Too Tone NZ Music Month

NZ Music Every Godzone Month! sign from Too Tone Records in Dunedin.

Our New Zealand Music Month song for day #22 is “Interstate” by Adam Hattaway and the Haunters.

If you missed this Adam Hattaway And The Haunters album “All Dat Love” when it was first released on Melted Ice Cream just before Christmas last year give it a whirl, particularly if you like restless guitar-fuelled pop and rock and soul, and if you are a fan of sometime-related Christchurch band Wurld Series.

“All Dat Love” is expertly rendered in grainy realistic mid-fi from recordings made by Adam and mixed on 4-track by Melted Ice Cream stalwart Brian Feary. “Interestate” features Adam Hattaway on Vocals and guitars, Emma Hattaway on bass Elmore Jones on drums.

Melted Ice Cream says “Recommended if you like: The Band, Ariel Pink, The 3Ds, Neil Young, Toy Love.” I’d add to that eclectic list:  Velvet Crush, Ty Segall, White Fence, Wurld Series and Matthew Sweet (his classic 1991 “Girlfriend” album with those twin duelling guitar parts from Television’s Richard Lloyd and former Voidoid Robert Quine comes to mind).

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Too Tone NZ Music Month

NZ Music Every Godzone Month! sign from Too Tone Records in Dunedin.

Our New Zealand Music Month song for day #21 is from the excellent album “Tenterhook” which brings new songs from Beat Rhythm Fashion 36 years after the last single of their brief but atmospheric early 1980s run. Here’s the opening track “Hard as Hell”.

Beat Rhythm Fashion were part of the Wellington Punk/ New Wave scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s. The band contributed two spiky post-punk songs – “None in the Universe” and “Not Necessary” – to the now rare and sought after * * * * (Four Stars) sampler released on Sausage Records in 1980.

Brothers Nino and Dan Birch, later with Caroline Easther on drums, went on to release 3 distinctive and coolly atmospheric singles as Beat Rhythm Fashion – 2 on Bunk Records and the final single “No Great Oaks” on Epic in 1982. The songs from this era are compiled on the Bring Real Freedom compilation.

That was it… until last year when “Tenterhook” brought Nino Birch and Caroline Easther back together (Dan Birch died in 2011) with Rob Mayes on bass. The BRF story then to now is set out in an excellent interview with Nino Birch.

 

 

Too Tone NZ Music Month

Shop display of re-purposed NZ Music Month poster at Too Tone Records (2010-2017) in Dunedin.

Our New Zealand Music Month song for day #20 is from “Floating Being”, the debut album from Wellington heavy doom-rock duo Earthtongue. Here’s the opening track “Microspcopic God”.

Earthtongue’s music is built around thick gooey low-frequency fuzzy riffs. It’s a bit too weird in an agreeably psych-rock/ prog-rock kind of way to be doom-metal, but it certainly shares some of the ominous frequencies of that genre at the same time as being a convoluted and interesting feast of restless rhythms, riffs and melodies.

Earthtongue are guitarist/ vocalist Gussie Larkin and drummer/ vocalist Ezra Simons. Larkins is also one third of Mermaidens and some of Earthtongues fuzzy shapes and sounds add intriguing texture to the latest Mermaidens single too.

Too Tone NZ Music Month

Shop display of re-purposed NZ Music Month poster at Too Tone Records (2010-2017) in Dunedin.

Our New Zealand Music Month day #19 song is the quiet-it’s-Sunday song “Touchdown” from former Jean Paul Sartre Experience/ JPS Experience/ JPSE and Stereo Bus/ Stereobus member David Yetton.

Yetton has cleaned out his computer hard drive with a wry-titled cassette album called “Move to Trash (Bits, Pieces, Offcuts & Stuff)” released on Hamburg-based cassette label Thokei Tapes.

Yetton went on to form Stereobus/ The Stereo Bus after JPSE split. The songs on “Move to Trash” sound to be Stereobus/ The Stereo Bus era demos, out-takes, and ideas.

However some of them – like “Touchdown” here – also rekindle the sense of hushed melodic wonder of that very first EP by the Jean Paul Sartre Experience released on Flying Nun Records back in the mid 1980s.

Too Tone NZ Music Month

Shop display of re-purposed NZ Music Month poster at Too Tone Records (2010-2017) in Dunedin.

Our New Zealand Music Month song for day # 18 is from “Dunedin’s finest. Anxious polka-punk. Alt-fizz. Subgressive fun-time fantasiangst” trio Negative Nancies. It’s from their thrilling and essential debut EP “You Do You” and the song is “I Wish”:

Negative Nancies “You Do You” is a disturbingly brilliant 6 song EP. “I Wish” alternates between a plaintive desire to remedy unconscious repetitive behavior (“I wish, I wish, I didn’t grind my teeth at night/ I wish, I wish, I didn’t hold my jaw so tight”) set over a galloping whip-crack beat and a rapid spiraling descent into a deeply weird nightmare of distorted keyboards, feedback bass and a cauldron of swirling voices. Negative Nancies music is natural noisy exploration and expression rather than an arch noise-art project and the EP ought to be resonating radio, speaker and headphone frequencies around the world.

Too Tone NZ Music Month

Shop display of re-purposed NZ Music Month poster at Too Tone Records (2010-2017) in Dunedin.

Our New Zealand Music Month song for day # 17 is from Christchurch noise rock trio No Broadcast and their most recent single “WASTE”:

No Broadcast hail from Christchurch and evoke the spirit and sonic fury of High Dependency Unit/ HDU in the way they use sonic guitar textures combining elements of noise-rock, post-rock, shoegaze and post-punk into a frenetic stew of noisy but melodic guitar rock.

No Broadcast are Josh Braden (Guitar and Vocals), Thomas Isbister (Drums) and Kieran Colina (Bass) and are an impressive and powerful live act as well.

Too Tone NZ Music Month

Shop display of re-purposed NZ Music Month poster at Too Tone Records (2010-2017) in Dunedin.

Our New Zealand Music Month song for day # 16 is the brooding building storm of “Pets” from Port Chalmers trio Bad Sav:

Bad Sav leader, guitarist and vocalist Hope Robertson says “Pets” “is a breakup song even though it doesn’t sound like it. It was a “I don’t need to worry about this stuff because I’ve got my pets” kinda thing.”

“When I write a song if I’m so upset or angry or an emotion has gone beyond words, and just write some music and say, “Well, that sums it up”, I don’t think there’s any words necessary. At other times, words are totally necessary; if there’s an actual issue that’s happened or something you wanna discuss with yourself in songwriting then I’ll do that…”

The sonic storm front  from Robertson’s guitar arrives at the two and a half minute mark, exploding with controlled fury and then continuing to build, forming layer upon layer of gloriously distorted noise as it turns itself into something both hostile and embracing. It’s an utterly beautiful, wrenching song that I love listening to loud over and over again.

When I have seen this band live their structural noise fills the room and vibrates every atom as they tear a hole in the fabric of space and time, particularly with the amazing improv destruction ending to “Pets”. On a great night (and most Bad Sav performances in recent years have been great) the song ends like a universe of “Index of Metals”-era Robert Fripp guitar loops disintegrating as it is pulled into a black hole.