Alec Bathgate Vinyl Reissues Announced

Chris Cudby
/ Friday 5th November, 2021 3:20PM


One half of lo-fi pioneers Tall Dwarfs with Chris Knox and co-founder of monumentally influential Aotearoa punk units Toy Love and The Enemy, three albums from Alec Bathgate‘s solo output will soon be receiving the lux vinyl reissue treatment via his own imprint Long Short Short. Bathgate’s long out of print 1996 classic Gold Lamé will be making a come back, along with later long players The Indifferent Velvet Void (originally released in 2004 by Lil’ Chief Records) and 2020’s superb instrumental collection Phantom Dots. All three freshly remastered records will be releasing on 19th November in fancy coloured vinyl editions, with design, production and packaging by Bathgate himself — scoot over to the Flying Nun Records site HERE for more info on how to get your grubby mitts on a copy…

Listen to Alec Bathgate’s super catchy ‘Pet Hates’ from Gold Lamé…

Sulfate Announce New Dates For Godzone Album Release Tour

Annabel Kean / Photo credit: Courtney Rodgers / Wednesday 27th October, 2021 11:53AM


The wonderfully noisy Sulfate crew are powering through the seemingly endless chaos of tour postponements, today announcing brand new dates for their Tāmaki Makaurau, Pōneke, Ōtautahi and Ōtepoti shows. Peter Ruddell (Wax Chattels), Hariet Ellis (Na Noise, Dick Move) and David Harris (Princess Chelsea) will be fuelling the sweltering summer heat in February and March with their brain-melting sophomore album Godzone, that dropped to welcome ears back in September via Flying Nun Records. Along with the news of fresh tour dates, Sulfate have confirmed their original ripper bill of support acts has remained in tact, with Guardian Singles, The Spectre Collective, Wurld Series and more joining the Godzone party this summer. Check the full rundown below and lock in your spot — all tickets remain valid and UTR ticket holders have been emailed direct with details (check your promotions and spam folders)

UnderTheRadar proudly presents…

Sulfate – Godzone Tour

Friday 25th February – Wine Cellar, Auckland w/ Guardian Singles & Soft Bait

Saturday 26th February – Newtown Sports Bar, Wellington w/ Mystery Waitress & The Spectre Collective

Friday 11th March – Wunderbar, Lyttelton w/ Wurld Series & Zane 2000

Saturday 12th March – DIVE, Dunedin w/ Dale Kerrigan & Wet Specimen

Tickets available HERE via UTR 

Sulfate’s sophomore album ‘Godzone’ is out now on streaming services and vinyl via Flying Nun Records.

Vera Ellen Shares New Album Its Your Birthday

Annabel Kean / Photo credit: Isabella Austin / Friday 8th October, 2021 10:57AM


It’s everybody’s birthday and we’ve all been given the very special gift of a whole new album from LA-based Pōneke songwriter Vera Ellen. Every single leading up to today’s It’s Your Birthday drop has been an indie-pop delight, confirming again and again that the Girl Friday vocalist had a winner up her sleeve. Out via Flying Nun Records and available on tasty looking candy-orange vinyl, the album begins with an eerie instrumental track and an unknown woman’s shaky voice, maybe as a warning that It’s Your Birthday isn’t all ribbons and buttercream, having half been written when Ellen was "broke living behind a sheet in a lounge in Hollywood" and "so homesick I wanted to puke".

But it was also written in periods of "so much elation I thought it couldn’t be possible to be any higher", a feeling well expressed when the album hits moments of full-blown sing-along rock, like in ‘I Want 2 B Boy’ and ‘It’s Good, It’s Simple’, both of which I can picture the whole pub swaying to, belting out the lovely Samuel Austin, Ben Lemi and Albert River backing vocals. From the highs of ‘Crack The Whip’ to the lows of ‘Stuck w Me’, which first featured on her 2020 EP Songs No​-​One Should Hear, It’s Your Birthday is a wonderful pop-rock rollercoaster, worth repeating ’til you’re dizzy…

Vera Ellen’s solo album ‘It’s Your Birthday’ is out today via Flying Nun Records.

Vera Ellen Shares New Single Its Your Birthday

Annabel Kean / Photo credit: Isabella Austin / Monday 4th October, 2021 1:26PM


Vera Ellen‘s hotly anticipated solo album It’s Your Birthday is out this coming Friday on the legendary Flying Nun Records, and today the L.A.-based songwriter treats us to the title track. Following in the impressive footsteps of singles ‘YOU!’, ‘Crack The Whip’ and ‘I Want 2 B Boy’, the new drop is the last amuse bouche before we get the main course. ‘It’s Your Birthday’ is an ode to misbehaving under the guise of celebrating someone else, with lyrics "It’s your birthday you do you, I guess I have no excuse" delivered alongside wholesome and harmonious ‘do do doo’s from the Vera Ellen band. Ellen continues to leave my jaw dropped with her delicate balance between the bleak and the beautiful, and does so again on ‘It’s Your Birthday’ by singing about both disappointed parents and the pleasure of drinking wine on the beach. It’s not my birthday, but this track (and the weather) sure makes me want to drink like it is…

When Vera Ellen says ‘It’s Your Birthday’ it’s time to watch the video for Girl Friday’s ‘Public Bodies’ and celebrate Gussie Larkin (Mermaidens, Earth Tongue) who directed it and whose birthday it is today! Happy birthday Gussie!

Vera Ellen’s solo album ‘It’s Your Birthday’ is out October 8th via Flying Nun Records.

The 3Ds The Venus Trail Vinyl Reissue Announced

Chris Cudby / Image: 1995 Flying Nun publicity shot
/ Friday 24th September, 2021 11:57AM


Regarded by many local music buffs (including myself) as one of the best albums ever to emerge from Aotearoa, the champs at Flying Nun Records are doing us all a solid by reissuing The 3Ds‘ 1993 album The Venus Trail on blue vinyl LP in a newly remastered edition. The legendary Dunedin team of David Mitchell, Denise Roughan, David Saunders and Dominic Stones were on fire when they served up this uncategorisably beautiful collection of twisted fuzzy psych / folk-pop gems. Lead single ‘Hey Seuss’ ruled local student airwaves for at least half a year, while anthems ‘The Golden Grove’, ‘Man On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown’, ‘Cash None’, ‘Spooky’ and ‘Beautiful Things’ all wormed their ways into the hearts of a generation.

Remastered by engineer Tex Houston, the album returns on 22nd October along with a super snazzy David Mitchell-drawn The Venus Trail t-shirt — why the guitarist’s era-defining ink illustrations aren’t hung in national galleries alongside Colin McCahon is a question that needs to be asked. Reacquaint yourself with AudioCulture’s excellent profile of the group here and place your pre-orders over on the Flying Nun site here.

Here’s the classic vid for ‘Hey Seuss’…

The Venus Trail tracklisting:


Hey Seuss

Philadelphia Rising

Cash None

The Golden Grove

The Venus Trail

Beautiful Things

Man On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown


Jane Air

The Young And The Restless



Sulfate Unveil Sophomore Album Godzone

Annabel Kean / Photo credit: Courtney Rodgers / Friday 10th September, 2021 8:44AM


Out today on Flying Nun Records, the sophomore album from Tāmaki Makaurau trio Sulfate distills societal frustration and disgust into seven larger than life, grizzly tracks. Where producer and lead howler Peter Ruddell (Wax Chattels) rode mostly solo on the band’s self-titled debut, new offering Godzone see’s Ruddell recording with bandmates Hariet Ellis (Na Noise, Hamburger Haz & Pitmaster Pete) and David Harris (Princess Chelsea). As featured on Sulfate tracks ‘Speaking For Others’ and ‘Bush’, Ellis returns on Godzone with crushing bass guitar and haunting vocals, playing against Ruddell’s booming twang on lead single ‘Crossing’ and the sweltering saxophone and earthshaking rumbles of ‘Only Half Awake’. Driving the band ethos of ‘intensity through restraint’, drummer Harris creates the most heart-squeezing beds of sparse kick and simmering cymbals, so much so I think I forgot to breathe for the first five minutes of album stand out ‘Forgetting’ before the tension broke with a crash, bang and a high-paced snare drum march. Prepare to be rattled by Godzone, but also expect catharsis from this rich and heavy Sulfate feast.

The three-piece take new songs and old on their album release tour this October and November, making stops at main centres and returning home for an appearance at this year’s The Others Way Festival. I’d recommend you find out how to save your spot at one of the limited dates below, and brace yourself for your first listen of Godzone…

UnderTheRadar proudly presents…

Sulfate – Godzone Tour

Friday 29th October – Newtown Sports Bar, Wellington

Saturday 30th October – Wine Cellar, Auckland

Friday 12th November – The Others Way, Auckland*

Friday 26th November – Dive, Dunedin

Saturday 27th November – Wunderbar, Christchurch

Tickets available HERE via UTR 
*The Others Way 2021 tickets available HERE via UTR

Sulfate’s sophomore album ‘Godzone’ is out now on streaming services and vinyl via Flying Nun Records.

Reb Fountain Shares Single Video Foxbright

Annabel Kean / C.C. / Photo credit: Marissa Findlay / Wednesday 8th September, 2021 9:08AM


Another boundless track lands from Reb Fountain‘s forthcoming album IRIS, out in full this October 1st on Flying Nun Records. Fourth drop ‘Foxbright’ follows Fountain’s album singles so far ‘Heart’, ‘Lucuna’ and ‘Beastie’, each uncovering a new facet of the darkly beautiful folk collection to come. On the new offering Fountain flexes her effortless vocal range, a talent well complemented by the song’s journey from stark piano and acoustic guitar plucks to heart-squeezing, cinematic strings, all working towards building the mysterious world of ‘Foxbright’. The icing on the cake is director Lola Fountain-Best’s intimately minimal yet lush video for the ballad, made with support from NZ On Air. All going well, Fountain and her band will be taking IRIS on the road this November and December, making stops at some of New Zealand’s most iconic venues. Stay foxy, be bright, and listen to the new Reb Fountain…

Reb Fountain

IRIS Album Release Tour NZ

Thursday 25th November – Isaac Theatre, Christchurch
Saturday 27th November – Glenroy Auditorium, Dunedin
Friday 3rd December – Opera House, Wellington

Saturday 11th December – The Civic, Auckland

General public tickets available via Live Nation

Reb Fountain’s album ‘IRIS’ is out on Friday 1st October via Flying Nun Records.

New Dates Announced For Sulfate Godzone Album Release Tour

Chris Cudby / Photo credit: Courtney Rodgers
/ Tuesday 7th September, 2021 10:00AM


With a second studio album out on Friday via Flying Nun Records from the powerhouse lineup of Peter Ruddell (Wax Chattels), Hariet Ellis (Na Noise, Dick Move) and David Harris (Princess Chelsea), Sulfate were all set to tour Aotearoa this month before Covid made its unwelcome return. We’re stoked to share the news their nationwide tour is still going ahead, with new dates now confirmed for October and November in a freshly rejigged form (note updated venue info below), including an appearance at The Others Way 2021. Absolutely electrifying live, Tāmaki trio opened the Flying Nun 40th Anniversary knees up at Auckland Town Hall a month ago with supreme style, and it looks like Ruddell and Ellis’ creative flame has been sizzling up a storm during lockdown too. Check out the updated tour details here — all UTR ticket holders will be emailed direct with updated details…

UnderTheRadar proudly presents…

Sulfate – Godzone Tour

Friday 29th October – Newtown Sports Bar, Wellington

Saturday 30th October – Wine Cellar, Auckland

Friday 12th November – The Others Way, Auckland*

Friday 26th November – Dive, Dunedin

Saturday 27th November – Wunderbar, Christchurch

Tickets available HERE via UTR 
*The Others Way 2021 tickets available HERE via UTR

Listen to ‘There You Are!’ the new single from Sulfate’s forthcoming album Godzone…

‘Godzone’ launches on Friday 10th September via Flying Nun Records, vinyl preorders are available now.

Vera Ellen Drops Single Video Crack The Whip

Annabel Kean / Image credit: Isabella Austin
/ Wednesday 25th August, 2021 11:15AM


With a hopeless romantic track record like Vera Ellen‘s (see Songs No​-​one Should Hear), you’d be right to take a seemingly love sick song like ‘Crack The Whip‘ with a grain of salt, waiting for the moment everything goes horribly, heartbreakingly wrong. From her album It’s Your Birthday, out this October via Flying Nun Records, I’m 90% sure ‘Crack The Whip’ is actually a touching, guitar-pop love song, with the repeated refrain "C’mon baby you can hold me through the night" delivered without even a touch of cynicism from the Girl Friday vocalist. Ellen’s self-directed home movie-style video for the new single likely helps its case, featuring what looks like both authentic ’90s footage of a baby Vera, and recent clips from a big day out to the zoo, beach and other LA hot spots. Maybe it’s a combination of lockdown and seeing baby monkeys in the ‘Crack The Whip’ visuals, but I’m feeling pretty emotional about It’s Your Birthday and would like it to be released now please…

Vera Ellen’s solo album ‘It’s Your Birthday’ is out October 8th via Flying Nun Records.

