Category: Shoegaze

Now, if you had been frequenting this website over the past few years, you may have come across a couple of posts featuring the Brooklyn-based indie rock act Lazyeyes, and as some of you may recall, the band, which initially began as a trio and now currently consists of Jason Abrishami (guitar, vocals), Sam Maynard (guitar, vocals), Jeremy Sampson (drums) and Jermey Rose (bass, vocals) received quite a bit of attention after the release of their 2013 self-titled EP: The Deli Magazine named the band the “Best Psych Rock/Shoegaze band,” Purple Sneakers praised the EP as a “moody and anthemic record, equal parts shoegaze and dream pop,” Stereogum described their sound as a “a muscular, riff-happy brand of guitar based dream-pop” and they were a featured artist in the November 2014 issue of NME — and adding to a growing profile, tracks from the EP received airplay from BBC Radio, XM Radio and a number of FM stations across the globe.

2015’s self-released, sophomore EP New Year was eventually picked up and reissued by Burger Records‘ cassette imprint Weiner Records, and “Adaptation,” the EP’s first single received quite a bit of attention across the blogosphere, including this site. Some time has passed since I’ve last written about them — but their long awaited full-length debut Echoes is slated for a summer release through Egghunt Records and 2670 Records. Interestingly, Echoes first single, album title track “Echoes” is a brooding and seamless synthesis of 80s British post-punk and shoegaze as you’ll hear angular and propulsive bass chords, four-on-the-floor drumming and towering, pedal effected guitar pyrotechnics paired with rousingly anthemic hooks — and while the song may initially strike you as drawing influence from Heaven Up Here-era Echo and the Bunnymen, it reveals a band confidently expanding upon the sound that first captured attention.

 

 

 

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Although currently comprised of founding member and primary songwriter Ripley Johnson (guitar, vocals), Dusty Jermier (trumpet, bass), Omar Ahsanuddin (drums) and Nash Whalen (organ), the renowned San Francisco, CA-based psych rock act Wooden Shjips can trace their origins back to 2003 when Johnson started the band with the intention of finding a group of non-musicians and creating music with them — with the underlying idea behind it being that untrained players would have a new outlook on what music is and how it’s played, and as a result bring something fresh to the table in a way that many of the garage punks of the early 60s and the Velvet Underground did. In fact one of the longest tenured members of the band, Jermier was originally recruited to play saxophone, an instrument he had never even picked up before while other members from their earliest iterations often had such a lack of interest in playing live for anyone that the band didn’t bother looking for gigs.

Eventually, the band settled to its current lineup — but this time, the intention was different: Johnson, a fan of seemingly impenetrable albums and arcane, small-press poetry books, was fascinated by the idea of books that went unread or became largely out of favor and/or of print that were rediscovered by collectors or some bored critic looking for something different, and praised for being lost and under-appreciated gems. And unsurprisingly, the band set about to make purposely obscure albums that Johnson envisioned leaving in libraries, thrift store bargain bins and on park benches. Eschewing a MySpace page, a Soundcloud account or a website with MP3 downloads, the band gave away a limited pressing of 300 copies of their debut 10 inch vinyl album, paying the shipping costs for out of town requests — and unexpectedly, the album received some rave reviews, including one from Rolling Stone, which raised the album’s cachet and the band’s profile, thanks in part to a sound that the band has described as “a minimal, droning kind of garage band-influenced psychedelia with a noticeable 60s Krautrock influence” with some comparing the band to Suicide, The Velvet Underground, The Doors, Soft Machine and Guru Guru.

Building upon the growing buzz surrounding them, the members of Wooden Shjips released 2006’s “Dance California”/”Clouds Over the Earthquake,” to mark the centennial of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, which sold enough for the band to break even on their investment, and “Summer of Love 2007,” a single inspired by groups, who worked to make the world the kind of place they wanted to live in, like the Diggers, a local anarchist collective that founded the first Free Store and served free meals to Golden State Park to any and all comers with the proceeds from the single going to Food Not Bombs. Interestingly, their second real gig as a band was a single release show, opening for the psych rock legend Roky Erickson.
The band’s self-produced and self-recorded full-length debut was recorded in the band’s rehearsal space on an half-inch eight-track console that Jermier found, making the album an strictly analog affair aimed at getting high-quality and high-fidelity on an extremely low budget. Some tracks were layered up demos while others were live studio jams with drum parts added later, since they only had two tracks of the drums and no way to keep instruments from bleeding into each other noisily. But despite — or perhaps because of its DIY fashion, the album was released to critical applause that lead to the “Loose Lips”/”Start to Dreaming” 7 inch released by Sub Pop Records.Since then, the band has released three more full-length albums, 2009’s Dos, 2011’s West, 2013’s Back to Land and two compilations 2008’s Volume 1 and 2010’s Volume 2 — and they’ve managed this while the band’s Johnson has been busy with his side project Moon Duo, his acclaimed dup with Sanae Yamada that has released four full-length albums and one EP.  Interestingly, V, the Bay Area-based psych rock band’s fifth full-length album and first album in over five years, finds the band reportedly expanding upon their sound while lightening the overall vibes, with the material being decidedly laid back, almost summery jams.

