This box set contains three re-issues of New Zealand indie-pop pioneers The Bats ranging from early original recordings to previously unheard studio out takes. Featuring tracks from 1984 to 1988, this compilation shows a group that has gone on to influence countless bands around the world with their jangling guitars that express both an optimism and deeper melancholy. Compiletely Bats, originally released in 1987, gathers together the four-piece band's first three EPs - 'By Night' (1984), 'And Here is Music for the Fireside' (1985) and 'Made Up in Blue' (1986), along with bonus outages and demos from the period.
Five years after the release of their last critically acclaimed album, The Bats return with album number nine, “The Deep Set”. With the title conveying the long established and firmly embedded, it’s notable that it’s thirty years since The Bats began recording their debut album, Daddy’s Highway, in the living room studio of a friend of a friend in Glasgow. This time around they recorded in The Sitting Room, the studio-sleep out-garage next to Ben Edward’s house in Lyttelton, following in the footsteps of Marlon Williams, Nadia Reid and many others.
For a time in 1988, Moe Koffman (tripling on flute, alto and soprano) teamed up regularly with trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. On this CD, Koffman and his regular group (guitarist Ed Bickert, keyboardist Bernie Senensky, bassist Kieran Overs, and drummer Barry Elmes) perform three of Dizzy's tunes, originals by Koffman and Senensky, and "Lush Life" with Gillespie. Diz's trumpet playing was clearly past its prime by 1988, but his scat singing on "Oop-Pop-A-Da" is quite virtuosic and outstanding, easily the high point of this little-known set.
Now That’s What I Call the 1990s focuses on the decade’s second half, splitting its time between pop songs and the alternative music that followed in grunge’s footsteps. Pearl Jam and other hard-edged bands are absent from this compilation; instead, slicker groups like Live (“I Alone”) and Collective Soul (“Shine”) represent the wave of mainstream rock that swept through the Clinton era, with Everclear (“Father of Mine”) and Sublime (“What I Got”) thrown in for good measure. Des’ree’s “You Gotta Be” and New Radicals’ “You Get What You Give” help anchor the album’s pop side, while the inclusion of Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be” is a reminder that the decade also spawned many an omnipresent wedding song. Ignoring grunge, Euro-dance, and teen pop makes this a narrow-minded compilation, but for those who like the aforementioned songs, Now That's What I Call the 1990s is an easy way to get them all in one place.