Category: dream pop

New Video: Introducing the Psych Pop-Inspired Sounds of Sweden’s Mysterious Kallblod

Kallblod is a rather mysterious Swedish electro rock duo that have begun to receive attention with the release of their debut single “Bone & Cream,” which finds the act effortlessly meshing 60s psych pop and 80s New Wave in a way that’s mischievously anachronistic and lushly textured as the duo pair jangling guitars, shimmering synths and an infectious hook.

The recently released music video follows our mysterious — and masked duo — through their own hilariously adorable relationship, including kids and marriage, but before that through a series of weird adventures.

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New Video: Introducing the Soaring and Earnest Synth Pop of Norway’s Chain Wallet

With the release of their self-titled debut, the Bergen, Norway-based dream pop act Chain Wallet, featuring core members Stian Iversen, Christian Line and Frode Boris, quickly received attention both nationally elsewhere for material that was infectious yet hazy and melancholic synth-based pop. Written in and by inspired by the trio’s hometown, their full-length debut is centered around a narrative structure in which a deeply conflicted protagonist is followed throughout — while thematically, the album focused on unresolved ambition and the desperate attempt to let go of the past. 

The trio’s highly-anticipated sophomore album No Ritual which is slated for a February 15, 2019 release through Jansen Records found the members of the up-and-coming Norwegian dream pop act retreating to a small cabin on a remote beach in southwestern Norway. And while walking the beaches and hanging out among surfers, the members of the band were inspired by the surroundings — and interestingly enough, the album continues to follow the protagonist of their self-titled debut but thematically speaking, the album finds him in a state of spiritual limbo, desperately reaching out and trying to establish new symbolic meanings.  Interestingly, the album’s first single “Ride” is a gorgeous and cinematic bit of synth pop featuring an arrangement of shimmering synths, equally shimmering guitar lines, a motorik groove and a soaring hook that to my ears reminds me a little bit of John Parr’s “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion)” and contemporaries like Moaning and others; but with an earnest yet effortless slickness. As the members of the band explains in press notes, “Ride” was the first song they wrote for their sophomore album, and “thematically, the song evokes elements of ‘the drifter on a cook bike’ trope. It’s about riding away from something, not realizing that you can’t outride your own demons.” 
Directed by the members of the band, the recently released video finds the members of the band literally riding different modes of transportation but juxtaposed with shots in static environments. The video is decidedly DIY in nature, but as the members of the band explain, “To be honest, the idea for this video would be too complex to capture with the technology we had at hand (a VHS camera and iMovie),” the band continues. “We adjusted the artistic vision, and went for a literal interpretation of the title. This is why the video ended up being a neat collection of shots of the band riding different means of transportation, juxtaposed with shots in static environments.” 

 

Arnaud Sigonney is a Bordeaux, France-based multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter (piano, keys, guitar, vocals), who first came to international attention when Hidden Shoal Recordings released Beautiful Lunar Landscape’s critically acclaimed 2007 debut EP Alone in This Dark Romantic Night. Sigonney took a break from music and returned in 2015 fronting the instrumental rock act Les Limbes; but interestingly enough, the material that comprises The Infinite Pleasure of Being, the debut album from his latest project Lunar Landscape were written throughout most of his musical life — and was recorded by Mario Gomes at Studio Carat with a backing band featuring Les Limbes’  Yoann Roy (bass), Franck Lantignac (drums), Line Senium (piano) and Marine Hebard (vocals).

Released earlier this month, the album finds Sigonney and company effortlessly bridging neo-classical compositions with sprawling shoegaze while delving deeply into intimate emotional terrain — and interestingly enough, “Les nuits célestes,” The Infinite Pleasure of Being‘s gorgeous and meditative latest single is mesh of muscular and propulsive shoegaze with an ethereal touch, centered around hushed vocals and a towering yet hypnotic arrangement that recalls Mogwai and The Octopus Project, with a cinematic and elegant air.

 

Throughout this site’s 8 year history, I’ve written quite a bit about JOVM mainstay David Alexander, an internationally renowned Swedish-born singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, best known for his solo electro pop/dream pop recording project Summer Heart. Now, as you may recall Alexander has received attention for being among the first wave of Sweden’s contemporary electro pop and dream pop movement with the likes of MoonbabiesThe Land BelowHey ElbowBlind Lake and Emerald Park,as well as for a sound that has been compared to CaribouWashed OutIn Ghost Colours-era Cut CopyPainted Palms and others.
Over the past year, I’ve written about a handful of singles from Alexander’s 12 Songs of Summer, a single of the month series that according to the Swedish-born singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer allows him to “show people what I am currently working on instead do what I was doing two years ago, which can be the case if you release an album. It’s definitely a way of challenging myself, thinking less and having more fun creating music!” Interestingly, 12 Songs of Summer‘s latest single “Ace of Pentacles” finds Alexander collaborating with Chicago-based electronic music artist and producer Elias Abid on a slow-burning and percussive production centered around ethereal vocals (which are chopped up at points), shimmering synths and a sinuous yet radio friendly hook — and while recalling Washed Out, the song manages to feel like the bitter come down of a love affair gone horribly wrong. While further cementing Alexander’s long-held reputation for crafting breezy synth pop, the song possesses an uncanny sober quality.
As the story goes, Abid and Alexander caught up in Abid’s new home of Chicago, the duo bonded over a mutual appreciation and admiration of each other’s work — and unsurprisingly, the duo quickly took the opportunity to bounce ideas off each other.  Speaking about their collaboration in press notes, Alexander said, “Both hanging out and working with Elias Abid was extremely inspiring. We shared the same work ethics and had similar ideas both when it came our craft but also in general. In a creative situation it’s worth a lot when you can comfortably put everything aside and focus on what’s important; the music. To me ‘Ace Of Pentacles’ ended up being about being open-minded and confident in yourself. About daring taking opportunities that are right in front of you.”
Abid adds “Besides creating some amazing ideas, what I appreciated the most out of hosting Summer Heart for his week in Chicago were the conversations we had between sessions. There was something that felt really familiar about the way he looked at life, relationships, music, art, etc.. His energy and approach as a creative person was inspiring and instilled a lot of confidence in my own process as a new artist. Not only did we create something we’re both proud of, we started a new friendship that I’m very grateful for!”

New Video: Montreal’s Anemone Releases Cinematic Visuals for Breezy Retro-futuristic Synth Pop Number “Daffodils”

Earlier this year, I caught the Montreal-indie pop/dream pop act Anemone open for the acclaimed indie pop act HAERTS at Baby’s All Right, and as you may recall, the act led by Chloe Soldevila (keys, vocals) and featuring Miles Dupire-Gagnon (drums), Gabriel Lambert (guitar), Samuel Gemme (bass) and Zachary Irving (guitar) specializes in a breezy and dreamy synth pop sound that hints at psych pop — and at points to In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy and Forever and Horizon-era Painted Palms. The Canadian act released their attention-grabbing debut EP earlier this year, which they’ve supported with a series of critically applauded SXSW shows, and some relentless touring across North America.

“Daffodils,” the Canadian act’s latest single is a breezy bit of synth-led dream pop centered around arpeggiated, analog synths, an ethereal melody, reverb drenched drums, shimmering guitar lines and a sinuous bass line within a gently unfolding, expansive song structure — and interestingly, the song recalls Pavo Pavo’s gorgeous, retro-futurstic dream Young Narrator on the Breakers. 

Directed, shot and edited by the band’s Chloe Soldevila, along with her bandmates, the recently released video was filmed on a grainy looking, Super 8 like film (or Instagram filter) in the New Mexico desert with a wide-screen cinematic vibe that shows the members of the band wandering about the desert, looking small in the face of an enormous expansive, before you see the band playing in the desert. As the band’s Chloe Soldevila explain sin press notes, “”Wide and magical open spaces are so powerful to me. I couldn’t have imagined a better place to capture the song’s video. Driving into White Sands’ natural park was one of the most empowering experiences to us. We had so much fun walking and running endlessly with our eyes wide open, full of admiration. After a while we decided impulsively to set up our gear which we had in the van and we started to play. We felt so alone in the world, playing for the sky and suddenly tons of people enjoying the park started driving in to enjoy the performance… it was so special, until eventually the park security kindly kicked us out!”

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Beach House Releases Trippy Visuals for Mediative Album Single “Drunk in LA”

Throughout a significant portion of this site’s history, I’ve written quite a bit about Baltimore-based JOVM mainstays  Beach House, and as you may recall, the duo which is comprised of founding and primary members  Victoria Legrand (organ, vocals) and Alex Scally (guitar, vocals) have released a number of critically and commercially successful albums, including 2015’s Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars, which were written and recorded within a two-and-a-half year period between 2012-2014.
7, the Baltimore-based indie rock’s seventh full-length album was released earlier this year through Sub Pop Records in North America, Bella Union Records in Europe and Mistletone Records in Australia and New Zealand, and the recording sessions found the band working with  Spacemen 3‘s Sonic Boom (a.k.a. Peter Kember) as a producer — but not in the traditional sense, as he helped the band in their attempts to start anew by shedding conventions and ensuring that the album’s material would be fresh, alive and protected from the tendency of overproduction and perfectionism.  The album also features the band’s most recent live drummer James Barone, who as the duo say in press notes, helped “keep rhythm at the center of a lot of these songs.”

“Throughout the process of recording 7, our goal was rebirth and rejuvenation. We wanted to rethink old methods and shed some self-imposed limitations. In the past, we often limited our writing to parts that we could perform live,” Legrand and Scally explain. “On 7, we decided to follow whatever came naturally. As a result, there are some songs with no guitar, and some without keyboard. There are songs with layers and production that we could never recreate live, and that is exciting to us. Basically, we let our creative moods, instead of instrumentation, dictate the album’s feel.

“In the past, the economics of recording have dictated that we write for a year, go to the studio, and record the entire record as quickly as possible. We have always hated this because by the time the recording happens, a certain excitement about older songs has often been lost. This time, we built a ‘home’ studio, and began all of the songs there.  Whenever we had a group of 3-4 songs that we were excited about, we would go to a ‘proper’ recording studio and finish recording them there. This way, the amount of time between the original idea and the finished song was pretty short.”

As the act admits, the societal sense of instability, uncertainty and chaos was deeply influential on the album’s material. “Looking back, there is quite a bit of chaos happening in these songs, and a pervasive dark field that we had little control over. The discussions surrounding women’s issues were a constant source of inspiration and questioning. The energy, lyrics and moods of much of this record grew from ruminations on the roles, pressures and conditions that our society places on women, past and present.” They go on to say that in a general sense, “we are interested by the human mind’s (and nature’s) tendency to create forces equal and opposite to those present. Thematically, this record often deals with the beauty that arises in dealing with darkness; the empathy and love that grows from collective trauma; the place one reaches when they accept rather than deny.”

So far, Beach House has released a handful of singles off the album — “Lemon Glow,” a jangling and atmospheric track centered around Legrand’s ethereal vocals; the shoegazer-like “Dive,” one of the most expansive and ambitious tracks they’ve released; “Dark Spring,” a shoegazer-like single featuring woozy power chords, twinkling keys and a soaring hook; and “Black Car,” which found the duo gently pushing their sound away from their known formula as it was centered around arpeggiated and atmospheric synths.  Interestingly, the album’s latest single “Drunk in LA” differs from the video version, as Kember remixed the song for the video, making the focus of the slow-burning and meditative poem-like song Legrand’s ethereal vocals and the arpeggiated synths, which as the duo says highlights the lonesome quality of the song — but it also evokes the sort of lonely regret that comes about late at night, when you’re left to contemplate the events of your life. 

As the duo say of the video treatment, “While mixing the record with Alan Moulder in London, we were out having dinner and Pete mentioned an idea for a video where the viewer is always looking up from the ground. This became the ‘Drunk in LA’ video. When he sent it to us, we complimented and commented on the trippy, dreamlike nature of the video and he wrote that it was essentially just a day in his life.”
 

New Video: Introducing the Atmospheric Dream Pop of Perth Australia’s The Money War

The Money War is a Perth, Australia-based dream pop/indie pop/indie rock duo comprised of Dylan Ollivierre, a member of Rainy Day Women and Carmen Pepper, a member of Warning Birds, and the project can trace its origins to a road trip that the duo took across the US in late 2015. Inspired by the trip, they recorded a ton of iPhone demos — and as the story goes, after a chance meeting with producers Thom Monahan, who’s worked with Fruit Bats and Little Joy and Arne Frager, who’s worked with Prince and Paul McCartney in a San Francisco dive bar, the duo were convinced of the value of their demos together, and began working on an album. 

The Perth-based dream pop/indie pop/indie rock duo released their debut EP early last year, and they spent the year touring with Holy Holy and Meg Mac, before headlining a national time in December. Interestingly, “Recall,” off their debut EP was the 5th most played song on Triple J Radio last year — and as a result, they had seen a growing national and international profile, with the duo gaining attention Stateside as they’ve received airplay on SiriusXM, KEXP, CJAM FM, KXRN, WLKK and college radio. 

“Hollywood,” the duo’s latest single off their full-length debut is a moody and atmospheric track that immediately brings JOVM mainstays Still Corners, as the track is centered around Pepper’s ethereal vocals, twinkling synths, strummed acoustic guitar, piano and a sinuous hook — and while possessing a subtly cinematic vibe, the song as the duo’s Dylan Ollivierre explains was written and inspired by a difficult year the duo had in which people close to each individual member had died. “There’s a hospital in Perth called Hollywood, and I was pondered its ironic name,” Olliviere says in press notes. “We were in LA when I got the news that a family member was passing away, and the lyrics started forming from there. We wanted the song to sound like a moving and we took production cues from that idea.” 

The recently released video cuts between daily life footage of Hollywood that captures the bitter irony as its core — while some do manage to obtain massive success, a fair number of people wind up down and out; and footage of the two in the studio performing the song

Ezza Rose is a Julian, CA-born, Portland, OR-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who can trace the origins of her musical career to being a small child, playing tambourine along with her father’s band. Shortly after, she found a CB drum set under the Christmas tree — and unsurprisingly, the young Rose became the only female punk rock drummer in her town of about 1,500. When she went to college, the drum set didn’t fit in her dorm room, so she picked up a guitar and began writing songs of her own. As the story goes, during a holiday break from her performing arts conservatory, Rose and a friend hitchhiked to Portland to check out the city’s arts scene, and the trip inspired her to eventually relocate.

Bandmate Craig Rupert relocated to Portland roughly a year later with the members of an East coast roots rock band. Rupert met Rose and her bandmate Ray Johnson, who was playing in Winterhaven while they were all playing on the same bill.  Soon all three were playing in Winterhaven, and after the band split up, Rose asked her former bandmates to play in a new project bearing her name. Interestingly, with 2015’s When The Water’s Hot was a sonic departure for the band, as it found them moving from the acoustic folk of their previous efforts and back towards Rose’s roots in rock, fueled by the frustrations of an unjust social climate.

The band’s fourth full-length album No Means No is slated for a September 21, 2018 release through Culture Collide Records, and the album finds the band encompassing the widest and most diverse array of sound and styles they’ve ever recorded — while being centered around a deep well of a lifetime of things silenced and buried within. “Baby Come Down,” No Means No‘s latest single is a slow-burning pop ballad that recalls 50s and 60s country and pop — The Hollies, Roy Orbison, Patsy Cline and others immediately come to mind with this stripped down song, while being a wistful observation over how society is now perpetually distracted from even the most important, intimate moments of our lives.