Live Music Reviews and Photos

Die! Die! Die! ‘Harmony’ album release tour

Andrew Wilson of Die! Die! Die!
Andrew Wilson of Die! Die! Die!
With Opposite Sex and Ipswich at Dux Live. Saturday July 28th 2012.

It’s no secret that Die! Die! Die! are one of my favourite New Zealand bands. Since the group first morphed from the ashes of Smokefree Rockquest champions Carriage H (initially taking the name Rawer), the formative duo of Andrew Wilson (Guitar and Vocals) and Michael Prain (Drums) have been pushed the boundaries and expectations of what a New Zealand group can be. Now supplemented with former Mint Chick Michael Logie on bass guitar (replacing the departed Lachlan Anderson) the group are now very influential in their own right.

You can see an element of Die! Die! Die!’s fury and passion in opening act Ipswich. The trio have made great strides in the last year establishing themselves throughout New Zealand. Ipswich have releases coming out on excellent Auckland-based independent label Muzai Records and recently won the coveted RDU ‘Round-Up’ band competition – a testament to their power in a live setting. Their songs are built on jagged guitar riffs and overdriven bass, invoking the likes of the Skeptics, the Gordons and other Flying Nun era groups.

Lucy Hunter of Opposite Sex
Lucy Hunter of Opposite Sex
Dunedin group Opposite Sex made for an intriguing contrast. With their North Island based guitarist Fergus Taylor sitting out these South Island shows, the duo of Lucy Hunter (Bass and Vocals) and Tim Player (Drums and Vocals) varied between primal drumming and sing-shout songs and melodic, whispered numbers built on Hunter’s extraordinary virtuoso approach to bass guitar. I saw elements of old-school Welsh post-punk group Young Marble Giants in their songs, very cool.

You can tell Die! Die! Die! are a very special group – as soon as the boys hit the stage the audience surged forward, hanging on every word from frontman Andrew Wilson and thrusting back and forth to the military rhythm of exception drummer Michael Prain. Starting their set with a handful of older songs before gradually introducing their new material the trio never relented in intensity. Michael Logie showed he’s no slouch on bass, adding huge crunchy, fuzzy riffs to Prain’s powerful beats and allowing Wilson to freely roam around the stage and into the crowd, leading the audience in anthemic chants ‘A.T.T.I.T.U.D’ and ‘How Ye’. The new album Harmony shows the groups continued evolution and refinement – truly one of New Zealand’s finest bands.

See more photos here.

Live Music Reviews and Photos

Sherpa w/ Bang! Bang! Eche!, Dance Asthmatics and Zen Mantra

Tam November of Zen Mantra
Tam November of Zen Mantra
Smashing line-up friday at Dux Live, with a great mix of young, up-and-coming groups from Christchurch, with poppy Auckland group Sherpa headlining.

Youngest of all would be opening trio Zen Mantra. Fronted by the barely 17 year old Sam Perry, Zen Mantra take on a psychedelic approach to clean and concise indie-pop. With swirling guitar, bass and rolling drums their songs are warm, fuzzy and comforting and are simply drenched in melody. A young group absolutely absolutely overflowing with potential.

Dance Asthmatics make for quite a contrast. Brian Feary (drums), Joe Sampson (guitar) and Ben Odering (bass) create a tight, flowing and often groove filled backing with more than a little krautrock style rhythm – but frontman Stephen Nouwens can steer the group in any number of directions. He can take a plaintive but acerbic and poetic approach to singing (like a young Mark E Smith of the Fall), and then the next minute rip into an aggressive rant, gasping for breath between each delivered sentence. Always exciting and always a lot of fun.

T'Nealle Worsely  of Bang! Bang! Eche!
T’Nealle Worsely of Bang! Bang! Eche!
Despite lacking practice since previous shows, Bang! Bang! Eche! lived up to their reputation as one of Christchurch’s finest and slickest live acts – with the best reception of all the groups on the night. Particularly on form was bassist T’Nealle Worsely, though the group lock together like a syncopated, pulsing singularity.

Out-of-towners Sherpa have been making quite a reputation for themselves up in Auckland – their album Lesser Flamingo and stunning new video Turtles are unabashed slices of pure New Zealand power-pop. Gleeful and with great dollops of catchy guitar and keyboards. Frontman Earl Ho is a colourful character – leading the group through a sharp set of songs at blistering pace. A lovely way to end the evening.

See more photos here.

[Published in the Christchurch Press 27/07/2012]


Cabin Porn: Phil Elverum

Nothing to do with New Zealand music (though I reckon Phil would fit right in in New Zealand) – but a friend of mine alerted me to this link on the Cabin Porn website (don’t worry, its not porn, but rather amazing photos of awesome secluded cabins in the wilderness).

Phil Elverum from the (US) bands The Microphones and Mount Eerie lived here for a year in Anacortes, Washington. Phil’s description:

There were squirrels inside in the mornings yelling for us to get out because the cabin had been so deeply reclaimed by the forest. Still, there were some excellent times here. Watching Law & Order on a laptop, mid-winter, and the computer shutting down because the battery was too cold. Knife throwing into a tree trunk for hours. Firewood rambles. Did the artwork for “Live In Japan” in there. Fried a weird fish on the outdoor campstove kitchen. Played Monopoly by kerosene lantern. Weird semi-pioneer time.

I’m a HUGE fan of Phil’s music, plus also his artwork and photography – all of which seem to ruminate around the outdoors, seclusion and the nature in general.

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The Palace Of Wisdom


The Palace of Wisdom originated in 1999 when well established Christchurch rock’n’roller Ben Johnstone (Guitar/Backing Vocals – Hi-Tone Destroyers, The Incisions) got together with intimidating vocalist Andrew ‘Ox’ O’Connell, adding hooky guitar riffs to O’Connell’s hurricane force vocals. The resulting recording was released as part of the No Thanks To New Zealand On Air compilation in 2000. Matt Alien (Hi-Tone Destroyers, Black Panthers, Space Dust, Slavetrader) joined on drums, with the line-up complete by English bassist Ian Lloyd.

With Lloyd’s departure in late 2000, ALC5 (yet another Hi-Tone Destroyers member) joined the group on Bass, however after a year with the group he was also replaced, this time by the legendary Mick Elborado (Scorched Earth Policy, The Terminals, Gas, The Axemen, Drowning Is Easy etc), who became a mainstay in the group and is responsible for the bands huge, over-driven bass sound on the excellent Pills EP.

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=1333288725 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 tracklist=false artwork=small]

The group then started to rotated through a number of drummers with Nick Harte (The Incisions, Shocking Pinks, Black Albino, CM Ensemble, The Urinators) in February 2002, Tim MacDonald (The Incisions, Shocking Pinks) in March 2003, Simon Nunn (Steffan Van Soest Hit-Machine, The Undercurrents, Kate in the Lemon Tree, Weaponized, Hi-Tone Destroyers etc) in December 2003, and then Chris Andrews (a million lights, Mysterioball, Idols of Eve, Pop Hits City, O’Lovely) in November 2004.

This line-up was the longest of the group, though recordings from this era (which lasted almost 4 years) are limited to Stuck In The Suck. After a disastrous recording session at Christchurch’s MAINZ, and other internal issues – Mick Elborado left the group. Jared Kelly (The Pickups, Blue Moon) then joined in May 2008, with Andrews and Kelly switching instruments after their first practice.

2008 was a particularly important year for the group, recording the Common Threads EP with the lineup of O’Connell (Vocals), Johnstone (Guitar), Andrews (Bass) And Kelly (Drums) Before Stink Magnetic‘s Aiden Moody (Bad Evil, Grand Chancellors) joined as a 2nd guitarist, moving down from Palmerston North. This was an important change for the group as in late 2009 founding guitarist Ben Johnstone left to raise a family in Canada, and Moody took over his lead guitar duties.

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=3257728625 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 tracklist=false artwork=small]

Both Kelly and Andrews left for other towns in 2010, however Ox enlisted the help of drummer Michael Summerfield (The Undercurrents, Cowboy Machine), before Andrews rejoined in early 2011 on bass guitar. The group played the very last show at historic Lyttelton venue El Santo Porteno, just 2 days before the February 2011 earthquake. This disrupted the progress the group had been making, with guitarist Moody moving on to form surf group The Grand Chancellors.

