Sneaky Feelings

The Sneakies were a young and naive pop band discovering the world of music from a distinctly dunedin perspective. In original member Matthew Bannisters’ Positively George Street book, which describes their experience and neglectance to accept the ‘Dunedin Sound’ that had been labelled around them, he was quick to point out how they differed from other bands.

Whilst the clean and the Chills were indulging in Toy Love inspired post-punk, raised on a diet of the Velvet Underground and West-Coast psychedelia, the Sneakies were more accessibility orientated troubadores, attempting to ingulf pop, country, folk and blues influences into their simple, gritty rock – and with some success. ‘Theres A Chance’ is one of the landmark tracks from the brilliant Dunedin Double album that brought together the Sneakies with fellow Dunedin City up-and-comers the Chills, the Stones, and the Sneakies eternal brother band, the Verlaines.

Though Bannisters book tries to say elseward, the Sneakies would never quite raise to the level of Graeme Downes talented troupe, but through-out the years (they eventually broke up in the late 80s, Bannister going on to form the Dribbling Darts Of Love) they did produce the odd great pop track (the hit single ‘Husband House’ being another stand-out), and some solid releases. Unlike their contemporaries, the Sneakies went through few line-up changes, original bassist Kat Tyrie leaving as the band started to gain speed, but Bannister, Martin Durrant, John Kelcher and David Pine survived the majority of their existance.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Dunedin Double 4xep [1982 W/ The Stones, The Chills, The Verlaines Flying Nun Dun1/2] Rn
  • Better Than Before 7″ Single [1982 Flying Nun Fnfeed1]
  • ‘Be My Friend’/’Amnesia’ 7″ Single [1983 Flying Nun Fn015]
  • Send You 12″ Mini-Lp [1983 Flying Nun Fnfeel1] Rn
  • Live At Windsor Castle Cassette [1984 Industrial Tapes Industrial017]
  • Take Sides Cassette [1985 Compilation Flying Nun Fnmcfeel001]
  • Husband House 12″ Ep [1985 Flying Nun Fnfeel2] Rn
  • ‘Better Than Before’/’Wouldn’T Cry’/’Here’S To The Other Six’ 12″ Single [1986 Flying Nun Fnfeel3]
  • ‘Better Than Before’/’Wouldn’T Cry’ 7″ Single [1986 Flying Nun Fnfeel3]
  • ‘Coming True’/’Wasted Time’ 7″ Single [1986 Flying Nun Fnfeel5]
  • Sentimental Education [1987 Flying Nun Fnfeel6 / Fne14]
  • ‘Trouble With Kay’/’Its So Easy’ 7″ Single [1987 Flying Nun Fnfeel7]
  • Waiting For Touchdown [1987 Au Go Go / Flying Nun Fn Anda / Fnuk2]
  • Hard Love Stories [1988 Flying Nun Fn112 / Fne26]
  • Long Time Gone 7″ Single [1988 Included W/ Fn1192Flying Nun Fn119]
  • Send You [1992 Reissue Flying Nun Fn205]
  • Positively George Street [2000 Compilation Flying Nun Fn441]

See-Also

The Stones

The Stones were an anarchic, anything goes rock band – in Matthew Bannisters’ Positively George Street novel on the Dunedin scene, Bainnister recalls Wayne Elsey (The Stones brilliant singer / guitarist) exclaiming in disgust that Sneaky Feelings think about their music, an idea that seemed foreign to the Stones. But then, the Stones didn’t need to think about the music they made, they were primal, raw, things just fell into place.. But they weren’t by any stretch of the imagination a simple band.

Their contribution to the Dunedin Double release were 4 starkly contrasting songs – one more than each of the other contributors to this seminal document of the birth of Flying Nun as a movement. On ‘Something New’ a huge pulsing wall of guitar slows just out of sync with the songs rhythm creating a beautiful shuffling melody, on ‘Surf’S Up’ they ripped apart a piano, wildly plucking the inner workings of the piano to create a rising crescendo of noise.

They had a detached irony that was never forced – their name and the sleeve for the Dunedin double piece both a brash play on their british name-sakes. Unfortunatley The Stones (who were completed by fellow former Bored Games member Jeff Bats along with Graeme Anderson) were far too short lived – Elsey’s life ended by an accident while travelling by train with the band.

Discography (picks in bold)

See-Also

The Chills

Over the years the Chills have released a number of brilliant pop songs, right from the outset their material has been catchy and melodic, and have a certain eerie quality to them that separates them from most mainstream pop outfits. All their brilliant early material such as the Dunedin Double split EP (shared with the Verlaines, Sneaky Feelings and the Stones), and the Rolling Moon and Pink Frost singles were compiled in the mid 80s on the Kaledeiscope World album, which was later reissued with bonus tracks once released as a CD. Probably the best example of the Chills vast catalog, it must be considered a vital purpose, unless you can get your hands on the very rare original New Zealand-only Flying Nun vinyl copies releases.

