Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Nu-Zealand Indie Pop, The Modernization of Lil Chief in the Second Decade of The 21st Century

Since it's first release in 2002, Lil' Chief Records has developed a reputation in New Zealand and to a certain extent across the globe for consistently releasing great pop albums.

Much like the Beach Boys best material, a lot of the Lil' Chief releases seem to have some kind of "Pop Mastermind" behind them, acting as a songwriter, arranger and producer all in one.

I think it would be safe to say that perhaps more than any other band, The Beach Boys recordings from the early 60s right through to the early 70s are of great influence to many of the artists on the label, as they are to pop songwriters and producers around the world.

However, somewhat overlooked I believe - are some of their later recordings.

During the 80s and early 90s the Beach Boys underwent a Bowie-esque transformation, ditching their tired old arrangements for a sleek and more modern sound. Their once dry and dare I say pathetic drum sound was replaced by a brighter, more bombastic and danceable sounding kit. Rather female sounding instruments like the celeste, harpsichord, and real strings (which should really only ever be used when making childrens music or homosexual music) were replaced with professional and digital sounding synthesizers, producing a more masculine and mature sound.

One of the first albums to be recorded, edited and mixed entirely on Pro Tools was the much underrated masterpiece 'Summer in Paradise' by The Beach Boys. Although it bankrupted their record label, their 27th studio album - the criminally out-of-print 'Summer in Paradise' established The Beach Boys as pioneers of digital recording, and takes it's place alongside Brian Eno's 'Another Green World', or Kraftwerk's 'Trans Europe Express' as a historical moment in the modernisation of pop music in the 20th century.

Although short-lived, Brian Wilson's foray into Hip Hop Music in the early 90s epitomises for me, the Beach Boys versatility and pioneering spirit. While rap music by nature should only be created / listened to by Black People, Brian Wilson, a middle aged white male, paved the way for future white hip hop artists, (notably Marshall Mathers) when he released 'Smart Girls', arguably one of his greatest lyrical achievements and what has been described by critics as 'the pinnacle of both hip hop and feminism'.

In keeping with the Beach Boys spirit of development and change, many of the later Lil' Chief releases are incorporating more electronic elements, capitalising on the benefits of the digital age (The Ruby Suns - Fight Softly, Little Pictures - Owl & Owl, Pikachunes - S/T). Inspired by the transformation of the Beach Boys from Melodically-Safe Surfer Dudes to Utterly Dangerous Synthesizer Bad-Boys - Lil' Chief Records and the artists on our roster hope to continue releasing forward thinking Nu-Pop and maintain our reputation as one of the best and most original pop labels in the world.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Pikachunes + Princess Chelsea + a cover

Chelsea and Miles have been hard at work together making a cover, and it's available for download now over at Einstein Music Journal.

Sexual Princess

Here's a much simpler way to listen to Sexual Angel by Golden Axe ft. Princess Chelsea. Phew.

Sexual Angel by GoldenAxe

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ryan McPhun of The Ruby Suns remixes The Sneaks

Here's a pretty cool remix that Ryan-Ruby-Suns made of Hey Sally by Auckland band The Sneaks (check 'em out here: http://thesneakssuck.bandcamp.com/).

The Sneaks - Hey Sally (Ruby Suns Remix) by therubysuns

James from The Sneaks and Ryan's new project Spring Break is also very cool - keep your ears peeled (?) for more from them...

Princess Chelsea + Golden Axe

Lil' Chief's favourite princess and local darlings of weirdness Golden Axe have just finished work on a track together for French label Beko, called SEXUAL ANGEL (capslock is important). Our friends at Cheese on Toast called it "a glorious slice of grimey-indie-punk-electro-weirdness". Neat. To check it out click here and then click on the pink album cover that looks like this to download the compilation it's on:

It's a tiny bit complicated, but still worth it.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Pikachunes supporting Zowie, twiiice in the same night.

Pikachunes is playing with Zowie this Saturday at Galatos in Auckland, ooh la la. Get your tickets from Real Groovy, www.ticketmaster.co.nz or www.undertheradar.co.nz.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Shaft live in Auckland this Friday

Lil' Chief's own lovable indie rockers, Shaft, are playing this Friday the 17th at the MUM Christmas special at Cassette 9. Playing with them is Marconi Receiver, aka label-mate Tamasin from the Nudie Suits and Pie Warmer. Fun fun fun.

Shaft + Marconi Receiver, 17th December, Cassette 9

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

Brand new Pikachunes video!

Check out the dreamy (and clown-filled) new video for Pikachunes' Just A Boy (off his also new and also dreamy debut album):

Directed by Ben Spink.

Purchase the album digitally here, or in real-deal-honest-to-god CD form here.

Pikachunes Auckland Album Release Party feat. Princess Chelsea - December 10 @ Cassette 9

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Show with Fabulous Diamonds


We are playing a show with Fabulous Diamonds and Sam Hamilton this Friday the 10th at the Wine Cellar. Fabulous Diamonds are this great band from Australia, it's a girl (on drums) and a guy on keys, they both sing. Pitchfork describes it as "head spinny" maybe you can decide for yourself here. I heard their second CD in a record store when I was in Sydney and liked it so much I bought it on the spot.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Very Little Christmas

We have a song on the A Very Little Christmas, a Christmas compilation album with a whole bunch of songs from lots of different artists including Bearcat, Bannerman, the Crawley Christmas Singers, Timothy Blackman, the Artisan Guns, Cool Rainbows and heaps more. You can download it for free here from the 6th of December.



There is an album release party for this at the Wine Cellar on Wednesday the 15th of December. We are playing along with Dear Times Waste, Chelsea Jade and James Duncan and whole bunch of other great bands. Info here