Archives for posts with tag: New Zealand Music Month

RangitotoDay 31 of our 31 days of May New Zealand Music Month marathon closes the set of songs with something only a few days old from Auckland shoegaze ensemble Couchmaster. Here’s “Honey over Thunder” from a 5 song EP called “Tumor” released on 25 May.

I was going to select the opening track “Psychogenic Fugue” because it is dedicated to Dunedin music legend Peter Gutteridge and packs that familiar Snapper drone and drumbeat. But for the closing song for this year’s NZ music month trawl through the wonderful online underground of Bandcamp I couldn’t go past “Honey Over Thunder” with it’s wistfully melodic vocal from drummer Rachel Charlie and effortless reverb drenched psychedelia.

The EP is a wonderfully eclectic mix of guitar rock heavy on the atmospheric effects. It appears to be mostly the project of Rikki Sutton, from another shoegaze style Auckland band Eyes No Eyes. He’s guitarist, bassist, keyboardist and vocalist on most of the tracks as well as engineering and mixing the recording. Rachel Charlie on drums and vocals and Adison Whitley on guitar are the other two people who play on all the tracks. Extra points for naming the band after a great album by The Bats too.

 

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Surfdog_seafog12Day 30 of our 31 Days of May New Zealand Music Month marathon comes from Port Chalmers (above), formerly home to Xpressway Records and still home to many Dunedin musicians. Here’s local musician Francisca Griffin with “Falling Light” –

If you are thinking “that sounds a bit like Look Blue Go Purple” then that may be because two of the three musicians playing on this track are former members of Look Blue Go Purple. Francisca Griffin was Kathy Bull back then, and she’s joined here by LBGP guitarist Kath Webster.

The third musician is drummer Gabriel Griffin – Francisca’s son. You’d normally hear him providing the scattershot rhythms behind the inimitable free-form experimental improv drum & woodwind ensemble Sewage.

“Falling Light” has the kind of freshness and instantly recognisable light and airy guitar tones of its place of origins. Psychedelic folk perhaps, Southern NZ style, and in some respects as reminiscent of David Kilgour’s solo music as it is of LBGP.

It’s a track from a forthcoming album set for release on CocoMuse Releases this year.

Devine.jpgDay 28 of our 31 Days of May New Zealand Music Month marathon comes from Dunedin electronic pop newcomer Devine with the epic Gold Class pop of “Novel” –

This single has been getting a bit of local press recently and you can hear why. It’s classy well-crafted pop channeling a bit of Bond movie-theme grandeur and the electronica coolness of Goldfrapp.

The music has the darkness and texture of a thriller movie soundtrack and that undercurrent works perfectly with the character of the vocals.

The song is written and sung by by Molly Devine, and the music produced by Maddy Parkins-Craig. Some have said it’s the lack of ambition that gives Dunedin music its unique sound and feel. There’s much to be said for having ambition though as this Devine single shows.

Thought CreatureDay 27 of our 31 Days of May New Zealand Music Month marathon is a lost classic from 5 years ago by Wellington-via-Berlin band Thought Creature that not enough people have heard. Time to rectify that with a trip to their “Paradise” (play this L O U D)

“Paradise” is a guitar-heavy psychedelic dance groove celebration which would have sounded at home on a late 1980s Julian Cope album when the 1980s psychedelic pop revival was morphing into rave culture’s transcendental dance music.

Thought Creature’s Berlin sojourn in the early 2010s and their transformation into a noisy psychedelic electronica+guitar outfit led to the formation of two of Dunedin’s best genre melting electronica+ bands today – Death And The Maiden and Élan Vital. Both Dunedin bands trace their formation to Berlin around the time this song was released and the common denominator to all three bands is Danny Brady.

There’s another common denominator too: Erica Sklenars, who appears in this live video of “Paradise” from a Berlin house party and is a regular collaborator with Death And The Maiden and Élan Vital for music videos and live performance visuals.

DATM SkullsDay 26 of the 31 Days of May New Zealand Music Month marathon is a contemporary Dunedin classic from Death And The Maiden called “Skulls”

“Skulls” is a remarkable song on an album of remarkable music which can take a while to reveal subtleties and hidden emotional depths. The words here and their delivery, the way the song slowly builds through an ebb and flow of mesmerising woven pattern of guitars and bass over minimal electronic beats and synth wash, then kicks up a gear with a melodic change and builds to an intense and noisy climax before subsiding.  Just perfect…

“Skulls” is from the self-title debut album by the band not named after the title of the Dunedin single everyone thinks they must be named after.  The members of Death And The Maiden are Lucinda King (bass and vocals), Hope Robertson (guitars, drums, vocals) and Danny Brady (synths and electronic sounds).

The album is part electronica – slow dance/ trance arpeggio synth lines and clattering percussion – and part futuristic post-punk guitars and bass. But it’s the human heart of the voices which bind it all together into something special and unique, creating a world in which it is possible to lose yourself for 40 minutes in music that is dark and melancholy but also mysterious, coolly beautiful and, ultimately, positive and uplifting.

Or, as one Bandcamp purchaser said in a more succinct summary of the album’s charms “It’s great for dancing and crying and everything in between.” Indeed it is.

TupuhiDay 25 of our 31 Days of May New Zealand music month marathon comes from the suburban dub labs of Mark Tupuhi and the opening track from “the Deep End” – an ecclectic album of hypnotic psychedelic dub and electronic music. Here’s “Brevity” –

The album was an accidental discovery on bandcamp. “Overcome evil by dub” seems to be the entirely plausible theme of the opening track “Brevity” as it slowly unwinds with cut up voice samples and echoing delayed layers of guitar.

Usually the association of dub and reggae in NZ today is with the reductive pasteurised, homogenised mainstream-friendly “barbecue reggae” pop, a kind of audio head-nodding narcotic, where rhythm and formula is elevated above imagination.  That’s a long way from the adventurous spirit and imagination associated with reggae and dub in particular in the 1970s through to the 1990s.

Tupuhi’s DIY home recorded album “The Deep End” mostly avoids the contemporary NZ formula and takes the music in some unexpected directions at times. The combination of live and digital instruments and elements of dance and trance music is more reminiscent of the kind of sonic adventures of the On-U-Sound artists in the UK in the 90s.

As well as contemporary psychedelic dub like “Brevity” you’ll also find atmospheric industrial psy-trance on “Teradactyl” and even a kind of futurist post-punk electro-dub on “Malcolm”. It’s an album worth exploring further.

 

 

Doubleu_Quit cassette

Day 23 of our 31 Days of May New Zealand Music Month marathon comes from Auckland bedroom recording artists-extraordinaire, the mysterious Doubleu. Here’s “Yr an Angle” –

“Yr an Angle” is a hypnotic pop gem, occupying similar territory to fellow Auckland DIY artist These Early Mornings but with a lot more odd layers of unconventional and experimental sound.

PopLib featured a track from Doubleu’s intriguing EP “Quit” last September. Since then two Doubleu EPs – “Quit” and “Wuss” – have been combined on a cassette release on Slovakian based cassette label Z Tapes.

Z Tapes is run by Filip Zemčík and his selections have acquired a large following… which means the strangely wonderful introverted DIY psych-pop of Doubleu has been heard and enjoyed by hundreds of people around the world.