Freaky Meat
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ALBUM REVIEWS
FREAKY MEAT: Delicatessen
By Ania Glowacz

Having released a couple of singles, an EP (‘Late Night Kebab’), last year and played various traps around Auckland, Freaky Meat now present their debut album, a spoken word production inspired by the likes of Gil Scott Heron and Captain Beefheart, referencing things like Charles Bukowski and numerous geographical locations around NZ. If you have literary leanings, or have seen this band perform live, it’ll all make perfect sense. The band comprises beat poet Shane Hollands, guitarist John McNab, drummer James Percy and Rod Redgrave on bass – Freaky Meat have chosen their moniker well. The opener on this 11-track album, Doors On The Bus Beat, is exactly that, a narrative over a reggae beat. Stolen Kisses follows, poetry over a funky backbeat and jazzy doodlings. Created almost entirely at The Rock Factory, there are no vocals and the music is a mix of jazz, blues, rock, a bit of reggae, double bass and some nice sax lines. There’s no attempt to break into any singing and the voiceover style is fairly flat and even, though the word play is quite funny and clever at various turns. It’s poetry in musical motion, an acquired taste. Highlights include Zombie Xmas Hams and My Poetry Is An Alcoholic Pit Bull In A Bad Mood. - NZ Musician Magazine


Freaky Meat: Delicatessen (Bright Yellow Beetle Records)

On what has already been described as "one of the unlikeliest liaisons -- in a musical sense -- that you're ever likely to find" (John Brinkman, Groove Guide), Freaky Meat pull together ragged-edge performance poet (Shane Hollands) and a funk-rock rhythm section.

It's a debut album which will be something of a revelation for those who haven't heard similar predecessors in this sparsely populated genre where spoken word-meets-music (Rod Bridgman and David Eggleton among them).

As with many such spoken word projects (and rap when it comes to that), you sense the desperate need for an editor or at least someone to say, "What?"

How do we interpret lines like these in Lies, Lies and Bloody Lies? "We fake like child prodigies, the Pablo Picassos of untruth. I paint Surrealist landscapes to juxtapose my Cubist intent, it has nothing to do with you . . . ."

Yep, sometimes this is just saying stuff and filling out space/time before the wah-wah pedal or rock textures take over. And at times -- especially when Hollands has such an interesting Kiwi vernacular most of the time -- he adopts some John Cooper Clarke style or American enunciation. He's just finding his voice I guess.

But much of this is actually very interesting for a first outing and he unashamedly grounds himself in the local environment: Te Henga in Storm is a more considerred piece (musically and in its poetry): "I slice the golden river of sand rushing out to Te Henga's spume-driven sea and marvel at gulls fighting against an impossible westerly blow which lifts the raging stream up. I have lost an inch of my face I am sure, as I fight out the angry edge, wind-whipped sea from the chaos of ocean . . ."

Okay, he loses the earthy sensibility when he gets into "primordial creatures unseen by our eye-sight's sight-seeing, genomes and DNA minute", but that is just down to that necessary editing process.

Fear and Loathing Leaving Roto-Vegas (a title which encompasses at least three pop-culture references) opens with a grunty metallic power chord grind and gets off to a terrific start: "I was walking, I was dumb thumbing my way to Motueka and cursing because it was stormy brewing and all the jack-in-boxes are fresh out of Auckland and nobody was stpping for rides . . ."

And of course he is picked up by a beautiful angel in a convertible who rolls a spliff and then he references Hunter S Thomson and later Kerouac (of course). Yes, this is maybe referenced in others' styles and so forth, but that doesn't change the fact you hope Freaky Meat keep this project together for more.

Time will tell how this poet-meets-music thing works out for them (right now there's a bit of HLAH + Sam Hunt) but there's enough promise to make you hope it does.

By Graham Reid, posted Sep 27, 2011 - Elsewhere (Graham Reid)


Jazzed up poetry a hit for Freaky Meat
STEPHEN FORBES
20/09/2011

WILD SOUNDS: Shane Hollands' love of mixing beat poetry with music is alive and well on his band Freaky Meat's debut album.

Eclectic band Freaky Meat has a reputation for producing a wild and varied sound.

And with its mix of spoken poetry, jazz fusion, rock and psychedelic music it's bound to stand out.

The band released its debut album Delicatessen this month and frontman Shane Hollands says he's pleased with the end product.

"We've really been able to push the boundaries with the album, even compared to what we've done in the past," he says.

The band will kick off a 11-date tour of the country in November to promote its new release.

The Glen Eden resident first started mixing poetry with music purely by chance.

He was a regular at open mic nights around the city where he would go to read some of his creations.

"I'd just put out a book of my poetry at the time," he says.

Audience members suggested he head to a local jazz bar and hook up with some of the musicians.

He followed their advice and the mix of his word play with the jazzy improvised music worked.

Mr Hollands ended up joining forces with the same musicians to form Freaky Meat in 2003. The band includes guitarist John McNabb, drummer James Percy and bass player Rod Redgrave.

Freaky Meat has become a regular around west Auckland, regularly performing at venues including Lopdell House and at this month's Going West Books and Writers Festival.
- Western Leader - Western Leader (Fairfax Media NZ)


Freaky Meat - Delicatessen Album Review
13 SEP 2011 // A REVIEW BY ALISTAR3000

What do you get when you combine the drummer and guitarist of the Tutts with a jazz poet (not to mention a funky as bass player)? It’s not a joke but the punch line is Freaky Meat.

To be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect when I received their new album Delicatessen in the mail. It sounded a bit, well, arty for me. And it was a bit, but that’s okay because it works, as long as you don’t approach this as a “traditional” music album and throw away your preconceived ideas of verse-bridge-chorus-verse top 40 hits.

