Archives for posts with tag: indie-pop

A few month months ago PopLib featured a debut song “Moon” from a young Sydney band EGO. They’ve just released another song, called “Better”. Can they repeat the magic?

“Better” gets of to a quiet and unremarkable start, acoustic guitar & solo voice. But it quickly starts to assemble all the elements that made their first song “Moon” such a winner.

There’s the layered vocal harmonies, the 70’s soft-rock stylings on a home-recording budget, and then, at 1 minute 30, that breakdown into the reverb-delay-soaked soft-psych guitar instrumental break before the euphoric wordless vocal outro.

At 2 minutes 45 seconds it’s pretty much pop perfection. There’s a lightness of touch here that almost seems to channel a hint of the clean-living 70’s easy-listening of the likes of The New Seekers (if anyone remembers them) into the type of classy contemporary melodic indie-pop created by bands like Avi Buffalo in recent years.

Anyway, there’s so much promise here I’m (still) looking forward to hearing more from this band as they develop even further. Keep following those instincts EGO.

Postscript 30 October 2015: Ego have a video for “Better”

Mercury Girls

There’s a whole jangle-pop corner of the universe I didn’t know about called Philadephia… “Golden (Demo)” is a perfect sugar-rush calling card from Mercury Girls ahead of a debut single on (naturally) Slumberland records.

Not sure where I first came across Mercury Girls, but they are part of a tangled web of Philadelphia guitar pop bands past and present.

Members are shared with the wonderful Literature for example, or the heavier (in an excellent Speedy Ortiz kind of way) Little Big League and the defunct PET MILK, all of which are internet rabbit holes I recommend you disappear down if you are that way inclined.


Sydney band Day Ravies are back with a couple of new releases in 2015. The first is a very fine 7″ single with “Hickford Wizz” and this song “Taking Time” –

The single sees the band move to a more stripped-down classic guitar-pop sound; less guitar effect pedals and textured noise and more pure indie-pop. “Taking Time” is a great slice of frenetic melodic post-punk guitar pop which would not sound out of place on the Sarah Records catalogue (although clearly a few decades out of time with that great label’s run).

There’s also a wonderful 4 track EP Called “Under the Lamp” released in March and limited to 100 cassettes (or unlimited downloads). It’s a strong collection of songs – all with a bit more dirty character and idiosyncratic exploratory touches than their more shoegaze-influenced debut 2013 album “Tussle”. There’s scuzzier grainy pop sounds and a bit of more experimental droning keyboard and DIY electronic pop, hinting a little of the likes of Stereolab via Broadcast (particularly on the brilliant title track “Under The Lamp”).

If you crave more of that Stereolab-styled motorik sound then check their fine standalone track “This Side of the Fence” as well.

I’m guessing each of these post-“Tussle” album slices is a combination of a band on a creative burst just releasing stuff as they forge their way, and also perhaps a chance to try out new approaches to music without the commitment of a 10-12 song album. It’s always thrilling to hear a favourite band confound expectations and demonstrate variety and substance, building that “what next?” anticipation.

UPDATE: We don’t have too long to wait in anticipation for that next album
Day Ravies_Liminal Zones_Sonic Masala

Fazerdaze - photo by Si Moore

Fazerdaze – photo by Si Moore

Day 8 of the May Month of Madness Marathon for NZ Music Month is “Somethink”, the quietly reflective closing track from PopLib’s favourite find of 2014 – a 6 track EP by Auckland’s Fazerdaze.

“Somethink” shares the same perfect, unfussy pop simplicity of the rest of the EP. There’s magic in the way the guitar parts and voices gradually layer up to create something special here.

As you can see by the Fazerdaze bandcamp page a lot of people around the world have discovered this EP, taking Fazerdaze creater Amelia Murray a bit by surprise. The CDRs she stamped and assembled herself in handmade sleeves sold out within a few months but you can still download the EP.

UPDATE: “Fazerdaze EP” now has a CD issue/ re-issue. Looks fabulous… and back on sale via Fazerdaze bandcamp.
Fazerdaze EP

Jay Som
UK cassette label Beech Coma has already featured in PopLibNZ. It was through Vol. 1 that I discovered Tuff Love and found their Scottish label Lost Map and bought their 10″ EP “Dross” recently.

Vol. 3 is out and, once again, it’s a spectacular collection of indie-pop from around the world. Confirmation of both the global reach and immaculate taste of Beech Coma is their inclusion of PopLibNZ’s song of 2014 “Zero” by Fazerdaze.

Right now I just can’t get past the perfect majesty of the very first track by Californian Melina Duerte (also going under the solo name Jay Som on her own Bandcamp page).

It’s a great song, right from that Cure-inspired chorus guitar to the epic chiming guitar parts and synth wash. Sure it has a nod in the direction of 80’s post-punk, but there was nothing quite as wonderful as this back then. I was there.

As with the previous Beech Coma compilations, Vol. 3 is a great place to start a voyage of discovery, shining a light on music we would otherwise miss.

You can read an interview with Melina Duterte on Impose.


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.



Here’s a beaut 1 minute and 59 second blast of fuzzed-out melodic power-pop from Invercargill band Shunkan. “Our Names” is the first airing for a song from an upcoming album recorded with a full band.

If you have loitered around the PopLib pages here for the past year you’ll know the story of Shunkan – Marina’s relocation from LA to Invercargill NZ, DIY recording & UK label cassette release of the fabulous “Honey, Milk & Blood” EP then forming a band to play the songs live.

“Our Names” can be purchased via UK label Art Is Hard and comes – in a typically innovative Art Is Hard format – as a screen printed comic with three songs as a download (“Our Names’ and two demos for album tracks).

An album was recorded late last year in Christchurch and adds the considerable drumming talents of Andy Gibbs from The River Jones (another PopLib favourite). Her crisp, explosive style provides the perfect propulsive fuel for this song. This sub-2-minute observational slice-of-life song explodes with melodic hooks and is an enticing entree for the full album, hopefully out later (but not too much later) this year.

'Doll' / 'Candy Darling' by Trick Mammoth - 7" WIAIWYA picture disc

‘Doll’ / ‘Candy Darling’ by Trick Mammoth – 7″ WIAIWYA picture disc

Congratulations, you have made it to the end of NZ Music Month for 2014. So has PopLib! A song-a-day-May against the odds. Actually pretty easy to find a great song a day to post. As with last year, I made some new discoveries in the process.

For Day 31 I’m going to finish with the other side of the 7″ single I started the month with. Here’s ‘Doll’ by Trick Mammoth from their WIAIWYA (‘Where It’s At Is Where You Are’) 7777777 2014 singles club picture disc:

The single is a thing of beauty – not just the upbeat-downbeat nature of the Adrian Ng’s song-writing and Millie Lovelock’s perfect melancholy vocal sigh. Each of the 7 picture discs in the series is a stage of the process of making music, illustrated by a different artist from the UK or Europe. There may still be a few copies of this collectible single available here – collectible because it was made in limited quantities and was reviewed in Record Collector magazine as ‘Single Cream’ pick for the month.

From 'Record Collector' magazine

From ‘Record Collector’ magazine

Choo Choo Trains

The Choo Choo Trains – not to be confused with the excellent Velvet Crush precursor band Choo Choo Train in the US – are a London trio making what they say is “Girl-Guide shoegaze” but is really just understated bashful jangle-pop. It’s a bit like Camera Obscura on an austerity budget and all the better for that minimalism.

They have a 5-song 7” EP released on now sadly vanished Manic Pop! Records.

Manic Pop! Records was a new small label from Minnesota, USA set up in 2012 and dedicated to releasing 7” singles from great undiscovered pop bands from around the world. After releasing over a dozen sparkling pop gems in the past year the label has vanished from the internet – website, and social media accounts gone. Some detective work from a member of one of the bands with a release pending on the label explains his understanding of the situation in this blog post.

Sadly it looks like the Manic Pop! Records dream is over. A victim of naive over-enthusiasm? There may be a darker clue in the name. With so many releases in such a short time and, I assume, no established distribution or mail-order networks, it would be very easy – fuelled by unrealistic optimism – to over-extend financially on this kind of project.

The demand in the current economic climate for the physical artefact of 7” vinyl was not helped by the US postal prices rises early in 2013 doubling the cost of international airmail for parcels and making it even more difficult for these kind of small-scale labour of love labels to have the kind of cash-flow needed to survive and sustain themselves over time.

Add to that the inherent difficulties in promoting so much new music from so many unknown bands to an indifferent world and the outcome was perhaps inevitable. But I can sure sympathise with these sentiments:

“he did what he did because he feels that the bands he loves, the bands that get little recognition for the blood and sweat that they pour into their music, deserved to be signed to a great label. In my opinion, it simply became too difficult for him to say no to signing great, under-recognized bands.”

During its short but prolific run Manic Pop! Records was responsible for a commendable burst of 80’s-influenced dreamy jangle-pop. The label had a remarkable hit rate with the dozen or so 7” releases it did make. No duds and most would sit happily in my 7” record collection. Long may the name – and that unrealistic ideal – live on in discerning 7” collections around the world.

The split of the pressing between the label and the bands at least means there are a few copies still able to be tracked down from the bands via their own Bandcamp pages. Here’s a few more of the best:

Fire Island Pines
Mini Dresses
Gorgeous Bully
The Delaplains
The Airplanes
Zebra Hunt