Categories
Venues

Provincial Lounge

Also known as: Provincial Hotel, Provincial Larder

Location:

Center map

Current Status: Demolished

Active as a live music venue: – 2009?

Bar Manager: Mike Bare (Late 1990’s – Early 2000’s)

Capacity: –

All-Ages: No

The Provincial Lounge was a traditional Kiwi Tavern with a long history:

The licence for the hotel was granted to Robert Wagner on 1 May 1865. During the earlier years there were two licences, one for the hotel and another – a wine and beer licence – for an eating-house known as the Provincial Larder. The licensee from 1898 was D. Edmonds. This building was condemned by the Licensing Committee in 1902 and rebuilt.

Christchurch Libraries

Provincial Hotel, circa 1902 (photo from Christchurch Libraries)

Michael Bare was a notable publican who ran the Provincial Hotel with his partner during the late 1990’s till the early 2000’s. They brought live music back to the old tavern, fitting out the left pub with a decent stage and a sizable PA that belonged to regular Chris ‘The Hippy’, even bringing their own tap beer (‘Bare Beer’, with a shot of Mike’s bare ass on the label).

During this period the left-side of the Hotel was known as the Provincial Lounge and drew large crowds for regular Thursday Night ‘Lounge Night’ events hosted by appropriately decked out DJ’s Bella Caramella and Miss Lilly, plus emphasized the show-casing of up-and-coming under ground Christchurch acts.

The Provincial was a hot ticket during the late 1990’s heyday – from complete unknown local acts right through to legendary Flying Nun bands such as Bailter Space and The Clean crammed in huge sweaty crowds. Bare would eventually go on to manage The Jetset Lounge.

I have a handful of particularly fond memories of the Provincial:

The Clean’s return to Christchurch in 2000, with the crowd hanging out the windows and crammed in to every available space – I was pressed hard up against Robert Scott’s keyboard, with Chris Knox to my immediate right.

The Provincial Lounge. Photo from the Nostalgia Black Hole.

The loudest show I have ever attended was at The Provincial. Thanks to a combination of Into the Void (drummer Mark Whyte playing ‘The loudest drum-kit in existence’), the mammoth PA stacks and Marcus Winstanley on the sound-desk. Marcus had been up all night mixing a rave so he was fairly hard of hearing already – when Whyte’s double-kick kicked in during set opener ‘Motorbike’ I could feel the beater pounding away directly on my ear-drums – they didn’t stop ringing for 3 days!

I was a regular at the Thursday night ‘Lounge’ nights – in fact although the venue closed for several years after Bare moved on to the Jetset Lounge, my named remained within the building, on the top of the Limbo competitors board! Decked to the nines in gaudy retro clothing, I’d dance through the night with a whole swag of regulars every week.

History

  • 1865: Original Hotel acquired liquor license, trading on the corner of Cashel and Barbadoes Street.
  • 1902: Original building is condemned and rebuilt

Links

Categories
s artists

Skeptics

Hugely popular and influential New Zealand industrial rock act. Known for their grinding sound and one particularly visual music video – the incredible and universally banned ‘Affco’. The video shows some rather graphic freezing-works footage, and was directed by Stuart Page – also known for his band the Axemen. The video has since had several one-off showings, and is actually available directly from page – but it is far too graphic to ever receive any kind of commercial release.

David D’Ath (vocals / keyboards) and Robin Gauld (guitar) formed The Skeptics in Palmerston North way back in 1979, with Don White (drums, percussion and samples) and Ian Reiddy (bass) soon joining to complete their original line-up, heavily influenced by the first wave of British punk. After a few fruitless practice sessions and recording efforts in their high school, Gauld’s old friend Nick Roughan (who was considerably more technically adept) was brought in as a new bassist and things started to gel.

The Skeptics are set apart by the transcendent intensity of their performance. It’s uplifting by way of the band’s sheer force of will. Punishing and cathartic in the extreme, the skeptic’s noise is demanding and confrontational

– Paul Mckesser, taken from a live review in Rip It Up, 1990

Support slots and eventually their own headline slots soon showed a quickly rising fan-base – the band were growing very popular. The Pyronnists Selections EP was recorded for Ripper recordings, but a stolen master tape delayed their debut release (though the track ‘Last Orders’ was included on the Three Piece Pack compilation). After a close finish in the Auckland battle of the bands (finishing 2nd to the short-lived Gurlz) they finally made their debut with the EP Chowder Over Wisconsin, a distinctly collaborative album.

