Posts Tagged ‘Digital Regress’

The Kiwi Animal – Music Media / Mercy

Digital Regress revive a pair of often overlooked New Zealand records from the duo of Brent Hayward and Julie Cooper, better known as The Kiwi Animal. Brent had roots in a couple of other NZ bands, most notably Shoes This High before he and Cooper brought their vision forward their unique take on acoustic pop in 1982. In antithesis to some of their contemporaries, the band didn’t adopt the jangled or bent punk styles that were more popular, but instead found footing in an emotionally bare, often politically leaning folk style that was both gentle and bracing simultaneously. Comparisons to The Vaselines are not without warrant, though The Kiwi Animal don’t often find themselves as cheeky as Kelly and McKee might.

Digital Regress packs up both the band’s debut, Music Media and its follow-up Mercy. The first embraces movement as well as experimentation, sliding from the radio-static dirge, “Radio One” into the sprightly (by their standards certainly) “Every Word is a Prayer.” Cooper has a way of hitting the listener in the heart, tugging at the bittersweet sighs on “Blue Morning.” The record is split between its impulses, but the band manages to pull it off without sounding scattered. Mercy finds itself in a starker place than its predecessor, creeping through the shadows and edged with an anxious energy that ditches notions of catchiness for art house experimentation that would mirror Brent’s foray into film, which would go on to include low-key releases Mudslinging (1984), Beat It (1986), Slick (1989), and his long simmering The Confessions of Johnny Barcode.

Both albums have been out of print for many years, with late ‘90s / early ‘00s editions showing up on German label Sonic Squid. Digital Regress has issued these in editions of 500 copies, with 100 of each on colored vinyl. Truly a portion of the Kiwi underground that needs to be revitalized and reissued. Get them while you can. Highly Recommended!

Support the artist. Buy it HERE.


EXEK – “Unetiquetted”

Aussie noisemakers EXEK are back with a new LP and a move from Superior Viaduct subsidiery W.25th Records to French post-punk outpost SDZ in Europe, Digital Regress in the US and Anti-Fade at home in Australia. The slinking “Unetiquetted” finds the band haunting the halls of a greasier vision of post-punk — dark, damaged, but still riding a groove that’s hard to ignore. The track is shrouded in a detached debauchery, exhaling cold confidence and oozing bile. The accompanying video in turn looks like staging a freaky dance party in the post-credits of ’90 first person players like DOOM. It’s a hypnotic pairing with the band’s strange magic. The new LP lands September 6th.

Support the artist. Buy it HERE, HERE or HERE.



Plenty of acerbic vibes wafting out of Oakland these days. Alongside equally ravaged post-punk releases from The World, Andy Human & The Reptoids, Rays, and No Babies, comes the debut from Preening. Just as sax slashed (if not more so) than their contemporaries in The World, Preening is chewing up post-punk and spitting it back on the dancefloor for the crowd to slip in. Their vision, while angular and infectious, is also confrontational in a way that many of their peers don’t come close to. While there’s a woolen irritation that gets under the skin with a band like Lithics, Preening are a whole other hairshirt to contend with. Think The Contortions backing Beefheart and we’re getting closer to the kernel that wrought ‘em. This is a record that’s built to batter and be battered by.

Gang Laughter pitches and fidgets in its seat, wads riffs into balls of wire and then, unprovoked, lobs them at the listener in the form of sax squalls and sandpapered epithets from vocalist Max Nordile. If a record could be described as sounding like a lack of sleep, then this is it. The record spins on its impulses – swinging wildly without planning but connecting with the razored wit of someone used to operating out of control and keenly in their element with hackles raised. Like most bursts of manic energy, the record doesn’t stick around long. No songs here bust the 2:30 barrier. Preening slash in, slide out and leave onlookers befuddled, bemused and bandaged, but changed all the same. My suggestion is to succumb to Gang Laughter. Let it wash over and poke at your liver for a heckled half-hour, there’s something freeing in letting go of the societal thread for a while.

Support the artist. Buy it HERE.


Sign up for the RSTB digest and receive a compact version of the best of Raven every two weeks.