Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Chills

The Chills created some of the best indie-pop music of the 80s, but they've never really gotten their due. The Chills were much more than a twee-kiwi-pop band, and far better than their recorded legacy suggests. The constant line-up changes probably stopped them from reaching their full potential on record.

I saw the band live during what I believe was their first ever U.S. tour (at least that's what I remember someone telling me at the time). It was October of 1988, and they were playing a CMJ showcase show at CBGBs. My jaw was on the floor through the whole show, the music was mind-blowingly great. When Submarine Bells came out the next year, I was disappointed because it just did not live up to the level of excellence I remembered from the live show. I don't know exactly what I heard on that night in 1988, but I remember how I felt; stunned and overwhelmed. The music was many times more intense than what I had heard on their under-produced records. The psychedelic aspect of the music seemed more pronounced, but in a way that seemed fresh and not obviously retro.

"Party In My Heart" was recorded in 1986 and was first included on the Homestead Human Music compilation, it later surfaced as a CD bonus track on Brave Words. "I Think I'd Thought I'd Nothing Else To Think About," one of the most awkward titles in the history of popular music, was released as a B-side in New Zealand, and on a flexi disc from The BOB magazine in the U.S. This version was taken from the flexi, so sorry about the sound quality.

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