LAUGHING CLOUD RECORDS publishes text, music, occasional video & artwork.
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Also, the publication, after a five year silence, of “Fear Of Brilliance” – 5 more brilliantly fearful poems by Boris Worm.
The Merkins' WANGO BANGO reviewed by Grant Smithies, Sunday Star Times 27 Nov 2011 under "CD OF THE WEEK" (four stars):
Feisty mongrel has rough charm
This band has three main things going for it. One: Like The Ramones, all members have adopted the same surname – "Merkin", an Olde-English term for a pubic wig. Two: They live in Nelson like me, and can therefore expect a generous review so they don't thump me in the street. And three: Their press release is not only terrible but deliberately terrible, full of bogus quotes and claims that their sound is a distillation of "cowboy music, 21st century Caspian fishing shanties, proto-surf and civil war children's verse".
Singer/guitarist Terry Merkin furtively inserted the CD into my letterbox one night with a note promising "a lifetime supply of pear wine" if I bothered to listen to it, so I did. I was delighted to discover this six-song "mini album" is a ripper, brimming with unpolished garage rock/surf-punk energy – a feisty musical mongrel with the rough charm, suspect parentage and ripe aroma of a stray pooch rescued from the SPCA. Album highlight "Premonition" sounds like Tom Waits with a migraine, with a malevolent Bad Seeds chiming in on the choruses. This, of course, is a very good thing, which is more than can be said for that pear wine.
The following is the letter Laughing Cloud Records wrote to the Sunday Star Times in the hope of getting the Merkins' album WANGO BANGO reviewed:
the recently released smoke-signal-only mini album ”Wango Bango” from Nelson band The Merkins, that is: Terry Merkin, his father Leon, half brother & uncle Oliver, plus neighbour Rick Merkin (no relation), & not to be confused with the bona fide, original Merkins out of Illinois USA, fuses elements of Cowboy, 21st century Caspian fishing shanty, proto-Surf, Punk & civil war children’s verse.
Recorded at Mohawk Cars New & Used, the six songs of ”Wango Bango” reek of a garage heroism, a half-borrowed incantationism aboard a visigothic influx of fossilised pear wine. Influenced by prog-cajun paranoia, the symbolism of symbols & their own practice sessions, The Merkins blithely refuse to pigeonhole their music, asserting instead that “We know what we is. We jus dunno what we aint.”
Playing ‘live’ The Merkins descend ghost-like within the preordained cracks littering respectable riot-free suburban concrete porches everywhere to mine a molten hoodwinking of future regret, a seismic stubble; the incestuous rhythms & cathartic membranous screams of unsquashable magic.
Says singer & guitarist Terry: “The wild persiflagious merkinisms attendant to the private foot-rubbings of teenage bravettes represent a mundane glory, a semi-disassociation of lyricity steeped in itself, a truly false leonine wholistic armed with the epic minutiae of a global demo, a cicada-like sense of self importance, if you will, before ever-approaching headlights.”
Adds bassist Oliver: “Like when you repeat a word over & over, it loses its meaning & just becomes funny-sounding.”
The rest of the band are mute.
A history of The Merkins’ inception can be found in Terry ‘Two Fingers’ – an ebook by TJ Monkley available free at laughingcloudrecords.com
I would appreciate any feedback you can give me regarding “Wango Bango” as we at Laughing Cloud Records, having forked out for the recording, are now confused by the band’s seeming lack of commitment to sound marketing principles.
On a personal note, I was truly sad to discover a few months ago that you are no longer writing the music reviews for the Sunday Star Times exactly as before. Your majestic whole page reviews made my Sunday. Nevertheless, if you could see your way to the wangling of a halfway decent review for the above mini album (regardless of its worth), I can assure you I am in a position to have delivered to you a lifetime’s supply of pear wine which, although undrinkable, is perfectly serviceable as a fuel for your lawnmower.
Yours sincerely etc