Category: Shoegaze

New Video: Hull’s bdrmm Releases a Trippy Visual for Arena Rock-Friendly Single “Shame”

Last year, I wrote about the up-and-coming Hull, UK-based indie rock act bdrmm. And as you may recall, the act which initially started as the bedroom recording project of singer/songwriter and guitarist Ryan Smith during the end of 2016 quickly became a full-fledged band when Smith recruited his brother Jordan (bass), Joe Vickers (guitar), Daniel Hull (synth, backing vocals) and Luke Irvin (drums) to complete the band’s lineup. 

The band went on to cut their teeth playing shows across Northern England before releasing their first two singles “kare” and “the way i want,” which quickly caught the attention of MTV, Clash Magazine and DORK, as well as airplay from BBC Radio 1 and Amazing Radio. The Hull-based quintet has opened for Trudy & The Romance, Her’s, FEHM and Horsey — and as a result, they caught the attention of London-based indie label Permanent Creeps, who released the 4AD Records-like “C.U.” Since then, they’ve opened for JOVM mainstays pizzagirl and Amber Arcades, as well Gengahr. Additionally, they’ve played sets at a number of British festivals including Gold Sounds, Humber Street Sesh, and Live at Leeds, which have added to a rapidly growing national profile. 

Their highly-anticipated Alex Greaves-produced debut EP If Not When? is slated for an October 11, 2019 release through Sonic Cathedral Records — and the EP, which has seen physical pre-orders quickly sell out is largely influenced by the likes of DIIV, Slowdive and Beach House, as well as an up-and-coming crop of British post-punk acts including Squid, YOWL, Black Country and New Road. Interestingly, the EP’s first single “Shame” find the band retaining the shimmering post-punk tinged shoegazer sound of their previous releases — but with a forceful and propulsive groove and an ambitious arena rock-like feel, reminiscent of The Cure and others. 

“‘Shame’ is about the heartache of having to tell someone you can about the most that being together can’t work for whatever reason — having to be the person, who takes it upon themselves to do the right thing, even though it feels so wrong,” the band’s Ryan Smith explains in press notes. 

The recently released video by Jordan Smith is a dizzying visual that’s one part lyric video with some psychedelic imagery. 

Advertisements

New Video: Up-and-Coming Italian Shoegazers Solitude in Apathy Release a Surrealistic and Symbolic Visual for “The Other”

Naples, Italy-based indie act Solitude in Apathy — Santina Vasaturo (vocals, bass), Gennaro Cristiano (guitar) and Diego Niola (drums) — formed back in 2016, and since their formation the Italian act has quickly forged a reputation for crafting a sound that meshes elements of shoegaze, dark wave, alt rock and goth. They’ve also opened for internationally acclaimed, Italian shoegazers Stella Diana and Rome in Monochrome. 

Building upon a growing profile in their native Italy and elsewhere, the trio’s Giacomo Salzano-produced, self-titled EP is slated for release this Friday — and the EP’s lead single, the “The Other” will help further cement the up-and-coming Italian trio’s sound: towering layers of fuzzy and distorted guitars, propulsive bass lines, forceful and dramatic and forceful drumming and ethereal vocals drenched in reverb floating over the dreamy mix. In some way, the single strikes me as being like a seamless synthesis of Sixousie and the Banshees and 4AD Records heyday — and unsurprisingly, the song received praise from outlets across the European Union and States, as well as airplay on DKFM. 

Directed by Gaetano Massa, the recently released and incredibly cinematic video for “The Other” is a surrealistic fever dream featuring blindfolded characters walking through an abandoned and dilapidated house, full of rotting books, broken brick and chipped paint. We also see the band performing in another room while all of this is going on. 

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Blackwater Holylight Release a Shimmering, Shoegazer Take on Heavy Psych

Led by founding member Allison “Sunny” Faris (vocals, bass), the acclaimed Portland, OR-based heavy psych act Blackwater Holylight was formed after Faris’ previous band broke up as a way to begin experimenting with what her own version of “heavy” should and could be both sonically and emotionally — while celebrating vulnerability in all of its forms. The primary idea for the project was to have vulnerability be in the driver’s seat when it came to the creative process. And secondly, Faris, who was often the only female in many of her bands, desperately wanted to see how it was to work exclusively with women. 

Blackwater Holylight released their critically applauded self-titled, full-length debut last year, and as a result of extensive touring to support it, the band has managed to hone their sound and identity — with their sound evolving to the point that their live show has become about the slow build.  And as a heavy band, the members of the Portland-based JOVM mainstays sonically and structurally do something unlike their peers: their songs aren’t anchored to riffs, but rather riffs come and go in rippling and undulating waves that surface through material that’s generally meditative and entrancing. Additionally, the band focuses on building tension and intrigue through the song and its structure. 

Now, as you may recall, the band’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Veils of Winter is slated for an October 11, 2019 release through RidingEasy Records. The album finds the band with a different lineup — Faris (bass, vocals), Laura Hopkins (guitar/vocals) and Sarah McKenna (synths) along with the band’s newest members Mikayla Mayhew (guitar) Eliese Dorsay (drums) and perhaps as a result of their new lineup, their sound and writing process has changed quite a bit. “The process of this album was vastly different from our first record,” says Faris. “One, because we recorded it over the course of a few weeks, whereas the first record was over the course of about a year. And two, this album was a true collaboration between the five of us. Each of us had extremely equal parts in writing and producing, we all bounced ideas off each together, and we all had a say in what was going on during every part of the process.”

“One of our favorite things about this album is that because it was so collaborative, we didn’t compartmentalize ourselves into one vibe.” She continues. “It’s heavy, psychedelic, pop, shoegaze, doom, grunge, melodic and more. The whole process was extremely organic and natural for us, we were just being ourselves.”

While album single “Motorcycle”  featured fuzzy power chords, gorgeous melodies and a motorik groove and found the band crafting a song that was one part doom metal and one part shoegaze, the album’s latest single “Death Realms” is a decidedly straightforward, shoegazey affair centered around shimmering guitars, twinkling synths, propulsive drumming, ethereal vocals and a soaring hook. But the thing that “Death Realms” shares with its predecessor is that it’s an incredible nuanced song that you can sway and headband along to. 

New Video: Seattle’s Moon Palace Releases a Contemplative Visual for Shimmering and Dance Floor Friendly “Bold”

Last month, I wrote about the Seattle-based indie rock act Moon Palace. The act which is led by twin sisters Cat (guitar, vocals) and Carrie Biell (bass, vocals) and joined by Jude Miqueli (drums) and Darcey Zoller (cello, synth) can trace some of their origins back to the unique musical bond the Biell Sisters cultivated as the children of deaf parents. And with the release of 2017’s self-titled full-length debut, the band drew comparisons to JOVM mainstays to Beach House and Warpaint, as they crafted hook-driven material centered around sometimes discordant guitars and gorgeous dual harmonies. Along with receiving praise from the likes of City Arts Magazine and KEXP, Moon Palace has shared stages with Thunderpussy, Y La Bamba and Sera Cahoone among others.

Thematically, the Seattle-based quartet’s recently released sophomore album Shadowcast finds a balance between light and dark. “Shadow self and trying to be positive through interactions with people you love,” the members of the band elaborate in press notes. “Outer world to the innermost personal world. Balancing the sun sign and moon sign. Knowing your inner personal self within the context of the universe.” Throughout the recording sessions, band members would text each other songs by Sonic Youth, Talking Heads, Duran Duran and Big Thief, all of which inspired and shaped the album’s sound and overall aesthetic.

Now, as you may recall I wrote about the shimmering, Beach House-like “Who You Are,” a track found the band effortlessly balancing intimate emotions within an atmospheric and cinematic song. At its core, the song focused on navigating difficult and uneasy relationships and questioning whether the other is showing their true self or not. Interestingly, the album’s latest single “Bold” is a dance-floor friendly take on shoegaze, centered around a propulsive, disco-like bass line, shimmering guitars, atmospheric synths ethereal vocals and a soaring hook — but as the band’s Cat Biell explains the song harkens back to that “nostalgic feeling to a time when you felt more care free.” And as a result, the song is imbued with a bittersweet air. 

The recently released video by Elope Productions stars Loren Othón  and Georgia Maxine, who contribute expressive and contemplative dance movements in a variety of different settings including a verdant field, urban rooftops and parking lots, which also helps to emphasize the nostalgia within the song.

I’ve written about and have photographed the Northeastern Pennsylvania-based shoegazers and JOVM mainstays The Stargazer Lilies quite a bit over the years. And as you may recall, the act which is comprised of founding and married duo John Cep (guitar, bass, vocals, drums, production) and Kim Field (bass, vocals) and a rotating cast of live drummers can trace its origins to when Cep’s and Field’s previous band Soundpool broke up.

Although Soundpool had built up a national profile, touring with Chapterhouse, Ulrich Schnauss, A Place to Bury Strangers, School of Seven Bells, Black Moth Super Rainbow, TOBACCO, and a list of others, Cep and Field desired a change in sonic direction. With Stargazer Lilies’ full-length debut, We Are The Dreamers, the duo established a signature sound, which meshed elements of dream pop, shoegaze — but with a muscular forcefulness. Their sophomore album, 2016’s Door to the Sun firmly cemented their sound and approach while expanding upon it. Since the release of Door to the Sun, Cep and Field have been relentlessly touring as both an opener and headliner, frequently with JOVM mainstay TOBACCO and his Black Moth Super Rainbow, and a list of others.

Slated for a November 1, 2019 release through Rad Cult Records, the band’s long-awaited third full-length album Occabot finds the duo collaborating with their frequent tourmate TOBACCO (a.k.a Tom Fec). Interestingly, their collaboration with TOBACCO can be traced to a Stargazer Lilies show a couple of years ago. “It just hit me they were way heavier than they seem,” TOBACCO explains in press notes. “And that wasn’t translating in their recordings. Their old stuff is panoramic and smooth; I wanted 3D and bumpy.”

Wanting to help get the duo where they all felt they wanted to be, Fec signed the band to his Rad Cult Records imprint and agreed to work on their third album. But not right away though. He let Cep and Field work on the material in their own idiosyncratic image first.  When the members of Stargazer Lilies had completed things on their end with eight raw and primal tracks, Fec then stepped in to distort, bend and burn the material’s overall sound even further.

Cep likens the creative process behind Occabot to what Andy Warhol did with pop art prints and The Velvet Undgeround and Nico. “Lou [Reed] said Andy was the best producer because he basically let the group do whatever the fuck they wanted. Tom did a similar thing with us; he let us have complete creative control, then added splashes of color and made it rough around the edges. Those embellishments make his artistic stamp on the project unmistakable, but leave the essence of our music very much intact.”

“Living Work of Art,” Occabot‘s boundary pushing single finds TOBACCO scrubbing the song with sandpaper then mangling Field’s and Cep’s work in a blender and throwing it into an acid bath while still retaining the hazy shoegazer quality of their previous work. Sonically you’ll hear blasts of hi-hat driven drums skittering across a thick wave of heavily distorted guitars that sound like broken and fuzzy synths while Field’s vocals ethereally float over the mix. It’s shoegaze for the impending end of the world.

