On Monday, September 15th I saw an innocuous Facebook post by Doo Ragnarok, aka Duane Zarakov, aka Pat Faigan – a fairly typical post by Pat, who spends a great chunk of the day posting excellent youtube clips of classic songs – in this case The Great Unwashed’s ‘Born in the Wrong Time’, which is one of my all time favorite songs, Kiwi or otherwise.
However the responses to this wonderful song were different than usual – a whole heap of sad comments. This is how I found out Peter Gutteridge – founding member of The Clean, The Chills, The Great Unwashed and his own group Snapper – had passed away that morning.
Pretty soon the rest of the world had caught up on Peter’s passing – Simon Sweetman seemed to have the first story online about his passing, and this interview from Mess and Noise back in April last year seems to be the most informative insight online in to who I believed to be New Zealand’s greatest song-writer.
I took the photo above back in 2012 after catching Peter play a live acoustic set at Christchurch’s Darkroom Bar back in 2012 – Peter was very conscientious about his appearance, making sure I drew as much of the ample character in his face as possible. I got just two shots; the above color shot which seems to portray fire and brimstone, a swaggering but downtrodden character. However the 2nd shot I took (below) seems to show another side of Peter – there is warmth and frailty in his eyes – a complete transformation.
Considering the depth of Peter’s music, this transformation is not surprising. Though known for the huge walls of feedback and straight for the jugular approach of songs like The Clean’s ‘Point That Thing somewhere Else’ (which he was always keen to remind us – he wrote at the age of 17), he also had a deeply emotional, quiet side – Snapper’s ‘Gentle Hour’ and several of the Great Unwashed’s song hint at this.
I managed to catch Peter playing a couple times in the past 2 years, with the reformed Snapper playing at the 2013 Camp A Low Hum being a particular highlight – it was great to see Peter passing the baton to a new generation of Dunedin kids, with a backing band that included Bad Sav’s Hope Robertson and Though Creature’s Danny Brady.
So Monday was a very sad day in New Zealand Music. We’ve lot one of our greats, a fantastic song-writer that has just begun to resurface after a long absence from the public eye.
Hey it’s almost time for the very last Camp A Low Hum, but if yer missing out on going this year you’d be pleased to know both Christchurch and NZ in general get a whole bunch of cool bands on the bill playing side-shows up and down the country.
Kicking off in the next couple of weeks there’s Anthonie Tonnin (aka Tono of The Finanace Company fame) with the super sweet Shenandoah Davis (from the States) playing shows at the Hilltop Tavern tonight (Thursday, Jan 30th), the Wunderbar tomorrow (Friday, January 31st) and the darkroom on Wednesday (Feb 5th), whew!
For the electronically-inclined, Ninjatune whizz Daedelus is playing Dux Live on Wednesday (Feb 5th) too – so how’s that!
Last but not least, punky dudes Bare Grillz – a fantastic trio of upstanding gents from the sprawling urban metropolis of Newcastle, Australia are back after lighting up Camp a couple years back. I LOVE these guys, and can’t wait for their Wednesday (Feb 12th) show at Darkroom with similarly fantastic Auckland indie-rock duo Carb on Carb, and local math-rock-y good tunes lads Coate, and hardcore-y cool rock tracks with shouting kids Winter.
Christchurch via Paris/New York trio Yumi Zouma have been making a massive impact on the blogosphere since the release of their first single The Brae last week.
Named after a hill-bound street in the Garden City suburb of Mount Pleasant which overlooks the Pacific Ocean, the song is a wonderful, subdued track that captures the feel of the New Zealand summer.
Featuring former members of Christchurch group Sleepy Age, Yumi Zouma seem fully formed and ready to take on the world, and have already released a follow-up single – the bass-driven groove entitled Sålka Gets Her Hopes Up.
Look for their debut EP next month on US label Cascine.
There’s a couple HUGE Christchurch shows coming up, one of which completely flew by me until today. Firstly US electronic duo Matmos are playing that new Electronic/Experimental-orientated venue Third Door Down (7 Lincoln Lane, off Lincoln Road) on Wednesday, January 22nd and then I was surprised to hear that classic British punk group Stiff Little Fingers are playing Churchill’s Bar (441 Colombo Street) on Feb 18th. Continue reading Upcoming Christchurch shows
Japanese noise legend Merzbow, comes to Christchurch.
Opening with an excellent set from Stanier Black-Five (check out her new inner-city listening-post / wine-bar venue The Auricle) producing out-there sounds with a heavy locomotive motif, and US-born Rotorua act Acclimate, who’s approach was more beat orientated and featured some pretty out-there video accompaniment.
