Once upon a time, in the good old days when there were no wars or disease, record labels would slavishly supply reviewers with CDs. The pig sty would light up when these packages arrived, though most of the items inevitably ended up in the charity shop.
Now, most labels just sent off stuff digitally and it’s no coincidence at all that all you hear on the news now is war and conflict and disease and pestilence and Australian success in cricket.
But those good folk at Powertool Records are doing their bit for world peace, and boy have made a cracking start to the new year, with a clutch of new releases designed to make us all feel happier and more likely to go on an exercise regime.
First out of the envelope is Gold Medal Famous, an avant-garde electro-indie outfit out of Wellington, the 17th most expensive city in the world to live in. Apparently. Porky’s reader (surely readers? – sceptical editor) will be more than familiar with them as we’ve reviewed their past two albums. (100% Pure, Gold Medal Famous)
Free Body Culture is a seven-track mini album of strangeness, bleeps, mutated narration and a sense of freedom and the art of living sensibly. They are, the press release informs me, 21st century subversives. A bold statement indeed.
But they make a decent claim to this on Meat Lovers’ Pizza, which despite its’ misleading title, revolves around a quote from Prime Minister John Key, said around the time he was allowing for further spying on New Zealanders: “If you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve got nothing to fear.” North Korea’s state news agency was taking notes at that point.
Agitating for a vote against the odious National Party at this year’s election, You’re So Outrageous tackles the affronts against the constitution the ruling junta (surely democratically elected government? – ed) has carried out, by using urgency in parliament to push through bills deemed essential, and thus avoiding public scrutiny. Using a hypnotic dance beat and eerie vocals, Gold Medal Famous prove there’s a way of make a political point in this drab cultural era.
Meanwhile, Out for the Night celebrates the art of the piss-up, in a manner that is reminiscent of the Human League or the Younger Younger 28s (Google them). “It only costs five bucks to get in, the bands come all the way from Hamilton,”
Free Body Culture, named after a German nudist movement, is varied, playful, angry, and esoteric; it is the band’s finest effort yet.
Label mate Matthew Bannister is a man on a mission, If he’s not playing live around New Zealand like a madman he’s recording Beatles albums (last year’s Evolver, Evolver) and releasing EPs with his band of merry men, The Changing Same. Make Up My Mind is a brief and delightful four-track recording that continues Bannister’s love of the 1960s, with the influence of a certain Liverpool act much in abundance.
Could Be Anyone is a tale of how life could change if those lottery numbers come in, and Slow Down with its gorgeous strings mingling with pleasing riffs, is a plea to live life another way: “Lay your burden down, let your garden grow, the way to Tinseltown is not the way to go.”
And the harmony-heavy title track is the anthem for all those who can’t make decisions, nor take responsibility for their life: “Which way to go is the devil you know/ This is the way that I feel every day/ Revolving doors, stranded in between floors.”
Meanwhile, Seeds of Orbit, are similarly hooked on the decade of love, but are more Jimi than John. Lead by Mark Petersen who was for a spell in Straitjacket Fits you know that the amps will be cranked up really high.
Their debut self-titled EP contains the most hallucinogenic cover since 1972, and is five tracks of full-on rock’n’roll meets psychedelia. Make Up of Moments contains the softest of touches they’ll put down but still pounds out a delirious slew of guitar riffs. Oh Long John is two parts Sabbath, one part Deep Purple. Sure it’s all been done before, probably a lot better in fact, but it’s fantastic fun and I imagine they would be immense live.
All recordings available via: http://powertoolrecordsdotnet.wordpress.com/