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This weekend I’ll be mostly listening to… the Able Tasmans… June 28, 2009

Posted by WorldbyStorm in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....

I’m indebted to Wednesday for pointing me towards the Able Tasmans, a band I’d never previously heard of. Pretty much all their stuff is deleted. Still, thanks to the wonders of the internet it’s now possible to make a half decent stab at collating their output. 😉 So. Who were they? From Auckland they were yet another Flying Nun band. In some respects only their early work sat comfortably within the Dunedin sound that typified FN bands.

For me their finest moment was “A Cuppa Tea and a Lie Down” which blended a strongly 1960s, almost Love-like sound with a harder FN style approach in songs such as “Sour Queen”.

Actually, I read on one blog that they were more like Split Enz – famed precursors of the much much more mainstream Crowded House – than any other of the Flying Nun stable. Not so sure about that although without doubt they brought a 1960s psychedelic and pop sensibility to the feast. But wait, wasn’t that what all the FN bands did in one way or another – warped or not?

Later albums such as “Hey Spinner” moved towards a less 1960s influenced sound and provided a broad range of styles from near-Go-Betweens style pop through My Bloody Valentine excursions to something approaching prog rock.

Anyhow, here are a couple of videos I’ve dug up – sadly none of which show anything from “A Cuppa Tea…”, starting with the rather fine Big Bang Theory, from their early Shape of Dolls EP…

This is Hold Me taken from a Flying Nun DVD, and perhaps typical of a maturing style, again not entirely dissimilar to the Go-Betweens.

And here’s something a bit scary, a more recent gig since they apparently reformed and have been gigging again. Perhaps they’ll come to Dublin. Perhaps they’ve been?

I think it tells us something about Flying Nun that even their more obscure signings were able to combine a level of experimentalism and quality that ‘indie’ elsewhere with one or two shining exceptions simply couldn’t match. What is it about New Zealand?


1. Wednesday - June 29, 2009

“Sour Queen” might well be my favourite Flying Nun single ever.


2. Seán Báite - June 30, 2009

a harder FN style
Ye had me worried for a moment there WBS as over here (France) FN means Jean-Marie Le Pen and his merry band (Front National)… it later sunk in with me you meant ‘Flying Nun’ – phew!!
Ta for pointing le towards this lot. I have a FN (NZ version) compilation tape somewhere but I never had the energy to go looking for individual releases by the bands.


3. WorldbyStorm - June 30, 2009

I think I might share that view Wednesday. It’s a cracking mix of a whole bunch of influences. I guess they’re less consistent on the album say than the Verlaines. But… here’s a thing, since listening to them and hearing the Verlaines again I think the Chills are receding very slightly in my affections. Still great, but… as experimental. Anyhow, appreciate being pointed in their direction. It’s always great to hear something that makes one near elated to be hearing for the first time, particularly when its easy to get jaded by stuff.

Ah Séan, fear not my far right turn will be well signposted on the Lounge. 🙂

As I said… the miracle of the internet allows for a certain… erm… ability to find what otherwise would be impossible to find, particularly deleted material. I’ll say no more.


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