Tag Archive: christchurch


This edition of Bands You Should Know features yet another Kiwi (New Zealand) band.  Why? Why not?  Don’t worry I’ll get to the rest of the world soon enough, and there is plenty out there.  So the band in this edition is a band from Christchurch New Zealand called The Feelers.  The Feelers are the most played bands in New Zealand and one of if not the most popular also.  Since 1999 they have sold more than 250,000 albums.  While that doesn’t sound impressive, remember that New Zealand only has about 4 million people and they didn’t start keep track of stats for sales until 1999.  The Feelers were around selling albums before that.  In total they have produced 5 albums and 1 best of.
The founding members of the band met the way most people do, fighting on field in primary school. James Reid and Hamish Gee obviously didn’t get along that day, but it was for the best as a few years later, in 1993 they, along with Matthew Thomas, formed the feelers.  This line up remained basically the same until 2008, when bassist Thomas left the band and was replaced with Matt Short.  They also added guitarist Andy Lynch who had played a bit on some of the tours.  The first album was 1998’s Supersystem so that’s where we’ll begin…..

Supersystem 1998

This was the first release and is still awesome today.  While it was released in 1998, it won album of the year, songwriter of the year, band of the year and producer of the year at the New Zealand Music Awards.  With a combination of plugged in and unplugged guitars, great drumming and solid lyrics the album is a winner.  With music ranging from acoustic ballads to rock that is reminiscent of the early 90’s grunge at times it’s a diverse album that I enjoy alot.  My stand out tracks are Pressure Man, Venus, Space Cadet, Honey God, From Space with Love, Pull the Strings (which has a bit of 70’s funk in it), and The Leaving.

Communicate 2001

Communicate, the second album, is another great showing.  It is a bit different then Supersystem but is still a great rock album that covers the same spectrum as the last one.  This album did contain more ballads, but they were still pretty damn good.  The title track is a nice anthem and they still have the same combination of instruments and music, and they do it just as good if not better.  You can here the growth all around, from musicality to lyrics.  The best tracks?  Well, in my opinion these are them, Sex Show, Communicate, Fragile, Just Like You, More to Prove, Astronaut and Anniversary

Playground Battle 2003

Recorded mostly at the York Street Studio, Playground Battle represents a slight departure from Communicate, It has less ballads and more straight rock songs.  The lyrics and musicality matured more as well and Reids vocals sound great, and a little like Peter Gabriel, which works well with their music.  The music shifted slightly from the 90’s grunge sound that was present in the last two albums to a straight alternative rock sound, which really helps Reid’s vocals shine.  As usual the guitar work is well done, with a few nice little solo’s spread throughout and solid drumming.  There are a lot of great tracks on this album, this is one of my favorite albums from The Feelers so it’s really hard for me to narrow down a few tracks to pick but I’ll try, so here goes.  My standouts on this album are Weapons of War, Larger Than Life, Playground Battle, The Fear, Supernova, Unleash the Fury and Stand Up.

One World 2006

After three years without a studio album, The Feelers 4th album, One World, was released in November of 2006.  From the first track, Weak and Wounded,  you can hear that they built on what they had going on in Playground Battle. The lyrics become more deep and meaningful also, not that they weren’t before,  Reid and The Feelers just keep evolving and maturing.  As with the previous albums, there is a nice mix of electric and acoustic sounds and it’s nice to hear a band that doesn’t use auto tuning.  Also the sound of this album and the lyrics match voice perfectly and what the band stands for, because of that the  whole album works well.  Weak and the Wounded has a great epic sound to it and is a great way to open an album.  The rest of the tracks?  Well, most are just as good.  I didn’t find any track that I didn’t like granted there were ones I liked more than others and here they are.  Week and the Wounded, One World, Trying to Get By, Southgate, Washed Away and Never Get Me Down.

Hope Nature Forgives 2011

It took 5 long years, some lineup changes, a marriage, a child and some jail time, but by the end of it The Feelers (with new additions, Guitarist Andy Lynch and bass player Matt Short) have released their fifth album, Hope Nature Forgives.  The Album, released in 2011 contained a cover of Right Here Right Now by Jesus Jones that was used during the Rugby World Cup.  Even though it was a great cover, good enough that Mike Edwards, the writer of the song, said that it was the best version he’s heard, even better than his own, yet it stirred controversy. Some people were upset that it wasn’t a New Zealand song.  To that Hamish said, “I think it’s ironic that people criticised it for not being a New Zealand song, I mean, the Rugby World Cup is an international event.”
The album was recorded at two studios, York Street and Roundhead Studios, but the boys produced it themselves at their home studio.  It was mixed in Austin Texas by Tim Palmer and mastered by Justin Shturtz, at Sterling Sound in New York.  It was truly a global effort and one that paid off.

This album picks up where One World left off and does a fine job of it.  The addition of two new members probably helped keep things fresh also.  The writing is once again very solid as are the vocals.  The band stretches their sound a bit, for instance, Sweet the Tempest has a bit of an Irish feel to it and is a great song.  The opening track Didn’t Want to Fall in Love is a solid opener and keeps the familiar sound.  One of the best tracks is Blue Skies, which was also the first single off of the album.  Blue Skies is a great song that just screams New Zealand and then of course there’s the kick ass remake of Right Here Right Now.  My favorite tracks? here they are….Didn’t Want to Fall in Love, Dasvidaniya, Sweet the Tempest, Blue Skies,  What’s the Meaning?, Right Here Right Now and Hope Nature Forgives.

Conclusion

So after 14 years and 6 albums, 7 if you count the best of album, do The Feelers appear to be slowing down?  I don’t think so, I think the infusion of new talent and the 5 year breather has reinvigorated them and they’ll continue on for years to come.  In fact when asked on their own website Reid said, “It’s great to have the four of us in the room playing together, we are having a lot of fun, it’s the way music should be made,” So I’m guessing if they’re having a good time, they’ll continue to.  So Give them a shot and enjoy! Thanks for reading!

-John

Advertisements

          This edition of Bands You Should Know, feature a band I heard in New Zealand back in 2010.  We were on our honeymoon there and were in Christchurch for a couple of days before heading to Queenstown.  Knowing that we were going to be heading to temuka to spend the night at a friends then queenstown the next day, we figured we would buy some CD’s.  We went to I beleive a Marbecks music store in Christchurch.  Sadly I can’t verify if that was the name of the place because the location has been devastated by the earthquakes a couple of years ago.  Anyway we went to the counter and asked for the employee’s opinion.  She recommended a few groups to us, I liked most of them enough to buy them.  One of them was a group called Midnight Youth.

Midnight Youth was formed in Auckland, New Zealand in 2006 by Simon Oscroft, Matt Warman and Aidan Bartlett.  The three core founding members played together in New Zealands Rockquest competitions for high schools.  The group was rounded out when Jeremy Redmore and Nick Campbell joined in 2006.  Soon after forming, in 2007, they released two independandt singles, A New Day and Supernatural.  In 2008, when people still looked at Myspace, they were one of the top unsigned bands list there also.  Also in 2007 they got some notoriety playing as the opening act for Ok Go, Incubus and even INXS on their New Zealand tours.  They funded themselves, and went to New York to record their debut album The Brave Don’t Run with producer Terence Dover.  While in New York they recorded at various students throughout the city.

The Brave Don’t Run 2009

          The Brave Don’t Run was released in 2009 under Warner Music NZ, with whom they signed in with in 2008, shortly after they finished recording it.  The album peaked at number 2 on the New Zealand charts and the song, The Letter, became the bands first top 40 hit and peaked at number 20.  There were another couple of hits and he song Golden Love was used in the season finale of One Tree Hill in May of 2010, giving the band some US exposure.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to classify their music and I guess the best I could do is just by saying its rock.  The album starts out strong with Cavalry and continues the whole way through, I’ve listened to it multiple times from start to finish, I don’t think I’ve ever skipped a track.  Which in todays day and age is impressive.  The tracks range from good ol fashioned rock n roll like cavalry to slower ballads such as Learning to Fall and Golden Love.  Then there’s Tijuana, one of my favorites, it has just a hint of south of the border influence in it.  It’s hard for me to just narrow the tracks down to a few, the whole album is good, but if I have to choose my stand out tracks, the list would be the following Cavalry, Dead Flowers, The Letter, Benjamin, Learning to Fall, Tijuana and Lonely Homes.

