I really enjoying Peter Gabriel’s new song ‘Panopticom’, but I’m also loving his engagement with his fans and, in particular, his generosity and interest around alternate versions of his new music. For example, as some of you might be aware, PG has released two mixes of ‘Panopticom’ already, the standard Bright-Side Mix and an alternate Dark-Side Mix. The man himself explains:

“I’m lucky to have two of the world’s best mix engineers; Tchad Blake and Mark ‘Spike’ Stent, working with me on the music from i/o. Rather than choosing only one of their mixes to release I have decided that people should be able to hear all the great work that they are both doing. 

we don’t know which version Gabriel considers definitive and therefore which variant will end up on the forthcoming i/o album. Perhaps we’ll get a 2CD set with ‘Bright-Side’ and ‘Dark-Side’ versions of the entire album.

Peter has embraced spatial audio and a week ago issued what he is calling the In-Side Mix of ‘Panopticom’. This is a Dolby Atmos version, created by Hans-Martin Buff. Hans said some interesting things about the process:

“3D music, as presented in Dolby Atmos, is SO much more than moving sounds all over the place. It’s not just a new way of mixing, it’s a way of making music that’s bigger and more rewarding than anything that came before. Peter gets it. To him, stereo and 3D versions don’t have to match, they just “both have to be great.” and to me, that is a creative dream come true.I get to bring anything to the table I can possibly imagine in order to fill Real World Studios’ Red Room with music. I get to streamline, I get to focus, I get to embellish, and I get to rough up the sounds that make up Peter’s arrangements. I get to emphasise, to hide, and I even get to record specifically for the immersive Peter Gabriel, and in the end, Peter will be in the room to be the judge of what’s best for his new songs. “When people want to know what great Atmos can be, I want them to listen to this,” he says. I think we’re well on our way.“

The good news is that “all the tracks from i/o will get the In-Side treatment” so we can look forward to more Atmos Mixes of Gabriel’s new music. At the moment, the only way you can listen to these Atmos Mixes is via Apple Music and because there’s no stereo version of this unique In-Side Mix, PG’s team have linked it to the Dark-Side Mix, so that’s where to look if you want to hear this spatial audio version on the streaming service.

I’d recommend you check out Peter Gabriel’s Bandcamp page. He’s making all this music available (except the Atmos Mixes) and subscribers are also given exclusive audio. For example, the other day he offered up the “Original Band Tracking Sessions 24/9/21” version of ‘Panopticom’! .

In a world where pre-release campaigns tend to consists of the familiar lyric videos, ‘instant grats’ and no physical product, I’m loving this approach from Peter Gabriel. Short of issuing CD singles and vinyl 12-inches, this is about as good as it is going to get in the modern era. I suppose a you could argue we’ve had Bright-Side, Dark-Side and In-Side versions of ‘Panopticom’, so how about a B-Side?

I intend to ask them to mix each month’s song, with Spike’s mixes being called the Bright-Side and Tchad’s the Dark-Side. Whether you hear the Bright-Side or the Dark-Side first will vary each full moon, depending on the order we decide to release them”. 

The Who With Orchestra: Live at Wembley“, Recorded at the band’s show at the world-famous Wembley Stadium on 6th July 2019, The Who performed many of their greatest hits as well as songs from their acclaimed recent studio album with the help of the Isobel Griffiths Ltd Orchestra, which gave a new perspective to some of their best loved material.

On July 6th, 2019, The Who headlined Wembley Stadium in London for the first time in forty years. The show was the only U.K. date on their ‘Moving On’ Tour and featured the band accompanied by an over 50-piece orchestra performing classic tracks from “Quadrophenia”, “Tommy”, “Who’s Next”, “Who Are You” and more as well tracks from their WHO album, their first studio release in thirteen years.

Performing with The Who and an orchestra had been a long-held ambition for singer Roger Daltrey “Just because it is The Who with an orchestra, in no way does it compromise the way Pete and I deliver our music. It is full throttle Who with horns and bells on.” Pete Townshend “Roger christened this tour Moving On! I love it. It is what both of us want to do. Move on, with new music, classic Who music, all performed in new and exciting ways. Taking risks, nothing to lose.”

This release comes in 5 formats – digital, 1CD of highlights, a 2-CD + Blu-Ray containing an Atmos mix of the entire album and 2 x 3-LP versions – a limited ecommerce only coloured vinyl version and the other a standard market wide black vinyl edition.

Both are housed in a trifold sleeve with an extensive booklet containing multiple photos from rehearsals, back stage and the show.

Pete Townshend Guitar /Vocals
Roger Daltrey Vocals (plus guitar on Eminence Front)
Simon Townshend Guitar/Vocals
Loren Gold Keyboard/Vocals
Jon Button Bass
Billy Nicholls Vocals
Zak Starkey Drums
Katie Jacoby Violin
Audrey Snyder Cello

Released Febuary 2nd in 1977: Although New York City ‘punk poet’ Patti Smith was signed to the Arista label, Sire Records secured the rights to release a rarity that predated the Arista contract; the lost classic was her 1974 recording of “Hey Joe” & “Piss Factory”; the single was released on this day in a special limited edition picture sleeve; playing on the recording were current sidemen Lenny Kaye & Richard Sohl, with the added attraction of Television guitarist/vocalist Tom Verlaine.

