Hello Sailor's time in the sun saw them spending time in Ponsonby, LA and Sydney, becoming a legendary live act, and releasing an iconic debut album. This collection features documentary Sailor's Voyage, founder member Harry Lyon's account of the birth of the band, and tracks from Hello Sailor, both together and apart. Some of the solo songs were incorporated into the group's live set after they reunited. Included are 'Blue Lady', 'New Tattoo' and 'Gutter Black’, later reborn on TV's Outrageous Fortune.
It's not too big a stretch to say songwriter Martin Phillipps 'is' The Chills, one of the most distinctive pop bands to have come out of New Zealand. This documentary examines the complicated talent behind some iconic pop songs and finds him at a crossroads in his life, facing very real consequences after years of alcohol and drug dependency. Phillipps opens up about his desire to leave a proper legacy, while a selection of ex-band mates lay bare their experience of being a Chill. The film debuted at US festival South by Southwest, where it won the first of many enthusiastic reviews.
Don McGlashan has won the prestigious APRA Silver Scroll award twice. In 2006 Miracle Sun gained him another nomination. McGlashan's lyrics evoke a mythical summer and directly reference Opo, the 'friendly' dolphin whose visits to Opononi in the mid 1950s became the stuff of Kiwi legend. The song's sweeping chorus is bittersweet, and a lap steel guitar adds a slightly mournful tone. The black and white video mixes National Film Unit footage of Opo charming holidaymakers, with shots of McGlashan and his band heading to the Hokianga and playing a gig for locals.
Fat Freddy's Drop worked up a reputation for epic live gigs (first captured on 2001 album Live at The Matterhorn) before dropping Based On A True Story. The first local indie album to top the New Zealand charts, it was voted 2005's favourite Worldwide Album by listeners on Gilles Peterson's BBC Radio 1 show. Soul-pop tracks like 'Wandering Eye' and sales of 120,000 plus saw them anointed flagbearers of the 'Wellington Sound'. The band operates as a collective, sharing songwriting credits and royalties equally between all members. To date, the band's four studio albums have all topped the local charts.
Got a major live event you want to put on television? Ron Pledger has long been one of the first people to get on the phone. The MBE-awarded director has commanded live coverage of Sir Edmund Hillary’s funeral, Kiri Te Kanawa in concert, This is Your Life and roughly 20 Anzac Day ceremonies. His screen career also encompasses church choirs, Canadian soap operas, the infamous GOFTA awards, and the madness of Top Town.
Flying Nun legends The Bats formed in 1982. They are known and respected around the world, having played with many of the top indie bands internationally. As well as their acclaimed live gigs, the band are also well-reviewed recording artists, again both locally and off-shore. The band’s family tree weaves back through The Clean and Toy Love, and band-within-the-band, Minisnap, which features the three ChCh-based members of The Bats - Paul Kean, Kaye Woodward and Malcolm Grant. The fourth Bat Robert Scott lives in Dunedin.
The Dance Exponents (later shortened to The Exponents) formed in Christchurch in 1981, and went on to become one of New Zealand's longest lasting bands. Over three decades they played live gigs across the country, and in Britain to big ex-pat crowds. Singer Jordan Luck's rock'n'roll lifestyle is legendary; so are the band's perfect pop songs. The hits include 'Victoria', 'Why Does Love Do this to Me?', 'Who Loves Who the Most?', and 'I'll Say Goodbye (Even tho' I'm Blue)'' — songs embraced by successive generations of Kiwis. In 2007 Luck became the first songwriter inducted into the APRA NZ Music Hall of Fame.
The Stereo Bus began and ended with ex Jean-Paul Sartre Experience songwriter David Yetton — although he rarely performed alone. Yetton coined the term "sissy pop" to encompass the band's mixture of sensitivity and massed guitars. The first, garishly-tinted Stereo Bus album emerged in 1997; the louder, Alan Gregg-produced Brand New followed in 1999. It hit number 10 in the local charts, but increasing demand for live gigs perversely left Yetton less interested; he called it a day soon after. Solo album Blow Out the Candles (2005) includes many tracks originally earmarked for a third Stereo Bus album.
Once hailed as "the most exciting band in New Zealand music" The Sneaks are an outfit built on a reputation for delivering high-energy kitsch-pop at playful live gigs. For the self-described "X-ray Ninja enthusiasts" from Auckland, music is all about having fun. It's also earned them some serious recognition along the way, including the Most Promising Act at the 2005 B-net awards. The trio released their self-titled debut album to further praise in 2007.
“Bam bam bam, I wanna thank you Ma'am.” The D4 and The Datsuns led the Kiwi contribution to a turn of the century garage rock revival, winning nods from NME in the UK and praise for their energetic live gigs. This single from their first EP The D4 (1999) was released by Flying Nun. Directed by Andrew Moore, the video throws an FX kit of tricks (blurred focus, reverse negative, exploding lava cutaways) at the boys in order to capture the rock-out grunt of the song.