 

Written last summer, Johnson viewed the material as a necessary antidote to the pervasive political anxiety and apocalyptic panic; in fact, as Johnson says in press notes,
“We had huge forest fires just outside of Portland and there was intense haze and layers of ash in the city. I was sitting on my porch every evening, watching ash fall down like snow, the sky looking like it was on fire. It was an apocalyptic feeling. Summer in Portland is usually really chill and beautiful, and we were working on a ‘summer record,’ but the outside world kept intruding on my headspace.” V., a graphic representation of the Peace sign, seemed apt to an album focused on the power of peace, beauty and resistance. The music is a balm against the noise and negativity.”
 Now, as you may recall V’s first single “Staring at the Sun” was an expansive and shimmering guitar pop sound with a steady groove that seemed as though it owed a big sonic debut to Buffalo Springfield‘s “For What It’s Worth” and Psychic Ills‘ Inner Journey Out; however, V‘s latest single “Red Line” is a bit of a return to form, with the band nodding at both classic psych rock and contemporary shoegaze as the track is centered around droning instrumentation and a propulsive and hypnotic, motorik like groove. But much like its predecessor, the band emphasizes slowing, down and pressing the reset button in a world gone absolutely mad.

The band is currently touring to support their forthcoming fifth album, and you can check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates:

 

April 20 – Half Moon Bay, CA – Old Princeton Landing [tickets]

April 21 – Santa Cruz – Michael’s On Main [tickets]

April 29 – Austin, TX – Levitation Festival

May 25 – Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios [tickets]

May 26 – Seattle, WA – Crocodile [tickets]

June 1 – Nelsonville, OH – Nelsonville Music Festival

June 2 – Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle [tickets]

June 4 – Detroit, MI – Marble Bar [tickets]

June 5 – Toronto, ON – Horseshoe Tavern [tickets]

June 7 – Los Angeles, CA – The Lodge [tickets]

June 9 – Sonoma, CA – Huichica Music Festival

Over the past handful of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Liverpool-based shoegaze quintet and JOVM mainstays The Vryll Society, and as you may recall, the band, which is comprised of Michael Ellis, Ryan Ellis, Lewis McGuinness, Lloyd Shearer, and Benjamin Robinson have received attention from both this site and across the blogosphere with a series of singles that revealed a sound and songwriting approach that draws from a diverse array of influences, including FunkadelicAphrodite’s Child, krautrock and classic shoegaze.

The Liverpool-based shoegazers latest single “Andrei Rublev” is the first official single from the band’s long-awaited full-length debut, slated for release sometime this summer, and interestingly enough, the song is inspired by Andre Tarkovsky’s 1996 arthouse film Andrei Rublev — and as a result, the deeply meditative song which is centered around boom bap-like drums, a sinuous bass line and some gorgeous guitar manages to nod at both classic shoegaze and 70s AM rock  — all while hinting at an urgent ache for something far bigger than oneself.

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New Video: JOVM Mainstays Modern Time Machines Send Up Classic TV Shows in Video for Album Single “Freefall (Can’t Stop)”

Over the past couple of years of this site’s history, I’ve written quite a bit about the Los Angeles, CA-based shoegazer act Modern Time Machines, and as you may recall with the release of singles like Dweeb,” the band comprised of Ben Golomb, Justin Bond, Nadia Franks and Neil Johnson have received attention for a pairing dreamy boy/girl harmonizing with a sound that has drawn comparisons to  M83, Medicine, Sonic Youth and others. Adding to a growing profile, the band has received airplay on  KROQ 106.7FM, have appeared on Adult Swim’s The Eric Andre Show and will have some of their music featured in director Ashley York’s upcoming film So Help You God. 
The up-and-coming, Los Angeles-based shoegazers’ Josiah Mazzaschi-produced, sophomore effort MTM is slated for release next week, and the album features guest spots from Nightmare Air‘s Dave Dupuis, Bell Gardens’ Kenneth James Gibson, that dog.’s Kaitlin Wolfberg and a remix from electronic music production and artist duo De Lux. Earlier this year, I’ve written about the A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve “High Noon” and the  Dinosaur, Jr-like “Failsafe,” off the album — both of which further cemented their reputation for crafting 120 Minutes-era MTV-like indie rock. And much like its predecessors, MTM’s latest single “Freefall (Can’t Stop) continues in a similar vein as the band has a penchant for soaring hooks, feedback drenched guitars and dreamy boy/girl harmonizing, centered around earnest and plaintive lyrics. 

