Those of you who are familiar with the New Zealand music scene of the 1980s will know of the highly influential "Dunedin Sound", characterised by a do-it-yourself work ethic, lo-fi production (due to a lack of funds rather than today's lame pretentiousness), and 'jingly-jangly' pop melodies, and influenced itself by whatever sixties pop and seventies punk managed to filter down to Dunedin. And anyone who has any clue at all about eighties Kiwi music will know of the Dunedin Sound's most prominent figure, Martin Phillipps and his band The Chills, as well as David Kilgour and his band The Clean. And anyone who has a clue about my tastes knows that I think they, especially The Chills, are really awesome. In 1994, Martin Phillipps and David Kilgour as well as three other Dunedin Sound musicians formed a supergroup of sorts called the Pop Art Toasters and released a five song EP of covers of obscure sixties pop songs.
Now, let's step back in time, back to the sixties when those pop songs were current rather than long forgotten. In 1966, a Wellington promoter formed a band called The Avengers (no, not the TV show or the seventies punk band!) to play at his new club. The band's debut single was called Everyone's Gonna Wonder and it went to #7 on the Kiwi charts. It was followed by a number of other top ten hits until they disbanded in 1969, with the most successful being Love Hate Revenge, which hit #2. The band members were Clive Cockburn (lead guitar, organ), Dave Brown (rhythm guitar), Eddie McDonald (bass), and Hank Davis (drums), and those of you with exceedingly good memories now know where I'm going. If you remember the annual entries I make commemorating the Tangiwai Disaster, you'll remember that that's because my grandfather survived and my great-uncles, Douglas and John Cockburn, died. Yep, there's the connection: Clive Cockburn is the brother of Douglas and John, and thus is my great-uncle as well.
So what on earth does my great-uncle being the leader of The Avengers have to do with Martin Phillipps and David Kilgour's Pop Art Toasters? Well, I just discovered that one of the five songs on the Pop Art Toasters' EP is a cover of the aforementioned Avengers lead single, Everyone's Gonna Wonder! I find this to be sensationally awesome. Martin Phillipps and David Kilgour actually covered a song by my uncle's band! To give this some perspective for those who don't know how highly I think of Martin Phillipps and David Kilgour, here's an example based on the fact that I know many of you are U2 and REM fans: imagine if Bono and Michael Stipe teamed up to do a series of covers and one of the songs was by your relative's band. Yeah, it's pretty damn cool, huh?
The best part is that I think the Pop Art Toasters' version of Everyone's Gonna Wonder is the best of the five songs on the EP. Have a listen! It's some good sixties pop put through the Dunedin Sound machine.
Pop Art Toasters - Everyone's Gonna Wonder (The Avengers cover)