Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Here's a nifty little compilation from the late 90's (1999 I believe) which I recently came across in the CD shelf. Very hard to find things on that shelf as it's a total mess.... lots of 'Sleeve only' cd's which must be shuffled through like a deck of cards. Annoying as hell but after dusting this thing off it's good to hear it after all these years. Well worth the effort. A compilation put together by the Roger Wright Centre (needle exchange / outreach centre) to create awareness of their activities. It's good to donate your music for a cause I guess & hey, free advertising! Can't beat free press. Among others featured were my own band 'The Black Panthers' with one of our early efforts at recording. I didn't know we were even involved with this project until it came out & i was handed a copy.
Such were the days (back before everything was on Facebook within 12 seconds) where you'd have to wait to find out what was actually going on from either the local gossip pages in some local zine, or a phone call on the now much maligned 'landline'.
There's some real oddities in here. Barnard's Star really shines for me (pun fully intended). Fabulously imaginative sonic noise soundscapes which immediately bury themselves in the frontal lobes. Well, mine anyway. Losta other goodies. I may as well include a track list here so you know what's on the Comp. Definitely worthy of a listen & a catalogue number for your NZ oddities collection.
01. Glisten - The Centre Will Hold
02. All Tied Up Now - Michael J Hex
03. 7am - Anastasia Strapon
04. Mesa Drive - Lost Found Sound
05. 4 Score - Paul Kean
06. Yo Holmes get off the stage! - High Tone Destroyers
07. Stray Cat Blues - Matt Alien
08. Evil - Squirm
09. Untitled - Barnard's Star
10. Deep Down - Black Panthers
11. Get Outa Town - Thee Strapons
12 Forbidden Planet - Ritchie Venus
Thursday, January 4, 2018
Yet another ancient goody out of the tape box....
Prosthetic Heads were a local ChCh (NZ) hardcore band back in the mid- late 90's. This tape hails from 1997. It is, as I understand it, the only thing they ever released. A very tight sounding band so they'd obviously done their homework before they recorded this.
Recorded at Nightshift studios, it's a really good recording and a sweet mix.
For lovers of Minor Threat, Fugazi, Bad Brains type of hardcore punk mixed up with a grunge element if you like. I think I can hear 'Green River' in there somewhere.....and probably Danzig era Misfits. You get the idea, thrashy, anthemic choruses, short songs. It's probably grunge inspired punk thrash pop.....? Who knows, if you like punk rock, you'll probably dig it. If you like Mariah Carey, then fuck off.
There's also a back yard, garage rock, home brew influence on these guys. The local sound is not lost on me. I know it and they have it. The fact that they reference Speights Ale on the inner sleeve gives them 10 points in my book for a start.
The full cassette cover is quite large and has a lot of details on it so I've uploaded it with the music so you won't miss out on anything.
Thrash out & be a Lout.....
Hey Suckers, here be the mighty and whitey 'Whitey Hiss' cassette. It sure is Whitey and Hissy and Dirgy and raw as Demerara sugar.
Pure Molasses man.
A project of Mikey Hex who was best known for his band 'Squirm', Mike had other things on the go too. This was one of his babies & also released on his own fledgling Label 'Noseflute' (which also put out the second Squirm album by the way). Four songs are presented here on one side of a C60 generic cassette. If you read the fine print on the artwork (supplied with download) it suggests you should make a compilation with the blank space. Generous to the end Mike.
I'm assuming Mike gave me this cassette too at some point or other. We used to rehearse at Hex Central (his abode & Venue in downtown ChCh) as did a few others like Ape Management etc. It was a rockin' place & Mike was the purveyor of thee rockin' site.
Many a band owe him big time for looking after them. He was always enthused & always positive about the future. My favourite memory of him is sitting in His Lordships Hotel (downtown ChCh) one night when there had been numerous fights at the bar (one guy was unconscious on the floor for a while... ) and Mike, myself and some others at the table came up with some anti-fighting sing-along which we would kick off as soon as another fight erupted. Hilarious drunken revelry.
