As part of our Discover Series, we highlight The Chills’ prolific discography with a sale across their catalogue on Fire. Use code Chills25 at checkout to receive a 25% discount. Applies on all titles digitally and on a few selected products, in the band’s Bandcamp and our website. It’s been relentless… and so it goes on. The Chills are on tour. Previously, they’ve sampled the highs and the lows, traversed the globe, disintegrated and regenerated, been the subject of a movie, played with everyone from Lou Reed to The Gun Club and written a effervescing stream of beautiful pop songs as well as a few dark anthems.
It all began 35 years or so ago with some brave words on the local Flying Nun label in New Zealand; lapped up by slowly imploding Warner subsidiary Slash, they released the phenomenal ‘Submarine Bells’ in 1990 before success, fatigue and internal rumblings split them up following a lengthy US tour. By then the tuneful merriment of ‘Heavenly Pop Hit’ had engaged a multiplying generation of fans, but the clouds loomed for the last remaining Chill, Martin Phillipps, who warmed himself with Van Dyke Parks and Peter Holsapple for the altogether more alluring ‘Soft Bomb’.
“Gorgeous indie pop” Bandcamp
“I was trying to stretch and grow as a songwriter. I had been almost obsessed with bootlegs of The Beach Boys’ unfinished ‘Smile’ album and I was also trying to create something huge. It was absolutely the wrong time to try and do that with all the major changes going on in the music industry and the resulting “hit-less” album ultimately got us dropped by Warner Brothers.” Martin Phillipps
A decade on, after a return to his homeland, Phillipps honed a new Chills and signed to Fire for 2013’s live opus ‘Somewhere Beautiful’ (“A set of pop songs that are almost uniformly brilliant, captured in a fashion that harks back to the band’s beginnings, presented beautifully and with pride” Drowned In Sound). It was followed by ‘Silver Bullets’ in 2015 (“The musical embodiment of autumn, part windswept and part golden, a minor triumph of an album.” The Guardian), and ‘Snow Bound’ in 2017 (“Just glorious” The Guardian. “Parades a positive and shockingly optimistic energy” Pop Matters) and, most recently ‘Scatterbrain’ (“A worthy addition to a glorious canon” Uncut) from 2021.
Along the way Fire also gathered various BBC Sessions from their time in the UK for release in 2014 and re-issued both ‘Submarine Bells’ and ‘Soft Bomb’ in deluxe format, while Julia Parnell directed the award-winning film The Chills; The Triumph And Tragedy Of Martin Phillipps of which The New Zealand Herald enthused “This is a story of a musical genius, honest and insightful and beautifully told”.
“This is what a living legend looks and sounds like” Rolling Stone