It's easy enough to pinpoint when things started to go wrong in Australia; take one Rollins Band tour, stir in some Sonic Youth fandom, and top off with the Nirvana effect, and pretty soon you've got an islandful of former underachievers aiming to make gleefully derivative punk/noize skronk en route to side-stage semi-glory at the annual Big Day Out Festival (the Oz version of Lollapalooza). Kiwi rock, on the other hand, never really suffered from lack of ambition (in New Zealand, everyone goes to art school). By assuming their geographical locale as advantage rather than limitation, some amazing pockets of musical activity sprang up in the '80s as chronicled by labels such as Flying Nun and Xpressway. On the country's twin islands, the Dunedin, Christchurch, and Auckland population centers were far enough from one another to spark isolated bursts of creative energy similar to that of the post-World War II German rock scene in the '60s and '70s, which was sufficiently isolated on a city-by-city basis to give rise to distinctively different styles in Düsseldorf, Munich, Cologne, etc. Still, for reasons unexplained, NZ seemed to go into musical... More >>>