The World Comes Calling 2011

Released on Warner NZ in 2011 The World Comes Calling opens much the same as The Brave Don’t Run, with a great rock tune, and just like the previous album it doesn’t stop there.  In fact, this one may outdo the first, something that usually doesn’t happen.  This album has a huge sound, and throughout are sprinkled influences from the 80’s bands.  It’s like a modern album of Arena Rock and I mean that in a good way.  The guitar work and drumming is top notch and the songs are all very likable.  There’s even a couple of heavier tracks thrown in.  I will say that it is a bit of a departure from the first album, and again not in a bad way.  You can tell that they are both Midnight Youth, but you can see the growth between the two albums.  The first track The Street, was great, then came Down Inside, which was even better, both are awesome.  I think this album is more of a straight rock album, although it does have its softer side also, such as World Comes Calling and Listen.  If you like straight Rock, this album does it and does it well, It’s not Metal or Hard Rock, but its damn good.  Just like the previous album I can listen to the whole album all the way through, which makes it really hard to pick a few notables, but here goes The Street, Down Inside, Won’t Stop, Who Said Your Free, and Listen.

Comclusion

Well, I think they’re great, I’ve played them for my 60 year old stepfather (who loves The Beatles and CSNY) and he loved both albums and I’ve played them for cousins in their 20’s and younger and they’ve all enjoyed them.  If you like rock music I would definitely recommend giving Midnight Youth a try.  You can find them at http://www.midnightyouth.com/, itunes and on Amazon (although they still only have the first album)  So give them a try, I’m sure your ears will thank you for it! Thanks for reading!

-John

Many of you have heard of New Zealand, some of you know a little more about it, like the fact that the Lord of the Rings movies were filmed there, or maybe that parts of Avatar were filmed there.  Even fewer of you know about New Zealand because of their love of rugby. That all changed a year ago today (or yesterday if you’re in New Zealand and Australia), when the New Zealand city of Christchurch was devasted by a shallow earthquake of 6.3 on the Richter scale.  Christchurch had been hit by quakes before, in fact New Zealand is on the Pacific Ring of Fire, the country gets hundreds of small quakes a month.  A few months prior, a larger quake hit Christchurch, but the city appeared to make it through.  This quake was different, while a lower rating on the Richter scale, it was shallow and was basically in the perfect spot.  At the end of it, 185 people had been killed, the Christchurch Cathedral had been all but destroyed along with most of the city centre.  The suburbs fared as bad if not worse. Throughout Christchurch and its suburbs the ground liquified flooding homes and streets, boulders fell from nearby mountains, there were landslides that blocked roads and tunnels.

You might be wondering why am I talking about this?  I don’t live there.  It’s simple, I’ve been there.  about a year earlier, we visited in May of 2010 for our honeymoon.  Not really sure why, one reason is that the wife is a closet Lord of the Rings geek (I am proud of my geekness and don’t hide it) the second reason was that my wife had a friend from there, Henry.  They met in college, they were both studying abroad in Europe (or something like that) and had kept in touch.  I met Henry when we went to London the second time back in 2008.  He was leaving the day we were arriving, so we met at a Fullers pub in a train station.  He was a great guy, little bit of a redneck, but great guy and we had lots in common.  I asked him about New Zealand and where he lived.  He told me that he lived about an hour south west of Christchurch.  He told me that we should come visit and if we do, that we had to go to Queenstown.  So in May of 2010 we did, the wife took care of planning the flight to Auckland and I took care of the rest.  In Auckland we stayed in what was then the Hyatt Regency Auckland, we had a nice harbor view.  We then flew to Christchurch where we rented a car (I only made a wrong turn once.  They drive on the opposite side by the way.)

We hadn’t heard of Christchurch before, but there was a Lord of the Rings tour from there, so we stood there for I think 3 days.  While on that tour we met a now very good friend of ours, Sarah, from Brighton UK.  In Christchurch we had stayed at the Hotel Grand Chancellor, the tallest building in Christchurch, we had a nice view over some of the city.  We decided to check out the city our first day.  We left the hotel and made a right which took us to Manchester St, which after a block or two, it seemed a bit shady, oddly though, we did see barefoot guy with a Chicago White Sox t-shirt on.  Especially since were from Chicago and are Cubs fans.  It didn’t look like there was much to see so we went the other way.  We traveled west on Cashel St to High St and made a right onto it.  We found a very nice pleasant shopping area, very similar to State street in Chicago.  Smaller and no skyscrapers but nice.  we then turned right on Columbo St.  We walked about about a block and found the Christchurch Cathedral.  It was a beautiful church and the entire square around it was very nice, I think they were having a market that was just getting ready to close because it was early evening, but it was very nice.  There was also a traditional Maori performance going on in front of the steps of the church.  We stopped on the way back to eat then went to bed.  The second day we had the Lord of the Rings tour.

As we were driving out of Christchurch from our hotel for the tour we saw that the city was much bigger and more diverse then we thought.  We also found out that they supposedly had some beautiful gardens, parks and zoo’s.  Unfortunately, we only had one more day there after the tour.  So when we awoke on the third day, we checked out the city center some more, we walked down Cashel west all the way to the Bridge of Remembrance.  At the Bridge of Remembrance we walked down the river bank a bit and was very pretty, there was a little mill with a water wheel and nice flower beds.  There were plenty of ducks and other little animals around.  Along the river walk everyone was very nice and said hi when we passed.  It was a very nice walk.  Cashel itself, was similar to High St with stores, both unique to New Zealand and familiar ones.  In fact it was on Cashel that I bought some CD’s, Midnight Youth, ShapeShifter, Tahuna Breaks, Dane Rumble and Liam Flynn.  All CD’s I still listen to.  We went back to the hotel and dropped off our spoils of war and went to dinner.  Let me back up a bit and talk about the room.  It was nice and big.  Although it was a bit dated, probably remodeled in the late 70’s early 80’s but it was nice enough.  The staff seemed nice and friendly and even told me how to get around paying to leave the car in the parking garage.  So back to the story, we ventured back out down Cashel to Oxford Terrace and made a right, at this point we were looking for a decent dining spot.  We walked about a half block and looked at the restaurant Liquidity, it looked nice but not quite our style.  We back tracked a bit and found The Tap Room.  It had a nice outside patio, and even though it was a bit chilly we grabbed an outside table, the center of the tables had heaters in them so it wasn’t bad.  After we sat down it started getting a bit busy and there were three people waiting for a seat, so we told the waitress that they could sit with us.  We always like to meet new people and they were pretty nice.  we chatted a bit, there were two women and a man, I wish I could remember there names.  It was the first place that I ever had a burger with a fried egg and it was the first time I had grass fed angus beef.  It was awesome! It was also the first time I hand Montieths Ale (which I now buy at one of the Binnys in the area).  It was a nice night then we turned in.

the next morning before we left for Henry’s place in Temuka, we took another quick walk down Cashel and picked up a few things, we then checked out and headed out of Christchurch in our rented Toyota Camry listening to Tahuna Breaks.  We felt kind of bad that we didn’t spend much time there, but we usually revisit places we like, so we said next time we spend a couple of extra days exploring what we missed…..

Then came 2-22-2011, and the pictures and videos….The cathedral spire had collapsed from the quake, the Hotel Grand Chancellor leaning to one side and High St and Cashel St in shambles with rubble everywhere.  The first thoughts I had was about the people we had met, I got in touch with Henry and he said he was fine, he was far enough away that there was no damage by him.  Then I thought about the nice guy that gave us the Lord of the Rings tour, and his son.  I never did find out what happened to him, even Sarah in Brighton told me she tried to find out, but never did.  I also thought of the three that we had met at The Tap House.  Two of them were kinda on their first date with the mutual friend who introduced them.  The receptionist at the hotel, a very nice sweet pretty girl.  The waitresses we had at the two places we ate, both were great and very friendly and were glad to tell us about there home cities and what we should try to see.  The girls we talked to at the Christchurch Lush store, we wanted to buy from them, but they closed before we got there (my sister worked at Lush in our area, so we wanted to bring back something unique)  All we really could do was hope that they were all alright.  I don’t think we’ll ever know for sure.  Then I thought about the beautiful river front, was the little water wheel and mill there? was there any damage to the Bridge of Remembrance.  More things that I still haven’t found out.  Then, a few weeks later, they announced that the Cathedral may never be repaired, numerous other buildings were condemned and would need to come down, including the hotel we stayed at, The Grand Chancellor.  To find that out really makes you think, you know?  I mean, if we ever do make it back, how much of what we saw or wanted to see will still be there? No one really knows yet.  A year later and the most of the city centre of Christchurch is still closed off, I haven’t really seen anything new.  I try to keep up with the news there reading the New Zealand Herald on line once or twice a week along with listening to some radio stations from there, but I still don’t know much about whats left.  I know for months there were aftershocks, then about a month later Japan got hit with an earthquake and Tsunami, so most news outlets turned there.   All I can say is that after meeting the people we did, I know Christchurch will rebuild and be stronger than ever, my thoughts will still be with you and sometime in the future, I still hope to go back and see it.

as usual thanks for reading.

John

%d bloggers like this: