Fishrider Records is a small independent label based in Dunedin, New Zealand. It is dedicated to releasing occasional albums of melodic underground Psych-pop, No Wave, synth-pop, electronic music & whatever else takes our fancy. We are not ‘music industry’ but ‘music arts & crafts’. Our main website is here and label Bandcamp page is here.
NEGATIVE NANCIES – HEATWAVE [FISH028 LP/ Digital] – UK release September 2021
Negative Nancies exist in their own universe, sounding unlike anything else happening in Dunedin or in New Zealand past or present. The songs are created organically in the rehearsal room, through an evolution of experimentation. In amongst the art-punk chaos there’s an irrepressible undercurrent of pop melodicism.
Negative Nancies don’t play by anyone’s rules. Songs unfold in unusual ways. Sombre glory, impish mischief. Wired anxiety, manic glee. It makes sense until it doesn’t any more. And vice versa. It’s not so much Dada as Dunedin-a, filtering observations about everyday human behaviour through a unique appreciation of the absurd and a wild-yeast approach to organic song creation and performance. They don’t want to be banned, they just want to play in a band.
TIDAL RAVE – Heart Screams [FISH027 CD/ iTunes]
Wellington based six-piece band Tidal Rave continues a New Zealand (and Australasian) tradition of dark, compelling guitar and keyboard lead garage rock. There’s something slightly claustrophobic and unsettling at times about the churning dense weave of the three guitars and bass backed by ghostly organ and insistent drum pulse. Add the character provided by the interchange between three songwriter-guitarist-vocalists, one with distinctive vibrato reminiscent of The Terminals’ ominous baritone proclamations, and it’s possible to imagine this album as the product of another era
EMILY FAIRLIGHT – Mother of Gloom [FISH026 LP/CD/ iTunes]
A haunting album of ‘elegantly monochrome’ “doom folk” vignettes capturing the essence of places, memories & feelings. Fairlight’s songwriting & distinctive powerful vocals – teak-hard yet soft as crushed velvet – inhabit varied musical arrangements with space for imagination, conjuring a kind of experiential realism. Written in NZ, recorded in Texas..
BAD SAV – Bad Sav [FISH024 LP/ CD/ DL/ iTunes]
If guitar rock is dead, no-one told Bad Sav. The latest blast of Analogue Dunedin comes from the band that refused to be left behind. Although featuring Death And The Maiden guitarist/vocalist Hope Robertson and bassist/vocalist Lucinda King, plus Shifting Sands guitarist Mike McLeod (on drums here), Bad Sav are the primary strain from which both of those bands sprang.
Bad Sav offer a far more guitar-oriented hard attack than DATM; their distinctive filtering and reassembly of influences from shoegaze, psychedelic noise-rock – and goodness knows where else – are combined using a uniquely electrified Dunedin sonic alchemy, bursting with colossal, majestic, melodic noise.
“Shoegaze for David Lynch fans, turmoiled, disturbing guitar-pop, dark, intriguing psychedelia, Bad Sav sound stormy, nocturnal and cinematic.” (Bloodbuzzed)
“there’s nothing laid back about this simmering crockpot of shoegaze, drone-rock, gritty instrumentals, architectural constructions of psyche guitar and pure pop-rock melodies.” (Elsewhere)
“a fine set of gray, shoegazer-tinged post-punk combining fuzzy, atmospheric guitars, brooding vocals and hypnotic song hooks.” (KEXP)
“Bad Sav combine chiaroscuro swirls of guitar with echoing, far-off vocals for an album rich in mystery.” (Bandcamp New & Notable)
“epic maelstroms of distorted guitars, pounding drums, reverbed vocals and squalling noisescapes to teleport listeners into their bruised sonic universe” (UTR).
THE GRANITE SHORE – Suspended Second [FISH023 LP/ CD/ DL]
The 2nd album by UK band The Granite Shore, formed by Occultation Recordings owner Nick Halliwell and featuring Phil Wilson and Arash Torabi from The June Brides, plus NZ residents Steve Perrin from The Distractions, and Ian Henderson from The Puddle, is an epic classic rock-pop album reflecting on personal and political anxiety.
DEATH AND THE MAIDEN – Wisteria [FISH022 LP/ CD/ DL/ iTunes]
Port Chalmers, Dunedin band Death and the Maiden again create a shadowy world within a world on their 2nd album. Melancholy melodic synth waves, hypnotic bass, dreamy reverb washed guitars, and vocals that celebrate the excruciating beauty and crushing weight of everyday life. The band – Lucinda King (vocals, Bass), Hope Robertson (guitar, drums, vocals) and Danny Brady (synths, programming) continue to develop from their eponymous debut. “Wisteria” conjures dreams of love, decay. Sounding at times wispy and ethereal, “Wisteria” also has passages of driving, pulsing cacophony; breathing life into the dreams of the dead.
“This is the perfect soundtrack for the enveloping heat of a new season. Beautiful, scary and endlessly evocative.” The Quietus (UK)
“a euphoric urgent post-punk sound that taps straight into a visceral need to nod and sway… “Wisteria” is more gutsy, more beat driven than their 2015 eponymous debut, and an enveloping, whole body experience.” Album of the Week, The Listener (NZ)
Stef Animal (The Golden Awesome) presents her debut solo release “Top Gear” – a concept album of fifteen tracks of op-shop mysticism, each conceived and recorded in one session, and each made using a different piece of obsolete or unfashionable music equipment, resulting in a collection of lo-fi epic miniatures.
THE SHIFTING SANDS – Zoe / Run 7″ single [FISH021 7″/ DL]
THE DISTRACTIONS – Kindly Leave The Stage [FISH019 LP/CD/DL]
This 3rd and final album from Manchester legends The Distractions was released 5 years after their critically-acclaimed 2nd “The End of the Pier”, which came out 30 years after their 1980 Island Records debut “Nobody’s Perfect”, a year after their Factory Records single “Time Goes By So Slow” in 1979!
Plus Go Dark bonus 10” [FISH020 – LP only]
ÈLAN VITAL – Shadow Self [FISH018 LP/CD/DL iTunes]
Èlan Vital formed in 2015 in Dunedin’s None Gallery, an artist-run creative community in a former pharmaceutical factory near the city centre. Their sound takes contemporary European cold-wave synth-pop dance music layered on analogue drum machines, then blends in the warm psychedelic organ sounds of 1960s garage rock. Distorted, overdriven bass guitar adds a further element of chaos into the mix.
The expression Èlan Vital describes the vital force or impulse of life. The music on “Shadow Self” represents that life impulse in an ambiguous zone between machine and human worlds. A dense claustrophobic swirl of dark dance-tempo synth-pop blooms from gloomy cold industrial dance music with vocoder vocals into uplifting melodic dream-pop catharsis about memory, longing, and obsession
The Prophet Hens‘ 2nd album “The Wonderful Shapes of Back Door Keys” is now out on Fishrider Records and, in the UK/ Europe on Occultation Recordings. It’s an album of melodic jangling guitars, swirling Casio keyboards & the voices of Penelope Esplin and Karl Bray singing uplifting melancholic songs about hope & despair, joy & regret, ambition & reality, coming together & drifting apart.
Also, “Popular People Do Popular People” – the 1st album – has been (re-)issued on LP as well! The 1st album made its mark all over the world, praised as “psychédélisme plaintif” by French music weekly Les Inrockuptibles, given 9/10 in reviews by UK mailorder specialists Norman Records’ staff and customers and featured on BBC 6Music shows by Marc Riley and Gideon Coe.
THE SHIFTING SANDS – “Cosmic Radio Station” [FISH015 LP/ CD/ DL]
Beamed into the Pacific ether from a woolshed and a tumbledown house perched on the hills above Port Chalmers during a period of heightened solar flare and aurora activity, this is an album dripping sundazed melody through a shifting haze of fuzzy, chiming guitars, shimmering strings, and vocal harmonies. The cosmic radio station is on air. Tune in… turn on… pop out.
DEATH AND THE MAIDEN – s/t [FISH014 LP/ CD/ DL]
On their debut album, Death And The Maiden craft a shadowy sound world, filled with melancholic synth arpeggios, reverb-drenched guitars, and sighing vocal melodies. The combination is both hypnotic and devastating, exploring themes of love, loss, and decay, wrapped in tactile electro-acoustic languor. A party record for heartbroken romantics
T E M P O R A R Y – Selections From Dunedin’s Pop Underground LP+zine/ CD+zine/ LP+CD+zine (FISH013 2014)
T E M P O R A R Y is a compilation LP of songs by 13 of our favourite young Dunedin bands and musicians and comes with a ‘zine about the bands on the compilation. It is a co-release in the US with Ba Da Bing! Records in New York and is available from their website here.
Trick Mammoth – ‘Floristry’ LP CD (FISH012 2014)
Formed in early 2013, Trick Mammoth are a flower cult pop band from Dunedin, New Zealand. Fragile, lucid but rough around the edges, their songs are unintentionally sincere and bashfully honest, performed with open arms and a soft indifference. Drawing mostly on film, literature and poetry, their music discharges a shy pretension buried under layers of simplicity. With comparisons ranging from Black Tambourine to The Carpenters, Trick Mammoth have crafted a sound saccharine sweet yet doused in death.
Trick Mammoth’s debut album ‘Floristry’ is released in NZ and also in the UK by Fishrider Records in conjunction with Occultation Recordings.
“Trick Mammoth recall the similarly sunny bands of early-mid 80s – think Orange Juice or The Patsels…but they bring an unassailable energy to proceedings… A quiet gem.” Duncan Grieve, North & South magazine (NZ)
“…elegantly minimal melodic jangle… gentle, intimate.” Sunday Star Times (NZ)
“Trick Mammoth go in search of the perfect feather-light pop song… enchanting.” Otago Daily Times
“truly gorgeous” Les Inrockuptibles (France)
“Floristry is a good record. A damn good one…. sonic bliss….” Happy (Australia)
“so vibrant it makes you feel like you’re sitting in a field of blossoming flowers.” The Daily Album (USA)
“Immediate but intriguing indiepop, delicate and uplifting.” Bloodbuzzed (Spain)
“classic Dunedin indie pop, from Dunedin… It’s lovely, it really is” Public Address (NZ)
“an effortless collection of sun drenched pop tunes” Under the Radar (NZ)
Males – ‘Run Run Run/MalesMalesMales’ LP & CD (FISH011 2013). This 9 song mini-album of hyper-melodic 2-minute helium-powered guitar pop from Dunedin trio Males includes, on Side 1, a brand new EP ‘Run Run Run’, and, on Side 2, their single ‘So High’ and their 2012 EP, ‘MalesMalesMales’. You can check it out here.
“This double EP gathers nine effortlessly hummable power-pop gems, including golden early single So High and future summer anthem Lucky Too. Singer/guitarist Richard Ley-Hamilton’s secret weapons are his chiming, precision-tooled riffs and a joyous falsetto, which are just the job over Sam Valentine’s propulsive basslines…” Sunday Star Times (NZ)
“…pop hooks come at you a quick pace and they don’t let up. Their nine song record is packed full of two minute pop candies that fly by so fast that you barely have time to go through addiction or the subsequent withdrawal.” The Finest Kiss (USA)
“Relentless indiepop full of explosive guitar lines, immediate melodies and propulsive beats, short in length, but ever-lasting in its addiction.” Bloodbuzzed (Spain)
The Prophet Hens debut album “Popular People Do Popular People” (FISH010 2013/ FISH017 LP 2016)
Hatched from Dunedin’s dreamy but dark 21st century pop underground, The Prophet Hens bring a ghostly reminder of the decaying southern city’s musical past, when bands crafted melodic, chiming jangle-pop in seedy bars.
“perfectly encapsulates the big bold ambition of Dunedin music with the quiet drama of isolation on a South Pacific island: part Chills organ-drenched pop, part bedroom angst” Did Not Chart (UK)
OPPOSITE SEX – UK RELEASE on 180gm LP and CD (FISH006 2012)
New Zealand’s Fishrider Records and UK-based Occultation Recordings (Wild Swans, Distractions, June Brides, etc.), are pleased to announce a trans-global alliance for the UK release of the self-titled debut album by Opposite Sex, available now on 180g vinyl and CD from www.occultation.co.uk and distributed in the UK and Europe by Proper.
The sound of the trio is, they say, “an absurdist-logico mix of Euro pop, Beat poetry, and subterranean lo-fi adventuring.” Although their music ranges from oddly poppy carnival waltzes to manic, melodic post-punk and no wave, this is no retro exercise: the album is their own unique genre-defying trip through the experimental subversive pop underground of their imaginations.
“The new wave of New Zealand pop begins here… Opposite Sex share with their compatriots a penchant for vernacular psychedelia and lop-sided songwriting….For a debut, it’s remarkable, leaping from sea-sick waltzes and crunchy post-punk to ADD-pop (see the hyper opener “La Rat”)” **** (4/5) Uncut (UK)
“It’s absolutely brilliant…it does put me in mind of maybe The Mekons and the Raincoats and…the best pop band you’ve ever heard in your life. I absolutely adore it. It’s going to be in my top five albums of the year definitely.” Marc Riley, BBC Radio 6
“…one of those amazing pieces of ragged art that must simply be heard to be believed…Get it.” 9/10 Popmatters.com
Fishrider Records has also released:
Factory Star – New Sacral CD/ 10″ LP (FISH009 2012)
The Shifting Sands – Feel CD (FISH008 2012)
The Puddle – Secret Holiday/ Victory Blues CD/ LP* (FISH007 2012) – *LP SOLD OUT
Robert Scott with Adalita Srsen/ The Puddle – split 7″ (FISH005 2010) – SOLD OUT
The Puddle – “Playboys in the Bush” CD/ LP (FISH 004 2010)
The Puddle – “The Shakespeare Monkey” (FISH003 2009)
The Puddle – “No Love – No Hate” (FISH002 2007)
The Dark Beaks – “Spill Your Heart” (FISH001 2006)
The Puddle’s Fishrider Records catalogue is available on their Bandcamp page
Check the links on the right for more links to artist Bandcamp pages to listen to and buy the albums.
For a catalogue of Fishrider Records releases please e-mail fishrider (dot) records (at) yahoo (dot) co (dot) nz
Check out the recent blog posts for updates and news. Thank you!