The Renderers

The Renderers are New Zealand’s prime example of southern-fried country, and are indeed one of our finest ever bands. Brian Crook formed the Renderers with his partner Maryrose in early 90s christchurch when the Max Block Group failed to go anywhere. He was already part of the Scorched Earth Policy / terminals sequence of bands that was picking up wind again – but the Renderers were the Crooks band (they’ve cycled through line-ups, with John Billows, Peter Mitchell (also of squirm and Hiss Explosion), Denise Roughan (the 3Ds, Look Blue Go Purple et all), Robbie Yeats Dead C, verlaines) and Haydn Jones, whilst the Crooks’ have always remained consistent.

Their early recordings stuck to a strictly country approach and seemed a bit too forced and distant, it wasn’t until the band relocated to port chalmers, a small bay just outside of dunedin that the Renderers really found their sound. Maryrose’s vocal on the 7″ sincle ‘a million lights” is like a defining moment in New Zealand rock. An achingly beautiful, brief song that has since featured on many Flying Nun and xpressway compilations, the song typified the Renderers new found dark and country-tinged rock sound.

Over the course of the 90s, the Renderers albums grew stronger and stronger – culminating in the masterpiece that is 1998’s dream of the sea. Featuring a wonderful cover of Ritchie Venus forgotten gem forbidden planet and a swagger of fine, dark songs themed around the sea, it was welcomed with open arms by the u.s. Underground music scene, whilst going mostly ignored in New Zealand. The Renderers are still going strong, touring sporadically, whilst both Maryrose and Brian have released their own solo material (most notable Brian’s 2002 album as Bible Black, and Maryroses contributions to the Arc Life series of dunedin music compilations).

In early / mid 2004 during the process of organising a christchurch show with the band, i managed to conduct an interview with the duo, and have kept up to date on their schedule for future releases. Since the recent demise of arc life, plans are now intact for the Renderers to start their own label. With Maryrose’s first solo release, a further solo release from Brian in a form similar to that of his fractured solo debut bathysphere under his current Anti-Clockwise performing alias, and perhaps the 5th Renderers release on the way, to boot.
circa mid-2005 the group made further line-up changes, this time coinciding with a possible move back to christchurch. Original bassist john bellows was reinstated, and drummer mike daly (also of Eskimo and formerly YFC) become the groups rhythm section for a one-off christchurch show, still preceeding the highly-anticipated 5th album.

discography
picks in bold

  • trail of tears [1991 Flying Nun fn184]
  • ‘bigger than texas’/’revival radio’ 7″ single [1991 Flying Nun fn185]
  • ‘a touch of evil’/’howling at the moon’ 7″ single [1993 Flying Nun fn254]
  • that dogs head in the gutter gives off vibrations [1995 Ajax ajax042]
  • surface of jupitor [1996 Ajax]
  • dream of the sea [1998 Siltbreeze]
  • ghost of our vegas lives [2005 as ‘Maryrose Crook’ Tinsel Ears]

recommended songs

download from mp3.co.nz

  • dream of the sea
  • i hear the devil calling me
  • pure poison
  • a million lights
  • forbidden planet
  • dimmer waters

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The Rip

Violinist Alastair Galbraith‘s first band. Flanked by Robbie Muir (who went on to make his name with the Dead C)and Peter Jefferies they put out 2 extremely hard to find eps in the mid 80s that show-case Galbraith’s brilliant talent for song-writing at an early age.

Galbraith was originally inspired by witnessing the Clean playing a series of hall gigs back in Dunedin, and immediately formed the Rip with Muir. Both were only 15, so early live performances were a bit of a struggle. Thankfully after a particularly tragic debut (their even younger drummer Nicholas couldn’t make the show – a roped in replacement murdering the 2 songs they managed to play), Wayne Elsey (the Stones / Double Happys) offered a helping hand:

[Wayne Elsey] was there and asked me to come and sit on the steps with him, and just…Blew me away. He told me that i had something, something that he couldn’t really describe, not a great musical talent or instrumental proficiency, more of a spirit that he could see when i played, and that i had to keep doing it. He offered to help me any way he could, and he actually did that over the next few months. He got Robbie a better bass, let us use their practice space, got us gigs supporting the Stones and just encouraged us the whole time, saving us from a very, very short career.
Alastair Galbraith

Discography (picks in bold)

Video Clips

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The Riptoids

Discography (picks in bold)

  • In The Pocket ep [1985 Onset/offset PR2307]
  • Dawn Parade ep [1985 Onset/offset PR2336]
  • Bright Light cassette [1987 Onset/offset R1201]

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Ritchie Venus (and the Blue Beetles)

Ritchie Venus (real name: Michael Braithwaite) is a bit of an oddity in the Christchurch scene. A quiet, timid man in conversation, he’s been creating music since the first wave of New Zealand rock’n’roll way back in the 1950s – idolizing our original superstar Johnny Devlin.

Yet, unlike a number of other kiwi musicians, he languished in obscurity, even in his own home town – being known more for his Elvis impersonations (which he has done regularly for quite some time at Lyttleton’s brilliant Wunderbar) than his original music, yet has released a number of albums, full of his own original rock’n’roll classics. In the mid 90s and poignant documentary and the Renderers brilliant cover of his live favorite original Forbidden Planet led to a bit more exposure, but Venus still remained a relatively unknown character.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • ‘Bleeding Heart’/’Josephine’ 7″ single [1981 Flying Nun FN008]
  • Rebel Blood [1987 Onset/Offset PRA2387]
  • You Can’t Fight It [1989 Onset/Offset RV008]
  • Rockin’ to the Grave [1989 Onset/Offset]
  • The Ballad of Ritchie Venus [2000 Onset/Offset RV11]
  • Sunrise [2002 Onset/Offset]

See-Also

Dean Roberts

As punk-edged rock outfit Thela started spinning in different directions in the mid 90s, Dean Roberts started producing his own take on improvisational guitar recordings with solo recording alias White Winged Moth before eventually settling on his own name, after fleshing out a more electronically-dependent sound.

With the rise of the Mille Plateaux label in the late 90s, Roberts’ profile grew in underground circles, and along with ex-Thela bandmate Rosy Parlane, he started developing an international reputation as a leader in the new generation of electro-acoustic composers. Roberts has since settled in Vienna, and has released several albums, often collaborating with the likes of Valerio Tricoli, Werner Dafeldecker, Martin Brandlmayr. In 2004 Roberts formed a trio with Dafeldecker and Martin Brandlmayr, performing as the Autistic Daughters.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • cassavetes lathe-cut [w/ guy treadgold formacentric]
  • moth park [1998 formacentric]
  • all cracked medais [1999 mille plateaux]
  • the grand cinema [2000 mille plateaux]
  • aluminium [2001 erstwhile]
  • be mine tonight [2003 w/ werner dafeldecker kranky krank063]

See-Also

Robot Tigers

Bizarre Auckland spazz-rock band comprised of Luvshorse (bass, vocals), HimynamesdaN (guitar), Tree (lead vocals, drums) Boom Boom (drums).

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Nothing to say ep [2006 self-released]

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Rocko

Discography (picks in bold)

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Rhombus

Wellington dub outfit immediately recognised for their ‘Clav Dub’ single – which featured a distinctive video themed after the classic kiwi chase film Goodbye Pork Pie. Quite a pop outfit, they’ve been quite high profile through-out 2003 – which was compounded by appearances by Salmonella Dub‘s Tiki Tane (aka MC Rizzla), and MC Mana on guest vocals, joining the core unit of Imon Star (vocals), Koa Williams (DJ) and producers Thomas Voyce (percussion / bass / keys) and Simon Rycroft (sampler / live mix).

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Bassplayer [2002 Moko 335902]

  • 4-Track Ep [2004]

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Romantic Andes

Discography (picks in bold)

  • To Understand the Animals [1994]

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The Rhubarb Collective

Andrew Cavanagh, Matthew Garrett, Andrew Penman and James Wilkinson.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Happy Anniversary Darling [1988 W/ Pihed Curious Mr12188]

See-Also