The fertile landscape of the New Zealand underground has its roots set deep in the monumental sound of its earliest progenitors, and at the base of the Flying Nun Records repertoire lies the dark and foreboding presence known as The Pin Group. Best known as the band that launched the Flying Nun label with it's FN-001 catalog number in 1981, the band laid the ground work for an impressive part of the Kiwi sound for years to come, combining the frigid starkness of Joy Division with the impossible jangle of the Velvet Underground, The Pin Group only gets more important with age, and once you find yourself repeatedly immersing your head in their dreary apocalyptic pop noise, it'll become hopeless to escape.
Just as their Flying Nun brethren The Clean were climbing out of the rocks with their new sound, The Pin Group was holding down the darker end of the spectrum perfectly, and both contributed significantly to the early "New Zealand Sound" that would soon be sweeping the corners of the earth by the mid 1980s. Releasing only two 7" singles and a 12" EP during their heyday on Flying Nun, the band members eventually went in different directions, with lead singer Roy Montgomery starting a fruitful solo career, and members Peter Stapleton launching Scorched Earth Policy with Mary Haney (from The McGoohans) in 1984, as well as teaming up with Ross Humphries to form The Terminals, one of the first 'super groups' of the Flying Nun variety in the mid 1980s. Along with Humphries, Stapleton, and Haney, Stephen Cogle was enlisted as the lead vocalist, as he'd been an old band mate of Stapleton's from the late 70s band Vacuum with NZ legend Bill Direen, (as well as the great Victor Dimisch Band) and joined in as the lead singer for The Terminals, essentially locking down one of the tightest, darkest, and most intense post punk bands from the Flying Nun stable during it's often overlooked second phase.
The Terminals would carry on the darkness of The Pin Group's sound effortlessly, and would go on to a lengthy career spanning into the 2000s, and their earliest releases on the Flying Nun, the Disconnect EP as well as their debut LP Uncoffined have sadly remained out of print since the late 80s, but will soon be available again via HoZac Records Archival division. So to see where the seeds of the NZ sound began, check out this incredible color film of The Pin Group from 1981, along with a recent interview with Peter Stapleton, right here, and pick up The Pin Group's compilation Ambivalence right here: