Archives for posts with tag: Opposite Sex

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.

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Futures Bright
Close your eyes and “Pre-loved” could be a lost track by The Smiths, or maybe The Associates or even Kitchen’s of Distinction… so who are The Future’s Bright and why haven’t we heard of them before?

The Future’s Bright are from Auckland. Their Facebook page indicates occasional flickers of life and an indication earlier this year they were recording their debut album. Of immediate note though is that this song sounds great. It thunders along with giddy abandon, all snaking guitar lines and bouncing bass.

If those snaking guitar runs sound familiar it’s because their guitarist is Fergus Taylor. You may recognise his name (and distinctive playing) from that wondrous debut album from Opposite Sex (and also on “Supermarket” on the Dunedin compilation album TEMPORARY – Selections From Dunedin’s pop Underground 2011 – 2014)

More significantly though, The Future’s Bright possess an idiosyncratic (in a good way – a very good way) vocalist who channels some of the mannerisms and personality of Morrissey or MacKenzie.

Blair Wright is the vocalist. He also writes arch lyrics to match those mannered velvety tones:
“We would pass flippant quips, till you got bored and almost serious
Sod the entree and the mains, melt into your just deserts”

And then, a bit later on:
“Hang onto your hair, you’ll look so much better off I swear
Head shoulders knees and toes, everything goes, oh everything goes”

So yes, on the strength of this song, the future is indeed bright for The Future’s Bright.

Lucy Hunter_The Attic_2

Strap yourselves in folks, it’s time for piano ballads from the edge of the planet from Opposite Sex multi-instrumentalist Lucy Hunter, with the disturbed, unique oddness of “A Bottled Brain” via The Attic Singles Club series.

Lucy’s solo performances on piano have elements of Gothic show tunes about them. Dramatic, melodic, with vivid images, baroque piano flourishes, and occasional dissonant touches to break the spell. All of those are here on “A Bottled Brain”.

The Attic Singles Club releases have featured on Pop Lib a bit. One original song, one cover selected by The Attic. This time around its a David Lynch song and it’s just perfect. Perfectly weird. Lucy on piano, bass and trumpet and that vocal performance is part malevolence, part helium-toned freakiness, thanks to Adrian Ng’s inventive production.

I’d love to hear a whole album from Lucy like this. She’s a courageous innovator and risk-taker. Her lyrics (assisted by the music) often create fictional worlds rich in nightmarish imagery. I love the sometimes unconventional approach taken to her playing and song-writing – breaking the rules and challenging, while remaining accessible if you invest the time to connect with the spirit of the music.

[Photos: The Attic]

Lucy Hunter_The Attic_1

The idea with PopLib blog was to exclude all the stuff released on Fishrider Records and draw your attention to other unheard goodness, mostly hidden away on Bandcamp. The main focus of PopLib has been on uncovering NZ underground pop sounds, with occasional excursions over the Tasman and around the world.

The next Fishrider Records release creates a dilemma for the self-imposed ‘nothing from Fishrider’ rules here though. It’s a compilation of 13 songs and only 5 are Fishrider-released artists. Almost all the others have featured here on PopLib in the past year.

The compilation is called T E M P O R A R Y, in reference to the transient nature of young musicians, bands and the music scene here in Dunedin in general. It is an extension of what PopLib is about – drawing attention to the stuff you may never know exists. It even comes with a ‘zine (actually a pretty classy words music, writing & art magazine) to help immerse you even more and to kickstart your discovery of each band included.

It’s out in early September here in NZ, has a US co-release on Ba Da Bing! Records and will be also available in the UK with the assistance of Occultation Recordings. You can pre-order it now in a variety of formats at ridiculous pre-order prices from Fishrider’s Bandcamp here. As well as an immediate download you’ll also get into the release shows at Chick’s Hotel on 5th & 6th September (if you are in Dunedin).

As you’ll see if you visit the page there’s only two tracks available to stream at the moment – “All Over The World” by The Prophet Hens and Winded” by Kane Strang .

Another 7 can be found on the Bandcamp pages of the bands. As a quick guide just for the loyal readers of PopLib, here’s a shortcut to some more of what’s what on the compilation. So have a look around, discover more from the ones you like the most… but if you like some of them and want to hear them on vinyl & read about them in print, grab that compilation LP & ‘zine while it lasts.

Side One:
1 Mavis Gary – Dim the Droog

2 Death & The Maiden – Flowers for the Blind

3 The Prophet Hens – All Over The World

4 Males – Dead Aware

5. Mr Biscuits – My Plums Are Ripe

6. Opposite Sex – Supermarket

7. Strange Harvest – Amnesia

Side Two:
1 The Shifting Sands – All The Stars

2 Astro Children – Gaze

3 Kane Strang – Winded

4 Bad Sav – Buy Something New

5 Scattered Brains of the Lovely Union – Party To Your Om

6 Trick Mammoth – Home Video

Shocking Pinks' Nick Harte

Shocking Pinks’ Nick Harte

Day 16 of this song-a-day-May NZ Music Month madness is ‘My Best Friend’ by Shocking Pinks.

