Categories
s artists

Skeptics

Hugely popular and influential New Zealand industrial rock act. Known for their grinding sound and one particularly visual music video – the incredible and universally banned ‘Affco’. The video shows some rather graphic freezing-works footage, and was directed by Stuart Page – also known for his band the Axemen. The video has since had several one-off showings, and is actually available directly from page – but it is far too graphic to ever receive any kind of commercial release.

David D’Ath (vocals / keyboards) and Robin Gauld (guitar) formed The Skeptics in Palmerston North way back in 1979, with Don White (drums, percussion and samples) and Ian Reiddy (bass) soon joining to complete their original line-up, heavily influenced by the first wave of British punk. After a few fruitless practice sessions and recording efforts in their high school, Gauld’s old friend Nick Roughan (who was considerably more technically adept) was brought in as a new bassist and things started to gel.

The Skeptics are set apart by the transcendent intensity of their performance. It’s uplifting by way of the band’s sheer force of will. Punishing and cathartic in the extreme, the skeptic’s noise is demanding and confrontational

– Paul Mckesser, taken from a live review in Rip It Up, 1990

Support slots and eventually their own headline slots soon showed a quickly rising fan-base – the band were growing very popular. The Pyronnists Selections EP was recorded for Ripper recordings, but a stolen master tape delayed their debut release (though the track ‘Last Orders’ was included on the Three Piece Pack compilation). After a close finish in the Auckland battle of the bands (finishing 2nd to the short-lived Gurlz) they finally made their debut with the EP Chowder Over Wisconsin, a distinctly collaborative album.

The band continued to build a strong following, running the Palmerston North venue ‘Snail Clamps’ – and started releasing material through Paul Lurkers Industrial Tapes , including a release from spin-off act the Amazing Charlton Heston. Once palmy had been conquered the band relocated to Wellington, losing Gauld to overseas study and gaining the Gordons / Bailter Space‘s John Halvorsen as his replacement, and Brent McLauchlin lent a hand as mixer (and eventually a part-time 2nd drummer).

2nd album Skeptic III and the subsequent ‘Affco’ video were produced in 1987, cementing the bands notoriety, but TVNZ refused the piece, even with digital editing to mask the gore:

The graphic scenes of animal slaughter are unnecessarily detailed and prolonged, and despite the fact that they may be everyday scenes at freezing works, this does not imply that visuals of this nature may be screened on television
– Gerry Ryan, ‘Radio With Pictures’ producer

Come 1989, work on the third album Amalgam was disrupted by D’Ath’s health. It was quickly apparent that D’Ath had leukemia, but despite rushing the albums production, D’Ath never saw it completed. He died on Tuesday, September 4th 1990, dissolving the band. Post D’Ath’s death, the band released archival and live material and compiled their work on a Flying Nun released boxed-set, though Roughan, White and Gauld’s attempt at a reunion (as hub) never really got off the ground.

The focal point was david with his slight stature, his hooked nose and his deep-set eyes. He looked like some strange, punch drunk bird and the veins in his neck bulged as he forced mysterious words and noises from his throat
Chris Matthews, taken from D’Ath’s obituary in Rip It Up, 1990

Discography (picks in bold)

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Categories
s artists

Silent Decree

Discography (picks in bold)

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s artists

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]

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f artists

55 Polish Workers

Discography (picks in bold)

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a artists

The Amazing Carlton Heston

Biography

Industrial noise improv collective out of Palmerston North as a Skeptics off-shoot (with appearances by David D’Ath, Nick Roughan and Rob Gauld).

Formed with a couple shows at Massey University before settling in to a residency at the (then new) Snail Clamps venue, as detailed in the liner notes to their cassette ‘Synthe Vs Friction X C.Juuuuuusz’, released on Industrial Tapes.

