Category: dream pop

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Beverly Kills Release an 80s Rom Com-Inspired Visual for Swooning and Anthemic “In This Dim Light”

Over the past year or so, I’ve written a bit about the Gothenburg, Sweden-based indie rock quartet Beverly Kills, and as you may recall with the release of singles like “Fourteen,” “Melodrama,” and “Dreamless” the band quickly received attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere for a shimmering, anthemic hook-based 4AD Records era take on dream pop. In fact, last year was a huge year for the rising Swedish dream pop quartet: they were named one of the Best Swedish Indie Debuts of 2018” by HYMN, received a Gaffa Awards nomination for Breakthrough of the Year, and played a Viva Sounds Festival showcase in their hometown.

Building upon a growing profile, the band played several by:Larm Festival sets opening for Agent bla, Moaning and Vasterbron earlier this year — and they signed to Australian indie label Hell Beach and Swedish label Welfare Sounds, both of whom released “Revellers” earlier this year. The Gothenburg-based dream pop quartet and JOVM mainstays have been rather busy this year as they promptly followed the release of “Revellers” with the limited edition double single vinyl “In This Dim Light”/”Melodrama,” which was released last month. “In This Dim Light” continues a run of shimmering and anthemic singles — but unlike their predecessors, the song conveys the tumultuous and desperately urgent quality of young love. 

Directed by Jakob Ekvall, the recently released video features the band playing at a high school prom in front of a rom full of young people, who are trying to navigate the turbulence of being a teenager — and that of being in a relationship. Most of the video focuses on a prototypical nervous and anxious nerd, who shoots his shot and eventually wins the attention of the prom queen. With the heavy use of pastels and some clearly 80s-like outfits, the video seems indebted to John Hughes films and other classic 80s films. 

New Video: Chennai India’s The F16s Return with Feverish and Sensual Visuals for Doo-Wop Inspired “My Baby’s Beak”

Earlier this week, I wrote about the up-and-coming Chennai, India-based indie rock act The F16s, and as you may recall, the act which is currently comprised of Abhinav Krishnaswamy (guitar), Harshan Radhakrishnan (keys), Joshua Fernandez (vocals, guitar) and Sashank Manohar (bass) can trace their origins to when its founding trio met while attending college in 2002. With the release of their debut EP Kaleidoscope, the Chennai-based indie rock quartet received national attention — with the band being named one of Rolling Stone India‘s Artist to Watch For. Since then, the act has released another EP and their full-length debut, 2016’s Triggerpunkte both of which have helped expand their profile nationally and internationally; in fact, the band has managed to play at some of their homeland’s biggest festivals — and recently, they’ve made strides into Southeast Asia with a growing six city tour across Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand.

The up-and-coming Indian indie rock act recently signed to Oxford, MS-based indie label House Arrest, who will be releasing the band’s WKND FRNDS EP later this week. ”We were fascinated to discover The F16s writing and performing such relatable pop-rock songs so many miles away. We had to reach out to see what their story is, which eventually led to us working together, ” the label says in press notes. “Their new EP WKND FRNDS is a big step for The F16s and we’re excited to see the reaction in both India and over here in the US.”

“Amber,” the EP’s previous single was centered around glistening synths, Fernandez’s plaintive and ethereal vocals, shimmering and jangling guitars and a soaring hook — and sonically, the song found the band seamlessly meshing elements of dream pop, bedroom pop and indie rock with a swooning yearning for a complicated and uneasy love that’s just ended. “My Baby’s Beak,” WKND FRNDS latest single is a slow-burning, doo-wop meets Beach Boy-era psych pop-like “My Baby’s Beak,” which continues a run of swooning yet deceptively uneasy love songs; in this case, the song details a contradictory and confusing push and pull between two especially damaged partners. Comprised of hazy stock footage, the recently released video is an ecstatic fever dream that manages to be both trippy and sensual, evoking a desperate and urgent longing. 

New Video: The Soft Cavalry Releases a Meditative and Cinematic Visual for Swooning and Slow-burning Album Single “Dive”

Formed by husband and wife duo Steve Clarke and Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell, The Soft Calvary is a new project, and their self-titled full-length debuts slated for a July 5, 2019 release through renowned indie label Bella Union Records. For Clarke, the album is equal parts labor of love and long-held dream finally realized — and perhaps more important, the first album that he has masterminded from start to finish with the assistance of his wife and his brother Michael, who produced the album.

Reportedly, the album’s material radiates both midlife crisis and elation — the sigh of finally finding real contentment and peace after living a messy life, full of heartache and confusion. And as Clarke emphasizes in press notes, an album that he “needed” to make, as it can also be seen as a way of rewriting his own narrative: Divorced in 2011, Clarke admittedly spent the next three years in a haze. He had played bass and sung backing vocals in bands as a session musician and as a touring member since the late 90s, while also working as a tour manager.

At one point, he began working as a tour manager for the reunited Slowdive. “I was hungover in the back of my van trying to work out how I was going to fit all the band’s gear into this confined space whilst I still had all of mine from the show that I’d played in London the night before,” Clarke recalls in press notes. “The second of two sold-out shows at Hammersmith Apollo with David Brent!” Coincidentally, that same day Clarke was introduced to Goswell. A year later, they were living together in Devon, before marrying last year. Rachel not only turned his world “upside-down,” as he recalls, she also unwittingly produced “the catalyst” for the new project. “I’d always had ideas but never felt that anything I had to say was worthy of anyone’s attention, let alone my own,” he says in press notes. “I wish that I could have done this fifteen years ago but, in reality, I simply couldn’t have. But I’m not one to overly wallow. I’d rather plough the various levels of confusion into songs.”

The album in many ways is an exercise in creative and personal therapy. The first songs Clarke wrote specifically for the album are Goswell-inspired paeans to fate, love, new beginnings and hope. But as he began to open up, the past found a way to seep in — the years of frustration, confusion, anxiety, heartache. If there’s a theme to the material, reckons Steve, “it’s recovery versus new doubt. I’m there, in the middle. The word that kept coming back to me was ‘resilience.’ With the right mentality and people around you, especially family, we get through and find a level of hope.”

Interestingly, the writing sessions were in some way an extended conversation between the couple. Clarke, as Goswell says “is always writing, his head always full of lyrics.” Goswell, as Clarke says “reins me in when I get obsessed. She’s a good editor. She says my songs can still work without sections of words, that leaving spaces is OK.” As Clarke began to assemble songs, he invited a handful of dear friends including Mercury Rev‘s and Midlake‘s Jesse Chandler (keys), Tom Livermore (guitar) to assist with the album’s overall sound and tone. “I’d grown up with guitar bands and I didn’t want it to be overly guitar-y,” Clarke says. “We evolved things by trying out ideas. We’d be build things up, and then stripe them back and build them again.”

Interestingly, as the album progressed Goswell formed Minor Victorieswith members of Mogwai and Editors while all of those bands had gaps in their schedules, eventually writing and recording an album, which Goswell and Clarke contributed vocals and lyrics for. “It got the cogs turning on a writing and lyrical level, and gave me a certain amount of self-belief,” Clarke recalls.

After completing their album together, Clarke found a name for the band and the album, seemingly out of thin air — The Soft Calvary. “I can’t explain its literal meaning,” he says. “It just made sense.” Might Rachel be the calvary? “Maybe! it would be subconscious, but that makes sense too, strangely.”

The album’s first single is the cinematic yet ethereal “Dive.” Centered around towering layers of shimmering guitars, a propulsive backbeat and Clarke and Goswell’s gorgeous harmonies, the track is one part contented sigh, one part sweetly, romantic swoon — but underneath all of that is a creeping sense of everything being a fleeting dream. “How long will this wondrous dream last?”  

Directed by Handheldcineclub, the recently released video is a meditative and lyrical experience that follows a middle-aged man, as he arrives at his local pool. He changes his clothes and heads to the pool. We see his as he climbs up the stairs of the pool’s Olympic-sized diving pool and as he approaches the third level, the man becomes visibly uncertain and by the time he reaches the diving board, he’s terrified — to the point that he eventually climbs down, appearing self-conscious and foolish. After seeing a fellow swimmer successfully dive, we see our protagonist with a newly acquired bravely, climbing up the stairs and about to dive off the board. While literal in some sense, the video suggests that sometimes we need to be inspired and gently pushed out of out comfort zones to take leaps of faith. 

New Video: Chennai, India’s The F16s Release a Hallucinogenic and Feverishly Visual for “Amber”

Comprised of Abhinav Krishnaswamy (guitar), Harshan Radhakrishnan (keys), Joshua Fernandez (vocals, guitar) and Sashank Manohar (bass), the up-and-coming Chennai, India-based indie rock act The F16s can trace their origins when its founding trio met while attending college in 2002. With the release of their debut EP Kaleidoscope, the Chennai-based indie rock quartet received national attention — with the band being named one of Rolling Stone India’s Artist to Watch For. Since then, the act has released another EP and their full-length debut, 2016’s Triggerpunkte both of which have helped expand their profile nationally and internationally; in fact, the band has managed to play at some of their homeland’s biggest festivals — and recently, they’ve made strides into Southeast Asia with a growing six city tour across Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand. 

Building upon a rapidly growing international profile, the members of The F16s recently signed to Oxford, MS-based indie label House Arrest, who will be releasing the band’s soon-to-be released EP WKND FRNDS on May 31, 2019.”We were fascinated to discover The F16s writing and performing such relatable pop-rock songs so many miles away. We had to reach out to see what their story is, which eventually led to us working together, ” the label says in press notes. “Their new EP WKND FRNDS is a big step for The F16s and we’re excited to see the reaction in both India and over here in the US.” 

Interestingly, the EP’s latest single is the slow-burning and wistful “Amber.” Centered by glistening synths, Fernandez’s plaintive and ethereal vocals, shimmering and jangling guitars and a soaring hook, the song finds the band seamlessly meshing dream pop, bedroom pop and indie rock. And at the song’s core is a swooning yearning for a complicated and uneasy love that’s just ended. 

Animated by Deepti Sharma, the recently released video follows a young woman, who’s desperate to fit in, purchasing a new face online; but after trying on her new face, she finds that her purchase isn’t what it was cracked up to be — and that ironically, her situation is much worse. While being a hallucinogenic fever dream full of ache and regret, the video also subtly comments on bullying culture, instant gratification and several other things. 

New Audio: Penelope Isles Returns with a Woozy New Single

Earlier this week, I wrote about the up-and-coming Brighton, UK-based indie rock quartet Penelope Isles, and as you may recall, the act which is comprised of Devon, UK-born, Isle of Man-raised sibling songwriting duo Jack Wolter and Lily Wolter, along with Jack Sowton and Becky Redford is centered by the bond between Wolters, a bond that ironically was strengthened when Jack, who’s six years older moved out of the family home to study art when he was 19. “By the time I moved home, Lil was not so much of an annoying younger sister anymore and had grown up and started playing in bands and writing songs. We soon become very close. I had written some songs, so we started a band called Your Gold Teeth. We toured a bit and then Lily left for Brighton to study songwriting.”

While Lily Wolter studied in Brighton, she met Jack Sowton and Becky Redford, with whom she formed a band. As the story goes, when Lily Wolter returned home for the holidays, the idea of a forming a new band rapidly developed. Though Jack and Lily have long written separately, they chucked their disparate songs into a shared song pot, their new band was fueled by a passion for DIY alt rock/indie rock — and are influenced by the likes of Deerhunter, Pixies, Tame Impala, Radiohead and The Thrills among others.

The up-and-coming Brighton-based indie rock act recently signed to renowned indie label Bella Union Records, who will be releasing the British act’s full-length debut Until the Tide Creeps In. Slated for a July 12, 2019 release, Penelope Isles’ debut thematically is informed by the Wolters’ shared experience — in particular leaving home, moving away, dealing with the various transitions in life and growing up. “We are six years apart, so we had a different experience of some of this, but we share a similar inspiration when writing writing music. Family, leaving home, disconnection and connection all ring bells!”

“Chlorine,” Until the Tide Creeps In’s Sleepy Sun-like album opener was centered around an arrangement that subtly bridges shimmering dream pop, shoegaze and fuzz pop — and while buoyant and seemingly ethereal, the song possessed a bracing quality, much like stepping into a cold shower. Interestingly, the song has an underlying emotional push and pull; the sort of complexity brought about by obligation and duty and the need to go out on your own. The forthcoming album’s latest single is the woozy “Round,” a track that sonically seems to mesh 70s AM rock with shoegaze as the track is centered by a looping and shimmering guitar line and a soaring hook. And much like it’s predecessor, the new single will further establish the band’s bracingly wistful take on a familiar and beloved sound — all while evoking the ebb and flow of complicated and ambivalent emotions. 

Comprised of Stine Helen Tunstrøm (vocals), Terje Halmrast (guitar, vocals), Svein Petter Nilssen (guitar), Vegar Eriksfallet (drums, percussion) and Bendrik Dræge Orvan (bass), the Oslo, Norway-based band Monalia are deeply influenced by 60s pop and 4AD shoegaze.

The Oslo-based quintet’s debut single “My Little Lies” was released on Ghost Town Records and the song received airplay across Norwegian radio — but began to receive international attention once it was playlisted on German radio, and saw praise from international music blogs. Building upon a growing profile both nationally and internationally, the band’s debut EP 2016’s Waited All Too Long received regular airplay across Norwegian national radio and praise from a number of different blogs across the blogosphere. Since the release of their debut EP, the members of Monalia have played a number of high profile shows in Oslo and Eastern Norway, including a slot at Festivalen Sin, sharing a stage with some of their homeland’s most prominent artists including Stein Torlief Bjella, Enslaved and Greni.

Last February, the members of Monalia went into the studio to record their recently released full-length debut So Much Better. As the band explains in press notes, the album’s title is about taking an active choice in terms of how you want to live your life. In some way, the band wants to encourage the listener to step out of mediocrity and live a life in pursuit of your ambitions and passions, watching every new day with joy and anticipation rather than anxious dread. Sonically, the material on the band’s debut is a journey through doubt, darkness and longing and into a bight, hopeful future — all while further establishing what they’ve dubbed “mountain surf,” a sound and subgenre inspired by the Norwegian countryside and nature.

So Much Better‘s latest single is the slow-burning and atmospheric “Drank the Rain.” Centered around shimmering guitar lines, gently propulsive drumming, a soaring hook and Tunstrøm’s gorgeous and plaintive vocals, the Norwegian indie act’s latest single bears an uncanny resemblance to Mazzy Star and classic 4AD Records shoegaze; but as the band explains, the song is “about the contrasts between the good and bad feelings in a relationship and how all the band things make the love stronger and make you feel more alive.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: Humble Fire’s Dream-like Take on an 80s Classic

Currently comprised of founding members Dave Epley (guitar) and Nefra Faltas (vocals) with Xaq Rothman (bass) and Jason Arrol (drums), the Washington, DC-based dream pop quintet Humble Fire can trace their origins to when its founding duo met through another project that was formed through a Craigslist ad — although Humble Fire started in earnest around 2011 when Epley and Faltas recruited Rothman, who responded to Dave’s Craigslist ad seeking a bassist with a memorable manifesto. And although Arrol is the newest member of the band, joining in 2016, he’s a long-time friend and DC area DIY mainstay. Interestingly, the band’s current lineup finds the band celebrating the individual influences that each member draws from, including bluegrass, classical, punk. hip-hop and pop through a propulsive rhythm section, plaintive and vulnerable vocals, shimmering, pedal effected guitars and big hooks.

The DC-based dream pop quintet’s critically appalled sophomore album Builder thematically touched upon physical and emotional experiences around loss and reconstruction, including the deaths of loved ones, failed romances and the shocks and stresses navigated as a band. Through all of those experiences, the members of the DC-based dream pop act have come to appreciate that reconstruction isn’t something that you can tackle on your own; it frequently requires a team. And in some way, Builder is as much about the process of putting the pieces back to gather, as it is about the relationships that can either help or hinder that process. Additionally, the album found the band thematically asking questions about changing identities — particularly, “Who am I now, in this world without my parents in it?” and “How can I take care of others without losing myself?”

Interestingly, the band follows the release of their critically applauded sophomore album with a shimmering, dream pop take on Tears for Fears‘ classic “Mad World,” that retains the brooding dread, anxiousness and horror of the original; however, the Humble Fire take is a decidedly political take, meant to explore the outrage and despair felt by people, who want to make a positive change when everything has become a Kafkaesque nightmare. In fact, the band sees the lyrics as proof the the personal is always personal, with the song reflecting how systems of oppression can destroy the soul and humanity of individuals and communities. And although Tears for Fears wrote “Mad World” almost 40 years ago, it should be a reminder that a timeless song always finds a way to resonate while subtly changing for a new time and generation

Directed by Jen Meller and edited by Raul Zahir De Leon, the recently released, dream-like video follows the band’s Nefra Faltas wandering through a maze, struggling to find and reconnect with her bandmates. Through her journey, she encounters some surreal and disturbingly symbolic imagery, including her own death.