Archives for posts with tag: Flying Nun Records
Too Tone NZ Music Month

Shop display of re-purposed NZ Music Month poster at Too Tone Records (2010-2017) in Dunedin.

Our New Zealand Music Month song for day #14 is the title track from the new Aldous Harding album “Designer”*:

If you found the first two Aldous Harding albums a bit impenetrable and uncomfortable with their heavy mannerisms, wilful oddness, and dark horror (as I did) then “Designer” is the album to help you make peace with Harding’s music. It’s a glorious album of beautifully rendered often minimalist and haunting pop songs.

If songs like “Designer”* here sound a bit like Cate Le Bon that could be because the album shares a few musicians in common with Le Bon’s usual recording band. There’s still a sense of other-worldly oddness with “Designer” but it’s a subtle and considered experience this time. The songs, their musical arrangements and Harding’s lyrical flights and glorious voice keep it accessible and welcoming even when the strange word puzzles make you think twice about what’s really going on in the songs.

[NOTE: *As you may have noticed, despite attempting to embed the song “Designer”, the embed code for the song defaults to “The Barrel”. It’s another fine song from the album, but not the one I wanted to share here to highlight the album. I guess that serves me right for wanting to share something here from an already popular album on a major-ish label. So it’s back to obscure artists on labels which haven’t disabled track embeds from their Bandcamp page for the rest of the month!]

Too Tone NZ Music Month

Shop display of re-purposed NZ Music Month poster at Too Tone Records (2010-2017) in Dunedin.

Our New Zealand Music Month day #11 song is from Superette’s 1996 debut album “Tiger”, which was re-issued as an expanded edition (including double LP)  in November 2018. Here’s “Touch Me”:

Superette was formed in 1993 by members of Jean-Paul Sartre Experience and Fang – Ben Howe, Dave Mulcahy and Greta Anderson. The “Tiger” re-issue includes bonus material, including their Rosepig EP and some songs from a never-released second album.

David YettonFormerly bassist and one of three songwriters in NZ 1980s/90s band The Jean Paul Sartre Experience (subsequently known as JPS Experience, JPSE), David Yetton has cleaned out his computer hard drive with a wry-titled cassette album called “Move to Trash (Bits, Pieces, Offcuts & Stuff)” released on Hamburg-based cassette label Thokei Tapes. Here’s “Heads in the Clouds” from it.

Yetton went on to form Stereobus/ The Stereo Bus after JPSE split. The songs on “Move to Trash” sound to be Stereobus/ The Stereo Bus era demos, out-takes, and ideas.

However some of them also rekindle the sense of hushed melodic wonder of that very first EP by the Jean Paul Sartre Experience released on Flying Nun Records back in the mid 1980s. As “Teardrops” here does beautifully…

Thokei Tapes have released some intriguing oddities from the archives of other NZ artists associated with the Flying Nun label. They are not available for download, however you do get a free download if you buy a cassette. Postage seems to be reasonable so why not…?


Mermaidens_2018Day 5 of PopLib’s New Zealand Music Month 31 days of May madness marathon is “Fade” from Wellington’s Mermaidens.

“Fade” closes Mermaidens’ excellent 2017 album “Perfect Body”. It’s typical of the album’s sinewy mix of post-punk, ‘shoe-gaze’ and psychedelia, building through initially fairly minimal interweaving of guitars, drums and voices into a mesmerising maelstrom of sound in the finals few minutes.

“Perfect Body” is released on Flying Nun Records and is available on LP from Mermaidens via Bandcamp or from Flying Out

Wax ChattelsWax Chattels is a three person band from Auckland. Bass, drums, keyboards. No six string guitarist. So far so much like The Peddlers! But Wax Chattels is no lounge trio. There’s no cha cha, no rumba, no swing here. “Stay Disappointed” is pure pneumatic post-punk at its finest.

There’s a bit of the spirit of The Gordons about this (the likes of Machine Song or Adults & Children come to mind) which is the first time the born-again Flying Nun Records (and US partners Captured Tracks) have re-connected with that particular dark part of its past in recent years.

Built upon the precision bass and frenetic bludgeoning drumming, “Stay Disappointed” takes wings when the distorted organ works its Gothic Phantom of the Opera style mayhem over top, particularly as the song intensity rises to its scouring terminal end point. Lovely stuff.

“Stay Disappointed” is available in NZ as a limited edition one-sided 7″ single with different stamped labels from Flying Out.

Shayne OffsiderHere’s PopLib’s 6th send as a gift tip for the month, featuring “Waiting Game” from Shayne P. Carter’s “Offsider” album.

Never one to rest in a comfortable spot musically speaking, proficient guitarist Carter (Bored Games, Doublehappys, Straitjacket Fits, Dimmer) set himself the challenge of mastering the piano. His approach is similar to his instinctive approach to the guitar – as much about sound, propulsion, atmosphere, and tension as it is about melody.

This song, and the whole “Offsider” album is recommended for anyone into seriously good, original, adventurous pop or rock music, for the person who annoys you by playing Scott Walker records too often and who you wish had something else to fixate on, and for that friend or relative who always goes on about the heyday of Flying Nun Records but stopped buying new music many years ago.

Tidal Rave_Bronwyn Haines

Tidal Rave – photo by Bronwyn Haines

Tidal Rave are a 5-piece band from Wellington. Their first EP continues a grand New Zealand tradition of darkly compelling guitar-driven rock.

Tidal Rave may not have heard of The Terminals or predecessors Scorched Earth Policy who were both part of the gloomy disaffected Christchurch contingent on Flying Nun Records in the mid 1980s. But the music and lyrical focus of the EP evokes memories of both bands.

In part it’s the churning unsettled dense weave of the three guitars and bass backed by insistent drumming with primal floor-tom pulse. Add the character provided by the distinctive vibrato on the vocals – reminiscent of the ominous baritone proclamations of The Terminals’ Stephen Cogle – and it’s possible to imagine this EP as the product of another era.

There’s something slightly claustrophobic about the nature of all the songs and the often sombre lyrics on the Tidal Rave EP which sets the group apart from much of the contemporary scene in NZ. Here’s hoping the worldwide audience for NZ’s darker guitar music discovers Tidal Rave.

Tidal Rave

SaturationsHere’s an atypical track called “Run Electro” from a new album called “Saturations” by New Brighton, Christchurch musician Blair Parkes.

“Run Electro” is an attention-grabbing song, bursting with luminous colour and surging along on an insistent rumbling bass line with phased distorted organ swirls, like a kind a super-charged Stereolab on steroids.

It’s a bit of an odd one out on a curiously sequenced album which seems to morph from reflective guitar folk-pop at the start into more effect-driven shoegaze territory before exploring even deeper into electronic synth-pop.  It’s not the sort of album you can dip into for a quick listen here and there and come away with a sense of what it is all about. It rewards the full journey.

“Saturations” is a curiously timeless collection of songs. The first 4 songs of the songs could fit comfortably in the late 80s/ early 90s NZ/ Australian reflective guitar pop scene, while the second half of the album crackles with more electronic energy, sometimes reminiscent of UK synth-pop band Frazier Chorus.  Both halves of the album are bursting with fine songs.


Listening to this Blair Parkes album has sent me on a trip back to NZ pop underground of the late 1980s. Keen students of obscure Flying Nun Records releases may recognise Blair from All Fall Down (FN0989) and The Letter 5 (FN169).

Parkes’ blog post here on the All Fall Down years is also a fascinating insight into the life of a young musician playing in an obscure ‘2nd wave’ Flying Nun Records band in the mid to late 1980s in New Zealand.

As a bonus here’s the Bats-meets-Triffids styled perfection of All Fall Down’s “Black Gratten” from 1987:




Surfdog_seafog12Day 30 of our 31 Days of May New Zealand Music Month marathon comes from Port Chalmers (above), formerly home to Xpressway Records and still home to many Dunedin musicians. Here’s local musician Francisca Griffin with “Falling Light” –

If you are thinking “that sounds a bit like Look Blue Go Purple” then that may be because two of the three musicians playing on this track are former members of Look Blue Go Purple. Francisca Griffin was Kathy Bull back then, and she’s joined here by LBGP guitarist Kath Webster.

The third musician is drummer Gabriel Griffin – Francisca’s son. You’d normally hear him providing the scattershot rhythms behind the inimitable free-form experimental improv drum & woodwind ensemble Sewage.

“Falling Light” has the kind of freshness and instantly recognisable light and airy guitar tones of its place of origins. Psychedelic folk perhaps, Southern NZ style, and in some respects as reminiscent of David Kilgour’s solo music as it is of LBGP.

It’s a track from a forthcoming album set for release on CocoMuse Releases this year.

Shayne OffsiderDay 15 of our 31 Days of May New Zealand Music Month marathon comes from repatriated Dunedin legend Shayne P. Carter with a track from his “Offsider” album. Here’s “Ahead of Your Time” –

Shayne P. Carter made his mark over dozens of now classic Flying Nun Records releases with Bored Games, Doublehappys, Straitjacket Fits and others last century – then with the brilliant Dimmer this century.

Never one to rest in a comfortable spot musically speaking, proficient guitarist Carter set himself the challenge of mastering the piano and, on “Offsider”, takes his songwriting in new directions.

His approach to the piano is similar to his instinctive approach to the guitar – as much about sound, propulsion, atmosphere, and tension as it is about melody.

Joining him here is regular drum collaborator Gary Sullivan (of JPS Experience) and also saxophonist Richard Steele (saxophonist/ producer of The Puddle’s “Playboys in the Bush”).