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XPRESSWAY were the darker, more experimental record label cousin of New Zealand’s Flying Nun. Operating out of Port Chalmers  on the South Island, Xpressway was originally a late 80s/early 90s cassette label and later branched into singles and LPs. They were a real cult taste there for a while, putting out early moody, shape-shifting sounds from the Dead C, Alastair Galbraith, the Terminals and more.

This ad came from Siltbreeze magazine #6 around 1990 or so. (Yes, before Siltbreeze was a raunched-out music fanzine before it was a label). Tom Lax from Siltbreeze was probably Xpressway’s biggest US-based champion; I’d certainly never heard of the label before he started yakking about them and running cool ads like this one.

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TIMES NEW VIKING have a brand-new EP out. They’re back on Siltbreeze, now wizened in the ways of harmony, hooks, subtlety and New Zealand-style restrained washes of jangle and distortion. The EP, which to be sure I’ve only listened to once since I bought it yesterday, continues the march in these directions that was codified on their “Dancer Equired” LP last year.

Take a listen to “Middle Class Drags” and see what you think.

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Over the years I’ve penned a handful of liner notes that have ended up on records and compact disc recordings. With one exception, this was unpaid work, for which I was exceptionably happy to work for “free”. I’ve got an ego like anyone else, but I also am happy to lend my name and purple prose to a release by a band or label I’m smitten with. 

Maybe you have some of these in your collection. Take a look inside or on the back. I might be looking back at ya.

  • CHEATER SLICKS – “Refried Dreams”
  • MUDHONEY – “Superfuzz Bigmuff 25th Anniversary Edition”
  • THE BETTER BEATLES – “Mercy Beat”
  • SILTBREEZE RECORDS – “Tard N’ Furthered” compilation
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Thanks to Chris for getting this into my hands….

“For the majority of newbie Flying Nun collectors, The Max Block’s eponymous (and only) 12-inch release is more myth than fact. Few seemed to have been pressed, and even fewer were available in the brief window of time (mid-’80s) when it was “around.” Unknown until very recently was that a second EP had been recorded and slated for release by Flying Nun but never realized. Air Ache in the Belly of the Leech is a compendium of both, and thus the complete recorded works of The Max Block. You’re welcome.

Some background: The Max Block is where Maryrose (née Wilkinson) and Brian Crook—now the power couple behind The Renderers—joined forces for the first time. Maryrose was coming out of Above Ground, and Brian out of Scorched Earth Policy. With the enlisted talents of Rebecca Shanahan and Robbie Stowell, The Max Block pushed different boundaries than other active Christchurch bands at the time; they came out slinging a brain-splattering goo of art-spaced, Pere-Ubu-seared cerebellum, and frenetic, Mars-fried medula oblongata. Such tantalizing aromas! Pardon me, garçon, but make mine deux.

Bottom line, Siltbreeze is proud to make available this remarkable and awesome collection, much of it seeing the light of day for the first time ever. Edition of 500.”