Archives for posts with tag: Trick Mammoth

Say Sue MeSay Sue Me are from Busan, South Korea and their new album, released in April is a delight. Here’s “But I Like You”.

Sumi Choi is the guitarist, vocalist and lyricist and also presumably the origin of the band’s name. She rates Yo La Tengo as an influence and also the kind of long-lasting music making institution she aspires to.

Early Yo La Tengo is also a good reference point for the manner in which Say Sue Me effortlessly assimilate a wide range of stylistic influences, and incorporate elements of surf music, classic 60’s girl-group pop (as filtered through The Jesus & Mary Chain’s fuzz & reverb), French Ye-Ye pop, 80’s guitar pop, garage rock and shoegaze – sometimes in the same song.

The album “Where We Were Together” is a perfect collection of guitar pop songs in a range of styles, performed in with unaffected enthusiasm, with Sumi delivering lyrics balancing melancholy with optimism. Highly recommended for fans of Alvvays, Trick Mammoth, Fazerdaze, and, of course, Yo La Tengo.

Oh, and The Shop Assistants too:


Shunkan cassette, The Stevens LP, Bushwalking LP, Trick Mammoth WIAIWYA 7777777 singles club 2014 7" picture disc single.

Shunkan cassette, The Stevens LP, Bushwalking LP, Trick Mammoth WIAIWYA 7777777 singles club 2014 7″ picture disc single.

These were my favourite 10 songs featured this year here on Pop Lib. Rather than wax lyrical about each of these songs in the time-honoured traditions of such lists, I’ve just bunged up a player so you can give them a listen and make your own mind up.

If you like a song & want more info, click through to the linked Pop lib blog post. If you like a song A LOT, go and buy it. You deserve to treat yourself to a new music discovery or three for Christmas.

1. Fazerdaze – Zero (self-released CD EP)

Posted on Pop Lib on 27 September 2014

2. Bushwalking – No Men (Chapter Music – from “No Enter” LP)

Posted on Pop Lib 8 June 2014

3. Fazed On A Pony – Alone (self-released)

Posted on Pop Lib 25 October 2014.

4. Shunkan – Dust From Your Eyes (Art Is Hard – from “Honey, Milk & Blood” cassette EP)

Posted on Pop Lib 4 May 2014.

5. Fair Maiden – Lady of Fortune (Bedroom Suck – from “Fair Maiden” LP)

Posted on Pop Lib 3 June 2014.

6. Trick Mammoth – Doll (WIAIWYA 7″ singles club)

Posted on Pop Lib 31 May 2014

7. The Stevens – Turpin’s Fall (Chapter Music – from “The History of Hygiene” LP)

Posted on Pop Lib 1 June 2014.

8. Lucy Hunter – A Bottled Brain (The Attic singles club)

Posted on Pop Lib 25 October 2014.

9. The Canals – Desperado (The Attic singles club)

Posted on Pop Lib on 2 December 2014.

10. Peter Escott – My Heaven, My Rules (Bedroom Suck – from “The Long O” LP)

Posted on Pop Lib 26 September 2014

The idea with PopLib blog was to exclude all the stuff released on Fishrider Records and draw your attention to other unheard goodness, mostly hidden away on Bandcamp. The main focus of PopLib has been on uncovering NZ underground pop sounds, with occasional excursions over the Tasman and around the world.

The next Fishrider Records release creates a dilemma for the self-imposed ‘nothing from Fishrider’ rules here though. It’s a compilation of 13 songs and only 5 are Fishrider-released artists. Almost all the others have featured here on PopLib in the past year.

The compilation is called T E M P O R A R Y, in reference to the transient nature of young musicians, bands and the music scene here in Dunedin in general. It is an extension of what PopLib is about – drawing attention to the stuff you may never know exists. It even comes with a ‘zine (actually a pretty classy words music, writing & art magazine) to help immerse you even more and to kickstart your discovery of each band included.

It’s out in early September here in NZ, has a US co-release on Ba Da Bing! Records and will be also available in the UK with the assistance of Occultation Recordings. You can pre-order it now in a variety of formats at ridiculous pre-order prices from Fishrider’s Bandcamp here. As well as an immediate download you’ll also get into the release shows at Chick’s Hotel on 5th & 6th September (if you are in Dunedin).

As you’ll see if you visit the page there’s only two tracks available to stream at the moment – “All Over The World” by The Prophet Hens and Winded” by Kane Strang .

Another 7 can be found on the Bandcamp pages of the bands. As a quick guide just for the loyal readers of PopLib, here’s a shortcut to some more of what’s what on the compilation. So have a look around, discover more from the ones you like the most… but if you like some of them and want to hear them on vinyl & read about them in print, grab that compilation LP & ‘zine while it lasts.

Side One:
1 Mavis Gary – Dim the Droog

2 Death & The Maiden – Flowers for the Blind

3 The Prophet Hens – All Over The World

4 Males – Dead Aware

5. Mr Biscuits – My Plums Are Ripe

6. Opposite Sex – Supermarket

7. Strange Harvest – Amnesia

Side Two:
1 The Shifting Sands – All The Stars

2 Astro Children – Gaze

3 Kane Strang – Winded

4 Bad Sav – Buy Something New

5 Scattered Brains of the Lovely Union – Party To Your Om

6 Trick Mammoth – Home Video

'Doll' / 'Candy Darling' by Trick Mammoth - 7" WIAIWYA picture disc

‘Doll’ / ‘Candy Darling’ by Trick Mammoth – 7″ WIAIWYA picture disc

Congratulations, you have made it to the end of NZ Music Month for 2014. So has PopLib! A song-a-day-May against the odds. Actually pretty easy to find a great song a day to post. As with last year, I made some new discoveries in the process.

For Day 31 I’m going to finish with the other side of the 7″ single I started the month with. Here’s ‘Doll’ by Trick Mammoth from their WIAIWYA (‘Where It’s At Is Where You Are’) 7777777 2014 singles club picture disc:

The single is a thing of beauty – not just the upbeat-downbeat nature of the Adrian Ng’s song-writing and Millie Lovelock’s perfect melancholy vocal sigh. Each of the 7 picture discs in the series is a stage of the process of making music, illustrated by a different artist from the UK or Europe. There may still be a few copies of this collectible single available here – collectible because it was made in limited quantities and was reviewed in Record Collector magazine as ‘Single Cream’ pick for the month.

From 'Record Collector' magazine

From ‘Record Collector’ magazine

Adrian Ng in The Attic

Adrian Ng in The Attic

Day 30 of the song-a-day-May NZ Music Month madness comes from King of Dunedin’s Pop Underground right now – Adrian Ng – in the guise of his dark (‘how dark’) side project Mavis Gary & the grim ‘Death & The Long Drive Home’.

[If the player above defaults to track two please press << on the player to get 'Death & The Long Drive Home' thanks]

Adrian may be better known for his work recording/ mixing bands in The Attic, including the singles club this is released as part of, and also for his ‘flower cult’ pop band Trick Mammoth. He still has time for Mavis Gary – his mad science project laptop lab for not only developing new song ideas but also indulging in the darker side of his psyche. Beneath every pretty & colourful bed of flowers lurks a death-mask skull & a cautionary tale hinting at some darkness or depravity eating at the human soul.

‘Death & The Long Drive Home’ (that has to be a film and/or book reference but I’m not going to look it up) breaks from tradition though by placing melodic pop candy secondary to tone. As a result this is the most sinister sounding song from the Mavis Gary catalogue so far, recalling the kind of abrasive angular guitar-percussion-churn shapes of early Cake Kitchen.

“Death & The Long Drive Home’ starts heavy and weird, before losing control on a gentle curve in the darkness towards the end, leaving the road and rolling over a precipice into the dark of night, landing upside-down, wheels spinning while the radiator hisses steam and the radio crackles and dies. Take care out there on the winter roads this long weekend.

For Day 9 of the May month of NZ Music madness we have some tasty cha-cha chill cheese from Ben Dodd & His Organ.

Music is capable of reflecting many moods. Laughter is one, and this is always guaranteed to bring a smile to my face.

“Pinker Sea” by Ben Dodd & His Organ is a ‘cover’ (I use that word in it’s loosest sense here) of a popular tune by Dunedin ‘Flower Cult’ guitar pop band Trick Mammoth. It shows that a great tune is a great tune no matter how it is played.

It is also a fitting tune for today. Not just because it is Friday, and goodness knows we need a bit of laughter on a Friday. But because tomorrow is Record Fair day at Taste Merchants in Dunedin.

Record Fairs mean bins full of old (and some new) LPs. And quite possibly some of those old albums of the hits of the day performed on Hammond Organ, Wurlitzer Organ, or, for the more progressively minded music fan, the Moog Synthesizer.

One of the joys of record shopping is coming across these kinds of records. I have a soft spot for albums of electric sitars covering 60s songs. I’m glad Benn Dodd & His Organ are carrying on this fine tradition in New Zealand.

For comparative purposes here is the original of ‘Pinker Sea’ and the earliest demo version of ‘Pinker Sea’.

Last year I did a ‘song-a-day’ New Zealand music feature in protest/ celebration of ‘New Zealand Music Month’.

The protest part is that I (and many others involved in ‘New Zealand Music’) live, breath, sleep & dream New Zealand music every day and night of every month of every year.

I just don’t like the idea of a focus on New Zealand music for one month any more than I like the idea of one ‘Record Store Day’ (especially as now captured to benefit the larger labels). NZ Music Month is usually done through one-off events and promotional campaigns funded by NZ Music Commission and sponsors that are not part of the normal day-to-day struggle of bands and musicians playing and touring here.

These events – showcases – have a production budget most bands (and venues) would love to have. That’s great, it’s a help (some of my labels bands have played at these, so I’m not ungrateful), but it does little to sustain New Zealand music for the rest of the year. I understand why it is done this way and the intentions are good. It’s just I’d much rather see the energy and money that goes into NZ Music Month directed in a way that better supports the survival of those things essential to sustaining independent music making in NZ year-round – infrastructure supporting making music, playing live, touring and promoting music 12 months of the year.

However, regardless of my feelings about NZ Music Month, I try to celebrate New Zealand (and other) music here all year round, so I will see if I can introduce a new NZ band/ musician or song every day this month…
flower drum

First up is Trick Mammoth ‘Candy Darling’. I said I wouldn’t use PopLib to plug my own label’s releases. Trick Mammoth are on Fishrider Records but this 7″ single is on a UK label so it is not a Fishrider release and I can happily include it here as my first song for the month – and promote a very fine UK label which clearly appreciates ‘New Zealand Music’ from afar.

WIAIWYA (‘Where It’s At Is Where You Are’) is a long-running UK ‘indie-pop’ label from London. They have released a singles club series for the past few years called 7777777. It is obsessively a celebration of all things 7. The 7″ singles (all individual picture discs – seven releases a year) are each released on the 7th day of a month. There are 777 copies, with most going to subscribers and only 77 available for general sale.

Somehow WIAIWYA discovered Trick Mammoth through their early self-recorded, self-released demos and followed their progress last year as they recorded and released a few pre-release singles for their debut album ‘Floristry’. They invited them to contribute two songs for their 7777777 2014 singles club series. These were recorded in Dunedin a few days before Christmas last year. The single itself is officially released on 7 May and features ‘Doll’ (lead vocals by Millie) and this song ‘Candy Darling’ (lead vocals by Adrian).

Trivial fact for train-spotter music types here – the recording was made by Tex Houston in the same venue he has recorded The Clean, 3Ds, Magik Heads, Verlaines and David Kilgour. The amp Millie uses here for those overloaded lead guitar lines is an old Sunn 0)))) tube amp used by the 3Ds.

The Verlaines 1985

The Verlaines 1985

Late in 1985 The Verlaines released their debut album ‘Hallelujah, All the Way Home’. Already serial over-achievers, the album was an extraordinary offering by anyone’s standards. Right from the gatefold sleeve, ornate Middle Ages themed cover art through to the music within (classical horns, strings, choirs… but also still that aloof coolness rubbing up against raging fury & scorn) this album demanded to be taken seriously.
I was writing about music for The Southland Times in Invercargill at the time, having badgered my way onto their weekly ‘Music Scene’ feature because no-one was covering the remarkable music happening two and a half hours drive up the road. The only thing that prevented their ‘dark, brooding masterpiece’ from being my album of 1985 in my year-end list in the Times was the small matter of The Go-Betweens ‘Springhill Fair’ also released that year and a fixture on my turntable.

Review from The Southland Times 18 January 1986

Review from The Southland Times 18 January 1986

Twenty-eight years later the same line up of Graeme Downes, Jane Dodd & Robbie Yeats performed the album at a Christmas party at the Kings Arms in Auckland on 20th December 2013 billed as ‘Jangle All the Way Home’. The show was hosted by Flying Out Records (mail-order operation of the now revitalised Flying Nun Records) and also marked the re-issue of ‘Hallelujah, All the Way Home’.

It was a majestic performance. Graeme Downes – who these days looks a combination of Mick Jagger & Keith Richards, kept whippet-thin on cigarettes, whiskey & nerves – was as brilliant and biting as ever as guitarist, singer and band-leader. Bassist Jane Dodd played with the kind of calm steady propulsion that belied the fact her only two performances on bass in the past decade have been for one-off Able Tasmans and The Chills original line-up re-unions a few years ago now. Robbie Yeats likewise played with a fluid ease and loose perfection that was the opposite of his usual deconstructionist drum antagonism with the Dead C (and anyone else he sits in with).

The party (and it WAS a real festive party spirit) also included Surf City (Auckland/ Arch Hill Records sonic descendants of some of The Verlaines Dunedin peers) and a set from the current line-up of The Verlaines (including ‘Death & the Maiden’).

Flying Out had the presence of mind to include some of the newest progeny from Dunedin’s alternative music gene pool, representing two of the labels they also sell via their website – Muzai Records represented by the thrilling ‘space-glaze’/ ‘punk-gaze’ Astro Children and (my own label) Fishrider Records – represented by ‘flower cult pop’ band Trick Mammoth.

The photos here from Arch Hill/ Flying Nun boss Ben Howe tell the story of the evening in pictures.

Trick Mammoth at the Kings Arms Auckland 20 December 2013

Trick Mammoth at the Kings Arms Auckland 20 December 2013

Venn Trick Mammoth
People get confused as to who is who in Dunedin’s current Pop Underground, or, as Did Not Chart blog calls it, The Sound Of Young Dunedin.

So, in the interests of clarifying confusion and shining a light on the stuff that keeps people awake at night, here’s a Venn Diagram showing just four of the current bands with new releases – Trick Mammoth, Males (being released soon on the label I run – Fishrider Records), Astro Children (Auckland label Muzai Records) and Mavis Gary (via Dunedin cassette label The Attic).

I’m considering expanding this but it would soon get very huge and messy. Maybe there’s a computer application that will automatically do it…? For example Males link to Dunedin legends The Clean in one easy move through a band called Kilmog which Males’ guitarist/ vocalist Richard Ley-Hamilton plays in along with Robert Scott (The Clean and The Bats).

Plus, if you added an historic overlay you’d find Richard, Sam Valentine and Adrian Ng all playing together in Mr Biscuits and then, briefly, Blonde Hash. But let’s not get too carried away here.

All this might explain why Dunedin keeps producing more great pop bands per head of population than anywhere else in the world. Is it cheating? I don’t think so. It’s just that the weather here is pretty lousy a lot of the time, there’s not that much to do of an evening or weekend, and the kids have music in their DNA. Being in just one band doesn’t keep you busy enough – there’s only so many times a band can play here in the 4 or 5 live music venues in the city. Plus there are never enough drummers.

Out of nowhere (or downtown Dunedin – same difference) comes latest Dunedin pop underground luminary Mavis Gary.

What? I have my ear to the ground in this town and I’d never heard of Mavis. Suddenly there’s a single and an album ready for release on cassette via The Attic (Dunedin’s top floor ‘underground’ arts/ music, general loafing cooperative space).

Turns out Mavis Gary is the name given to a side-project of shy Dunedin DIY pop auteur Adrian Ng. As I’ve seen Adrian almost every week this year, and he’s spent days at my place recording the debut album by his main band, Trick Mammoth, I’m surprised I knew nothing about this. Although he did ask if he could borrow a bass guitar a couple of weeks ago and he has hung onto my SM57 microphone for months – an upgrade from his old SingStar microphone, famously used for those Trick Mammoth demos

The combination of a creative flood of songs and being bored now that the Trick Mammoth album recording has finished meant he used his mid-term break week to self-record an album as Mavis Gary. I’ve heard the whole thing now – it’s extraordinary. There’s a whole new dark side of what I can only describe as post-punk glam rock plus more of the glorious woozy melodic pop I know and love from Trick Mammoth. In fact Mavis Gary even covers three Trick Mammoth songs – two old ones and one new one (‘Candy Darling’ the ‘B-side’ to the ‘Dim the Droog’ single).

I presume Mavis Gary is named after the Charlize Theron character in the 2011 film ‘Young Adult’ – a cynical feel-bad movie about the delusions of early adulthood. Some of the songs seem metaphors for the sickly-sweet jumbled up confusion and dark undercurrents of life lived halfway between a cheerful and positive surface image and a darker clandestine reality.

‘Dim the Droog’ is one of the songs that stuck out most on first listen, possibly because it strays far from Adrian’s usual palette of songwriting. It is dark, angular, mysterious and brooding, but in a kind of saturated colour cartoon kind of way. I love it. As always he uses the contrast between rhythm guitar chords and chiming lead parts and there’s the expected killer pop hook chorus.

The ‘B-side’ ‘Candy Darling’ is a song that Trick Mammoth have been playing live for the past month or two. Another cracker, and Mavis Gary does tend to blur the lines between a kind of testing ground for emerging Trick mammoth songs as well as an outlet for Adrian’s darker, skewed pop.

I’m looking forward to the cassette. Not often I say that these days…