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Playlist - Unknown Mortal Orchestra's "New Zealand pub selection"

Playlist - Unknown Mortal Orchestra's "New Zealand pub selection"
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With a new acoustic EP, Blue Record out 28 October, plus UK dates in London (7 November) and Manchester (8) as part of an extensive European tour, New Zealand’s Unknown Mortal Orchestra, have not spent too much time at home. Fear not, the country’s pub rock culture is with them at all times and the band’s Ruban Nielson (centre) has put together a selection of some of his homeland’s finest for Q. “This is a playlist of songs that are ubiquitous in New Zealand but virtually unknown outside,” he explains. “I’ve found a new appreciation for a lot of this music since I started living in the States and never get to hear it at the pub or the supermarket or whatever. My definition of pub rock is stretched a little bit maybe. The music is really big in New Zealand so most Kiwis would probably roll their eyes at my choice of songs! Also the artists I’ve included are very diverse in terms of ideology and so on but I think the main thread tying them together is good songwriting and hooks and also a certain sound that ties music from New Zealand in this era together. Apologies, though, for any sensibilities upset by the pairing of Dragon and Toy Love for example…”

Th’ Dudes – Bliss

“This is the quintessential New Zealand pub rock song. It’s basically about drinking your heartache away, basically. The only choice as a starting point for this playlist.”

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The Swingers – Counting The Beat

“If there’s such a thing as a household bassline, in New Zealand, this is one. The guitar playing on this is amazing. Theres a cool flanger sound on it. Trivia: my old band used to cover this song.”

Th’ Dudes – Be Mine Tonight

“I have to include this song even though it’s another Th’ Dudes song because it’s after Dave Dobbyn took over on lead vocals and the band had a different vibe. He looks so cool and weird in the video.”

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The Scavengers – Mysterex

“The Scavengers were arguably New Zealand best punk band. Trivia: the singer Brendan Perry went on to form Dead Can Dance.”

Split Enz – I See Red

“I don’t know if Split Enz counts as pub rock since they were more of an art school pop band but this song fits pretty well in this playlist. The screwed up piano solo in this song is so genius. Maybe the song most likely to have been heard outside of New Zealand.”

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Dragon – April Sun In Cuba

“So I guess Dragon were kind of a stadium band. This song is pretty much hooks coming at you left and right. Definitely further away from the punk side of the pub rock spectrum.”

Toy Love – Squeeze

“This is one of the many projects of Chris Knox. Possibly the most commercial sounding recordings he did back then (live was a different story, Toy Love were as vicious sounding as any punk band on stage). Incredible song! One of all-time favourites.”

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Hello Sailor – Gutter Black

“This song is most famous for being the theme song from a TV series in NZ called Outrageous Fortune, which is kind of a soap opera about Westies, which is a nickname for people in the western part of the city I’m from. A Westie is white trash I guess. Kind of mixed with like a biker type. They were heavy druggies, which I guess is why their song got picked for the show. The drums are so awesome. Just huge. And the saxophone sounds really weird and great. Trivia: My Dad was in this band for a while.”

Dance Exponents – Victoria

“This band has a really long list of songs that are classics but this song is probably my personal favourite. The singer Jordan Luck is the kind of guy that will still just wander around pub gigs and people will just offer to buy him drinks everywhere he goes and he just hangs out even though he’s achieved living legend status there.”

Space Waltz – Out On The Street

“This was a New Zealand Bowie clone band but this song rules and I think you should hear it!”

For more head to Unknownmortalorchestra.com.


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