It seems like a long time since The Flying Nun label spawned NZ Velvet Underground inspired bands The Bats, The Clean and The Chills. Now, in Auckland, home of the excellent Lill' Chief records, there seems to something of a NZ renaissance with bands such as The Brunettes, The Reduction Agents, Voom and Lawrence Arabia proving that Montreal does not have the Commonwealth patent on exuberant leftfield pop. Ryan fled the alt-pop meanderings of the Southern Californian indie scene to Aotearoa where he discovered that much of the music he liked had survived in a similar fashion to the native large flightless birds, in the absence of natural predators. Ryan explains the move: "All my good musical friends in California were into popular stuff at the time, like metal, hardcore, emo and that sort of crap. Even though I was in such a huge city, I felt pretty damn out of place. I didn't meet the right people there. The LA scene is pretty pretentious anyway. Everybody's so desperate, so that was a turn off." Once in New Zealand Ryan had no such problems and soon found a like-minded group of musicians where, in the traditionally incestuous indie manner, it was obligatory to moonlight in each other's bands. Hence Ryan was soon to be found drumming with label mates The Brunettes as they toured the US in support of The Shins, while finding time to form his own band, The Ruby Suns. The Ruby Suns comprise, Ryan (guitar, vocals) Amee Robinson (Keyboards, Saxophone, Melodica, BVs) Mark Stebben (Bass, BVs) James Dansey (Drums, BVs),Olivia Kember (Keyboards, BVs), Harry Cundy (Trumpet, BVs), Gareth Shute (Guitar) James Milne(Drums, BVs). Their self-titled and self produced debut album takes equal levels of inspiration from the modern indie DIY approach (Apples in Stereo, Yo La Tengo) and the grandiose productions of the 60s and 70s eccentrics Van Dyke Parks, Curt Boettcher etc. The songs focus on a peculiar range of subjects, which stretches from Ryan's prevarication about which shipping company to use (Look Out SOS!) to the empathetic story of a lone Kenyan zebra (Maasai Mara) or the amalgamation of a skateboard wheel and a non-electric vacuum cleaner (Trepidation Pt2).
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