Sadly Mike passed away back in 2004 so this is a homage to the guy. Cheers Mike. You were a good bloke. Sadly missed by many. May you find some fish in heaven! ( some may know the reference :)
Whitey Hiss Cassette (1994)
Wednesday, December 27, 2017
T.M.A-1 (or,Tycho Magnetic Anomaly One if you want the full name) were an early 90's band from Christchurch New Zealand from which spawned a prolific recording label named kRkRkRk cassettes.
A label worth exploring on it's own, lets just stick with TMA-1 for a minute because their Classic 1993 cassette tape 'Screech!' has just been released on vinyl in a limited run of 150 copies. The story goes: my friend Lynton Von Denhoven comes over for dinner, we start talking about releasing something from the kRkRkRk back-catalogue on vinyl, Lynton suggests 'Screech!' which also happened to be on the stereo at the time. I agreed, a good decision (and probably the maddest decision we could possibly make).
So that said, this has now been released on Lynton's own new record label 'RTR' (Ready to Rock) and pressed by Zenith here in Melbourne. A box of these are currently in a canoe in the middle of the Tasman sea (keep rowing slaves!) but hopefully it won't be too far offshore. Slaves always row faster at Christmas in my experience, they want to get home for New Years.
If I was you, I'd keep an eye out for one of these in Galaxy records in the next month or so. You can also find them for sale on Discogs.
Here's a link to their Bandcamp page so you can have a peek at what you're reading about and a video Peter Wright made recently when he recreated the artwork for this fine beast.
Monday, December 18, 2017
Oh yes people, you demanded it so here it is....!
Ok, that's not entirely true, nobody demanded anything..... Zilch in fact. So without further untruths, here's some early practise room jams plus our last ever concert for anyone who might actually give a fuck.
I've been listening to these early recordings a lot lately and really enjoying them. The recording is top notch. I think it's one of John's early Zoom recordings? Not sure but everything sits nicely in the mix. These date back to when we were first finding our feet & before we had any confirmed 'songs' to go with. Some concepts expressed here see the light of day in our set list much later on but most of it is pretty unrecognisable to the untrained ear.
There's also a download here for our last ever concert out in Whittlesea which I recorded on my Sony DV Handycam. This was us in our most 'developed' state and the recording is quite listenable too so there you go, you now have both ends of the Ether scale.... undeveloped musings & the tightly woven structured songs.
Both worthy of a listen.
In two downloads:
Early practise room jams
Live at Whittlesea
Saturday, February 11, 2017
Wow, this last year I've had some great success in adding to my NZ 7" singles collection and a week or so ago I finally bagged this little baby which I've been after since the late 80's.
I remember seeing the video they made for the single on the 'Radio with Pictures' music show (which was so informative for us back in them days) and I think the 'Dance little children' riff has been stuck in my head ever since. How catchy is it? Really, it should have gone to No.1 in the charts on our wayward South Pacific island paradise but when you're talking about a self released single by a rag tag Wellington trio of a few hundred copies, it probly ain't gonna hit the headlines anytime soon (or back then.... however much it deserved the accolade).
The song 'Dance little children' also appeared on the 'Killing Capitalism with Kindness' compilation put out by Turbulence records (Belgium) which I thought was kinda odd as it seemed like an anomaly amongst the predominant cast of Expressway label misfits. Anyhoo, great to see it there anyway, I'm not complaining.
There was one other song of theirs on the compilation 'Celebrate the Sonic arts' entitled 'Persecutor baby' which is also a very worthy groove and hence it shall be present in this download. I'd love to know if they recorded anything else. If they did, it should be in the public domain god damn it!
For those of us that need these kind of off funk, off punk, post poetic blasts of groovedom, we need more do you hear?
Here's the download to wet your whistle.
Friday, September 30, 2016
Ok, this is a rip of an 'Into the Void' tape I scored off James Greig a whiles back. No idea when or where it was recorded. Ronnie is obviously missing as there's no vocals to speak of. Just heavy instrumental stuff. Still very tuneful..... altho a bit fuzzy here & there.
I like the fact that Paul Sutherland's mad background scratchings are quite obvious during a lot of this. He's a very necessary part of the equation & often overlooked.
The Fuzz is the life....
Here's the rip.....
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Here’s a live recording by The Ether from the Tote Hotel in Melbourne. Recorded by Lynton on his Zoom recording device...... it packs a good deal of punch!
|Lance - Photos / Keys|
The Ether are / were John Billows, Joanne Billensdon, Lance Strickland & myself (Joanne & Lance played Keyboards, John played Bass and sang, and I bashed the drums).
|Joanne - Keys / Vox|
Mostly we were a brooding mesh of heavily effected instruments. The result being drone-esque soundscapes and Kraut-style monolithic rhythms. In fact we were heavy enough to match most bitumen laying road machines (and if we played outside you’re house on a Sunday morning at 9am, you would think you're local council was doing just that).
|John - Bass / Vox|
Often the interplay between John's bass noise & Lance's Keyboard noise was enough to confuse me to the point where I wouldn’t know which was which or who was who, which I think helped give us a ‘looser’ feel overall. Any song we invented that was deemed too structured or inflexible was swiftly given the boot in favour of tunes we could just jam out on & play as long as we liked.
|Bob - Drums|
We played a few low key shows around Melbourne. Thrice playing the iconic Tote Hotel in Collingwood. Our final show was an outdoor event out in Whittlesea, an informal backyard festival on an invite only basis. Bonfires & beers, mildew & mayhem, an excellent way to finish up this project if you ask me. Here’s a few links & a couple of videos.
The Ether - Live at the Tote
The Ether - Bandcamp
Saturday, December 19, 2015
Here be another of James Greig's live recordings from back in the good old days.
I remember tying my horse up outside this bar, kicking in the saloon doors, Smith & Wesson in both hands, ready for the usual showdown before I could get to the bar for my usual whisky bottle.
The coffin maker was always hangin round outside rubbing his hands...
Oh hang on, shit... hang on, that was a Clint Eastwood film.
I will hand you over to James now...
He has a more reliable brain.
Terminals. Subway, 1988
James Greig 3:46 a.m.
Terminals were part of an event where I saw the first three Flying Nun bands I'd ever seen live. Flying Nun Xmas party, hosted by Maryrose Crook (in 'The Max Block' at that point, pre -'Renderers') above an auto parts joint in Oxford Terrace, Christchurch, probably 1987.
I was 17 and didn't understand the way things worked at all, to the point where, I was offered a toke of the ol' Mary Jane and I asked what it was. Dick. Glad I declined, because I had to drive anyway.
Terminals were something. It was before their first release, the 'Disconnect' EP came out.
Stephen Cogle's pipes got to me especially. That warble was/is the sound of the three tenors being forced to dry dock a ship by themselves.
This thing Rob's put up is a recording of a gig they did a year or so later at The Subway,1988.
Recorded on the Walkman again, which I lost when my car got nicked one night. The filth found the stolen vehicle, but, unfortunately, the walkman was gone, as were the doors to the car.
Why the doors?! No wonder...... I'm not really a big Doors fan :)
I was more upset about the walkman than the car, vastly unlike my father. But then his idea of music is a dinner party, with the 'Cats' soundtrack on the stereo, and the stereo turned off.
Anyway, I bet those fuckers who nicked my car used the walkman for nothing more than farting into it and hearing it back (the pricks) if they could even work out how to do that, before selling it to a pawn shop.
Terminals this night at The Subway were a joy to see. Kind of a different band back then, but the same ethos. Ross Humpheries was still there, in the days before Brian Crook showed up and gave the sun the blisters it deserves.
To Rob, this sounds like a sedate version of the band. Listening to this again my memory doesn't suggest that. They just became dirtier and more intense when the line up changed. There has always been a dark and forboding beauty about them, which I cherish. You could call some of these pieces great 'pop' songs, often buried beneath hunger, anger, worry and misplaced love.
So enjoy this for what it is; a recording made at a time when some bands in the lower half of the south island of NZ embraced the psychededic and poppy sounds that came out of the '60s and made them their own.
Download: Terminals Live at The NZR Tavern.
Thursday, December 17, 2015
|Steve A. Showing off his Dead Moon apparel.|
Ok, stuff is comin in thick and fast now.
Yet another cracker from James Greig's tape collection.
And she's a real banger.....
Covering first album and early 7" material, the set list is a Shellac fan's wet dream.
The recording itself is a little rough round the edges. I tweaked it here and there but left it largely intact as it holds up reasonably well. You can play with the knobs on your amplifier if the EQ is not agreeable. Play away.... I give you free reign.
I wasn't present for this concert but did see Shellac in NZ in Christchurch at the turn of the century (2000AD) at the old Jetset Lounge (Aka The Subway, New Zealander Tavern, etc) with none other than HDU and that was a complete mind-fuck.
It was one of those instances where I'd heard the rumour they were coming to town but refused to believe it. I'd heard these kind of lies before. And besides, my friends like to play tricks on me because I'm really gullible. Then I realised they really were coming to town so I dutifully ran to score a ticket and hey presto, made the gig. Actually James was there too but that was before we knew each other. I think he spat on me because I had long hair. But I'm not one to hold a grudge. I can move on......grow up...... it's just saliva after all. Who gives a monkeys?
So anyway, Shellac are insanely cool. If you don't know anything about them, you should buy the first album and listen to it 1000 times. Then you will understand how this engine works.
Steve is also a sound engineer. He's recorded more bands than Kmart have items for sale.
He carries a lot of weight. He holds the keys.....he unlocks the doors....he has the master tapes...
But not this tape.
We have this tape.
And we will not disclose its location.
But we are willing to bargain.
How about, the entire Shellac collection on vinyl (signed by the band), plus some T-shirts, some post cards, some rare hand screenprinted gig posters from days gone by (framed), access to Electrical Audio 24hrs (free), playing at my wedding, my Mum's 70th birthday and introducing us to your circle of other rock star friends? That sounds fair to me. I will be wearing a suit & holding a briefcase, outside the Corner hotel (you know where it is) next week on tuesday at 3.22pm. Don't be late or the monkey gets it. And as an animal rights spokesperson, I beg you to save that fucking monkey. He's the last of his kind and if he gets it, it's goodbye race of rare monkeys.
Hey do you wanna hear my sound engineer joke? I made it up myself & I'm quite proud of it.
Q: How do you know all sound engineers are child molesters?
A: They like playing with little knobs.
Now come on, that is fucking funny.
Shellac Live in NZ 1993 for the download.....
You won't believe how lucky you are.
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
I raided James Greig's tape box recently and found some pure gold. He made some awesome recordings in the late 80's including this one. This tape was probably the best of the bunch though so I had to get it done quickly... gonna hand you over to James now. He has something to say....... Artwork above courtesy of Lynton. Something to throw on your ipod.....
When I was three years old my grandparents took me to some kind of wildlife park in Africa. They duct-taped me to the back of a lion, which I thought was fuckin' bullshit, because I was hangin' to see some bands instead. I sparked up furiously and forced them to take me to see Dead C. and Plagal Grind at the Subway. It took us a while to get there though as my grandparents chose to travel by pedalo (peddle boat, for you non-Mexicans). I was eighteen when finally I arrived. The gramps left me to it and headed back offshore. Luckily (and incredibly) I'd picked up my trusty SONY walkman to record the event on the way through the Galapagos islands. Miracles do happen.
Although I hate the kind of people who say stuff like 'Oh, I saw them before they were popular!'
I'm gonna say: 'I saw them before they were popular. Fuck you'.
There were only 25 to 30 people in the entire bar.
Alastair Galbraith got things going with a solo set that floored me (well, the whole night did). At one point, halfway though a song, he yelled out 'Its gone out of tune!'. He tuned that fucking guitar up faster than you could speed-read The Hungry Caterpillar! Carried on the song like nothing had happened, and chugged on through his set with astounding beauty.
Next up: Plagal Grind.
Plagal Grind for this concert were: Alastair Galbraith, Peter Jefferies, Robbie Muir and Jono Lonie.
I missed the first night of this extravaganza (they played two shows....I was still in the pedalo at the time...) when some skinheads managed to nick Jono's effects pedals. An employee of the Subway used some kind of muscle and got them back, but not until the end of the weekend, so he didn't get to use them on the night I showed up on the red carpet. Didn't matter - well, it would have to Jono, I'd imagine - but they played a blinder! Not sure if Jono used someone else's pedals for the night, but Alastair's apologies for not sounding the same, due to the theft, were unrequired. I only saw them about three times over their scant existence (once every twenty years) but Alastair's songs augmented with a band... well, you just have to hear them; I can't describe the intensity, but hopefully Rob's upload refects it.
And then Hell comes along.
I CAN, on the other hand, at least TRY to describe Dead C. that night. One word: Fuck.
And I don't mean sex; I mean it in the sweary way..
As much as I'm looking forward to Bob's uploads with this shit, my memory of this night is still insanely present. Much like a when you're a kid and you remember the first time your parents bought you your first island for Christmas.
A band that have NEVER given a shit about what you think of them, they've swayed between 'songs' and pure improvisation for their 30 year tenure. The first time I saw them was at the Old Star in Addington, supporting Bailter Space (I was smuggled in by older types). Bruce Russell had taken me under his wing when I was 16, stuffing vinyl into covers and making coffee at Flying Nun Records after school. Having said that, Dead C scared the shit out of me that night. Bruce's version of 'The Wheel' was harrowing, to say the...but I digress.....
At the Subway they were slightly less nightmare-ish, and certainly more funny, possibly due to the banter between 'songs'. Out of the few people who were present that night there were a few divisive shout outs, but they were (hopefully) yelled in jest. For example, when they finished 'Bad Politics' someone yelled out 'Ah, bullshit!!' Bruce's answer: 'Bitchen', I believe is the expression.'
I still can't really describe Dead C. to anybody, and that's their fault, to be perfectly Francis with you. You'll just have to listen to what Bob's put up on his blog. So I'll address the banter between 'songs'.
Michael: 'This next song is called "Fire".'
Bruce: ' Which is what we'd like to use on the bastards who stole Jono's fuckin' foot pedals last night.'
After another 'song', Dead C style: Bruce: 'From one head-long pop song to another'
Audience: 'More gaffaw than before!'
Before their closing 'song', a version of T Rex's 'Childen of the Revolution' (and I mean a cover version in the loosest possible way):
Alastair: ( from the audience) ' Where's the party?!'
Bruce: (on stage) 'I'd rather have a cup of tea.'
Alastair: 'Well I'd rather have a party, so where is it?!'
It's a great recording. No skill or talent on my part, outside of buying a good recording machine and punching the record button.
Dead C. change all the time, and this recording is just a slice of their life, but it was a very important one for me (slightly reflected in the Into The Void Documentary); you don't need to to 'learn' how to play an instrument, ya just need to plug it in and go for it. If you want to be Eric Clapton, fine. You won't see me at any of your shows though. But I'd still welcome you around for a cup of tea. Unless you're a dick.
By the way: Don't ever write Dead C. without the full stop. Your period could come on when you least expect it.....
James Greig. Dec 2015.
Divided into three downloads:
1. Dead C.
2. Plagal Grind.
3. Alastair Galbraith.
Friday, November 27, 2015
Now here's something you should really start screaming over. The first Sferic Experiment release on Expressway. A cassette only release which has not less than twenty tracks under its belt. Seven or eight tracks are from the CD entitled 'Eight Miles' (which was put out by Drunken Fish Records) but possibly even some of those are different versions as the lengths seem vastly different on some.
I actually managed to meet everybody (all seven of them) involved in this project over the years but it was Greg Cairns the drummer who I met first and who turned me on to numerous projects of his from late 80's Dunedin that were simply outrageously cool and which you couldn't help but get overly enthusiastic about.
I prefer this tape to the CD release. It's looser and more anarchic. Perhaps more sombre and melancholic.... and with a larger dose of subterranean violence and hard partying attributes thrown into the soup for added flavour. Violins, Violas, Organs, Flutes, Guitars, French horns and Drums clash in improvised madness, battling to be heard over each other at times but then suddenly lapsing into something apparently rehearsed. From the more straight ahead rock anthem of 'Ultra violet / Gordon is happy' to the unfathomably twisted 'Funeral march' the Sferics' broad stylistic prose is astonishing to newcomers.
