Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Favorite Songs Of All Time: Night Of Chill Blue by The Chills

As previously stated on this shabby blog, the music of Dunedin, New Zealand's Flying Nun Records has been a very big part of my life for virtually all of my adult life. The Chills were my gateway drug so-to-speak into the wonderfully unique, chiming pop from the island nation.

A great description of The Chills is from Trouser Press (which, in print form, was another great musical influence for me):

Perhaps the most widely known and beloved combo of New Zealand's '80s indie-pop boom, Dunedin's Chills — led by singer/writer/guitarist Martin Phillipps — made clean, understated, catchy music whose consistent taste and subtlety conspired to keep the band from having real commercial success in this country. At its best, the Chills' work boasted an undercurrent of dark uneasiness that clearly marked it as a vehicle for personal expression rather than mere genre exercise. Guitars may twinkle like harps and jangle over angelically whispery vocals, but the love songs are never gooey. Gooey bands do not write lines like "Oh god this white ward stinks, sterilized stench of sticky death, sniveling relatives at the feet of another moist corpse, but that corpse is Jayne and Jayne can't die" (from Brave Words' "16 Heart-throbs"). Soppy sentimentalists aren't honest enough to admit "I'd like to say how I love you but it's all been said in other songs" as Phillipps does on the same album's "Night of Chill Blue."

One of the high points in the Flying Nun canon is "Night Of Chill Blue" by aforementioned The Chills from their production flawed-but-still-great 1987 "Brave Words" LP.

Some of the tracks from Brave Words have been remastered, with the muddy production cleaned up. Hopefully Martin can get around to taking care of the rest of the tracks, including "Night Of Chill Blue" one of these years.