Archives for posts with tag: New Zealand Music

Tidal Rave FOMOWellington band Tidal Rave are back with a great new single “FOMO”:

Their EP last year had a churning claustrophobic feel, reminiscent of the dark garage rock of 1980s Christchurch band The Terminals.

“FOMO” is lighter – there’s more space around the three guitars to let the song breath – and the combination of keyboard with those three guitarists brings to mind the wry chamber pop of another 1980s/ 90s Flying Nun band The Able Tasmans, or perhaps even the Sarah Records pop of bands like Even As We Speak.

It has a distinctive Australasian feel to it. Maybe it’s the way we strum guitars down here, but it’s also in that distinctively Antipodean conversational vocal delivery and storytelling from Emmie Ellis, who takes the lead vocal here, and says of the the song “An ode for the excitable drunk who never wants to go home. Maybe based on real-life events.”   

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Bad Sav_Hope Lucinda NoMike_photo by Chris Schmelz_smaller for web

Hope Robertson (guitar, vocals) and Lucinda King (bass, vocals) of Bad Sav. (Absent is drummer Mike McLeod) – photo by Chris Schmelz.

“Hen’s Teeth” by Birdation will be familiar to regular followers of PopLib. Birdation is the solo experimental noise workshop of Port Chalmers musician Hope Robertson. Robertson is guitarist in electronic+post-punk dark dream-pop trio Death And The Maiden and the long-running, slow-moving noise rock trio Bad Sav. Next week, Bad Sav finally release that long-awaited first album. The first track shared ahead of the release is “Hen’s Teeth”

The slow trance-like lo-fi churn of Birdation’s “Hen’s Teeth” has been turbo-charged by Bad Sav into an uptempo slice of chiming guitar rock. The first second is arresting in unexpected ways with the intake of breath before the song starts.

I love the way Robertson’s stabbing sparkling guitar chords dance from side to side in the mix, like a delay echo in a huge cathedral. Then there’s that euphoric chorus and the crunch of additional guitar horsepower to seal the effective assault on the senses. There’s still a thrill and a power to be found in a trio playing guitar, bass and drums, loud and with distortion and Bad Sav’s album delivers that tonic in 10 measured doses.

With Bad Sav less is more. Whereas My Bloody Valentine would have spent years burying the song in sonic molasses, Bad Sav achieve the same dizzying chord-bending melodic blaze with a recording as immediate and monstrous as their live performances.  Their churning guitar-heavy sonic distillation of melodic post-rock, noise-rock and shoegaze is a thing of sonic beauty to experience live, the guitar sound building patterns of glorious saturated noise that fill every corner of the venue and your head.

Bad Sav have been around for 10 years – long enough to have started out with a MySpace page, the internet equivalent of carbon-dating a band’s vintage. They had an early song on a Radio One sampler CD, then a long wait until 2014 when they self released 4 songs on their Bandcamp. These 4 songs make for an essential pre-quel EP-length introduction to the band.

Here’s the original Birdation formation of “Hen’s Teeth”. The Bad Sav and Birdation versions on a split 7″ single would be a lovely thing indeed. That won’t be happening, so best you download the Birdation version below and keep it safe.

 

 

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.

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: