Category: dream pop

Andrea Aguilar is a Venezuelan-born, New York-based signer/songwriter, arranger and visual artist. Growing up in a deeply musical family, Aguilar started writing her own songs when she was just six. Around the same time, she developed an interest in the visual arts, and specializes in acrylic painting.

As a singer/songwriter and musician, Aguilar’s work draws from dream pop, alternative pop and electro pop. Her work is frequently sees her expressing raw emotions through melancholic metaphors, dreamy atmospherics paired with ethereal melodies.

Last year, the Venezuelan-born, New York-based artist graduated from Berklee College of Music with a degree in composition and music business. To date, Aguilar has collaborated on a number of projects as a singer/songwriter, co-producer and/or illustrator, including with her own music: Each song of hers features a cover with her artwork, along with videos directed and edited by her.

Aguilar’s second and latest single,”Pociones,” is her first Spanish language song. Centered around the Venezuelan-born, New York-based artist’s beguilingly ethereal delivery paired with glistening and atmospheric synths, a propulsive backbeat and a soaring, euphoria-inducing hook, the swooning and”Pociones” brings to mind JOVM mainstays Still Corners. While seemingly rooted in a wistful and aching nostalgia, the song evokes the sweet feeling of being in love, as though a spell has secretly been cast on the listener.

New Audio: Montreal’s Bodywash Shares a Meditation on Loss and Hope

Montreal-based shoegazers Bodywash — Chris Steward and Rosie Long Dector — can trace their origins back to when the pair met while attending McGill University. But when they met, the pair didn’t immediately share a common musical language: Steward grew up in London listening to celestial dream pop while Dector grew up in Toronto listening to folk and Canadiana. The music they began writing together saw the pair bridging their influences, and with the release of 2016’s self-titled EP and 2019’s full-length debut, Comforter Steward and Rector firmly establishing slow-burning and dreamy material centered around ethereal vocals, intricate guitar lines and pulsating synths.

When touring to support their full-length debut was cut short by the pandemic, Long Decter and Steward used the unexpected hiatus to write. And they wound up writing material that was darker, more experimental and more invigorating than the material on Comforter. Last year, they took the songs into the studio with longtime drummer Ryan White and The Besnard Lakes‘ Jace Lasek, who helped record and engineer the album, which will be released through Light Organ Records.

“Kind of Light,” the forthcoming album’s first single is an expansive track that begins with a slow-burning and elegiac intro featuring glistening organs and a skittering yet propulsive kick pattern that slowly builds up and breaks into a high energy, boom bap-like breakbeat paired with scorching guitar squealing and wobbling bass synths. Front and center is Long Decter’s ethereal and achingly plaintive vocals express profound, heart-wrenching despair, and hope. The song suggests that while loss is natural and expected, there can be hope; that there are only a handful of things that in our lives that are truly permanent — and that for the most part, it can get better.

“I wrote ‘Kind of Light’ in bed,” Long Decter says. ““It was the fall of 2018 and Chris and I were both going through experiences of learning not to trust what feels like home. He sent me a plugin for a new organ sound, suggesting it might provide inspiration. I sent him back chords, a kick pattern, and some vocals about trying to pull your legs back; trying to take your energy out of the wreckage and put it into yourself. The process of deciding what’s worth keeping, what can be reworked and what gets tossed in the fire. A process that is devastating and also weirdly invigorating, because you can see new possibilities opening up in front of you. And you can start to look for light somewhere else.”

New Video: MARBLES Shares Breezy and Bittersweet “One of a Kind”

Kolbotn, Norway-based dream pop outfit MARBLES — Ferdinand Widmer (vocals, bass), Marius Ringen (drums), Adrian Sandberg (synths) and Marcus Widmer (guitar) — features members, who come from a variety of musical backgrounds with many of the band’s members also playing in the black metal bands that the city is best known for internationally. 

When the band started, its members were initially unsure exactly what sound and genre this new music would be, but they quickly discovered a shred interest in dream pop, indie and disco styles, and they were able to capture a unique vibe together in their jam sessions. That unique vibe was immediately present on their debut single “European Dream.” And from there, the Norwegian outfit quickly honed and built upon the blueprint that song set out for their overall sound.

The Norwegian pop outfit’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Humour is slated for a February 10, 2012 through Playground Music. The album will feature three singles released over the course of this year, including “World Inside Me,” a deliberately crafted mid-tempo and breezy Washed Out and Brothertiger-like bop that’s underpinned by a deep-seated — and perhaps hard won — introspection.

“‘World Inside Me’was written in our most isolated period through the pandemic. It tries to describe a feeling of loneliness that is mostly conjured by our own mind. Even though there are options and offers from the outside world, sometimes you just feel better in your own sphere,” the Norwegian dream pop outfit explains. “Living in your own little world (or bubble) can feel both pleasant and safe, but also quickly turn into a lonesome and desperate state of mind.” 

Album single “One of Kind” is a subdued, introspective and woozy bop centered around glistening synth arpeggios, skittering four-on-the-floor paired with Widmer’s ethereal vocals and the band’s unerring knack for well-crafted, catchy hooks. But the song is rooted in bittersweet, lived-in experience: MARBLES’ Ferdinand Widmer explains that “One of a Kind” is all about the experience of realizing that a relationship in your life — whether it be a friend, family member or romantic partner — and coming to terms with the fact that you are moving in different directions.

“Our message with ‘One of a Kind’ is that – sometimes it’s ok to lose contact with someone close in your life. Maybe you evolve differently or go down different paths. You come to the point in a relationship where both parts have moved on, and you´re still trying to accept it for a good thing. Doing your best to cherish their accomplishments in life. You’ll never find someone similar, and that’s just life. You still want the best for them. And you understand that ‘forever regretfulness’ can be a curse.”

The accompanying video for “One of a Kind” features the band’s Ferdinand Widmer and a green screen backdrop. Leaning hard into the goofiness and obvious fakery of its setup, Widmer is inserted into the screensaver type of backdrops like the photo booth karaoke machines you’d see at your local mall.

New Video: Minneapolis’ LUMARI Shares Swirling Shoegaze Anthem “Neon Mirror”

Minneapolis-based dream pop/shoegaze outfit Lumari — twin siblings Dave West (drums) and Dan West (guitar, bass), Margo Pearson (vocals, keys) and Robert Caple (guitar, bass) — can trace their origins back to the relationship between the West Brothers: Dave West and Dan West have played together in a number of different national and internationally touring projects over the course of several decades.

As the story goes, the West Brothers had the fortune of finding Pearson and Caple, who gamely completed Lumari’s lineup. Along with award-winning producer/engineer Eric Olsen, the Minneapolis-based sheogazers wrote and recorded an album’s worth of material that sets the groundwork for the band’s sound and approach.

The quartet’s debut single, and presumably, their album’s first single, “Neon Mirror” is centered around reverb-drenched, swirling guitar textures, thunderous and propulsive drumming, a supple bass line and enormous choruses paired with Pearson’s ethereal vocals. Sonically. the song strikes me a slick synthesis of Meat is Murder-era The Smiths, Cocteau Twins, Slowdive and RIDE — with a modern production sheen.

Co-directed by Sara Fox and the members of Lumari, the accompanying video was shot in the Catskills and follows Leslie Cuyjet wandering through the hilly forests, when she discovers an ornate, old fashioned mirror in the moss. We see the woman twirling through the forest pathways with her mirror before shifting to an ornate house. In one way, the video can be red as a modern day extrapolation of the old Greek myth of Narcissus — but while going through a lysergic and nightmarish funhouse mirror.

Kolbotn, Norway-based dream pop outfit MARBLES — Ferdinand Widmer (vocals, bass), Marius Ringen (drums), Adrian Sandberg (synths) and Marcus Widmer (guitar) — features members, who come from a variety of musical backgrounds with many of the band’s member also playing in the black metal bands that the city is best known for internationally.

When the band started, its members were initially unsure exactly what sound and genre this new music would be, but they quickly discovered a shred interest in dream pop, indie and disco styles, and they were able to capture a unique vibe together in their jam sessions. That unique vibe was immediately present on their debut single “European Dream.” And from there, the Norwegian outfit quickly honed and built upon the blueprint that song set out for their overall sound.

2020’s self-titled, full-length debut featured songs like “Woman,” She’s So” and the previously released single “Baby Don’t You Get It.”

The band has released two singles this year, which will appear on their soon-to-be announced sophomore EP which is currently slated for an early 2023 release through Playground Music. “World Inside Me,” is MARBLES’ third and latest single of the year — and will also appear on the forthcoming album. “World Inside Me” is deliberately crafted, mid tempo that brings Washed Out and Brothertiger to mind, centered around atmospheric synths textures, a chugging groove, a glistening guitar solo paired with the act’s unerring knack for well-placed hooks and dreamy vocals. But underneath it’s breeziness, the song is underpinned by a deep-seated — and perhaps hard won — introspection

“‘World Inside Me’was written in our most isolated period through the pandemic. It tries to describe a feeling of loneliness that is mostly conjured by our own mind. Even though there are options and offers from the outside world, sometimes you just feel better in your own sphere,” the Norwegian dream pop outfit explains. “Living in your own little world (or bubble) can feel both pleasant and safe, but also quickly turn into a lonesome and desperate state of mind.” 


New Video: Toulouse, France’s Edgar Mauer Shares Gorgeous and Introspective “By any means”

Founded back in 2020 by its founder, singer/songwriter and musician Maëve Couderc as a way to work around various gender roles, the Toulouse, France-based indie outfit Edgar Mauer became a full-fledged band when sound engineer Alain Flary and drummer Camille Bigeault joined. Since then, the band has developed a sound that meshes elements of Bristol trip-hop and Kate Bush-like pop with a modern touch. 

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Elma Capser,” a slow-burning bit of dream-pop centered around Coudec’s yearning vocal, Bigeault’s tribal-like drumming and Flary’s glistening guitar lines paired with a soaring hook and chorus. Sonically, “Elma Casper” brought The SundaysThe Cocteau Twins and even Mazzy Star to mind. And much like those acts, the song itself is rooted in the deeply personal, with a novelist’s attention to psychological detail. 

The band explained, that the song’s inspiration came from a mysterious name scrawled on a wall in Paris — Elma Casper. Couderc wound up writing lyrics, imagining what Elma Casper’s life would be, while also wondering if someone scrawled her name on a random wall, if they would be as a curious as she was. They also add that the song is an ode to the feelings and experience we leave behind when living and leaving a place, accepting our own trajectory.

The Toulouse-based trio’s latest single “By any means” continues a run of gorgeous and introspective dream pop-inspired material featuring shimmering, reverb-drenched guitars, Couderc’s achingly plaintive vocal paired with an enormous hook and chorus. While sonically, “By any means” will bring back some fond memories of 4AD Records classic heyday and 120 Minutes-era MTV, the song as the band explains is a self-empowerment anthem.

Directed by Patrycja Toczek and the band, the video stars Edgar Mauer’s Couderc as a bored version of herself in the park on a lovely day, when she encounters a cheery monster played by Léna Base, who spends the day with Couderc. Throughout their time together, they play a variety of games — and we see Couderc eventually cheer up. The video itself possesses a goofy, DIY charm that’s just adorable.

New Video: The Post-Apocalyptic World of The Church’s “The Hypnogogue”

Founded back in 1980, the Sydney-based ARIA Hall of Fame inductees The Church — currently founder member Steve Kilbey (vocals, bass, guitar); longtime collaborator and producer Tim Powles (drums), who joined the band in 1994 and has contributed to 17 albums; Ian Haug (guitar), a former member of Aussie rock outfit Powderfinger, who joined the band in 2013; multi-instrumentalist Jeffery Cain, a former member of Remy Zero and touring member of the band, who joined the band full-time after Peter Koppes left the band in early 2020; and their newest member, Ashley Naylor (guitar), a long-time member of Paul Kelly’s touring band and one of Australia’s most respected guitarists — was initially associated with their hometown’s New Wave, neo-psychedelic and indie rock scenes. But they became increasingly associated with dream pop and post-rock as their material took on slower tempos and surreal, shimmering soundscapes paired with their now, long-held reputation for an uncompromising approach to both their songwriting and sound.

1981’s full-length debut Of Skins and Hearts, was a commercial and critical success thanks in part to the success of their first radio hit, “The Unguarded Moment.” And as a result, the legendary Aussie outfit was signed to major labels in Australia, Europe and The States. However, their American label was dissatisfied with their sophomore album and dropped the band without releasing it in the States.

Although being dropped from their American label managed to slow down some of the international momentum surrounding the band a bit, 1988’s Starfish managed to be a smash hit, thanks to their only US Top 40 hit, “Under the Milky Way.” “Under the Milky Way,” received attention once again with its appearance in 2001’s cult-favorited film Donnie Darko.

Despite the fact that since the release of Starfish, mainstream success has been elusive, The Church have developed a devoted, international cult following while managing to be incredibly prolific. In fact, the band’s 25th album, 2017’s Man Woman Life Death Infinity was released to critical praise from the likes of PopMatters, who called the album “a 21st-century masterpiece, a bright beam of light amid a generic musical landscape, and truly one of the Church’s greatest releases.”

The highly-anticipated follow-up to 2017’s Man Woman Life Death Infinity — and their 26th album — is planned for an early 2023 release through Communicating Vessels/Unorthodox. The forthcoming album’s first single “The Hypnogogue” is an expansive and brooding track centered around the band’s unique swirling and textured guitar-driven sound paired with Kilbey’s imitable delivery and a contemporary sensibility heightened by a mix from Darrell Thorpe.

“‘The Hypnogogue’ is set in 2054… a dystopian and broken down future,” The Church’s Steve Kilbey explains. “Invented by Sun Kim Jong, a North Korean scientist and occult dabbler, it is a machine and a process that pulls music straight of dreams.”

“The song is about Eros Zeta the biggest rock star of 2054 who has traveled from his home in Antarctica (against his manager’s advice) to use the Hypnogogue to help him revive his flagging fortunes,” Kilbey continues, fleshing out the song’s sci-fi storyline. “In the midst of the toxic process, he also falls in love with Sun Kim and it all ends tragically (of course…as these thing often do).”

Directed by Aussie filmmaker Clint Lewis and starring Michael Coward and Emilia Eau, the accompanying, cinematic video for “The Hypnogogue” is set a rainy, neon-drenched retro-futuristic world that feels inspired by 80s dystopian sci-fi — in particular Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner and Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys. But the video also manages to faithfully capture the essence of the song’s storyline. “I gave the director a lot of input into this video but he took my ideas and ran with them and came up with a fair bit of stuff I never envisaged,” Kilbey says. “The Church appear on screens in the Hypnogogue as workers in the system, translating the dreams of users into real time music.  I’m very happy with the way it all turned out. It’d be hard to get a better result!”

New Video: Hanya Shares Surreal and Feverish Visual for “Amateur Professional”

Brighton-based dream pop act and JOVM mainstays Hanya — currently Heather Sheret (vocals, guitar), Benjamin Varnes (guitar) and Jack Watkins (drums) — exploded into the national and international scenes with the release of their debut EP, I Used to Love You, Now I Don’t, an effort that saw the British outfit quickly and firmly establish a sound that featured elements of dream pop and shoegaze. 

Much like countless acts across the globe, back in 2020, the Brighton-based JOVM mainstays had plans to build upon a rapidly growing profile both nationally and internationally: they released their acclaimed, sophomore EP Sea Shoes, which they supported with touring across the UK and their Stateside debut at that year’s New Colossus Festival. But since then they’ve been busy.

Last year, the Brighton-based released their acclaimed third EP 100 Metre Sprint which featured: 

  • Texas,” a shimmering bit of dream pop that nods at 70s AM rock, and focuses on the longing and excitement of a new crush/new love/new situationship
  • Monochrome,”a hazy and slow-burning ballad that celebrates the pleasures of life’s small things
  • Lydia,” a slow-burning and gorgeous track that continues upon their winning mix of 70s AM rock and Beach House-like dream pop. 
  • Fortunes,” a slow burning track, which featured  A Storm In Heaven like painterly textures, ethereal harmonies and deeply personal, lived-in lyricism. 
  • Logan’s Run,” which struck me as a lush and brooding synthesis of AM Rock and lush, A Storm in Heaven-like textures. Fittingly, the track was inspired by the 1970’s sci-fi classic, which the band watched a lot during the pandemic. 

Hanya’s newest single, the Theo Verney-produced “Amateur Professional” sees the rising Brighton-based outfit marrying their live show energy with their recorded sound — while further refining and pushing that sound in subtle yet decided new direction. Centered around a post-punk influenced take on shoegaze and dream pop that features shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars paired with angular and propulsive bass lines serving as a lush bed for Sheret’s gorgeous and vulnerable delivery singing ongue-in-cheek lyrics, “Amateur Professional” features the band’s penchant for rousingly anthemic hooks. But at its core, the song strikes at something deeply familiar for me — and those I’ve spent my adult life covering: The moral and mental gymnastics that creatives must grapple with when attempting to make a side-hustle viable in a consumer world that doesn’t value authenticity and constantly vies for every moment of our attention. 

“‘Amateur Professional’ was written at a time when we felt our most cynical,” Hanya explains. “Trying to remain inspired in this chaos and constantly grappling with self-doubt is something every person experiences, and we wanted to explore that in this world of a ‘fake-it-till-you-make-it’ mentality. The track is about attempting to be a full-time professional in whatever it is you want, even if you feel like a lousy amateur a lot of the time. It’s a fighting song, for when you’re feeling like giving up.”

Directed by Sara Azmy, the accompanying video for “Amateur Professional” is a gorgeously shot and surreal fever dream split between the office drone working at the office to support themselves and their dream until they burned out and lost their minds — and their dreams of music stardom. That balance between doing what you have to do to support yourself and living your dreams can be extremely complicated.