Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Max Block - Self-Titled 12" EP (1986)

While the Max Block released only one EP on Flying Nun in the mid-eighties, their lasting appeal is due not only to an impeccable lineage--as the link between Scorched Earth Policy and the Renderers, their legacy is assured--but in their ability to transcend this context; simply put, the sounds contained on the Max Block EP are another beast entirely from the Crooks' past and future musical entanglements. As the swirling drone of Mayrose Crook's organ propels each song to the point of collapse, she is matched by the laconic snarl of her husband; along with Rebecca Shanahan and Robbie Stowell, the two play host to a delirious carnival of psychotic merriment. Play this one alongside the Garbage and the Flowers' 7" from December 8th. - Ariel


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Balloon d'Essai - Grow Up 12" EP (1983)

This is a request I've been sitting on for a while. Ballon d'Essai recorded two EPs for Flying Nun in the early eighties; 1981's 'This is the Level Crossing' and 1983's 'Grow Up' are not always successful in their art-damaged punk stylings, but there are enough worthwhile ideas and sheer exuberence on hand to make up for it over the course of a record. They're very of their time, for good and ill. Comics were included with each release, scanned here for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy. - Ariel


Scorched Earth Policy - Keep Away from the Wires (2000)

Never has a name been so apt. A cauldron of prairie fire and brimstone, the sweltering beauty of Peter Stapleton's Scorched Earth Policy lies in their ability to conjure visions of austere desolation, sun-drenched despair, and loves lost and buried with a raucous, tumbling fury not found in the subdued murmurings of the Victor Dimisich Band. While those were delivered in the hushed tones of quiet desperation, these are the tortured cries of a soul slowly succumbing to the hypnotizing lull of insanity. It is the creeping, lingering shadow of the mid-afternoon sun as it tantalizes and mocks, an intangible harbinger of the darkness to come. Rising from the ashes of Victor Dimisich, Scorched Earth Policy was active from 1982 to 1986; during that time they released two EPs on Flying Nun, 1984's 'Dust to Dust' and 1985's 'Going thru' a Hole in the Back of Your Head.' Two live cassettes followed, one a posthumous Xpressway release. 'Keep Away from the Wires,' a collection released on Stapleton's Medication label in 2000, compiles the two EPs in their entirety along with outtakes and live selections. The main separating factor between Victor Dimisich and Scorched Earth--aside from Stephen Cogle's imitable baritone--was undoubtedly the contributions of guitarist Brian Crook to the latter. A spine-tingling blend of poetic menace and bite defines Crook's playing; it is impossible to imagine either Scorched Earth Policy or the Renderers without it. Enjoy this one. - Ariel


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Victor Dimisich Band - My Name is K (1997)

Few musical family trees within New Zealand music are as artistically rewarding as the Victor Dimisich Band/Scorched Earth Policy/Terminals trifecta, and that's not even mentioning the psychedelic twang of Brian Crook's Renderers. The Victor Dimisich Band was the first, releasing a single 12" EP within its lifetime. Containing the spellbinding, swirling intensity of "Native Waiter," the 1982 self-titled release remains a classic of the brooding Christchurch scene that counted the Pin Group and Bill Direen's Bilders among its legendary roster. The Victor Dimisich Band featured Stephen Cogle and Peter Stapleton in their earliest recorded partnership; the haunted baritone of the former is unmistakable, while the propulsive, thundering drums of the latter offer a perfect accompaniment to Victor Dimisich's tales of quiet, droning desperation. In 1988, Xpressway released a live Victor Dimisich cassette called 'The Mekong Delta Blues.' 'My Name is K' collects select tracks from this profoundly lo-fi document and the original EP in its entirety. I've included notes on the exact details of recording. Enjoy! - Ariel


Friday, December 12, 2008

Graeme Jefferies - Messages for the Cakekitchen (1988)

'Messages for the Cakekitchen' was the first and last Graeme Jefferies album to be released under his own name. With songs reminiscent of his work in This Kind of Punishment, 'Cakekitchen' announces itself with quiet urgency, but the facade is transparent; under the surface of its baroquely textured beauty lies a palpable menace. On those few occasions that Jefferies invites this ferocity to the forefront, the result is a cacophonous transcendence. Jefferies' baritone, subdued and emotionally evocative, propels the album forward to an unknown end; subject to the hypnotic intensity of its droning lull, the listener has no choice but to continue on. "All the Colours Run Dry," "The Cardhouse," and "Is the Timing Wrong?" are all among this listener's favorites, and I feel that this album, along with Peter's 'The Last Great Challenge in a Dull World,' evokes and equals the brothers' time spent in This Kind of Punishment; the same peculiar sense of humanistic surrealism permeates each. Don't miss this one. - Ariel

