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

Stateside Axemen Spin-off Series Season 1 Comes to a Close

Season Finale Pt 3: universally praised

With an episode with the knife-edge cliffhanger to rival the ‘Who Shot JR?’ Dallas episode, the RICHY27ABLE  channel’s first season drew to a close on Tuesday 15 June with the much awaited SEASON FINALE.

Playing to tens of viewers stateside and countless on the Worldwide Web the series was universally acclaimed by critics and the across the Blogosphere and the Twitterverse.

The New York Times described the final episode as ‘Fellini-esque and quite superb’ while Egyptian dissident Hamand X tweeted “for 3 and a half minutes, the revolution stopped 🙂 for 200 seconds there was no conflict :O”, as he shared his iPod screen with soldiers who minutes ago had been sniping at them but laid down their arms to join the rebels in another kind of revolution, the YouTube.

Fusil de Chasse: vaunted runaway indy hit

Adding to the speculation is the question mark over Bens participation in the next series following the runaway success on the independent circuit of his ‘Fusil de Chasse’ following its last minute inclusion as a short at Sundance this year. Whist Ben dismisses such rumors as speculation it was widely reported he was seen in long discussions with Redford following the screening.

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.

The Bill Classics (2010): The Above Ground Railroad

October 2010 finds the dysfunctional Axemen family in myriad modes, each in his own sphere, each with their own worldview, each finding new connections, disconnecting others some halfhearted some heartfelt some hearty beef some harkening some heartlessly hardened, haggling and harrying. don’t ask don’t tell.

The Sultan’s Bat Tree 

some haranguing, some balls dangling sanguine like,
making a beeline for anything that smiles.
I see your point it stands out like a dogs bollocks
please can i have a block of your skin for my locket.

ditching a bat with simple bamboo slivers
tickling till the echoes subside
bats have no sense of humour
cave wetas may fear better