Backdoor Blues Band

Dunedin group from the mid 80s featuring vocalist Ted Clarke.
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Starting life as the Gordons, Bailterspace were one of the most abrassive aggressive and (primarily) loudest bands to ever emerge out of Christchurch and the Flying Nun scene of the early 80s. Comprised of Alister Parker on guitar/vox, John Halvorsen on bass and Brent Mclachlan on drums, the Gordons were the sonic exploration end of the dunedin sound, creating tremendous walls of weedback and distortion, never seen before on the New Zealand scene. Parker’s deadpan monotone growl was the icing on the cake in these early albums, and the Gordons were reasonably successful as a local act before disintegrating in 1986, releasing two solid albums on Flying Nun.

Parker formed Bailterspace in 1987 (initially as Nelsh Bailter Space), retaining his role from the Gordons years, but bringing in the Clean‘s Hamish Kilgour on lead guitar, the Pin Group‘s Ross Humphries on bass and Glenda Bills on drums. This line-up never seemed to settle though, with Kilgour switching to drums, Humphries and Bills leaving the group to make way for original Gordons bass player John Halvorsen to resume the bass playing role. This line-up recorded their stunning, ear-bashing debut Tanker, but once Kilgour had rejoined the Clean full time again in time for 1989’s Modern Rock, Brent Mclachlan was brought back in to complete the original Gordons line-up.

Through out the 90s, Bailterspace continued to release brilliant, dense rock albums, cultivating their wall-of-sound to the point of My Bloody Valentine comparisons, but Bailter Space were always more aggressive and indeed louder than their Irish cousins. After several impressive North American tours, Matador signed the band for American distribution, releasing the 4 song ep The Aim to a burgeoning US audience. The positive feedback that Vortura and Wammo (their mid 90s classics) receieved led to the band relocating to New York.

After adapting to a looser, more ‘Indie’ sound with 97s Capsul, the band then set about a less hectic schedule, gradually developing their sound at a more relaxed pace, taking several years between Capsul and Solar.3, even after the more considerable amount of press these albums receieved. In 2004 the (newly coporatized) Flying Nun / Festival Mushroom Group issued a best-of compilation compiling the history of Bailterspace. Though put together and designed by the band themselves and contains many classic character-defining Bailterspace songs, the compilation skimps on any band info or details along with some of the more direct and obvious compilation choices, leaving their albums (particularly Tanker and Wammo) much better starting points for the band.

After a lengthy hiatus whilst the members were living in various cities in New Zealand and the United States, Bailterspace re-emerged in 2012 with new recordings on the Arch Hill label – previewing tracks on-line before the new albums eventual release in August 2012 – some 14 years since Solar.3 was released!

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Nelsh Bailter Space EP [1987 Flying Nun Fn094]
  • ‘New Man’/’In A City Wardrobe’ 7″ Single [1987 Flying Nun Fn096]
  • ‘Grader Spader’/’The Escalator Song’/’N.B.S.’ 12″ Single [1988 Flying Nun Fn106]
  • Tanker [1988 Flying Nun Fn107 / Fne31]
  • Thermos [1990 Flying Nun Fn142 / Fne32]
  • The Aim Ep [1992 Flying Nun / Clawfist Fn232]
  • ‘Shine’/’Unseen’ 7″ Single [1992 Clawfist]
  • Robot World [1993 Flying Nun Fn259]
  • B.E.I.P. EP [1993 Flying Nun Fn284]
  • Vortura [1994 Flying Nun / Matador Fn295]
  • Splat EP [1995 Flying Nun]
  • Retro CD Single [1995 Flying Nun]
  • Wammo [1995 Flying Nun / Matador]
  • Capsule [1997 Turnbuckle]
  • Capsule 7″ Single [1997 Turnbuckle]
  • Solar.3 [1998 Turnbuckle]
  • Photon EP [1998 Turnbuckle]
  • Bailterspace Compilation [2004 Flying Nun]
  • Strobosphere [2012 Arch Hill]


bagnall, douglas

part of the 8 dec label / fever hosptial collective, a group of low-key musicians / film-artists that have released several lathe-cuts (including an early campbell kneale release as airport) to little or no attention.
picks in bold

  • ‘soaked’/’soaked (based on the original pony club)’ 7″ lathe-cut single [8 dec]

Cameron Bain

one-half of the oft-referenced, seldom heard constant pain, cameron bain recently released a triple 7″ release on stella corkery’s / alan holt’s pink air label.
picks in bold

  • blues triple 7″ lathe-cut ep [pink air pink air 006] rn

ballon d-essai

[profile thanks to Rob Mayes]
christchurch based 5 piece. released 2 eps on flying nun records (both of which included comic books), and the band recorded a bunch of other material plus a live show at the hillsborough tavern and much of this appeared on thefailsaferecords release ‘r.i.p.’, another track was also included on the 1984 accident compilation.
the band consisted of mark rastrick on vocals (last heard of as a resident of sydney), scott wilkinson – drums ( now a graphic designer, animator type) matt campbell – bass (now an illustrator in new york) steven macintyre – bass/guitar (went on to join all fall down) and lindsay davis – guitar. lindsay left the band after the first ep and was replaced by lyndon frasier (lyndon and the liars).
the band were relatively entertaining live, doing the art school thing with props and performance. they were interesting for a while in their use of 2 bass guitars and the peter hook melody lines from that sort of line up. they eventually started to write more traditional songs and lost the edge they originally had from being completely crap at playing their instruments.
picks in bold

the bats

the clean was never a band to stand still. several times during the 80s they broke up, then reformed for a european, new zealand or american tour, and all three members relocated at least once during these crucial years. so when rob scott arrived in christchurch in the mid 80s, he decided to form a 4 piece through his garden-city colleagues that would act as an exercise point for his by now prolific song-writing ability.

switching from bass to guitar meant that the brilliant husband and wife combo of paul kean (detroit hemroids and the mighty toy love – primarily bass, but also guitar) and the multi-talented kaye woodward (guitar, violin, mandolin etc) took over the rhythm section, with experienced drummer malcolm grant (who had played with the likes of vacuum) at the throne.

their first album daddy”s highway is considered a masterpiece, a jangle-pop classic showing the groups tendencies for stunning, harmonious guitars, sing-a-long vocals and pounding rhythms. the single ”north by north” is a brilliant example of what”s flawed with the international music scene – a song so appealing, carefree and yet focused can go essentially ignored in-spite of itself.

the bats never really accumulated a particularly strong following throughout the 80s and 90s, as their albums continued to sprout up (the brilliant the law of things and fear of god being my favorites) – they were confounded to minor-league college radio airplay, even in their hometown.

with scott”s movement back to dunedin in the early-mid 90s, their output became less prolific, but their popularity saw a considerably upswing during the mid to late 90s, with the release of the couchmaster album (and the ”courage” single) and their considerable presence on the soundtrack to the brilliant ”topless women talk about their lives” television series and motion picture. its safe to say that the bats are now seen as one of the great ”dunedin sound” bands, mixing jangle-pop with their own tendencies for melodic vocals, small-town themes and homegrown ethics. they”re a band that prefers a low profile, yet deserves the attention of the world. they still continue to tour, though scott”s relocation means this happens much less often – but the remaining christchurch members formed minisnap in the late 90s, with kaye woodward providing taking the lead.


picks in bold

  • by night 12″ ep [1984 flying nun FN024]
  • and here is ”music for the fireside” 12″ ep [1985 flying nun FN031 / FNE22]
  • ”made up in blue”/”trouble in this town”/”mad on you” 12″ single [1986 flying nun FN060 / FNUK1]
  • daddys highway [1987 flying nun FN079 / FNE23]
  • ”block of wood”/”calm before the storm”/”candidate” 7″ single [1987 flying nun FN084]
  • 4 songs 12″ ep [1988 flying nun FN104]
  • compiletely bats [1988/1990 compilation flying nun FN BAT001 / FN143]rn
  • law of things [1989 flying nun FND30239 / FNE33]
  • ”smoking her wings”/”mastery”/”passed by” 7″ single [1990 flying nun FN124]
  • ”the black and the blue”/”watch the walls” 7″ single [1991 flying nun FNK11013]
  • ”boogie man”/”jetsam”/”mama come watch” cd single [1991 flying nun FN K11033]
  • fear of god [1991 flying nun FN217]
  • silverbeet [1993 flying nun FN260]
  • ”courage”/”mind how you run”/”slow alright”/”the wind is sad” cd single [1993 flying nun FN261]
  • live at wfmu 7″ ep [1994 merge MRG058]
  • ”under the law”/”spill the beans”/”sir queen(live)” 7″ single [1994 flying nun FN291]
  • spill the beans cd ep [1994 flying nun FN291]
  • couchmaster [1995 flying nun FN301]
  • afternoon in bed ep [1995 flying nun FN341]
  • thousands of tiny luminious spheres compilation [2000 flying nun FN413]
  • at the national grid [2005]

recommended songs

download from

  • block of wood
  • north by north
  • claudine
  • mastery
  • smoking her wings
  • made up in blue

Music Videos


batrider were one of the brightest stars to come out of wellington in the early 2000s. a four-piece led by guitarist/vocalist sarah chadwick, the strength in the group lies in their gritty vocals and guitarist julia rouse’s excellent rhythmic riffs, countered by the strong rhythm section of bassist/talented illustrator toby morris and shuffling drummer tara wilcox. the group toured new zealand extensively with the early a low hum shows.
with the release of the groups debut lp ‘they said your hideous’ the group made the relocation to melbourne, taking up residency on the other side of the ditch.

picks in bold

  • sanatana cd single [2004 self-released]
  • they said your hideous [2005 global routes]

music videos

Beat Rhythm Fashion

fashionable wellington-based post-punk from the early 1980s that featured caroline easther (the chills, verlaines, the spines etc), but formed by british ex-pat brothers nino and dan birch (guitar / vocals and bass / vocals, respectively). initially formed as a studio-based outfit in august 1980, and heavily indebted to the sound of the cure, the birch brothers had been around the terrace scene for a while, playing in both the westown quintet and the mixers. beat rhythm fashion eventually started playing live in 1981, taking their place in a vibrant and expanding scene.rn
they survived a bit longer than many of the formulative wellington punk outfits featured on ****, releasing several singles packaged in distinctive 2-color sleeves and were recorded as part of the 4-band live album wellingtonzone, that marked the debut of the soon-to-be-huge mockers. the band had more of a pop-friendly new-wave edge than their harder-edge contemporaries, but saw little exposure outside wellington.
In 2007 Rob Mayes of Failsafe Recordings finally released bring real freedom – a collection of songs culled from out of print vinyl releases, live recordings and unreleased material as part of his ongoing reissue series.
picks in bold

beautiful losers

a fine and surprisingly accessible collaborative band that featured the usually challenging peter wright (guitar) and dave khan (aka the drawing room – keyboards), with the ever-propulsive drumming of rustle covini (aesthetics, silo).
the band last throughout 2002 and 2003 before wright relocated to london, though khan’s fostex vf16 rndigital 16-track records will most probably live on, as their planned for a double-album release on both khans’ krkrkrk and wrights apoplexy some time in 2004.
picks in bold

  • bootleg cd-r ep [2003 self-released]
  • beautiful losers double cd-r [unreleased 2004 krkrkrk / apoplexy]