New Zealand’s Aldous Harding has quite the origin tale. Busking on the pavements of South Island town Geraldine, trying to earn enough for a ticket to see Maori roots artist Anika Moa, Harding was overheard by Moa herself – and ended up not only catching the show, but performing in the opening slot.
The full story, however, goes back a little further. Harding, whose mother is a folk singer and whose father plays the blues, got her start in Lyttelton, a port town on the outskirts of Christchurch (and, incidentally, the setting for Peter Jackson’s ’96 schlock horror film, The Frighteners). There she was discovered by Kiwi country stalwarts Ben Edwards and Delaney Davidson playing under her own name, Hanna Harding, alongside band The Easterns.
Harding’s self-titled debut, co-produced by Edwards, was released locally in April, on Lyttelton Records. Today we can announce that the album will get an Australian release through Spunk on 25 July. To celebrate, Harding will showcase her music on a string of dates along the east coast. The tour, in support of fellow New Zealander and Spunk signee Tiny Ruins, will include two free solo shows – one at Melbourne’s Public Bar, the other at the Midnight Special in Sydney.
Streaming below, Aldous Harding lead single, ‘Hunter’, has been characterised by Harding as a ‘gothic fairytale’. This is folk music, simple and bleak (not unlike Melbourne’s own gothic country band, Jimmy Tait), with Harding’s fragile coo reminiscent of retiring, 60s-era folk singers Vashti Bunyan and Linda Perhacs. ‘Hunter’ seems to occupy a place outside of time, opening with the refrain, ‘He’s a hunter, he’s a good man/Be brave when he brings you nothing home’ and closing with a vision of blood streaming down a river.
You can catch Aldous Harding on these dates:
Tuesday, 1 July – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane w/ Tiny Ruins
Wednesday, 2 July – Newtown Social Club, Sydney w/ Tiny Ruins
Thursday, 3 July – The Midnight Special, Sydney (free)
Sunday, 6 July – Public Bar, Melbourne (free)
Tuesday, 8 July – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne w/ Tiny Ruins