The Renderers

The Renderers are New Zealand’s prime example of southern-fried country, and are indeed one of our finest ever bands. Brian Crook formed the Renderers with his partner Maryrose in early 90s christchurch when the Max Block Group failed to go anywhere. He was already part of the Scorched Earth Policy / terminals sequence of bands that was picking up wind again – but the Renderers were the Crooks band (they’ve cycled through line-ups, with John Billows, Peter Mitchell (also of squirm and Hiss Explosion), Denise Roughan (the 3Ds, Look Blue Go Purple et all), Robbie Yeats Dead C, verlaines) and Haydn Jones, whilst the Crooks’ have always remained consistent.

Their early recordings stuck to a strictly country approach and seemed a bit too forced and distant, it wasn’t until the band relocated to port chalmers, a small bay just outside of dunedin that the Renderers really found their sound. Maryrose’s vocal on the 7″ sincle ‘a million lights” is like a defining moment in New Zealand rock. An achingly beautiful, brief song that has since featured on many Flying Nun and xpressway compilations, the song typified the Renderers new found dark and country-tinged rock sound.

Over the course of the 90s, the Renderers albums grew stronger and stronger – culminating in the masterpiece that is 1998’s dream of the sea. Featuring a wonderful cover of Ritchie Venus forgotten gem forbidden planet and a swagger of fine, dark songs themed around the sea, it was welcomed with open arms by the u.s. Underground music scene, whilst going mostly ignored in New Zealand. The Renderers are still going strong, touring sporadically, whilst both Maryrose and Brian have released their own solo material (most notable Brian’s 2002 album as Bible Black, and Maryroses contributions to the Arc Life series of dunedin music compilations).

In early / mid 2004 during the process of organising a christchurch show with the band, i managed to conduct an interview with the duo, and have kept up to date on their schedule for future releases. Since the recent demise of arc life, plans are now intact for the Renderers to start their own label. With Maryrose’s first solo release, a further solo release from Brian in a form similar to that of his fractured solo debut bathysphere under his current Anti-Clockwise performing alias, and perhaps the 5th Renderers release on the way, to boot.
circa mid-2005 the group made further line-up changes, this time coinciding with a possible move back to christchurch. Original bassist john bellows was reinstated, and drummer mike daly (also of Eskimo and formerly YFC) become the groups rhythm section for a one-off christchurch show, still preceeding the highly-anticipated 5th album.

discography
picks in bold

  • trail of tears [1991 Flying Nun fn184]
  • ‘bigger than texas’/’revival radio’ 7″ single [1991 Flying Nun fn185]
  • ‘a touch of evil’/’howling at the moon’ 7″ single [1993 Flying Nun fn254]
  • that dogs head in the gutter gives off vibrations [1995 Ajax ajax042]
  • surface of jupitor [1996 Ajax]
  • dream of the sea [1998 Siltbreeze]
  • ghost of our vegas lives [2005 as ‘Maryrose Crook’ Tinsel Ears]

recommended songs

download from mp3.co.nz

  • dream of the sea
  • i hear the devil calling me
  • pure poison
  • a million lights
  • forbidden planet
  • dimmer waters

See-Also

Scorched Earth Policy

Legendary early Flying Nun band (1982-6) that would later reform to become the Terminals, marking the debut of a young Brian Crook (later to form the Max Block and the Renderers). They put out a couple of highly sought after EP’s which contained some of the original versions of Terminals songs such as ‘Lolita’ and ‘Mekong Delta Blues’.

Initially they seemed more pop focused (well pop in the way that say, the Verlaines are pop) but the dark, rattled approach of Peter Stapleton soon turned them into something far more nefarious and disturbing. The Keep Away From The Wires compilation was put out by Medication in the late 90s and collects all their recorded material, along with live out-takes (though they’re of questionable quality). Pick up anything you can find from these guys.

