Archives for posts with tag: Bad Sav

The first great new release of 2022 is upon us, in the form of an unexpected album “Silicon Pink”, the first music from Port Chalmers, Dunedin duo Thorn Dells. Here’s “Dark Taste”.

Thorn Dells is Nikolai Sim (Élan Vital, Kolya) and Lucinda King (Death And The Maiden, Bad Sav , Floating Island). “Silicon Pink” is a fantasia of dark hybrid electronic pop, each song a shift in time and space, mixing light and darkness, electronic pop and more exploratory sounds.

There are echoes of 90s dubby trip hop in places, as well as crystalline radio-friendly pop (the sublime “The One I Fear” with vocals from Sean Patrick Donald), and the gloriously sinister “Orlando” somehow channels an imaginary post-grunge Breeders mutation.  

The whole album all feels majestic and epic, the kind of album you would expect to hear on a major independent label (Mute, 4AD, etc.) but this is 2022, and self-releasing through Bandcamp is where you will find the sound of today’s essential exploratory music underground.

Bad Sav_Hope Lucinda NoMike_photo by Chris Schmelz_smaller for web

Hope Robertson (guitar, vocals) and Lucinda King (bass, vocals) of Bad Sav. (Absent is drummer Mike McLeod) – photo by Chris Schmelz.

Our tune for day 25 of New Zealand Music Month 2020 comes from Dunedin noise-rock trio Bad Sav – the instrumental-with-belated-arrival-vocals “TV Theme Song”

Three minutes in the repeated line “I never wanted to stay up/out” arrives. Not sure which it is or if it is both. It work just fine in the context of a “TV Theme Tune” either way. It’s unconventional, which is the Bad Sav way, and we can make of it whatever we want, which is also the Bad Sav way.

I’m not sure if there is an equivalent of synesthesia (musical notes ‘seen’ by the listener as colours) whereby chord and note patterns take on a physical, sculptural form, but that’s always been the sensation I’ve had listening to the sonic storm from Hope Robertson’s guitar, with the intricate patterns of notes, chord progressions through various loop, delay, reverb and distortion effects, allowing the sound to form layer upon layer of gloriously noise to form imaginary physical form. Maybe that’s why I like music with repetition so much. Listen with your eyes closed, music loud, following each guitar progression and see if it happens for you.

NZMM 2020

Too Tone NZ Music Month

Shop display of re-purposed NZ Music Month poster at Too Tone Records (2010-2017) in Dunedin.

Our New Zealand Music Month song for day # 16 is the brooding building storm of “Pets” from Port Chalmers trio Bad Sav:

Bad Sav leader, guitarist and vocalist Hope Robertson says “Pets” “is a breakup song even though it doesn’t sound like it. It was a “I don’t need to worry about this stuff because I’ve got my pets” kinda thing.”

“When I write a song if I’m so upset or angry or an emotion has gone beyond words, and just write some music and say, “Well, that sums it up”, I don’t think there’s any words necessary. At other times, words are totally necessary; if there’s an actual issue that’s happened or something you wanna discuss with yourself in songwriting then I’ll do that…”

The sonic storm front  from Robertson’s guitar arrives at the two and a half minute mark, exploding with controlled fury and then continuing to build, forming layer upon layer of gloriously distorted noise as it turns itself into something both hostile and embracing. It’s an utterly beautiful, wrenching song that I love listening to loud over and over again.

When I have seen this band live their structural noise fills the room and vibrates every atom as they tear a hole in the fabric of space and time, particularly with the amazing improv destruction ending to “Pets”. On a great night (and most Bad Sav performances in recent years have been great) the song ends like a universe of “Index of Metals”-era Robert Fripp guitar loops disintegrating as it is pulled into a black hole.

Bad Sav_Hope Lucinda NoMike_photo by Chris Schmelz_smaller for web

Hope Robertson (guitar, vocals) and Lucinda King (bass, vocals) of Bad Sav. (Absent is drummer Mike McLeod) – photo by Chris Schmelz.

“Hen’s Teeth” by Birdation will be familiar to regular followers of PopLib. Birdation is the solo experimental noise workshop of Port Chalmers musician Hope Robertson. Robertson is guitarist in electronic+post-punk dark dream-pop trio Death And The Maiden and the long-running, slow-moving noise rock trio Bad Sav. Next week, Bad Sav finally release that long-awaited first album. The first track shared ahead of the release is “Hen’s Teeth”

The slow trance-like lo-fi churn of Birdation’s “Hen’s Teeth” has been turbo-charged by Bad Sav into an uptempo slice of chiming guitar rock. The first second is arresting in unexpected ways with the intake of breath before the song starts.

