Peak Body EPBack in January we introduced Peak Body via their song “Feelings” on the “Community 4” compilation of Hobart, Tasmania underground music. “Feelings” is on their debut EP, out today as digital download and cassette. Here’s another song – Life’s Hard” – from the EP:

Peak Body describe their sound as minimalist electronic post-punk – which it mostly is, particularly on the perfect “Feelings”. The addition of tremolo and surf twang guitar to “Life’s Hard” transforms the early 80s attitude and Young Marble Giants styled tension into something even more intriguing and menacing.

Later on the EP there’s more tremolo and twang and a reduction in volume and pace with the last two songs, “Girl Gang” and “Diamonds”, sounding like they wouldn’t be out of place as roadhouse slow-dance songs from the first series of Twin Peaks.

Top sounds once again from the Hobart underground.

 

Sachet_Portion Control_TVfireA few weeks ago we introduced “Melted Wires” from Sydney ban Sachet, a single ahead of an album. The album “Portion Control” is out now;  here’s “Follow Car” from it:

Sachet feature two members from Ray Davies – Sam Wilkinson (guitar) and Lani Crooks (lead vocals, keyboards, guitar) – so it should be no surprise that there’s a common thread between the two bands in spiky guitar-based post-punk pop.

The songs are concise, ultra-melodic and self-recorded by Wilkinson, perhaps on a 4-track cassette, judging by their grainy, smudged character.

The music on “Portion Control” channels the contemporary 21st-century DIY garage crunch of the likes of The Oh Sees and Ty Segall, while also providing intriguing hints of the minimalist post-punk pop of Young Marble Giants within some of the songwriting and arrangements at times.

“Portion Control” is an inventive, hyperactive album and well worth grabbing a copy of the LP.

 

Christopher El TruentoAnd now for something completely different. If you have a soft spot for DJ Shadow’s “Entroducing” (and who hasn’t?) you’ll likely love the inventive pocket-sized beats & sampling miniatures collected on an album called “it’s been ________ lately” by Aucklander Christopher El’ Truento. Here’s a taster called “aaaaAA”:

There are 25 tracks on “it’s been ________ lately.” Most are around the 1 minute mark. Each one is crammed with soulful beats, funky modern jazz grooves and enough out-of-left-field experimentation to keep the most easily-distracted mind fully focused for the duration.

“it’s been ________ lately” is like an overseas holiday, with each track a new destination, a new experience. It’s a winter tonic for the imagination of home-bound aural travelers.

 

 

OV Pain_LPDunedin keyboard/ drum/ voices dueo OV Pain have just released the LP format of their dark and thrillingly weird first album and it’s something to behold. Here’s the wonderful “Soon to Be” to draw you in to their (under)world:

The album was recorded at the Anteroom in Port Chalmers and mixed and mastered by local legend Forbes Williams. OV Pain are Renee Barrance (Élan Vital) and Tim Player (Opposite Sex).

The more-or-less-live recording in a big hall gives it a real sense of space and place – simultaneously open and echoing but also imbued with the chill and claustrophobia of some large underground crypt, where these dark tales and timeless sounds are performed with a kind of chanting, ritualistic possession.

This is haunted music, lost souls finding other lost souls, meditations on the darkness around us and within us.  It’s a bit theatrical and weird, mixing post-punk, psychedelia, prog-rock, synth-pop, with magic and witchcraft.

Gloominess has never sounded this colourful, this alive, this thrilling and this essential.

Grawlixes_Good ShadowWellington-by-way-of-Dunedin duo Grawlixes have just released their debut album “Set Free” and it’s a bittersweet reflection on life and love and coming together and moving apart. Hard to pick a representative tune, but I’ve always loved “Good Shadow” so here we go:

“Good Shadow” also exists as a song on the 2nd album by The Prophet Hens, a band Robin Cederman and Penelope Esplin have been part of in Dunedin for several years. A sign of a great song is how well it works in different settings.

The album is beautifully crafted folk-influenced pop. The minimalism of guitar and melancholy accordian is augmented with some fine sonic touches from electric guitar and also violin arrangements from Alex Vaatstra. But the real heart and soul of the album is the pairing of the voices of Penelope and Robin.

To illustrate all the above here’s another song – “Darling” – which is also familiar from The Prophet Hens live set, but which was never recorded by that band:

 

Sunrise RakiuraThese Early Mornings are back with a few standalone singles recently uploaded to Bandcamp. Here’s the latest one, “Ledges” –

“Ledges” exists in an atmosphere of (apparent) effortless DIY . The song follows the elliptical shuffling repetition, unhurried yet, oddly lop-sided time signature, and blurred guitar strumming we’ve come to know and love from These Early Mornings.

This time out there’s a sharper definition to the woozy sounds, including a second guitar motif weaving a melodic counter-rhythm in behind. There’s also a sharper definition to the  lyrics, revealing more of the distinctive universe created by These Early Mornings.

Possible HumansThis fine twisting, moody creature of a song called “Toroid” comes from a recent 7″ single on Sydney label Strange Pursuits, by Melbourne band Possible Humans:

“Toroid” sometimes hints at an eclectic array of electric psych-pop favourites. Those first snaking guitar lines hint at The Clean, the melodic rise and fall of the vocal melody may trigger a warm rush of Guided by Voices memories and it inhabits the kind of imaginary 1960’s psychedelic power pop world Television Personalities constructed during their first few albums. However, it turns out to be not much like any of these things in the end, instead carving out its own odd space in the world by not conforming to any particular influence and sounding both timeless and mysterious at the same time.

Possible humans have 5 members. Three are brothers. Two wrote a song each on this single. Neither of the two songs on this single appear on their forthcoming (sometime) album, which features songs written by all 5 members. So, when they say of the album – “it’s a big fun mess of Free Rock, in the jailhouse sense, and the wheelhouse sense, as in silly as wheels, when your mind is gone” it’s an invitation to keep an eye out for that album.

In the meantime we should all snap up this 7″ in preparation. And watch this video they made for the single “A” side “Cuz” too: