Archives for posts with tag: CocoMuse Releases

francisca griffin 2019Dunedin musician Francisca Griffin releases a new album “The Spaces Between” on 25 January. “Stardust” has been shared ahead of the release. It’s an intriguing forewarning of an album that promises to be just a little bit different to what you may have expected from the former Look Blue Go Purple bassist.

Sure enough “Stardust” starts with a distinctive made-in-Dunedin jangling strum. But the busy tumbling drums of Griffin’s son Gabriel (better known in Dunedin for his extraordinary drumming with improvisational free-noise ensemble Sewage) warns this may not conform to preconceived expectations.

Then, at about the 1 minute 30 seconds mark “Stardust” explodes like a supernova, solar flares of plasma manifesting in Forbes Williams’ structural guitar noise. That unexpected combination of prototypical Dunedin jangling folk-rock and equally prototypical Dunedin noise-rock forms propels the song into the “Stardust” of the title.  It all makes for something quite unusual and glorious.

In addition to Francisca Griffin, Gabriel Griffin, and Forbes Williams here, the album  includes contributions from Alastair Galbraith, Ro Rushton-Green (Sewage), Deirdre Newall (Tiny Pieces of Eight), Alan Haig (The Chills, Snapper), Mick Elborado (The Terminals, Negative Nancies), Alexander Griffin, Peter Stapleton (The Terminals, Dark Matter, Eye), and Kath Webster (Look Blue Go Purple).

“The Spaces Between” can be pre-ordered on all the usual formats on Cocomuse Releases now.

Negative Nancies EP turntable.jpg‘Tis the season to share end of year lists. There’s plenty of lists to chose from, so rather than adding to the list of lists for 2018, over the next week PopLib will suggest some essential releases to explore and hopefully purchase or send to friends as gifts.  So here we go…

One essential 12″ EP every home should have this year is Negative Nancies’ “You Do You” on 12″ EP from the ever-adventurous CocoMuse Releases, or as a digital download via their bandcamp.

“You Do You” is a disturbingly brilliant collection of music, in the form of a debut EP from “Dunedin’s finest anxious polka-punk, Alt-fizz, subgressive fun-time fantasiangst” trio. There’s only 6 songs but those 6 songs are as baffling and wonderful as anything I’ve heard in my lifetime of listening to and wondering about baffling and wonderful music. Fire Engines, Amos and Sara, And The Native Hipsters, all come to mind as baffling and wonderful music makers I’ve enjoyed, and right now I’m enjoying Negative Nancies debut EP as much as anything I’ve enjoyed by those artists.

“You Do You” starts with “The Dogs” which begins with the repetition of “the dogs, the dogs, the dogs…” for quite a while before the music kicks in. It’s slow and sombre at first, full of ominous feedback and distortion. Then, out of nowhere comes a great melodic tune incongruously teleported in from some 1960s girl group chart pop hit. The way it seamlessly layers over the heaving noisy drone of the song is pure genius.

“G.O.S.T.” is next. If you don’t really appreciate songs with gleeful singalongs like “we’re going to get our shit together, we’re gonna get our shit in a great big pile, we’re gonna get our shit together, you’re gonna smell our shit from a mile, from a mile, from a fucking mile”  then this may not be the release for you or your loved ones to spend Christmas with. However, I find something deeply cathartic about singing along to that, loudly and often at this time of year.

“Candy Milk” is the radio friendly pop single on the EP, the kind of song which would have been a fixture on John Peel’s radio show had it arrived on earth during his DJ tenure on BBC Radio 1 in the UK. It is ridiculously catchy pop, alternating singalong candy-pop punk with grainy computer game cascading keyboard volleys and a bit of low-key psych weirdness to leaven the song’s lurching see-sawing ride.

On side two “Jeden Dwa” starts with what may be a Polish folk song, then the grainy crushing feedback noise and drum beats kick in, while voices sing and mumble indecipherable phrases like some kind of a ritualistic incantation attempting to exorcise evil spirits but only succeeding in coaxing even more howls of unholy feedback from the possessed sound equipment.

“I Wish” is a further variation in this ever-changing world, alternating between a plaintive desire to remedy unconscious repetitive behavior (“I wish, I wish, I didn’t grind my teeth at night/ I wish, I wish, I didn’t hold my jaw so tight”) set over a galloping whip-crack beat and a rapid spiraling descent into a deeply weird nightmare of distorted keyboards, feedback bass and a cauldron of swirling voices. This kind of dreams-into-nightmares weirdness is prime Residents territory, but I prefer Negative Nancies natural noisy exploration and gleeful expression which sounds genuine rather than an arch art project.

“Fun Fun Fun” concludes this exploration of noise and melody with a short and simple self-explanatory song which builds up a head of steam and screams to an abrupt stop. Can’t be having too much fun, fun, fun, right? It’s all (this song, the whole EP) too short really, but also the perfect length to play it twice each time you listen to it.

These are six exhilarating, brilliant, perplexing, provocative, melodic and hugely enjoyable songs, each with a heart of twisted, mutant, wild-yeast-fermented pop. “You Do You” seems to exist in it’s own little universe, sounding like pretty much nothing else happening in Dunedin or in New Zealand at the moment. It is PopLib’s EP of the year, against intense competition from the skewed pop brilliance of Glasgow’s Hairband who released their debut EP on the label of Glasgow record shop Monorail Music.


AJ Sharma

“Red is the Colour” is a wonderfully odd, unsettling and dark track from the new album “Tabla Diablo” by Dunedin avant-folk musician AJ Sharma.

If very early Bonnie “Prince” Billy/ Palace Brothers is your thing, or the singular vision of Dunedin’s Alastair Galbraith, step right into the world of AJ Sharma. He’s a fellow traveler in fractured and direct outsider music, played simply, obeying no rules save the ones he makes himself.  Guitar, voice, and the atmosphere created by those sounds vibrating the air in a room, as recorded expertly in its raw honesty by Forbes Williams.

“Red is the Colour” features an additional vocalist adding a kind of ghostly backing vocal. It sounds like a very small child. It’s more unsettling than cute though, possessing the song with an disturbing otherness. Perfect of course for the atmosphere of an AJ Sharma album, described by label CocoMuse Releases as: “An assemblage of real life characters all dealing with death in their own way: Art Teachers, Outsiders, Rock-Gods, Poets, Prophets, Trees, Stars, Tortoise, Bar-Flies, Friends, Family, Cosmic Forces, Visionaries and the Unknown.”

I have a 7″ lathecut by AJ from over 20 years ago, recorded in Invercargill, release 1994. In between times he has been part of the fabulous late 1990s/ early 2000s Dunedin band Jetty and released an album called “Santo” in 2008 “The Road Back” in 2010 and “You are a Traveler” in 2013.  There have been other small run lathe cut singles and tracks on compilations… usually hard to find.

AJ Sharma’s “Tabla Diablo” album (LP) is available in Europe from Zelle Records and in NZ and the rest of the world from CocoMuse Releases.


OV Pain_LPDunedin keyboard/ drum/ voices dueo OV Pain have just released the LP format of their dark and thrillingly weird first album and it’s something to behold. Here’s the wonderful “Soon to Be” to draw you in to their (under)world:

The album was recorded at the Anteroom in Port Chalmers and mixed and mastered by local legend Forbes Williams. OV Pain are Renee Barrance (Élan Vital) and Tim Player (Opposite Sex).

The more-or-less-live recording in a big hall gives it a real sense of space and place – simultaneously open and echoing but also imbued with the chill and claustrophobia of some large underground crypt, where these dark tales and timeless sounds are performed with a kind of chanting, ritualistic possession.

This is haunted music, lost souls finding other lost souls, meditations on the darkness around us and within us.  It’s a bit theatrical and weird, mixing post-punk, psychedelia, prog-rock, synth-pop, with magic and witchcraft.

Gloominess has never sounded this colourful, this alive, this thrilling and this essential.

Surfdog_seafog12Day 30 of our 31 Days of May New Zealand Music Month marathon comes from Port Chalmers (above), formerly home to Xpressway Records and still home to many Dunedin musicians. Here’s local musician Francisca Griffin with “Falling Light” –

If you are thinking “that sounds a bit like Look Blue Go Purple” then that may be because two of the three musicians playing on this track are former members of Look Blue Go Purple. Francisca Griffin was Kathy Bull back then, and she’s joined here by LBGP guitarist Kath Webster.

The third musician is drummer Gabriel Griffin – Francisca’s son. You’d normally hear him providing the scattershot rhythms behind the inimitable free-form experimental improv drum & woodwind ensemble Sewage.

“Falling Light” has the kind of freshness and instantly recognisable light and airy guitar tones of its place of origins. Psychedelic folk perhaps, Southern NZ style, and in some respects as reminiscent of David Kilgour’s solo music as it is of LBGP.

It’s a track from a forthcoming album set for release on CocoMuse Releases this year.

Motte 2017Day 14 of our 31 days of May New Zealand Music Month marathon comes from Christchurch sonic adventurer Motte. Here’s the entrancing and hypnotic “Opal Eye”

Motte’s “Strange Dreams” album is a favourite release of the year so far. The modernist classical violin-based music hypnotises with repetition and unlikely combinations of instrument layers, voice and ambient synths and sounds. Here’s it’s the voice of and the background of street noises which slowly builds as the song progresses.

There’s a time to take a risk and push your music collection out in new directions. “Strange Dreams” is a highly recommended way to do that. Better still, track down the LP version from CocoMuse Releases.