Initially Stapleton (drums / lyrics) was flanked by a young Mick Elborado (bass / vocals – who carried a few songs from his Drowning Is Easy days) and Mary Heney (guitar, vocals, organ and drums – came from 25 Cents, a short lived ‘party band’, along with short stints in both the Victor Dimisch Band and the Pin Group) and Mick’s old bandmate Ian Blinkinsop – though he left before their first public appearance. Andrew Dawson soon joined to replace Ian on vocals, and brought around recently arrived ex-hastings lad Brian Crook who…

Was into German music at the time, y’know, Can and Faust and that sort of stuff. Some weird hybrid between German music and the Beach Boys I think I was kind of thinking about. Yeah, when i finally got to the Scorched Earth practice, the songs were y’know, two minutes long, or something. And Peter was really into that ‘Pebbles’ thing. And Captain Beefheart. Y’know, just, every practise, out would come the Captain Beefheart album.
– Brian Crook, taken from Wade Churton’s ‘Glam, Punk and Scorched Earth Policy’

Over the course of the bands 2 year run, Onset/Offset label-founder Campbell McClay (bass) and Catherine Upson (backing vocals) made contributions to their recordings.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Dust To Dust 12″ Mini-Lp [1984 Flying Nun Fn028]
  • Going Thru’ A Hole In The Back Of Your Head 12″ Mini-Lp [1985 Flying Nun Fn042]
  • A.D. Cassette [Live Recording 1986 Passage Passage10]
  • Foaming Out Cassette [1991 Xpressway X/Way 20]
  • Keep Away From The Wires [Compilation 1999 Medication Med04]

See-Also

Sneaky Feelings

The Sneakies were a young and naive pop band discovering the world of music from a distinctly dunedin perspective. In original member Matthew Bannisters’ Positively George Street book, which describes their experience and neglectance to accept the ‘Dunedin Sound’ that had been labelled around them, he was quick to point out how they differed from other bands.

Whilst the clean and the Chills were indulging in Toy Love inspired post-punk, raised on a diet of the Velvet Underground and West-Coast psychedelia, the Sneakies were more accessibility orientated troubadores, attempting to ingulf pop, country, folk and blues influences into their simple, gritty rock – and with some success. ‘Theres A Chance’ is one of the landmark tracks from the brilliant Dunedin Double album that brought together the Sneakies with fellow Dunedin City up-and-comers the Chills, the Stones, and the Sneakies eternal brother band, the Verlaines.

Though Bannisters book tries to say elseward, the Sneakies would never quite raise to the level of Graeme Downes talented troupe, but through-out the years (they eventually broke up in the late 80s, Bannister going on to form the Dribbling Darts Of Love) they did produce the odd great pop track (the hit single ‘Husband House’ being another stand-out), and some solid releases. Unlike their contemporaries, the Sneakies went through few line-up changes, original bassist Kat Tyrie leaving as the band started to gain speed, but Bannister, Martin Durrant, John Kelcher and David Pine survived the majority of their existance.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Dunedin Double 4xep [1982 W/ The Stones, The Chills, The Verlaines Flying Nun Dun1/2] Rn
  • Better Than Before 7″ Single [1982 Flying Nun Fnfeed1]
  • ‘Be My Friend’/’Amnesia’ 7″ Single [1983 Flying Nun Fn015]
  • Send You 12″ Mini-Lp [1983 Flying Nun Fnfeel1] Rn
  • Live At Windsor Castle Cassette [1984 Industrial Tapes Industrial017]
  • Take Sides Cassette [1985 Compilation Flying Nun Fnmcfeel001]
  • Husband House 12″ Ep [1985 Flying Nun Fnfeel2] Rn
  • ‘Better Than Before’/’Wouldn’T Cry’/’Here’S To The Other Six’ 12″ Single [1986 Flying Nun Fnfeel3]
  • ‘Better Than Before’/’Wouldn’T Cry’ 7″ Single [1986 Flying Nun Fnfeel3]
  • ‘Coming True’/’Wasted Time’ 7″ Single [1986 Flying Nun Fnfeel5]
  • Sentimental Education [1987 Flying Nun Fnfeel6 / Fne14]
  • ‘Trouble With Kay’/’Its So Easy’ 7″ Single [1987 Flying Nun Fnfeel7]
  • Waiting For Touchdown [1987 Au Go Go / Flying Nun Fn Anda / Fnuk2]
  • Hard Love Stories [1988 Flying Nun Fn112 / Fne26]
  • Long Time Gone 7″ Single [1988 Included W/ Fn1192Flying Nun Fn119]
  • Send You [1992 Reissue Flying Nun Fn205]
  • Positively George Street [2000 Compilation Flying Nun Fn441]

See-Also

The Stones

The Stones were an anarchic, anything goes rock band – in Matthew Bannisters’ Positively George Street novel on the Dunedin scene, Bainnister recalls Wayne Elsey (The Stones brilliant singer / guitarist) exclaiming in disgust that Sneaky Feelings think about their music, an idea that seemed foreign to the Stones. But then, the Stones didn’t need to think about the music they made, they were primal, raw, things just fell into place.. But they weren’t by any stretch of the imagination a simple band.

