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  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.
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