Archives for posts with tag: Auckland

Tāmaki Makaurau/ Auckland sound designer/ composer/ writer/ musician/ singer Frances Libeau’s recorded and performance sound project i. e. crazy returns with a textured electronic/ sound collage swamp-pop ode to the watery parts of the city’s harbour fringe, “Wetlands”:

The song has some ‘trip-hop’ electronic vibes, but its industrial whirr and clatter is rendered almost organic by the sonic arrangement here where the music and non-music sound layers entangle each other to emulate the claustrophobic sticky warm air, ripe with decay, and the cross-hatched thickets of plant-life crowding the edges of swampy coastal marsh wetlands.

It’s a perfect setting for a typically unsettling lyrical reflection inspired by frequent visits to Western Springs’ Lakeside Te Wai Ōrea park.  As the song progresses there’s also a lush and woozy cinematic orchestral tone colours the soundscape too. Dank and dark of course, but also ultimately weirdly uplifting. Here’s to more in this vein.

The i. e. crazy website has a recorded music page which has a reverse chronological journey through one of the richest and deepest catalogues of NZ alt-pop-craft. Go explore it – all the way back to Dear Time’s Waste – if you are not familiar.

Our Day 20 song for 31 Days of May Madness, attempting to post a New Zealand track every day of the month of May, is “Plume on Europa” by Ripship:

“Plume on Europa” is from the 2020 post-punk sci-fi lo-fi weirdness of Ripship’s “Greebles” EP. The song stands out for Callum Lincoln’s chiming guitar-synth arpeggio and drummer Eva-Rae McLeans’ lost-in-echoes spoken-word vocals, sounding like nothing much else.

The Auckland duo create something curious and different on the six song EP. It’s full of unexpected clanking cool strangeness, spoken word commentary, and all-sorts of musical, sonic and lyrical oddness.

Our Day 17 song for 31 Days of May Madness, attempting to post a New Zealand track every day of the month of May, is “Sometimes” by P.H.F.

P.H.F. stands for Perfect Hair Forever and this release, which is called “Unplugged” is – you guessed it – solo acoustic recordings of old and also unreleased songs from the P.H.F catalogue by P. H. F. dude Joe Locke. It’s just been released (on translucent green shell cassette) on Danger Collective Records.

“Lo-fi garage pop” is what P. H. F. was initially about, but the output of this prolific artist is not so easily pigeon-holed (check “Anthology” here, which includes the original synth-pop version of this song).

But these songs sound fine unplugged and unadorned. It’s contemporary urban bedroom folk music. Maybe all the better for the absence of crushing distortion/ effect-heavy production in fact. The album is just acoustic guitar and voice, with some occasional additional vocal harmonies. And, in the case of “Sometimes” here, the synth melody of the original is replaced by some A+ whistling.

Our Day 10 song for 31 Days of May Madness, attempting to post a New Zealand track every day of the month of May, is “Being Alone” by Guardian Singles:

Guardian Singles was first formed in 2015 by guitarist and vocalist Thom Burton (SoccerPractise, Moppy) and drummer Fiona Campbell (Vivian Girls, Coolies), then adding bassist Yolanda Fagan (Na Noise, Echo Ohs) and lead guitarist Durham Fenwick.

“Being Alone” is from the Auckland band’s eponymous debut album, just given an international release last week via Chicago label Trouble in Mind Records.

Like the rest of this concise album the song is all frenetic strummed energy and popgun drumming. It’s reminiscent in a way of the punked-up melodic guitar-pop energy of The Chills and The Feelies their early days (think “Rolling Moon” and “The Boy With Perpetual Nervousness” perhaps).

Welcome to Day 2 of the 31 Days of May Madness for New Zealand Music Month in which another heroically futile attempt will be made at posting a New Zealand music track a day throughout May to share NZ music with the internet void. Today it’s the thrilling cinematic fuzz pop of Auckland band Na Noise and “Sun Stone Air” from their excellent first album “Waiting For You”.

Na Noise mutate old-style 1960’s surf and fuzzy ye-ye beat-pop garage-rock through their distinctive stylistic reverb and twang blender and warp it through their time-machine into the 21st century. Musically and stylistically all over the place and totally timeless and great.


Auckland band Roulettes have released a new EP of gloriously melodic guitar rock called “Rocket to You”, dedicated to Andrew Brough (The Orange, Straitjacket Fits, Bike) who died in February, at the start of this very strange and darkly dislocated year. Tempting as it is to play the title track, which somehow manages to combine hints of Bolan’s T Rex and The Beatles, it’s “Ordinary Glories” that perhaps channels the greatest Brough-factor.

