Brought to you by The Corner and NZ On Air, Awesome Feeling 7 is an online event running through NZ Music Month 2013, culminating in the release of a free downloadable compilation of 20 New Zealand songs and the words written about them. Each weekday for 20 days we’ll post streaming+downloadable tracks from emerging local artists, accompanied by artist and track profiles authored by Corner contributors.
Joe Sampson’s Melted Ice Cream collective/label, like all awesome dystopian tales, takes place in a setting of rubble and decay. Before February 2011, Dunedin had been done, Wellington was on too many drugs and Auckland had always just plain sucked. Christchurch, too, bored the shit out of us. Then, an earthquake: finally, the South Island gave lazy music writers everywhere something other than Flying Nun to write about.
Like body parts strewn across the post-apocalyptic city, Melted Ice Cream’s bands are hard to match to their owners. Even the music itself is scattered and varied in influences as well as sound. But the humbly pop-inspired Salad Boys (not to mention their videos) diplomatically hold the more electrifying bands together to the MIC core, as if the power of the band’s own restraint keeps curmudgeonly examples like the Dance Asthmatics and BnP from flying off.
Without even touching on his contribution to bands like T54, ’83 Girls and the aforementioned DAs – Did I mention Christchurch is really incestuous? – Joe Sampson, with the help of Ben Odering and James Sullivan, holds his own as a pop songwriter. Unfortunately, recorded music is too two-dimensional a thing. If writing could transcend time and space, I would give you the live experience in this blurb’s place. Onstage, Salad Boys breathe a magnetic kind of life, one that proves… well, it would be an understatement in itself to say that Salad Boys take their understatement seriously.
The simplicity of ‘Here’s No Use’ is not to be mistaken for disinterest. It glides by on its surfboard: a slide guitar line that later becomes a hushed prayer of a voice. The wave it rides is Joe Sampson, who, in song, crafts nuclear-capable hooks like “Can’t… you… SEEeeeee…” at 1:25; who, in real life, crafts his label on dead-format releases and a self-defining sense of humour (“The Feelers are shit, fuck them” -Aristotle). It’s hard to tell if Sampson, his label and his influences are a “fuck you” to the new or a “thank you” to the old, but in an age where not even college radio plays College Rock anymore, Salad Boys curiously peer into a parallel universe where “R.E.M. is better than the Beatles.”
Download previous Awesome Feeling compilations: