Song of the Day: The Ruby Suns – Tane Mahuta

The Ruby Suns at the New Zealand SXSW barbecue 3/18/08
photo by Robert Loerzel

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s featured selection, chosen by Afternoon Show host Kevin Cole, is Tane Mahuta by The Ruby Suns from the 2008 album Sea Lion on Sub Pop.

The Ruby Suns – Tane Mahuta (MP3)

It seems Sub Pop was always in the cards for this New Zealand trio. Back in 2005 when the band still went by the name Ryan McPhun and the Ruby Suns, McPhun (vocals/guitar/keys) was heavily involved with another Sub Pop band, The Brunettes, who happened to be touring with The Shins. Currently McPhun, a California ex-pat, and his New Zealand-native bandmates are creating some of the best music in what has become a well saturated psych pop genre. After their first album received many Beach Boys comparisons, Sea Lion seeks to expand those horizons, including all of the conventional and not so conventional instrumentation needed to create modern psych pop drenched with African polyrhythms, animal sounds and plenty of reverb. Paying homage to their collective homeland, Tane Mahuta is sung entirely in NZs native Maori language. In fact, Sea Lion acts as a musical diary of McPhun’s travels from California through Africa and Southeast Asia and into New Zealand. Overall, this album may not digest quite as quickly as its predecessor, but if you start now you’ll have the benefit of enjoying it all summer long. Jump start your happiness with this video for Tane Mahuta:

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