Sulfate Announce Godzone Album Release Tour

Chris Cudby / Photo credit: Courtney Rodgers
/ Wednesday 11th August, 2021 8:00AM


Raising the bar formidably high as openers for the Flying Nun Records Auckland Town Hall 40th Anniversary celebration just over two weeks back, Sulfate have announced a five date nationwide tour marking the launch of their second album Godzone. Now officially the powerhouse trio of founder Peter Ruddell (Wax Chattels), Hariet Ellis (Na Noise, Dick Move) and David Harris (Princess Chelsea), Sulfate unveiled the charred sonic panorama that is lead single ‘Crossing‘ last month, and their imminent new record is set to paint an unsettling portrait of Aotearoa New Zealand — launching via the aforementioned legendary imprint on 10th September. Support artists will be revealed in the weeks ahead, but don’t wait even a second to lock in the dates below, including an appearance at Tāmaki Makaurau’s super-stacked The Others Way 2021 festival. Heed their advice and bring earplugs

UnderTheRadar proudly presents…

Sulfate – Godzone Tour

Friday 17th September – The Others Way 2021, Auckland*

Saturday 18th September – Newtown Sports Bar, Wellington

Friday 24th September – The Crown Hotel, Dunedin

Saturday 25th September – Space Academy, Christchurch

Sunday 26th September – The Wine Cellar, Auckland

Tickets available HERE via UTR 
*The Others Way 2021 tickets available HERE via UTR

Experience the bleak tone-setting visuals for ‘Crossing’, from Sulfate’s forthcoming album Godzone…

‘Godzone’ launches on Friday 10th September via Flying Nun Records, vinyl preorders are available now.

Press release:

Auckland noise-rock trio, Sulfate, have announced their Godzone Album Release Tour, making their way around “God’s Own Country” in the second half of September, with this show going down on Sunday 26th September at Wine Cellar, in Auckland.

From the inception of the band the ethos has always been to create intensity through restraint, and they have developed a live reputation for “startling, sonorous… crushing yet considered” performances (AmbientLightBlog). Sonically, things develop slowly, creating an atmosphere and mood that “invades the subconscious” (Graham Reid) before the crushing noise sets in. It is highly recommended that you BYO earplugs.

Support acts for all shows are to be announced in the coming weeks — and tickets are available now

Sulfate Announce New Album Godzone Unveil Single Crossing

C.C. / Photo credit: Courtney Rodgers
/ Wednesday 7th July, 2021 9:27AM


Initially conceived as the solo project of Wax Chattels co-singer / keyboard mangler Peter Ruddell, Tāmaki Makaurau’s Sulfate are now a full blown three piece with the inclusion of Hariet Ellis (Na Noise, Dick Move) and David Harris (Princess Chelsea). The many fans of Sulfate’s breakout 2019 self-titled debut album will be over the moon at today’s news there’s a brand new studio record on the way via Flying Nun Records, entitled Godzone and out this coming September. The trio sweep listeners off their feet with bleak yet epic sounding lead single ‘Crossing‘, launched with minimal and moody gothic visuals depicting a lost highway of a distinctly Aotearoa kind. Ruddell explained the band’s vision for ‘Crossing’…

"This track is a comment about how we, as New Zealanders, have lofty ideals but often don’t follow through with them in tangible ways. We talk about having a strong social voice on the global stage, and how clean, green and pristine our country is, but our track-record tells us otherwise. Sonically, we wanted this song to capture the expanse of New Zealand’s scenery — how we are in awe of its beauty, and blissfully unaware of the ongoing social concerns which plague us."

‘Godzone’ launches on Friday 10th September via Flying Nun Records, vinyl preorders are available now.

Womb Announce New EP Holding A Flame Nationwide Tour

Chris Cudby
/ Wednesday 2nd June, 2021 10:38AM


Since we featured Sydney sibling duo Lime Cordiale on the site just yesterday, it feels serendipitous to share today’s excellent news that Pōneke sibling trio Womb have announced their forthcoming Holding a Flame EP will be launching digitally on June 23rd via Flying Nun Records. Recorded and produced by the band and Bevan Smith (Signer), this will be the first release via the legendary Aoteaoa imprint from Gemini twins Charlotte Forrester and Haz Forrester and their Leo sister Georgette Brown, a significant occasion they’ll be marking with a four date nationwide tour this July. We can’t wait to hear the Womb’s first collection since their dreamy debut album Like Splitting the Head from the Body entranced us all in 2018, don’t miss them with all-star special guests at the dates below.

Originally envisaged as part of an album, Womb stated the four songs on Holding a Flame felt complete when placed together: “We recorded them on and off, while collectively listening to a whole lot of Cocteau Twins (as always), Blood Orange, and The Cure. As with most of our songs, these were written as a form of transmutation; turning discordant feelings into a unified sound as a means of getting through/past various states of being.”


Friday 2nd July — Dive, Dunedin (Ōtepoti) w/ i.e. crazy, Dale Kerrigan

Saturday 3rd July — Loons, Lyttelton (Ōhinehau) w/ Ben Woods, Ferby

Wednesday 21st July — Meow, Wellington (Pōneke) w/ i.e. crazy, Recitals, bornhag

Friday 23rd July — The Wine Cellar, Auckland (Tāmaki Makaurau) w/ Samara Alofa, Ary & The Jansens

Tickets available HERE via UTR

Experience Martin Sagadin’s video for Womb’s 2020 single ‘Used to Be’…

Premiere Milks Video For Crit

Chris Cudby
/ Wednesday 28th April, 2021 12:44PM


Released late last week via Flying Nun Records in conjunction with launch events throughout Aotearoa, Milk III celebrates the work of much-loved sonic visionary Reuben Samuel Winter (Waitaha / Kāi Tahu / Te Aupōuri / Te Rarawa / Ngāti Kuri). Recorded in 2019 and completed before he passed away in September last year, the new album is deservedly currently sitting near the very top of the NZ album charts (surrounded by Six60 albums), and sharing company on the official top 40 album charts alongside Taylor Swift and The Weeknd. We’re absolutely stoked to premiere today a new video created by his partner Grace Verweij for the soaring ‘Crit+‘ from the record, compiled from evocative footage assembled by Winter and overlaid with glimpses of drawings from his notebooks…

"Reuben was always excited by expansive motorways and highways — he would find and collect old driving footage, and was especially into stuff filmed on VHS cameras. Last year he asked me to make a music video for him using some of the footage he liked. It felt important to be true to my word, so I made this one during the tour for his album release. While I was editing, I was reminded a lot of when Milk briefly toured California and Nevada with PHF, and how nice it was to see Reuben enjoy the super-big highways.

The drawings in the video are Reuben’s, taken from various notebooks, and they can also be found on the lyrics sheet included in the LP. Crit+ feels like the ultimate road-trip anthem, so it felt like the perfect song to make a video for." – Grace Verweij

‘Milk III’ is out now digitally and on vinyl LP via Flying Nun Records. All profits from the record will be split between Fibromyalgia Aotearoa New Zealand (he lived with fibromyalgia and chronic pain for close to a decade) and his whānau and future fund.

