Amoeblog

Essential Records: "Kaleidoscope World" by The Chills

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, July 31, 2016 07:28pm | Post a Comment

Essential Records The Chills

In 1985, The Chills played a few nights at the very non-glamorous central Christchurch booze barn, The Carlton Hotel, and like I did for most bands on New Zealand's illustrious Flying Nun label at the time, I trudged down to check 'em out. I'd seen quite a few of their shows since their formation in the early '80s, but this one was different. They were always good, but this time I felt like something really special was happening, maybe even a kind of genius (much as I hate using that word).

This was the 9th or 10th lineup of the band, but this one - with original bass player Terry Moore back in the band, human metronome Alan Haig (later of Snapper) on drums, and colorful keyboardist Peter Allison - was the one where it all fell into place for me and the other over-capacity 500-odd people there (Fire code? What fire code?). They moved from their most quiet moments (delicate pieces of Beatles-y/Left Banke/Summer of Love-style whimsical psych) to an increasingly roaring cacophonous sound that filled the bar (and my poor ears) with awe. Where was it coming from? With only one guitarist? (There's still largely unrecorded songs from this period, like "Frozen Fountain" and "Silhouette," that would wipe away once and for all the notion that the band was the "poppy" Flying Nun band.)

Martin Phillipps was the songwriter, guitarist, and autocrat of the band, and, although he would never beFlying Nun Records accused of being the most alpha of males, was directing the traffic that night just as single-mindedly as he directed the evolution of his band (check out In Love With These Times, Flying Nun founder Roger Shepherd's excellent memoir, for a good take on Phillipps' rationale for the many lineup changes through the '80s and beyond). I knew Martin a little (mostly from a recent lengthy Steinlager-fueled interview at his Dunedin home, a consequence of my part-time gig as music writer for The Christchurch Press) and he was happy to admit he was fascinated by fantasy and comic books, but at the same time was fiercely adamant that The Chills were not just pure escapism...a claim backed up by the "Doledrums" 45 that addressed the dole (Government unemployment benefits) culture in NZ at the time.

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One Album Wonders: Bird Nest Roys' Bird Nest Roys

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 22, 2014 01:33pm | Post a Comment
Here is an additional edition of my series of great, mostly obscure, one album wonders. In the album era (roughly the mid-1960s until the mid-2000s), the album was the dominant format of recorded music expression and consumption. It seems that most musicians from that era, if able to scrape together the funds for the recording of one studio album, generally returned with at least one more.  Some, like Sun Ra, somehow released more albums than I've had hot dinners. Even most excellent bands, in my opinion, would have done well to find something other to do with their time rather than keep making records after their fifth album or twelfth year (although there is the Go-Betweens Exception). The following acts mostly date fromthe Golden Age of the LP -- and yet were unable or unwilling, in all cases, to record more than one. 

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New Zealand Indie Rock Icon Peter Gutteridge (The Clean, The Chills) Has Died

Posted by Billyjam, September 15, 2014 09:45am | Post a Comment

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 SnapperThe 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.

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One Album Wonders: The Great Unwashed's Clean Out of our Minds

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 28, 2014 01:24pm | Post a Comment
The vinyl LP was introduced by Columbia Records in 1948 but the 45 inch single remained the primary market for the music industry until the dawn of the album era, which began in the mid-1960s. During that period, for any number of reasons, many fine musical acts released only one studio album -- Perfect for completists on a budget! This series examines some of my favorite "one album wonders."


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Dream Boys Usher in Fall with Autumnal Debut

Posted by Billy Gil, October 1, 2013 03:31pm | Post a Comment

dream boys los angelesThere’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.

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