New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Dead Leaf Echo Return With a Brooding and Gorgeous New Single

Led by founder and creative mastermind L.G. Galleon, the Brooklyn-based music and art collective, and longtime JOVM mainstays Dead Leaf Echo emerged into the shoegaze scene with their full-length debut, 2013’s Thought and Language, an album deeply influenced by 4AD Records — with the album mixed by John Fryer, and artwork by 4AD’s legendary designer, V23’s Vaughan Oliver.

Since the release of their debut effort, the Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays have developed and maintained a distinctive ethos in which they embrace their influences while forging ahead with their own sound. 

Back in 2019, the members of Dead Leaf Echo had wrapped up a West Coast tour, which featured a performance on on KEXP’s John in the Morning. They returned home to New York to begin recording their highly-anticipated — and long-awaited — third album The Mercy of Women. As Dead Leaf Echo were preparing the album for release last year, with plans for a European tour that fall to support it, L.G. Galleon went on tour with his other project Clone, just before COVID-19 pandemic struck across the world. 

Galleon wound up retreating to the Poconos, where his friends The Stargazer Lilies have a compound. While staying with The Stargazer Lillies, Galleon began writing new material, which eventually would comprise their forthcoming EP Milk.Blue.Kisses.and Whalebone.Wishes. Much like countless other acts across the globe, the members of the Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays recorded the EP’s material virtually — with material recorded at home and the practice studio. James Arapacio mixed the EP’s title track while Galleon produced the remaining five EP tracks. Charles Neiland mastered the EP. 

Slated for a January 21, 2022 digital and vinyl release through Moon Sound RecordsMilk.Blue.Kisses and Whalebone.Wishes will feature artwork from V23’s Timothy O’Donnell. Thematically, the album touches upon anxiety, sex and never selling your worth for less than its true value. “Overloading your body with sex is both a physical act and a drug that can simultaneously stimulate and depredate your physical and mental well being,” Dead Leaf Echo’s Galleon says in press notes. “The over sexualization of America can often be an unconscious struggle in the dream of everlasting beauty that is sold to the youth in this world. This is a call to realization of our role as consumers and how it could possibly ruin our place in society.”

Sonically, the EP is a bit of a departure from the JOVM mainstays’ previously released material with the effort being much more ambient and relaxed. Each song title is a play on words of the EP’s title with themes of winter, ice and the female form represented in some form. 

Late last year, I wrote about the EP,’s first single, the slow-burning “Milk.Blue.Kisses,” a song that brought Garlands era Cocteau Twins but with an uneasy and desperate yearning at its core. The EP’s second and latest single “And.Projecting.Windows.Of.Ice.And.Misconduct” is a slow-burning and brooding instrumental centered around shimmering and swirling, reverb-drenched guitars, thunderous drumming, industrial clang and clatter and delicate percussion. The end result is a song that — to me, at least — evokes brisk wintry days and nights with the gentle crunch of snow at your feet. But just under the surface, a hint of recrimination and accusation.