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Here's Five: Ha The Unclear

Here's Five: Ha The Unclear

Tuesday 15th September, 2015 11:43AM

Auckland-based group Ha The Unclear are about to take their brand of left-field indie-pop on the road for a raft of shows to celebrate the release of the video for 'Growing Mould', a track lifted from their debut album Bacterium, Look At Your Motor Go that came out late last year. With the dates rapidly approaching we asked vocalist/guitarist Michael Cathro to contribute a Here's Five list, and he chose five songs about change, as explained below...

In light of the current debates about changing the flag and the inevitable existential quandaries about who we are as a nation, this is a list of songs set to the theme of ‘the fluid and transformative nature of identity’ and these are the representations I would like to have been considered when deciding on a flag design. In their own way each of these songs asks “Who am I?...

Blam Blam Blam - Don’t Fight It Marsha, It’s Bigger Than Us

“I want you to be happy, but I’d rather that you were still with me.” There’s something all too human in that chorus lyric where self-interest trumps altruism. It’s like the tragedy of capitalism in a lyrical morsel. ‘Don’t Fight It Marsha. It’s Bigger Than Both Of Us’. Indeed. It’s like that feeling you get when you drag your recycling bin out onto the berm with no actual idea about where it goes or what happens to it.

Jeffrey Lewis - Anxiety Attack

“I used to feel so strong, but this just can't be how to live. I must be doing something wrong.” This Jeffrey Lewis track perfectly portrays how moments of existential questioning can spiral into horrific panic. “What if I go crazy, and what if this time it's permanent? And what if I go broke and have to move back with my parents?”. Different moments or events in life cause people to buy boats, leave their lovers or start fight clubs to assuage or distract from the horrors of mortality.

I’ve started thinking about that word ‘experience’ and how all it means is that you were a baby on a blank slate and then shit happens to you and you become experienced. I’m experienced in walking on carpet. I’ve done that before, there are no more surprises with that, most carpet reacts similarly to being walked on. As you build up your bank of shit you’ve done before you become experientially wealthier, and all you have to do is age and decay.

Janis Ian - Stars

To me this song embodies the fragile and lonely side of being an introverted artist. There are those times during a performance when you leave the moment and become suddenly conscious you’re on a stage and the absurdity of the whole thing threatens to tear down what was an opaque curtain to begin with. “But I always feel so funny when my body tries to soar and I seem to always worry about missing the next chord”.

Nadia Reid - Just to Feel Alive

This song belts the refrain “Just to feel alive”. And no, it’s not doing things like sticking your head up out of the sun roof in the rain on the motorway. In this song it’s “I went home with a winner, and he went home with a cheat”. I choose this because it represents the winter of our discontent. Run rabbit, run.

Jeffrey Lewis - Moving

This song is about cleaning up the house when you’re moving out and I like it because it captures that nostalgia and that pang of “have I done the right thing?” when you move city/leave a job/sell your car/make a decision on a new flag. “When you die, will it be the same? No more thoughts decorating your brain? You're on the verge of thinking something deep, then you hear the van give a beep.” The thing is, yes you might live in a dingy, mouldy uninsulated house, but why would you move when your other options are worse - just for the sake of moving house. And you’ll never be able to move again for a long, long time.

Ha The Unclear are kicking off their 'Growing Mould' Video Release Tour this weekend in Dunedin, which will be followed by dates across Wellington, Palmerston North, Leigh and Auckland. See below for dates and to buy tickets.


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Fri 25th Sep
San Fran, Wellington
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