Tag: dream pop

Lyric Video: JOVM Mainstays Still Corners Release an Upbeat and Optimistic New Bop

London-based dream pop act and JOVM mainstays Still Corners — vocalist and keyboardist Tessa Murray and multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter Greg Hughes — have managed to bounce between chilly and atmospheric pop and shimmering guitar-driven, desert noir through the release of five albums: 2012’s Creatures of an Hour, 2013’s Strange Pleasures, 2016’s Dead Blue, 2018’s Slow Air and last year’s The Last Exit.

The Last Exit continued where its predecessor left off with 11 songs centered around shimmering and carefully crafted arrangements featuring organic instrumentation paired with Tessa Murray’s smoky crooning. Thematically, the album took the listener through a hypnotic and mesmerizing journey filled with dilapidated and long-abandoned towns, mysterious shapes appearing on the horizon and long trips that blur the lines between what’s there and not there.

Understandably, the album’s material was brought into further focus as a result of last year’s pandemic-related lockdowns and quarantines. “There’s always something at the end of the road and for us it was this album. Our plans were put on hold – an album set for release, tours, video shoots, travel,” Tessa Murray explained in press notes for the album. “We’d been touring nonstop for years, but we were forced to pause everything. We thought the album was finished but with the crisis found new inspiration and started writing again.” Three of the album’s songs — “Crying,” “Static,” and “‘Till We Meet Again” were written during this period and they reflect upon the profound impact of isolation and the human need for social contact and intimacy. 

Serving as the immediate follow-up to The Last Exit, the duo’s latest single “Heavy Days” is a propulsive and uptempo bop featuring twinkling synth arpeggios, a chugging motorik-like groove, shimmering Western-tinged guitars and a soaring hook paired with Murray’s imitable smoky vocals. Sonically “Heavy Days” finds the duo retaining the beloved elements of their overall sound — but while seemingly drawing from 80s pop.

Interestingly, despite the literal weight of it’s title “Heavy Days” may be the most optimistic and sunny song of the JOVM mainstays’ growing catalog. “Sometimes it all feels like too much, there’s a lot to take in reading the news all the time,” Still Corners’ Tessa Murray says in press notes. “We wanted to write a reminder to put the phone down now and again and get out there and live life to the fullest while you can.”

Stockholm-based psych pop/dream pop duo Astral Brain — Einar Ekström (production, composition) an Siri af Buren (vocals, lyrics) — can trace their origins back to the breakup of Ekström’s previous band Le Futur Pompiste. Although the band split up, Ekström continued writing new music with the hopes of eventually teaming up with a new vocalist.

Back in 2015, Ekström was introduced to af Buren, who is also a member of Malmö-based act Testblid!, an act that Ekstrom was a fan of for years. The pair bonded over mutual influences, and they decided to work together: af Buran began writing lyrics and melodies for the arrangements that Ekström had written years before.

Over the past two years, Astral Brain released a couple of singles while working on their forthcoming full-length debut album, The Bewildered Mind, which is slated for an October 15, 2021 release through Shelflife Records. Sonically, the album reportedly find the pair drawing from and blending elements of cinematic soundscapes, jazzy library music, early electronic music, 60s psychedelia and other genres into their own sound.

The album’s first single “Five Thousand Miles” features af Buren’s jazzy delivery ethereally floating over a gorgeous arrangement centered around twinkling keys, a hypnotic motorik groove and a soaring hook. Sonically, “Five Thousand Miles” brings Young Narrator in the Breakers era Pavo Pavo to mind, as it possesses a similar nostalgia-inducing, retro-futuristic sound paired with a careful attention to craft.

Favours — Jacq Andrade and Alex Zen — are an emerging Toronto-based pop duo. Their forthcoming EP Left Behind slated for release later this year, and the EP’s material reportedly sees the Canadian pop duo establishing a dream pop sound that also draws equally from their shared love of 80s New Wave and DIY post-punk. The EP also features Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning on bass.

Over the past few months, the members of the Toronto-based duo have been building up buzz for their EP. Last month, I wrote about “Right Back,” a breezy single that to my ears recalled 80s Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac, while being about “a love or friendship that never ends. No matter the distance, every time you meet, you’re right back where you left off,” as the duo explained.

“Call Me,” Left Behind‘s latest single is a slow-burning pop ballad centered around strummed acoustic guitar, glistening synths, boy-girl harmonizing and an enormous hook. If you’re a child of the 80s as I am., “Call Me” sonically brings a couple of beloved and incredibly well written pop songs to mind — John Waite‘s “Missing You” and Til Tuesday’s “Voices Carry” but with a modern sensibility. Thematically,. the song tackles a familiar topic to all of us: the cycles of life and relationships and the bright new possibilities that come from a fresh start. And as a result, the song is imbued with a bittersweet hopefulness. “Every new beginning/Comes from some other beginning’s end,” as a song once said.

new Video: German Dream Pop Act Seasurfer Release a Gauzy Cocteau Twins-like Mix of “Drifting”

Hamburg-based songwriter, multi-instrumentalist Dirk Knight is one of that city’s grizzled scene vets, who can trace his career back to the 90s: his previous band Dark Orange was a pioneering act in the Heavenly Voices scene — and as a result, he collaborated with Cocteau Twins‘ Robin Guthrie.

amburg-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist started his current project  Seasurfer back in 2013, and interestingly enough, the project finds Knight eschewing the traditional rock band set up and collaborating with a rotating cat of vocalists and musicians. His first two critically applauded Seasurfer albums saw Knight work with members of acts like Trespassers William, Whimsical, Jaguwar and Last Leaf Down. 

