Swampy Dunedin rock act comprised of ex-Alpaca Brothers Paul Cahill and Bruce Blucher, plus Robbie Yeats (The Renderers / Dead C) and Andre Richardson.
They were fast furious guitar [band] with thumping bass, made one EP and had a great song called The Infinite Tick. Later they became Trash Hotel [who recorded as just Trash] and were involved in a more theatrical chaos.. Started performing The Trash Hotel at The Art Gallery … Infamous performance and that ended with a supicious burglary of the Art Gallery.. No one found to blame. Later Bruce and Nick wanted to take the Trash Hotel overseas and went to Thailand and bought a bar here they were to form the real “Trash Hotel” although it was short lived as the local prostitutes that wanted to protect their patch forced the boys to leave by gunpoint.
– Donald Harman (Ex-Weetbix Boys)
In 1993, a curious one-off 7″ from Bill Meyer’s excellent Rolf Bolt label appeared in the form of Brown Velvet Couch – who were essentially trash, but led by the smooth vocals of Viv Crowe, and also an album and single from Cyclops, which featured both Richardson and Blucher.
Discography (picks in bold)
- On And On With Lou Reed [1992 New World Of Sound Nwos-01]
- Gritt And Butts [1992 Turbulence Tur003]
- Gate [1994 Trash Tr001]
- Not Gate [1994 New World Of Sound Nwos6]
- Mihiwaka [1995 IMD Imdcd10060]
- ‘Hurtin’/’F.U.F.P’ Lathe-Cut 7″ [IMD]
Xpressway was formed by Bruce Russell in 1985 to release his then-fledgling Christchurch band the Dead C, live archival recordings from This Kind Of Punishment and the debut solo material from Alastair Galbraith. Over the course of the next 23 (mostly cassette-only) releases, Xpressway, Russell and his comrades themselves formed an ever-growing niche-market of dark, brooding releases, mostly in lo-fidelity form, but full of character.
Xpressway was the label that set the careers of Stephen Cogle, Peter Stapleton and Brian Crook (between them being a major part of Victor Dimisich, Scorched Earth Policy, the Terminals and the Renderers), the Jefferies brothers and David Mitchell in motion, quite an achievement. Their brilliant compilations Xpressway Pile-Up and Making Losers Happy were re-released by overseas labels in the early 90s, hastening the influence of these inspiring 23 releases.
Russell ended the label once they had achieved global recognition, as he had always intended Xpressway to be a stepping-stone toward competent distribution, and they had achieved that by the early 1990s with American labels like Siltbreeze, Drunken Fish, and Kranky and European labels Turbulence, Ajax and Raffmond picking up a fair portion of the labels many talented musicians. Russell then launched Corpus Hermeticum – an outlet for even more challanging music (mostly by his own personal pool of musicians, but expanding into even overseas experimental and underground musicians).
Picks In Bold
- Xpressway Pile Up [1988 XWAY5]
- I Hate Pavel Tishy’s Guts [1989? promo issued in 2 versions XWAY6]
- Xpressway Pile=up [reissue with extra tracks 1990]
- Making Losers Happy 
- Whats That Noise? 7″ album 
- I Hear The Devil Calling Me 7″ album [distributed by drag city 1993]
- Xpressway is no longer active, but you can contact label-head Bruce Russell directly:
- Bruce Russell [Label Head / Email Contact]
- +64 3 328-9276 [fax number]
- Bruce Russell
- PO Box 124
- New Zealand [Postal Address]
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.
- 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)
- 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)