EXCLUSIVE: Hear “Railway Lines,” the retro-leaning new song from New Zealand musician Anthonie Tonnon

photo: Jenna Todd

New Zealand-based solo artist Anthonie Tonnon is a bit of a musical anomaly. The cover art of his new album, Successor, might make you think of David Bowie’s Heroes; the music reflects that classic ’70s art-pop vibe but also has connective tissue with more modern-day innovators like James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, who himself is well aware of rock history. We’re thrilled to premiere Tonnon’s new song, “Railway Lines,” which finds the singer placing himself in the shoes of an old man watching his city grow into urban sprawl. Tonnon explains:

“I was spending a lot of time riding the train system in Auckland during an electrification project. A new public sculpture on a bridge had caught my eye a couple of times, and I thought of it while I was trying some more minimalist, krautrock-inspired music. I started developing this picture of a embittered old man who was just starting to see his city change, belatedly, towards his values.

The background to this is that in the 1950s, Auckland was growing fast, and the council of the day had a choice to either grow on a centralized model and build a subway system, or expand outward based on motorways. It chose the later, and became a kind of miniature L.A in the South Pacific. The old man in the story is someone who had been on the losing side of the argument.”

Successor comes out June 30 on Misra/Wild Kindness and can be pre-ordered here.