Archives for posts with tag: Dunedin Pop Underground

Following on from the previous PopLib post, Ghosts of the Dunedin Music Scene, Auckland/ Hanoi melodic guitar rock band The Roulettes have released a new album of intriguingly undercooked (in a good way) home-recorded demos called “Demosphere”, which includes two unreleased early 1990s Andrew Brough (The Orange, Straitjacket Fits, Bike) songs. Here’s one of them: “Something’s Changing”:

The Roulettes Justin McLean explains: “We  included these 2 previously unreleased songs by Andrew Brough, which we had demos of, provided by Andrew’s brother Don. Andrew taught these songs to me in 1992 when I played in the first version of Bike,” says Justin. “They recently resurfaced on a clip on YouTube of the first gig we played, and I got to relearning them. I always loved these songs, and wanted to share them with a wider audience. I recorded them using Andrew’s guitar.”

Andrew Brough was Justin McLean’s stepbrother, and a musical mentor for bassist Ben Grant and McLean in their first band Funhouse in Dunedin in the 1990s, producing recordings and giving them invaluable advice. There’s something immediately distinctive and transporting about Brough’s song-writing and these two covers of his early post-Fits songs certainly create a haunting goose-bumps reminder of Brough’s soaring legacy as part of that band, from the guitars to the vocals.

All the recordings for the album were done at home in Auckland by Justin McLean or at home in Hanoi by Ben Grant. The idea was to capture the freshness of the demo recordings before they become overworked. Despite – or perhaps because of – those modest constrained origins “Demosphere” is a strong and cohesive collection of Beatle-esque harmony-filled guitar rock well worth your Bandcamp download dollars.  

Dunedin’s hyper-melodic driving fuzzed up guitar-pop maestro Richard Ley-Hamilton returns with a new asta rangu single “I Dream”:

“I Dream” is from a brand new split (digital) single by Dunedin fidgety guitar-pop band asta rangu. Guitarist/ vocalist/ songwriter Richard Ley-Hamilton has added a sonic hardener compound to the style of crafted guitar-pop he created with his previous band Males, which shares the other track on the split single – a previously unreleased song “Clear Lake” from the second Males album “None the Wiser” sessions in 2016.

The two songs side by side show the similarities and the differences in the six year gap between songs. “I Dream” by asta rangu shows how Ley-Hamilton has developed the hyper-active guitar pop he pioneered with Males and twisted it to darker, harder, more intricate and interesting shapes and shades, injecting extra layers of noise and mayhem, while still retaining the pure heart of golden pop in his songwriting.

The band line up in addition to Richard Ley-Hamilton on guitars and vocals is Julie Dunn (Bathysphere) on synths, Angus McBryde (Bye Bye Fishies) on bass and Josh Nicholls (Space Bats, Attack!, Koizilla) on drums.

Starting tonight asta rangu has embarked on an extensive NZ tour/ also including a set of songs from Males:

Wednesday 10th February – The Stomach, Palmerston North
Thursday 11th February – San Fran, Wellington
Friday 12th February – East Street Cafe, Nelson
Saturday 13th February – darkroom, Christchurch
Saturday 20th February – Dive, Dunedin
Saturday 27th February – Wine Cellar, Auckland
Saturday 6th March – Tuatara, Invercargill

Otago Harbour deep blueDay 29 of our 31 days of May New Zealand Music Month marathon comes from Dunedin’s hyper-melodic guitar-powered band Males, with a song from their 2016 album “None the Wiser” – here’s “Popeye” –

If you don’t already have the album, head to their Bandcamp post-haste and add it to your collection. While the band are in recess the main songwriter Richard Ley-Hamilton is still busy creating music as Asta Rangu so keep your ears peeled for more from this particular pool of talent.


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.

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.