Originally formed as a regularly jamming group comprised of Palace of Wisdom‘s Andrew ‘Ox’ O’Connell (vocals), first-time musician David Branton (guitar) and Crimefront Studio’s Mike Boulden (drums), the group eventually took on a steady line-up with the addition of 2nd guitarist (and O’Connell’s Palace of Wisdom band-mate) Chris Andrews, plus talented free-form drummer Rory Dalley.
This 4-piece line-up quickly recorded the debut ‘Modern Beauty Standard’ with Boulden’s production, and continued to regularly produce new material through 2016 and 2017.
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.
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
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!
Apologies to Brother Love for missing their set – though I did talk to ‘the Brother (aka Martin Henderson) and the long-time ex-Christchurch sludge-rockers are back in the garden city again, with more shows on the horizon. You might remember Brother Love and the Homebacon Gang, playing shows with the likes of Space Dust, Ape Management and King Loser throughout the 1990s.
It was a rare treat to see legendary Dunedin-based songwriter Peter Gutteridge too; It’s been ‘more than a decade’ since the Snapper frontman last played a show in Christchurch, and according to Gutteridge he hasn’t been playing live in Dunedin either, although he still continues to write and plans to record new songs.
With Snapper known for pulsating Synth and Heavy Guitar drones adding a hypnotic rhythm to essentially dark pop songs, Gutteridge surprised the ample Darkroom crowd by starting his set with folky acoustic versions of his songs. The set began with a sober, melancholy performance of ‘Born in the Wrong Time’ (a song Gutteridge had written whilst in the Great Unwashed) played in a very minimal, stripped back acoustic style, ringing out repetitive individual notes on his guitar akin to the droney sound of his Snapper recordings.
As a founding member of several of New Zealand’s finest bands (The Chills, The Clean, The Great Unwashed and Snapper), Gutteridge’s back catalogue is full of involving, heady and evocative songs, but Snapper’s signature pseudo-hit ‘Buddy’ seemed to be the most recognized by the crowd, enticing a few upfront to sing-a-long.
He finally switched up a gear with the last handful of songs – playing with ear-piercing electric guitar and pulsing synth and understated bass from Henderson in support. I was transfixed by the duo’s sound in this configuration, much akin to the solo Gutteridge recordings I’ve heard (there’s an Xpressway tape from the 1980’s called ‘Pure’), which makes sense as he opened this 2nd set with ‘Dry Spot’, a song he’d released on a 7” for Crawlspace Records in 2000, culled from a live recording.
Great to see one of New Zealand’s best underground musicians back and playing music again, and I would definitely look out for future recordings.
Downbeat chiptune’s from ex-Christchurch resident Jos van Beek, currently residing in Auckland. Jos has been pretty heavily involved in making Chiptune music more visible in New Zealand (particularly Christchurch), playing a renegade slot at Camp A Low Hum, supporting touring Chiptune artists like cTrix and collaborating with Bang! Bang! Eche! vocalist Zach Donney.
2011 was particularly productive, with his debut self-titled EP, the single ‘Door to Door’ and 2nd EP ‘he lives forever so that we may sing’ (released by net-label ‘pxl-bot’) all appearing in quick succession.
Discography (picks in bold)
Fauxhound [June 2011 self-released]
Door to Door single [September 2011 self-released]
he lives forever so that we may sing [November 2011 pxl-bot]