Robert Scott

Bass player for the Clean and highly prolific singer-songwriter for the Bats (whom he formed while the Clean were on hiatus in the mid 80s), Rob Scott released his own solo album in 2000, and took the albums name (Creeping Unknown) as his moniker for subsequent tours around New Zealand, Europe and the United States.

However closely linked to the Bats, The Creeping Unknown was a darker album aimed at being an organic cross-pollunation type release (it encompassed a lot of electronically produced soundscapes and texture) than any of his Bats recordings. It faired pretty well, being a pretty clean progression towards a more modern sound (though not quite as effectively as say, Shayne Carters’ Dimmer project).

Scott made his start as an underground tape enthusiast, forming the Every Secret Thing cassette label in the late 70s, and releasing a handful of albums from his own projects (primarily Electric Blood) and many others by the likes of Michael Morley and Denise Roughan (including a very rare Wreck Small Speakers On Expensive Stereos release).

Since 2002 Scott has become increasingly prolific once more, with a variety of home-recorded releases appearing on the low-rent Powertools label, on more professional efforts on Flying Nun, and a couple of joint singles.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Black Forest 7″ [w/ Alastair Galbraith 1998 Self-Released]
  • The Creeping Unknown [2000 Flying Nun FN447]
  • Tudor Gates EP [2002 Self-Released]
  • @Radio One CD-r EP [2003 Self-Released]
  • Songs of Otago’s Past CD-r [2004 Powertool Records]
  • Tascam Hits [2004 Powertool Records PT065]
  • Moonlighty Potato [w/ Ginna Rocco 2006 Powertool Records PT065]
  • Too Early 7″ Single [2010 A Small Number of Things]
  • Moonlight Potato [w/ Ginna Rocco 2006 Powertool Records PT044]
  • That’s What I Heard 7″ [w/ Adalita Srsen and the Puddle 2010 Fishrider Records]
  • Ends Run Together [2010 Flying Nun FN507]

See-Also

SJD

Sean James Donnelly – production whizz, class bass-player, and thoroughly uneven song-writer. In 2003 Sjd was thrust into the spotlight after years of touring support and assisting production for the likes of Shayne Carters’ Dimmer with the debut of his hugely popular Lost Soul Music full-length, and increasingly prolific appearances on television and in advertising, which then followed through to the release of follow-up Southern Lights in 2004.

SJD’s music is a combination of electronic and live instrumentation, with songs featuring a bevy of fine New Zealand musicians making contributions (David Kilgour making a particularly stunning appearance on guitar on the excellent single ‘From A To Be Or Not To Be’). His live appearances however, have have gone down as either electrifying (witness the stellar performance on charity tv event National Anthem) or simply tepid (several banal performances in 2004), perhaps due to the laid-back melodic and simply background approach to the music he’s making.

Circa 2007 SJD is hard at work in the studio preparing the fourth album, with a superstar support band featuring the talented Chris O’Conner (Drums), James Duncan (Guitar), Dominic Blazaar (Keys/BV’s) and Paul McLaney (Guitar/BV’s).

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Lost Soul Music [2003 Round Trip Mars]
  • Southern Lights [2004 Round Trip Mars]
  • Southern Lights Pick’N’Mix Edition [2004 Round Trip Mars]
  • 3 [Round Trip Mars]

See-Also

Straitjacket Fits

Dissonant kiwi pop-rock that at times verged on shoe-gazer (the band were known for incredibly loud live performances), often hiding their delicate melodies and concise, heartfelt lyrics behind a wall of feedback. Based around Shayne Carter and Andrew Brough (who eventually split from the band after the Melt tour to form Bike) both on guitar and vocals, David Wood filling the bass role, and John Collie at the drums. Shayne Carter was always the man in the spotlight, he had come from Dunedin band the Doublehappys and was known as a bit of an enigmatic front-man, as well as being quite the temperamental artist type. Andrew Brough however (formerly of the Orange), represented the quiet and caring, under-appreciated side of the band – his single ‘Down In Splendor’ is one of the best examples of melodic kiwi pop, a fragile, love song with a killer sing-a-long chorus.

But Carter is one hell of a songwriter also, practically carrying the first album (the classic Hail) with his singles ‘She Speeds’ and ‘Life In One Chord’. During the first two albums, the Fits were at the fore-front of kiwi rock, challenging the Chills and the Headless Chickens for the most popular of local bands, and along with the Jean-Paul Sartre Experience as the pick of the New Zealand underground scene. When the Melt tour wound down in early ’92, Brough decided it was time he formed his own band, as little of his material seem to work its way into the Fits cannon. He was replaced by Mark Peterson for the disjointed album Blow, released later in ’92.

Although Blow contains some excellent pop singles in ‘Done’, ‘Cat Inna Can’ and my personal favorite, and an excellent moot point for The Fits – ‘If I Were You’, the album was too inconsistent to support an attempted break into the burgeoning American market, and the band broke up to persue their own interests.

Carter now performs under the Dimmer moniker, releasing the brilliant, decade in the making I Believe You Are A Star last year to unanimous critical acclaim, and with a follow-up to be released shortly! Brough’s band Bike made one of the great New Zealand pop albums of the mid 90s, drawing a great deal of radio play for what was basically an all-hit album.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Life In One Chord 12″ Ep [1987 Flying Nun Fn080 / Fne25]
  • Hail [1988 Flying Nun Fn105]
  • ‘Hail’/’So Long Marianne’ 12″ Single [1988 Flying Nun Fn108]
  • ‘Hail’/’So Long Marianne’ 7″ Single [1988 Flying Nun Fn114]
  • Hail [1990 Extended U.S. Edition Flying Nun Fn142]
  • ‘Sparkle That Shines’/’Grate’ 7″ Single [1990 Flying Nun Fn151]
  • Melt [1990 Flying Nun Fn174]
  • ‘Bad Note For A Heart’/’In Spite Of It All’ 7″ Single [1990 Flying Nun Fn175]
  • ‘Bad Note For A Heart’/’Skin To Wear’/’In Spite Of It All’/’Hail’ (Live) 12″ / Cd Single [1990 Flying Nun Fn176]
  • ‘Down In Splendour’/’Seeing You Fled’/’Missing Presumed Drowned’/’Cave In’ Double 7″ Single [1990 Flying Nun Fn180]
  • Down In Splendour Video Cassette [1990 Flying Nun Fn D16011]
  • Done Ep [1992 Flying Nun Fn242]
  • Blow [1993 Flying Nun Fn251]
  • ‘Cat Inna Can’/’Sycamore’/’Satellite’ Cd Single [1993 Flying Nun Fn265]
  • ‘If I Were You’/’Brother’s Keeper’ (Demo)/’Burn It Up’ (Demo) Cd Single [1993 Flying Nun Fn285]
  • Best Of Double-Cd [1998 Compilation Flying Nun Fn406]

Awards Etc
Rianz Awards 1990


  • Music Video Of The Year – Bad Note For A Heart
  • Cover Design Of The Year – John Collie

Rianz Awards 1993


  • Album Of The Year – Blow
  • Top Male Vocalist Of The Year – Shayne Carter

See-Also

Bored Games

Biography

Before Dimmer, before Straitjacket Fits, before even the Doublehappys, Shayne Carter was in a Flying Nun-type punk band called Bored Games, who opened for the likes of the Clean and Toy Love before the lads had even left high school.

The conduit was the Pistols doing ‘Pretty Vacant’ on TV some time in 1978. A blast of white light – so exotic, primitive and powerful – it blew me away. Lesley Paris (later to become a member of Look Blue Go Purple, and at one time even head up Flying Nun) informed me that her neighbor, Robin Siatanga, had a tape of the entire ‘Nevermind The Bollock’ album and we’d pass it among ourselves like this chalice of purse gold. I can still remember the cassette – White with thin gold stripes. At home i’d listen to it on headphones, cranked up beyond distortion, the music like an avalanche in my ears. That’s when I began writing songs. – Shayne Carter

At the age of 15, Carter (the ever-vocal front-man) formed Bored Games with Kaikorai High School buddies Wayne Elsey (bass) and Jeff Harford (drums) drafted in Logan Park High Schoolers Fraser Batts (guitar – brother of Jeff, making his name in The Same) and Jonathan Moore (guitar).

That was the beginning really. Two tribes from opposite sides of the city interlocked, bringing together the 20 or so kids who made up the town’s original young punk scene. By this point The Enemy had left for Auckland – along with the original Clean – and assumed a shape of mythic proportions. – Shayne Carter

Bored Games started forming songs and ideas, Lesley helping out as their primary supporter, and the band indulging in such influences as “The Buzzcocks, The Saints, The Stooges, The Ramones, The Damned and The Pistols. AK79 came out and we loved The Scavengers tracks and would later cover Proud Scum’s ‘I Am A Rabbit’…”, and listened intently to bootleg’s of The Enemy, provided by (‘Records Records’ owner) Roi Colbert.

Going from making their debut at Kaikorai High School talent quest to supporting heroes Toy Love (and even upstaging them by playing ‘Pull Down The Shades’ in the more primal, slow 10 version The Enemy used to play), things quickly fell into place – the band playing community halls to armies of Dunedin youngsters, though violence somewhat curtailed this option and being too young for pubs the started to run out of options. A possible support slot with Lip Service fell through:

…Mr. Batts said no. We didn’t bother telling Lip Service we weren’t turning up because they were from Auckland and besides they looked old. We thought they were probably fakes. The Knobz came and played a lunchtime concert at school. The covered The Members’ ‘Solidarity Confinement’ and dedicated it to Bored Games but we were unmoved. We thought The Knobz were fakes as well. Afterwards my next door neighbor would plaster “Knobz wank dogz” posters all over the city. -Shayne Carter

By 1980 the band had started thinking about recording, with a back catalog of some 20 originals to work with. Mike Chunn overlooked the group, taking on the young Dance Exponents instead. Wayne Elsey grew tired, leaving to form The Stones and was replaced by Terry Moore, and the band won the 1980 KVHS talent quest on second attempt. In 1981 the band slid away, half the members resurfacing in Martin Phillips re-christened sequel to The Same – The Chills.

The group would (with the birth of Flying Nun, later in 1981) record the ‘Who Killed Colonel Mustard’ EP (which included the brilliant ‘Joe 90’ – unmistakably the bands signature song) posthumously a year after their break-up, and Carter would go on to re-unite with his school chums in The Doublehappys. The EP is now tragically hard to find, but the boys material is easily obtained on the ‘..But I Can Write Songs OK’ compilation on Yellow-Eye records.

[Quotes from Shayne Carter taken with permission from ‘Mysterex: Kiwi Punk And Beyond #3”]

Members

  • Shayne Carter (vocals, 1978 – 1981)
  • Wayne Elsey (bass, 1978 – 1980)
  • Jeff Harford (drums, 1978 – 1981)
  • Fraser Batts (guitar, 1978 – 1981)
  • Jonathan Moore (guitar, 1978 – 1981)
  • Terry Moore (bass, 1980 – 1981)

Discography

  • Who Killed Colonel Mustard EP [1982 Flying Nun LUDO001]

Links

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Die! Die! Die!

Die! Die! Die! are a three-piece Auckland-based band formed by Andrew Wilson (guitar, vocals) and Michael Prain (drums), with Michael Logie (The Mint Chicks, F in Math, Opossum) their current bassist. Prain and Wilson have been playing in groups together since early attending Logan High School together in Dunedin – notably the Smoke-Free Rockquest winning Carriage H (with Tiddy Smith – who would go on to form Idiot Prayer), and then Wellington group Rawer (with Ricky French on Bass). Die! Die! Die! play a dynamic brand of Punk, with military-precise drumming, huge fuzzy bass and guitar that can vary from melodic to cathartic noise.

In 2003 the core duo relocated to Auckland and brought in Kane Goulter (Xanadu) as their next bassist, finally settling on their current name. This line-up was known for playing incredibly rapid sets, touring up and down the country with the likes of the Mint Chicks and Batrider. During 2003 and 2004 the group’s reputation had grown to the point where they were now (rightfully) being dubbed the best live act in New Zealand. Nick Roughan (of the Skeptics) produced several songs with this line-up, which then appeared on various early A Low Hum samplers and other releases in early 2004.

Later in 2004 Goulter gave way bass duties to Henry Oliver, and the group then recorded their debut self-titled EP with Dale Cotton. In 2005 and 2006 they undertook their first of many US and European tours, recording their debut LP with Chicago-based producer Steve Albini (Big Black, The Pixies, Nirvana etc) and mastering the results at Abbey Road in England.

In 2006 Henry Oliver moved on to be replaced by the Australian-born Lachlan Anderson, signed to Tardus Music in New Zealand (their 3rd record label in as many releases), and released their follow-up ep ‘Locust Weeks’. Anderson had been playing in the Brisbane group the French Horns, who had toured with Die! Die! Die! and made a considerable impression on the group. Oliver eventually opened D.O.C. Bar in Auckland.

With Anderson on board the group put together the landmark album ‘Promises, Promises’, their finest collection of songs yet committed to vinyl – with Dunedin music legend Shayne Carter (Bored Games, Double Happys, Straitjacket Fits, Dimmer) producing and mixing the album. A complex, emotionally driven album it shows the group expanding their sound, and solidified their position as one of the best rock acts in New Zealand.

However, it would be over 2 years before the group released the follow-up album ‘Form’ – Nick Roughan returned to produce, and the album is the group’s sole release on the legendary Flying Nun label, which had just been re-established by original founder Roger Shepphard. With their previous album the group had developed a strong template, and although the new album didn’t expand on this you can still consider the album on the great New Zealand rock releases. A fine mix of explosive rhythm and guitar, and again highly emotive vocals.

Anderson eventually left the group in 2011, though he does appear on several tracks from their 4th album ‘Harmony’, to be released on the groups own ‘Record etcetc’ label and distributed via Rhythmethod. Michael Logie was eventually brought in for bass duties in 2012, appearing on several of the album’s songs and augmenting their live line-up.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Die! Die! Die! Ep [2005 Unstable ApeUAR041]
  • Die! Die! Die! [2005 Capitol Recordings CREC1034, Pet Piranha Records PP020, SAF RecordsSAF15]
  • Locust Weeks Ep [2006 Targus MusicTAR010]
  • Promises, Promises [2007 Tardus Music / Etch and Sketch / SAF RecordsSAF20]
  • At the Echo Live EP [2007 Kufala RecordingsKUF0187]
  • Form [2010 Flying NunFN504]
  • Harmony [2012 Records Etcetera]

Music Videos

See-Also

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.

dimmer

Biography

Dynamic, flowing rock with electronic influences and dark musical overtones. basically the one-man project of former Doublehappys / Straightjacket Fits frontman Shayne Carter, Dimmer spent the best part of 5 years living off the expectations that their solitary debut EP Crystalator produced (as well as Carters’ impeccable previous track record).

In 2001, the catalyst of this seclusion was finally released – I Believe You Are A Star – and its a stunner.

Carter followed up in 2004 with You’ve Got To Hear The Music, expanding his sound with an all-star list of contributors (some even in the pop field) and toured the album with Ned Ngatae on guitar, Mike Hall (Pluto/Sola Rosa) on bass, Andy Morton on keys, Willy Scott (King Kapisi / Sola Rosa) on drums, and Anika Moa on backing vocals.

Other guests on the album include, SJD who added production wizardry on ‘case’, Graeme Downes of the Verlaines, who arranged and conducted strings on ‘Only One That Matters’, Nick Roughan and Andy ‘Submariner’ Morton kept things appropriately phat in the beat and production department, while Dimmer tickman and animated video genius, Gary Sullivan, added his own trademark sly touch. Anika Moa appears on a number of tracks bringing a new dimension to Carter’s voice, and teams up on ‘Happening’ with Bic Runga with a spine-tingling effect.

From Festival Mushroom’s promotional blurb

Members

  • Shayne Carter (Vocals/Guitar/Bass, 1995 -)
  • Peter Jefferies (Drums, 1995)
  • Lou Allison (Bass, 1995)
  • Gary Sullivan (Drums, 1999 – 2009)
  • Nick Roughan (Guitar/Bass/Drum Programming, 2001 – 2006?)
  • Andy Morton (Keyboards/Drum Programming, 2001 – 2006?)
  • Ned Ngatae (Guitar, 2003?)
  • Anika Moa (Vocals, 2004)
  • Bic Runga (Vocals, 2004)
  • James Duncan (Guitar/Bass/Keyboards, 2009)
  • Kelly Steven (Bass/Flute/Vocals, 2009)
  • Dino Karlis (Drums/Percussion, 2009)
  • Michael Prain (Drums, 2009)

Discography

  • Crystalator ‎(7″) (1995, Sub Pop/Flying Nun Records, SP326/FN310)
  • Don’t Make Me Buy Out Your Silence Single (1996, Flying Nun Records)
  • Evolution Single (1999, Columbia, 668560)
  • I Believe You Are A Star ‎(2001, Columbia, 5024222000)
  • Getting What You Give Mini-Album (2003, Columbia)
  • You’ve Got To Hear The Music (2004, Festival Mushroom Records)
  • There My Dear (2006, Warner Music)
  • Degrees Of Existence ‎(2009, Warner Music, 5186551402)

Links