Archives for posts with tag: Sydney

Sachet Portion Control Front_Back_LPHere’s another song from Sachet’s excellent first album “Portion Control” – the fuzzy “Neenish Tart” which ends side one of the LP, which arrived in the mail last week from Sydney label Strange Pursuits.

“Neenish Tart” evokes strong memories of two very favourite (and related) Scottish bands from the mid-1980s – The Pastels (from Glasgow) and Shop Assistants (from Edinburgh).

It’s probably infuriating for new bands for a comparison to be made between a song they released in 2017 and the music from 30 years ago of some bands they may never have heard of. However, there are thousands of fans of those two bands who have never heard of Sachet who would love this song and album if they knew about it… so here we are.

Sachet represent in 2017 the spirit of the DIY 80s when “indie” was really independent pop music. Self-recorded, unapologetically under-produced (that’s a good thing), self-releasing through their own label (which also releases a few other excellent bands), and largely overlooked, unseen, unheard by an audience who would appreciate their music if only they knew it existed.

The Pastels and Shop Assistants were around in the era of vibrant music print media and influential radio shows. They were written about (and mythologised) with the help of grainy photos in newsprint weeklies, in fanzines and in glossy music monthlies. The only places you could hear their music were a few BBC radio shows hosted by independent DJs, which anyone who wanted to hear the new sounds of the Pop Underground would listen to if they could (even around the world by exchange of cassette tapes).

Sachet exist in the era of information overload and perhaps even new music overload, where visibility across the thousands of websites depends on a budget for a PR campaign that a self-funded DIY label like Strange Pursuits can’t afford. Visibility today, even once obtained, is fleeting; quickly cached into online – and human – memory.  It’s a shame really, as Sachet – as with Lani & Sam’s previous band Day Ravies – represent a strong a pulse within the still-living International Pop Underground.

If you were wondering what a Neenish Tart is… according to Wikipedia it is an Australian invention (yeah, right. cf: Pavlova) but “the lemon-flavoured version of the tart most familiar to New Zealand residents is found in the Edmonds Cookery Book. It includes a filling made from butter, icing sugar, sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice in a flour-based pastry base topped with half standard white icing and half chocolate (cocoa added) icing.”

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Sachet_Portion Control_TVfireA few weeks ago we introduced “Melted Wires” from Sydney ban Sachet, a single ahead of an album. The album “Portion Control” is out now;  here’s “Follow Car” from it:

Sachet feature two members from Ray Davies – Sam Wilkinson (guitar) and Lani Crooks (lead vocals, keyboards, guitar) – so it should be no surprise that there’s a common thread between the two bands in spiky guitar-based post-punk pop.

The songs are concise, ultra-melodic and self-recorded by Wilkinson, perhaps on a 4-track cassette, judging by their grainy, smudged character.

The music on “Portion Control” channels the contemporary 21st-century DIY garage crunch of the likes of The Oh Sees and Ty Segall, while also providing intriguing hints of the minimalist post-punk pop of Young Marble Giants within some of the songwriting and arrangements at times.

“Portion Control” is an inventive, hyperactive album and well worth grabbing a copy of the LP.

 

SachetIt’s been a while since we checked in on Sydney underground pop label Strange Pursuits. Turns out there’s a log jam of snappy punk-edged melodic garage-pop waiting for our ears. Here’s the thrilling staccato blast of Sachet with “Melted Wires”:

It says “First ‘single’ from debut LP ‘Portion Control’ by Sydney outfit Sachet. LP due August 2017 on Strange Pursuits.”  On the strength of “Melted Wires” that Sachet LP will be top of the PopLib shopping list come August.

Sachet are Lani Crooks and Sam Wilkinson of Day Ravies along with Nick Webb and Chris Anstis. “Melted Wires” continues in a similar vein to the compulsively melodic earworm guitar-pop template perfected by Day Ravies on their fabulous “Liminal Zones” album, but now stripped back to barking guitar, sparse keyboard, crunching drums and voices.

It’s cracking stuff – the guitar in the verses evokes the spirit of Dr Feelgood’s Wilko Johnson and the song charges along with the feral energy of an early Fall 7″ with Crooks delivering a crisp and threatening vocal.

Perfect as all that sounds, the chorus flips the song into lush melodic pop with layered vocal harmonies. Add in an instrumental bridge pulling post-punk shapes and angles, and you’ve got the kind of inventive bittersweet garage-pop genius which makes you hit ‘repeat’ again and again. Can’t wait to hear more from Sachet.

 

 

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.

 

 

allan-smithy-mirroredAs you listen to “The Streets” by Allan Smithy (not his real name) you can easily imagine the the sun beating down and the warm breeze on your face as you drive through the tree-lined sun-dappled streets of Sydney’s inner city and coastal suburbs with the windows wound down. Well, OK, it’s easy to imagine that if you’ve been there I suppose. But if not, then imagine you can imagine it.

If the song sounds like it could be from The Go-Betweens’ classic “16 Lovers Lane” album then that’s probably exactly what Allan Smithy (not his real name) would want. I mean, the entire Bandcamp artist description text reads “80’s Nostalgia-Australiana.” No beating around the flaming Wattle bush there, mate.

Allan Smithy is the pseudonym used by Sydney musician Matt Amery for his latest music venture. This Allan Smithy character is “an avid believer in the aural benefits of listening to home-grown 80’s bands. He has a sense of pride in Australian music and proudly wears his influences (The Go-betweens, The Triffids and The Church) on his sleeve.”

These are noble enough sentiments. But what makes the music of Allan Smithy so good & worthy of the time of both 80’s Nostalgia-Australiana fans and the uninitiated seeking simply new soundtracks for their lives is that the songs on this EP deliver on those influences and add – with considerable interest – their own qualities and sense of place and of wonder.

Here’s “Air” from the EP too:

 

Egoism_2016_Photo by Vanilla Docherty Photography

Egoism – by Vanilla Docherty Photography

The world is full of conflicting egos so, to avoid conflict with a similarly-named band, Sydney’s Ego return as Egoism with “Reason” as the lead single to the band’s first EP which is due out in October.

“Reason” contains everything we’ve come to expect from this intriguing young band. It’s a more polished recording than the previous excellent singles – “Moon”, “Better” and “Crowd”, adding layers and space to their lush reverb soundscape.

They call it ‘dream-pop’ and ‘shoe-gaze’ but happily it also still maintains that distinctively spacey early 1970s ‘soft-rock’ sound of those earlier recordings.

Another feature of those earlier songs was brilliant space-rock guitar solos and “Reason” maintains the tradition with an explosive solo before another familiar feature – a wordless layered vocal outro.

Looking forward to hearing the whole EP now.

 

 

Ego_Vanilla Docherty Photography

Ego (Photo by Vanilla Docherty Photography)

This new single from the young Sydney ‘dreampop/ shoegaze’ band Ego is a wonderful way to start 2016. Ego released my favourite song of 2015 – “Moon” and this impressive new tune “Crowd” is more of the same, but different.

What is the same is the engaging and melodic soft-rock songcraft, the vocal style, psychedelic swirl of reverb guitar and another of their distinctive space-rock guitar solos.

What’s different is a song that’s more urgent than the previous two, with a twisting unusual chord progression and a developing confidence in expanding that lush sound into vast cathedrals of almost-infinite reverb and also delay effects.

The guitar lines channel the spirit of Vini Reilly/ Durutti Column circa the 1980 Return of the Durutti Column album and when guitarist/ vocalist/ songwriter Scout’s voice first comes in the delivery and melody is eerily reminiscent of Trish Keenan in Broadcast.  That’s a winning combo-double to my ears.

They are set to release a debut EP early in 2016. “The EP will sound really different to this, much more like our first single Moon” they say.