Some of New Zealand's most acclaimed musicians are virtually unknown at home. The music they produce appeals to such a niche audience that it is only on the international stage that there are sufficient numbers of people interested that they can make a mark. This is particularly true of artists producing what could be described as post-rock, experimental, avant-garde punk. Take for instance The Dead C. Hardly a household name in New Zealand a couple of years ago they played at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival in a line up that went The Stooges, Sonic Youth, The Dead C.
Another artist garnering attention overseas is Campbell Kneale, a prolific musician who has released many albums as Birchville Cat Motel, has a "metal" side project Black Boned Angel, and has just re-launched himself as Our Love Will Destroy The World. When I say he's prolific I mean it. This new project has already released two albums, two 7" singles, a CDR and two cassettes. One of the Our Love . . . singles he has released is 'Sadnessfinalamen', a split single with Bark Haze, a group including Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore, a Campbell Kneale fan. The song is a glistening, powerful and entrancing wall of noise that achieves Kneale's mission throughout his various musical incarnations of achieving "total sensory and spiritual overload". For more info check out an excellent interview with Kneale on The Lumiere Reader and more explanation of the retirement of Birchville Cat Motel on Foxy Digitalis. There are Black Boned Angel and Our Love Will Destroy The World clips on the video page.
Another musician exploring the edges of contemporary rock is Stefan Neville, who as well as drumming for the likes of Chris Knox's The Nothing, has a long-standing solo pysch/noise/folk/rock project called Pumice. With over three dozen releases since 1994 he's also very prolific although if you're looking for a starting point I would recommend the excellent 2007 album Pebbles. Pumic has released his material over the years on a variety of small labels, nearly all of them based out of New Zealand. His latest release is 7" single called Persevere on Soft Abuse records. The single has three tracks, an original titled 'The Dawn Chorus of Kina' plus two acoustic covers, including one of NZ band The Axemen.
Better known in New Zealand is Tristan Dingeman of HDU. HDU's 2008 album Metamathics was the band's first since 2001. In between Dingeman was performing solo as Kahu. One of the songs he released as Kahu was 'Mountaineater' which has now become the name of his new three piece band. The band's name gives you a sense of Mountaineater's sound which, in an interview with the Dominion Post's Simon Sweetman, Dingeman describes as "hav[ing] aspects of punk and metal, we have the noise thing going on and pop with melodies too". The band have released a debut single 'Mata'/'Sunfired' which is available through Under The Radar.
There's been a lot of anticipation for the debut album from Kerretta, Vilayer. The three piece band have previously been show-cased on a 7" and 12" single and they have gained a loyal live following. They have a massive driving instrumental sound that has seen them hold their own on stage with the likes of New Zealand's Jakob and Americans Explosions in the Sky, but that sound has gotten even bigger on Vilayer. The first single from the album is 'The Square Outside'. There is a Kerretta clip on the video page.
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