Tinnitus

Auckland-based industrial outfit that featured a young Michael Hodgson, along with audio pruction assitance from Angus Mcnaughten (Unitone Hi-Fi). Their sole Flying Nun release was a retrospective from over a decade of multimedia performances that had seen release in extremely limited diy capacity.

Visual manipulation had always played a large part in Tinnitus performances and the early 90’s was the perfect time to explore the role of the VJ within the arts and live music scene. Over the next few years Michael provided visual enhancement for performances by the Headless Chickens, Jean Paul Satre Experience, Supergroove, Not Really Anything and many others
– Taken from Club Bizarre

In 1992 Hidgson started releasing dub remix albums under the name of Projector Mix, working with the likes of the Hallelujah Picassos, DLT and (most notably) Salmonella Dub, which would eventually led to the birth of the duo Pitchblack with Paddy Free.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Ire In Red Desert [1986 Self-Released]
  • Come [1986 Self-Released]
  • Tinnitus Alive [1987 Self-Released]
  • Untamed [1987 Self-Released]
  • Central Delivery [1987 Self-Released]
  • X- Spiritualistic Function [1987 Self-Released]
  • Ringing In Your [1987 Self-Released]
  • Subjective Experience For The Inside Of Your Head [1988 Self-Released]
  • Firepower Nov.1988 [1988 Self-Released]
  • Affliction Addiction [1991 Self-Released]
  • Futures Past [1992 Self-Released]
  • ‘Necessary Tension’/’Fire Power’/’In The Air’ Cassette Single [1992 Flying Nun Fn134]
  • Futures Past Alive And Studio ’86-’91 [1992 Flying Nun Fn156]

See-Also

This Kind Of Punishment

After Nocturnal Projections went their seperate ways in the early 80s, the two Jefferies brothers formed This Kind Of Punishment, a group that expanded their song-writing capabilities, and the punky style in which Nocturnal Projections had created. This Kind Of Punishment’s albums are quite often eery and detached, with Peter’s voice cutting through the shards of piano and guitar like it was deathly silence. Over the years the brothers accumulated a large list of contributors, with Andrew Frengley, Gordon Rutherford, Michael Harrison, Maxine Fleming, Michael Morley, Alastair Galbraith, Shayne Carter and the burgeoning talents of Grant Fell and Chris Matthews (who would later take the essence of the Matthews penned ‘Sleepwalking’ as the basis for a Headless Chickens track – and make it a hit).

This Kind Of Punishment have had a huge impact on the darker side of New Zealand rock, and their 1st two releases are well worth seeking out. By 1984 TKOP were a four-piece comprised of the two Jefferies brothers, Fell and Matthews – and played live consistently, touring the nation with Jay Clarkson‘s Expendables (from which the tkp live ’85 album is culled).

Soon after, an arts festival, “the nit-picker’s picnic,” dissolved this amalgam and a single 1986 performance with the line-up of the jefferies brothers, michael morley and shayne carter saw the end of the band.
– Dan Vallor: taken from Popwatch #9

Cakekitchen), whilst Fell and Matthews (and one-time TKOP contributor Johnny Pierce) were already establishing Childrens Hour, the fore-runner to the ever-popular Headless Chickens.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • This Kind Of Punishment [1983 Flying Nun Tkp001]
  • A Beard Of Bees [1985 Self-Released Tkp002] Rn
  • 5 By Four Ep [1985 Flying Nun Tkp003]
  • In The Same Room [1987 Flying Nun Tfp004]
  • Tkp Live ’85 [1988 Xpressway X/Way 02]
  • A Beard Of Bees Cassette Reissue [1990 Compiled Reissue Xpressway X/Way 15]
  • This Kind Of Punishment [1993 Reissue Roofbolt]
  • In The Same Room / 5 By Four [1993 Reissue Ajax]

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

Atomic Blossom

Biography

The brainchild of Christchurch musician Dean Karena who first came to local prominence with his previous band Naked Lunch in 1990. [Atomic Blossom had] their first performance at an outdoor concert at the Dux de Lux in Christchurch, first up on a rainy outdoor show featuring Cinematic, The Headless Chickens and Dave Dobbyn.

Trevor Hall had previously worked as an Orientation and Activities co-ordinator for University events, but he was a relative newcomer to drumming, and the band felt they had to replace him almost immediately, shifting Hirtzel from bass to drums and bringing in Layton Pace (Trawler, Swirl).

