Archives for posts with tag: shoegaze
Beaches by Darren Sylvester

BEACHES (photo by Darren Sylvester)

Continuing the heavy psych theme, here’s a blissful Sunday Psych-out fuzzfest called “Arrow” from Melbourne five-piece band BEACHES:

BEACHES have just released (September 2017) a double album of ultra-melodic psychedelic rock called “Second of Spring”. Actually, it’s a bit more than *just* psych rock, as the double LP format allows the band to mix their usual 60s/ 70s psych-rock via German 70s experimental motorik and 80s New Wave goodness with even more shoegaze melodic pop stylings to great effect, as “Arrow” here shows.

Some songs may even remind anyone who has established a long-running relationship with Australian alternative guitar music (guilty here) of the fuzzy melodic power-pop goodness of the likes of 80s/ 90s bands The Hummingbirds or Someloves. To my ears BEACHES more natural propulsive and joyful psychedelic stylings are way more preferable than the over-worked self-indulgent noodling of some of their much more vaunted Australian psych-rock contemporaries. Enough said!

BEACHES are Antonia Sellbach on guitar and vocals, Alison Bolger on guitar and vocals, Ali McCann on guitar and vocals, Gill Tucker on bass and vocals and Karla Way on drums and vocals.

They’ve been playing and releasing singles, EPs and albums as BEACHES since 2008. You really ought to dig back into their catalogue for stunning gems like the 2013 release “She Beats” which features even more motorik psych+melodic fuzzrock wonders.

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Pesk“Forests” is the opening track from an 8-song mini-album called “Ground” by Port Chalmers-based dark and doomy shoegaze duo Pesk.

There’s an atmosphere of dark magic throughout the whole album, and this opening track is a sublime starting point for your journey into Pesk’s world.

The trademark Pesk fuzzed out reverb sludge-guitar fills this dark forest like a dense fog, while those crunching syn-drums are like a giant’s foot-steps. The shimmering keyboards, Nico-esque vocal and then that unexpectedly exultant chorus melody provide the transcendent touches to a spellbinding song.

The rest of the album continues with a similar strong and uncompromising tone.  They refer to their sound as combination of shoegaze, industrial and cold wave but there’s also a fair chunk of stentorian doom-laden metal about the rumbling density of their sound.

RangitotoDay 31 of our 31 days of May New Zealand Music Month marathon closes the set of songs with something only a few days old from Auckland shoegaze ensemble Couchmaster. Here’s “Honey over Thunder” from a 5 song EP called “Tumor” released on 25 May.

I was going to select the opening track “Psychogenic Fugue” because it is dedicated to Dunedin music legend Peter Gutteridge and packs that familiar Snapper drone and drumbeat. But for the closing song for this year’s NZ music month trawl through the wonderful online underground of Bandcamp I couldn’t go past “Honey Over Thunder” with it’s wistfully melodic vocal from drummer Rachel Charlie and effortless reverb drenched psychedelia.

The EP is a wonderfully eclectic mix of guitar rock heavy on the atmospheric effects. It appears to be mostly the project of Rikki Sutton, from another shoegaze style Auckland band Eyes No Eyes. He’s guitarist, bassist, keyboardist and vocalist on most of the tracks as well as engineering and mixing the recording. Rachel Charlie on drums and vocals and Adison Whitley on guitar are the other two people who play on all the tracks. Extra points for naming the band after a great album by The Bats too.

 

eyesnoeyes2017Don’t usually post songs that aren’t available on Bandcamp or Soundcloud here, but Auckland band Eyes No Eyes is to good to ignore so please stare at this video image while the music re-arranges the atomic structure of your brain:

Yes, “On TV” is of a style usually referred to as ‘shoegaze’ because it uses guitars with lots of delay and reverb type effects and is kind of slow and dreamy. Which also makes it dream-pop, which I prefer as a more meaningful and accurate and less pejorative music descriptor genre term. Interesting to see that the genres they list on their Eyes No Eyes FaceBook page are Ethereal Darkwave, Alternative, Indie Psych-rock, Dream pop, and, well, something they call Sex whisper.  OK…

Eyes No Eyes are from Auckland and feature Jessie Cassin (guitar/main vocal), Rikki Sutton (guitar/backing vocals), Joel Beeby (bass/backing vocals) Katie Ham (drums/backing vocals). I remember Rikki from another much-loved NZ dream-pop band Dear Time’s Waste. He’s a maestro on the effects pedals and he weaves his layered washes of sonic magic dust all through this.

The song has such a languid unhurried pace and simple, minimal structure, with a chorus which explodes with a burst of euphoric melody. It’s perfectly executed and also incredibly relaxing and de-stressing to listen to. Those are quite useful attributes for a Friday afternoon listen.  Very much looking forward to hearing more from them.

Hopefully they will have a Bandcamp link to share here when they get around to that album later this year. In the meantime you can listen to or buy the song via from one of these options:

iTunes – https://geo.itunes.apple.com/nz/album/id1215610964…

Apple Music – https://geo.itunes.apple.com/nz/album/id1215610964?ls=1

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/T-V-Eyes-No/dp/B06XNPN234

Deezer – http://www.deezer.com/album/15642858

Google Play – https://play.google.com/st…/music/album/Eyes_No_Eyes_On_T_V…

Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/album/4hivlZVQgKvmd0FR0ubYS3

Read more about Eyes No Eyes in this Under The radar Interview.

Too Tone NZ Music Month

Shop display of re-purposed NZ Music Month poster at Too Tone Records (2010-2017) in Dunedin.

egoism_2017Sydney band Egoism have just released their first EP, called “It’s Wearing Off”. One thing which isn’t wearing off at all is the magic of their dreamy dream-pop shoegaze soft-rock, as “Consequences” demonstrates.

The EP is a natural and perfect progression from their distinctive early releases which PopLib has followed for a couple of years now. The performance, recording and production is assured without losing any of the spirit which made their earlier releases a treat.

“Consequences” – co-written by guitarsist/ vocalists Scout Eastment and Oliver Rush – stands out as a bit more of a departure perhaps, with the volume scaled back, losing nothing in the process and adding further depth and sonic textures to their sound. The slide guitar, infinite delay and combined vocals are heavenly and of course there’s a trademark dreamy voice & guitar outro which floats the song off into the ether.

 

 

Slowdive 2017.jpgMoments after posting yesterday’s song – “Scenic” by Ozeans – which had a Slowdive connection and dated from the same time as their first album in 1991, Slowdive announced the release of their first new music since 1995.

PopLib doesn’t normally feature well-known artists, or not often anyway. The focus is more on shining a light on the underground and the bands you generally won’t hear about through mainstream music media and blogs. However, given the coincidence with yesterday’s post it made sense to alert followers to “Star Roving”.

Having been a fan of Slowdive during their initial run from 1991 to 1995 I’ve enjoyed seeing the band return a few years ago and finding that, rather than being forgotten, their music had gathered more and more fans during the years they were away. So much so the re-emergent Slowdive were playing to far larger audiences in the past few years than they did in the early 1990s.

Their influence on a recent generation of ‘shoegaze’ bands is evident. Slowdive were always the archetypal band of that genre and era for me – melodic and accessible, and pursuing their own distinctive path despite the changing music tastes around them. Their music sounds as fresh and other-wordly today as it did 25 years ago.

If you haven’t already seen this recent documentary on Slowdive it is recommnded viewing.

 

ozeanStep into this time machine courtesy of Ozean and find yourself in 1991… but in the San Francisco Bay area of California rather than England.

These three songs by Californian band Ozean date from 1991, the same year Slowdive’s first album “Just For A Day” was released. This fascinating interview shows there was more than just a musical connection between the bands at the time.

The first two songs here feature basslines and drums which are classic Cocteau Twins while the guitar miasma is a perfect echo of the sound of early Slowdive.

Lisa Baer’s vocals are closer to Rachel Goswell’s ephemeral wonder in Slowdive than Liz Fraser’s distinctive and exotic vocals in The Cocteau Twins, yet the atmosphere created on these songs is a perfect distillation of the essence of both bands in their early prime. It’s all the more wonderful when you read that she comes from a non-rock background and is actually more influenced by Astrud Gilberto, which makes sense.

These three wonderful songs – long lost and forgotten about after a cassette release in 1993 – have been mastered from a cassette tape and that sonic patina from tape compression and drop-outs just adds to the character.

The Bandcamp release from Ozean is to raise the money for a vinyl release. Sounds like a worthwhile investment to me. It’s an interesting and very worthy side note to an era in music that didn’t last much longer that Ozean did.

[Note June 2017: now the vinyl has been released the embed up above is now to the label page for the EP and the song.]

[Thanks to The Autumn Roses for the tip-off]