ichard Ley-Hamilton (he/him), Julie Dunn (they/them), Josh Nicholls (he/him), and Angus McBryde (he/him) make up Asta Rangu, a alternative rock band based in Ōtepoti (Dunedin). Their output of reflective and contemplative sounds shine while exploring values, connection, progress and escapism.
Today Asta Rangu share LLPLZA (pronounced Lalapalooza), the third single from their debut album ENTRTNMNT, scheduled for release on May 27.
Inspired by Stereolab's use of marimba and vibraphone to accent melodies, LLPLZA is four minutes of layered texture and tweaked tones that culminate in a reflective joy.
LLPLZA was recorded between Otago University's new performing arts centre Te Korokoro o te Tūī, and in a bedroom in North East Valley, with Richard Ley-Hamilton noting that the track started as a "small scratchy voice memo on my phone, one that has evolved through many contrasting arrangements to find its place, sonically and otherwise."
"I have always been fascinated with the feeling of bittersweet - memories or moments that can be joyous and sad at the same time. As I tend to write the music first, I began with chords that had an open, melancholic quality, then lifted the tempo to give it a stronger pulse - more hopeful or elated sounding. The lyrics are a running-together of wordplay, surreal imagery and introspection, trying to paint a picture around this feeling."
"ENTRTNMNT promises to be quite diverse tonally, but the approach to each song was the same - create a musical environment where the song and its message are best served. I truly believe LLPLZA achieves this, and sitting towards the end of the album, its pensive optimism helps to resolve the darker and more doubtful themes of earlier tracks."
Ley-Hamilton reflects "It's the greatest feeling to finally realise the vision brought about by that first stumbling strum and mumbled nonsense."
To celebrate the release of ENTRTNMNT Asta Rangu are hitting the road in June, stopping off in Aotearoa's four main centres.
They won't be alone, as Ōtepoti (Dunedin) / Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington) space-doom collective Space Bats, Attack!, will be joining them too, playing new songs from their recently released album Oort. Acid rock trio Linen will support the groups in Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington), and psych duo Ripship will join them in Tāmaki Makaurau. Visual artist Sam Caldwell will provide an immersive projection performance at the home show in Ōtepoti.
Tickets for all shows are available via Undertheradar. Mask use is encouraged where possible.
Asta Rangu emerged from the ashes of Ōtepoti's indie-pop darlings Males with the release of the 2017 EP Plasticine, which was noted for its melodic and angular sound, with hook-laden wordplay set against swirling arrangements. Songwriter Richard Ley-Hamilton guides Asta Rangu in a direction which reflects more accurately the tone of Ley-Hamilton’s sombre, pensive and astute lyrics.
After returning from the UK in 2019, Ley-Hamilton recruited bandmates Josh Nicholls (Koizilla, Space Bats Attack!, Dale Kerrigan) on drums, Julie Dunn (Bathysphere, Mary Berry) on keys and Angus McBryde (The Broken Heartbreakers) on bass.
With newfound energy and confidence, Asta Rangu burst onto the scene in 2020 with a debut run of sell out shows in support of The Chills, The Beths, Marlin’s Dreaming, and Ha the Unclear. In January 2021, Asta Rangu released their first single in four years, I Dream, followed by a spot at Welcome to Nowhere Festival and a 7-date tour of New Zealand.
In 2021 Asta Rangu released the stand alone single Nico, which was followed up in 2022 by Too-Zooma, VIC and LLPLZA, three singles taken from the band's forthcoming debut album ENTRTNMNT (out 27 May 2022).