Category Archives: The Prophet Hens

The Prophet Hens touring NZ

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The Prophet Hens embark upon a NZ tour in January in celebration of their second album “The Wonderful Shape of Back Door Keys” which was recently released on Fishrider Records (NZ) and Occultation Recordings (UK).

Thursday 12 January – ChristchurchDarkroom, with Grawlixes . Tickets here.

Friday 13 January – DunedinDog With Two Tails, with Ultramafic & Grawlixes. Tickets here

Friday 20 January – Wellington Meow, with Moses & Grawlixes. Tickets here.

Saturday 21 January – AucklandFreida Margolis, with Paul Cathro & Grawlixes

This Dunedin based jangle pop outfit of “Chills meets Belle & Sebastian pop alchemy” (according to The Finest Kiss in the US) made its mark all over the world with its debut album “Popular People Do Popular People”; praised as “psychédélisme plaintif” by French music weekly Les Inrocks, given 10/10 in reviews by UK mailorder specialists Norman Records’ staff and customers. Both albums have featured on BBC 6Music radio shows from Marc Riley, Gideon Coe, and Steve Lamacq in the UK.

The Prophet Hens are touring with Grawlixes, a Wellington (by way of Dunedin) based acoustic pop outfit, featuring sweeping male-female vocal melodies & harmonies (Penelope and Robin from The Prophet Hens), with accordion and guitar. Grawlixes toured extensively throughout Europe with French for Rabbits in 2015 and are preparing the release of their first album “Set Free” in July 2017 on Home Alone Music.

 

 

 

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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/

TEMPORARY videos

A few weeks ago a video for Winded’ by Kane Strang – one of the songs on TEMPORARY – was released. It was made by the same Dunedin video team who made the video for ‘Amnesia’ by Strange Harvest (also on the album). Video makers Emily Berryman and Phoebe Mackenzie feature in an interview in the TEMPORARY magazine too. There are videos for a few of the songs on TEMPORARY now. So, in the interests of audio-visual splendour here are all the TEMPORARY-related videos in one post. First up Kane Strang & the eye-popping ‘Winded’ video from Emily & Phoebe: Next up is Strange Harvest & that superbly dark video, also from Emily & Phoebe: Here’s a Fishrider DIY one we did for The Prophet Hens’ “All Over The World” – Finally, here’s Adrian Ng performing solo at The Attic and playing his Trick Mammoth song ‘Home Video’ and his Mavis Gary song “Dim the Droog” It was filmed and edited by The Attic’s Daniel Blackball Alexander – TEMPORARY – Selections from Dunedin’s Pop Underground 2011 – 2014 is available here: https://fishriderrecords.bandcamp.com/album/t-e-m-p-o-r-a-r-y

TEMPORARY compilation – Norman Records guide

Norman Records is a fine UK mail-order specialist based in Leeds. They know their music. So we were thrilled to read they really liked our TEMPORARY compilation LP. “In a word – Brilliant!” was their Twitter verdict, their review concluding “this is simply a truly great record, more than a mere sampler.” Their track-by-track rundown on TEMPORARY is a great introduction to the strange wonders within but of course you can listen to it yourself now the whole album can be streamed here:

We were also happy to read the ‘zine (or ‘art catalogue’ as someone recently described it) was appreciated. Being able to present some information on the bands, their discography, and a bit of a flavour of their music scene and the people involved was an important part of the compilation for us all.

For those who prefer to travel light, without the physical weight of LPs, CDs or magazines there is a digital version available via bandcamp, which includes the magazine in PDF form. You can also send it as a gift to someone else through bandcamp…

And finally… a reminder that TEMPORARY should be in your local stores by now (NZ, USA, UK/Europe)and is available in the US from Ba Da Bing! Records and in the UK Europe from Occultation Recordings and in NZ via our website shop or Fishrider Records’ Bandcamp.

