Archives for posts with tag: Dunedin

BediquetteWhat better way to celebrate 50 years since the release of The Beatles’ “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album than by picturing yourself on a shopping trolley stuck in Dunedin’s Leith River, plastic bags of yellow and white wrapped around the handle. You look for the the guy with a laptop and headphones making psychedelic glitch pop, and he’s gone. It’s Bediquette on PopLib with “Fracture”:

It’s 2017 and Abbey Road studio is a state of mind multiplied by a microprocessor chip in a laptop running recording software, a microphone and an audio interface going in, and a pair of headphones coming out, connected to someone with their head in the clouds, like Bediquette here.

“Fracture” is the gorgeous, dreamy middle track from a new three-song EP called “Looking, Not Listening” by Dunedin bedroom glitch-beat sound sculptor Bediquette, formerly known as Govrmint, as featured on PopLib back in February 2015.

There’s a little bit of the woozy saturation of Boards of Canada, but with a heart of the kind of fractured heartbreak pop of the experimental extreme of Sparklehorse’s orbit. The vocals are processed with distortion as a kind of protective shield perhaps to cocoon an introverted singer but it somehow manages to create an odd kind of digital intimacy.

“Looking, Not Listening” is a wonderful collection of warm, inventive melodic glitch-beat futuristic psychedelia. It’s very reflective and personal, but also expansive and propulsive. An essential trip into the inner space of a suburban Dunedin imagination.

Anything else? Yes, please:

Thought CreatureDay 27 of our 31 Days of May New Zealand Music Month marathon is a lost classic from 5 years ago by Wellington-via-Berlin band Thought Creature that not enough people have heard. Time to rectify that with a trip to their “Paradise” (play this L O U D)

“Paradise” is a guitar-heavy psychedelic dance groove celebration which would have sounded at home on a late 1980s Julian Cope album when the 1980s psychedelic pop revival was morphing into rave culture’s transcendental dance music.

Thought Creature’s Berlin sojourn in the early 2010s and their transformation into a noisy psychedelic electronica+guitar outfit led to the formation of two of Dunedin’s best genre melting electronica+ bands today – Death And The Maiden and Élan Vital. Both Dunedin bands trace their formation to Berlin around the time this song was released and the common denominator to all three bands is Danny Brady.

There’s another common denominator too: Erica Sklenars, who appears in this live video of “Paradise” from a Berlin house party and is a regular collaborator with Death And The Maiden and Élan Vital for music videos and live performance visuals.

Elan Vital_Black and White_small

Élan Vital – Photo by Phoebe Lysbeth K http://www.phoebelysbethk.com/

Day 13 of our 31 Days of May New Zealand Music Month marathon comes from Dunedin trio Élan Vital. It’s the closing track of their “Shadow Self” album and the song is called “Dreams”

“Dreams” has been a fixture in the Radio One Top 11 in Dunedin for the past 3 months. It’s not hard to work out why: it’s a great song with a compulsive kind of rhythm and lyrics most people can relate to.

“Dreams” stands out on “Shadow Self” for a couple of reasons. It’s the singing debut of Élan Vital (and Death and the Maiden) synth and electronic equipment alchemist Danny Brady.  It’s also the most human of the seven tracks which make up “Shadow Self” – a love song even.

When I first heard “Shadow Self” in its entirety the order of the tracks seemed a very deliberate progression from the harsh mechanical world of the opening title track, through worlds (each of the seven songs is a “world” in my imagination) which progressively incorporated more human elements from the voices and lyrics and emotion.

The album is a fantastic dark and richly textured exploration of scientific and human themes, incorporating lyrics and soundscapes inspired by dreams, nightmares, and horror movies. The music features an unusual combination of contemporary electronic dance music with more diverse influences from 60’s garage psych-rock (the swirling hypnotic keyboard parts by Renee Barrance), post-punk and muscular distorted bass playing a kind of mutant disco rhythm.

The closing track on the album, “Dreams”, conveys the clearest human connection of the seven experiences. It’s a song about release and freedom, love and hopefully even redemption.

From the cha-cha analogue drum machine at the start through to the breakdown and the echoing reprise by main vocalist Renee Barrance coming in at the 3 minute 30 mark the whole song is a seductive dance-floor classic. Danny’s morose yet caring vocals are the perfect understated voice for the song.

If you are in Dunedin there’s an extra chance to catch Élan Vital live at the Pioneer Hall in Port Chalmers tonight, Saturday 13 May 2017 along with another PopLib favourite Bad Sav.

Elan Vital LP playing

Asta RanguAfter what seems like (but probably wasn’t) a quiet few months in the never-ending production-line of left-field underground pop-craft from Dunedin, NZ there’s been a bit of a buzz of activity of late. Last week we introduced you to the mysterious strathcona pl, and now it’s Asta Rangu, with “Skip on Trak One”

“Skip On Trak One” is fidgetty pop with almost psychedelic glam-rock feel to the darting twisting guitar runs, the expansive layered guitars in the chorus and the intriguing lyrical flights of fantasy.

Asta Rangu is the solo brainchild and solo recording and performance project of Males‘ guitarist and songwriter Richard Ley-Hamilton. It’s a further progression from the more complex, layered, progressive pop of Males’ recent “None The Wiser” album, which was in turn a progression from the infectious helium-powered guitar-pop of their much-loved debut “Run Run Run/ MalesMalesMales”.

Even more exciting (and “Skip on Trak One” is pretty damned exciting) is that this is the first release on a brand new Dunedin label called trace / untrace records. The label plans to provide a collation and discovery point for a collection of new bands and musicians, and intends to offer digital and cassette releases initially. Bookmark their website – I have a feeling we’ll be revisiting their catalogue a bit over the coming years.

 

 

toy-love-live-at-the-gluepot“Pull Down The Shades” closes Toy Love‘s “Live at The Gluepot 1980” album, which first saw the light of day as a Record Store Day release in NZ in 2012. Now it’s available as a digital album via Bandcamp and Goner Records, who were responsible for the initial release along with Auckland record store Real Groovy Records.

Dunedin’s proto-punk band The Enemy – who feature on the cover and inside the recently published photo-book “The Dunedin Sound – Some Disenchanted Evening” – disbanded in 1978 after a move to Auckland.

Three of The Enemy – Chris Knox, Alec Bathgate and Mike Dooley – went on to form Toy Love, adding Christchurch musicians Jane Walker (keyboards) and Paul Kean (bass).

Toy Love called time in 1980. Kean subsequently went on to join The Bats, a band which lasted a bit longer than Toy Love (over 30 years now and they are still releasing fabulous albums, with a new one out soon).

Knox acquired a 4-track reel-to-reel recorder, recording the infamous “Dunedin Double” EP which helped kick-start the careers of a handful of Dunedin bands and their Christchurch label Flying Nun Records.

Knox and Bathgate formed Tall Dwarfs and the rest, as they say, is now history…

 

 

koizillaKoizilla is another supercharged band from the guitar-drum axis of Dunedin brothers Zac and Josh Nicholls along with bass accomplish Connor Blackie. They’ve provided stellar progressive guitar-based music since high school through their bands A Distant City and The Violet-Ohs, but in Koizilla they’ve found their most natural and most explosively adventurous spark to date. Here’s “Child” from their “Blunder Brother” debut EP:

The EP – and especially the opening track above – channel perfectly the imaginary Dunedin version of Amon Duul II which was my first reaction to seeing Zac Nicholls playing guitar in A Distant City four years ago.

It wasn’t just the long hair but his guitar playing style, which combined serious technical skill with what seemed to my ears a real early 1970’s feel for fluid psychedelic adventure and melodic improvisation. That stood out as unusual in Dunedin in 2012 and he’s only refined that impression since, particularly with Koizilla.

While A Distant City maybe took the proggy post-rock soundscape thing a bit too far in one direction, and The Violet-Ohs perhaps pushed the guitar-driven pop a bit too far the other way, Koizilla seem to have these two elements in balance and have injected a bit of cartoon-colour-saturated fun into the equation (like the over-exuberant “Krill” for example).

Highly recommended for lovers of psychedelic power-trio music which dares to fly higher than the limits of the earth’s atmosphere.

dinowalrus“Tides” is the opening track from brand new, just-released album “Fairweather” from Brooklyn, NY based Dinowalrus.

Dinowalrus describe themselves as psychedelic synth punks. There’s certainly a lot of psychedelia and synth but not so sure of the punk bit.

It is however a harder-edged psychedelia than 60’s era cosmic exploration and seems to take its inspiration from the late 80s early 90s UK fusion of psychedelic pop and dance music. Think early Shamen and Stone Roses stirred through with a bit of Screamadelica era Primal Scream perhaps.

In other words, it’s a great collection of sparkling danceable psych-pop, blending human and machine. It’s also a sound in tune with the latest album from NZ psych-texturists Ghost Wave so if you loved their “Radio Norfolk” then check out “Fairweather” from Dinowalrus too.

Dinowalrus will be playing with Dunedin cosmic psych rockers The Shifting Sands at Bar, New Haven CT on 12 October.