Some new old Reviews – Aquarius Records 2014

Reprinted from: https://www.aquariusrecords.org/cat/newzealand.html

album cover

ABOVE GROUND Gone Aiwa (Siltbreeze) lp 15.98
Another awesome legendary archival release out of the NZ underground from Siltbreeze, this one the super obscure Above Ground, who existed for all of a single year back in 1983, and made this one record, originally released as a super limited cassette, only sold at gigs and local shops. And while the band name might not seem familiar, the band members probably will, legendary NZ musician Bill Direen (Vacuum, Builders) along with Carol Direen (his wife? sister?), Maryrose Crook from the Renderers, and Stuart Page from the Axemen (whose reissued lp we reviewed here a list or two back). That Axemen connection is definitely a hint as to what this stuff sounds like: murky, low fidelity pop, lots of organ, spidery guitars, the drums simple yet propulsive and really loud in the mix, the vocals a booming sung spoken croon, the vibe is dreamily druggy, droned out and hypnotic, definitely a Velvets vibe going on, but also some old school psych rock, the sound is loose and ramshackle, sounds very much like it was recorded live, but it’s undeniably darkly groovy, mesmerizingly trancelike, with the organ slipping into freaked out squalls that threaten to overtake the whole song, but when the band lock in, it’s super tight and hypnotic, a little bit jangly, occasionally borderline funky, the best tracks the murkier druggier jams, which do take up most of the record. Fans of all things Flying Nun, Xpressway and classic NZ underground, this is some essential archival radness.
MPEG Stream: “Black Doors”
MPEG Stream: “Green Afternoon”
MPEG Stream: “Flat Feet”

album cover AXEMEN Derry Legend (Luxury) cd 14.98
ALSO ON CD!!!
A while back we reviewed Three Virgins, the 1986 debut from NZ pop weirdos the Axemen, and as a frame of reference for what sort of deviant pop to expect, we mentioned Strapping Fieldhands, Guided By Voices, Sebadoh, Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments and older outfits like Captain Beefheart, the Velvet Underground, we also posited that these guys would have sounded right at home on legendary label Shimmy Disc. Well by 1989, very little had changed when the Axemen unleashed their second long player, Derry Legend. If anything, the songwriting was better, with some crazy catchy poppiness tucked amidst the sonic chaos, but otherwise, the sound was as ramshackle and al over the map as ever. The sound has definitely got some Flying Nun DNA running through it for sure. But those genes were mutating big time, and whatever similarities these guys shared with their fellow ‘Nuns, the Clean, the Chills, the Bats, in the Axemen, those sounds were all twisted and tangled up into warped and warbly shapes, the sounds melty and druggy, loose and wild, and on the edge of total collapse. No surprise that Derry Legend was one of Kurt Cobain’s favorite records, cuz it definitely has much in common with lots of his other faves: The Vaselines, Half Japanese, the Shaggs, etc. From snarly, snotty, swaggery jangle glam pop, to noisy, stumbly, fuzz drenched post punk, to hazy, drugged out fug-pop balladry (replete with Velvets style ‘do-do-do-do’ background vox), to damaged twee pop warble, to organ driven garage rock crunch, to almost fifties sounding rock and roll, to ominous, brooding drug folk, these guys tied all these disparate sounds into one ever-shifting, outsider mutant pop that will have weirdo pop obsessives freaking the fuck out!
MPEG Stream: “Disc To Disk”
MPEG Stream: “You Gave Me The Power Of the Gangbusters”
MPEG Stream: “Hey Alice!”
MPEG Stream: “Mounring Of Youth”

album cover AXEMEN Derry Legend (Luxury) lp 25.00
A while back we reviewed Three Virgins, the 1986 debut from NZ pop weirdos the Axemen, and as a frame of reference for what sort of deviant pop to expect, we mentioned Strapping Fieldhands, Guided By Voices, Sebadoh, Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments and older outfits like Captain Beefheart, the Velvet Underground, we also posited that these guys would have sounded right at home on legendary label Shimmy Disc. Well by 1989, very little had changed when the Axemen unleashed their second long player, Derry Legend. If anything, the songwriting was better, with some crazy catchy poppiness tucked amidst the sonic chaos, but otherwise, the sound was as ramshackle and al over the map as ever. The sound has definitely got some Flying Nun DNA running through it for sure. But those genes were mutating big time, and whatever similarities these guys shared with their fellow ‘Nuns, the Clean, the Chills, the Bats, in the Axemen, those sounds were all twisted and tangled up into warped and warbly shapes, the sounds melty and druggy, loose and wild, and on the edge of total collapse. No surprise that Derry Legend was one of Kurt Cobain’s favorite records, cuz it definitely has much in common with lots of his other faves: The Vaselines, Half Japanese, the Shaggs, etc. From snarly, snotty, swaggery jangle glam pop, to noisy, stumbly, fuzz drenched post punk, to hazy, drugged out fug-pop balladry (replete with Velvets style ‘do-do-do-do’ background vox), to damaged twee pop warble, to organ driven garage rock crunch, to almost fifties sounding rock and roll, to ominous, brooding drug folk, these guys tied all these disparate sounds into one ever-shifting, outsider mutant pop that will have weirdo pop obsessives freaking the fuck out!
Includes two massive newsprint inserts, one a poster, the other a sort of collage of old clippings and photos, and there’s a download code too!
MPEG Stream: “Disc To Disk”
MPEG Stream: “You Gave Me The Power Of The Gangbusters”
MPEG Stream: “Hey Alice!”
MPEG Stream: “Mounring Of Youth”

album cover AXEMEN Three Virgins (Siltbreeze) lp 17.98
Originally released in the eighties on legendary New Zealand label Flying Nun, the Axemen’s Three Virgins remained mostly unheard by all but the most extreme of NZ underground obsessives, sort of makes sense that it would end up on Siltbreeze, whose pop roster should give you an idea of what to expect from these Axemen: Strapping Fieldhands, Guided By Voices, Sebadoh, Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments, to those references you could also add the Velvets, Beefheart, and even more appropriately, to these ears at least, would be seminal East Coast outsider label Shimmy Disc. The Axemen traffic in a fractured, stumbling, keening, detuned lo-fi pop, the guitars atonal, occasionally buzzy and crunchy, otherwise spidery and jangly, the songs laced with plink plonk piano, whistling, the drums strangely produced, usually buried in the mix, spidery guitar leads wrapped around warped and warbly melodies, and the vocals, seriously out there, this is a pop record after all, so it’s the vocals that really drive things, the various voices seem less concerned with being in tune, and more with energy and exuberance, they’re high, whiny, plaintive, sorta sad boy, but delivered with gusto, howled in places, crooned in others, the harmonies slightly off, defiantly tuneless in places, adding another bit of whatthefuck to the already cracked vibe, which is augmented further by some awesomely tripped out weirdness, that sounds in places like a more tuneful (just barely) Dead C, or some primitive tape experiment, or some warped boom box DJ collage or even like some sort of lysergic sixties psych folk, all of the various elements constantly shifting, and mutating, and getting all tangled up with each other, the sound poppy one second, droney and dirgey the next, fuzzy and psychedelic one second, detuned and demented the next, but always confusional and off kilter, a pretty brilliantly baffling slice of primo eighties NZ underground sound for sure.
Pressed on nice thick vinyl, housed in an eye popping gatefold jacker, and LIMITED TO 600 COPIES!! Includes a download coupon.
MPEG Stream: “The Dream”
MPEG Stream: “Something (The Wives of the President’s Men)”
MPEG Stream: “Grudge Hill”
MPEG Stream: “Artie Shepp’s Place”
MPEG Stream: “The Yeasty Mayor”

album cover BATS, THE Daddy’s Highway (Flying Nun) lp 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
One of the greatest indie pop records ever, gets a long overdue vinyl reissue! This classic slab of eighties bittersweet jangle pop from legendary New Zealand pop combo the Bats, still sounds as good as it ever did, originally released on Flying Nun in 1987, Daddy’s Highway was the group’s debut after handful of eps, and found the band effortlessly creating a template for pretty much all of the Kiwi pop music to follow. Robert Scott, one of the best (and perhaps most unsung) pop songsmiths of the last 3+ decades, delivers these heartfelt tunes in a gorgeous clear croon, his guitar playing understated and so sublime, the traditional rock band arrangement augmented by long time aQ fave Alastair Galbraith on violin, giving the songs a dark gravitas, and an even more melancholic vibe, some of the songs bouncy and bubbly, but many of them moody and brooding, laced with subtle drones, sounding at times like a janglier Velvet Underground, while at other times hinting at the more new wave sounding pop going on around the same time, but more often occupying some pure pop space, every song here, rife with warm jangle, sweet melody and dreamy hooks, all wreathed in lush instrumentation, and presented heart on sleeve. So great!
MPEG Stream: “Treason”
MPEG Stream: “North By North”
MPEG Stream: “Tragedy”

album cover BATS, THE Daddy’s Highway (Captured Tracks / Flying Nun) lp 16.98
One of the greatest indie pop records ever, gets yet another vinyl reissue! This classic slab of eighties bittersweet jangle pop from legendary New Zealand pop combo the Bats, still sounds as good as it ever did, originally released on Flying Nun in 1987, Daddy’s Highway was the group’s debut after handful of eps, and found the band effortlessly creating a template for pretty much all of the Kiwi pop music to follow. Robert Scott, one of the best (and perhaps most unsung) pop songsmiths of the last 3+ decades, delivers these heartfelt tunes in a gorgeous clear croon, his guitar playing understated and so sublime, the traditional rock band arrangement augmented by long time aQ fave Alastair Galbraith on violin, giving the songs a dark gravitas, and an even more melancholic vibe, some of the songs bouncy and bubbly, but many of them moody and brooding, laced with subtle drones, sounding at times like a janglier Velvet Underground, while at other times hinting at the more new wave sounding pop going on around the same time, but more often occupying some pure pop space, every song here, rife with warm jangle, sweet melody and dreamy hooks, all wreathed in lush instrumentation, and presented heart on sleeve. So great!
MPEG Stream: “Treason”
MPEG Stream: “North By North”
MPEG Stream: “Tragedy”

album cover BERAN, GRANT The Another Ones (Postmoderncore) cd-r 10.00
**SALE **SALE* *SALE**
Any record bearing the legend: “All the music on this cd has been created using a very old record player, second hand microphones, discarded tape recorders and various bits of wire” pretty much has to be good. Well okay, maybe HAS TO is exaggerating, but at the very least that sort of description is enough to get us very intrigued.
And in this case, it is good, but at the same time nothing at all like we were expecting.
We had imagined some sort of washed out Philip Jeck style drones, or pixelated Tim Hecker-ish soundscapes, or even the sort of crackling slow decay of William Basinski’s tape pieces, but instead, Grant Beran has taken old records and some junky beat up equipment and used them to create surprisingly rhythmic tracks, utilizing various cracks and pops, and skips to fashion almost-grooves, like a lo-fi DJ Shadow sort of. The opener is all fuzzy and buzzy, but with a super driving beat, a skipping record looped into a hypnotic groove, a little bit techno, a little bit hip hop, a little creepy Goblin soundtrack, and a lot fuzzed out turntable buzz. It’s not hard to imagine some clever DJ adding huge beats to this and you’d have the most fucked up lo-fi dancefloor jam ever. But we don’t want to exaggerate the ‘dance’ aspect, it’s more like the soundtrack to some lost John Carpenter movie, dubbed from VHS to VHS to home stereo to microcassette recorder until it ended up sounding like this, groove and fuzzy and murky and awesome!
The second track is much more moody and atmospheric, the rhythms an afterthought, that seem to surface randomly, while the meat of the track is deep sonorous tones, throbbing and distorted, woven into some low end melody. The rest of the record is split pretty evenly between hushed whispery ambient drone, and weirdly distorted lo-fi grooves, standout’s include the buzzy electro jam of “The Man In The High Castle”, the cinematic krautrocky murk of “Double Star”, the almost Chain Reaction dub of “Star Collector” and the droney buzz and grind of “Gleanings”.
Falling somewhere between experimental turntable soundscapery and a moody cinematic DJ record, Beran has skillfully woven sonic straw into fuzzy, stuttery, groovy gold, taking turntables and dreamdrone ambience into rhythmic places until now, as far as we know completely unexplored! WAY recommended.
MPEG Stream: “My Own Private Tokyo”
MPEG Stream: “Sci-Fi Lullaby”
MPEG Stream: “Here At The Western World”

BIRCHVILLE CAT MOTEL Siberian Earth Curve (Drunken Fish) cd 13.98
An enigmatic stateside debut from this New Zealand (I think… they are pretty enigmatic after all…) ensemble which drones on through guitar, appliances, cymbals, and some dizzying device which generates a warbling tonality which hits some pretty nauseating (in a good way, like rollercoasters are entertainment through nausea) frequencies.

album cover CLEAN, THE Anthology (Merge) 4lp 44.00
This past Record Of The Week finally available on VINYL, and a fancy quadruple lp boxset at that!!!
The history of the legendary New Zealand indie label Flying Nun quite literally begins with The Clean. Impressed by a slew of The Clean’s live performances in their home town of Dunedin, New Zealand back in 1980, Roger Shepherd began Flying Nun, simply in order to release the band’s first single “Tally Ho.” That song, an upbeat but simple post-punk number that crashed together jangling guitars and persistent organ melodies, surprised everybody with a considerable amount of commercial success in New Zealand, and became one of many songs by The Clean that found enthusiastic audiences in the US during the college rock days of the ’80s, offering a quirky, exotic alternative to staples like REM, the Replacements, Robyn Hitchcock, and Elvis Costello.
Formed in 1978 by the Kilgour brothers David and Hamish, The Clean never stooped to the depths of the Gallagher brother’s public fisticuffs; but the band – which flushed out its membership with Robert Scott and (in the early days) Peter Gutteridge – spent more time broken up than together. Yet, their eternally catchy pop songs became the blueprint for almost all of the other Flying Nun bands (in part due to the numerous Clean related projects on Flying Nun, including The Bats, The Great Unwashed, Bailter Space, Snapper, Stephen, and others). The Clean’s self-explanatory “Anthology” runs through their numerous albums, offering a good chunk of their fantastic early work (the aforementioned “Tally Ho,” the “Boodle Boodle Boodle” ep, the “Great Sounds…” ep, and a couple of oddities) all in one epic collection. Edgy yet unswervingly optimistic, these songs were sloppy four-track recordings of monomaniacally simple rhythms, cacophonously jangly guitar melodies, and happy-go-lucky vocals. Also included are excerpts from the ’90s albums “Vehicle,” “Modern Rock,” and “Unknown Country,” which marked a considerable polishing of The Clean’s sound, in part because they recorded that material in well established studios like Blackwing studios in London, but also the songs, while still simple in their own right, became slightly more restrained.
Highly recommended!
RealAudio clip: “At The Bottom”
RealAudio clip: “Tally Ho”
RealAudio clip: “Point That Thing Somewhere Else”

album cover CLEAN, THE Odditties (Five Four O) 2lp 30.00
The Flying Nun reissue onslaught continues, this time a vinyl reissue of this collection of odds and sods from legendary NZ pop combo The Clean, who are one of THEE original Flying Nun bands, and whose iconic single “Tally Ho” was even borrowed as the title for a recent double cd collection of Flying Nun’s greatest hits. As good as pretty much everything The Clean released, if you haven’t already bought their Anthology collection on Merge, that might be the place to start, but if you like your pop a bit more raw and rough around the edges, then this might actually be more up your alley, the same pop smarts, hooks galore, jangle everywhere, vocal harmonies, catchy melodies, killer songs, off kilter and slightly warped, some songs super rocking, others stripped down and acoustic, some cool experimental jams too (just check out the tripped out “Point That Thing Dub”), all recorded in varying levels of fidelity, the performances sometimes more energetic and heartfelt than tight or in key, but this is the sort of pop, that as far as we’re concerned, often sounds better warts and all, and the funny thing is, this collection of oddities, B sides, demos, unreleased track and random screwing around studio weirdness, somehow seems WAY better than most of the proper pop records out there. All hail The Clean, whose nearly thirty year old records sound better than ever!
MPEG Stream: “Odditty”
MPEG Stream: “Success Story”
MPEG Stream: “Thumbs Off”
MPEG Stream: “Getting Older”
MPEG Stream: “Point That Thing Dub”

album cover DARK MATTER s/t (Siltbreeze) lp 15.98
To most folks, the name Stephen Cogle might not mean much, but to avid New Zealand music nerds like us (and maybe you), that name conjures up some of our favorite groups from that era/region, think Vacuum, The Victor Dimisich Band, the Terminals… Exactly. So Dark Matter is Cogle circa now, and while much of that old sound remains, here it’s recast as something much more dignified and dramatic, a sort of gothic psych, via Christchurch style Flying Nun post punk. The label compares Dark Matter to the Chills, Television Personalities, the Scientists, Roxy Music, the last one especially, but we’re also hearing plenty of Scott Walker, and other oddball crooners, the music is simple, yet lush, jangly guitars are wreathed in layers of string shimmer, slowly unfurling landscapes of brooding dark pop mesmer, with Cogle’s dramatic vox over the top, and dramatic they are, we’re almost reminded of those song-poem records, but instead of songs about aliens or cowboys, the subject matter here matches the musical gravitas, and even when the vocals fade out, the music left on its own is seriously stunning, check out the second half of “The Long Count”, which is tense, and minor key, darkly lovely, mysterious, beholden to the classic NZ sound, but still plenty modern, and then when the vocals swoop back in, it’s transformed into something bombastic and intense, harrowing and yet still lush and lovely.
Strange dark post punk torch songs that should also appeal to fans of Nick Cave, Woven Hand, Crystal Stilts, King Dude, Swans and other purveyors of moody, dark songcraft, and these guys get compared to Wreck Small Speakers On Expensive Stereos (arguably our favorite NZ band EVER), even though the sonic connection seems to be more about mood and atmosphere than sound, which should be all the recommendation you need!
MPEG Stream: “Broken”
MPEG Stream: “The Long Count”
MPEG Stream: “Dark Matter”

DEAD C The Twelfth Spectacle (Grapefruit) 4lp 89.00
album cover DEAD C, THE Armed Courage (Ba Da Bing!) lp 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Has it really been more than 25 years? And close to 40 releases? These NZ noise rock legends have been making their particular brand of abstract, avant free-noise beauty for what seems like forEVER. And somehow, over all those years, and all those releases, they’ve both managed to keep making music that is distinctly and defiantly their own, while constantly re-inventing that sound in a way that has kept that sound impossibly interesting, extremely relevant and ridiculously influential on legions of other noisemakers, whether they realize it or not.
Listening to Armed Courage, we were initially forced to wonder, what exactly it is that makes a Dead C jam a proper record? Cuz barring their flirtations with pop songs (and there have been many), the sound of the Dead C, and of Armed Courage, does in fact sound like a band letting loose, jamming endlessly… Both the tracks here sound like the could have been plucked from even more epic jams, as if someone just pushed ‘record’ in the middle of a 24 hour jam, affording us a glorious glimpse into what could only be a never ending noise rock jam, our glimpse’s brevity dictated by the limitations of recorded media. It tickles us to imagine Bruce Russell, Michael Morley and Robbie Yeats locked in a perpetual jam, the Hawkwind style heart-of-the-sun freakouts recontextualized into something WAY more loose and abstract and while not perhaps lo-fi in sound, certainly in spirit.
The two tracks here offer up the two sonic sides of the Dead C, alternately crafting an alien lo-fi avant indie rock minimalism, and at their most fierce and free, with Yeats delivering some of the wildest drumming we’ve heard from him on the opening track, a tangle of multiple free jazz freakouts, locked into weirdly unhinged krautrock style motorik grooves, that constantly splinter, fall apart and somehow come right back together again. All the while, Russell and Morley transforming their guitars into noisemakers, the drums wreathed in billowing clouds of rumble and whir, of crumblingly distorted drones, and fragmented riffs, tones pulsing and undulating, all blurred into constantly shifting sheets of smeared sound, the occasional bit of loose clattery percussion, the cool second half of the first track, where the band lock into a crazy Necks-like minimal groove, all skittery rhythm, pulsating distorto-buzz, and a cool, almost electronic sounding field of percussive guitar scrape that sounds a bit like a damaged synth, the whole thing barreling forward with a strange buried propulsion. It seems impossible that something this formless, and free, this shapeless and abstract could somehow be so sonically mesmerizing, but for all its shapelessness, the sound is teeming with strange sonic shapes, and for all its looseness, the group sound impossibly tight, flying into wild musical tangents, but always finding their way back, or not, sometimes just following each other on those tangents and changing the direction of the song and sound entirely. Nearly 30 years of playing together will do that to a group.
The second track shifts gears completely, the band slipping into their warbly low fidelity songcraft, the sound unfurling sedately, with a field of rhythmic static, some woozy guitars, some strange percussion, lots of tape hiss ambience, and weary, whispery, crooned vocals, the band seemingly locked into a somnambulant drift, before Yeats lets loose again, his octopoidal skitter mirrored by caustic guitar scrabble, and gristly electronic buzz, all still anchored by some detuned strum, the drums building, driving the song into a dense driving noise rock jam, laced with streaks of high end guitar freakout, before shedding all the noise and bash and howl, leaving just a shadowy sprawl of murky mesmer, which again, slowly builds from hushed creep, to a weirdly math bit of motorik churn, simple, but loud drumming, over FX wreathed wah wah, and streaks of droned out warble, a stumbling bunkurfunk dirge that gradually loses momentum, eventually disappearing into a soft fading cloud of Jandekian guitar-warble.
Fucking fantastic.
MPEG Stream: “Armed”
MPEG Stream: “Courage”

album cover DEAD C, THE DR503 / The Sun Stabbed EP (Jagjaguwar / Ba Da Bing!) 2lp 22.00
It’s a bit hard to believe that it’s been just over 20 years since New Zealand’s Dead C first unleashed their unique brand of ‘noise rock’ on our unsuspecting ears, but ’tis true, and while the band have gone through many sonic permutations over their two decades, their sound somehow has always remained distinctly their own. There have been long stretches of inactivity too, with the various members pursuing their own projects, Gate, A Handful Of Dust, etc. but they always seemed to find their way back. A new record, and a recent US tour, has upped the band’s profile of late, but what better time to look back, at their first two proper full lengths, available on vinyl in the US for the first time, with all sorts of extras.
While the Dead C are generally considered to be a ‘noise rock band’, to many THEE ‘noise rock’ band, it’s easy to forget that at their heart, they are a pop band. With songs, and verses and choruses and crooned vocals, and strummed acoustic guitars, and all of that stuff. Never was that more apparent than on their first two records, Eusa Kills and Dr 503, which found the band sort of straddling two worlds of sound, the prevailing ‘New Zealand’ sound, a sort of lo-fi bedroom pop, and their own peculiar trajectory, a loose ramshackle assemblage of guitarnoise, fractured FX, noisy ambience, and a general clang and clatter. A pretty heady mix for sure, which probably had more conservative listeners reeling, but had the rest of us clamoring for more.
Dr 503, was their first proper full length (or 3rd, depending on who’s keeping track), and opens up with what many consider the ultimate Dead C track, “Max Harris”, and if a single song could indeed be a microcosm for the Dead C sound, it’s probably “Max Harris”. Woozy rhythms, stumbling off kilter rhythms, the middle part sounds like a lo-fi This Heat crossed with Geronimo, all abstract distorted crunch, and muted squalls of tribal drumming, streaks of clipped effects, murky processed vocals, slivers of feedback, even a mere seconds-long acoustic guitar outro. The record veers and careens all over the place, spoken word over splattery percussion and clipped minimal strum, thick doomy dirges of heavily reverbed guitar, gloomy Joy Division basslines, and hushed muttered vocals, skipping phonographs draped over stripped down slowcore, Sebadoh style lo-fi bedroom folk, primitive tape experiments, pounding almost garage-y jams that transform into spare Jandekian sprawls, but all held together by some nearly impossible to define Dead C aesthetic.
The record finishes off with a devastating one-two punch, the 9 minute Dead C classic sort-of-ballad “Polio”, which begins all folky and strummy, gradually the guitars warp and warble, the drums stumble in, and the song just sort of drifts and skitters, the guitars weirdly effected, the vocals heartfelt and buried way down in the mix, the drums almost Can-like in their motorik simplicity, there are some moments of chaos, but for the most part “Polio” is dark and dreamy and murky and softly buzzy, a little jangly, and sort of pretty. And then it’s on to the 13+ minute “Max Harris 2” which does seem to contain some sonic elements of the original, but the sound here is repetitive and clangorous, the guitars buzz and whir, the riffs angular and jagged, the sound washed out and lo-fi, the vocals another buried mumble, until the song shifts gear part way through, and it’s just a single guitar, plucking out that same main riff, accompanied by super spare percussion, and wreathed in tape hiss, after a sudden burst of crash and crunch, the track jams on and on and on, becoming slowly unhinged, the sounds slowly detuning, everything getting more and more warped and warbly before stuttering to a halt.
This reissue tacks on the Sun Stabbed ep (originally released as a 7″), from right around the same time, which is pretty impossible to find at all, on vinyl or otherwise. Offering up more of the same, a handful of gorgeous and confusional tracks offering up still more of the Dead C’s unique clash of classic New Zealand songsmithery and noise drenched, abstract, sonic deconstruction.
Absolutely and utterly essential listening. Gorgeously repackaged in a super heavy gatefold sleeve, reproducing much of the original art, and pressed on super thick vinyl.
MPEG Stream: “Polio”
MPEG Stream: “I Love This”
MPEG Stream: “Angel”

album cover DEAD C, THE Eusa Kills / Helen Said This (Jagjaguwar / Ba Da Bing!) 2lp 22.00
It’s a bit hard to believe that it’s been just over 20 years since New Zealand’s Dead C first unleashed their unique brand of ‘noise rock’ on our unsuspecting ears, but ’tis true, and while the band have gone through many sonic permutations over their two decades, their sound somehow has always remained distinctly their own. There have been long stretches of inactivity too, with the various members pursuing their own projects, Gate, A Handful Of Dust, etc. but they always seemed to find their way back. A new record, and a recent US tour, has upped the band’s profile of late, but what better time to look back, at their first two proper full lengths, available on vinyl in the US for the first time, with all sorts of extras.
While the Dead C are generally considered to be a ‘noise rock band’, to many THEE ‘noise rock’ band, it’s easy to forget that at their heart, they are a pop band. With songs, and verses and choruses and crooned vocals, and strummed acoustic guitars, and all of that stuff. Never was that more apparent than on their first two records, Eusa Kills and Dr 503, which found the band sort of straddling two worlds of sound, the prevailing ‘New Zealand’ sound, a sort of lo-fi bedroom pop, and their own peculiar trajectory, a loose ramshackle assemblage of guitarnoise, fractured FX, noisy ambience, and a general clang and clatter. A pretty heady mix for sure, which probably had more conservative listeners reeling, but had the rest of us clamoring for more.
Eusa Kills originally came out in 1989, and makes it the Dead C’s fourth proper full length (maybe 6th, hard to tell with the band’s convoluted discography) and finds the band in full on song mode, with a somewhat improved production, which definitely suits them. Years later, the band would release a single called The Dead C. Vs. Sebadoh, the title a joke obviously, but even 5 years early, when Eusa Kills came out, the band did in fact sound quite a bit like Sebadoh at moments, dark and brooding, sort of rocking, melodic but a bit off kilter, especially on record opener “Scarey Nest”, which is a dead ringer for some lost Sebadoh B-side, with a killer main hook, simple solid drumming, wistful sort of sad boy vocals, the guitars alternatingly jangly and corrosive. After a 43 second Butthole Surfers style abstract drum / guitar crunch jam with distorted vocals and a lumbering tempo, the band slip right back into more dark jangle, a minor key guitar unfurling, a shuffling military snare, more weary crooned vocals, it is easy to see why lots of folks refer to Eusa Kills as the Dead C’s ‘songs’ record. Most of the tracks are 2 or 3 minutes, poppy and jangly, the whole record clocking in at a lean 36 minutes, the exceptions being the 6 minute “Phantom Power” which begins as an extended abstract jam, all simple solid drumming and jagged guitar, but then the vocals drift in all ghostlike and the sound is transformed into something much poppier, and the 7 minute “Maggot”, which is probably the heaviest of the bunch, with its grinding guitars, it’s lurching drum part, and the super distorted Buttholes style processed vox, but even then, there’s a definite pop sensibility at work, although a bit obscured. The rest of the shorter tracks tend toward the pop-ish, whether it be pounding noise drenched indie rock, moaning slow motion Jandek style sprawl or the gorgeously languid hushed folky jangle that finishes off the disc.
Also included is the Helen Said This 12″ originally released around the same time. Not quite as songy as Eusa Kills, but enough that the two fit together perfectly, an extension of Eusa’s twisted jangle, muddled pop smithery, warm wooziness, and occasional cracked heaviness.
Totally recommended, and essential for all fans of fucked up music. And heck, even fans of not-so-fucked up music. This just might be the Dead C record you can handle. Gorgeously repackaged in a super heavy gatefold sleeve, reproducing much of the original art, and pressed on super thick vinyl.
MPEG Stream: “Scarey Nest”
MPEG Stream: “Alien To Be”
MPEG Stream: “Phantom Power”

album cover DEAD C, THE The Dead Sea Perform M. Harris (Jagjaguwar / Ba Da Bing!) lp 14.98
Another new installment in Ba Da Bing and Jagjaguwar’s ongoing vinyl reissue campaign of perhaps one of THE greatest noise rock bands ever, New Zealand’s Dead C, who unlike many (most?) of their contemporaries, were perfectly capable of mixing stumbling downer pop with full on room clearing cacophony, muted minimal sonic abstractions and crunchy riff heavy drone rock, without sounding like anyone but themselves.
And as far as oft referenced bands around aQ, it’s no surprise that Dead C gets name dropped in so many reviews, in many ways, they are the archetype for modern noise rock, for subversive outsider post rock, whatever you want to call it, Dead C were and are the masters, and these reissues should make that abundantly and utterly clear. And just might put into perspective how ‘original’ and ‘groundbreaking’ a lot of the current flavors of the noise rock month really are.
The Dead C Perform Max Harris are the first ever recordings from the Dead C, recorded during their very first month as a band, originally released as a cassette limited to a mere 21 copies, later, multiple versions and edits were tacked on to the group’s Dr 503 record, but this is the first time these two tracks, these two different version of the ‘same’ track, have been available together, unedited, since that tape. First time on vinyl too.
The sticker references Swell Maps and Crazy Horse, and you can definitely here some of that in these tracks, as well as 13th Floor Elevators, and the Velvet Underground but whatever influences inspired this psychedelic noise rock blow out, well, they were summarily obliterated and reinterpreted and spit out in this damaged and cracked and gloriously fractured incarnation, resulting in a sound that is hard to reference beyond simply the Dead C themselves, already helping create a sound that would go on to define the sound of the NZ underground, several weeks into what would be a 20+ year career.
“With Help From Max Harris” is a sprawling drone rock epic, beginning with a chaotic outpouring of wild rhythmic tribalism, tangled billowy guitar buzz, reverbed vocals buried in the mix, a fucked up production, lo-fi, but still somehow powerful and intense, but after a few minutes, the songs slows it down, dials it back, and becomes this strange spaced out strange of minimal hypnorock, repetitive and mesmeric, very krautrock / space rock, but way more abstract and loose and free, a glorious wash of sound, that could have gone on for another 15 minutes, and hell it probably did, we’ll never know cuz it just cuts off abruptly, and for all we know the band played on and on and on.
“Beyond Help From Max Harris” is definitely the same song, but it’s different enough to keep it interesting, but similar enough to satisfy that urge we had for the first track to continue on forever. “Beyond…” is a bit more hi-fi, just a bit, but the guitars are sharper, more jagged, the bass more of a presence, the quite parts even more quiet but the guitar adding all sorts of strange percussive harmonics, lots of crumbly amp buzz, furious in-the-red bursts of crunch and glitch, the vocals way less present, it ends up sounding like a less song-y version of the first track, more abstracted and free, still totally hypnotic and mesmerizing, just way more raw and feral and fucked up. GENIUS!
As mentioned above, this is the first time on vinyl for these tracks, and it’s the first time they’ve been available together and unedited since that original cassette. Pressed on nice thick vinyl, in a swank black and white sleeve, includes a download card so you can cram this noisy bliss onto your hard drive.

album cover GALBRAITH, ALASTAIR Cry (MIE) lp 24.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Originally released on cd by the now we believe defunct Emperor Jones label in the year 2000, this, the fourth solo album from New Zealander Alastair Galbraith (A Handful Of Dust, The Rip, Plagal Grind), is a stunner. Rarely has music this experimental been so ACCESSIBLE. But that’s genius at work, folks, right here. “Recorded onto TEAC-4 track in a shed at Taieri Mouth between 1998 and 2000”, Cry mixes pastoral folk drones with muted electric guitar outbursts, ominous organ rumblings, and Alastair’s sung poetry. It’s super pretty and quiet and haunting and we highly recommend it. Even if you’ve never heard this veteran of the Kiwi music scene’s records before, this is a fine, fine place to start. A favorite ever since we first reviewed the compact disc version way back on list #99! So glad UK import label MIE has granted this new life, and for the first time on vinyl – which is limited to 500 copies, and comes with a download code.
MPEG Stream: “Bellbird”
MPEG Stream: “Meatwork”
MPEG Stream: “Wish”
MPEG Stream: “Full Soup Head”

album cover GARBAGE & THE FLOWERS, THE Eyes Rind As If Beggars (Fire Records / Bo’ Weavil) 2lp 29.00
This is a long overdue reissue of the classic 1997 debut (and really, only proper full length) from this legendary NZ noise pop outfit, who remain a functioning unit to this day, but who over the last 15+ years have recorded precious little material and who most folks have probably heard of, but not actually heard.
Their sound is tough to pin down, sometimes lo-fi and dreamy, almost lullaby like, but at others, noisy and abrasive, the band deftly combining lilting loveliness with walls of crumbling sound, or atonal folk with minimal drones. Eyes Rind As If Beggars starts off with “Love Comes Slowly Now” which is a sweet little slab of bedroom folk, all simple percussion, hushed acoustic guitars, softly crooned vox, but as if to balance the sonic scales, “Nothing Going Down” begins sort of melodically, before splintering into a cloud of wild tangled guitar drones, the original recording is damaged too, so the speed fluctuates giving it a seriously twisted psychedelic vibe, the guitars spitting out drones and raga like buzz, sounding almost like bagpipes at one point, a chaotic sprawl of NZ noise that could be some lost Dead C jam really, but then they slip right back into “Carousel” a slow burn Velvets style ballad, druggy and woozy, laced with moaning fiddle, and detuned guitar warble.
That detuned warble is present throughout, it’s what drives “Sweet Pea”, which starts out quite druggy and dreamy, before getting noisier and noisier, before finally settling into a warped unfunky groove. “Rosicrucinn Lovers” returns to the band to noise drenched shoegaze territory, a heady, heavy stretch of blissed out guitarnoise, draped over simple caveman drumming, and warbly vox, the whole thing wreathed in wild distorted psych-shred guitar. Which bleeds right over into “Marshall Sign”, sounding like some modern psych rock band going apeshit, but with some weird sort of gravitas that keeps it from sounding wanky, and instead makes it droney and trancey and mesmerizing. The rest of the record proper offers up variation of the previous songs, strummed psych folk drones, chaotic, stumbling free-form noise rock, minimal garage pop, angular Sonic Youth like dirge-rock, classic lo-fi NZ noise, fuzzy psychedelic jangle, and dense, swirling shoegaze dreampop, all of those sounds blurred and smeared into constantly shifting variations, the overall vibe, one of fantastically inventive, yet somehow still sort of naive, home brewed free form psychedelic noise pop, that really sounds like it could be some contemporary combo, which certainly speaks to both The Garbage & The Flowers sonic prescience, as well as the heavy influence they had (perhaps unknowingly) on the current crop of noiseniks.
The reissue tacks on a bonus disc/lp, featuring a ton of singles, compilation tracks, demos, rehearsals, alternate versions and previously unreleased rarities, all of which sound as good as the record proper. Includes a big booklet of liner notes and rare photos.
MPEG Stream: “Love Comes Slowly Now”
MPEG Stream: “Nothing Going Down”
MPEG Stream: “Carousel”
MPEG Stream: “Rosicrucinn Lovers”
MPEG Stream: “Marshall Signs”

album cover GARBAGE AND THE FLOWERS, THE Stoned Rehearsal (Quemada) lp 19.98
A little while back we reviewed a reissued of the debut from NZ noise pop combo The Garbage & The Flowers, which for many was the first time hearing this amazing outfit, but for those already well versed in the woozy ways of TG&TF there’s this vinyl only collection of a rare rehearsal session, which is like an even rougher and rawer version of the group’s already rough and raw sound, the detuned warble is even more woozy and druggy, the vocals echo drenched and buried in the mix, the drums a drunken stumble, the melodies angular and atonal, but strangely mesmerizing and hypnotic, slipping easily from lush warp-pop jangle to damage deconstructed art rock, and right back again. Minimal, and moody, and with lots of random studio chatter left in. It’s pretty cool to hear the band talking to each other mid song, offering suggestions or directions, before effortlessly slipping right back into the song, or even more remarkable changing direction completely, as if the group just happened to be recording the actual genesis of the song(s).
Boy / girl vocals over sparkling fields of guitar glimmer, plenty of amp buzz and tape hum, extremely lo-fi, but that fidelity is the perfect fit for this band’s damaged, slo-mo, Velvet Underground meets The Clean outsider jangle pop. Fans of classic NZ outfits, and all those amazing Flying Nun records, will dig this immensely. Includes a ‘sing-along’ lyric sheet as well.

album cover GREAT UNWASHED, THE Clean Out Of Our Minds (Exiled) lp 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
More from the Flying Nun archives and we couldn’t be happier. This particular artifact comes courtesy of David and Hamish Kilgour, who formed the Great Unwashed right after the break up of legendary pop group the Clean, this record recorded in 1983, and fans of the Clean will of course hear much of that group in the Great Unwashed. In fact, folks who have flipped out over the recent Flying Nun collections Tally Ho and Time To Go, most likely dug the killer GU tracks included on both (both included here). The vibe of the Great Unwashed is a sort of woozy home brewed effects laced psychedelic jangle pop, heavy on the Syd Barrett vibe, the music loose and ramshackle, lush and layered and jangly one second, more woozy and minor key the next, the vox a sort of mumbled croon, occasionally slipping into a haunting falsetto, the music drifting easily into some haunting Pink Floyd like psych pop just as easily as something more distinctly classic NZ indie pop sounding. And like much of the NZ pop of the time, while on the surface everything may seem jangly and super poppy, there’s a dark undercurrent of droniness and subtle minor key malevolence, whether it’s simply a sort of Velvets style droned out hypno-strum or some dark almost Birthday Party-ish twang draped over the otherwise dreamy jangle, or even the occasional bit of tripped out psychedelic effects, or in places a bit of gloomy dirgery (moments definitely remind us of fellow Kiwis the Pin Group).
Another essential Flying Nun / NZ indie rock classic, finally available again. Pressed on thick vinyl, and housed in an old school Stoughton tip on style sleeve. Sadly, no download coupon though.
MPEG Stream: “Hello Is Ray There”
MPEG Stream: “Meanwhile”
MPEG Stream: “Obscurity Blues”
MPEG Stream: “Quickstep”
MPEG Stream: “Neck Of The Woods”

album cover GUTTERIDGE, PETER Pure (540 Records / Xpressway) 2lp 28.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
You might not recognize the name Peter Gutteridge, unless you’re big NZ music nerd, cuz while Pure is the only solo record Gutteridge ever released, he played in a bunch of bands you most definitely DO know, the Chills, Snapper, the Great Unwashed, the Clean, the Puddle… holy cow! Pure was only ever released as a super limited tape WAY back in 1989 on the Xpressway label, and has essentially been unavailable ever since, but for fans of NZ underground music and Flying Nun, this is some primo home-brewed Kiwi pop, fans of Tall Dwarfs and Peter Jefferies will fall in love (if they weren’t already). Totally of its time, but somehow utterly timeless, all it takes really is a couple tracks, the opener “Lonely” is all primitive drum programming, thick, droned out distorted guitar buzz, and some weirdly affected echo drenched multi tracked vocals, total 4 track pop genius, somehow heavy and noisy, but lilting and melancholic and sweetly dreamy. The next track is somehow even cooler, the drum machines seemingly gone haywire, spitting out a barrage of sped up spastic skitter, while guitars buzz and moan melodically, all wrapped in swirling, buzzing organs, again, somehow managing to be hypnotic and psychedelic, but also perfectly poppy. Which is pretty much how all of Pure plays out, Gutteridge laying down thick, distorted guitars, sometimes wrapped in weird FX, usually anchored by some Casio rhythms, his vocals often settled way down in the mix, but just as often crooning dramatically right up front, the whole thing fuzzy and washed out and definitely a bit psychedelic, with plenty of lo-fi home studio trickery, the sounds occasionally panned and swooping from speaker to speaker, not to mention weird hiss and buzz and drop outs (from the original tape we presume), some tracks sound like an underground NZ version of the Velvets, others super experimental and abstract, with fields of slow shifting static, pulsing bassnotes, blurred distorted drones, some sound all carnivalesque and tripped out, of course a bunch sound like classic NZ pop, and some border on almost Dead C-ish noise rock, the best moments of course when Gutteridge somehow fuses them all together, which happens more than should be possible. So great! For folks who have been flipping out over the recent Flying Nun reissue campaign, Pure is an absolutely essential NZ underground pop classic!!! Hopefully this means more reissued NZ rarities could be forthcoming, here’s hoping for a comprehensive reissue campaign for the OTHER legendary NZ label, Xpressway!
Sadly, no download code (or cd version)…

album cover JEFFERIES, PETER Electricity (Superior Viaduct) 2lp 26.00
In 2002, the eccentric New Zealand songwriter Peter Jefferies quit making music, giving his amp and synths to friends. But the drum-kit that he pounded through the ’80s and ’90s ended up in the trash heap. He took a job teaching music to high-school students; and reluctantly entertained the thought of returning to his own songwriting after Amanda Palmer pleaded with him to share a bill with her when she was on tour in New Zealand. His homeland never paid much attention to Jefferies, but he long had an avid following in the States. Yes, all of us at aQuarius have long championed his work; and the original pressing of his second album Electricity was long a staple here at the shop in the mid-’90s, until the album inevitably went out of print.
Jefferies enjoyed a prolific career in New Zealand despite the relative lack of attention from his fellow Kiwis. He and his brother Graeme were the ring-leaders through the ’80s of Nocturnal Projections and This Kind Of Punishment, both of which sutured the punk gloom of Joy Division to the earnest noise-making that was being broadcast from the nascent Xpressway gang (Dead C, Trash, Alastair Galbraith, etc.). The tension found in both of those earlier punk propositions carries on into Jefferies solo work especially on his 1994 album Electricity. Here, his mono-maniacal songs sit amidst linear expressions of tense piano pounding, Mo Tucker drum-kit minimalism, and crushed guitar chords as the emotionally raw arrangements for his adventurous, idiosyncratic vocals. At times his songs plead with a desperate exhaustion as he croons like a lo-fi, tape-crazed Scott Walker; and others, he barks with an insistency that hangs anger, fright, and love in his suspended vocal notes. With all of the (well deserved) attention to the Flying Nun catalogue getting reissued, here’s a welcome revisiting of one of the under-appreciated masters of NZ avant-pop. Might a Plagal Grind reissue be around the corner?
MPEG Stream: “Wined Up”
MPEG Stream: “Don’t Look Down”
MPEG Stream: “Electricity”
MPEG Stream: “Scissors”

album cover KILGOUR, HAMISH All Of It And Nothing (Ba Da Bing) cd 10.98
Hamish Kilgour was a founding member of legendary NZ jangle poppers the Clean, along with his brother David, and later played in the Mad Scene after moving to the US, but even after decades of playing music, All Of It And Nothing is his first solo record EVER!
The way it begins, it’s fantastically moody and minimal and seriously stripped down, in fact the first few tracks are mostly acoustic guitar and percussion, and Kilgour’s tentative warbled vocals. Over the course of the record, that sonic palette expands, though, adding spare, skeletal drumming, chimes, marimbas, dulcimer and vibraphone, yet instead of making it lush and layered, ends up more about adding texture, and melody. Then at some point, the sound does shift, the second half of the record getting more energetic and rocking, a little like the old Flying Nun sound, heavily beholden to the droned out strum and pulse of the Velvets, ramshackle and loose, woozy and psychedelic, those tracks placed between songs that remain dreamily lo-fi, a hushed almost bedroom-folk. That more intimate side a perfect balance to the more energetic numbers, and somehow those tracks, even with that added energy, still retain a sort of languorous, soporific energy, darkly laid back, sort of druggy and hypnotic, especially on tracks like the sprawling “Hullabaloo” which takes a dark pop gem, and stretches it WAY out, into something much more experimental and minimally mesmeric.
MPEG Stream: “Here It Comes”
MPEG Stream: “Going Out”
MPEG Stream: “Hullabaloo”
MPEG Stream: “Last Song”

album cover KILGOUR, HAMISH All Of It And Nothing (Ba Da Bing) lp 16.98
Hamish Kilgour was a founding member of legendary NZ jangle poppers the Clean, along with his brother David, and later played in the Mad Scene after moving to the US, but even after decades of playing music, All Of It And Nothing is his first solo record EVER!
The way it begins, it’s fantastically moody and minimal and seriously stripped down, in fact the first few tracks are mostly acoustic guitar and percussion, and Kilgour’s tentative warbled vocals. Over the course of the record, that sonic palette expands, though, adding spare, skeletal drumming, chimes, marimbas, dulcimer and vibraphone, yet instead of making it lush and layered, ends up more about adding texture, and melody. Then at some point, the sound does shift, the second half of the record getting more energetic and rocking, a little like the old Flying Nun sound, heavily beholden to the droned out strum and pulse of the Velvets, ramshackle and loose, woozy and psychedelic, those tracks placed between songs that remain dreamily lo-fi, a hushed almost bedroom-folk. That more intimate side a perfect balance to the more energetic numbers, and somehow those tracks, even with that added energy, still retain a sort of languorous, soporific energy, darkly laid back, sort of druggy and hypnotic, especially on tracks like the sprawling “Hullabaloo” which takes a dark pop gem, and stretches it WAY out, into something much more experimental and minimally mesmeric.
MPEG Stream: “Here It Comes”
MPEG Stream: “Going Out”
MPEG Stream: “Hullabaloo”
MPEG Stream: “Last Song”

album cover KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD Float Along Fill Your Lungs / Oddments (Flightless) 2cd 17.98
Um, ok, either you’re reading this review BECAUSE the band is named King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, or you were just about to stop reading it ’cause the band is named King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. If the latter is the case, please stick with it, they’re actually a better band than their name might suggest (we’re making this a Record Of The Week after all!!). Or, if you do think the name is cool, then they ARE as good of a band as you’re hoping for. But maybe not the sort of band you’d think they’d be. It’s actually kind of hard to pin down exactly what kind of band Australia’s King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are, anyway. Kind of cosmic garage psych pop?
The first disc here, Float Along – Fill Your Lungs (originally released on its own last year in their home country) starts off stonery enough with a fifteen minute spaced out extravaganza called “Head On/Pill”, truly a trippy psychedelic swirl, a mind-altering mix of lilting melodies, gentle vocals, and driving motorik rhythms, with loads and loads of FX, all sorts of fuzz and distortion. It’s spacey and sunshiney and somehow like a much more garage-poppy Hawkwind or Acid Mothers Temple track. Had us sold right there. But this 7-piece ensemble aren’t just about the extended space rock (pop). Most of rest of the songs on Float Along are much shorter, taking elements of that first track, or not, and going to other delightful garage-pop places, variously strummy and twangy and foot-tapping and head-nodding, fuzzy and shambolic, before winding the disc up with another long, tripped out (but mellower) jam in the form of the Eastern-tinged, drone-laced title track.
THEN, there’s the 2nd disc, also released separately this year Down Under, the aptly titled Oddments, which is even more varied than the 1st disc. This one starts with a Bollywood-sampling instrumental that makes us think of ol’ Money Mark and the Beastie Boys, super groovy and kinda chaotic, fuzzy “hairy funk”, with lots of organ and synth sizzle. The psych-groove continues on the next, vocal track, bringing in visions of early Funkadelic and Shuggie Otis. But then, as the disc spins, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard (love typing that name out!) get back into the ramshackle ’60s teen garage pop inspired songwriting that also made up the bulk of the first disc, with a dash of distorted Ariel Pink-ish dementia. The wispy vocals of “Work This Time” make us think of Vincent Gallo’s solo album When, “Hot Wax” is a weird, catchy jam incorporating some “Surfing Safari” quotes, “Homeless Man In Adidas” (!) is a hushed acoustic folk number… you see, all over the place. Oddments indeed.
Overall, soundwise, King Gizzard align themselves with the Ty Segall / Thee Oh Sees type of crowd, and so it’s no surprise then that they’re gonna be over here in the States in October touring with White Fence. Hope we get to see that. Seems like they’d be a blast live. But King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard’s style of “garage rock” is waaaay more cosmic and psychedelic and randomly bizarre than a lot of their US contemporaries, that’s for sure. We’ll be indulging ourselves heavily in both these records for a while yet, trying to fully get our heads around ’em. Nice, nice, nice.
MPEG Stream: “Head On/Pill”
MPEG Stream: “Mystery Jack”
MPEG Stream: “Pop In My Step”
MPEG Stream: “Alluda Majaka”
MPEG Stream: “Vegemite”

album cover KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD Float Along Fill Your Lungs / Oddments (Flightless) 2lp 24.00
Um, ok, either you’re reading this review BECAUSE the band is named King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, or you were just about to stop reading it ’cause the band is named King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. If the latter is the case, please stick with it, they’re actually a better band than their name might suggest (we’re making this a Record Of The Week after all!!). Or, if you do think the name is cool, then they ARE as good of a band as you’re hoping for. But maybe not the sort of band you’d think they’d be. It’s actually kind of hard to pin down exactly what kind of band Australia’s King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are, anyway. Kind of cosmic garage psych pop?
The first disc here, Float Along – Fill Your Lungs (originally released on its own last year in their home country) starts off stonery enough with a fifteen minute spaced out extravaganza called “Head On/Pill”, truly a trippy psychedelic swirl, a mind-altering mix of lilting melodies, gentle vocals, and driving motorik rhythms, with loads and loads of FX, all sorts of fuzz and distortion. It’s spacey and sunshiney and somehow like a much more garage-poppy Hawkwind or Acid Mothers Temple track. Had us sold right there. But this 7-piece ensemble aren’t just about the extended space rock (pop). Most of rest of the songs on Float Along are much shorter, taking elements of that first track, or not, and going to other delightful garage-pop places, variously strummy and twangy and foot-tapping and head-nodding, fuzzy and shambolic, before winding the disc up with another long, tripped out (but mellower) jam in the form of the Eastern-tinged, drone-laced title track.
THEN, there’s the 2nd disc, also released separately this year Down Under, the aptly titled Oddments, which is even more varied than the 1st disc. This one starts with a Bollywood-sampling instrumental that makes us think of ol’ Money Mark and the Beastie Boys, super groovy and kinda chaotic, fuzzy “hairy funk”, with lots of organ and synth sizzle. The psych-groove continues on the next, vocal track, bringing in visions of early Funkadelic and Shuggie Otis. But then, as the disc spins, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard (love typing that name out!) get back into the ramshackle ’60s teen garage pop inspired songwriting that also made up the bulk of the first disc, with a dash of distorted Ariel Pink-ish dementia. The wispy vocals of “Work This Time” make us think of Vincent Gallo’s solo album When, “Hot Wax” is a weird, catchy jam incorporating some “Surfing Safari” quotes, “Homeless Man In Adidas” (!) is a hushed acoustic folk number… you see, all over the place. Oddments indeed.
Overall, soundwise, King Gizzard align themselves with the Ty Segall / Thee Oh Sees type of crowd, and so it’s no surprise then that they’re gonna be over here in the States in October touring with White Fence. Hope we get to see that. Seems like they’d be a blast live. But King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard’s style of “garage rock” is waaaay more cosmic and psychedelic and randomly bizarre than a lot of their US contemporaries, that’s for sure. We’ll be indulging ourselves heavily in both these records for a while yet, trying to fully get our heads around ’em. Nice, nice, nice.
MPEG Stream: “Head On/Pill”
MPEG Stream: “Mystery Jack”
MPEG Stream: “Pop In My Step”
MPEG Stream: “Alluda Majaka”
MPEG Stream: “Vegemite”

album cover KNEALE, JAMES CAMPBELL I (Don’t Fuck With Magic) cd-r 13.98
It’s been a while since we heard from our noisy pal Campbell Kneale. When we last checked in, he had retired the Birchville Cat moniker, and had rechristened himself Our Love Will Destroy The World, but then after a Birchville-worthy torrent of releases with OLWDTW, sort of just disappeared for a bit.
So we were super excited to get a missive from the man, informing us of a new release, the first on his Don’t Fuck With Magic imprint in ages, and so ordered a bunch, and are one of the only (if not the only) places in the US carrying it. We were of course curious what this latest name change meant, going back to his given name, we made a guess, but we were wrong. We had sort of expected something pretty and tranquil, but instead, Kneale as Kneale explodes right out of the gate with a face melting, ear shredding barrage of caustic Japanoise style crunch, cascades of grinding high end, and swirling shards of jagged skree. As always, Kneale is a master noisemaker, so while a glancing listen reveals and army of blends and vacuum cleaners set to stun, dig deeper, and beneath the surface, lurk all manner of moaning low need melodies, deftly stylized textures, but that said if your tolerance for noise is low, this might be a bit much for you. The first track does go through multiple permutations, drifting through a field of shrieking feedback, before emerging on the other side as a murky, albeit still crunchy, noisy jumble, before eventually blossoming into a strange psychedelic skree, that sounds like multiple Sunroof! records spinning at once.
The second track flirts with nuance in the first few seconds, but quickly splinters into another furious flurry of white/grey/black/pink noise, more buried voices and sounds, swirls of glitched out grind, and malfunctioning electronics, whipped up into a fervor, and sent spinning in some sort of soul shearing sonic whirlwind, pocked with weird moaning metallic howls, before sputtering out into something a bit more restrained, a lush textured bit of gristly, muted soft noise, a comparatively dreamy comedown to a record that is definitely one of Kneale’s fiercest.
Crazy limited as always, and in the usual swank Don’t Fuck With Magic packaging, an oversized full color sleeve, adorned with original Kneale artwork.
MPEG Stream: “I”

album cover MARINEVILLE Ready For The Dance (Oak Park Records) cd 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Not new (it actually was released in 2001), but new to AQ thanks to a visit by band member Mark Williams all the way from New Zealand. If you were to only hear the opening two songs on this Marineville album, you might peg these New Zealanders as a slightly eccentric, subdued country quartet… but venture past those first couple and the ride gets considerably darker and rockier. Many of the later songs are definitely dominated by some stoner/space rock leanings — very loose strung and low slung with Sonic Youth-esque brooding dissonance – but even so, they’re still grounded with some twangy, earthy warmth. The eighth song brings it all together and is quite reminiscent of Yo La Tengo particularly around the time of their Painful album… which is a good thing. Released on their own label Oak Park Records.
MPEG Stream: “Ghost Of Bobby Forster”
MPEG Stream: “Hey Predator”

album cover MAX BLOCK, THE Air Ache In The Belly Of The Leech (Siltbreeze) lp 15.98
Long overdue reissue of this legendary and mostly unheard early eighties Flying Nun artifact. Even Flying Nun obsessives would be forgiven for missing out on Max Block’s sole 12″ release, but odds are you’re familiar with the members of Max Block, specifically Maryrose and Brian Cook, who first found themselves in a band together here, having previously done time in Above Ground (recently reissued and reviewed right here) and Scorched Earth Policy respectively, and eventually going on to form long time aQ faves the Renderers.
This lp comp collects both that long lost 12″, as well as another, until now unreleased ep, The Max Block’s sound a woozy art damaged punk, lots of angular jagged guitars, wild octopoidal drumming, dueling male / female vox, super active melodic basslines, tribal rhythms, swirls of spacey effects, the vibe droned out and propulsive, with whirring organs adding a strange almost circusy vibe at times, but usually reminding us of groups like The Ex and Pere Ubu, even Wire here and there, some tracks frantic and frenetic, others brooding and downcast, sounding like with some extra noise and heft they could’ve been Dead C jams, in fact the live tracks are downright noisy, but MB’s sound is firmly on the pop side of the spectrum, although unlike many of the NZ bands of the time, their’s was less concerned with jangle, and more with crunch, less twee and more tangle, slipping from noisy and dirgey to trance-y and minimal to crunchy, angular and chaotic. Awesome stuff, and if you dug the track on the recent Time To Go Flying Nun compilation we reviewed recently, you’ve probably been wanting more!!
LIMITED TO 500 COPIES, includes a download coupon as well!
MPEG Stream: “Burn David Burn”
MPEG Stream: “It Came In A Can”
MPEG Stream: “Black Fish”
MPEG Stream: “Sonic Blur”

MOLES Untune The Sky (Flydaddy) cd 14.98
The Moles are definitely not a household name, at least in most normal households, which is definitely a shame. Not sure how many folks remember the band Cardinal, they only released one proper full length, back in the nineties, but to this day, it remains quite possibly one of the most perfect orchestral pop records ever released. But before Cardinal, there was the Moles.
Untune The Sky is the debut from Aussie poppers The Moles, the band that Richard Davies called home, long before Cardinal, and while not nearly as lush or orchestral, it’s a classic slice of primo late 80’s/early 90’s New Zealand / Flying Nun style style experimental pop. Droning and hypnotic, with lots of jagged unfinished edges, weird almost industrial noise, Brit pop jangle and an almost Morrissey vocal drawl. But for as experimental as the Moles were, all of that experimentalism was wrapped around some incredibly catchy pop, hooks galore, not always proudly on display, sometimes nearly totally obfuscated, but just as often, set up right in front, and allowed to shine, an approach to pop that to this day still seems distinctly from that era / region.
Fans of NZ outfits like Tall Dwarfs, the Bats, the Clean, the 3Ds, the Chills, Straightjacket Fits, the Verlaines, could have easily missed out on the Moles, they were actually from Australia after all, and were sort of underground even among the already underground, plus they were definitely a bit weirder, but now’s the time to right that wrong, this stuff is timeless, sounding as good as ever, some incredible pop songs can be found within Untune The Sky, and half the fun is digging for them.

album cover MOLES Untune The Sky (Kill Shaman) 2lp 19.98
The Moles are definitely not a household name, at least in most normal households, which is definitely a shame. Not sure how many folks remember the band Cardinal, they only released one proper full length, back in the nineties, but to this day, it remains quite possibly one of the most perfect orchestral pop records ever released. But before Cardinal, there was the Moles.
Untune The Sky is the debut from Aussie poppers The Moles, the band that Richard Davies called home, long before Cardinal, and while not nearly as lush or orchestral, it’s a classic slice of primo late 80’s/early 90’s New Zealand / Flying Nun style style experimental pop. Droning and hypnotic, with lots of jagged unfinished edges, weird almost industrial noise, Brit pop jangle and an almost Morrissey vocal drawl. But for as experimental as the Moles were, all of that experimentalism was wrapped around some incredibly catchy pop, hooks galore, not always proudly on display, sometimes nearly totally obfuscated, but just as often, set up right in front, and allowed to shine, an approach to pop that to this day still seems distinctly from that era / region.
Fans of NZ outfits like Tall Dwarfs, the Bats, the Clean, the 3Ds, the Chills, Straightjacket Fits, the Verlaines, could have easily missed out on the Moles, they were actually from Australia after all, and were sort of underground even among the already underground, plus they were definitely a bit weirder, but now’s the time to right that wrong, this stuff is timeless, sounding as good as ever, some incredible pop songs can be found within Untune The Sky, and half the fun is digging for them.
MPEG Stream: “Breathe Me In”
MPEG Stream: “Bury Me Happy”
MPEG Stream: “Tendrils And Paracetamol”
MPEG Stream: “This Is A Happy Garden”

album cover MONTGOMERY, ROY 324 E.13th St. #7 (Yellow Electric) 2lp 23.00
This excellent collection of early Roy Montgomery material gets the limited vinyl treatment courtesy of Yellow Electric, the imprint run by Liz Harris, aka Grouper. Originally released on cd in 1999 on Drunken Fish, this album documents the more vocal-centric output of Roy Montgomery’s early solo work after leaving New Zealand and setting up temporary residence in New York (the address of the title is where most of these tracks were recorded.)
“Then those little Yankee microlabels put them out and they floated to the top of the seven-inch glut, and we drank ’em down, and bought ’em up, and traded ’em for foolish amounts of money after they sold out.” This quote, from the liner notes, perfectly describes the near constant stream of Roy Montgomery singles which seemed to be coming out every week in 1995 – 1996. This very prolific period of Roy Montgomery’s career follows the shift in his aesthetic from the post-Velvets/Joy Division/Wire strum of his early days with Dadamah, The Pin Group and The Shallows (whose only single begins this collection) to his current soaring, guitar reverb space-rock mantras. Aside from the convenient consolidation of all of these out-of-print singles, this really is some of his best material. Also contains four previously-unreleased tracks (Also on the cd btw), along with guests including Bill Direen and Barbara Manning, as well as some awesome covers of Wire (“Used To”) and The Victor Dimisich Band (“It’s Cold Outside”).
MPEG Stream: “She Said (The Shallows)”
MPEG Stream: “Used To”
MPEG Stream: “E.N.D.”
MPEG Stream: “Intertidal”

album cover OMIT Tracer (The Helen Scarsdale Agency) 2cd 14.98
Given the recent wealth of post-noise, analogue synth excursions from the likes of Emeralds and Oneohtrix Point Never, we’re revisiting one of the best records from one of our all-time favorite electronic artists – Omit.
Over the years, we have made quite a fuss over the free-noise / dronescraping scene out of New Zealand, as perennially great artists such as the Dead C, Birchville Cat Motel, Flies Inside The Sun, Surface Of The Earth, RST, Eso Steel, Seht, Peter Wright, and many others form a population that is proportionally way larger than countries many many times the size of New Zealand. Amongst all of those NZ artists we mentioned, there is another artist who gets name-checked from time to time: Omit. At one time back in the mid-’90s, Clinton Williams – the sole knob twiddler and tape-splicer behind Omit – put all of today’s hyper-prolific cd-r artists to shame with his own stream of releases through his own cassette and lathe-cut imprint Deep Skin. An artist whose paranoiac aesthetic was completely wrapped up in the bunker mentality of ’70s analog electronics, Omit never really made the logical transition by updating from cassette to cd-r, having only re-released a fraction of his old tapes on disc, the Rejector reissued on Anomalous, the Quad boxset released on Corpus Hermeticum and now the monumental double disc set Tracer, rescued from obsolescence by The Helen Scarsdale Agency.
While Williams calls the tiny farming community of Blenheim, New Zealand his home, there is very little in his work that latches upon the gristled noise and feral folk tunes heard in many of his fellow New Zealanders. Instead, his work sprawls from the sci-fi bleakness that ran through the post-psychedelic explorations of German electronics, most notably Klaus Schulze, Conrad Schnitzler, and Cluster. At the same time, Omit’s kosmische homage stands as an eerie parallel to the Raster-Noton sound that ripples with Omit’s millennial horror, albeit through the sterility of digital production. Comparisons have also been made to early ’80s Cabaret Voltaire, but Omit is infinitely better in executing his ideas than CV ever were. It could be said that Mr. Williams is a man in the wrong time, in the wrong part of the world; and all things considered, Mr. Williams would probably like it that way. Perhaps the best way to make the world’s most isolating music is to be thoroughly isolated oneself.
Following his previous work on Anomalous and Corpus Hermeticum, Tracer demonstrates a finely crafted execution in these bleak, isolationist recordings. The slow moving synth sweeps, creeping electric atmospheres, unnerving loops of mechanized clamor, and low-slung rhythmic austerity have all of the trappings of industrial culture strategies in using technology to critique technology’s alienation over mankind; yet, Omit has never really stated what this is about, instead leaving hints that Omit is merely a reflection of Clinton Williams’ soul expressed through blighted electronic hypnosis. Emotive expressionism isn’t something you think of when it comes to Cabaret Voltaire or Throbbing Gristle, but that’s the ground where Williams has consistently tread. You would be hard pressed to find an electronic album as majestic, melancholy, and profoundly human as Tracer. Totally amazing!!!
MPEG Stream: “Sequester”
MPEG Stream: “Syn Flex Dump”
MPEG Stream: “Clicker”

album cover OUR LOVE WILL DESTROY THE WORLD Frigid Antichrist (Don’t Fuck With Magic) cd-r 14.98
Another blast of kandy kolored Kiwi krush from Mr. Campbell Kneale, who previously operated under the moniker Birchville Cat Motel, but who has been operating as OLWDTW for a while now. After a long stretch of near silence, Kneale is back with a bang, and not one, not two, but three consecutive psych-noise bangers. The first a punishing noise freakout under his own name, then the surprisingly lovely Hive Hum Golden Remorse, and now the awesomely titled Frigid Antichrist, which seems to split the difference, Kneale deftly balancing pulchritude with punishment, laying out what sounds like a delicate sprawl of hushed vocalizations, and swoonsome layered melodies, but burying them beneath a barrage of caustic buzz and grinding blacknoise howl. Like lots of Kneale’s work, sans headphones this could very well sound like some obscure, damaged Japanoise squall, but dig deeper, and there’s much beauty to be discovered, and strangely, much of that beauty lies in how it seeps through the seemingly impenetrable noise, like tufts of cotton candy drifting through tangles of barbed wire, pretty little wildflowers wending their way through thorny thickets, and once you let yourself get lost, it’s almost as if the noisiness abates, the two disparate sides of Kneale’s sonic palette, somehow bleeding into one, heaving, roiling, churning, throbbing wall of blissed out dream-noise sound. The first track here is downright shoegazey, sounding a bit like My Bloody Valentine crossed with Incapacitants, while the second longer track, gets seriously metallic, Like Birchville covering Gorgoroth, and sounding like it could burst into proper black metal riffage at any point, but instead, strands of glitchy electronic thrum, overdriven and doused in FX, unfurl into undulating sheets of blurry noise, disembodied riffs that buzz malevolently before splintering into shards of grinding noise, and that again, manage to transform into something weirdly pretty, albeit still PLENTY buzzy and blackened. A crushing sprawl of noise-gaze blacknoise bliss for sure. And as with all the new OLWDTW stuff, we’re the only place in North America that has it, and it is indeed, VERY limited!
MPEG Stream: “I”
MPEG Stream: “II”

album cover OUR LOVE WILL DESTROY THE WORLD Hive Hum Golden Remorse (Don’t Fuck With Magic) cd-r 14.98
After a brief spell of relative musical inactivity, or so it seemed, Mr. Campbell Kneale is back. Most recently with a solo cd-r we reviewed right here a few lists back (we still have a few copies just ask) and now with another new jam, this one from his alter ego Our Love Will Destroy The World, who dials back some of the sonic onslaught of his recent solo outing, and sculpts something much more hauntingly majestic and noisily raga-like, a deliriously Sunroof-like ur-drone, wavery and woozy, wreathed in dense sheets of undulating noise, and underpinned by an ominous, almost doom-like creep, loping and lumbering, the sound in constant flux, strangely melancholy, but dreamily sun-dappled, even when smothered by grinding static and heaving chordal thrum. Some of the buried melodies sound almost like wordless vox, giving it a strange, almost Amps For Christ like vibe, at times like some noise drenched alien sea shanty, and at others like a twisted remix of some lost Hermann Nitsch aktion. Headphones are most definitely required, and allow you to sink deep into Kneale’s wildly psychedelic noise-world, which just might be the prettiest/best thing we’ve heard from him in a while. WAY recommended, for noise nerds, dronelords, and raga revellers alike!
Super duper limited as always, we’re maybe the only place in the US that’s got ’em, and in the usual fancy Don’t Fuck With Magic packaging, an oversized full color sleeve, adorned with original Kneale artwork.
MPEG Stream: “Hive Hum Golden Remorse”

album cover PIN GROUP, THE Ambivalence (Flying Nun) cd 13.98
The recently re-issued / re-released discography from this NZ dour eighties dronerock gloompop combo now also available on cd (sadly missing the live bonus tracks that were included with the lp version, though)!
The entire musical aesthetic of the storied Flying Nun label can be traced back to the first two singles. On the exuberant and triumphantly cheerful side, you’ve got The Clean’s “Tally Ho!” with its uptempo jangle and sloppily melodic power pop chords; but on the other side, there was the gloomy drone-rock of The Pin Group who actually released the very first Flying Nun single “Ambivalence” back in 1981. According to the liner notes by The Dead C’s Bruce Russell, the late ’70s and early ’80s spawned quite a lot of bands in New Zealand trying to cop the Velvet Underground’s gritty rock minimalism, including The Pin Group, a trio featuring Roy Montgomery (yes, THAT Roy Montgomery!), Ross Humphries (who later played in Bailter Space and The Terminals), and Peter Stapleton (who seemed to be the only guy in New Zealand with a drum kit, as he played with everybody). “Ambivalence” certainly had a black-leather minimalism filtered through the Velvets, but with strangled basslines and dour vocals from Montgomery, The Pin Group also shared more than a few passing glances at Joy Division. By the time The Pin Group got to their second single “Coat” (released later in 1981) the Velvets jangle had been engulfed in a black-hole of nervous gloom that hints at Montgomery’s drone-rock impressionism from the early ’90s onward. That single sported a clever Andy Warhol ripoff by replacing the Velvet Underground banana with a pop-art sequence of Kiwis, but the B side to that single, “Jim”, situates the band at their bleakest, with a puritanically dark punk sermon that foreshadowed the emotionally draining dynamics of Slint by about a decade.
Ambivalence marks the second anthology of The Pin Group’s short but hugely influential career which lasted less than 12 months. Everything from the first anthology (an eponymous cd released on Siltbreeze back in 1997) is reprised here, including the two covers – the smartly chosen “Hurricane Fighter Plane” and the unwise “Low Rider.” Don’t let the latter spoil the majesty of the rest of the album. Recommended? You bet your ass!
MPEG Stream: “Power”
MPEG Stream: “Jim”
MPEG Stream: “Ambivalence II”
MPEG Stream: “When I Tell You”

album cover PIN GROUP, THE Ambivalence (Flying Nun) lp + cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The entire musical aesthetic of the storied Flying Nun label can be traced back to the first two singles. On the exuberant and triumphantly cheerful side, you’ve got The Clean’s “Tally Ho!” with its uptempo jangle and sloppily melodic power pop chords; but on the other side, there was the gloomy drone-rock of The Pin Group who actually released the very first Flying Nun single “Ambivalence” back in 1981. According to the liner notes by The Dead C’s Bruce Russell, the late ’70s and early ’80s spawned quite a lot of bands in New Zealand trying to cop the Velvet Underground’s gritty rock minimalism, including The Pin Group, a trio featuring Roy Montgomery (yes, THAT Roy Montgomery!), Ross Humphries (who later played in Bailter Space and The Terminals), and Peter Stapleton (who seemed to be the only guy in New Zealand with a drum kit, as he played with everybody). “Ambivalence” certainly had a black-leather minimalism filtered through the Velvets, but with strangled basslines and dour vocals from Montgomery, The Pin Group also shared more than a few passing glances at Joy Division. By the time The Pin Group got to their second single “Coat,” (released later in 1981) the Velvets jangle had been engulfed in a black-hole of nervous gloom that hints at Montgomery’s drone-rock impressionism from the early ’90s onward. That single sported a clever Andy Warhol ripoff by replacing the Velvet Underground banana with a pop-art sequence of Kiwis, but the B side to that single, “Jim”, situates the band at their bleakest, with a puritanically dark punk sermon that foreshadowed the emotionally draining dynamics of Slint by about a decade.
Ambivalence marks the second anthology of The Pin Group’s short but hugely influential career which lasted less than 12 months. Everything from the first anthology (an eponymous cd released on Siltbreeze back in 1997) is reprised on the vinyl of Ambivalence, including the two covers – the smartly chosen “Hurricane Fighter Plane” and the unwise “Low Rider.” Don’t let the latter spoil the majesty of the rest of the album, which also features a bonus cd of a live show from July 1981 with a couple of tracks that had been unreleased elsewhere. Recommended? You bet your ass!
MPEG Stream: “Power”
MPEG Stream: “Jim”
MPEG Stream: “Ambivalence II”
MPEG Stream: “When I Tell You”

RENDERERS, THE Measured Strychnine Invitations (Exiled Records) lp 21.00
album cover SCORCHED EARTH POLICY Going Thru’ A Hole In The Back Of Your Head (Siltbreeze) lp 15.98
Siltbreeze continues to reissue some of our favorite classic underground New Zealand rarities, a while back there was the amazing Pin Group reissue, and now we have this, the complete recorded works of Scorched Earth Policy, who existed for 2 or 3 years in the mid eighties, and only ever recorded two 12″s for the legendary Flying Nun label, both of which are collected here. And while you might not know Scorched Earth Policy, you no doubt know some of the bands the various members also did time in: Vacuum, Pin Group, Terminals, Max Block, Renderers and a bunch more. The sound of Scorched Earth Policy was a sort of post punk flecked psychedelic garage rock, lots of low slung basslines, simple stripped down drumming, whirring organs, jagged angular riffage and fuzzed out jangle, boy/girl vocals, even some violin. The core ‘sound’ of SEP will definitely be familiar to fans of Flying Nun and NZ rock of the time, and everybody who digs the Bats and the Chills and the 3D’s, the Verlaines, Snapper, etc, will probably dig these guys too (if they don’t already) but even within that recognizable sound, the band definitely did their own thing, whether it was wild, loose punky jangle, or woozy, creepy almost country (foreshadowing the Renderers for sure), fuzzy playful poppiness, or brooding post punk, haunting organ driven balladry (which reminds us of Peter Jefferies as well!), or swaggery noise rock crunch. So good!
LIMITED TO 500 COPIES!!! Includes a download coupon as well!!
MPEG Stream: “Green Cigar”
MPEG Stream: “Too Far Gone”
MPEG Stream: “Salivating”
MPEG Stream: “Tsetse Fly”
MPEG Stream: “Calcutta Rail”

