Archives for posts with tag: fuzz pop

The last PopLib post was almost two months ago. I’ve been crafting posts for PopLib for 10 years now. This will be the 900th post. Over the past 10 years the posts have been viewed over 100,000 times and it’s all of you reading this that have kept me doing it – because it takes time, and doesn’t pay, and WordPress is a frustrating mess at times….

But I hit the wall at the end of August. Just couldn’t find the energy or enthusiasm to write another post. I’ve still been discovering new music, and thinking I should write about it… but just unable to do so… until now.

It turned out that all I needed to break the spell was to hear a band in thrall of Scotland’s finest Shop Assistants. The thump of a primitive floor tom and snare beat, thrashing fuzzy jangling electric guitar, propulsive distorted bouncing bassline, and instantly memorable melodic hook of the vocals in the 1 minute 30 sprint of “No Alternative” from New York trio Ribbon Stage has provided an electric shock to restart the heart.

OK, I’ve run out of things to say now. But “No Alternative” doesn’t need to be written about. Just listen to it. One and a half minutes you’ll not regret. Pop perfection. Also nailed absolutely everything that made (and still makes) Shop Assistants such a great band. There’s hopefully more like this on the album but I can’t get past this song yet…

Seablite 2019Seablite are from San Francisco and have just released a melody-packed album called “Grass Stains and Novocaine” on Emotional Response Records. Here’s “Heart Mountain” to introduce you to the album:

Seablite describe themselves in their Bandcamp tags as fuzz-pop jangle-gaze. The combination of jangle-pop, shoegaze and fuzzy guitar pop sounds like a kind of obvious merging of related and sometimes overlapping styles, yet I’m struggling to think of another band who have pulled it all together with the aplomb shown by Seablite on this album, who get the stylistic mix and the variety in their songs right.

A distinctive feature is the bass playing which sits an octave above where you might usually expect the bassline to sit which gives the songs a strong clear pulse of rhythm and melody through the fuzz and jangle, tethering the weightless harmony vocals to earth.

Seablite are Lauren Matsui (vocals and guitar), Andy Pastalaniec (drums), Galine Tumasyan (bass and vocals), and Jen Mundy (guitar). The album will appeal to fans of Lush and Velocity Girl, among others, and, if you like Seablite, head over to the Emotional Response website to discover a treasure trove of other releases to explore.

Negative NanciesNegative Nancies are a noisy pop ensemble from Dunedin and “Candy Milk” here is from their debut 12″ EP “You Do You” which is released on 23 November on Christchurch arts&crafts label CocoMuse Releases.

“Candy Milk” has all the lurching anti-pop anarchy of Scottish post-punks Fire Engines, as it morphs from in-yer-face singalong punk blast, through spooky psych experimental zones, adding a dash of helter-skelter computer game soundtrack keys, and back again, to add up to one of the best unconventional pop hits to emerge from Dunedin.

In their own words: “Debut EP from Dunedin’s finest. Anxious polka-punk. Alt-fizz. Subgressive fun-time fantasiangst.”  The band seems refreshingly free of much in the way of online/ ‘social media’ presence so what you hear is what you get. And that’s plenty to chew on for the time being until the EP arrives and the remaining tracks are available.

Ben Woods

Fuzzy guitar pop aficionados look out! Here’s the excitable and great-tasting “Lozenge” with a very sticky melody and a very economic 1 minute 53 second running time.

Woods is a guitarist – and multi-instrumentalist – from Christchurch and you’ve probably seen him play in half the bands you’ve seen from that city (if you live in NZ, which you probably don’t, and go and see bands, which you hopefully still do – it’s good for you!).

He was in (at last count) River Jones, Fran, Wurld Series, Salad Boys and probably a bunch of others that never made it to Dunedin. Top guitarist, and “Lozenge” is his first outing on his own  and under his own name and it’s a winner. What’s not to like about a fuzzy lo-fi melodic pop gem under 2 minutes?

Woods is touring NZ at the moment, along with another PopLib favourite Motte. They play the Captain Cook in Dunedin tonight. Read all about the tour here.


