Voodoo Rhythm Records is well known for its long tradition of working with select bands and singer-songwriters from underground music scenes around the world. For the label’s latest release, Voodoo Rhythm founder Beat-Man teamed up with Dylan Herkes, otherwise known as The Mysterious Tapeman, and his independent cassette label and film production company Stink Magnetic to give us a seventeen-song compilation featuring the best of New Zealand’s obscure rock’n’roll and garage punk artists. Titled Wolf Party on account of the theme running throughout the album—werewolf sounds from the New Zealand underground—one can most definitely howl at the moon to this one.
Wolf Party begins with the reverberating notes and slow stomp of Boss Christ’s wolf-a-billy instrumental “Swamp Wolf.” Slim Chants follows with “Dogone,” a dirty rock’n’roll piece with country swagger and more than a couple of mock canine sounds in the mad vocal delivery. “Litany of the Oceans, pt 1” by Full Fucking Moon is akin to high-pitched female vocals put to a transistor radio with bad reception, an organ, and a few effects which bring to mind sci-fi B movies. “Mermaids Ride UFOs” by Christchurch’s own Bad Evil isn’t just one of my personal favorites on the record but is also drenched in old distortion and marked by echoing vocals…an awesome garage punk offering. Masked trio The Damned Evangelist—Poster Boy, El Ritmo Muerte and The Tone Ranger—give us “La Maldicion del Lobo,” a song that is equal parts surf and stomp, rock and billy, heaven and hell. Next up is “Foggy Harbour,” a strange and haunting instrumental from one of my favorite singer-songwriters and world troubadours Delaney Davidson (check out his Self Decapitation and Bad Luck Man albums from Voodoo Rhythm).
“Beat it with a Rock” by Voodoo Savage & His Savages is a true garage punk rager. Knife Fight’s “Woof Woof Woof” is filthy six-string chord frenzy, drum pounding, screaming piece of noise punk. Tape Man’s contribution, the instrumental “Thirteen,” can only be described as spaghetti western meets a dose of garage and dusty desert-billy. Double Ya D, clearly New Zealand’s answer to America’s Atom and His Package, is included on the comp with his electro rap punk song “Wolf Fight Tonight.” “The Claw” by The Don Kings begins with distorted low-end and quickly moves into flowing six-string notework and a solid rock’n’roll beat, with a few lines of distorted, unintelligible vocals. “Moonlight” by The Wrongdoings, simply put, is a sultry blues rock arrangement with sexy female vocals. Pro Drag’s “Hot Dog” loaded with fuzzed-out garage rock action. And “Diamondo” by The Chandeliers rounds out this collection perfectly with an instrumental full of surf-a-billy drumming, keys, and distorted bass.
Wolf Party—New Zealand Werewolf Sounds from Stink Magnetic—is available from Voodoo Rhythm Records on LP or CD. And for this one Voodoo Rhythm altered their usual label motto of “Records to Ruin Any Party” to “Perfect for Your Next Werewolf Party.” Very fitting.