Archives for posts with tag: noise

drahlaI love the random acts of discovery that come via Bandcamp and people doing the simple act of sharing a link to something new. Sometimes what you hear invades your brain so quickly and completely that resistance is futile and you click ‘buy’and pay more than the asking price just because it is that good. Like Drahla and “Fictional Decision”:

It’s a simple idea. Bass, drums, voice and that quiet/loud dynamic we are familiar with from Pixies songs. Part spoken/ part sung/ part chanted words and phrases that are strange, mysterious, threatening (and also as artfully abstract as cut-up Broadcast song lyrics), are a familiar concept to minds perverted by years of the free-form imagination of Mark E Smith in The Fall.

But on this song by Leeds based trio Drahla these components – familiar concepts from post-punk and noise rock – are assembled and delivered in a way that allows them to take on new life and provide an an electric shock.

Maybe it’s the way that when the guitar comes in LOUD it’s just a blazing storm of dissonance and beautiful abstract fury. Maybe it’s the way that bassist/ guitarist and vocalist Luciel Brown maintains an air of indifference to the setting in which her incantations are delivered. Classic tension and release.

Either way, I’ve played this a dozen times tonight and all I can conclude is that I’ll be playing it another dozen times tomorrow… and after that as well.

Postscript: There’s a wonderful lo-fi synthpop/ artpop split release with Swords from a year ago which has two songs from Drahla. “Stereo Maze” gave me flashbacks to an old Amos & Sara cassette tape from a long time ago. The post-punk art-pop spirit is clearly strong in this band.

And then there is this enigmatic “teaser” for something I’d love to hear more from:

Moonpup Photo by Michael Bull

Moonpup – photo by Michael Bull

More rip-snorting sonic mayhem from Christchurch. This time it’s a new band called Moonpup, who release their debut EP of garage-sludge surf-punk tonight (Friday 24 June 2016) with a release show at Christchurch venue Darkroom. Here’s  “Wolfgirl” from the EP:

“Wolfgirl” sounds like frenzied Sonic Youth crossed with UK 90s crusty Punk-Goths Skeletal Family (an old favourite). In other words, it’s superb.

Moonpup are Sophia White (Vocals/Guitar), Erica Mackie (Bass), Nick Glen (Lead Guitar) and Cameron Hoy (Drums). The whole of their Moonpup EP is great, if you like that kind of noisy messy noisy melodic punkish rock thing. Of course you do. You should give it a listen.

The opening track Seagulls is another early favourite here, sometimes carrying a faint whiff of the kind of noise-choas created by the punk/ New Wave bands from Wellington’s 79/80 scene, like Life In The Fridge Exists.


This is great. Stone cold dead bloody wonderful in fact. It’s a dirge-like infinity of reverb inside a vast cavern of beautiful lost noise. And it’s from Dunedin. Of course.

I’ve seen pesk play and been paralysed by the stark gothic beauty of their two-piece sound. Though it’s more than two-piece because drummer Raff somehow plays keyboards at the same time as drumming skeleton beats and Amee layers muddy sediment layer upon muddy sediment layer of thick, doomed guitar and then sings redemptive lullabies over-top in a slow, ominous hymnal voice.

Recorded here on ‘tyranny’, pesk sound even better. There’s some subtle guitar work, minimal beats, a background rush of noise and some lovely whistling that is so menacingly cheerful it’s chilling. There’s an unsettling slow-wave layered minimalism about this track that is close to perfect. Keen to hear more from pesk.

Birdation Mirror

Well this is a beaut surprise. “Hen’s Teeth” is new tune, out of the aether from Dunedin’s one-person noise machine Birdation. And it’s a proper song and all.

When Pop Lib last featured Birdation it was a storming live set from the Auricle in Christchurch from Hope Robertson (Bad Sav & Death And The Maiden), her guitar, pedals and machinery as Birdation.

But in “Hen’s Teeth” here’s a concise, structured and controlled song full of mystery, imagination & drama. It’s dark, crunchy and ominous and there’s a lot going on in the swirling noise fog. Listen closely to that magic change at 1:35 too. Sublime.

I’ve been lucky enough to see Birdation live a couple of times now and the songs have left lasting impression on me. Looking forward to more like this from Birdation.

Millie of Astro Children plays 'The Really Loud One' at The Crown Hotel 2012. Photo by Roger Grauwmeijer

Millie of Astro Children plays ‘The Really Loud One’ at The Crown Hotel 2012. Photo by Roger Grauwmeijer

As you will know by now, Sunday tradition is for Astro Children ‘Proteus’ album to be played loud (I have the house to myself for a few hours and it’s fun loud).

But today here’s an instrumental interlude called ‘The Really Loud One’ from the first Astro Children EP which was called ‘Lick My Spaceship’ and released on a limited CDR by The Attic in 2012.

It’s a bit of an Astro Children tradition for songs to have explanatory titles. ‘The Really Loud One’ is, in places, fairly noisy. But it also has quiet bits and ebbs & flows. To enjoy it fully though you have to imagine, at about 1 minute 50 seconds, Millie falling to the floor & writhing around on her back while playing, with her head inside Isaac’s bass drum as the rest of the song works itself out.

It sounds better & better the louder you play it. There’s another Dunedin music tradition to the jangling guitar one, involving massive distorted noise sculptures. It started arguably with Snapper and continued through High Dependency Unit (HDU). The teen rebellion music created by Astro Children on ‘Lick My Spaceship’ unknowingly combined their own re-filtered variation on elements of two traditions in their own non-traditional ‘space-gaze’ style. A style since expanded upon brilliantly in their latest release ‘Proteus’.

Astro Children EP art by Robbie Motion

Astro Children EP art by Robbie Motion


OK, I’ve made it to Day 31 of the 31 days of May New Zealand Music Month via Bandcamp challenge. I’m going to pick an easy one to end this run of posts on – something from Die! Die! Die! There was no particular plan when I started the first of those 31 posts. It turned into a process of discovery but along the way I’ve posted some familiar music too. Just because something is familiar to me doesn’t mean others have heard it.

I’m hoping most people (in NZ at least) have heard of Die! Die! Die! even if they haven’t had their eardrums assaulted in a live show. But if not – here you go; something (gentle) from their most recent album ‘Harmony’ … and, after this week of snow closures in Dunedin ‘Season’s Revenge’ seems appropriate.

I’ve been going to Die! Die! Die! shows since their earliest days. I’ve never regretted going to see Die! Die! Die! live. They are the hardest working NZ band over the last decade – multiple NZ and overseas tours, done the hard way. And I’ve found each album – at the right time and when I’m in the right frame of mind – is perfect.

Die! Die! Die! play in Dunedin this afternoon – an all ages show at Queens Café & Bar from 4 with Not From Space and Trick Mammoth – and again on Saturday night, with Opposite Sex and Trick Mammoth.


Here’s day 14 of the 31 Days of May New Zealand Music Month Bandcamp challenge.

Wilberforces doesn’t sound like the kind of band name I’d normally associate with a rather dark and singular guitar band, notionally ‘post-punk’ in sound. Which highlights the perils of judging a band on its name. Their EP ‘Paradise Beach’ (available in glorious 12” vinyl format) which this track comes from is as fine a slice of angular, sharp-edged guitar rock as you are likely to find. Anywhere.

There’s variety across the 6 tracks on the EP too. I get a hint of The Clean and The Modern Lovers in the scruffy garage rock of ‘Magdalene Brothers’ while closing track ‘Fire in the Hills’ turns down the volume but unsettles in different ways with choppy guitar over ghostly vocals and cathedral choir/ synth backing.

Wilberforces ‘Paradise Beach’ is on Muzai Records of course – New Zealand’s premier alternative noise rock (and a bit more) label. Muzai Records celebrates 4 years of releasing great music with an event at the Wine Cellar in Auckland this Saturday

I guess I’ll have to steel myself to buy the 12” vinyl some time. As a surfer, that cover image will ensure it won’t sit at the front of my vinyl stack, particularly after a close encounter in the water off Dunedin earlier this year with one of these. But it’s what’s in the spiral groove that matters most…