Aüva hail from Boston, Massachusetts, in the US of A and “Glitter & Weed” is from a recently released 3 track EP available for free download. It’s wonderful, so go forth and discover it and the rest of their back-catalogue too:
It’s one of many great indie pop songs (mostly available via the artists’ Bandcamp pages) discovered via this an excellent playlist “How Did We Make It This Far?” from The Shadow of the Wall music blog.
Aüva’s “Glitter & Weed” reminds me of Canadian band Alvvays. The music is chiming synth-backed guitar pop, packed with sing-along melodic hooks and wonderful lyrics like “Glitter and weed and LSD / All of my friends moved in with me.”
The combination of the dolorous voice of Jack Markwordt (I’m assuming he’s the male lead voice on these) and the brighter, lighter voice of keyboard player Miette Hope also gives the song (and the rest of the EP) a nice kind of human contrast, particularly combined with the wry, articulate lyrics in these “sweet and sad songs about friends and lovers” (according to their Facebook page bio). It’s the kind of literate pop that fans of Anthonie Tonnon, Jens Lekman, and the above-mentioned Alvvays should instantly appreciate.
In case you missed them during 2016, here’s PopLib’s 5 Essential Songs and Albums of 2016. These are limited to Bandcamp discoveries.
5 Essential Songs
5 Essential Albums
absolutely necessary; extremely important
At some stage in the New Year there may appear the usual lists of favourite PopLib songs and albums for the year just gone. It’s always ‘favourite’ rather than ‘best’ because the snapshots PopLib takes of the world of music is powered by happenstance of (mostly) Bandcamp discovery through various random, tangential means rather than an exhaustive survey of everything released through normal ‘music industry’ channels.
In the meantime here’s a reader-powered PopLib Top 10 selection. These are the Top Ten most-viewed posts featuring new music on PopLib in 2016. Happily, most of these songs would appear on a PopLib Top 10 ‘favourites’ list for 2016 too.
- Let’s Eat Grandma “Eat Shiitake Mushrooms”
- Seafog – “Raise Your Skinny Fist”
- Wurld Series – “Orkly Kid”
- Ego (Egoism) – “Crowd”
- Elan Vital – “Janina”
- Spinning Coin – “Albany”
- Egoism – “Reason”
- Young Hellions – “Fractures and Cacophony”
- Drahla – “Fictional Decision”
- Ela Orleans –“You Go Through Me”
The links above will take you through to the original PopLib post. Here is the Top 10 again in a playlist format of sorts…
Thanks to everyone who has read PopLib this year, and special thanks to all who have shared the posts. Extra special thanks to everyone who has bought a song/ album by an artist discovered via PopLib.
The Moonlight released their first album a few weeks ago and are touring NZ at the moment to alert the dozy rugby-obsessed inhabitants of the Land of the Long White Cloud of its existence. Here’s the opening track, the rather wonderful “Across The Room”.
“Across The Room” sounds like it could be a lost recording by the Jean Paul Sartre Experience as they transitioned from winsome melodic strum into peerless fuzzy shoegaze giants as JPSE. That good.
Listening through the album it also seems The Moonlight would also have fitted comfortably amongst the chiming pop of some of the 1990s/ 2000s Failsafe Records roster, which included bands like Springloader, Throw and Dolphin, and post-JPSE bands Kimo and Mulchzoid.
There’s something distinctly New Zealand about The Moonlight LP and it’s low key yearning existential strum. Or, as they so eloquently say on their Bandcamp page: “A pent up need to give permanent shape to the flux of experience. That kind of stuff.”
I’ll be getting a copy tonight at Chick’s Hotel, where they play with the PopLib endorsed Elan Vital.
She’s So Rad in London
It’s not all underground DIY bedroom/ basement/ garage pop here on PopLib. To prove that, day 6 of this month of daily NZ music madness comes from Auckland’s former ‘shoe-gaze’ duo She’s So Rad. I say ‘former’ because recent releases have pushed the reverb & delay guitars into the background and pumped up the volume of the synths. And they are no longer just the duo of Jeremy Toy and Anji Sami.
‘Levels’ was a bit of a shock to the system when I first heard it. At first blush it could fit into the lycra, shoulder pads & big hair 80s. But repeated listens – and it is the kind of song that has satisfyingly addictive ear-worm credentials – reveals it has more depth and complexity to the layered synth-power-pop.
‘Levels’ is available to download via the She’s So Rad Bandcamp page from today.
Grubs (via their Facebook page)
I have to thank Bill from the exemplary new music discovery radio show Human Pleasure broadcast on RDU in Christchurch for alerting me to this small – 1 minute 26 seconds! – gem from Bristol three-piece Grubs.
It’s only one song and Grubs are pretty new but I really hope to hear more from them. Maybe some ‘name-your-price’ download generosity from us all will encourage them.
This matters because ‘Dec 15th’ has an elliptical pop charm I just can’t shake. There’s simplicity of guitars & drums and voices (so meeting the indie-pop purity laws of K Records’ & Beat Happening Calvin Johnston) but also some chiming circular complexity in the way the voices and guitars are used, like one of those childhood folk songs ’rounders’. As a result it is pleasingly non-formulaic fuzzy jangle pop and I like that and want to hear more. Much more.
Can’t find much about Grubs. They are Owen, Roxy, Jake. Guitar, guitar, drums. Made up of Joanna Gruesome / Trust Fund members though which is as much an indicator of their pedigree & future potential as it is a red herring.
Here’s day 7 of my 31 days of May New Zealand Music month Bandcamp purchase marathon. I actually bought this back in February… but if I hadn’t already I would’ve today, OK?
Lontalius is the music identity for a shy 16 year old Wellington school kid. I didn’t believe that at first, particularly as it was the 7th EP release on Bandcamp since 2010. But I’ve met ‘Lontalius’ now, and saw him play live in the ‘Renegade Room’ at Camp a Low Hum back in February, so I can attest to his age (though maybe he’s all of 17 by now?).
Once you work your way past the grainy lo-fi of these recordings you will hopefully discover these are some powerful and extraordinary pop songs. ‘Whisper’ – my favourite here – is full of heart-crushing melodic beauty.
It’s the sort of song I can imagine on an early Sparklehorse or Neutral Milk Hotel album and all the better for the fuzzorama production, the low-key resignation of its vocal delivery and 1 minute, 45 second economy.
The other standout song in this consistently excellent 11 minute 6-song collection is ‘The Same (Drum Version)’.
Listen carefully for the delicate pizzicato arrangement in the background of the fuzz-fog to hear what I mean. It reminds me of the sort of arrangement The Blue Nile would add to a song (after a few obsessive-compulsive years in the studio). As indeed does the pervading sense of sweet melancholy.
What sets these songs apart for me is that elegant arrangement of simple instrument parts and the equally understated vocal delivery that conveys so much from so little. Sure you need some tolerance for a bit of ‘lo-fi’ distress to relate to this. To my ear though, this is well crafted bedroom pop of the highest order.
It’s understandable that we tend to focus on a carefully packaged and marketed bedroom pop eccentric from overseas like Ariel Pink and overlook greater potential talent in our own back yard. But with Bandcamp (and Soundcloud) as a facilitator it is now a bit easier to discover it amongst us if we take the time to explore.