The group resurfaced in early 2012 with Jared Kelly once again playing drums (replacing a departing Summerfield), with John Harris (Lonely Harris Club, Doctors, BnP) quickly establishing himself as their latest guitarist. Summerfield would eventually find himself back in the group after a hilarious stage moment at the (now bull-dozed) New Brighton Tavern which saw Kelly replaced mid-set by multi-instrumentalist Rhett Copland, and this line-up played quite a few shows over the next couple years.

Which Palace’s recorded output completely stagnant Ox formed a new group with guitarist Dave Branton named The Ruling Elite, which eventually picked up Andrews (switching to 2nd guitar). Eventually both groups began utilizing talented free-form drummer Rory ‘IRD’ Dalley – with the new group quickly writing and recording a whole swag of new recorded output, whilst Palace remains a tight live-act-only type of group.

Over the course of the last 15 years the group has played a string of high-profile support slots, including The Chills, The Datsuns and of particular note – US group Dead Moon, who the group cover (‘Unknown Passage’) and are of particular importance to vocalist O’Connell with their never-say-die attitude to Rock’n’Roll. The Palace of Wisdom’s set is augmented by a number of re-interpreted covers, often quite removed from the originals, or obscure in their origin – this includes The Great Unwashed‘s ‘Born in the Wrong Time’ (as ‘Sending Him Away’), and Joy Division’s ‘Sound of Music’.



  • Andrew ‘Ox’ O’Connell (Vocals, 1999-)
  • Ben Johnstone (Guitar, 1999-2009)
  • Matt ‘Alien’ Johnstone (Guitar, 1999-2002)
  • Ian Lloyd (Bass, 1999)
  • Alan ‘ALC5’ Cameron (Bass, 2000-2001)
  • Mick Elborado (Bass, 2001-2007)
  • Nick ‘Harte’ Hodgson (Drums, 2002-2003)
  • Tim MacDonald (Drums, 2003)
  • Simon Nunn (Drums, 2003-2004)
  • Chris Andrews (Drums/Bass, 2004-2010, 2011-)
  • Jared Kelly (Bass/Drums, 2008-2010, 2012)
  • Rhett Copland (Drums, 2012)
  • Aiden Moody (Guitar, 2008-2010)
  • Michael Summerfield (Drums, 2010-2012)
  • John Harris (Guitar, 2010-)
  • Rory Dalley (Drums, 2015-)


  • The ‘P’ EP [2001 Self-Released]
  • Candy Pants [2002 Self-Released]
  • Pills EP [2003 Self-Released]
  • Stuck In The Suck [2006 Self-Released]
  • Burnside EP [2008 Self-Released]
  • Common Threads EP [2009 Self-Released]


  • MySpace
  • BandCamp
  • Facebook
  • LastFM
  • Photo’s on Flickr
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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]


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Wreck Small Speakers On Expensive Stereos


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.


  • 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?)


  • 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]


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Andrew Keoghan

Auckland-based songwriter (and the brother of Television host Phil Keoghan) who has come to prominence with the release of his debut album Arctic Tales Divide, which was nominated for the prestigious Taite Music Prize in April 2012. Keoghan has toured as part of the Lawrence Arabia backing band and is a skilled multi-instrumentalist, playing piano, violin, guitar and singing.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Arctic Tales Divide [2011 Brave Beluga]


Live Music Reviews and Photos

Lawrence Arabia and Andrew Keoghan

St Michael and All Angels Church
At Michael and All Angels Church
At St Michael and All Angels Church, Friday July 13th 2012

With the release of his third album under the Lawrence Arabia pseudonym, Christchurch-native songwriter James Milne decided a special opening show was in order. St Michael and All Angels is one of the most majestic Churches left in our shaky city, the walls strong and comforting and formed from great arches of unbeatable wood. The venue itself had an ethereal vibe which suits both Milne’s music as Lawrence Arabia, but also opening act Andrew Keoghan.

Andrew Keoghan
Andrew Keoghan
Keoghan has been making great strides himself as a songwriter in recent years. His debut album Arctic Tales Divide has received a lot of praise since its release last year, picking up a Taite Music Prize nomination along the way (an award Milne himself won in the inaugural 2010 competition). Keoghan plays guitar, piano and violin – often looping layers of sound to create evocative arrangements that envelop. According to Keoghan the album’s central theme is that of escape and longing for isolation – yet the warmth of his music feels comforting and drew in an appreciative audience.

Lawrence Arabia
Lawrence Arabia
With The Sparrow, Lawrence Arabia has an expanded sound, utilizing a string quartet both on the album and in this enchanting live show. An excellent live band augment Milne’s charming melodies and dynamic musical arrangements. The show was broken up into parts, Milne labelling the first handful of songs ‘Side A’ of the album (performed in order throughout the show), with a handful of oldies bridging the gap before ‘Side B’ finished off the evening. Milne is witty throughout the evening – the somber Bicycle Riding and album highlight The Bisexual standing out as key songs. I hope we see more shows in this terrific venue.

See more photos here.

[Published in the Christchurch Press 20/07/2012]

Record Labels

She’ll Be Right Records

Jody Lloyd started producing his own material as Trillion in 1997, and formed She’ll Be Right records the following year. She’ll Be Right proudly bill themselves as “New Zealand’s only dedicated natural accent focused recording label”, and have a recording roster that includes Billy Wilson, Duff, Lindon Puffin, Jeremy Taylor, St Lucy, Bazuki Joe, Ragamuffin Children, Mustard, Delaney Davison, Tono, John White, Phil Johns, Andy Gibson and Lloyd’s own outfits Dark Tower, Trillion and The Trillion Band. The label is also responsible for publishing the Christchurch-based Catalyst Poetry books (under the Neoismist Press inprint), which have been in print since 2003.

Lloyd is an excellent producer and has created a huge catalogue of collaborations, compilation albums, remixes and other releases. His website ( is a terrific archive of all things related to Trillion and the She’ll Be Right label.

Compilation Discography
Picks In Bold

  • Shadows on a Flat Land [1998]
  • Fresh Jams [2002]
  • Catalyst Poetry Series 1 [2005 w/ Neoismist Press]
  • Audio Agriculture in the 21st Century [Trillion Remix Album 2007]
  • Catalyst Poetry Series 7 [2008 w/ Neoismist Press]
  • Catalyst Poetry Series 9 [2011 w/ Neoismist Press]


  • [Official Website]
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  • YouTube
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    d artists


    Doctors is the original material of Rhett Robert Elliot Copland, a prolific Christchurch guitarist who has been in a number of local groups (The Stash and covers group The Free and Easy). In 2008 Copland formed a live band to perform his material, including several musicians from local act the Lonely Harris Club (mostly a Brian Jonestown Massacre tribute act) – which Copland is also a one-time member.

    Though the same handful of musicians would also appear in the original group Bits and Pieces (aka BnP), Doctors had a more slick, guitar-orientated sound and the group released a huge collection of recordings in just a short time-period.

    However Copland grew frustrated with the lineup and disbanded the group in early 2012. Members have included: Rhett Copland (Neurology), Matt Sime (Psychology), John Harris (Gastroenterology), Hollan Brabet (Psychiatry), Laura Anne North (Gynecology), Jamie Stratton (Rheumatology) and Ben Dodd (Radiology).

    I canned it because I was sick of working with bloody idiots who refused to learn arrangements and cancelled shows for kiwi quarter acre paradise 21st and yard glass sessions.
    – Rhett Copland

    Discography (picks in bold)

    • Old Meds [October 2009 self-released]
    • By Aeroplane [December 2009 self-released]
    • Save no one [November 2010 self-released]
    • Old, new and forgotten stuff [February 2011 self-released]
    • Domestic [August 2011 self-released]
    • Your a fucking pussy [October 2011 self-released]
    • ‘A’ [November 2011 self-released]
    • Back to rural violence [December 2011 self-released]
    • Happy Birthday Alice! Digital Single [March 2012 self-released]