Category: Shoegaze

New Video: AMAARA Releases Two Gorgeous and Dreamy Videos

Kaelen Ohm is a British Columbia-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, musician, actor and award-winning filmmaker. As an actor, Ohm is known for roles in AMC’s Hell on Wheels, NBC’s Taken, MGM’s Condor, Lifetime Network’s Flint and several others. In 2018, Ohm appeared in Charles Wahl’s short film Little Grey Bubbles, which premiered at ten Oscar qualifying festivals worldwide, including SXSW. The film was featured as a Staff Pick on Vimeo, earned best actress and best short film award nominations and received widespread praise from critics and blogs across the globe. 

Ohm is also the creative mastermind behind the the multimedia project AMAARA. Upon getting the news that she was cast a series regular in the new Netflix original series Hit and Run, Ohm left Calgary with six songs off her forthcoming album Heartspeak completed. Hit and Run was filmed in New York last fall and was filming in Israel and  was put on pause, four weeks out from wrapping up their first season as a result of COVID-19 quarantines and social distancing guidelines. 

Heartspeak, which continues her ongoing collaboration with Reuben and the Dark’s Brock Geier, is the result of ten days of stream-of-consciousness songwriting, recording and production in Geiger’s bedroom studio. Written completely by Ohm, the material can trace its origins to the British Columbia-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, musician, actor and filmmaker sitting at the piano or with a guitar first thing each morning until a song was found — with the two collaborating on production and instrumental work, spending each day laying down tracks. Written as a culmination of a life-changing heartbreak and the end of a marriage, the album’s material is a meditation on love, grief, freedom and self-evaluation. 

Slated for an August 14, 2020 release through Lady Moon Records, Ohm and Geier have released two singles from the album. “Awake,” a slow-burning and brooding single centered around shimmering guitar, twinkling keys, a soaring hook and Ohm’s plaintive vocals — and “Gone,” a decidedly shoegazey track featuring shimmering synth arpeggios, thumping beats. And while respectively bringing Mazzy Star and Lightfoils to mind, both tracks come from a place of lived-in grief and heartache, accepting them as a natural part of life that one experiences and learns to live with — and through. 

The accompanying videos were directed and by Ohm. “Gone” employs a simple concept of Ohm performing the song by herself in the desert — but the video features a cinematic sweep that makes its creator seem tiny. “Awake,” features Ohm traveling a surreal and unusually empty New York. And while capturing the experience of wandering New York during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s a commentary of on how the jarring experience of realizing one’s own illusion of perfection can be an awakening experience. 

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New Video: Rising Swedish Act Spunsugar Releases a Mischievous Visual for Brooding “Happier Happyless”

Last year, Spunsugar, a rising Swedish indie act, led by Elin Ramstead released their attention grabbing, genre-bending debut EP Mouth Full Of You, an effort that firmly established their unique genre-bending sound and approach, which features elements of industrial electronica,  post-punk, noise rock, shoegaze and dream pop — while also earning airplay from BBC 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq. 

Slated for for a fall release through Adrian Recordings, the band’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Drive-Through Chapel reportedly finds the band seeking to emulate the sounds of Cocteau Twins, Slowdive, and others — but while simultaneously crafting some of their hardest hitting material to date. “Happier Happyless,” Drive-Through Chapel’s brooding latest single is a perfect taste of what listeners should expect: shimmering synth arpeggios, propulsive industrial beats, swirling guitars, and a soaring and rousingly anthemic hook paired with Ramstead’s ethereal vocals evoking an aching yearning.  While clearly indebted to 4AD Records, goth and shoegaze, the industrial element to their sound finds the rising Swedish act adding themselves to a growing crop of contemporary shoegazers, who are actively pushing the genre’s sonic boundaries — including acts like Lightfoils, BLACKSTONE RNGRS and countless others. 

“’Happier Happyless’ is a sour and sweet song, tackling subjects of pining, happiness and revenge,” the band explains in press notes. “Having a fittingly slower pace than former Spunsugar singles, this song is also an homage to the shunned 2001 slasher movie Valentine, released a little too late in the post-Scream era. Written with the aim to have’ ‘a memorable hook, a thumping synth bass line and a gazey chorus,’ this is a good introduction to the bands debut album, because of the constant switching of emotional tonality.”

The recently released video employs a relatively simple concept — perhaps inspired by our current period of quarantines: the visual primarily features the band’s Ramstead dancing and singing the song in front of white screen or white wall. A  series of colors — red, blue, yellow and green are projected. At various points, we see her bandmates, who throw balled up pieces  of paper at Ramstead, or they just show up to goof off.  So while the song may be brooding, the video reveals a bit of playfulness. 

New Video: Polish Shoegeazers Waterville Releases a Cinematic Visual for Atmospheric New Single

Founded in one of Poland’s more remote, peaceful and natural environments, the emerging Polish shoegaze trio Waterville — Hiacynta Szulc (vocals, bass),  Marcin Adamczuk (guitar) and Bartosz Niedzwiecki (drums) — craft material informed by concerns about climate change and its impact on the planet’s ecology, human relationships and those things that are truly important to humanity. 

Coincidentally, the band’s recently released debut EP Shades and Whispers is their label Shore Dive Records’ 50th release, and to commemorate the occasion, the EP’s latest single “Shadows”  is a slow-burning and atmospheric track centered around strummed guitar chords, Szulc’s ethereal vocals, dramatic drumming and a soaring hook. Sonically, the track draws comparisons to Slowdive and Mazzy Star. 

The recently released, cinematic video begins with a car driving down a foggy and late night, two-laned highway. When the car gets to its destination, we follow a young couple on a lengthy walk through the fields — but as the video progresses, it appears that the couple is lost and helpless in a cold and indifferent world. 

Deriving their name from a retired racing greyhound that’s since been renamed Jenna, Jetstream Pony is an emerging shoegazer act split between Brighton UK and Croydon UK. Featuring Trembling Blue Stars,’ The Luxembourg Signal‘s and Aberdeen’s Beth Arzy (vocals), The Wedding Present’s and The Popguns‘ Shaun Charman (guitar), Kerry Boettcher (bass) and the band’s newest addition Hannes Müller, the members of the band bonded over their mutual love of post-punk and indie pop.

The band released a few 7 inch singles through Kleine Untergrund Schallplaten, along with a their 12 inch debut EP Self-Destruct EP — both of which received a bit of attention across the shoegazer and indie pop scenes. Building upon growing momentum, the British act’s self-titled, full-length debut is slated for a May 22, 2020 release through Shelflife Records and Kleine Untergrund Schallplaten. Interestingly, the album’s second and latest single “Trapped in Amber” is a shoegazer-like bit of guitar pop that recalls 120 Minutes-era MTV college radio that features an enormous hook, shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, four-on-the-floor drumming and Beth Arzy’s ethereal vocals, delivered with the self-assuredness of old pros.

“‘Trapped in Amber’ is a relationship song, with lyrics by Beth,” the band’s Shaun Charmn explains in an email. “She writes a mixture of prose and verse on virtual scraps of paper. When I have new music, I flick through them to see which fits best, then edit to fit. Beth’s happy for things to be changed, she then edits again for the final version. It does work really well. This song was written at the very last minute before album recording, I was still working it out in the studio as we recorded it, but it was sounding too good to leave off.”

 

 

 

Lyric Video: Gateway Drugs Releases a Shimmering and Heartbreaking Ballad

Formed in 2010, the rising Los Angeles-based act Gateway Drugs — siblings Gabe, Noa and Liv Niles, who all share vocal and instrumental duties, and their longtime friend James Sanderson (bass) — emerged into the psych rock scene with the 2015 release of their full-length debut, Magick Spells, an album that helped to establish their noisey and melodic take on shoegaze that Hellbound has likened to “The Stooges meets My Bloody Valentine and The Brian Jonestown Massacre — a little dark, a little eerie and a little grainy and all intoxicating.”

Slated for a May 8, 2020 release through Future Shock Records, the Los Angeles-based psych rock quartet’s, ten song, Sune Rose Wagner-produced sophomore effort PSA was recorded during a 12 day recording session at Josh Homme’s Pink Duck Studio. Centered around what the band says was some of the quickest and most direct songwriting process of their young careers, the album as the band told Foxes Mag “. . . is much more intimate and raw than our first album. All of the songs were recorded live for the most part.”

While further establishing their noisy and melodic take on psych rock, the material reportedly finds the band writing more introspective material, drawing from a wild and chaotic few years for the band — and for the world at large. According to the members of Gateway Drugs, the album reflects “everything that is wrong in the here and now: the weakness of the world laid bare, and the almost total state of apathy we all find ourselves in due to feeling powerless to effect any change with respect to all of this. PSA is an attempt to connect with others, who feel the same way and regain a sense of our ability to change things for the better.”

Now, as you may recall, last week, I wrote about, the brooding and hook-driven  “Slumber,” PSA’s second single, a track that reminded me a bit of the aforementioned Brian Jonestown Massacre, Riot City Blues-era Primal Scream, while being an earnest reflection on unrequited love that focused on the rejection and heartbreak of a jilted suitor. PSA’s third and latest single is the slow-burning ballad “I’m Always Around.” Centered around shimmering guitars, the song was written and sung by the band’s Liv Niles — and is essentially, a bitter and heartbreaking goodbye letter to a lover ad a relationship that seems bound to come to a close. 

“The song reflects my nostalgia at the time towards my relationship that was failing, my sadness knowing he would hate me one day for choosing myself over him,” the band’s Liv Niles explains in press notes. 

New Video: Rising Los Angeles Psych Rockers Gateway Drugs Release an Intimate Visual for Brooding “Slumber”

Formed in 2010, the rising Los Angeles-based act Gateway Drugs — siblings Gabe, Noa and Liv Niles, who all share vocal and instrumental duties, and their longtime friend James Sanderson (bass) — emerged into the psych rock scene with the 2015 release of their full-length debut, Magick Spells, an album that helped to establish noisey and melodic take on shoegaze that Hellbound has likened to “The Stooges meets My Bloody Valentine and The Brian Jonestown Massacre — a little dark, a little eerie and a little grainy and all intoxicating.”

Slated for a May 8, 2020 release through Future Shock Records, the Los Angeles-based psych rock quartet’s, ten song, Sune Rose Wagner-produced sophomore effort PSA was recorded during a 12 day recording session at Josh Homme’s Pink Duck Studio. Centered around what the band says was some of the quickest and most direct songwriting process of their young careers, the album as the band told Foxes Mag “. . . is much more intimate and raw than our first album. All of the songs were recorded live for the most part.” 

While further establishing their noisy and melodic take on psych rock, the material reportedly finds the band writing more introspective material, drawing from a wild and chaotic few years for the band — and for the world at large. According to the members of Gateway Drugs, the album reflects “everything that is wrong in the here and now: the weakness of the world laid bare, and the almost total state of apathy we all find ourselves in due to feeling powerless to effect any change with respect to all of this. PSA is an attempt to connect with others, who feel the same way and regain a sense of our ability to change things for the better.” 

“Slumber,” PSA’s second single is brooding yet shimmering and hook driven track that features the band’s Gabe Niles taking up vocal duties. And while sonically bearing a resemblance to the aforementioned Brian Jonestown Massacre, Riot City Blues-era Primal Scream, the song is an achingly earnest reflection on unrequited love, focusing on  rejection and heartbreak. 

Shot, edited and directed by the members of the band, the recently released video for “Slumber” is an intimate view into the band’s daily lives inn a way that personally reminds me of 120 Minutes-era MTV. “Videos nowadays tend to be overly cinematic or pretentious. The songs get lost and leaves little room for the listeners imagination,” the band says of the video. “We wanted to keep it simple, sincere, and true to form, so we shot and edited the video ourselves.” 

New Audio: Los Angeles’ The Know Covers The Jesus and Mary Chain

Los Angeles-based dream pop/shoegaze duo The Know, married couple and collaborators Daniel Knowles and Jennifer Farmer, can trace their origins to late 2018, when Knowles suggested to Farmer that instead of traveling home for the holidays — the UK and Texas respectively — that they stay put in Los Angeles and try to write music together, just the two of them. And the material they would write would be their gift to themselves.

Over a couple of weeks, they isolated themselves in their home studio with no real plan but they shared a mutual love of Beach House, Julee Cruise, ye ye, The Jesus and Mary Chain, 60s girl groups, Patsy Cline and The National. Interestingly, the first batch of material they wrote together, included their debut single “143.” Inspired by Tom Waits‘ “(Looking for) The Heart of Saturday Night,” “143” found the duo meshing the autobiographical with the fantastic: focusing on the hazy half-remembered recollections of a wild night out paired with an instrumental arrangement that seemed indebted to Beach House and 60s girl groups.

Their second single “Hold Me Like You Know Me,” a personal account of the intense feelings of loneliness and isolation that the band’s Farmer felt over the past year, received favorably comparisons to David Lynch’s Twin Peaks and Phil Spector‘s Wall of Sound production.

