Archives for posts with tag: DIY

Our Day 17 song for 31 Days of May Madness, attempting to post a New Zealand track every day of the month of May, is “Sometimes” by P.H.F.

P.H.F. stands for Perfect Hair Forever and this release, which is called “Unplugged” is – you guessed it – solo acoustic recordings of old and also unreleased songs from the P.H.F catalogue by P. H. F. dude Joe Locke. It’s just been released (on translucent green shell cassette) on Danger Collective Records.

“Lo-fi garage pop” is what P. H. F. was initially about, but the output of this prolific artist is not so easily pigeon-holed (check “Anthology” here, which includes the original synth-pop version of this song).

But these songs sound fine unplugged and unadorned. It’s contemporary urban bedroom folk music. Maybe all the better for the absence of crushing distortion/ effect-heavy production in fact. The album is just acoustic guitar and voice, with some occasional additional vocal harmonies. And, in the case of “Sometimes” here, the synth melody of the original is replaced by some A+ whistling.

Fazerdaze EP and LP 2017

Top left – the orginal hand-made CD-R EP (2014), lower left – the full CD ‘re-issue’ of the EP (2015), along with the “Morningside” LP (2017).

Day 12 of the 31 Days of May New Zealand Music Month madness is a track from the just-released debut album “Morningside” by Fazerdaze. Here’s “Friends”

“Friends” takes the Fazerdaze template of brilliantly simple ingredients: layering guitar melody over a bass-line, and adding introspective lyrics. What happens next is uncharacteristic but exhilarating; engaging hyper-drive with a sonic chorus blast of fuzz guitar and soaring melody.

That kind of 1, 2 punch from quiet to euphoric loud with lashings of melody is something late 1980s/ early 1990s Flying Nun Records label-mates The JPS Experience used to excel at too. In fact “Friends” would fit comfortably among the songs on their final album “Bleeding Star”.

PopLib tends to champion the underdog and you’d have to be hiding under a rock to not have heard a Fazerdaze song or seen an online article or review about the Auckland musician’s debut and current UK tour, such is the interest in the debut album. So this post is less about discovery of an under-appreciated musician as celebrating the achievement of someone championed here for the past 3 years.

PopLib first featured Fazerdaze back in 2014 when the first EP had it’s initial hand-made CD-R format release. It was clear right from the start that Amelia Murray’s low-key and personal music made a connection with listeners. By staying grounded, trusting her instincts to keep things understated, and focus on self-recording her perfect introspective guitar-pop, she’s created a wonderful first album that retains the essence of that first EP.

Fazerdaze EP and LP 2017

Top left – the orginal hand-made CD-R EP (2014), lower left – the full CD ‘re-issue’ of the EP (2015), along with the “Morningside” LP (2017).

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.

Day 27 of the May Month of Madness Marathon for NZ Music Month is the accurately-titled “Awful & Awesome” from Pumice.

“Awful & Awesome” is from a collection of songs from a couple of releases dating from 2006. “Recorded September 2006 on Chris Moons 4 track during an Artists Residency at AS220, Providence, RI, USA” is what it says on the Stabbiesetc. Bandcamp. It IS awesome, in that lo-fi fuzzy damaged DIY way Pumice’s Stefan Neville has made his trademark. The ‘awfulness’ becomes just another part of what we might euphemistically call “character” here.

Pumice is an acquired taste. If you are used to your music being like a fine wine, or maybe the half-decent cider of indie-pop, or even the Scrumpy of DIY-recorded music, then Pumice will come across a bit like the organic cider vinegar of music (the cloudy unfiltered, unpasteurized stuff with the floaty bits in it). You know it’s good for you in small doses, but most of us just can’t take a lot of it.

Anyway, that’s all just a roundabout back-handed way of telling you there is a huge treasure trove of Pumice obscurities (and other related lo-fi artists) reaching back into last century, all assembled on Stabbiesetc. bandcamp. There’s also a Stabbiesetc. website.

For those who lament the demise of great Scottish underground/ experimental music store Volcanic Tongue, then Stabbiesetc. might provide some of your unfiltered yeasty fermented music fix.

Fazerdaze - photo by Si Moore

Fazerdaze – photo by Si Moore

Day 8 of the May Month of Madness Marathon for NZ Music Month is “Somethink”, the quietly reflective closing track from PopLib’s favourite find of 2014 – a 6 track EP by Auckland’s Fazerdaze.

“Somethink” shares the same perfect, unfussy pop simplicity of the rest of the EP. There’s magic in the way the guitar parts and voices gradually layer up to create something special here.

As you can see by the Fazerdaze bandcamp page a lot of people around the world have discovered this EP, taking Fazerdaze creater Amelia Murray a bit by surprise. The CDRs she stamped and assembled herself in handmade sleeves sold out within a few months but you can still download the EP.

UPDATE: “Fazerdaze EP” now has a CD issue/ re-issue. Looks fabulous… and back on sale via Fazerdaze bandcamp.
Fazerdaze EP

Jim Nothing

Day 7 of our 31 Days of May/ Month of Madness Music Marathon comes from Jim Nothing, representing Christchurch’s lo-fi DIY music scene and continuing a long tradition in that damaged city of murky, menacing, fuzzy obscure sounds from the margins.

“Raleigh Arena” is from a 4 track cassette EP called “Zig Zag Blues” recorded on a 4-track Tascam cassette recorder and released in February. It’s the brightest light on this EP. Although only 1 minute 18 seconds of jangly discordant fuzz-pop, it manages to coalesce the entire essence of The Clean in their earliest incarnation so perfectly you’ll be hitting ‘rewind’ (figuratively-speaking) repeatedly.

The other 3 tracks on the EP are also great – the two-paced menacing post-punk-meets-fuzz-pop of “What Can I Say?”, the over-the-top thrash-skronk of “Doubt” and the crunchy psychobilly punk distortion of the title track, which, at almost 5 minutes long, is half the EP’s running time.

Honey Radar

Here’s some grainy lo-fi DIY jangle pop from the US from a band called Honey Radar and an album called “Chain Smoking On Easter”:

PopLib is not the only one to discover music via circuitous happenstance. Here’s the enthusiastic & reliable Glasgow-based blog Not Unloved enraptured with Honey Radar’s album.

“In summary, “Chain Smoking on Easter” is pure orange sherbet and the most easily lovable missive from the US underground I’ve heard in years.”

I can’t do a better job of describing this Honey Radar album so I suggest you pop over to Not Unloved and add it to your subscriptions or blog feed or whatever-the-hell-you-do-with-blogs (I don’t know).

If you like (a) short songs (b) amateurish distorted DIY recording and (c) jangly guitars (d) melodic pop and (e) any of the following bands – Guided By Voices, Swell Maps, The Stevens, Wire, The Rain Parade – then give it a listen.

Fazerdaze - photo by Levi Brinsdon-Hall

Fazerdaze – photo by Levi Brinsdon-Hall

Back to NZ now and “Tired of Waiting” by Auckland-based Fazerdaze – which is just Amelia Murray & a DIY spirit.

There’s a bit of everything I love about “Tired of Waiting”. Its classic melodic appeal and tired resignation echoes early Jesus & Mary Chain, but with fuzz & reverb tamed and subtle musical touches (like that outro) added, to frame a song of unfussy perfection. Who needs a recording studio and big production values when you can DIY like this and triumph over limited circumstances with a guitar & voice & song?

The other track you can stream on Soundcloud is quite different but just as perfect in its pop appeal.

I’m interested to hear where Fazerdaze heads and mention of an EP this month has my attention. Anyone who can make something so good from such understated ingredients like this is worth keeping an ear out for*.

You can catch Fazerdaze on tour in October with Clap Clap Riot and Buzz Moller (Voom). For Dunedin residents they play at Chicks Hotel on 25 October.

Postscript: The whole EP is now available to download on Bandcamp here:

Shocking Pinks' Nick Harte

Shocking Pinks’ Nick Harte

Day 16 of this song-a-day-May NZ Music Month madness is ‘My Best Friend’ by Shocking Pinks.

This track is lovely sickly beautiful; all messed up introverted pop-crush woozy oddness, sounding like The Pastels playing lo-fi disco dream-pop inside a cardboard box.

It comes from the sprawling new album ‘Guilt Mirrors’ released as an LP plus a ‘triple album’ download.

Shocking Pinks play a Radio One hosted show at Chick’s Hotel, Port Chalmers near Dunedin Saturday 17 May 2014, with support from dada-goth waltz-punks Opposite Sex and neo-pscychedelic baroque-folk troubadour Kane Strang.



Day 15 of the NZ Music Month song-a-day-May madness comes from Wellington neo-primitive trio Mermaidens.

‘Jenny Greenteeth’ is the lead song from a recent (February 2014) 3 song EP available from their Bandcamp page.

There’s a primal simplicity about this which is perfect rock and roll from the margins. Guitars and drums, recorded in big room, with a menacing, feral energy to it, and strong commanding vocals with the presence of early PJ Harvey about them. The rest of the EP is more of the same and well worth your Bandcamp name-your-price generosity.

Mermaidens is Lily Paris West – guitar, vocals; Gussie Larkin – guitar, vocals; Abe Hollingsworth – drums.

Mermaidens (from their Facebook page)

Mermaidens (from their Facebook page)