Here at Suitable Alternative, the aim is simply to
introduce you, the unsuspecting Dunedin public, to the wealth
of quality music almost constantly available here in the
Two Cartoons (Isaac McFarlane, left, and Brad Craig) are
looking to build on last year's success. Photo supplied.
With that in mind, it seems appropriate to begin another year
of writing about Dunedin music with a simple list. Here are
four local acts you need to hear this year. Of course, this
list is by no means anywhere near complete, Dunedin is
teeming with incredible bands, and hopefully each Saturday
this year you'll be able to turn to this page to find a
suitable alternative for your Saturday night plans.
Kane Strang/Dinosaur Sanctuary
Set to leave Dunedin for Australia in late February, urgency
puts Kane Strang at the top of this list.
Whether playing the beautiful, melancholic pop from his debut
album Flower Before the Bulb is Blown accompanied only by his
guitar, or leading Dunedin ''supergroup'' Dinosaur Sanctuary
(which features members of Astro Children and Ostrander
Aardvark), Strang stands as an incredible songwriter.
With twisting guitar melodies, ear-worm vocals, and jittery,
unusual song structures, there's hints of Dunedin songwriters
such as Paul Cathro (Alizarin Lizard) and Anthonie Tonnon
here, but there's also a touch of heavier, groove elements
such as Queens of the Stone Age, and even art-folk to be
While not strictly Dunedin-based (frontman Michael Cathro now
lives in Auckland), Brown can't help but feel like a Dunedin
band. With Cathro's socially and philosophically aware songs
on topics such as the nature of reality, cigarettes, and
David Bain's jersey as a metaphor for love, delivered in his
quivering, unmistakable Dunedin whine, the songs of Brown
take Dunedin as the extent of their world. With a natural,
unvarnished almost ''old'' production sound to accompany the
stories, it's pop-folk music with a wry, intelligent edge.
The shoegaze pop duo of Millie Lovelock and Isaac Hickey were
probably one of the most visible Dunedin bands of the past 12
months. Releasing debut EP Lick My Spaceship last September,
their single The One We Start With remains one of the highest
played tracks on New Zealand music website
They also played near on 40 shows, gained the attention and
praise of Die! Die! Die! frontman Andrew Wilson, managed to
thrust a handmade copy of their EP into the hands of
Morrissey during his New Zealand visit and are currently
recording a follow-up EP with Attic resident Trick Mammoth.
If the acoustic demo Gaze, released late last year, is any
indication, their next EP will be a further step up in
songwriting, with Lovelock singing more and screaming less.
Charming, simple and otherworldly.
Rounding out the year with an 11-show New Zealand tour, half
a dozen shows in Melbourne, and a spot at New Zealand's
biggest New Year's party Rhythm and Vines, was a fitting end
for pop-duo Two Cartoons.
After releasing a pair of hook-oriented, dreamy beach pop EPs
only a few months apart in 2012, Isaac McFarlane and Brad
Craig have big plans for the next 12 months. Currently
writing an album to be recorded before the pair leaves for
America in September, the Two Cartoons sound is slowly
expanding from bare-bones guitar simplicity to more muscular
tones and ornate, layered arrangements. Energetic, good-time,