Up Front with the Yub Nubz

such a tease
such a tease

Hot on the soles of their forthcoming new 12″ release ‘Sac Tap Nut Jam’, the Axemen are chaffing at the bit for punters to step up into the stirrups climb into the saddle and hitch their wagons to the new guiding star, the star that comes from the South, the star that IS the Axemen. The current lineup, showing impeccable taste chose this outlet for their first official interview regarding the new album.

Steve McCabe - still working on the John Halvorsen / Eraserhead look
Steve McCabe – still working on the John Halvorsen / Eraserhead look

Steve McCabe, speaking from his idyllic kiwi coast bach in the Coromandel on the verge of a 3 month sabbatical in the Pacific Islands, was the first to speak out on the release:

Steve McCabe: “I was initially troubled by the concept of plant (‘inanimate’) objects being incapable of feeling pain. This is the reason we embarked on the ‘Sac Tap’ project in the first place. All things were pointing in this direction, we had a levy-breaking wall of song built up ready to breach the sea-walls, with nowhere else to run!” he enthused in answer to my first utterance “Hello”.

IMG_5391
William Daymond – Role Model for troubled youth

William Daymond: “Dragan came over and showed me the famous ‘swizzle-sticks in a jar’ experiment – believe it or not this was the first time i ever experimented with this kind of experiment – and frankly it blew me away. My ‘Sac Tap’ commitment started there”.

IMG_5341
Stu Kawowski – aka Ludwig van Beathoven

Stu Kawowski: “Yeah I kinda dug Will’s naivete in the beginning, but by the end of the sessions we were churning it up free flow like a machete machine with overblown muscle-cloth spun on a quantum wheel upon which no-one can see which way its rotating but experienced users can count the bleats”

IMG_5354
Dragan Stojanovic – go ahead… tap my sac!

Dragan Stojanovic: “I count my blessings. And I think the other lads are counting theirs. The Axemen are the only band I would get out of bed to play in. Of course I’m fantastic in bed too!”.

Accolades are already pouring in from all over the world and the roundabout at Stokes Valley Road is fast becoming a local tourist attraction, with double-decker buses frequently thrilling passengers by driving around it multiple times, in one case until one elderly passenger threw up (she soon recovered when the tour guide pointed out Dragan Stojanovic walking down the road to the alchemists and giving her and the other passenger his trademark “fingers” gesture – a Serbian sign usually reserved for Croation soldiers – much to the amusement of the appreciative cheering passengers).

Idols and rivals check out the scene
Idols and rivals check out the scene

Watch this Space[case] spacecasefor new revelations!

The Axemen wish to thank Ryan and Mor at Spacecase who were instrumental (and vocal) in making the project happen…  http://www.spacecaserecords.com/ cheers dudes!

AXEMEN “Three Virgins” sure to rise again…

Like a phoenix, it’s flaming wings rendering liquefacted silt into weirdly shaped shiny psychedelic ceramic sculptures as it rises from the quake-decimated ruins of Christchurch’s State Trinity Centre, the penultimate Axemen tome “Three Virgins, Three Versions, Three Visions”  (commonly referred to in hushed tones as simply “Three Virgins“), well, more accurately, the four fragile lacquers of which are currently and patiently awaiting their turn at R.T.I. USA. Soon those lovingly engraved mothers will be slammed into steaming 180 gram piles of black vinyl, and slipped into exact replicas of the intricately elaborate 4-colour gatefold sleeve, the cost of said practically bringing Flying Nun Records to it’s knees back in the Christchurch of 1986.

The 22/2/11 quake-decimated ruins of Christchurch’s State Trinity Centre.

 

Kawowski’s vain effort to bake the original 7″ masters in a food-dehydrator, and transfer digitally proved unacceptable to his high standards of aural sensitivity. With the upwards nodding approval of the other 2/3 of the legendary flat-city triad, Steve ‘n Bob, together with the blessing of the sage Siltbreeze label boss T. J. Lax, Germany’s and possibly the world’s pre-eminate ‘needle drop’ exponent Thomas Hartlage of SHADOKS™ was contracted to place his own virgin pressing of the original 1986 pressing onto his unspeakably expensive transcription system, the result being a beautifully crafted replica with all aspects and nuances of the tricky trio’s debut vinyl of PQ (pre-quake) ChCh yesteryear. Not sufficiently content with this scintillating facsimile, the 24bit WAVs were broadbanded south to a dijkside upstairs warehouse near Amsterdam, where the legendary FIR International wove his mastering magic upon the 22 tracks, and soon after Mark at Prairie Cat Mastering in Illinois had manifested the four sides of the 88 minute set in shiny, shiny lacquer.

An announcement will be made shortly regarding worldwide availability of these waxy widgets. Keep watching here, and AXEMEN on Facebook.

Stop Press: In a generous 11th hour gesture, Shadoks & Fir International donated 60% of the mastering costs to the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal. In fact the whole exercise of re-releasing Three Virgins is all about the music, as the small 2nd edition pressing run will only produce 600 copies, and not return much of a profit to Siltbreeze’s hungry shareholders. The Axemen are very cognizant of this fact and super-appreciative of everyone’s efforts and generosity all round.

Record review – Scary!!! pt 3 by Kel E. Burnette

Reprinted from Kel E. Burnette’s  pronouncement at:

http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=191255993910

Note: CD material is available from http://sleekbott.com

The Axemen, sans McCabe, sans Stojanovic, plus Turner, 2009
The Axemen, sans McCabe, sans Stojanovic, plus Turner, WFMU, 2009

Artist: Axemen
Title: Scary! Part III
Label: Siltbreeze
Long known underground stars from New Zealand, The Axemen are now gaining some well-deserved notoriety here in the States thanks to one of our finest labels, Siltbreeze. Tom Lax has again exhibited sterling musical sense in [repressing – sic.]re-pressing “Scary! Part III” and “Big Cheap Motel.”

Steve McCabe with Shonen Knife, Fun Fun Fun Fest
Steve McCabe with Shonen Knife, Fun Fun Fun Fest, Austin TX 2009

And while it’s not an easy task trying to pin down their sound, especially considering the variety of their entire discography (much less the territorial span of music on this release), I’ll give it a shot.

On my first listening, I immediately drew a comparison to Royal Trux, but that was basically drawn from the majority of vocals on the record, featuring some of the coolest, junked-out vox either before or after the Trux hit the scene.

AXEMEN - cool it with the pool boy
AXEMEN - cool it with the pool boy

From the get-go, the song “Heart Bullet” features some insanely fucked up vocals and word play. Unlike a lot of New Zealand music, the vocals are uncharacteristically mixed up and not buried in the instrumentation. It kind of paradoxically makes the voice seem like another instrument—I’m at a loss finding (other than Herrema) anyone to compare the vocals to while maintaining any real dignity. Suffice it to say that they’re easily in the upper echelon of all rock vox, and it’s continued across both wunnerfuly screwed tracks on the double LP set.

AXEMEN: 300% Sikh & Tyred
2009: 300% Sikh & Tyred

Though the music is varied, you never get the feeling that the album was thrown together as pieces. As incoherent and absurd as it is, the record has a marvelous cohesion, at times overtly a downer, such as the track “10 Miles (as the crow flies)” and other points like the near-sinister, hardcore influenced “Join the R.A.F.”

The Mirror News by Vince Carmody, DJ at Chapel Hill's Local 506 Club
The Mirror News by Vince Carmody, DJ at Chapel Hill's Local 506 Club

It’s near-put impossible to fix these fellers into any genre, and that’s a damn good thing. Not only that, it’s a fucking difficult thing to pull off convincingly, yet the Axemen do so with, well what’s the write word, grace? How about ‘instinct?’ That seems more apropos. It’s an instinct which speaks more to an overall aesthetic than does it any attempt to play this or that style of music.

This one of the strangest records ever sludged to wax, and it’s caused that compulsive collector in my to try and track down any and all of their recordings, which, from what I’ve read, is going to be a formidable task. This is no surprise since they formed around 1981 and have recorded pretty consistently since, and even through the broad spectrum of music the venerable Flying Nun label have pressed over the years, The Axemen stand totally on their own. Flying Nun wasn’t their only label over the years—there have been several, but as an American touchstone, it’s appropriate to mention them as one of the better-known imprints to bring up.

Sickie Stojanovic, 123 Pleasant Street, Morgantown, West Virginia
Sickie Stojanovic, 123 Pleasant Street, Morgantown, West Virginia

All I can tell you is that, even on this one double LP, influences include American hardcore and DIY, Beefheart (though nothing obvious springs to mind at the outset), a sort of Zappaesque sense of humor, bizarre synth music, employ of loops and on and on.

The Axemen are their own entity. The only downside to this is that it took so long for an American pressing to go down. I’ve heard that they’ve met with largely great critical press on their recent tour of the U.S. One can only hope that it continues and that we see them again very soon.

P. Somniferum

AXEMEN: THE ORDER OF ERRED WAYS

aka SCARY PT. IV

erredWays1

an album of unreleased Sleek Bott recordings from the 1983-1985 cache

JACKSON CREEK
from the THREE VIRGINS sessions, Christchurch, April 1985

850400 State Trinity

OM – STORY OF UNIVERSAL LOVE
from the Feast of Flesh rehearsal, Dunedin, March 1984
(not the same version that appears on A SCAR IS BORN);
features keyboards by George D. Henderson

840414a Feast-O-Flesh 1

MOULDIE (LEG STORY) full version live
from the Gladstone, Christchurch, Dec. 31, 1983
—a 2-minute excerpt from this same take featured on the CD version of THE SOUTH DUNEDIN SOUND, as well as on the AGRO/BAIRD BASS-OFF collection (where it appeared alongside another live take recorded 2 nights later at the same pub); includes Arthur Sheep on sax & the 3rd-eye guest guitar of Gordo Baird’s brother, B. B. Ryan.

831231b Gladstone

DO OR DIE
from the THREE VIRGINS sessions, Christchurch, April 1985

THE HOLLYWOOD SINGER
live at the Star & Garter, Christchurch, June 1984

840615c Star&Garter1

YE GODS!!
live at Lisa Preston’s birthday party, Christchurch, November 1984

841102 Party II the next day

GIMME ROOM #2
from the THREE VIRGINS sessions, Christchurch, April 1985

THE ORDER OF ERRED WAYS
live at Lisa Preston’s birthday party, Christchurch, November 1984

LIVING, LIVING & DYING
live at Lisa Preston’s birthday party, Christchurch, November 1984

THE GREATEST POP ON EARTH
sounds like Christchurch, July-August 1985

850708 July-August

BRAIN ONE IAMBENT 1 Music for public toilets
live at the Arts Centre, Christchurch, June 1984

840613 State of the Art

PUT THE IRON ON/TEQUILA
from the THREE VIRGINS sessions, Christchurch, April 1985

850406a Trinity Of Fire

GIMME ROOM
from the THREE VIRGINS sessions, Christchurch, April 1985

850406b Battle Of Egos

*   *   *

an axemen anno XXV rediscovery series production
specially compiled & released on the eve of their first US tour, 2009

bobAxemenWanganui

SleekBottlabel3

Scary Motel Tour! coming soon….

Not on the List?

Looking to get some great kiwi bands to play at your FANTASTIC SOUTH ISLAND VENUE in LATE SEPTEMBER/EARLY OCTOBER?

Contact Us immediately….

Your name could be here tomorrow…

Scary Motel Tour - Sept / Oct 09 , South Island, NZ
Scary Motel Tour - Sept / Oct 09 , South Island, NZ - b/w lo-res v1(LSM)
Scary Motel Tour - South Island, NZ, Sept-Oct 2009
Scary Motel Tour - South Island, NZ, Sept-Oct 2009 - color lo-res v1 (LSM)

POSTER VARIANTS RECEIVED:

Tues 4 Aug 09, Stu Kawowski

scarymoteldragan
Scary Motel Poster Variant: Dragan-Master (StuK)

scarymotelredlips
Scary Motel Poster Variant: RedLips (StuK)

Breaking News: Scary! Part III Re-release July 2009!!

Press Release from Silt Breeze in conjunction with Sleek Bott RE: Axemen – Scary Re-release July 2009

PR Date:May 2009

Axemen-Scary! Part III-dbl lp (SB-119/120)

“…you’ll begin to see (& hear)…”

“…the Axemen blazed through the 80’s…”

“Unlike the hyper punk-charged pastiche of Big Cheap Motel…”

Axemen: Scary - Pt III; LP re-release July 2009
Axemen: Scary - Pt III; LP re-release July 2009

The second entry in the Siltbreeze/Axemen / Sleek Bott reissue series, Scary! Part III originally saw light as a cassette only release sometime in 1989.

Most band/fans active in the Christchurch & Dunedin scene’s at this time will tell you (sans embellishment) how prolifically the Axemen blazed through the 80’s decade (new cassettes seeming to exist almost on a daily basis) & in classic Rashomon style you’d likely get a different story from all willing to reminisce, though it’s be safe to say everyone would agree that the beguiling je ne sais quoi (now) found within the grooves of Scary! Part III to be some of the bands most intriguing blat to date.
Unlike the hyper punk-charged pastiche of Big Cheap Motel, Scary! operates from practically a Gestalt concept & sensibility.

While on the surface the contents found therein might sound fragmented, ruminous or obfuscatory, dig deeper (or listen better) & you’ll begin to see (& hear) the mystifying ooze lactating out of the 4 sides of Scary! Part III not as individual, insurmountable constructs of bizarreness, but as a coherent pattern of brilliant phenomena that is-in a word-SCARY!

Various sets of novice ears who have made it though this Bunyanesque giant find themselves making comparisons to a mixture of S.Y.P.H., Royal Trux & Ptose.

All one can say (really) to such hodgepodge is…..congratulations. Twenty yrs & counting & this release refuses to be aptly pigeonholed. Hell, even a seasoned horror chomper such as Shirley Jackson (were she still croaking) would tell ya to give these guys a wide berth. They mean business & their business is mean. Or as the poet (& bartender) Bing McFreud once scribed as an ode to this collection of doozy’s;

‘Be Very Afeared
Cause This Ain’t No Beard
And You Have An Aversion
To Clean’.

————————————————————-

Scary! Part III. It’s for real. Again. Finally!

Ltd ed dbl LP run of 700 w/sticker, insert & poster.

Order direct from Silt Breeze: paypal: sltrx@pil.net

————- TRACK LISTING ————–
SIDE 1

HEART BULLET 2:42

CHURCH OF THE LOOSELY BRETHREN 3:41

10 MILES (AS THE CROW FLIES) 3:10

THAT MUST BE HELL 2:07

SHACKED UP IN YR EGYPT TOMB 3:37

15.2 mins

SIDE 2

JOIN THE RAF 2:58

YOU, YOU CABINET 1:00

THE VIRGIN 2:17

ANIMALS HAVE RIGHTS, TOO 3:36

ACCUSATION OF MURDER 3:23

13.1 mins

SIDE 3

FREE WORLD 2:20

INTERMISSION 1:51

SUN UND MOON 4:12

BEER UND FLINTSTONES 2:10 1

THE WRECK OF THE WHISTLING MAREE 2:24

12.9 mins

SIDE 4

THE 2-BIT STAR 4:11

MUST LOVE DIE 3:14

NO LOOK BACK 5:44

NASTY MOON SHINE 2:35

15.7 mins