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10 Classic New Zealand Albums

Posted by Billy Gil, May 29, 2014 10:26am | Post a Comment

One of New Zeland’s best bands, The Bats, have just had three of their albums reissued on vinyl by their native Flying Nun label, The Law of Things, Compiletely Bats and Daddy’s Highway, plus a three-CD set with all three albums (also available to download). To celebrate, we’re counting off 10 of our favorite albums from the island country, in no particular order.

Split Enz - Mental Notes (1975)

split enz mental notes lpBest known in the States for crossover power-pop hits like “I Got You” (off the True Colours album), Split Enz’s first album is full of epic, prog-pop weirdness, featuring the songwriting talents of brothers Neil and Tim Finn.

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Toy Love Song

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, July 15, 2013 07:25pm | Post a Comment

A 1980 interview with a bunch of new bands based in Auckland by the old New Zealand rock mag Rip It toy loveUp 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, toy lovean 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.

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CHRIS KNOX (TALL DWARFS, TOY LOVE, THE ENEMY) SUFFERS STROKE

Posted by Billyjam, June 13, 2009 09:27am | Post a Comment
Chris Knox "Not Given Lightly" (1990)

Chris Knox, the pioneering New Zealand musician of influential Kiwi bands The Enemy, Toy Love, and the Tall Dwarfs, is reportedly in an Auckland hospital today after suffering a stroke two days ago. The talented New Zealander, who also co-founded the country's legendary indie Flying Nun record label in the early 80's, is a major figure in the development of the kiwipop story.
Chris Knox
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.

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