Wreck Small Speakers On Expensive Stereos

Biography

Wreck Small Speakers On Expensive Stereos were a Dunedin-based duo consisting of Michael Morley (Guitar/Organ/Vocals – before forming the Dead C, 2 Foot Flame, Angelhead, Tanaka-Nixon Meeting, The Weeds) and Richard Ram (Bass/Guitar/Vocals) – though in an early video recording Morley states the group had formed ‘Up North’ before heading to Dunedin. The duo released a handful of handmade cassettes and had an affiliation with Bob Scott’s Every Secret Thing label, with both album releases and compilation appearances. Their most well known material is the River Falling Love EP which was released on Flying Nun in 1986 before being expanded and re-released by US label Ajax in 1993. Morley formed the Dead C in 1987, effectively bring an end to Wreck Small Speakers.

Featuring performances from other Dunedin musicians: Denise Roughan (Recorder/Vocals – Look Blue Go Purple, The 3Ds, Ghost Club), Ivan Purvis (Guitar – Love In A Gas Oven, Alpaca Brothers), Lesley Paris (Drums – Look Blue Go Purple, The Puddle, Olla), Bruce Blucher (Drums – Cyclops, Trash, Fats Thompson, Brown Velvet Couch, Alpaca Brothers) and Martin Kean (The Chills, Doublehappys, Fats Thompson, Stereolab). The groups recordings are based around strong rhythm tracks – usually plucked bass guitar and drum machine, with shout-sung vocals, fractured guitar riffs and organ squeels, with samples and other sound manipulations added into the mix. Though experimental, Wreck Small Speakers retained a high level of musicality and accessibility.

Both their creative genius and the quality of their songs really shines through on the groups lo-fi cassette recordings. The slinky, funky bass and proto-rap vocals on ‘Over My Skull’, the low-key beauty of River Falling Love highlight ‘All Of This’, and Denise Roughan’s wonderful appearance on their most well-known song ‘Rain’. Small scraps of the bands fairly substantial discography have appeared in the digitally archived era, however if ever there was a Flying Nun associated act that could use an anthology release it would be Wreck Small Speakers – its been almost two decades since Morley’s Dead C band mate Bruce Russell released A Child’s Guide To Wreck Small Speakers on his own Xpressway label.

Members

  • Michael Morley (Guitar/Organ/Vocals, 198?-1987)
  • Richard Ram (Bass/Guitar/Vocals, 198?-1987)
  • Denise Roughan (Recorder/Vocals, 198?)
  • Lesley Paris (Drums, 198?)
  • Ivan Purvis (Guitar, 198?)
  • Bruce Blucher (Drums, 198?)
  • Martin Kean (198?)

Discography

  • My Blue Fairy Godmother [1983 Wrecked Music WRECK14]
  • 3.V.M. EP [1983 Wrecked Music WRECK20]
  • Over My Skull Cassette Single [1984 Every Secret Thing EST 06]
  • Cave Cassette [1984 Every Secret Thing EST 21]
  • Worlds Fall Apart cassette [1984 Every Secret Thing EST 24]
  • A Summer In Taradale Cassette [1985 self-released]
  • River Falling Love ep [1986 Flying Nun FN068]
  • A Child’s Guide To Wreck Small Speakers Cassette [1988 Xpressway XWAY03]
  • River Falling Love Reissue [1993 Ajax AJAX 029]

Links

King Loser

Biography

King Loser is the kind of band I’ve always wanted to form. More of a loose collection of friends (with an almost comical approach to drum-throne rotation), yet somehow managing to get it together enough to release 3 brilliant albums and a number of inspired singles, King Loser put the scuzz in scuzz-rock.

Like some kind of evil take on Nancy Sinatra and Lee Heazlewood, the domineering front of Chris Heazlewood and Celia Mancini (nee Patel, then later Pavlova) trade off vocal barbs (him – rugged and biting, her – sultry and fork-tongued) over a bed of surf-guitar, jungle-grooves or just good-old american Lo-Fi hiss-rock.

The duo formed King Loser after meeting in Dunedin in 1991. Mancini had previously been in a handful of influential underground Christchurch groups (The Stepford 5, The Axel Grinders and a lounge group called The After Dinner Mints) and had managed Into the Void.

Utterly theatrical, each band member who passed through their ranks took on a distinct persona (Pat Faigan became Duane Zarakov, Lance Strickland became Tribal Thunder) and the band played up their over-the-top american inspiration. thankfully it wasn’t all show, as King Loser laid down some of the meanest guitar and hottest songs this country has even seen, and deserved far greater recognition than they actually received.

After an exceedingly prolific 3 years the group faded away – essentially disbanded by late 1997. Mancini would resurface in short-lived Auckland group Mothertrucker.

A live performance of a reunited King Loser surfaced in 2015, with the group going on to play a handful of reunion shows up and down the country – however any hope of the group continuing was lost when Celia Mancini passed away in September 2017.

Members

  • Glen Campbell (Vocals, 1991)
  • Chris Heazlewood (Guitar/Vocals, 1991 – 1997, 2016)
  • Celia Mancini (Organ/Vocals/Bass, 1991 – 1997, 2016)
  • Sean O’Reilly (Drums/Guitar, 1993, 1995 – 1997, 2016)
  • Duane Zarakov (Drums, 1991 – 1994?)
  • Gregg Cairns (Drums, 1991?)
  • James Kirk (Drums, 1993 – 1994)
  • Peter Jeffries (Drums, 1993)
  • Billy TK (Guitar, 1994)
  • Steve Dean (Drums, 1994)
  • Tribal Thunder (Drums/Guitar, 1995 – 1997, 2016)

Discography

  • Supersonic Hi-Fi (1993 Turbulence/Flying Nun Records, TUR005/FN299)
  • Tie Us Down 7″ EP (1993, 18 Wheeler, EWR-005)
  • Stairway To Heaven 7″ Single (1994, Flying Nun, FN283)
  • You Cannot Kill What Does Not Live (1995, Flying Nun Records, FN309)
  • Caul Of The Outlaw (1996, Flying Nun Records, FN382)
  • Troubled Land Single (1996, Flying Nun Records, FN394)

Links

Look Blue Go Purple

Biography

Wonderful and thoroughly under-rated all girl group in The Bats mold (though they well deserve recognition in their own right!).

With future Flying Nun stalwart Lesley Paris and co-founder of The 3D’s Denise Roughan, joined by Kathy Bull, Norma O’Malley (who went on to form Chug) and Kath Webster.

Lovely chiming guitars, silly songs and sweet vocals, quality pop all the way, and with a couple of genuine kiwi classics in their catalog, to boot (‘I Don’t Want You Any Way’ and the sublime almost-hit ‘Cactus Cat’).

Members

  • Lesley Paris (Drums, 1983 – 1987)
  • Denise Roughan (Guitar, 1983 – 1987)
  • Kathy Bull (Bass, 1983 – 1987)
  • Norma O’Malley (Keyboards/Flute, 1983 – 1987)
  • Kath Webster (Guitar, 1983 – 1987)

Discography

  • Bewitched 12″ EP (1985, Flying Nun, FNLBGP001)
  • LBGEP2 12″ EP (1986, Flying Nun Records, FNLBGP002)
  • LBGPEPs Cassette (1986 Compilation, Flying Nun Records, FNLBGP003)
  • This Is This 12″ EP (1989, Flying Nun Records, FN117)
  • Compilation (Compilation, 1991, Flying Nun Records, FN171)
  • Still Bewitched (Compilation, 2017, Flying Nun Records, FN572CD)

Links

 

Olla

Biography

Chris Heazlewood and Sean O’Rielly’s pre-King Loser outfit, featuring former Look Blue Go Purple drummer and Flying Nun alumni Lesley Paris.

Members

  • Chris Heazlewood (Guitar/Bass/Vocals, 1991 – 1992)
  • Sean O’Rielly (Guitar/Vocals/Organ, 1991 – 1992)
  • Lesley Paris (Drums, 1991 – 1992)

Discography

  • Septic Hagfish 7″ EP (1991, Flying Nun Records, FN214)

Links