If you yearn for effortlessly cool and quirky novelty alt-pop songs then newcomers Wet Leg have the perfect product for your enjoyment in their first single “Chaise Longue”:

Wet Leg are Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers from the Isle of Wight off the south coast of England. “Chaise Longue” evokes a kind of thrillingly off-kilter hybrid of Plastic Bertrand’s bubblegum buzz-pop, and the cool-but-weird disinterest of post-punk dada pop band The Flying Lizards. Or, if those names from the distant past mean nothing to you, perhaps Wet Leg offer a more-silly-than-sour variant on Dry Cleaning.

In any case “Chaise Longue” is excellent sardonically silly pop fun, with a just the lightest undercurrent of menace.

Wet cold Sundays require warm nourishing music, so here’s a collaboration between legendary Scottish folk guitarist Bert Jansch (Pentangle) and American musician Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star, Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions), “All This Remains”:

“All This Remains” is from Jansch’s 2002 album “On The Edge of a Dream”, released the year after Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions “Bavarian Fruit Bread” which he contributed to. “Bavarian Fruit Bread” was released on Rough Trade Records in 2001. It’s an essential album, but long out of print, with the LP version selling for hundreds of dollars now, and even the CD edition of the album and two related CD EPs “At The Doorway Again” (2000) and “Suzanne” (2002) are hard to find.

As Jansch explains in the sleeve notes: “I played on a couple of tracks on Hope’s album “Bavarian Fruit Bread”, and loved the imagery she evokes – particularly American, but shrouded in mystery. It was suggested we do some writing together, a collaboration, and here it is: “All This Remains.”

As well as Jansch’s acoustic guitar and Sandoval’s vocal, “All This Remains” features subtle percussion from her Warm Inventions collaborator Colm O’Ciosoig (My Bloody Valentine) and Jansch’s son on Adam on bass.

Brisbane trio The Goon Sax are preparing to release their third album “Mirror II”. Here’s the captivating opening single “In The Stone”:

The Goon Sax are James Harrison, Louis Forster and Riley Jones. Still in high school when they made their first album of awkward teenage guitar pop “Up To Anything” as 17 year olds in 2016, the trio added additional layers of delight with their second album “We’re Not Talking” in 2018.

It’s impossible to tell from just one song what the third album will be like, but the wonderful “In The Stone” may indicate a further development into deeper and darker territory, without losing any of the melodic guitar-pop charm of the first two albums.

Louis Forster is the son of The Go-Betweens Robert Forster. Some of his songs on the 2018 “We’re Not Talking” album (“Sleep EZ” and “We Can’t Win” for example) could’ve been on early Go-Betweens albums. “In The Stone” here may share vampires in common with the lyrics of a Robert Forster Go-Betweens song, but the song is a much darker Post-Punk creation more aligned to the slow cool march of New Order or The Cure.

“Mirror II” is available to pre-order now on Chapter Music in Australia/ NZ and Matador Records in the rest of the world. Here’s the official video for “In The Stone” followed by a live version video:

From the darkest corners of Dunedin’s experimental music underground, the“Rag & Bone 2018” album by Odessa managed to avoid detection by PopLib until April of this year. It’s an extraordinary slice of industrial lo-fi darkwave with a soulful heart. Here’s “Potential To Kinetic”:

Back in April we shared a haunting track “to a place” by Ana Moser from the Dunedin compilation …And It Could Be Right Now – New Music From Ōtepoti​/​Dunedin. Moser’s previous music was with duo Odessa, so “Rag & Bone 2018″ required further investigation, and turned out to offer some similar darkly wonderful music.

The stand out tracks are the opener “Cool Breeze” and “Potential to Kinetic” here. Moser’s vocals provide an enthralling heart of soulful jazz-blues stylings to contrast with the industrial grind, effects, disorienting lo-fi samples, and mechanical rhythms.

This track in particular sounds like a kind of hybrid of some of the elements of the music of Massive Attack, Portishead, and HTRK, but created on a Dunedin underground musician budget, and sounding all the better for that. The track creates a menacing sense of dislocation, electronic sounds eroded by the glitch and decay of digital artifacts, vocals moving in and out of focus.

Elsewhere the album tracks alternate between pummeling distorted pulses and minimalist soundscapes of artfully decelerated, brutally primitive dark-wave industrial dance music, some of which feature more of Moser’s magical vocals.

Finally, an end to 31 Days of May Madness for New Zealand Music Month, posting a New Zealand music track a day throughout May. Ending the way we began, with an appropriately-titled song from Dunedin post-noise-rock (or maybe we could call it Dun-gaze) newcomers Bathysphere called “See Ya”:

Bathysphere released their first album just as May started. That’s wonderful news because their first song “Window” and then this song – which is from the recent Dunedin compilation “…And It Could Be Right Now – New Music From Ōtepoti​/​Dunedin” – were the kind of thing there ought to be more of in the world.

Bathysphere is made up of a who’s-who of the Dunedin music underground, including Trace / Untrace Records founders Julie Dunn (Asta Rangu, Mary Berry) and Richard Ley-Hamilton (Asta Rangu, Space Bats, Attack!, Males), with Josh Nicholls (Koizilla, Space Bats, Attack!, Asta Rangu, Fazed on a Pony) and Peter McCall (Fazed on a Pony).

Our Day 30 song for 31 Days of May Madness, attempting to post a New Zealand track every day of the month of May, is Negative Nancies with “What Would John Say”:

Some of the Dunedin songs posted this month have had a hint of anarchic anything-goes punk and Weird Dunedin, and Casio-powered Negative Nancies are another from that realm. “What Would John Say” is from the Dunedin trio’s not-quite-fully-released-yet first album “Heatwave”.

Its full release may have been complicated by uncertain pandemic manufacturing and freighting logistics, but almost everything else about the band and the album is unconventional and unpredictable so dive in and weird out. Check their thrilling 2018 12” EP “You Do You” as well.

Negative Nancies are Tess Mackay (Casio, vocals), Emilie Smith (drums, vocals), and Mick Elborado their wired guitar+feedback sonic alchemist. They are an intergenerational amalgam of musical explorers from different scenes, with Mick part of many great bands like The Terminals, Scorched Earth Policy and The Shallows released on Flying Nun Records in the 80s.

Our Day 29 song for 31 Days of May Madness, attempting to post a New Zealand track every day of the month of May, is “Reed Replacement” by Robert Scott & Dallas Henley:

“Reed Replacement” is from a very limited edition CD album called “Level 4” with an original artwork cover from Robert Scott (The Clean, The Bats, Magick Heads). Scott and his partner Dallas Henley recorded the songs at home during “Level 4” during NZ’s nationwide Covid19 Level 4 lockdown in 2020.

Scott’s two most recent solo albums – “Ends Run Together” and “The Green House” – are two of the understated highlights of NZ music in the past decade.   

This low-key unpolished set of songs is an audio scrap-book of songs that, in normal times, would end up being developed for albums by The Bats, or The Clean. “Reed Replacement” here would make a perfect song for any future (but highly unlikely) album by The Clean.

The guitar and voice is Scott’s of course. His unavoidable influence on bassist Dallas Henley is clear throughout the album, as she provides the most Robert Scott-esque basslines imaginable, using the instrument as a melodic counterpoint to Scott’s guitar and vocal melodies.  

If you are in Dunedin and pop out to Port Chalmers on Otago Harbour you will find their gallery and art supplies shop Pea Sea Art on the main street. Pop in, view and buy the art works, and check the bins of local music on LP instore too.

Our Day 28 song for 31 Days of May Madness, attempting to post a New Zealand track every day of the month of May, is “Portable Shrine” by Earth Tongue:

Heavy doom-rock duo Earth Tongue’s music is built around thick gooey low-frequency fuzzy riffs, and doomy sci-fi inter-planetary travel theme lyrics.  

It’s a bit too weird – in an agreeably H E A V Y psych-rock/ prog-rock/ space-rock kind of way – to be doom-metal, but it certainly shares some of the ominous frequencies of that genre at the same time as being a convoluted and interesting feast of restless rhythms, riffs and melodies.

Earth Tongue are guitarist/ vocalist Gussie Larkin and drummer/ vocalist Ezra Simons. Larkins is also one third of Mermaidens

Our Day 27 song for 31 Days of May Madness, attempting to post a New Zealand track every day of the month of May, is “The Ease” by T G Shand:

T. G. Shand is Annemarie Duff (Miniatures) and this new 2021 single follows the accomplished self-recorded/ produced “Golden Hour” EP released in 2020.

“The Ease” is enchanting dream-pop, vocals floating on chorus and reverb guitars and programmed drums.

Inhabiting the general sonic territory of 1990s Cocteau Twins (“Heaven or Las Vegas” era onwards), the song continues the high standards set by the “Golden Hour” EP, satisfying any shoegaze-to-dream-pop cravings you may have.

Our Day 26 song for 31 Days of May Madness, attempting to post a New Zealand track every day of the month of May, is “Bravo Eugenia” By Luke Shaw / Tuha Tuimaka:

“Bravo Eugenia” is a live improvisation recorded to the Ilam Press Records TEAC 4-track reel-to-reel in Christchurch and was released earlier this month as a limited (25 copies – sold out) lathe cut 12” LP “Nihilist Dinner Party” by Ilam Press Records. Ilam Press Records is a subsidiary of the Ilam Press, a print publishing workshop at the Ilam School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury, NZ.

Luke Shaw coaxes sound from an electric guitar and effects, while Tuha Tuimaka plays keyboard and synth. The best improvised music is made by people who listen to each other (seems kind of obvious to say that, but sometimes you do wonder…) and share a kind of telepathic understanding of each person’s part in the piece, adapting to each other, and where the sound is taking them.

This is the best kind of improvised music. It’s meditative, interesting, approachable and each of the four improvisations push and pull with tones and textures of sound.