Sad news for fans of legendary and influential Kiwi rock bands The Chills and The Clean: as reported yesterday by New Zealand music blog Off the Tracks, the founding member of both bands Peter Gutteridge died over the weekend. No cause of death has been reported so far. According to Flying Nun, he was in his early fifties. In addition to being instrumental in creating of the unique sound of The Clean and The Chills, the guitarist/singer/songwriter was also a force behind the NZ bands Snapper, The Great Unwashed, and The Puddle. All were a part of the Flying Nun Records label family. The prolific Gutteridge, who coincidentally just in the past month made his first visit to the US for a concert in Brooklyn, only recorded one solo album, Pure, which was initially released in 1989 by Xpressway as a cassette tape but was re-released late last year by 540 Records on vinyl and CD. It was this album that he drew extensively from during his recent US concert. Both The Chills and The Clean were among the top ten artists included in the recently published Billy Gil Amoeblog 10 Classic New Zealand Albums post. Below is a track off Gutteridge's sole solo album Pure.
There’s nothing to signify the leaves changing color the wind getting crisper than some cool jangly rock ‘n’ roll. L.A.’s Dream Boys deliver that in spades on their self-titled debut (check it out on CD or LP). Songs like “Sometimes” breeze through with shimmering guitars and sweet, swoony harmonies, calling to mind a post-punk Byrds or Southern Californian Stone Roses. Few bands dig into this sound so thoroughly, with a wonderfully patient, languid quality, making Dream Boys a standout record even among a crowded field.
I sat down for a minute to talk to these dreamy So. Cal. boys about their somnambulist sound.
PST: It’s hard to find out much about you guys from the Internet! Why don't you just tell me in brief about yourselves—when did you form, why did you form, who does what in the band, and are you native Angelenos or from other parts?
Wayne Faler: We formed a little over a year ago. There are three songwriters. Band members are Wayne Faler and Wallace Meek on guitars and vocals, Will Ivy on bass and vocals, and Mike La Franchi on drums. Mike is from the Northern California. Wallace is from Scotland, Wayne is from Michigan, and Will is a Southwest guy via San Francisco. We formed the band after meeting while playing in other bands. We wanted to combine a certain set of influences that really spoke to us and present them in a more modern way.
A 1980 interview with a bunch of new bands based in Auckland by the old New Zealand rock mag Rip It Up posed the question, "How would you most like the audience to react to your music?"
All the bands interviewed answered that they liked it best when the punters hit the dancefloor...except Chris Knox, the peripatetic vocalist for Toy Love. His response? "We'd rather stun them..."
Done and done. Over their all too brief two-year life, the South Island band were the best in the country by a long shot, packing pubs and slaying the hundreds of people who packed in to see them.
The band put out three singles and one LP before splitting up in late 1980. Their impact was monstrous in NZ, directly influencing the formative years of the country's premier indie label in the '80s, Flying Nun.
Brooklyn label Captured Tracks has just released a vinyl document of Toy Love's recorded output, an eponymously titled double LP comprising the best of the LPs and singles, along with other recorded material and demos. Your writer was an unabashed fanatic; I saw all but one Toy Love show in Christchurch, and a bunch at other places around the country.
A living legend in his native New Zealand, the 56 year-old Knox's rich & respected career dates back to late 70s NZ punk era bands The Enemy and Toy Love, followed by being one-half (along with The Enemy guitarist Alec Bathgate) of the quirky oddball 4-track pioneering duo the Tall Dwarfs, whose music I highly recommend you seek out at Amoeba if you don't already have it in your collection. (For a prime example of their sound, check the video down below of the brilliant Tall Dwarfs song "The Brain That Wouldn't Die.")
Knox, who has an uncanny knack for creating the perfect infectious pop song, has also released a number of solo, self-produced albums. His 1990 song "Not Given Lightly" (a love song to his wife -- see video above) was named "New Zealand's ninth best song of all time" at the 2001 New Zealand Music Awards.
The Haast's Eagle, the largest bird of prey (until extinction) attacking a flightless moa (also extinct)
The islands that make up what today is known as New Zealand were, for centuries, uninhabited by people. Due to isolation, the islands hosted many distinct creatures and were dominated by large birds. There were no land mammals, only bats and the marine variety on the coast.
a Maori warrior a group of Moriori
Austronesians came from Polynesia sometime between 800 and 1300 A.D, making New Zealand one of the last major land masses to be settled by people. These people organized into groups called hapu. Over time, they came to refer to themselves collectively as Māori. They called the North Island Te Ika a Māui (the fish of Māui) and the South Island Te Wai Pounamu (the waters of jade) or Te Waka a Māui (the canoe of Māui). Around 1500, a group split off and migrated to Rekohu and developed a culture known as Moriori. These people embraced Pacifism which served them poorly when they were massacred and cannibalized by the Maori in the 1830s. The remaining Moriori, who'd adapted to the harsh climate of Rekohu, died out completely in the early 20th century.
Able Tasman James Cook