“SF Rose” is a new single from Auckland electronic musician Fanfickk.
The song – a tribute to a lost friend – starts out as fairly conventional (in an absorbingly good kind of way) electronic pop, built on a rich, pulsing sub-bass riff rumble.
After establishing itself with solid melodic hooks, genre convention is given the flick after two and a half minutes with an atmospheric instrumental diversion merging synthesized dream-pop with crunchy percussive textures and computer game sounds.
The second song on this new release – “Lie Down” – is also just as odd and satisfyingly unconventional in the way it sets its own style and avoids genre formula. It has a dark kind of slow melancholy sadness, a short and muted vocal passage, and then a nicely coruscating guitar solo to end.
There’s a four song EP called “Stay Shy” released back in February of this year which is also worth a moment of your attention if you like what you hear above. It combines darker industrial and experimental elements with pop hooks, so if you are an enthusiast of the likes of HTRK or Carter Tutti you should explore further.
“Running Out of Money” here, with its captivating Beta Band styled stoned groove and odd time signature, is from a recently released album from These Early Mornings.
These Early Mornings is/ are from New Zealand. The only named to be gleaned from the Bandcamp page for the self-titled album released on 7 October 2016 is one Jim Gaunt.
Whatever and whoever, this is a uniformly warm and weird collection of tunes. It starts with the brief and beguiling lo-fi not-quite rock steady groove of “Visa” before wandering with rhythmic abandon through other not-quite folk idioms in looping, lurching time signatures.
The eponymous third track is fractured stoner folk which might be imagined as an out-of-it Beck playing tribute to Harvest era Neil Young if it were not for the lo-fi recording and seriously off-kilter guitar solos and noise-reprise.
Overall it’s the loopy, grainy minimalism of the songs and the time signatures which makes this such a great collection of odd-pop. The closest thing to “Usually Waiting” and “Unco” for example is This Heat, and there’s a whiff of a folk Swell Maps to “Who Knows Nothing”.
This is the kind of album people will discover in 25 years time and an obscure boutique record label in the USA will re-release. Why wait that long? Get it now!
“I need a distraction” sings Craig Dermody on this infectious single from hard-working Aussie ‘slackers’ Scott & Charlene’s Wedding. I’d love to post a Bandcamp embed but it’s not streamable there or on Soundcloud, so you’ll just have to make do with this YouTube video and chase it down at the label links included below.
It’s the third single from their latest album “Mid-Thirties Single Scene”. Craig has that rare knack of picking the bones out of everyday observations from the viewpoint a somewhat dissatisfied participant in the game of life, assembling it into a rattling-good song somewhere between being hopeful (or maybe just desperate) for change and being resigned to be stuck forever in this space.
It’s delivered through his distinctive dead-pan talk-singing voice and the musical accompaniment of the ever-morphing Scott & Charlene’s Wedding line-up on this song is an A-grade Velvet Underground via Jonathon Richman & the Modern Lovers shuffle. If this sounds like your bag, get it while it’s hot from Fire Records (northern Hemisphere) or Bedroom Suck Records (Southern Hemisphere).
Henika (Auckland musician and songwriter Henrieta Tornyai) released a self-titled EP last month. “The River” – the first song on the EP – is an excellent atmospheric recording of a dark twist on a murder ballad (possibly) told in the first person. Or not… Listen in and decide for yourself:
Stylistically this song, and much of the rest of the EP, fits approximately in a zone that fans of PJ Harvey, Feist and Lana Del Ray will enjoy, and it’s certainly as well-crafted as the music made by those artists.
When I heard the lines “I’ve been left for dead/ I’ve got a hole in my head/ Eyes open wide, see the water turning red” I was also reminded of The Triffids “Jerdacuttup Man” – another song of death (by the brilliant and tragic David McComb) told in the first person using similar direct and shocking words.
Photo credit: Imogen Wilson for iD AUNZ
Peach Milk‘s EP “Finally”, is a perfect introduction to new electronic musician/ producer Madison Eve from Auckland. It’s part Euro-dance/ post-dance music, part ambient electronica as the opening track “Flight Instinct” demonstrates:
The whole EP is superbly tasteful in the sounds and the moods created, the sheen and shimmer of the synth washes, the understated beats, and the icy ambient minimalism.
When vocals appear they are injected into the ether, a presence rather than anything direct, dancing through atmosphere of the music like ghostly spirits.
It’s what Peach Milk leaves out that gives the music on the “Finally” EP the space to set the mind free to wander and imagine.
There’s a song-by-song break down interview with Peach Milk on the EP on The Wireless if you want to dig a little deeper into the stories behind the music.
Clever Calvin’s “Don’t You Think I Think So” is a warm and sleepy song wrapped in a sonic duvet of drifting haziness.
The two guitars here meander in such a way your ears want to follow them wherever they go. The lovely hissing background wash here is reminiscent of the sound rain squalls make when they hit a window in a Dunedin winter. Or an Auckland winter I guess, as that is where Clever Calvin is based. It’s comforting, in an odd kind of way, as long as you are indoor and the heater is on when the squalls hit.
Pretty sure Clever Calvin is the artist formerly known as Fluids. Fluids have removed the song “Hello Learning” we shared here back in May but this song certainly shares the same lo-fi psychedelic DIY spirit, with that gentle reminder of A R Kane’s hazy euphoric dreampop rush. There’s a Clever Calvin album promised, so bookmark that bandcamp page above as this will be one to check out when it appears.
Koizilla is another supercharged band from the guitar-drum axis of Dunedin brothers Zac and Josh Nicholls along with bass accomplish Connor Blackie. They’ve provided stellar progressive guitar-based music since high school through their bands A Distant City and The Violet-Ohs, but in Koizilla they’ve found their most natural and most explosively adventurous spark to date. Here’s “Child” from their “Blunder Brother” debut EP:
The EP – and especially the opening track above – channel perfectly the imaginary Dunedin version of Amon Duul II which was my first reaction to seeing Zac Nicholls playing guitar in A Distant City four years ago.
It wasn’t just the long hair but his guitar playing style, which combined serious technical skill with what seemed to my ears a real early 1970’s feel for fluid psychedelic adventure and melodic improvisation. That stood out as unusual in Dunedin in 2012 and he’s only refined that impression since, particularly with Koizilla.
While A Distant City maybe took the proggy post-rock soundscape thing a bit too far in one direction, and The Violet-Ohs perhaps pushed the guitar-driven pop a bit too far the other way, Koizilla seem to have these two elements in balance and have injected a bit of cartoon-colour-saturated fun into the equation (like the over-exuberant “Krill” for example).
Highly recommended for lovers of psychedelic power-trio music which dares to fly higher than the limits of the earth’s atmosphere.