Monday, May 25, 2009

SESSION 17: At Home with Rose

Bailter Space vs The Skeptics


One hour of Bailter Space followed by one hour of The Skeptics.

It's not noise. It's not drone. But listen and you'll hear the influence both these bands have had on the New Zealand alternative and experimental music scene.

Two amazing and influential New Zealand bands: one still hanging in there in New York and the other sadly short-lived due to the death of singer David D'Ath in 1990.

Both of these bands were outstanding live. I was lucky enough to see The Skeptics play in Timaru many years ago - I think it was about 1984. I didn't know much about them at the time. The small unsophisticated crowd soon turned into a clutch of quietly enthralled people. My jaw dropped. I've been in love with them since. Their songs are surprising. They weren't like anything else that was around at the time. Yes, you can hear the punk coming through, and some influence from the Dunedin sound, but they also had a dark gothic bent. There's even an occasional smattering of reggae beats. They were The Skeptics. And they were pretty fucking incredible.

Read lots about the wonderful Skeptics here, including an obituary for David D'Ath by Chris Matthews.

After The Skeptics disbanded, band members John Halversen and Brent McLaughlan went on to join Bailter Space.

I've seen Bailter Space probably about five times live - two of those times were in the space of a week. They built huge sonic walls – I remember the time my black dress was banging against my legs with the force of the bass (I think my noise-induced hearing loss was partially caused by being too close to the speakers at Bailter Space concerts). These guys were truly loud. But they had an underlying sonic drone and soaring guitars and distorted feedback that are there in lots of the music I love. Really dreamy and shoe-gazer but also with huge sonic strength. Loud and soft all at the same time. Stuff to swoon to. Well, I do.

I've been known to go to sleep at night listening to Bailter Space's Tanker on many occasions...

You can read about Bailter Space on their MySpace page.

Here's my playlist for the two-hour set.

Bailter Space

I'm Love With These Times, Nelsh E.P., Flying Nun (3:20)
One More Reason, Tanker, Flying Nun (3:14)
Tanker, Tanker, Flying Nun (4:16)
Your Invisible Life, Tanker, Flying Nun (4:14)
Morning, Robot World, Flying Nun (4:04)
Galaxy, Vortura, Flying Nun (4:44)
Shadow, Vortura, Flying Nun (4:04)
x, Vortura, Flying Nun (4:48)
Projects, Vortura, Flying Nun (5:07)
Voltage, Wammo, Matador (4:36)
Glimmer, Wammo, Matador (4:07)
Colours, Wammo, Matador (3:02)
Shades, Capsul, Turnbuckle (3:02)
Argonaut, Capsul, Turnbuckle (6:57)
Space X, Solar.3, Turnbuckle (2:57)
Live For You, Solar.3, Turnbuckle (4:12)

The Skeptics
Sensible Shoes, Sensible, Flying Nun (4:26)
Spring, Sensible, Flying Nun (6:24)
Bub, Sensible, Flying Nun (6:00)
Splenal Langwems, Sensible, Flying Nun (3:16)
Men o' War, Sensible, Flying Nun (4:21)
All Sum Nul, Amalgam, Flying Nun (3:48)
Never Tire of Looking at the Stars, Amalgam, Flying Nun (2:22)
Pack Ice, Amalgam, Flying Nun (4:31)
Boo-chang, Chowder Over Wisconsin, Flying Nun (0:22)
Aud Balmoral, Chowder Over Wisconsin, Flying Nun (2:39)
Ponds, Ponds, ULP (3:52)
Two Pot Resin, If I Will I Can, Flying Nun (6:20)
Feeling Bad, III, Flying Nun (4:59)
Affco, III, Flying Nun (4:05)

Warning: this video may disturb! (and may induce vegetarianism)


s. said...

I've got a feeling that it was Alistair Parker and not Brent McLaughlin in the Skeptics -> B.S.

Will said...

Nice podcast.

"Shine" is my favorite Bailter Space track. Seen them twice in the Nineties, I'm glad they moved to the U.S. otherwise we wouldn't have had the chance to see them

Rose said...

Hi Stephen - not according to my sources:

Will - our loss is your gain! They really are a great live act. Hope they come back here to play some time soon.

s. said...

Ahhh I see what you are saying. His stint as "second drummer" must have been brief-ish, though... can't recall any recordings with him appearing on them.

_ said...

saw bailter space in melbourne in 1989 on their thermos tour with a small crowd and i would still say that sonically it was the best live music experience i have ever had - beautiful long shards of guitars with this great back beat and robotic lyrics - i was melting and loving it.

a few months later i saw my bloody valentine play at the same venue and their set seemed flat and lifeless compared to the bailters.

i see their is some new recordings on their myspace, would love another full length from them.

Rose said...

Hi Richard. Yes, their live concerts are really amazing. I saw them twice in a week once and I'll never forget it. Wouldn't a new album be great? I keep hearing rumours...

s. said...

I keep seeing John Halvorsen in Newtown -- he appears to be working/running a café on the cnr of Riddiford and Hall Sts called Velox.

BS's MySpace page lists two new bass players, so that would be consistent with what I heard independently -- JH left and came home, leaving AP and BM to it in NYC.