I’ve been threatening this for some time—my favorite Kiwi Rock albums that no one has ever heard. There will be less here than is deserved by stalwarts like the Clean and the Chills (although each of those will get to speak their peace). And by Kiwi rock, I don’t mean all the music ever made by rock n rollers from New Zealand ever—I’m referring to that special Chris Knox-inspired, Dunedin-derived scene that rivals Athens GA, Cleveland, CBGBs: when scenes mattered.
10. Snapper- Shotgun Blossom: This is the sprawl of rock shoegaze dystopia fused to a metronomic beat hemorrhoids would stand in awe of. Every now and then, pop tinctures break through the opium-laced skidmarks. Yo La Tengo fans, rally round. Long lost in the CD age, the band’s eponymous 4-song EP got re-released this year on vinyl as a record-store day spectacular that lived up, for once, to its hullabaloo. Let’s hope the same attention gets shone upon this long-player, their masterpiece.
9. The Tall Dwarfs- Hello Cruel World: Ladies and gentlemen, meet Chris Knox, the speed-talking king of Kiwi lo-fi. Knox never had the forewithall (e.g., attention span) to manage a proper twelve-inch, so this scattered relic stands in for everyone lacking a copy of the Slugbucket Hairybreath Monster EP. After this, there was Neutral Milk Hotel.
8. Straightjacket Fits- Hail: Every music has its awful haircuts, thank God Robert Forster never went this far. Never either did Forster have such a dispirited nitrous revery as the one the Fits managed with “She Speeds”. Laconically wretched, slow motion cowpunk in it’s own offshore way, in it’s hardcore sea-chanty verisimilitude. What the fjuck am I saying?