A big week for Dunedin – for various reasons happy and sad. Shayne Carter’s excellent memoir is on the shelves. The Martin Phillipps and The Chills doco is out and about and worth seeing – but sadly it’s R.I.P Malcolm Black. So some tribute posts to some of my favourite Dunedin songs – or at least songs from artists connected to that city.
1. Straitjacket Fits, A.P.S.
There’s not much better than Carter on his day – Straitjacket Fits perhaps particularly. And I’ve always had a, erm soft spot, for Melt – I remember a Friday night trip across to Napier from Hastings to buy it, well a friend was buying it. And I thought he was very cool for doing so. That was my introduction to this world. Been a fan every since.
2. The Chills, Oncoming Day
When I really got hipped to The Chills they’d broken up, reformed, been reworked a few times already and though there were some “comeback” big singles and I loved them it was the earlier work that really seemed so compelling. As it is with so much of the “Dunedin Scene” – it’s about how this music seemed so perfectly formed and yet a little rough around the edges. Always in just the right way.
3. The Netherworld Dancing Toys, For Today
Some people called them Dunedin’s Midnight Runners – and that seems fair enough all up, even though it was also a little cruel to say that. But everyone will change their tune now and tell you they always loved this song. I sure did. That’s no lie. I wrote about it in my book. And here too. It’s a sound-of-summer song for me. An early coming-of-age soundtrack. Part of the history of the country, part of my history. I’ve always loved it. And I’m sure I alway will.
4. David Kilgour, You Forget
I love all of the David Kilgour stuff, and anything/everything by The Clean and it was one of the joys of early university life getting to see living legends like Kilgour – then on their second or third trip, music-wise. But this album is special to me. For sure. He’s a mercurial madman. Something so very special in what he does.
5. Chris Knox, Liberal Backlash Angst
So it was with Chris Knox too – in fact I saw him on my first day at university (Sam Hunt that same week too – probably Kilgour as well I reckon…) What great times. And I saw Knox at as many of his memorable/ramshackle (old) Bodega gigs as I could. He was always great. Sometimes hit talk was shit. Too much. Too silly. But then he’d hit you with a song – something only he could have written, even if he’d borrowed the chords and was hacking down almost nonchalantly. And then there’d be a song so beautiful or harrowing (or both) and there was a real writer’s skill attached to everything he did. And that time I saw him at uni he played this song and he looked really nervous singing the line “fuck the maoris/flush the bastards down the drain” because a couple of maori dudes were right in his sightline – and they gave the bro-brows over their dark shades after he finished the song. A seal of approval. I’m sure I almost saw him wipe his brow.