Archives for posts with tag: Melbourne
Too Tone NZ Music Month

Shop display of re-purposed NZ Music Month poster at Too Tone Records (2010-2017) in Dunedin.

New Zealand Music Month day#2… dance like a weirdo with former Dunedin (now Melbourne) electronic producer Vanessa Worm.

“I Did a Lava Dance” mixes pummeling minimal techno with injections of startling sci-fi horror noise and even odder vocal stylings which bring to mind a glitchy malfunctioning Grace Jones robot.  It’s from an excellent three track EP on Glasgow electronic label Optimo.


Little Desert_HappyLittle Desert is a 5 piece dark garage/punk psych-rock punk ensemble from Melbourne. “Happy” here is a brand new song, just released ahead of a new EP slated for release in 2019. Buckle in – it’s a W I L D (but happy) ride…

There’s nothing held back here. This is pure, unrestrained, wild, searing garage-psych rock energy. Vocalist Esther Rivers’ delivery commands the song – an ode to sisterly love and embracing life.  In the engine room, Ash Wyatt (Red Red Krovvy/ Masses) propels the song with urgent floor-tom heavy drums, Bonnie Mercer (Dead River/ Breathing Shrine) adds the classic buzz-saw guitar, Ema Dunstan (Hi-Tec Emotions/ Synthetics) shakes the foundations with ominously low bass rumble and Roman Tucker (Rocket Science) provides that psych-essential swirling keyboard atmosphere.

Esther Rivers – “Written on the train on the way back from Scotland it’s our first curt, “optimistic” song with no hidden meanings. I wrote it about my sister as I left her behind after visiting her after ages and finding her in a really good place. We’ve gotten a bit more B52s with these new songs! A bit more groove but still with passion and the psych-out at the end. A bit of a punk edge too. We love playing this song at the end of the set.”

“Happy” is A-grade wild psych rock and roll. Can’t wait for the EP, and I’ll also be examining the Little Desert back catalogue. “Saeva” below has a hard-to-categorise, winning mix of psychedelic garage-rock and doomy/ proggy UK 1970s heavy metal. While you are falling down the Little Desert rabbit hole be sure to check out each of the members other bands in the links above. There’s much more to discover in this noisy Melbourne underground scene.


Cyanide ThorntonAnother new Melbourne musical offering, this time from Cyanide Thornton via a self-titled album just out on Bedroom Suck Records. Here’s the opening track “Weight”:

“Weight” is a magical 6 minute journey, starting with the mesmerising snaking lead guitar part which is sustained in pools of reverb. At first gently, unpredictably  unwinding for the first few minutes of the song, before exploding before the vocals begin. That process of uneasy calm, building tension, exploding and release/ relief continues throughout the song.

Cyanide Thornton is Sienna Thornton (guitar, piano, organ and lead vocals) with Ellah Blake (drums, violin, vocals) and David Pesavento (bass, guitar). While the album is loosely “alternative rock”, the music on Cyanide Thornton’s self-titled debut has the kind of sparseness and drama of a peculiarly Australian kind of post-rock folk music. The sometimes minimal hypnotic starkness of the music, garnished with ornate reverb guitar parts, and the dark immersion of Sienna Thornton’s arresting voice and melancholic words build to crescendos of noise and emotion before falling back to reclaim the uneasy calm.

Bitumen_2018.jpg“Twice Shy” is from the first album by Melbourne post-punk band Bitumen. “Discipline Reaction” was released a few weeks ago by Melbourne label Vacant Valley.

As noted here last year when the band released two songs on a split cassette, Bitumen present beautifully crafted post-punk – a hint of the ice-cold pummeling sound of Clan of Xymox and the ice-storm guitar skirl of Skeletal Family but Melbourne has been the home of this kind of industrial futuristic pop music for even longer than Germany or the UK.

The Ocean Party Oddfellows HallThere are many ways to discover new music by bands you haven’t heard of before. The absolute worst way is reading about the death of a band member. Melbourne band The Ocean Party announced that their drummer, Zac Denton, who was also one of their song-writers and recording engineer, had passed away in hospital last weekend, just ahead of the release of their new album “The Oddfellows’ Hall” next week. One of his songs opens the album – here’s “Rain on Tin”:

The Ocean Party are from that fine Australian music-making tradition that brought us the likes of The Go-Betweens, Triffids, Lucksmiths, Steinbecks; emotionally resonant songwriting, channeling a sense of place, of memory, and reflecting on the roller-coaster of life and experience. You could add “Rain on Tin” to a playlist that also included “Cattle and Cane” and “Wide Open Road” and it would fit perfectly and beautifully.

Denton’s two songs on the album “Rain on Tin” and the equally wonderful “Home” show a range of songwriting and lyrical talents, and his simple, real recording beautifully captures the feel and space of a band playing together.

“Rain on Tin” ends with the line “my biggest fear is that I’m forgettable”. Denton’s contribution to The Ocean Party and other music ventures over the past 6 years, and our collective actions listening and sharing the music he has made should ensure that isn’t the case.

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”?

Amaya Laucirica“Little Clouds” is the opening track from a new album called “Rituals” by Melbourne’s Amaya Laucirica.

Before pressing play on this opening track I read the information on the album Bandcamp page: “Amaya’s work blends the swirling contours of the Cocteau Twins with the wistful melodies of The Go-Betweens and the sonic depth of Yo La Tengo.”  Fair to say that raised an eyebrow and thought “yeah, right.”

Turns out that’s actually a fairly modest statement. Not only is that close to the mark, it’s only the half of it. OK the Cocteau’s reference relates only to the second half of their career when their starkly unique post-punk had mellowed out to lushly produced dream-pop. But there’s no denying that these songs have the kind of classic construction you would associate with The Go-Betweens circa “16 Lovers Lane”.

The widescreen cinema-scope surround-sound of those extravagant synth washes also evokes memories of another Australian classic – capturing the sense of space of The Triffids “Wide Open Road”. The songs, arrangement and production on the album also remind me a lot of the classic pop of 80s, particularly UK popsters The Lightning Seeds. Slickly produced, glistening pop, and such perfect songs washed in big lush reverb synth pads and with crystalline guitar parts and Amaya’s distinctive vocals providing a unique heart.

Thanks to When You Motor Away for the tip off on this future classic album.