Archives for posts with tag: guitar rock
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.

Blank Realm

Blank Realm

Day 14 was almost not going to happen… but I’ve pulled myself back from the brink & decided to carry on with this Unofficial Aussie Music Month trawl of trans-Tasman subculture underground pop.

Today let’s get weird & colourful with Blank Realm and ‘Falling Down the Stairs’.

Blank Realm are from Brisbane and (yet) another great band on Bedroom Suck Records. The band has a strong family connection, with siblings Daniel Spencer (drum & vocal), Sarah Spencer (synth & vocal) and Luke Spencer (bass), joined by Luke Walsh on guitar (& production).

Nick at Red Eye Records in Sydney recommended them to me and their latest album ‘Grassed Inn’ was sold to me within about the first 30 seconds of colourful jangling 12-string guitar garage-psych rock. As with so many young Aussie guitar bands at the moment there seems to be a hint of The Clean here in the ‘Tally-Ho!’ style organ on this track in particular and also a Dylan-esque shout of vocals.

The album is great. It is big, colourful, noisy and lush but also quite dark and menacing psych-rock with just enough feral psych weirdness to keep it (really) interesting.

Astro Children, Kings Arms, AKL - photo by Ben Howe

Astro Children, Kings Arms, AKL – photo by Ben Howe

Excuse me for repeating myself here but Sunday tradition round these parts involves me frightening the cat & the neighbours by playing Dunedin ‘shoeglaze’ space-punks Astro Children’s ‘Proteus’ album thrillingly loud.

So day 18 of the song-a-day-May NZ Music Month madness is ‘Shoe’ – a face-meltingly visceral two minutes thirteen seconds of fury from Astro Children. Strap yourselves in:

‘Shoe’ has long been a live favourite from Astro Children’s set. Isaac Hickey’s drumming here is the perfect bludgeoning beat willing it on; each piston-stroke compressing the volatile gasses of belligerent retributive anger, causing combustion.

And, as if the temperature isn’t already at a critical enough level here, the moment at 1:06 when the extra explosion of overdriven guitar kicks in is sublime.

This is rock and roll and punk rock at it’s primal scream elemental best; fury & rage channelled into a beat-rocking blast of propulsive plasma – a solar flare from an exploding sun.

I am now metaphorically exhausted… just listen to the song loud & see what you think. Oh & get the album too please… it’s on a lovely limited edition CD from Muzai Records.

Astro Children at the Kings Arms in Auckland, December 2013. Photo by Ben Howe from

Astro Children at the Kings Arms in Auckland, December 2013. Photo by Ben Howe from


Here’s day 14 of the 31 Days of May New Zealand Music Month Bandcamp challenge.

Wilberforces doesn’t sound like the kind of band name I’d normally associate with a rather dark and singular guitar band, notionally ‘post-punk’ in sound. Which highlights the perils of judging a band on its name. Their EP ‘Paradise Beach’ (available in glorious 12” vinyl format) which this track comes from is as fine a slice of angular, sharp-edged guitar rock as you are likely to find. Anywhere.

There’s variety across the 6 tracks on the EP too. I get a hint of The Clean and The Modern Lovers in the scruffy garage rock of ‘Magdalene Brothers’ while closing track ‘Fire in the Hills’ turns down the volume but unsettles in different ways with choppy guitar over ghostly vocals and cathedral choir/ synth backing.

Wilberforces ‘Paradise Beach’ is on Muzai Records of course – New Zealand’s premier alternative noise rock (and a bit more) label. Muzai Records celebrates 4 years of releasing great music with an event at the Wine Cellar in Auckland this Saturday

I guess I’ll have to steel myself to buy the 12” vinyl some time. As a surfer, that cover image will ensure it won’t sit at the front of my vinyl stack, particularly after a close encounter in the water off Dunedin earlier this year with one of these. But it’s what’s in the spiral groove that matters most…