album cover SKEPTICS Amalgam (Captured Tracks / Flying Nun) cd 14.98
Even some New Zealand music fanatics haven’t heard (or heard of) the Skeptics, a band that featured one of the Gordons, and a member of Bailter Space (the same guy actually), but that’s the sort of NZ pedigree that should have most Flying Nun / NZ underground rock nerds flipping their lids. But don’t be expecting the murky thud of the Gordons, or the blown out shoegaze heaviness of Bailter Space, the Skeptics occupied a whole different sonic realm, fusing the NZ sound we all know and love to something much more avant grade and experimental, with programmed rhythms and samples, the vibe almost industrial at times, the resulting sound twisted, damaged, demented and totally genius.
Both III (1987) and Amalgam (1990) have been insanely hard to track down for years now, reissued briefly in 1992 in a 4cd box set, which quickly went out of print, and immediately surfaced on the collector’s market, and was not surprisingly, outrageously expensive, so we were so psyched to discover that Captured Tracks was including these records in their ongoing Flying Nun reissue campaign (and here’s hoping they reissue all the other Skeptics stuff too!). So for now, we can revel in the group’s 3rd and 4th records, that 4th record released after the death of David D’Ath, and the group’s subsequent dissolution, but what a sonic legacy, one that long deserved the sort of love heaped upon so much other NZ music of the time.
III begins with a twisted smear of looped samples and stuttering sonics, which soon blossom into a lurching creep, snarly crooned vocals over big booming drums, wound up in streaks of distorted guitar buzz, the vibe, gloomy and dark, a sort of post industrial downer rock, that lumbers ominously, and is peppered with weird fragmented samples, melodic shards, super heavy, ominous, and intense, but also weirdly catchy. And it doesn’t get any less weird, the sound veering dramatically, from the piano driven post punk of “Agitator”, again peppered with strange sound FX and distorted electronics, sounding almost cabaret, like some mutated balladic torch song. “Turnover” slips back into the woozy, murky creep of the opener, the guitars thick and viscous, the vox slithery and blackly sexy, all anchored by a looped rhythm, and again, laced with strange electronic squiggles and twisted blurry samples. And so it goes, “La Motta” almost sounds like Scott Walker via the Butthole Surfers, but with a damaged industrial makeover, “Notice” too is a sort of drugged out industrial noise rock dirge, with some jagged shards of guitar, over a muddy moody downer rock murk, with the rest of the record splitting the difference between home brewed industrial goth and grinding avant post punk crush.
While Amalgam has a similar sonic template, it’s a bit more polished, the vocals more prominent, the drums more driving, the pop element more up front, there’s even a bit of a new wave vibe, just check out opener “And We bake”, which sounds like some lost new wave classic, fused to some girding metal buzz, and twisted mechanical rhythm. But the sound remains sonically sick, the second track, slipping right back into a woozy, warmly dirge, lurching detuned weirdness, clouds of FX and squiggly alien electronics wreath rubbery bass billows, melting riffs, and mush mouthed vocals, seriously trippy and gloriously fucked up.
Amalgam is a lot more varied than its predecessor, some tracks super electronics, others smeary buzzscapes of layered guitars, and super creeped out vocal samples, new wave electro pop and grim, noise drenched sprawls of grim, harrowing, psychedelic noise. It’s that balance that makes the record so cool, twisted poppiness, colliding with speaker shredding weirdness, often the two bleeding into each other, creating some unholy hybrid of avant industrial post punk psych-noise, the sort of thing the should appeal equally to weird music obsessives, adventurous goths and fans of experimental twisted noise pop. Which really is pretty much most everybody we know!
MPEG Stream: “And We Bake”
MPEG Stream: “Pack Ice”
MPEG Stream: “Never Tire Of Looking At The Stars”

album cover SKEPTICS III (Captured Tracks / Flying Nun) cd 14.98
Even some New Zealand music fanatics haven’t heard (or heard of) the Skeptics, a band that featured one of the Gordons, and a member of Bailter Space (the same guy actually), but that’s the sort of NZ pedigree that should have most Flying Nun / NZ underground rock nerds flipping their lids. But don’t be expecting the murky thud of the Gordons, or the blown out shoegaze heaviness of Bailter Space, the Skeptics occupied a whole different sonic realm, fusing the NZ sound we all know and love to something much more avant grade and experimental, with programmed rhythms and samples, the vibe almost industrial at times, the resulting sound twisted, damaged, demented and totally genius.
Both III (1987) and Amalgam (1990) have been insanely hard to track down for years now, reissued briefly in 1992 in a 4cd box set, which quickly went out of print, and immediately surfaced on the collector’s market, and was not surprisingly, outrageously expensive, so we were so psyched to discover that Captured Tracks was including these records in their ongoing Flying Nun reissue campaign (and here’s hoping they reissue all the other Skeptics stuff too!). So for now, we can revel in the group’s 3rd and 4th records, that 4th record released after the death of David D’Ath, and the group’s subsequent dissolution, but what a sonic legacy, one that long deserved the sort of love heaped upon so much other NZ music of the time.
III begins with a twisted smear of looped samples and stuttering sonics, which soon blossom into a lurching creep, snarly crooned vocals over big booming drums, wound up in streaks of distorted guitar buzz, the vibe, gloomy and dark, a sort of post industrial downer rock, that lumbers ominously, and is peppered with weird fragmented samples, melodic shards, super heavy, ominous, and intense, but also weirdly catchy. And it doesn’t get any less weird, the sound veering dramatically, from the piano driven post punk of “Agitator”, again peppered with strange sound FX and distorted electronics, sounding almost cabaret, like some mutated balladic torch song. “Turnover” slips back into the woozy, murky creep of the opener, the guitars thick and viscous, the vox slithery and blackly sexy, all anchored by a looped rhythm, and again, laced with strange electronic squiggles and twisted blurry samples. And so it goes, “La Motta” almost sounds like Scott Walker via the Butthole Surfers, but with a damaged industrial makeover, “Notice” too is a sort of drugged out industrial noise rock dirge, with some jagged shards of guitar, over a muddy moody downer rock murk, with the rest of the record splitting the difference between home brewed industrial goth and grinding avant post punk crush.
While Amalgam has a similar sonic template, it’s a bit more polished, the vocals more prominent, the drums more driving, the pop element more up front, there’s even a bit of a new wave vibe, just check out opener “And We bake”, which sounds like some lost new wave classic, fused to some girding metal buzz, and twisted mechanical rhythm. But the sound remains sonically sick, the second track, slipping right back into a woozy, warmly dirge, lurching detuned weirdness, clouds of FX and squiggly alien electronics wreath rubbery bass billows, melting riffs, and mush mouthed vocals, seriously trippy and gloriously fucked up.
Amalgam is a lot more varied than its predecessor, some tracks super electronics, others smeary buzzscapes of layered guitars, and super creeped out vocal samples, new wave electro pop and grim, noise drenched sprawls of grim, harrowing, psychedelic noise. It’s that balance that makes the record so cool, twisted poppiness, colliding with speaker shredding weirdness, often the two bleeding into each other, creating some unholy hybrid of avant industrial post punk psych-noise, the sort of thing the should appeal equally to weird music obsessives, adventurous goths and fans of experimental twisted noise pop. Which really is pretty much most everybody we know!
MPEG Stream: “Feeling Bad”
MPEG Stream: “Agitator”
MPEG Stream: “Turnover”
MPEG Stream: “La Motta”

album cover SPIES, THE The Battle Of Bosworth Terrace (Siltbreeze) lp 15.98
Siltbreeze continue to dig deep into the New Zealand underground, and it doesn’t get more underground than this, a band who never released ANYthing, as in if you weren’t in Wellington, in the late seventies, or knew someone who was, you literally never heard or heard of The Spies. Which is a shame, as The Battle Of Bosworth Terrace is a NZ pop gem, one that is seeing the light of day now for the first time ever! Featuring a few NZ luminaries, members of the Puddle, and the recently reviewed here Shoes This High, The Spies deliver a sort of noisy, jangly, lo-fi pop that wrapped jagged shards of guitar, around loose drumming, buzzing primitive synths, and alternating sweetly crooned high vox, and more swaggery, yowled gruff vocals, the guitars occasionally erupting into psychedelic tangles, but just as often unfurling spidery melodies, or groovy post punk jangle. The brief opener is a gorgeous little lo-fi pop gem, all busy blooping bass, carnivalesque keyboards, and judiciously employed almost Marc Ribot like guitar melodies, all beneath some angelic ethereal vocals. The second track though is more gritty, mush mouthed sung/spoken vocals over a bed of crunchy, brittle guitar, and swirling psychedelic keyboards, the rest of the record balancing a mix of the two, some like laid back Velvets inspired druggy drifts, others like warped reinterpretations of some alien classic rock sound, and still others, seriously tripped out and experimental, reverb drenched stretches of bedroom dub via NZ noise rock, sprawls of bleating horns over gristly buzz and woozy, minor key jangle, or twisted loner, folk pop, all 4-track warble and druggy Jandekian croon. For every bit of brilliant classic pop inspired tunesmithery, there’s some seriously drug addled, WTF avant pop deconstruction or druggy home brewed psychedelia. The most minimal tracks here reminds us a bit of the legendary Wreck Small Speakers On Expensive Stereos, while much of the rest of this sonically aligns the Spies with the rest of the Flying Nun / Xpressway regulars. NZ nerds are in for a treat!
LIMITED TO 500 COPIES!! Includes a download card.
MPEG Stream: “Egyptian Bird Song”
MPEG Stream: “Collided And Collected”
MPEG Stream: “Wait Don’t Wait”
MPEG Stream: “Teenage Lightning”

album cover TOY LOVE Live At The Gluepot 1980 (Goner) 2lp 23.00
For many folks, Kiwi (post) punk outfit Toy Love was their introduction to Chris Knox and Alec Bathgate, but for us, we were already in love with the twisted home brewed bedroom pop of the Tall Dwarfs, aka Knox and Bathgate, before we learned that there was something that came before. And for some reason, we were expecting some sort of proto-Tall Dwarfs, and in a way, that is what Toy Love were, albeit sonically a whole different kettle of snotty punk rock fish. The clever lyrics, and strange turns of phrase, the inventive arrangements, and rollicking rocking looseness, not to mention the hilarious between song banter, all had their genesis in Toy Love, but for all that would follow, Toy Love were indeed a punk band, described by the label as New Zealand’s answer to Wire, which is really not that far off the mark. And while there is a double cd collection which captures virtually everything the band ever recorded (we can order it for you, just ask, you should! It’s awesome!), live, the band were something else altogether. Hearing this now, it’s hard to imagine a band this good, with songs this great, would hang it up, especially after only a couple years (they only existed for two years, 1979-1980). This live set was one of their final shows, and displays the band in fine form, the sound loud and pristine, the songs KILL, the band tight as fuck, wiry and angular, but at the same time loose and wild, the onstage back and forth between the bandmates the sort of thing that makes the whole audience feel like they’re just hanging at the rehearsal space drinking beers watching their buddies’ band practice. This is one of those live records that most definitely captured a special moment in time, and a special band at their prime.
And the songs, holy shit, how has the Toy Love catalog not been plundered by a million punk bands looking for covers infinitely better than their originals, in fact the opening salvo here is pretty much untouchable, “Fifteen”, is all buzzing bassline, wild octopoidal drumming, jagged shards of guitar, swaggery, snarly vox, and a hook to kill for. “Unscrewed Up” is more of the same, slowing it down a bit and adding some slither, the guitars spidery and droney, the drums still the driving force, the vocals a raspy yowl, and another killer chorus, the vibe dark and a little Wipers-y, which leads right into “Amputee Song” which is pure pop dressed up in punk clothing, crazy catchy, super melodic, very reminscent of -that- NZ pop sound, but way more punk. And so it goes, for the whole of this epic set, relentless, and relentlessly great! The set rife with slow, dark brooders, and crazy catchy punky pop songs, but leaning mostly toward wild, gleefully chaotic pop flecked post punky crunch. An essential NZ underground music artifact for sure!
Includes a mini-foldout poster, with extensive liner notes and rare photos.
MPEG Stream: “Fifteen”
MPEG Stream: “Amputee Song”
MPEG Stream: “Toy Love Song”
MPEG Stream: “Don’t Catch On Fire”
MPEG Stream: “Photographs Of Naked Ladies”

album cover V/A Temporary: Selections From Dunedin’s Pop Underground 2011-2014 (Fishrider / Ba Da Bing) cd 10.98
When we first read about this new comp of underground music from Dunedin, we were pretty excited, wondering what sort of vintage Flying Nun and Xpressway rarities Ba-Da-Bing might have dug up, only to discovery that the rarities contained here, are all from the last 3 years. That is, it’s all contemporary NZ bands mining similar sonic territory as this that came before. We were wary for sure, as we are with most comps where we don’t recognize a single artist. Mavis Gary, Death And The Maiden, The Prophet Hens, The Males, Mr. Biscuit, Opposite Sex, Strange Harvest, Astro Children, Trick Mammoth, you get the picture. But all it took was a few seconds of the first track to make us feel right at home, murky lo-fi jangle, simple skeletal drumming, hushed sad boy vox, swirling synth shimmer, melancholic minor key melodies, all softly psychedelic, and sounding like it COULD actually be from back in the day.
Which is true with much of this comp, which while sonically is all over the map, is obviously heavily beholden to the sound of eighties and nineties NZ pop, from Death And The Maiden’s low slung electro post punk, with chiming guitars, swirling FX and some moody witchy female vox, to The Prophet Hen’s DIY jangle pop, hazy and liltingly dreamy, with endearing boy/girl harmonies, and from the Males’ urgent fuzz pop, that sounds like it would be right at home on Slumberland, and featuring some super distinctive falsetto vox, to Mr. Biscuit’s noise drenched, distorto noise-pop grrrl punk, all angular crunch and sonic snarl, with some almost metal moments. From there on out, the comp veers wildly from strummy bedroom folk, to new wave-y post punk, to horn flecked baroque psychedelia, to Wipers-esque post punk grunginess, to fey, downer, jangle pop, to hazy, murky, home brewed girl group garaginess, to Cleaners From Venus style anglo dream pop, and on and on and on. We found ourselves wanting to hear more from pretty much every band here, which is a rarity with comps and makes this one, very very recommended!
MPEG Stream: MAVIS GARY “Dim The Droog”
MPEG Stream: DEATH & THE MAIDEN “Flowers For The Blind”
MPEG Stream: SCATTERED BRAINS OF THE LOVELY UNION “Party To Your Om”

album cover V/A Temporary: Selections From Dunedin’s Pop Underground 2011-2014 (Fishrider / Ba Da Bing) lp 15.98
When we first read about this new comp of underground music from Dunedin, we were pretty excited, wondering what sort of vintage Flying Nun and Xpressway rarities Ba-Da-Bing might have dug up, only to discovery that the rarities contained here, are all from the last 3 years. That is, it’s all contemporary NZ bands mining similar sonic territory as this that came before. We were wary for sure, as we are with most comps where we don’t recognize a single artist. Mavis Gary, Death And The Maiden, The Prophet Hens, The Males, Mr. Biscuit, Opposite Sex, Strange Harvest, Astro Children, Trick Mammoth, you get the picture. But all it took was a few seconds of the first track to make us feel right at home, murky lo-fi jangle, simple skeletal drumming, hushed sad boy vox, swirling synth shimmer, melancholic minor key melodies, all softly psychedelic, and sounding like it COULD actually be from back in the day.
Which is true with much of this comp, which while sonically is all over the map, is obviously heavily beholden to the sound of eighties and nineties NZ pop, from Death And The Maiden’s low slung electro post punk, with chiming guitars, swirling FX and some moody witchy female vox, to The Prophet Hen’s DIY jangle pop, hazy and liltingly dreamy, with endearing boy/girl harmonies, and from the Males’ urgent fuzz pop, that sounds like it would be right at home on Slumberland, and featuring some super distinctive falsetto vox, to Mr. Biscuit’s noise drenched, distorto noise-pop grrrl punk, all angular crunch and sonic snarl, with some almost metal moments. From there on out, the comp veers wildly from strummy bedroom folk, to new wave-y post punk, to horn flecked baroque psychedelia, to Wipers-esque post punk grunginess, to fey, downer, jangle pop, to hazy, murky, home brewed girl group garaginess, to Cleaners From Venus style anglo dream pop, and on and on and on. We found ourselves wanting to hear more from pretty much every band here, which is a rarity with comps and makes this one, very very recommended!
MPEG Stream: MAVIS GARY “Dim The Droog”
MPEG Stream: DEATH & THE MAIDEN “Flowers For The Blind”
MPEG Stream: SCATTERED BRAINS OF THE LOVELY UNION “Party To Your Om”

album cover V/A Time To Go – The Southern Psychedelic Moment: 1981-86 (Flying Nun) 2lp 23.00
Yet another awesome archival compilation from the recently reactivated Flying Nun label, this one curated by The Dead C’s Bruce Russell, who takes great pains in the liner notes to explain that this is in no way a greatest hits, or a collection of obscurities, but instead paint a picture of the New Zealand scene at a time when much was changing, socially and politically, and of course musically, with the NZ pop sound being twisted and tweaked with groups looking to bring back the psychedelia of the sixties, if not specifically in sound, most definitely in spirit. The results sonically point more to the post punk groups of the time, Joy Division, Wire, the Velvet Underground, etc, with many of the tracks here darker and gloomier and noisier, which of course we dig big time. Lots of familiar names here, the Pin Group, The Clean, The Gordons, Tall Dwarfs, The Chills, Wreck Small Speakers On Expensive Stereos (one of our favorite NZ groups EVER!), but again some lesser know, but equally kick ass outfits: The Puddle, The Rip, 25 Cents, The Shallows, and loads more.
For all its darkness and psychedelia though, fans of the NZ sound won’t be disappointed, but unlike the predominantly jangle pop sound of the other recent Flying Nun comp, the also ruling Tally-Ho double cd, Time To Go definitely focuses on a darker energy, just check out The Clean’s “In The Back”, the band ditching their penchant for perfect pop for a gloriously abstract psych guitar swirl, there’s still jangle in there for sure, but it’s wreathed in buzz and spidery tendrils of melody, obscured by clouds of fuzzed out shimmer and smeared soft noise. Then there’s the Pin Group’s darky dolorous “Jim”, a brooding chunk of gloom pop dirgery, that the current crop of Brooklyn punks would kill to have recorded. Deep moody vox, minimal minor guitar thrum, murky rhythms, all hauntingly sinister and dreamily depressive. Wreck Small Speakers On Expensive Stereos offer up “Rain”, which is also dark and murky, a sort of low fidelity slab of bedroom strum and croon, intimate and hushed, melancholic and moody, which then splinters into some bizarre psychedelia with the addition of haunting female vox and some squiggly synths. The Gordons get all Sonic Youth-y with some downcast atonal guitar heavy noise rock, that’s still weirdly melodic and propulsive, and sounds fresh enough that it could be some Captured Tracks / Sacred Bones band from today. We could go on and on, track by track, but all you need to know is this stuff kills. Even fans who have many of these records will find this a kick ass NZ/Flying Nun mixtape, and for those who may have missed this stuff first time around, odds are you’re gonna find it shockingly revelatory. And anyone who bought that Tally-Ho compilation, you’re definitely gonna want this one too!
Includes a big booklet, with cool pix and extensive liner notes from Bruce Russell, detailing the scene, the bands, the label, and what was going on in NZ at the time, and how all that stuff (social, economic, political) affected the music.
MPEG Stream: THE PIN GROUP “Jim”
MPEG Stream: THE GORDONS “I Just Can’t Stop”
MPEG Stream: TALL DWARFS “Clover (album version)”
MPEG Stream: THE SHALLOWS “Trial By Separation”
MPEG Stream: WRECK SMALL SPEAKERS ON EXPENSIVE STEREOS “Rain”

album cover VICTOR DIMISICH BAND s/t (Siltbreeze) lp 15.98
One of two reissues of NZ obscurities on this week’s list. Elsewhere is the complete recorded works of Scorched Earth Policy (featuring members of Pin Group, Terminals, Renderers, Vacuum), and then there’s this, originally released in 1983 on Flying Nun, the lone self titled lp from the Victor Dimisich Band, and while you might expect there to be a Victor Dimisich in the band, like Scorched Earth Policy, VDB is in fact fronted by Stephen Cogle and NZ scene staple Peter Stapleton who played in Pin Group, Vacuum and Terminals, and the sound of those groups definitely informs the brooding minimalism of the Victor Dimisich Band, Cogle’s deep dramatic croon somewhere between Roky Erickson and Scott Walker, the music a sort of gloomy psychedelia, a little garage rock, a little classic balladry, a little drugged out Morricone style twang, and yeah, a little distorted NZ noise rock, but overall, it’s a darkly dramatic affair, Cogle’s vocals the driving force, while the band wove lush gothic sonic backdrops, lots of organ warble, Velvets-y jangle, the whole thing moody and minimal, with many of the tracks super stripped down, while others blossom into near orchestral arrangements, while still others splinter into atonal post punk, and a few others get downright noisy. Flying Nun obsessives who don’t already have this will flip for sure. And any/everyone who dug that Pin Group reissue, this will likely be right up your alley!
LIMITED TO 500 COPIES!!! Includes a download code!!
MPEG Stream: “Native Waiter”
MPEG Stream: “Thirteenth Floor”
MPEG Stream: “Claude”
MPEG Stream: “Jonah”

 

 

The Spies: The Battle of Bosworth Terrace [SiltBreeze 2014]

Rebroadcast from:  http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/nat-music/audio/2592335/the-spies
Originally aired on Radio NZ National Music, Saturday 12 April 2014

Wellington in 1979: A fairly unlikely bunch of musicians, artists and vagabonds went almost unnoticed in the squats of Wellington’s Bosworth Terrace, playing and recording together, loosely grouped under the banner of “The Spies”. Matthew Crawley speaks with The Spies’ George D Henderson about the rather unusual circumstances that led to the recording of The Spies album The Battle Of Bosworth Terrace, and why it’s taken 35 years for it to surface.

Duration:  11′ 11″

Axemen – Derry Legend (Agitreader review)

Reprinted from: http://agitreader.com/wp2/axemen-derry-legend/

AXEMEN Three Virgins 2XLP

If New Zealand was the world’s WTF scene in the early ’80s and beyond—producing slightly deranged, slightly pop jangle and discordance from a place as isolated as they come—then it was Christchurch’s Axemen who were the island’s leftfield misfits. With Lil’ Stevie McCabe and company, nothing was off limits, not even their Flying Nun labelmates at the time. Years before bands like the Boredoms, Butthole Surfers, or in a larger perspective, Ween, the Axemen mocked and ridiculed the norms, both aesthetically and sonically. And like a magic trick, the Axemen managed to tweak The Clean’s template with a slanted glee unheard before—and not heard since, though the band is still active. All of their collage-based, bric-a-brac punk barbs and general weirdness can be gleaned by the essential trilogy of recordings reissued by Siltbreeze earlier this decade, with 1986’s Three Virgins/Three Versions/Three Visions being their Sgt. Pepper’s meets Trout Mask Replica meets Raw Power masterpiece. If ever there was a peak, it was it.

AXEMEN Derry Legend LP

By the time Derry Legend arrived at the Flying Nun offices in 1989, the Axemen seemed actually impressed with their own idiotic glee. Not only is the album, now back in circulation courtesy of Luxury Products, the most cohesive Axemen record the band ever released, it also contains the most mainstream pop moments they were to conjure. That said, it is grotesque and blatantly jokey enough to reject itself from any classic cannon (that I know of), despite its inherent greatness. (Youtube the group during this era and witness their built-in repulsion.) As sung in the psych-acoustic dirge of “Mourning of Youth,” they were lovers of “finery both new and foreign,” but occupied themselves as strangers in a strange land. It was a revolution of sorts, mucked up in political statements, nihilism towards commercialism, physical turmoil, and chugs of  “coffee wine.”  It was independent to independence.

P1060925_AXEMEN_SICK P1060926_TNVIf ever the Axemen had a greatest hit, though, it was “Rocks in My Heart,” a slab of etiolated cretin pop filled with sardonic wiggles and a sharp sense of melody, history, deconstruction. It is the Axemen in a nutshell, a summation of their ability to wed their idiosyncratic nature with the expected Kiwi status quo. Its formula of multi-hued, quivering vocals and sketchy rhythms indeed turned out to be ahead of the curve. Witnessed in this somewhat dull wave of NZ revival, many of the bands that are continually celebrated (i.e. The Chills, The Verlaines, The Bats) were of their own very particular realm of sound. And though there are no hard feelings against plying the same stroke, the Axemen were all over that small map, while their tentacles stretched back to Memphis and Detroit decades prior. The same kind of polyglot fuck-off is found in “Disc to Disk” and Bob Brannigan’s joyous “Human Hot Dogs.” Again, both borrow freely from The Clean, but the Axemen are lifers and these songs’ seemingly perpetual motion has done nothing but enhance the subversive tactics of the Axemen sound.

Still, “cohesive” isn’t the right word for this record. Were it not for the purely rockist intent of the album, Derry Legend would be yet another grab-bag of demented pleasures. “The Tragic Tale of a Rock and Roll Legend” could very well be the first rap single produced in the country. “He’s Leaving Home” could be drunk(er) Sinatra on a lo-fi bender; “That’s Finland Dear” encapsulates the powder-keg quality of recording on a miser’s budget, and the finale, the aforementioned “Mourning of Youth,” now ranks high on the list of New Zealand’s best death-march psychedelia moments. All this culminates in what, for a band that thrived on the next moment, is the Axemen going for broke.

AXEMEN Sac Tap Nut Jam LP (2013)

The Wonderful World of Axemen (RNR666)

Bob and “AXEMEN – Mystics in the Savage State” Graffiti, Christchurch, NZ 1985

Reprinted from: http://www.rnr666.hu/sixline/20130814/the-wonderful-world-of-axemen

Once upon a time the Axemen began life as a seething mass of algae in a cess-pool located at the back of a disused factory somewhere in North Dunedin, New Zealand.The exact location of the cess-pool has unfortunately been lost to the ravages of time, but the factory still stands – a disused, vacant shell with little hope of being restored to its former majesty. Following a sudden meteor storm in 1983, the Axemen rapidly evolved, developed fully functional hands and ears (where before there had only been useless stumps) and metamorphosed rapidly into one of the most radical, chaotic and inspired rock bands of all time.” & so on.

They were one of the World most killingly funny bands but no one knew about it before the internet age. Beside many own released cassettes they has released three albums by the legendary Flying Nun Records. Prices of these items are extremely high nowadays. (For example the Peter Wang Pud used CD is 25-80 Euros, the vinyl are between 35-100 Euros.)

Suitable phrases for their music: radically independent do-it-yourself lo-fi garage art punk. But “I hung out with the Hare Krishnas in Christchurch for a little bit. They used to have free vegetarian dinners on Sunday nights. The music was pretty cool. There was sort of a Beatles connection with Hare Krishna. Stu was really into John Lennon. We were all Beatles fans.” Moreover their last cassette was a tribute album to Elton John in 1992. It’s so frightening, is not it? When I first met with them in 2011 I cried out “Oh my God! What is it?”

The first video is a rare and baffling TV performance in a Saturday morning kid show in 1991. The song (Hey Alice!) turns into a promo for their just released CD. I’m sure, many New Zealander children cried for Axemen CD after the show.

And the destiny has reached him too. They have become discovered. Their albums were re-released in the US by Siltbreeze. And now here is the new, yes the new Axemen album! Sac Tap Nut Jam. It’s less chaotic like the usual. A song from it.

Review – Still Single – The Axemen – Sac Tap Nut Jam LP (Spacecase)

The Axemen – Sac Tap Nut Jam LP (Spacecase)

Reprinted From: http://still-single.tumblr.com/post/60242240681/the-axemen-sac-tap-nut-jam-lp-spacecase

 

RECOMMENDED

After 21 years, New Zealand’s Axemen return, stronger than ever – many might argue that this new album, the puckishly charming Sac Tap Nut Jam, is their most vital and rockin’ release since the classic Three Virgins double LP. These eight songs have a real “encased in mothballs” sorta feel to them, in that they rock with a crooked commitment to the late ‘80s and early ‘90s where they initially left off. Comparisons to bent outfits like Ween or The Frogs or even Royal Trux seem apparent to me, maybe not to you, but this world we live in is big enough that differences of opinion can coexist. But there’s only room for one word – the final word – in that the Axemen are still rockin’ with a cause, exactly as they were throughout the initial span of their career. These songs have great riffs and a bluesy, devil may care demeanor that re-establishes the landbridge between central Ohio and New Zealand, and show the wisdom and freedom one can muster from letting oneself go to seed; all the better to sow years down the line. 500 copies. (http://www.spacecaserecords.com)
(Doug Mosurock)

Steve McCabe of The Axemen, Part Two – by Ryan Leach – SpaceCase, Boredout

Steve McCabe of The Axemen, Part Two

Reprinted from: http://boredout305.tumblr.com/post/56105133631/steve-mccabe-of-the-axemen-part-two
Part two of Ryan Leach’s Steve McCabe interview.
Photos courtesy of Stu Kawowski.

AXEMEN: Steve, Stu, Bob recording at Peterborough 1984-85 ©STU

Ryan: The Axemen’s membership was always fluctuating.

Steve: We had a good range of Christchurch and Dunedin musicians in the band. If you’ve seen our Wikipedia page, you can see all the people who’ve been in or performed with the band.

Ryan: On Three Virgins there’s a recording of you talking with an American about Beverly Hills and Mardi Gras. Do you recall who you were talking with?

Steve: No. I don’t remember.

(Stu: That’s actually me talking to a Taxi driver in LA and recording it on my Sony walkman, 1982.)

Ryan: There’s also another conversation on Derry Legend (1987) where you’re being interviewed but replying with unrelated answers—about how the New Zealand dollar is weak. It’s pretty funny.

Steve: We had a lot of abstract ideas. It had to do with stream-of-consciousness. Three Virgins is a good example of that mindset. Everything just sort of flowed out without any hesitation.

Ryan: What kind of reaction did The Axemen get from people in the middle ’80s? I imagine your sound was a hard sell to some people.

Steve: The variety of genres was probably a good thing. We had a lot of jokes in our songs. If people could understand the lyrics and pickup on the jokes, I reckon that was a good thing as well; people like jokes. We didn’t take ourselves too seriously.

Ryan: The Axemen recorded just about everything they did.

Steve: Yeah. I still have all of the cassettes. There are about three hundred of them.

Ryan: Unbelievable! Are these tapes mostly of live shows or home recordings?

Steve: A bit of both. I always preferred recording to playing live. I got a four-track recorder in 1986. We did a lot of recordings on that. We used to record our practices and do overdubs on them later. We released a lot of cassette tapes that didn’t show up on Flying Nun. They’re not available at the moment. We used to screen print covers for them.

Ryan: What was The Axemen’s relationship with Flying Nun like? I imagine the financial loss of Three Virgins might have caused a bit of strain.

Steve: Flying Nun did eventually sell all of the pressings of Three Virgins and Derry Legend. It did take them a while to sell them though. Tom Lax just rereleased Three Virgins on Siltbreeze. He was pleased with it and did two more of our records. I don’t know if Flying Nun lost interest or what but there was a demand for those albums.

Ryan: They haven’t done a great job rereleasing their back catalog. If you want a vinyl pressing of (The Clean’s) Boodle, Boodle, Boodle you’d better have ninety bucks on hand.

Steve: They haven’t. I’ve seen original copies of Three Virgins go for good money too.

Ryan: Derry Legend hasn’t been rereleased yet. That record goes for fifty bucks.

Steve: Yeah. Derry Legend is being rereleased soon. Dustin Travis White, who did live sound for us on The Axemen and Times New Viking tour, is going to rerelease it on his new label, Luxury Products. Stu remastered it all on analog for the reissue. It’ll come out after Sac Tap Nut Jam. Sac Tap Nut Jam is completely digital. Hearing those two records back to back will be interesting.

Ryan: You released your solo LP Sweat It Out (1986) around the time of Derry Legend.

Steve: I released a whole lot of solo cassette stuff too. The EMI record pressing plant in New Zealand closed down around that time. It was the only plant in New Zealand. I did release one single after Sweat It Out. Then I did about four or five cassettes on Sleek Bott.

Ryan: Did it become cost prohibitive to release records after the New Zealand EMI plant closed down?

Steve: It did. New Zealand record companies would go through Mushroom (large Australian independent label). It became more difficult for them to press up records. For individuals it really became too difficult.

Image

Ryan: One of my favorite Axemen records is Scary Part III which Tom (Lax) at Siltbreeze reissued recently. Did Flying Nun not want to take you up on that record when you originally recorded it?

Steve: I think it had to do with Flying Nun being sold to Mushroom. It messed up our relationship with the label. Mushroom was more interested in getting Flying Nun’s back catalog than releasing new stuff.

Ryan: That’s right. With some exceptions—like King Loser—quality control at Flying Nun started going downhill after they partnered with Mushroom.

Steve: Yeah. Things started getting a bit poppy.

Ryan: Scary is the record where The Axemen got really into sampling.

Steve: That’s true. Although there’s a tiny bit on Derry Legend. Stu and I had these SK-1 samplers. They’re a Casio sampler. It had a little microphone on it and you could create one-and-a-half second loops of samples.

Ryan: What motivated The Axemen to do an Elton John tribute record (1992’s Three Rooms)?

Steve: It seemed like a good idea at the time. There’s a good range of songs in Elton John’s catalog. Good chords and things.

Ryan: The Axemen sort of wound down after the Elton John record, correct?

Steve: No. Stu and Bob moved to Auckland in about ‘87. I was playing in Christchurch from 1987 to 1990. Bob had formed the band Shaft. My wife and I got married in Las Vegas in 1990. We toured around America for our honeymoon. When we came back to New Zealand we moved to Auckland in 1992. Bob, Stu and I were all in the same town again so we did those two records on Sleek Bott—Recliner Rocker and Dirty Den Sessions. After that we didn’t do anything together for a while. Bob was busy with Shaft and I started a screen printing business with my wife. I started a band called CFCs in 1995. We played with Shaft for a little while. I released a solo CD called Generations (1998).

Ryan: Generations is great.

Steve: I like it too. I can’t get any copies of it. The guy who released it has heaps of them—about four hundred of the five hundred pressed. They’re sitting in his garage somewhere. I try to get them off of him. He keeps saying he’ll get them for me but it never happens. It’s really annoying. People are interested in it.

Ryan: A number of your songs have a lounge feel to them—going back to “Effectively My Baby” on Three Virgins. That aspect of your songwriting comes to the forefront on Generations.

Steve: Yeah. It was great being able to do those arrangements on the computer—get the big orchestration. I always wanted to do what Frank Sinatra and Nelson Riddle did with big orchestras. I was really pleased with it.

Ryan: Over the last four years there has been a resurgence with The Axemen. Obviously that has a lot to do with Tom Lax reissuing a number of your records on Siltbreeze. How did you guys come in contact with Tom?

Steve: When I moved up to Auckland, Tom sought me out. He bought everything I had—all the old Sleek Bott cassettes. That was in about 1992. I didn’t hear from Tom for quite a while after that. E-mail wasn’t around. Tom did a couple of reviews of our albums. Later on he bought the remaining copies I had of Sweat It Out. He sold all of those. That was more recently. The Axemen had been on hiatus for a while. When Tom decided to rerelease Cheap Motel, Three Virgins and Scary, we talked with him about doing a US tour. He lined us up with Times New Viking; we did the US tour with them in 2009. Tom came to quite a few of the gigs. Tom apparently was always playing Three Virgins to people, long before he reissued it. They’d ask him if it was available; eventually he decided to put it out.

Ryan: You did a tour of Australia a couple of years later. You hooked up with Brendon Annesley and did a great single with Negative Guest List.

Steve: That was cool. Brendon died shortly after that. He was a talented guy. A good writer.

Ryan: Bob Brannigan is no longer in the band.

Steve: On the last tour he was partying too much. It sort of got on my nerves. We had a bit of fight and he decided he didn’t want to play with us anymore.

Ryan: You’ve got the young gun in the band now.

Steve: Who?

Ryan: William Daymond. He’s younger than me.

Steve: Oh, yeah. He’s not a replacement for Bob or anything. William is a songwriter—although we haven’t written any songs with him yet—but it’s good having someone else in the band who can contribute songs. He seems to be fitting in well.

Ryan: We (Spacecase Records) wrote you about doing a single. But you had so many good tracks we asked you for a record instead (Sac Tap Nut Jam).

Steve: Yeah. We were keen on the single but doing a full length was so much nicer. I just bought a sixteen-track digital recorder. It’s about the size of a laptop. Dragan has a whole lot of mics. When you came up with your offer we all decided to go down to Wellington; Dragan has a practice space there with a lot of nice mics and William lives there too. We decided to record a number of songs and pick the best two for a single. We ended up with so many extra tracks doing an album came naturally. I was really pleased with the results. I really like the sixteen track recorder.

Ryan: I was surprised by how high the fidelity is.

Steve: Dragan is a really good audio guy.

Ryan: Is this the first vinyl record you’ve released of new material since Derry Legend?

Steve: Yeah. Not counting the reissues.

Ryan: Is there any chance Sweat It Out is going to be reissued?

Steve: There’s a possibility but not on LP. It might be reissued through Dusty who’s doing the Derry Legend reissue.

Image

THE AXEMEN | Sac Tap Nut Jam LP | SPACECASE

Reprinted from: http://www.spacecaserecords.com/axemen-sac-tap-nut-jam

THE AXEMEN | Sac Tap Nut Jam LP

Spacecase Records
US$14.00*

Sac Tap Nut Jam
The Axemen – SAC TAP NUT JAM, Spacecase SCR006, 2013

Spacecase Records is pleased to release Sac Tap Nut Jam—the first new Axemen full length in twenty-one years.
GO BUY SAC TAP NUT JAM NOW (direct from Spacecase)!
Originally from Christchurch, New Zealand, The Axemen formed in 1983. Shortly afterwards the band solidified around the core of Steve McCabe, Stu Kawowski and Bob Brannigan. (More than two dozen musicians have played in the Axemen, notably Johnny Segovia, George D. Henderson, Mick Elborado and Peter Gutteridge). Initial Axemen releases came out on Steve McCabe’s cassette label, Sleek Bott. The Axemen signed to Flying Nun in the mid ’80s, releasing the label’s first double album, Three Virgins (1986). Like The Swell Maps, The Axemen sound is hard to define—Three Virgins runs the gamut, from country to punk to avant-garde. The Axemen released their second Flying Nun record Derry Legend in 1987. The band put out further cassettes on Sleek Bott, notably Scary (Part III) and Three Rooms (An Elton John Tribute Album), before going on hiatus in the early ’90s.

           In 2009, The Axemen caught their second wind thanks to Tom Lax at Siltbreeze who reissued the band’s cassette-only releases Big Cheap Motel and Scary (Part III). The Axemen toured the United States with Times New Viking the same year. In 2011 The Axemen visited Australia and put out a tour 7″— a label split between McCabe’s Sleek Bott and the late Brendon Annesley’s Negative Guest List Records. Siltbreeze came through again that year, reissuing Three Virgins on vinyl (original pressings were going for well over fifty dollars).

