The Undercurrents

Excellent Christchurch guitar band that evolved from earlier group The Centre Will Hold. From that group Jamey Holloway (Guitar / vocals), and Nathan Bycroft (Drums) were joined by Nik O’Keefe (Bass, Vocals) and Marcus Winstanley (Guitar) to form the original line-up in mid 2003. This original line-up played in a low-key manner, with just Winstanley’s guitar adding an extra layer of Shoegaze type guitar into the mix (as he had done with previous band Barnard’s Star).

Eventually Bycroft left and after a short stint by Stephen McCarthy (Pine) the ever-versatile Simon Nunn (also of the Steffan Van Soest Hit Machine, Hi-Tone Destroyers etc) filled the drummers seat more permanently, and beefed up their sound quite a lot. Michael Summerfield (Palace of Wisdom, Cowboy Machine) joined on viola, adding a level of country/folk inflection to their sound. The group managed to win the 2004 RDU Round Up band competition, released an EP with the help of Michael Brassell (aka Michael J Hex) / Arc Life Records and set up All Plastics – a small recording studio.

Simon Nunn eventually found himself committed to his regular gigs as a professional musician, so young drummer Matt Scobie (Black Market Art, T54) was brought in to replace him, and long-time bassist Nick O’Keefe also left, replaced by Vaughan Watson (Pumpkinhead, Squirm). The group has continued a low-key existence, with only a handful of shows a year and recordings few and far between.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Undercurrents (Blue Stripes) EP [2004 Arc Life]
  • Undercurrents (Big Ears) EP [2005 All Plastics]
  • Undercurrents EP (Black Birds) [November 2006 All Plastics]
  • Heavy Sky [July 2010 All Plastics]

See-Also

Michael J. Hex

The solo recording alias of Michael Brassell, former member of Christchurch lo-fi legends Squirm, and future Hiss Explosion front-man. Brassell (who used the Hex pseudonym for many of his make-shift bands) formed the Noseflute label to release the classic 1995 debut Johnnie Horse – a scattered and thoroughly charming lo-fi oddity that shines well beyond the grit of his determined 4-track recordings.

In February 2004 the Hiss Explosion played a show at Creation – this would end up being Mikes final Christchurch performance as sadly Michael John Brassell – who was a well-loved member of the New Zealand underground music scene, passed away from a sudden bout of pneumonia in early 2004.

Prior to the show I had the good fortune of interviewing Mike, and after his passing I was involved in a loving tribute show for Mike.

discography
picks in bold

  • Johnnie Horse [Noseflute]
  • ‘So happy’/’Get yourself out’/’Black shadow’/’Invisible’ 8″ lathe-cut EP [Noseflute]