Cowboy Machine are from Christchurch and part of the wide (and wild) Melted Ice Cream Records family. As the name suggests this band is part cowboy (in the loosest sense of the word, which doesn’t involve prairies, horses, wide-brimmed hats, yodeling, or indeed cows) and part machine (in the rowdy guitar plugged into a noisy amp sense of the word). Here’s the emotionally cathartic “Sand Dunes”:

Cowboy Machine is guitarist and vocalist Mikey Summerfield (The Undercurrents), Marcus Winstanley (The Undercurrents, Minisnap) on bass, along with drummer Thomas Isbister and organ (not keyboard) player Josh Braden, the latter two formerly of the frenetic prog-noise merchants Butterflies Welcoming Spring and even more experimental Hermit Permit. Brian Feary (who else) recorded, produced and mastered the recording which is not unusual, but he does not also play in this band, which is unusual, as he plays in so many Christchurch groups.

Cowboy Machine sound more like an Australian guitar band than a New Zealand one, although Christchurch is the Australia of New Zealand in a way (or maybe just the Melbourne and Brisbane of NZ).

It appears a somewhat rough and tumble interpretation of what a city slicker might imagine “Country Music” should be, if played like rock music, but it’s not country punk or anything like that.

Instead there’s something immediately loveable (in a roguish charmer kind of way) about this song, maybe from the melodic flights it takes, or Mikey’s wild but sometimes extraordinary vocals (like when he does those falsetto parts), or the kind of Stoned tumbledown beauty of the guitar thrashing, or the combination of all these slightly ramshackle parts into a piece of oddly affecting soul music. It’s not the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses” but it’s a feral beast of it’s own peculiar NZ/ Australasian breed.

Cowboy Machine also appeared on the Melted Ice Cream compilation CD “Sickest Smashes From Arson City” a year of so back, with a song called “To The Border”. It’s another great ramshackle tune, and the video – which consists of Mikey and the band doing a lot of wandering around and pointing at things – is also a bit of loose’n’light fun in the Christchurch sun.