Tag Archives: Flying Nun Records

“The Dunedin Sound – Some Disenchanted Evening”


“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.


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.

The Puddle in Dunedin Sound book2 2016.jpg



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

Listener review TSS CRS.jpg

Trick Mammoth live session from Auckland

A few weeks before Christmas last year Trick Mammoth headed to Auckland to play at Flying Out/ Flying Nun Records Christmas party along with The Verlaines, who were reprising their 1985 debut album “Hallelujah, All The Way Home” with the line-up which recorded the album.

Here’s three songs from Trick Mammoth’s set – “Himalayas”, “Delphine (With A Purpose)” and “Days of Being Wild” –

Filmed for Flying Nun/ Flying Out by PIKDAT http://www.pikdat.com Edited by Phoebe MacKenzie in Dunedin.

Live sound recording by Andre Upston, Radio NZ. Mixed by Ian Henderson at Fishrider HQ.

Trick Mammoth are Millie Lovelock (guitar, vocals), Sam Valentine (drums), Adrian Ng (guitar, vocals) & Kane Strang (bass).

Trick Mammoth ‘Jangle, All the Way Home’ with The Verlaines

Trick Mammoth played in Auckland last weekend (14th December 2013) at the Kings Arms. It was part of a Christmas party/ year-end event organised by Flying Out Records (the mail-order operation of Flying Nun Records which includes Fishrider Records releases in its catalogue). It was also a show marking the re-release of The Verlaines’ classic 1985 debut album Hallelujah – All The Way Home”.

Trick Mammoth had a great time, as you can see from these photographs from Flying Nun boss Ben Howe

Following Trick Mammoth was another band from Dunedin – Astro Children – a two-piece featuring Trick Mammoth’s Millie. Astro Children have just released a brilliant and adventurous debut called ‘Proteus’ on Auckland label Muzai Records.

Trick Mammoth

Trick Mammoth

Adding bass to Trick Mammoth’s live show was another Dunedin pop underground figure – Kane Strang. Kane will be joining the combined album release show on Friday for Males and Trick Mammoth which also features Astro Children. The overlapping family nature of this corner of the scene in Dunedin right now can get confusing, so here’s a simple Venn Diagram to help you navigate.

Venn Diagram of some related Dunedin Pop Underground bands & members

Venn Diagram of some related Dunedin Pop Underground bands & members

Trick Mammoth

Photo by Sam Clark

Photo by Sam Clark

Another band joining the Fishrider family this year is young Dunedin floral-pop trio Trick Mammoth.

I first heard Trick Mammoth via a song ‘Himalayas’ on a compilation put together by Dunedin music space The Attic. Not long after that a lovely and haunting low-key, mostly acoustic album appeared on Bandcamp called ‘Floristry’. At that stage Trick Mammoth, and the person behind these songs, was a mystery.

Then a Trick Mammoth band formed and revealed itself with a stunning demo single ‘Baltimore’, recorded on a single SingStar microphone at The Attic in Dunedin.

Trick Mammoth songwriter and guitarist Adrian Ng was joined by his friends Millie Lovelock (also in excellent Dunedin space-pop duo Astro Children) and Sam Valentine (from Dunedin power-pop trio Males).

After playing ‘Baltimore’ obsessively for a while I met Adrian in a record store. He told me he was trying to record a whole album with the band using that single microphone and his laptop. Not surprisingly it was taking a long time and he had trouble recording drums.

I offered to record them at Fishrider and also release something by them… hopefully an album. It’s all being mixed right now so watch this space…

Read more about Trick Mammoth here and here.

The Prophet Hens

Prophet Hens Monopoly smallDunedin jangle-pop 4-piece The Prophet Hens will be releasing their debut album – “Popular People Do Popular People” – on Fishrider Records in the next few months. Their name apparently comes from The Prophet Hen of Leeds – a very odd-sounding early 19th century doomsday hoax involving a hen which layed eggs with second-coming prophecies written on them. The band, and the songs on the album, started when songwriter and guitarist Karl Bray was laid up at home recovering from major surgery to repair an ankle he’d smashed up while escaping a night-time mugging in downtown Dunedin. He jumped over a wall to get away, and, in the darkness, fell 12 foot…

Local musician John White (Mestar, The Blueness) was staying at Karl’s place, so they started writing songs. The Prophet Hens began when Sefton Holmes joined on drums and Penelope Esplin on keyboards and vocals. This line-up played a bit and recorded most of the album before John headed overseas to live in Germany and Sefton also moved on. Robin Cederman replaced John on bass and Darren Stedman (The Verlaines) took over on drums.

The Prophet Hens music is marinated in the melodic jangle of that mostly fictional ‘Dunedin Sound’ – think The Chills, The Bats, Magick Heads, a little bit of The Clean and The Orange). But, unlike most Dunedin music of that golden era, there are strong vocal harmonies and the combination of Karl’s and Penelope’s voices is magical. As a result there’s also an echo at times of classic ‘indie-pop’ from the UK in the days when that was actually a good and wonderful thing.

We look forward to bringing their album to the world in the next few months. In the meantime here’s a preview of a fairly atypical song from the album (in that Penelope takes lead vocal), but one that caught our ear straight away as a kind of ‘listen up!’ anthem from the bottom of the world.


The Shifting Sands on tour

The Shifting Sands have been on tour, promoting the release of their album “Feel” on Fishrider Records at the start of April. They launched the album with a small-scale party at Taste Merchants in Dunedin (scene of the Fishrider Records 5th birthday and Opposite Sex album launch back in November last year) before heading to the North Island to play at Mighty Mighty in Wellington (with The Eversons– who have also just released their debut) and She’s So Rad. Then it was on to Auckland where they played the infamous K Road dungeon The Whammy Bar with Ghost Wave and She’s So Rad.

Now it’s the turn of the South Island. Last Friday they played to a packed and happy crowd at Dunedin’s newest venue The National with support from The Scattered Brains of the Lovely Union(a young 7-piece woozy experimental pop ensemble who have been recording at Fishrider Studio recently and who feature Lucy Hunter from Opposite Sex on trumpet and vocals) and The Prophet Hens. The photos are from this show.

This week The Shifting Sands head off (along with John White from the Prophet Hens) to play in Lyttelton/ Christchurch at Wunderbar with T54, the fabulously-named Dharma Bums Club in Wairau Valley near Blenheim, and the Penguin Club in Oamaru (with The Prophet Hens and Scattered Brains of the Lovely Union again).

[Incidentally Tom Bell, bass player in The Shiftings Sands (as well as in David Kilgour’s Heavy Eights) has recently recorded albums by Ghost Wave and by T54. And, of course, he’s Fishrider’s resident mixing and sound engineering guru. T54 and Ghost Wave are both great new young bands and are well worth checking out if you like that typical Kiwi guitar-pop sound.]

More touring is planned later in the year. We still hope to be able to give “Feel” a vinyl release sometime… it’s not easy down here on the edge of the world with no pressing plant and sky-high international freight costs.

“Feel” has been attracting some great responses from music lovers and the media:

Shane Gilchrist, writing in The Otago Daily Times, gave it 4/5 stars, saying:
“Mike McLeod, former frontman of Dunedin band the Alpha State (which put out a rather nice album, Lines, in 2008) again shows he’s no slouch for loose structure and honed melody, but this time he cloaks his songs in more psychedelic shades. Helped by a who’s who of Dunedin musicians, including David Kilgour, Robert Scott and Jay Clarkson, McLeod delves into the angular, chiming, hypnotic drone-pop of the city’s early-’80s Flying Nun clan but manages to avoid mimicry. He has his own voice and isn’t scared to balance dark country-esque areas (Too Late, Outta Here) with wiggy guitar histrionics (Worth Our While).”

Volume Magazine (#30)
“Dunedin’s Michael McLeod has an ear for a good phrase that pulls you into the thick of his somewhat low-key, post-Clean guitar pop – I can’t tell you how much I’m into a line like “Everyone’s presending that they’re organised/ Everyone’s pretending that they’re onto it… I think they’re out of it.” Elsewhere, it ditches the somnambulance of actual songs to jam awesomely on two-chord organ-drone freakouts (see: “The Kitchen Sink”)”

Vanguard Red magazine

“Dunedin’s Fishrider Records are on a roll at the moment. Following on from the coastal outsider guitar pop of Opposite Sex, they’ve just turned down the road leading to weightless naturalistic psychedelica with the new album from The Shifting Sands.

A collection of songs written by clear, whimsically voiced singer Michael McLeod (formerly of The Alpha State), the ten song deep cycle of sonic waking dreams calls upon a Chicks Hotel style gig guestlist of musicians including David Kilgour (The Clean), Robert Scott (The Clean, The Bats), Robbie Yeats (The Verlaines, The Dead C), Lesley Paris (Look Blue Go Purple), Jay Clarkson (The Expendables, Breathing Cage), Rob Falconer (Operation Rolling Thunder), and Tony de Raad and Tom Bell (David Kilgour & the Heavy Eights).

If you know your Dunedin music, that really says it all doesn’t it. For those unfamiliar, expect a sitar, synth and drone infected take on the classic summer super8 home video jangle oft associated with that most storied of local creative hubs. And while this blip of difference allows aspects of the sound to be remote viewed through a pseudo Eastern eye, the song narrative is straight up landscape informed South East Coast state-of-mind. I.E. There is a lot to like here.”