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Born of the ashes of Straitjacket Fits, New Zealand rock-funk group Dimmer emerged in 2001 with their debut record, I Believe You Are a Star. Lead by Shayne Carter (formerly of the DoubleHappys and Straitjacket Fits), Dimmer offered freedom from the chains of collaboration that eventually choked off the progress of Carter's previous musical endeavors. Rounded out by Ned Ngatae (guitar), Mike Hall (bass), Andy Morton (keyboards), Willy Scott (drums), and Anika Moa (backing vocals), Dimmer's sound bore surprisingly little resemblance to Carter's preceding projects, favoring sparse and funky grooves over guitar-driven rock sounds. The debut record's single, "Crystalator," was released by Sony's Sub Pop label, and was virtually ignored by New Zealand DJs. Even though the singles that followed also got very little airplay, I Believe You Are a Star was met with amazing success, named The New Zealand Herald's Album of the Year. The band's sophomore release came out more than three years later. You've Got to Hear the Music was released in 2004, and also earned the band some national awards. This was Dimmer's first record with New Zealand-based indie label Flying Nun Records, the band having switched from international heavyweight Sony. Carter took some time off in 2005 for a Straitjacket Fits reunion tour before returning to the studio for work on Dimmer's third production. Released in 2006, There My Dear featured a return to the guitar-centric sounds Carter had left behind with Straitjacket. ~ Evan C. Gutierrez

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November, 2001 in New Zealand

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