Needles and Plastic - Flying Nun Records 1981-1988 book

Needles and Plastic - Flying Nun Records 1981-1988 book

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Amazing beefy book on Flying Nun... a MUST for fans of the jangle and roar that came out of Christchurch!

Founded in 1981 by Roger Shepherd in Christchurch, New Zealand, Flying Nun Records unleashed an extraordinary wave of music that had an impact around the world. Needles and Plastic is the first comprehensive history of the early years of the label and its bands covering the critical period from 1981–1988 when many of the most influential and critically acclaimed artists emerged on Flying Nun, bands such asThe Clean, The Chills, The Verlaines, The Bats, Look Blue Go Purple, Straitjacket Fits, and Bailter Space. The influence of the obscure label became apparent in the 1990s, when well-known indie acts like Pavement, Cat Power, and Yo La Tengo started covering Flying Nun bands.


In entries on over 140 records from The Clean’s ‘Tally Ho!’ 7" in 1981 to The Verlaines Bird-Dog LP in 1988, Matthew Goody tells the story through the records themselves. His book draws on years of in-depth research to reveal the stories of the bands, the recordings, the songs, and the audience, with a host of significant characters contributing along the way – Shepherd, Chris Knox, Doug Hood, Hamish Kilgour and many more. In this remarkable tale of creativity and chaos, do-it-yourself innovation and extraordinary attempts at world domination, Needles and Plastic tells the inside story of one the world’s great independent music labels. 


“Bruce Pavitt, Sub-Pop co-founder] and I were huge fans of the Flying Nun model, a regional scene pulling itself up by its bootstraps with compelling personalities, a sense of place and musical continuity. The ‘Dunedin Sound’ wasn’t as catchy a tag like grunge but there was most definitely a sound, something dark and breezy at the same time, and it continues to resonate. The Chills’ ‘I Love My Leather Jacket’, The Clean’s ‘Tally Ho!’, The Verlaines’ ‘Death And The Maiden’, it’s all great. It’s the biggest mystery to me why Flying Nun has yet to really be discovered.” – Jonathan Poneman, co-founder of Sub Pop

"Leaves no stone unturned ... Needles And Plastic is useful as a nearly academic-level reference to the '80s Christchurch/Dunedin scene and is also eminently skimmable - the work of a patient researcher sure, but a fan and a completist collector as well." - Dave Mandl, The Wire

Needles and Plastic is so thoroughly and lovingly researched and written, it reads with the narrative drive and immediacy of a first-hand account. This from a writer and fan who came to the Flying Nun story two decades later and from half a world away. It is a remarkable achievement, and another bizarre twist in the Flying Nun story that its first meticulously written history should be produced in such circumstances.” Richard Langston, Founder of the Garage fanzine and author of PULL DOWN THE SHADES: Garage NZ fanzine compendium 1984-86

“When anyone writes about New Zealand music, they mean Flying Nun records.... In its prime, Flying Nun's embrace of all post-punk's manifestations – exquisite psych-pop, cantankerous quasi-goth, warped folk, experimental synth warfare –  meant it was New Zealand's Rough Trade, Factory, Postcard and Mute rolled into one.” – Martin Aston, The Guardian

“There doesn’t seem to be anything on Flying Nun Records that is less than excellent.” – Billboard