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Tall Dwarfs

Pioneers of the lo-fi aesthetic and towering figures of the New Zealand pop music scene, the Tall Dwarfs were formed in 1979 by singers/songwriters Chris Knox and Alec Bathgate following the demise of their previous band, the legendary Toy Love. Recording on Knox's four-track machine, the duo debuted with the 1981 EP Three Songs, highlighted by the classic "Nothing's Going to Happen." The record was a hit, although it left many Toy Love fans baffled by the pair's new musical direction: Tall Dwarfs' releases were deliberately primitive, the D.I.Y. ethic at its purest -- songs were all recorded at home (performed in bedrooms, hallways, and the like) and defiantly experimental in nature, presaging the rise of what was ultimately dubbed "lo-fi" as the sound began to grow in prominence and influence over the course of the decades to follow.

In 1982, Bathgate relocated from Dunedin to Christchurch; with the distance between him and Knox now totalling some 750 kilometers, Tall Dwarfs was relegated to a side project, with both men meeting once or twice annually to record and perform the occasional live date. The first product of their long-distance union was the EP Louis Likes His Daily Dip, issued in 1982 on the fledgling Flying Nun label; Canned Music followed a year later. With 1984's SlugBucketHairyBreathMonster, Tall Dwarfs scored their most successful record to date; the track "The Brain That Wouldn't Die" was a cult hit across New Zealand, and with its inclusion on the Flying Nun compilation Tuatara, it received significant international exposure as well. After recording 1985's That's the Short and Long of It, Bathgate moved to the U.K.; many predicted the duo's demise, but he returned after a year, and the Tall Dwarfs reunited for 1986's Throw a Sickie (so named because both Bathgate and Knox were suffering from colds during production).

With 1988's Dogma, the duo finally graduated to a proper studio; the EP featured "The Slide," a tale of euthanasia which became one of their most controversial and best-known efforts. The long out of print first four Tall Dwarfs EPs were mined for the subsequent Hello Cruel World best-of collection; the first of their records to earn proper world-wide release, it won them considerable global media coverage. In 1990 they reconvened in the studio, emerging with so much material that the longstanding EP format was finally forsaken to release a full-length LP, dubbed Weeville; a year later another album, Fork Songs, appeared. A tour of America followed in 1992, and in 1994 Tall Dwarfs issued the 3 EPs LP, a collection of 18 new tracks sequenced to resemble a trio of mini-albums. Though Knox had long maintained a solo career, Bathgate waited until 1996 to make his solo debut with Gold Lame; still, Tall Dwarfs remained intact, issuing Stumpy a year later. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Fork Songs (Plus Dogma)

1. Dare To Tread

2. We Bleed Love

3. Wings

6. Small Talk

7. Lowlands

8. Life Is Strange

9. Daddy

10. All Is Fine

11. Two Humans

12. Oatmeal

13. Boys

14. Think Small

15. Lurlene Bayliss

16. Waltz Of The Good Husband

17. The Slide

18. Cant

19. Dog

20. Missed Again

x

Track List: 3EPs

1. For All the Walters in the World

2. Entropy

3. What Goes Up

4. Highrise

5. Starry Eyed & Wooly Brained

6. Folding

7. Neusyland

8. Two Dozen Lousy Hours

9. Bob's Yer Uncle

10. More 54

11. Archaeoptery

12. Ain't It Funny

13. Senile Dementia

14. Bee to Honey

15. Post Modern Deconstructivist Blues

16. Kid Stuff

17. Self-Deluded Dreamboy (In a Mess)

18. Our Advice to You

x

Track List: The Short and Sick of It

1. The Hills Are Alive

2. Clover (Take 1)

3. Pretty Poison

4. Sleet

5. Burning Blue

6. Carpetgrabber

7. Gone to the Worms

8. Woman (Live)

9. Get Outta the Garage

10. Scrapbook

11. Nothing's Going to Happen

12. Nothing's Going to Stop It

13. Underhand

14. Road & Hedgehog

15. Attack of the Munchies

16. Come Inside

17. The Universality of Neighborliness

18. The Big Dive

19. No Place

20. And Other Kinds

21. Farewell

x

Track List: Weeville

1. Log

2. What More

3. Breath

4. Skin Of My Teeth

5. Crawl

6. Sign The Dotted Line

7. Pirovette

8. Lucky

9. Bodies

10. Mr. Broccoli

11. Lie

12. The Winner

13. Rorschach

14. Tip Of My Tongue

15. Ozone

16. Hallelujah Boy

Comments

Report as inappropriate
I like them too - one of my favourite bands
Report as inappropriate
I LIKE THEM!!!
Report as inappropriate
Lo Fi is a musical category ? This band sucks
Report as inappropriate
fonnyl
I wish I could tell Pandora to exclude bad vocalists...

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