The band continued to build a strong following, running the Palmerston North venue ‘Snail Clamps’ – and started releasing material through Paul Lurkers Industrial Tapes , including a release from spin-off act the Amazing Charlton Heston. Once palmy had been conquered the band relocated to Wellington, losing Gauld to overseas study and gaining the Gordons / Bailter Space‘s John Halvorsen as his replacement, and Brent McLauchlin lent a hand as mixer (and eventually a part-time 2nd drummer).

2nd album Skeptic III and the subsequent ‘Affco’ video were produced in 1987, cementing the bands notoriety, but TVNZ refused the piece, even with digital editing to mask the gore:

The graphic scenes of animal slaughter are unnecessarily detailed and prolonged, and despite the fact that they may be everyday scenes at freezing works, this does not imply that visuals of this nature may be screened on television
– Gerry Ryan, ‘Radio With Pictures’ producer

Come 1989, work on the third album Amalgam was disrupted by D’Ath’s health. It was quickly apparent that D’Ath had leukemia, but despite rushing the albums production, D’Ath never saw it completed. He died on Tuesday, September 4th 1990, dissolving the band. Post D’Ath’s death, the band released archival and live material and compiled their work on a Flying Nun released boxed-set, though Roughan, White and Gauld’s attempt at a reunion (as hub) never really got off the ground.

The focal point was david with his slight stature, his hooked nose and his deep-set eyes. He looked like some strange, punch drunk bird and the veins in his neck bulged as he forced mysterious words and noises from his throat
Chris Matthews, taken from D’Ath’s obituary in Rip It Up, 1990

Discography (picks in bold)

See-Also

Categories
Album Reviews

The Gordons – 1st Album And Future Shock EP [Reissue]

2003 Reissue, Flying Nun, FNCD099

As part of Flying Nun’s initial installment of classic album reissues (celebrating the labels 21st birthday), The Gordons first album had otherwise been selling for astronomical figures in its rare original vinyl issue. The reissue brings together the original 1980 Future Shock EP, along with their classic 1st album – the bands full-length debut. Eventually mutating into Bailter Space, this trio of Alister Parker, John Halvorsen and Brent Mclachlan that was forged from the same Christchurch, New Zealand scene that spawned the Clean, are probably most famous for their incredible sonic extremes.

They play loud. Very loud. Guitar-Wolf on a particularly noisy day loud.

Needless to say the first recordings were an attempt to recreate their powerful, ear-destroying live performance on tape, and although a recording could never represent the true fury of an over the top live performance, it’s a pretty damn good effort. Guitars ring out of key in a churning, aggressive fashion, falling like shards of ice to create a disjointed, messy and thoroughly ‘rock’ sound. Like their countrymen the Clean, they succeed at every opportunity in turning simple, churning guitar riffs and primal fury into the most cerebral of rock music. Opener ‘Spik And Span’ has a slacker delight recalling the Fall’s most caustic performances with parker performing the most devastating vocal snarl possible.

But the Gordon’s didn’t follow anyone else’s lead, they were true originals, ahead of their time. Over the years Bailter Space managed to clean up their sound, bringing on a more ‘indie’ sound to their paranoid, delusional tales, but it was the Gordon’s first album that sees the band in their most raw, effective state. The songs are presented with beautiful clarity (a godsend for those of us trying to maintain an aging Flying Nun vinyl collection), carrying every nuance and gritty sonic texture from the original recordings.

Halvorsen and Parker manage to create some of the most unusual sounds a bass and guitar have ever combined to make. ‘Right on time’ features some utterly bizarre bass from Halvorsen, popping and rolling while Parker lays out explosive, convulsing guitar. ‘Coalminers Song’ posseses a lethargic, pulsing intro hints at all manner of destruction on the rise, but when Halvorsen finally chimes in with his vocals it all seems perfectly unified. That’s what the Gordon’s do best, they unleash vehement sonic noise, ready to explode – and yet somehow contain it all within effective, catchy song structures. It’s hard not to sing along to the simple chorus of ‘Spik And Span’ or the Future Shock EP closer ‘Adults And Children’ in all their demented glee.

‘Growing Up’, in particular, opens with such a menacing, downbeat guitar it’s a wonder the album hadn’t been reissued earlier – it’s such a vital, authoritative representation of the early Flying Nun sound. Parker’s vocals have a charm all their own – he seems to invoke a paranoid, dysfunctional existence in a mumbling, sing-shout approach that leaves you wondering what he’s on about, but humming along anyway.

Thankfully the Future Shock EP shows all the same qualities of the later debut, with a slightly more lo-fi recording. The title track shows the bands original punk leanings, flying through a churning guitar and bass driven number at considerable speed with Parker’s nonsense lyrics punctuating the aggressive attack of the song. The closer, ‘Adults And Children’, is something of a kiwi punk classic. Pummeling guitar and bass riffs immediately allow parker to scream maniacally over top. It makes for one hell of a great, gleeful pop number, on line with the Clean’s own ‘Tally Ho’.

Though Bailter Space have gone on to considerable success with their future albums, they never did it better than their original debut as the Gordon’s, which stands out as an absolute classic from the early Flying Nun years. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better and more eagerly awaited re-issue this year – i’d suggest picking it up immediately.

Categories
b artists

Bailter Space

Biography

Starting life as the Gordons, Bailter Space were one of the most abrasive 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 Bailter Space 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, Bailter Space 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 Bailter Space. Though put together and designed by the band themselves and contains many classic character-defining Bailter Space 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, Bailter Space 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!

Members

  • Alister Parker (Guitar/Vocals/Bass, 1987 -)
  • Hamish Kilgour (Guitar/Drums, 1987 – 1989)
  • Ross Humphries (Bass, 1987)
  • Glenda Bills (Drums, 1987)
  • John Halvorsen (Bass, 1987 – )
  • Brent Mclachlan (Drums, 1987 – 1989)
  • Todd Lindner (Bass, 2012)

Discography

  • Nelsh Bailter Space EP (1987, Flying Nun Records, FN094)
  • New Man 7″ Single (1987, Flying Nun Records, FN096)
  • Grader Spader 12″ Single (1988, Flying Nun Records, FN106)
  • Tanker (1988, Flying Nun Records, FN107 / FNE31)
  • Thermos (1990, Flying Nun Records, FN142 / FNE32)
  • The Aim Ep (1992, Flying Nun Records, FN232)
  • Shine 7″ Single (1992, Clawfist)
  • Robot World (1993, Flying Nun Records, FN259)
  • B.E.I.P. EP (1993, Flying Nun Records, FN284)
  • Vortura (1994, Flying Nun Records, FN295)
  • Splat EP (1995, Flying Nun Records)
  • Retro CD Single (1995, Flying Nun Records)
  • Wammo (1995, Flying Nun Records)
  • Capsule (1997, Flying Nun Records/Turnbuckle, FN375/TB005)
  • Capsule 7″ Single (1997, Turnbuckle)
  • Solar.3 (1998, Wildside/Turnbuckle, TB017)
  • Photon EP (1998, Turnbuckle)
  • Bailter Space Compilation (2004, Flying Nun Records)
  • Strobosphere (2012, Arch Hill Records/Fire Records, AHR052)
  • Trinine (2013, Arch Hill Records/Fire Records, AHR056)

Links

 

Categories
Interviews

Barnard’s Star [August 2006]

When I remember Barnard’s Star what comes to mind are the places I saw this wonderful Christchurch group perform and how the venues added to the overall experience. I think my initial exposure to the group was at the Venus Cafe, a long since departed coffee shop – one of the first ‘hip’ such joints to hit the scene in the mid 90s. Located on Lichfield street above what was for a period the Liquor Lounge and also a gay bar whose name escapes me; Venus was often filled with University and late High School types, wasting away half a day sipping on a huge hot chocolate, along with a scattered few yuppies apparently ‘slumming it’ – I distinctly remember seeing a press review of the place which noted that half the crowd couldn’t afford to order anything.

Still, the Venus Cafe put on some wonderful shows; from the table-climbing antics of The Black Panthers to the reserved but eclectic sounds of the Dialtones and Barnard’s Star themselves. I can remember bassist Helen Greenfield wrapped in a big woollen coat, plunked on the floor playing bass guitar whilst surrounded by band mates – guitarists Nick Guy and Marcus Winstanley, and original drummer Frazer Talbot. The idea of Barnard’s Star was formed by Nick and Marcus during a music lecture at Canterbury University in 1996. The band became more that just an idea at a party a few months later. Although only two members (guitarists) at their first jam session, the band soon acquired a bass player (Helen) who couldn’t play but informed them that she was joining anyway.

That’s how Barnard’s Star was Started. (The name Barnard’s Star was only supposed to be a working title, too) we soon realised that we needed a drummer and Started looking. That’s where Frazer came in. Frazer Talbot, an enthusiastic young drummer, joined us after we’d auditioned him in a garage out at Nick’s parents’ place in Marshlands. With a drummer on board we started to write new songs and think about playing live.
– Helen Greenfield

Barnard’s Star was an ever-evolving outfit, who made some huge strides over the course of their short life-span. From Nick and Marcus’s original idea in 1996 the group mutated through mellow but rather sonic walls of guitar to more ethereal sounds – with the electronic input of Talbot’s successor Tyrone Thorne allowing the group to become more production-orientated. This diversity is quite present in their recordings as the sparse, minimalist early singles differ quite dramatically from the polished, free-flowing later EP – which was self-recorded, mixed and remixed by the group, eventually surfacing on the Beat Atlas imprint in 1999.

We planned to record an album but that never eventuated it has a very cool working title Sonoluminesence. Not sure what happened with the band; we dissolved very slowly. Tyrone went overseas and is now working in London. Marcus, Nick, and I are still in Christchurch doing our separate things. It’s a shame really. I was listening to the EP recently and thinking (a) how great it is and (b) how it hasn’t dated (which, in my opinion, is the sign of a great record) – even though it is getting on to 7 years since it was recorded.
– Helen Greenfield

The second show I recall (which Helen also noted as one of their best) was supporting Dunedinites HDU and Cloudboy at the Lumiere Theatre – one of the most bizarre and sorely missed features of Christchurch cultural make-up. A compact movie theatre with a trippy lobby area filled with strange memorabilia and oddities (not to mention some great pinball machines and stacks of Spaceman Candy), the Lumiere was known for its bizarre feature events. They put on events like the ‘Incredibly Strange Film Festival’ and shows such as this which left the audience stuck in two minds whether they wanted to sit in the back and watch the bands play whilst ‘The Brave Little Toaster’ was projected behind them, or somehow squeeze up the aisles and attempt to dance somewhere near the front. What a wonderful place – one of my other exposures to the venue was a movie double header of ‘Microcosmos’ and ‘Baraka’ with Christchurch stars The Puffins creating their own live soundtrack to the features.

Making a superb support choice, Barnard’s Star outshone their southern counterparts at this show, incorporating all the articulate guitar-work of HDU with the whimsy and warmth of Cloudboy to really show what Canterbury is capable of (apparently the groups soundcheck was delayed by the HDU boys watching the finale of the rugby – another event in which the Cantab’s trumped their southern counterparts). Marcus Winstanley related that the band were a lot louder than most people anticipated – as he would mix the shows from the stage and had a tendency to push the levels. They would take on a bombastic, sonic nature; in fact Chris (from defunct local popsters Degrees K) related that their Harbor Light EP release alongside Roy Montgomery was something of a religious experience due to their shear volume.

[We played with] The Puffins, Bailter Space, Roy Montgomery, The Verlaines and Bilge Festival, Kate In The Lemon Tree, HDU and Cloudboy, Le Mot Cafe and Sea Worlde [a group who would later evolve a little, move north and change their name to the Nouveau Riche].
– Helen Greenfield

The primary recorded artifact of the band is an involving, pulsing self-titled EP, recorded at The Research Center with help from Mike Richardson (who also helped set up the groups Beat Atlas label) and mastered at Kog. The Research Center was the Former Rotherham District Hospital; a bizarre converted rural hospital manor which also served as the studio for The Puffins unreleased album sessions, and set in a secluded farmlet in North Canterbury.

It’s a top notch recording that connects as a single entity, flowing through 5 glorious, long and eclectic textural tracks, rich with tone and character. Using vocals as just another layer in a dense mix of pulsing synths, shoe-gazer guitar, digitally manipulated sounds and robotic bass. Unfortunately the EP never really had a chance as a radio favorite, with songs like the magnum opus ‘Jupiter Spirals‘ and the My Bloody Valentine reminiscent ‘Arc Infinity‘ clocking in at ten and a half and 8 minutes a piece.

After the group eventually faded away to their own pursuits, a handful of tracks surfaced on a variety of compilations – the last of which ‘(Terabytes, Terawatts) And Terra Incognita‘ is probably the most removed recording in their output, having gone through a great deal of revisions and remixes in its life-time it’s an ebbing electronic creation; drastically different from the material the group produced just a couple years earlier. In fact, Tyrone is currently working on a couple further remixes, though whether they finally see the light of day remains to be seen (and heard).

These days Helen Greenfield and Nick Guy perform on the fringe of Christchurch music circles as part of the Southern Oscillations collective and in solo guises as Mela and Lytteltronics, Helen has also recently joined synth and guitar duo Thomas:Parkes, and Nick is one half of the Torlesse Supergroup alongside legendary guitarist Roy Montgomery. Though Tyrone has moved to London after a spell with the Sydney-based ‘Swingingingtastybag’, Marcus Winstanley has continued to be a feature of the Christchurch music community, currently performing with Mini-Snap, The Dialtones and The Undercurrents, whilst also finding time for production sound work.

So a genuine Christchurch group who made a dramatic impact both as a live outfit and with their outstanding recordings and production work who expanded the limits of what a local band could be. I thoroughly recommend tracking down their EP if you’re interested in the outer limits of guitar, melodic electronics, or just plain great, involving music.

Contact geometric@clear.net.nz for a copy of the EP (whilst still available).

Categories
Album Reviews

Dimmer – I Believe You Are A Star

2001, Columbia, 5024222000

The Straitjacket Fits were an unusual, charismatic, and somewhat untrustworthy rock band. Over the course of ten years Shayne Carter proceeded to claim authoritarian command of one of New Zealand’s most popular bands, releasing three albums.

This trilogy finished with the uneven blow (after two brilliant earlier albums) and the band eventually disintegrated in 1993. Since their split in ’93, Carter decided to build a new band taking a slower approach. Forming dimmer in the mid-90’s, carter never really found the band combination he could relate to, being something of a control freak.

The advent of the home studio around this time, though, sparked a new idea in Carters’ head. Playing into his nature of controlling things, carter could do it all by himself. Over the course of the next six years carter taught himself the bass guitar (he’s been quoted as saying he came to respect bass players during this time), and dedicated himself to being as present as possible on his burgeoning masterpiece.

Six long years fits fans waited for material from the reclusive song-writer, while an early EP entitled Crystalator merely hinted that carter might be heading in a less-traditional, more-electronic sound than his previous body of work.

Upon listening to the album, it becomes quite apparent that carter has not only flirted with more electronic leanings, but he has indeed redefined his sound. The album is comfortable, never at all straining or giving the impression that carter has gone beyond his means. The fits were always known for sonic exploration, along with Bailter Space becoming one of New Zealand’s more cherished noise-rock outfits, but they were also known for amazing gentle harmonies and heartfelt emotional songs.

The album starts somber, Carter’s hushed vocals cutting through a truly funky bass and breakbeat-driven opener, “Drop you off”. He’s a man without regret, the (ever-present) vocal cuts like a knife with a spiteful bridge — “I’m not your friend, i’m a stone-cold traitor”. Coming across like a slightly less world-worn take on Portishead, the track sets the mood for the album.

Album highlight “Seed” grooves along at a steady rate, rumbling-growling bass is propelled forward by a revolving synth pattern – surely a live favorite. Choruses of vocal backing fit very well into this continuing potent rhythm, making the six years of labor obviously worth every second. The first single, “evolution”, does nothing to dispel that theory either. It’s a cracking, swaggering and funky number with carter again employing somber lyrics to create a dark and smoky atmosphere.

“Pendulum” again employs carters’ up-front vocals to full effect. This time they are over a disconnected, pulsating synth backing. “Powerchord” is something of a change, though. Its upbeat rhythm, punctuated by sizzling horns and a chaotic synth line, speeds forward at a breakneck speed – reminiscent of Primal Screams’ XTRMNTR album.