T E M P O R A R Y – Selections From Dunedin’s Pop Underground – pre-orders

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We are excited to be able to announce pre-orders for our next release – a compilation of young Dunedin bands called T E M P O R A R Y – Selections from Dunedin’s Pop Underground.

Even more exciting is that we have combined with Ba Da Bing! Records (New York, USA) to present this special compilation of the Dunedin ‘Pop Underground’ of today in the US as a ‘local release’ there, rather than a pricey hard-to-find import.
Here’s what Bad Da Bing! Records have to say about it:

“The tiny city of Dunedin, located in the Otago Region of New Zealand, is synonymous with smart bands, incredible melodies and a wholly distinct and innovative music. Thanks to The Clean, The Chills, The Bats, The Verlaines, and The Dead C, etc. Dunedin has amassed a worldwide reputation for innovative music.

These young bands from Dunedin today have all created their own sound separate from the shadow of their city’s past, yet they retain the air of slightly disturbed melancholia, space and distance from the rest of the world so many of their predecessors shared. Yet again, an extraordinary number of incredible groups are populating the scene, and the songs on Temporary are the best of the best. A Dunedin Double Plus Good, if you will.”


US pre-orders from Ba Da Bing! Records:
http://www.badabingrecords.com/store/products/pre-order-temporary-selections-from-dunedins-pop-underground-2011-2014-lp/
And from Fishrider Records Bandcamp page: http://fishriderrecords.bandcamp.com/album/t-e-m-p-o-r-a-r-y
It will also be available in the UK/ Europe via http://www.occultation.co.uk in due course
In case you are wondering why there are only two songs streaming so far, we wanted early adopters who have faith in the project to have first listen to the songs here which are unreleased/ unheard. While some songs on the compilation have been released by bands, mostly only via Bandcamp, there is new and exclusive material from Opposite Sex, Males, Trick Mammoth and Scattered Brains of the Lovely Union and a re-mixed version of Kane Strang’s ‘Winded’ – which is one of the two preview tracks here:

The compilation includes a ‘zine created by some of the musicians and includes writing about and by the bands, art, writing, posters and other ephemera. As well as the LP+zine version there is a CD+ ‘zine version and even a LP+CD+zine combo option.

Chick’s Hotel Birthday Festival

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The building that has for many years been known as Chick’s Hotel in Port Chalmers, near Dunedin, was built in bluestone and brick in 1876 by former Port Chalmers mayor Henry “Harry” Dench, on the site of his Jerusalem Coffee and Chop House and Billiard Saloon, which he opened in 1864.

“There are bath-rooms for Ladies and Gentlemen, supplied with hot and cold, fresh and salt water, boats for the use of the boarders and altogether there are possible few watering-place hotels in the Colonies which afford better accommodation.”

But Dench soon ran into financial trouble and George Chick bought the building in 1879, the place being known as Chick’s Hotel (or Chicks Hotel) ever since. Former UK bicycle courier (and video star for The Smiths) Hector Hazard took over the lease in 2008 and developed the live music venue it has been ever since. Last year the members of Fishrider Records band The Shifting Sands took over the lease from Hector and have upgraded the stage and sound system to create the best small live venue in Dunedin. Supportive live music venues like Chick’s are an important contributor to the health of the local music scene here.

November 2013 marked the 1st anniversary of their reign at Chick’s so a 4 day festival was organised as both a celebration and also a (successful!) fundraiser for a Chick’s Hotel Magic Bus. As Chick’s is 15 minutes drive from Central Dunedin a regular show-night bus service has been running all year using hired vehicles (unsustainable longer term, hence the Magic Bus fundraiser). The recent Astro Children album release show was so popular it required two bus trips. Here’s a video of Males from that show:

The 4 days festival featured about 20 local bands and performers, including David Kilgour & The Heavy Eights. Fishrider Records artists involved were Trick Mammoth, Opposite Sex, The Shifting Sands and The Prophet Hens.

Here’s The Prophet Hens playing ‘All Over The World’ from their debut album ‘Popular People Do Popular People’: