Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Indie Rock Stars Support Chris Knox

photo by Jonathan Ganley
If you've been following the music coming out of New Zealand for the last few decades, you're probably aware of Chris Knox's important contribution to the development of Kiwi indie scene. The founder of the Enemy – Dunedin's first punk band – Knox went on to lead the highly-influential Toy Love and Tall Dwarfs who inspired groups like the Chills, Verlaines, The Bats and countless others who in turn began recording singles for the fledgling Flying Nun label using Knox's TEAC 4-track tape machine.
So when the 57-year-old singer/songwriter and cartoonist suffered a serious stroke at his Auckland home back in June, leaving him unable to speak, there was no shortage of artists eager to cut covers of Knox's songs for a tribute collection spearheaded by his friend and Nothing bandmate Roy Martyn.
Without any coaxing, Lou Barlow, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Jay Reatard, Yo La Tengo, Portastatic, Stephin Merritt, Lambchop and Bill Callahan each signed on along with David & Hamish Kilgour, Shayne Carter, Alec Bathgate, the Chills, Verlaines, the Bats and many others, enough for a two-disc set that's out now in New Zealand.
However, finding a label with decent North American distribution willing to sort out the licensing red-tape and release Stroke: Songs For Chris Knox and then put the proceeds from the sales towards Knox's rehabilitation wasn't quite so easy. Eventually Merge stepped up and will re-release the double-disc package here in February. But for those who can't wait, the music is now available (as MP3s or FLAC files) but if you pre-order the 2CD set, they'll send you a free digital download via email. Sweet.

Here's the full track listing:

Disc 1:
1. Jay Reatard – Pull Down The Shades
2. The Checks – Rebel
3. The Bleeding Allstars – Ain’t It Nice
4. Peter Gutteridge – Don’t Catch Fire
5. The Chills – Luck Or Loveliness
6. David Kilgour – Nothing’s Going To Happen
7. The Crying Wolfs – All My Hollowness To You
8. Stephin Merritt – Beauty
9. Portastatic – Nostalgia’s No Excuse
10. The Mint Chicks – Crush
11. Jay & Sam Clarkson – I’ve Left Memories Behind
12. Sky Green Leopards – Burning Blue
13. Shayne Carter – The Slide
14. Pumice – Grand Mal
15. Hamish Kilgour – Knoxed Out

Disc 2:
1. Boh Runga – Not Given Lightly
2. Red & Zeke (Feat. Bill Doss and Neil Cleary) – Bodies
3. Jeff Mangum – Sign The Dotted Line
4. Bill Callahan – Lapse
5. Genghis Smith – Growth Spurt
6. Yo La Tengo – Coloured
7. AC Newman – Dunno Much About Life But I Know How To Breathe
8. Alec Bathgate – Glide
9. Don McGlashan – Inside Story
10. Sean Donnelly – The Outer Skin
11. Lambchop – What Goes Up
12. The Mountain Goats – Brave
13. The Tokey Tones – Round These Walls
14. The Bats – Just Do It
15. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – My Only Friend
16. The Finn Family – It’s Love
17. Jordan Luck – Becoming Something Other
18. The Verlaines – Driftwood
19. Lou Barlow – Song Of The Tall Poppy
20. The Nothing – Napping In Lapland
21. Tall Dwarfs – Sunday Son

Chris Knox's site
Jonathan Ganley's Point That Thing photo blog

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