Otago Harbour deep blueDay 29 of our 31 days of May New Zealand Music Month marathon comes from Dunedin’s hyper-melodic guitar-powered band Males, with a song from their 2016 album “None the Wiser” – here’s “Popeye” –

If you don’t already have the album, head to their Bandcamp post-haste and add it to your collection. While the band are in recess the main songwriter Richard Ley-Hamilton is still busy creating music as Asta Rangu so keep your ears peeled for more from this particular pool of talent.

 

Devine.jpgDay 28 of our 31 Days of May New Zealand Music Month marathon comes from Dunedin electronic pop newcomer Devine with the epic Gold Class pop of “Novel” –

This single has been getting a bit of local press recently and you can hear why. It’s classy well-crafted pop channeling a bit of Bond movie-theme grandeur and the electronica coolness of Goldfrapp.

The music has the darkness and texture of a thriller movie soundtrack and that undercurrent works perfectly with the character of the vocals.

The song is written and sung by by Molly Devine, and the music produced by Maddy Parkins-Craig. Some have said it’s the lack of ambition that gives Dunedin music its unique sound and feel. There’s much to be said for having ambition though as this Devine single shows.

Thought CreatureDay 27 of our 31 Days of May New Zealand Music Month marathon is a lost classic from 5 years ago by Wellington-via-Berlin band Thought Creature that not enough people have heard. Time to rectify that with a trip to their “Paradise” (play this L O U D)

“Paradise” is a guitar-heavy psychedelic dance groove celebration which would have sounded at home on a late 1980s Julian Cope album when the 1980s psychedelic pop revival was morphing into rave culture’s transcendental dance music.

Thought Creature’s Berlin sojourn in the early 2010s and their transformation into a noisy psychedelic electronica+guitar outfit led to the formation of two of Dunedin’s best genre melting electronica+ bands today – Death And The Maiden and Élan Vital. Both Dunedin bands trace their formation to Berlin around the time this song was released and the common denominator to all three bands is Danny Brady.

There’s another common denominator too: Erica Sklenars, who appears in this live video of “Paradise” from a Berlin house party and is a regular collaborator with Death And The Maiden and Élan Vital for music videos and live performance visuals.

DATM SkullsDay 26 of the 31 Days of May New Zealand Music Month marathon is a contemporary Dunedin classic from Death And The Maiden called “Skulls”

“Skulls” is a remarkable song on an album of remarkable music which can take a while to reveal subtleties and hidden emotional depths. The words here and their delivery, the way the song slowly builds through an ebb and flow of mesmerising woven pattern of guitars and bass over minimal electronic beats and synth wash, then kicks up a gear with a melodic change and builds to an intense and noisy climax before subsiding.  Just perfect…

“Skulls” is from the self-title debut album by the band not named after the title of the Dunedin single everyone thinks they must be named after.  The members of Death And The Maiden are Lucinda King (bass and vocals), Hope Robertson (guitars, drums, vocals) and Danny Brady (synths and electronic sounds).

The album is part electronica – slow dance/ trance arpeggio synth lines and clattering percussion – and part futuristic post-punk guitars and bass. But it’s the human heart of the voices which bind it all together into something special and unique, creating a world in which it is possible to lose yourself for 40 minutes in music that is dark and melancholy but also mysterious, coolly beautiful and, ultimately, positive and uplifting.

Or, as one Bandcamp purchaser said in a more succinct summary of the album’s charms “It’s great for dancing and crying and everything in between.” Indeed it is.

TupuhiDay 25 of our 31 Days of May New Zealand music month marathon comes from the suburban dub labs of Mark Tupuhi and the opening track from “the Deep End” – an ecclectic album of hypnotic psychedelic dub and electronic music. Here’s “Brevity” –

The album was an accidental discovery on bandcamp. “Overcome evil by dub” seems to be the entirely plausible theme of the opening track “Brevity” as it slowly unwinds with cut up voice samples and echoing delayed layers of guitar.

Usually the association of dub and reggae in NZ today is with the reductive pasteurised, homogenised mainstream-friendly “barbecue reggae” pop, a kind of audio head-nodding narcotic, where rhythm and formula is elevated above imagination.  That’s a long way from the adventurous spirit and imagination associated with reggae and dub in particular in the 1970s through to the 1990s.

Tupuhi’s DIY home recorded album “The Deep End” mostly avoids the contemporary NZ formula and takes the music in some unexpected directions at times. The combination of live and digital instruments and elements of dance and trance music is more reminiscent of the kind of sonic adventures of the On-U-Sound artists in the UK in the 90s.

As well as contemporary psychedelic dub like “Brevity” you’ll also find atmospheric industrial psy-trance on “Teradactyl” and even a kind of futurist post-punk electro-dub on “Malcolm”. It’s an album worth exploring further.

 

 

Womb 2016Day 24 of our 31 Days of May New Zealand Music Month marathon comes from Wellington’s WOMB and a 7 minute track called “Kissing in the Dark”

“Kissing in the Dark” starts with a throbbing drone. Not so much industrial as organic in nature, like some giant beating heart. A voice floats in at about 2 minutes and then more voices. Everything drifts along on a cloud of sound and voice… and keeps drifting along until the throbbing heartbeat stops and the choir of wordless voices continue over a bed of sound. Strange, mysterious and eerily beautiful.

WOMB started life in Wellington as Charlotte Forrester. Now WOMB is a band comprised of Charlotte Forrester, Haz Forrester and Georgette Brown. “Kissing in the Dark” dates from late 2016 is the most recent song to appear on WOMB’s Bandcamp, but new music must be on the way as late in February a video appeared with an new song “When the Night Breaks Up”.

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.