Tag: Cocteau Twins

New Video: Piroshka Releases a Brooding Meditation on Loss

ustin Welch (drums) — features members, best known for their work with some of the most acclaimed and beloved indie acts of the past 30 years. Their collaboration together can trace its origins to the knotted and complicated web connections between each of the band’s members: Individually Berenyi and McKillop are considered shoegaze pioneers with their own respective bands, releasing a number of applauded albums before getting married and starting a family. With 1995’s acclaimed self-titled debut, Elastica quickly became internationally recognized Brit Pop stars — and as a result Berenyi and McKillop were intimately familiar with Welch’s work. Conroy joined McKillop’s band Moose after Modern English broke up the second time. Welch eventually joined the reunited Lush in 2015. And when Lush needed a bassist for their final show in Manchester, Conroy filled in.

As it turned out, the rehearsals for the Manchester show are what laid the foundations for Pirsohka to happen — but I must add some much needed background: After Lush’s Chris Acland committed suicide in 1997, his grieving and devastated bandmates felt that it was impossible to continue as a band. The band split up. Berenyi was so heartbroken by Acland’s death that she quit music and spent the next 20 years as a working mother. Because of personal and professional obligations, Berenyi didn’t agree to a Lush reunion and touring until 2015. Welch, who coincidentally was a close friend of Acland was a logical choice to lovingly fill in. And as the story goes, at some point Welch asked Berenyi if she’d be up to doing something new after the final Lush show. As Berenyi recalled in press notes up until that point in eh life, she hadn’t made music outside of Lush and solo work never really appealed to her. “I need someone else to motivate me, and in this case it was Justin. He sent drum tracks with guitar parts and odd words, so I wrote some vocals and lyrics, which became ‘This Must Be Bedlam’ and ‘Never Enough.’ When Mick added bass, it sounded great. When Moose added guitar and keyboards — I’d never written like that before, it was such good fun.”

“We sounded great!” Welch added in press notes. “Like a proper punk band. Mick brings a huge amount of enthusiasm and livens up the room, and I thought this is the kind of band I want to be in again.” Conroy agreed, adding “I’d seen Lush so many times, it was like playing with old friends. Miki agreed and it was good fun, too. And with Moose available, we thought, ‘let’s all have a bash, see what happens.’”

There are several more layers of that entangled and complicated web of personal, professional and creative connections at the heart of Piroshka, of course: Bella Union’s label head Simon Raymonde was among the first people to hear the Brickbat demos and he quickly signed the band to the label. Raymonde’s former Cocteau Twins bandmate Robin Guthrie produced Lush’s debut album. And Raymonde’s current Lost Horizons bandmate Richie Thomas was a former member of Moose.

Brickbat managed to have a deeper symbolic meaning for the band: the title also hit upon the fact that the album was a marked departure from the individual members’ best known work. Written through the anxious prism of parenthood in a world gone made, the album lyrically and thematically touches upon the fear, loathing, envy and strife at the heart of our current — and ongoing — sociopolitical moment. 

The band’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Love Drips and Gathers derives its title from a line of a Dylan Thomas poem. Slated for a July 23, 2021 release through Bella Union, Love Drips and Gathers reportedly follows a more introspective line, with the album thematically focusing on the ties that bind us — in particular, as a lovers, parents, children, friends. Berenyi and McKillop split lyric writing duties, and the album features songs about Berenyi and McKillop’s relationship, their family, the deaths of McKillop’s mother and father and the death of longtime friend and 4AD in-house art director Vaughan Oliver, who died suddenly at the end of 2019. Sonically, the album finds the indie rock legends employing a much more ethereal sound while still reveling in energy and drama. “If Brickbat was our Britpop album, then Love Drips And Gathers is shoegaze!” Piroshka’s Miki Berenyi says in press notes. “It wasn’t intentional; we just wanted a different focus. I’ve always seen debut albums as capturing a band’s first moments, when you really have momentum, and then the second album is the chance for a more thoughtful approach.” The band’s Mick Conroy adds “Brickbat was a classic first album; noisy and raucous. On Love Drips And Gathers, we’ve calmed down and explored sounds, and space.”

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Scratching at the Lid,” a shimmering and ethereal pop anthem centered around Berenyi’s imitable vocals, twinkling keys, a rousingly anthemic hook and a forceful motorik groove. But underneath the big hooks and breakneck gallop, the song is a deeply conflicted meditation focusing on McKillop’s relationship with his father and one’s relationships with their parents. Love Drips and Gathers’ second and latest single, the brooding “V.O.” is dedicated to the band’s longtime friend and collaborator Vaughan Oliver. Centered around arpeggiated synths, shimmering guitars, Berenyi’s wisps of smoke-like delivery, a propulsive rhythm section and soaring strings, “V.O.” fittingly is a Cocteau Twins-like track full of heartache and unfathomable loss delivered in an impressionistic fashion.

put a vocal on it,” Piroshka’s Miki Berenyi explains in press notes. “The lyrics are snapshot snippets of Vaughan Oliver’s funeral in January 2020 – lines from the speeches, fleeting impressions of the day. I’m getting to the age where the people I grew up with are dying and I find funerals a comfort in the sadness, formal but emotional, a celebration of a life, a space for the living to reconnect.” 

The recently released video continues Piroshka’s ongoing collaboration with director Conor Kinsey. The video follows an ominous and shadowy being and its relationship with a woman. Throughout the video there’s love, sacrifice, dedication, heartbreaking loss and fear. “We wanted to put this ominous-being centre frame and allow the viewer to reflect on fear and loss whilst also embracing hope and futurity through its life experiences,” Conor Kinsey explains. “Giving the subject no recognisable features meant that it’s emotional journey through the different timelines felt more relatable to a wider audience.”

New Audio: Venice, Italy’s New Candys Release a Dark and Brooding Single

Formed back in 2008, the Venice-based post punk/shoegazer act New Candys — currently Fernando Nuti (vocals, guitar), Andrea Volpato (guitar, vocals), Alessandro Boschiero (bass) and Dario Lucchesi (drums, sample) — developed a sound that they’ve dubbed dark, modern rock ‘n’ roll as it combines noisy, brooding sounds with distinct melodies. Additionally, they’ve managed to display a dynamic and symbiotic connection between their music and their visual aesthetic.

2012 saw the release of the Italian post punk/shoegazer outfit’s full-length debut, Stars Reach The Abyss, which they supported with a tour of the UK and Italy. Adding to a rapidly growing international profile, album single “Meltdown Corp.” was included on that year’s The Reverb Conspiracy compilation released by Fuzz Club and The Reverberation Appreciation Society. Their sophomore album 2015’s As Medicine was released through Picture In My Ear and Fuzz Club — and distributed by The Committee To Keep Music Evil. Over the next two years, the members of New Candys toured across Europe three times, playing at Secret Garden Party and Liverpool Psych Fest.

Their third album, 2017’s Bleeding Magenta was released by Fuzz Club and re-pressed in the US by Little Cloud Records. The Italian act supported the album with a European tour and a stop at SpaceFest in Gdańsk, Poland. 2018 began an extremely busy period for the band: they toured Australia, headlining Sydney Psych Fest, now and Melbourne Psych Fest now known as Bad Vibrations, as well as a set at Adelaide Fringe Festival. Then they went on a US-Mexico tour, which included a stop at Seattle’s KEXP for a live session. In 2018 they went on and completed a back-to-back tour of 50 shows across Europe, the US and Canada with stops at Desert Stars Festival, Milwaukee Psych Fest, Los Angeles’ The Echo, Austin, TX’s Hotel Vegas and The Mercury Lounge. And they ended the year with a full European tour with The Warlocks and The Dandy Warhols that also included a stop at Levitation France. And just before the pandemic wrecked havoc across the world, New Candys went on their first tour of the Balkans.Adding to a growing international profile, New Candys have had songs appear on several episodes of Showtime’s Shameless.

The band’s fourth and latest album Vyvyd officially dropped today through Little Cloud Records and Dischi Sotterranei with a exclusive vinyl edition through Fuzz Club — and the album, which was recorded at Venice’s Fox Studio by the band’s Andrea Volpato is the first recorded output with their current lineup. Thematically, the album finds the band exploring and toying with the idea of duality throughout its ten songs. And to celebrate the release of the album, the and released two singles, including “Factice.” Centered around a densely layered and sculpted soundscape featuring thunderous drumming, shimmering guitars, crunchy bass lines within an expansive song structure, the song sonically bears a resemblance to My Bloody Valentine, Cocteau Twins and the like, while detailing its narrator’s desperate attempts to escape a slow-burning descent into madness.

New Audio: Lucid Express Teams Up with The Bilinda Butchers’ Adam Honingford on Their Most Brooding Snigle to Date

Rising Hong Kong-based indie outfit Lucid Express — Kim (vocals, synths), Andy (guitar), Sky (guitar), and siblings Samuel (bass) and Wai (drums) — can trace their origins back to 2014: the then-teenagers formed the band in the turbulent weeks just prior to the Umbrella Movement, the most recent in a series of tense pro-democracy protests against increasingly brutal state-led suppression in their home region. Amidst the constantly scenery of tear-gassed, bloodied and beaten protestors, politically-targeted arrests and death threats from government officials, the five Hong Kong-based musicians met in a small practice space sun the remote, industrial Kwai Hing neighborhood. 

Despite the ugliness of their sociopolitical moment, the band manages to specialize in an ethereal and shimmering blend of indie pop, dream pop and shoegaze with their practice space being someplace where they could escape their world. “At that time, it felt like we have [sic] a need to hold on to something more beautiful than before. Like close friendships, the band, our creation,” the band’s Kim says in press notes. 

The band’s name can be seen as a relatively modest mission statement describing the band’s intent: their use of the word lucid is in the poetic sense of something bright and radiant. Essentially, Lucid Express operates as the service to take the listener on a journey through their lush, blissful and dreamy sounds. Unsurprisingly, their material manages to carry the mood of their inception: with the band’s members working late-night shifts, their rehearsal and recording schedules found the band playing, writing and recording material between midnight and 4:00AM, and then crashing for a few hours in the studio before going back to work. 

The end result is the band’s highly-anticipated, full-length debut. the 10-song album thematically touches upon being young, being in love and maneuvering through heartache in difficult times. Of course while writing and recording together served as a unifying and soothing presence for the members of the band, their music fell victim to their complicated circumstances: The pervasive uncertainty over Hong Kong’s sociopolitical future created an overwhelming feeling of depression that found its way into the local music scene. Shows were cancelled and releases delayed. And for a time, it just didn’t feel relevant to promote music. 

While there’s much to be fought for at home, the members of the rising indie rock act have recently begun to feel a fresh hope in their work. They’ve felt as though they’ve reached an understanding of their music’s place amongst the world it inhabits — and they’ve decide to release their full-length, self-titled debut through Kanine Records on July 16, 2021. 

So far, the act has received glowing praise from Time Out for their “dreamy live performances” with their debut single “Lime” receiving praise from Drowned In Sound, NME and others. Building upon the growing buzz surrounding them, the Hong Kong shoegazers released the self-titled album’s second single “Wellwave,” a sculptured and lush soundscape centered around Kim’s ethereal vocals, glistening synths, skittering four-on-the-floor and a motorik groove — with the end result being a song that reminded me quite a bit of Lightfoils, Palm Haze and Cocteau Twins but while feeling like a lucid fever dream.

Building up more buzz for the forthcoming album’s release, the album’s third single “Hollowers” finds the Hong Kong-based quartet subtly pushing their sound towards its darkest corners — while also being the album’s only collaborative track: the features The Bilinda Butchers’ Adam Honingford, who contributes his baritone to the track’s chorus. Interestingly, their collaboration can be traced back to when Lucid Express shared a bill on the Hong Kong stop of a Bilinda Butchers tour to the region and as the members of Lucid Express share, they’ve been mutual fans since that show. “From the first time we heard Adam on stage in Hong Kong, we always wanted to ask him to sing on one of our songs,” Kim explains. During the album’s writing sessions, “Hollowers” began to take shape as a song that might offer the perfect opportunity to collaborate.

And although the song features shimmering synth arpeggios, shimmering guitars, the track’s stormy feedback driven chorus give the song its emotional heft, keeping the material grounded in an uncertain reality. Thematically, the song finds its narrator coming to terms with the gnawing realization that even if two people have all the passion of the world, a lack of deeper understanding can leave a relationship with finite time on the clock.

New Video: Tape Waves Release an Intimate and Playful Visual for “Invisible Lines”

Charleston, SC-based dream pop duo Tape Waves — Kim and Jarod Weldin — have released three albums through San Diego-based label Bleeding Gold Records, which have garnered comparisons to the likes of Mazzy Star, Cocteau Twins and Best Coast while receiving glowing praise from the likes of SPIN Magazine, who once described the duo’s sound as “wistful, lens-blurred dream pop to soundtrack nostalgia daydreams and sleepy weekend afternoons.” 

The duo’s two most recent albums were also released through 2670 Records in Japan, where they toured to support 2018’s Distant Light.

The South Carolina-based act’s fourth album Bright is slated for a June 4, 2021 release through Emotional Response Records — and the album reportedly finds the duo combining their long-established sun-drenched pop with the influences of My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive and Teenage Fanclub.

Earlier this week, the Chucktown-based duo released “Tired,” a lush and sunny track equally indebted to dream pop and shoegaze that reminded me quite a bit of Slowdive’s gorgeous 2017 self-titled album. Bright’s latest single “Invisible Lines.” centered around shimming acoustic guitar, gently oscillating feedback, padded drumming and Kim Weldin’s plaintive and ethereal vocals, “Invisible Lines” — and as a result, the track is arguably one of the album’s more contemplative yet dreamy tracks, evoking the sensation of daydreaming on a gorgeous late Spring or early Summer afternoon. (Much like today — May 13 — in New York.)

The recently released DIY video for “Invisible Lines” is an intimate yet playful look into the Weldin’s world: we follow the duo as they ride bicycles down the street, head to a local ice cream shop, play with their cat, pull out the album’s that they love and have insisted them, and of course, play the song in their home.

New Video: indie Rock All Star act Piroshka Follows An Adorable Little Girl on a Big Day Off in Visual for “Scratching at the Lid”

Deriving their name from the Hungarian version of Little Red Riding Hood, the acclaimed All-Star act Piroshka — Lush’s Miki Berenyi (vocals, guitar) Moose’s KJ “Moose” McKillop (guitar), Modern English’s Mick Conroy (bass) and Elastica’s Justin Welch (drums) — features members, best known for their work with some of the most acclaimed indie acts of the past 30 years. And their latest project together can trace its origins to the knotted web of connections between them: Berenyi and McKillop are considered shoegaze pioneers, who have released a number of applauded releases before getting married and starting a family. With the release of 1995’s self-titled debut, Elastica quickly became internationally recognized Brit Pop stars — and as a result. Berenyi and McKillop were intimately familiar with Welch and his work. Conroy joined McKillop’s band Moose after Modern English broke up for the second time. Welch eventually joined the reunited Lush in 2015. When Lush needed a bassist for their final show in Manchester, Conroy filled in.

As it turned out, the Manchester show rehearsals are what laid the foundations for Piroshka to exist — but admittedly, I need to add some background here: After Lush’s Chris Acland committed suicide in 1997, his grieving and devastated bandmates felt it was impossible to continue as a band. The band eventually broke up. Berenyi was so heartbroken by Acland’s death that she quit music and spent the next 20 years as a working mother. Because of personal and personal obligations, Berenyi didn’t agree to reunite Lush and tour again until 2015. Welch, who coincidentally was a close friend of Acland was a logical choice to lovingly fill in. At some point, Welch asked Berenyi if she’d be up to doing something new after the final Manchester show. And as Berenyi recalled in press noters, up until that point in her life, she hadn’t made music outside of Lush and solo work never really appealed to her. “I need someone else to motivate me, and in this case it was Justin. He sent drum tracks with guitar parts and odd words, so I wrote some vocals and lyrics, which became ‘This Must Be Bedlam’ and ‘Never Enough.’ When Mick added bass, it sounded great. When Moose added guitar and keyboards — I’d never written like that before, it was such good fun.”

“We sounded great!” Welch added in press notes. “Like a proper punk band. Mick brings a huge amount of enthusiasm and livens up the room, and I thought this is the kind of band I want to be in again.” Conroy agreed, adding “I’d seen Lush so many times, it was like playing with old friends. Miki agreed and it was good fun, too. And with Moose available, we thought, ‘let’s all have a bash, see what happens.’”

Of course, there are several more layers to the entangled and complicated web of personal, professional and creative connections at the heart of Piroshka: Bella Union’s label head Simon Raymonde was among the first people to hear the Brickbat demos and he quickly signed the band to the label. Plus, I should add that Raymonde’s former Cocteau Twins bandmate Robin Guthrie produced Lush’s debut album. And Raymonde’s current Lost Horizons bandmate Richie Thomas was a former member of Moose. In any case, Raymonde introduced Piroshka to Lanterns on the Lake‘s Paul Gregory, who mixed all but one track on the album. Lastly,  Fiona Brice, who was once a Bella Union recording artist, wrote string arrangements while The Higsons and Blockhead‘s Terry Edwards, who played on Lush’s final album played brass.

Deriving its name for a slang term for missile, the band’s 2019 full-length debut Brickbat managed to have a deeper symbolic meaning for the band: the title also hit upon the fact that the album was a marked departure from the individual members’ best known work. Written through the anxious prism of parenthood in a world gone made, the album lyrically and thematically touches upon the fear, loathing, envy and strife at the heart of our current — and ongoing — sociopolitical moment.

The band’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Love Drips and Gathers derives its title from a line of a Dylan Thomas poem. Slated for a July 23, 2021 release through Bella Union, Love Drips and Gathers reportedly follows a more introspective line, with the album thematically focusing on the ties that bind us — in particular, as a lovers, parents, children, friends. Berenyi and McKillop split lyric writing duties, and the album features songs about Berenyi and McKillop’s relationship, their family, the deaths of McKillop’s mother and father and the death of longtime friend and 4AD in-house art director Vaughan Oliver, who died suddenly at the end of 2019. Sonically, the album finds the indie rock legends employing a much more ethereal sound while still reveling in energy and drama. “If Brickbat was our Britpop album, then Love Drips And Gathers is shoegaze!” Piroshka’s Miki Berenyi says in press notes. “It wasn’t intentional; we just wanted a different focus. I’ve always seen debut albums as capturing a band’s first moments, when you really have momentum, and then the second album is the chance for a more thoughtful approach.” The band’s Mick Conroy adds “Brickbat was a classic first album; noisy and raucous. On Love Drips And Gathers, we’ve calmed down and explored sounds, and space.”

“Scratching at the Lid,” Love Drips and Gathers is a shimmering and ethereal pop anthem centered around Berenyi’s imitable vocals, twinkling keys, a rousingly anthemic hook and a motorik groove. But underneath the euphoria inducing hooks and breakneck gallop, the song is a conflicted meditation on McKillop’s father and one’s relationship to their parents that sonically sounds a bit like a synthesis of Brit Pop, indie rock and shoegaze.

Directed by Connor Kingsley at Home Picture Films, the recently released video for “Scratching at the Lid” follows a rambunctious and energetic little girl, who’s one of the best things a kid can heart — there’s no school today. Throughout her day, she does all the things that kids do: running around the house causing chaos; plays with her dog, puts on makeup and pretend she’s an adult singing star. And in this girl’s world, we rarely see an adult, which probably allows her to be even more of a kid. The main thing for me is that the girl is adorable — and in some way, a reminder of our own childhood and childhood dreams.

New Video: Hong Kong Shoegazers Lucid Express Release a surreal and Feverish Visual for Shimmering “Wellwave”

Rising Hong Kong-based indie outfit Lucid Express — Kim (vocals, synths), Andy (guitar), Sky (guitar), and siblings Samuel (bass) and Wai (drums) — can trace their origins back to 2014: the then-teenagers formed the band in the turbulent weeks just prior to the Umbrella Movement, the most recent in a series of tense pro-democracy protests against increasingly brutal state-led suppression in their home region. Amidst the constantly scenery of tear-gassed, bloodied and beaten protestors, politically-targeted arrests and death threats from government officials, the five Hong Kong-based musicians met in a small practice space sun the remote, industrial Kwai Hing neighborhood.

Despite the ugliness of their sociopolitical moment, the band manages to specialize in an ethereal and shimmering blend of indie pop, dream pop and shoegaze with their practice space being someplace where they could escape their world. “At that time, it felt like we have [sic] a need to hold on to something more beautiful than before. Like close friendships, the band, our creation,” the band’s Kim says in press notes.

The band’s name can be seen as a relatively modest mission statement describing the band’s intent: their use of the word lucid is in the poetic sense of something bright and radiant. Essentially, Lucid Express operates as the service to take the listener on a journey through their lush, blissful and dreamy sounds. Unsurprisingly, their material manages to carry the mood of their inception: with the band’s members working late-night shifts, their rehearsal and recording schedules found the band playing, writing and recording material between midnight and 4:00AM, and then crashing for a few hours in the studio before going back to work.

The end result is the band’s highly-anticipated, full-length debut. the 10-song album thematically touches upon being young, being in love and maneuvering through heartache in difficult times. Of course while writing and recording together served as a unifying and soothing presence for the members of the band, their music fell victim to their complicated circumstances: The pervasive uncertainty over Hong Kong’s sociopolitical future created an overwhelming feeling of depression that found its way into the local music scene. Shows were cancelled and releases delayed. And for a time, it just didn’t feel relevant to promote music.

