Talkhouse Weekend Playlist: Twinkly Leads and New Zealand Pop from Yumi Zouma

Yumi Zouma's Josh Burgess introduces us to some of Christchurch, New Zealand's best musical exports and more.

It’s the beginning of the colder months in Wellington, New Zealand, but Yumi Zouma’s Josh Burgess has put together a playlist that contains more than just the ultimate winter hymn. With entries from Flying Nun Records’ the Bats, pop star Anika Moa and more, this playlist is a crash course in some of the best music to come out of Christchurch and beyond. Speaking of, Yumi Zouma’s latest release, Yoncalla, is out today via Cascine, so give it a listen after getting your weekend started with Josh’s excellent playlist.
–Dave Lucas, Marketing Manager of The Talkhouse

Skeptics — “Agitator”
We’re currently entering the colder months in Wellington (where I live in New Zealand), making it the perfect time/place for my favourite NZ band’s ultimate winter hymn. I’m a little lost for words with this one; it’s just so magical in a way I can’t really describe. Every section of the song is perfect. I don’t know what else to say except if you haven’t heard of em’ before you should watch their doco Sheen Of Gold.

The Bats — “Afternoon in Bed”
I’m a little bit biased here because this is one of my good friends’ parents’ band and it’s my job to sell Bats records 😉 but this was my first Flying Nun love. I love this song. They’re maybe the most consistent band of all time; they don’t deviate much from what they’re good at, which is so rare. This results in a new Bats record every four to five years, which is a perfect refresher. I love the sentiment of this song: spending the afternoon in bed overthinking what someone has said to you. I’d estimate ten percent of my life is spent doing just that. Also! The Bats are from Christchurch! Like us!

Iceage — “Against The Moon”
Definitely late to the party with this band. Never really got into their earlier stuff, but I’ve been thrashing their latest album recently and love the psycho country vibe. This song, however, is quite a bit gentler than the rest and makes me want to undress with the first person I see and read Bataille under the covers.

Air — “La Femme d’Argent”
Air is a French band.

The Stranglers — “European Female”
The Stranglers are so great. I love their keyboard player. It was a revelation for me as a fourteen-year-old that a band could have keyboards and not be jamming along to Darude’s “Sandstorm,” pinging on pills that their friend’s cousin got sent from the Netherlands. Their recipe is really simple (the Stranglers, not drugs in Holland circa 1996): grooving bass, reserved drums, paddy synths, twinkly leads and some trippy guitars. Bliss!

Simon & Garfunkel — “The Only Living Boy in New York”
It’s so hard for me to choose a Simon & Garfunkel favourite, but there is something beautiful about this one; those echoing choir harmonies make my heart swell. I love the little life reflections scattered throughout the lyrics, something Paul Simon always does well — lines like, “Hey, I’ve got nothing to do today but smile.” Soft and gentle but powerful. I listen to this song when I’m feeling a little tired and lost and it’s always just right.

Salem — “Asia”
∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆ Sandra Croft represent.

Anika Moa — “Falling in Love Again”
Anika Moa is from Christchurch like us, but was also a kind of a figurehead for the early 2000s U.S. pop explosion that also made its way down to New Zealand. She signed to Warner and Atlantic and achieved Top 40 success. So when I was a kid, I always kind of associated her with American music and saw her as a big pop star. In retrospect, this song was probably only popular domestically, but it deserved to be huge everywhere; it’s a timeless classic that truly embodied the epitome of the sound of that time. Interestingly, it was written by James Reid, frontman of one of Christchurch’s most divisive bands, the Feelers.

The Cure — “Lovesong”
This song is so simple and sweet and earnest — with a little bit of angst thrown in. It’s perfect. A good friend of mine put this on a mixtape for me that I almost always listen to while I’m driving. It has slowly grown on me to the point where I fast-forward the tape just to get to this song every time I get in the car. Robert Smith really captures that feeling of yearning, that spirit of undying love — the perfect song to loudly sing along to with all the angst of your fourteen-year-old self.

Savage Garden — “Crash and Burn”
Arguably the greatest band of all time, and definitely Australia’s greatest export since Gina G, Savage Garden consistently give me hope for this world. It’s always hard for me to choose my favourite Savage Garden song, as “Truly Madly Deeply” is also such a bonafide banger. However, “Crash and Burn,” released in 2000, is special to me as it got me through a particularly rough patch at age ten. The chorus will probably be my wedding vows — hopefully in my wedding to pre-2013 Darren Hayes (before his relocation to Los Angeles to pursue a career in “improv sketch comedy and acting”).