Archives for posts with tag: New Zealand Music

DSC07972Continuing PopLib’s  send as a gift tips for the month with the aching, mysterious dark beauty of stratchcona pl and “sadder endings” from the “holds and releases” EP:

While the sense of desolation, betrayal, loss and grief is palpable throughout this compelling EP it conveys a sense of “getting-through-this” rather than despair so essentially reflecting optimism with a collection of songs of sparse crafted beauty.

From the EP notes on Bandcamp:

“strathcona pl is crafting their silhouette in this balance of precision and distance. Just the name “Strathcona” seems so inhabitable and mappable: a suburb, a neighbourhood, a house. But as “strathcona” improper, where are we? We are drawn back into that same unsureness which permeates the artist’s characteristic sound. If “strathcona” isn’t a location or a proper noun, it must be an adjective; a feeling; a name to behold and release, then hold again.”

Recommended for – yourself…. Or to send as a gift to anyone else who needs it.

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Glass VaultsHere’s PopLib’s 9th send as a gift tip for the month, featuring “Brooklyn” from the album “The New Happy” by Wellington smooth psychedelic funk outfit Glass Vaults.

Glass Vaults deliver one of the year’s great earworm singalong choruses in “Brooklyn”. It’s even better performed live to a room full of people singing along.

The vibe here on The New Happy” is a very clean and clear minimal style of bright flouro funky psychedelic hook-laden synth-pop with phat synth bass and some wobbly keyboard sounds.  Think Prince’s “Around the World in a Day” with New Zealand accents.

Recommended to send as a gift to lovers of funky synth-pop dance music.

Strathcona pl EPFollowing on from “seams” from the mysterious stratchcona pl, shared here back at the end of March carrying the promise of an EP some time in the future… here is that 4 track EP

“holds and releases” is an oddly wonderful lyrical puzzle floating within a musical skeleton of acoustic guitar + voice + ambient sounds + occasional drums. Just listen:

Once again; so now we know everything, and yet we still know nothing at all.

 

OV Pain_LPDunedin keyboard/ drum/ voices dueo OV Pain have just released the LP format of their dark and thrillingly weird first album and it’s something to behold. Here’s the wonderful “Soon to Be” to draw you in to their (under)world:

The album was recorded at the Anteroom in Port Chalmers and mixed and mastered by local legend Forbes Williams. OV Pain are Renee Barrance (Élan Vital) and Tim Player (Opposite Sex).

The more-or-less-live recording in a big hall gives it a real sense of space and place – simultaneously open and echoing but also imbued with the chill and claustrophobia of some large underground crypt, where these dark tales and timeless sounds are performed with a kind of chanting, ritualistic possession.

This is haunted music, lost souls finding other lost souls, meditations on the darkness around us and within us.  It’s a bit theatrical and weird, mixing post-punk, psychedelia, prog-rock, synth-pop, with magic and witchcraft.

Gloominess has never sounded this colourful, this alive, this thrilling and this essential.

SaturationsHere’s an atypical track called “Run Electro” from a new album called “Saturations” by New Brighton, Christchurch musician Blair Parkes.

“Run Electro” is an attention-grabbing song, bursting with luminous colour and surging along on an insistent rumbling bass line with phased distorted organ swirls, like a kind a super-charged Stereolab on steroids.

It’s a bit of an odd one out on a curiously sequenced album which seems to morph from reflective guitar folk-pop at the start into more effect-driven shoegaze territory before exploring even deeper into electronic synth-pop.  It’s not the sort of album you can dip into for a quick listen here and there and come away with a sense of what it is all about. It rewards the full journey.

“Saturations” is a curiously timeless collection of songs. The first 4 songs of the songs could fit comfortably in the late 80s/ early 90s NZ/ Australian reflective guitar pop scene, while the second half of the album crackles with more electronic energy, sometimes reminiscent of UK synth-pop band Frazier Chorus.  Both halves of the album are bursting with fine songs.

 

Listening to this Blair Parkes album has sent me on a trip back to NZ pop underground of the late 1980s. Keen students of obscure Flying Nun Records releases may recognise Blair from All Fall Down (FN0989) and The Letter 5 (FN169).

Parkes’ blog post here on the All Fall Down years is also a fascinating insight into the life of a young musician playing in an obscure ‘2nd wave’ Flying Nun Records band in the mid to late 1980s in New Zealand.

As a bonus here’s the Bats-meets-Triffids styled perfection of All Fall Down’s “Black Gratten” from 1987:

 

 

 

Pesk“Forests” is the opening track from an 8-song mini-album called “Ground” by Port Chalmers-based dark and doomy shoegaze duo Pesk.

There’s an atmosphere of dark magic throughout the whole album, and this opening track is a sublime starting point for your journey into Pesk’s world.

The trademark Pesk fuzzed out reverb sludge-guitar fills this dark forest like a dense fog, while those crunching syn-drums are like a giant’s foot-steps. The shimmering keyboards, Nico-esque vocal and then that unexpectedly exultant chorus melody provide the transcendent touches to a spellbinding song.

The rest of the album continues with a similar strong and uncompromising tone.  They refer to their sound as combination of shoegaze, industrial and cold wave but there’s also a fair chunk of stentorian doom-laden metal about the rumbling density of their sound.

LBGP_2017Day 5 of 31 Days of May for New Zealand Music Month and we are still in Dunedin to revisit the quietly influential Look Blue Go Purple with “Circumspect Penelope”, a track from a new (released today) double album called “Still Bewitched” compiling their three EPs along with a side of previously unreleased live tracks.

Look Blue Go Purple filtered the spirit of 1967 psychedelic folk rock through the more contemporary influences of the post-punk make-your-own-sound freedom of The Slits and The Raincoats and the 1980s Dunedin scene they were part of. There’s some more background on the band and this album in a recent Otago Daily Times article.

There’s a tendency from some to view Look Blue Go Purple as a group somehow distinct within the Dunedin scene. Yet this overlooks the involvement of most of the musicians in a variety of other bands before, during and after Look Blue Go Purple’s reign from 1983 to the end of 1987.

Drummer Lesley Paris had been in a band called the Craven A’s with Terry Moore (The Chills), David Kilgour (The Clean, Great Unwashed) and Peter Gutteridge (The Clean, Great Unwashed, The Puddle, Snapper) prior to Look Blue Go Purple. She was the powerful rhythmic glue that held the early line-up of The Puddle together for 5 years from 1985, while Norma O’Malley wove farfisa organ and flute through The Puddle’s spidery psychedelia, all at the same time Look Blue Go Purple were in existence.

Puddle_1985_Invercargill

The Puddle in 1985 – L-R George D. Henderson, Lesley Z. Paris, Norma O’Malley, Peter Gutteridge, Ross Jackson & Lindsay Maitland

After Look Blue Go Purple Lesley continued with The Puddle then played in Buster and Olla. Norma O’Malley formed Chug with Alf Danielson, Kathy Bull played bass in Cyclops with Peter Jefferies and Denise Roughan was in the 3Ds. And that’s just the immediate post-LBGP highlights.

As an added bonus, “Circumspect Penelope” also has one of the very best Dunedin music videos ever, by regular Flying Nun Records video-maker Pat O’Neill: