Category Archives: Uncategorized

Stef Animal presents “Top Gear”

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.

Even if you didn’t grow up with Atari video games, have no idea what Acorn and Commodore computers are or what acronyms like PCM and MIDI mean, you’ll still find the intricate universe of sound represented on “Top Gear” to be full of adventure, mystery, melancholy and wonder.

Here’s a short interview with Stef on Under the Radar explaining the origins of her “Top Gear” album.


Élan Vital – Aus/ NZ tour & new video


Èlan Vital – Renee Barrance, Danny Brady, Nikolai Sim [photo by Phoebe Lysbeth Kay]

Élan Vital are playing Melbourne, Hobart, Auckland, Whanganui and Wellington in a tour starting late January. They have also shared a new video for “Dreams” from their “Shadow Self” album, featuring the Fabulous Dancing Diamante Cocaine Horse Head

View the video and read the stranger-than-fiction story behind its ‘star’ at Noisey Music.

Tour Dates:

24 Jan: The Yarra – Melbourne w/ V, Luodown & Permission

27 Jan: The Brisbane – Hobart w/ The Pits & Hearts Beach

28 Jan: (Secret House Party) – Hobart w/ All the Weathers

29 Jan: Northcote Social Club – Melbourne w/ Second Sight,

30 Jan: Tom Tom Club – Melbourne w/ Embedded Figures & Hex Waves

31 Jan: Wine Cellar – Auckland w/ E/N/T

1 Feb: Lucky Bar – Whanganui  w/ E/N/T

2-4 Feb: Eyegum’s ‘A Gathering in the Forest’ Festival

7 Feb: Caroline – Wellington w/ E/N/T

The psychedelic, dreamlike dance video for their single ‘Dreams’ was created by regular collaborator and light witch extraordinaire, Erica Sklenars (Lady Lazer Light). It is a playful, fun video featuring a replica of the notorious diamante horse head from New Zealand’s biggest ever cocaine bust.

Inspired by the ridiculous beauty of the object and the comical hubris of the failed drug smuggling operation, Erica created a replica diamante-studded horse head. The diamante horse head has traveled from Winter Solstice dance floors in Dunedin to Wellington house parties and now stars in a DIY video for “Dreams”.

EV Aus tour

The Shifting Sands announce a new 7″ single and share a video for “Run”

The Shifting Sands_LA Studio

The Shifting Sands with Manny Nieto in LA.

The Shifting Sands announced a new 7″ single today, sharing a video for a new song called “Run” which appears on the single, due out towards the end of January 2018. [UPDATE: the single is finally on its way to NZ and we expect to have it in stock and to fulfill pre-orders in the week of 12 February 2018. Thanks for your patience!]


The Shifting Sands  Zoe/ Run (7” single)

After touring the West Coast of the USA supporting David Kilgour and the Heavy Eights, Mike McLeod booked studio time at Manny’s Estudio International in East Los Angeles. Far less glamorous in reality than it all may sound says Mike.

Joining the Shifting Sands for the sessions was guest guitarist Steven Schayer – a then LA-based musician with NZ connections, having played in The Chills during the early 90’s US-based “Soft Bomb” album era.  Steven brought a different flavour to complement the independent DIY No. 8 wire approach of The Shifting Sands.

Manny Nieto also brought a different flavour to the table, producing the tracks. Manny has worked with Steve Albini and has recorded bands like the Breeders and Los Lobos.

Whereas previous albums had been layered in fuzzy guitars and synthesizers, this session involved less layers, but more harmonic breadth within the layers. Tom added bass tracks on an 8 string bass, Mike adding a bass 6 – a guitar tuned down one octave.

While there are less layers of harmonic distortion – a characteristic component of the Shifting Sands sound – there is still a lot of harmonic complexity, just realised in a different way to the approach the Shifting Sands took on their first two LPs.

The band recorded on a Neotek console and via a two-inch tape machine, before mixing down through a ¼ inch tape reel.  Back in Dunedin the songs were mastered by Tex Houston. The 7” vinyl release format completes this analogue approach.

These songs reflect a special moment in time, in the sweltering heat of Los Angeles, while the band were far from their busy normal lives and able to spend time purely focused on making music, in a vastly different environment to their home town of Dunedin, and their base at Chicks Hotel in Port Chalmers.

Port Chalmers Fisheye2

Port Chalmers, Dunedin


We hate Spotify, but here’s a Spotify playlist

We hate* Spotify. But some people use it to discover music, so here’s a Fishrider Records playlist on Spotify. Please share it around friends and family and social media networks thanks!

*We hate Spotify because…

“Dividing an artist’s streams by the total streams on Spotify determines the percentage of our total pay-outs that should be paid for that artist’s rights” explains the Spotify website.

So… $144 NZD gets you a year’s Premium Subscription to Spotify. There were 25 million subscribers in 2015. The rights holder share is 70% (let’s say $100) but almost all your $100 goes to the rights holders for Drake, Ed Sheeran, Rihanna etc. because their songs are streamed most by the 50 million free users of Spotify and possibly some of the 25 million subscribers. Maybe $1 of your subscription $100 rights holder share will go to the artists you listen to.

Spotify depends on attracting and retaining subscribers and the income they bring. That requires a broad catalogue of artists. Almost nothing from your subscription goes to the artists you listen to if you listen to niche independent artists with modest numbers of plays. The tiny proportion of your subscription which does end up going to NZ based artists is going mostly to the rights holders for Six60.

For $144 NZD you could buy about 20 albums or 144 songs direct from an artist or small label on Bandcamp. Around 85% (@ $122) goes directly to them. You own the files (format/ quality of your choice) and can stream your purchases offline on your phone.

If you want to support local music or independent music subscribing to Spotify is not the way to do it. All it would take to make Spotify a “Fair Trade” option (rather than a scam) would be for Spotify to allocate income from subscribers to the artists they actually listen to. Can’t be that hard can it?

Spotify reply

Élan Vital “Shadow Self” release tour

Élan Vital are about to embark on their first NZ tour, in support of their debut album “Shadow Self”. You can find out more about the album in an informative interview with the band on Under the Radar.  

UK mail-order specialists Norman Records summed up the appeal of “Shadow Self” succinctly: The trio pull off a fine thing in taking the rich organ sounds of vintage days and applying their textures to the structures of synth-pop. Yum yum! Shadow Self is moody and dance-able dream-pop to lose your head in.” 


Dunedin 21.4.2017
None Gallery with Strange Harvest and Pesk

Wellington 28.4.2017
Caroline with Earth Tongue and Ë ‘ ñ , T

Auckland 29.4.2017
The Wine Cellar with Peach Milk and The Pleasure Majenta

Auckland 30.4.2017
Audiofoundation with File Folder

Christchurch 6.5.2017
New City Hotel with Dog Power and Ov Pain
EV Poster image

The Distractions “Kindly Leave the Stage”

Fishrider Records is proud to co-release the third and apparently final album by Manchester post-punk legends The Distractions with our UK partners Occultation Recordings. The Distractions songwriter Steve Perrin now lives in New Zealand and the drummer on this album is Fishrider Records & The Puddle’s Ian Henderson, so the album has a strong local NZ and Dunedin connection.

“Kindly Leave The Stage”, is released less than 5 years after the critically-acclaimed “The End of the Pier”. That second album took over 30 years to appear following their 1980 Island Records debut “Nobody’s Perfect”, which came out a year after their Factory Records single “Time Goes By So Slow” in 1979 – the single immediately preceding Joy Division’s “Transmission” single.

Distractions singles

7″ Singles by The Distractions 1979 – 1981

Fast forward to 2017 and time no longer goes by so slow for founding members guitarist and songwriter Steve Perrin and vocalist Mike Finney. “The classic narrative structure is beginning-middle-end so three seemed like the right number,” says Steve. “Also I thought it was important to formally say ‘goodbye’, both to the fans and to each other.” Mike adds, “I think that there was a lot of unfinished business after the first album, and I feel lucky that we got the chance to complete it properly.” The Distractions, not so much a great lost band as a great found band, are taking a final bow.

Ian responded to a distress call when regular Distractions drummer Mike Kellie was unable to make the “Kindly Leave the Stage” sessions due to ill health. Sadly Mike passed away earlier this year. The album is dedicated to his memory. He was very much part of these sessions in spirit, such was the impact he made on the other Distractions in their time together in the studio and on stage. Mike was a larger-than-life legend, with a drumming career starting in the late 1960s with Spooky Tooth, then playing with post-punk band The Only Ones between 1979 and 1982 (and again when they reformed in 2007).

KLTS_LP Credits

This is a special album for a lot of reasons. The international rescue mission by a spare drummer from the Dunedin label that has worked closely with Occultation Recordings (appearing in human form here as the Distractions other guitarist Nick Halliwell) was also a fitting way for Fishrider to repay the generosity shown by Occultation Recordings over the years in helping our artists’ releases find a foothold in the UK and Europe, and to celebrate 5 years of a label arrangement spanning the whole wide world.

“Kindly Leave the Stage” is available on LP and CD and as a download. It also comes in a very limited edition package with an additional 6-song 10″ mini-album of unreleased songs, poster and other items. It is available in NZ/ Australia/ Oceania from Fishrider Records and in the UK/ Europe and US from Occultation Recordings.


Steve Perrin of The Distractions, recording “Kindly Leave the Stage” in Exeter, September 2015

Steve Perrin on the Manchester post-punk scene in the late 1970s…

“It was a much more diverse scene to start with than people seem to give it credit for in retrospect. In retrospect everyone’s got a leather jacket and spikey hair, whereas if you’d taken photographs of the initial line up of Buzzcocks, The Fall, us, Warsaw or whatever we all looked pretty different and we all played pretty different kind of stuff but we just happened to be friends. We knew each other and played on the same bill and people didn’t have a problem with that. People didn’t seem to think it was odd that us, who were basically a pop band, sang love songs, were supporting The Fall who were a different proposition altogether. That didn’t seem strange.”

… and on how The Distractions were signed to Factory Records in 1979

“Tony Wilson rang my Mum, and I was not around, so I got home and she said “Peter from The Buzzcocks and that Tony Wilson off the telly have been on the phone”. She just got used to that sort of thing. Tony was very good with people’s Mums. He could be very charming.

Then I spoke to him and he said “we’re really interested in doing something and you’re going to be single of the week in the NME.” I thought he was a bit mixed up, because what had actually happened was there was a review in the NME by John Cooper-Clarke [of their first EP on TJM Records], which was a very short, positive, short review, so I thought maybe he’s had a drink or something. And what had happened is he’d spoken to Paul Morley who had told him that he was not happy with the John Cooper-Clarke review and he was going to review it again next week and make it single of the week that week. So that was that. And he said “Do you want to record for Factory?” and we went “Yes, we do”.”

“Time Goes By So Slow” was released in September 1978, catalogue number FAC12. FAC 13 the following month was “Transmission” by Joy Division.

Distractions & Joy Division NME

The Prophet Hens touring NZ

whitehouse smiles.jpg

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.