Archives for category: International Pop Underground

David YettonFormerly bassist and one of three songwriters in NZ 1980s/90s band The Jean Paul Sartre Experience (subsequently known as JPS Experience, JPSE), David Yetton has cleaned out his computer hard drive with a wry-titled cassette album called “Move to Trash (Bits, Pieces, Offcuts & Stuff)” released on Hamburg-based cassette label Thokei Tapes. Here’s “Heads in the Clouds” from it.

Yetton went on to form Stereobus/ The Stereo Bus after JPSE split. The songs on “Move to Trash” sound to be Stereobus/ The Stereo Bus era demos, out-takes, and ideas.

However some of them also rekindle the sense of hushed melodic wonder of that very first EP by the Jean Paul Sartre Experience released on Flying Nun Records back in the mid 1980s. As “Teardrops” here does beautifully…

Thokei Tapes have released some intriguing oddities from the archives of other NZ artists associated with the Flying Nun label. They are not available for download, however you do get a free download if you buy a cassette. Postage seems to be reasonable so why not…?

Yetton

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grand veymontNot long after the release of Grand Veymont’s second album they are back (in time) with the LP (re)release of their self-titled debut album. Here’s “Les Rapides Bleus” – a song about travel and escape.

Grand Veymont is Béatrice Morel Journel and Josselin Varengo. They described their music as “long improvisations with only constraints the number of hands available and an installation of organs and synthesizers…[which] superimpose exotic-medieval melodies on a bed of Krautrock, Waltz or Tango rhythms” when releasing their second album, “Route du Vertige”, earlier this year.

This first Grand Veymont album is a slightly stripped back variation on the morphing long-form constructions of that excellent second album. “Les Rapides Bleus” here is the shortest and most “pop” of the 4 tunes here, and a perfect introduction to the French duo.

The album is a blend of minimalist motorik keyboard based music (synth arpeggios and dueling organs, vocals and occasional drums), sometimes reminiscent of Stereolab, as much due to Journel’s vocal delivery – sung in French (obviously, given their geographic location).

But Grand Veymont have their own character, with longer songs like the 13 minute opener “Je cours apres avant” morphing into classical styled twin-keyboard improvisations which take on an oddly psychedelic character – a theme taken even much further on their 2nd album.

The glorious layered 9-minute track “L’odyssée du petit parleur” is as quietly wonderful as anything on “Route du Vertige” and the closing track “Upie” a playful experimental adventure in grainy dub-electronica and looped, layered voices. These four very different tunes add up to an intriguing debut, now on LP on Outre Disque.

Their 2nd album “Route du Vertige” is available on LP on French underground pop label Objet Disque.

 

 

Francie Moon

It’s not often that the spirit of Ronnie Dawson comes to mind when listening to a brand new 7″ single in 2019. Dawson’s 1958 version of “Action Packed!” was an all-time rockabilly classic, sung with terrifying eye-popping enthusiasm by the helium-voiced young star. But yet here we are in mid-February 2019 with a 3 song 7″ single on Keeper Records by Montague Township, New Jersey trio Francie Moon and Ronnie’s spirit seems present.

Francie Moon is a trio but also the alter-ego of guitarist and vocalist Melissa Lucciola. There’s just a hint of early Ronnie Dawson in Lucciola’s pitch and delivery on this song, and also in the reverb-heavy guitar. This is garage rock at it’s contemporary finest – a thrilling mix of semi-feral rock and roll, rockabilly, surf rock, garage-punk, and psych-rock, all delivered with wild enthusiasm and absolute commitment.

Also on the 7″ single is “Sittin’ in the Middle” – another classic two and a half minute rapid swirl of surf-a-billy garage rock built on reverb guitar and tight interplay between Lucciola’s guitar, Adam Pumilia’s bass, and Richie Samartin’s drumming.

The last track – the 5 minute “Present Tense” – is a different beast, coming over like some weird mutant fusion of Thee Oh Sees, surf rock, and the heavy stoner psych of the likes of Comets on Fire – check the guitar solo mid-way here – before a dreamy slow-psych interlude in the style of Swedish psych-rockers Dungen, complete with recorder solo. It’s an unexpected conclusion to an exhilarating collection of songs.

Here’s an action packed video for “New Morning Light” –

Cathedral Bells“Ethereal Shadow” is a track from a 5 song EP from Florida based shoegaze duo Cathedral Bells.

Cathedral Bells are Matthew Messore & David Carey. The shoegaze element is clear from the chorus and flanger guitar effects and reverb washed vocals, but it is cut through with a vein of high quality synth-pop, meaning there’s way more going on in the songs on the EP giving it a much broader pop appeal.

