New Zealand three-piece Office Dog – led by acclaimed songwriter Kane Strang – are soon set to release their debut record to the world beyond their home island. That album, Spiel, is an intrepid voyage of discovery, piecing together fragmented emotional estates against a backdrop of cacophonic indie rock. Sharing in the visionary ethos of the Flying Nun roster but offering something with a more visceral bite the band seem destined to prick the ears of those far beyond Auckland and Dunedin. 

Prior to its release, we caught up with Strang to hear more about some of his favourite tracks, and as he says in his own words: “I thought I’d take this opportunity to spotlight some people who are very near and dear to us and who also happen to make amazing music over here in Aotearoa.” 

School Fair – Don’t Let Me See You Swing & Miss

With that in mind, there’s no better place to start than School Fair, which includes our producer De Stevens. I find this particular song very beautiful – especially the way the instrumentation drifts along and responds to the spoken word of the two vocalists, the building outro (which I’m always a sucker for), and the sudden stop. It’s just one of those tracks that leaves you with a feeling in your gut that can be tough to describe, like a good movie.

Zane 2000  – Inner Castle

Jonty O’Connor is a very good friend and an incredible drummer. Zane 2000 is his solo project, where he also plays synths and sings (or whispers in the case of Inner Castle). Honestly, I’ve just always loved this song and come back to it constantly. It’s so haunting yet the lyrics are often funny and always relatable to me. My favourite part has to be the piano and bending guitar lines that come in for the chorus, as well as the distortion which constantly threatens to swallow the whole track as it plays.

 Fazed on a Pony – North Road

This song always feels so potent to me, maybe because North Road is a place in Dunedin I’ve spent a lot of time on over the years. I also love Peter’s lyrics which in this case are simple on the surface yet presented in a way that feels so heavy – e.g the mention of nodding along at shows and then feeling “so small I could disappear” on the drive home afterwards. Gets me every time. The bridge of this song is particularly great, too. It feels so hopeful and melancholic at the same time, mainly due to those wobbly, country-esque guitars.

Violet HirstDescending Song

Violet Hirst is a phenomenal songwriter who often joins us on the keys for our live show. Recently she released a video for this song which is from her debut album ‘Donegal’. It is such a beautiful and tense piece with its staccato, closely-miced instrumentation (that eventually unravels into a spiralling wall of sound at the end) and powerful vocal performance / ghostly harmonies. Mitch and I play in the live band and this was always a fav.

cc (tv) – Kinnie

Carla AKA cc (tv) released this song earlier in the year and I played it multiple times on a recent drive down the country. I just find it uplifting and all of the melodies are so clever – perfect for a sunny day or when you want to pretend it is. Also highly recommend Carla’s other projects such as the band Recitals.

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