This track is lovely sickly beautiful; all messed up introverted pop-crush woozy oddness, sounding like The Pastels playing lo-fi disco dream-pop inside a cardboard box.

It comes from the sprawling new album ‘Guilt Mirrors’ released as an LP plus a ‘triple album’ download.

Shocking Pinks play a Radio One hosted show at Chick’s Hotel, Port Chalmers near Dunedin Saturday 17 May 2014, with support from dada-goth waltz-punks Opposite Sex and neo-pscychedelic baroque-folk troubadour Kane Strang.

Here are PopLib’s Top 10 songs for 2013.
Most of these have been featured here during the year, but a few have not. And, yes, all but one are from NZ artists. My PopLib ears have been tuned locally most of the year.
I will add my Top 10 albums later in the month – you can expect a few more international releases there. But not too many more.

1. “Eden” by Astro Children.
My favourite music this year has been from Astro Children. Millie & Isaac were 19 when they recorded their album “Proteus” earlier this year (following up their Mini-album debut “Lick My Spaceship” from 2012). And, not content with recording one great album in 2013, Millie also recorded an album called “Floristry” with her other band Trick Mammoth (set for NZ & UK release early in 2014). It has been hard picking just one song from Astro Children. “Gaze” was an early favourite. Then “Nora Barnacle” stunned with it’s caustic boil of fury. But “Eden” is just perfect enough to top them all. It combines all the elements I love about Astro Children – sweet & strident, rough & smart.

2. “Avant Gardener” by Courtney Barnett
Best ever song about a panic attack. Or gardening in a heat-wave. The two EPs released by Melbourne’s Courtney Barnett are brimful of character. Short stories set to song, and most songs pack golden choruses to match their wry verses.

3. “Winded” by Kane Strang
Baroque psychedelic folk from world-travelling Dunedin troubadour Kane Strang. On this song he expands his usual acoustic guitar & vocal template with assembled instruments including a bowed saw. As with every song on the album, the vocals become an instrument and an essential part of what makes the songs on his self-release debut album – “A Pebble & A Paper Crane” [now removed from Bandcamp by Kane] so perfect.

4. “Sugar C” by Misfit Mod
Minimalist electronica & voice. Just perfect. And made even better by being available as a delicious 7″ single with screen printed cover.

5. “Dim the Droog” by Mavis Gary
Alter-ego of Trick Mammoth’s Adrian Ng, Mavis Gary is an evolving – and intriguing – solo project from Dunedin’s shy over-achiever. The songs are generally darker and stranger than his Trick Mammoth fare, although some eventually end up as Trick Mammoth tunes. But the ones that don’t – like “Dim the Droog” – have a dark pop brilliance that draws you into the seedy underworld of Mavis Gary.

6. “Dear _____” by Death & the Maiden
Dunedin electronic trio Death & the Maiden add some post-punk to their dark-wave electronica and make songs of strange longing and distracted beauty. I’m hoping 2014 is the year they find the courage to release their developing songbook.

7. “Field Recordings of Animals Noises” by X-Ray Charles
X-Ray Charles are from Christchurch & their “Selph Titled” mini-album release is a fine lo-fi 4-track cassette-recorded slice of mangled melodic rock. It seems as much influenced by “Bee Thousand” era Guided By Voices as it does The Clean. Yet this song also echoes the descending perfection of Pere Ubu’s “Waiting for Mary” (which I doubt they have ever heard).

8. “Amnesia” by Strange Harvest
This Dunedin electronic duo self-released a wonderful album this year & this song is my favourite from it.

9. “Infinity Kiss” by LTTLE PHNX
‘Bummer-synth’ is a great genre to invent. The LTTLE PHNX album is sweet & sad & resigned to its fate (whatever that is). I first warmed to the Suren Unka re-mix which was just a shade more shimmery and bright than the album & But the more I listened to the album I preferred the original oppressive bass thrum and enervated vocals. A crushingly beautiful song to infiltrate your mind.

10. “Complicity” by Sonny Carver/ Opposite Sex
Not sure whether this should be attributed to Opposite Sex (as it is on this fine Sunday Porch Session live video) or Sonny Carver (the name Lucy Hunter & Reg Norris play under when they have performed this live). I’ve also seen Lucy play it solo. Whatever & whoever it is I adore this song. It started life as “My Murders are Fine” & is now known as “Complicity” & its southern gothic theatrics have haunted me since the night I first heard it.

I’ve excluded anything I’ve released via Fishrider Records, because that’s an alternative list for me in its own right.