Popstrangers (from left) are Adam Page, Dave Larson and
Joel Flyger. Photo supplied.
A lot has changed for Auckland trio Popstrangers since
Suitable Alternative last spoke with the band.
In February last year, the band had just signed with New
Zealand record label Flying Nun Records - part of the label's
proposed plan to ''continue to promote new and innovative New
Zealand music'' - and were readying their debut album for
release in May 2012.
Now, almost exactly a year on, that same debut album,
Antipodes, is finally to be released, this Friday, March 1,
on American independent label Carpark Records (Cloud
Nothings, Toro Y Moi, Beach House). It won't be on Flying Nun
Records, as Popstrangers have joined the likes of Dunedin
punk-trio Die! Die! Die! in severing their connection with
the rebooted label.
''We basically wanted to do different things that [Flying
Nun] couldn't help us with at the time, so we went our
separate ways,'' guitarist and vocalist Joel Flyger said from
It's a familiar story regarding the Flying Nun camp, and one
can only assume by ''different things'' Flyger means actually
releasing music. In hindsight, ending ties with Flying Nun
appears to be a great decision. Their new label Carpark's
reach and influence is far greater than their former home.
For Flyger, the label's heavy promotion of the album and
seeing the band featured on independent music tastemakers
such as Pitchfork and Spin still comes as
something of a surprise.
''It gets to the point where you've put in so much effort and
struggle that you just want to get it out there,'' Flyger
''It's weird - when we recorded the album, we were just as
prepared for it to be released and no-one to hear it,'' he
''Like we'd put it on Bandcamp and just nothing would happen.
Everything that's happening is just exceeding my expectations
for the record. It's pretty cool.''
It is all deserved attention, of course. Antipodes'
two lead singles - Heaven and What Else Could They
Do - are both fuzzy pop gems with killer choruses and
punkish energy, and the album seems set to deliver plenty of
Sonically, Flying Nun still feels present as a musical
touchstone. There are shades of the Gordons' debut album and
Future Shock EP here, Bailterspace too in its more
progressive and melodic moments, and even fellow former label
mates Die! Die! Die! in the high-energy bass, drums, guitar
punch. It's an influence leading many overseas to call the
record very ''New Zealand-sounding'', something echoed in the
album's name, Antipodes.
''We're kind of an isolated country so the name just kind of
fit the themes of the record and the artwork really well,''
Flyger said. After performing in Dunedin next week, the band
will head back to Auckland to open for '90s ''ear-bleeding
country'' legends Dinosaur Jr., then embark on an Australian
tour before emigrating to the UK later this year.
Popstrangers' Antipodes Tour visits Re:Fuel on Friday,
March 1 with support from Two Cartoons and Males. Start time:
Tickets $10 on the door, or $5 with a student ID. Antipodes
is released Friday, March 1 at popstrangers.com. It is
streaming now at