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Silver BulletsSilver Bullets available on iTunes

The Chills Silver Bullets

If you aren't familiar with The Chills, chances are you aren't entrenched in the New Zealand indie rock scene –not to mention this is first full-length album the group has put out in nearly two decades. The Chills are credited for popularizing the kiwi pop sound that emerged in New Zealand during the 1980s. It was a marked departure from the indie rock that was prevalent in the U.S. at the time and an original sound altogether. Greg was unsure what to expect from The Chills, as he hasn't heard a full-length album from them since 1996s Sunburnt. But he's happy to report singer/songwriter Martin Phillips is back. As a result of battling drug addiction and illness, Phillips‘ lyrics are dark and introspective. The album conveys a sense of urgency to appreciate life’s good things, and to Greg, Phillips sounds like a man renewed. Jim also likes the subtle touches of violin, timpani roll and chiming guitar. The song "America Says Hello" makes a political statement that is more direct than anything else Jim has heard from The Chills, so it's an enthusiastic Double Buy It for Silver Bullets.

JimGreg
Go to episode 520
lists

The Best Albums of 2015

Go to episode 524
world tours

New Zealand

The Clean

Lorde is just the biggest name in a long line of important musicians coming out of New Zealand. So this week, Jim and Greg fire up the jet to take the Sound Opinions World Tour to the other side of the world. As a guide, they're joined by Wellington-based critic Nick Bollinger, host of The Sampler on Radio New Zealand and author of several books including the recent memoir Goneville.

They focus on an influential era in kiwi rock emerging in the early 1980s known as the Dunedin Sound that's closely associated with the legendary New Zealand indie label Flying Nun Records. Based around the southern university city Dunedin, the Flying Nun bands drew upon early psychedelia, American garage rock, and The Velvet Underground to create a distinctive jangly guitar-based sound, much of it released on lo-fi 4-track recordings. But while the key bands like The Clean, The Chills, and The Verlaines shared an aesthetic, Nick argues that their musical approaches actually were varied. By the late ‘80s and early ’90s, the Dunedin Sound had fully evolved to incorporate the shoegaze of Bailter Space and even the dance beats of Headless Chickens.

A key part of New Zealand's culture is its indigenous population. Maori, Samoan, and other indigenous groups make up nearly 20% of the population and have had a major impact on the island nation's pop music. Nick traces the history of Maori music from the Hendrix-esque guitar styling of The Human Instinct to the reggae boom of the '70s to the embrace of hip-hop. He also makes recommendations for great contemporary kiwi artists, including singer-songwriter Aldous Harding, power-poppers Kane Strang, electro-soul artist Electric Wire Hustle, and the eclectic producer Lord Echo.

Go to episode 605