The Chills: Kaleidoscope World (1986)

Where other bands from the New Zealand indie rock underground of the 80s like the Clean leaned a little bit more on the Velvet Underground, the Chills blended their post-punk garage rock vibe with mellower, more melodic sounds, almost like an indie rock Moody Blues.  And as with the Clean, while I try to avoid turning to compilations in these write-ups, this collection of early singles and EPs is absolutely essential listening.

The original LP, rounded out with additional tracks on the CD release, is full of great nuggets that are part of the killer early history of the Flying Nun label.  My personal favorite is "Rolling Moon," a jangly pop track that slots in well alongside the college bands of the era like R.E.M.  But other tunes come close:  the similarly jangly and buoyant title track; the moody, haunting "Satin Doll"; the similarly downbeat and absolutely gorgeous "Pink Frost"; the rave-up sing-along "Never Never Go"; and the lovely, melodic "Doledrums."  

For any fans of 80s college rock less familiar with the New Zealand scene and the Flying Nun record label's stable of great bands, this is a perfect starting point (joined by the Clean compilation and the Bats' Daddy's Highway).  And if you like this, you're in luck, as the Chills have continued to release surprisingly consistent albums right up to this past year.

Here's the early video for "Kaleidoscope World":
...and here's the "Pink Frost" video:
Here's the current line-up of the band performing "Rolling Moon" just a few months back:



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