Sandra Bell in Berlin

Sandra Bell BerlinSandra Bell is currently in Berlin and playing shows, including one on August 1 (as pictured in the poster).







We’re awash with new releases, including 2 different albums from one family, and an electrifying EP from the Ghosts of Electricity.

Powertool Records unleashes the powerful new EP from Ghosts of Electricity.

GOE Don't TryHamilton’s Ghosts of Electricity have been humming under the radar for the past few months, but their buzz grows ever louder. The release of this, their third EP ‘Don’t Try’, reinforces the emergence of a band that has taken a measure of this nation’s disquiet and set it to music.

Who are the Ghosts?
A sound that’s more a movement. That familiar drunken lurch. Ah, it’s got the bite, that anger, that frustration. A sound born in that total-booze wander home from the pub at Uni, alone again, to a cold flat and a wank. A sound crafted sitting in a car in South Auckland, a drop-out in a labouring job, a shitty service station pie for lunch. A sound honed sitting in front of ten thousand work computers, wasting time on the net before knock-off rolls round. Of weekends hung-over when the neighbour’s lawnmower never turns off. Hear it in Tim Fowler’s gritty frets and brutally romantic growl; Vince Langdon and his roll on the skins; Winston Shadbolt, heavy fucking metal, and fingers that dance on bass.

This is the sound of the real New Zealand, the poetry of a generation of wandering Kiwis, staggering home too, wondering what the hell happened. The Ghosts know. Ah, a group, their sound torsades de pointes, with staggering conviction, with drive. Unafraid to take a swing, unafraid to miss and fall back down on their ass, knowing that that really is this fucking country.

This is the sound of Ghosts of Electricity.

Find them online:
Twitter              @GOEtheband   #GOEtheband
Family Ties: Two albums from one family

It’s not often that we get to release albums from members of the same family, but then not every family is like this one. Talent appears to run in the DNA of cousins Michael and Sean O’Leary – yet they display it in quite different styles.

Sugarbug ‘Flutterbye’

sugarbug 001Powertool Records is pleased as Punch to announce the reissue of Sugarbug’s lovely album ‘Flutterbye’. Normally we’d take on the task of telling you about the band and their music – and we do it most happily, as we really love our artists and their albums.

However we received such a nicely written letter from Sugarbug about the album, and we couldn’t really top it, so we thought we’d let them say it for themselves…

An open letter from Sugarbug.

“Hi/Kia Ora everyone!

Thanks for checking out The Bug. We’re a band from Wellington, New Zealand/Aotearoa. All of our songs are written by Sean O’Leary/Sugarbug except for track ten on the album which was written by iconic N.Z. band The Clean. (Without meaning to blow our own e-flat tenor horn, David Kilgour from The Clean really loved our version).

A quick overview of Sugarbug’s history: We have one album called ‘Flutterbye’ which we received Creative N.Z. funding for. Four of our songs reached number one on Wellington radio station Radio Active: Bunny’s on the Run, Just Another Drop, Lost in Space and Do Your Thing (which was also number one on Dunedin’s Radio One for eleven weeks straight).

‘Lost in Space’ was voted best un-released single in New Zealand by public vote (at the time we didn’t have an album). Several of our songs had significant air-play on New Zealand’s other indie stations. We’ve played two ‘Big Day Outs’ and as well as headlining have also supported the following bands/musos: Pavement, Tanya Donnely, The Clean, Dimmer, Shihad, The Headless Chickens, The 3D’s, H.D.U, The Chills, The Verlaines, Bike, StereoBus, Bailterspace, Garageland, Superette and others.

We’re currently reforming and the next album is pretty much written. We hope that you love our music and that it brings you some sort of positive satisfaction.

Love from The Bug xo

Michael O’Leary ‘Fences Fall’: Poetry becomes music

“Stunning tracks energised by O’Leary’s great lines. Take it neat or take it on the road” – Michael Gifkins

Fences Fall 250Michael O’Leary is a New Zealand publisher, poet, novelist, performer, and bookshop proprietor. The songs on Michael O’Leary’s album ‘Fences Fall’ are described as a Kiwi re-invention of the folk traditions and boldly literate rock music associated with Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, the Beatles, Irish folk song, and the seminal sounds of blues and country.

The songs have diverse themes and unforgettable lines. “Did Jesus play his guitar, gently weeping?” is from a doo-wop song that echoes George Harrison. Another song has the poet meeting a woman, from whom he stole a scarf, who tells him her mother has just died: the scarf tightens around the poet’s neck and the revelation “…it openly mocks us/So deceptive and beguiling, and that it shocks us.’  Other tracks refer to lost love, the loading of Jews on the Belsen-bound death express, and, using chanted lines in English and Maori, provides an insight into the poet’s early life when he began a journey from poverty and school failure that eventually led to achievements that include 10 books of poetry and 5 of fiction, and a number of non-fiction works including a doctorate.

Much acclaimed in literary circles, Michael O’Leary is described by Dr. Neilson Wright as “… a powerful writer who never falls into mediocrity and consistently shows a strain of genius.”  A trustee of the Poetry Archive of New Zealand, he also runs the Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop (E.S.A.W.) which has published works by Hone Tuwhare, David Eggleton, Elizabeth Smither, Greg O’Brien, John Pule and others.

The music for the songs on ‘Fences Fall’ is by singer-songwriters Helen Dorothy, Kayte Edwards, Niels Gedge, Francis Mills and Al Witham, with instrumental numbers by Gilbert Haisman and Brian Romeril.  It was recorded at Ross McDermott’s Soundsgood studios in Paraparaumu.

Reviews and coments: Fences Fall – Songs from the Lyrics of Michael O’Leary had launches in Auckland, Paekakariki, and Dunedin.

Below are some initial responses to the album.

“After four decades of friendship, I thought Michael O’Leary had exhausted his capacity to surprise me. But Fences Fall is wonderful in ways I didn’t expect. It’s not just that the poignancy of Michael’s lyrics that strikes me afresh when heard from a range of fine voices, the album really works in musical as well as literary terms. O’Leary backed with cello and sousaphone. Who would have thought that would work? But it’s magic!” – Iain Sharp

“Masterful, brilliant!” – Peter Olds

“Stunning tracks energised by O’Leary’s great lines. Take it neat or take it on the road” – Michael Gifkins

Powertool Records

We have over 100 releases under our toolbelts from the likes of Bill Direen/The Bilders, Vorn, Brother Love, Bored Gordon, Infinite Flying Kick, One Man Bannister/The Changing Same (Matthew Bannister, ex-Sneaky Feelings), Robert Scott (The Bats), Sandra Bell, Surf Friends, Gold Medal Famous and many more. Powertool also distributes selected international releases, including records by Rough Church (Greg Franco), Azalia Snail, The Black Watch, Sparrow (Jason Zumpano) and Lord Bishop – many of whom have also toured here.

You can get most of these records – and lots of other non-Powertool music – from our record  store, Alien: 11 Veronica St, New Lynn, Auckland.

UFO is our venue, with a focus on showcasing great live music – new bands, legends, local and international acts. UFO is situated next door to Alien at 11 Veronica St, New Lynn, Auckland. We have no liquor license, so if you want to drink, it is strictly byo. Indie Club has also relocated to UFO. If you wanna know what’s coming up…. check out the gigs page. We are also hiring UFO as a practise space.We are now taking bookings. Contact: Andrew at

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