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MarineVille from the cover of their “Face” 7″ from 2012 on Epic Sweep Records

MarineVille hail from Wellington and play a raw and distinctively New Zealand version of “driving rock” music. “75 Watts Frosted” is the opening track from their 4th album “Penguins Ate My Chips” which is out in a few weeks on LP on Zelle Records.

The line-up of the band which recorded “Penguins Ate My Chips” is led by guitarist/ vocalist Mark Williams and includes a few names folks may remember from some other NZ bands. Denise Roughan (Look Blue, Go Purple, 3Ds) plays bass, Greg Cairns (The Renderers, The Verlaines, Constant Pain) plays the drums, and Jeremy Coubrough (Tlaotlon) plays  keyboards.

“75 Watts Frosted” is a rip-snorting opening track. Part motorik beat, part wild fairground ride. Imagine Deep Purple’s “Highway Star” mixed with The Sweet’s “Ballroom Blitz” played by the Able Tasmans and you are on your way to understanding the loopy genius of this classic slice of urban New Zealand storytelling rock and roll.

“Penguins Ate My Chips” was originally self-released by Williams in 2015 on cassette. The LP version (out 15 March 2017) on Austrian label Zelle Records, which specialises in Southern NZ sounds, is a suitable acknowledgement of an album that fits comfortably into the beer and sweat-stained fabric of the NZ alternative rock underground.  The download also contains the live album 15 Wax Tears, recorded in 2011 and originally released on cassette in 2012.

ela-minusThere’s a brand new (out yesterday) digital EP by New York based electronic musician Ela Minus and it is wonderful intimate small-scale electronic pop excellence. Standing out in its own strange electro-psychedelic universe is “I Wish I Had a Hat”

I first discovered the music of Ela Minus (real name Gabriela Jimeno, and originally from Bogota, Colombia) last year and everything I’ve heard since has had a rare quality.

We’re talking well-crafted melodic songs which pack pop hooks, yet don’t sound formulaic. The songs are constructed within skeletons of electronic sounds, programmed beats and miniature sonic detailing. Voice and lyrics add a compelling human connection.

Where it sounds different to my ears is the electronica is soft toned and playful, there’s plenty of adventure and the spacey minimalism is action-packed: full of tiny subtle details. Not sure if that’s a good explanation. In short: it just sounds right and good!

Anyway, this track “I Wish I Had  A Hat” is perfect. One of the most psychedelic sounding electronica pop songs I’ve heard. Fifty years have passed since Syd Barrett’s songs were recorded for Pink Floyd’s “Piper at the Gates of Dawn” and Ela Minus inhabits a different universe of sound altogether. Yet, for me, this song somehow captures the same playful psychedelic rapture as some of Syd’s “Piper…” songs. Love it.

egoism_2017Sydney band Egoism have just released their first EP, called “It’s Wearing Off”. One thing which isn’t wearing off at all is the magic of their dreamy dream-pop shoegaze soft-rock, as “Consequences” demonstrates.

The EP is a natural and perfect progression from their distinctive early releases which PopLib has followed for a couple of years now. The performance, recording and production is assured without losing any of the spirit which made their earlier releases a treat.

“Consequences” – co-written by guitarsist/ vocalists Scout Eastment and Oliver Rush – stands out as a bit more of a departure perhaps, with the volume scaled back, losing nothing in the process and adding further depth and sonic textures to their sound. The slide guitar, infinite delay and combined vocals are heavenly and of course there’s a trademark dreamy voice & guitar outro which floats the song off into the ether.

 

 

spinning-coin-2017Spinning Coin have a new single out soon, called “Raining on Hope Street”. It’s always raining in Glasgow.

Can’t find a Bandcamp or Soundcloud link and it’s another month before the 7″ will be available from their label Geographic Records via Domino Records but it’s too good not to share.

The song is quintessential Spinning Coin – all thin trebly raindrop splatter strums, unexpected chord changes and darting lead runs that twist around the multitude of melodic themes in the verse and choruses.

“Raining on Hope Street” may be about kind of lovelorn yearning of not being quite worthy or strong enough for someone –“If I had enough heart I’d give it to you” – and in their words and music evoke some of the similar emotional landscape of early Orange Juice and The Pastels while also channeling fiercer guitar skronk elements of early Teenage Fanclub.

The video is a visual treat of autumnal watery sunlight in Glasgow parklands, matching the spirit of the song to the psycho-geography of their city and its history of socialist independent pop music.

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the-sunday-leagueThis may well be my favourite song from the other* Hobart music compilation called “7000 – The Pick of Hobart Independent bands”. And “Monday” is a perfect song for a Monday naturally. Even though Monday in NZ is still a Sunday in some parts of the world, it’s still a perfect song because it’s by The Sunday League.

The Sunday League take me back to the likes of The CannanesThe Lucksmiths and The Steinbecks; all chiming perfect hollow-body electric guitars, earnest melodic vocals and lyrics reflecting on the everyday things of existence in suburban Australia. Like rubbish collection day and overgrown Pittosporum trees.

It’s music so familiar you’d think you should have heard enough of it already. And yet, something like this can breeze along, with those ringing guitar notes, quivering Australian voice and honest band-in-a-room recording, and it’s just perfect for dreaming and escaping to imagine watching the bin collectors work their way down a tree-lined street you’ve never been to, in Hobart, Tasmania, postcode 7000.

* check out the “Community 4” Hobart music compilation on bandcamp for more Tasmanian underground pop goodness.

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Time for another stellar track from “Community 4 – a compilation of Hobart music” – “Teeth” is fine inter-woven minimal post-punk from Heart Beach.

One of the rip-it-up-and-start-again aspects of the original ‘post-punk’ movement was freeing ‘pop’ music from songwriting and playing conventions, like guitar chords, verse-chorus, etc. The apparent minimalism of some post-punk can also be complex patterns played on multiple instruments, often with echoes of traditional non-Western music.

Two conventions not abandoned here are rhythm and melody. Combined with the exploratory and circuitous snaking lead guitar lines and the mesmeric bass part “Teeth” establishes a dark kind of melancholy; a world within a world that invites us to join it for a moment.

There’s plenty more from Heart Beach to explore on their own Bandcamp page.

 

ewahtvopbeachpanarama“Walk the Night” by EWAH & The Vision of Paradise effectively combines dark psychedelia with ominous post-punk rumbling. It’s another stellar song from “Community 4 – a Compilation of Hobart Music”

Viewed from a New Zealand perspective the song seems to possess a very Australian style of cinematic rock-noir. I can even imagine echoes back through time to the sounds of early Hunters and Collectors, The Triffids, and even Roland S. Howard.

There’s plenty more music to be found at EWAH’s Bandcamp page and much more information to discover at the EWAH & The Vision of Paradise website.