Top Shows


Programme One

On air September 4

1. Jesse Malin - "Hotel Columbia"
(from "The Heat") (Shock)

New Yorker Jesse Malin has been playing in bands since the age of 12 - and in the early 90s he was the leader of latter day punks D Generation. He released his first album "The Fine Art of Self Destruction" last year. Ryan Adams is a close friend and they have collaborated on each other's albums (and then there's The Finger - their almost anonymous hardcore punk project).

"The Heat" won't be far away from the Best of Lists at the end of this year.

2. Phoenix Foundation - "Going Fishing"
(from "Horsepower") (Capital Recordings/BMG)

"Going Fishing" was shot at Lake Coleridge near Christchurch; and it's the second video from this Wellington band's debut album. Both clips were directed by Richard Bell - and both have won the Kodak Music Clip Knack Award for best low budget video.

The Phoenix Foundation are currently planning a second Australian tour for November and will be going into the studio to work on a new album when they return.

3. SJD - " Superman, You're Crying"
(from "Southern Lights") (Round Trip Mars)

Already one of the leading contenders for local album of the year. SJD is Auckland multi-instrumentalist and producer Sean James Donnelly - but "Southern Lights" also features contributions from Dan Sperber, Anika Moa, Paul McLaney (Gramsci), Heather Mansfield (the Brunettes), Don McGlashan and Davd Kilgour (on the student radio hit From A to B Or Not To Be).

"Superman You're Crying" is a beautifully shot video - and a film within a film - which falls apart in the middle in a way designed to give any television programme maker a heart seizure the first time they see it. 

SJD will be at the Jetset Lounge in Christchurch on 10 September and at Arc in Dunedin (with David Kilgour and the Heavy Eights) on 11 September.

4. Flaming Lips - Do You Realise?
(from "Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots") (Warner Music)

This is the band that sang "She Don't Use Jelly" on Beverley Hills 90210. They shone at this year's Big Day Out - and how could anyone not like a band this committed to white suits, fake blood and giant animal costumes. "Yoshimi" has been with us since 2002 - but more recently there's been a DVD edition with 5.1 sound, video clips, projections and documentaries. There are also two Eps - 'Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell" and "Fight Test" that have collected new songs and remixes.

The "Do You Realise" video was shot in Fremont Street in Las Vegas - a four-block canopy of sound and lights.

5. Faithless - I Want More
(from "No Roots") (BMG)

The English dance act who will now forever be the band featuring Dido's brother, Rollo. "No Roots" is their fourth album - and they'll be playing in Auckland on October 5th and Wellington on October 6th.

Those remarkable sequences in the "I Want More" video are taken from a BBC documentary about the Mass Games in North Korea which has a cast of thousands and is one of the most elaborate human performances on earth.

6. Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Agnes, Queen of Sorrows.
(from "Bonnie Prince Billy Sings Greatest Palace Music") (In Music)

Will Oldham aka Palace Brothers, Palace Music, Palace Songs - and now Bonnie Prince Billy. Nick Cave cites him as an influence - and Johnny Cash recorded one of his songs ("I See A Darkness") for his Cash 3 album (and invited Will to sing along). He's explored the lo fi fringes of alternative country since the early 90s but also remained as unpredictable as ever by re-recording a number of his songs in a much more traditional style using crack Nashville session musicians.
The female vocals on Agnes are courtesy of Marty Slayton - but her site would tend to suggest that she usually moves in slightly more conventional musical circles.

The video is the work of Glaswegian artist David Shrigley. More about him at

7. Elbow - Grace Under Pressure
(from "Cast of Thousands") (FMR)

At first listen Elbow might make Coldplay sound positively jaunty but there's something very compelling about their songs (once the initial shock has worn off). "Cast of Thousands" is their second album and "Grace Under Pressure" has exactly that - the closing lines were sung by the crowd at Glastonbury (although part of what was sung has had to be beeped for mass broadcast consumption).

The "Grace Under Pressure" clip was shot during a visit to Cuba. You can read their drummer's account of that trip - but travel writing might not be entirely his forte.

8. The Streets - Dry Your Eyes
(from "A Grand Don't Come For Free") (Warner Music)

With "A Grand Don't Come For Free" Mike Skinner has managed to confound all of the critics who thought that he only had one album in him after "Original Pirate Material" - and gone one better by having a major hit with "Dry Your Eyes" (which his website describes as "the weepy one on the album that you lot sung along at the shows").

"Dry Your Eyes" is the second single and it has been cynically suggested that its release was held back to coincide with England's early exit from Euro 2004 - but his manager says that the timing was just a fluke.

9. Shapeshifter (feat. Ladi 6) - "When I Return"
(from "Riddim Wise") (Truetone/Rhythm Method)

Second album for this drum and bass act - and it's just been nominated in the Best Dance/ Electronica category at the New Zealand Music Awards. "When I Return" features the vocal talents of Ladi 6 from Verse 2 (and formerly of Sheelahroc).

Shapeshifter are currently based in Melbourne but they've got dates scheduled in Nelson (Sept 10th), Dunedin (Sept 17th) and Wellington (Sept 18th) before they return across the Tasman.

10. Fang - Yellow 
(from "Swim Up Stream") (Arch Hill/FMR)

Third album from Fang who first came to notice with "Employee of the Month" in 1999. Sonya Waters sang "Hope She's Alright" with the Instigators in the early eighties and Ben Howe was a member of Flying Nun band Superette but that just scratches the surface of their musical careers. Their progress as Fang is best read in the "A Short History" bio on their website.

11. Suburban Reptiles - Saturday Night, Stay At Home
(last seen on the "Give It A Whirl" soundtrack) (Universal)

What can we say? The classic New Zealand punk song - and video - about our new favourite time of the week. Original manager Simon Grigg's very good website has the Reptiles story

The original singles change hands for a small fortune - if anyone will part with them - but some new Reptiles vinyl has recently emerged (only 25 years after the fact).