Archives for posts with tag: post-punk

Here’s a fabulous brand new slice of 21st century post-shoegaze guitar-pop from Christchurch musician Annemarie Duff flying as T. G. Shand.

Following on from two excellent singles earlier this year – “The Ease” back in February, and “Lemony” in July – “Seats” here is the most arresting and sonically complex of the three.

It’s a little bit off kilter, in a very good way, rocking a mesmerising electro-clash of Curve-style crunchy drum-heavy layered guitar rock, clattering post-punk bass, Cocteau Twins-style liquid guitars and a hyper-melodic chorus of layered heavenly voices.

What’s ahead in 2022 from T. G. Shand? Download these songs and follow the T. G. Shand Bandcamp and you will find out directly as soon as something new is released.

Continuing our theme of soundtracks to ‘escape from Dystopia’ with here’s something a bit closer to home, the now Dunedin-based duo The Melancholies and “Cool Magic” from their recent self-titled 4 track EP:

“Cool Magic” is all decelerated minimal bass and drum-machine post-punk, as gloomy as it is exotic. It has a bit of that languid time-stretching cadence of HTRK and the dark energy spells of Young Hellions mixed in too.

As with both of those musical outfits sparse guitar and chunky bass riffs provide the textures over the electronic percussion, while synths, drones and other sonic treatments are the atmospheric wash over and through this hypnotic song and throughout the EP.

The duo is Holly Coogan and Tom Young and the other standout track on this strong 4 song EP – “Cute Aggression” -was apparently released 3 years ago. Good things take time. The 4 songs on this first EP are all Good Things. Perfect soundtracks for your escape from Dystopia.

Bitumen in Melbourne Town Hall – photo by Matthew Ellery

Continuing our soundtracks for escaping Dystopia theme a bit longer… “Out of Athens” is the churning first single from the upcoming second album from Melbourne, Australia band Bitumen:

Bitumen craft their swirl of noisy futuristic industrial pop music from the shadows of dark and heavy post-punk. Their sound lives up to their name; a black viscous mixture somewhat reminiscent perhaps of the likes of Clan of Xymox, and also Skeletal Family in their Gothic majesty perhaps, if you remember (or have revisited) that far back to the 1980s.  

Their new album “Cleareye Shining” is released 26 November on Heavy Machinery Records, who say “Lyrically, Cleareye Shining sees shadowy figures in the throes of loving, lusting, plotting and fantasising. The result is 80s maximalism meets 90s industrial-electro. Robocop meets Basic Instinct. Always intense, always dramatic, and always demanding of your attention.”

Continuing the ‘escape from Dystopia’ theme of the last few posts, here’s White Flowers with the perfect and glorious anthem “Night Drive”:

White Flowers are from Preston in the UK’s industrial north west. The duo’s atmospheric shadow-world post-punk, which also manages to be part ecstatic dream-pop, is situated – sonically-speaking – in a perfect place, triangulated somewhere between the sound and music of Cocteau Twins, Slowdive and Xmal Deutschland.

That mix of ecstasy, atmosphere and gloom – “monochrome psychedelia” as it is succinctly described on White Flowers’ Bandcamp – is an intoxicating combination.

Kælan Mikla describe their music as appealing to fans of “dark and dreary music”, but there’s more dark magic than dreariness in the Icelandic dark wave synth trio’s sound, as “Ósýnileg” here shows:

Kælan Mikla was founded in 2013 as an entry in a Reykjavik, Iceland poetry competition, somehow evolving into a dark wave synth trio, releasing their first song in 2015, followed by albums and performing at international festivals. “Ósýnileg” (invisible) is from their upcoming 4th album which they say “will mostly revolve around folklore and fairytales, drawing the band even deeper into their realm of magic and mysticism.”

The music of Kælan Mikla is likely to appeal to contemporary dark wave synth-pop artists like Boy Harsher, and Death And The Maiden.

Wombo are a trio from Louisville, Kentucky made up of Sydney Chadwick (bass/vocals), Cameron Lowe (guitar), and Joel Taylor (drums). “Dreamsickle” is the pre-release song from the band’s forthcoming 4 song EP (out 28 May on Fire Talk) called “Keesh Mountain”.

“Dreamsickle” is a curiously minimalist piece of melodic post-punk, built on a solid back-bone of insistent bass and drums, with understated vocals from Sydney Chadwick, and needling repetitive guitar lines, alternating with chiming chorus arpeggio, from Cameron Lowe.

This finely-balanced melodic minimalism – a kind of musical ‘cubism’ perhaps – is strikingly effective. The strong bass pulse and injection of unconventional guitar lines reminds me of the interplay between these two instruments on the Associates first album “The Affectionate Punch”. It’s a wonderful song; restrained yet full of coiled energy, enigmatic yet also concealing nothing.

There’s more of this on their 2020 album “Blossomlooksdownuponus” which takes a more expansive approach to guitar/bass/drums/vocals post-punk and a less restrained production than the crisp clarity of “Dreamsickle”.