Their contribution to the Dunedin Double release were 4 starkly contrasting songs – one more than each of the other contributors to this seminal document of the birth of Flying Nun as a movement. On ‘Something New’ a huge pulsing wall of guitar slows just out of sync with the songs rhythm creating a beautiful shuffling melody, on ‘Surf’S Up’ they ripped apart a piano, wildly plucking the inner workings of the piano to create a rising crescendo of noise.

They had a detached irony that was never forced – their name and the sleeve for the Dunedin double piece both a brash play on their british name-sakes. Unfortunatley The Stones (who were completed by fellow former Bored Games member Jeff Bats along with Graeme Anderson) were far too short lived – Elsey’s life ended by an accident while travelling by train with the band.

Discography (picks in bold)

See-Also

Throw

Biography

The strange and confusing career of Throw has spawned some of the more successful and impressive releases for the Failsafe label. The band sprung from Failsafe boss Rob Mayes desire to create a studio based song writing ensemble which would have a transitional line-up as the song required.

In late 91 Mayes enlisted drummer Steve Birss again, the pair having patched things up (once again) after Birss’s split from Dolphin in early 1990. Birss had been playing in British influenced four piece Elevation (with David Hunt – guitar, Dylan – bass and Jeremy Talyor – guitar and vocals).

Taylor was enlisted for Throw to add vocals and guitar and in mid 91 Throw did their first ‘rehearsal’ , nutting out a few ideas which were to spawn the tracks ‘Honeyblonde’, ‘Time untied’ and ‘Blinder’. The next week the band recorded their practice and sent away the three songs to the QEII Arts Council for grant consideration.

At the end of that week Throw performed their first gig in support of Naked Lunch at a private party, followed the next week by supports for The Bats and Breathing Cage. Throw quickly built up a strong set of material and in the space of a few weeks had penned the 17 songs which became their stable set.

A month later Throw were headlining their own show at the Dux de Lux followed by a trip to Wellington with co-Christchurch bands Naked Lunch and Loves Ugly Children, playing a gig at the new Carpark to average attendance, and an Upper Hutt show to 6 locals and a bunch of locals who hung out in the other bar, who didn’t like anything you couldn’t ride your motor bike to. Throw also picked up one extra show at hip and happening venue Bar Bodega with ex-Christchurch man Nigel Mitchell’s new outfit, now Wellington based.

This proved to be a luck move for Throw, impressing the local crowd and particularly bar owner Fraser McInnes who took a strong liking to the band and immediately booked them to perform again. McInnes championing of Throw would spill over to Taylor’s post Throw project Cinematic, resulting in Bodega releasing the bands first album.

The Throw project in effect snowballed away from the original intention of keeping the line-up fluid and studio based and the Mayes/Birss/Taylor line-up found themselves heavily occupied with recording and performing over the next 12 months. After the initial rush had died down the band hit some internal political problems with singer Taylor wanting to claim full song writing credit for all material.

Mayes objected to this on the grounds that at least half of the bands music was written or originated from Mayes ideas, and all the material the band performed was worked on and contributed to by all members. Taylor being somewhat of a jukebox for modern pop songs, if he has heard a song he can most times play a version of it.

Taylor later conceded sometimes he couldn’t remember which stuff he’d written and which stuff he’d memorized from music he’d heard. This proves to be somewhat of a problem for the band during writing stages for the group as tunes initiated by Taylor sometimes bore strong resemblance’s to music Taylor had recently heard, and in some cases to Mayes own material he had presented at previous rehearsals.

After a few months of heated contemplation the songs were eventually registered with 1/3 credit to taylor/Mayes/Birss, but the situation had led Birssto limit his commitment to the project and Birsswould now only perform in Christchurch, and for recordings. Mayes enlisted Caroline Easther to drum for the bands North Island shows, Mayes being a fan of Easther’s drumming since her days in Beat Rhythm Fashion, through to The Chills, Verlaines, and Easther’s own band.

Relations with Taylor continued to strain, perhaps due to Throws instant success, something both Mayes and Birss had been used to with their work in Dolphin, but the young Taylor (20) had difficulty with, falling foul of the rock and roll ego syndrome.

Taylor, Mayes and Birss shoot a video for the lead track ‘Wishes from her heart’ on the forthcoming ‘All different things’ EP at the picturesque Castle Hill, the band perched precariously on rock top, during intermittent snow and sunshine. Throw continued to perform around the country working to ward their Arts Council Fund debut EP release. Throw’s work with Taylor culminated in a series of concerts building up to the release of the ‘All different things’ EP.

Taylor and Mayes played shows in Hamilton and Auckland (Powerstation with Semi Lemon Kola and The Nixons) with Easther drumming. These shows were followed by a Wellington date with Easther and a Palmerston North show as two piece with drums on backing tape, at the Feast of Stevens own EP release party. Throw were joined by Feasties drummer Glen Fletcher for the last song of their set away, a tense controlled number.

Fletcher had that day committed himself to a psychiatric hospital for mental stress, leaving the Feast of Stevens to spring him for their gig. Throw started ok with “away” but by the end of it the song was racing out of control, leaving everyone present much amused.

Taylor and Mayes drive back to Wellington straight after their Palmerston North set and find themselves at Bar Bodega with a small crowd of people and so play their two piece line-up set to excellent response. Mayes and Taylor return to Christchurch to prepare for their EP release concerts which entail a release party at Mainstreet Cafe where the band were to perform in a stripped back fashion as opposed to their normally full on power gigs, and a concert at the Dux de Lux.

Tension between Mayes and Taylor had been brewing progressively over the previous few gigs and the situation came to a head on the day of their Mainstreet Cafe release party, resulting in Taylor refusing to attend. Throw played their last performance in the original line up at the Dux at the end of September with the band not saying a word to each other throughout the gig. Mayes takes the next few months to work on the album, finishing off the songs the band had laid the basic tracks down for at the time of recording the EP.

The album is finished in mid 1994 with initial singles being released to New Zealand on Air for inclusion on the ‘Kiwi Hit Disc’ series. Taylor’s desire to pursue his solo song writing leads him to form Cinematic and he recruits bassist James Gutherie, guitarist – and drummer Steve Birss. Cinematic go on to record and release a debut album with that line-up, followed by a further two albums in the mid to late 90s. ‘Falling inside me’ is released as a single backed with ‘Freefall’ and receives a video grant from New Zealand on Air.

The video is directed by Jonathon King and features Auckland actress Rebecca wandering round Auckland rooftops looking pouty and plaintive. The finished video is some way away from the brief given to King. A still from the video is used for the ‘Rememory’ album cover. In march 95 the ‘Rememory’ album is released. ‘Nowhere near’ is released as a single backed with ‘Time untied’, a track with it’s origins in Taylor and Birss’s previous band Elevation. The track also receives an NZ on Air video grant, the video being directed by film maker David Reid.

Mayes is again unimpressed with the directors interpretation of the bands music, the finished video result being some sort of a yuppy pool room love story. In June 95 Throw get another video grant this time for the track ‘Honeyblonde’. Mayes decides to work with camera man Brett Nicols and director and animator Gregg Page who had worked on the springloader video. Mayes also attends the film shoot and assists page on the video which is an animated claymation performance based video, showing the band performing as clay figures.

The video was nominated for a New Zealand music award as best music video, along with videos from Supergroove and Shihad. In August 95 ‘All different things’ receives a video grant and Page and Nicols again make a video for this track, based on the story of a scientist who creates a three piece band to perform a love song to impress a girl.

Mayes shifts to London in November 95 and continues to work on material for the follow-up album, ‘Dream baby good-bye’, which features unreleased re-worked material from the original 1992 sessions as well as recently recorded material.
– Rob Mayes of Failsafe Records

Members

  • Rob Mayes
  • Jeremy Taylor (Guitar/Vocals)
  • Steve Birss (Drums)
  • Caroline Easther (Drums)

Discography

  • Falling Inside You Single (Failsafe Records)
  • All Different Things EP (1992 Failsafe Records)
  • Rememory (1995, Failsafe Records)
  • Nowhere Near Single (1995, Failsafe Records)
  • Dream Baby Goodbye (1995, Failsafe Records)

Links

The Weeds

Biography

[Profile thanks to Tim Davey]

The Weeds were around for about a year in the mid-80’s, formed with the intention of having fun and seeing just how stupid they could be, while also entertaining people. The band provided a great distraction for its members from the more ‘serious’ music they were making in other groups at the time. The name supposedly came from the fact that all the members were quite skinny at the time.

Robert Scott and Michael Morley had been playing together in the Pink Plastic Gods in late 1984. Following the end of the group Scott (Bass, Vocals) And Morley (Guitar, Vocals) got together with Jeff Harford (Vocals) and Chris Healey (Drums) and The Weeds was born. All except Healey had had much experience in other bands; Scott had been in The Clean and was front-man with The Bats, Morley was in Wreck Small Speakers On Expensive Stereos and Harford had played with Bored Games. Following the tragic end of Doublehappys in mid-85 Shayne Carter (Guitar , Vocals) And John Collie (Drums) were also added to the line-up. An odd feature of the group was that they had two drummers.

Every gig they played involved some sort of dress-up theme which the whole band would participate in. One night they would be playing draped in foliage and weeds, another would be in glam gear or bad taste clothes. Their most outrageous ‘dress-up’ was playing in their underpants on the town hall stage as support to the Verlaines and the Rip at a 4XO dance. Their only out-of-town gigs were at the Gladstone in Christchurch as support to Look Blue Go Purple and in Auckland at Windsor Castle. The latter gig didn’t go down very well and the band realised that dressing up stupidly and playing music was best done only around people who knew you.

The essence of the weeds was not about serious music or writing meaningful lyrics but about having a good time. A review by Sharon Guytonbeck following a gig at the empire spelt this out:

with a couple of friends helping out The Weeds were a lot of groovy fun. Who needs ‘Live Aid’ when you can have this. Yes, The Weeds confirmed my belief that Dunedin is where it’s all happening musically. We don’t need the rest of the world when we can be at The Empire with The Weeds.

– Critic 6/8/85

Band rehearsals were for the sole purpose of writing new material which gave their on-stage sound a very fresh feel. In mid-85 the band made some recordings at Dockside Studios on Wharf St which emerged as the Flying Nun single ‘Wheatfields’, a very Velvets-influenced piece that buzzed along with the chorus line ‘It’S Been A Hard Day On The Wheatfields …’. further recordings were made later in the year at Chippendale House which to this day remain unreleased.

By late 1985 the members of The Weeds were being pulled away by their other musical projects and the band faded away. Scott continued with The Bats and Carter And Collie went on to form Straitjacket Fits. Morley was later involved in Dead C, Gate and This Kind Of Punishment while Harford became part of My Deviant Daughter.

The Weeds played only around 15 gigs but will almost certainly be remembered by everyone who saw them for their mix of shock, humor and good music.

Members

  • Robert Scott (Bass/Vocals, 198?)
  • Michael Morley (Guitar/Vocals, 198?)
  • Jeff Harford (Vocals, 198?)
  • Chris Healey (Drums, 198?)
  • Shayne Carter (Guitar /Vocals, 198?)
  • John Collie (Drums, 198?)

Discography

Links

Alpaca Brothers

Biography

Dunedin based outfit comprised of Nick Wilkinson, Bruce Blucher and a young Steve Cournane.

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 suspicious 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)

Blucher returned to Dunedin, performing alongside Sandra Bell and in the mid-90’s outfit Cyclops. Wilkinson went way up North into obscurity, whilst Cournane joined The Verlaines, and later the skiffle group the Weetbix Boys, eventually settling in to make a living as a touring jazz musician (with the likes of C.L. Bob).

