Saturday, May 11, 2013

KIWI UNDERGROUND REISSUES

DEAD C - HARSH 70S REALITY 2xLP (Siltbreeze)
Dead C were formed in Dunedin, New Zealand in 1986 and are still around today. They've released countless of oustanding records over the past 27 years and "Harsh 70s Reality" is probably the best among them. It also orginally came out on Siltbreeze and it has now been reissued 20 years after it's first release. We're writting the year 1992 - a time when the record industry discovered underground music for the mainstream public. Nirvana and the whole grunge boom created countless of bands trying to be the next big thing. "Harsh 70s Reality" is an uncompromising musical statement without even a slight adaption to the then hyped music. Dead C took the Velvet Underground influenced psych sound of early Flying Nun releases and pushed it to a more extreme level. The focus is on writing highly experimental, atmospheric and epic songs, that are anything but nice. Instead of that their music sounds painful and noisy and it's filled with repeats, reverbs and distortions. Tons of current sludge and doom bands try to write slow & brutal songs, but Dead C played a heavier style 20 years before without those boring metal and Black Sabbath hard-rock influences. That's how they've created their very own style of underground noise-rock. Not matter how often you listen to this LP, you'll discover another fascinating moment with every new spin. This is a true masterpiece and a must have record. (Listen to it here)
 
MAX BLOCK - AIR ACHE IN THE BELLY OF THE LEECH LP (Siltbreeze)
Max Block's selftitled 12" from 1986 is one of the hardest to find Flying Nun releases. They had recorded songs for a second EP, but Flying Nun didn't release it back then. "Air Ache In The Belly Of The Leech" features both EPs, so it's a collection of their complete recorded works including two more live tracks recorded in Christchurch 1987. Max Block developed the Flying Nun sound of the early 80s to a more sophisticated and varied style. Their songs range between 60s garage, Pere Ubu like protopunk and frantic blasting postpunk. Manyrose Wikinson's gloomy and bizarre organ playing underlays the songs with it's very own unique vibe. Some songs are comparable to how Nation Of Ulysses sounded like years later. Max Block were ahead of their time with their impressing mix of 60s garage and art-rock dissonance, but they also throw in some no frills garage punk tunes like "Black Fish" or "Johnny Mneomonic". This totally amazing discography LP is limited to 500 copies, so act fast to get your copy! (Listen to it here)

PIN GROUP - AMBIVALENCE LP + CD (Flying Nun)
The black on dark grey printed frontcover already provides an insight into the twang of Pin Groups music: it's dark, darker than all other early Flying Nun groups. This LP is a compilation featuring tracks from their first two 7"s both from 1981 and their "Go To Town" 12" originally released in 1982. Pin Group took the darkest moments of Velvet Underground and merged it with the sound of equally dark British postpunk bands. The low vocals style and powerful bass lines are simular to Joy Division, Bauhaus or Killing Joke, while the songwriting and guitar riffs link to the gloomiest moments of 60s psych-rock. The result are carefully polished four minute tracks based on amazing riffs and simple, but impellent drum beats. But in the end everything is overshadowed by their own kind of super dark amtmosphere. The LP comes with a bonus CD full of amazing live tracks. I'm usally not very much into live recordings, but this compact disc is on heaviest rotation in my car CD-player. It's really a nice addition to this essential discography LP. (Listen to it here)

VACUUM - WALKING SLOW 7" (Siltbreeze) 
Vacuum were the first underground group from Christchurch, New Zealand. They were the starting point from which arised Flying Nun and tons of influental bands during the early 80s. Members of Vacuum later played in groups like Pin Group, Scorched Earth Policy or Bilders. "Walking Slow" is already Vacuum's second 7" on Siltbreeze. Again it offers songs taken from tape recordings between 1978 and 1979. They are now available on vinyl for the very first time and they were pressed in a limited edition of 300 copies only. You get four frantic and orgin tracks of 60s inspired music with a more poppier sound than most later Christchurch bands. The rough production leaves nothing to be desired: It's heavily lo-fi and that's perfect. This is the genesis of the whole Flying Nun sound, so it's really a great reissue. (Listen to it here

VA - TIME TO GO. THE SOUTHERN PSYCHEDELIC MOMENT 1981-86 2xLP (Flying Nun)
The political situation in New Zealand during the early 80s was dominated by conservative law & order politics, limited free speech and a desparate economic situation. This was the spirit in which a new generation of young people developed initiatives, that were anti-hierarchical and anti-capitalist. Musically Christchurch based record label Flying Nun played a major role for this counter-movement. Founded in 1981 Flying Nun provided an alternative to the hegomony of mainstream music. The label and it's bands were the opposition to commercialism, spectacle, promotion and star cult. The first Flying Nun release was Pin Groups debut 7". Soon later there was a rise of outstanding young bands, that developed their very own typical sound in difference to then common worldwide underground music. The worldwide punk boom had a minor impact on the early kiwi underground scene. Instead of that they took the 60s psych sound of Love, 13th Floor Elevators and Velvet Underground to merge it with UK postpunk groups like The Fall, Wire and Joy Division. The result was one of the most important chapters in independent underground music and this double LP compilation is just a perfect overview of the best period in Flying Nun's release history. All important bands are included: The Clean, The Gordons, The Bilders, Victor Dimisich Band, Scorched Earth Policy, Max Block, The Pin Group and many more. Essential. (Listen to it here