Against Friends and Lovers




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They’ve opened for Wire and Holy Fuck, countless revered bands of NZ’s underground and successfully covered M.I.A without being sued. The Bemsha Swing’s tireless tour-of-duty in New Zealand’s underground scene finally comes to a head with the release of their debut album.

With a band name taken from the work of hallowed jazz pianist Thelonious Monk and a line up reminiscent of Big Black, this premise alone may create some trepidation regarding the Auckland duo (and their drum machine). It’s that trepidation though which gives The Bemsha Swing’s work that little bit more urgency to listen to.

That the band can boast they were personally chosen by Wire, considered one of the central groups that help forge the post-punk movement, gives you and indication of the left-field nature Shane and Andrew can take with their music. Regular listeners to 95bFM will attest to this as singles Spitting Spite (from their EP, Bop!), XXXO (an M.I.A cover that her label informed them they enjoyed) and more recently Question Marked may all have the distinctive elements that mark them as Bemsha Swing songs, yet all have a sense of polarity from one another.


  1. Prescription for Hooks
  2. Question Marked
  3. Talking Arms
  4. Coherence
  5. Built For Austerity
  6. How To Get Close
  7. My Muse Is A Bitch
  8. The Atomist
  9. Piano Wire Promises
  10. AP
  11. Radical Pension
  12. Skux Priest
  13. Starting Today