Gig Recap: Womb (NZ), Strange Stains (NZ), Guiguisuisui (2019.07.14)

Wellington, New Zealand strutted its stuff this past weekend at DDC as Chengdu promoters Kiwese brought through two of their underground music scene’s finest acts – Womb and Strange Stains.

To welcome them, openers Guiguisuisui were on hand with their devilish carnival of delights – a collection of synth-doom jams that double as art pieces, complete with costume changes and spellbinding conviction. They’ve managed to turn their set into a seamless symphony cult-like fun and can only imagine the thrill Europeans will be in for this summer when they hit the run. 

The offbeat fun continued with Strange Stains, the Wellington project from producer, singer, visual artist, and designer Cooki Stains who dropped audiences into a glossy smoky industrial pop dance party complete with reverb-heavy vocals and swirling foreboding synths – imagine if Stephen King’s Carrie took place at an underground reptilian 80s rave and you get a sense of the deviant fun on hand. 

The real highlight was catching Womb, the trio of siblings whose 2018 release Like Splitting the Head From the Body has been on heavy replay in my house since first hearing it. Together, they cast a spell with a mood that gracefully toes the line between dream pop and grounded alt-folk, with a lo-fi sensitivity and psychedelic undertow that slowly engulfs the listener. It’s the equivalent of watching a flashbulb go off in slow motion, illuminating its subject totally while covering the periphery with burning embers and a cloud of smoke. It’s beguiling music that needles its way to your core.

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