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The Picnic Boys

The Picnic Boys was a loose collective formed around the core trio of Kevin Smith, Patrick Faigan and Steve Watson (who later became Say Yes to Apes). At Faigan’s behest the various members recorded their own take on ‘experimental’ music to tape, which was later compiled into a handful of cassette releases on the groups TV Eye label in the early 1980s.

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Celebrate Psi Phenomenon

Celebrate Psi Phenomenon is a drone, noise and experimental music-focused label from Upper Hutt’s Campbell Kneale, the prolific performer behind Birchville Cat Motel and Black Boned Angel. The label often utilises a distinctive wallpaper aesthetic to their cover designs.

The label was particularly prolific from the mid 1990s until around 2008.

#nzmusic #experimentalmusic #dronemusic #celebratepsiphenomenon

Interview: The New Originals

Flashback to January 2006 and an article I wrote for A Low Hum on Christchurch Indie-pop group The New Originals, based around an interview conducted with vocalist and song-writer Tim Moore.

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Straitjacket Fits

Straitjacket Fits were a corner stone in New Zealand independent rock from their formation in 1986 till their inevitable break-up in February 1994. Though predominantly a kiwi indie-rock group, they were at times dissonant (and incredibly loud), hiding their delicate… Read More »Straitjacket Fits

Monsterr Records

Short-lived Wellington-based label. Their catalogue is book-ended by a couple of compilations, but otherwise their roster included releases by a handful of local rock’n’roll groups, the most well-known of which is probably The Raskolnikovs.

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Marginal Era

Marginal Era were a synth and based-driven pop act formed in 1981 by song-writer Warwick Paul Agar (ex Vivid Militia).

Probably best known for ‘This Heaven’, originally an instrumental track that would later become the theme to the popular ‘Radio with Pictures’ television show.

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Root Don Lonie For Cash

Prolific cassette, CDr and lathe-cut label run by Clayton Noone (aka CJA) and utilised by a fair few New Zealand (and some overseas) artists since the mid 1990s. Their first few years of releases had distinctive spray-painted covers. The original Don Lonie was billed as ‘America’s No. 1 high-school assembly speaker’, who recorded several albums for popular Christian record labels in the early 1960s.

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The Ho’ Dogs

Extremely wild Dunedin old-school rock’n’roll from a handful of underground experimental or lo-fi musicians. I managed to catch them once at the Provincial Lounge in Christchurch and was blown away by their stage antics; which included jumping on the Prov’s bar, kicking over drinks.

#nzmusic #thehodogs

Bad Evil

Fuzzy guitar-rock with surf-trash overtones from Stink Magnetic one-man band (and purveyor of classic New Zealand guitars) Aidan Moody; formerly of super-group The Dallas Pro-Drag Allstars. Moody started out in the Manawatu region but moved to Christchurch around 2006.

Expanded to a 3-piece for a handful of shows with support from ‘The Dirty Germs’, a pickup group featuring the likes of his Grand Chancellors bandmate Luke Wood (drums) Violet French (bass) and others.

#nzmusic #badevil #stinkmagnetic

Magic Eye

3-piece indie-rock group formed by the Melted Ice Cream label’s Brian Feary in August 2009. Though connected to the label the trio never recorded and released any material, with Feary playing in a whole swag of other groups.

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The Snares

Dunedin based avant-indie trio featuring Mike Dooley (Toy Love and Snapper – Drums) his step-daughter Maxine Funke (Guitar) and Brett Moodie (Guitar), that formed out of the Dooley / Funke duo The Beaters.

Their debut EP was a meditative production guided by Arc Life engineer (and member of David Kilgour’s Heavy Eights) Tom Bell, whilst their follow-up Dance The Dervish is closer to a live recording, though still capturing their eclectic strengths – both released on the bands own Horrible Records (the name, not the quality) label.

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Feast of Stevens - Etch EP (1992, Failsafe)

Feast of Stevens

A well-liked melodic indie-rock group that emerged from Palmerston North in the early 1990s, self-recorded a cassette before being picked up by Rob Mayes Failsafe Records label for their discography highlight; 1992’s ‘Etch’ EP.

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Cancer Maidens

Palmerston North indie-rock 3-piece featuring ex-members of Foisemaster, Feast of Stevens and Shoeshine. Appeared on ‘Swamp MUSAK’, a compilation of local groups compiled and distributed by Radio Control 99.4 (Massey University’s student radio station).

Ross Harkness passed away in May 2020.

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Don’t Make Noise

Christchurch free-noise group featuring future Breathing Cage bandmates Greg Malcolm and Michael Kime, plus Into the Void’s Paul Sutherland and the drums of John Kennedy.

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