Archives for posts with tag: The Chills

DSC06137“Cans” is a slice of neo-psychedelic fuzz & jangle guitar pop from a new Auckland band called Water. It’s from an album/ mini-album called “Enjoy” and that’s exactly what you ought to do with this song:

“Cans” here, with it’s 12-string jangle and sweet fuzz lead guitar, is a winning mix of psychedelic guitar pop weirdness that evokes memories of The Seeds. It wouldn’t have sounded out of place as a song from a Glasgow band on Creation Records in the late eighties. Apart from the NZ accent which makes you think of The Chills, who also had one album released on Creation Records and Martin Phillipps listened to The Seeds, so that all makes perfect circular sense.

Enjoy Water.

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The Prophet Hens – photo by Phoebe Lysbeth K

Day 4 of the 31 Days of may Madness for New Zealand Music Month 2017 is another Dunedin tune, this time dialing up some jangling melancholia by The Prophet Hens. Here, from their 2nd album “The Wonderful Shapes of Back Door Keys”, is “Good Shadow”

“Good Shadow” is an enigmatic song, apparently about nothing more complicated than, well, the writer/ narrator’s shadow. But it is saturated with metaphorical weight and the pay off line -“don’t let me down” seems to be sung more in resigned hope than confident direction.

As a noun “shadow” in its most direct meaning is a dark area or shape produced by a body coming between rays of light and a surface. But it can also refer to proximity, ominous oppressiveness, or sadness and gloom. There are a lot of shadows of both kinds in Dunedin.

I’m always going on about the (oppressive) shadow cast by the past of Dunedin’s fabled 1980s music era over the current era of musicians. Unusually for a contemporary Dunedin band, The Prophet Hens wear their local influences on their sleeves (or wings) so they would probably regard it as a… “Good Shadow”!

The song (along with half the album it is from) features the wonderful voice of Penelope Esplin. She also plays the old Casiotone given to her as a child by her father which gives the song (and the album) it’s colourful fairground wheeze. Penelope’s voice can also be heard with French For Rabbits and her own duo Grawlixes, along with The Prophet Hens’ bassist Robin Cederman.

[Note: Music released on the label I run isn’t usually featured on PopLib because PopLib is more about helping with the discovery of other mostly underground/ under-known/ under-appreciated bands and musicians. I’ll be making an exception during this, the 4th year of NZ Music Month daily posts on PopLib. As over 160 great NZ songs have been released on the label over the past 11 years it seems a bit unfair to omit them from consideration. These are after all some of my favourite local bands creating some of my favourite music.]

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We first met Foxy Morons back in January through tracks from two fine Hobart, Tasmania underground music compilations. Here’s another song from them – “Home” – which comes from a self-titled 6-song cassette EP, released last month by Wrong Place (right Time) Records.

The music on “Home” – all languid strummed guitars and cascading fairground organ – sounds like it could have come from an early single by The Chills played at the wrong speed.

The guitars here are strummed in the classic Velvet Underground chug. Attitude is elevated above slavish attention to technical mastery, as it always should be. It’s all about the song and the performance and the experience it represents.

“Home” is a simple song about trying to avoid returning to a cold house, and looking for a dog. In the fog of course. As with Dunedin bands, it appears weather, cold houses and pets offer plenty of inspiration for songwriting in Hobart, Tasmania.

There’s plenty of other fine songs on the EP and the cassette looks like it’s getting another production run so head on over  to the Wrong Place (Right Time) Bandcamp page.  While you are there, check the back catalogue items from Foxy Morons and other Tasmanian lo-fi & DIY music gems on display.



William DaymondDay 2 of NZ Music Month comes from The Winebox Inquiry, which is the name for the solo music of William Daymond, also of Wellington band Terror of the Deep and formerly Christchurch trio The Pickups. Here’s the gloriously jangling “What A Day” to brighten up your Monday.

Following on from the ‘tax haven’ theme we started with in yesterday’s post, The Winebox Inquiry name comes from a tax evasion/avoidance chapter in NZ’s history twenty years ago.

“The Winebox InquirySets Sail!” is a fine album demonstrating perfectly William’s deep abiding love of psychedelic guitar pop, specifically the music of The Monkees and The Clean and everything in between.

The songs are strong and beautifully recorded, with requisite musical contributions from jangling 12-string guitars and chiming keyboards. It’s an eclectic mix of weird and wonderful and creates a delightful, eclectic musical jumble-shop tribute to his musical inspirations while sounding fresh, odd and original rather than a pastiche of anything.




“There’s something about Dunedin, some unique peculiarity, that has imparted its distinctive stamp on its popular music. Perhaps that sprawling, timeless decay that the city presents to the visitor has manifested itself in the minds and music of its younger inhabitants. Just a notion.”

The second thing I ever wrote (or had published) in my part-time freelance journalist career was a review of a Dunedin fanzine called ‘Garage’. It has typically lurid writing in places, something I am still prone to doing. What was I thinking? Too much reading of the old 1980s NME is what I was thinking.

Southland Times, 'Music Scene' 1985

Southland Times, ‘Music Scene’ 1985

‘Garage’ was published by my soon-to-be-friend Richard Langston. He’s still as excitable & passionate (and prone to Tourette’s-like outbursts of swearing) about music today as he was in 1985. He doesn’t publish a fanzine these days, just occasional books of poetry. He’s a freelance TV and radio journalist & presenter now. He often sneaks outrageous NZ music onto National Radio shows he occasionally hosts as a ‘stand-in’.

There were only 6 issues of Garage fanzine. But those issues capture a big slice of the golden years of Flying Nun records and of music making in Dunedin and elsewhere in NZ.

Thirty years on I’m in an even better position to form some views on the minds and music of Dunedin’s younger inhabitants. I’m trying to write something about it for a compilation LP Fishrider Records will be releasing hopefully around June. I’ll probably just re-use this quote. It’s just as likely to be true now as it was 30 years ago.