Honey, the way you play guitar makes me feel so, makes me feel so masochistic. The way you go down low deep into the neck and I would do anything, and I would do anything and Patty Hearst, you’re standing there in front of the Symbionese Liberation Army flag with your legs spread, I was wondering will you get it every night from a black revolutionary man and his women or whether you really did and now that you’re on the run what goes on in your mind, your sisters they sit by the window, you know your mama doesn’t sit and cry and your daddy, well you know what your daddy said, Patty, you know what your daddy said, Patty, he said, he said, he said, “Well, sixty days ago she was such a lovely child, now here she is with a gun in her hand.”

1974 Sire Records

The DAMNED – ” Darkadelic “

Posted: February 3, 2023 in MUSIC

46 years after releasing the groundbreaking debut, “Damned Damned Damned”, The Damned return with “Darkadelic”, their twelfth studio album and their first one since 2018’s Top Ten release “Evil Spirits”. The album catches the band that launched punk and invented goth once again innovating and expanding upon their unique universe.

The lead single and video for “The Invisible Man” is a showcase for Captain Sensible’s riffadelic guitar work and David Vanian’s snarling baritone vocals. “Darkadelic” barrels along from there and features some of The Damned’s sharpest songwriting and genre-bending performances reaching peaks with future singles “You’re Gonna Realise” and “Beware of the Clowns” drenched in classic horror movie references, nods to swinging 60’s London, and a refined palette of musical influences. The Damned will indeed paint the world “Darkadelic” in 2023.

Vocals, Electric Guitar: Captain Sensible Keyboards: Monty Oxymoron Vocals, Composer, Lyricist: Dave Vanian Drums: William Granville-Taylor

San Francisco’s underground institution The Reds, Pinks and Purples have today both announced details of a new album, The Town That Cursed Your Name and shared the video for ‘Life In The Void’, the first track to be taken from the album.

Released on 24th March, the album is their fifth in as many years, testament to the prolific nature of Glenn Donaldson, the Bay Area songwriter who leads the project. Talking about ‘Life In The Void’, Donaldson said:

‘Life in the Void’ is dedicated to everyone who ever felt trapped in a shitty life situation or loved someone who fell apart in slow motion.”

“The Town That Cursed Your Name” is available on CD, two vinyl formats – pastel green and a limited cream vinyl edition with a bonus 7” available only via Bandcamp/Tough Love website – as well as the usual digital formats. The band undergo a short US tour with Destroyer in May.

It’s ok to play out of time, Music toys with time. Or, maybe songs reflect back that time is always toying with us. The world of a song takes hold of us like an eternity to be lost in, with its repetitions and variations, but ultimately, as with everything else, it has a start and then ends. And there’s no place to lose time like San Francisco, where there are no seasons and all the seasons occur within one day; where the fog takes the space where your plans might have been; where there’s insane wealth all around and everyone you know and love is hanging on at the periphery and making art on any given Tuesday night. About Glenn Donaldson’s new record, “The Town That Cursed Your Name”, he says, “I realized as I was piecing it together that it’s a song cycle about trying to live while also feeling called to make music”. It’s a double life when it works and a deeper doubleness to mirror the Gemini nature of songs themselves. “The Town That Cursed Your Name” contemplates this problem with wryness, generosity, and the micro- and macroscopic realness Donaldson is known and loved for.

Whereas the 2022 collection “Summer at Land’s End” was a softer, gauzier world, “The Town That Cursed Your Name” is heavier, with fuzzed lines running through. ‘Leave It All Behind’ starts out with an amorphous whine but quickly launches into something both supremely melodic and buzzing at the edges. ‘Here Comes the Lunar Hand’ is an impressionist geometry that seems to capture the album’s themes without telling you how. Lyrically, Donaldson embraces the earnestness of his heroes Paul Westerberg and Grant McLennan. Sonically, late ’80s college rock is filtered through song-forward lo-fi acts like East River Pipe and House of Tomorrow-era Magnetic Fields. Like the images that accompany his releases – flowers and residential street scenes are pushed to the breaking point with colour – Donaldson’s songs are at the same time dazzling and lurid, beautiful and burdened, not unlike life as a musician around here.

In the liner notes, Donaldson dedicates the record “to everyone who ever tried to start a band in the Bay”. There will be many knowing smiles at his title, ‘It’s Too Late For An Early Grave’. But, this dedication captures something else about the particular strain of sincerity that laces the city water supply – the front man around here is on stage under those lights evincing the fervor not of the pop star but of the biggest fan

“The Town That Cursed Your Name”, out 24th March via Slumberland (North America/Japan) & Tough Love (R.O.W).

ROSE CITY BAND – ” Garden Party “

Posted: February 2, 2023 in MUSIC

Rose City Band is the most current nom-de-plume of American guitarist Ripley Johnson, co-founder of psychedelic rock acts Wooden Shjips and Moon Duo. Offering up a lysergic take on Americana and country music, ‘Garden Party’ is Johnson’s fourth Rose City Band album in as many years, and finds Johnson heading up a rotating ensemble including crack players like pedal steel guitarist Barry Walker and his Moon Duo bandmate Sanae Yamada.

On “Garden Party”, Rose City Band’s country psychedelic rock evokes the wide-open spaces of the American west and free spirits who call it home. Led by acclaimed guitarist and vocalist Ripley Johnson, Rose City Band are some of the best players in contemporary rock: pedal steel guitarist Barry Walker, keyboardist Paul Hasenberg, bassist Dewey Mahood (aka Plankton Wat), drummer Dustin Dybvig, and features Sanae Yamada of Moon Duo on Synthesizer. “Garden Party” is both a celebration of summer and all it brings: friends gathering at backyard BBQs, cold beers on a hot porch, 12-foot sunflowers, and an exaltation of the value and respite of a moment of calm; the pleasures of time in the garden to appreciate the beauty of a contorted carrot, or a morning on a stoop watching a hummingbird.

Freedom, contentment, and joy were the sources for the songs; they certainly bring the listener right there. From the soaring guitar solos to the driving rhythms, the elegant pedal steel lines to the organ grooves, “Garden Party” has a live band’s energy captured in exquisite detail. “Garden Party” is an invitation, a welcoming hand extended, and a joyous ride. Like all great music, the album taps into the listeners’ emotional center and takes them to their happy place – their sunny spot.

Recorded at Center for Sound, Light, and Colour Therapy in Portland and mixed by John McEntire, the band’s sounds surround and embrace you. “Garden Party’s” last two tracks feature special guest Sanae Yamada (Moon Duo) who added some synth magic to the final two tracks. Ripley says it best “I always like when an album starts in one place and ends in another” What a beautiful journey it is!

Thrill Jockey Records Released on: 2023-01-31

The CHILLS – ” The Albums “

Posted: February 2, 2023 in MUSIC

The Chills are difficult to stylistically define because their diverse sound traverses lush psychedelia, whimsy and gloom, punk rock and bright jangly pop. Known for their revolving door policy on band members, perhaps rivalled only by the Fall (there have been at least 33 members of the Chills over their 41-year career), the one constant is Martin Phillipps.

The Chills a New Zealand rock band that was formed in Dunedin in 1980. The band is essentially the continuing project of singer/songwriter Martin Phillipps, who is the group’s sole constant member. For a time in the 1990s, the act was billed as Martin Phillipps & The Chills. In the 1980s and 1990s, The Chills had some significant chart success in their homeland and were a cult band in other parts of the world as one of the earliest proponents of the Dunedin sound.

Singer-songwriter Martin Phillipps formed The Chills in 1980 with his sister Rachel Phillipps on keyboards and Jane Dodd on bass after the demise of his punk band, The Same. Also included in the initial line-up were guitarist Peter Gutteridge and drummer Alan Haig. Phillipps’s earlier band, the Same, had formed in 1978 and performed alongside punk bands Toy Love and The Enemy.

The Chills were initially signed by Flying Nun Records and were one of the four bands recorded for the infamous “Dunedin Double” EP in 1982. By this time, the band consisted of Martin Phillipps, Alan Haig, keyboard player Fraser Batts and bassist Terry Moore. One of the tracks recorded, “Kaleidoscope World”, became a signature song for the band’s early years.

Rachel Phillipps returned (replacing Batts) and Martyn Bull took over from Haig on drums in time for the band’s first single “Rolling Moon”, which was a chart hit in 1983. However, Bull’s sudden illness caused the band to then take a year off.

The Chills became essentially a solo project spearheaded by Martin Phillipps, the band’s lead singer and sole songwriter. Band personnel turnover was near-constant—The Chills went through over 20 different line-up changes with Phillipps as the only constant member. Members of the band from 1984 on have included Terry Moore, Alan Haig, Peter Allison, David Kilgour, Steven Schayer, Martin Kean, Justin Harwood, Caroline Easther, Jimmy James Stephenson, Jillian Dempster, and Oli Wilson among others. Several of these musicians went on to further success in bands ranging from The Verlaines to Luna.

The band’s first post-Wrinkle in Time release was the 1984 single “Pink Frost”, which became the band’s biggest hit to that time. It was initially recorded in 1982 by the three-piece band of Martin Phillipps, Terry Moore, and Martyn Bull, before receiving new overdubs in 1984.

“Just the thought fills my heart with pink frost … ” Is it a nod to Pink Moon or Pink Flag? It seems more in line with Syd Barret. filmed at Lover’s Leap where the atmospheric music video for this song was filmed. This haunting, iced-over song reached number 17 on the New Zealand singles chart and still sounds heart-stopping. “Pink Frost” is my favourite. It’s an obvious choice but the ‘vibe’ of the song is so intertwined with my memories of what Dunedin was like, I can’t go past it.

It’s one of those songs that immediately stops you in your tracks whenever you hear it. While it was recorded in 1982, Martyn Bull died in 1983 so it was released posthumously as a single in 1984. If you look at the 7” you’ll see it has “For Martyn” etched on the A-Side.

“This is the Way“ Fill your head with alcohol, comic books and drugs …” From the dreamy “The Lost” EP. I never knew there was a video of this until now. The autoharp, the juice bottle, the simplicity. Dexterously filmed by Chris Knox in one shot at his flat. Phillipps has said the clip documents the band at a sad time. Bassist Martin Kean had left the band but agreed to come back to do some promotional work, including this video. “He makes a personal point by not showing his face throughout the clip but there is also an overall feeling of sadness to the video anyway,” Phillipps wrote on a Facebook post when he unearthed and shared this video.

The a six-song EP called The Lost EP. This EP did not feature any of the band’s previous (or future) singles and peaked at #4 on the New Zealand singles charts in 1985. The Chills undertook their first European tour that same year. This single was followed by the #12-hit single “Doledrums”

One of the very few (perhaps only) Chills songs not written and sung by Phillipps, “Hidden Moon” is the much stronger b-side to the dour and plodding “Doledrums“, a song I’ve never liked (see the Puddle’s Thursday for a more celebratory ode to dole day), and is the work of Martin Kean.

A daft and joyful tune, it’s short and sharp and rhymes “bay” with “May” and “fool” with “cool”. Infectiously fun.

In 1986, the band issued the minor international hit “I Love My Leather Jacket”, recorded at The Point Studio by Danny Hyde. “I Love My Leather Jacket” was dedicated to late drummer, Bull, who had bequeathed the said item of clothing to Phillipps in his will. “I love my leather jacket, I love my vanished friend.” Iconic and irresistible, this is like slowed down glam rock and has a steady stomp, driving repetitive riffs and swirling stabs of keyboard. Famously written as a tribute to former Chills drummer the late Martyn Bull who died of leukemia aged 22. Bull had bequeathed his leather jacket to Phillipps and this song is his bittersweet and philosophical tribute to his dearly missed bandmate and friend. And as the song goes, Phillipps did wear the jacket all the time as he said . “I wore it constantly … I travelled the world in it and I crashed out at parties using it as a blanket. It was very much a part of who I was for many years.”

This whimsical b-side to “I Love My Leather Jacket” features on “Kaleidoscope World” and was accompanied by a promotional video the band made while on tour in London. In it, it’s nice to see them having what looks like fun for once.

Kaleidoscope World

The Chills finally released their first album, “Kaleidoscope World”, in 1986; the album was a compilation of various previously released singles, EP tracks, and songs from the “Dunedin Double” EP.

Brave Words

The band released their first proper album, “Brave Words”, in 1987. The band spent most of 1987 (February through mid-December) promoting the album by touring Europe, interspersed with four July dates in New York and Boston. A full-fledged North American tour occurred in the fall of 1988; tour dates would be a regular part of the band’s life for the next several years.

This clever, droll but hilarious and bouncy b-side of “House with a Hundred Rooms” is one of the best gleaming examples of Phillipps’ skill as a lyricist. “The balloons have all shrunk, the streamers have faded, the punch has gone flat and the record’s outdated. All the dips and meringues and the cakes have gone mouldy.

“House with a Hundred Rooms” There are three different versions of this song that I know of, including a sensationally raucous 1982 live version under the title “After They Told Me She Had Gone”. Mayo Thompson from avant garde rock group Red Krayola produced this 12” version though, and it’s the best. Gauzy and wistful, it’s drenched with melancholic yearning.

It sounds distant, like it’s beaming in from a different room or from underneath the floorboards. And when that unexpected, uplifting organ drifts in from out of nowhere at the end, the song ends on a quietly joyous note.

Nobody rang, nobody told me … ” On the back cover of the 12” the band members are shown wearing party hats and blowing streamers, surrounded by balloons, but looking comically glum.

This cover version of The Byrds song. Appeared on 1989 CD “Time Between: A Tribute To The Byrds”

Phillipps goes to an early source of inspiration with this plaintive cover of the Vietnam protest song by the Byrds. Charting the inner world of a freshly recruited soldier on the morning he is to be drafted into the Vietnam war and the existential dilemma he faces, the song begins with the idealistic “sun warm on my face” and ends on the sombre line “today was the day for action. Leave my bed to kill instead. Why should it happen?” It has a slow, repetitive keyboard motif and does without the bombastic clatter of the original’s battlefield sound effects.

Submarine Bells

In 1990, the band were signed to a worldwide record deal with their music appearing on the Warner Brothers imprint Slash Records in North America. Their 1990 album “Submarine Bells” included their biggest international hit, the whimsically titled “Heavenly Pop Hit”. It sounds simple while being deceptively complicated, dashing through chords from different keys inexplicably, and both the lyrics and the music never resolve – they just move on to the next breathless metaphor about the earth or the experience of being alive, or they leap onto some grammatical pun (I love the line, ‘the tension is ended, the sentence suspended’). It sounds like a hyperactive mind in love. And that chorus – it comes out nowhere, it’s almost wordless, and it’s one of the most moving fragments of music I’ve heard in pop. With typical South Island humility, Phillipps then dismisses his miracle with the refrain – ‘it’s a heavenly pop hit – if anyone wants it.’

If I had to pick a single song to summarise the brilliance and the precariousness, the tightrope walk of being Martin, I’d pick the tile track of their 1990 album, “Submarine Bells” Jesus, this is a beautiful song. 27 years after I first heard it, it still makes my eyes go faraway.

In part, it’s the temerity of it I love. On an album with the radio perfection of Heavenly Pop Hit, and the fast, fast, faster guitars of The Oncoming Day and Familiarity Breeds Contempt, “Submarine Bells” is a bewitching way to end. And the very end of the song (and therefore of the album), in which Martin begins with “okay” and ends with “oh, Kay”, was such a state of the art example of my favourite genre, the completely hopeless love song, that every time I hear it I’m delighted afresh, again.

“I know deep down, hidden in you, submarine bells chime.” I don’t even really know what it’s about. Not exactly. But I don’t need to know that. It’s the way the music invites us to bring ourselves in. And for me, it’s a song about longing and hope and shyness and possibility. Or something. Martin was flying then.

“Submarine Bells” was the band’s first record on a major label and hit number one on the New Zealand charts. It only clocks in at 36 minutes but is a complete journey which saw the group refine some pretty serious songwriting. A lilting and delicate song, the impossibly named “Effloresce and Deliquesce” is an eerie folkish lullaby shanty with breathlessly rapid fire vocal delivery, a sense of high drama and urgency. In lesser hands a song like this would be embarrassingly twee.

The tune was also a hit in the US, charting at #17 on the Billboard Alternative Airplay Chart; it remains their only American chart appearance.

Soft Bomb

The group’s follow-up album, 1992’s “Soft Bomb”, featured a totally different Chills line-up (save for Phillipps), and spun off the hit “The Male Monster from the Id”.

Originally released in 1992, The Chills’ third album ‘Soft Bomb’ came out on Slash/Warners. The Chills’ finest hour.” Perfect Sound Forever, Featuring contributions from giants of contemporary American music like Van Dyke Parks and ex dB’s Peter Holsapple as collaborators.

A cohesive song cycle that brought together indie pop jangle, Phillipps’ clever lyrics, a “drunken piece of music hall” (AllMusic), an offbeat homage to Randy Newman, filmic string-laden scores, some grown up licks and three thematic interludes. it’s a roller coaster 17-song, 51 minute trip, a conceptual classic that embraces styles and genres.

“Their songs call like rare, exotic wines, intoxicating and addictive and beautifully melancholic, while simultaneously inspiringly uplifting.” Repeat Fanzine ‘Soft Bomb’ is an eclectic slow cooked musical stew, rich and rewarding from the much-loved storytelling songwriter Martin Phillipps.

Phillipps announced the dissolution of the Chills after the “Soft Bomb” tour, and joined David Kilgour in a loosely organized covers band known as The Pop Art Toasters, which released a self-titled EP in 1994. Shortly thereafter, though, the ‘Toasters dissolved, and Phillipps put together another Chills line-up and resumed gigging.

Sunburnt

This seemingly constant turnover of personnel is often cited as one of several reasons for the band’s lack of consistent “saleability”, and is referred to by the local music scene as “the curse of the Chills“. The “curse” struck again with the recording of the album “Sunburnt” in England, in the summer of 1995.

Two band members were refused entry into the UK, so session musicians had to be recruited at the last moment. Dave Mattacks of Fairport Convention and XTC’s Dave Gregory provided drum and bass work for the album, with Phillipps the only other credited musician (aside from guest keyboards played by producer Craig Leon). This album was issued in early 1996 under the group name Martin Phillipps and The Chills.

After that, the band again split, with Phillipps appearing in another one of David Kilgour’s bands, the Heavy Eights. Nevertheless, Phillipps continued to recruit new Chills members for live shows and played at least a few shows as The Chills every year from 1997 on. For much of the late 1990s, though, Phillipps was laid low with hepatitis C, a side effect of drug addiction problems. He released an album of solo home demos (Sketch Book: Volume One) in 1999; the demos themselves dated from 1988–1995.

Brave Words & The Secret Box

While they had formed in 1980, the Chills only released their first proper album “Brave Words” in 1987. But the band actually had enough material to release two albums prior. Released in 2001, “the Secret Box” is a dizzying set of three CDs which collects some of these rarities along with a slew of singles, EPs, live recordings, studio outtakes, demos, radio sessions and even jingles. If you can get your hands on this set, you won’t be disappointed.

It includes “Balancing” a kaleidoscopic instrumental which was recorded live at the Cook in Dunedin in 1981. A hectic and majestic narcotic swirl of squally guitar, chiming keys, steady motorik drumming and phenomenal bass, it accelerates to a crescendo and you can almost hear the audience’s jaws drop at the end.

Released in 2000, “Secret Box“, was a three-CD box set of Chills live tracks, demos, radio sessions, and rarities was released.

In 2014, an eight-song Chills mini-album called “Stand By” was issued, the first all-new Chills material in nine years. Phillipps’s album liner notes promised: To celebrate the first European tour in 20 years from Dunedin’s finest, we are pleased to announce a special tour release, ‘Stand By’. Featuring two never before release tracks, ‘Find Your Own Way Home’ and a cover of ‘Solitary Man’ (available via a special download / ICE fanclub membership insert), all audio is re-mastered especially for the 2014 European Tour. Released July 27th, 2014

I am preparing to take the band in quite a new direction on the next album. And on that we will begin work shortly.

Despite Phillipps’s claim, however, no new Chills album appeared for over a decade.

In May 2010, the band played two shows in Australia, their first shows outside New Zealand since 1996. Three years later, after another nine-year hiatus from the recording studio, a single newly recorded Chills track called “Molten Gold” was issued.

The track, released on Martin Phillipp’s 50th birthday (July 2nd, 2013), was a non-album 7” single with the re-recorded “Pink Frost 13″ as a B-side.

The BBC Sessions

Beckoned by John Peel himself, the first time The Chills entered the BBC studios in Maida Vale it was a dream come true for the little band that could from New Zealand. Exporting the kind of unique pop smarts that only emanate from Dunedin, they were only too happy to graduate to the fully stocked studio and show the UK what they really had to offer.

Removed from past budget restrictions, but pushed forward by the time constraints of a one day recording, the results produced a rush of superior recordings of their early material, without losing any of the charm so vital to their appeal. This was the real sound of The Chills. Released November 3rd, 2014

Silver Bullets

Following on from ‘The BBC Sessions’ on Fire Records, The Chills release their first full length album in nearly two decades. ‘Silver Bullets’ released October 30th, 2015 the band issued “Silver Bullets“, their first album-length release in 19 years, hails the return of one of New Zealand’s most respected exports; Bursting with chiming Dunedin-pop anthems, melodic rock and Phillipps’ playful punk-rock tendencies, the thrilling new album brings them to the next chapter.

Recorded at Albany Street Studios in Dunedin (NZ) the album instantly reaffirms Phillipps’ aptitude for writing intelligent and timeless pop songs delivered with conviction. Whether tackling issues on the economy, fighting with ‘Silver Bullets’ or the observant nature of Southern Lights on ‘Aurora Corona’, The Chills complex pop resonates in a cacophony of dark-edged songs. Their underlying melancholy remains and is offset by their signature catchy melodies bringing a haunting depth to their idiosyncratic sound.

In February 2017, the band released the David Bowie song “Conversation Piece”.

Snow Bound

On September 14th, 2018, the band released its seventh album, “Snow Bound” The latest postcard from The Chills’ epic journey is an album about “consolidation, re-grouping, acceptance and mortality,” claims the chief Chill. “Hopefully a kind of Carole King ‘Tapestry’ for ageing punks.”

The Chills’ epic journey is an album about “consolidation, re-grouping, acceptance and mortality,” claims the chief Chill. On ‘Snow Bound’ lost heroes are lamented, relationships are re-evaluated, atonement is sought, mortality is mulled over and fake news is undercut.

On ‘Snow Bound’ lost heroes are lamented, relationships are re-evaluated, atonement is sought, mortality is mulled over and fake news is undercut. It’s serious stuff, the thoughts of a dysfunctional 50-something wrestling with maturity and discovering that their post-punk DIY beliefs still have a real voice that resonates between the fans of their early years and which can now pass down to the next generation.

Casting our minds back, we can recall that The Guardian mused, “They sound almost like the musical embodiment of autumn,” when confronted with ‘Silver Bullets’. Three years on, ‘Snow Bound’ nestles heartily in its own winter of discontent. And all this with a humalong melodic verve, Phillipps’ gift for the tempered dalliance of verse and chorus and those gorgeous euphoric organ fills. Let the soul-searching commence… 

Journeyman songwriter Martin Phillipps returned with a Chills track ‘You’re Immortal’. An uplifting and provocative encounter told in the grand baroque pop manner of Love’s ‘Forever Changes’ with a gorgeous Chills-approved melody line that harks back to the band’s greatest hits. It’s an anthem for the times, a quest for hope set amid the misinformation of the day and the tip of a fast-melting iceberg, no less.

“These are unprecedented times but, as usual, the young feel invulnerable and the elders are concerned. The old people (like me) want to feel more involved but they also know that their time of influence has largely passed.

So we learn from the young and admire them as they make their own mistakes yet still, hopefully, shape extraordinary history we could not have imagined.” Martin Phillipps on ‘You’re Immortal’

Taking us out of the year, ‘You’re Immortal’ marks a new epoch for The Chills with 2021 set to be an exciting year…

Scatterbrain

Now in 2021, Phillipps is now taking stock of things – everything. Yes, everything. The result is this triumphant new Chills’ album ‘Scatterbrain’, a thought-provoking and evocative take from a man who has lived through good times and bad.
A mature and honest reflection on life, destiny and the fate of our times delivered in beautiful melodies with Phillipps’ trademarked incisive turn of phrase.

Viewed from the perspective of a man understanding his age and indeed his own mortality, the new album takes a mature look at matters arising with a side order of perspective. ‘Scatterbrain’ is a life passing before your ears as uncertainty increases and fake news rumbles on; during which aliens invade, Phillipps scales the walls beyond abandon as he probes the minutiae of worlds within worlds and the hourglass fills.
A landmark album from one of the great modern song writers, it’s pure pop music for the new normal and we can’t wait to see how it ends…

The independent scene that emerged from Dunedin, New Zealand, in the early 1980s had all the strange qualities musical trainspotters around the world associate with isolation. Hamish Kilgour from the Clean describes the city as a cauldron, with the low-hanging sky its lid. It’s a creative pressure cooker from which artists must escape.

In the decades since, the bands that steamed from the top of that cauldron have gone global. Next to the Clean, the biggest name is Martin Phillipps, the legendary leader – of 21 different lineups – of the Chills. They were the definitive Dunedin band, with a strange, light, airy, eerie, breezy magic that both matched the city’s geography and transcended it.

But they were cursed. The subtitle of “The Chills: The Triumph and Tragedy of Martin Phillipps” – a new documentary by Julia Parnell and Rob Curry – tells you that this is, first and foremost, a portrait of the artist. A consummate songwriter, Phillipps appears as both a driven man and a lost boy, emotionally cut off from those drawn into his orbit to help him realise his vision.

The film opens in the interior of Phillipps’ home. Over the haunted opening notes of “Pink Frost” (“That’s fine art, according to me,” we hear Iggy Pop say, on a radio show), Phillipps pulls out his keyboard – then breaks into “Heavenly Pop Hit”, which wasn’t so much his biggest hit as his nearest miss.

Spliced amid scenes of festival crowds, ecstatic gigs and the video clip of the song, Phillipps climbs into a decrepit car and drives himself to hospital to receive the results of his liver function tests. Phillipps has hepatitis C. He is told, with medical precision, that he has a 31% chance of dying within 12 months.

Then he is given a guarantee: “If you do keep drinking, Martin, you will die,” the physician says.

There is so much about the Chills’ story that is, on the face of it, cliched. After a number of acclaimed singles and EPs, Phillipps, whose best songs are touched with a sense of wonder, signs his band to a multi-album deal with a US label, Slash. When the hits fail to materialise, he sinks into a fog of heroin addiction, alcoholism, depression and withdrawal.

But Parnell and Curry treat their subject with unusual sensitivity, helped by Phillipps’ extraordinary candour. He allows them access to every step of his treatment process, as well as to his archives (he is an obsessive collector). Around him, other band members, each of them individually numbered, step forward to speak.

What they have to say is just as unfiltered. The former drummer Caroline Easther (Chill No 12) says Phillipps made her feel anxious. The bassist Justin Harwood (Chill No 14) comments that he didn’t know if he was needed or expendable. He came to the latter conclusion after Phillipps told him he planned to write the bass parts on the band’s next album himself.

Another bassist, Terry Moore (No 6), who played in two stints with the band, wonders if he’s going to be next. The drummer Jimmy Stephenson (No 15) has been left traumatised. In tears, he pulls out a gold record of the band’s biggest album, “Submarine Bells”, the glass cracked after falling off his wall in an earthquake: to him it’s symbol of both “great success and shattered dreams”.

In between, we watch Phillipps going through piles of junk as he reassesses his life, sorting the detritus from the essentials. Preparing for an art exhibition – while spray-painting a mummified cat – he muses that “it’s much more fun working as a team on anything. But I’m not going to sacrifice the quality for just a bit of team spirit.” Phillipps remained Chill No 1.

It’s beautifully filmed, suffusing the documentary with an atmosphere to match the Chills’ glorious music, and we get to hear much of that, too. But it’s never allowed to get in the way of the story – there’s no recounting of the band’s discography and, other than Neil Finn and the aforementioned Iggy Pop, no higher luminaries are called on to affirm the band’s standing.

Phillipps’ story resonates because despite his self-involvement, it’s bigger than he is. It’s about artistic integrity, self-realisation, self-acceptance and a reflection on mortality. Towards the end of this sad, lovely film, the emotional rush is equivalent to the Dunedin surf washing on to the cold beaches – it finishes far more optimistically than it promises to.

As a fan, I wanted to punch the air. And of course, it will be fans of the Chills who queue up first to see this documentary. If you’ve not yet had the distinctive pleasure of hearing his band, the triumph and tragedy of Phillipps’ story will make you one for life.

Dunedin’s finest, The Chills follow their acclaimed seventh studio album ‘Scatterbrain’ with a special 7” vinyl “Scatterbrain-Storms: Outtakes“. This special release features three brand new tracks ‘The Dragon with the Sapphire Eyes’, ‘No One Knows Better Than Me’ and ‘Nowhere’.

‘Scatterbrain-Storms: Outtakes’ is a three-track release of bonus material from 2021’s ‘Scatterbrain’, the seventh studio album from Martin Phillipps’ The Chills. Consisting of material that actually predates its parent LP, written before the tone and themes were established, it was initially offered to fans on the Dunedin band’s recent tour.

“We felt these were too good not to be released and were actually the first three songs we wrote for ‘Scatterbrain’ before it’s lyrical tone and musical direction became established. It was important to us to offer fans something special on the tour” Martin Phillipps

Recorded at Port Chalmers Recordings Services, “Scatterbrain-Storms: Outtakes” was produced by Tom Healy with assistance from Tom Bell. The Chills are Martin Phillipps, Oli Wilson, Erica Scally, Callum Hampton and Todd Knudson.

“A worthy addition to a glorious canon” Uncut

‘Scatterbrain’ is a life passing before your ears as uncertainty increases and fake news rumbles on; during which aliens invade, Phillipps scales the walls beyond abandon as he probes the minutiae of worlds within worlds and the hourglass fills. ‘Scatterbrain’ is a landmark album from one of the great modern song writers, it’s pure pop music for the new normal and we can’t wait to see how it ends.

The Pale Fountains were formed in Liverpool in 1980 by Mick (as he was then known) Head with Chris McCaffery on bass, Thomas Whelan on drums, trumpeter Andy Diagram and guitarist Ken Moss.

Signing with Virgin in late 1982, this was the first time the music world became aware of the work of singer-songwriter Michael Head.

The Pale Fountains were formed in Liverpool in 1980, and composed of Michael Head (vocalist/guitarist), Chris McCaffery (bassist), Thomas Whelan (drummer), trumpet player Andy Diagram (horns) and Ken Moss (Guitar/Bass). Inspired by 1960s music such as Love, Burt Bacharach and The Beatles, the group released their debut single “(There’s Always) Something on My Mind” on Les Disques du Crépuscule before signing a major label deal in October 1982. Although the Pale Fountains failed to make much commercial headway, the band earned critical praise for the two albums released on the Virgin Label “Pacific Street” released in (1984) and “From Across the Kitchen Table” the following year (1985), was produced by Ian Broudie, who later found fame with The Lightning Seeds

Melding the most forward-thinking aspects of Eighties pop to the lush, acoustic-based psychedelic rock of Love, 1984’s ‘Pacific Street’ was the debut album from Liverpudlian indie band The Pale Fountains. Fronted by Michael Head (later of perennially underrated Shack) the group cut against the grain of much Eighties indie in Britain with a mellow, bossa nova-influenced sound.

“Pacific Street”

The bounciness of the Pale Fountains went penalized in the days of Echo and the Bunnymen and the Smiths. “Optimism — yuck.” Michael Head’s stylistic hopscotch and wide-eyed sunnyness might have translated better in the late ‘90s, had he stuck with that program for his later band, Shack. If the band had set their sights on one or two areas of their record collections for inspiration instead of darn near everything, “Pacific Street” might not have been so out of place when it was released.

At the time of its release in February 1984, Head described “Pacific Street” as “like a greatest hits LP, except we haven’t had any hits!” It not only showcases the ambition of 80s pop in general, but the very specific singularity of the Liverpool scene, that seemed to add love and (Arthur Lee’s) Love to everything recorded. It reflects the swing away from the post-punk and funk of the early years of the decade, aiming for a mellower, bossa-nova influenced pop. It is difficult to understand how tracks such as “Unless” and “(Don’t Let Your Love) Start A War” were not big hits and are not viewed as standards.

Bold indeed, the expanded version of “Pacific Street” (issued by Virgin Records with four bonus tracks) veers from every angle of ‘70s AM soft rock, stylish soul pop à la Orange Juice (but not as effective), Bacharach/David, and Brazilian jazz. You can imagine Dionne Warwick singing the chorus of “Abergele Next Time”; the non-album single “Palm of My Hand” veers dangerously close to muzak, and the steel drum-and-trumpet combos were more than enough to incite gagging from the pop underground. Too bad. Like the following “From Across the Kitchen Table”, “Pacific Street” wasn’t able to succeed on the charts, so the too varied and too happy Pale Fountains were left in limbo. For all its faults, the band’s debut isn’t half bad, and it doesn’t sound horribly outdated decades later.

“From Across the Kitchen Table”

The Pale Fountains’ second record produced by Ian Broudie ditches a couple of the scatter-brained influences of the debut, so it makes for a slightly more consistent listen. Not all of the odd wrinkles are abandoned, though; they still sound as if they are trying too hard to distinguish themselves from the rest of the flock. The Pale Fountains’ strength lies in folksy pop, but on a few too many occasions, the incessant smoothness and inability to latch onto one style holds them back. Surprisingly, the title track is almost synth-pop, but a smattering of horns makes sure it isn’t completely such. On “September Sting,” they try their hands at Laurel Canyon country-rock and fall flat on their jumpers. When they want to, they can write finely tuned, sophisticated pop songs that are quite pleasant. Instrumentally, “Stole the Love” doesn’t sound a great deal different from the Smiths. “Shelter” and “Jean’s Not Happening” are fine strummers.

1985’s . . . “From Across The Kitchen Table” was produced by Ian Broudie, soon to form and redefine sugar-pop with The Lightning Seeds. The album is more unified than its predecessor as it was recorded over a shorter period of time. Lead single “Jean’s Not Happening” is one of the great lost indie gems of the 80s, complete with a powerful string arrangement. The closing song, “September Sting”, is a joyous slice of scouse-a-billy that points the way clearly to later groups such as The Las.

Near four decades later, Michael Head is adored by his hardcore following and the wider world freshly discovers him as each of his new releases achieves widescale acclaim, whether it be his subsequent band, Shack, or his current outfit, the Red Elastic Band. But The Pale Fountains was where it all began.

Though a decent record and an improvement over the debut, “Kitchen Table” frustrates. They were too anxious to zig or zag when they could have stayed the course. After establishing themselves as a cult band, the Pale Fountains eventually broke up, with Michael Head forming the similarly cultish band Shack.

Two compilations have been issued: “Longshot For Your Love” (Marina, 1998) and “Something On My Mind” (Crépuscule, 2013), the latter with a bonus live CD recorded in 1982.