Archives for category: International Pop Underground

Doubleu_Quit cassette

Day 23 of our 31 Days of May New Zealand Music Month marathon comes from Auckland bedroom recording artists-extraordinaire, the mysterious Doubleu. Here’s “Yr an Angle” –

“Yr an Angle” is a hypnotic pop gem, occupying similar territory to fellow Auckland DIY artist These Early Mornings but with a lot more odd layers of unconventional and experimental sound.

PopLib featured a track from Doubleu’s intriguing EP “Quit” last September. Since then two Doubleu EPs – “Quit” and “Wuss” – have been combined on a cassette release on Slovakian based cassette label Z Tapes.

Z Tapes is run by Filip Zemčík and his selections have acquired a large following… which means the strangely wonderful introverted DIY psych-pop of Doubleu has been heard and enjoyed by hundreds of people around the world.

TranscendentsDay 22 of our 31 Days of May New Zealand Music Month marathon heads 10 miles West of Weirdsville to catch up with the latest installment in the experimental journey beyond the fringes of rock and roll being undertaken by The Transcendents, an album called “Dirt Songs”. Here’s “Experimental Theorem” from that album:

“Experimental Theorem” and it’s refrain of “can’t find the answer/ I ain’t got a clue” is a perfect disorienting entry point into the fractured cut-up-re-assembled music on this second album from Christchurch anti-pop art project The Transcendents.

It’s as if individual instrument tracks of music from several different songs have been woven together into a repetitive pattern to resemble a song by someone visiting Earth from another planet. And yet it makes a kind of perfect un-sense, particularly if you’ve experienced some of the deconstructed anti-pop of early Pere Ubu, or other post-punk avant-garde provocateurs and sonic explorers like The Residents.

Each one of the Transcendents releases has been unconventional yet also alluringly accessible in their own peculiar way. They are also usually produced in high quality low volume runs on vinyl so if this kind of experimental music appeals check out the catalogue.

Draghound

Day 21 of our 31 Days of May New Zealand Music Month marathon comes from Wellington group Draghound. It’s a perfect relaxed Sunday head-trip called “Golden God”

Draghound began as a solo venture by Emerald Rose (Guitar and vocals) before developing into the group which recorded this fine EP; Helen O’Rourke on keyboard, John Wilson on drums and Stenn Francis-Deare on bass.

The self-titled EP released late last year is a timeless collection of tastefully smooth, but also exploratory and progressive psychedelic pop. “Golden God” floats up into the stars on a swirl of keyboards, guitar, and submerged-in-the-mix vocals.

The shared guitar and keyboard focus of Draghound is reminiscent at times of the inventiveness of The Phoenix Foundation during their early “Horsepower” and “Pegasus” era, particularly the opening instrumental “Flange in the Bedroom”…. which you can watch a video of right here….

Wurld Series Live to AirDay 20 of our 31 Days of May New Zealand Music Month marathon comes from Christchurch lo-fi fuzz pop specialists Wurld Series and the opening track of their “Air Goofy” album. Here’s “Second Hit”

“Second Hit” is a good introduction to the Christchurch band if you haven’t discovered them before. A blast of fuzzy guitars with a bit of tremolo and a lot of 3Ds style wild guitar shredding solos, all recorded on a 4-track cassette portastudio is mostly what we associate with Wurld Series.  However the album also unfolds with unexpected twists and turns into more experimental psychedelic pop and odd sound-collage pieces.

As an added Wurld Series bonus, here they are caught live on Lo and Behold.

As an extra added bonus, here’s their recent Live-To-Air session on Dunedin’s Radio One:

Lttle PhnxDay 19 of our 31 Days of May New Zealand Music Month marathon comes from a 2013 release on the now-defunct Crystal Magic Records (CMR) from LTTLE PHNX called “Luvrs Disc Ours”

“Let’s not forget” is the closing refrain on this warm throbbing piece of melancholy synth-pop under music shareware operating system name LTTLE PHNX (“Little Phoenix” for those who need vowels to help their pronunciation). Sadly there will be no more LTTL PHNX upgrades as it this version is no longer being supported by its creator Lucy Beeler.

However, there is a new music creation entity recently emerged from the ashes of LTTLE PHNX, known now as Feng. Descibed as “lo-fi low-key pop; keyboard confessionals undulating waves of maudlin-soaked reverb” Feng promises a continuation of the synth-pop symphonies in miniature.

Last time I saw LTTLE PHNX play was at Taste Merchants in Dunedin in 2015. The light-show was a projection across the ceiling of a video  of the earth from the orbiting space station. The angle of the projection meant the video was stretched and distorted, warped around the ceiling architecture. In its own strange way, it was as disorienting and mesmerising as the sounds emanating from the PA system.

Here’s “Luvrs Disc Ours” performed in session too:

Glass VaultsDay 18 of our 31 Days of May New Zealand Music Month marathon is a cheerful pop song to cheer everyone up on a miserable day (snow is apparently on the way here in the south!). Here’s Glass Vaults with “Mindreader”

The vibe here is a bit like something from “Around the World in a Day” by Prince – bright flouro funky psychedelic synth-pop with phat synth bass and some wobbly keyboard sounds. The whole album delivers a very clean and clear minimal style of infectious hook-laden synth-pop.

Glass Vaults – Richard Larsen, Rowan Pierce and Bevan Smith – are from Wellington, New Zealand and you can read much more about them and the tracks on this finely crafted album at The Wireless.

Bevan Smith may be familiar to some as the prolific musical mastermind behind multiple musical entities including Aspen, SkallanderSigner, and more recently Introverted Dancefloor, and also the mastering mind behind Death and the Maiden‘s lovely debut album too.

 

purple-pilgrims-2016Day 17 of our 31 Days of May New Zealand Music Month marathon comes from Coromandel dream-pop electronica cult Purple Pilgrims

“Come join my esoteric cult/ we don’t watch TV/ don’t eat meat/ but in our arms you’ll feel complete” entreat Purple Pilgrims with menacing hyper-perfect diction in this devotional recruitment song.

This is a new track, released earlier this year, following their glorious 2016 album “Eternal Delight”. It carries some familiar Purple Pilgrims hallmarks, from the minimal electronic music which builds to a siren-warning insistent synth melody towards the end, to the eery trance-like vocals with ethereal chorus harmonies.

The combination of the words and all these musical elements turn an invitation to reside with them into something quite terrifying.


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/198890349″>Purple Pilgrims – Drink The Juice</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/notnotfun”>Not Not Fun</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>