Archives for posts with tag: psychedelic

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….

Advertisements

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

Doprah2016Doprah’s album is finally here. “Wasting” is as good as we all hoped it would be. Here’s “Omni” from it:

The Christchurch band seemed poised to release a debut album two years ago just as they were riding a wave of international recognition which included being selected to open for Lorde at her post-Grammy’s Auckland Laneway add-on show in 2014 and some overseas trips.

A brush with a more commercially-focused overseas label and resulting delays could have ended the band, but instead they’ve spent the intervening years simply refining and updating the content of what would become “Wasting”.

It’s a great listen, a satisfying psychedelic world to escape into, and even more hallucinatory and experimental when listened to as a whole than the earlier singles indicated.

People are usually quick to add Portishead/ Massive Attack references when describing the spaced out ‘trip-hop’ sound of their songs. But they also seem to me to have as much in common with a Dunedin band active 20 years ago they’ve probably never heard of – Mink.

Mink were also a sonic creation of an auteur-musician-producer and a cast of creative personalities including songwriter/ vocalist/ keyboard player Demarnia Lloyd. LLoyd and Indira Force share a similar effortlessly weightless vocal style: ghostly, soulful and perfect companions for a journey into the psychedelic margins of the electro-pop universe.

When Indira Force’s voice is paired with Steven John Marr’s almost sotto voce lower register vocals (as on “Omni” here) the light & dark interplay adds another element to the atmosphere of the beautiful doomed wasteland of Doprah’s stellar debut.

LPs should be available in record stores now, or from the Flying Out online store.

 

 

Above Port Chalmers looking towards Dunedin [photo by PopLib]

Above Port Chalmers looking towards Dunedin [photo by PopLib]


Here’s a slice of something beautiful & a little wonderful and apparently from Dunedin:

“Placid” is a track from an artist or band identifying themselves as Kairi. There’s no other information other than “Dunedin, New Zealand” and the tags “ambient” and “Dunedin”.

Right now it’s perfect to not have any more information. I can just enjoy it for what it is. Which is 4 minutes 30 seconds of brilliantly understated and atmospheric psychedelic chamber-pop.

“Placid” twists and weaves in a dreamy but mathematical pattern of repetition and melodic reward. It infiltrates the memory synapses of the brain in a disturbingly rapid and enduring fashion.