Amy Hill has been a regular around here, having been RSTB faves Terry, Primo!, and Constant Mongrel. She’s got another record on the way with Al Montfort as the hard to pin down Sleeper & Snake. The band’s sounds are rooted in synth pop, but they incorporate a clash of jangles, muffled and delirious horns for a haunted edge to their songwriting. Its a post-punk record in the truest sense, feeling through the disparate waters for sounds that might compliment each other and just as often, shake the listener off balance. I’d talked with Amy after the last Primo! record, which was a fave but fates aligned for her to be able to contribute a pick to the Hidden Gems series this time around. Figuring with all the influences in her collective work some post-punk treasure might arise, but I love that this column always keeps me on my toes. Check out Amy’s pick — the Kiwi pub rock curio from The Pink Flamingos below.
“We [Amy & Al] picked up a copy of this record on a trip back to NZ a few years back,” recalls HIll. Now when we see it, we snap it up to give to friends. Every song on it is a certified hit. The Pink Flamingos were formed in Auckland, NZ in 1980 by Dave McArtney from Hello Sailor and Paul Hewson from Dragon – following the demise of their respective bands. I grew up in Auckland in a place called Ponsonby. At the time of Pink Flamingos Ponsonby was vastly different to what it is now. Dingy live music venues like the Gluepot (aka the Ponsonby Club Hotel) hosted all of the classic NZ bands of the late 70’s and 80’s. Often when people think of Kiwi bands, they think of Flying Nun, but the pub rock scene was also big in the late 70’s and 80’s New Zealand with bands such as Th’ Dudes, Dragon and Hello Sailor.“
“We Never Close is a true hidden gem of the New Zealand pub rock scene,” posits Hill, “and such a great one to blast and have a boogie to. A bit new wave, a bit punk, a bit alright. The Pink Flamingos have a classic line up of guitar, keys, bass, and drums with the addition of sax thrown in for good measure. Classic lyrics which seem to be all about relationships and drugs — and the classic combo of good hair, makeup, denim and leather. I don’t think anyone would pick this record as being an obvious influence on the music that I’m currently making… but it certainly has been a mainstay in our recently listened pile.”
True to form with a lot of these picks, We Never Close isn’t readily available for physical pickup, though it does seem to be out there for all you streamers. If you feel like dropping a bit on shipping, though, copies of the Polydor LP are available from Aus/NZ. Sleeper & Snake’s new LP is out at the end of the month on Upset the Rhythm and I’d highly recommend getting familiar with that one as well as their excellent debut from last year.
Pick up the record HERE.