Archives for category: Pop Lib

Seablite 2019Seablite are from San Francisco and have just released a melody-packed album called “Grass Stains and Novocaine” on Emotional Response Records. Here’s “Heart Mountain” to introduce you to the album:

Seablite describe themselves in their Bandcamp tags as fuzz-pop jangle-gaze. The combination of jangle-pop, shoegaze and fuzzy guitar pop sounds like a kind of obvious merging of related and sometimes overlapping styles, yet I’m struggling to think of another band who have pulled it all together with the aplomb shown by Seablite on this album, who get the stylistic mix and the variety in their songs right.

A distinctive feature is the bass playing which sits an octave above where you might usually expect the bassline to sit which gives the songs a strong clear pulse of rhythm and melody through the fuzz and jangle, tethering the weightless harmony vocals to earth.

Seablite are Lauren Matsui (vocals and guitar), Andy Pastalaniec (drums), Galine Tumasyan (bass and vocals), and Jen Mundy (guitar). The album will appeal to fans of Lush and Velocity Girl, among others, and, if you like Seablite, head over to the Emotional Response website to discover a treasure trove of other releases to explore.

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Terror of the Deep.jpgWellington band Terror of the Deep released their third album – “The A-Team” – at the start of May. It’s another impressive collection of understated gems, laced with a healthy dose of subtle garage-pop psychedelia. Here’s the glorious “Glisten in the Wind” for your listening pleasure:

“Glisten in the Wind” is written and sung by drummer William Daymond, and it is a two and half minutes wandering in the garden of earthly delights. Acoustic guitars and keyboard combine with bass and drums to deliver a simple yet beautiful and brief sonic adventure concluding with a star-burst guitar solo.

The album mixes garage-pop with the relaxed slightly country-esque flavours of late 1960s US West Coast rock, adding a hint of The Feelies, the odd bit of synth-pop (!) to inhabit a similar musical zone to the adventurous low-key guitar-pop craft of Australians The Ocean Party.

Drahla_2019_Useless coordinatesUK trio Drahla have released their first album, “Useless Coordinates”. It maintains the remarkable and exemplary standard of music, lyrics, performance shown by their single and EP releases over the past few years, and delivers on their promise, with interest. Here’s “Stimulus for Living” from the album:

“Stimulus for Living” is grainy and intense, with angular shapes stabbed out by guitar chords over repetitive nagging notes, driving hi-gain bass and propulsive drums, and punctuated by squalls of saxophone. It’s a template followed throughout the album, which each song twists in compelling new ways.

Drahla are Luciel Brown (guitar/ bass/ vocals) Rob Riggs (bass/ guitar/ vocals) and Mike Ainsley (Drums) along with Chris Duffin (saxophone). Their debut album “Useless Coordinates” is a powerful statement, full of an air of inscrutable mystery and intrigue. Within the debris-trail of beautifully dissonant noise Drahla merge in thrilling ways elements of post-punk with art pop and noise rock, and even some experimental free-noise elements.

There’s so much to love about this whole album. Melodic and musical, intelligent, artful and abrasive, dense and yet full of space and dynamics. It’s also crammed with lyrical labyrinths, delivered by Luciel Brown in her distinctive speak-sing stream-of-consciousness style, and fitting the atmosphere of dark paranoia invoked by the music, like overhearing the incantation of visions from a feverish hallucination.

Drahla’s debut album maintains the band’s remarkable and exemplary standard of music, lyrics, performance and also artwork and presentation. Yes, you do need to treat yourself to a copy.

Warrington sunrise Cropped Extra ThinLow-key Auckland woozy-pop artist/ band These Early Days return with another dream-like song; “Again”

“Again” seems a clearer, more in-focus recording, but all the favourite parts are there – the elliptical shuffling repetition of the drums, the loping time signature, and blurred guitar strumming we’ve come to know and love from These Early Mornings.

“Again” is like opening the curtains on a misty sunrise in a strange new place and being lost in contemplation for a moment before the weight of the day settles upon our shoulders.

A few years on we still don’t know much about These Early Mornings, but there’s now a developing collection of gloriously understated DIY pop goodness assembled on Bandcamp under the name These Early Mornings.

Mint Field 2019Here’s a Psychedelic Sunday treat from Tijuana, Mexico and the shape-shifting sounds of Mint Field – “Ella Se Queda”:

Mint Field have followed up their 2018 debut album ‘Pasar de la Luces’ with a 5 song 25 minute EP called “Mientras Esperas” which continues and expands the horizons of their unique combination of psych rock, dream-pop, shoegaze and krautrock.

The duo of Amor Amezcua and Estrella del Sol Sánchez has also expanded to a trio with the addition of  with bass player Sebastian Neyra joining the band for the ‘Pasar de la Luces’ tour, and for this EP, which was recorded in a couple of days during a stop-off in Los Angeles.

Gena Rose Bruce

“Rearview” is from the forthcoming album “Can’t make You Love Me” by Melbourne musician Gena Rose Bruce – out at the end of June.

The song is heavy on atmosphere – the bass and drum rhythms woven over with chiming intertwined guitars and Bruce’s voice weaving mystery among the pattern-work of sound. It’s got that intangible Australian cinematic atmosphere and an air of melancholy. Music for the endless road, for creating distance between your past and your future? Something like that.

Too Tone NZ Music Month

NZ Music Every Godzone Month! sign from Too Tone Records in Dunedin.

Our New Zealand Music Month for day #31 ends the month the way it started – with a song from Shayne P Carter. This time it’s the title track opening the last Dimmer album “Degrees of Existence”:

“Degrees of Existence” was recorded by a Dimmer line up that had played and toured for 2-3 years and captured the energy of a live band in a studio, or “the roar and the outerpaceness we were/ are capable of live.”

In his recently published memoir Carter says of “Degrees of Existence”: “The title track wasn’t friendly. It had zinging guitars and a big thumping bass played by Kelly. Dino did a mantra in the middle. The song was a finalist for that year’s Silver Scroll songwriting award, and Demarnia Lloyd did a superb version with just drums, bass and a small vocal ensemble, and when I heard the words come out of someone else’s mouth I realised the lyrics were right and that I could allow myself some credit.”