Tag Archives: The Clean

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

Chicks Hotel Sign Saturated

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.




“Cosmic Radio Station” by the Shifting Sands out now…

Shifting Sands A B Labels

“Cosmic Radio Station”, the 2nd album by The Shifting Sands is now out worldwide. This psychedelic transmission to inner & outer space is an album dripping sundazed melody through a shifting haze of fuzzy, chiming guitars, shimmering strings, and vocal harmonies.

“a psychedelic shoegaze trio whose promising second album suggests there may finally be an heir to those pioneering bands who first laid down the Dunedin Sound back 30 years ago…” Shindig! Magazine, UK (4/5 stars)

“…dense, multilayered psych pop is heavily reminiscent of the best of the Flying Nun bands, but with a twist…what’s in the water down there? How do these groups from these tiny, remote places create such majestic music? … A lovely album on all levels, highly recommended for fans of classic New Zealand music and for anyone who appreciates psychedelic-influenced rock music.” Active Listener

“…there’s not one track of filler… It’s a perfect sunny-day soundtrack… Magic album this. And much as I already loved The Shifting Sands this is a real step up. Not a foot wrong.” Off The Tracks (Simon Sweetman)

“…gloriously under-fi drone-scuzz psyche-rock… a lovely astral psyche-dreamscape.” Elsewhere/ Time Out (NZ)

“Part past, part future, the Shifting Sands aim hits the right cosmic spot.” The Finest Kiss (USA)

“…a ten-song tapestry of note perfect psychedelic pop, featuring intricately layered guitars, fuzz, feedback, melody, drone, and airy vocals.” When You Motor Away (USA)

TSS CRS unsleeved

Available in your local record store worldwide or direct from us via Bandcamp or, in the UK & Europe via Occultation Recordings. In North America you can get it from Revolver/ Midheaven.

TSS CRS Photo_cropped

The Shifting Sands on tour West Coast USA with David Kilgour & The Heavy Eights!


The Shifting Sands are playing 6 shows on the US West Coast with David Kilgour & The Heavy Eights starting 30 July in Portland. They are the first band on Fishrider Records to tour overseas.

David Kilgour & the Heavy Eights – End Times Undone
USA Tour (all shows with The Shifting Sands except Merge Fest.)

July 25th – Merge Fest. NC
July 30th – Bunk Bar, Portland (also with Daydream Machine)
July 31st – Logger Bar, Blue Lake
Aug 1st – Rickshaw Stop, San Fransisco
Aug 2nd – Los Globus, LA
Aug 3rd – Soda Bar, San Diego
Aug 5th – Bishop Pot Luck Society, Bishop, CA

Dates from David Kilgour’s website: http://www.davidkilgour.com/

Check out The Shifting Sands music here: http://theshiftingsands.bandcamp.com/

Their album ‘Feel’ is available here: http://fishriderrecords.bandcamp.com/album/feel

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.”