While there’s much to be fought for at home, the members of the rising indie rock act have recently begun to feel a fresh hope in their work. They’ve felt as though they’ve reached an understanding of their music’s place amongst the world it inhabits — and they’ve decide to release their full-length debut through Kanine Records on July 16, 2021.

So far, the act has received glowing praise from Time Out for their “dreamy live performances” and their debut single “Lime” was praised by Drowned In Sound, NME and others. Building upon the growing buzz surrounding them, the Hong Kong shoegazers latest single “Wellwave” is a sculptured and lush soundscape centered around Kim’s ethereal vocals, glistening synths, skittering four-on-the floor and a motorik groove. Sonically, the track may remind listeners of the likes of Lightfoils, Palm Haze and Cocteau Twins but while feeling like a lucid fever dream.

The recently released video will bring 120 Minutes-era MTV to mind with the band playing in a room full of old, cathode ray TVs, footage shot with a grainy VHS-like quality, split with footage of the band walking around in an equally surreal backdrop of flying fish. It’s appropriately trippy and dream-like.

Influenced by The Cure, Cocteau Twins and Joy Division and others, the rising Swiss-American shoegaze duo The Churchhill Garden — currently, founding member Andy Jossi (guitar) and Whimsical‘s Krissy Vanderwoude (vocals) — was originally founded as a solo recording project back in 2010 as a way for Jossi to plug into his emotions and to focus on writing music without any pressure. 

As the story goes, a friend had showed Jossi how to use GarageBand, which he eventually used for some of his earliest recordings. The Swiss guitarist was determined to become a better guitarist and he learned from his mistakes, which helped his musicianship and songwriting flourish and grow. As he was growing as a musician and songwriter, Jossi discovered Logic, which led to an improved and lusher quality to his recordings. 

Around the same time, Jossi began to notice that the songs he had begun to write were more expansive, and although largely inspired by Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound, shoegaze, post punk and jangle pop, the material revealed his own take on the sounds he had long loved. The Swiss guitarist and songwriting posted his compositions on Myspace without expecting much in return but, he was pleasantly surprised and encouraged by the positive response he received. And although Jossi enjoyed writing the material he had posted on MySpace, he felt that i was missing something vitally important — vocals.

Hoping to broaden his musical horizons, the Swiss guitarist and songwriter sought out a few local vocalists to collaborate with. His first collaboration was with The Reaction’s Max Burki, one of Jossi’s local musical heroes. Jossi went on to record two more tracks with Eva Tresch. Technological advances — i.e., home recording studios and programs, as well as file sharing — allowed Jossi to collaborate with vocalists outside of his native Switzerland. His first collaboration with a foreign vocalist, “Noisy Butterfly,” which featured Italian vocalist Damiano Rosetti helped expand The Churchhill Garden’s audience and fanbase outside of Switzerland.

Jossi followed “Noisy Butterfly” with more collaborations with international vocalists including Craig Douglas (USA), Alistair Douglas (AUS) and Hideka (Japan). Back in 2016, Jossi first crossed paths with Whimsical’s Krissy Vanderwoude. Vanderwoude commented on Jossi’s “Sleepless” on Facebook, letting him know that she loved his music, had been a big fan and was deeply moved by the emotionality of his work. Her message went on to say that she could “hear his heart” through his work and that his work resonated deeply with her.

As it turned out, Vanderwoude and Jossi had a mutual friend, Kev Cleary, who chimed in on the comment thread that the two should work on a song together. The duo were very excited about the idea but didn’t quite know what to expect. Jossi sent Vanderwoude files for a couple of different instrumental pieces he had written and recorded, and encouraged her to choose which one she wanted to work on. Interestingly, the Whimsical frontwoman gravitated to one of the tracks in particular and remembers being moved to tears when she first heard it. The end result became their first song together “The Same Sky.”

“The Same Sky” was released to an overwhelmingly positive response with people generally commenting that they felt a magical chemistry between the two — and after a couple of songs together, they both realized that Vanderwoude should be a permanent and full-time member of The Churchhill Garden. Of course, while Vanderwoude is a permanent fixture in The Churchhill Garden universe, Jossi has continued collaborated with other vocalists, including Seashine’s Demi Haynes and Fables‘ and Swirl’Ben Aylward

Churchhill Gardens songs were coming together quickly with a new single being released every few months. With every new release, they found their fanbase steadily growing. And although, they were releasing material through Bandcamp and other DSPs, a growing number of people expressed interest in owning a physical copy of the songs — and they started asking if there would ever be an actual Churchhill Garden album. 

Last year, the Swiss-American duo released their full-length debut, a double LP album Heart and Soul. Since the release of Heart and Soul, the duo have been working on and releasing new material including “Fade Away,” which was released earlier this year. Centered around layers of reverb-drenched, shimmering guitars, Vanderwoude’s plaintive and ethereal vocals and soaring hooks “Fade Away” to my ears at least, reminds me quite a bit of Souvlaki-era SlowdiveSo Tonight That I May See-era Mazzy Star, compete with a similar aching yearning at its core.

Clocking in at a little over seven minutes, the Swiss-American collaboration’s latest single “Lonely” is a slow-burning and aching track, featuring shimmering and reverb soaked guitars paired with a soaring hook and Vanderwoude’s ethereal vocals. And while sonically continuing on in a similar vein as its immediate predecessor with the song bringing the likes of Slowdive, Mazzy Star and even Cocteau Twins to mind, the song as the duo’s Krissy Vanderwoude explains is “lyrically a bit of a heartbreaker for anyone who knows what it feels like to have loved and lost.”

New Video: Lost Horizons and Kavi Kwai Release a Haunting and Nostalgic Visual for the Dan Carey Remix of “Every Beat That Passed”

The members of the acclaimed duo Lost Horizons — Cocteau Twins‘ and Bella Union Records label head Simon Raymonde (bass. guitar, keys, production) and Dif Juz’s Richie Thomas (drums, keys, guitar) — each ended a 20+ year hiatus from creating music with the release of their full-length debut together, 2017’s Ojaiá, (Spanish for “hopefully” or “God willing”). “These days, we need hope more than ever, for a better world,” Thomas said in press notes at the time. “And this album has given me a lot of hope. To reconnect with music . . . And the hope for another Lost Horizons record!” 

Since the release of Ojalá, the state of the world has gotten much worse — and much more dire. Our socioeconomic and political systems are slowly collapsing, exposing dangerous flaws. However, the fight for a fairer and better world continues as it has for generations; but one small portion of Thomas’ hopes have been fulfilled: Raymonde and Thomas wrote and recorded a new album’s worth of material together, their highly-anticipated sophomore album  In Quiet Moments.

Released earlier this year, and written and recorded during pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns, In Quiet Moments‘ material is inspired by the sense of existential doom, fear, uncertainty and anxiety of the larger world — and deep heartache: Just as the duo were settling into the studio to craft the largely improvised, instrumental bedrock of the album’s material, Raymonde’s mother died. 

As a response, Raymonde threw himself into his work as a way to channel his grief. “The way improvisation works,” he says, “it’s just what’s going on with your body at the time, to let it out.” The duo forged ahead, crafting 16 instrumental tracks that they sent to an eclectic array of guest vocalists including Ural Thomas, Penelope Isles‘ Jack Wolter, The Hempolics Nubiya Brandon, Tim Smith, Gemma Dunleavy, the innocence mission’s Karen Peris, Horse Thief‘s Cameron Neal, Marissa Nadler, Porridge Radio‘s Dana Margolin, John Grant, Ballet School‘s Rosie Blair, Penelope Isles’ Lily Wolter (as her solo recording project KookieLou) and an impressive list of others. 

When they sent the instrumental tracks to their then-prospective guest vocalists, Raymonde suggested a guided theme for their lyrics: “Death and rebirth. Of loved ones, of ideals, at an age when many artists that have inspired us are also dead, and the planet isn’t far behind. But I also said, ‘The most important part is to just do your own thing, and have fun.” Roughly half of the album’s lyrics were written during the middle of pandemic-related lockdowns but as it turns out, Raymonde in particular, saw a sliver lining: people were forced to slow down and take careful stock of themselves and their lives. Interestingly, after having heard a lyric written by Ural Thomas, Raymonde singled out on praise “in quiet moments,” and thought it would be a perfect album title. “It just made sense,” he says. “This moment of contemplation in life is really beautiful.” 

Although generally centered around loss and heartbreak, the album’s material is imbued with a sense of hope. as a result, the material subtly leans in the direction of rebirth more so than death. “I think it’s more joyous than Ojalá,” Thomas says. “But both albums have a great energy about them.” That shouldn’t be surprising as both Lost Horizons albums find the duo and their various collaborators on a journey through a dizzying area of moods and voices. 

Now, over the course of the past year, I’ve written about five of In Quiet Moments‘ released singles:

“Cordelia,” a lush track centered around atmospheric synths, gorgeous steel pedal guitar from David Rothon, elegant strings from Fiona Brice, and John Grant’s brooding vocals. The song is a meditation on the passing of time, the inevitable changing of the seasons — but with the tacit understanding and acceptance that all things in our world are transient. 
“One For Regret,” a dark and foreboding song centered around shimmering, reverb-drenched guitars, propulsive drumming and Porridge Radio’s Dana Margolin’s frantic vocals. While sonically, the song finds Raymonde and Thomas paying homage to the beloved sound and approach that won Raymonde accolades “One For Regret” is a meditation on the messiness of regret and loss, that acknowledges that regret and loss are a necessary part of life — and that the only way out is through. 
“Every Beat That Passed,” an old-timey waltz centered around shimmering and arpeggiated keys, jangling guitars and Kavi Kwai’s Julia Ringdahl ethereal vocals. Much like its immediate predecessor, In Quiet Moments‘ third single sonically seemed indebted to Raymonde’s while being defiantly upbeat. 
“In Quiet Moments,” a shimmering and slow-burning, old school soul meets shoegaze number featuring twinkling keys, jazzy drumming, gently buzzing guitars and Ural Thomas’ easygoing soul crooning. The end result is a gorgeous and thoughtful song that evokes a complex and confusing array of emotions with a simplicity and profound earnestness that most contemporary songwriters lack. 
“Heart of a Hummingbird,” a hazy and cinematic bit of shoegaze centered around stuttering syncopated drumming, layers of shimmering guitars, twinkling keys and Penelope Isles’ Lily Wolter (a.k.a. KookieLou)’s ethereal and mesmerizing vocals singing lyrics that get at the confusing feelings of love and heartache can inspire — in particular, longing, desperation, uncertainty, acceptance and even a little bit of denial within a turn of a phrase. 

Raymonde and Thomas recently enlisted Dan Carey to remix “Every Beat That Passed.” Retaining the jangling guitars and Ringdahl’s ethereal vocals, the Cary remix pairs those elements of the original with a brooding and uneasy production featuring arpeggiated synths and skittering beats. Interestingly, the remix is a dub-like and trippy take on the song that manages to emphasize the dreamy yet upbeat feel of the original.

“We are big fans of Dan Carey’s (who isn’t??) and when I was thinking of remixers, Dan, David Holmes and Adrian Sherwood were the first ones I wanted to approach as I felt their aesthetic would work best with some of these songs,” Lost Horizons’ Simone Raymonde says in press notes. “When Dan heard ‘Every Beat That Passed’, he mailed me back: ‘I’m obsessed with this song ! I really love it and I think I can do something really cool.’ He certainly did.”

Directed by Penelope Isles’ Jack Wolter, a.k.a. Wavyhead, the recently released video for the Dan Carey remix is full of feverish nostalgia as the video is split between footage of a decaying and abandoned amusement park and stock footage of smiling and happy folks at county fairs and amusement parks. In some way, the video is a bittersweet reminder of the things we’ve missed during the past year and some odd months of the COVID-19 pandemic. “For the accompanying film, listening to his version and Kavi’s words i had this vision in my head of dead souls riding a ferris wheel in an old decaying fairground and found some reels of this abandoned amusement park and for balance we mixed that in with some footage of happy smiling faces too from other funfairs,” Raymonde explains,. “Our main video collaborator again here is Jack from Penelope Isles.”

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Lost Horizons Team Up With KookieLou on a Pensive and Yearning Single and Visual

The members of the acclaimed duo Lost Horizons — Cocteau Twins‘ and Bella Union Records label head Simon Raymonde (bass. guitar, keys, production) and Dif Juz’s Richie Thomas (drums, keys, guitar) — each ended a 20+ year hiatus from creating music with the release of their full-length debut together, 2017’s Ojaiá, (Spanish for “hopefully” or “God willing”). “These days, we need hope more than ever, for a better world,” Thomas said in press notes at the time. “And this album has given me a lot of hope. To reconnect with music . . . And the hope for another Lost Horizons record!”

Since the release of Ojalá, the state of the world has gotten much worse — and much more dire. Our socioeconomic and political systems are slowly collapsing, exposing dangerous flaws. However, the fight for a fairer and better world continues as it has for generations; but one small portion of Thomas’ hopes have been fulfilled: Raymonde and Thomas wrote and recorded a new album’s worth of material together, their highly-anticipated sophomore album In Quiet Moments.

Written and recorded during pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns, In Quiet Moments‘ material is inspired by the sense of existential doom, fear, uncertainty and anxiety of the larger world — and deep heartache: Just as the duo were settling into the studio to craft the largely improvised, instrumental bedrock of the album’s material, Raymonde’s mother died.

As a response, Raymonde threw himself into his work as a way to channel his grief. “The way improvisation works,” he says, “it’s just what’s going on with your body at the time, to let it out.” The duo forged ahead, crafting 16 instrumental tracks that they sent to an eclectic array of guest vocalists including Ural Thomas, Penelope Isles‘ Jack Wolter, The Hempolics Nubiya Brandon, Tim Smith, Gemma Dunleavy, the innocence mission’s Karen Peris, Horse Thief‘s Cameron Neal, Marissa Nadler, Porridge Radio‘s Dana Margolin, John Grant, Ballet School‘s Rosie Blair, Penelope Isles’ Lily Wolter (as her solo recording project KookieLou) and an impressive list of others.

When they sent the instrumental tracks to their then-prospective guest vocalists, Raymonde suggested a guided theme for their lyrics: “Death and rebirth. Of loved ones, of ideals, at an age when many artists that have inspired us are also dead, and the planet isn’t far behind. But I also said, ‘The most important part is to just do your own thing, and have fun.” Roughly half of the album’s lyrics were written during the middle of pandemic-related lockdowns but as it turns out, Raymonde in particular, saw a sliver lining: people were forced to slow down and take careful stock of themselves and their lives. Interestingly, after having heard a lyric written by Ural Thomas, Raymonde singled out on praise “in quiet moments,” and thought it would be a perfect album title. “It just made sense,” he says. “This moment of contemplation in life is really beautiful.”

Although generally centered around loss and heartbreak, the album’s material is imbued with a sense of hope. And as a result, the album subtly leans in the direction of rebirth more so than death. “I think it’s more joyous than Ojalá,” Thomas says. “But both albums have a great energy about them.” That shouldn’t be surprising as both Lost Horizons albums find the duo and their various collaborators on a journey through a dizzying area of moods and voices.

Now, over the course of the past year, I’ve written about four of In Quiet Moments’ released singles:

“Cordelia,” a lush track centered around atmospheric synths, gorgeous steel pedal guitar from David Rothon, elegant strings from Fiona Brice, and John Grant’s brooding vocals. The song is a meditation on the passing of time, the inevitable changing of the seasons — but with the tacit understanding and acceptance that all things in our world are transient.
“One For Regret,” a dark and foreboding song centered around shimmering, reverb-drenched guitars, propulsive drumming and Porridge Radio’s Dana Margolin’s frantic vocals. While sonically, the song finds Raymonde and Thomas paying homage to the beloved sound and approach that won Raymonde accolades “One For Regret” is a meditation on the messiness of regret and loss, that acknowledges that regret and loss are a necessary part of life — and that the only way out is through.
“Every Beat That Passed,” an old-timey waltz centered around shimmering and arpeggiated keys, jangling guitars and Kavi Kwai’s Julia Ringdahl ethereal vocals. Much like its immediate predecessor, In Quiet Moments‘ third single sonically seemed indebted to Raymonde’s while being defiantly upbeat.
“In Quiet Moments,” a shimmering and slow-burning, old school soul meets shoegaze number featuring twinkling keys, jazzy drumming, gently buzzing guitars and Ural Thomas’ easygoing soul crooning. The end result is a gorgeous and thoughtful song that evokes a complex and confusing array of emotions with a simplicity and profound earnestness that most contemporary songwriters lack.

In Quiet Moments’ fifth and latest single “Heart of a Hummingbird” is a hazy yet cinematic bit of shoegaze centered around stuttering syncopated drumming, layers of shimmering guitars, twinkling keys and Penelope Isles’ Lily Wolter (a.k.a. KookieLou)’s ethereal and mesmerizing vocals singing lyrics that get at the confusing feelings of love and heartache can inspire — in particular, longing, desperation, uncertainty, acceptance and even a little bit of denial within a turn of a phrase.

“In 2018 we toured the UK with Penelope Isles opening up for us every night, and it was one of the most brilliant times I’ve had on tour. It reminded me of the Cocteau Twins / Dif Juz tour of 1984,” Lost Horizons say of In Quiet Moments’ fifth and latest single. “The friendships spawned and the love and respect that our bands showed to each other throughout was really special. There were 7 of us in the Lost Horizons live band and every one of us watched Penelope Isles each night, usually in awe. They did the same with us (probably without the in awe part) and to have such a brilliant support pushes you each night, in the best possible way.

“I knew from watching Jack (who sings on the first track on the lp ‘Halcyon’) and Lily so closely for so long, that I couldn’t think of two better people to be on this Lost Horizons lp. They were the first people I asked. Lily is a brilliant songwriter and I knew she would be a perfect collaborator for us! She seemed to have her ideas done so quickly after I sent her the music, and Jack recorded her soon after in our studio in Brighton, and I clearly remember opening the email when they sent the track to me, I literally blasted it in my studio so loud about 25 times and was in tears hearing what she’d done. I am very excited by what I am hearing of her KookieLou solo project.

“After I had written and recorded the basic tune with all the keys, basses and Richie had added the live drums, Paul Gregory (Lanterns On The Lake) added the glorious spacey guitars that take the track to its crescendo.”

“It was a real honour to be asked to collaborate with these two legends,” Penelope Isles’ and KookieLou’s Lily Wolter adds. “I have a lot of love for both Simon and Richie. I wrote these words in a pretty testing time. Loving someone is a real trip isn’t it? The meanings of the lyrics twist and turn between uncertainty and really just not wanting to let go of someone. When those beautiful new chords come in just after halfway through the song, I felt a release. I think that’s where the words travel from a place of confusion and heartache, to a place of pure honesty, acceptance and love. I want to thank Simon and Richie for making that happen at that point, encouraging me to see the glass half full at a time where it felt pretty empty.”

Shot in a gorgeously cinematic black and white, the recently released video for “Heart of a Hummingbird” follows a pensive and lonely Wolters walking along a rocky and windy shore, singing the song. Her immediate surroundings add an even more pensive and lonely quality to the proceedings.

Now, as you may recall In Quiet Moments was slated for a two part release through Bella Union. The first part was released late last year with the second part due February 26, 2021, along with the physical release of the entire album.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Palm Ghosts Release a Paranoid and Uneasy Meditation on Our Current Moment

Led by singer/songwriter, producer and Ice Queen Records founder Joseph Lekkas, the Nashville-based indie rock act Palm Ghosts can trace its origins to when Lekkas resided in Philadelphia. After spending a number of years playing in local bands like Grammar Debate! and Hilliard, Lekkas took a lengthy hiatus from writing, recording and performing music to book shows and festivals in and around the Philadelphia area.

Lekkas initially started Palm Ghosts as a solo recording project — and as a creative outlet to cope with an incapacitating bout of depression and anxiety. During a long Northeastern winter, he recorded a batch of introspective songs that at the time, he dubbed “sun-damaged American music” that would eventually become the project’s full-length debut. After a short tour in 2013 to support the album, Lekkas packed up his belongings and relocated to Nashville, enticed by the city’s growing indie rock scene.

Palm Ghosts’ third album, 2018’s Architecture was a bit of a change in sonic direction for the project with Lekkas writing material influenced by the sounds of the 80s — in particular, Cocteau Twins, Peter Gabriel, Dead Can Dance, New Order, The Cure, and others. A couple of years have passed since I’ve written about the Nashville-based Lekkas, but as it turns out the JOVM mainstay has been busy. Much like countless acts across the world last year, the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns and restrictions, political and financial turmoil and protest fueled an immediacy and energy in the songs Lekkas and company had been writing.

The band’s fourth album, Lifeboat Candidate was written and recorded remotely with the individual bandmembers emailing song ideas, instrumental parts, lyrics and melodies back and forth. Slated for a March 19, 2021 release, Lifeboat Candidate is a fittingly dark and dystopian effort, full of confusion, fear and dread — but with a bit of humor and hope. Interestingly, Lifeboat Candidate’s first single “Blind,” was the one of the first songs written and recorded last summer. Centered around tribal drumming, shimmering synth arpeggios and slashing guitars, “Blind” is one part Peter Gabriel 3 and Security-era Peter Gabriel, one part Joy Division and one part Gang of Four. It’s an uneasy and tense song that’s about the suspicion and paranoia that stand in the way of truly and honestly seeing people that seems all too suited for the age of QAnon, NewsMax and OAN.

The recently released video for “Blind” is a paranoid and uneasy fever dream using rapidly flashing collage artwork that evokes a dystopian hellscape in flames. Does it feel familiar, yet?