Category: Shoegaze

 

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.

 

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New Video: JOVM Mainstays A Place to Bury Strangers Release a Wild Lysergic-Tinged Visual for Album Single “Execution”

I’ve written quite a bit about long-time, Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays A Place to Bury Strangers throughout its 8 year history, and over that same period of time, the band currently comprised of Oliver Ackermann (vocals, guitar), Dion Lunadon (bass, guitar) and its newest member Lia Simone Braswell have developed a reputation for an unwavering and uncompromising commitment to unpredictable live shows — and for being one of the loudest bands on the planet. They’re also known for never writing an actual set list, for writing new songs in the middle of their sets and for deliberately provoking and sabotaging sound engineers in a variety of cruel and innovative ways — and as a result, they’re arguably one of the most exciting contemporary live bands you will see.

Dead Oceans will be releasing Re-Pinned, a remixed record featuring re-imagined and re-worked A Place to Bury Strangers tracks from Slowdive, Trentemøller, No Age, METZ, Eric Copeland, Roly Porter, Davy Drones, and TBO. And to support the remix album and their latest effort, Pinned, the Brooklyn-based trio will be embarking on the second leg of their world tour with a NYC area date at the Doc Marten’s Union Square location — and you can check out the tour dates below; but before that, “Execution” is the latest single off Pinned and it finds the band adding subtle elements to their sound: scentered around noisy squalls of feedback,  a motorik groove, Ackermann’s pained, gritted teeth-like vocals and industrial clang and clatter, the song manages to feel much more tense and chillier while still remaining almost defiantly them.

Directed by Black Math’s Evan Fellers, the recently released video for the song is centered around jarring neon-tinged visuals thrown into an equally surreal  backgrounds and reality, creating a wildly lysergic visual mix. As Fellers explains “It was a blast to craft this dark nugget of visual energy for this edgy track by APTBS. Fueled by the contours of potential meaning found in ‘Execution’, a free-form fall into defining this world resulted in 70% confused trip, 26% weird brain juice on the run, 3% humor & 1% whatever the hell you want it to be.”

New Video: Up-and-Coming New York Indie Act A Very Special Episode Explore the Paranormal in Visuals for “Gravity”

Deriving their name from the TV term for a specific sitcom episode that discusses heavy and/or more serious topics relative to the typical content of a broadcast network sitcom, the New York-based indie act A Very Special Episode was founded by its primary songwriting duo and core members Kasey Heiser (vocals) and Patrick Porter (guitar) back in 2016, and despite a series of lineup changes throughout their short history, Heiser and Porter have cited television — particularly sitcoms — as influencing some of the thematic concerns of their work. Sonically though, their sound draws from shoegaze, post-punk and 90s alt rock while centered around Haiser’s powerhouse vocals and enormous, arena friendly hooks. 

The band’s debut effort Censored Dreams was drawn from a series of home recordings, written over the course of several years, inspired by their own personal lives, including being artists struggling with the tedium of day jobs, personal and romantic relationships, Internet drama and many of the frustrations of daily life. So far 2018 has proven to be a big year for the band: they signed to Knuckle Down Records in April, and their sophomore EP Cut For Time was officially released today — and interestingly enough, the band’s new EP reportedly finds the band shifting towards a faster and more aggressive tempo while still retaining the atmospherics and intricate guitar work of their previously released material.  As the duo explain in press notes, “The goal of the EP was to create definitive versions of several of our songs that started as bedroom demos, along with a couple new ones.”

Featuring an arrangement of enormous, arena rock power chords played through feedback, delay and other effects pedals, thundering drumming, heavily down-tuned bass, equally enormous arena rock meets pop hooks — but while ensuring that Heiser’s attention-grabbing, power house vocals are at the forefront. Sonically, the song seems to find the band drawing from Paramore, My Vitriol, My Bloody Valentine and others simultaneously — but with a modern and incredibly self-assured take. As the band mentions “Gravity” is one of their oldest songs, and is among the first they’ve written, and while largely inspired by Stranger Things, the EP version is played with a faster tempo and higher, cleaner production value — while thematically, focusing on directly experiencing the paranormal. 
Shot and directed by Emma Shalaway, the recently releaysed video further emphasizes the paranormal — and perhaps paranoid — vibes of the song, as it focuses on the existence of parallel yet strangely similar universes, and the subtle yet gnawing sense that we’ve experienced something inexplicably odd yet can’t quite put to words. 

Earlier this month, I wrote about the up-and-coming  London-based, up-and-coming shoegaze quintet Cosmic Strip, and as you may recall, the band, which is fronted by  primary songwriter and creative mastermind, Camella Agabalyan, has described their work as “music to watch girls by, music to move the stars,” and with EP title track “Heavenly,” off the band’s recently released debut EP, the band seems to specialize in shimmering and soaring shoegaze that brought Wolf Alice and Lightfoils to my mind.  The EP’s latest single “Sugar Rush” is a decidedly 120 Minutes MTV-era bit of shoegaze, centered around squalling and towering feedback, shimmering guitar chords, ethereal vocals, soaring hooks and an alternating quiet, loud, quiet song structure that immediately brings Slowdive and A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve to mind, complete with a lysergic haze.

“I wanted to write a song about the feeling of addiction whether it’s sugar, love, a drug, whatever your vice is”, Camella Agbalyan says in press notes about the new single. “I personally really connect to dreamy, druggy songs like Air, My Bloody Valentine, Beach Fossils, Slowdive, The Jesus & The Mary Chain, etc., so I wanted to inspire myself from that feeling but also show the darker side of addiction that you might not always get from those types of songs”.

New Video: Introducing the 4AD Records-Inspired Shoegaze Sound of Los Angeles’ Tennis System

With the release of their latest effort PAIN earlier this year through Graveface Records,the up-and-coming Los Angeles, CA-based noise rock/shoegaze trio Tennis System has developed a reputation for a classic 4AD Records sound: squalling feedback-tinged power chords fed through delay and effect pedals, thundering drumming and ethereal melodies, centered around a rather sunny ambivalence, and a sense of profound loss — and for quickly establishing themselves as one of their hometown’s best, new live bands. In fact, the trio have played sets at Austin Psych Fest, Noise Pop Fest, Echo Park Rising and the Air & Style Festival, and have shared stages with The Flaming Lips, Ride, Dinosaur Jr., Kendrick Lamar and Diiv among others. 

“COMINGDOWN,” PAIN’s latest single will further cement the band’s reputation for crafting a familiar and beloved sound — in this case, recalling My Bloody Valentine, A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve, JOVM mainstays Dead Leaf Echo, My Vitriol and others but with an anxiety of wha the future could hold, after a horrible event that the song’s narrator knows they will regret. 

Directed by Logan Rice, the video follows  Niamh Hannigan as she distractedly goes through her day — and through a series of rapidly changing colors, grainy fade outs and fade ins, the video suggests that its protagonist is slowly coming down from the throes of hallucinogenic fugue. 

Late last month, I wrote about Parrot Dream, an up-and-coming shoegaze duo comprised of the, Santiago, Chile-born, Brooklyn-based Christina Hansen Appel (vocals, keys) and Gonzalo Guererro (guitar) back in 2013, and as you may recall, after relocating to Brooklyn, the duo quickly began to develop a reputation for sprawling and shimmering soundscapes. which helped them amass more than 500,000 steams on Spotify.

Written and recorded over a two year period, the duo’s soon to be released full-length debut Light Goes is slated for release later this month through Good Eye Records, and the album’s material reportedly touches upon themes of connection, love, memory and clarity. Album single “Paradise & Prey” was a slow-burning and atmospheric track that managed to be elegiac yet uplifting, anthemic yet intimate — and while indebted to 4AD Records and the classic shoegaze sound, the Chilean-born, Brooklyn-based duo have a subtly modern take on it.”Cloudchaser,” Light Goes‘ latest single may arguably the most anthemic bit of shoegaze on the entire album as its centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, propulsive drumming, equally shimmering guitar chords and Hansen Appel’s ethereal vocals floating over the mix. And adding to the anthemic nature of the song, the duo in press notes admit that the song was written with playful metaphors in mind, reflecting the idea of being in a relationship with unpredictable, tumultuous patterns; and of feeling of seeking shelter and being energized by the storminess.”

New Audio: Ancestors Release a Shoegazer Take on Doom Metal

Earlier this summer, I wrote about the Los Angeles-based metal/doom metal/psych rock/stoner rock quintet Ancestors, and as you may recall, the band which is currently comprised of founding duo Justin Maranga (guitar, vocals) and Nick Long (bass, vocals) along with Jason Watkins (organ, piano, electric piano, mellotron, vocals), Matt Barks (modular synthesizer, Moog synthesizer, guitar, vocals) and Daniel Pouliot can trace their origins back to 2006 when Maranga, Long, and Brandon Pierce began the band as a trio; Englishman Chico Foley, who had met Pierce shortly after relocating to Los Angeles joined the band. Jason Watkins joined to complete the band’s initial line up. Their full-length debut was released in 2008 through North Atlantic Sound Records in Europe and Tee Pee Records in the States — and the album featured artwork by Arik Roper, who has done artwork of the likes of Sleep, High on Fire, and Earth. Their 2009 sophomore Of Sound Mind was produced by the band and Pete Lyman and featured collaborations with Melvins‘, Unwound and Slug’s David Scott Stone, Black Math Horseman‘s Sera Timms and cellist Ramiro Zapata.

2010 saw the first of several lineup changes as Chico Foley left the band and was replaced by Matt Barks and with a new lineup, they went into the studio to write and record the Kenny Woods-produced Invisible White EP.  And despite, a series of lineup changes, the band’s sound generally draws from prog rock, psych rock, stoner rock and doom metal — but they’ve also at points increasingly incorporated elements of experimental rock and musique concrete among others.  The Los Angeles-based rock quintet’s forthcoming album Suspended In Reflections is slated for release later on this month through Pelagic Records, and from album single “Gone,” the  single and the album itself reportedly reflects a different take on their sound and approach as the single is a slow-burning dirge that manages to bridge shoegaze and doom metal as it features enormous power chords, played through tons of effects pedals, soaring and ethereal synths within an expansive yet moody song structure that nods a bit at prog rock.

“Through A Window,” Suspended In Reflections’ latest single is a slow-burning and brooding dirge centered around shimmering guitar chords, soaring hooks and dramatic drumming — and interestingly enough, the single finds the band leaning heavily towards a mediative and thoughtful shoegazer territory.

New Video: The 120 Minutes-like Visuals and Sounds of The Purrs “Late Night Disturbance”

Currently comprised of founding duo Jima (bass, vocals) and Jason Milne (guitar, backing vocals), along with Liz Herrin (guitar, backing vocals) and Dusty Hayes (drums), the Seattle, WA-based indie rock band The Purrs can trace their origins back to when its founding members started the band close to two decades ago. Herrin, joined the band about a decade ago, and the band’s newest member, Hayes, joined the band about three years ago. And while going through lineup changes, the band has written, recorded and released five full-length albums, a couple of EPs and a number of singles through a number of indie labels.

Released last week through Swoon Records, their Johnny Sangster-produced full-length,
Destroy the Sun will further cement their long-held reputation for mixing slash-and-burn guitars with gorgeous and haunting melodies — but interestingly enough, as you’ll hear on the album’s latest single “Late Night Disturbance” possesses elements of eerie Country and Western, indie rock, shoegaze, New Wave and post-punk in a way that recalls David Lynch, Ennio Morricone  Joshua Tree-era U2, Gold Afternoon Fix-era The Church complete with widescreen vista-like vibes and tight hooks.

The recently released video by Cent-Dix Kilo features the members of the band playing the song in front of trippy superimposed visuals of late night highways and clouds — all of which emphasizes the shoegazer vibes of the song.

Fronted by primary songwriter and creative mastermind, Camella Agabalyan, the London-based, up-and-coming shoegaze quintet Cosmic Strip have described their work as “music to watch girls by, music to move the stars,” and “Heavenly,” the latest single from the band’s debut EP is a mesmerizing and anthemic track, centered by dexterous and shimmering power chords and soaring hook — and although some have compared the band and their sound to the likes of Beach House and Alvvays, to my ears, the band’s sound reminds me a bit of Wolf Alice and Lightfoils, but as the band says, the song is “. . . dedicated to the addictive feeling of your first love.”

The band has started to receive a attention from the blogosphere and as a result of a growing profile, the members of the band have made an appearance at The Great Escape  and are in the middle of a UK tour that includes a Wildness Festival set tonight. If you’re in the UK, check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates
03 Aug – Wilderness Festival
24 Aug – The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham
25 Aug – Night & Day Café, Manchester
27 Aug – Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds (This Must Be The Place Festival)
31 Aug – Sebright Arms, London (EP launch party)