Category: Shoegaze

Throwback: Happy 50th Birthday, Richard Ashcroft!

JOVM celebrates Richard Ashcroft’s 50th birthday.

New Video: Slow Crush Returns with a “120 Minutes” Era MTV-like Visual for “Swoon”

With the release of 2018’s full-length debut Aurora, Belgian shoegazers Slow Crush — currently Isa Holliday (vocals, bass), Jelle Harde Ronsmans (guitar), Jeroen Jullet (guitar) and Frederik Meeuwis (drums) — exploded into the international shoegaze scene. And between 2018 and early 2020, the Belgian outfit supported their debut with relentless touring across the world with acts like PelicanTorcheSoft Kill, and Gouge Away — and with festival stops at RoadburnArcTanGent2000Trees and Groezrock.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Slow Crush was forced to cancel two European tours and a Stateside tour at the last minute. Interestingly, for Slow Crush, the pandemic was a bit of a blessing and a curse: The time off from touring allowed the and to re-think and re-group. Aurora‘s unexpected success and the demands of heavy touring had taken a toll on everyone’s personal lives. And it was intensified with a massive lineup change that resulted in two members leavingHolliday and Ronsmans eventually recruited the band’s newest members Jullet and Meeuwis to complete the band’s newest lineup. Shortly after the band’s newest lineup was settled, their label Holy Roar Records collapsed, leaving the band without a home. 

Hush, Slow Crush’s sophomore album is slated for an October 22, 2021 release through Quiet Panic. Written in between tours and the unexpected downtime during pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns, the album’s material is heavily influenced by turbulent times — both personal and global. While further cementing their sound, featuring abrasive and whirling layers of guitars, thunderous drumming paired with Holliday’s ethereal vocals, Hush reportedly finds the band growing as musicians and songwriters. Although the album was informed by and inspired by the dark and heavy times, the material isn’t all bleak; in fact, it’s filled with the hope for a bright, new day.

Earlier this year, I wrote about the brooding album title track “Hush.” Centered around an expansive song structure with alternating dreamy and stormy sections featuring towering layers of feedback and fuzz pedaled guitars, thunderous drumming and Holiday’s sensual yet ethereal cooing, “Hush” expresses an aching and unreciprocated longing.

“Swoon,” Hush‘s latest single is a breakneck ripper centered around fuzzy power chords, thunderous drumming, mosh pit friendly hooks. And while the song’s arrangement brings Finelines era My Vitriol and Lightfoils to mind, Isa Holiday’s ethereal vocals sing introspective and impressionistic lyrics. The song can be read in a number of different ways: it could be read as touching upon the loneliness, uncertainty and longing that comes about as a result of a seemingly bitter breakup. But it can also be read as a desire to escape a bleak world through connecting with someone equally as lonely as you are.

Directed by Jeroen Jullet, the recently released video for “Swoon” follows young doppelgängers for Slow Crush as they hit the road for their next show in a van paired with footage of the band’s Holiday walking through the woods in a frenetically edited, 120 Minutes MTV-like visual.

Live Footage: Miami’s Seafoam Walls Perform “Program” at Pulp Arts

Formed back in 2016, the Miami-based indie act Seafoam Walls — Jayan Bertrand (vocals, guitar), Josh Ewers (bass), Josue Vargas (electronic drums) and Dion Kerr (guitar) — caught the attention of cult music and art communities across South Florida for developing and honing a new genre, which they’ve dubbed ” Caribbean Jazzgaze,” as it meshes elements of jazz, shoegaze, rock, hip-hop and Afro-Caribbean rhythms.

Initially known in local circles, the members of Seafoam Walls exploded into the international scene following a secret, all-ages matinee show with DC hardcore photographer Susie J. and Sonic Youth‘s Thurston Moore. Over the past couple of the years, the Miami-based band have been busy: 2018 saw the release of their debut EP R-E-F-L-E-C-T and the following year, one-off single “Root.”

Earlier this year, Seafoam Walls released “Dependency” through Thurston Moore’s The Daydream Library Series as a Record Store Day release. Building upon a growing profile, the members of Seafoam Walls will be releasing their highly-anticipated full-length debut XVI later this year. Last month, the Miami-based quartet released “Program,” XVI’s first official single. The slow burning and painterly single features a wobbling bass line, shimmering guitars, bursts of feedback, a scorching guitar solo and chanted vocals. While continuing a run of bold, genre-defying material, “Program” manages to be a slick synthesis of A Storm of in Heaven-like shoegaze, krautrock and post-punk that will draw comparisons to TV on the Radio. 

The rising Miami-based band released a live version of “Program” recorded at Pulp Arts for Bandcamp Friday – and there’s accompanying live footage.

Bandcamp Friday may arguably be the best way to support independent musicians: Bandcamp waives their take and the artists behind these great songs and albums receive 100% of all proceeds for the day. Many artists on the platform, also donate portions of their earnings from the platform to worthy and notable charities. So if you have a few extra dollars, please support these artists and their endeavors. It’s impossible to continue art without money.

With the release of their debut EP I Used to Love You, Now I Don’t, the rising Brighton-based dream pop act and JOVM mainstays Hanya — currently Heather Sheret (vocal, guitar), Benjamin Varnes (guitar), Jorge Bela (bass) and Jack Watkins (drums) — garnered attention nationally and across the blogosphere for crafting a sound that featured elements of dream pop and shoegaze.

Last year, much like countless acts across the globe, the members of Hanya had plans to build upon a rapidly growing national and international profile: 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. Since their The Bowery Electric set last March, the band has been busy writing new material, which has included singles like:

  • 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.

Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the Brighton-based dream pop outfit will be releasing their highly-anticipated third EP later this fall. Featuring delicately guitars, a sinuous bass line. and a wah wah pedaled guitar solo, “Fortunes” the forthcoming EP’s lead single is a slow-burning track centered around A Storm In Heaven like painterly textures, ethereal harmonies and deeply personal, lived-in lyricism.

“‘Fortunes’ started almost as a joke as we teased the idea of writing a laid-back Y2K banger,” Hanya’s Heather Sheret explains in press notes. “Naturally, the more we wrote, the more we loved it. We followed our musical nose until we felt we had tapped into something special. Light, yet heavy, and catchy as hell the track details how getting outside of your comfort zone can often lead to finding the best version of yourself.”

HANYA is Heather Sheret (guitar, vocal), Benjamin Varnes (guitar), Jorge Bela (bass), Jack Watkins (drums)

New Audio: Seattle’s Fotoform Returns with a Defiant New Single

Deriving their name from a mid-century avant-garde photography movement, Seattle-based post punk outfit Fotoform — longtime collaborators and married couple Kim House (bass, vocals, synths) and Geoffrey Cox (guitar), along with newest member, former Death Cab for Cutie’s and The Long Winters’ Michael Schorr (drums) — can trace their origins back to the formation of a previous project, the dark, goth-adjacent dream pop act C’est la Mort, which formed shortly after House and Cox married.

Specializing in what they dubbed “pointy-shoegaze,” C’est la Mort released their full-length debut through their own Dismal Nitch label, as well as various compilation tracks, including a limited split 7 inch with Stars for American Laundromat‘s The Smiths‘ tribute Please Please Please. After a series of lineup changes, House and Cox re-emerged as Fotoform in late 2016.  

House and Cox released their Fotoform self-titled debut in 2017. Supported with tours of the West Coast and Europe, the album received airplay and praise both locally and nationally: Album single “I Know You’re Charming” was featured as a KEXP Song of The Day. The self-titled album was voted as one of KEXP Listeners’ Top 90.3 Albums of 2017 and it landed on several year-end lists, including The Big Takeover and Part-Time Punks. Building upon a growing profile, the band followed up with 2018’s Part-Time Punks EP, which was selected as one of The Big Takeover’s EPs of 2018.

Schorr joined the band in 2019 and they started last year with two benefit singles “Yves Klein Blue,” which was recored for voter outreach and the Christmas-themed “They Say It’s Always Lonely” to benefit local food banks. Both singles found the trio expanding upon their sound with the addition of synths. The trio then went into the studio with Evan Foster to record the material for their forthcoming sophomore album Horizons in early 2020. But as a result of pandemic-related quarantines and restrictions, the Horizons sessions resumed a year later with Foster — and with Matt Bayles recording drum parts.

Horizons, which is slated for an October 15, 2021 release reportedly finds the band pivoting even further from the towering wall of guitars-based sound of their previously released work and towards a much more nuanced sound drawing equally from shoegaze, dream pop and post-punk. Continuing to pair synths with layers of guitars and driving bass, the album’s sound may bring the likes of The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Chameleons, Cocteau Twins, Slowdive and others to mind.

Earlier this year, I wrote about the painterly Garlands era Cocteau Twins meets Souvlaki era Slowdive-like “Running,” a track centered around atmospheric synths, swirling guitars, soaring hooks and a forceful motorik pulse paired with House’s ethereal vocals. Horizons’ latest single “Too Late” may arguably be the most dynamic single off the album to date: Featuring the band’s Kim House on guitar for the first time in their history, the single further establishing their painterly and textured approach but while featuring a fed up narrator, who’s fed up and telling off someone who has wronged her.

We’ve all experienced moments when boundaries have been crossed, whether by ourselves or someone else, and there’s no going back,” Fotoform’s Kim House explains. “‘Too Late’ is about that moment of alienation- the point of no return. It’s almost a two-sided monologue, it’s a warning/reminder but also a kind of satisfying break-up song about being strong enough to cut someone off who has wronged you emotionally, romantically, or even professionally: That’s it, ‘you’re cut off.’ But: ‘you did it to yourself.’” 

Besides the new album, the trio — much like the rest of us — is looking forward to getting back to live shows and touring. They’ve also been writing and working on new material, including a split 7 inch with Savage Republic. 

New Audio: Miami’s Seafoam Walls Releases a Slow-burning, Genre-Defying Single

Formed back in 2016, the Miami-based indie act Seafoam Walls — Jayan Bertrand (vocals, guitar), Josh Ewers (bass), Josue Vargas (electronic drums) and Dion Kerr (guitar) — caught the attention of cult music and art communities across South Florida for developing and honing a new genre, which they’ve dubbed ” Caribbean Jazzgaze,” as it meshes elements of jazz, shoegaze, rock, hip-hop and Afro-Caribbean rhythms.

Initially known in local circles, the members of Seafoam Walls exploded into the international scene following a secret, all-ages matinee show with DC hardcore photographer Susie J. and Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore. Over the past couple of the years, the Miami-based band have been busy: 2018 saw the release of their debut EP R-E-F-L-E-C-T and the following year, one-off single “Root.”

Earlier this year, Seafoam Walls released “Dependency” through Thurston Moore’s The Daydream Library Series as a Record Store Day release. Building upon a growing profile, the members of Seafoam Walls will be releasing their highly-anticipated full-length debut XVI later this year. But in the meantime, the Miami-based quartet have released XVI’s first official single, the slow-burning and painterly “Program.” Featuring a wobbling bass line, shimmering bursts of feedback-driven guitar, a scorching guitar solo and chanted vocals fed through a gentle layer of distortion, “Program” continues a run of bold, genre-defying material: In the case of the new single you’ll hear nods at A Storm in Heaven-like shoegaze, krautrock and post-punk mixed in a fashion that will draw comparisons to TV on the Radio.