DON'T BOTHER US - Los Hories (Off the Hip)
Just when you think someone's got this Headcoatees/Oblivians/Mummies thing down pat, this bunch of upstart New Zealanders come along and give the whole sack of shit a thorough kicking. Los Hories administer the work-over via a five-track EP and it deserves your full and undivided attention.

If "Guilty" isn't the best chunk of '60s-derived detritus I've heard this year I'll give up and listen to Boyszone or (gulp) Barnesy. Baron Aaron Lost throws tinny chords and distorto vocals out over a wonderfully clunky back-beat and handclaps, and the song sticks like shit to a baby blanket. The greasiness of the harmonica playing is probably down to excessive drooling, but rabies will do that to humans.

The other four cuts aren't inconsequential either. "Don't Bother Me" is a browbeaten twanger, "Fumes" a singsongy moan that could be the theme song for one of the Pretty Things falling down the back stairs. "Don't Bother Me" has enough "fuck you/I can't be fucked" attitude to put you and another dozen miscreants like you squarely in your place.

EPs are a dying format we're told. Fuck that for a joke. If you like the putrid stuff then grab a copy of this lo-fi gem, post haste, and give it the thrashing it deserves.

Just goes to show that album wasn't a fluke. - The Barman



WHAT'S THE TIME - Los Hories (Off the Hip)
Not from South America but a bunch of garage gringos in sheep's clothing from New Zealand. Leaving aside the geography, if you like your music living in the same stylistic neighbourhood as as The Flakes, The Pink Fits or Los Chicos, this is the band for you.

There is no subtlety here but then it's not required. A pounding backbeat is laid down with brute force while big booming bass and throaty guitar blast out a pulsing roar. Singer Daron Aaron Lost does a credible number behind the mic without attracting the Idol talent scouts. Just as we like it.

Some local antecedents (Grande Cobra and The Blunt) point to these guys being old hands at this game. Auckland can be a tough town but I think they'd know how to handle themselves on the mean streets. They'd look really out of place at any of the yuppy nightspots that line Viaduct Harbour but then again so do I.

There are 11 tracks for your musical perusal, some with a soulful streak peeking through the paintwork. An exception is "Queenie" which employs an extreme fuzz edge, while "Nothing's Wrong" is pop wearing a knuckleduster. And it swings that sucker very effectively. Sing along in the remand wing. "Bleed For You" uses cleaner tones and a new wave riff but if it's lighter in touch it's only by degrees. There's that soulful streak inthe chorus.

Brevity is an underrated art form and most of these selections clock in around the 3min mark. Ideal if you have ADHD.

Producer Boss Christ (apparently a one-man country music explosion in his own right) laid this onto tape in an abandoned Scottish marching band hall it's said, over four days in March. That's Budget Rock, Kiwi-style, and its sound matches the playing i.e. vibrantly lo-fi. That was a compliment.

I've long had the feeling that New Zealand was keeping some dark secrets (other than Prime Minister Helen Clark) and this album vindicates that view. Let's hope it opens the gates. I think I like their bands better than their rugby union team. Or their DB Bitter.

The band's already done one hit-and-run trip to Australia and are cranking up for a higher profile sweep through in September '08 when they'll play more gigs with like-minded bands like the aforementioned Pink Fits. - The Barman