Fat Freddy's Drop prepare for their summer road trip

It's not a New Zealand summer without Fat Freddy's Drop. 

And just in time for this summer, they're back. The Wellington icons have just released their latest album, perfectly timed to soundtrack roadies and festivals.

Special Edition Part 1, as the name might suggest, is the first of a two-part album. As to why they've split it:

"Well, to be honest, these were the ones that were most complete. So they picked themselves really!" says the band's saxophonist Scott Towers, known to fans as Chopper Reeds.

The video for the title track sees the return of the puppets from 2013's Clean the House.

"There's an old showbiz law that you should never work with children, animals, or the band Fat Freddy's Drop," explains Towers. "So we subbed in some marionettes."

And they called in a new guest. Featured puppet Baby Dorge is the band's newest, fuzziest member.

"He drops some slamming verses. Some rhymes for all times," says Towers.

"I've gotta say Dorge, you really turned in a beautiful performance. I can't thank you enough," adds trumpet player Toby Laing, aka Tony Chang.

While the phrase "we're gonna play a new song" can often strike fear into concert-goers' hearts, it's where Fat Freddy's Drop have birthed and refined their best known hits around the world.

"Our audience, they're ready for that, they're primed for it. And it makes it much easier to leap off the deep end on that journey if the audience is ready to go with you," says Towers. 

It's where three tracks on Special Edition made their debuts. The band says the challenge is to deliver on fans' expectations when they hear the songs on record.

"Having played them for a wee while, it's like what have we learned about these songs, and it's like distilling it all down really into the definitive version really, of these things that had been live creations," says Laing.

With many Kiwis heading for festivals this summer, the band have created a series of their own: each tour date they'll play a totally different set-list and have a totally different line-up of support acts. 

They've called in heavyweights like Avantdale Bowling Club, JessB, and DJ Jazzy Jeff - all artists the band says are headliners in their own right.

"To get to the point where we can do that, the band's been together for a long time, but this is definitely the high point for us," says Laing.

And with the band promising plenty of surprises - an orange fluffy puppet spitting some rhymes could make an appearance.

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