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Garbage and the Flowers - Catnip b/w Carousel 7" (1992)

I apologize for the severe lack of updates lately. To tide you over until the next post--up by the end of the week, I promise--I thought I'd offer one of my favorite New Zealand singles as a peace offering. The Garbage and the Flowers released this cacophonous gem of a 7" in 1992 on the Twisted Village imprint; the band has continued to record, and if you're enticed by the sounds here, a 1997 collection of their material entitled 'Eyes Rind as if Beggars' can be found on the Allegory of Allergies blog. Dusted aptly described the Garbage and the Flowers' sound as "raw gobbets of gray matter, filthy drone, and vintage ennui," and while I think that the band's lo-fi charms begin to wear in the long-player format, this is a near-perfect realization of harsh, dissonant beauty; Helen Johnstone's strong vocals, alternatively defiant and wearied, are the real draw here, anchoring the recordings as they threaten to spiral out of control and collapse in their frenzied rush. The propulsive, feedback-drenched "Catnip" and its counterpart, the austere, resigned "Carousel," offer a bleak vision of modern humanity that is inescapable in its hypnotizing lull. Enjoy! - Ariel


Friday, November 21, 2008

The Complete Exploding Budgies and Goblin Mix (1985-86)

Introducing the collected works of the Exploding Budgies and Goblin Mix, the most well-known of David Mitchell's (the 3D's, Plagal Grind) early projects. The two Auckland outfits released EPs on Flying Nun in the mid-eighties; these were collected on an excellent but now out-of-print 1991 archival compilation. The Budgies pre-date Goblin Mix, first appearing on the 1983 Flying Nun compilation 'The Last Rumba,' which also featured early luminaries such as the Children's Hour and the Stones. 'The Grotesque Singers' EP offers a nice bit of pleasant kiwi jangle, including the heady rush of "Kenneth Anger" and the quietly lilting"Sunflower," but I've always preferred the Goblin Mix's two releases. Their self-titled debut and 1986's 'The Birth and Death of Goblin Mix' (released as Son of Goblin Mix) are at once more assured, confident recordings and less musically restrained than the Exploding Budgies. "The Water" and "Unusual Wish" from the debut EP are vintage slices of mid-eighties Flying Nun, while the subdued melancholy of "The Winter Song" and the raucous, tumbling "Fruit of the Womb" on 'Birth and Death...' point the way towards Mitchell's work in the 3D's. You can safely file away the Budgies and Goblin Mix next to the Stones in the unfairly underrated department. - Ariel

The Exploding Budgies - The Grotesque Singers (1985)
- Thornfield
- Kenneth Anger
- Hank Marvin
- See You Around the Stones
- Sunflower

Goblin Mix - Goblin Mix (1985)
- Lament
- The Water
- Time Away
- Unusual Wish

(Son of) Goblin Mix - The Birth and Death of Goblin Mix (1986)
- Venus Fleye Trap
- The Winter Song
- The Drinking Man's Curse
- Coleridge
- Up from the Sink
- Ely's on Smack
- Fruit of the Womb

Friday, November 14, 2008

Peter Jefferies - The Last Great Challenge in a Dull World (1991)

Peter Jefferies' debut solo outing, 'The Last Great Challenge in a Dull World,' was originally a Xpressway cassette release in 1990; the album was reissued on CD by Ajax in 1991 and fortuitously featured the classic 7" single "The Fate of the Human Carbine." That song, telling the sparse, surreal, and strangely poignant tale of its titular figure, and its B-side, the propulsive, dynamic "Catapult," are among the best work of Jefferies' career. The album employs a characteristically primitive recording aesthetic, lending such tracks as the relentlessly bleak "On an Unknown Beach" an air of austere intimacy. This is an impeccably crafted wonder of restrained beauty that is laced with a distinct sense of tension; it is an album perpetually poised before an intangible abyss. If you love This Kind of Punishment as much as I do, this is essential listening. - Ariel

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

This Kind of Punishment - Live '85

This final (cassette!) artifact from This Kind of Punishment comes courtesy of the Xpressway imprint; it was the legendary label's second release and showcases the sheer force of Graeme and Peter Jefferies' creation live. Some of my favorites are represented here, including "After the Fact," "The Sleepwalker," and "Two Minutes Drowning." I love this band, and you should too. Enjoy! - Ariel


Saturday, November 8, 2008

This Kind of Punishment - In the Same Room / 5 By Four (1993)