I love the way Robertson’s stabbing sparkling guitar chords dance from side to side in the mix, like a delay echo in a huge cathedral. Then there’s that euphoric chorus and the crunch of additional guitar horsepower to seal the effective assault on the senses. There’s still a thrill and a power to be found in a trio playing guitar, bass and drums, loud and with distortion and Bad Sav’s album delivers that tonic in 10 measured doses.

With Bad Sav less is more. Whereas My Bloody Valentine would have spent years burying the song in sonic molasses, Bad Sav achieve the same dizzying chord-bending melodic blaze with a recording as immediate and monstrous as their live performances.  Their churning guitar-heavy sonic distillation of melodic post-rock, noise-rock and shoegaze is a thing of sonic beauty to experience live, the guitar sound building patterns of glorious saturated noise that fill every corner of the venue and your head.

Bad Sav have been around for 10 years – long enough to have started out with a MySpace page, the internet equivalent of carbon-dating a band’s vintage. They had an early song on a Radio One sampler CD, then a long wait until 2014 when they self released 4 songs on their Bandcamp. These 4 songs make for an essential pre-quel EP-length introduction to the band.

Here’s the original Birdation formation of “Hen’s Teeth”. The Bad Sav and Birdation versions on a split 7″ single would be a lovely thing indeed. That won’t be happening, so best you download the Birdation version below and keep it safe.



Birdation MirrorDay 7 of NZ Music month is the Birdation live set recorded at the Robbie Burns pub in Dunedin a year ago.

This has been posted before on PopLib but it bears re-posting because it’s just so freaking good and because Birdation has two Auckland shows this weekend – Saturday night at The Golden Dawn supporting Cash Guitar and on Sunday at the Audio Foundation.

Birdation is Hope Robertson – guitarist/ vocalist for Dunedin sludge-core dream-pop band Bad Sav, and for post-punk slow-wave dance band Death and The Maiden.

Bad Sav_all_TEMPORARY release

Bad Sav at Chick’s Hotel

“Dressed like a kinetic housewife” is a line which makes not much sense. But this is Bad Sav so we are talking about one of the incorrigible and obstinately non-conformist bands to come out of Dunedin’s “Pop Underground” in recent years.

“Making Love” was recorded back in 2012 and it’s been out in the world for a while, so posting this song is really just an excuse to alert Dunedin residents to Bad Sav’s next live performance next weekend on Saturday 12 March. Even if it this particular song is unlikely to be on their set list.

Anyway, it will be one of your last chances to experience live music at Chick’s Hotel, plus you will get to hear a rare performance from legendary band The Terminals and hear Wellington’s MarineVille.

“Making Love” is unusual in the Bad Sav cannon in that drummer Mike McLeod takes the lead vocals – rapping (yup). You may be more familiar with him as the honeyed voice fronting psych-gaze rock trio The Shifting Sands.

Bad Sav’s Bandcamp is a collection of excellent and noisy miscellany released over several years. Despite existing for 10 years now Bad Sav has only two official releases to its name. Both are tracks on compilation albums. There was “Ruiners” on the Radio One double CD “A Century of Seasons” (2009) and “Buy Something New” on the TEMPORARY compilation (2014).

The lack of career goals for Bad Sav thus far is completely understandable. All three members have been busy in various alternative guises over the years. Above-mentioned drummer Mike has been running Chick’s Hotel live music venue and leading The Shifting Sands while also completing a Master of Philosophy degree. Guitarist Hope – who provides the thrilling wall-of-guitar melodic churn that defines Bad Sav – also currently plays in Death and the Maiden with bassist Lucinda and is busy with her own solo sonic explorations as Birdation.

But in recent years there seems to have been a hardening of resolve. The accumulation of quality songs and live performances of crushing sonic grandeur has increased exponentially. Whether this will culminate in something as unlikely as an album release is still anyone’s guess, but it’s a happy thought to cherish during dark and troubled times. In the meantime there’s always the breadcrumb trail offered by the songs collected on their Bandcamp.




Birdation Port Chalmers
“alison 3.0” is a wonderful playful slice of imaginary cartoon soundtrack from enigmatic and unpredictable Port Chalmers sound-sculptor Birdation.

Birdation is Hope Robertson, guitarist and occassional drummer/ vocalist with Dunedin post-punk trance-wave trio Death And The Maiden and also guitarist & vocalist with Bad Sav.

Sometimes Birdation music is a song, like the sublime distorted home-baked shoegaze anthem “Hen’s Teeth” posted on PopLib a few months ago. Other times it’s something instrumental like this.

