Last December, I went to New Zealand. Rode a horse, ate my weight in burgers, hung off the side of a cliff, had a good time.Really don’t know why any able minded Kiwi would bother moving here to live in a small suburban shack. Or bother refining their vowels for that reason either.
We’ve got away with pillaging from our pals across the Tasman for a long while, so we’re settling years of bad-blood with some happy blog trading instead. For that reason, we’ve decided to team up with NZ mega-blog Under The Radar who’ll be filling that Kiwi shaped void in your life with an NZ band every week.
First up, UTR’s Courtney Sanders gets y’all reacquainted with one of our old favourites…Popstrangers!
Popstrangers are a three piece band who have been kicking around Auckland for several years now. Drawing on The Dunedin Sound (they were also briefly signed to Flying Nun Records) for inspiration the trio – lead by understated frontman Joel Flyger – have gone about marrying The Verlaines and The 3D’s to heavier compatriots Bailterspace. Never derivative, these influences are stripped down and applied to Popstrangers contemporary observations; ones that suggest a lot of time hanging around listening to Bradford Cox and co. It’s slacker rock sans flannel shirts, and all the better for it.
Earlier this month Popstrangers released their debut full length album Antipodes on cult New York-based label Carpark Records and played a bunch of album release shows at home and in your fair country. The album’s title suggests endless days in idyllic locations, and while this is partly true, Flyger admits it was the darker side of isolation that he was concerned with while writing: It’s all about isolation and wanting to do something different. When we wrote these songs it was kind of a weird time: I’d been doing the same thing for like five years. I didn’t know what I wanted to do and I wasn’t happy with what I was doing”.
‘Roy Brown’ is the third single from Antipodes and combines the pop sensibilities of earlier singles ‘Heaven’ and ‘What Else Could They Do’ with the thematic palpability of the instrumental tracks on the album. A lot of conflicting emotions vie for attention here and considering this band are defining the ‘New Zealand Sound’ of this generation, that makes perfect sense.