Listen To Reuben Samuel Winters Milk III Album

Chris Cudby
/ Tuesday 20th April, 2021 9:47AM


Launched with shows across Aotearoa celebrating the inimitable sonic vision of Reuben Samuel Winter (Waitaha / Kāi Tahu / Te Aupōuri / Te Rarawa / Ngāti Kuri), the Tāmaki Makaurau songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer’s posthumous album Milk III is out today courtesy of Flying Nun Records. Recorded in 2019 at Red Bull Studios with Ben Lawson, Milk III was completed before the much-loved artist passed away in September last year at the age of 26, prompting an outpouring of grief and remembrance from throughout our music community. Released in collaboration with Reuben’s whānau, all profits from the record will be split between Fibromyalgia Aotearoa New Zealand (he lived with fibromyalgia and chronic pain for close to a decade) and his whānau and future fund.

The new record showcases Reuben’s Milk project, the guitar-centric side of the fearlessly adventurous and prolific artist, who produced music in a diverse range of styles and monikers, including Totems, Caroles, Bandicoot and many more. Featuring contributions from friends Lachlan SmithJames Thorrington, Emma Hall-Phillips, Victoria Chellew, Charlie (Opi), Jong-Yun J.Y. Lee and Peter Ruddell, with artwork by Joe Locke (P.H.F.), the album feels like an event given shape as sound. There’s so much to celebrate and process when hearing Milk III, which Reuben himself considered to be one of his finest works — we encourage you listen up, feel the power of his genius and order your own vinyl LP edition to cherish over via Bandcamp HERE.

"This record is not a hastily thrown together posthumous release. Every second of sound, every word, every multi-layered overdub was carefully considered, and lovingly crafted by Reuben. It shows an insight into who Reuben was in the last few years of his life. A man brave enough to stare his own pain in the face, and who was kind enough to share himself wholly with anyone who would listen."

Milk III Album Release

Friday 23rd April – Moon, Wellington, feat. Race Banyon, Career Girls (via video), Queen’s Cup, LILSTIFFY, Goya, Thomas Arbor, Welcomer, Ian Jorg / Blink, Skymning

*Tickets available HERE via UTR

‘Milk III’ is out now digitally and on vinyl LP via Flying Nun Records.

Milk III Album Release Shows Announced

Chris Cudby / Photo credit: Jordan Wilson-Grell / Thursday 25th March, 2021 2:34PM


Artists throughout Aotearoa are coming together to celebrate the sonic vision of Reuben Samuel Winter (Waitaha / Kāi Tahu / Te Aupōuri / Te Rarawa / Ngāti Kuri), whose as yet unheard Milk III album is being posthumously released via Flying Nun Records this April. A furiously adventurous artist whose output included Totems, Caroles, Bandicoot, Kerosene Comic Book and lots more, Reuben’s energising and irreplaceable presence has been dearly missed by our community since he died by suicide in September last year. Launching in collaboration with Reuben’s whānau, Milk III will be out on black vinyl LP and digitally on 20th April, with all profits split between Fibromyalgia Aotearoa New Zealand (he lived with fibromyalgia and chronic pain for close to a decade) and his whānau and future fund. Record release shows have been announced today in Pōneke, Ōtepoti and his hometown of Tāmaki Makaurau, featuring a legion of friends playing in tribute to the king — vinyl copies of Milk III will be available at the shows, here are the details…

Milk III Album Release

Thursday 15th April — Woof!, Dunedin, feat. Kane Strang, Residue, Centre Negative, Dudley Benson (DJ)

Saturday 17th April — Whammy Bar, Auckland, feat. Greenfog, Alec, Skymning, PHF, DHDFD’s, Keeva, Muirs*
Friday 23rd April – Moon, Wellington, feat. Race Banyon, Career Girls (via video), Queen’s Cup, LILSTIFFY, Goya, Thomas Arbor, Welcomer, Ian Jorg / Blink, Skymning*

*Tickets available HERE via UTR

From the organisers: "It is our priority to facilitate an environment for those who loved, knew and admired Reuben to feel safe in expressing our collective grief. As such, we ask that attendees be conscious of one another’s vulnerabilities during this time. Our kaupapa is that this is a space for aroha, and there will be zero tolerance of harassment, violence, discrimination, drunkenness or insensitivity. Please notify Whammy staff, security or the door person if you or someone you know feels unsafe."

Experience Reuben Winter’s 2019 solo Milk live to air set for Radio One 91FM (with an amazing intro)…

If you are concerned about yourself or a friend please reach out to Lifeline at 0800 543 354.

Reuben Samuel Winters Milk III Album To Be Released By Flying Nun Records

Chris Cudby
/ Friday 19th March, 2021 9:43AM


In very welcome news, the team at Flying Nun Records have announced they’ll be releasing the third Milk album from Tāmaki Makaurau music legend Reuben Samuel Winter (Waitaha / Kāi Tahu / Te Aupōuri / Te Rarawa / Ngāti Kuri), who died by suicide in November last year and is dearly missed by our music community. The noisy, guitar-centric project of the fearlessly adventurous songwriter and multi-instrumentalist — whose artistic vision also encompassed Totems, Caroles, Bandicoot, Kerosene Comic Book and so much more — Reuben’s as yet unheard third record was recorded in 2019 at Red Bull Studios (recorded, and engineered by Ben Lawson) and completed in his Titirangi home, featuring contributions from Lachlan Smith, James Thorrington, Emma Hall-Phillips, Victoria Chellew, Charlie (Opi), Jong-Yun J.Y. Lee and Peter Ruddell.

Released in collaboration with Reuben’s whānau, Milk III is launching on black vinyl LP and digitally on 20th April, with all profits split between Fibromyalgia Aotearoa New Zealand (he lived with fibromyalgia and chronic pain for close to a decade) and his whānau and future fund. I personally can’t wait to hear Milk III, Reuben told me it’s a work he was proud of and wanted to be heard by the world — you can preorder your copy via Flying Nun here.

"Ian Jorgensen (A Low Hum) and Reuben’s whānau approached Flying Nun late last year and asked if we’d be interested in putting Milk III out on vinyl. We felt very honoured to be asked, and jumped at the opportunity. Reuben’s music needs to be shared; it will never stop inspiring creativity in others. Not only is Milk III a sonic masterpiece, Reuben was, and still is, an integral part of New Zealand’s independent music community and the impact of his art will be felt for a long time into the future." — Flying Nun Records

Watch Milk (Reuben Winter with friends) playing ‘Sugar Glider’ last year at 95bFM’s Drive Island VIII…

If you are concerned about yourself or a friend please reach out to Lifeline at 0800 543 354.

Voom Headlining The Hollywood Avondale In April

Chris Cudby
/ Thursday 11th March, 2021 8:00AM


Beloved by multiple generations of Aotearoa indie music fans, Voom are playing a very special headline event in the opulent surrounds of Tāmaki’s Hollywood Avondale Cinema this April. Celebrating the forthcoming reissue of their anthem-packed 2006 sophomore album, Hello, Are You There?, releasing on vinyl LP for the first time ever via Flying Nun Records in March, Buzz Moller and the gang will be supported for the occasion by Soaked Oats (no strangers to a catchy tune themselves) and party-starting duo LAIIKA.

Founded by Buzz Moller and the late Andrew “Mac” MacCaskill in early ’90s Tāmaki Makaurau, and soon joined by bassist Danny Manetto, Voom have released only two studio albums in a career spanning nearly three decades, but they’re both hands down classics. Don’t miss the current lineup of Moller, long-time Voomers Nick Buckton, Murray Fisher plus drummer Josh Sorenson on 16th April — grab tickets from midday Friday onwards…

Voom LP Re-Release Party

w/ Soaked Oats and LAIIKA

Friday 16th April – Hollywood Avondale, Auckland

Tickets available HERE via UTR 

Sing along with the animated video for Voom’s ‘B Your Boy’ from Hello, Are You There?…

‘Hello, Are You There?’ is available for pre-order via Flying Nun Records, releasing Friday 26th March.

Press release:

Voom are thrilled to announce a special one-off headline show at Auckland’s Hollywood
Avondale Cinema on April 16th to celebrate the vinyl re-issue of their seminal album ‘Hello,
Are You There?’. Dunedin’s Soaked Oats and Auckland’s LAIIKA (ft. Buzz’s daughter
Grace) will be on support duties, and tickets will be available from
from Friday, 12th of March.

Voom’s inception began in the early 90s. Buzz Moller and the late Andrew “Mac”
MacCaskill quietly worked away in their basement for many years before the public heard
anything from Voom. Danny Manetto had joined the band on bass, and they played many
shows around New Zealand before revealing the highly acclaimed debut album Now I Am
Me in the year 1998.

Voom’s current line-up includes songwriter Buzz Moller, long-time Voomers Nick Buckton,
Murray Fisher plus Josh Sorenson on drums.

The band’s 2006 sophomore album, Hello, Are You There? was critically received and
landed a top spot in the hearts of many New Zealand music lovers and critics. In 2002,
one of the songs that would later be included on this release, ‘King Kong’, had been
nominated for an APRA Silver Scroll. Hello, Are You There? went on to be listed in good
company, amongst the "100 Essential New Zealand Albums" in a book of the same name,
written by prominent music critic, Nick Bollinger.

This 15th anniversary reissue of Hello, Are You There? contains 17 short, sharp slices of
life; the 16 remastered album tracks, plus bonus track ‘Jimmy’s Boner’, that fans of the
band will recognise from live performances. The album swings from infectious fuzz-pop to
janglers and even dips to teary-eyed ballads, but, whatever the mood, the songs celebrate
the pure pleasure of a catchy chorus and honest emotion that is refreshingly irony-free.
Hello, Are You There? is simply a lovely, unpretentious pop record. It’s not only cohesive;
it’s wholly compelling and should be staple in everyone’s record collection.

Voom Hello Are You There Vinyl LP Reissue Announced

Chris Cudby / Friday 22nd January, 2021 10:36AM


Founded by Buzz Moller and the late Andrew “Mac” MacCaskill in early ’90s Tāmaki Makaurau, and soon joined by bassist Danny Manetto, Voom have successfully stuck to the rule that it’s quality not quantity that counts. Still popular as ever, Voom released a scant two albums over a musical career spanning nearly three decades and counting, both of which are hands down classics. Lovers of such timeless indie-pop gems as ‘B Your Boy’ and ‘King Kong’ will be stoked by today’s news Voom are re-issuing their 2006 record Hello, Are You There? on vinyl for the first time ever, featuring the sixteen original tracks all remastered, plus bonus tune ‘Jimmy’s Boner’! Released back in the day by Lil’ Chief Records, their second (and latest) long player is receiving the swanky coloured vinyl treatment via the champs at Flying Nun Records, hitting stores in late March.

You can gather up your buds and sing along with all your fave Voom songs at the super stacked and somehow totally free Naked Whammy Fest — boasting a generation-transcending bill featuring Echo Ohs, Amamelia, Phoebe Rings, Alexa Casino, Leaping Tiger, Hospital Sports and Party Dad (a certified Voom fan) next Saturday…

Naked PR Presents: Naked Whammy Fest 2021

Featuring… Voom, Echo Ohs, Amamelia, Phoebe Rings, Alexa Casino, Leaping Tiger, Hospital Sports, Party Dad

Saturday 30th January – Whammy Bar & Whammy Backroom, Auckland

FREE entry

Take in the animated video for Voom’s very catchy ‘B Your Boy’…

‘Hello, Are You There?’ is available for pre-order via Flying Nun Records, releasing Friday 26th March.

Bailter Space Wammo Vinyl Reissue Announced

Chris Cudby / Photo credit: Jono Rotman
/ Wednesday 9th December, 2020 9:38AM


Hot on the heels of last week’s Gordons reissue news, seminal Aotearoa noise rockers Bailter Space have announced they’ll be re-releasing their 1995 album Wammo on translucent, astroturf-tinted green vinyl via the champs at Flying Nun Records in early February 2021. Sporting such anthems as ‘Splat’ and ‘Retro’, Wammo was widely celebrated on first release, offering fans a bright and somewhat stripped-back sound in comparison to the forebodingly dense layers of preceding albums Vortura and Robot World. By the release of Wammo the hugely influential group’s lineup was Alister Parker, Brent McLachlan and John Halvorsen (who were also the original lineup of the Gordons), still making excellent music together as Bailterspace today — as evinced by July’s launch of their nine track album Concret. Freshly remastered for our futuristic era, you can preorder your copy of Wammo courtesy of Flying Nun for the very first time (it originally came out on LP via US imprint Matador) via their fancy new website here.

Wammo (Reissue) tracklist:



At Five We Drive






D Thing


The Chills Submarine Bells Soft Bomb Vinyl Reissues Announced

Chris Cudby
/ Friday 4th December, 2020 2:32PM


Summer silly season stressing you out? Time to take a chill pill — or two — with Flying Nun Records‘ forthcoming vinyl reissues of The Chills‘ early ’90s albums Submarine Bells and Soft Bomb. First released via US imprint Slash / Liberation, the story behind both artistically ambitious long-players was brought to light by Julia Parnell and Rob Curry’s often eyebrow-raising documentary The Chills: The Triumph & Tragedy of Martin Phillipps. Both records come home back to the Flying Nun vinyl catalogue for the first time in nearly three decades — freshly remastered, pressed in NZ by Holiday Records and featuring such celebrated Phillipps-penned favourites as ‘Heavenly Pop Hit’, ‘Part Past Part Fiction’ and ‘The Male Monster From The Id’. You can pre-order your own copies before they drop on 15th January via the fancy new-look Flying Nun website here, and catch Martin Phillipps with his current lineup of The Chills touring throughout the North Island in late December.

Submarine Bells (Reissue) tracklist:

A1 Heavenly Pop Hit

A2 Tied Up In Chain

A3 The Oncoming Day

A4 Part Past Part Fiction

A5 Singing In My Sleep

A6 I Soar

B1 Dead Web

B2 Familiarity Breeds Contempt

B3 Don’t Be – Memory

B4 Effloresce And Deliquesce

B5 Sweet times

B6 Submarine Bells

Soft Bomb (Reissue)

A1 The Male Monster From The Id

A2 Background Affair

A3 Ocean Ocean

A4 Soft Bomb

A5 There is No Harm in Trying

A6 Strange Case

A7 Soft Bomb II

A8 So Long

A9 Song For Randy Newman Etc.

B1 Sleeping Giants

B2 Double Summer

B3 Sanctuary

B4 Halo Fading

B5 There is No Point in Trying

B6 Entertainer

B7 Water Wolves

B8 Soft Bomb III

The Bats Unveil New Album Foothills

Chris Cudby
/ Friday 13th November, 2020 11:08AM


Following a sumptuous run of singles, indisputable Ōtautahi icons The Bats have unfurled their tenth studio album Foothills via Flying Nun Records. Opening a mysterious gateway back into their unmistakable sonic universe, the team of Robert Scott (The Clean), Paul Kean (Toy Love), Kaye Woodward (Minisnap) and Malcolm Grant  still making music together after 38 years (!) — gift fans twelve reflective, gently catchy new tunes, including recent studio radio faves ‘Warwick’, ‘Gone To Ground’ and ‘Another Door’. Delve into the entire collection right here…

‘Foothills’ is out now via Flying Nun Records.

The Bats Unveil Single Video Gone To Ground

Chris Cudby / Friday 16th October, 2020 2:25PM


Ōtautahi icons The Bats have today shared the third single from their forthcoming tenth studio album Foothills, launching in mid-November via the champs at Flying Nun Records. The assured work of a group that have incredibly spent 38 years making music together, ‘Gone To Ground‘ was written before 2020 sent everyone home for an enforced staycation, yet presciently conveys those all-to-familiar, oceanic feelings of time spent cloistered away. Ever-productive video crew Sports Team, aka Callum Devlin (Hans Pucket) and Annabel Kean (assistant editor of this very website, and daughter of The Bats’ Kaye Woodward and Paul Kean), activate household objects / foodstuffs and channel their inner Hendrix to whip up flaming excellent visuals for the moody single, with a surprise stop motion twist, created with the support of NZ On Air.

Robert Scott opened up about The Bats’ latest song: “Hide and seek, do we want to be found…. maybe not. Many people have gone to ground in these tricky times. A slight sense of unease pervades the song with the spooky strains of an E bow filtering through the trees. You could walk the marshes and go far. It’s funny how you can draw connections between fictitious tales and present day life.”

Co-director Annabel Kean noted: “This is by far the longest we’ve spent on a video. We started about a year ago when we heard an early mix of the song, but the discovery of perpetual motion by way of spinning veges really opened a can of worms. Then it took us three attempts to pluck up the courage to light a guitar on fire.”

‘Foothills’ releases on Friday 13th November via Flying Nun Records, preorders are available now.

The Bats Announce New Album Foothills Share Single Video Warwick

Chris Cudby
/ Friday 21st August, 2020 10:47AM


Incredibly still sporting the same lineup as when they first formed 38 years ago, Ōtautahi icons The Bats have announced the imminent launch of their tenth studio album Foothills, releasing in November via Flying Nun Records and heralded by today’s new single ‘Warwick‘. An upbeat guitar-driven ramble through the team of Robert Scott (The Clean), Paul Kean (Toy Love), Kaye Woodward (Minisnap) and Malcolm Grant‘s unmistakable sonic universe with some refreshingly spiky lyrical asides, the song comes paired with a video filmed during lockdown, directed by and starring Conor Bowden, telling the surreal tale of ‘Warwick’. None other than Robert Scott’s bandmate in The Clean Hamish Kilgour chimed in about The Bats’ new single — catch them playing at The Others Way 2020 [tickets available here] and tuck into their latest offering below…

“The enigmatic Roberto Scotti returns with the rollicking beat combo’s rockin new single with trademark folky swervings. Yet another slyly understated would-be smash pop hit in that “other” perfect world! ‘Warwick’ glides along with enigmatic’ ambiguous, idiosyncratic lyrics astride a Batsian chug and jangle. Freshly minted and hot to trot for The Bats growing classic cannon. Bend your ears, listen in. Sit back, tap your feet, jump up, or possibly shuffle about to another sideways classic. ‘Warwick’ is in the house!”

‘Foothills’ releases on Friday 13th November via Flying Nun Records, preorders are available now.

Wax Chattels No Ties Single Release Show Announced

Chris Cudby / Photo credit: Ebru Yildiz
/ Monday 13th July, 2020 8:00AM


Amongst late last week’s flood of excellent local releases was the long-awaited return of Tāmaki Makaurau’s Wax Chattels with ‘No Ties‘, the thrilling first single revealed from their second studio long player Clot, launching this September via Captured Tracks and Flying Nun Records. Described as "a melodic expression of the first generation immigrant experience," ‘No Ties’ is sung by bass guitarist / vocalist Amanda Cheng who is Hoklo Taiwanese, with lyrics articulating the feelings of loneliness and frustration that come with being unable to connect with extended family. The Taite Music Prize nominated "guitarless guitar music" trio of Cheng, keyboardist / singer Peter Ruddell (Sulfate) and drummer Tom Leggett will be celebrating their release in style this month, playing their very first post-lockdown live event with Na Noise and Memory Foam – here are the details…

Wax Chattels – ‘No Ties’ Single Release

w/ Na Noise, Memory Foam

Friday 24th July – Whammy Bar, Auckland

Tickets available HERE via UTR 

Experience the Josh Burgess-directed animated video for ‘No Ties’…

Press release:

Wax Chattels are back.

The kind folk at Whammy Bar will host a special celebration of the release of the first single — No Ties — from their just-announced sophomore album Clot.