Throughout, the album maintains a sly, dark, and somber tone – carter employs airy drones and gentle vocal coloring to full effect. It switches back and forth between upbeat and funky songs and other pieces that are downright mellow. The entire time, though, it’s propelled along by stunning driving bass and breakbeat drumming. As the product of six years of dedication and hard work, i think the result is well worth the effort. And infectious lyrics of the current lo-fi scene.

Categories
d artists

Dolphin

Biography

Christchurch based three piece featuring Failsafe’s Rob Maye, Kevin Stokes and Stephen Birss. The band was formed out of the ashes of 1986 – 87 band Heartland featuring all three members. Birss and Stokes going on to work on My Wild Violet, with Mayes eventually rejoining the band in early 1988.

The band performed under the moniker of Candy Crush and performed twice in support of Bailter Space and Jean-Paul Sartre Experience before Mayes left for a world tour as The Bats sound engineer.

Just prior to Mayes may departure the band recorded 5 songs, one (‘When I touch You’) being included on the bands first release the hold touch EP in late 1988.

Both Mayes and Stokes were local sound engineers so the band recorded and produced all their own work. Mayes also designed all the bands artwork and released and distributed their material on his own label.

Lead track “If only i could hold you once again” make NZ play lists and charts including national television’s CV campus radio chart.

Members

  • Rob Mayes (Bass/Guitar, 1987 – 1990)
  • Kevin Stokes (Guitar/Vocals, 1987 – 1990)
  • Stephen Birss (Drums, 1987 – 1990)
  • Andrew Kirr (Drums)
  • Pete Thomas (Drums, 1996)
  • Tracey Tompkins (Drums, 1996)

Discography

  • Hold Touch cassette (1988, Failsafe Records, SAFE009)
  • Promise cassette (1989, Failsafe Records, SAFE010
  • Out of Hand / Finally It’s Time (1995, Failsafe Records, SAFE031 / 032)
  • EPs (Compilation 2005, Failsafe Records, SAFE074)
  • Waiting for Splashdown (2006, Failsafe Records, FR001CD)

Links

 

Categories
f artists

Feast of Stevens

Biography

Their sound was definitely New Zealand – melodic and human, but their tight playing and dynamic punch set them in their own space, related to but different from other NZ guitar bands. The Feasties began performing in December 1989 and hailed from Palmerston North. They made several low-key jaunts around the country including an Orientation tour to the South Island.

They released their own independently distributed 7 song cassette in November 1990 and contributed 2 songs to the Yellow Bike Records ‘Dynamite Groove’ CD compilation of Palmerston North bands in 1991. The band consisted of two guitarists / vocalists in Andrew Coy and Hamish Anderson, with Glen Fletcher on drums and John Trimble on bass.

In March of 1992 they met up with Rob Mayes of Failsafe Records and successfully applied for an Arts Council Grant which with renewed enthusiasm lead to the ‘Etch’ EP.

The band performed a release party in their home town of Palmerston North with fellow label mates Throw performing as a 2 piece for the event.

The concert did not go without problems when on the morning of the event drummer Fletcher went missing and could not be found. Fletcher had checked himself into a psychiatric hospital, and the band had to retrieve him narrowly making the band’s show.

Further recordings were done in January 1993 at Auckland’s York Street Studios with Nick Roughan (Bailter Space, Skeptics, David Kilgour, Writhe Studios). Nine tracks were completed of which three have been released on 7″ single. Soon after the recordings Hamish Anderson made a departure from the band leaving the band a three piece.

– Rob Mayes on Failsafe Records

The band would go on to record the debut release (a 7″ single) for the excellent Crawlspace label.

Members

  • Andrew Coy (Guitar/Vocals, 1990 – 1993)
  • Hamish Anderson (Guitar/Vocals, 1990 – 1993)
  • Glenn Fletcher (Drums, 1990 – 1993)
  • Andrew Leslie (Bass/Guitar/Vocals, 1990 – 1992)
  • Jon Trimble (Bass, 1992 – 1993)

Discography

  • Etch EP (1992, Failsafe Records, SAFE021CD)
  • Amsterdam 7″ Single (1993, Crawlspace, SPACE001)

Links

Feast of Stevens on Failsafe Records website

 

Categories
p artists

The Pin Group

The birth of Roy Montgomery as a creative force (at least in terms of recorded groups), the Pin Group were a discordant cog that wouldn’t fit in the Christchurch scene of the early 80s. Recording the very first Flying Nun release single, ‘Ambivalence/Columbia’ – an agitating and badly recorded epitome to post-punk heroes Joy Division – with 2 fine songs struggling to make their way through the murk of the ultra-lo-fi recording.

The group originally formed as ‘Compulsory Fun’ with Montgomery on Guitar, Ross Humphries on Vocals, Tony Green on Drums and Dave McKenzie on Bass. When McKenzie departed the group became ‘Murder Strikes Pink’, with Humphries switching to Bass and Paul Champion filling the vacant vocalist slot. Neither of these line-ups lasted particularly long though on the group ‘went in to recess’ when Champion left the group. Montgomery then started collaborating with local Christchurch poet Desmond Brice, with Brice initially playing bass as well as supplying some of the Pin Groups early lyrics – before the classic line-up took shape.

The band were nicknamed Roy Division for their like of dark moody music a la Joy Division. Singer Roy worked in Christchurch’s main record store – EMI, and the shop was notoriously vandalized overnight with the words Roy Division spray-painted across the shop front, apparently not the work of the band and greatly embarrassing Montgomery
– Rob Mayes

Since disbanding in mid 1981, they’ve become more well known for their history than their music, which is a shame as the 3-piece of Montgomery (guitar – later of the Shallows, Dadamah, Dissolve, Torlesse Supergroup), Ross Humphries (bass – Great Unwashed, and a short stint in Bailter Space) and Peter ‘Buck’ Stapleton (drums – Scorched Earth Policy, the Terminals, A Handful of Dust et all) released some truly eclectic, original and most of all harrowing rock. Thankfully the long overdue retrospective released on Siltbreeze in 1998 provides everyone the chance to discover one of New Zealand’s most under-rated bands, and in much more accommodating (and audible) form.

The band presented a pretty gloomy image live with the members dressing predominantly in black, Montgomery playing guitar in black gloves with the fingers cut off. For all that most of their songs are far from gloom laden, being mostly melodic riff based music. The band have the distinction of having the first release on Flying Nun records, a 7″ single with black labels, and a matte black on gloss black cover, no track listings, no band name. Another 7″ followed, then an ep and later on a regroup and another recording. ‘Low Rider’ (a cover of US-group War’s classic single) was taken from a live recording of one of only about 8 performances, this one at the Gladstone
– Rob Mayes

Discography (picks in bold)

  • ‘Ambivalence’/’Columbia’ 7″ Single [1981 FlyingNun FN001]
  • ‘Coat (“Stalking Slowly”)’/’Jim (“Even Though, Scrape Scratch”)’ 7″ Single [1981 Flying Nun FN003]
  • Go To Town 12″ EP [1982 Flying Nun FN1967]
  • Retrospective [1998 Siltbreeze SB-68]

See-Also

Categories
g artists

The Gordons

Biography

Bailter Space has been described as perhaps the loudest and aurally vicious band in the world. Now imagine Bailter Space at their loudest, but 10-15 years younger and with most of their hearing still intact, and you’ve got an accurate description of The Gordons.

Basically the same band (when The Gordons split The Clean‘s Hamish Kilgour joined as drummer for the newly formed Nelsh Bailter Space, but eventually gave away to the original line-up once more), The Gordons shook up early 80’s Christchurch with pummeling post-punk, spiteful lyrics, 2 albums and a brilliant EP.

Members

  • Alister Parker (Guitar/Bass/Vocals, 1980 – 1982, 1984 – 1986)
  • John Halvorsen (Bass/Vocals, 1980 – 1986)
  • Brent Mclaughlin (Drums, 1980 – 1986)
  • Vince Pinker (Guitar/Vocals, 1983 – 1984)

Discography

  • Future Shock 7″ / 12″ EP (1980, Gordons/Flying Nun Records, GORDON1/FN093)
  • 1st Album (1981, Flying Nun Records, FN099)
  • Vol. 2 (1984, Flying Nun Records, FN GORD003)
  • 1st Album and Future Shock EP (compiled reissue 1988, Flying Nun Records, FN099)

Links