Archives for posts with tag: A Distant City

Koizilla 2018Koizilla‘s first full length album, following a succession of fine EPs, is called “Lazy Hazy” and it’s jam-packed full of energetic psychedelic pop and adventurous prog-rock, perfect fare for a Psychedelic Sunday song share.

First time I saw the Nicholls brothers playing in a band (the wonderfully atmospheric and mostly instrumental A Distant City) guitarist Zac reminded me – in appearance and playing style – of an early 1970s German space rock guitarist… and brother Josh also fitted the mold of the archetypal manic psychedelic space-rock drummer. The music on “Lazy Hazy” often still sounds like it could have been made by some undiscovered early 1970s offshoot of Amon Düül II.

There’s a lot of “look at me” fiddly and technically impressive musicality here; gratuitous time changes, tricky stops and starts and impossible drum fills (just listen to “Sandflies” for example of all of that). That kind of thing usually leaves me cold these days – thinking particularly of over-achieving and over-producing but ultimately mostly under-whelming Australians, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.

But Koizilla have a lightness of touch and also playfulness evident from the absurdist sense of humour and ridiculous fun of the songs. That infectious charm keeps the music on “Lazy Hazy” as compulsively entertaining as it is adventurous and always on the right side of taking itself too seriously. There’s seriously pop-tastic hyper-drive space rock along the way, even including some very appropriate and tasteful flute here and there.

Don’t be afraid to let yourself go all “Lazy Hazy” for a bit and immerse yourself in a different slice of Dunedin sonic exploration.

 

koizillaKoizilla is another supercharged band from the guitar-drum axis of Dunedin brothers Zac and Josh Nicholls along with bass accomplish Connor Blackie. They’ve provided stellar progressive guitar-based music since high school through their bands A Distant City and The Violet-Ohs, but in Koizilla they’ve found their most natural and most explosively adventurous spark to date. Here’s “Child” from their “Blunder Brother” debut EP:

The EP – and especially the opening track above – channel perfectly the imaginary Dunedin version of Amon Duul II which was my first reaction to seeing Zac Nicholls playing guitar in A Distant City four years ago.

It wasn’t just the long hair but his guitar playing style, which combined serious technical skill with what seemed to my ears a real early 1970’s feel for fluid psychedelic adventure and melodic improvisation. That stood out as unusual in Dunedin in 2012 and he’s only refined that impression since, particularly with Koizilla.

While A Distant City maybe took the proggy post-rock soundscape thing a bit too far in one direction, and The Violet-Ohs perhaps pushed the guitar-driven pop a bit too far the other way, Koizilla seem to have these two elements in balance and have injected a bit of cartoon-colour-saturated fun into the equation (like the over-exuberant “Krill” for example).

Highly recommended for lovers of psychedelic power-trio music which dares to fly higher than the limits of the earth’s atmosphere.

Violet-ohs1Day 10 of NZ Music Month is “Big Leg” from Dunedin post-punk-post-rock band The Violet-Ohs.

“Big Leg” is a track on The Violet-Ohs album “Battlephant”, the title track of which PopLib featured back in November 2015 upon the album’s release.

As noted last November the album is an accomplished collection of intricate, restless guitar-driven post rock with a strong pop heart and some fine psychedelic guitar work.

“Battlephant” set something of a record for Dunedin band releases, having been recorded during October and November 2015 and released immediately it was mastered, on 12 November 2015. The Dunedin tradition these days seems to be to take forever to finish and then release anything, so hats off to The Violet-Ohs for living in the moment.

Violet-Ohs

“Battlephant” is the guitar-heavy title track from the debut album by Dunedin 4-piece The Violet-Ohs, released just a few days ago.

The Violet-Ohs grew out of one of Dunedin’s finest ‘post-rock’ bands A Distant City. That band included The Violet-Ohs’ Zac and Josh Nicholls along with Nick Tipa and was a seriously mind-bending live band even before the members left High School. The Violet-Ohs also share drummer Josh Nicholls with Space Bats, Attack!, so it should be no surprise to hear a bit of each band in this album.

A Distant City played mainly long instrumentals, and Violet-Ohs have refined that into a more condensed song-based approach, without losing any of the propulsive, multi-faceted sonic adventure of their previous band.

The songs are built around the skillful & adventurous psychedelic space-rock guitar skills of Zac Nicholls but also lent a distinctive high-quality vocal sweetness by the fine voice of Nick Tipa – a choral singer in his other life.

“Battlephant” reminds me a little of a riff-heavy version of Field Music, such is the intricate, restless, genre-hoping prog-rock of these well-crafted songs, and the way the vocals are layered.

The whole “Battlephant” album is a great, confident start for the band. It’s well worth checking out, particularly if you are a fan of the heavier side of Dunedin’s rock music heritage (thinking HDU, Operation Rolling Thunder and Idiot Prayer).

Violet-Ohs
The Violet-Ohs descended from Dunedin’s great unsung post-rock psych-prog noise landscape sound gardeners A Distant City. In place of the twisting, complicated, ambitious long-form quiet-loud-quiet dynamics of A Distant City, The Violet-Ohs cut to the concise heart of pop songcraft. But, as you can hear from “Vent” here they still retain some of the ambitious technical intricacy.

Zac & Josh Nicholls (guitar & drums respectively) along with Connor Blackie (bass) provide the sometimes minimalist, but always intricately-constructed music. Nick Tipa has abandoned his rhythm guitar/ 2nd guitar role in A Distant City to do that very rarest of things in a band from Dunedin – concentrate just on vocals.  Check out the rest of their ‘Demos’ EP too. It’s good.