Archives for posts with tag: psychedelic

Alazarin Lizard 2018Day 19 of PopLib’s 31 Days of May marathon for New Zealand Music Month comes from the “Dunedin-transient pop influenced, neo-psychedelic mess” Alizarin Lizard with “Back to Front”

Alizarin Lizard share a couple of members with peripatetic popsters Ha, The Unclear and are similarly spread far and wide around NZ’s great cultural centres – Dunedin, Auckland and Katikati (I think).

The band has a fulsome back catalogue on Bandcamp exhibiting a wild conglomeration of jammy psychedelic rock with observational lyrics and some proggy touches. “Back to Front” is a single released ahead of a new album and it sounds a lot more polished – a finely crafted psych-pop gem with enough ear-popping sonic adventuring to keep it well left of the mainstream.

The guitars chime with sitar-like effects, a fuzzed out lead refrain soars above, keyboards swirl through rotary speakers, and the reverb washed vocals all combine together to give an effect like an NZ take on a sun-bleached lost early 1970s US band blasting out on FM radio as you take a trip through California in a van full of stoned friends. There’s something almost Todd Rundgren-esque about this wonderful song and its weird but listener-friendly earworm pop.

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These early mornings_CatastrophesHere’s a lovely slice of woozy psychedelia from Auckland DIY music makers These Early Mornings. Perfect for repeat plays at any times of the day when you want to lose yourself, escape the “Minor Catastrophes” of your daily existence, or just spin gently round and round in a field of flowers in the sunlight with your eyes closed.

As with all things from These Early Mornings the music is unconventional with a kind of looping repetitive push-and-pull feel which often gives the songs a laid-back intensity.

The idiosyncratic style of These Early Mornings songs – and their grainy, noisy DIY recordings – helps the songs stand in their own universe. Usually the songs are quite sparse and propelled along with drums playing odd time signatures. The arrival of melodic backwards guitar gives “Minor Catastrophes” a whole new sound and colour range while still sounding like no-one else but These Early Mornings. Perfect psych-pop.

Draghound

Day 21 of our 31 Days of May New Zealand Music Month marathon comes from Wellington group Draghound. It’s a perfect relaxed Sunday head-trip called “Golden God”

Draghound began as a solo venture by Emerald Rose (Guitar and vocals) before developing into the group which recorded this fine EP; Helen O’Rourke on keyboard, John Wilson on drums and Stenn Francis-Deare on bass.

The self-titled EP released late last year is a timeless collection of tastefully smooth, but also exploratory and progressive psychedelic pop. “Golden God” floats up into the stars on a swirl of keyboards, guitar, and submerged-in-the-mix vocals.

The shared guitar and keyboard focus of Draghound is reminiscent at times of the inventiveness of The Phoenix Foundation during their early “Horsepower” and “Pegasus” era, particularly the opening instrumental “Flange in the Bedroom”…. which you can watch a video of right here….

ela-minusThere’s a brand new (out yesterday) digital EP by New York based electronic musician Ela Minus and it is wonderful intimate small-scale electronic pop excellence. Standing out in its own strange electro-psychedelic universe is “I Wish I Had a Hat”

I first discovered the music of Ela Minus (real name Gabriela Jimeno, and originally from Bogota, Colombia) last year and everything I’ve heard since has had a rare quality.

We’re talking well-crafted melodic songs which pack pop hooks, yet don’t sound formulaic. The songs are constructed within skeletons of electronic sounds, programmed beats and miniature sonic detailing. Voice and lyrics add a compelling human connection.

Where it sounds different to my ears is the electronica is soft toned and playful, there’s plenty of adventure and the spacey minimalism is action-packed: full of tiny subtle details. Not sure if that’s a good explanation. In short: it just sounds right and good!

Anyway, this track “I Wish I Had  A Hat” is perfect. One of the most psychedelic sounding electronica pop songs I’ve heard. Fifty years have passed since Syd Barrett’s songs were recorded for Pink Floyd’s “Piper at the Gates of Dawn” and Ela Minus inhabits a different universe of sound altogether. Yet, for me, this song somehow captures the same playful psychedelic rapture as some of Syd’s “Piper…” songs. Love it.

purple-pilgrims-2016“Is You Real?” arrives near the start of Purple Pilgrims‘ debut album “Eternal Delight” and transports you far away to another world.

It’s a perfect delight to introduce an album that lives up to its name. This track – and the whole album – carefully stirs together psychedelia, ritualistic mantra, hypnotic folk music and dreampop.

Despite the hazy charm on the surface, there is always a hint of something a little ominous or disturbing beneath the surface in their music, as with earlier offerings from Purple Pilgrims. In literature and fairy tales the concept of “Eternal Delight” always came with a catch…

“Eternal Delights” was conceived and recorded by Purple Pilgrims – sisters Clementine and Valentine Adams – in the forests of the Coromandel, east of Auckland, NZ.

The album is available on CD and LP on Not Not Fun Records.

Purple Pilgrims LP.jpg

dinowalrus“Tides” is the opening track from brand new, just-released album “Fairweather” from Brooklyn, NY based Dinowalrus.

Dinowalrus describe themselves as psychedelic synth punks. There’s certainly a lot of psychedelia and synth but not so sure of the punk bit.

It is however a harder-edged psychedelia than 60’s era cosmic exploration and seems to take its inspiration from the late 80s early 90s UK fusion of psychedelic pop and dance music. Think early Shamen and Stone Roses stirred through with a bit of Screamadelica era Primal Scream perhaps.

In other words, it’s a great collection of sparkling danceable psych-pop, blending human and machine. It’s also a sound in tune with the latest album from NZ psych-texturists Ghost Wave so if you loved their “Radio Norfolk” then check out “Fairweather” from Dinowalrus too.

Dinowalrus will be playing with Dunedin cosmic psych rockers The Shifting Sands at Bar, New Haven CT on 12 October.

 

 

Elan Vital_2016Élan Vital are an intriguing dark and danceable trio from Dunedin. After an early song “Albtraum” surfaced on a compilation late last year they’ve just released their first single proper, called “Janina” which you can stream and download free/ pay what you like from their Bandcamp page.

“Janina” is one of the (many) highlights of their impressive live performances. Performances which often incorporate the visuals of Lady Lazer Light – visual and video artist Erica Sklenars. Lady Lazer Light’s video for the song combines fake palm trees, swirling foggy mist and black and white images to create a perfect visual setting for the song.

The music of Élan Vital is an unusual combination of darkly psychedelic garage organ sounds and a more European synth-pop stylishness. Having two keyboards working together and no guitars gives the music a dense swirl. Using analogue drum machines, vocoder and other effects gives their set a satisfying and diverse range of moods, from feedback-strafed soundtrack instrumentals to upliftingly gloomy melodic pop.

The band is comprised of Renee Barrance (keyboards, effects, vocals), Danny Brady (synths, drum machines, electronics, live mixing) and Nikolai Sim (bass). Renee and Danny first jammed in Berlin, where they were both living a few years ago, before each finding their way to Dunedin years apart.  You can read more about the origins of the band and what “Janina” is about in a short interview with Renee on Noisey.

Danny’s other current band – Death And The Maiden – also originated in Berlin, so there’s a case for that European cultural capital being something of a musical and spiritual sister city to 21st century Dunedin.

Élan Vital are on tour in NZ this weekend and play at Borderline Festival at Aucklands’ Whammy Bar.

elan vital tour landscape