Bandcamp: Spelunks

Spelunks - Get it Together
Spelunks - Get it Together

Had no idea James Grant (ex Tiger Tones) had been soo productivity. He’s been putting out a freakin’ ton of self-recorded tracks (and the occasional EP) under the Spelunks name. Usually little funky ditties with drum-machine / keyboard backing and structureless vocalls / guitar / bass / flute / anything.

I really dig this track Get it Together – which has a free-form hip-hop vibe (including lame-ass Beastie Boys bites towards the end), totally minimal, groovy and fun stuff.

Shocking Pinks

Formed by Nick ‘Harte’ Hodgson in mid-2003, The Shocking Pinks are one of the most exciting and memorable bands to spring out of Christchurch in the last 5 years. New Zealand’s exponent of the dance-punk revitalisation – The Shocking Pinks encompass a vast variety of styles into their (utterly original) sound, blending disco, shoegazer guitar, new wave keys and vocals and punky rhythms into a mish-mash of undeniably danceable funk.

Valentines day 2004 sees The Pinks release their debut full-length ‘Dance The Dance Electric’ on Tim Baird’s Christchurch-based and usually house-orientated Pinacolada label. Reduced down to a four-piece (though their stylist Antonia De Bere gets a credit) of Harte, Tim McDonald (keys / percussion), Johnno Smith (bass / vocals) and Danny Bare (guitar – Ex-Substandard), the debut is startling different from their early 4-track attempts (though most of the recordings were done in such a lo-fi manner), with their heavy A Certain Ratio influence shining through on a number of tracks, which are now very varied and dynamic.

Though now somewhat missing a front-person (the album features vocal cameos by the Brunettes Heather Mansfield and original vocalist Mel Smith (Emerald Green, The Greenmatics) their sound has indeed fleshed out, and the band intends to sort out a relationship with the American DFA label.

More news came about with their January 2004 pre-release tour – after internal squabbles, the returning news was that the band had called it quits – though the album was still to be released on valentines day. After a couple of weeks, Harte re-appeared, announcing the band would march on – now with a completely new line-up featuring Harte taking both drum and bass roles, with newcomers Kit on guitar, and Marie on synthesizers (while advertising for a new drummer).

Things turned a little bizarre from this point on, with members of the original line-up reinstated for one-off gigs, then yet another new line-up and an eventual New Zealand tour (which ended unceremoniously with yet more departures). Finally, with The Pinks profile rising substantially both nationally and internationally, Harte took over sole responsibility of the group, signing a contract with Festival Mushroom (through Flying Nun), with plans for an EP and sophmoric EP in the works.

Circa 2004-5 The Shocking Pinks are a one-man recording project, though he has a new and established live band of Herbert Palmer (guitar – also of the Leper Ballet), Gareth (synth, vocals, percussion), and Tom (bass). In September 2004 Harte formed a new duo as a sideline to The Pinks, Black Albino – making their debut supporting touring US troop Hawnay Troof and high-flying Aucklanders Die! Die! Die!. Black Albino are somewhat closer to Harte’s previous outfit the Incisions, and featured former Pink and Incision Tim McDonald.

The Pinks gradually spaced out their live performances during 2005 and early 2006, after Herbert Palmer left the group for foreign shores. However in mid 2006 Harte finally got word of his impending US record deal, signing to DFA records in New York City. The group played a supposed final Christchurch show in August 2006, with Harte heading stateside for the re-release of Infinityland under DFA, with a four-record deal in the wings.

However it took almost a year for the DFA to actually release their first stateside material – a white-label 12″ record; whilst Nick was actually still in Christchurch, and even continued to play shows and house party’s before eventually leaving mid 2007. By the end of the Pinks New Zealand lifetime the group was essentially Nick fronting (on guitar) the Tiger Tones (less bassist Ashlin Raymond) – a local group the Pinks have had a strong influence on.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Dance The Dance Electric [2004 Pinacolada Pinacd02]
  • Sway [2005 Self-Released]
  • Mathematical Warfare [2005 Flying Nun Fncd494]
  • Infinityland [2005 Flying Nun Fncd497]
  • Smokescreen 12″ [2007 DFA]
  • Shocking Pinks [2007 DFA]

See-Also

Southern Amp 2008

Got some pretty good photos from Christchurch’s flapship festival; Southern Amp. Of course Die! Die! Die! were spectacular, the crowd was good and things seemed to run pretty smoothly. Oh and the Tiger Tones were totally on this time around; their seldom heard ‘Be Your Star’ being a real highlight.


Click Here for the photoset.

Tiger Tones

Young, exciting and eclectic Christchurch indie-pop group that emerged during 2006 to dominate the local scene alongside popular screamo act Not So Experimental. Led by talented guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist Mark Holland, the group have a funky, dancy rhythm section in Ashlin Ross (bass and initially a little keyboards and vocals) and Andy Frost (drums). The group soon won the annual RDU Round-Up band competition, sneaking through the semi-finals as a wildcard to take the final.

After their ground-breaking victory the group took a swift turn – with Mark switching to keyboards permanently, guitarist James Grant was brought in in a hurry. Immediately the group took on an even more exciting, groove-orientated sound. Grant quickly became a big piece of their sound as their songs fleshed out and developed. After a period of lessened activity, the group released their debut (self-produced) album on Christchurch’s own Pinacolada records.

In 2010 the group fractured, with Grant leaving the line-up, and the remaining members relocating to Auckland. Tiger Tones gave way to Holland’s new recordings as Fistful of Gems (under the performing alias Mark Wundercastle), which is more electronic than the original group. Ashlin appears on the new groups recordings (singing under the pseudonym Dawn Marble).

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Tiger Tones EP [2007 Self-Released]
  • RDU EP [2008 RDU]
  • Tiger Tones [2008 Pinacolada]

See-Also

Tiger Tones Album Release

Interesting venue for a show! In the basement near Galaxy Records new spot the Tiger Tones released their debut full length to a pretty big crowd for a wet, after work audience. The new album is pretty cool; especially the single ‘Seventeen’; featuring Ashlin Raymond on vocals and produced by Jules Merchant. Out now on Pinacolada Records.


click here for the photoset.

Tiger Tones, Not So Experimental [19/01/07]

At the Dux de Lux [19/01/07]
see more photos from this show at Flickr

Not So Experimental, Ed Muzik, Tiger Tones

At the Dux de Lux, oct 7th 2006

What a tremendous show! i felt real local harmony tonight as some of christchurch’s freshest local acts took a step up and showed what the garden city is capable of.

My first time seeing ed muzik and i must say i’m impressed. Hugely funny and entertaining fellow, Ed delighted the crowd with a soviet-themed performance that involved enya samples, songs about ipods, and a couple really kooky outfits.

Now a lot of you out there will be familiar with the Tiger Tones, especially since they won roundup a couple weeks ago. we’ll things have taken a major step forward with the addition of guitarist james; freeing up frontman mark to play keyboards and giving the group a whole new set of songs – upbeat and just about the most fun i’ve ever had.

With the gauntlet set down, not so experimental also took a step up, thrilling the crowd with a cataclysmic performance, vocalist johnny throwing himself about the stage and amongst the crowd as the group reached peak after peak. in fact the crowd were so eager for more songs the guys had to repeat themselves as an encore…

see more photos from this show at flickr

Not So Experimental

Young and exciting screamo-pop from Christchurch, have their foot in the door with the local all-age scene and with a little exposure (recent low hum tours) could make themselves a popular r18 favorite too. A technically proficient 4-piece featuring the very young Jack on breakbeat drumming, Jonny on screaming, Robert Martelli on guitar and keys and Scott Stanton on bass, the group are tied to Rob’s other outfit, the more indie-pop-orientated tiger tones.

discography

picks in bold

  • untitled cd-r ep [2006 self-released]

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