Archives for posts with tag: Males

Dunedin’s hyper-melodic driving fuzzed up guitar-pop maestro Richard Ley-Hamilton returns with a new asta rangu single “I Dream”:

“I Dream” is from a brand new split (digital) single by Dunedin fidgety guitar-pop band asta rangu. Guitarist/ vocalist/ songwriter Richard Ley-Hamilton has added a sonic hardener compound to the style of crafted guitar-pop he created with his previous band Males, which shares the other track on the split single – a previously unreleased song “Clear Lake” from the second Males album “None the Wiser” sessions in 2016.

The two songs side by side show the similarities and the differences in the six year gap between songs. “I Dream” by asta rangu shows how Ley-Hamilton has developed the hyper-active guitar pop he pioneered with Males and twisted it to darker, harder, more intricate and interesting shapes and shades, injecting extra layers of noise and mayhem, while still retaining the pure heart of golden pop in his songwriting.

The band line up in addition to Richard Ley-Hamilton on guitars and vocals is Julie Dunn (Bathysphere) on synths, Angus McBryde (Bye Bye Fishies) on bass and Josh Nicholls (Space Bats, Attack!, Koizilla) on drums.

Starting tonight asta rangu has embarked on an extensive NZ tour/ also including a set of songs from Males:

Wednesday 10th February – The Stomach, Palmerston North
Thursday 11th February – San Fran, Wellington
Friday 12th February – East Street Cafe, Nelson
Saturday 13th February – darkroom, Christchurch
Saturday 20th February – Dive, Dunedin
Saturday 27th February – Wine Cellar, Auckland
Saturday 6th March – Tuatara, Invercargill

Asta Rangu 2018.jpgDay 10 of PopLib’s 31 Days of May marathon for New Zealand Music Month comes from Asta Rangu – here’s the driving fuzzed-up pop of “Melancholics”

“Melancholics” is from the excellent “Plasticine” EP/ Mini album released on emerging Dunedin label trace / untrace who say: “melodic and angular, asta rangu laces jarring riffs into fidgety pop and hook-laden wordplay. a sonic trip into the noisy, intricately layered world of imaginary figures.”

Asta Rangu guitarist/ vocalist/ songwriter Richard Ley-Hamilton has taken the crafted guitar-pop of his previous band Males, and twisted it to darker, more intricate and thrilling shapes and shades, injecting subtle layers of noise and mayhem, but retaining the pure heart of golden pop.

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.



Males_None the wiser

Richard Ley-Hamilton of Males

Day 31 of NZ Music Month is a song from the debut album “None the Wiser” from Dunedin’s mighty falsetto pop-Gods Males. It’s called “Chartreuse” –

“Chartreuse” demonstrates just how far their helium-voiced guitar power-pop has come since their double EP debut release “Run Run Run/MalesMalesMales” in 2013.

It’s a sophisticated slice of melodic and multi-layered noisy guitar pop, the kind of thing which would not sound out of place on an early album by US band Spoon.

At the time of its release on March 21, 2016 Males “is/are/were” Richard Ley-Hamilton (guitars, vocals), Sam Valentine (bass), and Paul ‘Pipsy’ McMillan (drums).


Happy New Year! Thanks to the tens of thousands of readers of this blog from around the world for staying tuned in to PopLibNZ.

“Turning over rocks & sifting the sediments of underground pop music to help you find golden nuggets amongst the dirt” is the Mission Statement here.

So let’s “Go!” with the first tuneful sugar hiccup of 2016 from Dunedin’s hyper-melodic falsetto pop magicians, Males.

They released a single “Heavy Going” a few months ago which came with it’s own animated video.

Now they’ve paired it with their show-stopping set-closer “Go!” for a splendid taster for their first album proper, which they plan to self-release in 2016.

Males’ debut release was a mini-album, comprised of two EPs and a single combined, called “Run Run Run/MalesMalesMales”.  The LP version of this sold out within a few months of its late 2013 release. If you are in the US there may still be a few copies available. It’s still available on Limited Edition CD edition and as a download.

Here’s a live version of “Go!” recorded at Chick’s Hotel a few years back.


The idea with PopLib blog was to exclude all the stuff released on Fishrider Records and draw your attention to other unheard goodness, mostly hidden away on Bandcamp. The main focus of PopLib has been on uncovering NZ underground pop sounds, with occasional excursions over the Tasman and around the world.

The next Fishrider Records release creates a dilemma for the self-imposed ‘nothing from Fishrider’ rules here though. It’s a compilation of 13 songs and only 5 are Fishrider-released artists. Almost all the others have featured here on PopLib in the past year.

The compilation is called T E M P O R A R Y, in reference to the transient nature of young musicians, bands and the music scene here in Dunedin in general. It is an extension of what PopLib is about – drawing attention to the stuff you may never know exists. It even comes with a ‘zine (actually a pretty classy words music, writing & art magazine) to help immerse you even more and to kickstart your discovery of each band included.

It’s out in early September here in NZ, has a US co-release on Ba Da Bing! Records and will be also available in the UK with the assistance of Occultation Recordings. You can pre-order it now in a variety of formats at ridiculous pre-order prices from Fishrider’s Bandcamp here. As well as an immediate download you’ll also get into the release shows at Chick’s Hotel on 5th & 6th September (if you are in Dunedin).

As you’ll see if you visit the page there’s only two tracks available to stream at the moment – “All Over The World” by The Prophet Hens and Winded” by Kane Strang .

Another 7 can be found on the Bandcamp pages of the bands. As a quick guide just for the loyal readers of PopLib, here’s a shortcut to some more of what’s what on the compilation. So have a look around, discover more from the ones you like the most… but if you like some of them and want to hear them on vinyl & read about them in print, grab that compilation LP & ‘zine while it lasts.

Side One:
1 Mavis Gary – Dim the Droog

2 Death & The Maiden – Flowers for the Blind

3 The Prophet Hens – All Over The World

4 Males – Dead Aware

5. Mr Biscuits – My Plums Are Ripe

6. Opposite Sex – Supermarket

7. Strange Harvest – Amnesia

Side Two:
1 The Shifting Sands – All The Stars

2 Astro Children – Gaze

3 Kane Strang – Winded

4 Bad Sav – Buy Something New

5 Scattered Brains of the Lovely Union – Party To Your Om

6 Trick Mammoth – Home Video

Venn Trick Mammoth
People get confused as to who is who in Dunedin’s current Pop Underground, or, as Did Not Chart blog calls it, The Sound Of Young Dunedin.

So, in the interests of clarifying confusion and shining a light on the stuff that keeps people awake at night, here’s a Venn Diagram showing just four of the current bands with new releases – Trick Mammoth, Males (being released soon on the label I run – Fishrider Records), Astro Children (Auckland label Muzai Records) and Mavis Gary (via Dunedin cassette label The Attic).

I’m considering expanding this but it would soon get very huge and messy. Maybe there’s a computer application that will automatically do it…? For example Males link to Dunedin legends The Clean in one easy move through a band called Kilmog which Males’ guitarist/ vocalist Richard Ley-Hamilton plays in along with Robert Scott (The Clean and The Bats).

Plus, if you added an historic overlay you’d find Richard, Sam Valentine and Adrian Ng all playing together in Mr Biscuits and then, briefly, Blonde Hash. But let’s not get too carried away here.

All this might explain why Dunedin keeps producing more great pop bands per head of population than anywhere else in the world. Is it cheating? I don’t think so. It’s just that the weather here is pretty lousy a lot of the time, there’s not that much to do of an evening or weekend, and the kids have music in their DNA. Being in just one band doesn’t keep you busy enough – there’s only so many times a band can play here in the 4 or 5 live music venues in the city. Plus there are never enough drummers.