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Unwind with The Chills at City Winery

Martin Phillipps and his longest-running group of collaborators will return to Boston on Nov. 16.

Photo by Alex Lovell-Smith

To say that Martin Phillipps is the lone constant of a band with a 42-year history is accurate, but a bit misleading.

Yes, The Chills first assembled in 1980 and are currently on tour in celebration of the 30th anniversary of their third album, “Soft Bomb.”

However, with the exception of a 10-song EP in 2007, the beloved New Zealanders delivered no new material between 1996 and 2015.

The Chills’ reputation was built on early singles that were collected on the eight-track 1986 EP “Kaleidoscope World,” the 2016 reissue of which includes 24 cuts.

Among these were “Rolling Moon,” “Pink Frost,” “Doledrums,” and the title song, all of which would remain among the most frequent inclusions on the band’s setlists.


Phillipps has almost equaled his 1987-1996 output since 2015 thanks to the addition of three impressive full-length recordings to his band’s discography: 2015’s “Silver Bullets,” 2018’s “Snow Bound,” and last year’s “Scatterbrain.”

It is somewhat embarrassing for me to admit that “Snow Bound” was my proper introduction to The Chills’ music. I was nowhere with-it enough as a youth, teen, or young adult to seek them out, even though I had heard of them.

But I think that any longtime fan will acknowledge that this record includes material that is comparable to their back catalog’s sublimity.

“Bad Sugar,” “Time to Atone,” “Complex,” and the title track were more than enough to win me over, and Phillipps expressed fondness for “Deep Belief” and “Lord of All I Survey” when I interviewed him via email in advance of a 2019 show at The Middle East Downstairs, the second date of their first U.S. tour in 23 years.

That year also saw the release of “The Chills: The Triumph and Tragedy of Martin Phillipps” (available on Tubi), which included commentary from members of fellow Down Under bands such as Crowded House, The Clean, and The Verlaines, as well as Iggy Pop, who said of “Pink Frost,” “It’s fine art, according to me.”


It also revealed how fortunate Phillipps is to be alive and for fans to still have him around.

“Luckily,” he says late in the documentary, “I have a dark sense of humor that covers the internal tears….”

The 21st and longest-lasting configuration of The Chills will take the stage at City Winery on Nov. 16. Fans can expect selections from “Soft Bomb,” “Scatterbrain” and its recently issued outtakes, and the well of immortal Phillipps classics such as the appropriately titled “Heavenly Pop Hit.”

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