Archives for posts with tag: noise-rock

Bailter Space

Bailterspace is back in 2020. Mysterious emissions via a Bandcamp account. Old songs. New Songs. Live stuff. The latest offering is Delta. “Is this new as well? What could it all possibly mean?” they ask. Well, if they don’t know, how are we meant to know…?

“Delta”, like the other new tunes, is kind of minimal, but everything feels dangerously coiled, as if it could explode at any time. Possibly demo-ish, unfinished, work-in-progress, or maybe fully-formed. Who knows? *

It has all the component parts of Bailterspace songs though. Clanging mechanical guitar chop, pneumatic drums, ominous earth-moving bass chords, a searing blast of distorted, saturated guitar noise, and sweetly melodic, drifting, sleepy, enigmatic vocals.“It’s like a turquiose dream, that’s just what it seems”. Post-industrial dream-pop psychedelia?

A reminder, if required, that for all the crushing sonic intensity of the Bailterspace sound, it’s the melodies that are the heart and soul of their songs.

[* Turns out “Delta” was a track from a new album called “Concret”… the original track this post initially linked to was removed by the band so the link about now goes to “Delta” on the album now. It’s a great collection of typically crunchy noise, but also a bit more of a post-punk edge. Enjoy.]

Bailterspace 1997


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.

Our tune for day 25 of New Zealand Music Month 2020 comes from Dunedin noise-rock trio Bad Sav – the instrumental-with-belated-arrival-vocals “TV Theme Song”

Three minutes in the repeated line “I never wanted to stay up/out” arrives. Not sure which it is or if it is both. It work just fine in the context of a “TV Theme Tune” either way. It’s unconventional, which is the Bad Sav way, and we can make of it whatever we want, which is also the Bad Sav way.

I’m not sure if there is an equivalent of synesthesia (musical notes ‘seen’ by the listener as colours) whereby chord and note patterns take on a physical, sculptural form, but that’s always been the sensation I’ve had listening to the sonic storm from Hope Robertson’s guitar, with the intricate patterns of notes, chord progressions through various loop, delay, reverb and distortion effects, allowing the sound to form layer upon layer of gloriously noise to form imaginary physical form. Maybe that’s why I like music with repetition so much. Listen with your eyes closed, music loud, following each guitar progression and see if it happens for you.

NZMM 2020

Worm Cafe

The opening seconds of “Fantasies” by Worm Cafe is a delicious buzz. A recorded amp buzz is always an invitation. It’s like someone yelling “HEY!” or a screech of feedback, or an intake of breath. It gets attention.  It’s a warning. A promise even.

“Fantasies” lives up to the promise of the amp buzz that warns, or promises: “prepare for something not hi-fidelity manufactured music”.  It’s a grainy feral slab of dissonant guitar noise and blooping saturated bass distortion reminiscent of the abrasive energy of NZ post-punk pioneers Gordons at their most primal and primitive.

Worm Cafe is Amaya Lang, Kate Lowrie and Julia Wylie. From Sydney, not Melbourne as you may imagine, and the spirit of post-punk noise-rock is strong in both the dark sonic template of their sound as well as the no-fuss turn-it-up-and-play quality of the recording.

Drahla_2019_Useless coordinatesUK trio Drahla have released their first album, “Useless Coordinates”. It maintains the remarkable and exemplary standard of music, lyrics, performance shown by their single and EP releases over the past few years, and delivers on their promise, with interest. Here’s “Stimulus for Living” from the album:

“Stimulus for Living” is grainy and intense, with angular shapes stabbed out by guitar chords over repetitive nagging notes, driving hi-gain bass and propulsive drums, and punctuated by squalls of saxophone. It’s a template followed throughout the album, which each song twists in compelling new ways.

Drahla are Luciel Brown (guitar/ bass/ vocals) Rob Riggs (bass/ guitar/ vocals) and Mike Ainsley (Drums) along with Chris Duffin (saxophone). Their debut album “Useless Coordinates” is a powerful statement, full of an air of inscrutable mystery and intrigue. Within the debris-trail of beautifully dissonant noise Drahla merge in thrilling ways elements of post-punk with art pop and noise rock, and even some experimental free-noise elements.

There’s so much to love about this whole album. Melodic and musical, intelligent, artful and abrasive, dense and yet full of space and dynamics. It’s also crammed with lyrical labyrinths, delivered by Luciel Brown in her distinctive speak-sing stream-of-consciousness style, and fitting the atmosphere of dark paranoia invoked by the music, like overhearing the incantation of visions from a feverish hallucination.

Drahla’s debut album maintains the band’s remarkable and exemplary standard of music, lyrics, performance and also artwork and presentation. Yes, you do need to treat yourself to a copy.

Too Tone NZ Music Month

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

Our New Zealand Music Month song for day # 17 is from Christchurch noise rock trio No Broadcast and their most recent single “WASTE”:

No Broadcast hail from Christchurch and evoke the spirit and sonic fury of High Dependency Unit/ HDU in the way they use sonic guitar textures combining elements of noise-rock, post-rock, shoegaze and post-punk into a frenetic stew of noisy but melodic guitar rock.

No Broadcast are Josh Braden (Guitar and Vocals), Thomas Isbister (Drums) and Kieran Colina (Bass) and are an impressive and powerful live act as well.

Too Tone NZ Music Month

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

Our New Zealand Music Month song for day # 16 is the brooding building storm of “Pets” from Port Chalmers trio Bad Sav:

Bad Sav leader, guitarist and vocalist Hope Robertson says “Pets” “is a breakup song even though it doesn’t sound like it. It was a “I don’t need to worry about this stuff because I’ve got my pets” kinda thing.”

“When I write a song if I’m so upset or angry or an emotion has gone beyond words, and just write some music and say, “Well, that sums it up”, I don’t think there’s any words necessary. At other times, words are totally necessary; if there’s an actual issue that’s happened or something you wanna discuss with yourself in songwriting then I’ll do that…”

The sonic storm front  from Robertson’s guitar arrives at the two and a half minute mark, exploding with controlled fury and then continuing to build, forming layer upon layer of gloriously distorted noise as it turns itself into something both hostile and embracing. It’s an utterly beautiful, wrenching song that I love listening to loud over and over again.

When I have seen this band live their structural noise fills the room and vibrates every atom as they tear a hole in the fabric of space and time, particularly with the amazing improv destruction ending to “Pets”. On a great night (and most Bad Sav performances in recent years have been great) the song ends like a universe of “Index of Metals”-era Robert Fripp guitar loops disintegrating as it is pulled into a black hole.

Drahla October 2017“Twelve Divisions of the Day” is a new 7″ single from Leeds-based post-punk noise band Drahla. This one is released on US label Captured Tracks and the early edition came with a newsprint art booklet.

“Twelve Divisions of The Day” continues that distinctive speak-sing stream-of-consciousness delivery from Luciel Brown. It’s a bit like eaves-dropping on someone narrating their hallucination.

The music is grainy, and intense, with angular shapes stabbed out by guitar chords over repetitive nagging notes and driving hi-gain bass and propulsive drums. But it’s also agreeably musical, the lyrical imagery combining with the atmosphere of dark paranoia invoked by the music.

On the B-Side of the single is an alternate mix of the song which incorporates experimental industrial/ dance elements without messing with the weird darkness at the heart of the original. If anything, the electronic noises and distortions layer on even more unsettling atmosphere and paranoia.

That’s a brace of releases from Drahla now that have maintained an exemplary standard of music, lyrics and also artwork and presentation. Can’t wait for a whole album now!

Drahla 12 Division of the Day


Day 13 of the May Month of Madness Marathon for NZ Music Month comes out of the mists of Whanganui farmland and a band called Greenfog.

Greenfog describe themselves as a “Two piece bi-gender band from Auckland. Plus Scott.” That’s Elliot Lawless, Rachael Elf and Scott Kendall.

“Bruce Farm”, named after Robert Bruce, the bloke who’s farm this was recorded on, is a heavy, dark and wonderfully atmospheric example of something NZ does pretty well (thinking of HDU, Jakob, Kill The Zodiac etc.)

I suppose you’d call it post-rock, or noise-rock or something. But this is less about ‘rock’ and more about music for landscapes; the space between notes, the decay on saturated distorted chords, the hypnotic droning warmth of distortion and repetition, the echo of drums around wooden walls. It’s slow, measured stuff and fans of Seattle band Earth will know just how mesmerising that can be.

There are 100 copies of the “Bruce Farm” LP. Don’t be slow and measured about contemplating a purchase if you enjoy this.

Day 28 of the song-a-day-May NZ Music Month madness is ‘Prone Hold’ from Auckland quintet Trust Punks.

This is complicated and gravity-defying post-rock noise-pop. Every time I listen to it I hear new things going on here that I hadn’t noticed on previous listens.

In some ways Trust Punks seem like the Yes of noise rock.

Little tricky time changes, delicate guitar figures, soaring elegiac orchestral passages, noisy explosions of sound, squeaky vocals. Even Huf on trumpet for a mournful Salvation Army band atmosphere.

Is there anything this song is not? No there isn’t. ‘Prone Hold’ is just noisily, technically, obtusely, angularly, melodically, satisfyingly brilliant really.

The River Jones

The River Jones

Saw this Christchurch 4-piece band at Chick’s Hotel last night. Mind blown. If you like your guitar pop noisy/ dreamy/ explosive/ angsty/ sublime/ complex/ angular/ experimental/ technical/ manic/ subdued (sometimes all of the above in the same song) then check out The River Jones and their pay what you like Bandcamp album.

Here’s a song from it called ‘D in 3’. But do yourself a favour (if the description above is for you) and give the whole album a play.

There’s also a pretty cool/ gross video for the opening song ‘Steady Vision’. I like how it subverts all the standard NZ backyard barbecue goodtimes with alcohol and burnt food video clichés to create something funny, disgusting & troubling in equal parts. Spot the cameos from members of Doprah too (the two bands share a guitarist in common).

The River Jones

The River Jones