Ballon d-Essai

Biography

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 the Failsafe records release ‘R.I.P.’, another track was also included on the 1984 accident compilation.

Lindsay left the band after the first EP and was replaced by Lyndon Frasier (Lyndon and the Liars). Steven McIntyre went on to join All Fall Down.

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.

– Rob Mayes Of Failsafe Records

Members

  • Steven McIntyre (Bass/Guitar, 1981 – 1986?)
  • Mark Rastrick (Vocals, 1981 – 1986?)
  • Scott Wilkinson (Drums, 1981 – 1986?)
  • Matt Campbell (Bass, 1981 – 1986?)
  • Lindsay Davis (Guitar, 1981?)
  • Lyndon Frasier (Guitar, 1982? – 1986?)

Discography

  • This is the level crossing 12″ EP (1981 Flying Nun Records, FN007)
  • Grow up 12″ EP (1983, Flying Nun Records, FN020)
  • R.I.P. (1986, Failsafe Records, SAFE005)

Links

 

Banshee Reel

Biography

A country-tinged pre-cursor to Julia Deans’ popular Fur Patrol who self-released a couple of albums in the mid 90’s.

Members

  • Gavin Duncan
  • Andrew Moen
  • Allan Clark
  • Julia Deans (Vocals/Guitar)
  • Chris O’Connell (Guitar/Vocals)
  • Tony Coughlan

Discography

  • Culture Vulture (1993, BAN001)
  • An Orchestrated Litany Of Lies (1995, BAN002)

Links

 

B.C.

Biography

Put out two releases on underground label Root Don Lonie For Cash. Potentially something to do with The Futurians… Or Campbell Kneale?

Members

Discography

  • Tram To The Rise CDr (Root Don Lonie For Cash, RDL080)
  • Dog Lathe 7″ (Root Don Lonie For Cash, RDL088)

Links

 

Baconfoot

Biography

Short-lived Wellington hard-rock 3-piece comprised of Head Like A Hole‘s Tom Watson and Nigel Reagan, and bolstered by Craig Terris. Put out a 7″ EP on Andrew Tolley’s excellent Kato label.

Terris and Watson went on to form Cassette.

Members

  • Tom Watson (Guitar)
  • Nigel Reagan (Guitar)
  • Craig Terris (Drums/Bass/Vocals)

Discography

  • Live From Russia 7″ EP (1997, Kato, KATO10)

Links

 

Alec Bathgate

Biography

The George Harrison to Chris Knox’s John Lennon.

Alec Bathgate’s always kept a couple steps back in his fellow Enemy, Toy Love and Tall Dwarfs shadow, but released a lovely little Byrds-jangle-pop album (with heavy Beatles and Beach Boy flourishes) in 1996.

More technically competent than Knox, and somewhat reserved (in comparison at least), Bathgate is a reflective, precarious song-writer of great talent.

Bathgate then resurfaced in a solo capacity a mere 8 years later with the superb Indifferent Velvet Void, an album chock full of pop-classics and weighty lyrics.

Signing to the Auckland-based Lil Chief, Bathgate has played just one solo show prior to it’s release, as part of a joint CD-release promotion with fellow Christchurch popsters Pine.

Members

  • Alex Bathgate (Guitar/Vocals)

Discography

  • Pet Hates 7″ Single (1995, Flying Nun Records, FN333)
  • Gold Lame (1996, Flying Nun Records, FN353)
  • Nunfest ’96 Etched 7″ (1995, Flying Nun Records, FN373)
  • The Indifferent Velvet Void (2004, Lil Chief, LCR009)

Links

 

Batrider

Biography

Batrider were one of the brightest stars to come out of Wellington in the early 2000’s. 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.

Eventually vocalist Chadwick would go solo recording under her full name Sarah Mary Chadwick, whilst Rouse would form Twerps.

Members

  • Sarah Chadwick (Vocals/Guitar, 2004 – 2011)
  • Julia Rouse (Guitar, 2004 – 2008?)
  • Toby Morris (Bass/Vocals, 2004 – 2007?)
  • Tara Wilcoz (Drums, 2004 – 2011)
  • Sam Featherstone (Drums, 2007? – 2011)
  • Stephanie Crase (Guitar, 2008 – 2010)

Discography

  • Sanatana CD Single (2004, Self-released)
  • They Said Your Hideous (2004, No Promo, NPR002)
  • Take Me Back EP (2006, No Promo, NPR005)
  • Tara (2007, No Promo, NPR006)
  • Ping Guitars, Yellow Stars Mini-Album (2007, Self-Released)
  • Why We Can’t Be Together (2009, Low Transit Industries, LTID094)
  • Bag Wine Forever (2009, Self-Released)
  • Piles of Lies (2011, Two Bright Lakes, TBL016)

Links

 

The Bats

Biography

The Clean was never a band to stand still. Several times during the 80’s 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 80’s, 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 Hemorrhoids, The Basket Cases 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 The Vacuum and The World) 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 80’s and 90’s, 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 90’s, their output became less prolific, but their popularity saw a considerably upswing during the mid to late 90’s, 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 90’s, with Kaye Woodward providing taking the lead.

Members

  • Robert Scott (Vocals/Guitar, 1982 -)
  • Paul Kean (Bass/Guitar, 1982 -)
  • Kaye Woodward (Guitar/Bass/Vocals, 1982 -)
  • Malcolm Grant (Drums)
  • Michael Summerfield (Live Viola, 2017)
  • John Christoffels (Live Cello, 2017)

Discography

  • 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, Pocket Music]
  • The Guilty Office [2008, Arch Hill, AHR036]
  • Free All The Monsters [2011, Flying Nun, FNCD513]
  • The Deep Set [2017, Flying Nun, FNLP568]

Links

 

Beat Rhythm Fashion

Biography

Fashionable Wellington-based post-punk from the early 1980’s that featured Caroline Easther (The Chills, Verlaines, Spines etc), but formed by British ex-pat brothers Nino and Dan Birch.

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.

No Great Oaks 7″ Single

Beat Rhythm Fashion eventually started playing live in 1981, taking their place in a vibrant and expanding scene.

They survived a bit longer than many of the formlative 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 Records 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.

The group received some retrospective exposure in 2017 thanks to Salmonella Dub – The Christchurch dub group were due to be inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame, however they declined involvement after their pick of Beat Rhythm Fashion (as an influencing group) were deemed too obscure.

Members

  • Nino Birch (Guitar/Vocals, 1980 – 1982)
  • Dan Birch (Bass/Vocals/Drums, 1980 – 1982)
  • Glen Stewart (Drums, 1980 – 1981)
  • Caroline Easther  (Drums, 1982)
  • Peter Kaio (Drums, 1982)

Discography

  • **** [1980, w/ Life in the Fridge Exists, Wallsockets, Naked Spots DanceSausage]
  • Beings Rest Finally 7″ Single [1981, Bunk, Bunk008]
  • Turn of the Century 7″ Single [1981, Bunk, Bunk012]
  • No Great Oaks 7″ Single [1981, Epic, ES751]
  • Bring Real Freedom [2007, Failsafe Records]

Links

 

Beautiful Losers

Biography

A fine and surprisingly accessible collaborative band that featured the usually challenging Peter Wright (Guitar) and Dave Khan (Keyboards), with the ever-propulsive drumming of Rustle Covini.

The band lasted throughout 2002 and 2003 before Wright relocated to London, though Khan’s Fostex VF16 Digital 16-track records live on, as the group released a self-titled double-album on both Khans’ kRkRkRk and Wright’s Apoplexy labels in 2004, and subsequently a digital release entitled ‘First to the Sun’ in 2013.

Members

  • Peter Wright (Guitar, 2003 – 2004)
  • David Khan (Keyboards, 2003 – 2004)
  • Rustle Covini (Drums, 2003 – 2004)

Discography

  • Bootleg CDr EP (2003, Self-released)
  • Beautiful Losers Double CDr (2004, kRkRkrk / Apoplexy)
  • First to the Sun (2013, Distant Bombs, 994)

Links

 

Bedford Tours

Biography

One of Rob Scott’s many one-off bands – this time with Andrew Strang.

They put out the Chch To Dunedin cassette on Scotts’ own Every Secret Thing label.

Members

  • Rob Scott
  • Andrew Strang

Discography

  • Chch To Dunedin Cassette (1984, Every Secret Thing, EST 11]

Links