Members

  • Bruce Bluchers (Guitar/Vocals, 1984 – 1986)
  • Nick Wilkinson (Bass/Vocals, 1984 – 1986)
  • Steve Cournane (Drums/Vocals, 1984 – 1986)
  • Paul Cahill (Guitar, 1985? – 1986)
  • Peter Gutteridge (Keyboards, 1986)
  • Ivan Purvis (Vocals, 1986)
  • Norma O’Malley (Vocals, 1986)

Discography

  • Legless EP (1986, Flying Nun Records, FN050)

Links

Brown Velvet Couch

Biography

Essentially the group Trash with Paul Cahill, Bruce Blucher (Wreck Small Speakers on Expensive Stereos, Alpaca Brothers), Robbie Yeats (The Renderers, The Dead C, The Verlaines) performing under his Bo Martak alias, , but fronted by Viv Crowe (Fats Thompson).

Brown Velvet Couch released just a single 7″ on Roof Bolt, before Trash splintered and disappeared in the mid 90’s.

Members

  • Paul Cahill (Bass, 1994)
  • Robbie Yeats (Drums, 1994)
  • Bruce Blucher (Guitar, 1994)
  • Viv Crowe (Guitar/Vocals, 1994)

Discography

  • Once in a Very Blue Moon 7″ (1993, Roof Bolt, RB002)

Links

Chug

Biography

On paper chug sound like a bit of a super-band. Featuring the wonderful Norma O’Malley (formerly of criminally under-rated all-girl janglers Look Blue Go Purple) on vocals, along with Alf Danielson (Goblin Mix), Stephen Kilroy (Stephen and about a million other bands) and Alan Haig (Snapper, and for a while as drummer for the Verlaines).

This incarnation put out a self-released single before signing to Flying Nun, but soon after releasing their follow-up single, both Haig and Kilroy departed, making way for further luminaries Dave Mitchell (Goblin Mix, and of course the 3Ds and now Ghost Club) and Gary Sullivan (Jean-Paul Sartre Experience and then Solid Gold Hell) to fill the gaps. phew.

To me, their albums always seemed like potential wasted, particularly as Dave Mitchell seems to keep to his own devices, having more of a support role than a creative force. However, for power-pop fans – their 1997 sophomore effort Metalon is a pretty fine album in its own right.

After extensive problems with American label Alias Records, they called it quits in 1998 – with Mitchell moving to London and the other members returning to their subsequent other bands.

Members

  • Norma O’Malley (Organ/Guitar/Vocals/Harmonica, 1991? – 1997?)
  • Alf Donaldson (Bass/Vocals/Guitar, 1991? – 1997?)
  • Stephen Kilroy (Guitar, 1991? – 1992?)
  • Alan Haig (Drums, 1992?)
  • Dave Mitchell (Guitar/Percussion, 1994? – 1997?)
  • Gary Sullivan (Drums, 1994?)
  • Shaun O’Reilly (Harmonica, 1994?)
  • Shaun Broadley (Drums, 1994 – 1997?)

Discography

  • ‘Flowers’/’Gunnera’ 7″ Single [1992, Flying Nun, FN248]
  • Kisser Cd Ep [1993, Flying Nun, FN263]
  • Sassafras [1994, Flying Nun, Fn300]
  • ‘Golden Mile’/’Concord’/’Cosmos’ Cd Single [1994, Flying Nun, Fn305]
  • ‘Golden Mile’/’Concord’ 7″ Single [1994, Flying Nun, FN305]
  • ‘Queen Bee’/’Dennis Potter’/’Metalon’/’Seam’ Cd Single [1996, Flying Nun, FN365]
  • ‘Queen Bee’/’Dennis Potter’ 7″ Single [1996, Flying Nun, FN365]
  • Metalon [1997, Alias, A117]

Links

 

The Chills

Biography

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 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 repertoire. 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.

Members

  • Martin Phillips (Vocals/Guitar, 1980 -)
  • Peter Gutteridge (Bass, 1980)
  • Martyn Bull (Drums, 1980 – 1983)

Discography

  • 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]
  • ‘Doledrums’/’The Hidden Bay’ 7″ Single [1984, Flying Nun, COLD003]
  • The ‘Lost’ 12″ EP [1985, Flying Nun, COLD004]
  • Kaleidescope World Mini-LP [1985/6, Flying Nun, 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 [2013]

Links