Formed: 1985 in Melbourne, Australia

Members: Frontman Neil Finn, bassist Nick Seymour, guitarist-keyboardist Mark Hart and drummer Matt Sherrod

Latest Release: Intriguer, the June-released follow-up to 2007's Time on Earth, which was the band's first record in 14 years.

Sounds like: the New Wave pop of Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson or XTC bled of its prickly tendencies and infused with acoustic folk.

For fans of: Squeeze, the Go-Betweens, Tears for Fears, Elvis Costello and the Ruby Sons

Why you care: Crowded House founder and frontman Neil Finn is perhaps the second-most-famous New Zealander in the world (after Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson), and his band's success is largely due to his finely detailed songwriting. Though the band, which Finn started after the dissolution of his New Wave project Split Enz (remember "I Got You"?), is most well known in the U.S. as a two-hit-wonder relic from the 1980s, Crowded House is actually a long-running powerhouse Down Under and in Europe. And those two hits? They still stand up. "Don't Dream It's Over," the band's biggest chart success, was one of the most heartfelt ballads of the early MTV era, and "Something So Strong," still sounds strikingly modern 23 years later with its vocal harmony and Hammond organ-bolstered chug. Despite a 10-year hiatus (from about 1996 to 2006) and an evolving lineup (Finn and Seymour are the only members who have participated in every incarnation of the band), Crowded House continues a vibrant, productive and inspiring career.


Crowded House plays Edgefield on Thursday, Aug. 26, with Lawrence Arabia. 6:30 pm. $39-$54 advance, $43 day of show. All ages.