Hard News by Russell Brown


Friday Music: Do not disturb

The strangest thing about Toy Love is how soon it was all over. They played their first gig at Zwines in January 1979 and their last at Mainstreet in September 1980. Between those two dates there were more than 400 shows. They had chart hits and TV appearances and they thrilled the hell out of me and my schoolkid friends.

There are layers here. The wisdom is that the way Flying Nun Records shunned the major-label industry had a lot to do with how disenchanted Chris Knox was with Toy Love's experience, particularly on the hard turf of the Aussie pub scene. It's a bit more complicated than that, but it's not untrue either.

You also might not be aware of the connections that two Public Address regulars have with the Toy Love story. Ian Dalziel, crafter of delightful puns, was Toy Love's roadie, and Joe Wylie made for them one of New Zealand's most memorable music videos:

I saw them play three times: at a free show on the banks of the Avon, where I remember them playing The Doors' 'People Are Strange' (I think it was the first time I ever heard the song); at Canterbury University (the image of Chris nibbling on a light bulb has never left me); and at the Brevet Club out by Christchurch Airport (where, Ian tells me, no one had thought through the combination of a sprung dancefloor and a crowd that liked to pogo).

Here's a Toy Love performance some of you might have seen: the band playing at Auckland University on the same Orientation tour that I snuck into in Christchurch. It's a short excerpt from Part 1 of the recordings of Justin Keen's campus TV channel from that year, which are a real trove of student history:

Last night, at the New Zealand Music Awards, Toy Love were inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame, their ascension heralded by a tribute band including Emily from Street Chant.

Really, the only better part of the night was that huge brawl between Six60 and Home Brew, that had to be broken up by Hollie Smith and Rose Matafeo, swinging chairs above their heads.

Probably. Okay, I made that up. I was there, but I'm not daft enough to commit to writing a blog post the morning after the awards. If you're reading this, I did get it together to push the "publish" button. There's that.


But wait! There's more!

Flying Nun Records has a gorgeous-looking double LP compilation of the Toy Love recordings, "all mastered for vinyl, straight from the original analogue tapes, no nasty CDs nor digital sources were used at all." It's launched tomorrow at Real Groovy Records in Auckland, along with the Pull Down the Shades DVD. And, I'm told, Toy Love will be playing.


Who is thevault1 on Soundcloud? His stream is a fanboy dream. Seriously: "The Doublehappys - I Don't Wanna See You Again (practice room). Recorded on 2 track at the Roslyn Mills practice room, Dunedin, NZL, sometime in 1983. Shayne Carter, Wayne Elsey & Herbie Fuckface"?

Holy shitballs.


Blair Parkes has an album in the works from another one of his bands (apart from the L.E.D.s, that is), Range, and has made a video for the lovely song 'Hardly Knew':

That's available as a free download on Bandcamp:

Blair played me some more of the Range tracks the last time I was in Christchurch. They sound wonderfully organic. I think it's going to be a lovely album.


 And, as ever, some tracks ...

Cousin Cole does a nice job on 'Thriller':

The new Young, Gifted and Broke mixtape, featuring tracks from @Peace, Team Dynamite, Side Steps Quintet, Home Brew and others, comes on cassette, because that's what all the cool kids are pretending to listen to these days. Here's how it got made:

For the old and unfashionable, there's also an MP3 download.

A couple of interesting arrivals at TheAudience ... spooky tunes from Yvnalesca

And swooping techno from Wellington's South City Sushi Cop:

finally: love the idea of crate-digging in suburban op-shops, but don't have the time or taste to do it proper? Head over to Dubdotdash, where Peter has the goods on Stinky Jim's Aromatherapy mixtape -- and get the download while it's available.

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