Archives for posts with tag: Wellington

Hans Pucket 2018Day 4 of the 31 Days of May madness for New Zealand Music Month 2018 is the opening track – “Comfort” – from the new album “Eczema” released last month from Wellington trio Hans Pucket.

As with the previous Hans Pucket releases featured on PopLib in past years this is a strong collection of ultra-melodic well-constructed pop. Most of it occupies a similar universe to the likes of Super Furry Animals – big, bold, colourful guitar-driven pop tunes with a tendency to head into the sonic stratosphere.

“Comfort” here is pronounced more like “comfit” which is appropriate whether intentional or not as comfit is “a sweet consisting of a nut, seed, or other center coated in sugar” so it works either way. This song is certainly a sweet-coated nutty treat, with a heart of healthy nourishing goodness and a bit of digestive fibre.

“Comfort” is also a bit different to the rest of the songs on the album. It’s a good-natured walking-paced strum atop a pulsing bass-line that wouldn’t sound out of place on The Phoenix Foundation’s 2003 debut “Horsepower” if you are familiar with that particular slice of Wellington pop goodness. So please do give the whole album a listen. You won’t regret getting “Eczema” from Hans Pucket.

Here’s “Comfort” live from the Radio One studio in Dunedin recently –

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Glass VaultsHere’s PopLib’s 9th send as a gift tip for the month, featuring “Brooklyn” from the album “The New Happy” by Wellington smooth psychedelic funk outfit Glass Vaults.

Glass Vaults deliver one of the year’s great earworm singalong choruses in “Brooklyn”. It’s even better performed live to a room full of people singing along.

The vibe here on The New Happy” is a very clean and clear minimal style of bright flouro funky psychedelic hook-laden synth-pop with phat synth bass and some wobbly keyboard sounds.  Think Prince’s “Around the World in a Day” with New Zealand accents.

Recommended to send as a gift to lovers of funky synth-pop dance music.

The Golden Awesome

The Golden Awesome is a ‘shoegaze’ guitar & keyboards band predominantly from Wellington, NZ. They released an album called “Autumn” in 2011 on the US M’Lady’s Records label which is a bit hard to find round these parts now. Here’s the title track which opens the album:

Although ‘shoegaze’ tends to be the genre most often used in relation to The Golden Awesome there is a healthy a dose of The Jesus and Mary Chain about the crushing bass guitar and swarming feedback guitar drones here as well as the kind of swooping sonic overload and sweet melody associated with heavy shoegaze favourites My Bloody Valentine.

That mix of crushing saturated walls of glorious noise and breath-taking dream-pop melody is a feature of the album. The keyboards and the distinctive harmoniser processed vocals are from Dunedin musician Stef Animal and you can find out more about who else is in this low-key band in this rare UTR interview.

Here’s the wonderful trippy video for “Autumn” too:

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

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: