The purpose of this blog is to expose you to the unique and unrepeatable New Zealand scene known as "Dunedin Sound" that emerged in New Zealand in the early eighties. This space takes over from wonderful blogs that in their time served to make known to the world some of the most significant bands and records of that period. The present collection is dedicated to all those kiwi bands -many of them already forgotten- who, without knowing it, wrote a very important page in the history of music.
Sometimes they played in their underwear and in 1985 they released the raucous folk-blues ‘Wheatfields’ as a one-off single, flipped with a live take on Elvis Presley’s ‘Trouble’ on Flying Nun Records.
This is Art band Drone's first single. They were formed from the ashes of Tauranga band Rome. Darryl Hocking and Daniel Newnham had both played in Rome and where attending Elam Art School at University of Auckland. Rosemary Whitehead also hailed from Tauranga. They released two singles and an album in New Zealand as well as an E.P. in the UK.
This was Wellington band The Crocodiles' fifth and final single to be released in New Zealand. The Crocodiles were formed in 1979 by guitarists Tony Backhouse and Fane Flaws, drummer Bruno Lawrence, and keyboardist Peter Dasent. All of whom played in Spats. They were joined by vocalist Jenny Morris and bassist Tina Matthew who both played in The Wide Mouthed Frogs. Their first single, Tears, was a New Zealand top twenty hit in 1980. Only Tony Backhouse and Jenny Morris were left of the original line up by the time Hello Girl was released. Soon after its release they relocated to Australia and disbanded a few months later. In two years The Crocodiles released two albums and five singles as well as two singles and two albums in Australia and a single in Britain. Hello Girl is sung by newcomer Rikki Morris (not relation to Jenny). While Jenny Morris sings the B-Side Romantic as Hell.
This is the debut single from Dunedin band The Knobz. It was released in 1980 by EMI. Who later rejected their second single, the hugely successful Culture on the grounds it was too political. The Knobz released a total of four singles and one album. They also self-released the single Radiation For Free as Rockylox the previous year.
Not to be confused with the British band Grey Parade from around the same time. This is the Auckland Pop band of the same name. They featured two members of The Exponents. The A-side is produced by Exponents bassist Dave Gent who also plays the guitar in the group along with drummer 'Harry' Harralambi. This was their only release.
This was the first release from Wellington (via Hamilton) band Spines. Jon McLeary was the only constant member of the group. They released records on three of New Zealand most respected independent labels Ripper, Jayrem and Flying Nun. The Fishing EP features Caroline Easther who went on to play in Beat Rhythm Fashion and The Chills. The sleeve has a 45 RPM sticker on it as the label was printed stating the speed was 33 1/3 RPM but the correct speed is 45. The sleeve was also printed with an incorrect track listing. Side one is 1. It's All Inane, 2. Sideways and Side two is 1. Gillian 2. Fishing.
This is Auckland Power Pop band The Techtones first single. They emerged from the the ashes of Auckland Punk band Sheerlux. They released an album as well as three singles. Their album T.T.23 moved away from Power Pop sound of That Girl to a more lofi sound. It was co-produced by Flying Nun's Doug Hood.
Renderers' guitarist Brian Crook made the sound of the Terminals even more aggressive and anarchic. Touch (Raffmond, 1992) is a demonic and cacophonous work, particularly in the vocal parts (Stephen Cogle and Brian Crook) and in the (dissonant) keyboards parts (Mick Eldorado). Furthermore, the drummer (Peter Stapleton) has progressed to a living orgy of tribalism in the vein of Maureen Tucker (Velvet Underground).
This four piece hardly meshed with the Kiwi pop aesthetic at all, and even more frustrating Melt Down's first selection (title track) found this foursome absorbed in rote "modern rock" mode, definitely sounding like a glossy product of their era. Next up, the hushed and insular "A Familiar Quietness" makes a break for the very polar extreme, but unconvincingly I have to say. Nonetheless, Jamboree manages to salvage the remainder of Melt Down in robust fashion, delivering three slices of pensive, forward thinking guitar pop that would do everyone from Lloyd Cole to Steve Kilbey proud. A happy ending after all.
One of the first electronic bands in New Zealand, and hugely influential, The Body Electric were formed in 1982 by Alan Jansson, although he was credited on first releases as Alan Jimson, and Andy Drey. During their initial rehearsals, they were then joined by actor-turned-singer Garry Smith. The group's debut single, Pulsing, was picked up by radio programmers and spent 27 weeks in the charts. Not entirely indicative of their sound, the track has a novelty quality to it. Following the success of Pulsing, Andy Drey was replaced by Spines bassist Wendy Calder and the group released two more minor hits (Dreaming In A Life and Imagination) and a full length album before splitting in 1984. The Body Electric released their first and only album Presentation And Reality in November 1983. It would spend 3 weeks in the charts, reaching No.32. This is a masterpiece of electronic music hands down. Playing sporadically around Wellington in late 1982 and early 1983, the band made its first foray north to Auckland in August 1983, playing at A Certain Bar in Wellesley Street with three shows promoted by Propeller Records' Simon Grigg. Famously, Auckland radio DJ (and general legend) Barry Jenkin hated the electronic sounds and on the first night went behind the stage, pulled the plug and then stormed out. In early 1984 The Body Electric disbanded. Jansson moved permanently to Auckland, went into record production and had a global smash hit with 'How Bizarre' by OMC in the mid-1990s. Smith went on to later manage The New Zealand Ballet Company.
In 2006 the group stormed the North American shores for a brief tour. That's where Raw Eggs comes in. Sold in a limited run of *gulp* 100 copies at US shows, the 18-track CD was comprised of demos, outtakes and alternate versions from the National Grid sessions. By popular demand, the tour-only CD, was made available for online mailorder through the C86-friendly folks. Independently of the sound of the record, with a high quality but devoid of a good production, we can contemplate a first more authentic and primitive vision of the songs, which will grow after the listening, to get its definitive version. This Cd-R will help to those who welcomed At The National Grid with lukewarmness in appreciating the record, whereas it is possible that other ones can appreciate the freshness that is transmitted by the first versions that we have been able to listen here.