Archive for August, 2010

Pork Dukes: All The Filth

This album is the soundtrack to Porky’s frolics in the mud.
The world needs more filth and the Pork Dukes gave it plenty in 1976 when they formed in the quaint, conservative town of Witham in Essex, England. These lads were the dirtiest, filthiest, naughtiest boys in a world exploding in the rhythms of punk, a music that wasn’t backwards in coming forwards.
Their first single, Bend and Flush, released in 1977, was a moderate success, apparently selling about 20,000 copies, but it was the b-side, Throbbing Gristle, (nothing to do with avant-garde band of the same name) that signalled what kind of base-instinct animal was emerging here, a tale of a young man who fantasises about having sex with the then Opposition leader Margaret Thatcher.
If that wasn’t tasteless enough, the cover had an image of a pig, well look for yourself. Oink oink indeed.
Third single, Telephone Masturbator, took their sordid thoughts even further. “I’m a telephone masturbator, I’m coming faster and my hands are sore, screaming screaming baby and I’ll come some more, I jack ….” and on and on it goes.
Some of the tales Bonk, the band’s drummer, tells on the sleeve notes of All The Filth, are up with the greatest from the punk era: how suave 70s Middle Eastern actor Omar Sharif came along to a gig thinking it was a jazz gig, how they had a pig’s head on stage with a safety pin though it’s nose and how it was left in a suitcase to ‘mature’ for a few weeks, and how the array of banned venues and cancelled gigs almost equalled the Sex Pistols tale of banishment, leaving them to play in mental homes. How appropriate.
The titles say as much as you need to know: Dirty Boys – You Dirty Cunts, Tight Pussy, I Like your Big Tits – Let’s See if It Fits, Banana Man and I Wanna Fuck, the purile, almost schoolboy-esque depravity of their writing would require a psychoanalyst to examine.
Truth is just a little simpler. Bonk says he was a youth looking to “offend any tosser I could.”
They certainly did that. One fan wearing a typically outre Pork Dukes T-shirt was arrested and charged over an article that was likely to cause a breach of the peace.
In 1994, they reformed and at one gig had a raffle with the prize of a blow-job from a prostitute. Nevertheless, there’s nothing more unsightly than middle-aged men talking in such purile fashion but The Pork Dukes continue to pop up every now and again at some toilet in the UK.
Despite the laddish, lewdness of their recorded output and live antics, the songs are surprisingly good and, perhaps with the disadvantage of hindsight, it could be argued that success might have their way had they dropped some of the more outlandish statements. But, with dozens, if not hundreds of bands forming at the same time, or rubbish bands suddenly discovering their punk side, there was intense competition, and the muted success of the Pork Dukes, or infamy rather, owes itself to their humour, which wasn’t so much toilet humour, as what’s dredged from the toilet/ cesspit at a music festival after three days.
Telephone Masturbator is extremely catchy and hummable and, surprisingly, despite it’s lascivious nature, I Like Your Big Tits – Let’s See If It Fits, from the Pink Pork album, is an equal to many of the play-this-guitar-fast tunes of the time.
Here’s to the Pork Dukes, disgusting, depraved and deliciously good all in one.

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Hikoikoi are the kind of band the world needs just now in these unstable, uncertain times; an act that has an unshakeable dedication to peace and equality.

Thankfully, they’re also a damn good band, an excellent self-titled debut album released last year heralding their unique form of roots reggae.

Hikoikoi are heavily involved in the Parihaka Peace Festival in Taranaki, and Hikoikoi, the album, was laced with conscious-heavy tracks like Jah Armour and A Deeper Revelation.

With that in mind it’s a little of a surprise to hear from dreadlocked bassist James Coyle that Hikoikoi’s sound is evolving away from the sounds that has its roots in Jamaica.

At the office where he works part-time as an architect in Wellington, Coyle told me more about the new direction and something that won’t change – they’re dedication to just causes

James Coyle, Paul Wickham and Ben Wood

Porky: What’s the plans for the band just now?

James Coyle: We’re recording a lot in the studio just now, and have finished one song that we’ll be releasing in September on a nationwide tour. It’s called Timewalking and signals new ground for the band. Quite often we have been focused on roots-reggae but this album will have elements of rock. A lot of the other songs that we’ve demoed for this upcoming album have a harder edge, they’re less cruisy than previous songs.

Porky: And what of the lyrics and themes on the new material, does that have a harder edge as well?

JC: We have a strong message, that of peace, but also a strong interest in past events, for example, atrocities carried out during World War 2, and also in this land, issues of colonisation. In the past we’ve supported the kaupapa of quite a few information concerts, like one in Tuhoe to support in the struggle of the people there. The police raids (in 2007) and what’s also happening now (the Government’s rejection of the Te Urewaras being returned to Tuhoe) – I like to think that music is part of a solidarity campaign, to push for past wrongs to be corrected.

(for more on Tuhoe: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ng%C4%81i_T%C5%ABhoe)

(And for more on Te Urewara and the Tuhoe tribe: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/3677975/Tuhoe-negotiators-told-Urewera-off-the-table)

Porky: Can you give the readers an indication of what to expect on the single?

JC: We have a guy called Kieran Rynhart directing the video and it looks like it will be an interesting one. He’s starting from scratch with an image of a land that has nothing, then develops with mountains growing from the oceans, animals inhabiting the land and it goes through to the early discoverers of New Zealand, the colonisation of New Zealand and looks into the future.

Porky: Any idea when the album might come out?

JC: March next year. We’ll also be touring then.

Porky: Did you pick up some influences from other bands or just decide you wanted to do more rockier sounds?

JC: I think it’s the influences within us. There are three of us in the band with our personalities shaping the band. For example, Paul (Wickham), the singer – his previous band was much influenced by rock. Roots-reggae is something that unites us all but I’m very much into jazz, particularly Miles Davis.

Porky: It’s interesting how you are changing, as the debut album was very much a reggae record with various other influences.

JC: Looking back, we really dig that sound but we also found it quite cruisy and we thought that things should get a bit more intense. We have a pretty intense live show and the album will reflect that live sound. Our drummer, Ben (Wood), who also does a fair bit of producing, has a lot of experience in drum’n’bass so he also adds an interesting dimension in the studio.

Porky: Where are you recording, in the boat sheds again?

JC: We worked in two studios at Hikoikoi Reserve (in Petone) but Paul has since moved his business to Akaratawa, which is that crazy road that goes from Upper Hutt to Waikanae. It’s a beautiful property, the river runs through it and there’s plenty of swimming holes. It’s a great location and the garage where we record has an interesting sound that’s impacting upon on the band.

Porky: You say Paul is a businessman and you’re an architecture undergraduate, so to some people it might be a bit of a contradiction that Hikoikoi is about peace, justice and equality.

JC: I guess the only people who have time to be actively fighting for those things are devoting their whole life to it or allowed the time to do it, which we don’t. But when you talk about business, Paul is a traditional boat builder, so he’s working with his hands every day, and he’s a very humble man so when it comes to writing lyrics and composing music he brings that humbleness into it. He really thinks about the world, and the suffering of people less fortunate than we are in New Zealand. One track from the debut album, Sudan Sun, was projecting ourselves into their shoes and imagining what it must be like to be that hungry and oppressed.

Porky: I was reading a piece on a blog that said you were more of a consciousness reggae band than an activist reggae band, but it sounds like you’re a bit of both.

JC: We’re nothing like some activists, there are some activists who devote their lives to changing the corrupt systems. It takes a lot of commitment to be an activist and it is an aspiration of ours to devote more of our time to that.


Hikoikoi playing in Wellington 2007


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Who? Superturtle

Title: About The Sun
Sarang Bang records/ Ode records
Tell me more:
Singer-guitarist Darren McShane has an intriguing and relatively brief history in New Zealand music, having been the backbone of Moonpopper and Chainsaw Masochist, played with Figure 60 and Sea Monkey, been involved with an indie music radio station and set up Earwig Studios. Phew! Slow down Daz.
The Lowdown:
Judging by the cover I suspected this to be a drum’n’bass album when it arrived at the Pigsty. Golly josh and jeepers creepers; I was knocked to the floor when a burst of guitars hit me. About The Sun lasts an ideal 33 minutes and the longest track is 3:04, the sound of perfect pop songs. McShane is in love with rock’n’roll’s past and its expansiveness, so there’s the sound of the Hammond organ, the theremin and the Mellotron on here. Dead or Alive is a jovial knockabout, Live Another Day should be played while having a picnic in your local Botanic Gardens and there’s a glorious feeling of “summer’s coming” on Holiday Well. Anyone familiar with British pop group Spearmint will appreciate Superturtle.

Anything else? Super-Turtle is a light-hearted superhero that first appeared in a Marvel comic in 1963 and occasionally popped up in Superman and other Marvel comics.

Who? Die! Die! Die!

Title: Form
Flying Nun
Tell me more:
Great name, or a guarantee of scaring off the non-metallers and anti-punkers? Answers on a carrier pigeon to the usual address. There is, of course, no prizes to realising that Die! Die! Die! are a tough-nuts rock’n’roll band who take no prisoners, and yet are probably not as hard as their name might suggest. I reckon they like cried like girls when they viewed Susan Boyle on YouTube.
The Lowdown:
I’m delighted Flying Nun has been taken over by Roger Shepherd, it’s founder, and is based again in Aotearoa. For most of the 80s and 90s Flying Nun was a platform for some of the best, left-field bands in New Zealand with The Chills, The Clean, Toy Love and The Gordons all releasing records on the iconic label.

Form is intense and in-your-face and, yet, it’s been hailed as the most melodic and mature album from this Dunedin trio yet. According to the most important view in the world, Porky, this hits the right notes and he seems strangely pleased at elements of shoegazing, the much-derided sound made by middle-class students in England in the early 90s, so-called because the bassist would usually stare at his feet while playing wah-wah pedal.

Anything else? The first release on the new, shiny Flying Nun was by Wellington solo artist Grayson Gilmour and the label promises re-releases of old stock, much of which has never been on CD. Hurrah and lashings of ginger beer all round!

Who? The Roots

Title: How I Got Over
Tell me more:
The Roots were formed in 1987, originally called themselves the Square Roots, released their debut album in 1993, and have released eight more studio albums, including How I Got Over, since.
The Lowdown:
For How I Got Over, The Roots have ditched the frantic raps, menacing synths, and general edginess of the band’s past three albums. In their place is a mellow take on the jazzy, old-school charm. There’s even a sample of Joanna Newsom on one track. The Roots remain within hip-hop’s sphere but it’s a moodier, less tense form of hip-hop and it also delves into other genres, which the best hip-hop always has.

Anything else? Founding member Black Thought says when How I Got Over was first conceived, it reflected their relief at the end of the Bush administration and the beginning of the Obama presidency. Has that relief given way to frustration now considering Obama’s record so far.

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