Photo by Sam Valentine
Dunedin–and for that matter, all of New Zealand–is pretty isolated from the rest of the world, but those kinds of spots can turn into interesting cultural incubators. In the early ’80s, a crop of bands–the Clean, the Chills, and a whole bunch more on the influential Flying Nun label–built a buzzed-about music scene in their southern New Zealand city. It grew into a specific “Dunedin sound,” a jangly, punk-influenced strain of indie rock that would inspire R.E.M., Pavement, and countless more DIY bands around the globe.
It’s circled all the way back to Dunedin’s Kane Strang. He wasn’t even born during his hometown’s first musical explosion, but that doesn’t matter. Strang brings a fresh perspective to the sound with his album Blue Cheese, out today via Ba Da Bing (and Flying Nun in New Zealand). Jangly guitars and a driving rhythm propel “Things Are Never Simple,” but Strang highlights that title with a stuttering, twisting-and-turning arrangement. Things–like influence, like how music this basic and primal can hit you hard–are never simple. Download the song below.