Sac Tap Nut Jam finds Steve McCabe and Stu Kawowski reuniting with Dragan Stojanovic (who played on 1987’s Derry Legend)rounding out the lineup is William Daymond. Recorded in early 2013 in Wellington and Taita, Lower Hutt, Sac Tap Nut Jam—like all Axemen releases—defies easy categorization. There’s The Beatles/Dylan pop of Stojanovic’s “These Days”; McCabe’s post punk-influenced “Doctor’s on Speed Dial”; Steve McCabe’s inimitable voice and stream-of-consciousness lyric writing comes to the forefront on “Google That Girl”.

500 vinyl copies of Sac Tap Nut Jam were pressed up—400 on black, 100 on gold. The Axemen are currently planning a tour of New Zealand in support of Sac Tap Nut Jam.

Sac Tap Nut Jam is the sixth release from Camarillo, California-based Spacecase Records.


If ordering from outside the United States please email orders@spacecaserecords.com before submitting your order for accurate shipping rates.

* + shipping

The Color Purple – Steve McCabe of The Axemen, Part One – by Ryan Leach – Spacecase, Boredout

Reprinted from:http://boredout305.tumblr.com/post/55453656418/steve-mccabe-of-the-axemen-part-one

Steve McCabe of The Axemen, Part One

by Ryan Leach, Spacecase Records

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Steve McCabe is best known for his membership in The Axemen. Formed in Christchurch, New Zealand, when Steve was still a teenager (along with Stu Kawowski and Bob Brannigan) in 1981, The Axemen were one of the most stylistically adventurous groups on Flying Nun. Their records spanned the genre gamut—shambolic punk rock, country, sampling and girl group-inspired songs could all be found on the same album. The Axemen released two records on Flying Nun (1986’s Three Virgins and 1987’s Derry Legend) and innumerable cassette tapes on McCabe’s Sleek Bott label before going on hiatus in the early 1990s after the release of their Elton John tribute record, Three Rooms (1992).

McCabe’s released several solo records, notably the underground classic Sweat It Out (1986) and Generations (1998), Steve’s lounge record that he cut entirely himself with orchestration composed on a computer synth program.

In 2009 Tom Lax at Siltbreeze reissued Big Cheap Motel, The Axemen’s memorable response to the Big M milk corporation buying out the Christchurch City Council for a summer music festival in 1984. Further reissues by Siltbreeze (including The Axemen’s long out-of-print classic Three Virgins) galvanized the group to reform. The Axemen toured the United States for the first time with Times New Viking in 2009. Two years later The Axemen hooked up with the late Brendon Annesley and released a single on Negative Guest List and toured Australia. Spacecase Records hit up The Axemen for a single at the beginning of 2013. The recording session for the single yielded enough tracks for a full length, Sac Tap Nut Jam. The Axemen (Steve McCabe, Stu Kawowski, Dragan Stojanovic and William Daymond) are currently preparing a tour of New Zealand in support of the record. (Note: Stu Kawowski added some helpful clarifications and insights to the original transcription. His notes have been added.)

Interview by Ryan Leach

Photos courtesy of Steve McCabe and Stu Kawowski

Special thanks to Andrew Tolley for the Axel Grinders cassette

Ryan: You’re from Christchurch, correct?

Steve: Yeah.

Ryan: You played in a band called The Gorillas before you formed The Axemen. I know you’re a lot younger than Stu (Kawowski).

Steve: That’s true. Stu’s almost ten years older than me. My first band was an a cappella group, The Gasping Raspers, that formed when I was in primary school. In high school I was in a two-piece band called The Tandem Unicycles with Tim Green. Tim’s brother Tony Green played in a group called Mainly Spaniards that released a single on Flying Nun (“That’s What Friends Are For”, 1982). Tony worked at a record store called The Record Factory in Christchurch. He had a really good record collection. Tony used to import LPs into New Zealand. Tim and I did a bit of recording. The Gorillas (with Peter Rees) was the first band I had that actually released material. We put out a few cassettes.

Ryan: Did you have Sleek Bott going yet?

Steve: Not yet. I started Sleek Bott in 1983.

Ryan: You were self-releasing The Gorillas tapes?

Steve: Yeah. I still have some of the master cassettes.

Ryan: Were you guys inspired by groups like The Scavengers and The Spelling Mistakes?

Steve: The Gorillas were more pop. We had the occasional punk song but we were more eclectic. Pete (Rees) was actually a good guitarist. He was classically trained. The Gorillas released about four cassettes. I’d take the tapes Pete and I were making with The Gorillas into town to the EMI record shop. It was run by Roy Montgomery (Pin Group) and Roger Shepherd (head of Flying Nun). Roy would always buy one. Pete and I were too young to gig. The EMI shop was right in the middle of town. It’s not there anymore. It’s a souvenir shop now.

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Steve’s Room, Peterborough St, 1984 ©STU

Ryan: How did The Axemen get together? Stu (Kawowski) was playing with Bill Direen before the Axemen formed, correct?

Steve: Stu was playing with Bill Direen. While I was playing in The Gorillas I met up with Bob (Brannigan) in Dunedin through a guy who was in The Gasping Raspers—the first band I had in primary school. The Gorillas were still going when Bob and I started doing remote recordings. The internet wasn’t around then so we’d collaborate by sending cassette tapes off in the post to each other. Bob and I really hit it off. We started writing songs together and recording heaps of stuff. I’d go down to Dunedin for a weekend and then Bob would come up to Christchurch for a weekend. We’d visit each other two or three times a year. We didn’t have a multi-track so we’d overdub through cassette recorders. Bob and I recorded a bunch of stuff on cassette that ended up in the EMI record shop as well.

I met Stu in Christchurch. He was doing screen printing. I ended up doing screen printing as a job as well for quite some time. Stu was doing posters for The Gordons and the university. The core of The Axemen became me, Bob and Stu.

What really changed my life musically was the And Band and The Perfect Strangers gig (1980). I have a story about it on the Axemen’s blog. It was a seminal outdoor gig, held in a band rotunda in Christchurch. The guys in the And Band and The Perfect Strangers were art students. Stu was there and took a few photos of them. The And Band was George Henderson’s band—this was way before he formed The Puddle. The Perfect Strangers and the And Band were the most amazing things I had heard in my life.

Ryan: The Apartheid Government in South Africa has been gone for some time now, so it’s easy to forget how massive protests like the ones held against the South African rugby team’s tour of New Zealand were. I’ve read that The Axemen’s gig protesting the Springbok Tour more or less led to your formation.

Steve: Yeah. That was in 1981. Although I knew Stu he wasn’t in The Axemen yet. Stu took part in the protest against the Springbok Tour as well. Bob and I played in the Christchurch Cathedral.

Ryan: The earliest Axemen recording I have is Big Cheap Motel—which Tom Lax at Siltbreeze reissued in 2009. You guys had written all the material for that album in a single night, huh?

Steve: That’s right. We had a lot of different songs ready for the gig (Christchurch’s Summertime Festival, January 1984). Stu had gone to Hagley Park earlier and had seen all the Big M banners around—women sucking on straws—just before the festival. We wrote a heap of songs in reaction to that in one night.

Ryan: All of The Axemen were living in Christchurch at that time, right?

Steve: Yeah. That would’ve been around 1984.

Ryan: Christchurch bands like The Connoisseurs and The Axel Grinders were in your circle. Both groups didn’t record much—as far as I know The Axel Grinders only released a single on Dionysus (1990).

Steve: The Axel Grinders came a little bit later. I did a lot of busking with The Connoisseurs. I didn’t really go out on tour with them. Do you know about the PEP Scheme (Project Employment Programme)?

Ryan: No.

Steve: There used to be a program where if you were unemployed for six months or more you had to do a PEP Scheme. You either proposed one yourself or the government would provide you with one. It was like community service. The Connoisseurs did their community service by playing around in places like prisons. They were a pretty good band. All of the guys in The Connoisseurs played on the Three Virgins album. Johnny Segovia is about the best guitarist in New Zealand. Don’t tell Dragan (Stojanonovic) that!

Ryan: Rent Hamilton was in The Connoisseurs and played on Three Virgins.

Steve: That was Johnny.

Ryan: Really? All along I thought they were two different people.

Steve: Same guy. Johnny has been around for ages. He was playing in bands in the ’60s. Johnny used the name Rent Hamilton. The Connoisseurs were supposed to be brothers: Rent Hamilton, Doug Hamilton and Shorty Hamilton.

Ryan: Very Carter Family influenced.

Steve: Yeah.

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Ryan: The Axel Grinders were around in the late ’80s and early ’90s. What are your memories of them?

Steve: The Axel Grinders started out by doing covers. They even covered “We Care A Lot” (Faith No More). They played hard-charging skate punk. They pretended they were shit hot skateboarders but none of them could actually skate. (laughs) They took action shots of themselves skating. It was pretty funny. (Axel Grinder) Pat (Faigin) used to play with us whenever Stu wasn’t in town. We might have even done a gig with two drummers—Pat and Stu. Pat played with us quite a bit and I formed some bands with him. We shared a place together. I was living with some of the Axel Grinders in 1987. Celia (Mancini) joined the band later on. They started writing their own songs then. I have some recordings of them; I used to record bands quite a lot. The Axel Grinders did some good gigs and some really trashy gigs. It all depended on how drunk they were. I think The Axemen might have inspired Pat to start writing some songs. He was a pretty good songwriter.

Ryan: Three Virgins (1986) was the first double album Flying Nun released, right?

Steve: I think it was. They might have lost a little bit of money on it.

Ryan: You mentioned meeting Roger Shepherd at the EMI record store in Christchurch. How did you guys end of releasing material on Flying Nun?

Steve: Stu was the one who set that up. Stu was good mates with Doug Hood. Stu talked Flying Nun into it.

(Stu Kawowski: It was actually through Hamish Kilgour—who worked at Flying Nun and loved The Axemen. He backed our proposal to do the double LP with Flying Nun. He used to do live mixing for us at gigs a lot. He mixed us at the Big Cheap Motel live concert.)

Ryan: Three Virgins was recorded over a long period of time, correct?

Steve: No. It was recorded mostly at the State Trinity Centre in Christchurch. We hired it for the recording. Three Virgins did take a while to get mixed. Have you seen Stu’s movie Shustak?

Ryan: No. I know a little about Larence Shustak though. He was born in the 1920s in New York and shot photos of jazz musicians (Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, etc.) before moving to Christchurch.

Steve: That’s right. He was Stu’s art teacher. Shustak brought his four-track to the State Trinity Centre to record us. He had a nice four-track reel-to-reel. We hired the centre for the Easter weekend. We played with The Connoisseurs and did some overdubs later.

Ryan: Three Virgins is a lot to take in. Stylistically, you guys were all over the map: country music, shambolic punk rock—even snippets of conversation show up on the album.

Steve: Some of that was attributable to the busking we were doing with The Connoisseurs. We played a lot of different styles busking, depending on who was around.

Ryan: There’s a song about Hare Krishna on the album.

Steve: I hung out with the Hare Krishnas in Christchurch for a little bit. They used to have free vegetarian dinners on Sunday nights. The music was pretty cool. There was sort of a Beatles connection with Hare Krishna. Stu was really into John Lennon. We were all Beatles fans.

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Bob & Mystics Graff, Christchurch, 1985 ©STU

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!

Wellington Recording Diary – Day 1 [25 Feb 2013]

Axemen Recording Party, 27 Feb 2013, Mighty Mighty, Wellington
Axemen Recording Party, 27 Feb 2013, Mighty Mighty, Wellington

Day 1 recording at the Taita lockup went handsomely, boding well for the forthcoming Spacecase Records single .

Axemen Feb 2013, at the Taita Lockup, Upper Hutt. Photo S. Kawowski
Axemen Feb 2013, at the Taita Lockup, Upper Hutt. Photo S. Kawowski

The group, together again for the first time in a while in Wellington learned and laid down 5 soundbed tracks as single candidates in record time, as per usual. This being Day 1 of a 3 day session after which the  selection will commence, a process as arduous and gruelling as any Papal selection ritual.

Once the tracks have been selected work will start on overdubbing and production, a painstaking and often grisly set of steps involving adding, cutting, refining and polishing reminiscent of the inner workings of a diamond factory.

Looking forward to Day 2 and subsequent sessions – No serious bloodshed to report as yet.

EQUIPMENT:

Steve: Fender Telecaster thru NZ made Hotcake distortion pedal and Marshal JCM 800
Dragan: Gibson Les Paul Junior, Gibson Les Paul through Jet City head thru Laney 4×12 cabinet

William: Fender Precision Bass thru Rockit 120 and Crate 15″ cabinet

Stu:

Paiste Hi-hats

5 x Zyldjian cymbals

Ludwig snare

Pearl kick

Pearl / Maxtone Toms with Remo pinstripe skins

MICS:

Behringer C1 condensor mic (overhead drums)

Rode NT 2000 (overhead drums)

2x Shure SM58

Peavey Instrument mic

various other instrument mics

RECORDER:

Zoom R16

TRACK LISTING:

A view to die for (McCabe)

Caught you fighting (Stojanovic)

Google That Girl (McCabe)

High Horse (Stojanovic/McCabe)

Kookaburra (Stojanovic/McCabe)

LOCATION:

The Dragan’s Lair, Taita, Upper Hutt, Wellington, NZ

THANKS TO:

Spacecase Records

Mighty Mighty

Phantom Billstickers

Theaxemen.org

——————–

And, if you’re in Wellington this week, be part of NZ Music History and come along to the Mighty Mighty Recording Axemen Party on Wednesday 27 Feb – It’s free and it will be recorded!

Spacecase to release next Axemen 12″ – Recording Party at Mighty Mighty

spacecase
Spacecase Records – Kiwi music pushers
Axemen Recording Party, 27 Feb 2013, Mighty Mighty, Wellington
Axemen Recording Party, 27 Feb 2013, Mighty Mighty, Wellington

US label Spacecase Records is proud to announce they will be releasing the next Axemen 12″ LP – just as soon as it is recorded! Axemen spokesperson Stevie McCabe, speaking from his beach retreat at Te Puru, Coromandel Peninsula, stated: “Me and the lads are over the moon about the Spacecase deal – we can’t wait to record the new material in Wellington later this month!”

The single will feature new material and the 12″ track-list will be finalised after the recording sessions later on this month (February).

“We’ll be recording in the studio and at a special free live recording party at the Mighty Mighty on Wednesday 27th Feb – we’ll use the best of the best of the recordings and we hope to do some writing as well – all in all its going to be super-intense” enthused McCabe.

newafterThe recordings and gig will feature the same Axemen line-up which toured Australia in December 2011 – Steve McCabe, Dragan Stojanovic, Stu Kawowski and William Daymond.

For Lee Jackson in Space

For Lee Jackson in Space

by For Lee Jackson in Space

  • Immediate download of 94-track album in your choice of MP3 320, FLAC, or just about any other format you could possibly desire.

    Buy Now  $30 USD  or more

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about

This tribute album came together in love and honor of Lee Jackson, writer, music fan, dear friend, who passed in late March 2012 after a struggle with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. This collection of songs, nearly all of which are new or previously unreleased, comes from the many bands and musicians who Lee not only covered and celebrated with such passion, but also in many cases befriended over many years of correspondence, concert and festival attendance and more. The album’s liner notes contain full information about each song as well as thoughts from Lee himself about the contributing artists, taken from his writing work. All profits will go to the Texas chapter of the ALS Association; web.alsa.org/DFW2012 has more information about their continuing work. Please feel free to join our Facebook discussion group at www.facebook.com/groups/323110634410498/ if you’d like to learn more about the remarkable man who we all dearly miss; there is also a direct link to this album in Facebook itself at www.facebook.com/ForLeeJacksonInSpace

credits

released 04 June 2012
Compiled by Mats Gustafsson, Travis Johnson and Ned Raggett — our endless thanks to all participating bands and performers!

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all rights reserved

 

Done and Dusted – Dusted Magazine review of 3 Virgins re-release

Reprinted from: http://dustedmagazine.com/reviews/6567

Normally, when people use the phrase ‘a musician’s musician’, it’s meant to describe some Les Claypool nightmare whose dexterity and technical skill can only be properly appreciated by people who have also dedicated themselves to a life of fretless guitars and sweep arpeggios. That being said: When New Zealand’s Axemen want to be, they’re musicians’ musicians. It takes some effort to crack the self-serving exterior of their approach (getting drunk, recording off-the-cuff songs with whoever was hanging around, and releasing as much of it as humanly possible) but, as anyone who’s ever tried this approach themselves can attest, it’s completely intoxicating as long as you don’t muck it up by throwing in any pretensions of sophistication. By making their methods obvious and leaving very little to the imagination, Axemen have created a bunch of music that perfectly encapsulates the feeling of fucking around creatively with your friends.

Three Virgins is the final release in a series of terrific Axemen reissues Siltbreeze has put together, and by now it’s pretty clear that these records, pressed to wax in 1985, were a relic of their time and place. The idea of starting a non-terrible band with the expressed purpose of protesting a sexist milk advertisement has been left by the wayside, to say the least. Their willingness to experiment using the rock and roll song as a launchpad, but with few clear reference points, has gone almost unmatched in the DIY community since these albums were released the first time around. Granted, their apparent creative process has lived on in a less slapdash form, but the fact that Axemen were playing and releasing music with this mentality when recording your garage band could still be considered ‘hard work’ is admirable, and near-singlehandedly makes these reissues worthwhile.

Methods aside, Axemen’s songs tend to do more than scrape by on the band’s charisma, falling somewhere between the droll bounce of Axemen’s countrymen Tall Dwarfs and the more stream-of-consciousness Swell Maps songs. (Emphasis on the ‘tend to’, though, if only because Three Virgins is 88 minutes long and is therefore destined to include some downtime, but the hilarious single-mindedness required to craft an entire double LP in the league of Three Virgins is to be commended regardless.)

While their Flying Nun contemporaries were crafting songs with relatively clear-cut roots in pop, punk and noise, Axemen were paving new routes into all three. While their results might not reach the transcendent heights of The Clean or The Verlaines, their charming lack of ambition and rickety, fuck-it mentality created something else entirely; misogynist ads and traditional song structures be damned.

By Joe Bernardi

The Cordons — (no relation)

Reprinted from http://www.facebook.com/notes/mickle-borrado/text-for-the-cc-blog/10150208252973803 13/06/2011

By Mick Elborado

I thought smacking was illegal, but there I was standing between the dusty records and sheet music I’d started packing away, now handcuffed, and the hyped-up young cop, name, as always, unknown was saying ‘Just give me one ****** reason to smack you’ — the hand cuffs were not double locked, so they tightened — by the time we got to the cop-shop my would-be-smacking officer pointed out they should’ve been double-locked ‘to prevent them tightening’ — I told him I knew that. I also showed the two officers the deep grooves in my wrists.

But by then most of what I’ve collected over the years was debris — and the things I’d bought, been given, or created myself were gone forever.

Just some homeless c*nt with a bunch of junk?… Now I’m a hairsbreadth from homeless, but I can swear on a stack of bibles that I’ve easily prevented the incorrect release of a thousand times more tax than I can ever be grudgingly paid by WINZ for my remaining life as a benefit, or, if I’m cursed to live that long, and euthanasia isn’t mandatory, superannuation.

