Archives for posts with tag: Wellington

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.

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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.

 

 

Womb 2016

There’s been a steady stream of new songs on the Bandcamp page for Wellington minimal psych-folk artist Womb. Some, like “Feeling Like Helium” here are annotated as (demo).

It’s more pop-oriented than the songs on last year’s self-titled album but the languid minimalism of this song continues to occupy an almost weightless slow-motion liminal zone between reality and dreams which was a feature of previous recordings.

Of the four new tracks “Fucking Close to Water” and “Kissing in the Dark” are the most intriguing, each being wordless atmospheric ambient pieces combining voices, instruments and sounds.

No idea if these are an indication another album is on the way, but if it is, it promises to add some fine new experimental textures and ideas to the mix.

Estere

Day 28 of NZ Music Month is a re-mix of a track from Wellington producer/ composer/ vocalist Estere. Here’s the heavily atmospheric “Culture Clash (Encouragement Remix)”

This remix takes a completely different approach to the rhythm and atmosphere of the original song on Estere’s 2014 album. It is more of a dance plus ambient re-imagining and it works on so many levels from club banger to atmospheric soundscape while retaining the soulful heart of Estere’s vocal.

All the remixes on this “New Species Remix EP” are adventurous re-interpretations, so if you enjoyed Estere’s self-titled 2014 album, explore this further.