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Able Tasmans

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Biography

One of the many bright lights of the New Zealand pop scene of the 1980s, Able Tasmans formed in Auckland in 1984. Originally a trio comprised of keyboardist Graeme Humphreys, bassist Dave Beniston and drummer Craig Baxter, they initially offered a tongue-in-cheek, '60s-influenced aesthetic typified by songs like "Nelson the Cat?!!"; however, upon signing to the legendary Flying Nun label a year later to release their debut EP The Tired Sun, the Tasmans moved to a noisier and more colorful sound with the addition of singer Peter Keen and guitarist Anthony Nevison. A single, the eccentric "Buffalos," followed in 1986, and a year later the band -- now consisting of Keen, Humphreys, Beniston, organist Leslie Jonkers and drummer Stuart Greenway -- issued their full-length debut A Cuppa Tea and a Lie Down. A three-year hiatus followed as Able Tasmans' lineup continued to fluctuate; finally, in 1990, they resurfaced with Hey Spinner!, a lovely chamber pop effort recorded by the nucleus of Humphreys, Jonkers and Keen with assistance from ex-Verlaines Jane Dodd on bass, keyboardist Ron Young and drummer Craig Mason. Though cut with the same roster, 1992's Somebody Ate My Planet offered a dramatically different, denser sound with a thematic emphasis on the environment. ~ Jason Ankeny

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