From sublime soundscapes to ridiculously perfect lo-fi fuzzy guitar-pop… let’s head now to Gainesville, Florida for “Only Matters When” by UV-TV.

This song is from a split 7″ single UV-TV share with LA band Shark Toys. It’s the two songs on the UV-TV side which catch the ear for melody and trebly fuzzed-up primitive pop splendour.

Despite their Florida roots this song (and the other one on their side of the single) contains agreeable traces of Scottish 80’s pop DNA in its sound.

There are echoes of “Psychocandy” era Jesus and Mary Chain feedback pop as well as The Shop Assistants’  primal drumbeats, fuzzy guitars and the soaring vocal melodies from UV-TV bassist, vocalist and video editor Rose Vastola.

On the other side of the single Shark Toys do breakneck speed lo-fi punk chaos thrillingly, like a kind of turbo-charged Swell Maps.

The split 7″ single is available from the Emotional Response label website, but postage outside the US will set you back double the price of the vinyl sadly. Well worth paying for the digital download though.



Photo: Georgia Schofield

Photo: Georgia Schofield

Auckland DIY band/ artist Wormstar has just released one of the albums of the year via Bandcamp. here’s the perfectly brilliant “Whatever keeps You High” from it.

If you liked what Alex G has been releasing in the US this is several times better for me. There’s a beautiful woozy fuzz and jangle combination going on with heart-ache melodies.

The songs channel as much of the charming hesitancy of The Pastels – So Stale (You’re The Icebreaker) a good example of that – as they do the DIY splendour of Alex G or the more angular American pop convolutions of Pavement or Speedy Ortiz.

But the songs also fit within the weird-pop universe inhabited so wonderfully by my favourite Australians The Stevens. On early listens it’s up with “History Of Hygiene” for catchy and quirky earworm jangling pop. For example – “Spring Steps” here:

This is the kind of album some enterprising label ought to be bringing to the world in all formats pronto. It has the character to travel far and make a lot of friends. Give it a listen and some love and “hold on to whatever makes you high”

Listen to a short inteview with Alex of Wormstar here on Radio NZ Music 101.

The Biscuits

The Biscuits

Day 29 of PopLib’s May Month of Madness Marathon for NZ Music Month is another dip into the Stabbiesetc. catalogue for a scuzz-tastic song from The Biscuits.

“Secret Crisis” is a maddeningly listenable slice of classic home-made fuzz-pop. Great song. Just listen to it – you’ll either love it or hate it, I suspect there is no middle ground.

The Biscuits are Brenda Dwane – guitar and vocals, Brent Bidlake – drums, Indira Neville – guitar and vocals and also features Lucy Danko – lurking monster noises (whatever they are). The “Secret Crisis” EP was recorded by Stefan ‘Pumice’ Neville.


This thrilling sub-two-minute blast of fuzzed out feedback pop comes from London band The Fireworks from their “Switch Me On” album, released last month.

It could just as easily have come from Edinburgh label 53rd and 3rd in the late 80s, so perfectly does it recreate the energy and style of The Shop Assistants, even down to the perfect vocal style of Emma Hall.

Sure, this has familiar elements of C86 fuzz-pop and The Shop Assistants (“Let You Know” manages to combine everything by stealing the chords of the Shoppie’s “Somewhere in China” while sounding like Jasmine Minks or Stars of Heaven). But it also mixes in some Jesus And Mary Chain feedback and Buzzcocks style power-pop.

So it’s not exactly doing anything new, but it IS very good indeed and there were never enough songs of the quality of this album released in the 80s anyway. Good clean fuzzed-up fun.

Tuff Love2
Tuff Love are one of 13 bands/ artists appearing on a cassette/ download compilation on Beech Coma Records, a Leeds, UK based DIY label. Their song on Volume 1 of the 3 volume series (so far) is “Seafoam” and it’s all kinds of perfect.

This Glasgow two-piece have a Tuff Love Soundcloud page and also a Bandcamp page both with a back catalogue of low-key lo-fi pop perfection. I’m lost there already…

… which turns out to be a spooky thing to type as they have a 10″ EP called “Dross” out in a few days on Lost Map Records. And yep, I’ve just impulse-ordered a couple of copies of it. So should you.

Here’s a video too: