Tall Dwarfs

After Toy Love (the bastard son of The Enemy) disintegrated in 1980, Chris Knox and Alec Bathgate were so fed up with the ‘band’ approach to making music, that they formed The Tall Dwarfs as a performing collective absolutely opposed to the way they created music in the past.

Not that i’ve ever desperately wanted to have sex with Alec, ’cause he’s not really my type y’know, ’cause he doesn’t have breasts and a vagina. Apart from that, if i was to have sex with a fellow male musician it would probably be Alec
Chris Knox: Taken From Popwatch #10

Bringing in any number of contributors, the Tall Dwarfs forged a whole industry from home-recording. Knox had recently purchased a simple 4-track recorder, and it become the bases for the Tall Dwarfs recording regime (as well as the initial lo-fi steps of the just-formed Flying Nun label). Because of this freedom to recorded whatever and whenever they could, the Tall Dwarfs grew incredibly eclectic and bizarre, collecting fragments of found sounds, unusual toys, and whatever other ‘beautiful accidents’ they could muster, turning it into a beatles-influenced stew of pop (and not so pop) moments.

Over time, in the united states the Tall Dwarfs and knox’s solo material would become synonymous with the new zealand scene – as knox had become something of an iconoclastic figure with then-trendy lo-fi movement. Although Knox’s solo material started to take precedence over the Tall Dwarfs in the mid-90s (bathgate now lives in christchurch, knox in auckland), they continued to release album after album almost annually.

Discography (picks in bold)

See-Also

Propeller

Biography

Simon Griggs’ punk, punk-pop and two-tone label from the early 80’s.

Has occasionally resurfaced with one-off releases (including the follow up label Furtive – who had the distinction of debuting The Tall Dwarfs lengthy recording career) and has compiled a number of the labels low run 7″ singles into some very memorable compilations.

Propeller was instrumental of The Screaming Meemees phenomenal success, securing the rarest of the rare, an independently released New Zealand number one single with ‘See Me Go’ in 1981 – paving the way for future success from the likes of Flying Nun.

Propeller (like its short-lived successor Ripper) was initially formed to release the great catalog of underground punk bands that were still relatively unheard outside their regional fan-bases at the turn of the 80’s.

With the original two releases from The Features and Spelling Mistakes, respectively; Propeller started a swell of activity in the New Zealand scene that would eventually be documented by the Bigger Than The Both Of Us compilation LP, which featured releases from both Ripper and contemporary labels.

Propeller currently operates as Huh! Records, the home of revivalist hip-hop outfit 3 The Hard Way and Grigg’s various compilations, such as the reissued Bigger Than The Both Of Us, and the Give it a Whirl documentary soundtrack, both with domestic distribution through major-label Universal NZ.

Compilation Discography

  • The Class Of 81 [1981 REV201]
  • Doobie Doo Disc [1982 REV206]
  • We’Ll Do Our Best [1983 REV209]
  • Its Bigger Than The Both Of Us Double-Lp [1988 2rev210]
  • Ak79 Reissue [1993 Joint Reissue Venture With Flying Nun REV503]
  • Give It A Whirl Double-Cd [2003 REV504]
  • Its Bigger Than The Both Of Us Reissue [2003 REV505]

Contact Details

  • Propeller Records
  • PO Box 6284
  • Auckland 1036
  • New Zealand [postal address]

Links