Forever twisting genre, technique and persona, Kody Nielson is one of New Zealand’s most vital musicians. From explosive art punk pioneers The Mint Chicks, neopsych project Opossom, Silicon and his collaboration on brother Ruban’s Unknown Mortal Orchestra all highlight his output is as prolific as it is eclectic Birthday Suite is an energetic, elaborate set of arrangements that sees a heady mix of baroque flourishes, afrobeat, 70’s disco, jazz and offbeat psychedelic rock combined with immaculate craftsmanship to compose the ultimate celebration of being born and getting older.
Vancouver three piece The Courtneys find a home for their sophomore effort II, 7000 miles away in New Zealands’'Flying Nun Records.
"The lyrics are often smart, resonant, and at times existential; the musicianship is tight, the hooks are sharp, the songcraft is dynamic" -Pitchfork
"alive with fuzzed-up jangle and artful pop that makes for both good daytime listening and solitary nighttime repeat play" - Rookie
Mermaidens are a three-piece outfit from Wellington, New Zealand, who are renowned for their intricate and unique songwriting, boldly raw but increasingly refined studio production, and a hypnotic live synergy that leaves audiences enchanted. Their entrance onto the NZ music scene was extremely strong following the releases of their widely acclaimed debut EP O in 2014 and subsequent album Undergrowth in 2016. As a result, they were offered dozens of national shows and international support slots, which led to them being picked up by Flying Nun records, who release the band’s first international album, Perfect Body, on 4th August 2017.
The excitement around Mermaidens' debut album was encapsulated by i-D contributor Wendy Syfret, who described them as one of; "New Zealand's most enigmatic and engaging young bands."
Their impressive portfolio of support slots and sold out shows, attests to the charm and excellence of their live show. In just a few years Mermaidens have sold out major venues in New Zealand as well as supporting international acts such as Death Cab For Cutie, Sleater Kinney, and Mac Demarco, and Windhand.
Shayne P Carter (born in Dunedin, New Zealand) is best known for leading early 80’s punk band The Bored Games followed by The Doublehappys, then the Straitjacket Fits into the mid 1990's. From 1995-2012 he was the only permanent member of Dimmer. Offsider is his first album under his own name.
Accolades Carter has earned during his career include membership of the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame, the Legacy Award (both earned with Straitjacket Fits at the 2008 New Zealand Music Awards), and New Zealand Music Awards for Best Group and Best Rock Album (Dimmer, 2004).
Formed in Auckland in the early 1990s, Bressa Creeting Cake's, catalog is packed with avant-pop. Right from the opening calypso swing of 'Palm Singing', always displaying a playful inventiveness that goes throughout the album. With plenty of psychedelic tinges and a touch of progressive rock, the band don’t get stuck in any one place for long, from the frivolous fun of 'Rocky Mountain' to the beautiful 'Chip That Sells Millions', the term 'pure pop genius' jumps to mind. Never released before on vinyl this expanded double LP edition of the bands debut s/t album also features tracks from the Papa People EP plus b-sides and rarites.
Re-issued for the first time Auckland's Garageland 'Comeback Special EP' and 'Last Exit To Garageland' which when released made solid splashes on student radio as well as going on to reach number 5 in the NZ music album charts. Guitars turned up and warm reverb tossing off words nonchalantly in the way that great NZ bands have always mumbled through a catchy tune, Garageland were mining a rich musical vein. Deluxe 2xLP, including, B-sides, rarites and digital download.
The 'Otherness' is the latest album from New Zealand's experimental-alternative pop connoisseur Grayson Gilmour. This album is Grayson's third record with Flying Nun and follows on from the 2014 release 'Infinite Life!'. Over a 15 year music career, Grayson has built himself a dedicated fan base and admiration from music critics across New Zealand and internationally for not just his solo work but his band So So Modern and his more recent film and TV work.
The brainchild of Amelia Murray, Fazerdazeâ€‹ began as a string of bedroom recordings created late in the night, emerging fully-formed in 2014 as her debut eponymous EP. NME described it as 'elegant dream pop', while US blog HillyDilly exclaimed how 'Fazerdaze transports us to a warm, optimistic sonic space with her glistening synths and mellow acoustic guitar strums'. NZ's Sunday Star Times listed it in their 'Best of 2014' spread, hailing it as a 'versatile collection of near-perfect pop songs...'.
Since the EP release, Fazerdaze and her band have shifted to another level. Opening the 2015 New Zealand Silver Scroll Awards with her cover of Marlon Williams' Dark Child as well as supporting and touring with international acts like Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Connan Mockasin. This year Fazerdaze toured the UK, became a genuine highlight at Australia's BIGSOUND music conference and recently took part in the the 2016 Red Bull Music Academy in Montreal.
The first Courtneys album (self titled) came out in 2013 on small independent label, Hockey Dad Records, based in the band's hometown of Vancouver, BC, Canada. They have since worked with a number of independent labels including Conquest of Noise in Australia and Waterslide Records in Japan, as well as Burger Records and Gnar tapes in the USA. They have released a number of singles and music videos, and toured throughout Canada and the USA, including spots supporting Tegan and Sara and Mac Demarco.
In 2015 The Courtneys made their way to Australia and New Zealand, where they were hosted by Flying Nun Records. Influenced by the legendary label from early on, the group are honored to now be able to call it their home.
New Zealand's The Bats, that great band from the south, are back to remind us how sweet, lovely and connective pop songs can be. 'The Deep Set' is the enduring indie pop four pieces' ninth studio album in a career that has spanned nearly 30 years and influence countless bands around the world.
The Features, perhaps more than anybody, were the band that provided the stylistic delineation between punk and post-punk in the Auckland, New Zealand scene.
The band formed in late 1979, led by Jed Town (guitar) and James Pinker (drums). Both were members of The Superettes with Paul Kean (later The Bats), and when Kean left to join Toy Love they pulled in Karel Van Bergen (vocals, ex-Primmers), and Chris Orange (bass, ex-Terrorways) to complete the line-up.
Features are repeatedly named as a primary influence by many acts that followed them, breaking down, as they did, the barriers that had been constructed by the first and second waves of New Zealand punk.
Aldous Harding's songs are not for the faint of heart. Disarming in their desolate imagery and vulnerable instrumentation, they deal with the raw materials of life: birth, death, love and grief. Sometimes reminiscent of 60s-era folk singers Vashti Bunyan and Linda Perhacs, Harding's work lies in more harsh terrain than her forebears - piercing the long history of the genre with a grit and sincerity rarely encountered.
Based in New Zealand's Southern port town of Lyttelton, Auckland-born Harding began playing to the public in small-town venues and busking on the streets. It wasn't long before her name became synonymous with both the vivid devastation of her wordplay and the stark intensity of her performance; a unique blend of fragility and sinewy, world-won strength that belies her youth.
Lawrence Arabia - the pseudonym of James Milne - is a connoisseur of classic songwriting, creating timeless music inspired as much by 1970's West Coast Americana as New Zealand indie pop.
In April 2016 Lawrence Arabia released the first single A Lake from his forthcoming album Absolute Truth. Described by A Line Of Best Fit as: "is a confident, assured sound and the overall feeling that he's finally happened upon the sound that works for him... with tracks as strong as this, there's every chance that Lawrence Arabia's new album will give him the worldwide recognition his music deserves."
New Zealand's Ghost Wave return with their sophomore album Radio Norfolk.
Following on from 2013's Ages the groups' latest sees the duo explore deeper into their psychedelic sound, while adding a more electronic focus to their sunny warped songs that mix the sound of Flying Nun bands of the '80s, the British explosion of the '60s and the wayfaring dubs of Lee "Scratch" Perry. On top of this, they aptly brought on the talents of Spaceman 3's Sonic Boom to master the record.
From the lead single, Blues Signal '79 on, Radio Norfolk is a series of trippy, psych hooks filled with clashes of keys, organs, and percussion.
Ghost Wave started life in 2012 as the brainchild of Matthew L. Paul (Vocals, Guitar). What was a initially a project relegated to a small room in Auckland, New Zealand over time the sonic chemistry he was cooking up caught the attention of fellow music maker and soon-to-be collaborator Eammon Logan (Drums). Together they self-recorded what came to be their self-titled EP and followed this up with 2013's debut album Ages.
Inspired by skate vids, persian rugs and the music of Little Richard, you could simply characterize Ghost Wave by jangly guitars underpinned by motor-style rhythms and a unique melodic sensibility. Yet, with Radio Norfolk they have gone further than that, creating something even more captivating and intriguing. In their own words it's "...the countdown to the meltdown."
Kaleidoscope World is not just the starting point for The Chills, but a story of how it all began and an insight into the world of New Zealand guitar-pop and the 'Dunedin Sound' - an influence which carries on to indie-pop bands around the world today.
Originally released in 1986, the compilation captures the best of the magical early period recordings of The Chills and simply oozes excitement and possibility. The zany brightness of the cover art against the black background only hints at the wonder contained within. Now re-issued again on a deluxe 2xLP and CD set, featuring six bonus, b-sides, demos and live tracks plus an expanded gatefold cover with photos, posters and liner notes from journalist Martin Aston.
As Flying Nun label founder Roger Shepherd put it - Kaleidoscope World is "complex, varied but simple and direct. Musically sophisticated but joyous, poppy and accessible. Essential."
New Zealand ethereal trip-pop six piece Doprah return with their highly anticipated debut album 'Wasting'. From the eerie, reed-filled depths of its' conception and recorded over a period of three years following 2011's Christchurch earthquake, the album's atmosphere is dark, undulating and electric. Sounds throb, crack, glisten and weave across a genre-melting sonic landscape. Wasting is a visionary debut - a powerful statement of intent crafted by an unusually talented young band on a tiny island at the bottom of the world.
"All hail the arrival of another odd-pop export from New Zealand" - Spin
Avoid! Avoid play krautrock inspired psychospheric drone and are Sonya Waters (Fang/White Swan Black Swan), Stephen Reay (the Subliminals/the Haints of Dean Hall) and Brendan Moran (the Subliminals/Hasslehoff Experiment).
Dreamy, psychedelic pop songs seem to be the signature of New Zealand musician Zen Mantra (Sam Perry). And this, his self-titled second album, is filled with shimmering psychedelic lo-fi rock, and reverb drenched guitar melodies.
Following on from his 2013 debut album 'How Many Padmes Hum' the 10-track album sees the 21-year old bedroom producer joining the Flying Nun roster and expanding his focus to incorporate all forms of pop music from ethereal shoegaze to walls of psychedelic distortion. Taking cues from his fellow indie dreamers like DIIV and Wild Nothing, Zen Mantra has a pure pop energy, an expansive sound and plenty of hooks. Simply put Zen Mantra will make you feel warm and fuzzy.
Peter Jefferies (percussions, piano, tapes etc.) and Jono Lonie (guitar, violin, percussions etc) collaborated to make this album in 1987, originally released on Flying Nun. Noise ambience, minimalism, piano-scapes, experimental moods, open forms... a homemade instrumental sound related with so many fields, seeking for free combinations among several elements and defending both antithesis and co-existence.
The release of Street Chant's debut album Means in 2010 set in motion a small Auckland tremor that unraveled into a rollicking roller coaster. This included international tours including with The Lemonheads, Dead Weather, local slots at Laneway, The Big Day Out, a tour with David Saunders playing The 3ds, numerous tours up and down New Zealand, an underdog victory winning the Critics Choice, various other award nominations and no shortage of trouble in-between. In 2013 Street Chant released an EP Isthmus if One-Thousand Lovers, then mostly kept themselves busy finishing off their album.
David Kilgour's second solo album, Sugar Mouth, is one of the sweetest slices of timeless guitar pop you can taste.
Released on Flying Nun in 1994, the album is now re-issued again on gatefold 12" LP and CD. The re-issue also includes 10 bonus tracks and demos from the original recording featured on the CD and download.
Tiny Ruins and Hamish Kilgour (from The Clean) have combined to record the EP Hurtling Through - mixed by Gary Olsen
Where does one start with Chris Knox?
Musician, artist, cartoonist, director and much more, he is the godfather of alternative New Zealand music. A true renaissance bloke from down under.While, Seizure, originally released in 1988, is certainly not the start for Chris Knox it is often considered his first 'proper' solo album.
Though in fairness there is nothing proper about it, exploring the surreal, the political, the satirical and sometimes simply the crazy, all of which would never been seen on the hit parade. Yet, musically they should have been, packed with brilliantly skewered hooks and humorously scathing lyrics, Seizure is a lo-fi mix of punk, indie rock and pop that works perfectly.
With it's DIY recording, wit and melody, Seizure highlights why Knox is considered one of New Zealand's finest songwriters. From fronting early NZ punk band The Enemy to Toy Love and then the Tall Dwarfs through to helping launch Flying Nun Records recording the likes of The Clean, the Dunedin Double and more. It’s also near impossible to fit his bio into this space.
And, his influence has reached out well beyond these shores inspiring generations of musicians - no better shown than on the benefit album (Stroke: Songs of Chris Knox) released as a fundraiser following his stroke in 2009, which featured the likes of Bill Callahan, Yo La Tengo, Lou Barlow, Stephin Merritt and many more.
From the simple pop of "The Face of Fashion", through to the driving force of "Wanna!!" and the strangely uplifting brood of "My Dumb Luck" - all that without even mentioning "Not Given Lightly" , the love song to end all love songs - Seizure, despite our dislike of the word, is a legendary release in the Flying Nun catalogue.
Now, re-issued again on LP and CD, with the audio taken direct from the original master tape to vinyl lacquer, the releases also features the original cover art from it's first pressing.
As the opening liner notes proclaim, Weeville is; "the first straightforward LP by Tall Dwarfs - uh... in terms of having the same number of tracks on each side - both of which play at the same speed and which ain't a compilation."
Nonetheless, their 1990 release is filled with the Tall Dwarfs' eclectic mix of homespun psychedelia, densely textured pop songs and a wallop of hard nosed punk.
The Tall Dwarfs are a partnership between New Zealand home-recording pioneers Chris Knox and Alec Bathgate. A duo, who have been making music together since 1977, first in New Zealand's early punk band, The Enemy, followed by Toy Love. In 1981 Chris and Alec returned as the Tall Dwarfs, they purchased a four track, and over the next 30 plus years would release wonderfully demented records and go on to influence bands such as Pavement, Yo La Tengo, Neutral Milk Hotel and countless more.
Now, re-issued again on LP and CD, Weeville is wired with hypnotic tunes, weird and wonderful instruments and brilliant songwriting. Whether that be the raw spookiness and two guitar harmony of Breath and Crawl or the oddly compelling Skin Of My Teeth and Bodies all brushed with a scent of the macabre.
Along with a 20 page booklet featuring the duo's individual art and design, Weeville is a fantasy land built on tape loops, feedback and distortion. It's pop music just how they like it.
Reissue of the Able Tasman's 1986 debut full-length album 'A Cup Of Tea and A Lye Down' with bonus 12" containing the bands first EP 'The Tired Sun' (1985) and three bonus tracks.