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FLYING NUN

Sharpie Crows

Mostalgia Kills

    Since first presenting their symptoms to the public five years ago, Sharpie Crows have become that band, the disorganised and slightly frightening sick musical cousins. Where others of their generation try to recreate the sprightly joys of their older brothers' record collections, Sharpie Crows prefer to burp and regurgitate the sinister side, the unwashed arse-side of popular music.

    This is music with intent: never strum, never flatter, never coast, don't sing a single word that hasn't insisted in a drunken dream on being sung. Nostalgia Kills is not just a manifesto, it's a long-playing record. It collects tracks previously distributed at shows by the band themselves on home-printed CD-Rs with titles like 'Greed' and 'Mass Grave/Golf Course'. It's one of the few contemporary local records that will make your future children think you must once have been cool. You will not hear acoustic guitar, disco hi-hats, or cute winks to pop history. You will hear a recklessly propulsive band in love with rhythm and noise.

    Astute observers rightly distinguish the scent of Skeptics, The Fall, the Birthday Party; what they smell is postpunk's determination to make every song an unrepeatable anomaly. To have seen them play or listened to their records is to have peered through a crack into a murkier world. Sharpie Crows don't have what you want, but they have what you probably need - a cure for boredom.

    Pin Group

    Ambivalence

      “The Pin Group’s short career was the perfect escape act—they produced a small but peerless body of work in adverse circumstances and in almost complete obscurity, and then evaporated before anyone could get a hook into them. A doubly impressive trick, when you consider that they also made the first record for Flying Nun, a label that was to define underground rock music for an entire generation. For many of us the thing that made The Pin Group so unforgettable was that their genius had existed right beneath our noses—and we’d missed them. “I can clearly remember hearing the black-on-black Ambivalence single when it came out in the midst of the 1981 Springbok Tour. I impatiently dismissed it as ‘too murky.’ It was not to be until early the following year that I heard the Go to Town EP... and then my mind split open. If ever I get my genie in a bottle I will be back in a flash to the Gladstone in December 1981 to see the five-piece Pin Group with Mary Heney covering ‘Lady Godiva’s Operation.’ For my money, that’s the absolute ne plus ultra of Velvet Underground cover-version match-ups. “A big part of their mysterious appeal—apart from their unparalleled understanding of the ultimate drone-rock magic trick of how to hold one chord just too long—was their masterly visual presentation. From that first blackest-ever single it was apparent that not only were they New Zealand’s ultimate VU-inspired band (a palm for which moreover the competition was unspeakably intense in those days)—but they even had their own Warhol, in the person of Ronnie van Hout. For that first delirious year he was a one-man design tsunami for Flying Nun, but it was his covers and posters for The Pin Group that represented his most perfectly-realized ‘total artwork.’ “A big part of my wanting to see Flying Nun get off the ground again in a new century was to get the chance to re-marry the sonics of The Pin Group with Ronnie’s ‘silver Factory’ visual vibe of Brillo boxes and black helicopters. And this is it: a legend that defies time. Now you too have the chance to experience The Pin Group’s irresistible blend of the puritanical with the libidinal—wrapped in a point-perfect distillation of proto-hipster psychedelic reference-points from the dawn of postmodernity. “They were right—our youth was soon past. But this endures.” - Bruce Russell, September 2011.

      High Dependendecy Unit

      Metamathics

        It has been nearly two decades since High Dependency Unit's music first reverberated from a drafty warehouse practice space in Dunedin. Their sound is an abrasive wall of rock punctuated with serene, expansive moments reminiscent of krautrock, electronica and film soundtracks.

        Originally released on Freak the Sheep Records in 2003, Metamathics showcases stunning aural landscapes built from a solid foundation of damaged guitar riffs and breathtaking dynamics. From the expansive "Tunguska" to the stark beauty of album closer "Wish We Were Here," the secret of Metamathics lies in affording each element the proper level of care and distinction to create a mesmerizing whole. Reissue of 2003 album from veteran New Zealand band.

        Six tracks (clocking in at 43 minutes) mixing abrasive guitar rock with elements of krautrock and electronica. Includes a free digital download of six remixes by a selection of New Zealand artists. The band recently reformed for a series of New Zealand shows as part of Flying Nun's 30th anniversary celebrations.

        The Courtneys

        The Courtneys (Reissue)

          The Courtneys reissued again on standard vinyl and limited edition blue vinyl. Vancouver three-piece The Courtneys’ excellent 2013 self-titled debut reissued and available again on Flying Nun Records. Consistently propelling itself forward this collection of eight songs are drenched in summer hooks propelled from fuzzed out guitars and creamy vocals that are both nonchalant and introspective. Not having enough money in your bank account, crushing on pizza delivery boys along with the subtle yet alluring charm of Keanu Reeves all occupy the three Courtney’s minds with lo-fi urgency which doesn’t outstay it’s welcome. It is clear to hear why The Courtneys’ felt at home in New Zealand when they first toured there in the summer of 2015 and joined the Flying Nun roster. Their commitment to the fine balance of pop and idiosyncratic indie guitar music finds lineage between The Clean, Look Blue Go Purple, The Bats while diving deeper into the fuzzy world of the likes of Bailerspace. 

          FORMAT INFORMATION

          Coloured LP Info: Limited Edition blue LP.

          Mermaidens

          Perfect Body

            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. Mermaidens’ sound offers a mesmerising dip into the realms of postpunk and psych, while the voices of Gussie Larkin and Lily West embrace warm harmonies and dreamy, hypnotic lyrics, entwined with dark and moody riff-based melodies, underpinned by Abe Hollingsworth's fluid and dynamic percussion.

            Drawing inspiration from bands like Warpaint, Fugazi, Exploded View and Sleater-Kinney, Mermaidens formed in 2013, having been friends in high school. Lily and Gussie had nervously shown each other songs they’d written before collaborating together. The name Mermaidens seemed to fit well as it’s fun and a little bit silly, yet dark at the same time. As Gussie explains; “I guess that’s us in a nutshell.” The band self-released their first EP O in 2014, which was a raw and enthralling DIY offering, recorded at drummer Abe’s parents house. There was a focus on capturing the ‘live’ element of the songs, which has always been very important to Mermaidens’ music. 

            Garageland

            Garageland

              Auckland New Zealand's Garageland made a big splash with their debut record Come Back Special in August 1995. The BFM favourites came out with five fresh pop songs that suggested a new wave of musicians were clutching the classic Flying Nun catalogue for inspiration and taking off to the garage to jam. With their guitars turned up to warm reverb and tossing off words not just with the lazy abandon so favoured by the modern American underground but in the way that great NZ bands have always mumbled their way through a catchy tune, Garageland were mining a rich musical vein. In order of appearance, these songs also suggest that (1) the line "come back, all is forgiven" is something worth shouting at the rooftops if you truly believe a former loved one doesn't know what they're missing, (2) Billy Joel is an arsehole, (3) you can't go wrong if you try and write thundering riffs like The Clean. (4) ditto on the riff -- but add some guitar squall for tasty spicing, and (5) Sonic Youth should maybe lay off the weed and try a pop cigar if they really want to stay young.

              The band's released their full-length debut in 1996, Last Exit to Garageland, and broke into the Top Five on the country's charts. The Auckland-based band moved to England in early 1997, but Debbie Silvey chose to stay behind. Once the group settled in, they met guitarist Andrew Claridge, who promptly joined on for several tours that year. The group returned to New Zealand for a tour in early 1998 and the US, but it wasn't till early 1999 that second album Do What You Want was recorded and the band relocated home. Repeating their debut's success, it went gold in New Zealand, and was release in the US and picked up by U.K. music publications including Melody Maker and NME. The band released their third and final album Scorpio Righting in 2002 before calling it a day, however they did re-form for a one-off gig in Auckland in November 2007 and then for a one off show in 2015. 

              Bressa Creeting Cake

              Bressa Creeting Cake

                All too rarely does a musical group come along with all the right bits intact and just enough of the wrong bits there to make you sit up and really take notice. Emerging on the Flying Nun label in the late 90s, Bressa Creeting Cake was heralded as a young band "brimming with ideas". Their self-titled 1997 debut album - made up of 15 tracks swinging between psychedelic and progressive rock (including single 'Nervous Wreck') received acclaim. Having already made serious wobbles in the airwaves over student radio with a string of demo recordings. Stretching their prodigious talents into a full album's worth of tunes, this young band revel in the chance to show us exactly what they're capable of. And that, my friends, is a lot. Right from the calypso swing of 'Palm Singing', Bressa Creeting Cake kick into the playful pop inventiveness that stands as the album's major mood.

                The vast array of styles on the album include plenty of psychedelic tinges and a hint of progressive rock, but the band don't get stuck in any one place for long over fifteen songs. And those frivolous moments like 'Rocky Mountain' are balanced out by more earnest tracks such as 'You and I' and 'They Write Words To People Who Are Dead'. Lyrically, both Edmund Cake and Geoff Creeting string words together with no small amount of flair. Whether it be the Hungarian/Mongolian hybrid language in 'Zenax', the imaginative leaps of syntax and imagery in 'Rocky Mountain' and 'Egyptian Tanker', or the strange tales told in the likes of 'A Chip That Sells Millions' or 'An Early Microscope', the use of words and meaning adds depth to the tunes here. Geoff Maddock (then going by the stage name Geoff Creeting) and Joel Wilton, went on to form pop-folk band Goldenhorse alongside Kirsten Morelle. Ed Cake has released a solo album and produced Don McGlashan, Neil Finn and The Brunettes. 

                The Courtneys drift back to the sound of the early ’90s, drawing from strong influences including Teenage Fanclub, Pavement, Eddy Current Suppression Ring, and The Clean. Courtney Loove's dreamy guitar riffs add a timeless powerpop element to the punk backbone formed by Sydney Koke's driving basslines, while drummer/lead singer Jen Twynn Payne delivers heartfelt lyrics with a powerful vocal style. These components come together through a passionate collaborative song writing process to deliver a special blend of fuzzy “artisanal grunge”.

                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. 

                Doprah

                Wasting

                  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. Wasting sees the now six-piece band’s ethereal, trip-pop sound reach a new level of fidelity and cohesion, with credit due to the band’s principal producer Steven Marr. Liquid synthesizers and cavernous programmed beats are fused with traditional live instruments to create a trendless sound, uniquely Doprah. Floating among the instrumentation is Indira Force – a musician able to transmit emotion like few vocalists can, sometimes forgoing lyrics altogether in the Björk/Elizabeth Fraser vein of vocal envelopepushing. 

                  Zen Mantra

                  Zen Mantra

                    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.

                    "Sam Perry brings to mind everything that made Gross Magic so exciting a few years ago, his songs are riff-laiden beats packed with asthmatic choruses" NME Magazine.

                    "The lo-fi, kaleidoscopic scene out in Australasia is booming. Zen Mantra…..is the latest enrollment into the continents already stellar alumni." VICE magazine (UK).

                    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.

                    David Kilgour is something of a cult figure, as the guitar and voice of left-field trio The Clean and a slew of fantastic solo albums – he’s up to 9 now – he has written the blueprint for New Zealand indie music and many bands to come. Kilgour’s talent for writing furiously catchy pop music with an understated Kiwi-style aura of ‘60s psychedlia is well-documented. A musician with a timeless way with guitar and song, just like his terrific debut, Here Come The Cars (1992), Sugar Mouth is laden with mesmerizing guitar melodies and shimmering pop brilliance.

                    However, like all his work there is the tilt of sunny melancholy, at times swapping out the guitar fuzz for a touch of acoustic strong’s and piano. And, like all his career, it’s ear-catching from the start with No No No, Fallaway and Filter perfect examples of his knack for well-crafted but deceptively simple songs. Before rollicking on through to the quietly graceful closer, Never End. Sugar Mouth is a stunning record both glistening and honest, and is yet another reason he can make claim to being one of New Zealand’s best musical treasures. 


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