Give him his dues, Nick Raven is eager, and persistent.The teenager has just released his debut album, and, despite not following the formal protocols for getting a review on Porky Prime Cuts (ie bribing the fat pig with copious amounts of tinned asparagus and laxatives) he’s got one anyway.
Love & Lomography on Powertool records is an album of craftsmanship, desire and passion. Unusually, Raven inscribes his own theory on the album on the liner notes: “This is not an electronic made by machines. Nor was this album written for commercial gain.” Fine words indeed.
Tracks generally veer from the edgy, entrancing psychedelic efforts of Butterfly and Sitting & Laughing, with folkier moments such as Love and Drown. For an 18-year-old Raven has a worldy-wise head on his shoulders, and this reminds me a little of an acoustic Kasabian or the House of Love, who as you may be aware are big favourites of Porky. This is a grower on the stereo and I’ll be keeping an eye out for this kid.
Raven’s labelmates Factory Kids have avoided Porky’s ears till now, so the team sitting in the boardroom on Level 16 of our tower block were surprised to learn their latest release is a compilation of album tracks and singles going back to 2008. The cover of Cried Off has a man looking out of a window toward a towering block of cramped flats with a ropey escalator and piss-stained stairs, so I guess I’m forewarned that this is an album that will test our penchant for upbeat pop and hard-edge rock. It melds the languid vocals of Jesus and Mary Chain with the gloom of mid-80s New Order. A very British record that did not immediately appeal to the panel on initial listens but Factory Kids are a band that do require some patience and a love of urban non-dance post-punk.
New Zealanders Wilberforces are a relatively fresh unit with a six-track mini-album delayed by the desire to press it onto vinyl. Paradise Beach (Muzai records) is a rattling humdinger, despite its brevity, and even songs such as the title track end abruptly. It’s an artform to use layered guitar parts and harmonies together, but Wilberforces manage the task admirably, especially on the aforementioned Paradise Beach that has all the energy and ruthlessness of a shoegazing-era Ride. The expansiveness of the music is matched by the striking, yet authoritative vocals of Thom Burton. That attitude is reversed on Magdalene Brothers the most intense track and one that references a number of historical religious figures. I am expecting much more from this Auckland underground duo.
Lacking in such uproarious freneticism are Salon Kingsdadore, the vehicle for Sarangbang label top boy Gianmarco Liguori. They are an instrumental quartet with an eye on cinema as much as the next gig. Anti-Borneo Magic is the fourth release by the band that also includes Murray McNabb, Hayden Sinclair and Steven Tait, with McNabb seemingly having brought new influences into an already-ubiquitous palate, developing a sound that sounds enigmatic, and geared toward movie and television use. Those tempted to use the term post-rock put your cliched references to the delete file, Anti-Borneo Magic is a diverse, and huge body of work (a triple album that would make The Clash’s Sandinista look like an EP in comparison) that challenges your notions of verse, chorus, verse and a drummer who is partially mental. It is a beautiful set that, naturally requires patience, and some quality weed, with tracks lasting up to 24 minutes.
I have a lot of time for a band that release an album on cassette as well as the normal digital release. I mean who even plays those things nowadays? This self-titled DIY effort has no images, and a pasted-on track listing and band line-up. The Salad Boys are the modern update of the largely mythical Dunedin Sound of the early and mid-80s, and reminiscent of The Clean.
Unfortunately I’m running out of time, so I recommend clicking on this link, to a very good Kiwi blogsite, everythingsgonegreen that has a far finer and more astute review than we could possibly provide.
There’s a link there to their bandcamp page where you can get a download for whatever you want to pay (don’t take the mick though), or the cassette for five bucks, plus postage.