In the band’s first single, Amanda Cheng (bass/vocals), who is Hoklo Taiwanese, expresses the experience of being a first generation immigrant and not having a personal relationship with extended family. The song touches on cultural differences and the parental sacrifice of careers and support systems to provide a “better” future for their children.

After a knock-out entrée with 2018’s self-titled LP, the anticipation that surrounds Clot is immense. They wanted to maintain the same live element as in their debut, but, this time, heavier — for which they enlisted the help of mixing engineer, and fellow noise-maker, Ben Greenberg (Uniform, Destruction Unit, The Men). A marked step-up, this new record keeps the visceral energy of the debut, only this time they dig deeper into cathartic noise.

It is universally agreed that Wax Chattels are a must-see live act; their hypnotically sinister debut captured this perfectly. Released in 2018 and supported by relentless touring, the eponymous album reached #7 on the Official New Zealand Album Charts, and release week saw the title feature as #1 in Rough Trade’s Top 20 New Releases. Tastemakers like NPR and A.V. Club came on as early champions. The album’s success at home and abroad led to the well-deserved nomination of Best Alternative Artist at the 2018 New Zealand Music Awards, as well as the band’s inclusion in the coveted shortlist of finalists for the Taite Music Prize and Auckland Live Best Independent Debut Award.

Wax Chattels Announce New Album Clot Share Single Video No Ties

Chris Cudby
/ Thursday 9th July, 2020 9:12AM


Kicking off the second half of 2020 with an explosion of keys, guitar and drums, Tāmaki Makaurau’s Wax Chattels have revealed the hugely exciting news they’ll be launching their second album Clot this September via Captured Tracks and Flying Nun Records. The Taite Music Prize nominated team of Amanda Cheng, Peter Ruddell (Sulfate) and Tom Leggett hammer the announcement home with fuzzy and frenetic lead single ‘No Ties‘, released alongside a supremely stylish lo-tech video courtesy of director Josh Burgess, with animation by Neirin Best and dazzling analog visuals by Thee Attic – created with the support of NZ On Air. We’re on the edge of our seats to hear more from Clot, recorded by James Goldsmith (Beastwars) and drawing inspiration from "the doomy, gloomy corners of Auckland’s underbelly," experience an electrifying first taste right here…

‘Clot’ is out on Friday 25th September via Captured Tracks & Flying Nun Records, preorders are now available here.

Live Photos Reb Fountain Dave Khan The Wine Cellar Auckland

C.C. / Photography by Dave Simpson
/ Monday 25th May, 2020 9:51AM


The past weekend was a momentous one for our live music community, as the first round of post-lockdown live events kicked off across Aotearoa. Leading the charge was Tāmaki Makaurau’s The Wine Cellar, whose first gig in nearly ten weeks saw the welcome return to the stage of Reb Fountain and multi-instrumentalist Dave Khan. A leading voice in the Save Our Venues fundraising initiative to keep our gig culture alive during turbulent times, Fountain was celebrating the release of her self-titled album via Flying Nun Records and has big things on the horizon, with her previously delayed national tour now taking place in October and November 2020. Photographer Dave Simpson was there to document the historic seated show and enthused "there was a really special vibe and Reb was on great form." Take in his superb snaps here…

View all photos

Reb Fountain Shares Self Titled New Album Interview

Annabel Kean / Photo Credit: Frances Carter / Friday 1st May, 2020 9:04AM


Auckland songwriter Reb Fountain shares her self-titled album today via Flying Nun after more than a month of adjusting to lockdown life, writing a song a day, and rescheduling her extensive international touring that had to be axed. Reb Fountain is bold and self-assured, and the former member of The Eastern and Reb Fountain & The Bandits and says this album “felt like a line in the sand” – a collection born from a readiness to shine a light on her own experiences, feeling it was “time for me to step out and say here I am”. Lead single ‘Samson’ let slip the LP’s gritty folk sounds to come, somewhere between Lou Reed and Angel Olsen. It builds an image of Fountain as this commanding, insightful songwriter who shouldn’t be messed with. With each single release I had a new favourite, and listening to Reb Fountain in full now it’s the same deal – ‘Samson’ was my top pick until I heard ‘It’s a Bird (It’s a Plane)’, until I heard ‘Faster’, until I heard ‘Quiet Like The Rain’ and so on. Enjoy Fountain’s excellent new record, check where you can catch her live, and make the most of another fee-waiving day from Bandcamp…

UnderTheRadar proudly presents…

Reb Fountain 2020 New Zealand Tour

Friday 23rd October – Yot Club, Raglan

Saturday 24th October – Jam Factory, Tauranga

Sunday 25th October – The Dome, Gisborne

Friday 30th October – Opera House, Hastings

Saturday 31st October – Meow, Wellington

Sunday 1st November – Cannon Heath, Wairarapa

Friday 6th November – Cassels Blue Smoke, Christchurch

Saturday 7th November – Port Chalmers Town Hall, Dunedin
Sunday 8th November – Sherwood, Queenstown
Friday 13th November – Wine Cellar, Auckland

Saturday 14 November – Wine Cellar, Auckland

Saturday 21st November – Leigh Sawmill, Leigh

Tickets available via Banished Music

Annabel Kean: Whereabouts are you in your bubble?

Reb Fountain: I live in GI and I have a house and I live out the back of the house in a garage, and I’ve got my dog and my family, my kids here. So I feel really lucky. I’ve got lots of space. I’m super privileged to be in a house at all. All the changes happen so fast eh? It’s hard to adjust. Well, it takes time to adjust.

Oh yeah, I’ve been telling my friends and my flatmates to be easy on themselves, because everything’s so strange and everything takes a really long time at the moment.

Yep. It is. It’s hard to go easy because some days it feels alright and that there’s hopefulness, and other days it feels like you’ve just been hit by a truck and everything sucks and it’s hard not to take complete responsibility for that because it’s so new, it’s like we’re having to literally build the neural pathways in our head to process this pandemic. So bizarre.

How’ve you been spending your lockdown? I feel like there’s quite a lot of pressure to be productive and busy.

I feel like at this stage I should be a supermodel, really fit and have cleaned everything and created all this new stuff. It’s so hard not to feel like I should be doing more, I mean we all feel that way. I guess for me, when this happened it sort of came at the same time as losing some really big opportunities. We were going to SXSW and we were going to be touring. We’d played at WOMAD and were about to fly out, and that didn’t happen. So even though SXSW wasn’t happening, we were still planning on this big US / Canada tour. So I was feeling like being hit by a truck and quite despondent and my friend Dave who I play music with, he said, “Why don’t you try writing a song a day?”, do a Woody Guthrie, and I sort of took it away and went home and thought about it and two days before lockdown I started writing a song a day. And that’s not the only thing I’ve done at all, but it’s actually helped me feel like I’m being productive and grounded, and really helped my mental health, even though most of the time I leave it ‘til 10 o’clock at night to start, and I’m up too late and I have no idea what I’ve written and I’ve probably written a whole bunch of duds.

How many songs have you written?

I actually have no idea, because some days I’ll write a few and sometimes they’re parts of, and sometimes they’re whole. I just started yesterday going back from the top to try and write them down. They’re literally scribbled, because I’ll record something and then I’ll record the whole song, but there’s no time to really know it, and then I move onto the next day. And then there’s all these other things I do in a day, like hustling, trying to get some work, doing stuff for the album release, or walking the dogs and doing some exercise, and food and whatever it is, talking to family, and then it’s back to the next song again. I haven’t had a lot of time to reflect, so I’m just starting that process now, because I want to know what I’ve written [Laughs], and so it’s going to be a nice process of discovery. It’s exciting.

I imagine quite a lot of artists will leave the lockdown with a whole new collection of work. It’s pretty amazing how this has become an opportunity for a lot of people.

I think so yeah, there’s going to be an absolute massive explosion of art after this, it’s just whether or not we’re going to have the spaces and places to actually be able to share them with people. That’s one of my main concerns and why I wanted to spearhead the Boosted campaign for Wine Cellar and Whammy. To be able to support them as a space for us to come and play at and actually share things and one of my concerns particularly over the last week has been hearing this kind of rhetoric about the viability of businesses and kind of leaving it up to this neo liberal, market led outcome which is based upon whether something has this optimum cash flow and the reality is with creative spaces like venues, they’re not cash cows. They’re barely breaking even, they’re run for the love of it and the point is we need vibrant cultural, creative spaces for us as audiences and artists to grow together in. Those places may not seem like Spark Arena, but they’re the places that have grown artists like Nadia Reid, Aldous Harding, Marlon Williams, The Beths, myself. We wouldn’t be anywhere without them and it’s just felt like we’ve gotta do something, artists, we’ve got to stand up and show solidarity and start just letting people know these places are in danger.

Are you planning on doing any live streams?

There’s a lot of stuff on the air waves at the moment, so it does feel quite full and I’ve got some things I’ve been wanting to do in terms of the album release, but a lot of my focus of late has been, I’ve got this record coming out [laughs] in the middle of a global pandemic, and what does that mean? Since the time this started happening we’ve just been running on a treadmill, scrambling to make sense of what this means for us in terms of the international stuff we’re doing, in terms of the PR, in terms of the choices that we’ve made, changing tour dates. It’s been pretty weird and it hasn’t felt like there’s been a lot of space, and to be honest with you it’s been hard. The first couple of weeks I felt low, like, ‘how do I reconnect with people?’ and I just completely changed my trajectory, and I know I’m not alone in that. But I am at that point- like I’ve just had an offer from an international live stream that wants me to do stuff, and I’m quite keen to hook up with other people that are putting on artists and their content, and share in that community building spirit. For me, I love live performance and I want to work and I want to connect with people.

I love the spoken verses in ‘Samson’ and was wondering, was that influenced by spoken word poetry, or more the likes of Nick Cave and Tom Waits?

I don’t know where things come from, and I feel like there’s a plethora of influences in whatever you do, and none of us are outside of all of those influences, we’re always creating from that place of those different references that you have. Samson was created during the making of the record, and I came home from the studio and just sat down at the piano and felt this real sense of urgency of wanting to express things I hadn’t been able to, or that I felt were repressed, and they needed to come out right at that moment. I like the freedom to express yourself in whatever way you need to at the time, in fact it’s so liberating to release those limitations that you have upon yourself and whatever happened at that moment writing Samson was what needed to emerge, and the spoken word just came out. I love that song, I love performing it, I love the way that it came out on the record and I’m super proud of it. Particularly the intent behind it, which is just really honest and driving.

Is ‘Samson’ a real person?

[Literal crickets] Um, everything’s real [laughs]. But often it’s more complex, for me anyway. There’s ideas that come together – hang on, my dog’s just trying to catch a wasp, or a hornet, and I feel like that’s a bad idea. Oh I see, it’s stuck in a spider web, I’m just going to free it so that my dog doesn’t eat it. There we go, saved a life or two. I’m sure the spider’s unhappy about it, someone’s always unhappy.

Yeah, some musicians write songs that are total fiction, but with real feelings and experiences behind them, or some people are very raw and personal and specific.

I was never really good at fiction, and my friend Sam Prebble who does feature in part in the song Samson, he was amazing at shaping other people’s stories and creating a story, like The Explorers Club. I sort of marvelled at that, because for me I’ve always written from very personal places, but what I realised, particularly with my work with The Eastern, is how important it is to tap into that universal mainframe and connect on that level and see your stories as beyond yourself, and when you do that then you can really connect better with your audience.

That can be a way to help people project themselves onto songs, by making them just vague enough or just specific enough that they can mean anything.

Yeah it’s so hard, because at the same time you don’t wanna create vaguery, and I think sometimes we can do that to mask what we’re really trying to say. For me it’s about finding that balance between being really fucking clear about what I’m trying to express, but then I love that feeling of when you’ve been singing the wrong words to a song you’re whole life and you discover that it wasn’t at all what you imagined, and that’s the beauty, that we have our own impression or interpretation of a song, and that’s so powerful. I want people to have that, I don’t want to give them everything.

I was wondering about the cover art, that gorgeous photo. What do you see as the relationship between the cover art for the new album, and the album itself?

For me this album really felt like a line in the sand. I’ve been a single parent and a music maker for a long time, but music was always second or tenth place, you know? With this record from the beginning it was very considered and self driven in a way that felt really new for me and that was why I embraced having a self titled album because it felt like it was time for me to step out and say here I am. Not because anyone else needed me to, but because I was ready to and wanted to. In terms of the artwork, to be honest, we tried a bunch of different things. I’d wanted to be on the album cover because it felt important to represent who I was along with the album, but I was really struggling with it. How do you do that? How do you encapsulate who you are in an image? It took quite a lot of hard work and many tries to find the right thing, and I was so grateful to Frances Carter for this photoshoot.

Last year I sent you a few questions over email, and one of them was asking you about the strangest show you’ve done, and you just casually mentioned performing at a Smurfs convention. I’d really like to hear more about that.

Oh lord. It’s very difficult to answer that question without jumping down a rabbit hole. Maybe it’s good to keep the mystery around that particular Smurf incident.


Smurfcident, yeah let’s call it a Smurfcident. But yeah, I was always a Smurfs fan, just to be clear. I was always a Smurfs fan. But I’ll leave it at that, otherwise I’ll break the magic.

Reb Fountain’s self-titled album is out now via Flying Nun Records.