The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Friday, June 20, 2008

New Zealand 80's!

6-20-08 New Zealand 80’s!

In the 1980’s, I went to New Zealand quite a few times. I was a big fan of their ‘local scene’ – groups like The Swingers, Toy Love, D.D. Smash, The Gordons, The Clean etc. A lot of other ‘scenes’ have come and gone – but I am still particularly fond of NZ 80’s music. Sadly, not everything from that era in New Zealand pop music is still available – many titles have never been released on CD.

So, revel with me in these world class records! Do you know them all? Would you like to?


Paul Agar & The Set – Look Into Your Eyes / Beat The Night
Androidss – Getting Jumpy / Auckland Tonight
The Bats – Block of Wood
Blam Blam Blam – Blam Blam Blam (EP)
The Chills – Rolling Moon / Bite / Flamethrower
Greg Clark & Mike Chunn – I’m So Up
The Clean – Boodle Boodle Boodle (EP)
Coup D’Etat – Doctor, I Like Your Medicine
The Crocodiles – Hello Girl / Romantic As Hell
Daggy & The Dickheads – Afternoon TV
Dance Exponents – All I Can Do
Dance Exponents – Sex & Agriculture
Dave Dobbyn – Lipstick Power
The Features – Victim (EP)
The Gordons – Future Shock (EP)
Hip Singles – Typewriter / So Strange
The Knobz – Culture?
Marching Girls – True Love / First In Line
The Mockers – Woke Up Today
Monte Video (Murray Grindlay) – Sheba (She Sha She Shoo)
Jenny Morris – Get Some Humour
The Narcs – No Turning Back (EP)
Pop Mechanix – Now
Pop Mechanix (as NZ Pop) – Holidays
Screaming Meemees – Stars In My Eyes
Sinclair Brothers (Citizen Band) – That Is The Way It Will Be
Sneaky Feelings – Better Than Before
Spelling Mistakes – Feels So Good
The Swingers – One Good Reason
The Swingers – Counting The Beat
Tall Dwarfs – Slugbuckethairybreathmonster (EP)
Tall Dwarfs – Louis Likes His Daily Dip (EP)
They Were Expendable – Big Strain (EP)
Toy Love – Bridge of Frankenstein
The Verlaines – Death And The Maiden
The Wastrels – The Jenner Affair (EP)


Blam Blam Blam – Luxury Length
Coconut Rough – s/t
The Crocodiles – Tears
The Crocodiles – Looking At Ourselves
D.D. Smash – Cool Bananas
D.D. Smash – The Optimist
Dance Exponents – Prayers Be Answered
Dance Exponents – Expectations
Dave Dobbyn – Loyal
Headless Chickens – s/t
I Am Joe’s Music – s/t
Phil Judd – Private Lives
Mi-Sex – Where Do They Go?
Alastair Riddell – Positive Action
Schnell Fenster – The Sound of Trees
Screaming Meemees – If This Is Paradise, I’ll Take The Bag
Split Enz – Coroboree (aka Waiata)
The Swingers – Practical Jokers
Tall Dwarfs – That’s The Short & Long Of It
Toy Love – s/t
Various Artists – AK 79
Various Artists – It’s Bigger Than Both Of Us (2LP)
Various Artists – Hits & Myths
Various Artists – More Hits & Myths
Various Artists – Hits & Myths ‘83
Zoo – Cowboys & Engines

This list was paired down from nearly 1,000 titles – literally 2/3 of my own NZ collection! I’ve listened to tons of music by New Zealand artists, and the above list is what I consider to be indispensable. Yes, I like NZ 60’s & 70’s – and even some 90’s music – but this list is 80’s-specific.

The other best albums by Split Enz and Mi-Sex are all 70’s LP’s. I continue to follow Dave Dobbyn and Phil Judd. I wish Fane Flaws would make some new music. I was always disappointed that there weren’t proper Pop Mechanix, Daggy & The Dickheads, Hip Singles or Wastrels LP’s.

pictured: "I Am Joe's Music" LP

I hope you are enjoying the solstice! If today isn't the longest day, tomorrow is!
The moon has been tremendous lately!



Blogger Brian Ware said...

Is there any hope for a proper CD for "Looking At Ourselves" by The Crocodiles? If not, can we make a CD-R? My vinyl copy is so noisy, it would be impossible to make a decent transfer. Perhaps you have a cleaner copy? We'd need any non-LP singles as well!!

Great lists by the way.

10:25 PM  
Blogger Ron Kane said...

Brian - I do believe my copy of "Looking At Ourselves" is pretty good, I'll check. Glad you liked th lists...ron

9:46 PM  
Blogger chas_m said...

I certainly have you to thank for introducing me to quite a few NZ bands, though I did manage to find a few on my own.

I think I will credit you for exposing me to:
Blam Blam Blam
Phil Judd (outside of Split Enz)
Alastair Riddell

And on my own I found:
Jenny Morris
Sneaky Feelings
Mi-Sex (could that band has possibly existed outside the 80s?)
Schnell Fenster

But clearly there's still a lot to learn. If you consider those five "Various Artists" comps "essential" then I would imagine that's a real fine place to start ...

12:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey there Ron - how nice to see somebody else who esteemed The Wastrels. I saw them live a couple of times, and I thought that they had so much potential. They folded way before their time, and as far as I know only relesed an ep, and a single. Cooke could really write and Jenner could really sing. I'm feeling all nostalgic because I picked up a copy of "The Jenner Affair", in good nick, yesterday at a record shop. Hello from Auckland.

3:22 AM  
Blogger Ron Kane said...

Wastrels did "The Jenner Affair" 12" EP, and a 7" and 12" for "Out To Sea" (with different B sides between formats). I got a few live cassettes of them from somebody in Christchurch. Great band.

7:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Ron it's the anonymous Wastrels fan again. I've got the 12" , and am still looking for the 7" of 'Out to Sea.' But tell me, how can I get my mitts on one of these live cassettes? I'd love to get one. Any ideas? Ta.

2:50 AM  
Blogger Failsafe said...

Hey Ron.
Pop Mechanix has been collected into 8 cds of music charting their various phases, the latest of which is a deluxe package of their singles.
You can read about them on the failsafe website ( and pick up their discs from here (
Jules has the new discs by them but may not have gotten round to putting them up on the site yet. make sure you grab the deluxe edition of Now:Then. its got all the singles artwork with it.

9:18 PM  
Blogger delaunean said...

In my opinion, Dick Driver was the best front man going around at the time. I will check out the Pop Mechanix link as I haven't heard him sing since live in the early 80s in ChCh...

11:41 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home