19 Jan 2019

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The Dead C


New Zealand’s best kept secret release a new compilation of early works. Is this news? Thurston Moore of the world’s best loved ‘alt.rock’ combo Sonic Youth would certainly think so. He recently told the UK’s biggest-circulation ‘difficult music’ magazine The Wire that one of the the most interesting bands in the world were The Dead C.

Their fifteenth album - wittily titled 'DR503C' - is only the second to come out as a local release in NZ this decade. The others have all been released in the USA or the UK, on taste-making imprints such as Siltbreeze (Philadelphia) or Shock (London).

This has enabled them to preserve their anonymity at the local supermarket, while still trucking the units and cyber-hobnobbing with the big boys across the globe. As a result The Dead C were recently touted in Melody Maker as one of the two best rock bands on the planet (the other being Fushitsusha), and are regarded internationally as one of the more influential of the NZ bands of the last decade.

They have been tipped as an inspiration for outfits as diverse as Flying Saucer Attack, Pavement, laBradford and Bardo Pond; in addition members of the group have been lately active in other outfits such as Gate, A Handful of Dust, The Renderers - all the while remaining to all intents and purposes invisible within the NZ ‘industry’.

That’s all very well, but the compilation under consideration here collects material recorded and in varying degrees released, during the first 18 months of the group’s life, from January 1987 onwards. The material featured includes tracks from the Flying Nun LP 'DR503', as well as 'Xpressway' single 'The Sun Stabbed', and sundry cassette releases.

The release has been marked with a rare public performance at Auckland’s King’s Arms, and a first-ever network television appearance live on Ground Zero. This will have served to alert trainspotters everywhere to the band’s continuing existence, as well as the imminent appearance of their compiled early works.

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