As the abrasive, uncompromising chords of "Immigration Song" fade to reveal the subdued, meditative textures of "Overground in China," it becomes clear to the listener that the final release from This Kind of Punishment will be a jarring listening experience; it is an album not content to sit still. This particular release from 1993 combines 1987's 'In the Same Room' with 1985's '5 By Four' EP; the latter's rough-hewn experimentalism compliments the more fully-developed sounds of the main album while recalling the quiet harshness of This Kind of Punishment's debut. Lyrically, the album is characteristically vague and composed of fragmentary, impressionistic narratives; despite the inherent disconnect of the album's stylistic meanderings, the album ultimately assumes closure with the decidedly Nocturnal Projections-esque "Words Fail Me." Along with the aforementioned tracks, "Don't Go," "The Men By the Pool," and the unusually anthemic "Holding," are among This Kind of Punishment's finest efforts; this is an excellent album from one of New Zealand's most rightfully exalted bands, and you would be truly remiss to pass up 'In the Same Room' or 'A Beard of Bees.' - Ariel


"Immigration Song"

This Kind of Punishment - A Beard of Bees (1984)

'A Beard of Bees,' an album recorded in various bedrooms, lounges, and halls, belies its four-track origins more fully than its predecessor, the Jefferies brothers' hauntingly stark self-titled debut. Self-released in 1984 on vinyl, reissued on cassette in 1990 by the Xpressway imprint, and finally re-released on CD by the Ajax label in 1993, 'A Beard of Bees' is, in this listener's highly subjective opinion, the finest encapsulation of the quietly transcendent, somber majesty of This Kind of Punishment. A feast of minimalist instrumentation punctuated by the piercing tones of Peter Jefferies' piano, it is an album that enlarges on the artistic scope of its predecessor whilst retaining that album's contained, claustrophobic paranoia; This Kind of Punishment is the sense of desolate beauty that accompanies the passing of a storm. "Trepidation," "Turning to Stone," Chris Matthews' "The Sleepwalker," and "An Open Denial" are all pieces of an exquisitely fractured puzzle; the Jefferies brothers' existential meditations, delivered in Peter Jefferies' subdued, austere vocals, never trade pathos in for sentimentality. It is a cathartic, powerful listening experience and truly a record ahead of its time; this is Graeme and Peter Jefferies' unquestioned masterpiece. - Ariel


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

This Kind of Punishment - Self-Titled (1983)

This Kind of Punishment's first album opens with the spine-tingling minimalism of "After the Fact," one of my favorites from the Jefferies brothers; the instrumental build-up and cathartic release are nothing short of revelatory to these ears. That's one of the more accessible numbers from This Kind of Punishment, but the songs on their debut offer a wide range of stylistic arrays; from the desperately frantic piano on "Two Minutes Drowning" to the gentle folk harmonies of "An Axe is an Arm," every song was recorded on Chris Knox's four-track to brilliant effect. There's a sense of mystery to Graeme and Peter's work in This Kind of Punishment, and this album is no exception; a quiet unease is present throughout, unsettling and transfixing the listener in its hypnotic darkness. Look out for 'A Beard of Bees' and 'In the Same Room' soon. - Ariel

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Nocturnal Projections - Nerve Ends in Power Lines (1995)

Capturing the nascent recordings of Graeme and Peter Jefferies, 'Nerve Ends in Power Lines' collects the best of the Nocturnal Projections' recorded output; the moody, post-punk outfit was formed in 1981 and disbanded in 1983 after releasing two albums--one a cassette release limited to 100 copies--two EPs, and one single. You may remember "Walk in a Straight Line" from the Xpressway Pile=Up compilation. From aggressive, jerky rhythms to plaintive folk-inflected ballads slightly reminiscent of the Axemen's quieter moments--now that was a fun band--the Nocturnal Projections' songs offer a taste of the hypnotic darkness later perfected by the legendary This Kind of Punishment, the brothers Jefferies' next and most widely-known musical venture.

NOTE: Following "Restoration," the final four unlisted tracks of the compilation--collected from self-released cassettes-are ordered as follows:

12.1 - The Down Song
12.2 - Alone in the Corner
12.3 - Obsessions
12.4 - Inmates in Images

If this is wrong, please let me know. Like most of the albums I feature, this is not a personal rip; I'm going by what information I can gather online, and I have made errors before. Thanks!

- Ariel

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Rip - Complete Recordings (1984-1987)

The Rip was Alastair Galbraith's first band; formed along with Robbie Muir--later of the excellent Plagal Grind--and Jeff Harford of Bored Games, the trio released two EPs on Flying Nun in the mid 80s. I've collected them here for your listening convenience (and I hope enjoyment as well!) 1984's 'A Timeless Peace' and 1987's 'Stormed Port' are similar musically, showcasing Galbraith's delicate compositional gifts and songwriting ability. The Rip's recordings could be described as folk-inflected, Barrett-esque jangle-pop, featuring lovely, ethereal melodies accented by Galbraith's distinctively haunting violin. At times they are very reminiscent of the classical minimalism of the Verlaines' early singles and EPs, and that's always a good thing. Expect a veritable deluge of Xpressway-related material soon, Mr. Galbraith's work included, in addition to a thorough overview of that other very talented set of brothers, Graeme and Peter Jefferies.

Here is a very good interview with Alastair Galbraith in which he discusses the Rip, Xpressway, Plagal Grind, and much more. Enjoy!

- Ariel


A Timeless Peace (1984)
- Holy Room
- De Reszke & Dylan
- Wow
- Up and Wow

Stormed Port (1987)
- River Chasm
- Starless Road
- Stormed Port
- Entropic Carol
- Wrecked We Hymn

Friday, October 10, 2008

Martin Phillipps - Sketch Book: Volume One (2000)

Now that I've posted David Kilgour's demos--a superior collection to this one, I must say--I thought it would be appropriate to share Mr. Phillipps' home recordings as well. It's interesting to compare the trajectories of their respective careers, isn't it? They're more interconnected from the start than one might think. Remember that classic organ line on the Clean's immortal "Tally Ho" single? That was supplied by none other than Martin Phillipps. Go forth and impress your friends with this very useful knowledge! Well, I would be impressed. The songs on 2000's 'Sketch Book' were committed to tape between 1988 and 1995, and they aren't bad by any means. It wouldn't be untruthful, however, to suggest that Phillipps' creative zenith was in the past at the time that much of this was recorded, and some pieces are clearly more unfinished and less successful than others. In the end, and as much as it pains me to say this, I feel that the bits n' pieces collected here would vastly benefit from the additional production they might eventually receive. A lot of production. I never thought I'd think that about any of Phillipps' work; after all, the four-track splendor of 'Kaleidoscope World' is the Chills I reach for most. A different scope seems to be envisioned here, less "Rolling Moon" than "Heavenly Pop Hit," maybe? These are virtually "sketches," however, so this is all really useless speculation.

Wondering what Mr. Phillipps has been up to lately? Listen to these radio interviews with Martin from September here and from May here. Thanks, Adam!

- Ariel

Thursday, October 9, 2008

David Kilgour - First Steps & False Alarms (1995)

Surely a man that needs no introduction. The subtitle of 'False Steps & False Alarms' is "the best of the worst - home demos of demos," and I assure you, it fully delivers on that promise. There are many gloriously lo-fi, embryonic gems to be found amongst the twenty assembled, and the stripped-down style of these recordings really showcases David Kilgour's songwriting gifts. Not that they were ever in question, of course. Songs such as "This Chord," "Another Echo Downer," and a stunning rough version of "Here Come the Cars" are generously shrouded in a layer of echo, an effect that further highlights the sense of otherworldliness present throughout. All in all, this is a fine collection of beautifully drowsy, relaxed, and intimate fragments, not unlike Mr. Kilgour's work in the Great Unwashed. Perfect for a lazy sunny afternoon. My wonderful sometimes co-contributor Gozz--on an extended, indefinite hiatus at the moment and very much missed--posted two of David Kilgour's solo albums back in August. You can get 'Here Come the Cars' and 'Frozen Orange' at the Doledrums here. - Ariel

[Link Removed]

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Various Artists - Xpressway Pile=Up (1990)

From the initial droning hum of Plagal Grind's "Midnight Blue Vision"--a perfect song to set the tone and one of my favorite openers of its kind ever--to Shayne Carter and Peter Jefferies' delicately abrasive "Hooked, Line, and Sunken," the Xpressway Pile=Up compilation assembles an impeccable roster of New Zealand talent. For those unaware, Xpressway was a record label founded in 1985 by the Dead C's Bruce Russell. Over the course of its twenty-three releases, Xpressway reveled in the more experimental side of New Zealand music; from the sheer sonic assault of Snapper to the subtle, quiet beauty of Wreck Small Speakers on Expensive Stereos, it's all represented here, and there's not a weak track to be found amongst the seventeen assembled. Just look at that list! This is also one of the most perfectly paced compilations I've ever heard, each song seeming to lull the listener deeper into its intoxicating spell. You may not want to leave after it's over. If for nothing else, you should download this for Shayne Carter and Peter Jefferies' beautifully poignant tribute to Wayne Elsey, "Randolph's Going Home." I mean, come on. A kiwi classic if there ever was one, right? What a behemoth of a song! Oh, and a lyrics sheet for the DoubleHappy's "I Don't Want to See You Again" would be appreciated.

You need this one, trust me. - Ariel


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Chris Knox - Songs of You & Me (1995)

Hey, it's my birthday! It's Richard Hell's birthday too, and he's released at least one great album, right? "Time" is still a fantastic song, though. This, however, is quite obviously not a Richard Hell album. I've been saving 'Songs of You & Me' for a little while, and as today is my birthday--did I mention that?--it seems as appropriate a time as any to share it with everyone. Do I really need to sell this one? You've probably skipped this bit and downloaded it already. A HUGE thank you to Gomonkeygo of The New Disease for ripping this gem and uploading it for me. Do yourself a favor and visit his various and all very wonderful blogs, including the now sadly retired but gloriously fantastic Time Is A Disease That Only Space Can Cure. I know I always end with "Enjoy!" or something equally banal, but this time, I have a very good feeling that you actually will. So...enjoy!

- Ariel

[Link Removed]

Claymation attack!

"Half Man / Half Mole"

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Jay Clarkson - Packet (1992)

First, a confession: I had never heard of Jay Clarkson prior to receiving this request. After doing a bit of research, this unfamiliarity is unusual to me because--like everyone else in New Zealand music--Miss Clarkson has been involved in a very large number of projects, ranging from her work in the Playthings and the Expendables to multiple credits on Tall Dwarfs albums! This 1992 compilation features all but one of the songs on Jay Clarkson's self-titled EP from 1986, in addition to a couple tracks culled from her aforementioned bands. The songs collected on 'Packet' are uniformly strong, but the highlight is undoubtedly the haunting "The Boy With the Sad Hands," which has found its way on more than a few Flying Nun compilations in the past. Clarkson has continued to release albums, including 1999's acclaimed 'Kindle,' which will probably make an appearance on this blog at some point. So until then, help yourself to this fine collection of subtle, unassuming beauty. - Ariel


"The Boy With the Sad Hands"

Bailter Space - Nelsh Bailter Space EP (1987)

Bailter Space evolved out of the legendarily abrasive Christchurch outfit the Gordons, but this debut release sees Alistair Parker and company mining far less aggressive territory. After all, this early incarnation of Bailter Space included one-half of the fabulous brothers Kilgour--Hamish Kilgour, that is--and yet another ex-Clean member in bassist Ross Humphries. This EP features the song "I'm In Love With These Times," which I can only imagine served as the inspiration for the title of the 1989 Flying Nun compilation. Strangely enough, the Bailter Space song featured on that release is "Grader Spader." Don't ask me. This is really fantastic stuff, and if you like what you hear, Feelin' Kinda Froggy has a very generous selection of Bailter Space material here. By the time Bailter Space released their first full-length, 1988's 'Tanker' (Great album! Get it at Feelin' Kinda Froggy!) Humphries had been replaced by the Gordons' bassist John Halvorsen. With the reformation of the Clean, Hamish Kilgour left Bailter Space, and who replaced him but Brent McLachlan, the Gordons' original drummer! So it's at this point that Bailter Space really becomes the Gordons 2.0 in 1990 with 'Thermos.' Nice bit of closure, yes? Enjoy! More requests are forthcoming! - Ariel

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Terminals - Little Things (1995)

Let's get to some of these requests, shall we? First up is this fantastic 1995 album from the Terminals, one of my favorite New Zealand acts; and still releasing fabulous records too! Check out 2007's 'Last Days of the Sun' if you don't believe me. Chronologically, 'Little Things' was the follow-up to 1992's 'Touch,' and both records share a kindred atmosphere: a swirling, claustrophobic maelstrom of sound led by Stephen Cogle's distinctive, warbling baritone. There's a sonic density at work in the best of the Terminals' songs; an ever-expanding wall of noise that threatens to collapse and engulf the listener in its murky cacophony. The Terminals' sound is one to get lost in, an enticing and irresistible mystery. 'Little Things' is a different beast from the 'Disconnect' EP and 'Uncoffined,' but you shouldn't let that deter you from exploring this incredible record.

Upon Last Visible Dog's request, I have removed the link to 'Little Things.' Check out their reissues of the Terminals albums and support New Zealand music! - Ariel

Last Days of the Sun
Little Things

Friday, September 26, 2008

Bird Nest Roys (1985-1987)

You wanted the Bird Nest Roys? This fantastic Auckland outfit released only one LP, one EP, and one single in their brief lifespan, and I've got them all packaged up nice and tidy for your listening convenience. Or, if you so desire, you can download the 'Whack It All Down' EP and 'Jaffa Boy' 7" separately. I figured that most visitors will either have the LP already--this is a very nice 256-320kbps rip, though, if that sways you to download it again--or nothing at all; we like options here at the Doledrums. Anyway, the Roys' sound is not unlike the majority of the Flying Nun roster, and probably a lot better than many of the bands that are also cited as second-tier; a nice bit of jangly, off-kilter kiwi pop, indeed. Enjoy! - Ariel

- Whack It All Down EP (1985)
- Jaffa Boy 7" (1986)
- Bird Nest Roys LP (1987)

I promise I've got everyone else's requests coming up too!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

DoubleHappys - Nerves (1992)

As soon as I mentioned this compilation in the Stones post, I knew that it was only a matter of time before it would make an appearance on this blog; and my weaknesses proved me correct, as usual. In case you've forgotten, the DoubleHappys arose from the ashes of my beloved Stones, and saw Wayne Elsey reuniting with former Bored Games band-mate Shayne Carter. Along with drummer John Collie--his predecessor was a despised drum machine dubbed "Herbie Fuckface"--the trio would blaze a brief but intense trail through the New Zealand music scene, bombarding audiences with their own blistering brand of trashy, snotty, and anthemically sweeping kiwi rock. The meager recorded legacy of the DoubleHappys--1984's 'Double B Side' 7" and the following year's 'Cut It Out' EP--is often overshadowed by the later achievements of Shayne Carter, but I feel that these songs offer far more than just the blueprint for the Straitjacket Fits. 'Nerves' kindly collects the entire recorded output of the DoubleHappys in addition to four live tracks that appeared on the posthumous EP "How Much Time Left, Please?" For this listener, the standout is the biting, slow-burn intensity of Wayne Elsey's "Anyone Else Would." The rest are brilliant fun as well, if only for the joy of listening to Carter and Elsey try and out-sneer each other on every track. So, do give the DoubleHappys a listen! Wayne Elsey left behind a vibrant musical legacy that was all too brief, but I hope you will enjoy these albums as much as I have. Finally, here's a very amusing but ultimately sad interview with the DoubleHappys dating shortly before Elsey's death in 1985: Hard News: One for Wayne. - Ariel

"Needles and Plastic"

Bored Games - Who Killed Colonel Mustard 12" EP (1982)

I thought that it would be nice to put this one up before the DoubleHappys compilation that I mentioned in the Stones post; I just can't help myself. Bored Games was the high school creation of Shayne Carter and Wayne Elsey, though the latter left the band to form the Stones before they recorded any material together. Interestingly, 1982's 'Who Killed Colonel Mustard' EP was very much a posthumous release, Bored Games having broken up a year prior to its recording. Luckily for us, four of the band's greatest songs were committed to musical posterity: fourteen glorious minutes of youthful, punky exuberance and raucous noisemaking from future members of the DoubleHappys, Straitjacket Fits, and the Chills. This EP features the Bored Games standard "Joe 90," a retro-trash, anthemic slice of kiwi pop heaven, but the particular thorn in my side has always been "Happy Endings," a song that is catchier than it has any right to be given its content. Just try to get that chorus out of your head. I dare you. - Ariel

"Happy Endings"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Stones - Complete Recordings (1982-83)

You just have to love that name, don't you? Such naughty, cheeky boys. Along with the Chills, the Verlaines, and the Sneaky Feelings, the Stones first appeared on the legendary Dunedin Double EP in 1982. To the sad deprivation of music lovers the world over, they only went on to record one more EP, 1983's 'Another Disc, Another Dollar.' Like so many Flying Nun acts, the Stones have been tragically denied any kind of retrospective, so I decided to collect the songs that appeared on these two releases for your listening pleasure! While I've read that these EPs didn't do justice to the chaotic power of the Stones live, the songs they managed to record possess a brilliantly raw, primal urgency as led by the late, great Wayne Elsey. The Stones performed their own beautifully volatile mix of down n' dirty, stompin' garage and surf-rock filtered through the lens of that most unfathomably glorious of times, post-punk Dunedin. Just fantastic kiwi minimalism and ingenuity at work here, folks. And does "Down and Around" sound like the Chills' "Dan Destiny and the Silver Dawn" to anyone else? Just me? Anyway, after you hear these songs, you'll wish the Stones had left behind a long recorded legacy too; unfortunately, the magic is all too brief. After the demise of the Stones, Wayne Elsey would go on to form the excellent but similarly short-lived DoubleHappys with Shayne Carter. Seek out the 'Nerves' compilation if you haven't! DoubleHappys would eventually evolve into the Straitjacket Fits after Elsey's tragically premature death in 1985. The Stones' faultless songs, however, will always remain; enjoy! - Ariel

I've got most of these requests coming up too! If I've forgotten anything from this list, please let me know.

