Sunday, September 10, 2017

Nux Vomica (1985-88)

More obscure Chch! Nux Vomica were an early project of Lawrence Kennett and Lisa Preston, later of The Portage.  Kennett's first band, The Droogs, released one single around 1981 on cassette, 'Fuck Your Brain', which was re-pressed on vinyl in 2005 (under the name The Pitts).  Kennett stepped back from music for a bit but has recently begun playing again with other Garden City refugees now resident in Dunedin: Bob Cardy and Mick Elborado. Preston continues to perform, with bands such as Snort and Loliners. Bassist Phillip Hubbard disappeared from the scene in the early 90s, and drummer Chris Small died last year.

Nux Vomica - My Life To Live/T.V. Producer (1985)

This 7-inch is quite crackly but so what -- it's p*nk as f*ck. 'My Life To Live' sounds like one take, live in the studio, with some telephone-mic vocal overdubs -- slurred'n'shouty, organ'n'bass, grotty staccato garage. 'TV Producer' might be brutally tape-spliced from several takes, with different EQs and mic placements, giving the whole thing a nicotine-stained short-of-breath live-reptile-show caveman-minimalism drive.

Recorded and co-produced by The Axemen's Steve McCabe.

I Know What'll Sell

Nux Vomica - Live '85 - '87 (1988)

Recorded at the Gladstone, in Motueka and Takaka, and in rehearsal.

Heaps more guitar on this (if there was any on the single, it was totally inaudible) -- smoky, speed-thrilling, raw cuts from the Gladstone:  'Adoption', 'My Life To Live', and the Very Metal 'Gnome'.

Two songs from this -- 'Sin' and 'Swamp Dream' -- were re-recorded with The Portage on the Thirteen; Thirteen twelve-inch. 'Sin' and seven-inch A-side 'TV Producer' get roisterous in Takaka with Alan Wright on sax skronkings. The 'Swamp Dream' live rehearsal is murky-as motorik, like Sister Ray gets stripped-down and sweaty. Acoustic duet 'Good Things' could be a Kiwi Animal outtake. A couple tracks are just simple snippets of the best parts: 'Keeps on Coming' --which feels snotty and primitive like The Stones [NZ] -- starts suddenly, cuts abruptly.

Their originals are the best bits, but the tape finishes with a couple of covers of Lou Reed and The [Rolling] Stones.

[Note: There is a noisy tape glitch toward the end of the heavy, heavy, psych-groove 'Iron Pineapple'. I've done my best to splice the sound together. Not sure if the original tape was recorded that way (à la The Puddle's live records) or due to deterioration from earthquake liquefaction residue.]

Rough as guts, fucked up and sweet, familiar and a bit of strange. Highly recommended.

If I Kill You In My Passion

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