I’ve found that the only thing bad about music from Down Under is that it’s not something you hear everyday in the States. You can’t turn on a radio, TV, Spotify, or bump into someone humming their way down the street without falling over the same pop divas, boybands, and played till your eardrums are as shredded as their guitar licks tired rock bands. But if you like the fresh and “exotic” music coming out of Oz and NZ, you have to dig for it like the opals of Coober Pedy.

I’m fortunate to have Aussie connections that share my ecclectic taste, so I tend to get a heads up on music I’ll like. Then I go internet spelunking and locate what often becomes my new favorite music.

At the top of the heap is the Australian band Something for Kate. Their impossible to ignore song Echolalia is one of my favorites. Ever. Some of their live music really showcases frontman Paul Dempsey’s powerful, mesmerizing vocals to the point that I tracked down his solo CD, Everything is True. I had to fight that one to let something else ever get a listen

I’ve recently taken a liking to Gotye. Who hasn’t? Aussie by way of Belgium, his Somebody That I Used to Know has taken US airwaves by storm, with a video in heavy rotation, and a catchy sound enhanced by featuring another Down Under wonder, Kimbra, that winds its way into earworm ubiquity with little resistance. Every time I see the video bodypainting begin I feel like yelling “I heard them first!”.

Bic Runga has one of the most beautiful voices you’ve likely never heard. A New Zealand Songbird, whose lyrics weave stories that generate imagery as well as sound, her melodies loop into, then around your brain in soothing and intriguing patterns, and whose entire CDs leave you wanting the next one before it’s been written.

There’s more. Much more. But I have to go dig out an old CD, by a band from New Zealand that’s been around practically as long as we’ve known to put the words New Zealand and music together. Yes, of course I mean Crowded House. Nothing obscure about that one, but I wouldn’t be surprised if my favorite Crowded House song is not the first that comes to other people’s minds. It’s Together Alone, backed by Te Waka Huia Cultural Group Choir in a way that for me eerily collides the ancient past with the modern world, just as music conceived of in distant lands bridges that great distance with sound and heart.

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