The Terminals - Little Things
Bailter Space - Nelsh Bailter Space EP
Jay Clarkson - S/T EP
Fatal Jelly Space - Hole EP

Or, if there's anything else you'd like to see on this blog, do leave a comment!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Requests Time: Jean-Paul Sartre Experience - Love Songs (1988) + Able Tasmans - Store in a Cool Place (1995)

Here are some requests I've been holding out due to some health problems and slight laziness.

First up the debut LP by The Jean-Paul Sartre Experience titled "Love songs" and released in 1988 featuring a minimalistic near folky sound, well definately a much less of a distortion fest than later albums . Not the best JPSE album in my opinion but a good starting point to this influential Flying nun band. - Gozz

[Link Removed]

Next up we have another album by a fine fine fine band that really doesn't need anymore of an introduction on this blog, The Able tasman's with their final album "Store in a cool place"

Store in a cool place

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Terminals - Disconnect EP (1988)

I was going to post this with 'Uncoffined,' but I didn't have enough time on Thursday. So, without further delay, 1988's fantastic 'Disconnect' EP from the Terminals! As I mentioned previously, these songs are a bit more pop-oriented than those on 'Uncoffined.' Likewise, the songs on 'Uncoffined' are a bit more pop-oriented than the ones on its successor, 'Touch,' which tends to have a more experimental, abrasive bent. I suppose this progression may be partly due to the presence of ex-Clean member Russ Humphries on the first two releases; after his exit, Humphries was replaced by Renderers guitarist Brian Crook. The New Zealand music scene is just so delightfully incestuous, isn't it? Anyway, enjoy this fabulous slice of slightly off-kilter kiwi pop! - Ariel


RE-UP UPDATE: On an unrelated note, I was recently informed that the Liliput/Kleenex links had been taken down by Mediafire; I re-uploaded them on Megaupload for everyone's listening pleasure. I know, I know: I love Mediafire's direct downloads as much as anyone, but I have to pay for extra bandwidth and you don't. So, please help yourself to Liliput's lovely militia-punk stylings by way of Switzerland here. We do post (and even often enjoy!) music of a non-kiwi variety, you know.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Terminals - Uncoffined (1990)

The Terminals' classic sound, perfectly captured on their 1990 debut full-length 'Uncoffined,' invokes barren, inhospitable landscapes at odds with the natural lushness of their native New Zealand. Drummer Peter Stapleton's former band, the looser, more ramshackle Scorched Earth Policy, channeled similarly claustrophobic sounds; this album's "Lolita" is actually a reworking of an early 80's Scorched Earth track. There's a certain unsettling paranoia present throughout 'Uncoffined' that lends even the lighter tracks a sense of uneasiness. That's not to say that they couldn't write a fine pop song as well, as the crisp, garage-derived jangle of "No" proves; the EP that preceded this, 'Disconnect' offers more in this vein. The two were combined on the 'Cul de Sac' release; if you ever see that one, grab it! - Ariel



Monday, September 15, 2008

Able Tasmans - Somebody Ate My Planet (1992)

This one is for Tydalwave over at the Feelin' Kinda Froggy blog, one of my favorite online destinations for out-of-print treasures. It includes its share of New Zealand gems as well: the Chills, Bailter Space, Able Tasmans. Go forth and enjoy! - Ariel

On this green-friendly album, the New Zealand rock group apply their Beach Boys and Byrds-inspired adrenaline sound to the "save the planet" concept. A beautiful album of delicate and melodic folk rock, the Flying Nun group's second decade sees planetary concerns at the forefront of their glacial guitar pop and '60s-inspired sound. Able Tasmans work with the low-tech sound similar to the Bats and the Chills, and produce sublime pop results. Some of the edge is lost in an over-production that is very stylized and dating to this early-'90s work. Nonetheless, the songs seem to transcend such aesthetic trappings.

[Martin Walters,]

Toy Love - Cuts

Two Disc comp of everything recorded by this MUST HEAR! Extremely influential NZ band, I cannot stress enough, Truly ledgendary, Everyone has a band They wish they could travel back and Join and these Guys take the cake for me. Punk energy, oddball quirkyness and ultra melodic charm abounds. Do your ears and life a treat and prepare to fall in love with the mighty Toy love!. - Gozz