I'm sure I've been told the history of this band years ago but memory has faded and I remember.... fuck all to be honest. Just wish I'd seen them perform but alas, never happened. I shall endeavour to extract historical facts and update this page as time goes on. I'm sure some former member will take time out to throw some light on the how's and why's of this ensemble.
Before you start thinking I might have posted something I have no right to post, I did manage to get permission from Bruce Russell, Chris Heazlewood and Greg Cairns. I'm sure the rest of the band won't mind too much (Hi Steve! Wherever you are.....).
Get it here.
Saturday, October 3, 2015
Friday, October 2, 2015
Here's a recording of The Puddle I made on my Sony walkman back in the early 90's. After a bit of a scrub up it hasn't come up too badly if I may say so myself. Often with my attempts using it there was just too much distortion on the recording to be of much use but thankfully this Puddle one was salvageable.
I saw these guys play three or four times in the early 90's and count myself very lucky indeed. First time was at a venue upstairs in high st called 'The new atlantis market' (not to be confused with the 'old' atlantis market which was in cathedral square for many years) and they pretty much blew my head off with their crazy brand of loose knit, awkward, brilliant, bordering on falling over (but never quite falling) songs.
This video of 'Thursday' is relevant as it was made around the same time I made this recording and hence the lineup should be the same. Thursday's not included in this bunch of songs though.
I do know a little of the history of these guys but why bother writing about it when someone else has beaten me to it and has done a much better job than I ever could.
Read up & listen.....
Click on this link for Puddle info.
and here's the download link for the live gig.
Thanks to Lynton and George Henderson for the song titles!
01. Interstellar Gothic
02. Psych thing
03. Terminator 2
04. Southern man
05. Season of the wolf
06. Lucky all the time
07. Everything alright
08. Political sluts
09. South dunedin hood
10. Contact rock
11. Into the moon
And Lynton made a cover for your i-pod too....! Lucky scamps.
Friday, September 25, 2015
You want hardcore NZ punk? You got it dork.
The Gaps bring you 'Shooting the Gap'. A fabulously bad ass piece of NZ underground hardcore hailing from the wrong side of the tracks in Christchurch.
I saw these guys play live a few times and they were great. I think they were so named 'The Gaps' because most of them had some of their front teeth missing. Unlike most suburban punk kids today, these blokes didn't sit around polishing their doc martens at their mum's place. They probably wore them into the ground by having to run from the police after robbing people's houses.....!
Funny thing is, I haven't listened to this tape in over 20 years but every now and then, songs like 'I'm a Mongol' pop into my head and I find myself wandering around Melbourne chanting 'I'm a Mongol, I'm a Mongol'....etc. Lets face it, these guys have some catchy tunes and lyrics... they stick in your head like a crowbar.
Actually there is a lyric sheet with this tape which I should probably attach somehow in the download as there's some great lyrical content on these tracks. Here's a good example:
Stupid little girl on TV
Imitation flavour, that's me
Bubble gum songs, painted eyes
We agree, she must die
She must die, she must die.....
That song's called 'Kill Kylie'. And it's about your favourite Neighbours star come pop star.
I spent a weekend drinking out on Banks peninsula at some party with a few of these guys once. I thought I was a bit of a heavy drinker but by about 3am when I was passing out, these guys were just warming up. A bunch of hard boozing dudes......
I remember they entered a band competition once and I think they won because their fans nicked the voting forms off peoples tables and voted on their behalf. Dedicated fans. And why not? They deserved to win. These guys remind me of the fabulous 'Mindfuckers' (who I have to say are my favorite NZ punk band ever to date) who I think share a similar sensibility. Drunken angry punk doom with a good sense of humour and that has not a care in the world.....barely recorded to tape before the studio blows up and the band miraculously escapes with the master tape without paying the engineer.... and probably raiding the fridge on the way out to grab any stray alcohol.
That, my friends, is The Gaps. The guys you don't invite to the party.
A cassette-only release. From around 1990.
And here it is.....