That synth-pop element evokes the spirit of UK bands like Frazier Chorus and China Crisis and the pop hooks in the songs and arrangements pack some of the clever touches of The Lightning Seeds.  That all adds up to something worth exploring, and if you’re really keen there’s a cassette release available form Good Eye Records.

Cate Le Bon Crab Day

Cate Le Bon brings her unique music stylings to Dunedin Tuesday 19 February with a piano-based performance which promises to provide an intimate and idiosyncratic gateway to her impressive song-list. Here’s “Wonderful” from her most recent album “Crab Day”.

Early albums “Me Oh My” (2009) and “Cyrk” (2012) were notionally folk, or neo-folk, or maybe psych-folk (or all of the above). “Mug Museum” (2013) started to expand the pop and rock elements in the sound much more.

All the albums pull in many directions. “Crab Day” is the most exploratory and intriguing; a kind of artful and fruity avant-garde psych-pop. In the same way that the likes of Robert Wyatt and Brian Eno, in their early exploratory solo music-making forms would confound familiar tropes while creating brilliant unusual avant-pop, Cate Le Bon also inhabits her own stylistic universe. It’s delightfully perverse experimental pop-craft, packed full of imaginative lyrics, melodies and arrangements. The subsequent EP “Rock Pool” (“the killed darlings from the “Crab Day” sessions”) is an essential addition.

There’s a distinctly experimental kind of oddness running through most of the music I’ve heard over the years from musicians from Wales. John Cale is probably the best known from his time in the Velvet Underground and string of classic solo albums starting in the 70s (“Paris 1919” is a great starting point if you are unfamiliar). Then in the 1980s it was the turn of post-punks Datblygu (a kind of Welsh-language equivalent of The Fall), followed by the extraordinary Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci in the 1990s then Super Furry Animals, each pushing their takes on psychedelic folk and rock out into space.

Here’s “Wonderful” performed live in the Radio K (KUOM) studio in Minnesota in 2016.

Cate le bon NZ tour

wurldseries2019Continuing on from yesterday’s stellar album by Christchurch’s Adam Hattaway And The Haunters, here’s another new – and closely related – release from the Melted Ice Cream stable from Wurld Series. It’s a new single “Nap Eyes”.

There’s a bunch of familiar names from yesterday’s post. Joining guitarist and vocalist Luke Towart is Adam Hattaway (lead guitar), Emma Hattaway (bass) and the ubiquitous Brian Feary (drums).

“Nap Gate” – which will feature on the second Wurld Series album later this year – is one of the best sounding Wurld Series tunes to date. It’s less lo-fi than some of the previous recordings but packs all the familiar ingredients. Hattaway’s lead guitar parts here are spectacular too, which should be no surprise if you listened to the song from his solo album featured in the previous PopLib post yesterday.

The B-Side is an out-take from the “Stately & Befrothed” sessions. Both songs on this single are typically glorious slices of the fuzzy guitar-driven pop we’ve come to expect from Wurld Series.  Roll on the release of “What’s Growing”.

adam hattawayNot sure how I missed this Adam Hattaway And The Haunters album “All Dat Love” when it was first released on Melted Ice Cream just before Christmas (although that timing may be why). Anyway, turns out this album is a stone cold classic of restless guitar-fuelled pop and rock and soul, as “Turn Around” shows.

The album travels through many moods without straying far from its twin squalling guitar approach. There are so many beautiful songs here and so much thrillingly noisy guitar playing it’s hard to pick just one song as a kind of representative entry point.

“Turn Around” features Adam Hattaway on Vocals and guitars, Emma
Hattaway on bass Elmore Jones on drums and Ben Woods on keyboards. The two Hattaways, Ben Woods and either Jones or Ryan Chin on drums are the nucleus of the band.

“All Dat Love” is expertly rendered in grainy realistic mid-fi from recordings made by Adam and mixed on 4-track by Melted Ice Cream stalwart Brian Feary.

Melted Ice Cream says “Recommended if you like: The Band, Ariel Pink, The 3Ds, Neil Young, Toy Love.” I’d add to that eclectic list:  Velvet Crush, Ty Segall, White Fence, Wurld Series and Matthew Sweet (his classic 1991 “Girlfriend” album with those twin duelling guitar parts from Television’s Richard Lloyd and former Voidoid Robert Quine comes to mind).

There’s an excellent single-shot video for “Turn Around” here too: