The Naked And Famous
Gig Seeker Pro

The Naked And Famous


Band Rock Pop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"So Brilliant, So Thrilling, So Daring & Delicious"

“Finally. A young New Zealand band so brilliant, so thrilling, so daring and delicious that I want to write their name in big red letters on my pencil case ..“ Grant Smithies, 5/5 Stars


The Naked and Famous: The great undressed
By GRANT SMITHIES - Sunday Star Times | Sunday, 04 May 2008

Finally. A young New Zealand band so brilliant, so thrilling, so daring and delicious that I want to write their name in big red letters on my pencil case, even though I left school eons ago.
Perhaps I should write their name on my computer keyboard instead. Great name, it is, too: The Naked and Famous. Both pervy and shallow, it smacks of sex and celebrity in the best possible way. In your mind’s eye, you see forbidden vistas of skin, lit by popping paparazzi flash-bulbs. Like I said: brilliant.
A more desperate writer might witter on about this band’s splendid debut This Machine EP arriving just in time for New Zealand Music Month, but not me. To be honest, the fact that it’s May, 2008 has precisely zero to do with this band’s appeal. This EP would be equally impressive in April or June, and I’ve no doubt these songs will still be lighting my fuse long after 2008 has shuddered to a close.
Not that it’s timeless music, by any means. You can hear the early 70s glam shuffle of T Rex in it, and some cheap-as-chips 80s pop synths. There are flecks of late 70s punk spittle on this band’s lips, and some 90s indie pop cardigans quite possibly hanging in its wardrobe, too. On the single Serenade, there are even cunning references to beardy old folk tunes and English music hall.
Although this music is far from timeless, the time for music like this is certainly right now, when so many other bands seem to be borrowing the crap bits of bygone musical styles rather than the good bits. The Naked and Famous have better taste, better songs, and a more well-developed sense of what’s worth stealing, making this a band you can love, rather than merely appreciate.
Though they add a drummer and bass player for live gigs, The Naked and Famous mostly operates as a duo comprised of composer Thom Powers, 20, and singer/lyricist Alisa Xayalith, 21. Which one’s famous and which one’s naked, I could not say.
"Actually, the name is tongue-in-cheek," says Powers, as if I hadn’t worked this out for myself. “We’re not naked or famous. We chose that name because it stands for everything we think a band shouldn’t be about.”
The fully clothed and fame-less Powers and Xayalith have been friends for years. They first bonded over a shared disappointment with tertiary music biz education: Powers dropped out of an audio engineering course, and Xayalith dropped out of a performance course.
“The EP was mostly recorded in a bedroom of our house in Grey Lynn, with another flatmate doing the recording. Like most musicians, I come from a background of terrible bands and failed ideas. I was even in a Pantera covers band once.
‘‘All those experiences convinced me that I’m a control freak who shouldn’t try to make music when there’s too many people involved. But then I found the perfect collaborator with Alisa. I come up with most of the music, she comes up with most of the lyrics, and we like the same kinds of songs.”
Ah, yes, the songs. What can I say? There’s such stylistic variety to the material on this EP, my favourite song changes from day to day.
Today I favour Kill The Little Black Dots, which marries a droning four-note riff from a $10 synth with a fuzzy punk bassline and a drum track that sounds like a robot trying to play along to a Gary Glitter record.
Yesterday I couldn’t get past Post, a sad and lovely shoe-gazer track that suggests My Bloody Valentine jamming with the Shocking Pinks.
Tomorrow, I’ll probably be shedding a thankful tear to the wistful, rainy-day melody of “Part One”.
Part of what makes this duo’s songs so fascinating is that its key influences are relatively recent. Unlike most pop snobs, neither Powers nor Xayalith have slavishly studied the hallowed texts of 60s and 70s pop music.
They are relatively unfamiliar with pop’s holy trinity (Beatles/ Beach Boys/ Byrds), or The Stooges, or the Velvet Underground. Instead they profess a love of 90s acts such as Tricky, Radiohead, Bjork, Queens Of The Stone Age and Nine Inch Nails, and current NZ bands such as the Mint Chicks and Shocking Pinks, all performers who have gleefully bastardised earlier styles, mashing together snippets of punk, hip hop, rock and electronica.
Like magpies stealing from magpies, Powers and Xayalith swipe elements of the already hybridised sounds of these bands, and strap together their own wonky hybrid from that.
“Our take on pop music is unusual. We compile snippets of different genres to make music with a lot of surprises in it. We might build a song around a country riff, or some post-punk synth, or a dance bassline, but we take those songs somewhere you didn’t expect. And we find the mix of tragedy and pop music really fascinating.
“You hear it in our song, Serenade. The music is over-the-top happy, but . . . there’s tension to it, a twist, you know? If I had to sum up what we do in one line, I’d say it’s intense pop music, full of cool noises, made with minimal equipment.”
The Naked And Famous
This Machine EP (Round Trip Mars)
A band you can love
5 Stars
- Sunday Star Times (NZ's biggest national Sunday newspaper)

"Freaking Awesome"

“This EP is freaking awesome and I find myself hitting repeat all too often!” Andrew Tidball, Cheese On Toast - Cheese On Toast - the leading NZ indie website

"Fresh & Uncontrived"

“Their songs are familiar but still sound fresh and un-contrived.”
Adele Hunter Higgins, Real Groove - Real Groove magazine (NZ's leading national monthly music mag)

"This EP Is Gold… & Live They Are Cute As Hel"

“This EP is gold… and live they are cute as hell”
Monique Saville, 5/5 Stars - Groove Guide (NZ's #1 weekly gig guide/music mag)

"How Did They Get This Assured This Young?"

'how did they get this assured this young?'

Review by Richard Wain

So what do we have here? Nothing but good news coming out of various quarters about this duo. Boy/girl duo, check. Name nabbed from Tricky’s 1999 lyric “Everyone wants a record deal/ Everyone wants to be naked and famous/ Everyone wants to be just like me”, check. (Though I used to have a Tricky tee from his ’95 debut Maxinquaye with those words on it, so they must pre-date Pre-Millennium Tension — it was a flimsy promo shirt from the record company, it wore out — but then I did wear it to death. Dick! Me, not Tricky. Well, I haven’t had the pleasure, er, anyway). Shoegazer electro-vocal-cool, check… Auckland, check.

So far, so much to loathe, if you’re so inclined. Me, I like all those things, but heck, ignore the hype (which isn’t exactly blaring but we are operating on the edge of very cool here IMHO so it’s a thin ledge to be skating on) and listen to the songs — as ever, the best antidote to preconceptions/misconceptions. But, if you haven’t heard, then allow me.

The Naked And Famous set the tone from the first notes of opener “Kill The Littleblackdots”: drone feedback, someone slapping a tambourine in a back room, then handclaps and overdriven bass kick in before singer Alisa Xayalith gets going in a deadpan delivery about faulty machines and jealousy. Ice. Cool.

Track two, “Serenade”, flips the expected script with an almost hoedown-meets-electro vibe: acoustic guitar, slow pounding bass beats and Xayalith singing something about love and want. Like Shania Twain but wearing black instead of leopard print. I kinda like that one big hit of hers actually, ol’ Shania — but that could be just a hot ex-flatmate with bad taste rather than the actual song. See how perceptions get all mixed up?

The rest of the EP — it’s only six tracks — sticks with the overblown bass but track three overdrives with chunky, riffy guitars too. “Meeting People Sucks” is a cool song title, bringing to mind the naffness of social networking. Or at least the Myspace ‘Who I’d Like To Meet’ profile part of it — who do you meet from the virtual world who you haven’t already? “Meeting People Sucks” is almost as good a response to pop into that box as Shayney P. Carter’s Myspace blurb: ‘no one really. it’d just be too awkward…’

Now I’m thinking Curve instead of Ladytron (or Shania). I like how these youngsters easily assimilate influences from all over the shop, a bit of glam here, some handclaps there, a touch of drone to make it just so … how did they get this assured this young? Maybe that’s the great NZ knocking machine talking, perhaps these guys just have good ears. Chief studio nerd of the pair is known as Thom Powers. Apparently also his real name.

Track four, “Part 1″, is the most shoegazer: Lush on the slow tip mayhap. Certainly nineties-feeling: omigod we’re up to there on the nostalgia tip already? Nice outro/segue into “Post”, the next and second-to-last track with the biggest guitars drawing us out of the lull and back onto the dancefloor. New Order, new millennium maybe, only with girls instead of Barney. Love those hazy female vocals ah-ha-ha-ing all over the instrumentation, which now includes a minimal piano riff. Not the first instance of simple ooh-ooh kind of pop feel, this works just fine.

By now I’m getting carried away, by both the music and over the word count, so let’s just close with the final, no-surely-it-can’t-be-over-already track (good trick, leave ‘em wanting more) “Spies Spies Spies”. Title track chorus, again with the machines being uncooperative. I can dig that. Rocking out and over. The label says another EP is due in September and an album next year. Can’t wait. -

"Perfect For Right Now"

This Machine is fast; it's poppy; it's perfect for right now--and frankly, that's all it has to be.


New Zealand bands--you can't get much more indie than that.

Powering through the newly released EP by New Zealand indie power-pop duo The Naked and Famous is like being the star of your own action movie. Or at least the part of the movie where you're either a.) battling an army of zombie ninjas, b.) driving a rocket car down 4th street in the middle of the afternoon, or c.) driving a rocket car through an army of zombies who are waiting for the bus on 4th street at 2:30pm . . . Okay, it got out of hand there but that's because I'm listening to the aforementioned EP, This Machine, and I simply can't keep up. Although it's heading into winter down under, you'd think they wrote the album just for our northern hemisphere summer.

This Machine is fast; it's poppy; it's perfect for right now--and frankly, that's all it has to be. My only complaint is that it always seems to end too quickly. Since releasing the EP in May, they've also received very good local press from the likes of Undertheradar and that purveyor of prose, Grant Smithies, who is quite possibly one of the best music critics working today, IMHO.

Check out their MySpace page for three of the six EP tracks. And, of course, if you happen to be in Auckland around 31 May, check them out. Big thanks to Big Nick for the hi-ho.

Recommended if you like: plowing through zombie ninjas in a rocket car. Or dancing.


"Skewed Pop Bliss"

‘20 minutes of skewed pop bliss. The Naked And Famous have a very clear and present sense of the now, and we want more already.' Gary Steel - Metro


This Machine EP - released 5th of May 2008.
No Light EP - released 8th of September 2008.

EP Reached #9 on the IMNZ Independent Album Chart, June 2008.
Serenade from This Machine was the #1 song on the Radioscope Alt Charts for 4 weeks, meaning it was the most played song on the national student radio network for a month. It is currently picking up play from commercial radio and was recently the 9th Most Added Song across radio.

The video for Serenade was chosen by C4, NZ's most popular music channel as a Record Of The Week which meant it was the most played video with an hourly rotate, thisn is almost unheard of for a local band with a debut clip.

Kill The Litttleblackdots stuck at #2 on Radioscope Alt Charts for 3 weeks and like Serenade appeared in almost every listener voted top 10 on the student radio network across the country.

Meeting People Sucks has followed those 2 into the Radioscope Alt Top 10 for a similar period.



Quite possibly the best band you’ve never heard (yet), Auckland’s The Naked And Famous won’t be a secret for too much longer. With a debut EP “This Machine” out now on Round Trip Mars (home to SJD, Phelps & Munro, James Duncan, Unitone HiFi etc) through Universal NZ, they are already further down the track than many who have been around a lot longer. The band, named after a line from a Tricky song, are based around the ferociously talented pairing of composer/control freak Thom Powers and vocal siren/lyricist Alisa Xayalith, though they operate as a 4 piece live.

Typically untypical they have worked in reverse, recording their gobsmacking debut demo, before being approached by the notoriously picky Round Trip Mars label, and subsequently taken on by Encore Management. To conclude the reversal procedure, they then enlisted appropriate band members to complete the line-up, and seconded themselves in the practice room to ensure that their live show could truly do justice to what will undoubtedly be one of the 2008’s most exciting releases and freshest debuts. Now primed and ready for gigging action, the band were chosen to play a very well received slot at The NZ Music Month Industry Party despite having less than a half dozen public performances under their belt.

The classic, unrequited love song “Serenade” has already caused much wow and flutter by debuting at an astonishing #1 (and sticking there for 4 weeks) on the Radioscope National Alternative Chart and troubling listener top tens from Dunedin to Auckland, with “Kill The Littleblackdots” following in its wake. Both of those tracks also feature on the extremely limited, highly collectable, white label 7” that was simultaneously released independently, with four other future favourites featuring on the “This Machine” EP.
Interlinked and meticulously thought out and composed No Light the 2nd EP was dropped on September 8th. Already "Part 2" has found its way to the top of the National Alt Radio Charts and initial feedback has many tastemakers rating it as a step above "This Machine". The NZOA assisted video for "Birds" is hitting screens from the 15th as the band prepare for their mini-assault on NYC in October.
The Naked And Famous are stepping out, you have been warned.

“Finally. A young New Zealand band so brilliant, so thrilling, so daring and delicious that I want to write their name in big red letters on my pencil case ..“ Grant Smithies Sunday Star Times 5/5 Stars