Flying Nun Records, arguably the most influential indie label in New Zealand of all time, was started in the early 80’s by Roger Shepherd, an owner of a record store in Christchurch. Shepherd recognized the expansive potential of what were then called “experimental” bands that gigged around small town NZ.
Most notably, he was instrumental in exposing local groups from Dunedin; bands like The Clean, The Chills, and The Verlaines became quickly associated with the scenester term “The Dunedin Sound”.
Heavy 33 came out long after the Flying Nun’s inaugural buzz and consequently makes a nice place to end this week’s feature on The Verlaines (even though no video exists).
You may remember Heavy 33 from 1993’s AIDS benefit compilation No Alternative because, like Graeme Downes at an early 90’s rave, it stuck out like a sore thumb. That’s saying a lot, given that most of the bands on that CD were hot as shit alterna-lifestyle tastemakers at the time.
Heavy 33 is easily the best on the album (get bent, Sarah McLaughlin). It’s also a good representation of the under-recognized talent of The Verlaines and the breadth of great music that Flying Nun has helped push out of small town New Zealand for decades.