Archives for posts with tag: Sydney

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.

 

 

PopLib_songs2015Time for another list. This time it’s 10 favourite songs posted here in 2015.

1. Ego – “Moon” 

These Sydney youngsters  released two sublime Bandcamp singles in 2015. “Moon” was the first and it’s a perfect DIY spacey soft-psych-rock anthem, incorporating one of the best earworm guitar melodies ever.

2. Day Ravies – “Fake Beach”

Hard to pick one song as a favourite from their stellar 2nd album “Liminal Zones”, but this one never fails to brighten the day.

3. Birdation – “Hen’s Teeth”

Hope Robertson’s Birdation solo sound adventuring has been the experimental pop highlight of the Dunedin scene for me in 2015. “Hen’s Teeth” adds vocals and takes on a song form closer to her wall-of-guitar band Bad Sav.

4. Elan Vital – “Albtraum”

Dark electronica from Dunedin newcomers, incorporating at least one member of Death and the Maiden. Claustrophobic, with a neon strip-light glare, but a heart of gritty pop.

5. Jay Som – “Forget About It Kid”

Earlier in the year, before the release of her accomplished “Untitled” demos album, Melina Duterte as Jay Som had this song on a Beech Coma  compilation cassette.

6. Sam Hunt with David Kilgour & The Heavy Eights – “Wavesong”

The best song about the sea and waves and the ebb and flow of coastal life in NZ as you are likely to hear this year or any other year. Sam Hunt’s poetry and psychedelic waveform sounds.

7. Kairi – “Placid”

A gentle surprise, the unlikely combination of elements into one of the most distinctive local songs of the year. There was mini album released after this but nothing else on it matched the perfect mystery of “Placid”.

8. Pesk – “tyranny”

Doomy guitar-sludge & semi electronic pop, with epic whistling from another Dunedin newcomer. If there’s a developing Gothtronica scene in town then here’s hoping for more like this.

9. Yesses – “Short Love”

Out of nowhere and disappearing almost as soon as they released the EP this songs is from, Yesses may yet return to Dunedin and woo us with their highly melodic and adventurous pop.

10. Govrmint – “All These Conditions”

Fidgety glitch-pop from Dunedin’s experimental electronic and sound manipulation underworld. This was from an album available as a download and also as a very limited edition 12″ vinyl LP with handmade screen printed sleeves. Only 12 copies were made and one of those is at PopLib HQ.

Ego_2
A few month months ago PopLib featured a debut song “Moon” from a young Sydney band EGO. They’ve just released another song, called “Better”. Can they repeat the magic?

“Better” gets of to a quiet and unremarkable start, acoustic guitar & solo voice. But it quickly starts to assemble all the elements that made their first song “Moon” such a winner.

There’s the layered vocal harmonies, the 70’s soft-rock stylings on a home-recording budget, and then, at 1 minute 30, that breakdown into the reverb-delay-soaked soft-psych guitar instrumental break before the euphoric wordless vocal outro.

At 2 minutes 45 seconds it’s pretty much pop perfection. There’s a lightness of touch here that almost seems to channel a hint of the clean-living 70’s easy-listening of the likes of The New Seekers (if anyone remembers them) into the type of classy contemporary melodic indie-pop created by bands like Avi Buffalo in recent years.

Anyway, there’s so much promise here I’m (still) looking forward to hearing more from this band as they develop even further. Keep following those instincts EGO.

Postscript 30 October 2015: Ego have a video for “Better”