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Newsletter Issue #172: 02 Mar 2008

Our newsletters are sent out once a fortnight and are displayed here for archival purposes only. Some of the content will be outdated and some layout issues may be present in the translation from email to the web. We recommend that you subscribe to our newsletter for the best results!

Feature: Action Man Records

AMR is an independly owned New Zealand record label. The label started as a distro in 2003, when Rhydian built a website to put out a friend's record, and over the years it has grown like a benign but stressful tumour. The label is based in Wellington and has an important place in organizing shows here and throughout the country. We also keep in contact with some wonderful people in Australia and this helps with distribution and touring. HOW TO: BASTARD is the promoter name for AMR touring. The AMR webstore operates as a low-markup shop for NZ and Australian music.

Currently the label is home to Strangers and The Wrongmen, both of which are profiled below. They have also recently launched a new website. Rhydian Thomas, the manager of Action Man Records, has the following to say about the new website:

The new site is finished. The basic idea is that it's easy to use, nothing too difficult to manage, and it looks ok. With the addition of the new site you will find:

  • 2007 IN REVIEW: an end of year feature, Top 5s from AMR friends/bands/associates
  • New STRANGERS MP3 download ("With Faces Like the Backs of Thumb Tacks")
  • ARCHIVE of past features and interviews
  • Updated shop stock with a bunch of new distro stuff (heaps of leftover STRANGERS, THE WRONGMEN shirts, Aussie punk and hardcore, NZ demos etc)
  • A "Media" section for collected downloads (this will be further updated)
  • An "Info" section on distribution, FAQs, and a brief history of the label
  • Updated pressing info for releases
  • And some other stuff (possibly some dead links)

There's a lot to be said for 2007: most of which is covered in the downright cynicism of most responses to the 'Top 5 Best and Worst Things of 2007' by all of AMR's lovely associates. But there is much, much more to be said for what's coming on the label in 2008. I have a number of new projects to unveil for the year, as well as a good deal of touring and other self-indulgence. But for now, let's get this goddamn site working and I will resume normal monthly updates which shall reveal much more.

Action Man Records website: www.actionmanrecords.com

If you would like your band or organisation to feature in our newsletters, please get in touch with Lisa on [email protected].



What is the best gig/event you have ever performed at, and why?

For me, last year's show with The Wrongmen and Smashin' Off at The Schooner in Auckland was particularly good for some reason. The show with Pisschrist and Crux at Valve last year was also pretty good. I never seem to remember the good ones.

What is your favourite NZ venue?

Arc Café in Dunedin was great, despite the noise complaints that seem to follow us like a plague. Valve in Wellington has its charms too, as does the Yellow Sub in Hamilton. Basically anywhere that doesn't treat musicians as a source of revenue and are supportive of live music, and are not just concerned with bar sales.

What can we expect to see from Strangers over the next year?

We're off on an Australian tour in April, and then we'll start work on our next record, which will be a 7" with 5 or 6 songs on it. Then we have another NZ tour with an Australian act, and some other things.

What other NZ musicians or bands would you like to see more of, and why?

Basically there are a couple of NZ bands worth mentioning who deserve far more attention than they get. But that seems to be the nature of the so-called NZ music press, who seem to shun anything even vaguely 'heavy'. But off the top of my head, I'm looking forward to more things from DIAL, RIFLES, SMASHIN' OFF, THE WRONGMEN, NEON BASTARD, SCAB, BIRCHVILLE CAT MOTEL, BLACK BONED ANGEL, KNIFE FIGHT. There might be more that I've forgotten.

If you could, what rumour would you start about yourselves?

That we are in fact coffee-drinking, scarf-wearing, Godard-watching losers, but we still beat up The Rabble. And we killed the radio star, not video.

What advice would you like to give to other aspiring musicians?

Don't listen to anyone.

Website Links:

muzic.net.nz Profile
Official Website
MySpace Profile
Action Man Records Profile


The Wrongmen

The Wrongmen’s 2006 debut full-length, 'Den of Vipers' was certainly an anomaly amongst New Zealand’s punk and metal releases of the year, combining elements of both modern and mature influences to produce a furiously original record that is partnered only by the equally intense live show. The record showcased an almost vintage layering of dense coatings of distorted guitar and guttural bass over the frantic beating of drums, with vocals mixed instrumentally into the beat.

This 7”, however, is certainly not more of the same. When opener “So Wrong” finally hits, be prepared for the band at their most chaotic yet; spiraling in and out of pure frenzy before fluently sliding into their trademark stoner-rock influenced riffs. “Sprayed” gives another side altogether of the band, mixing memorable and melodic guitar and bass lines with a ferocious d-beat backbone that brings to mind bands like The Holy Mountain and Tragedy. The b-side is a cover of The Stooges’ “1970”, but you’d be forgiven for not hearing this through the distortion and darkness that The Wrongmen add to the punk classic. The track is certainly not a run-of-the-mill cover and it exists as a work of its own.

All in all, the nightmarishly hallucinogenic artwork hides a depth of maturity that sees The Wrongmen moving effortlessly from fury to sedation and back. Oh, and this is of course a 7” record, just the way this music should be heard.

The Wrongmen have now officially broken up, but they have a 7" split with Neon Bastard due out mid-2008.

Website Links:

muzic.net.nz Profile
Official Website
Action Man Records Website


What's New!

New Artists

The following new artists have been added to muzic.net.nz during the past week. Check them out:

Legacy of Disorder Fighting The Shakes
Shades, The Gills, The
Flying Solo Pig Out!
City Liquor Band Neckstretchers
Haluciagea Mesmer
LA Mitchell Eyce

Next Issue

Our next issue features Just One Fix and White Birds and Lemons!


The Orientation feature in our last newsletter contained a small error - the link to the information for the Auckland University of Technology was pointing to the wrong place. The correct links for the orientation information for the Auckland University of Technology are:



The winners of the New Zealand Fringe Festival for 2008 have just been announced. The New Zealand Fringe Festival is an annual Wellington based event taking place over three weeks, encompassing acts from all corners of the New Zealand creative arts community. Check out the full article here:

Biggest Fringe Ever Closes, Winners Announced

Please get out there and support New Zealand music by going to a gig this week - even if it's a free one! Have a great night out and cheer our talent on!


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