Steve Earle, the king of raw and rootsy country rock, returns to New Zealand with just his acoustic guitar in hand for two intimate shows in April.

He is touring off the back of his new album I'll Never Get Out of Here Alive, which takes its name from a Hank Williams song.

During the shows he will be playing songs from his whole career, which started in Nashville in the 70s when he hooked up with fellow rebel country musicians like Townes Van Zandt. His career as a solo artist took off with the release of Guitar Town in the mid-80s, and then he hit the top of the charts with the album and song Copperhead Road in 1988.

However, in the 90s he hit rock-bottom due to drug addiction, but has since recovered and hasn't stopped recording and touring since.


He also published his debut novel, also called I'll Never Get Out of Here Alive, last year, and had a starring acting role as a recovering addict in hit HBO TV series The Wire as well as cameos in Treme, along with his son and fellow musician Justin Townes-Earle.

Earle plays Auckland's Kings Arms on April 11 and Wellington's Bar Bodega April 12. His last show here was at the Bruce Mason Centre in 2008.

Also making their return to New Zealand, but perhaps not quite so intimately, are Japanese noise rock trio Boris. They play Bodega on March 28 and the Kings Arms on March 29.

While best known for making a racket, the release of their dual albums, Heavy Rocks and Attention Please (their 16th and 17th albums) last year showed two distinct sides to the band. While Heavy Rocks was a more traditional and rocking album, the electronic and pop influenced Attention Please a more easy listening creation. Tickets to Boris available from

Dreamy, psychedelic Texan songstress St Vincent (aka Annie Clark) tours here in March in support of her third album Strange Mercy, which made many end-of-year best of album lists.

She plays with her three-piece band at the Kings Arms on March 18 and Wellington's San Francisco Bath House on March 19.

This is not Clark's first trip to NZ having previously performed at the New Zealand International Arts Festival in 2010, and as part of mass Texan band The Polyphonic Spree at the Big Day Out in 2005. Tickets available from January 23 at, Real Groovy and Slow Boat Records.

On the local front heavy rockers I Am Giant team up with dynamic duo Cairo Knife Fight for a 14-date national tour starting at the Duke in Russell on January 28, and including a date at Auckland's Kings Arms on March 16.

Meanwhile, Peter Hook and his band the Light will perform a double dose of Joy Divison in Wellington playing both his old band's albums, Unknown Pleasures and Closer, on consecutive nights at Bodega on April 18 and 19. He played Unknown Pleasures in Auckland last year and plays Closer at the Studio on April 20.