Drahla Silk Spirit video BW stillHere’s PopLib’s 4th send as a gift tip for the month – the sonic blast of Drahla’s “Form of Luxury” from their just-out “Third Article” EP.

“Form of Luxury” is from a one-sided 4 track 12″ (a half-album?) and, as with all things Drahla, the music bristles with intelligent menace, partly from the discordant sheet-lighting of the opening guitar fury, but later through the withering dead-eyed delivery of the lyrics by Luciel Brown.

“Form of Luxury” rumbles through twists and turns, the Leeds trio’s exploration of underground noise pop ebbing into reflective oddness before ending with more destructive guitar. It’s exhilarating.

Drahla’s “Third Article” EP is recommended to send as a gift to the discerning post-punk guitar-noise art-rock fan in your life.  It’s also available in LP format.

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Motte 2017Here’s our 3rd tip for giving the gift of music this month – “Bathhouse” from the album “Strange Dreams” by experimental neo-classical violin+synth sound artist Motte.

As noted here on PopLib back in February: “There’s also adventurous modern classical music (eg: “Bathhouse”) that at times fleetingly evokes the spirit of  Ralph Vaughan William’s “The Lark Ascending” although addition of unusual impressionistic synth tones and percussion textures keeps it well towards the experimental end of the classical spectrum without sacrificing any of its luminous musical qualities.”

“Strange Dreams” is recommended to ‘send as a gift’ via Bandcamp to anyone with discerning taste, adventurous ears, and an interest in contemporary experimental classical and electronic music. Also a perfect gift to send to friends overseas to remind them that NZ is still a diverse and original music-making laboratory.

Motte’s “Strange Dreams” is also available on LP  from Christchurch label CocoMuse Releases.

The Know NothingsOK, buckle in – our 2nd ‘send as a gift’ tip for December is this cracking, snot-caked garage-punk nugget from Community 4 – a compilation of Hobart music – one of the two excellent Hobart music underground compilations featured on PopLib earlier this year.

“Ain’t no Shame in my Game” may be formulaic snotty garage punk but The Know Nothings have clearly discovered the secret ingredient to that formula and this song is perfect enough to grace any Nuggets type compilation from any era. Ever.

The song gets extra attitude points for the twin lead vocals and the honking saxo-cacophony. The Know Nothings are Keith Hinde on vocals and guitar, Bek Binnie on vocals and bass, Sam Harrington on drums and Dave Holmes on even more guitar.  You’ll find it and even more splendid feral garage-punk nuggets on their album “Days of Foolishness, Nights of Idiocy”.

The entire compilation album is recommended as a gift for anyone you know who likes Australian alternative music but thought the plug was pulled on that sound in the 1990s. This particular track is highly recommended as an upgrade gift for annoying little brothers or sisters who listen to cartoon radio-punk like Green Day too loud while curling their lip. Get real.

jane-weaver-modern-cosmology.jpgIt’s December! There’s a day towards the end of the month when some of us give gifts to significant others. This annual consumerist frenzy causes all sorts of stresses… so this month PopLib will be guiding you to give the gift of music.

It’s easy to gift music using Bandcamp. You can save the planet and a musician at the same time by sending a download gift. Or you can even send a physical release (Cassette, Compact Disc, or LP).

First suggestion is one of my favourite albums this year – Jane Weaver’s ambitious, eclectic and spectacular “Modern Kosmology”.

“Did you see butterflies?” is a good example of the album’s mix of motorik beats, synths, and reverb-heavy dream-pop vocal s. But the album offers way more than this… from futuristic electronic pop to psychedelic astral folk and all (space) stations in between. It’s a modern classic.

Recommended for adventurous space cadets of all ages. Perfect for that annoying relative or friend who likes Neu! Can and Stereolab but insists that no great albums have been made since [insert date of said person losing their sense of excitement and wonder at new music and/ or giving up actively looking for it].

Jane Weaver_Modern Kosmology

These early mornings_CatastrophesHere’s a lovely slice of woozy psychedelia from Auckland DIY music makers These Early Mornings. Perfect for repeat plays at any times of the day when you want to lose yourself, escape the “Minor Catastrophes” of your daily existence, or just spin gently round and round in a field of flowers in the sunlight with your eyes closed.

As with all things from These Early Mornings the music is unconventional with a kind of looping repetitive push-and-pull feel which often gives the songs a laid-back intensity.

The idiosyncratic style of These Early Mornings songs – and their grainy, noisy DIY recordings – helps the songs stand in their own universe. Usually the songs are quite sparse and propelled along with drums playing odd time signatures. The arrival of melodic backwards guitar gives “Minor Catastrophes” a whole new sound and colour range while still sounding like no-one else but These Early Mornings. Perfect psych-pop.

CoyoteHere’s some messed up underground psych-rock from Dunedin Coyote from their just-released album “Hotel for Dogs”. The song is “I Met Satan” and it draws together the spirit of Led Zeppelin and Guitar Wolf in the same song.

Dunedin is well known for some ‘sounds’, but the sound of unhinged, feral, primal energy rock’n’roll with lupine howl vocals is not really one of them. That’s usually the kind of thing you’d associate with, well, Christchurch, or Hamilton or even Auckland.  So Coyote are like a breath of chili & garlic-flavoured air down here.

“I Met Satan” stands out for some particularly glorious guitar riffing, but the whole album is a festival of wild-eyed home-baked psychedelic lo-fi guitar skronk and underground rock weirdness. Those familiar with classic 60s/70s guitar rock themes may recognise occasional glimpses of those past sounds even after they’ve gone through Coyote’s cosmic blender.

If you like what’s on offer here, then after you download Coyote’s album, also fill your ears with this 17-minute live-to-air freak-out video:

The Golden Awesome

The Golden Awesome is a ‘shoegaze’ guitar & keyboards band predominantly from Wellington, NZ. They released an album called “Autumn” in 2011 on the US M’Lady’s Records label which is a bit hard to find round these parts now. Here’s the title track which opens the album:

Although ‘shoegaze’ tends to be the genre most often used in relation to The Golden Awesome there is a healthy a dose of The Jesus and Mary Chain about the crushing bass guitar and swarming feedback guitar drones here as well as the kind of swooping sonic overload and sweet melody associated with heavy shoegaze favourites My Bloody Valentine.

That mix of crushing saturated walls of glorious noise and breath-taking dream-pop melody is a feature of the album. The keyboards and the distinctive harmoniser processed vocals are from Dunedin musician Stef Animal and you can find out more about who else is in this low-key band in this rare UTR interview.

Here’s the wonderful trippy video for “Autumn” too: