There is No Depression in New Zealand

Blam Blam Blam, Music Video, 1981

This classic alternative national anthem by Auckland post-punk trio Blam Blam Blam became a theme song for New Zealand’s long, troubled winter of 1981 as the country was wracked by social and political division and the Springbok Tour. Poet and playwright Richard von Sturmer wrote the lyrics while the music was by Blams member Don McGlashan. The video features a band performance shot on the roof of TVNZ’s Shortland Street studios and shows a curious penchant for celebrity lawn mowing. The performing Marmite and Vegemite jars are, however, the real deal.

New Wave Goodbye

Spats, Music Video, 1978

This infectious clip marks one of the only Kiwi music videos to have been made independently of state television in the 1970s. Spats toured their eclectic brand of music from Blerta's old bus, before finding fame after morphing into The Crocodiles. In this track vocalist Fane Flaws demonstrates a TV screen can make a valid performance tool, the band demonstrate their moves, and regular Spats accomplices Limbs Dance Company add some moves of their own. The video was directed by Geoff Murphy, with help from Spats. 'New Wave Goodbye' ended up on Crocodiles album Tears.

New Tattoo

Hello Sailor, Music Video, 1994

“I’m as blue as a new tattoo...since I lost you” sings Graham Brazier on this first single from Hello Sailor’s 1994 comeback The Album. Loss is leavened by the harmonica and guitar of the band’s energetic brand of pub rock. In the black and white music video they cruise around in a Chevrolet, intercut with Auckland street scenes and a young woman in a leather bustier walking her dog. ‘New Tattoo’ peaked at five in October 1994, the band's highest chart placing. In a 2013 AudioCulture profile, Murray Cammick rated it "a strong addition" to the Hello Sailor canon.

Looking Out on Monday

Greg Johnson, Music Video, 2008

The lyrics to Greg Johnson's ‘Looking out on Monday’ pay tribute to the satisfaction of sleeping in, and skiving off work; they also mention recognising that “failure is in your lover’s eyes”. Johnson's long time musical collaborator Ted Brown appears in the video as the friend who pops over to Greg's place (in Los Angeles?) to say hello. 'Looking Out on Monday' is taken from 2008's Seven Day Cure, which NZ Herald critic Russell Baillie called “one of the most fully realised Johnson albums yet”. The track was included in Dustin Hoffman / Emma Thompson romance Last Chance Harvey.

Touchdown

The Stereo Bus, Music Video, 1999

'Touchdown' was drawn from the second (and final) Stereo Bus album Brand New (1999). The stylishly minimalist video, directed by Alex Sutherland and Michael Lonsdale, appears to be a continuous shot, circling around band members and objects in a white studio set. Biffed chairs and bottles, and singer David Yetton, get up close to the lens while guitarist Jason Fa'afoi (who was co-hosting What Now? at the time) also makes multiple appearances. The slow pan matches the tempo of the band’s textured guitar pop; the promo won Best Music Video at the 2001 NZ Music Awards.

Hearts Like Ours

The Naked and Famous, Music Video, 2013

Though gifted with a typically driving chorus, this Naked and Famous track evokes a state of limbo and dissatisfaction. Winner of a New Zealand Music Award for Best Music Video of 2014, Campbell Hooper's clip is permeated by mist and mysterious, possibly violent events. Is that a murder playing out on screen, or merely someone getting the firewood ready? Are those men doing exercise, or punishing themselves? And is that Michelle Ang getting out of the pool? Longtime collaborator Hooper directed the video in New Zealand and the band's base in Los Angeles.

My Delirium

Ladyhawke, Music Video, 2008

Featuring artwork by Grammy-nominated Kiwi Sarah Larnach  — whose art has been a key feature on Ladyhawke's albums  — the music video for My Delirium weaves between reality and a dreamscape where cats dominate the Mount Rushmore sculpture, and Ladyhawke soars through space in a car. The video opens with the singer in a dreary roadside motel, before animated artwork on the wall comes to life, featuring a cartoon Ladyhawke walking out of the motel and hitting the road in a classic convertible. The musician won six Tuis at the 2009 NZ Music Awards. 

Land of Plenty

OMC, Music Video, 1996

'Land of Plenty' is a love letter to Aotearoa, featuring another take on the conversational vocal stylings heard on global smash 'How Bizarre'. Channelling his Niuean father's love of NZ, Pauly Fuemana namechecks favourite streets, Mt Ruapehu, white water and "open caves that glow supreme". Taisha Khutze (now in The Lady Killers) supplies some impressive vocal stylings of her own. In 2013 co-writer Alan Jansson joined Fuemana's widow in criticising what they saw as "noticeable similarities" between this top five hit, and the song for a 'Land of Plenty, Land of Quattro' car ad.

Hey Little

Pluto, Music Video, 2001

A song that manages to feel fast and gentle all at once, 'Hey Little' marked the first single for Auckland band Pluto. The low-tech stylings of the music video evoke the feel of a home movie; the shots of children, pets and good times with friends and family are an appropriate match to the lyrics, which evoke a parent talking affectionately to a child. 'Hey Little' vocalist Milan Borich was first seen in front of the cameras at age 12, as one of the stars of 1940s-set TV drama The Champion.  

Run Run Run

Goldenhorse, Music Video, 2004

The first single from Goldenhorse's second album is an insistent lover's plea that marries Kirsten Morrell's vocal dexterity to a driving tempo. In the music video for the Auckland folky rockers director Adam Jones disdains the big wide shot for disembodied images and details of the musicians performing. A vibrant Morrell, resplendent in red (rather than the lyric's lady in white) captures the centre of attention, with her band mates providing a textured background — and workout for the focus puller.