And while I was being paid peanuts for stopping big money getting incorrectly refunded ($24,000,000 from a trans-tasman imputation account on day one) I spent my money on stuff, rather than holidays, investments, or trying to get an extra 1% more than any other arsehole…

I’ve enjoyed watching the trivial way my lost stuff got reported by the NZPA and in the courts…

‘…he wanted to retrieve his hard drive’ one of the laughing demolition clowns told the cops for their provably false ‘statement of facts’.

Uh, no — a hard drive is just countless hours of work but I was once a reasonably infamous musician, so i was after my Peavey jazz classic amplifier with 14″ Black Widow speaker HP’d at $25 per week for two years, or the George van Epps ‘harmonic mechanisms for guitar’ I’d been workig through, or the two andband/perfect.strangers singles, one without a cover — or paintings given to me by artists getting more famous by the day, or autographed flying nun singles, auto’d on the day they came into CHCH by the people immortalised on ’em, ’cause I used to hassle Roger at the record factory, and Roy and the wonderful women at EMI, or posters from ’81 to 95, or handicam footage of bands playing in the now probably destroyed christhurch dives like quadrophrenia, the subway, the dux de lux, or mint copies of most christchurch and dunedin music magazines ’81 to whenever (Garage, alley oop, sunbum, every secret thing, and all the one-offs that sold for $1 or less each. (something crunchy, daughters of darkness, the Knox comic-zine)

Oh yeah, and shit that I wrote, or transcribed, and some photos of dead or absent friends, and my estranged family. Or even my ornate City of Bristol birth certifcate. And the rip it up review of the one time, on a band tour, that I lit a flaming log and held it to my crotch (the unlit end closest to the crotch)

If you want to trivialise this, and say ‘Well at least you’re alive’, or get all red-faced, either with anger at a law-breaker, or embarrassment at your own part inallowing this to happen to anyone in Christchurch then here’s an exercise…

Look at your room — not your house, garage or car, just the room you’re in now, even if it’s the kitchen. Now imagine it’s lifted fifteen feet above the ground so it dangles a wee bit, out of reach, but still with your stuff (microwave, borrowed vacuum cleaner, clothes, video, power boxes, sellotape, shampoo, whatever) in plain sight, and accesible to others. Now watch for seven or eight weeks until a a giant hand crushes it, and no one is liable. Oh yeah, and you’re uninsured so you can’t start again.

So… Yeah — ‘at least you’re alive’ — I’d rather be dead — ever try getting money out of WINZ to replace a lost life — I worked, for thirty years, and suffered arsehole bosses and corporate bullshit and buzzwords, and taught too many mindless mindless loser work-‘mates’ how tax actually worked, mainly to buy my books and records. Even though 99% of Christchurch would think my stuff was crap. It was christchurch crap. my crap.

Books — yeah well I’m poor now, my book budget since Inland Revenue tried screwing me up the arse for $14,000 in glass was $5.00 in a good week, invested in my favourite bookshop in…

First editions of the last three Pynchons, the works of Dave McGowan, and Daniel Hopsicker’s first two. An average of $50 per book — the last two I bought, ‘Sinister Forces – the Nine’, and ‘Unholy Alliance’ by Peter Lavenda were in the plastic cube I was packing when…

…well I wasn’t actually arrested — I was; verbally abused, laughed at by the demolition clowns, told the cop had taken a oath, and that I was in for a smack, and that I was causing busy people trouble, but as I pointed out as that cop and his partner (she just kept saying ‘Shut the fuck up’) finished having a leisurely laugh with the demolition clowns in the shakytown designer fluoro while the handcuffs bit in — ‘You haven’t actually told me I’m under arrest’

…this was as just before he started telling me I had a right to remain… silent, and (and not but) anything I said would be used in evidence against me. Maybe he said stacked, rather than used, but more likely he just thought it.

He then quoted the mental health act (year unknown) as the reason for my arrest. Me… with two (now three) certificates attesting to my sanity when examined. People might hate what I do and think, but it’s provably not due to any discernable mental health problem. Experts tend to be better at diagnosing that than non-experts.

Let’s see — I was also asked why I didn’t join a tribe, or leave NZ, if I disagreed with the law. And all the other insults I’ve now got used to. I pointed out to the cop that his brain wasn’t cut out for thinking as his statements were illogical.

Since then I’ve perused the misinformed comments in the equally misinformed on-line press articles, and have been accused of everything from trying to recover ‘kiddieporn’ (an anonymous coward’s comment) to ignoring proper procedure and not going through the correct channels.

I made enough contacts with ‘appropriate’ people to lose count. The only ones to actually help were the good people in the Porta-Comm offices at the art gallery.

The ones that didn’t gives a rat’s arse were the people in charge, including anyone on demolitions at the council, including Tiffany the third receptionist to hang up on me that morning a week or so before i was arrested with her inhumane ‘we can ignore what you say, and none of this is recorded’

That day, after that, again utterly furious with the inability of the council to listen, I went to the Art Gallery, and in a five-man USAR team led by Rene had the property checked to see if it was accesible. It wasn’t. I was told I could talk to the demolition team at the unknown date the building came down.

So those five USAR people wasted an hour or more each helping me. When they could have been USAR’ing more important things… …Bob Parker’s garden tools maybe — ’cause, as I yelled at the judge in court, if it was Bob Parker’s garden tools rather than my things then some c*nt would have rescued them intact (and probably by WestPac helicopter and on the front page of the press with him in a stinking and dustless orange jacket — mission accomplished? Bush did it on an aircraft carrier). It’s easy to forget Bob tried to stop rescue workers out at Kaiapoi, and the PM had to call him…

Or… Peter… the luckless guy at the Christchurch Council I rang who told me there were no after-hours numbers to deal with demolition matters, when I rang at 4:00 on the day before the Easter holiday, after leaving a message before 10:00 am that day asking to be called back with an idea of when the building would be demolished.

I was furious by the time I got to him, through yet another receptionist, but he assured me ‘the building isn’t on the list to be demolished’ and ‘it won’t be demolished as everyone’s taking a well-deserved break for Easter’ — either he or I mentioned that it would be inaccesible through that time so I then mentioned that if they started again on Tuesday the Easter break was meaningless in terms of accesibility to get my things — as always the conversation ended with his ‘I can’t promise anything, but you should be able to get your things…’

Oh yeah, and of course multiple emails and phone calls to property manager Pru at GoodGirls, trying to find out about a demolition date…

…and finally, at 7:00pm the night before, when I was in Lyttelton, Liz Harris, the owner, left a message saying the building’s being demolished at 9:00am tomorrow morning

So at 7:00pm — after a uncounted hours asking anyone that might know, I was actually given a D-date.

The time was too late to organise anything, storage, transport, helpers. Still, I have f***-all friends/family that would even bother to urinate on me if I was aflame. Asking someone for help with transport at 7pm the night before..? Hahahahaha! And ever tried hiring a truck or taxi on an invalid benefit (minus $33 per week for property damage), or getting free storage?

To get back to D-day…

Because of frustration and an inability to deal with the way New Zealand is today I take strong medication — heavily sedative — I wake up the next morning well after 9:00am

I get to the building site at 11:00 — the building is mainly in pieces but my room is intact with all the things easily salvageable. Here’s a pic of what can be done if someone wants to salvage things. Merivale shop, not a home for the marginal and nearly homeless.

The cordon… well this is where it and the law and the situation get really interesting…

I said to my lawyer in prison (after he explained that if I pleaded guilty I’d already served enough time — solitary confinement 23 hours a day in the at-risk unit at Paparoa Prison for 15 days — to be released), that I couldn’t remember actually seeing a cordon or any notices, but my camera was confiscated by the police — so I had no evidence of that.

So, this is what a Cordon looks like — and the legal definition, paraphrased from what the lawyer held, is that the scumbag in charge of earthquake action (Parker, Brownlee, or some other loser and clown) can delegate cordon-setting downward indefinitely, and apparently no public notice is required — so this is what a cordon looks like before you breach it. Be really careful, cause orange gates seem to be it. No notices, statements, tape, wire, people to tell you there’s a cordon — and I doubt there’s actually a notice anywhere in a public place, and probably no actual written paperwork — Cordon Bennett!

It’ll be interesting to see how anyone is supposed to know, rather than guess, where a cordon actually exists. My photograph shows at least one other, but unarrested, person (a person because of the lack of shakytown-designer-fluoro) was pretty damn near to being inside whatever cordon existed.

I walked, not ran across the debris, you’ll note that the quoted police witnesses that said ‘…he ran…’ are actually nowhere in sight in the first photograph as I approach the property. or the second photograph taken just as I see my room is still intact and salvageable and stopped taking pictures.

How the demo-clown witnesses knew ‘…i was trying to get my hard drive…’ is one of those evidentiary conundrums, I didn’t talk to any of them. And I certainly didn’t stop to banter. My experience to date is that if I’d asked to get my things from anyone with a bit of power I’d have been obstructed or told to p*** or f*** off.

So — the bullshit in Christchurch was and is worse than the liquefaction — and if the trembling don’t kill you the council will.

I now vomit everytime I hear an earthquake promo on the radio, or see a poster saying help is available or hear anyone with a bit of house damage moaning on a bus.

For the record — Further blog entries will deal with the various police, winz, council, court, etc, contacts — past, present and future — my memory is reasonable even without my papers — and for light relief, the absurdities and ignorance and fear encountered between ’79 and ’09 while I worked at, for, with and finally against Inland Revenue. Including a bit of taxation advice that’d cost you big bucks from a ‘cunsultant’…

Today’s fun… on Friday 10th June?

Leaving my current abode, a big lodge, early evening, and there’s a policeman on a mobile outside, presumably to the security staff, — I walk out the locking doors and as they are closing he reaches for the handle. I close it completely and the exchange, where I politely noted that either a warrant or security staff are more appropriate than an unforced entry ends…

Cop:Thanks

ME: You might need a warrant for entry.

Cop: Piss off

ME: Did you just tell me to piss off?

Cop: Go away. Just go away.

His mate just stands there with folded arms as I’m ordered to go away… from my own residence… the rego of their copmobile? CBT622

Make a complaint about this the proper way? A few weeks ago Hornby police station had no complaint brochures or forms and the kindly officer there was going to order them from central, but oddly enough the unhelpful guy at central the same day said there were no complaint forms, and that I could ‘ring the number in the Yellow pages’ this was after he sat down at his desk when he found that in Cleese-like fashion ‘..I wished to register a complaint’.

I’d gone in there to get a phone number left at the scene of my crime by a witness which I was told by the police would be withh my effects — I was handed a homemade official information request by the clown at the lost and found and absurdly asked whether I knew the names of the officers involved.

So I took the opportunity to pick up the application form for a firearm license, as they did have a few of those on the display, and I’d never really thought much about guns or even liked the idea of them until recently… I have no pension fund, no savings, no saleable assets, nothing to lose, am no longer afraid of jail, and I pay $33 per week until 2018 for some broken glass. A gun would be a real comfort and an asset for anyone with that future. Maybe I can get a WINZ loan to buy on from Gun City.

Earlier today, pre “Police Piss Off’ i was at WINZ, (full details of the absurd interview with Helen the trainee who went to her trainer for her information at a later date), Helen told me there was no formal way to complain, no actual complaint section or national area that I could write to, and that any complaints would go through the local manager.

Funny, seems like an odd way to complain about the consistently bad service at WINZ and the differences between the thoughts on the posters and brochures and the actual practice of the staff.

A manager (specially the kind that call me ‘Darling’ out at Rangiora when they mean arsehole) might be a little biased.

‘We will listen to you’. Yeah, Never mind the bollocks.

I mentioned MPs and Ministers to Helen and she said ‘…well, you can do that, if you really want to’ I explained that I knew that, but didn’t know if she was aware of it.

So, is it illegal to write about the facts of a life..? Can you lose a benefit blogging? Get put in the cells? I guess here’s the only way to find out.

Ain’t seen anyone else in Shakytown exposing the puss-filled scabs that everyone else assumes are business as usual.

And you won’t find a single reporter who has wanted to interview me. So any comments in the press about my latest ‘dangerous and bizarre’ exploit are from the police statements or the judge.

Here’s a-bitter that ‘balance’ you might read about as being essential to well-informed thought, vitriol intact.

And when I stop blogging than either it is illegal to diary my life, or my life (and the red-tape) is just fine. Guess which is more likely

DT, aka DZ, aka ME, aka NGM, aka way too many other aliaii. 10/06/11 AD.

Axemen’s ‘3 Virgins’ Double LP NOW AVAILABLE

(re-printed courtesy of siltblog: Axemen’s ‘3 Virgins’ Double LP NOW AVAILABLE)

FINALLY! After a couple of years in the RE-making, the Axemen’s legendary dbl lp ‘3 Virgins, 3 Virgins, 3 Visions’ (hereafter known simply as 3V’s) is available for order. Originally seeing the light of day on the Flying Nun label in 1985, 3V’s is a broad canvas of sound, seemingly channeling other likeminded cornerstones of fringe rumble such as ‘Trout Mask Replica’, ‘Exile On Main Stree’t & ‘Tago Mago’. Just like last time (remember?) this is a limited edition run of 600 & housed is a stunning full color gatefold sleeve. Prices are as follows;
20$ppd-US
24$ppd-Canada
30$ppd-Elsewhere

*LIMITED TIME OFFER*

Add to your order both previous Axemen titles; ‘Big Cheap Motel’ lp + Scary,Part III double lp for only 15$ more! No extra shipping cost either!That’s 3 more lp’s! What a bargain!
(Just make sure to mention when ordering).

Paypal to; sltrx@pil.net

*AND WHILE YOUR HERE*

Check out this AMAZING 3 Virgins promo film shot back in the day by Stu Kawowski & Lawrence Lens (Nux Vomica, Portage mastermind);

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.

Times New Viking/Axemen, Tour Single: No. 1 Top 7″ Tour Single: House List NYC

http://houselist.bowerypresents.com/2009/12/it’s-the-end-of-the-year-as-we-know-it/

The House List

2009, Bitches!

As 2009 comes to a close, The House List’s writers and photographers (and editor) take a look back at the year that was. Check back tomorrow for our year-end photo gallery.

My Top Five 7″ Tour Singles

I’ve always loved that for the price of a drink, bands sometimes go the extra distance for their tour and press 7″ vinyl that you really can’t get anywhere else but at the merch table.

1. Times New Viking/Axemen, Tour Single
I love Times New Viking’s no-fi melodic messiness, and they save the great experimental stuff for their B-sides. I got this at their Mercury Lounge show. That it was a split with New Zealand legends the Axemen was even better. Only later did I find out each band covered the other’s songs and they hand-colored every copy! It’s that combination of paying homage to this influential band and introducing people through their reinterpretations that makes this an easy No. 1.

2. Jeff Novak, “Home Sweet Home” Single
I recognized Stephen Braren of Cheap Time behind the table after the Jay Reatard show at Music Hall of Williamsburg, and I got Jeff Novak’s long sold-out single from Reatard’s Shattered Records. I actually ended up contacting Novak after this and talked with him for my own blog.

3. Black Dice, “Chocolate Cherry” Tour Single
Black Dice have just a handful of singles from quite a few years ago, so when I saw them at The Bowery Ballroom, I was just looking out of habit. But this unlabeled single ended up being from Catsup Plate, which put out the insane Animal Collective LP box set this year. Both unreleased tracks were a departure—almost funk and with recognizable vocal samples! Truly weird.

4. Make a Mess Records, “Brilliant Colors” Single
I went to see Nodzzz and Wavves at the Underground Lounge on the Upper West Side. I managed to talk to Eric Butterworth from Nodzzz, who had just pressed a single on his label, Make a Mess Records. This ended up being one of my favorites of the year. Simple, stripped-down female-fronted No Wave punk pop.

5. The Balkans, C++ Tour Single
I caught the Balkans at a new space in Brooklyn called Little Field. Woody Shortridge had pressed a single-sided 7″ at home, and I had to see it for myself. He pours them in his apartment and you get a really crazy-looking handmade single with the lowest of low-fi sound. And it helps that the track is great too. —Jason Dean, writer

7 – Inch wonders: Times New Viking / Axemen tour single

Reprinted from: http://7inches.blogspot.com/2009/11/times-new-viking-axemen-tour-single.html

Times New Viking / Axemen tour single

Picked this up last night at the TNV show at Mercury Lounge with the Axemen…my friend Pat told me to look out for a tour only single at the merch table, and there it was.
Does a band with the power of Matador behind it have to press a split single, hand color the xerox sleeve and inscribe the inner label for their US tour with the Axemen? HELL NO.
But they did it anyway.

I have to admire this.
Plus they set out to educate an audience to a NZ band that probably deserves more due that I’ve never come across before, I’m always up for that.

Didn’t know anything about the Axemen before they went on other than the brief mentions at Siltblog after their reissue by Tom of a huge part of their back catalog.

I stood there watching thinking, ‘I’m sure these guys are important’ especially to the first few rows. I’ve been reading about their protest albums/accident (crash) into some government office in NZ, they weren’t in it for the money obviously.

I can respect anyone touring 20+ years later etc…but it just wasn’t my thing. The one time they got me was an insane hardcore blast, but honestly they didn’t seem happy about it. Have to dive further into the Siltbreeze catalog.
They cover each other on this thing which I wasn’t expecting at all.

The Axemen track on the single ‘SIcKh & TYRED’ is a great interpretation of the track from the TNV Stay Awake EP. I’m into it when they replicate the back and forth Beth Adam vocals. Sounds good.

They have to feel pretty cool that these guys covered one of their tracks for this. I honestly had no idea until I played it this morning.

Times New Viking on the other side cover ‘Rocks in my Heart’ by the Axemen. Which includes the lyric ‘Sick and Tired’ also I noticed…weird. They make this song fit into their catalog, emphasizing the pop chords and immediacy, all with just a touch their special fuzz. Excellent…can’t believe this really. I am honored guys. It’s too much.

Here’s Jared working on the covers…

Jared workin on covers
Jared workin’ on covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reprinted from: http://www.soundonthesound.com/tag/axemen/

The Daily Choice: Times New Viking – Rocks In My Heart

 

P1070265_TNV_7"

Times New Viking has shocked me twice. Once, sandwiched between sweaty stages in Austin, Texas, this band I’d never heard of, and whom I couldn’t see as the place was full far past capacity, played what seemed to be ear splitting noise for thirty minutes.  Months later, on what could be the least consistent bill of all time, Times New Viking opened for Annuals, and for twenty beautiful minutes, I felt my ears bleed with sonic love.  Two times, two times.

And lets call this a third.  I don’t know if there’s a newly formed sweet tooth amongst this trio, but “Rocks In My Heart” seems to follow the dirt-covered lollipop sound of their new album.  Sure, it seems like it tastes pretty good, but you finding bits of grit, or who knows what, stuck in your pearly whites.  A part of me yearns for the sonic assault, but there’s just enough here that I can digest the sugary sweet and keep on smiling.

Times New Viking – Rocks In My Heart (c/o The World Is A Drag)