 

 

New Video: Brazilian-Canadian Shoegazers Palm Haze Release a Gorgeously Cinematic and Feverish Visual for “Second Round”

With the release of their self-produced debut EP, 2017’s Tangy Dream, Palm Haze, comprised of Illhabela, Brazil-born, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-based Anna Wagner (vocals, bass) and Lucas Inacio, a.k.a Fløver (guitar, production) have quickly developed a reputation for a unique sound that meshes elements of alt rock, shoegaze and trip hop. Considered the third best shoegaze album that year by DKFM‘s listener’s pool, the EP was later released on cassette tape by Young Heavy Souls and on vinyl through a successful Qrates crowdfunding campaign. 

Slated for release later this week through YHS Records, the the Illhabela-born, Vancouver-based shoegazer duo’s forthcoming effort Rêve Bleu reportedly draws from the duo’s chaotic personal lives last year. “While Tangy Dream feels very tangible and achievable, Rêve Bleu will bring up chaotic emotions and thoughts, taking you much further from reality and closer to the wonders of uncertainty. Where could you go? What could you do? It’s a fantasy you fall on accidentally, revealing risky and forbidden paths. It’s the kind of dream you’re afraid of, but also tempted towards,” the duo explain in press notes

Earlier this month, I wrote about the Lightfoils-like album single “Floating,” a track, which was centered around layers of fuzzy, pedal-effected guitars, a motorik groove, shuffling drumming and Wagner’s ethereal vocals. Interestingly, Rêve Bleu’s latest single “Second Round” is an expansive and trippy track that begins with a lengthy jazz-like and slow-burning intro featuring Wagner’s vocals floating over shimmering guitar and stuttering beats but about half way through, the song morphs into towering shoegaze reminiscent of My Blood Valentine, Ride and others, complete with fuzzy power chords and thunderous drumming. “Second Round” may arguably be the best example of their sound and approach but while managing to be ambitious yet accessible. 

Directed and edited by Matt Black and featuring camera and drone work by Alex Buksdorf, the recently released video for “Second Round” is one part brooding and noir-ish as it’s all gorgeously cinematic black and white photography and neon light — but as the song’s intensity turns up, the visuals become increasingly hallucinogenic. 

New Audio: Nashville’s Twen Releases a Shimmering and Celestial New Single

The Nashville-based indie rock act Twen, led by founding members Jane Fitzsimmons (vocals) and Ian Jones (guitar) can trace their origins to when they formed while both were involved in Boston’s DIY scene. Since their formation several years ago, the band has been busy redefining what a touring band should do — and should be in the streaming age. Initially releasing nothing more than a live EP recorded fro the band’s live debut in a Boston basement, the band has toured non-stop, honing and perfecting a live show that’s been described as raw and mesmerizing.

Continuing to proudly ascribe to the DIY ethos that influenced them, Twen’s core duo have run AirBNBs while touring, played in exchange for skydiving, screen printed self-designed merch items by hand and book their own tours. Now, as you may recall, the duo quickly emerged into the national scene with the release of attention-grabbing single “Waste,” which received praise from the likes of NPR, Stereogum, Paste Magazine, BrooklynVegan, Uproxx, Under The Radar and others. Earlier this year, the duo opened for the acclaimed Louisville-based JOVM mainstays White Reaper — and they released the slow-burning and shoegazer-like “Holy River,” a track that to my ears would likely draw comparisons to classic 4AD Records, Cocteau Twins, Slowdive, A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve and Beach House — but with a yearning, dream-like quality that gives the ethereal track a subtle bit of emotional weight.

Building upon a growing profile, the buzz-worthy, Nashville-based duo will be releasing their full-length debut Awestruck through Frenchkiss Records on September 20, 2019. “Baptism,” the album’s first official single is an atmospheric bit of shoegaze centered around shimmering guitars, propulsive drumming, Jane Fitzsimmons’ enormous, room-filling vocals singing impressionistic lyrics full of a yearning desire to be born, becoming and re-born. Interestingly, Jones’ guitar lines actually is a revisited riff that he wrote as a teenager, that he reworked with a fresh perspective — essentially giving the song a trippy and anachronistic sensibility.