The History of The Amazing Carlton Heston

 

Members

  • P. Harvey (Synthe, 1983 – 1984)
  • S. Jones (Synthe, 1983 – 1984)
  • Nick Roughan (Synthe, 1983 – 1984)
  • P. Davis (1983 – 1984)
  • S. Downey (1983 – 1984)
  • Rob Gauld (1983 – 1984)
  • David D’Ath (1983 – 1984)
  • P. Cook (1983 – 1984)

Discography

  • Synthe Vs Friction X C.Juuuuuusz cassette (1984, Industrial Tapes, Industrial010)

Links

 

Categories
b artists

Ralph Bennett

Biography

Members

  • Ralph Bennett (Guitar/Vocals, 1984 – 1986)
  • George Twhiti (Bass, 1984)
  • Kevin Thomas (Drums, 1984 – 1986)
  • Wayne Wilson (Guitar/Vocals, 1984 – 1986)
  • Phil Davison (Saxophone , 1984)
  • Gabriel Alvarez (Bass, 1986)

Discography

  • Sitting In Silence, Drowning In Screams Cassette (1984, Industrial Tapes, Industrial009)
  • Air Aces Live Cassette (1984, Industrial Tapes, Industrial018)
  • Fat and Sassy (1986, Ode Records, SODE234)

Links

 

Categories
b artists

Kim Blackburn

Biography

Kim Blackburn is a singer-songwriter who put out the ‘Lizards In Love‘ album on Flying Nun Records, using acoustic guitar and digital effects to give the album an experimental edge.

She had previously been associated with underground labels such as Industrial Tapes, performing alongside Sandra Bell on the cassette only release ‘Two Metallic Hearts‘.

Members

  • Kim Blackburn (Vocals, 1984 – 1986)
  • John Pule (Drums, 1986)
  • John Schmidt (Drums, 1986)
  • Leon Del-La Varis (Guitar, 1986)

Discography

  • Two Metallic Hearts Cassette (1984 w/ Sandra Bell, Industrial Tapes, Industrial015)
  • Lizards in Love (1986, Flying Nun Records, FN064)

Links

 

Categories
f artists

Flak

Biography

Early Flying Nun band who’s sole (commercial) release was a split EP with 8 Living Legs that had major production issues (the Australian printing press accidentally dropped the first song! – as documented in Matthew Bannisters’ Positively George Street).

Flak also released a cassette on Paul Lurkers Industrial Tapes home-taping label. The duo of Jansen and Webster (who had previously been in North Shore group The Bombers) moved to Amsterdam and formed If.

Jansen eventually resurfaced in Teeth and Queen Meanie Puss.

Members

  • Dieneke Jansen (Guitar/Vocals, 1983 – 1984)
  • Mark Webster (Bass/Vocals, 1983 – 1984)
  • Larry de Zoete (Drums, 1983 – 1984)

Discography

  • Emigration EP (1983 w/ 8 Living Legs, Flying Nun Records, FLEG001)
  • Monitor Cassette (1983, Industrial Tapes, IND006)

Links

Categories
Record Labels

Industrial Tapes

small auckland-based home-taping label from the early / mid 80s that formed an important part of the underground development of new zealand – particularly industrial and punk-edged bands (marie and the atom, skeptics, flak etc).
started by paul lurker of phantom forth and this is heaven, and running through 1983 and 1984.
compilation discography
picks in bold

  • uptown friday cassette [1983 Industrial002]
  • a spanner in the works cassette [1984 Industrial012]
  • seven in one blow cassette [1984 Industrial020]
Categories
n artists

Normal Ambition

Formed in Auckland ’82 by Jeffrey Bunt, Peter Matich and Gregg McKenzie, and later joined by David Ford on drums (all originally from Taupo), the Normal Ambition recorded two studio albums in 83/84, releasing them on Paul Lurker’s Industrial Tapes independent cassette label.

an edgy new wave pop band occupying the zone somewhere between the jagged ‘gang of four’ and sweet ‘china crisis’ … [we] played anywhere and everywhere from the then prestigious ‘mainstreet’ and ‘streets ahead performance cafe’ to remote hippie bashes in northland

gregg mckenzie

Eventually the group evolved into and overlapped the later line-up called ‘the Lifeboats’ who were basically jeoff and gregg with keyboards and a drum machine, frequently appended with half a dozen other guest musicians, graffiti artists, dancers and knife jugglers. the lifeboats and normal ambition both dissolved in 1985.

Discography (picks in bold)

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