Brought to you by The Corner and NZ On Air, Awesome Feeling 8 is an online event running through NZ Music Month 2014, culminating in the release of a free downloadable compilation of 12 New Zealand songs and the words written about them. Every couple of days, we’ll be posting streaming+downloadable tracks from emerging local artists, accompanied by artist and track profiles authored by Corner contributors.
A quick glance over this year’s Camp A Low Hum festival booklet revealed the usual array of overbearing and clingy self-writeups on the part of many bands included; others tried their best at a sort of coolly detached/displaced (but just sucked some hard shit instead). The entry for Christchurch band Log Horn Breed was direct: the pale face of Regina Walters, a 14 year-old American runaway whose photo was taken moments before her rape and murder by a serial-killer truck driver.
Uh, how quaint. Had it been captioned, it might’ve read something like “Isn’t that fucked up?” We don’t really need any clues as to what Log Horn are going for; a figure as highly-held as Steve Albini surely made the roadmap for this kind of band to follow. (A guy that LHB drool all over in the sonic sense.) The technique that got folks like him notorious were just like this — a spectacle of grizzly, a sideshow of either fearlessness or carelessness, and at its weakest, an open display of self-proclaimed cocklength.
LHB’s doing is more intriguing than their thinking – what business does a middle-aged stark raving dad have with a team of sourpuss tykes in all-black garb? God knows, but dad is pissed. He’d know — older generations might not get empathy, but sensitivity is sleeve-worn for them. That’s why baby boomers hate irony: they’re bummed out that they’re not in on the joke (and their target demographic knows it.) Any number of cutesy billboards for (fucking) alcohol will attest to the fact that self-reflexivity is perpetually missing its own point. Irony’s been co-opted like all fuck, and whenever that happens to an idea, there comes inconsistencies within, and voids of, actual self-belief.
But self-belief comes in buckets for LHB, in the kinda way that you’d go for a high five and get a handshake instead (actually happened to me twice). Lead singer Dean, in his something like 40s or 50s (fucked if I know), reportedly ditched his job and life to be a punk. Maybe it’s half a century late, and maybe I’m guiding an aimless rumour, but at least a like dude him might recall days when visiting a punk show could mean getting a hammer to the face. (Just remember that this is Christchurch we’re talking about). Pretty much the opposite of apathy, even if not a great one. Alas, I haven’t yet been beaten up or even anon-commented by these guys, so surely we can skip right to the music now:
Sufferers of chronic Steve Albinism they might be, but not a Travis Bean guitar is to be found in ‘They Know’. Rather, a direct-drive passage through 2:10 of cacaphonic puritanism. You wouldn’t be surprised to know that while on MP3 it sounds like monotonous ramblings, live it kinda feels like you’re at a weird kinda sermon. While Dean shrieks and waves his arms in a panic, like a desperate attempt to warn someone of something, the repetition just kinda pummels away until your fixation gives way to hypnosis – a trait not often found in rock music. You might not be able to hear ‘em too well, but the lyrics in ‘They Know’ insist that there is something to be known.