Archives for posts with tag: David Kilgour

DK H8s 2019David Kilgour returns with his band the Heavy Eights for a beautifully melancholic album “Bobbie’s A Girl” which has just been released on US label Merge Records.

“Looks Like I’m Running Out” ambles along blissfully, a bit like Syd Barrett’s “Gigolo Aunt” shuffle, but it’s a pace that out-sprints the languid drifting sleep-walking state of much of the rest of the album. I mean that in a good way too.

At times it feels like the album is a conversation between worlds, between the living and the dead. As DK explained in an interview: “The whole album is a sort of mood piece, really. Grief was behind it, as you say. I lost my mother and my friend Peter [former school friend and early Clean/ Chills/ Snapper band member Peter Gutteridge] around the same time, and for a while, I made no music at all, then I started to really just indulge myself and let the melancholia wash around me.”

The album is minimalist, in words and sounds and notes and chords, yet also one of the richest, deeply textured, atmospheric collections in the substantial David Kilgour catalogue. Acoustic and electric guitars, piano, keyboards, vibes, voices; all leavened by the air between the notes.

There’s a strange kind of magic at play here. It is partly the circumstances of the album’s origins, but also maybe also aided by the provenance of the location of its recording in the 140 year old Port Chalmers building Chick’s Hotel. Some of the songs seem improvised by the band in a telepathic dream-state. It’s so laid back at times it almost falls apart. But, like those two Syd Barrett solo albums, it somehow holds itself together, willed on by primal musical instinct shared among the players and shepherded by spirits in the aether of the eternal vibrations of the universe.

Kool Aid saturated mirrorIs the Christchurch music scene only about a dozen musicians who are all interchangeably members of all of the vast multitude of fine fuzz & jangle guitar bands sprouting regularly from the South Island’s largest city?  Kool Aid provide further evidence to support this theory via their new single “Family Portrait Revisited”

Kool Aid (thankfully now shortened from a formerly longer variant involving the name of a self-styled NZ bishop and cult-leading bigot I won’t bother naming) include Jamie Stratton, Violet French, Luke Towart (Wurld Series, Adam Hattaway & The Haunters), Ben Dodd (Ben Dodd & His Organ), the ubiquitous Brian Feary (drummer in every Christchurch band this decade*), and Spencer Hall.

On the strength of “Family Portrait revisited” Kool Aid may well be the best of the bunch. Recorded at The Dogshit Factory in Christchurch, “Family Portrait Revisited” manages to combine the essence of David Kilgour’s nonchalant strum and twang with the melodic laid-back psychedelia of Rain Parade.  The more I listen to the song the more perfect it becomes. Looking forward to hearing the whole EP set for release 11 July on prolific Christchurch label Melted Ice Cream.

*Bands Brian Feary has played in include X-Ray Charles, Wurld Series, Shacklock Meth Party, Dance Asthmatics, Salad Boys, Christian Rock, and probably dozens more I’ve forgotten about or don’t know about, and if he hasn’t played drums in a band he has recorded and/or mastered their recordings and/or designed the artwork for their release. He’s the Mikey Young of the Christchurch underground scene and deserves a medal.

ITLM psych squarePhiladelphia instrumental 4 piece I Think Like Midnight have a new album out in a few weeks. “This Land is Your Mind” is jam-packed with shimmering and often deliciously psychedelic guitar-driven soundtracks to road-trips way out West of Weirdsville – real or imagined. Here’s “Acolyte”:

The album takes in many moods from surf twang to motorik psychedelia and even instrumental power pop. It often travels similar cosmic trails to the instrumentals of New Zealand’s David Kilgour & The Heavy Eights, and also Australian guitarist Cam Butler. So, if you like those artists or if you like what’s on offer here on “Acolyte”, take the plunge and get the album. You won’t be disappointed.

The recording and sound is rich and colourful, and the ensemble playing by the band balances technical skill with feeling, bringing the arrangements alive. And sometimes those arrangements provide imaginative surprises from additional instruments – keyboards and vibraphone – to add even more layers to the sonic variety and atmosphere.

Here’s another song, called “Tuned Mass Damper”, in video form:

the-clean_getaway“Sometimes I’m all on my own” sings David Kilgour in “Stars”, the first song on The Clean’s 2001 album, the punningly titled “Getaway”, soon to be re-issued on vinyl for the first time by US label Merge Records on 2 December 2012.

After that sublime 1980s run of EPs and 7″ singles The Clean released their first – and best – album in 1990. “Vehicle” was from that era when vinyl was still king, and although subsequent albums “Modern Rock” (1994) and “Unknown Country” (1996) also had a limited release in LP format these were (and still are) hard to find in NZ. “Getaway” – originally released in 2001 – was exclusively a CD release.

It took The Clean another 8 years to follow up “Getaway” with the even-better “Mister Pop” which had some of their strongest songs since “Vehicle”. Whether or not “Mister Pop” will be their final chapter is anyone’s guess. In the meantime, there’s still “Getaway” to explore all over again.

“Getaway” comes with a bonus of live recordings from two rare NZ-only releases “Slush Fund” (Arclife, 2001) and “Syd’s Pink Wiring System” (Cleano, 2003).

Part of the enduring appeal of The Clean as a live band has been their singular ability to re-interpret their back catalogue in their live shows, bringing an improv jazz mindset and approach to exploring their psychedelic garage rock, making each song performance a unique event. The full track-listing of Merge Records’ “Getaway” re-issue can be viewed here.


These are the two original CD only tour merch live albums from 2000/2001 which are included with the “Getaway” re-issue as digital and CD bonus tracks. The bonus CDs are also included with the double vinyl version.

PopLib’s final gratuitous mid-year list is the only one which is totally objective and fact-based. It’s all statistics… the Top 5 most viewed posts so far in 2015.

5. Totally Mild – Battleship

4. Rozi Plain – Actually

3. Ego – Moon

2. Sam Hunt with David Kilgour & the Heavy Eights – Wavesong

1. Anthonie Tonnon – Water Underground

While we are talking statistics, people from these Top 5 countries have viewed the blog so far in 2015; 1. New Zealand, 2. United States, 3. United Kingdom, 4. Australia, 5. Spain.

Sam Hunt at Chicks

For the 9th day of May – NZ Music Month – I can’t let the opportunity to recommend “The 9th” by Sam Hunt with David Kilgour And The Heavy Eights go by. Sadly there is no Bandcamp* our Soundcloud music to embed so you will have to track it down old school style (in a record shop) as it is released on David’s own Bandit King Records (though you can find it on iTunes here).

[UPDATE 22 May: *It’s up on David Kilgour & The Heavy Eights bandcamp now! Here’s the opening track “Rainbows (and a Promise of Snow)”]

Anyone who witnessed the show they played at Chick’s Hotel last year, immediately following the recording of the album in that Port Chalmers pub, will not be surprised to hear there is magic captured within this album.

The combination of Sam Hunt’s words and voice and the musical alchemy of David Kilgour and The Heavy Eights is something special indeed. Even more so than their first collaboration – “Falling Debris” – released in 2009 which was Sam’s words (without his voice) set to music.

Sam was the first poet I ever heard perform. I was still at school. It was in a museum art gallery and Sam was a mess of hair, untucked farm clothes and floppy woollen socks. He was – and still is – unique. That braying sing-song voice, impertinent banter, and his ability to communicate through poetry in the primordial, pre-cultural gloom of New Zealand at that time, was inspirational. He was like a musician, but all he played was words and ideas. But he played them like a rock and roll musician plays an instrument. He was the Iggy Pop of poetry to me. He broke poetry out of a class room struggle and gave it relevance in the real world.

Not long after that I came across another local rock and roll poet, Dunedin’s Peter Olds. At that time he was writing wild tales of drugs, cars, gangs, rock music and existential angst. In photos he looked like Gene Clark from The Byrds. I never saw Peter Olds read his poetry, so I read his words silently in my head in Sam’s voice. I still do today. Sam’s voice can turn any words into the music of poetry.

“The 9th” gives David Kilgour (The Clean) and band freedom to explore free of song structure, although some songs do have a chorus of sorts. The atmosphere of the music is a perfect combination for the words and voice. It’s more than just background. In so many places it merges with the words, like reading off a patterned page.

I’m only just beginning to get involved in the album. I have the feeling it will be a favourite for a long time. The music and words here often evokes NZ and memory in a similar way to great Australian songwriter Grant McLennan in The Go-Betweens. It will be great on repeat on long road trips, the words setting of images, thoughts, memories to keep the mind alert.

So here’s to “The 9th”. You should try and find it. In the meantime I recommend you familiarise yourself with Sam and the album through this great interview with Sam on Mysterion Art Factory.

You can also hear some of the album in this Radio NZ review:

Death & The Maiden

Day 24 of the song-a-day-May NZ Music Month Madness comes from Dunedin’s hypnotic trance-pop alchemists Death & The Maiden. Those of you who have been paying attention this year will complain “you posted that song on 28 March” which is true. But here it is again; a great song deserves a second post.

The other reason for posting this song is that Death & The Maiden play at Chick’s Hotel, Port Chalmers near Dunedin tonight, along with no-longer-called-Brown-anymore (posted a few days ago) and David Kilgour & The Heavy Eights, who require no introduction round these parts.

The Clean have been on a tour of sorts this past week. It has not been your regular kind of tour, but one involving playing some intimate small venues in out of the way places. A two-night ‘residency’ at the legendary Chick’s Hotel near Dunedin (which included guest appearances by founding member Peter Gutteridge and also from Martin Phillipps) was followed by a surf-magazine sponsored show near Tauranga and an appearance at the Camp A Low Hum music festival near Wellington. Tonight they play at Puppies, a small Wellington venue.

Here’s some fine two-camera video footage from their Mt Maunganui (near Tauranga) show last Friday, shot by Stuart Page/ Brilliant Films. It was a special free event “Loose But In Time” sponsored by Damaged Goods Zine & Corona, held at Major Toms, Mt Maunganui Sat 8 February 2014. It’s their set closer – a ripping version of The Velvet Underground’s “I Can’t Stand It”.

The Velvet Underground were – and still are – a huge influence on musicians from Dunedin. Perhaps it is the minimal technique, fusion of art, literature and sheer bloody-minded noise mixed with gothic beauty of subversive pop.

There’s an extensive history of The Clean in two parts here on NZ’s excellent music archive website Audioculture.


The Clean play a two-night ‘residency’ at legendary Chick’s Hotel in Port Chalmers near Dunedin in a week’s time.

The venue will be limited to 150 people each night & I may well go both nights. The first night will be loose and feral, maybe a bit like that London show captured on In-a-Live that comes with the re-issue of ‘Vehicle’

The Saturday show will be a bit more measured and probably go into the stratosphere as the crowd levitates on distortion harmonics and tribal rhythms.

Thirty two years ago the same three people – Robert Scott, Hamish & David Kilgour – played at the Rhumba Bar in Auckland. Here’s a video of them playing ‘She Goes, She Goes’.

They still look a bit like this only 32 years older. They still sound like this too. But they have elevated primitive melodic guitar rock to transcendental levels.

If you are lucky enough to be in Dunedin on Friday 31 January and Saturday 1 February you can get tickets here. You will need them as they will sell out before Friday.

If you are not in Dunedin you can probably get a flight from anywhere in the world to get there in time. You won’t regret it. And there’s plenty to do and see while you are in Dunedin.

Ghost Wave

Day 29 of the 31 Days of May New Zealand Music Month via Bandcamp challenge comes from Auckland again and another Arch Hill Records band – Ghost Wave.

Ghost Wave have always turned the jangle up to 11 on their recordings and ‘Here She Comes’ is no exception. What is different from their previous releases is that this song is less frenetic buzz-saw jangle pop.

Instead, this one has a languid, slurred approach, part Bob Dylan, part David Kilgour, and wrapped up in a warm early Creation Records 1980s guitar-pop blanket. Which is all fine by me.

The video for ‘Here She Comes’ was made by Axemen drummer Stu Page, also known for his many fine videos for David Kilgour, Shaft etc. over the years