Category Archives: Fishrider Records

“The Dunedin Sound – Some Disenchanted Evening”

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“The Dunedin Sound – Some Disenchanted Evening”, by University of Otago Music Department Senior Lecturer Ian Chapman,  was published in New Zealand earlier this month. As you may have already gleaned from its title, it is a book about Dunedin music. Well, about Dunedin music from 1977 to 1992 to be precise. Seventeen of the dozens of bands existing, performing and sometimes recording during this period to be even more precise. One of those bands is The Puddle.

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The book is a combination of images (photographs, posters, set lists and associated ‘ephemera’ of the era) and words. The images make up about 70% of the book, and the words are mostly personal observations of ‘involved bystanders’ rather than musicians for the most part (although there are a few of them contributing), including a closing chapter/ essay bridging the past to some of the present via Fishrider Records.

It’s not the last word on the subject but it is the first book to attempt cover the scope of the City’s music scene during that era. It is a great – spectacular at times – visual accompaniment to the music.

The book also provides a guide to discographies (some of which continue past the era covered in the book). It doesn’t ignore the present, for which we are most grateful, as the past has a habit of overshadowing the present in Dunedin.

Here’s a great review of it from the knowledgeable London fan of the “sound” at Did Not Chart.

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The Shifting Sands tour the US in October

Shifting Sands Trees3Dunedin psych-rock band The Shifting Sands released their 2nd album “Cosmic Radio Station” in late 2015, praised as “…Multi-faceted guitar pop channeling New Zealand’s ‘80s Flying Nun sound…”  by Uncut magazine and finding an appreciative audience around the world.

Now the band is set to bring its fuzzed out dreamy South Pacific psychedelic guitar rock to the US West and East in October.  Read about US musician Sharon Van Etten’s love of the band on Brooklyn Vegan.

7 October – 321 Lounge at Taix French Restaurant, 1911 W. Sunset Boulevard, LA with Rough Church

8 October – Mountain Rambler Brewery, 186 S Main St, Bishop, California 93514

12 October – Bar, 254 Crown street, New Haven CT w/ Dinowalrus

13 October – Rough Trade Records, 64 N 9th St, Brooklyn, NY – w/ Omni

14 October – Elvis’ Guesthouse, 85 Avenue A, New York, NY

17 October – Arts Riot, 400 Pine Street, Burlington, VT w/ 1881

19 October – The Crown, 1910 N Charles St. 2nd Fl, Baltimore, MD

20 October – Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia, PA w/ The Writhing Squares

22 October – The Pinhook, 117 W Main St, Durham, NC

24 October – Grimeys instore (at 5pm), 1604 8th Ave S, Nashville, TN

24 October – Exit/In, 2208 Elliston Place, Nashville, TN from 8pm w/ Neon Indian

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The Prophet Hens release their 2nd album

The Prophet Hens‘ second album “The Wonderful Shapes of back Door Keys” is built upon melodic jangling guitars, swirling Casio keyboards & the voices of Penelope Esplin and Karl Bray singing upliftingly melancholic songs about hope & despair, joy & regret, ambition & reality, coming together & drifting apart.

Their 1st album “Popular People Do Popular People” is also being (re-)issued on LP at the same time as this new album comes out. It 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.

Both albums are available in NZ/ Australia now and, in the UK/ Europe from Occultation Recordings. They are available in stores from 19 August 2016.

“The magic, merry-go-round keyboard washes remind the listener of fun times and maybe just a hint of The Chills, alternating between the somewhat downcast lyrics and bright, swirling melodies. It’s this dichotomy that makes this band and its forebears so fascinating.” The Big Takeover (USA)

“a very enjoyable record, especially those of us who belong to the “cult of the flying nun”…” Indienauta (Spain)

“…this pure hit of solid – if astutely restrained – joy.” Stereo Embers (USA)

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The Prophet Hens – L-R Penelope Esplin (keyboards, vocals), Robin Cederman (Bass), Karl Bray (guitar, Vocals), Chris Butchard (Drums) – Photo by Phoebe Mackenzie http://www.phoebelysbethk.com/

The Prophet Hens foresee new releases

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The Prophet Hens. Photo by Phoebe Mackenzie http://www.phoebelysbethk.com/

“Popular People” is the 1st single from The Prophet Hens‘ 2nd album “The Wonderful Shapes of Back Door Keys” which is due out in June/July (depending on when LPs get pressed!) on Fishrider Records and, in the UK/ Europe  on Occultation Recordings.

The Prophet Hens are Karl Bray (guitar, vocals), Penelope Esplin (keyboards, vocals), Robin Cederman (bass, backing vocals) and Chris Butchard (drums). Penelope takes the lead vocals on this song – as she does on half the songs on the album

Bassist Robin Cederman wrote “Popular People” sitting in the sun at his old flat on York Place in Dunedin and seeing a copy of The Prophet Hens’ first record on the coffee table. If it’s about anything, then it’s about the things people are willing to do – and the situations they end up in – to achieve their goals.

Just to confuse everyone, “Popular People Do Popular People” – their 1st album, from which this new single gets its title, is also being (re-)issued on LP at the same time as their new album comes out.

The 1st album made its mark all over the world, praised as “psychédélisme plaintif” by French music weekly Les Inrockuptibles, given 10/10 in reviews by UK mailorder specialists Norman Records’ staff and customers and featured on BBC 6Music shows by Marc Riley and Gideon Coe.

US music blog The Finest Kiss described their popular debut as “Chills meets Belle And Sebastian pop alchemy” before saying “The Prophet Hens may be better than both” and making it their #2 album of the year for 2013. It was a bold call from a respected indie-pop authority, but we think the bands’ 2nd album gives that claim a bit of a nudge.

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The Prophet Hens. Photo by Phoebe Mackenzie http://www.phoebelysbethk.com/

Death And The Maiden remix Introverted Dancefloor

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L – Introverted Dancefloor’s Bevan Smith / R – Danny from Death And The Maiden

Death And The Maiden have supplied a glorious nocturnal ambient dance remix of “Even If You Try” – a track from Introverted Dancefloor‘s recent album. We can’t stop playing it here at Fishrider HQ.

Introverted Dancefloor is New Zealand musician/ producer Bevan Smith (previously Signer, Aspen). Bevan mastered Death And The Maiden’s debut album and also provided his own Signer remix of their single “Dear ___ “ as a bonus track for the album download, so this remix is a fitting response.

And… while we are talking re-mixes, here is a futuristic remix of Death And The Maiden’s “Dear ___ ” by Horse Doctor.

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Death And The Maiden performing at Chick’s Hotel, Port Chalmers, Dunedin

Farewell to Chick’s Hotel (as a live music venue)

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Chick’s Hotel is live music venue in Port Chalmers, which is about 15-20 minutes drive north of Dunedin. The bar and music venue is on the ground floor of a reputedly haunted 135 year old hotel.

Hard to explain just how important Chick’s has been over most of the past decade as a focus for the local alternative music scene here, but especially the last 3 and a half years after the lease was taken over by members of The Shifting Sands and friends. During that period its potential was fully realised, with a world class PA and mixing desk, lightshow, reliable start and end times, a bus service and a welcoming atmosphere for bands and audiences.

Fishrider Records has held memorable album release shows there, including the TEMPORARY compilation release mini-festival in 2014. There have been so many great shows by local bands, touring bands and even some overseas acts we never imagined we’d see in our back yard.

Sadly it is closing this weekend after a final show featuring the above-mentioned Shifting Sands and The Clean. Which is a great way to go out. Tickets – limited to 150 – will sell out so get in quick.

The local newspaper, the Otago Daily Times (ODT or “Oddity” as it is also known) featured a story and interview with Mike McLeod of Chick’s Hotel and The Shifting Sands.

The Wireless has made a short video interview/ documentary on the hotel, which includes interviews with Mike and Tom from The Shifting Sands/ Chick’s Hotel and other musicians. Read the article here and watch the video below.

Thanks for everything Mike, Tom & everyone else who has worked there and been part of making it a home away from home for music lovers and musicians. “Tally Ho!” for Sunday night.

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Fishrider Best of 2015

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Our “best of 2015” has to be the two albums we released during the year. Two isn’t a lot, is it? It’s about our annual average release volume. Busiest year we had was 2012 with four releases, but two is plenty.  As we like to say: “we’re not music industry. We’re music arts and crafts.”

The albums we release are by musicians, bands in the Dunedin music community. Friends and colleagues. It’s a part time operation and the most valuable thing we can offer the bands is time, knowledge and connections.

For the past three years we’ve had an unlikely ally in a small UK label – Occultation Recordings. It is also more “arts & crafts” than “music industry”. Occultation released three albums this year – The Granite Shore  “Once More From The Top” (involving members of other Occultation bands), Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus “beauty will save the world”  and The Everlasting Yeah “Anima Rising” – and collaborated with us for a UK co-release for our two albums.

During 2015 that bond between the hemispheres was strengthened when Fishrider’s Ian Henderson traveled to the UK at short notice to play drums on recording sessions for the third and final album by Manchester’s beloved The Distractions, which will be released on Occultation Recordings in 2016.

The two releases in 2015 could not have been more different. Death And The Maiden’s self-titled debut is a unique combination of electronic dance/ trance music with post-punk guitar and bass elements and overlaid with dream-pop vocals. It’s dark, a little bit Gothic, but the kind of sound-world you can easily lose yourself in.

By way of contrast The Shifting Sands’ “Cosmic Radio Station” was a sun-bleached psychedelic shoegaze masterpiece, all fuzzy guitars and dreamy pop melodicism. Daylight to Death And The Maiden’s night music.

Thanks to the people who have kept Fishrider going in 2015. The bands, the artists/designers, the video makers, and especially the fans around the world who bought albums, shared links to music and videos, talked about the music, wrote about the music, or played the music on radio shows.

We have more planned for 2016…. stick around.