This line-up quickly cemented itself and recorded 5 songs almost immediately, one track appearing on the Good Things compilation, the other 4 eventually being re-recorded toward the band’s album. Pace left the band after 6 months choosing to commit himself to Trawler, where he got to sing and write his own music.

Pace was replaced by Matt Monopoly and this line-up stayed solid till the band eventually disbanded in disastrous circumstances in New York in 1995. The story goes that the band continued to grow in popularity, working toward their self-released album, and building a strong following for their heavily British sonic guitar sound.

The band secured support slots for Smashing Pumpkins on the 1995 New Zealand tour, impressing the Pumpkins and management. Meanwhile Atomic Blossom’s manager was in the US working at securing the band industry support and arranging concert dates for them stateside.

AB put the finishing touches on the CD and pressed 500 copies. This was used as a demo of the bands material and hardly any of them saw public release. The album remained pretty much impossible to obtain for ten years, until Failsafe Records remastered and re-released it in 2005.

At the end of 1995 Stone left for the US, the rest of the band were to follow early in 1996. Unknown to the rest of the band Stone had tired of playing in the band and felt her leaving for the US was indication enough to the others that she wanted to leave. The other members followed in 1996 and the band united to play American concerts which secured them heavy interest from US labels, notably Maverick Records.

A record deal was as good as signed apparently before Stone chose this opportune moment to abandon the band, effectively scuttling the project.
Stone stayed in New York, and Karena, Hirtzel, and Monopoly returned to NZ and disbanded. Karena left NZ for Australia, probably disheartened by the turn of events. Hirtzel concentrated his efforts on his other band Debris. Monopoly has since moved to the UK and is presently rehearsing with Jeremy Taylor toward possible work as Cinematic.

– Failsafe Records

Members

  • Dean Karena (Guitar/Vocals, 1993 – 1996)
  • Prudence Stone (Guitar/Vocals, 1993 –  1996)
  • Greg Hirtzel (Bass/Drums, 1993 – 1996)
  • Trevor Hall (Drums, 1993)
  • Layton Pace (Bass, 1993 – 1994)
  • Matt Monopoly (Bass, 1994 – 1996)

Discography

Links

 

Children’s Hour

Biography

Whilst Chris Matthews was struggling within the pop-confines of the Prime Movers, Johnny Pierce (Bass), Grant Fell (Guitar) and Bevan Sweeney (Drums) were forming their own sound as Children’s Hour.

More intense and experimental than what the Headless Chickens eventually became (Children’s Hour were essentially the Chooks in their original incarnation), they fused electronic and analog instrumentation, and wrote thoroughly brooding rock music that actually went rather unnoticed.

Matthews (Vocals / Guitar) eventually joined the trio in 1983, and it was this line-up that released two EPs on Flying Nun Records – and went on to tour New Zealand. Fell left for Australia, but after a short-absence, the group eventually reformed as the International Headless Chickens, and with fell back in line (and the ‘International’ dropped), the Headless Chickens went on to become one of New Zealand’s most successful bands.

In 2005 the core remaining members (plus Failsafe Records Rob Mayes) reconvened for a handful of reunion performances, playing a swag of material both old and new, released as Looking for the Sun – as part of Mayes archival Retrogenic series.

Members

  • Johnny Pierce (Bass, 1982 – 1985)
  • Grant Fell (Guitar, 1982 – 1985)
  • Bevan Sweeney (Drums, 1982 – 1985, 2005)
  • Chris Matthews (Vocals/Guitar, 1983 – 1985, 2005)
  • Rob Mayes (Bass, 2005)

Discography

  • Flesh 12″ EP (1983, Flying Nun Records, FNC60)
  • Washed Away 7″ Single (1984, Flying Nun Records, KID001)
  • Looking For The Sun (2005, Failsafe Records, 064CD)

Links

 

Prime Movers

short-lived west-auckland pop-rock outfit from the early 1980s that put out a 7″ on simon griggs’ furtive records, and started the recording career of future headless chicken front-man chris matthews. also featured guitarist nick crowther.
discography
picks in bold

  • ‘crying again’/’walk on by’/’hard to bear’ 7″ single [1982 furtive FUR005]

Headless Chickens

the brain-child of temperamental crazy-guy chris matthews, the headless chickens started out as a children’s hour spin-off band, and took a while before their bizarre, synth-inflected style took hold. members included matthews, johnny pierce, grant fell, michael lawry, bevan sweeney, rupert taylor and anthony nevison.
one of the most popular bands in the country during the mid 90s due to the hit laden body blow and greedyalbums, their body of work various quite markedly from start to finish. songs like ‘cruise control’ and their mammoth hit ‘george’ (which featured one-time vocalist Fiona mcdonald) had big choruses and affectionate instrumentation, whilst previously they had been a dark and quite unusual beast. mcdonald later left the band, leaving matthews to pick up the pieces, but they faded into the background as mcdonald contributed vocals to the strawpeoples eclectic debut.
discography
picks in bold

  • headless chickens 12″ ep [1986 flying nun / mushroom uk FN061 / D19853] rn
  • ‘sour catcha’/’donka’ 7″ single [1988 flying nun FN088]
  • stunt clown
    [1988 flying nun FN100 / FNE24] rn
  • expecting to fly 12″ ep [1988 flying nun FN102]
  • ‘gaskrankinstation’/’crash hot’ 12″ / 7″ / cassette single [1988 flying nun FN131/139/140]
  • body blow
    [1993 flying nun FN206] rn
  • ‘cruise control’ (album mix)/’cruise control’ (eros mix)/’cruise control’ (sob mix)/’i’m talking to you’ 12″ / cd single [1991 flying nun FN207]
  • ‘donde esta la pollo’ (kentucky freud mix)/’donde esta la pollo’ (hen party mix)/’donde esta la pollo’ (cock rock mix)/’cruise control’ (house of harrow mix)/’cruise control’ (karaoke mix) 12″ / cd single [1992 flying nun FN231]
  • ‘juice’/’choppers’/’choppers’ (heli-bator mix)/’play it again, kiri’ cd single [1992 flying nun FN255]
  • ‘mr. moon’/’inside track’ (natty house mix)/’inside track’ (natty instrumental mix)/’attack of the killer androids’ cd single [1993 flying nun FN267]
  • ‘george’/’cruise control’ (eskimos inegypt mix)/’bestiary’/’milton babbit’s rarotongan holiday’ cd single [1994 flying nun FN302]
  • ‘juice’ (ollie j 12″ remix)/’juice’ (ollie j 12″ dub)/’juice’ (original mix) 12″ single [1994 flying nun FN304]
  • ‘magnet’/’smoking big ted’/’monster’/’magnet’ (browning version) cd single [1997 flying nun FN319] rn
  • greedy [1998 flying nun FN320]
  • ‘secondtime virgin’/’stalk of a cherry’ [screaming chickens version]/’dumbhead’/’ce4’/’used to’ cd single [1998 included with greedy flying nun FN408]
  • chickens hits double cd [compilation 2002 flying nun FN467]

awards etc
rianz awards 1991

  • album of the year body blowrn
  • top female vocalist of the year fiona mcdonaldrn

rianz awards 1993

  • single of the year ‘juice’/’choppers’rn
  • top group of the year headless chickensrn
  • top female vocalist of the year fiona mcdonaldrn

rianz awards 1994

  • international achievement headless chickensrn
  • top female vocalist of the year fiona mcdonaldrn

Jean-Paul Sartre Experience – Jean-Paul Sartre Experience

1994 / 2003 Reissue, Flying Nun, FNCD078

With Flying Nun reissuing a number of their long out-of-print release, it was about time the boys from Jean-Paul Sartre Experience saw the light of day again. Their early discography is as follows: they released a self-titled EP, then followed it up with a mini-album entitled Love Songs.

These were then released as a cumulative album, which was initially also named love songs, and then expanded and changed to the Jean-Paul Sartre Experience, just to confuse archivists. The end result is quite a collection of genuine pop-classics, and was the moment in time when the Jean-Paul Sartre Experience was really hitting their stride.

The Jean-Paul Sartre Experience (later shorted to JPS Experience or JPSE due to legal hassle’s with Sartre’s estate) was formed in Christchurch in the mid-80’s and immediately set about creating a suite of songs that tread the line between charmingly naive love songs (‘Let there be love’), upbeat sing-a-longs (‘I like rain’) and even kooky, disjointed attempts at white-bred rap (‘Crap-rap’).

Both blessed and cursed with all 4 members being songwriters (with Dave Mulcahy, Jim Laing and Dave Yetton all providing both guitar and vocals) their songs were fresh, invigorating and stylistically scattered in these, the early years.

Eventually the band would split after years of tightening their formula until things just weren’t fun anymore (their last album, the wildly uneven and downbeat bleeding star). Mulcahy then launched the brilliant, larger than life, and unfortunately short-lived Superette, eventually going solo. Yetton created his own ‘sissy-pop’ project – The Stereo Bus which eventually grew out of its humble solo beginnings to be a very popular 5-piece. And lastly their drummer Gary Sullivan (who often took the back stage in JPS Experience’s career) formed the acclaimed, but commercially ignored scuzz-rockers Solid Gold Hell.

Dave Yetton had a penchant for creating what he freely admitted was girly pop – soppy love songs and silly, carefree lyrics. Mulcahy acted as the ever-vigilant older brother with tracks like ‘Firetime’, adding structure to result in a perfect balance of playful melodies and sobering lyrics. Their songs were playful, yet intelligent (‘Flex’), reflective, but upbeat (‘Grey parade’) – you’d expect with such a clash of idea’s the songs would fail to gel, but luckily Jean-Paul Sartre Experience is one of those releases that exceeded all expectations.

‘Loving grapevine’ is perhaps the most perfect example of how their songs worked so well. Jim Laing’s demented, gleeful vocals are so exuberant you can’t help but think how much fun they had recording the album. A relatively straightforward pop number, the song is highlighted by cheery backing vocals – when the guitar solo strikes mid-song, it almost seems out of place.

In fact, the vocals are the most distinctive element of the album, three vocalists perusing a myriad of approaches add up to an awful lot of styles. Even the more serious numbers (‘Transatlantic love song’) seem characteristic when accompanied by such out and out fun numbers as ‘Jabberwocky’ and ‘Let there be love’.

The instrumentation is brilliantly suited though too, particularly Sullivan’s drumming which seems to drive the seriousness of the songs — the more fun and over-the-top the songs, the more disjointed and playful the rhythm. For an album with no credited bassist, their sure are some catchy grooves too – particularly the slowly building ‘Jabberwocky’. It rolls and rolls as the song grows and grows, building tension and allowing ragtime piano and guitars to float in.

Follow that up with the funky, disjointed slop-hop sing-a-long ‘Crap rap’ (trust me, it’s a lot better than it sounds) with bass that pops and grooves in an ultimately impressive fashion (considering the pedigree of these four white southern boys).

I would challenge any lover of pop to come away from this album without at least one favorite. I mean, who could resist the ever-charming ‘I like rain’ and it’s Casio-tone melody? These are the kind of songs Chris Knox would have been making if he weren’t such a crotchety old bastard. High recommended for days inside, days at the beach, days spent snuggle with loved ones, or nights spent partying.

At their peak in the mid to late 80’s, JPS Experience were considered one of the finest and most popular bands in New Zealand, along with their noisy neighbors The Headless Chickens and The Straitjacket Fitz. This album is the perfect document of the cheery, upbeat side of classic New Zealand pop, and a firm addition to Flying Nun’s current catalog of reissues.

Not Really Anything

Show piece group for the writing talents of local sound engineering guru Rex Visible (real name Brett Taylor). Rex was an ex navy mechanic before he devoted his time to sound engineering, rising to prominence as the sound engineer for the Androidss, then most of the pumping bands round town.

The band went through many and varied line-up and sounds (between 1983 and 1994), the one represented on failsafe’s accident compilation featured rex visible – guitar/vocals, frankie steentjes – bass (Androidss), and occasionally robert key and david toland on drums. rex moved to auckland and worked on the live sound of bands like the headless chickens, bird nest roys and all the best sounding bands. a new auckland line-up released an ep ‘watched the world’ and an album or 2 through Flying Nun. The band never achieved the intensity of their early Christchurch performances.

The Accident compilation track ‘glow’ is taken from a live performance at the Gladstone. Headless Chickens drummer bevan sweeney joined the group and took the band in a new rythmic direction with samplers and triggers, and the bands later shows were reportedly quite good. [Rob Mayes]

discography
picks in bold

  • watch the world 12″ ep [1985 flying nun FN036]
  • mud babies [as n.r.a. 1989 flying nun FN128]
  • hold on to your face [as n.r.a. 1991 flying nun FN163]
  • ‘bruce mclaren’ (unleaded mix)/’rule’ (break it mix) 12″ single [as n.r.a. 1991 flying nun FN183]