your town to catch as many of you live as we can.
On to the music…
A current Australia/New Zealand music mix
(I did make a SoundCloud playlist with the 32 tracks available on that service. But you really wanna listen to every last song—links to all 38 below.)
- Tempura Nights – Studville (Soundcloud)
A short and sassy tumble tangle-jangle.
- Salad Boys – Dream Date (Bandcamp)
Crunchy, catchy, kinetic pop and spiky guitar.
- Miners – Wrings (Bandcamp)
Bopping back and forth and staring at your shoes (fuzz-guitar break).
- Dianas – Of A Time (Bandcamp)
Delicate and spare, lovely lilting harmonies over a pulsing beat.
- Terry – Talk About Terry (Soundcloud)
Finger-snap-cracking, speak-and-singing shambling pop.
- X-Ray Charles – Field Recordings of Animal Noises (Bandcamp)
A ripping frantic strum and drum.
- Thigh Master – Head of the Witch (Bandcamp)
Drawling whine and crashing guitar bliss.
- The Ancients – Hey Now (Bandcamp)
A cloud of mildly psychedelic fuzz-pop perfection.
- Day Ravies – Fake Beach (Bandcamp)
Hazy and breathy, with a-go-go organ and guitar growl.
- Beaches – Send Them Away (Bandcamp)
A lovely la-la wash and crash.
- Dick Diver – Tearing the Posters Down (Bandcamp)
Sparkling, chugging, harmonizing together.
- The Moonlight – Into the Water (Bandcamp)
Tense and intense stutter-guitar and croon.
- Blank Realm – Palace of Love (Bandcamp)
Carousel of jangle and snarl.
- The Chills – Warm Waveform (SoundCloud)
A hushed pulse of glowing jewel tones.
- The Goon Sax – Sometimes Accidentally (Bandcamp)
A charming and chiming sideways lament.
- Kitchen’s Floor – Doomed (Bandcamp)
Buzzing, sing-songy drone-beat.
- Filthy Teens – OCD Lovers (Bandcamp)
Nasal guitar shimmy and spritz.
- Rat Columns – New Honey (Bandcamp)
Laconic guitar noodle and melody.
- Center Negative – (secretly he’s a racist) (Bandcamp)
Farfisa-fueled, rollicking lo-fi ramble.
- Caroline – Ten Yr Olds Shouldn’t Sell Tape Decks (Bandcamp)
90s-style indie rock slang and rumble.
- Terrible Truths – See Straight (Bandcamp)
Jagged rhythms, open spaces, attitude.
- The Cathys – Rebble (Bandcamp)
Percolating post-punk-pop. dryly delivered.
- Ciggie Witch – Long Weekend (Bandcamp)
Caffeinated dolewave sliding from hook to hook.
- Transistors – Confidence Man (Bandcamp)
Guys in the garage, bashing it out.
- Bunnies On Ponies – Nothing (Bandcamp)
A whirling gallop of psych-pop.
- Community Radio – Real Transformation (Bandcamp)
Gently head-expanding pop confection.
- Cool Sounds – Night Line (Bandcamp)
Swelling and atmospheric, plaintive minor key.
- The Good Morrows – Wake Up (This Isn’t Your Dream) (Bandcamp)
Velvet-y guitar groove and woo-hoo.
- I, A Man – Cold Feet Warmed (Bandcamp)
Expansive and shimmery echo.
- Jen Cloher – Mount Beauty (Bandcamp)
Stomp and swing with tiny piano and a generous dose of twang.
- The Shifting Sands – Waiting For the Sun (Bandcamp)
Loping guitar buzz and fuzz.
- T54 – Life Is Swell (Bandcamp)
Laid-back strum into portent of melodic maelstrom.
- Twerps – Simple Feelings (Bandcamp)
Hypnotically pulsating, unsimple guitar chime giving me the feelies.
- The Ocean Party – Guess Work (Bandcamp)
Slowly unfolding, multi-dimensional twinkle.
- Tam Vantage – Do You Remember (Bandcamp)
Languorous and longing.
- Hikikomori – Mega Ogre (Bandcamp)
Helium-filled synth chamber pop.
- Sunbeam Sound Machine – Getting Young (Bandcamp)
Space-pop for now people.
- Flyying Colours – In the End (YouTube)
Sweetly Kaleidoscopic guitar swirl and coo.