It’s full of twists and turns, and moves seamlessly between jazz, rock and funk, reminding me sometimes of Howard Shore’s score for the movie of William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch - which is apt, given the bands’ self-imposed “beat” label. I was a big fan of beat literature and jazz as a teenager, so once I got my head around what the band was doing I got right into it.

Most of the time their approach to songwriting works; the band know their stuff and play well together, while vocalist/poet Shane Hollands espouses his poetic experiences over the top. There were moments where I wondered where the chorus was, before remembering that these cats don’t roll that way, although The Lament of Paris did feature a chorus of sorts (and was the standout track for me).

The lyrics/poems cover pretty ordinary life experiences, but the phrasing and the calibre of writing elevate it to the point where even a trip on a bus seems like an important, possibly life changing, event.

This isn’t something you’d put on when you just want to chill out to some tunes, but if you like to delve a bit deeper into your music and are prepared to think of this more as poetry set to music then I think you’d better give this album a listen. - www.muzic.net.nz


LIVE REVIEW: FREAKY MEAT
01 MAR 2011
Freaky Meat - who or what is Freaky Meat? Well, take two members of the now defunct Tutts, throw in a dangerously funky bass player and...

...and then add performance poet Shane Hollands. How did these guys ever meet each other? This is one of the unlikeliest liaisons - in a musical sense - that you’re ever likely to find but like a few lucky, unlikely unions, this one actually works rather well.

Shane looks like perhaps he could be an advertising account exec down on his luck in a bad market eighteen months into the double-dip recession. Whatever, the man is one very clever manipulator of those things we all take so much for granted - words. And those words come from all sorts of interesting places and describe all sorts of unusual and occasionally outer-worldy people and experiences, and they’re pitched from the viewpoint of someone who doesn’t - from the outside - seem to have had an easy life. They’re delivered in an easy going ‘jazz beat poetry’ style that takes a bit of getting used to, but then seems to fit as naturally as ...well, as Shane’s old battered hat.

Playing behind him, the band is as tight as an unmarried Scotsman at the bar on payday. Led by the smooth, jazzy guitar grooves of John McNabb, and locked down by the frighteningly funky bass of Rod Redgrave and the classy, economical and well-measured drumming of James Percy, the band is fluid, and the sound well balanced in this extremely intimate setting. The music - written as it is to provide an atmospheric backdrop to spoken poetry - is melodic, catchy, unpredictable and never perfunctory or obvious. Every song is immaculately and lovingly crafted, full of unexpected time shifts, key changes, unusual instrumental vignettes and they seem to reference everything from Jim Hall and Pat Metheny to ...Pantera? There’s some really interesting stuff happening in some of these songs, sneaking in the back door like a fourteen year old school kid after a night of illicit drinking. Check out ‘Coffee Ambulance’ from their recently released EP. James tells me in between sets, “This is our creative outlet where we all do what we really love doing” - and it surely shows.

Throughout the evening’s two sets Shane keeps up a friendly, off-beat banter with the audience, recounting a story (among many others) about the band getting thrown out of a West Coast pub because their music “wasn’t what you’re supposed to play in pubs”, and then watching as the entire crowd (with the possible exception of the unmarried Scotsman) trooped out after them in protest. “This is another true story...” he frequently began. Well here’s a true story - if you don’t make a point of catching these guys play sometime - you’re missing out, plain and simple.

Posted by John Brinkman - Groove Guide NZ


Discography

2011

Delicatessen (Début Album)
The Lament Of Paris (Single)

2010

Late Night Kebab (Début EP)
Single: Monkey Shines (Début Single)

Photos

Bio

Combine elements of Jazz, Funk, Rock and Metal with leading beat-speak vocal styles inspired by Jack Kerouac, C. R. Avery, Gill Scot Heron and Captain Beefheart and you get Auckland-based Beatspeak Innovators: Freaky Meat.

Their performance will capture you with mesmerizing narratives of life, travels, experiences and people with front man, premiere Auckland beat-poet Shane Hollands, drawing from his most diverse, exciting and personal adventures.

The band showcases the sophisticated musical styles of accomplished musicians John McNab (guitar), James Percy (drums), and Rod Redgrave (bass), who create the intricately developed musical backdrops that set the scene for each tale.

You may have experienced Freaky Meat live supporting the likes of Andrew Fagan and The People, Black Sand Diva and The Neo-Kalashnikovs. They have also performed live on Kiwi FM's 31 Bands in a Box, at Auckland University Orientation and featured twice at Titirangi Music Festival and Prana New Year’s Festival, Coromandel.

In 2010 they released their single 'Monkey Shines' and the follow-up EP: 'Late Night Kebab'. In 2011, Freaky Meat released the single 'Lament of Paris' and their debut album ‘Delicatessen’ which inspired a successful 13 date November tour around New Zealand.

Delicatessen Reviews:

"[Delicatessen] presents a collection of poems that range from finely nuanced wordcraft to beat-style stream-of-consciousness narratives...covering a diverse range of styles; jazz, funk, rock and even metal all knitted together by the high quality of its musical ideas and musicianship. Standout tracks include 'The Lament of Paris'...'Stolen Kisses', and 'My Poetry Is An Alcoholic Pitbull' - a clever piece of writing" - John Brinkman, Groove Guide

'Poetry in musical motion...Highlights include Zombie Xmas Hams and My Poetry Is An Alcoholic Pit Bull In A Bad Mood' - Ania Glowacz, NZ Musician Magazine

'HLAH + Sam Hunt' - Graham Reid, Elsewhere

For more information please email: tabitha@bybr.co.nz