One of the things I enjoyed about my time living in New Zealand was the music scene there. Since NZ is so isolated (geographically at least) from the rest of the world, they have a somewhat alternative way of doing things when it comes to bands. People there have this quaint thought (!) that its actually quite nice to go and see your favourite bands play live, and not have to be a million rows back in the crowd, or have to ring Ticketmaster like crazy at 9am on the day the tickets come out, or have to go cap in hand to a less than celubrious chap shouting ‘Buying! Selling!’ outside the venue on the night of the gig. Add this to the fact that not that many international bands come a-visiting, and its not surprising that you find NZ makes its own music scene.
Most kiwis (native New Zealanders) that have some interest in popular music will be fully aware of the latest goings on of 10 or 20 different home-grown bands that the rest of the world has probably never heard of. These bands put out great records, put on 500 person shows, love their fans and their fans love them. How civilised. 🙂 Occasionally these bands will even ‘break’ overseas – The Datsuns, OMC (ok, for one hit), and of course Split Enz / Crowded House are notable examples.
One such band that I brought back home in my heart were Minuit. Minuit are ‘breakbeat’ (i.e. mostly electronic-based and interesting drum rythms) with a great female vocalist (not dissimilar to Moloko’s Roisin Murphy.) I managed to pick up their debut The 88 in my time down under. Its not quite as polished as mega-budget northern hemisphere productions, sure, but I have this unnerving knack of playing it at regular intervals and whenever I do it gets me dancing around my apartment while putting a smile on my face.
I was pretty excited when Minuit released their second album, The Guards Themselves earlier this year. The one slight problem is they don’t have an international distributor, so what with moving country and Amazon taking 2 months to deliver from NZ (!!) I only just received my copy today. But it was worth the wait – mostly more of the same retro synth, nod-your-head breaks and get-under-skin vocals from Ruth but with a little more confidence.
Like any self-respecting interweb-aware band of our times, Minuit have a Myspace Page where you can listen to tunes, watch videos, and make yourself a ‘friend’ of the band (I’m a bit of a luddite and only discovered what Myspace was a couple of month’s ago when Wired had an article on it.) Myspace is taking the music industry by storm, completely changing how people find out more about the bands they like, and find new bands like them. Its with this breaking-down of geographical boundaries that New Zealand bands might be more easily able to break overseas, and if Minuit ever manage to make it to New York, I’ll be first on the TicketMaster phone line..