lunes, 4 de marzo de 2019

The Drongos - Small Miracles (1985)

Their follow-up, Small Miracles, was recorded on the streets of New York, with just a few sidewalk sessions and some bass overdubs needed to complete the recording (on the street, Mitchell didn’t use a bass drum). ‘Substance Abuser’, the single, was a mix of power-pop and the cartoon punk of The Ramones.  The album reached #4 on the playlist charts of the US college radio stations, and many enthusiastic reviews. The Drongos’ New York attitude and initiative were apparent when they returned to New Zealand for several gigs in the summer of 1985-86. They arranged a local release of Small Miracles through WEA, and pre-arranged the venues and publicity.

The Drongos - The Drongos (1984)

The Drongos were a quartet of New Zealanders that performed from 1979-1986 primarily in New York City. They were notable for their successful "busking" performances on busy Manhattan street corners. The New York Times called their eponymous first album "a delightful melange of funk rhythms, country harmonies, precisely layered electric guitar counterpoint and airy folk-rock sounds, with many influences, old and new, absorbed into a delightfully original sound." The Drongos originated from Wellington, where, as Red Alert, they were the backing band of the theatrical troupe Red Mole. Shortly after recording the live album Crossing the Tracks live at the Maidment, both Red Mole and Red Alert left for the USA. By this stage Red Alert were Richard Kennedy on guitar and vocals, Jan Preston on keyboards, Jean McAllister on guitar and vocals, Tony McMaster on bass and Stanley John Mitchell on drums.Their self-titled debut was produced by Steve Katz, formerly guitarist with Blood Sweat & Tears; it included the single ‘Don’t Touch Me’. 

Three Leaning Men - Songs in the Key of E (1987)

Fun in the Key of E, the band's lone full length, harbors a few misfires (most accumulating on side two) but the highlights are dazzlingly high indeed. Including the ten brief songs on the album proper, there are two compilation appearances as well. Some of the only pertinent details on the group are included in an online article regarding the Leanies record label, Meltdown. The band's lineup includes brothers Alan and frontman Lindsay Gregg, that passed away in 2011. Post-3LM, Alan went on to the considerably more renown The Mutton Birds. If any of the surviving members of the band happen to read this, do get in touch.

miércoles, 12 de diciembre de 2018

The Remarkables - Vegetarian/Skin Condition (1986)

Second single ‘Vegetarian’/‘Skin Condition’ with Zane Greig drumming arrived in 1986 as did contributed songs on Palmerston North compilation Meltdown Town and national student radio collection Weird Culture, Weird Custom. A must have!!

jueves, 20 de septiembre de 2018

The Chills - Snow Bound (2018)

After coming back with 2015's Silver Bullets, an album that reasserted the genius of Martin Phillipps but sounded a little tentative at times, the Chills' second album of the 2010s is a brilliant pop hit that's bold, bright, and confident. Snow Bound is a big pop statement, overflowing with singalong choruses, ringing guitars, rich arrangements, and Phillipps' typically trenchant observations. It's reminiscent of the Go-Betweens' 16 Lovers Lane, Prefab Sprout's Steve McQueen, or the Chills' own Submarine Bells; albums that have ambition and reach but don't sacrifice an ounce of humanity in the process. Unlike those records, which were often tied to some questionable production techniques, Phillipps, his band (the same sympathetic lineup from Silver Bullets), and producer Greg Haver work together to make the album sound modern and spotlessly clean on the surface. They also give it a warmth that keeps it from sounding clinical. Phillipps' songs are witty and super hooky as usual; each one sounds like it could be extracted and called a single. Some of them are as good as any the band have released. Maybe not as timeless as "Heavenly Pop Hit," but the title track, the incessantly catchy "Bad Sugar," and the swinging indie rocker "Scarred" come close. There are political statements ("In Harmony"), introspective moments ("Complex"), and bittersweet love songs (Time to Atone"), all wrapped in sonic finery like sweeping Hammond organ, bubbling synths, piping oboe, and stately piano. The arrangements are full to bursting with sound, but it's never too much. The big hooks and weighty statements Phillipps put to paper needed impressive backing and that's exactly what they got. It may be a long way from the wooly, home-cooked sound of the early Chills, but times have changed, as has Phillipps, and this record is just about the best possible scenario for a Chills record in the late 2010s. The songs are definitely there, Phillipps' wonderfully light vocals are as strong as ever, and the sound is a perfect example of how to make a record that sounds as big as a stadium while still being driven by real emotion.

domingo, 9 de septiembre de 2018

This Sporting Life ‎- Show Me To The Bellrope (1982)

This Sporting Life was a souped up extension of Alms For Children, Auckland city boys with a cut down amped up sound who left their mark with a landmark indie single and minor chart hit on the truly independent REM Records in August 1981. Paul Fogarty (guitar), Ben Hayman (bass), Daron Johns (drums) and Gary “Rodent” Charlton (vocals) had been at the innovative edge of the early 1980s New Zealand indie boom for nearly two years by then. A great piece of NZ history right here.. Raw punk at it's finest! One of the lost treasures of Flying Nun!!

The Dum Dum Boys ‎– Let There Be Noise (1981)

New Zealand Stooges obsessed punks from Auckland formed in the early 80's and released their first and only album in August 1981; an unreleased second album, "Death Or Glory" was recorded, but with no shows and recognition sparse, the band changed their name becoming The Henchmen in late 1982. A lot of songs from "Death Or Glory" ended up (with different lyrics) on the Henchmen first Album "We've Come To Play".  Founded 1980 by Anthony (guitar), Tony (vocals) and completed with Chris (bass) and Dean (drums). This album was released via Bondage Records and it was the first complete punk rock album by a New Zealand group and offers eleven catchy superbs, the right sound to forget your troubles and now exactly right for me. An unreleased second album Death or Glory was recorded, but with no shows and recognition sparse, the determined duo changed their name, but not their sound, becoming The Henchmen in late 1982.

DD Smash - The Optimist (1984)

DD Smash - Cool Bananas (1982)

Led by the highly respected singer/songwriter Dave Dobbyn, DD Smash was among the most popular New Zealand bands of their era. Formed in mid-1981, the group was originally named Dave Dobbyn's Divers, and also consisted of ex-Lip Service guitarist Rob "Revox" Guy, drummer Peter "Rooda" Warren and bassist Lisle Kinney. After a handful of gigs they rechristened themselves DD Smash, and soon issued their first single, "Repetition"; it quickly reached the Top 25 and led to the 1982 release of the LP Cool Bananas, which entered the charts at number one. After an auto accident, Kinney left the band, and with new bassist Ian Morris, DD Smash resurfaced in 1983 with the hit "Outlook for Tuesday." After a concert LP, Live: Deep in the Heart of Taxes, Dobbyn fired everyone but Warren, recording 1984's The Optimist with session players. On December 7 of that year, the new DD Smash played a free concert which ended in rioting; Dobbyn was made the scapegoat of the incident, and was tried for inciting the crowd to violence. The charges were eventually dismissed, but in the wake of the trial, DD Smash quietly disintegrated, as Dobbyn began focusing more and more of his energies on solo work.

Fatal Jelly Space - Hole (1990)

Fatal Jelly Space was a New Zealand band based in Auckland with an all female line up. The band existed from 1989 - 1994 and decided to cease when Jacinda (vocals) stated that she wasn't angry anymore and wanted to do something else.

Suburban Reptiles - Suburban Reptiles (2011) [1978]

Auckland’s The Suburban Reptiles, along with The Scavengers who started around the same time, were the first 1970s styled punk band in New Zealand. Formed at the beginning of 1977, inspired by a New Musical Express story seen by Simon Grigg, the original performing line-up was Zero (Clare Elliot, vocals), Billy Planet (Will Pendergrast, bass), Jimmy Joy (also Jimmy Vinyl, saxophone), Shaun Anfrayd (Brian Nicholls, guitar), Des Edwards (drums) and Sissy Spunk (Trish Scott, guitar).

Chris Heazlewood - They Slaughter Small Children (1992)

Chris Heazlewood - Surf's Up In Malibu 7'' (1993)