Various Artists Four Stars (****)

24th March 2022

Michael's Pick

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Format Info

LP - black vinyl

Almost like the Wellington, New-Zealand version of Buntingford’s Long Playing Record, Four Stars (often called ****) finds lesser names of the Wellington scene recorded in fine form in 1980.

Like their English counterparts, there’s enough charisma and charm in this one small city than is humanly possible or fair. Beat Rhythm Fashion sound a little like Pere Ubu or Mission Of Burma, while Life In The Fridge Exists feel like they’ve lost the Kiwi sun and discovered their goth but in that way in 1980 that it wasn’t so cliched and codified yet. Naked Spots Dance are bordering on No Wave, all single string guitars and Y-Pants, cluttering percussion with a pissed off sounding female vocal under threat of being smothered by the doomy band.

A holy grail item amongst deep NZ collectors, the **** comp was pretty much rare right outta the gate back in 1980. Released on the legendary Sausage label (Six Impossible Things, anyone?) in a minuscule edition of 250, most copies never made it out of Wellington. **** documents the city’s ‘Terrace Scene’, which is one way of saying these bands bear zero relation to either the Gordons or Shoes This High. 13 tracks found nowhere else & offer up a fantastic snapshot of a phenomenal DIY scene most people never knew existed. Naked Spots Dance & Beat Rhythm Fashion would go on to release records, but the efforts here are my favorite. Wallsockets clock in w/3 tracks & make you wonder, is there more? Life In The Fridge Exists may be familiar to some from their inclusion of Bruce Russell’s ‘and the maggots dance’ podcast & that track (+1 one other) is included here.

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