The Renderers

The Renderers are New Zealand’s prime example of southern-fried country, and are indeed one of our finest ever bands. Brian Crook formed the Renderers with his partner Maryrose in early 90s christchurch when the Max Block Group failed to go anywhere. He was already part of the Scorched Earth Policy / terminals sequence of bands that was picking up wind again – but the Renderers were the Crooks band (they’ve cycled through line-ups, with John Billows, Peter Mitchell (also of squirm and Hiss Explosion), Denise Roughan (the 3Ds, Look Blue Go Purple et all), Robbie Yeats Dead C, verlaines) and Haydn Jones, whilst the Crooks’ have always remained consistent.

Their early recordings stuck to a strictly country approach and seemed a bit too forced and distant, it wasn’t until the band relocated to port chalmers, a small bay just outside of dunedin that the Renderers really found their sound. Maryrose’s vocal on the 7″ sincle ‘a million lights” is like a defining moment in New Zealand rock. An achingly beautiful, brief song that has since featured on many Flying Nun and xpressway compilations, the song typified the Renderers new found dark and country-tinged rock sound.

Over the course of the 90s, the Renderers albums grew stronger and stronger – culminating in the masterpiece that is 1998’s dream of the sea. Featuring a wonderful cover of Ritchie Venus forgotten gem forbidden planet and a swagger of fine, dark songs themed around the sea, it was welcomed with open arms by the u.s. Underground music scene, whilst going mostly ignored in New Zealand. The Renderers are still going strong, touring sporadically, whilst both Maryrose and Brian have released their own solo material (most notable Brian’s 2002 album as Bible Black, and Maryroses contributions to the Arc Life series of dunedin music compilations).

In early / mid 2004 during the process of organising a christchurch show with the band, i managed to conduct an interview with the duo, and have kept up to date on their schedule for future releases. Since the recent demise of arc life, plans are now intact for the Renderers to start their own label. With Maryrose’s first solo release, a further solo release from Brian in a form similar to that of his fractured solo debut bathysphere under his current Anti-Clockwise performing alias, and perhaps the 5th Renderers release on the way, to boot.
circa mid-2005 the group made further line-up changes, this time coinciding with a possible move back to christchurch. Original bassist john bellows was reinstated, and drummer mike daly (also of Eskimo and formerly YFC) become the groups rhythm section for a one-off christchurch show, still preceeding the highly-anticipated 5th album.

discography
picks in bold

  • trail of tears [1991 Flying Nun fn184]
  • ‘bigger than texas’/’revival radio’ 7″ single [1991 Flying Nun fn185]
  • ‘a touch of evil’/’howling at the moon’ 7″ single [1993 Flying Nun fn254]
  • that dogs head in the gutter gives off vibrations [1995 Ajax ajax042]
  • surface of jupitor [1996 Ajax]
  • dream of the sea [1998 Siltbreeze]
  • ghost of our vegas lives [2005 as ‘Maryrose Crook’ Tinsel Ears]

recommended songs

download from mp3.co.nz

  • dream of the sea
  • i hear the devil calling me
  • pure poison
  • a million lights
  • forbidden planet
  • dimmer waters

See-Also

Squirm

Biography

Brilliant 90’s Christchurch sludge-rock outfit comprised of Brett Lupton, Daryl Kirk and Mike Brassell (Hiss Explosion).

Released a series of warped, discordant guitar albums, based around Brassell’s excellent guitar-work and an inventive, lo-fi and somewhat sloppy (in a good way) approach to recording songs.

The group was formed by Brassell, Lupton and Original Drummer Andrew Meier (aka ‘Hat’ – who would go on to have an involvement with Flying Nun and as station manager for Christchurch’s RDU radio station), with the original line-up recording and releasing a cassette on Peter Mitchell’s Flat City label.

After Hat’s departure in 1993, Darryl Kirk joined the line-up – the line-up that would record the bulk of the bands output. In their last line-up Pete Mitchell became the new drummer, whilst Vaughen Watson (The Undercurrents, Pumpkinhead) joined as bassist.

Members

  • Michael Brassell (Guitar/Vocals/Bass, 1992 -1996)
  • Brett Lupton (Guitar/Vocals/Sampler, 1992 – 1996)
  • Andrew Meier (Drums, 1992)
  • Darryl Kirk (Drums/Keyboards, 1993)
  • Peter Mitchell (Drums, 1993 – 1996)
  • Vaughen Watson (Bass, 1993 – 1996)

Discography

  • Feeding The Cround Cassette (1992, Flat City)
  • Whip Me Honey EP [1994, Failsafe Records, SAFE027)
  • Mastermistakemaker [1995, Failsafe Records, SAFE028)
  • Spastic Sarcastic [1996, Noseflute)

Links

 

 

Substandard – Low Electric City Pulses EP / Global Research Centre

2002, Failsafe Records

Two wonderfully hand-packaged releases from local 3-piece Substandard.

Best described as an instrumental band with involving guitar textures (Danny Bare), driving bass guitar (Gareth Heta) and funky drumming (Andrew Robbins); they been highly prolific around town this year, and their release party at The Dux was the icing on the cake.

There’s the 3 (+1 hidden track) EP from earlier in the year, and the full-length debut ‘Global Research Centre’ which expands on the earlier release with a fuller, more fleshed out sound. The end result is actually pretty close to their live performance, with some stunning subtle guitar drenched in echo and reverb.

Coming from the Hiss Explosion / High Dependency Unit school of guitar-workmanship (creating wonderful cascades of sound from a plethora of toys), its quite evocative stuff. Perfect driving music, the album sweeps from gentle willowing numbers right up to powerful, full-tilt rockers reminiscent of the (now defunct) Subliminals. Highly recommended.

Hiss Explosion

Biography

Excellent two-man band that evolved out of old-school Christchurch Lo-Fi pioneers Squirm featuring Mike Hex (aka Mike Brassell, the head honcho of the Arc Life record label at the time) on guitar, backed by Peter Mitchell.

Hex moved the two-piece south to Dunedin in the early 00’s, and continued to be a pioneer of the south island Lo-Fi scene, incorporating simple delay techniques, open chords and melodic singing to create a beautifully sparse sound.

2002’s 66 was perhaps the finest example of Hex’s style, and one of the finest albums of the year.

Sadly, Mike Brassell passed away in early 2004, a victim of sudden illness.

A memorial gig was crafted in his honor in both Christchurch, and his adopted home of Dunedin.

Along with Fleur De Lis, I put together the Christchurch memorial for Mike, and many great bands played, giving their respects to a great man.

A short detailing of mike’s creative life and a summation of the night can be found here.

Members

  • Mike Brassell (Guitar/Vocals, 199? – 2004)
  • Pete Mitchell (Drums, 199? – 2004)

Discography

Links