Shopping released their 4th album “All Or Nothing” in 2020. Here’s the driving post-punk exhortation of “Initiative”:

“Initiative” is perfect post-punk. It’s like the essence of the likes of Wire and Gang of Four in all their fierce tightly-packed rhythmic-melodic best has been distilled into something even more crisply focused and compelling.

Shopping create music from propulsive hypnotic bass lines, four-to-the-floor drums, concise guitar lines that embroider the space between the bass and drums, and vocals that provide a personal narrative of “change, heartbreak and personal evolution”.

The band – mostly now Glasgow based – was formed in 2012 by members Rachel Aggs (guitar), Billy Easter (bass) and Andrew Milk (drums), with links to various other UK DIY bands including Trash Kit and Wet Dog.

Shopping were only a few dates into a US tour in 2020 when the pandemic ended their tour just after they recorded a KEXP radio session. There’s also a cracking live version of “Initiative” on that 4 song release which is also available on their bandcamp page.

All roads lead to Bandcamp. Reflecting earlier today on a treasured 7″ acquired in a record shop on cobbled Cockburn Street, Edinburgh, summer of 1980, by …and The Native Hipsters, called “There Goes Concorde Again” and find it is included on a compilation of their works released 21 years after the event, then loaded to Bandcamp. Here’s another song from the album, called “Stuck”:

…and The Native Hipsters originated from a duo – William Wilding and Nanette Greenblatt – adding Robert Cubitt and Tom Fawcett by the time they recorded their landmark chart-topping avant-garde experimental post-punk realist/surrealist/dadaist performance art single “There Goes Concorde Again” in 1980. Their home recording was self-released in the finest post-punk DIY tradition on their own Heater Volume Records on a 33 1/3 rpm 7″ with stamped labels, and a sleeve assembled by the band out of bits of old posters, meaning every sleeve was unique.

The song was played a bit on John Peel’s influential BBC radio show and the initial pressing of 500 they sold out. They re-pressed it a couple of times but continued to hand-craft the sleeves, even as the single reached #5 in the independent singles chart in the UK. According to wikipedia they declined an offer by Bowie/ T Rex producer Tony Visconti (!!!) to re-record the song, fearing commercialism.

The album is a mixed bag (in the best possible way) of 20 years of assembled avant-garde oddness. “Stuck” seems crafted from the same vein of quotidian observational weirdness as “There Goes Concorde Again”:

“Stuck my head through the railings of the park last night/ Don’t believe in the fire brigade so stayed there all night”

The sound collages on the album are a mix of cut’n’paste sound collages and baffling-strange storytelling. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. This kind of thing annoys the hell out of some people. I love it.

It’s clear that for all the anti-art deconstruction of music, there are some very clever unconventional artistic minds here. The words and situations have disconcerting familiarity, but twisted into bizarre nonsense and delivered with an eery innocent childishness and menacing detachment at the same time.

Primo

Primo! hail from Australia’s capital city of underground music – Melbourne. Here’s “Perfect Paper” from their second album, called “Sogni”, due out later this week on Anti Fade in Australia and Upset the Rhythm in the UK.

The original trio of Suzanne Walker (drums), Violetta Del Conte-Race and Xanthe Waite (guitars) has been supplemented by Amy Hill (bass) for this second album.

“Perfect Paper” sounds like it could be a primitive garage rock take on that esoteric Stereolab pop sophistication, which is an unusually great combination of elements.

The other two tracks streaming ahead of the release though indicate strong Post-Punk discord-pop oddness in the music of Primo! which makes me very keen to hear the rest of the album.

There’s a vinyl release of “Sogni” providing a choice of digital or physical album acquisition. It’s never been a better – or more essential – time to support the future of underground music, bands like Primo! and labels like Anti Fade and Upset The Rhythm.

Manuela Iwansson

Glasgow-based independent record label Night School Records is reliably unpredictable. One of its latest releases is a perfectly out-of-character 7″ single by Swedish musician Manuela Iwansson, the A-side of which is called “Strangers on a Train”:

When I say “out-of-character” it’s not really, because “out-of-character” is totally in-character for Night School Records. It’s not that the label is all over the place, and lacking any kind of thematic or genre focus. The opposite is true. It’s just its done in such an unpredictable way.  You don’t realise how connected the music the label releases is until you get past the sound and think more about what it represents and the people making it.

OK, that’s too much isolation-induced over-thinking for a Sunday. Why not just enjoy a dystopian post-punk, gothic synth-pop power-chord banger and dance like no-one is watching?

Iwansson‘s background was as vocalist in now-defunct Swedish punk group Terrible Feelings. Her current solo sound “harnesses the doomed romance of early 80s post-punk with a leather-bound flourish of late-70s hard-as-nails rock music.”

“Strangers on a Train” takes the guitar and bass tones and textures of The Cure’s first couple of albums as a starting point, then mixes in some Big Hair & leather trench-coat 80’s synth-pop plus power-chord stadium rock (in a Bonnie Tyler kind of way), and cooks up a ridiculously loveable dark anthem to loneliness and paranoia. And the other side “Blank Surface” does much the same, but differently. It all adds up to something a lot better than the music it pays homage to.

As Night School proclaims: “Rock n Roll is dead, good riddance; we’re creatures of the night.”