Archives for posts with tag: bedroom pop

“Running Out of Money” here, with its captivating Beta Band styled stoned groove and odd time signature, is from a recently released album from These Early Mornings.

These Early Mornings is/ are from New Zealand. The only named to be gleaned from the Bandcamp page for the self-titled album released on 7 October 2016 is one Jim Gaunt.

Whatever and whoever, this is a uniformly warm and weird collection of tunes. It starts with the brief and beguiling lo-fi not-quite rock steady groove of “Visa” before wandering with rhythmic abandon through other not-quite folk idioms in looping, lurching time signatures.

The eponymous third track is fractured stoner folk which might be imagined as an out-of-it Beck playing tribute to Harvest era Neil Young if it were not for the lo-fi recording and seriously off-kilter guitar solos and noise-reprise.

Overall it’s the loopy, grainy minimalism of the songs and the time signatures which makes this such a great collection of odd-pop. The closest thing to “Usually Waiting” and “Unco” for example is This Heat, and there’s a whiff of a folk Swell Maps to “Who Knows Nothing”.

This is the kind of album people will discover in 25 years time and an obscure boutique record label in the USA will re-release. Why wait that long? Get it now!

 

 

Advertisements

doubleu-quit-bandcamp“Quit” is the title of a fine 6 song EP from mysterious Auckland musician Doubleu. Here’s the opening track “Hero”:

Next track “Red” is equally impressive in its skillful minimal guitar layering, the subtle oddness of the backing sounds, and hushed melodic vocals. And the title track “Quit” after that. And… each following track, so stick around for the whole 12 minutes of this EP thanks.

It’s ALL pretty damned beautiful in a very understated and uncertain way, as if Doubleu doesn’t quite have the self-belief that these songs are in fact just right.

The last track “Words” offers a slightly different palette of sounds. The same shy, delicate and restrained songcraft but with more of an electronic sampled backing and playful sonic weirdness going on.

Everything about this 6 track EP by the mysterious Doubleu is intriguing. In it’s own quiet bedroom-pop-symphonies-in-miniature style, it’s a bit special. Don’t quit please.

Swampy Summit Panorama

Dunedin. No pony. Unfazed.

Day 27 of NZ Music Month is a home-recorded mumbled masterpiece from Dunedin’s reclusive Fazed on a Pony, called “Palz”

I’m often reminded of Sparklehorse when I listen to Fazed on a Pony.

It’s not that the music sounds particularly alike, but it shares that sense you sometimes get from Sparklehorse songs like they are an intimate confessional from a close friend going through a difficult time.

The DIY recording, unusual ideas used in the arrangements, the general woozy melodicism of the songs and that can’t-quite-make-it-out vocal delivery all conspire together to draw you into the recording.

“Palz” is from a now sold out 5 song cassette EP called “Hunch” released last year by UK cassette label Fox Food Records.

Fazed on a Pony

Day 17 of may Month of Madness marathon for NZ Music Month comes from invisible Dunedin DIY artist Fazed on a Pony.

“Spares” is a recent single release, paired with the brief & exploratory “4-23”. It’s perfect bedroom lo-fi self-recorded underground pop magnificence.

Explore back through the Fazed on a Pony back-catalogue on Bandcamp and you’ll find more great music. The noisier stuff has a bit of a Sparklehorse feel to it and the quieter stuff is beautiful washed-out solitude, as if recorded inside a large ball of cotton-wool.

Invercargill is the home of Shunkan – my latest favourite local lo-fi bedroom pop magician. That is no real surprise to me. Invercargill has produced much musical talent over the years and promptly exported it to the nearest centres of civilisation. I say that as someone brought up there who forged my own musical identity as a teenager in the front room of a pale-blue weatherboard villa on a windswept cabbage tree lined street and played in a band to no-one in an empty hall over the road from the prison.

I first heard Shunkan (there’s a whole EP of glorious and extraordinary bedroom fuzzy lo fi pop like this) via Art Is Hard Records in the UK. Inexplicably they’d received a demo from Shunkan and liked it enough to release it (limited edition cassette).

‘Wash You Away’ is just one aspect of what’s on the EP. I heard enough reference points in all the songs to wonder how Marina Sakimoto (who is Shunkan) could absorb such a range of diverse possible influences and then turn them into something so distinctive and original. There is some great sonic experimentation going on in the other tracks which reminded me in places of the wooziness of early My Bloody Valentine and the rapture of Sigur Ros but also the quiet reflective spaces and dreamy wonder of our own Dear Time’s Waste. But that’s what can happen when an imagination is left in relative isolation with a guitar and a microphone and something to record the results on.

Rush hour Friday in Invercargill

Rush hour Friday in Invercargill

I think I owe the credit for the discovery of this absolute gem of an album from Ginnels to Unpopular music blog (one of the most reliable sources of new underground pop music tips and monthly mix compilations).

The striking cover image caught my eye and, upon closer inspection of the sounds via the Bandcamp page, the contents were just as colourful and attention-grabbing. Hearing this gives me the same buzz I had when I first heard Guided By Voices Bee Thousand album. Home-baked DIY jangling pop with more hooks than a Pirate convention.

So, I ended up buying the LP. With a cover & songs like this why wouldn’t you?

Jorge, from Madrid based label Tenorio Cotobade will send you the LP carefully packaged, registered mail. Turns out the world of small labels specialising in underground pop is small. He loves Dunedin, NZ jangle-popsters The Prophet Hens and wants to know if that is available on vinyl (it’s not). He also knows of Males from their ill-fated Manic Pop! Records single non-release… which Dunedin label Fishrider Records is rectifying shortly with a 9-song mini-album/ double-EP (on 12″ 45 rpm vinyl) of existing and brand new material, called ‘Run Run Run/MalesMalesMales’. And he loves Trick Mammoth too. Yes, the International Pop Underground is still alive & well.

Ginnels recordings appear to be the work of just one person – Mark Chester. The songs are perfect and infectious, and the sound of the tape-recorder (or whatever these were recorded on) being switched on at the start and then off at he end of songs adds an almost voyeuristic intimacy to the collection.

I’d write some expository words of my own but they’d end up being a re-write of these from the Bandcamp page, so… here they are:

“Plumes” compiles a selection of tracks from Ginnels’ three releases so far plus other online-only tracks, and it’s the first time these songs are available on vinyl. They were all recorded and mixed entirely in Chester’s living room, built up from layers of guitars, vocals, “cheap keyboards and other assorted detritus”.

The approach and sound recall the wonderful jangle pop legacy of the Flying Nun label, Crooked Rain-era Pavement and Elephant 6 bands like The Apples In Stereo. Over the whole album, from fast-paced tracks such as ‘Heathwaite Wood’ and ‘Great Fall’ through to more minimal, reflective moments like ‘Friends Are Dead’ and ‘Champs’, Chester’s knack for delivering really strong, memorable melodies never fails to shine and astonish.”

Yes, indeed.

Timothy Berry

While we are on a roll of NZ bedroom pop genius posts, here’s another name to add to your Bandcamp wish list – Aucklander Timothy Berry and his deliriously melodic ‘shambling sixties twee’ as demonstrated by ‘Dandy’ here:

The whole of the 7 song ‘Dandy/ Spit It’ mini-album is pretty cool – familiar landscape to me from that bedroom Syd Barrett/ Eliott Smith lo-fi aesthetic I know and love so much.

But Berry adds some ambitious arrangements and flourishes on ‘Dandy’ that hint at both White Album Beatles and Sparklehorse and elevate this economy-setting Power Pop tune into a perfect psychedelic miniature.