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Feel (2012)

Cosmic Radio Station (2015)

The Shifting Sands are a trio based at the legendary Chick's Hotel at Port Chalmers near Dunedin, they create Southern symphonic psychedelia, alternating between slow lush lullabies and almost space-rock psychedelic noise songs. They update & subvert the Dunedin jangle-pop template with synths too. Their first album, Feel, was released as a CD only on Fishrider in 2012. Their new album, Cosmic Radio Station, is out on Fishrider and Occultation in October 2015.

What started as a solo project back in 2012 by a young Dunedin musician, songwriter and philosophy student Michael McLeod, soon evolved into the part-past, part-future psychedelic pop trio known as The Shifting Sands.

The first album under the Shifting Sands name – Feel (Fishrider Records 2012) had many of Dunedin's finest – including David Kilgour (The Clean), Robert Scott (The Clean, The Bats, The Magick Heads), Lesley Paris (Look Blue Go Purple, The Puddle, Olla) and Robbie Yeats (The Verlaines & The Dead C) - dropping in to help Mike record his songs. It’s an indication of the regard in which he is held by that earlier pioneering generation of Dunedin musicians. By the end of the first album recording sessions The Shifting Sands line-up had solidified as a trio, with Mike joined by Tom Bell (David Kilgour & The Heavy Eights) on bass and synth and Jake Langley on drums.

Not content with being a mere band, the three friends decided to take over Chick’s Hotel in Port Chalmers near Dunedin and transform the tiny, 135-year-old haunted bar into a world-famous venue. In the past few years it has been sought out by the likes of J Mascis, Sebadoh, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, Parquet Courts, Sharon van Etten and The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion all of whom have made memorable stops there on recent tours.

Chick’s Hotel is also the hub for the local Dunedin "underground pop” scene, currently experiencing a generational renewal to rival the Flying Nun era in the 1980s and 90s. It’s a welcoming oasis of safe weirdness for young bands in a small harbourside town channelling Twin Peaks vibes.

Mike and Tom are also sound engineers – Tom recording David Kilgour albums for several years. They record their own music in places they feel comfortable and relaxed, including farm sheds and seaside shacks overlooking the Pacific coastline just north of Dunedin.

Their futuristic take on psychedelic rock sees Tom develop synth samples which he plays live through a foot-operated touch pad, giving their shoegazey psychedelia a distinctively futuristic feel and their live shows a lush enveloping haze of beautiful noise.