ela-minusThere’s a brand new (out yesterday) digital EP by New York based electronic musician Ela Minus and it is wonderful intimate small-scale electronic pop excellence. Standing out in its own strange electro-psychedelic universe is “I Wish I Had a Hat”

I first discovered the music of Ela Minus (real name Gabriela Jimeno, and originally from Bogota, Colombia) last year and everything I’ve heard since has had a rare quality.

We’re talking well-crafted melodic songs which pack pop hooks, yet don’t sound formulaic. The songs are constructed within skeletons of electronic sounds, programmed beats and miniature sonic detailing. Voice and lyrics add a compelling human connection.

Where it sounds different to my ears is the electronica is soft toned and playful, there’s plenty of adventure and the spacey minimalism is action-packed: full of tiny subtle details. Not sure if that’s a good explanation. In short: it just sounds right and good!

Anyway, this track “I Wish I Had  A Hat” is perfect. One of the most psychedelic sounding electronica pop songs I’ve heard. Fifty years have passed since Syd Barrett’s songs were recorded for Pink Floyd’s “Piper at the Gates of Dawn” and Ela Minus inhabits a different universe of sound altogether. Yet, for me, this song somehow captures the same playful psychedelic rapture as some of Syd’s “Piper…” songs. Love it.

egoism_2017Sydney band Egoism have just released their first EP, called “It’s Wearing Off”. One thing which isn’t wearing off at all is the magic of their dreamy dream-pop shoegaze soft-rock, as “Consequences” demonstrates.

The EP is a natural and perfect progression from their distinctive early releases which PopLib has followed for a couple of years now. The performance, recording and production is assured without losing any of the spirit which made their earlier releases a treat.

“Consequences” – co-written by guitarsist/ vocalists Scout Eastment and Oliver Rush – stands out as a bit more of a departure perhaps, with the volume scaled back, losing nothing in the process and adding further depth and sonic textures to their sound. The slide guitar, infinite delay and combined vocals are heavenly and of course there’s a trademark dreamy voice & guitar outro which floats the song off into the ether.

 

 

spinning-coin-2017Spinning Coin have a new single out soon, called “Raining on Hope Street”. It’s always raining in Glasgow.

Can’t find a Bandcamp or Soundcloud link and it’s another month before the 7″ will be available from their label Geographic Records via Domino Records but it’s too good not to share.

The song is quintessential Spinning Coin – all thin trebly raindrop splatter strums, unexpected chord changes and darting lead runs that twist around the multitude of melodic themes in the verse and choruses.

“Raining on Hope Street” may be about kind of lovelorn yearning of not being quite worthy or strong enough for someone –“If I had enough heart I’d give it to you” – and in their words and music evoke some of the similar emotional landscape of early Orange Juice and The Pastels while also channeling fiercer guitar skronk elements of early Teenage Fanclub.

The video is a visual treat of autumnal watery sunlight in Glasgow parklands, matching the spirit of the song to the psycho-geography of their city and its history of socialist independent pop music.

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the-sunday-leagueThis may well be my favourite song from the other* Hobart music compilation called “7000 – The Pick of Hobart Independent bands”. And “Monday” is a perfect song for a Monday naturally. Even though Monday in NZ is still a Sunday in some parts of the world, it’s still a perfect song because it’s by The Sunday League.

The Sunday League take me back to the likes of The CannanesThe Lucksmiths and The Steinbecks; all chiming perfect hollow-body electric guitars, earnest melodic vocals and lyrics reflecting on the everyday things of existence in suburban Australia. Like rubbish collection day and overgrown Pittosporum trees.

It’s music so familiar you’d think you should have heard enough of it already. And yet, something like this can breeze along, with those ringing guitar notes, quivering Australian voice and honest band-in-a-room recording, and it’s just perfect for dreaming and escaping to imagine watching the bin collectors work their way down a tree-lined street you’ve never been to, in Hobart, Tasmania, postcode 7000.

* check out the “Community 4” Hobart music compilation on bandcamp for more Tasmanian underground pop goodness.

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Time for another stellar track from “Community 4 – a compilation of Hobart music” – “Teeth” is fine inter-woven minimal post-punk from Heart Beach.

One of the rip-it-up-and-start-again aspects of the original ‘post-punk’ movement was freeing ‘pop’ music from songwriting and playing conventions, like guitar chords, verse-chorus, etc. The apparent minimalism of some post-punk can also be complex patterns played on multiple instruments, often with echoes of traditional non-Western music.

Two conventions not abandoned here are rhythm and melody. Combined with the exploratory and circuitous snaking lead guitar lines and the mesmeric bass part “Teeth” establishes a dark kind of melancholy; a world within a world that invites us to join it for a moment.

There’s plenty more from Heart Beach to explore on their own Bandcamp page.

 

ewahtvopbeachpanarama“Walk the Night” by EWAH & The Vision of Paradise effectively combines dark psychedelia with ominous post-punk rumbling. It’s another stellar song from “Community 4 – a Compilation of Hobart Music”

Viewed from a New Zealand perspective the song seems to possess a very Australian style of cinematic rock-noir. I can even imagine echoes back through time to the sounds of early Hunters and Collectors, The Triffids, and even Roland S. Howard.

There’s plenty more music to be found at EWAH’s Bandcamp page and much more information to discover at the EWAH & The Vision of Paradise website.

foxy-moronsLooks like PopLib will be taken over by Tasmanian underground music for a bit longer. There’s another excellent compilation of Hobart bands just released and here’s the first track, “Under the Sea” from from Foxy Morons –

“Under the Sea” dives in with a bold Velvets strum. It’s part metaphorical fantasy – “living life under the sea” – and part put-down – “my boyfriend is a tortoise/ he lives for 100 years and he doesn’t do nothing.” Not entirely sure if it makes sense, but I do like the underwater pop vibrations and the lush choral backing vocals and pretty much everything about the song.

The compilation this song opens is called “7000 – The Pick of Hobart Independent bands” and it’s available in LP, CD and digital download formats.

There’s a bit of overlap between the bands on each of these two new compilations. This seems like a good time to point you to Foxy Morons’ equally splendid contribution to “Community 4 – a Compilation of Hobart Music”, called “Ex” for reasons that the song will explain:

Each of these Hobart compilations covers a wide range from snotty lo-fi punk to post-punk electronica, through to woozy psychedelia.

I’ll be posting more songs from both compilations and adding a few more ‘favourite bands’ to the list for further follow-up. Click on the highlighted link here to read an article about Hobart’s underground music scene.