VARIOUS ARTISTS- How is the Air Up There? 80 Mod, Soul, Freakbeat Nuggets from Down Under

Album: How is the Air Up There?

Artist: Various Artists

Label: Cherry Red

Release Date: April 26, 2018


BY TIM “Dagger Zine” HINELY

 Whoah, now this is a thing of beauty! Just as the title say this is a 3-cd set of out there gems from New Zealand. As most of you longtime DAGGER and BLURT readers know, I have a love of all things New Zealand, at least musically, but my knowledge is mostly with the 80’s Flying Nun (and to a lesser extent the Xpressway) scenes. Who in the heck knew that those two little islands in the South Pacific had such a healthy garage rock scene?! I sure as heck didn’t.  Apparently after falling in love with The Beatles in the 60’s (who didn’t) the teens of New Zealand were also treated to visits by The Rolling Stones (twice, no less), The Kinks, The Pretty Things and others and the kids were hooked. Guitar shops began selling out of guitars and amps and every house that had a garage was turned into a mini recording studio and /or concert hall. So spread out over these three discs are 80 songs by 50 bands (spanning the years 1965-’69) and there is some truly righteous stuff on here.

I’ve got disc one in right now and I’m hearing the sweet , grungy sounds of The Breakaways doing “Woman” while other cuts that frizzed out my hair (in the best way possible) were swingin’ jams by the likes of  The Smoke –“No More Now”),  The La-De-Dah’s (who open up disc 1 up with the title track, “How Is the Air Up There?), Larry’s Rebels (with the Blue Cheer-ish  “Painter Man”), The Four Fours (with the floppy “Go Go”) and too many more.

Manu of those same bands show up on disc two including The Action  with “Dad by Day,” The Cossacks belting out the great “Ugly Thing” (I wonder if that is where Mike Stax got his name for his great magazine??) , The Roadrunners with the fabulous “A House in the Country” (listen to those guitars!), Judge Wayne & the Convicts with the real 50’s ish “Little Miss Rhythm & Blues” and plenty more. Hey, don’t forget about disc three where you’ll hear more memorable cuts from The Spectres, The Pleazers, Mr. Lee Grant, Tom Thumb, The Rayders, The Librettos, Concrete Lamb and plenty more.

DOWNLOAD:  “No More Now,” “How Is the Air Up There?,” “Painter Man,” “Go Go,” “Ugly Thing”



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