Category: Shoegaze

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.

 

 

New Audio: Up-and-Coming Los Angeles-based Shoegazers Modern Time Release PT Anderson-Inspired Visuals for Wistful New Single “High Noon”

With the release of their debut single “Dweeb,” which received airplay on KROQ 106.7FM and several other singles, the Los Angeles, CA-based shoegazer act Modern Time Machines, comprised of Ben Golomb, Justin Bond, Nadia Franks and Neil Johnson, have received attention for pairing dreamy boy/girl harmonies with feedback and distortion pedal effected guitars — while drawing 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. “High Noon,” MTM’s latest single will further cement their growing reputation for pairing wistful, boy/girl harmonizing with layers of feedback drenched guitar chords, soaring hooks and four-on-the-floor drumming — and in some way, the track to my ear is reminiscent of A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve.

Directed and edited by the band’s Ben Golomb, the recently released music video begins with the members of the band driving around Los Angeles on a gloriously sunny day, stopping to pick up instruments and band members before shifting to the band in their rehearsal room performing the  song. Throughout the video, there are reportedly over a dozen mischievously hidden Paul Thomas Anderson-related visual gags.

New Video: The Trippy and Sounds Visuals for Mint Field’s Expansive New Single “Quiero Otoño de Nuevo”

With the release of their debut EP Primeras Salidas, the Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico-based duo Mint Field, comprised of 21 year-olds Estrella Sanchez and Amor Amezcua, quickly received international attention that included sets at some of North America’s […]

Deriving their name from a skateboard trick from an 80s skateboarder film, the Los Angeles, CA-based shoegazer act Nightmare Air are comprised of a trio of grizzled vets — Dave Dupuis was once a member of Los Angeles-based act Film School; Swaan Miller developed a reputation as a singer/songwriter with the release of a stark, attention-grabbing acoustic album that was released through Important Records; and Jimmy Lucido, who was once a member of The Strays. And through their various projects, the members of Nightmare Air, at one point or another, have opened for the likes of Smashing Pumpkins and The Jesus and Mary Chain among others.

2017 was a big year for the members of Nightmare Air as they headlined clubs and played the major festival circuit, which included appearances at SXSW and Starry Night Festival — and adding to a growing profile, they shared stages with The Kills, The Dandy Warhols and Cat Power. Building upon the growing buzz surrounds them, Nightmare Air’s newest album Fade Out is slated for a March release through Nevado Records — and the album’s latest single “Who’s Your Lover” will further cement the act’s reputation for crafting rousingly anthemic tracks that effortlessly mesh angular post-punk with textured shoegaze in a way that reminds me a bit of Hierarchy-era Lightfoils and others, but with a soaring synth line, wrapped around Miller’s seductive cooing.

Nightmare Air will be opening for the legendary and amazing Gary Numan throughout the European leg of his tour to support Savage (Songs from a Broken World). Check out tour dates below.

Tour Dates

Mar 2. Stokholm. Kagelbanan

Mar 3. Malmo. Kulturbolaget

Mar 4. Olso. Parkteatret

Mar 5. Copenhagen. Pumpehuset

Mar 7. Utrecht. Tivoli

Mar 8. Antwerp. Trix

Mar 9. Luxembourg

Mar 10. Oberhausen, Germany

Mar 12. Portsmouth. Pyramids Centre

Mar 13. Warwick. Arts Centre

Mar 14. Leicester. O2 Academy

Mar 16. Edinburgh. Assembly Rooms

Mar 17. Middlesbrough. Empire

Mar 19. Preston. Guild Hall

Mar 20. Hull. City Hall

Mar 21. Sheffield. The Foundry

Mar 23. Isle Of Man. Villa Marina

Mar 24. Liverpool. O2 Academy

Mar 25. Northampton. Roadmenders

Mar 28. Belfast. The Limelight

Mar 29. Dublin. Olympia Theatres

New Audio: Introducing the Hypnotic and Cinematic Sounds of Nova Flares

Jason Wagers is a Berea, KY-born, Louisville, KY-based multi-instrumentalist and producer whose solo bedroom recording project Nova Flares is influenced by shoegaze and psych rock acts including Black Market Karma, Mystic Braves, Holy Wave, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, My Bloody Valentine and others — although interestingly enough, Wagers’ current project can actually trace its origins back to when he turned 18 and the Berea, KY-born multi-instrumentalist relocated to Louisville, KY with his previous band, The Corridors. And while in Louisville, the members of the band developed a reputation for crafting eclectic rock before releasing their full-length debut. Unfortunately, after the release of their debut effort, the members of The Corridors received a cease and desist letter from a British record label claiming to represent a band with the same name. 

Perhaps as a result of the crushing legal issues he had faced paired with a desire to start a project that was in a completely different direction, Wagers started his solo project — with a specific atmosphere and sound that he’s dubbed “surfgaze.” As Wagers explains in press notes, “The songs I create through Nova Flares are supposed to be very cinematic and capture memories and feelings from situations I’d experienced in my childhood and adult life, but these songs are also meant to be left open ended so that the listener could have their own personal sensory experience as well.”

Wagers goes on to say that the project is a next step up musically, as he sees the project as a way to further develop his skills as a multi-instrumentalist, composer and songwriter. His Nova Flares debut Gut Splinter is slated for a March 9, 2018 release, and the album’s first single sonically meshes jangling, guitar rock and shimmering, hypnotic shoegaze, complete with a sweeping, cinematic quality. In fact, the recently released music video further emphasizes the song’s hypnotic vibes as it features Wagers playing several different instruments superimposed over footage of birds flying and clouds in different color negative treatments and so on.

Live Footage: The Telescopes Perform “You Can’t Reach What You Hunger” and “Something In My Brain” at Tapetown Studios

Currently comprised of founding member Stephen Lawrie and featuring members of One Unique Signal as the live performing band, the Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, UK-based psych rock/noise rock band The Telescopes originally formed back in 1987 and while inspired by the likes of Suicide, The Velvet Underground and 13th Floor Elevators — and over the course of a number of singles and nine full-length albums, including 1989’s Taste, 1992’s self-tiled album, 2002’s Third Wave, 2005’s #4, 2006’s Hungry Audio Tapes, 2008’s Infinite Suns, 2013’s HARM, 2015’s Hidden Fields and this year’s As Light Returns, the British band has developed a reputation for being arguably one of the more influential noise rock/psych rock bands of their era, seemingly influencing the work of the likes of A Place to Bury Strangers with whom they released a split 7 inch released through Fuzz Club Records, Chain of Flowers, Bambara and others. 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few months, you’d recall that the Aarhus, Denmark-based recording studio  Tapetown Studios  along with Sound of Aarhus have developed a live video series in which they invite national, regional and internationally recognized touring bands to come into their studio during their free time to record a live session. Over the past year, Tapetown Studios and Sound of Aarhus have invited British indie rockers Ulrika Spacek, Gothenburg, Sweden-based trio Pale Honey, and the Bay Area-based JOVM mainstay Tim Cohen and his primary project The Fresh & Onlys. Stephen Lawrie and the members of the touring band were invited to Tapetown to record a session that featured the slow-burning, murky, feedback driven dirge “You Can’t Reach What You Hunger” a song that builds upon a tightly restrained tension until its scorching conclusion; and the forceful and stormy “Something In My Brain.” 

Live Footage: Wolf Alice Performs “Sadboy” on “Late Night with Stephen Colbert”

Currently comprised of founding members Ellie Roswell (vocals, guitar) and Jeff Oddie (guitar, vocals), with Theo Ellis (bass) and Joel Amey (drums, vocals), the London-based indie rock quartet Wolf Alice can trace they origins to when its founding members began the act back in 2010 as an acoustic act. After a period of time, the band’s founding duo decided to add more electric elements to their sound, and they recruited Roswell’s childhood friend Sadie Cleary (bass) and Oddie’s friend George Barlett (drums) to join the band. With the original lineup, the quartet released their self-titled EP, which featured singles “Every Cloud,” “Wednesday,” and “Destroy Me,” and they released a video for “Wednesday.”

2012 saw massive lineup changes for the band — Barlett broke his wrist in 2012 with Joel Amey initially joining as temporary member, who later became a permanent member. Also that year, Cleary left the band to focus on her studies, and the band recruited Theo Ellis to replace her. Despite the lineup changes, the band released “Leaving You,” which wound becoming a viral hit, as it received airplay on BBC Radio 1 and was featured in NME‘s Radar section. Building upon the buzz they received nationally, the quartet toured with Peace, and they began the following year with a session for Huw Stephens’ BBC Radio 1 show.
Since then the quartet have released two EP’s 2013’s Blush and 2014’s Creature Song and two full-length albums — 2015’s critically applauded and commercially successful My Love Is Cool, which featured the Grammy Nominated-single “Moaning Lisa Smile,” a track that peaked at #9 on Billboard‘s Alternative Songs Chart, and their sophomore effort Visions of a Life, which was released earlier this year, and as you may recall I wrote about album single “Heavenward,” a lush, shoegazer single that reminded me of A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve.

The British indie rock quartet are about to embark on a short North American tour, which will feature a December 4, 2017 date at Brooklyn Steel, but before that they made an appearance on Late Night with Stephen Colbert, where they performed the jangling and anthemic album single “Sadboy,” with a swaggering self-assuredness while finding the band gently expanding upon the sound that has won them international attention — the song still nods at A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve; however, to my ears, there’s a subtle hint at Siouxsie and the Banshees and others. 

Live Footage: The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe Leads Pure Ensemble 6 at Space Fest 2016

Created by Nasiono Association, Space Fest is annual Gdansk, Poland-based festival of shoegaze, space-rock and alternative rock that features the prerequisite live music, but much like CMJ, Mondo.NYC, Northside Festival and others also features meet-and-greets with legendary and renowned artists, workshops for Polish and other internationally-based musicians, a battle of the bands-like competition for young, up-and-coming bands and more. As an annual celebration of all things psych rock and space rock-inspired, Space Fest in his almost seven year history has gradually become a scrappy yet internationally recognized festival with an increasingly diverse lineup of bands from across the European Union, Poland, the US, Canada and elsewhere. 

One of the festival’s standout highlights over the course of its history is the Pure Phase Ensemble, a collaborative collective that features one permanent member, Karol Schwarz (KSAS), who also manages Nasiono Records, and every year Schwartz is joined by a rotating cast of local musicians and at least one internationally recognized musician, who acts as a guest musical director, mentor and collaborator through a series of workshops and joint songwriting that culminates with the group performing their new material during the final night of the festival. 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the past couple of years, you may recall that during the course of the Festival’s history, they’ve invited the likes of  Spiritualized’s Ray Dickaty, Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier, Placebo’s Steve Hewitt, Marion’s Jamie Harding, Six by Seven’s Chris Olley, The Bad Seeds and The True Spirit’s Hugo Race and RIDE’s Mark Gardener. Last year, The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s legendary frontman and founding member Anton Newcombe led Pure Phase Ensemble 6 with Serena Maneesh’s Emil Nikolaisen, and the collective managed to impress festivalgoers with a live set that included “God Drugs” a menacing, droning, and murky dirge, consisting of layers fuzzy and distorted power chords, thundering drumming and an almost mosh pit-friendly hook over which Newcombe laconically delivers his lyrics. While forceful, the song manages a lysergic haze. 

Also, every year the organizers create a documentary of the festival and the documentary features brief interviews and live footage with festival organizers, Anton Newcombe, who says that his appearance at last year’s Space Fest was a way to convince and entice establish artists that it’s a serious and growing festival; the UK’s MDME SPKR, Italy’s Be Forest, Germany’s Camera, the Icelandic-German act The Third Sound, Poland’s Wild Books, Lonker See, The Fruitcakes, Rosa Vertov and The Czech Republic’s DIV I DED. Additionally, the video features impromptu interviews with thrilled festivalgoers and more. The documentary offers a glimpse of a rarely seen Gdansk, a city with a burgeoning music, arts and nightlife scene, full of hungry, young creatives  — a marked departure from the city’s long-held reputation as a grim Soviet satellite city. 

Interestingly, the videos serve as a teaser for this year’s Space Fest, which take place the weekend of December 1 – December 2 and will feature Maciej Cieslak of renowned Polish shoegazers Scianka, leading Pure Phase Ensemble 7, Italy’s New Candys, Portugal’s 10,000 Russos, Mugstar, Switzerland’s Blind Butcher, Germany’s Odd Couple, Mexico’s Tajak, the UK’s Dead Rabbits and up-and-coming local acts 30 kilo slonca, and Wilcze Jagondy. 

New Video: The Eerie Visuals and 4AD Records-like Sounds of Sicilian Shoegazers Clustersun

With the 2016 release of their debut album Out of Your Ego, the Catania, Sicily, Italy-based shoegazers Clustersun, comprised of Marco Chisari (vocals, bass), Mario Lo Faro (guitar) and Andrea Conti (drums), the members of the Sicilian based band quickly established themselves as one of their country’s most buzzed about and promising acts within the contemporary shoegazer scene — and as result of the growing buzz around them, the band was awarded the GLOBUS prize for Sicilian artistic excellence. As the band’s Andrea Conti says of the increasing recognition for their work, “Being cited alongside bands that we love and admire is great motivation to constantly push forward our limits.”

The Sicilian shoegazers’ sophomore effort, Surfacing to Breathe was co-produced by the band and La Casa Al Mare’s Alessio Pindinelli, and the album reportedly finds the band retaining to enormous wall of sound that first caught them attention across Italy and elsewhere, but while gently incorporating elements of psych rock, post-punk and dream pop  paired with lyrics that explore and express melancholy and emotional vulnerability and fragility.  “The sophomore album is a very tough step for every band, especially if it comes after a strong debut, as our Out of Your Ego was,” says Marco Chisari. “We are so much happy and proud of how Surfacing to Breathe came out, mainly because we’ve managed to capture how the band sounds live.” The band’s Mario Lo Faro adds “This album is way fuzzier, more powerful, dynamic, edgy than the debut. Sounds were layered to build a dense, but articulated, sonic wall. Also we recorded the songs from ‘Surfacing to Breathe’ while we were touring so they retain that “live” vibe and power, while Out of Your Ego had more ethereal and ‘light’ tracks.”

Surfacing to Breathe’s latest single “Lonely Moon”  possesses an enormous and enveloping sound featuring layers upon layers of pedal effected guitar chords, a driving groove, ethereal vocals and a soaring hook, and interestingly enough to my ears, their sound is reminiscent of 4AD Records legendary heyday — but underneath the shimmering surface is a melancholy song focusing on its narrators deepest torments and regrets.

New Video: Introducing the Dream-like Visuals and Sounds of Montreal Shoegazers Penny Diving

Currently comprised of twin sisters Chatntal Ambridge (vocals, guitar) and Kathleen Ambrdige (bass), both whom were members of The Muscadettes; along with Ambridge’s partner Thomas Augustin (guitar, keys) and Jonathan LaFrance (drums), the Montreal-based indie rock quartet Penny Diving is reportedly a sonic and thematic departure The Muscadettes, with the Ambridge Sisters and company moving a bit from the sunny, surf rock-tinged, garage rock influenced by the Ambridge Sisters’ childhood in California and towards a moodier shoegaze with anthemic hooks as you’ll hear on their debut single “Stella.”

As Chantal Ambridge, the band’s primary songwriter says in press notes of the song and the Philippe Beauséjour aka Phil Console-produced video for the song, “The writing process is intuitive and telepathic almost, and by being this close to one another, it can only enhance the creative output. With “Stella” the pieces quickly fell together, out of the sky, and into my lap. We wanted the video to portray dreamlike visions, because I think a lot of processing happens in dreams, in your subconscious, and if you can somehow tap into that, you can tap into the bigger picture. Bridging the gap between the tangible and intangible.”