It's difficult to overstate the importance of Toy Love on the nascent New Zealand indie scene of the early 1980s, but prior to the release of the comprehensive anthology Cuts, those who weren't in Dunedin at the time during the group's under-two-years lifespan had to take it on faith; even when it was possible to find a copy of the band's sole album, a poor mix and botched mastering job that robbed it of its low end had caused the band itself to disown it. Regardless, without Toy Love, not only would there have been no Tall Dwarfs (where singer Chris Knox and guitarist Alec Bathgate next ended up) and potentially no Bats (future home of bassist Paul Kean), but it's imaginable that the impetus behind Flying Nun Records and the whole next wave of Dunedin bands, from the Clean to the Chills, would have sounded much different, had they existed at all.Disc 1 of Cuts contains the entirety of the band's released output: three singles and the aforementioned album, remastered off of a safety copy of the long-missing original tapes and completely remixed to the band's specifications. Anyone who has ever heard Toy Love before now understands what the band had been complaining about: these songs have never sounded better, with Kean's bass and Jane Walker's needly garage rock keyboards far more prominent in the mix than ever before. This gives songs like "Death Rehearsal" and the paranoid, chanted "Photographs of Naked Ladies" some much-needed heft to balance Knox's quirky, hectoring vocal style and Bathgate's trebly guitar scratch. The overall effect is very close to contemporaneous records by the Fall. Cuts' first disc also includes the band's 1979 debut single for the New Zealand office of Elektra Records, which presents the band as a more straightforward power pop outfit almost like the Kiwi answer to Shoes. The rest of the disc, recorded for the local indie Deluxe Records, proves how much better the DIY aesthetic fits this inventive, stylistically restless band. Disc two consists of 19 1979 demos, only three of which (early versions of the album's "Squeeze," "Toy Love Song" and "Frogs") ever saw release, on the groundbreaking New Zealand compilation AK79. As might be expected, this disc is far less essential: the demos for songs that made it onto the album tend to simply be shorter and less imaginatively produced, and the handful of rejects ("Unscrewed Up," "Lust," "I'm Not Bored," "1978," "15," "Wanna Die With You") didn't make it onto the album for fairly obvious reasons. Still, it's just the sort of thing one likes to see on this kind of archival release, along with the beautifully executed, info-rich 36-page booklet. Cuts is a necessary purchase not just for Tall Dwarfs fans, but for New Zealand indie archivists in general; it's the best such album since the Chills' Secret Box.

Disc 1
Disc 2

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Stephen - Radar of Small Dogs (1993)

"I'm a sucker for sweet little melody things. You hear them and forget about life for a few seconds" - David Kilgour

Isn't that just the most perfect encapsulation of David Kilgour's aesthetic? Introducing the long-awaited Stephen, a side-project of David's that seems to have been largely and quite unfairly forgotten by time. So forgotten, in fact, that I haven't been able to find the cover art to 'Radar of Small Dogs' anywhere! The image above is taken from 1988's 'Dumb' EP, included here along with six unreleased songs and two live recordings. All very enjoyable listening, indeed. Lovely sparkling, jangly guitars, trademark Kilgour melodies; just a gorgeous realization of classic kiwi pop minimalism. If you like this and haven't checked out David Kilgour's solo albums yet, get 'Here Come the Cars' and 'Frozen Orange' here.

- Ariel

From Flying Nun:

David Kilgour's idea of pop music was encapsulated in Dumb, the name he gave this band's 1988 Flying Nun EP. There was no self-demeaning intent; it's just that David subscribes fully to the Brian Wilson school of songwriting and believes that "dumb" is the essence of pop's appeal. It's not like Stephen were just the Ramones or anything, though. For a band that lasted just a couple of years as a haywire pop outfit on the periphery of the Dunedin scene, only making it up to Auckland in 1988 to record that QEII-funded EP, they did manage to add a little spice and a lot of spirit to the pop brew in their short time.

Stephen played a barreling kind of fast and loud pop music, noisy and rough around the edges. Their jet-propelled energy--David's songs and his big white guitar, with former Goblin Mix bassist Alf Danielson and drummer Geoff Hoani pounding out a rhythm that usually sounded like it was flailing itself right around the song--made this band a joy to behold. After Stephen Kilroy joined on second guitar, gigs in places like the tiny Empire got louder and better. The group fell apart partway through recording an album at Stephen Kilroy's Fish Street studio - David rejoining The Clean and eventually recording his solo LP, Here Come the Cars, while Alf and Stephen went on to form Chug.

The Radar of Small Dogs CD marks the reappearance of the entire Stephen Dumb EP, plus six tracks from the group's lengthy album recording sessions and a couple of live numbers recorded in Christchurch. The story is best told in the sound of the group on disc, all ringing guitars and growling bottom end, and in David Kilgour's wonderfully understated liner notes ("By now the band is generally seen as an excuse for lots of male bonding... I guess there is no direction apart from wanting to record good music and have some fun.")

[Link Removed]