Archives for posts with tag: Wellington
Tidal Rave_Bronwyn Haines

Tidal Rave – photo by Bronwyn Haines

Tidal Rave are a 5-piece band from Wellington. Their first EP continues a grand New Zealand tradition of darkly compelling guitar-driven rock.

Tidal Rave may not have heard of The Terminals or predecessors Scorched Earth Policy who were both part of the gloomy disaffected Christchurch contingent on Flying Nun Records in the mid 1980s. But the music and lyrical focus of the EP evokes memories of both bands.

In part it’s the churning unsettled dense weave of the three guitars and bass backed by insistent drumming with primal floor-tom pulse. Add the character provided by the distinctive vibrato on the vocals – reminiscent of the ominous baritone proclamations of The Terminals’ Stephen Cogle – and it’s possible to imagine this EP as the product of another era.

There’s something slightly claustrophobic about the nature of all the songs and the often sombre lyrics on the Tidal Rave EP which sets the group apart from much of the contemporary scene in NZ. Here’s hoping the worldwide audience for NZ’s darker guitar music discovers Tidal Rave.

Tidal Rave

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transistorPopLib is an ecclectic music blog if nothing else. So we go from The Clientele’s autumnal English art-project music in the previous post to the heavy psych-rock of Wellington’s Transistor. Here’s “The Sun” – the opening track of a riff-laden EP released last year.

The EP is packed with ultra-heavy psychedelic riff-heavy space-rock, furnace-blasted by compression into a pummeling distortion saturated noise, with random spacey effects and vocals long on the echoey reverb. It’s unrestrained and it’s superb.

If you imagine UK early metal band Budgie, crossed with some lost 1970s Japanese psych-rock band then you are coming close to what this EP is all about. I love it.

While I’m a sucker for opening track “The Sun” because of the sheer gravitational pull of its heaviness, the second track “Nightworm” is probably even better for it’s more sonically-adventurous exploration of space-psych.

For added cool weirdness Transistor cover The Chills’ “Pink Frost” and make it their own, subjecting it to a set-the-controls-for-the-heart-of-the-sun treatment too. Epic.

 

Draghound

Day 21 of our 31 Days of May New Zealand Music Month marathon comes from Wellington group Draghound. It’s a perfect relaxed Sunday head-trip called “Golden God”

Draghound began as a solo venture by Emerald Rose (Guitar and vocals) before developing into the group which recorded this fine EP; Helen O’Rourke on keyboard, John Wilson on drums and Stenn Francis-Deare on bass.

The self-titled EP released late last year is a timeless collection of tastefully smooth, but also exploratory and progressive psychedelic pop. “Golden God” floats up into the stars on a swirl of keyboards, guitar, and submerged-in-the-mix vocals.

The shared guitar and keyboard focus of Draghound is reminiscent at times of the inventiveness of The Phoenix Foundation during their early “Horsepower” and “Pegasus” era, particularly the opening instrumental “Flange in the Bedroom”…. which you can watch a video of right here….

Lttle PhnxDay 19 of our 31 Days of May New Zealand Music Month marathon comes from a 2013 release on the now-defunct Crystal Magic Records (CMR) from LTTLE PHNX called “Luvrs Disc Ours”

“Let’s not forget” is the closing refrain on this warm throbbing piece of melancholy synth-pop under music shareware operating system name LTTLE PHNX (“Little Phoenix” for those who need vowels to help their pronunciation). Sadly there will be no more LTTL PHNX upgrades as it this version is no longer being supported by its creator Lucy Beeler.

However, there is a new music creation entity recently emerged from the ashes of LTTLE PHNX, known now as Feng. Descibed as “lo-fi low-key pop; keyboard confessionals undulating waves of maudlin-soaked reverb” Feng promises a continuation of the synth-pop symphonies in miniature.

Last time I saw LTTLE PHNX play was at Taste Merchants in Dunedin in 2015. The light-show was a projection across the ceiling of a video  of the earth from the orbiting space station. The angle of the projection meant the video was stretched and distorted, warped around the ceiling architecture. In its own strange way, it was as disorienting and mesmerising as the sounds emanating from the PA system.

Here’s “Luvrs Disc Ours” performed in session too:

Glass VaultsDay 18 of our 31 Days of May New Zealand Music Month marathon is a cheerful pop song to cheer everyone up on a miserable day (snow is apparently on the way here in the south!). Here’s Glass Vaults with “Mindreader”

The vibe here is a bit like something from “Around the World in a Day” by Prince – bright flouro funky psychedelic synth-pop with phat synth bass and some wobbly keyboard sounds. The whole album delivers a very clean and clear minimal style of infectious hook-laden synth-pop.

Glass Vaults – Richard Larsen, Rowan Pierce and Bevan Smith – are from Wellington, New Zealand and you can read much more about them and the tracks on this finely crafted album at The Wireless.

Bevan Smith may be familiar to some as the prolific musical mastermind behind multiple musical entities including Aspen, SkallanderSigner, and more recently Introverted Dancefloor, and also the mastering mind behind Death and the Maiden‘s lovely debut album too.

 

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MarineVille from the cover of their “Face” 7″ from 2012 on Epic Sweep Records

MarineVille hail from Wellington and play a raw and distinctively New Zealand version of “driving rock” music. “75 Watts Frosted” is the opening track from their 4th album “Penguins Ate My Chips” which is out in a few weeks on LP on Zelle Records.

The line-up of the band which recorded “Penguins Ate My Chips” is led by guitarist/ vocalist Mark Williams and includes a few names folks may remember from some other NZ bands. Denise Roughan (Look Blue, Go Purple, 3Ds) plays bass, Greg Cairns (The Renderers, The Verlaines, Constant Pain) plays the drums, and Jeremy Coubrough (Tlaotlon) plays  keyboards.

“75 Watts Frosted” is a rip-snorting opening track. Part motorik beat, part wild fairground ride. Imagine Deep Purple’s “Highway Star” mixed with The Sweet’s “Ballroom Blitz” played by the Able Tasmans and you are on your way to understanding the loopy genius of this classic slice of urban New Zealand storytelling rock and roll.

“Penguins Ate My Chips” was originally self-released by Williams in 2015 on cassette. The LP version (out 15 March 2017) on Austrian label Zelle Records, which specialises in Southern NZ sounds, is a suitable acknowledgement of an album that fits comfortably into the beer and sweat-stained fabric of the NZ alternative rock underground.  The download also contains the live album 15 Wax Tears, recorded in 2011 and originally released on cassette in 2012.

earth-tongue_photo-sarh-burton

Earth Tongue [photo: Sarah Burton]

Earth Tongue are a heavy-psych-rock duo from Wellington and their debut EP is a monster-truck loaded with solid riffage. Here’s the title track “Portable Shrine”:

Gussie Larkin from Mermaidens and Ezra Simons of heavy-doom-prog band Red Sky Blues are the two Wellington musicians behind Earth Tongue.

There’s a fair bit of early Black Sabbath about this song – the rumbling density of synchronised bass and overdriven guitar, the chugging swing of the riffing repetition, and the human-robot vocals (a distinctive pairing of Gussie and Ezra’s voices).

There’s even some Iommi-esque guitar squwaks as excalamtion marks on the end of the rumbling riffs to provide just the right amount of icing on the sludge cake. All of this is very fine indeed, as is the whole EP.

You can read a bit more about Earth Tongue and the inspiration behind the EP here.