Hens lay down some tracks

Dunedin jangle-pop outfit The Prophet Hens. Photo by Phoebe Mackenzie.
Dunedin jangle-pop outfit The Prophet Hens. Photo by Phoebe Mackenzie.

Dunedin melodic jangle-pop outfit The Prophet Hens has returned this month, issuing its first new recordings in nearly three years.

The band - formed by Karl Bray (guitar, vocals), and joined in the new material by multitalented Dunedin musos Penelope Esplin (keyboards, vocals), Robin Cederman (bass, backing vocals) and Chris Butchard (drums) - plays a gentle, looping, soft-focus indie rock.

New single Popular People is the first offering from sophomore album The Wonderful Shapes of Back Door Keys, due out in July.

It's an upbeat cut, with Esplin's great vocals and spinning organ front and centre.

Cederman wrote Popular People sitting in the sun of his flat in York Pl looking at a copy of The Prophet Hens' first record on the coffee table in front of him.

According to the band, if it's about anything, it's about the things people are willing to do, and the situations they end up in, to achieve their goals.

And just to confuse everyone, Popular People Do Popular People, the group's first album released in 2013 from which this new single takes its title, is being reissued on LP at the same time as their new album comes out.

The last few times I saw them live, Bray was employing some Stephen Malkmus by way of psychedelia guitar breakdowns on a D drone freak-out, so hopefully a bit of that's made it on to the record too.

Popular People is streaming now via Bandcamp.


United States heavyweight hip-hop rapper Twista is making a surprise appearance in Dunedin.

The motor-mouthed MC, probably best known for a pair of Kanye West produced singles, Overnight Celebrity and Slow Jamz and the moving Coach Carter soundtrack contribution Hopeful, featuring Faith Evans, is generally considered to be the fastest rapper alive, even once holding a world record for being able to pronounce 598 syllables in 55 seconds.

Since his prime in the mid to late 2000s, Twista seems to have pretty much stayed in his lane, popping up cameos here and there.

And while not a major force in the industry any more, there's a history and mastery of craft here that's not to be questioned.

Twista performs at 10Bar next Thursday night.


As the world mourns the loss of music legend Prince, the team at the Regent Theatre has had the great idea of showing his debut feature film Purple Rain.

Loosely based on Prince's life, Purple Rain follows the talented and extremely troubled frontman of The Revolution as he attempts to escape a terrible home life through music.


Hear it, see it

• Listen to Popular People now at theprophethens.bandcamp.com.

The Wonderful Shapes of Back Door Keys is due out in July through Fishrider Records (NZ) and in the UK/ Europe on Occultation Recordings.

• Twista (US), 10Bar. Tickets available from theticketfairy.com. 8pm doors.

Purple Rain, Regent Theatre, Dunedin, Thursday, May 26, at 7.30pm. Tickets $10 from the Regent Theatre.


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