Roulettes are Justin McLean and Ben Grant with help on this EP from Davey Porter on Drums and Damon Grant on various instruments.

“Ordinary Glories” is born out of a period of reflection and loss. “When you lose someone you love you look back and realise that all relationships are finite. What seemed mundane and ordinary was in fact all too brief. Ordinary glories are the moments you spent together, never to be reclaimed, that are now memories to return to“ McLean explains.

Members of Roulettes, and contributors to the EP recordings, are geographically spread around Oceania and South-East Asia meaning the EP was recorded in three locations just before pandemic lockdown took hold.

Each of the 5 songs (plus a remix of the title track) is a cracker of melodic, reflective guitar pop. It’s a fitting tribute to the kind of songwriting Andrew Brough was renowned for. Andrew was Justin Mclean’s stepbrother, and a musical mentor for bassist Ben Grant and Justin in their first band Funhouse in Dunedin in the 1990s, producing recordings and giving them invaluable advice.

The Roulettes duo of Justin McLean and Ben Grant is augmented for a Dunedin show at the Crown on 11 July by drummer Darren Stedman (The Verlaines, The Prophet Hens) and bassist Tenzin Mullen (Heka, The David Lynch Mob)

CutssOur Day 27 song for New Zealand Music month is “Le Sun” from a six song EP “UAWA” from CUTSS:

CUTSS is the solo project of Sjionel Timu of legendary Auckland noise-punks Coolies. The “UAWA” EP “Le Sun” is from was originally released in a limited edition of 20 copy 7″ lathe cut records on NZ label Epic Sweep Records which specialises in grainy lo-fi NZ DIY pop-experimental esoterica, often in limited runs on physical formats.

The lathe cut sold out quickly of course, but the digital release of “UAWA” is here. “Le Sun” rumbles and spits along, melodic vocal line over a distorted bass and clanging guitar. For all its minimalism “Le Sun” (and the other songs on the EP) distills the essence of the same kind of crossover of 1960’s ‘girl group’ pop, primitive garage rock, and the 1980s post-punk melodic pop of bands like Shop Assistants.

NZMM 2020




Our song for day 26 of New Zealand Music Month comes from LEAO via ghost roads from memories of music from the Samoan islands.

This is first take lo-fi DIY pop – East River Pipe or early Ariel Pink comes to mind, or our own Kraus or Roy Irwin – but filtered through a Samoan pop perspective.

LEAO is Tāmaki-based David Feauai-Afaese (AKA Dave Urso) and his “Ghost Roads” EP was “written from a fa’asamoa core, providing feelings and messages embodied both in language and spirit.”

There’s ghosts in this music. The vocals sound like field recordings from a previous era, the music a woozy smudged vagueness. Although originating from the opposite side of the world to Irish experimental pop creator Maria Somerville, there’s a similar approach here to the music on Somerville’s “All My People” album through linking the traditional and the modern, transforming memories into a ghostly personal tribute to the communal experience of childhood music memories.

There’s an introduction to and overview of Noa Records, the Auckland label on which this is released, in this recent Bandcamp Daily feature.

NZMM 2020

Peach Milk 2017

Our Day 5 sounds for New Zealand Music Month come from Auckland electronic house/ techno music creator Peach Milk and “Catci (Zygo)” from the recent 3 song “WONK” EP.

As you may guess from the EP name “WONK” is a collection of recent works with a cohesive theme – they are all pretty wonky in the view of Madison Eve, the creator behind the Peach Milk name.

The first Peach Milk release “Finally” was a superbly tasteful collection of minimal techno sounds, with a the dark sheen and shimmer of the synth washes,  understated beats, and icy ambient minimalism.

The tracks on the “WONK” EP, continue the tasteful dance-tempo minimalism, but bent askew and tipped off-kilter with subtle sonic touches.

NZMM 2020

Guardian Singles

Auckland band Guardian Singles are assembled from an unlikely coalition of musicians, most of whom have been featured on PopLib in other sonic dimensions. Here’s “Being Alone” from their just-released debut album:

There’s a very New Zealand aspect to the anxious guitar-pop here. “Being Alone” would not have sounded at all out of place on an early release by The Chills (thinking of songs like “Never Never Go” and also “Rolling Moon” in the insistent acoustic strum).  Don’t expect too much like it on the album though, as the album skews towards darker guitar post-punk overall.

Guardian Singles are Thom Burton (of Wilberforces, Moppy, and SoccerPractise) drummer Fiona Campbell (of The Coolies, Coasting, Vivian Girls), Madison Eve (Peach Milk),  Durham Fenwick (Green Grove) and Perry Mahoney (Civil Union).