The Palace Of Wisdom

The Palace of Wisdom originated in 1999 when well established Christchurch rock’n’roller Ben Johnstone (Guitar/Backing Vocals – Hi-Tone Destroyers, The Incisions) got together with intimidating vocalist Andrew ‘Ox’ O’Connell, adding hooky guitar riffs to O’Connell’s hurricane force vocals. The resulting recording was released as part of the No Thanks To New Zealand On Air compilation in 2000. Matt Alien (Hi-Tone Destroyers, Black Panthers, Space Dust, Slavetrader) joined on drums, with the line-up complete by English bassist Ian Lloyd.

With Lloyd’s departure in late 2000, ALC5 (yet another Hi-Tone Destroyers member) joined the group on Bass, however after a year with the group he was also replaced, this time by the legendary Mick Elborado (Scorched Earth Policy, The Terminals, Gas, The Axemen, Drowning Is Easy etc), who became a mainstay in the group and is responsible for the bands huge, over-driven bass sound on the excellent Pills EP.

The group then started to rotated through a number of drummers with Nick Harte (The Incisions, Shocking Pinks, Black Albino, CM Ensemble, The Urinators) in February 2002, Tim MacDonald (The Incisions, Shocking Pinks) in March 2003, Simon Nunn (Steffan Van Soest Hit-Machine, The Undercurrents, Kate in the Lemon Tree, Weaponized, Hi-Tone Destroyers etc) in December 2003, and then Chris Andrews (a million lights, Mysterioball, Idols of Eve, Pop Hits City, O’Lovely) in November 2004.

This line-up was the longest of the group, though recordings from this era (which lasted almost 4 years) are limited to Stuck In The Suck. After a disastrous recording session at Christchurch’s MAINZ, and other internal issues – Mick Elborado left the group. Jared Kelly (The Pickups, Blue Moon) then joined in May 2008, with Andrews and Kelly switching instruments after their first practice.

2008 was a particularly important year for the group, recording the Common Threads EP with the lineup of O’Connell (Vocals), Johnson (Guitar), Andrews (Bass) And Kelly (Drums) Before Stink Magnetic‘s Bad Evil joined as a 2nd guitarist, moving down from Palmerston North. This was an important change for the group as in late 2009 founding guitarist Ben Johnstone left to raise a family in Canada, and Aiden Moody (Bad Evil, Grand Chancellors) took over his lead guitar duties.

Both Kelly and Andrews left for other towns in 2010, however Ox enlisted the help of drummer Michael Summerfield (The Undercurrents, Cowboy Machine), before Andrews rejoined in early 2011 on bass guitar. The group played the very last show at historic Lyttelton venue El Santo Porteno, just 2 days before the February 2011 earthquake. This disrupted the progress the group had been making, with guitarist Moody moving on to form surf group The Grand Chancellors. The group resurfaced in early 2012 with Jared Kelly once again playing drums (replacing a departing Summerfield), with John Harris (Lonely Harris Club, Doctors, BnP) quickly establishing himself as their latest guitarist.

Of the course of the last 13 years the group has played a string of high-profile support slots, including The Chills, The Datsuns and of particular note – US group Dead Moon, who the group cover (‘Unknown Passage’) and are of particular importance to vocalist O’Connell with their never-say-die attitude to Rock’n’Roll. The Palace of Wisdom’s set is augmented by a number of re-interpreted covers, often quite removed from the originals, or obscure in their origin – this includes The Great Unwashed‘s ‘Born in the Wrong Time’ (as ‘Sending Him Away’), and Joy Division’s ‘Sound of Music’.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • The ‘P’ EP [2001 Self-Released]
  • Candy Pants [2002 Self-Released]
  • Pills EP [2003 Self-Released]
  • Stuck In The Suck [2006 Self-Released]
  • Burnside EP [2008 Self-Released]
  • Common Threads EP [2009 Self-Released]

See-Also

Psych Tigers

Originally the solo recording alias of teenage frontman Sam Perry (Vox/Guitar), now a live band also consisting of Matt Gunn (Bass, also of Ipswich), Steven Marr (Guitar, Ipswich and Miniatures) and Todd Williamson (Drums). Perry’s recordings have made a splash since first appearing in mid 2011 – very colored, stylistic sounds from such a young musician, showing a lot of variation and a spazzy, exciting approach to making music.

The Group is now trying their hand at establishing themselves in the Christchurch live scene; with both Marr and Gunn also quite prolific in local Post-Punk 3-piece Ipswich.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Glitter [May 2011 self-released]
  • Crystal Methods single [June 2011 self-released]
  • Baptism (Crystal Castle remix) [July 2011 self-released]
  • Psych Tigers EP [November 2011 self-released]
  • Wake-Up single [December 2011 self-released]

See-Also

Piha Rescue

Most likely defunct 3-piece surf-guitar covers group from Christchurch. Formed some time around late 2009 by Che Walden (guitar, also of Miniatures), Ben Dodd (bass, Lonely Harris Club, Bits and Pieces) and Alice Connelly (drums), who left for Wellington in early 2012. The group became quite popular at venues such as the pre-earthquake central city favourite Goodbye Blue Monday and Lyttleton surf-guitar-haven El Santo Porteno for their rough and ready, well-recognizable surf-guitar classics.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Misirlou [April 2010 self-released]
  • Live at El Santo [July 2010 self-released]
  • Shakin’ and Stompin’ (MAINZ Legit) [August 2010 self-released]
  • Happy Days! [October 2011 self-released]

See-Also

palace at 4am

palace at 4am is an up and coming dunedin four-piece fronted by singer/guitarist emma milburn, along with arc life sound-man supremo thomas bell (bass – also currently in david kilgour‘s heavy eights), gregg cairns (percussion) and lesley paris (ex-look blue go purple / flying nun label-head – drums).

we named palace at 4am from the alberto giacometti sculpture of that name. i kind of like the links with the futurist/surrealist art movements and, with music, the whole space/time thing…” “…so some of my lyrics come from this and, in the case of my song the palace at 4am, there’s a direct quote from giacometti’s comment on his sculpturern- emma milburn; taken from nzepc’s interview.

milburn also composes for the intrueing palo/ona, who released their debut album star of the sea in 1999, with palace at 4am’s debut expected sometime in 2004.
discography
picks in bold

  • palace at 4am [to be released in 2004]

pacific heights

as a jazz-trained electronic musician, devin abrams first appeared as a saxophonist and front-man for the popular live drum’n’bass outfit shapeshifter, releasing solo material through local start-up fabel recordings in the early 00s. jazz-textured electronica, rnhigh on style and low on content – not really my cup of tea.
discography
picks in bold

  • pacific heights ep [2002 fabel recordings frrcd01]
  • frozen fears [2003 fabel recordings]

picnic boys

kevin smith (guitar / vocals – who later went on to find fame as an actor in the likes of hercules before he died tragically in the early 2000s) released a series of tapes, often with pat faigan (drums – aka duane zarakov – later of spacedust) and steve watson (bass / violin / synth) – initially as the picnic boys on their own tv eye label. the fourth tape in this series was a split album from legacy of ears (steve watson) and hyphen-smythe (kevin) who in combination released material on a later album as the hyphen-ears.
discography
picks in bold

  • split cassette [1982 w/ rythm doktor tv eye TV-Eye001]
  • here comes the jungle cassette [1982 tv eye TV-Eye002]
  • crumbs, it’s a pterodactyl! cassette [1982 tv eye TV-Eye003]

phonoss

stoner rock lo-fi solo project from joed out‘s micheal brennan.
discography
picks in bold

phoenix foundation

acclaimed and eclectic wellington pop outfit with huge flourishes of whimsical instrumentation and whatnot. their debut caused quite a bit of fuss, critics gushing at their use of melody and whatnot. conrad wedde, samuel flynn scott, luke buda, tim hansen, will rickets and richie singleton.
discography
picks in bold

  • china cove ep [2001 lovely horse PH1]
  • horsepower [2003 capitol recordings CREC1012]
  • pegasus [2005 festival]
  • happy endings [2007 flying nun]

Music Videos

Perfect Strangers

A shambling blues-rock trio of notorious obscurity – their split 12″ EP (with The And Band – who shared member Mark Thomas), they existed for a short time playing underground gigs in Christchurch around 1981. Bill Vosburgh ended up recording a split EP as Junkanoo, before forming the Bill Fosby Assassins (with Duane Zarakov), and later joining the Homebacon gang on Brother Love‘s Rock’N’Roll Criminal.

Discography
Picks in bold

Martin Phillips

Although Martin Phillips can essentially be regarded as the heart and soul of his two-decade old troop the Chills (and the only surviving member of some 20+ line-up changes), Phillips has released material in a solo capacity which he clarified as being a seperate entity from his long-standing band.

2000’s ‘Sketchbook Vol. 1’ was a finely compiled and represented anthology of some of Phillips lost material – as over the years he has taken it upon himself to record several hundred hours of song-fragments that failed to make it to release.

Phillips originally debuted back in the late 70s with the unrecorded The Same – a punky troup who shared the same characteristics of the early Clean, though a little greener-still behind the ears. The Same were born into the same scene that spawned Shayne Carters’ high school gang Bored Games, and were inspired to action by witnessing small-town heros the Clean and (primarily) the Enemy in their formulative stages.
Discography (picks in bold)

  • Sunburnt [1996 As Martin Phillips And The Chills Flying Nun Fn303]

  • ‘Come Home’/’How Much This Place Has Changed’/’Lies, Lies, Lies’/’The Streets Of Forgotten Cool’ Cd Single [1996 As Martin Phillips And The Chills Flying Nun Fn340]

  • ‘Come Home’/’The Streets Of Forgotten Cool’ 7″ Single [1996 As Martin Phillips And The Chills Flying Nun Fn340]

  • ‘Surrounded’/’Friends Again’/’Stupid Way To Go’/’Yabba Dabba Doo’ Cd Single [1996 As Martin Phillips And The Chills Flying Nun Fn365]

  • ‘Surrounded’/’Yabba Dabba Doo’ 7″ Single [1996 As Martin Phillips And The Chills Flying Nun Fn365]

  • Sketch Book Vol. 1 [2000 Flying Nun Fn415]

See-Also