The Chills live at the Jetset Lounge
Liberty or Love – Live at the Jetset Lounge [2004] filmed by Ben Johnstone

The Chill’s brilliant young drummer Martyn Bull became ill with leukemia in 1982, passing away in early 1983. Band leader Martin Phillips almost brought the band to an end, but after a hiatus of sorts he decided to carry on, replacing a number of band members (which became a habit for the Chills – over 20 years, Phillips is the only surviving member out of over 40 musicians).

By this time they had developed a rather large fan base in the UK thanks to the signature hit ‘I love my leather jacket’, and Phillips decided to write their first full-length album ‘brave worlds’ in britain, after picking up a record deal with rough trade to release the (now dedicated to Martyn Bull) compilation album Kaleidescope World. Brave Worlds was a great success – being one of the Chills most consistent yet dynamic releases, the simple beauty of ‘Wet Blanket’ showed that Phillips had nearly reached a level of pop perfection in his song writing.

In the succeeding years the chills continued their trend of recycling contributing members, and producing quality pop tunes. After the brilliant follow up albums Submarine Bells and Soft Bomb (which saw considerable success, especially with the aptly named single ‘Heavenly Pop Hit’) the Chills went into somewhat of a decline, with Phillips working through a number of emotional and dependency problems. Most of the later nineties dragged for the Chills, as only the somewhat lukewarm Sunburnt was produced in the later half of the decade.

Around the turn of the century Phillips formed a new band, with new members Todd Knudson (drums),¬†Rodney Haworth (bass) and James Dickson (keyboards) going on to become Phillips’ long-serving accompanists. This line-up has continued to tour and produce new songs, even unleashing lost material from his plentiful songbook (through several rarity compilations, and the intriguing Sketchbook album) in a solo capacity [see Phillips solo entry].

In 2004 the ‘Stand By’ EP was released – 8 songs the now established Chills touring group had been performing alongside their classic repetoire. This remained the last original material the group would release for almost a decade until new single ‘Melted Gold’ appeared as a streaming song on the popular Pitchfork magazine.

Discography
Picks In Bold

  • Dunedin Double 4xep [1982 W/ Sneaky Feelings, The Stones, The Verlaines¬†on Flying Nun Dun1/2]
  • ‘Rolling Moon’/’Bite’/’Flame Thrower’ 7″ Single [1982 Flying Nun Cold001]
  • ‘Pink Frost’/’Purple Girl’ 7″ Single [1984 Flying Nun Cold002] Rn
  • ‘Doledrums’/’The Hidden Bay’ 7″ Single [1984 Flying Nun Cold003]
  • The ‘Lost’ 12″ Ep [1985 Flying Nun Fn Cold004]
  • Kaleidescope World Mini-Lp [1985/6 Flying Nun Fn Cold005 / Fne13]
  • ‘Green Eyed Owl’/’I’Ll Only See You Again’ 7″ Single [1986 Bonus With Fne13 Flying Nun Fn47 1/2]
  • ‘The Great Escape’/’I Love My Leather Jacket’ 7/12″ Single [1986 Flying Nun Cold006/7 / Fnuk]
  • ‘House With A Hundred Rooms’/’Party In My Heart’/’Living In The Jungle’ 12″ Single [1986 Flying Nun Fnuk11]
  • Kaleidescope World [1986 Flying Nun Fne13]
  • Brave Worlds [1987 Flying Nun Fn090 / Fne12 / Fnuk12]
  • ‘Wet Blanket’/’I Think I Thought Of Nothing Else To Think About’ 7″ Single [1988 Flying Nun Fn097]
  • Submarine Bells [1990 Flying Nun / Slash/Liberation 30342]
  • ‘Heavenly Pop Hit’/’Part Past, Part Fiction’/’Water Wolves’ 7″ Single [1990 Flying Nun / Slash/Liberation
  • Soft Bomb [1992 Slash/Liberation L30782]
  • ‘Male Monster From The Id’/’Double Summer’ Single [1992 Flying Nun]
  • Heavenly Pop Hits [Compilation 1994 Flying Nun Fn306]
  • ‘Come Home’ Single [1995 Flying Nun]
  • ‘Surrounded’ Single [1995 Flying Nun]
  • Sunburnt [1996 Flying Nun Fn303]
  • Secret Box – The Chills’ Rarities, 1980-2000 [Compilation 2000 Definitive Music Dm001]
  • Stand By Ep [2004 Flying Nun Mpm001]
  • ‘Melted Gold’ digital single [2013]