Wreck Small Speakers On Expensive Stereos

Biography

Wreck Small Speakers On Expensive Stereos were a Dunedin-based duo consisting of Michael Morley (Guitar/Organ/Vocals – before forming the Dead C, 2 Foot Flame, Angelhead, Tanaka-Nixon Meeting, The Weeds) and Richard Ram (Bass/Guitar/Vocals) – though in an early video recording Morley states the group had formed ‘Up North’ before heading to Dunedin. The duo released a handful of handmade cassettes and had an affiliation with Bob Scott’s Every Secret Thing label, with both album releases and compilation appearances. Their most well known material is the River Falling Love EP which was released on Flying Nun in 1986 before being expanded and re-released by US label Ajax in 1993. Morley formed the Dead C in 1987, effectively bring an end to Wreck Small Speakers.

Featuring performances from other Dunedin musicians: Denise Roughan (Recorder/Vocals – Look Blue Go Purple, The 3Ds, Ghost Club), Ivan Purvis (Guitar – Love In A Gas Oven, Alpaca Brothers), Lesley Paris (Drums – Look Blue Go Purple, The Puddle, Olla), Bruce Blucher (Drums – Cyclops, Trash, Fats Thompson, Brown Velvet Couch, Alpaca Brothers) and Martin Kean (The Chills, Doublehappys, Fats Thompson, Stereolab). The groups recordings are based around strong rhythm tracks – usually plucked bass guitar and drum machine, with shout-sung vocals, fractured guitar riffs and organ squeels, with samples and other sound manipulations added into the mix. Though experimental, Wreck Small Speakers retained a high level of musicality and accessibility.

Both their creative genius and the quality of their songs really shines through on the groups lo-fi cassette recordings. The slinky, funky bass and proto-rap vocals on ‘Over My Skull’, the low-key beauty of River Falling Love highlight ‘All Of This’, and Denise Roughan’s wonderful appearance on their most well-known song ‘Rain’. Small scraps of the bands fairly substantial discography have appeared in the digitally archived era, however if ever there was a Flying Nun associated act that could use an anthology release it would be Wreck Small Speakers – its been almost two decades since Morley’s Dead C band mate Bruce Russell released A Child’s Guide To Wreck Small Speakers on his own Xpressway label.

Members

  • Michael Morley (Guitar/Organ/Vocals, 198?-1987)
  • Richard Ram (Bass/Guitar/Vocals, 198?-1987)
  • Denise Roughan (Recorder/Vocals, 198?)
  • Lesley Paris (Drums, 198?)
  • Ivan Purvis (Guitar, 198?)
  • Bruce Blucher (Drums, 198?)
  • Martin Kean (198?)

Discography

  • My Blue Fairy Godmother [1983 Wrecked Music WRECK14]
  • 3.V.M. EP [1983 Wrecked Music WRECK20]
  • Over My Skull Cassette Single [1984 Every Secret Thing EST 06]
  • Cave Cassette [1984 Every Secret Thing EST 21]
  • Worlds Fall Apart cassette [1984 Every Secret Thing EST 24]
  • A Summer In Taradale Cassette [1985 self-released]
  • River Falling Love ep [1986 Flying Nun FN068]
  • A Child’s Guide To Wreck Small Speakers Cassette [1988 Xpressway XWAY03]
  • River Falling Love Reissue [1993 Ajax AJAX 029]

Links

Trash

Swampy Dunedin rock act comprised of ex-Alpaca Brothers Paul Cahill and Bruce Blucher, plus Robbie Yeats (The Renderers / Dead C) and Andre Richardson.

They were fast furious guitar [band] with thumping bass, made one EP and had a great song called The Infinite Tick. Later they became Trash Hotel [who recorded as just Trash] and were involved in a more theatrical chaos.. Started performing The Trash Hotel at The Art Gallery … Infamous performance and that ended with a supicious burglary of the Art Gallery.. No one found to blame. Later Bruce and Nick wanted to take the Trash Hotel overseas and went to Thailand and bought a bar here they were to form the real “Trash Hotel” although it was short lived as the local prostitutes that wanted to protect their patch forced the boys to leave by gunpoint.
Donald Harman (Ex-Weetbix Boys)

In 1993, a curious one-off 7″ from Bill Meyer’s excellent Rolf Bolt label appeared in the form of Brown Velvet Couch – who were essentially trash, but led by the smooth vocals of Viv Crowe, and also an album and single from Cyclops, which featured both Richardson and Blucher.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • On And On With Lou Reed [1992 New World Of Sound Nwos-01]
  • Gritt And Butts [1992 Turbulence Tur003]
  • Gate [1994 Trash Tr001]
  • Not Gate [1994 New World Of Sound Nwos6]
  • Mihiwaka [1995 IMD Imdcd10060]
  • ‘Hurtin’/’F.U.F.P’ Lathe-Cut 7″ [IMD]

See-Also

Weetbix Boys

Dunedin-based skiffle group featuring Simon Vare, Steve Cournane (Alpaca Brothers, C.L. Bob Etc), Andy Scott (Electric Blood) and Richard Morris. Andy Scott left the band in 1989, replaced behind the kit by Donald Harman.

The band toured the North Island, and supported the likes of the proclaimers and the Violent Femmes. Their sole release was their contribution to the 4-band Out Of The Yellow-Eye compilation put together by Yellow-Eye founders Vare and Cournane to document the sounds of Dunedin.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Out Of The Yellow-Eye [1991 W/ My Deviant Daughter, Funhouse, Cynthia Should Yellow-Eye Eye001]

See-Also

Alpaca Brothers

Biography

Dunedin based outfit comprised of Nick Wilkinson, Bruce Blucher and a young Steve Cournane.

They were fast furious guitar [band] with thumping bass, made one EP and had a great song called ‘The Infinite Tick’. Later they became Trash Hotel [who recorded as just Trash] and were involved in a more theatrical chaos.. Started performing The Trash Hotel at the art gallery … infamous performance and that ended with a suspicious burglary of the art gallery.. no one found to blame.

Later Bruce and Nick wanted to take The Trash Hotel overseas and went to Thailand and bought a bar here they were to form the real “Trash Hotel” although it was short lived as the local prostitutes that wanted to protect their patch forced the boys to leave by gunpoint.

– Donald Harman (ex-Weetbix Boys)

Blucher returned to Dunedin, performing alongside Sandra Bell and in the mid-90’s outfit Cyclops. Wilkinson went way up North into obscurity, whilst Cournane joined The Verlaines, and later the skiffle group the Weetbix Boys, eventually settling in to make a living as a touring jazz musician (with the likes of C.L. Bob).

Members

  • Bruce Bluchers (Guitar/Vocals, 1984 – 1986)
  • Nick Wilkinson (Bass/Vocals, 1984 – 1986)
  • Steve Cournane (Drums/Vocals, 1984 – 1986)
  • Paul Cahill (Guitar, 1985? – 1986)
  • Peter Gutteridge (Keyboards, 1986)
  • Ivan Purvis (Vocals, 1986)
  • Norma O’Malley (Vocals, 1986)

Discography

  • Legless EP (1986, Flying Nun Records, FN050)

Links

Brown Velvet Couch

Biography

Essentially the group Trash with Paul Cahill, Bruce Blucher (Wreck Small Speakers on Expensive Stereos, Alpaca Brothers), Robbie Yeats (The Renderers, The Dead C, The Verlaines) performing under his Bo Martak alias, , but fronted by Viv Crowe (Fats Thompson).

Brown Velvet Couch released just a single 7″ on Roof Bolt, before Trash splintered and disappeared in the mid 90’s.

Members

  • Paul Cahill (Bass, 1994)
  • Robbie Yeats (Drums, 1994)
  • Bruce Blucher (Guitar, 1994)
  • Viv Crowe (Guitar/Vocals, 1994)

Discography

  • Once in a Very Blue Moon 7″ (1993, Roof Bolt, RB002)

Links