Bravery live and in the studio

Robots in Love. Photo: Supplied
Robots in Love. Photo: Supplied
If you haven’t caught Robots in Love live yet, you may well have spotted the posters for frontwoman Elenor Rayner’s band around the city, promoting their regular gigs at local venues such as The Crown Hotel.

Rayner hails from a small city not far from Melbourne but she’d always dreamed of moving to Aotearoa. Some years ago she travelled around the country to try to find the perfect place, before settling in Dunedin.

"The music scene here is so eclectic and talented," Rayner says. "People are creative and fun. The whole area is breathtakingly beautiful and the city itself is excellent. So many cities these days are just shopping malls joined together, which is very uninspiring. There’s a lot of interesting bands here, too."

She offers a long list of favourites; The Allophones, Pretty Trippy, George Street Normal, Before The Snooze, Death And The Maiden, Pesk, Saurian, E-Kare, Fray and Coin Laundry.

A talented singer-songwriter, Rayner decided to form a band when she was just a youngster after her father took her to see AC/DC.

"I was so captivated by the energy and power that I decided on the spot to start a band. I roped a few other kids in primary school into bashing instruments in my lounge room. Fortunately, my parents encouraged us, they loved music and they knew we’d get better.

"By the time I was 13 I had a full rock band and we were playing pubs every weekend. I loved the energy! It was both cathartic and creative and you got fed! Today, it’s similar, but the overwhelming feeling for me at shows is euphoria. I get completely involved in the mood of each song. At first I played bass and then I moved into production using computer programs. My favourite thing is to find a sound and create a song around it."

Rayner has been in a host of well-known Australian bands including Soulscraper, The Crystalline Effect and Human Confusion and has played in the US , UK, Germany, Poland, Japan, the Czech Republic and Canada, among other places.

"The Crystalline Effect released three albums, one double album and a few EPs. Half our music was beautiful down-tempo electronica and half was beat-driven dark dance music."

She describes Robots in Love’s sound as "dark electro-pop".

The band is Rayner on vocals, synthesizer and guitar, Alex Burchell on drums, Tony Lumsden on bass and Brett Lemmon on lead guitar.


Unbreakable is the new single from Robots in Love, available on Spotify or Bandcamp. Rayner says it’s about how she tries to make herself and the rest of her band feel as they’re walking on to the stage. It’s about being in the place where you feel at your strongest, and connecting with other people to increase that strength, she says. The song was written by Rayner, Burchell, Lumsden, Luke Anlezark and Graeme Jack and mastered by Burchell. The video was filmed by Stephen Hillman and edited by Rayner.


Martin Phillipps of the Chills. Photo: Herman Nijhof
Martin Phillipps of the Chills. Photo: Herman Nijhof
In 1987, The Chills (Martin Phillipps/Caroline Easther/Justin Harwood/Andrew Todd) moved to London where they began working with Mayo Thompson, of the band Red Krayola, on their debut studio album, Brave Words. The band was at the height of its powers and performed in front of more than 60,000 people at Glastonbury that year, but there were problems with both mixing and mastering this critical first album, which was reflected in many reviews.

Many people expected this was going to be the break-out album for the band internationally, but sadly it all turned to ashes in their mouths, and the band had to rebuild.

Now, almost 40 years later, we can finally listen to Brave Words in its full glory, thanks to US/UK-based Fire Records, which has recently re-released the full album (plus extras) with new mixes and mastering. It contains many of the band’s favourite tracks from their live set, including Wet Blanket, The Oncoming Day and Night of Chill Blue.


Auckland band Shady Brain Farm shares the stage with Dunedin surf-rockers Shakes & The Trouble Makers at the Dunedin Musos Club tonight.

Shady Brain Farm
Shady Brain Farm
Shady Brain Farm are a three-piece surf, post-punk rock band who have been playing together for more than 25 years. They say their original songs place emphasis on strong bass lines, melodic singing and colourful guitar that moves from chorused The Police-style vamps to The Jam-style power chords. Guitarist, singer and keyboard player Ben Furniss has been in many Auckland bands over the years including The Broken Heartbreakers, Superturtle, White Swan Black Swan and Surrealistic. The band’s tour coincides with the release of their Astron EP, four songs available at Bandcamp.

Shakes & the Trouble Makers have an EP of their own in the works, recorded with local music studio producer Tom Bell at Chicks Hotel, planned for release soon.

The band has been gigging locally for seven years, earning a reputation for its grooving originals and old school covers. The band features longtime surfer and musician Chris Prendergast Shakes on guitar and vocals, Pottley Mostly on bass, David Prendergast on lead guitar and Alan Metcalfe on drums.

Shakes & The TroubleMakers. Photo: Supplied
Shakes & The TroubleMakers. Photo: Supplied
The gig

Shakes & The Trouble Makers and Shady Brain Farm, Dunedin Musicians Club, Broadway, 8.30pm.