Hard News by Russell Brown


Home Brewed

It was fitting -- if basically incidental to the event -- that New Zealand Music Month month kicked off this week with a local music phenomenon. Home Brew's debut double album wasn't meant to be released until tomorrow, but it popped up on the iTunes Store on Monday -- and, with the help of a bunch of pre-orders, went straight to the top of the local iTunes chart. We'll see if it can do the same trick on the national sales charts.

It deserves to. Home Brew by Home Brew is the funnier, funkier and sometimes darker and angrier successor to Tom Scott's alternative project, @Peace (about which I think I have raved quite enough). If Tom got paid by the word he wouldn't be singing about being on a benefit. This thing is jammed with them.

"We're going to Hell for this one ..." he murmurs at the beginning of 'Good God' before addressing God himself:

Hey yo, what up bro-ski?

Long time no see

So what's the go, G? OD?

It's been a minute since I seen you round at my place

So what's with all the mind games?

Shit bro, for Christ's sake

You ain't even got the time to chat?

Fuck, we're burnin' up down here

You couldn't even write me back. How th' act?

These are serious days

Don't gimme all that shit about you workin' in mysterious ways

That's some bumper-sticker bullshit 

For fools who believe in lies

And spend their rent payin' 10 per cent weekly tithes

Why you fuck around fucking other people's lives?

Tunin' in to people's lives like it's fuckin' CSI

All-seeing eye like some perverse super-spy

Watchin' decent people die tryin' to get their piece of pie

Dyin' for some equal rights, dyin' for some Pizza Bites

How you fuckin' sleep at night, you motherfucker?

Jesus Christ

He spits it all out over a deep, rolling piano groove and gospel vocal injections by Hollie Smith and Tyna Keelan. It's a remarkable track.

That's from the 'Dark' disc, which also includes '55 Stories', a disturbing, vivid first-person suicide narrative with a twist at the end that includes these lines:

And I don't even recognise my own reflection

Catch my eyes in a shop window

And there ain't no connection

I guess that I ain't even someone I trust

The other disk, the 'Light' side, is where the party's at, but it's as disarmingly frank in its own way. "Shit, coke killed a coupla people -- but this killed the dinosaurs," he trills with Lui Tuisai on 'Datura/White Flowers'.

Home Brew are, somewhat inevitably, having a party to launch their record. It's in an unused brothel and it starts at 10am on Saturday and runs till 7am on Monday. They do like a party. It is probably good for my health that I'll be away in Wellington celebrating Fiona's birthday.

You can buy the album here on Amplifier, here on iTunes or in your local record store. You can also pick up their "takeover" issue of Volume magazine, which is, as previously noted, the final issue of APN's music mag, which deserved better.

Meanwhile here's their idea of an ad for the album:

And an actual music video -- 'Plastic Magic', featuring Esther Stephens:


Also freshly out, an album from Blair Parkes' one-man project Saturations. It's a great big, fuzzy ball of psychedelic goodness:

You can buy the album for $9.90 (or more) on Bandcamp. I know I did.

In my view, spending 10 bucks on this album is a lot better than buying a drink at The Whiskey.


Also available in a busy week: the new Street Chant single 'Frail Girls'/'Salad Days', ahead of the album they recorded at Roundhead.

The Corner music blog has again taken up the task of the old Real Groove magazine's influential underground talent compilation Awesome Feeling and begun posting tracks from artists who ain't famous yet. There are individual tracks here and I gather the whole zip file lands at The Corner at the end of the month.

A free mixtape (yes - really!) from the Alexander Turnbull Library. You can find a download link here (although with the Creative Commons licence geekery) and stream it from Soundcloud here.

And last but not least, a brilliant Music Month collection at NZ On Screen, which includes excerpts and extras from the new Shihad documentary, Beautiful Machine and a welter of archive titles, including two sides of 1978: Neil Roberts' 1978 Eyewitness report on punk rock and the Ready to Roll New Zealand Record Awards.

Best of all, the accompanying notes are by Chris Bourke.


Actually not quite last. David Cohen exposed me to the following horror -- a cover of U2's 'Beautiful Day' performed on the British talent show The Voice by Will.I.Am, Tom Jones, Jessie J and a number of other people who should have known better. NME proposed it as it the worst cover version in history, while David describes it as "harrowingly watchable".

Music is dead.

But perhaps you can revive it by posying your own clips. As ever -- just paste in the YouTube long link and the video will automatically embed in your comment.

FYI, we have a new built-in comments player coming soon -- it'll be mobile and HTML5-friendly, work with both YouTube and Vimeo links and offer (ahem) advanced features like full-screen and shit.

Go for it.

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