Thursday, December 30, 2010

Class Of 81 (1981)

Happy 2011! In a few days, the Class of 81 will be celebrating their 30th anniversary...

Simon Grigg put this out on Propeller, and over on his site he gives heaps of info on this comp, the neglected little brother of his massive AK79.

My copy has a small amount of surface noise, but there's a bit of popping particularly on the the first three tracks of side two. However, the Screaming Meemees track can be downloaded all clean and legit, and Blam Blam Blam's is on their 'Complete' CD; both can be purchased at

For fans of The Chills, The Clash, and the Cure.

Here We Go

Monday, November 1, 2010

Children of the Generator (1988)

Great comp of the late 80s NZ industrial/electro scene. Utterly dark stuff, but none of it gloomy.

Headless Chickens kick it off with their driving reductionist chant/drone 'Throwback'.

Two tracks from Straw People: the danceable 'Full Power' and the Gavin Bryars marching music of second-sider 'Surface'.

The classy Black Girls Machine's industrial pop 'Asking' on side one is a great a-sider to side two's THX-1138-sampling trancer 'Heaven Hell.'

F.T.W. share their Scared Straight samples with basic beats and bass, and side one ends with Factotum's industrial symphony 'Miasma'.

Side two starts with some Gutteridgesque surfkraut from Graeme Humphreys and Bevan Sweeney, and ends with Greg Johnson's 'Hall of Heaven', which wouldn't sound out of place in some early '70s flower child's freak out before coda-ing with what sounds like Philip Glass played on a Casio borrowed from They Might Be Giants.

I just feel that I need something stronger

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Massive Stereo Sellout - By Now (1988)

The only recording by duo Ben Hayman and Steve Roach, 'By Now' by Massive Stereo Sellout is colder and simpler than Fetus Productions, less aggressive than the Skeptics, and without the pop sensibilities of the Headless Chickens.

Hope, their 'hit', sounds like what Jack Nance might've danced to in an Eraserhead  nightclub.

Some of the sounds on here actually remind me of early Aphex Twin/AFX -- at his least self-indulgent -- as performed by Nigel Bunn.

'By Now' is an excellent and unexpected example of an underdocumented scene in eighties EnZed. Get some more info from BiFiM Magazine, October 1988, over at Club Bizzare.

Brain Dump

Mole Männe - Mole Männe (1983)

Can't really find out much about this album, so I'll just have to tell you what I reckon. Recorded in 1983 for Jayrem, Mole Männe's self-titled EP is caught somewhere between punk and post-punk: linear monotone vocals, minimalist superfuzz licking, big rumbling stereo-separated Gang of Four/PIL drumming, and "production values"; paired with teen-angst poetics.

It's dreary and adolescent, and feels like small-town-rock-band to me, and that's a recommendation.

And We Won't Live Long

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sam Hunt / Mammal - Beware The Man (1972)

I've had this one for years, and haven't hardly listened to it. Always remembered it as a tragic example of prog wankery, and a poor representation of the work and voice of NZ's favourite Rock 'n' Roll poet. I'd planned on posting it here as a historical oddity. Reading back through the liner notes, Mammal's got Tony Backhouse and other kiwi musos who went on to various levels of musical fortune, but also early use of the Electronic Music Studio at Victoria, and some lovely work from the Alex Lindsay String Quartet.

Listening back yesterday as I was digitising it, I really enjoyed (most of) it. Mammal reminds me a lot of bands like Lutha, Tamburlaine and Waves, and I start thinking it was maybe kind of a mini-scene of this earnest kiwi melodic psych-folk.

Sam recently recorded a really gorgeous album with David Kilgour, and we were lucky enough in Dunedin to see Sam perform with David and the Heavy Eights, who featured a guest appearance that evening from Martin Phillips on keys and steel guitar. According to Sam's website, a live album from those shows is forthcoming.

My copy was a bit rougher than I remembered, so there is a bit of popping and clicking on these tracks; maybe someone out there can recommend a decent (freeware) noise reduction VST? One which doesn't suck all the life out of the music?

Red Rat

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Teenagers From Outer Space: Thirteen Christchurch Nuggets 1980 - 1983

Today is my birthday, so here is yr prezzie: the debut of this comp, TEENAGERS FROM OUTER SPACE! I'm very excited about this; having been sitting on it for far too long, it's time to share.
Very, very tasty tracks here, blended and rolled up for you by a true connoisseur, the inimitable Mr Andrew Schmidt. Here's his words:
Teenagers From Outer Space – Thirteen Christchurch Odds ‘n Sods – 1980 – 1983

Ballon D'Essai – False Projections – 1983
Three D covers, vividly coloured screenprints, insert comic books - Ballon D'Essai records were an arty treat. And while the music didn't always live up to the packaging both of their EPs threw up some worthy sounds. The most interesting of which is False Projections. Written by Stephen MacIntyre, you can hear early hints of his work with All Fall Down in the slow prowling beat and VU-like serpentine lead that evokes Mainly Spaniards, and predates Flex era JPSE. The Christchurch sound anyone? Simon Says from the same EP is also worth checking out giving the best example of their later funky post-punk sound.

The Builders – Alien / Bedrock Bay – 1982
Bill bounced these two from EST’s Songs From The Lowland after the first run which we had. Two rocked up versions of Alien and bedrock Bay that showed Bill coulda been a (left field) mainstream rocker if he wanted.

The Gordons – Quality Control / Mengus Fugit - 1984
This is The Gordons that dare not speak its name. The second Gordons - John Halverson (guitar), Vince Pinker (bass) and Brent McLaughlin (drums) – that emerged out of Sheep Effect to record The Gordons’ Second Album. Unavailable still its tracks are a fairly pale version of the Parker-era Gordons bar Quality Control, a wired must-hear Gordons rocker and Mengus Fugit, which is equally relentless but less linear twin. Two of their best.

The Great Unwashed - Bad News For Jesus – 1983
The Great Unwashed with Peter Gutteridge on board in Christchurch with an E chord strummer full of the same infectious swing he'd bring to his masterful contributions to Singles in 1984. Taken from The Clean/ The Great Unwashed - Oddities 2 – 1987. Check the lyric. "Bad news for Jesus today, God got married, and had another son. "Zombies at the door, zombies at the door, all dressed up, in Sunday chains, there's Zombies at the door."

The McGoohans – Psychedelic Texas - 1983
Christchurch pean to Pebbles heartland, Texas, that few would have recognised back then. Only available on 20 Krypton Hits (Onset Offset Records tape) - 1984

The Newtones – Christchurch Part 2 - 1981
The Newtones EP debuted on the NZ pop charts at number 19, sold out its first pressing quickly then dropped out the next week. This popular Christchurch trio, who featured ex-Vauxhall/Streets Of Flowers guitarist Mark Brooks on bass and vocals, and Vandals/Aliens/Streets of Flowers singer Tony Peake on guitar and vocals, needed no gimmicks on the fuzz propelled rocker, China, a Tony Peake song echoing the aggression of the punk years and hinting at Peake’s love of sixties psych. The flanged pop/ rock of Christchurch part 2 is a deliberate and effortless Christchurch anthem.

The Newtones – My World – 1982
More flat street pop from the prolific Newtones. My World is a Mark Brooks song taken for a long stroll by Brooks’ bass, Martin Archbold’s drums and Tony Peake’s guitar. Second Top 50 single from early 1982.

The Pedestrians – Looking Out My Window – 1982
The Pedestrians – Kevin Stone, Stuart McLachlan and Peter Wood - were a Napier power pop trio who moved to Christchurch in 1981 then hit their stride in 1982 after picking up drummer Lloyd Morgan. This lineup played regularly at new club PJs, the Gladstone, and the Star and Garter, and released the only Pedestrians single. Guitarist McLachlan’s spry pop stroll down a cracked Napier street, Looking Out My Window, backed with bassist Stone’s Jam-ish The Boys and The Girls. Lisa Bouillir sang in a late version of the group.

The Terraces – A Place Like This - 1982
The spooked sound and feel of a chill bright morning rapping over the Canterbury Plains. Roland de Beer (vocals/ drums), Brendan Cheyne (vocals/ guitar), and Peter Brennan (bass) were The Terraces, a post-punk trio who later added sax. Flipside on The Terraces’ only single from 1982.

The Vauxhalls - Teenager From Outer Space - 1980
Thank god The Vauxhalls managed to get into Christchurch’s Orley Studios in late 1980. That the recordings included a song this good is a bonus and real meat to the myth. Unfortunately by the time they got to record The Vauxhalls were minus Scott Brooks, the bass player so Mark Brooks plays bass and guitar. Martin Archbold drums. On the best track Teenager From Outer Space Mark Brooks lets rip ‘bout a quarter of the way through a wild chunk of garage R&B lead that burns the carpet. Unreleased.

The World – Mystery - 1983
You don’t hear much about Christchurch’s The World (Charles Heyward/ Allen Meek/ Malcolm Grant/ Andrea Cocks/ Bridgit Mulcahy) these days but it seems John Campbell in his haste to big up the Scottish originals has overlooked a Kiwi Orange Juice. Wrap those ears around the first track here, John, Mystery, it’s an upbeat funky joy with scratchy VU guitaring. The World released a tape in their own right in 1983 from which this track was sourced.

When the Night Gets Long

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bill Direen and the HAT (1990)

Couldn't resist putting this up after the last post. This is perhaps my favourite Bill Direen album, only ever available on this South Indies cassette as far as I know. The HAT stands for Hamish Kilgour (The Clean, The Mad Scene, Mood Expansion Chamber, etc.), Allen Meek (Victor Dimisich Band), and Tony O'Blaney, with help from Liz Silver, Lisa Siegel and Steve Cournane. I know at least one of these songs (Nil-Nil) made it onto another album (Cut) in another form (and three others appeared on the 1994 CD version of Bilderine 'Split Seconds'), but this South Indies cassette presents a far better version, at least to my ears. The band just really gels, and the addition of atmospheric, sympathetic synth gives these songs an unexpected melancholy lushness.

I'd rather be a yellow hammer falling from the sky (link  removed -- buy it here!)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bill Direen - Live at the Gladstone, Christchurch (1984)

Our man Bill Direen was recently selected as University of Auckland/Creative New Zealand writer-in-residence at the Michael King Writers’ Centre in Devonport from July this year. In honour of this award, here is a tasty little bootleg live recording of the man alone, from a 1984 solo performance in Christchurch. It's approx. one half Builders/Bilders/Bilderine/Soluble Fish songs, with a Doors(!) song, a couple of blues classics (Leadbelly's 'Red Cross Sto' and Ma Rainey's 'See See Rider [Easy Rider]'), and 'Mack the Knife' as murder ballad.

This intimate recording is taken from an old audience cassette, and as such is filled with stops and starts, crowd noises, pops and clicks (tho' it still sounds great, no worries).

I Drink

Sunday, March 7, 2010

We Still Hate The Spelling Mistakes

Ever expanding in the breadth of Switched Out's postings, (I reckon soon I'll even post some non-Zealandish stuff) here's a big fat dose of c1977-80 Auckland punk. 

This posting comes courtesy of the considerable closet of new contributor and old mate, Andrew Schmidt. Andy's been documenting NZ music since the early 1980s, producing exhaustive histories of NZ punk/pop/rock in 'zines Social End Product and Mysterex. As Andy is far more informed a writer than myself, I'll just cheat and quote him here: 

'We Still Hate The Spelling Mistakes [was] the first reunion show giveaway CD of live and studio tracks from the group's hey day.

All I Know How To Be alone justified a revisiting, but really this was a band with no shortage of quality songs. Ergophobia, X-Teenager, the misanthropic Anti-Social, their lost 1977 style snarler, Latest Photograph, What's Wrong With Me? and Nothing To Say all deserved the studio treatment.

They got it in November 1998 at Frisbee Studios in Auckland. Bob Frisbee recording. They scrubbed up well those old Spelling Mistakes gems. There's brash pop smarts and punk rock power all over this great lost album. X-Teenager is a Kiwi 1970s punk anthem in absentia. The relentlessly upbeat All I Know How To Be combines power pop Buzzcocks with the grander structures of early Magazine and a peerless Nick vocal. Latest Photograph is pure pop. Helium Head, written by Julian after The Spelling Mistakes demise, is spacey Beatles psych with Nigel Russel keyboards, druggy harmonies, and a stray Chuck Berry riff. An intriguing hint of where The Spelling Mistakes might have gone.

Ergophobia, Anti-Social, Nothing To Say, and What's Wrong With Me? crackle with punk's original electricity and hard humour. Warwick getting that Detroit amphetamine - Chuck Berry guitar sound down. Age has not wearied them nor the past condemned.'

Link to the full article is here.

Look for more posting from Andy's vast stash soon, and visit his blog, Mysterex, regularly. And whenever possible, buy his magazines. And books. Or buy him a beer. My man loves a beer.

Track Listing:

The Spelling Mistakes – We Still Hate The Spelling Mistakes (reunion show giveaway CD) - 1998

Hate Me, Hate Me
No Contact (all recorded in December 1979 at Mascot Studios in Auckland with Steve Crane)

I Want You
Feels So Good
I Hate The Spelling Mistakes
Hate Me Hate Me (all recorded with Fane Flaws at Mandrill Studios in Auckland – April 1980)

The Ballad of Reena’s Piss Flaps (recorded by Bryan Staff at Mandrill Studios in Auckland – May 1980)

Live at Radio B at Mainstreet in Auckland – May 1980
No Contact
X Teenager
I Want You

Live at XS Café in Auckland by Terry King – October 1980
X Teenager
Nothing To Say
All I Know How To Be
Shell Shock Victim

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Chicks of '86: Jay Clarkson - s/t + Sandra Bell - Black Birds

No, no -- not those The Chicks.

Two great records from NZ, 1986: Sandra Bell's 'Black Birds' 12", and Jay Clarkson's self-titled mini-LP.

Jay's work is lovely melancholy indie, with supporting musicians Chris Matthews and Peter Jeffries. Reminds me a bit of Look Blue Go Purple, but that could just be because they both have songs about someone called Penelope. Coincidence?

Sandra's is definitely the darker flavour, evidenced on opener "Industrial Nite" and closer "Working Men's Club". Love the hand-screened Palangi-nesian record cover (black singlet and lavalava). The opener later appeared (as "Industrial Night") on her 'Dreams of Falling' album. I used to have the cassette of that one, which I'm sure was on Xpressway. She worked with Peter Jeffries as well on 'Dreams of Falling', along with Alastair Galbraith, Peter Gutteridge, Kathy Bull, Bruce Blucher and David Mitchell. Might have to see if I can find that one again.

Sad Hands [Link removed -- now available again here (with extras!)]

Siesta [Link removed -- now available again here or here (with extras!)]

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Get Lost 3: 15 Unreleased KIWI Rhythm and Beat Gems 1964 to 1967

Don't be fooled -- there were never (yet!?) any vols. 2 or 1.

This freekin' amazing rekkid comps a few of yr faves (Larry's Rebels, The Chants, Bluestars, Roadrunners) with some totally unknown but nevertheless angry young men, all Beatle-booted, shaggy and surly.

'Fraid I can't give much more information, as there's none here. Judging by the sound quality, I'm guessing some of these are crispy old live tapes (Ray Woolf taking on the Chants' biggest hit, only faster and louder), private pressings or acetates (Grimm Ltd., The Raves).

Brought to you by your friends at Zerox records, who gave you klassic kiwi komps like "Pie Cart Rock 'n' Roll" and "Get a Haircut." Don't bother to visit the website printed on the back cover (art included in the file), as it doesn't actually exist. Mysterious!

One Ugly Child