There was a time, many moons ago, when I would only listen to bands off New Zealand’s Flying Nun label. Yup, I would strap myself into a comfy chair, put my headphones on and, armed with a chunk of chocolate coated Peanut Slab and a can of L&P, soak up album after album of wonderfully self-indulgent low-fi melancholy. There was real coarseness about the sound that characterised many of the acts on their roster; a guarded mix of wide-eyed escapism and world-weariness that permeated the melodic changes and added a depth to the music that was lacking in many of their big budgeted major label contemporaries. At the head of the queue was Martin Phillips and his motley (revolving) band, The Chills. Their songs were pure Dunedin — lush but subdued, expansive in parts yet tightly leashed in others. It was dark yet joyous, sober yet unhinged, a wash of contradictions yet an earful of something disarmingly, frighteningly pure.
Listen to The Chills song, Satin Doll.