Archives for posts with tag: Rain Parade

Feels like one great weight has been lifted off the world this past week. The world is still in the midst of a pandemic of course, but let’s celebrate the little bits of hope and light when we can. We needed a lift.

Music gives us a lift too. Balloons filled with helium may also give you a lift. An album of uplifting jangle pop with a cover image of a person floating away beneath dozens of colourful balloons is therefore an inviting prospect. Don’t know if the image on the cover of the latest album by LA power-pop band Exploding Flowers is a reference to the cover of Rain Parade’s classic “Emergency Third Rail Power Trip” album, but the music certainly shares a common lineage with the ‘Paisley Underground’ generation. Here’s the title track “Stumbling Blocks”:

The album is jam-packed with jangling ultra-melodic guitar pop that will appeal to fans of Rain Parade, Let’s Active, Windbreakers etc., (check the glorious “Timing is Everything” and “Amongst Burnt Out Stars” on the album). But it also has a more urgent post-punk ‘New Wave’ kind of power-pop energy throughout. That mix of complementary over-lapping styles, together with the quality of the songwriting and abundance of melodic twists and turns, keeps the album on the ‘high-rotate’ playlist at PopLib HQ.

“Stumbling Blocks” is available on CD from Canadian label The Beautiful Music, a consistently reliable source of underground jangle-pop and power-pop today. Check the excellent TV Personalities tribute album series TBM has curated over the past decade.

Kool Aid saturated mirrorIs the Christchurch music scene only about a dozen musicians who are all interchangeably members of all of the vast multitude of fine fuzz & jangle guitar bands sprouting regularly from the South Island’s largest city?  Kool Aid provide further evidence to support this theory via their new single “Family Portrait Revisited”

Kool Aid (thankfully now shortened from a formerly longer variant involving the name of a self-styled NZ bishop and cult-leading bigot I won’t bother naming) include Jamie Stratton, Violet French, Luke Towart (Wurld Series, Adam Hattaway & The Haunters), Ben Dodd (Ben Dodd & His Organ), the ubiquitous Brian Feary (drummer in every Christchurch band this decade*), and Spencer Hall.

On the strength of “Family Portrait revisited” Kool Aid may well be the best of the bunch. Recorded at The Dogshit Factory in Christchurch, “Family Portrait Revisited” manages to combine the essence of David Kilgour’s nonchalant strum and twang with the melodic laid-back psychedelia of Rain Parade.  The more I listen to the song the more perfect it becomes. Looking forward to hearing the whole EP set for release 11 July on prolific Christchurch label Melted Ice Cream.

*Bands Brian Feary has played in include X-Ray Charles, Wurld Series, Shacklock Meth Party, Dance Asthmatics, Salad Boys, Christian Rock, and probably dozens more I’ve forgotten about or don’t know about, and if he hasn’t played drums in a band he has recorded and/or mastered their recordings and/or designed the artwork for their release. He’s the Mikey Young of the Christchurch underground scene and deserves a medal.