Tag: Beach Fossils

Earlier this month, I wrote about the up-and-coming  London-based, up-and-coming shoegaze quintet Cosmic Strip, and as you may recall, the band, which is fronted by  primary songwriter and creative mastermind, Camella Agabalyan, has described their work as “music to watch girls by, music to move the stars,” and with EP title track “Heavenly,” off the band’s recently released debut EP, the band seems to specialize in shimmering and soaring shoegaze that brought Wolf Alice and Lightfoils to my mind.  The EP’s latest single “Sugar Rush” is a decidedly 120 Minutes MTV-era bit of shoegaze, centered around squalling and towering feedback, shimmering guitar chords, ethereal vocals, soaring hooks and an alternating quiet, loud, quiet song structure that immediately brings Slowdive and A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve to mind, complete with a lysergic haze.

“I wanted to write a song about the feeling of addiction whether it’s sugar, love, a drug, whatever your vice is”, Camella Agbalyan says in press notes about the new single. “I personally really connect to dreamy, druggy songs like Air, My Bloody Valentine, Beach Fossils, Slowdive, The Jesus & The Mary Chain, etc., so I wanted to inspire myself from that feeling but also show the darker side of addiction that you might not always get from those types of songs”.

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New Audio: Acclaimed JOVM Mainstay Amber Arcades Releases a Mournful 70s AM Rock Inspired Single

Over the past couple of years of this site’s history, I’ve managed to write quite a bit about Utrecht, The Netherlands-based singer/songwriter Annelotte de Graff and her solo recording project Amber Arcades. And with the release of her full-length debut, Fading Light, de Graaf quickly received attention for pairing crafted guitar pop with erudite thematic concerns — in particular, time and the relativistic experience of it, magic, jet leg and her own dreams, which have managed to influence a great deal of her personal and creative life. In fact, as the story goes, De Graaf used her life savings for a flight to New York and studio time with Ben Greenberg, who has worked with The Men, Beach Fossils and Destruction Unit, and a studio backing band that included Quilt’s Shane Butler (guitar) and Keven Lareau (bass) and Real Esate’s Jackson Pollis (drums) — both of whom she had specifically hand picked because she had dreamt of working with them.

de Graaf’s critically applauded Cannonball EP, an effort that landed at #1 on this site’s Best of List last year — with the gorgeous “Wouldn’t Even Know,” landing at #4 on the Best Singles list. Slated for a September 28, 2018 release through Heavenly Recordings,de Graaf’s forthcoming album European Heartbreak was recorded and co-produced in Los Angeles with Deerhoof’s Chris Cohen and in Richmond, Virginia with Trey Pollard, who oversaw horn and string overdubs from the Spacebomb Records crew. And the album sonically and thematically are reportedly a major step forward for the Dutch- born and-based singer/songwriter and musician — thematically, the album is about the nature of memory and the human tendency to over-romanticize the events of our lives. And while naturally focusing on the passage of time, there’s a disillusionment that’s been concealed just under the romanticized surface. Nothing in this life is what it really seems — and ultimately, everything can be a bit disappointing, alienating and downright strange. As Annelotte de Graaf says of the album, “If it were called ‘American Heartbreak,’ you wouldn’t bat an eye. Somehow calling it ‘European Heartbreak’ feels far less comfortable, almost like a statement in itself. I’m Dutch, hence European. The focus of the record is Europe. As for Heartbreak, for me a heartbreak symbolises any kind of falling apart of one of these concepts or stories we invent for ourselves, like romantic love, a sense of identity, nationality, an economic system. It’s kind of a universal thing in my mind.”

Sonically speaking, the material, as you’d hear on the album’s first single “Goodnight Europe” managed to be both sophisticated yet anachronistic as it finds her sound nodding at classic, late 60s and early 70s rock — in particular, Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, T. Rex and Sgt. Pepper and Let It Be-era Beatles, as the song features some impressive and bluesy guitar work paired with a gorgeous string arrangement; but interestingly, the song is both a meditation on the current state of the European Union and of a dysfunctional and confusing romantic relationship, meshing the personal and the political in a way that expresses a concern over what it all means in the first place.

European Heartbreak’s latest single “Alpine Town” is a decidedly 70s AM rock-like song centered around shimmering guitar, twinkling piano, a sinuous bass line, a mournful horn and string arrangement and de Graaf’s ethereal vocals floating over the mix. The song evokes a deeper  disappointment — that an illusion that the song’s narrator once held as true has now been proven to be false. And as a result, the song is a world weary sigh while being someplace away from home. As de Graaf says of the song “I wrote this song exactly a year ago while on holiday in Guillestre, a small town in the French Alps. I was kind of in a sad place and my boyfriend had dragged me along to get away from all that, but I guess it doesn’t really work like that, ha. It just made me reflect on the sad part of the tourist condition as a metaphor for life, man.”

Over the past 18 months or so, I’ve written quite about the Utrecht, The Netherlands-based singer/songwriter Annelotte de Graff and her solo recording project Amber Arcades, and as you may recall with the release of her full-length debut Fading Light, de Graaf received international attention for an album that thematically focused on the and the relativistic experience of it, magic, jet lag and her own dreams, which have managed to influence much of her personal and creative life; in fact, as the story goes, De Graaf used her life savings for a flight to New York and studio time to record her debut with Ben Greenberg, who has worked with The Men, Beach Fossils and Destruction Unit, and a studio backing band that included Quilt’s Shane Butler (guitar) and Keven Lareau (bass) and Real Esate’s Jackson Pollis (drums) — both of whom she had specifically hand picked because she had dreamt of working with them. Along with that, De Graaf had a long-held dream of working for the UN, and she eventually worked as a legal aide on UN war crime tribunals and n human rights and immigration law, assisting Syrian refugees.

Last year, saw the release of the critically applauded Cannonball EP, which was among my favorite releases last year — in particular, the gorgeously shot video for “Wouldn’t Even Know,” which featured a guest spot from British singer/songwriter, composer, producer and guitarist  Bill Ryder-Jones brought back memories of riding trains through the Dutch countryside from Amsterdam to Dordrecht, passing through and by towns like Abcoude, The Hague, Breukelen and others. Along with that, EP singles like “It Changes” and her cover of Nick Drake’s “Which Will,” revealed a singer/songwriter with an self-assured yet uncanny knack for a catchy hook within jangling guitar pop.

De Graaf’s latest single “Goodnight Europe” is the first taste of her forthcoming sophomore, full-length album slated for release later this year, and the single finds the renowned Dutch singer/songwriter’s sound leaning heavily towards Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, T. Rex and Sgt. Pepper and Let It Be-era Beatles, as the song features some impressive and bluesy guitar work paired with a gorgeous string arrangement — and the song manages to further cement De Graaf’s ability to craft a razor sharp hook around some thoughtful songwriting; in fact, the song is a meditation on the current state of the European Union, written from the perspective of a dysfunctional and confusing romantic relationship that’s inescapably odd. As De Graaf explains in press notes, “I guess about half of it is me actually being worried about the current state of the Union. The other half is me kind of messing around with, and making fun of, this archetype of the tiresome existentialist academic in me.”

Although she is all of 25, the New York-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and studio engineer Eva Lawitts has had a rather accomplished music career –beginning  as a high schooler, she’s had stints in the likes of Vagabon, Citris and others, touring across the US a number of times — and as a studio engineer, she runs Wonderpark Studios with Chris Krasnow.

Interestingly, Lawitts’ solo recording project Stimmerman finds the accomplished New York-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and studio engineer stepping out on her own as a creative mastermind and frontperson; in fact, with her Stimmerman debut, Pleasant Vistas in a Somber Place EP, Lawitts wrote, arranged and performed all of the vocal, guitar and bass parts with Beach Fossils‘ touring drummer Russel Holzman and acclaimed trumpeter Adam O’Farrill on an effort that as she told New Noise Magazine were drafts of a songs written for a new album by a now-defunct band she was in. “I had completed most of the instruments by fall 2016, the band I had written the songs for broke up in December, and I spent the firs half of 2017 racing around on tour with a horde of other musicians and bands, mostly getting really depressed in vans and hotels around about the sudden lack of direction in my life, and attempting to complete these songs on my own,” she explained. And as a result, the EP’s material reflects a childish moroseness and an impotent bitterness and frustration.

Reportedly, the EP’s latest single “Tough Talk” were culled from half-remembered conversations during a particularly intense period of touring, as well as her running commentary on those memories, followed by a sort of conclusion about how even attempting to reach a conclusion about what it all was supposed to mean was futile, and those observations give the song a bilious fury and frustration — while sonically, the song finds Lawitts drawing from prog rock, indie rock, noise and punk in a way that reminds me of The Mallard‘s Finding Meaning in Deference.

 

 

 

 

 

Over the course of this site’s seven year history, I’ve written quite a bit about Brooklyn-based shoegazers and JOVM mainstay act Dead Leaf Echo, and in that same period, the members of the band have built a growing national profile, as the’ve played at some of the country’s biggest and best known festivals, and have opened for a lengthening and impressive array of renowned bands, including The Wedding PresentA Place to Bury Strangers, . . . And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of DeadThe Psychedelic FursChapterhouseUlrich SchnaussWeekendLoreleiThe Ocean BlueThe WarlocksBeach Fossils, and The Telescopes. And along with that, over the past few years, the Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays have also developed a reputation for being rather prolific — starting with 2013’s 4AD Records-inspired full-length debut effort Thought and Language, Dead Leaf Echo promptly followed that up with 2014’s true.deep.sleeper EP, 2015’s split EP with die you die and a limited cassette run of the “Lemonheart“/”sparks.fly.from.a.kiss” 7 inch, which retained their towering, wall of sound-inspired production, while nodding at RIDESwervedriver, The Verve and Slowdive and The Jesus and Mary Chain among others.  Released earlier this year, the band’s Strawberry Skin EP found the band continuing their ongoing collaboration with producer Monte Vallier, who has worked with Weekend and Wax Idols, as well as contributions from singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Jorge Elbrecht, who was a founding member of Violens and is currently in  No Joy and Ariel Pink’s backing band, and Guy Fixsen, who has worked with My Bloody Valentine and Wire, among a lengthy and impressive list of artists. And while further cementing their long-held reputation for crafting shimmering and anthemic shoegaze with a swooning and plaintive urgency,  the EP’s title track found the band gently expanding upon their sound, adding an abrasive and muscular quality underneath.

Recorded at Mexican Summer’s Greenpoint, Brooklyn-based studio with Guy Fixsen and Jorge Elbrecht, Dead Leaf Echo’s long-anticipated, sophomore full-length effort, Beyond.Desire is slated for an October 13, 2017 release through PaperCup Music, finds the band continuing to refine the sound that they’ve recently dubbed “noveeau wave”, a moody and shimmering mix of shoegaze and layered guitar pop, and as you’ll hear on Beyond.Desire‘s first, official single “Temple,” the single continues in a similar vein as its predecessor, as featured layers of shimmering power chords paired with a rousingly anthemic hook. But interestingly enough, much like their previously released material, the album is a something of a concept album, as the material reportedly is based on themes of maturation and growth beyond pure, animal lust and physical need; in fact “Temple” is an urgent and swooning declaration of love and devotion.

The band will be embarking on a number of tour dates to build up buzz to support the new album, and then to support it and int includes an October 13, 2017 stop at The Knitting Factory.

Tour Dates 
9.15: New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa
9.16: Hattiesburg, MI @ The Thirsty Hippo
10.7: Kingston, NY @ O Positive Festival
10.13: Brooklyn, NY @ Knitting Factory (record release party)
10.27: Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
11.2: Barnsville, OH @ Albert S George Youth Center
11.3: Chicago, IL @ Quenchers
11.4: Kalamazoo, MI @ Bell’s Brewery
11.5 Milwaukee, WI
11.7 Salt Lake City, UT @ Diabolical Records
11.8 San Fransisco, CA @ The Knockout
11.9: San Jose, CA @ TBA
11.10: San Diego, CA @ Whistle Stop
11.12: Los Angeles, CA @ Part Time Punks

Last month, I wrote about  the Leeds, UK-based shoegazer quintet Colour of Spring and their 120 Minutes-era MTV-like single “Echoes,” a single about “losing the innocence of youth..” The up-and-coming British band, which is comprised of Shane Hunter (vocals, guitar), Robin Deione (guitar), Tom Gregory (bass), Mark Rochman (drums) and Charlie Addison (keys) have receive praise from NME and The Line of Best Fit for a sound that has been compared favorably to Wild Nothing,  Beach Fossils and others. Continuing to build on the buzz they’ve been receiving both in their homeland and elsewhere — including this site — the band has released their latest single “Love,” a towering and swirling bit of classic-leaning shoegaze that while seemingly drawing from RIDE and A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve, manages to also nod at Finelines-era My Vitriol.

As the band’s Shane Hunter explains, “‘Love’ is about the initial prospect of being in love, where everything is confusing, awkward and exciting all at the same time. You’re learning someone else and they’re learning you, all of your idiosyncrasies that you daren’t share with anyone else. There’s so many prominent, strong emotions that it can get really overwhelming. You don’t want to to blow it being your usual stupid self!” And as a result, the song feels like the anxious self-talk of someone trying to psych themselves out and not try to fuck something up — but on a certain level, they’re human and they’ll inevitably find a way to fuck it all up and do it again, as we all do at some point.

Comprised of Shane Hunter (vocals, guitar), Robin Deione (guitar), Tom Gregory (bass), Mark Rochman (drums) and Charlie Addison (keys), the Leeds, UK-based shoegazer quintet Colour of Spring quickly received praise from the likes of NME and The Line of Best Fit for a sound that has been compared favorably to Wild Nothing and Beach Fossils — although the band’s latest single, the slow-burning and moody “Echoes” off the Leeds-based quintet’s soon-to-be released,  self-titled EP nods at The Jesus and Mary Chain, Sonic Youth and others, as well as 120 Minutes-era MTV alt rock, thanks in part to its quiet, loud, quiet song structure, and swirling guitar work punctuated with an rousingly anthemic hook. But just underneath the surface is a bittersweet nostalgia that frequently comes about as you get older — and further away from your seemingly simple youth. As the band’s Tom Gregory explains in press notes, “‘Echoes’ is about losing the innocence of youth. As you enter your teenage years, you’re told to grow up and take responsibility and some of the beauty of childhood is gone. We probably spend a lot of time as adults trying to regain that side  just act we lose. ‘Echoes’ is about how deal with this in our funny way.”