?Fog: 7-inch Round Black Thing 7"

?Fog: 7-inch Round Black Thing 7"

Tags: · 80s · indie · new zealand · post-punk · reissues · spo-default · spo-disabled
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?FOG began in Auckland, NZ in 1984 when Roger Allen of RIOT 111 met Lindsay McKay of THE LAUGHING CRIPPLES one night at the now demolished Aurora Tavern (they would later be known as Roger Fogorelli and Lindsay Fog). Inspired by a shared sense of humor, the two formed an infectious, heavy rhythm section. On guitar was Tim Ord, who informed their noisy, groove-laden sound. Their approach was fundamentally anarchic, anti-success, and as antagonistic as it was playful.

After briefly touring as a three-piece, Sam Swan (formerly of Wellington’s LIFE IN THE FRIDGE EXISTS) joined in on vocals. Like Roger, Sam emigrated to Auckland after traversing Wellington’s vaguely nihilistic, psychedelic-influenced early punk scene and became central to ?FOG’s arty, confrontational character. One night at Auckland's Mainstreet Cabaret, she scared a group of violent skinheads away by “hatching” an egg on stage, utilizing fake blood as a prop. Another night, an onstage experiment with fire-breathing caused her to catch her own face on fire (she eventually made a full recovery). Her vocal style was cutting, with lyrics ranging from absurdist to socio-politically critical.

The beginning of ?FOG coincided with that of ?FOG CITY ENTERPRISES, a fluid collective/conglomerate under which the band operated. A red house called ‘The Red House’ was the center of their creative and social universe, and became a key place for underground music and art in Auckland. By 1985 Blaise Oarsman and Dave Appleton had joined on guitar, and thanks to a national arts council grant, ?FOG's 7-inch Round Black Thing was released into the universe. Reissued by Bunkerpop in 2018 for your convenience.

“?Fog were the coolest, fun and most creative bunch of c***s in New Zealand"
-Celia Mancini (King Loser), 2016

"A Fog then got up to play. They were awful. One girl with blonde hair was trying to sing (well actually she just talked) and she was really annoying... The audience just hassled them (quote from an anonymous person, 'Go home and take some more drugs'), though A Fog's friends clapped. It was a painful 30 minutes."
-Craccum: The University of Auckland Student Magazine, 1985

RIP Sam Swan
RIP David Appleton 

Our take: Reissue of this obscurity from 1985 New Zealand. I was unfamiliar with ?Fog going in, and like a lot of records from New Zealand it sounds like the Fall’s 1982 tour of their country deeply shaped the band. While ?Fog zip along at faster tempos (which seem even faster thanks to their distinctively busy drummer), the combination of Krautrock-inspired rhythms, a quirky sound pallette, and speak-sung, poetic lyrics and vocals can sound a lot like the Fall’s Room to Live or Hex Enduction Hour. The Fall are probably my favorite band and ?Fog do the sound justice, so I like it. The insert also includes some old photos and press clippings, and the hilariously bad reviews of their gigs add the perfect ambiance. This is a deep cut for sure, but if you like scrappy post-punk, UKDIY, or early Kiwi punk this is worthy of your attention.