New Zealand Music Month Top Songs – KMcB

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OK, so bearing in mind that the greatest NZ thinker / actor / human / musician of all time is Russell Crowe (I recently had an argument with deer hunters in a pub in the deep south who dared disagree with me), then obviously his band 30 Odd Foot Of Grunts should occupy 7 of my top 5 picks.  However, I’ll break with the mainstream thinking here and choose 5 lesser known (than Russell) and less celebrated (than Russell) musical ensembles and performers.  In no particular order…

Split Enz – Pioneer / Six Months In a Leaky Boat:  Of all the songs that use the mutiny on the Bounty as a loose metaphor for a nervous breakdown, this would have to be my favourite.  There’s so much happening throughout the song – all those ephemeral moments that make the Splitties so great.  Thanks to FM radio editing, I never heard the end section of the song until I had the CD in the early 90s, and that last bit still blows my mind.

Shihad – Alive:  I have a lot of memories attached to this song, heard it on a one speaker stereo driving a truck home at the end of a particularly physically demanding 30+ hr shift at work.  It just kind of stuck since then.  Perhaps they were channeling my beloved Fear Factory in a way.  Cool clip, too.

Liam Finn – Second Chance:  Phenomenal song, phenomenal performer.  Search out any of the live versions for something special, particularly the Letterman show.  I initially thought it was a sad song about dementia or something, turns out it’s an angry, frustrated song about how a woman just turns into a whole different person he doesn’t recognise.  The desperation really comes through, the drumsmithing is on another level.

Paua – One Time:  The best song of a terrific first album.  I was lucky enough to tour with these guys a couple of times, they really are something special.  Hearing the song takes me back to some of those intense early shows – there was a lot happening, often for days at a time, but with a relentlessly positive energy.

Supergroove – If I had my way:  I must have been the only person in the world to think the Backspacer album was terrific – but it is!  Saw this clip late on the telly one night but can’t find it anywhere onthelines now.  I had it on VHS and wore it out – basically it was an exercise machine vibe that pre-dates OK GO by at least 10 years.  I still listen to Backspacer a couple of times a month, and this is the stand-out track.

So that’s my pick.  Obviously I wasn’t allowed to pick Russell Crowe, so feel free to take up your fight against this great injustice in the comments section below…!

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