Merzbow himself created a cacophony of noise at his requisite thunderous volume utilizing all analogue electronics, custom built for his specific requirements including an electric pseudo-banjo looking device crafted from what looks like a pot and springs.
So next Thursday (November 21st) is quickly creeping up, and that means Japanese extreme noise LEGEND Merzbow will soon be in town, playing Dux Live (of all places!) with Lyttelton’s Stanier Black-Five and Rotorua’s Acclimate. Here’s what Audio Foundation have to say:
One of the most extreme and uncompromising musicians of the 21st Century is coming to New Zealand this November – playing all major centres!!! Worshipped internationally for his brutal, speaker destroying sonic assault, underground Japanese industrial noise musician Merzbow (Masami Akita) is a true legend for both his relentless solo releases since 1980 (via Tzadik, Digital Hardcore, Extreme, Relapse and his own ZSF Product) and his crucial collaborations with heavy-hitters Boris, Genesis P-Orridge (Psychic TV), Eye (Boredoms) and more! DON’T MISS OUT on this pivotal tour by the definitive dark master of Japanese noise – presented by Altmusic. Bring earplugs, this show will be LOUD!
Delving deep into otherworldly extremes of industrial, metal machine noise and beyond, Merzbow’s blistering output runs the gauntlet of his definitive brand of Japanese noise – from charred & blackened subterranean lows to interstellar cosmic highs. Punishing, remorseless frequencies pour forth in a relentless onslaught of pure sound, decomposing electronic textures devolve into tsunamis of brutal guitar wreckage. Impossible to pin down due to his uncomprehendingly vast ouvre, simultaneously contemplative & aggressive, Merzbow’s sound is way beyond music, it simply IS.
“Think of those artists who overpowered the grind of their eras: Bach, Wagner, Miles Davis, The Beatles – all of these people were consistently displaced of their time by the striking originality of their work… there is a case for including Masami Akita (Merzbow) in such a group.” – Pitchfork
“Everyone should own at least one Merzbow record.” – Tiny Mix Tapes
“Though the work is largely atonal and non-harmonic, it is bursting with timbre and texture and vibrancy” – The New Yorker
Special thanks to Asia New Zealand Foundation for their support of this tour.
Presale tickets available via Undertheradar – http://www.undertheradar.co.nz/
Formerly of St Petersburg and Urbantramper – laid back folky Wellington singer-songwriter Elinor Chisholm is now performing under the name Hula Hope, with a lovely little album called ‘Lamp’ up on BandCamp and upcoming shows around the country, before departing for a European tour in September.
Citing influences like Jonathan Richman, Feist and the Chiffons – ‘Lamp’ actually has quite a distinct kiwi feel, with Chisholm’s vocals (at times layered in echo-chamber reverb) feeling very rural grounded. Steve Abel pops up with a few guest vocals too, and at times the album can be quite dreamy (the ending refrain of ‘Sins’), country-tinged (‘Do You’) or folky sounding (‘Plenty of Stones’), its a pleasant set of songs.
Headliners Thrill Collins are comprised of Ex-Christchurch folk Jos Van Beek (vocals and discordant, not-really-guitar-at-all guitar) and Nick Robinson (rhythmic, gnarly bass), plus slinky local drummer Ben Dodd. The trio have existed in name-only fashion for quite some time, though eventually the single ‘I eat pretty well for a poor person’ established their sound back in 2010. With Jos and Nick both moving about the North Island, last nights show was essentially a reunion.
The always terrific Log Horn Breed opened the show, toning down the frantic feeling of previous performances to a tight, explosive set of songs. Recalling the grooves and guitar of the Birthday Party with shout-spoken storylike vocals and a bunch of interesting noise thrown in for good measure. Love these guys.
Speaking of Love – local singer-songwriter Brian Feary debuted his new stage persona ‘Brian Luv’, dressed to the nines and performing covers in a swarthy showman type way, even ending the night with a swag of Karaoke favourites, climbing the bar and wooing the ladies. Nice!
[Interview and Article by Andrew Barry, Photos by Christopher Andrews]
Meeting with the members of Christian Rock at their spiritual (and in some cases literal) home of All Plastics Recording it is immediately clear that the band is no marriage of convenience, or mere side project.
The three musicians in Christian Rock are all at ease with each other as coffee, cigarettes, easy banter and self-deprecating wit flows. Rhett Copland, Jamie Larson and Brian Feary are all well-established members of Christchurch’s Indie scene, and despite busy musical schedules they get plenty from this latest endeavour.
I’m with them, ostensibly to discuss the lack of music venues in Christchurch but conversation jumps from left to right with ease and a sense of fun.
Topics covered include;
Withering (and deserved) put-downs of sacred local music cows [for names of whom, send me a fiver].
The ups and downs of the internet for musicians.
The horror that is Nelson, (“It’s shit, and too many people hate me” – Copland)
The merits of various member’s potential careers as gigolos, and broadcasters, Rhett not so great – (“I’d be a shit gigolo, id care about myself, not her needs”) and Jamie, pretty good (he’s a student at the New Zealand Broadcasting School).
This is before concluding finally in a revealing run through of the inside the actors studio 10 questions. That might just come later, and it’s a superb little pop psychology quiz.
This many paragraphs in is probably a few too late, but it’s perhaps about time to explain quite who and what Christian Rock are. They’re good friends, music obsessives, and to boot (as Copland says); “Everyone’s having fun playing.”
This sense of fun, and slightly warped humour is evident from the off, the band’s name and song titles have been described as Brilliant by Russell Brown, and I’m not about to pick a fight on such a clear-cut issue, he’s right, plus, regardless who am I to argue with the doyen of New Zealand’s blogosphere.
Rhett says the name partially comes from memories I’m sure we all share of Rockquest days where “When you’re 16, anything rock or from out of town is legit” and the inherent humour which surrounds everything in that competition,
Call me cynical or a pushover but once again I’m not going to argue that point, because for all its good, there’s something adorably and endearingly witty about Rockquest, even if it’s often by accident. Furthermore it’s hard to take issue with Copland when he says “I found Christian Rock (The genre) really funny then, and I do now”.
Christian Rock the band though, are funnily enough, a Rock n Roll group made up of atheists, described by their drummer as basically “Being more of a child-like form” than the member’s collective and numerous other projects, and “A return to guitars after the Sonics of the likes of Phobos Eros” by their vocalist.
These quotes aren’t meant to imply the band isn’t taken seriously, but rather that it opens up avenues for three talented guys to scratch musical itches they otherwise might not be able to reach.
Punk, psycho-Billy and garage rock feature on the menu, with Bob Log III cited as a key influence. All of the above can be heard in the strident ‘We’ll meet at Riccarton Mall to fuck” some would argue the band’s legacy is safe already, just through having had a song of such a name grace the airwaves of National Radio.
But there’s more in store, the irreverent sensibilities of the band saw the first practice yield three songs from the ether, with multi-instrumentalists Copland and Feary enjoying the challenges and excitement of (surprisingly after so many band’s each) playing as a duo of guitarists for the first time.
The band is featured on [Joe Sampson’s new Christchurch-based label] Melted Ice Cream’s brilliant recent compilation, Sickest Smashes from Arson City. Sampson sums things up perfectly by stating of Copland “It’s the most energetic I’ve heard him”
Rhett Copland, self-described as musically skitzo, but better known for languid psychedelica, superb shoegaze and introspective soundscapes is firmly in more of a rowdy mode here, backed up by the equal parts perfect time keeping and machine gunning of Larson’s drumming, not to mention the versatility and force of Feary’s guitar playing.
The aesthetic of the band at this stage in their early development is just as tightly formed and well-rounded as the lack of fat on the bones of their tunes -pieces that are more missives than songs really.
Christian Rock themselves claim that it’s simply “Been fucking fun, and it’s too early (for the band) to be anything” but the early songs and presentation hint at a manifesto, and plenty more incendiary musical nuggets ahead.
Artwork features the takes of several celebrity fans about the group and the knowing touch of ‘Professional band’ is added to their official Facebook handle.
This band is simply three guys having a good time making music together; and that is about as pure a motivation as there is left in contemporary music (which on the whole is just “There to sell cars”). However, because of the intelligence and passion of the members it transcends what in lesser hands could be a cliché.
Rhett’s right in saying Its unusual to be this invested – especially in a time where the general public aren’t and so much music is simply there (as Feary puts it); merely “Written to be played to a crowd”, this is not to mention Copland’s point that “No one in New Zealand music’s made money except Dave Dobbyn”.
However, we should be thankful for the trio’s investment, as short, sharp, fun but fiery bursts of Rock n Roll courtesy of Christian Rock might just be the kick up the ass a willing, but still broken and tired Christchurch City needs.
Copland says that listening to music “You can tell when there’s genuine intent.” Those who have taken to Christian Rock so far know that intent is unmistakable, but Garden City listeners’ best make the most of this, at least in the live arena while they can; a move to Auckland, for greater access to festivals, and a more receptive audience is pencilled in for 2014.
Click here for more images from the Sickest Smashes from Arson City compilation album release party.