Archives for posts with tag: guitar pop

Sydney’s Soft Covers snuck out a six song cassette EP in August, but it only came onto the Poplib radar in December, thanks to a tip off from Dumb Things. We love Dumb Things here at PopLib, so when Dumb Things say “some of us are also in Soft Covers” that’s all we need to listen. Here’s “Grow”:

No idea who is in Soft Covers, because such information is not revealed. But it is certainly Dumb Things-adjacent, having that unmistakable Australian ambling guitar pop charm, constructed of simple but enduring ingredients (guitar, bass, drum, voices and the occasional extravagance of a reedy keyboard melody). Soft Covers promise “homemade and well-loved pop, taken out of the oven a little too early and left out on the line a little too long” and deliver on that promise.

“Grow” with it’s plaintive “why won’t you grow, to something worthwhile?” is either about a plant or, more likely, a person of interest. Doesn’t matter either way, it’s a perfect simple song. There are 5 more of them on the EP.

Back to Melbourne for some melodic, wistful, and gently sublime guitar pop goodness from Low Key Crush, a duo that has just released a 4th single, “Been Waiting”:

“Been Waiting” is an existential reflection about life and love. Waiting – and that sense of boredom but anticipation – is a universal existential theme, even more so in this year of lockdowns, forced isolation, lives on hold, uncertainty… and especially for Melbourne, and state of Victoria residents in Australia right now.

Low Key Crush is Tim Haines (vocals, guitars) and Taycian Lord (drums), who have been playing together since 2018.

“Been Waiting” is not like most of the guitar pop PopLib features from Melbourne, which tends to the more ragged garage rock/ so-called “slacker” guitar pop. This is a subtle, and – yes – low-key contemporary take on classic Australian shimmering melodic popcraft (thinking of the likes of The Stems, and The Someloves in the late 1980s in particular) but with a bit of more recent US West Coast guitar pop in the mix.

It’s the kind of song that bears (many) repeat plays, and if you are looking for more of that contemporary classic Australian guitar pop on Bandcamp from unfamiliar names, check out Sydney’s Allan Smithy as well.


Hot on the heels of an excellent 2019 album by Brooklyn jangle-pop outfit Jeanines comes a 4 song EP called “Things Change” on UK indie-pop wonder-label WIAIWYA. Here’s “Been in the Dark” from the upcoming (mid-March) release of the 7″ EP:

Jeanines are Alicia Jeanine (guitar/vocals) and Jed Smith (bass/drums). The fast-paced jangle-pop of “Been in the Dark” is adjacent to that 1980s style of the likes of Shop Assistants and Dolly Mixture, mixing DIY post-punk ethos with classic sixties pop pop-craft, and delivering it with the same kind of rapid-fire nervous energy of more contemporary janglers Veronica Falls.

But there is also just a hint of early Magnetic Fields in the way the song blends sunshine with melancholy, as the lyrics appear to reflect on identity anxiety while the song fills every second of its galloping 2 minute length with majestic melodies and frantic propulsive action.

Sachet 2019Sydney band Sachet are back with a new single ahead of their second album. The first Sachet album “Portion Control” was a PopLib favourite, and this new song “Nets” promises more fair dinkum Aussie guitar-pop goodness ahead:

The album “Nets” is from (also called “Nets”) is due in September 2019 on Brisbane label Tenth Court.

Sachet feature two members from now defunct Sydney shoegaze band Day Ravies – Lani Crooks (lead vocals, keyboards, guitar) and Sam Wilkinson (bass) – along with Nick Webb (Guitar) and Chris Anstis (drums).

Sachet’s ultra-melodic guitar-based post-punk pop is a more choppy, angular, direct and concise form of pop-craft that Day Ravies. If you like “Nets” then please do check out that first album “Portion Control” over at the Strange Pursuits Bandcamp.

Terror of the Deep.jpgWellington band Terror of the Deep released their third album – “The A-Team” – at the start of May. It’s another impressive collection of understated gems, laced with a healthy dose of subtle garage-pop psychedelia. Here’s the glorious “Glisten in the Wind” for your listening pleasure:

“Glisten in the Wind” is written and sung by drummer William Daymond, and it is a two and half minutes wandering in the garden of earthly delights. Acoustic guitars and keyboard combine with bass and drums to deliver a simple yet beautiful and brief sonic adventure concluding with a star-burst guitar solo.

The album mixes garage-pop with the relaxed slightly country-esque flavours of late 1960s US West Coast rock, adding a hint of The Feelies, the odd bit of synth-pop (!) to inhabit a similar musical zone to the adventurous low-key guitar-pop craft of Australians The Ocean Party.

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.

Ary JensenAuckland musician Ary Jansen used to play guitar and sing in Team Ugly and Ralph and currently plays drums for Ragged Veins. ‘I Wanna Be Ignored’ Is the first single from a solo EP “Cut-Off”  which is released on the 3rd of September.

As you may have guessed “I Wanna Be Ignored” subverts the narcissistic self-adoration rock musician fixation exemplified by the classic Stone Roses hit “I Wanna Be Adored”.

In place of overblown messianic narcissism, Ary Jansen – via self-explanatory expository lyrics – mixes wry humour with self-effacing (and maybe a bit of self-loathing) self-awareness. If the word “self” is used too many times in that sentence it’s maybe because “I Wanna Be Ignored” is all about sense of self and the stuff that society attaches to what people think we are rather than who we really are.

Musically this starts minimal guitar pop (delightful jangling picking over a bit of Velvet’s chug-a-rama) and then, at the 1 minute mark, it flowers into a beautifully off-kilter merging of lo-fi electro-pop and guitar pop. It’s an odd little pop gem but odd pop is what we like best here at PopLib.

KosmetikaKosmetika are a duo from Auckland/ Khabarovsk/ Melbourne, and “Ya Ueda” is a single from their forthcoming album.

Kosmetika are Mike Ellis & Veeka Nazarova, supplemented on this song by drummer James Sullivan. The song was recorded in Auckland and Melbourne and sung in Russian.

Regardless of the language the vocals are sung in the song is the international language of guitar pop understood by popLib and PopLib followers, so enjoy please…

The song appears to be about escaping boredom, leaving a “waste grey city” finding a new life and “in the cafe the machine promises noisy music. I do not want to go home”. Right then, I think we can all find some common ground in those sentiments, which is pretty much the history of rock and roll in a song lyric really. Perhaps Khabarovsk – the most populous city in Eastern Russia, located on the Amur River in southeastern Russia, near the border with China – is that “waste grey city”?

Salad BoysChristchurch guitar trio Salad Boys released their second album “This Is Glue” in January. Here’s “Under The Bed” from it:

Salad Boys is led by guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Joe Sampson, once of noisey Christchurch trio T54. Salad Boys is the more reflective side of Sampson’s considerable guitar-playing and songwriting talent, though the album still packs plenty of over-driven riff-rock (check the opening “Blown” Up” and then “Psych Slasher” for high-octane thrills).

Anyone raised on a steady diet of chips, beer and guitar bands over recent decades will recognise the compass points locating their sound. Much has been made of their local influences from that cold damp city 5 hours drive south of their quake-munted Christchurch home. But as much as you can maybe hear a bit of The Clean/ Great Unwashed in the strum and jangle I’d be inclined to pick another Dunedin band Bored Games as a better local touchstone when the amps are cranked here.

But even that is still a red herring I reckon. The varied guitar styles and noisy pop hooks comprising much of “This Is Glue” is actually much more in the style of North American bad boys like The Replacements and their ilk. As a result they sound more like they belong among the current crop of fine Australian guitar bands (The Stevens, Twerps, Woollen Kits et al.) who also seem to have assimilated that same perfect odd-combo of ’80s kiwi drone jangle and more polished North American guitar pop.

Either way, this is a cracking album with a fine balance between visceral riff rock and delicate reflective folk pop (refer “Going Down Slow” towards the end of the album). Recommended to track down in its vinyl LP format too.



Agua VivaMoving gently away from ambient instrumental soundscapes but still staying in outer space, here’s some top-drawer “Pop misterioso y tropical”  from Beunos Aires, Argentina. Hard to pick one song from this but the opening track “Menino do Rio” is as appropriate a place as any:

The mysterious and tropical pop of Agua Viva’s album “Piece of Water” is almost entirely performed by Josi Arias who plays guitar, keyboards, electronic drums and sings.

“Menino do Rio” (river boy in Portuguese) here is vaguely reminiscent of the kind of dreamlike woozy psychedelia explored on Connan Mockasin’s “Forever Dolphin Love”

This opening track is not fully representative of the whole album so give the whole sequence of songs a listen as there’s some fine noisy psychedelia throughout – like this Paisley Pop standout “Hardly Move” –

[Thanks to The Autumn Roses music blog for the discovery!]