Greetings From New Zealand

Like the Phoenix Straitjacket Fits sprang from the ashes of the Dunedin, New Zealand group DoubleHappys. Formed in the early 1980’s by childhood friends Shayne Carter (guitar and vocals), Wayne Elsey (guitar and vocals) and John Collie (drums), they debuted with the “Others Way” b/w “Anyone Else Would” single and followed that with the Cut It Out EP which made the Kiwi Top 20. Following the death of Elsey in a 1985 train accident the group reconstituted itself as Straitjacket Fits with the addition of Andrew Brough (guitar and vocals) and David Wood (bass).

Straitjacket Fits debut, released in 1987, the Life in One Chord EP would spend ten weeks in Kiwi Top 50; and in the process define the group’s sound:

“the seemingly incongruous but highly effective pairing of Carter’s rough abrasive voice and strident guitar and Andrew Brough’s saccharine-sweet vocals and pop hooks.”

All four songs on the ep are considered New Zealand rock classics, none more so than “She Speeds”, which would become the band,s signature song:

“with its edgy lead vocal (from Carter) was underpinned with a dynamic jagged guitar and stabs of strings which tumbled into a churning melodic chorus on which Brough’s voice soared.”

Relocating to Auckland from Dunedin in 1988 the group recorded their first album Hail with producer Terry Moore (ex-The Chills). Released to critical acclaim the band toured both Australia and Europe in support of the album.

1990 saw the group back in the studio with producer Gavin Mackillop to work on their follow-up album Melt. Notable for it’s ultra-lush production that often blurs instruments and vocals Melt is

“a swooping, swooning, swelling, surging, soaring (and all that) rush that beautifully captures the intensity of the band’s live shows.”

The album would produce two moderate hits with the Brough composition “Down In Splendour” and Carter’s “Bad Note For A Heart”.

In 1991 the group was back out on the road, supporting My Bloody Valentine in Australia and the La’s in the US. “With reputed “musical differences” between Brough and Carter Brough left the band at the end of the tour and was replaced by guitarist Mark Petersen.

The band released the Tony Cohen produced EP Done in 1992. Without Brough the album proved to be a louder guitar driven record. The group would move to California to record their third full length, 1993’s Blow. Produced by Paul Fox (XTC, Robyn Hitchcock) the album features atonal guitars and unpredictable shifts but many of the songs have a harshness to them. The album would yield two singles, “Cat Inna Can” and “If I Were You”, but following their appearance at 1994’s Big Day Out the group decided to go into a semi-permanent hiatus.

“In 2001, as part of the Australasian Performing Rights Association’s 75th anniversary, a poll was conducted to vote on New Zealand’s top 100 songs of all time. Straitjacket Fits’ song “She Speeds” was named at number nine, and “Down In Splendour” at number 32, and “If I Were You” at number 88.”

Following his departure from Straitjacket Fits Andrew Brough formed the guitar-pop band Bike in 1995 with Tristan Mason (bass) and Karl Buckley (drums). Signed to Flying Nun Records the groups debut single, 1996’s “Save My Life”,

“earned them a nomination as Most Promising New Band at the NZ Music Awards, and was also a finalist for APRA’s Silver Scroll songwriting award.”

The group’s full length debut Take In The Sun mines the sonic terrain that Melt was so noted for, the

“dark, ringing shimmer full of reverb (and some delay) and speaker-filling density.”

Since Straitjacket Fits break-up Carter has recorded several tracks both solo and and in collusion with Peter Jefferies. In 1994 he formed the group Dimmer which debuted with the 7″ single “Crystallator” on Sub Pop in 1995.

After releasing one album with Bike Andrew Brough moved back to Dunedin and retreated from the music scene; while John Collie has become a photographer of some note who has exhibited his work widely.

 

 


 

 

I should point out that Melt was copied from a tape using dbPowerAMP’s Auxiliary Import and then ripped using dbPowerAMP’s Music Converter and LAME 3.93

I also should note that the original m3u file for Melt is incorrect and I’ve posted the corrected m3u file as a separate download.

 


 

DISCOGRAPHY

Straitjacket Fits

Singles, EPs & Full Length

Hail (LP) (Rough Trade UK) 1987
Life In One Chord (12″) (Flying Nun Records) 1987
Hail (LP) (Flying Nun Records) 1988
Hail (CD, Album) (Rough Trade US) 1988
Blue Thunder / Hail (7″ Single, Promo) (Rough Trade UK) 1989
Hail (CD) (Rough Trade UK) 1989
Hail (CD, Album) (Victor Musical Industries) 1989
Victory Garden / Hail (Flexi) The Catalogue 1989
Bad Note For A Heart (CD, Maxi) (Flying Nun, Festival Records) 1990
Bad Note For A Heart (12″, EP) (Flying Nun, Festival Records) 1990
Hail (CD, Album) (Flying Nun, Festival Records) 1990
Melt (CD, Album) (Arista) 1990
Melt (LP, CD, Cass) (Flying Nun, Festival Records) 1990
Down In Splendour (CD + VHS, PAL) (Flying Nun Records) 1991
Missing From Melt (CD, EP) (Arista) 1991
Roller Ride (CD, Promo) (Arista) 1991
Done (CD, Maxi) (Flying Nun Records) 1992
“If I Were You”/”Brother’s Keeper” (CD Single) (Flying Nun UK) 1993
Blow (CD, Album) (Arista) 1993
Blow (CD, Album, Cass) (Flying Nun, Festival Records) 1993
Cat Inna Can (CD Single) (Flying Nun, Festival Records, Mushroom Records) 1993
Straitjacket Fits (2xCD) (Flying Nun) 1998

Tracks Appear On:

“She Speeds” In Love With These Times (CD) Flying Nun Europe 1989
“She Speeds” In Love With These Times (LP) (Flying Nun Records) 1989
“Dialling A Prayer” Getting Older 1981-1991 (LP, Cass) (Flying Nun, Festival Records) 1991
“Down In Splendour” Stand Strong Aotearoa 91 (Cass) (Festival Records) 1991
“Cat Inna Can,” “Burn It Up” 12 Hours Fast (CD) (Flying Nun UK) 1993
“Brittle” No Alternative (CD) (Arista, BMG Victor Inc.) 1993
“Cat Inna Can” Collision II (CD) (White Records) 1994
“She Speeds,” “Such A Daze” But I Can Write Songs Okay (3xCD) (Yellow Eye Music) 1996
“Down In Splendour,” “She Speeds” Topless Women Talk About Their Lives (CD) (Flying Nun Records) 1997
“She Speeds” Thirty Songs (2xCD) (APRA) 2001
“She Speeds” Nature’s Best (2xCD) (Epic) 2002
“She Speeds,” “Bad Note For A Heart” In Love With These Times / Pink Flying Saucers Over The Southern Alps (2xCD) (Flying Nun Records) 2004
“Down In Splendour” Nature’s Best 2 (2xCD) (Sony NZ) 2004
“If I Were You” Nature’s Best 3 (2xCD) (Sony NZ) 2004
“Down In Splendour” Second Season – Flying Nun DVD II (DVD) (Flying Nun Records) 2004
“Done” Kiwi Rock 1996 (CD) (Kato) 2005
“She Speeds” Very Short Films (DVD) (Flying Nun Records) 2006
“Dialing A Prayer (E.P. Version)” 25 Years (4xCD) (Flying Nun Records) 2006
“Grate (Live)” A Flip And 2 Twisters (2xLP) (Kingsland Vinyl Appreciation Society) 2007

Bike

Full Length

Take In The Sun (CD) (Flying Nun, Mushroom Records) 1997

Tracks Appear On:

“Old & Blue” 15 (CD) (Flying Nun Records) 1995
“My Love, My Life” Abbasalutely (CD, LP) (Flying Nun, Festival Records) 1995
“Save My Life” Pop Eyed (CD) (Flying Nun Records) 1996
“Welcome To My World” Second Season – Flying Nun DVD II (DVD) (Flying Nun Records) 2004
“Save My Life” Very Short Films (DVD) (Flying Nun Records) 2006
“Save My Life” 25 Years (4xCD) (Flying Nun Records) 2006

Straitjacket Fits – Melt (1990)

Playing Time: 42 minutes 23 seconds


straitjacket fits-melt

1. Bad Note for a Heart (3:40)
2. Missing Presumed Drowned (2:52)
3. Melt Against Yourself (3:31)
4. Headwind (3:20)
5. Down in Splendor (3:34)
6. A.P.S. (4:12)
7. Quiet Come (3:16)
8. Such a Daze (3:01)
9. Skin to Wear (3:13)
10. Hand in Mine (2:46)
11. Roller Ride (3:06)
12. Cast Stone (5:52)

Corrected Melt m3u File

 

Straitjacket Fits – Blow (1993)

Playing Time: 47 minutes 2 seconds

 

straitjacket fits-blow

1. Done (3:18)
2. Falling (3:35)
3. Joyride (3:27)
4. Cat Inna Can (3:52)
5. Sycamore (3:26)
6. Brother’s Keeper (3:24)
7. Train (3:43)
8. Let it Blow (3:51)
9. If I Were You (3:59)
10.Turn (3:14)
11. Way (3:53)
12. Burn it Up (3:55)
13. Spacing (3:25)

Bike – Take In The Sun (1997)

Playing Time: 41 minutes 1 second

bike-take in the sun

1. Take In The Sun (3:14)
2. Circus Kids (3:39)
3. Tears Were Blue (3:04)
4. Welcome To My World (3:54)
5. Inside (4:13)
6. Anybody Know (3:48)
7. Old And Blue (3:18)
8. Keeping You In Mine (3:17)
9. Sunrise (4:32)
10. Save My Life (3:43)
11. Slide On by (4:19)

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