Monday, April 14, 2014

Record Store Day Pick: Dunedin Double

This week I'm going to highlight a few of the Record Store Day releases that I think are especially worthy of your consideration.  This is pick number one, and it is one of the easiest decisions I've made for this Blog.  Over the years numerous music writers from many countries have referred to the "Dunedin sound" and the influence certain Dunedin, New Zealand bands in the '80s have had over guitar pop globally.  Dunedin Double was one of the ignition points for this reputation.  Long unavailable, the Flying Nun label is repressing a limited edition vinyl the album for Record Store Day 2014 (April 19, for those of you who use calendars).

Over thirty years ago four Dunedin bands each recorded a side of a 12" for inclusion in a double EP to be released by Flying Nun (a fledgling Christchurch label founded by Roger Shepard).  The album wasn't assigned an official name, but it became known as Dunedin Double.  Reportedly, the tracks were recorded on a portable four-track in various apartments over two weekends.  The recording was lo-fi and DIY, but the music was vital and exciting.  It was the sound of young musicians with songs, intent and a naive confidence.  It was the essential sound of rock and roll.  The bands were The Chills, Sneaky Feelings, The Stones, and The Verlaines, each supplying three tracks except for the overachieving The Stones, which provided four.  While through the years both The Chills and The Verlaines became much better known than the other two bands, all of the contributions to this record are worthy.  And the case can be made that the songs from Sneaky Feelings and The Stones are to be prized especially because their works are harder to come by at this point.

The lead track of the A-side for EP 1 was "Kaleidoscope World", from Martin Phillipps' The Chills.  It is one of their better know songs, and one of my favorites from their catalog.  But tracks two and three, "Satin Doll" and "Frantic Drift" are sublime, demonstrating that this band is Exhibit A for chiming guitar pop.  I wanted to present videos of one or more of these songs, but Universal Music Group (which seems to universally hate enjoyment of music) has been disabling embeds of YouTube clips of The Chills' songs (heaven forbid that I write a post encouraging you to enjoy an artist with material to which UMG claims to have rights -- what the hell was I thinking?  And the dirty secret is that UMG very often doesn't even have the rights to the videos they prevent form being embedded).

 Sneaky Feelings, formed in 1980, was named after the Elvis Costello song.  At the time of this recording, the members were Matthew Bannister, David Pine, Kathryn Tyrie and Martin Durrant.  The band's scruffy charm is on display in "Pity's Sake", the first track of the B-side of EP 1 --

The Stones occupied the A-side of EP 2.  Their songs were, perhaps the most free-wheeling rock songs on the double EP.  I've provided more than two of the four, because their songs are hard to find, and this post will provide you comfort until your copy of Dunedin Double arrives.  The band's members were Wayne Elsey, Jeff Batts, and Graeme Anderson.

The Verlaines also get two songs here.  Why?  Well, their songs are that good.  Second, unlike The Chills, Universal Music Group (which seems to universally hate enjoyment of music) isn't disabling clips of The Verlaines' songs.

Dunedin Double is remastered, and is being released in its original format and limited to 2,000 copies.  I suggest that this is an album to covet, and if you wait, you may never have a copy.  I've provided links for Flying Nun and their US partner, Captured Tracks in Brooklyn.  You may be able to order from them, you may have to go to a record store.  Indeed, you may have to work for this one.  Sometimes things of value are like that.

Flying Nun
Captured Tracks

1 comment:

Jim Desmond said...

I'm on the hunt for this. Thanks Rocksteady.