Both of those singles will be included on the duo’s forthcoming debut EP, wearetheknow. Slated for a May 18, 2020 release, the EP finds the duo fully embracing a DIY ethos: the EP was produced, mixed and mastered by the band’s Knowles with Farmer handling the band’s visual side, including their videos and visual content. And as a result, the duo ensure that they have complete creative control over what they do. Thematically, the EP delves into the duo’s personal lives with the material touching upon their relationship and their experiences  — paired with a kaleidoscopic soundscape. 

Now, as you may recall, last month, I wrote about “Someday Maybe,” a track that continued a run of material based on their personal experiences while sonically meshing Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound with The Stone Roses and others as it featured swooning boy-girl harmonies paired with layers of swirling and buzzing guitars and pedal effects.  Interestingly, the duo’s latest single, a cover of The Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Sometimes Always” was inspired by quarantine-induced boredom — and was initially just intended for their own amusement and ears. After completing the track, the duo liked the way it came out, so they sent it to their CLUB 143 fan club an exclusive listen and feedback. The feedback was so positive that the and decided to squeeze in another single before the release of their debut EP. 

The Know’s cover of “Sometimes Always” the first song in which Knowles takes on lead vocal duties — but the cover is a deceptive, sonic detour with the duo taking one of The Jesus and Mary Chain’s more pop-leaning songs and playing it in the style of the influential act’s psychedelic leaning material.  And yet, it still manages to hew closely to the spirit and overall vibe of the original. 

New Video: Vigo, Spain’s Linda Guilala Releases a “120 Minutes” MTV-like Visual for “Accidente”

Linda Guilala is a  Vigo, Spain-based shoegazer trio — currently founding members Ivan (drums) and Eva (keys, vocals) and newest member Mari (bass) — that can trace its origins back to 2005 when its founding members’ previous band Juniper Moon broke up. And although, Eva had only been with the band for only a handful of live shows, Eva and Ivan decided to continue onward.

(In 2006, the duo along with Daylight’s and Matilda’s Ignacio Espumado (bass) recorded their self-produced debut demo. Some of the band’s first singles received airplay on Juan de Pablos’ influential RN3 Radio 3 show Flor de Pasion. Perhaps as a result of airplay on Jaun de Pablos’ show, they started to receive airplay on a number of Spanish indie music radio programs including RN3 Radio 3’s Disco Grande, UPV-Scanner FM’s Toxicosmos, Onda Madrid’s Plastico Elastico and ContemPOPranea Fesitval’s Augstin Fuentes’ Canal Extremadura Radio show La Merienda, which featured the band as a band of the week.

The band has received airplay on radio stations in Mexico, Italy, Germany, Sweden, the UK and others — with the band being named an artist of the week on British radio station Radio Nowhere and their material landing on the label’s Best of 2006 polls. And adding to a growing profile, the band has been featured on a number of label’s international shoegazer compilations including Mexican label Molécula Records’ Granada, Vol. 2, American label Valiant Death Records’ YAY 4 Cuteness, Singapore label Fruit Records’ Twee like me!, a CD compilation for the comic book Kid Houdini, as well as compilations on Italian label My Honey Records, Argentinian label Superclima Records and Peruvian label Ya estas ya Records’ Christina Rosenvinge’s tribute. 

2007 saw the release of the act’s sophomore demo, which received attention from a number of blogs and e-zines  — and they made their live debut at that year’s Elefant Records party at Galileo Galilei with labelmates CORAZÓN and DJ Polar. Shortly, after that show, their debut demo was named the second best demo of the previous year on Julio Ruiz’s RN3 Radio 3 show Disco Grande. They also played the Flor de Pasion party at Madrid’s Siroco, the Plastidepop Festival in Zaragoza and at Rome’s Circolo degli Artisti. Adding to a big 2007, the band contributed to Jabalina Records fifth edition of the Teoría y práctica melódica compilation, dedicated to the Olympic games featuring Pumuky, La estrella de David, Souvenir, Polar, Flow, Travolta and Apenino.  

2009 saw the release of the Spanish act’s self-recorded full-length debut Bucles infinitos through Elefant Records, an effort that’s influenced by My Bloody Valentine, Ride, The Wedding Present and Pale Saints among others. MySpace chose the album as their album of the month — and Radio Nowhere named them as an artist of the week for the week of November 23rd. The band supported the album with a Spanish tour and appearances at Indietracks Festival and a MySpace party at Primavera Sound Festival. 

2011’s Paranormal EP was self-recorded and mixed at the band’s Kaiju Studios in their hometown in Vigo. The four song EP thematically touched upon fantasy, harry and the paranormal while remaining true to the band’s punk, noise and shoegazer spirit. Alba played bass and guitar for a few songs on the EP and for live shows. 

2012 saw the band contributing the unedited song “Morir ahogada” to the Wiaiwya Records compilation It’s the taking part that counts dedicated to that year’s London Olympic Games. For a period of time, the members of Linda Guilala produced material for acts like Axolotes Mexicanos, When Nalda Became Punk, Los Bonsais and others at their studio in Vigo — and they’ve played as the live band for Marco Meril’s Apenino. 2014 saw the release of the six song Xeristar EP, an effort that featured The Blows’ and The Cobras’ Bruno Mosquera (guitar) and continued a run of material influenced by Ride and My Bloody Valentine — but also drawing from Los Planetas, Spiritualized, The Charlottes, Lush and Beach House. 

The members of Linda Guilala contributed a cover of “Carlos Baila” for Elefant Records’ 2014 compilation Homenaje a Family (Un Soplo en el Corazón de Elephant). The band also played at Los Conciertos de Radio 3 for Spanish TV network TVE2. The band also embarked some extensive touring across Spain with The Primitives that also included festival stops in Berlin and Cologne. The band also wrote a new theme song for Disco Grande, Girando Otra Vez (Disco Grande), hypnotic bit of spacey psychedelia featuring the band relating the mane of the radio show, which has been on the air over 35 years. 

2016’s sophomore album Psiconautica was recorded and mixed at the band’s Kaiju Studios and the 20 song album is a concept album that thematically focuses on the mind expanding experience of hallucinogenic drugs and of the chemicals that regulate our experiences. Sonically, the album draws from Spiritualized’s Medication, Spacemen 3’s Walkin’ With Jesus and Los Planetas’ Neuevas Sensaciones — and it features a guest spot from Apenino’s Marco Meril. The album received praise from Italy’s Waves For Masses, Brazil’s The Blog That Celebrates Itself, France’s Indie Rock Blog, Germany’s Platten Vor Gericht, America’s Sounds Better With Reverb, DKFM and Allmusic, the UK’s Louder Than War and Shoegazer Live 9, as well as Spanish media outlets like Disco Grandem El Caleidoscopio Musical, Ultrasónica, Fantastic Plastic Mag, Mondo Sonoro Galicia and La Merienda  with a number of them naming the album as one of the best albums of that year. Songs off the album also received airplay on a number of national and international radio shows, including BBC Radio 6’s Steve Lamacq and Gideon Coe. 

Despite having a breakthrough year, the band wen through a major lineup change: Bruno left the band and was played by Visceral Eyes’ Mari, who played guitar for live shows. But since then, the band has been busy releasing new material, contributing to a number of compilations and playing sets across the international festival circuit. 

Recently the Spanish shoegazers contributed to Emotional Response Records’ Typical Girls vinyl compilation series, a compilation that focuses on the best of a contemporary crop of all-female and female-led bands in the underground, post-punk, punk, hardcore, garage, dream pop and shoegaze scenes. Volume five of the series features tracks from 16 bands across the globe including Australia’s Empat Lima, the US’ Color TV, Table Sugar Whip, Mr. Wrong, Patsy Rats, Kamala and the Karnivores, Latitude, and Drama, Germany’s The Inserts, Scotland’s Vital Idles, England’s SNOB and Child’s Pose, as well as the aforementioned Linda Guilala. 

“Accidente” the Spanish shoegazers contribution to the compilation is the first official recorded output with Mari playing guitar — but interestingly enough, it continues a run hazy and noisy shoegaze centered around heavily distorted power chords, propulsive drumming, droning synths, Eva’s ethereal vocals and a rousingly anthemic hook. Sonically, the track manages to recall My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus and Mary Chain and others. And as a result it brings back memories of 120 Minutes-era MTV. Fittingly, the recently released video was filmed in different industrial locations in Vigo including a car scrapyard, a shipyard and in Coto Wagner, a huge abandoned platform over the sea that was once used to ship iron to the Nazis and to the UK — and at points using kaleidoscopic and trippy filters. As the band notes, they love the beauty inside those sort of creepy and decrepit places.