Archives for posts with tag: Birdation

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 2016.jpg

Taking a somewhat opposite but apposite direction to the futuristic re-mix by Horse Doctor of Death And The Maiden, here’s a brand new song called “Sprain” from Death And The Maiden and Bad Sav shredder Hope Robertson under the guise of her other alter-ego as “bird racer” at Birdation.

Birdation is Hope’s solo lof-fi experimental noise ensemble of one. I say ensemble even though it’s only one person because there’s usually a pile of equipment – ancient and modern – on stage with Hope when Birdation plays live. Not all of it is always under control which adds to the tension and uniqueness of each Birdation performance.

In place of the futuristic glitchy Acid Pro looped-up madness of Horse Doctor, Birdation uses a more old-fashioned recording tool to distort, muddy and saturate the sound into disorienting textures – a 4 track ‘Portastudio’ type cassette recorder.

Birdation songs always come with an adventurous sense of downbeat euphoria and agreeable melodicism.

Louder vocals would be great but the submerged nature the vocals – sounding like they’ve been phoned in from space and recorded in a galvanised metal bucket – is all part of the subterfuge. Deliberately or not, it has the effect of forcing you right IN to the song as you try to work it all out.

There’s some very nice post-rock delay guitar work buried within the tape-sludge and a magnificently apocalyptic ending rounds it all off perfectly too.

PopLib_songs2015Time for another list. This time it’s 10 favourite songs posted here in 2015.

1. Ego – “Moon” 

These Sydney youngsters  released two sublime Bandcamp singles in 2015. “Moon” was the first and it’s a perfect DIY spacey soft-psych-rock anthem, incorporating one of the best earworm guitar melodies ever.

2. Day Ravies – “Fake Beach”

Hard to pick one song as a favourite from their stellar 2nd album “Liminal Zones”, but this one never fails to brighten the day.

3. Birdation – “Hen’s Teeth”

Hope Robertson’s Birdation solo sound adventuring has been the experimental pop highlight of the Dunedin scene for me in 2015. “Hen’s Teeth” adds vocals and takes on a song form closer to her wall-of-guitar band Bad Sav.

4. Elan Vital – “Albtraum”

Dark electronica from Dunedin newcomers, incorporating at least one member of Death and the Maiden. Claustrophobic, with a neon strip-light glare, but a heart of gritty pop.

5. Jay Som – “Forget About It Kid”

Earlier in the year, before the release of her accomplished “Untitled” demos album, Melina Duterte as Jay Som had this song on a Beech Coma  compilation cassette.

6. Sam Hunt with David Kilgour & The Heavy Eights – “Wavesong”

The best song about the sea and waves and the ebb and flow of coastal life in NZ as you are likely to hear this year or any other year. Sam Hunt’s poetry and psychedelic waveform sounds.

7. Kairi – “Placid”

A gentle surprise, the unlikely combination of elements into one of the most distinctive local songs of the year. There was mini album released after this but nothing else on it matched the perfect mystery of “Placid”.

8. Pesk – “tyranny”

Doomy guitar-sludge & semi electronic pop, with epic whistling from another Dunedin newcomer. If there’s a developing Gothtronica scene in town then here’s hoping for more like this.

9. Yesses – “Short Love”

Out of nowhere and disappearing almost as soon as they released the EP this songs is from, Yesses may yet return to Dunedin and woo us with their highly melodic and adventurous pop.

10. Govrmint – “All These Conditions”

Fidgety glitch-pop from Dunedin’s experimental electronic and sound manipulation underworld. This was from an album available as a download and also as a very limited edition 12″ vinyl LP with handmade screen printed sleeves. Only 12 copies were made and one of those is at PopLib HQ.

Here’s the second unnecessary list from the mid-way point in PopLib’s year of music discovery 2015. This one is PopLib’s favourite 5 songs posted so far this year.

OK, it’s actually 6 songs, but the two songs sharing 5th equal on this list total just over 3 minutes together. Anyway, these are the songs played the most, loved the most so far in 2015. Pretty simple…

5 = Jim Nothing – Raleigh Arena

Christchurch 4-track portastudio cassette tape mangler Jim Nothing encapsulates the spirit of fuzzy lo-fi guitar pop in 1 minute and 18 seconds with “Raleigh Arena” from his “Zig Zag Blues” cassette.

5 = Shunkan – Our Names

The first single in advance of a debut album due later in 2015, “Our Names” is a different sounding Shunkan to the name we were first introduced to a year ago via the self-recorded cassette EP “Honey, Milk & Blood” and the following electronica excursions on シュンカン I . The Shunkan of “Our Names” is now a 5-piece band (one of the best live bands around the south of NZ at the moment) and the song a stirring 2-minute fuzz-pop anthem full of melodic hooks.

4. Jay Som/ Melina Duterte – Forget About It Kid

From that Cure-inspired chorus guitar to the epic chiming guitar parts and synth wash, the combination of elements of 80’s post-punk with dreamy synth-pop gives this fine song by young Californian Melina Duterte (also going under the name Jay Som) depth and substance.

3. Ego – Moon

These Sydney youngsters have delivered an unlikely space-rock anthem that sounds contemporary while also unwittingly recreating some 70’s style soft-rock magic through those reverb-washed harmony vocals. Supple, under-stated drumming and earworm guitar melodies give a hint of a band with much potential.

2. Birdation – Hen’s Teeth

Within the murky overblown distortion and submerged vocals of “Hen’s Teeth” lurks a brilliant song. But the structural murk itself contributes so much to the mood struck here. Hard to believe something as massive sounding as this is performed live by just one person. But anyone who has seen Hope Robertson play as Birdation (or in her many other guitarist guises) knows what she can conjure with a jumble of pedals, ancient drum-machine and sundry electronic devices, including the unexpected sonic properties of an e-cigarette.

1. Day Ravies – Under the Lamp

The whole “Under The Lamp” EP – and the 7″ single preceding it – is wonderful. Can’t stop playing it. Every song is a favourite but “Under The Lamp” is just so perfect. The sonic churn and swoop of the guitar evokes My Bloody Valentine, but the vocal melody would shine on a Broadcast album and the whole thing is wrapped up in a Stereolab-esque keyboard swirl, without sounding derivative of any of these bands. A second Day Ravies album is out in July. Can’t wait.

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

Emily Edrosa Live

It’s the final day of PopLib’s May Month of Madness Marathon for NZ Music Month 2015 and Sunday is the perfect day for Emily Edrosa’s “Underground” as the song mentions Sunday mornings in the lyrics.

Listen carefully to the lyrics. ALL OF THEM.

Emily – who is perhaps better know as Emily Littler; guitarist, vocalist, songwriter for Auckland grunge-punk trio Street Chant – can write a savagely intelligent snarly lyric injected with bile like the best of them. It’s poetry to these ears. And the music is, well, music to these ears, obviously. Hopefully to yours too.

PopLib mentioned “Underground” last October as being a live favourite. If you are in Dunedin and want to experience it live, Emily is back playing in Dunedin this coming week at a Radio One 91 Club Presents event on Thursday June 4th along with some other PopLib favourites; Birdation and Embedded Figures.

As with every year I do these crazy daily posts for NZ Music Month I almost immediately regret undertaking the challenge. Not because there is no shortage of great local music I think people should hear. It’s the need to write something intelligent about each one to help convince anyone reading these posts to play the song and check out the links etc. which is the chore. Some posts write themselves though…

The idea around the May posts is that May has been decreed “New Zealand Music Month” by various music agencies in NZ. No-one involved in ground-level (or underground-level) New Zealand Music Month really knows why the month exists or cares much any more. But, rather than be a default-curmudgeon, shaking my fist at clouds like Grandpa Simpson, it’s an opportunity to go discover stuff. This year it has helped ne to find many new releases and bands/ musicians I didn’t know about previously. And I’ve discovered a fantastic Wellington label – Sonorous Circle.

It’s always interesting to see what posts are popular and in what parts of the world. Perhaps unsurprisingly the most popular of the posts (so far) was for the Sam Hunt with David Kilgour & The Heavy Eights post for their excellent album of poetry & psychedelic rock called “The 9th” which was featured here on the 9th of May. But there are also strong showing for new discoveries like Jim Nothing’s “Raleigh Arena” which was picked up and shared by some overseas music websites. That’s the kind of thing that helps make doing this month worthwhile each year.

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.