Directed by the band’s Ben Golomb and featuring a lengthy cast, the recently released video is a hilarious and ridiculous send up on a number of classic TV shows including Mary Tyler Moore, Small Wonder, Gilligan’s Island and others.  

New Video: Chilean Shoegazers MAFF Release Eerie 120 Minutes MTV-like Visuals for Cinematic “Act 2”

Currently comprised of childhood friends and founding members Richard Gómez (vocals, bass and guitar) and Nicolás “Nek” Colombres (drums), along with the band’s newest members, Valentina Cardenas (bass) and Martin Colombres (guitar), the Santiago, Chile-based shoegazer act MAFF formed back in 2012 but interestingly enough the band can trace its origins to Gómez and Colombres collaborating in a number of local punk bands before starting their latest project, which is largely influenced by The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Pixies, RIDE, Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine. Now, if you had been frequenting this site a few years ago, you may recall that the Chilean shoegazers’ self-titled debut received attention both nationally and internationally among musicians, critics and fans for material that thematically explored innocence, mysticism, love, loss, freedom and timelessness among other things.

Since the release of their full-length debut, the acclaimed Colombian shoegazers went on a lengthy hiatus in which Gomez fathered a daughter, Augusta, who wound up inspiring their soon-to-be released EP Melaniña, an effort that derives it’s name from an amalgamation of the word melanin, chosen because Augusta Gomez is slightly albino with the Spanish word for little girl, niña. The album artwork, which was created by the band’s Nicolas Colombres, features an image of little Augusta, who witnessed the entire creative process of the EP.  “During our break between albums, I learned to be a father and learned to play the guitar. I started to write music surrounded by new feelings in my life,” Ricardo Gomez says in press notes. “It is always fascinating to keep learning new things, and I was fortunate to have these two moment’s crash together in the same period of my life. I locked myself in my home studio and started to write music”. “She’s been my source of inspiration,” Gomez continues. “This is my gift to her.”
Melaniña’s latest single “Act 2” was written and conceived as a sequel to “Act 1” off the band’s self-titled album, and as a result the incredibly cinematic instrumental track features some impressive guitar pyrotechnics, with guitars played through effects pedals paired with a propulsive rhythm section — with an expansive yet dreamy vibe familiar to classic shoegaze that also nods at Finelines-era My Vitriol and Collapse Under the Empire.
Directed by Tim Busko, the recently video continues the band’s ongoing collaboration with the Pennsylvania-based director and filmmaker, and much like its predecessor, the black and white video is comprised of shaky, handheld images of household items — radios, teacups, breakfast food, household plants, model planes, kids playing and natural phenomenon with a creepy yet hallucinogenic feel.

Nostalgist is a Seattle, WA-based post-punk/shoegaze act led by founding member and primary songwriter Asa Eisenhardt (vocals, guitar)  — and with the release of 2013’s Monochromatic EP and 2015’s Of Love and Days Ago, the Seattle-based project received attention for a heavy and moody sound that’s been influenced by Lowlife, Slowdive, Lycia, The Comsat Angels, The Chameleons, Killing Joke, Fields of the Nephilim, Hum and Red House Painters among others.

Recorded and mixed throughout 2016 and 2017, Disaffection, the long-awaited follow up to Of Love and Days Ago features guest spots from renowned drummer Aesop Dekker, who’s been a member of Khorada, Worm Ouroboros, Extremity and a former member of ex-Agalloch; Alex Entrekin (drums), who joined on as the project’s new drummer; and Monte McCleery (bass) who’s also a member of Seattle-based doom act Un. Interestingly, the effort features five originals and a cover of Catherine Wheel’s “Texture.” Disaffection‘s second and latest single “Smoldering Amber” finds the band drawing from post-punk, shoegaze and grunge, as the song is centered around a familiar structure — quiet, loud, quiet, with the quieter verses featuring towering and shimmering guitar chords over which Eisenhardt’s mournful vocals ethereally float over, and the blistering power chord-based chorus, held together with a propulsive rhythm section and arpeggiated synths. Without a doubt, the song will immediately bring 120 Minutes-era MTV to mind with a cinematic quality; but underneath the surface is a plaintive and aching yearning that gives the song a Romantic quality.

As Nostalgist’s Asa Eisenhardt says in press notes, “This is the most lyrically intimate thing I’ve written to date. As with many of my songs, it chronicles the beginning, middle and end of some manner of relationship, but here the words are especially dramatic (even for me, ha) and visceral. Infatuation is the most central theme. The instrumental arrangement emphasizes a dub rhythm in the verses, and I expect that influence to become even more prominent in future material. Dub was an enormous influence on ’80s post-punk, so following the throughline from bands I hold near and dear as influences (Comsat Angels, The Chameleons and Killing Joke to name but a few) and investigating that sound continues to be a natural progression for me.”

“At the same time, I do my best to really blend things up when I write, and both the mix and contrast of the heavy and the ethereal in ‘Smoldering Amber’ is easily the most pronounced of the songs on Disaffection. The verse section is minimal and grooving, but the chorus is huge and lumbering. The bridge is fragile and deliberate, the outro is hard-charging, uptempo and intertwined with synth melody. Dynamics are another dimension of musical color one can explore and manipulate, really. All in all, I think this track is especially exemplary of our elemental makeup”.

New Video: Modern Time Machines Return with 120 Minutes-era MTV Inspired Visuals for Rousingly Anthemic Single “Failsafe”

Earlier this year, I wrote about  the Los Angeles, CA-based shoegazer act Modern Time Machines, and as you may recall with the release of their debut single “Dweeb,” and several other singles, which received airplay on KROQ 106.7FM, the band comprised of  Ben Golomb, Justin Bond, Nadia Franks and Neil Johnson have received attention for pairing dreamy boy/girl harmonies with a sound that’s drawn comparisons to M83, Medicine, Sonic Youth and others. Adding to a growing profile, the Los Angeles-based shoegazers appeared on Adult Swim’s The Eric Andre Show and will have some of their music featured in director Ashley York’s upcoming film So Help You God.

Modern Time Machines’ Josiah Mazzaschi-produced, sophomore effort MTM is slated for an April 6, 2018 release and will feature guest spots from Nightmare Air‘s Dave Dupuis, Bell Gardens‘ Kenneth James Gibson, that dog.’s Kaitlin Wolfberg and a remix from electronic music production and artist duo De Lux. And as you may recall, album single “High Noon” featured the boy/girl harmonies that first garnered them attention while sonically reminding me quite a bit of A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve. Interestingly, MTM’s latest single “Failsafe” is a decidedly 120 Minutes-era MTV affair — in particular, I’m somehow reminded of Dinosaur, Jr. and others, as the song features feedback drenched and pedal effected power chords, rousingly anthemic hooks, a propulsive and insistent rhythm section and those boy/girl harmonies; but underneath the dreamy vibes is an aching yearning.

Directed, edited and filmed by Kimberly Zsebe of ZB Images, the recently released video, much like the song itself seems heavily indebted to 120 Minutes-era MTV, as it features the band performing the song while partially shot under kaleidoscopic filters, which gives the video a trippy feel.

Deriving their name from Leos Carax’s hallucinatory 2012 film Holy Motors the Tallinn, Estonia-based quintet, Holy Motors, have cloaked much of their operation and backstory in mystery — but from what has been made publicly available, the band which features Ellian Tulve (vocals), Lauri Raus and Kaspar Kiinvald, formed in 2013 and soon after their formation began playing shows, including that year’s Tallinn Music Week Festival. And as the story goes, Merchandise’s Carson Cox saw the band and then introduced them to Florida-based label Hidden Eye, which along with renowned indie label Wharf Cat Records released the band’s debut single “Heavenly Creatures”/”Running Water” in 2015.

“Sleepydr,” the Estonian band’s breakthrough 7 inch was released to critical praise early last year from Stereogum, who described it as “psychedelic rock that hits like a dream despite undoubtedly seeking to soundtrack nightmares.” Building upon their growing international profile, the Tallinn-based quintet’s full-length debut effort Slow Sundown is slated for release this week, and from the album’s latest single “Signs,” is a slow-burning and moody bit of cinematic shoegaze that evokes long, late night drives: white lines, blacktop, highway signs, taillights and headlights, music blaring and your distracted thoughts. Interestingly, the album thematically speaking centers around motion — the celestial motions of satellites orbiting a planet, the motion of passengers in a car and so on, as it relates to larger, universal scale, while pointing out the existential isolation within all moving bodies, particularly people.