The use of an old analogue drum machine, keyboards and various treatments from pedals or whatever gives “alison 3.0” a timeless vintage feel. Something about this and the cyclical repetition of the cheerful melody reminds me of old computer games or even soundtracks to old educational cartoons explaining mechanical industrial processes for children. It wouldn’t sound out of place on a Broadcast EP.

If you are in Dunedin you can see Birdation at a R1 Clubcard event tonight (Thursday 4 June 2015).

UPDATE: Here’s a fabulous 24-minute live recording of Birdation’s set from Thursday night via LiveSound Engineering

Bad Sav at OneFest at Sammys, Dunedin

Bad Sav at OneFest at Sammys, Dunedin

Day 16 of May Month of Madness for NZ Music Month is the fuzzy wonder of pickled-gherkin-loving Dunedin trio Bad Sav‘s “Labradoodle”

Bad Sav are guitarist/ vocalist Hope Robertson ( Birdation & Death And The Maiden), bassist/ vocalist Lucinda King (Death And The Maiden) and drummer Mike McLeod ( The Shifting Sands).

They’ve been around in Dunedin for ages and first came to notoreity with their track “Ruiners” on the 2009 Radio One compilation double CD “A Century of Seasons” celebrating 25 years of student radio in Dunedin.

In the past few years they’ve slowly assembled a selection of songs on their Bandcamp page which starts to hint at what their live sets are like. Hope’s great walls of guitar-generated noise make this trio sound huge when they play. There’s also something magical about their songs and their strange and beguiling melodies which burrow into your head and stay there for ages.

Here’s hoping for a Bad Sav album sometime this decade.

Birdation Mirror

Well this is a beaut surprise. “Hen’s Teeth” is new tune, out of the aether from Dunedin’s one-person noise machine Birdation. And it’s a proper song and all.

When Pop Lib last featured Birdation it was a storming live set from the Auricle in Christchurch from Hope Robertson (Bad Sav & Death And The Maiden), her guitar, pedals and machinery as Birdation.

But in “Hen’s Teeth” here’s a concise, structured and controlled song full of mystery, imagination & drama. It’s dark, crunchy and ominous and there’s a lot going on in the swirling noise fog. Listen closely to that magic change at 1:35 too. Sublime.

I’ve been lucky enough to see Birdation live a couple of times now and the songs have left lasting impression on me. Looking forward to more like this from Birdation.

The idea with PopLib blog was to exclude all the stuff released on Fishrider Records and draw your attention to other unheard goodness, mostly hidden away on Bandcamp. The main focus of PopLib has been on uncovering NZ underground pop sounds, with occasional excursions over the Tasman and around the world.

The next Fishrider Records release creates a dilemma for the self-imposed ‘nothing from Fishrider’ rules here though. It’s a compilation of 13 songs and only 5 are Fishrider-released artists. Almost all the others have featured here on PopLib in the past year.

The compilation is called T E M P O R A R Y, in reference to the transient nature of young musicians, bands and the music scene here in Dunedin in general. It is an extension of what PopLib is about – drawing attention to the stuff you may never know exists. It even comes with a ‘zine (actually a pretty classy words music, writing & art magazine) to help immerse you even more and to kickstart your discovery of each band included.

It’s out in early September here in NZ, has a US co-release on Ba Da Bing! Records and will be also available in the UK with the assistance of Occultation Recordings. You can pre-order it now in a variety of formats at ridiculous pre-order prices from Fishrider’s Bandcamp here. As well as an immediate download you’ll also get into the release shows at Chick’s Hotel on 5th & 6th September (if you are in Dunedin).

As you’ll see if you visit the page there’s only two tracks available to stream at the moment – “All Over The World” by The Prophet Hens and Winded” by Kane Strang .

Another 7 can be found on the Bandcamp pages of the bands. As a quick guide just for the loyal readers of PopLib, here’s a shortcut to some more of what’s what on the compilation. So have a look around, discover more from the ones you like the most… but if you like some of them and want to hear them on vinyl & read about them in print, grab that compilation LP & ‘zine while it lasts.

Side One:
1 Mavis Gary – Dim the Droog

2 Death & The Maiden – Flowers for the Blind

3 The Prophet Hens – All Over The World

4 Males – Dead Aware

5. Mr Biscuits – My Plums Are Ripe

6. Opposite Sex – Supermarket

7. Strange Harvest – Amnesia

Side Two:
1 The Shifting Sands – All The Stars

2 Astro Children – Gaze

3 Kane Strang – Winded

4 Bad Sav – Buy Something New

5 Scattered Brains of the Lovely Union – Party To Your Om

6 Trick Mammoth – Home Video