Seasurfer’s third album Zombies was released last year through Reptile Music. The album saw Knight simultaneously refining and expanding upon the sound that has won him and his collaborators attention internationally. While still retaining shoegazer textures, there’s a much larger focus on cold wave and dark wave influences with the material employing an increasing use of synths, motorik grooves and beats to create what Knight has dubbed “electrogaze for dancers and dreamers alike.”

ritten and recorded during pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns, Zombies thematically paints a picture of a society on the brink of annihilation. As a result of the pandemic, Zombies is the first album that features Knight playing and recording all of the material’s instrumentation and even contributing some vocals. The first part of the album features vocals from singer/songwriter Apolonia.

As the story goes, as the pair were finishing the album, they had the distinct impression of living in a world that was completely losing its mind: Naturally, there is constant fear and uncertainty inspired by the pandemic; but there’s also the increasing numbers of self-serving political leaders hellbent on power, greed, corruption and lust. And let’s not forget the looming global climate catastrophe that will likely occur within our lifetimes. It shouldn’t be surprising that the pair frequently felt as though they were like zombies struggling through a lost and dead world.

Shortly after the vinyl and CD releases of Zombies, the Hamburg-based act reworked album single “Drifting.” “Drifting” is a fan favorite on the album and as a result, Knight and Apolonia came up with an alternate mix of the song. Interestingly, the alternate mix is centered around gauzier textures while retaining the glistening synths and brooding air of the original. In some way, the alternate mix manages to gently push the song towards a Cocteau Twins-like sound.

For me ‘Drifting’ is the song with the coolest bass of the whole album Zombies,” Seasurfer’s Dirk Knight explains. ” For the first time I recorded all the basses by myself and learned to love playing this instrument. Basses are extremely important to us and determine the harmonies and melodies, similar to how Simon Gallup (The Cure), Peter Hook (Joy Division, New Order) and Simon Raymonde (Cocteau Twins) are doing it. For the single and the extended mix we let the drums run straight through to make the song even more mesmerizing.”

The recently released video is a trippy mix of nostalgia-inducing Super 8 shot footage of a young child going on a cruise on the open sea, projected over Apolonia’s face, as she sings the song’s lyrics.

“Drifting (Single Mix)” appears on Seasurfer’s recently released Drifting EP, which features a 12 minute, extended single mix, the previously unreleased track “Ghost Children” and remixes of “Drifting” by Spanish dreamwave duo STEREOSKOP, Russian shoegazers Life on Venus and French electronic artist GIIRLS.

With the release of their debut EP I Used to Love You, Now I Don’t, the rising Brighton-based dream pop act and JOVM mainstays Hanya — currently Heather Sheret (vocal, guitar), Benjamin Varnes (guitar), Jorge Bela (bass) and Jack Watkins (drums) — garnered attention nationally and across the blogosphere for crafting a sound that featured elements of dream pop and shoegaze.

Last year, much like countless acts across the globe, the members of Hanya had plans to build upon a rapidly growing national and international profile: they released their acclaimed sophomore EP Sea Shoes, which they supported with touring across the UK and their Stateside debut at that year’s New Colossus Festival. Since their The Bowery Electric set last March, the band has been busy writing new material, which has included singles like:

  • Texas,” a shimmering bit of dream pop that nods at 70s AM rock, and focuses on the longing and excitement of a new crush/new love/new situationship
  • Monochrome,”a hazy and slow-burning ballad that celebrates the pleasures of life’s small things
  • Lydia,” a slow-burning and gorgeous track that continues upon their winning mix of 70s AM rock and Beach House-like dream pop.

Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the Brighton-based dream pop outfit will be releasing their highly-anticipated third EP later this fall. Featuring delicately guitars, a sinuous bass line. and a wah wah pedaled guitar solo, “Fortunes” the forthcoming EP’s lead single is a slow-burning track centered around A Storm In Heaven like painterly textures, ethereal harmonies and deeply personal, lived-in lyricism.

“‘Fortunes’ started almost as a joke as we teased the idea of writing a laid-back Y2K banger,” Hanya’s Heather Sheret explains in press notes. “Naturally, the more we wrote, the more we loved it. We followed our musical nose until we felt we had tapped into something special. Light, yet heavy, and catchy as hell the track details how getting outside of your comfort zone can often lead to finding the best version of yourself.”

HANYA is Heather Sheret (guitar, vocal), Benjamin Varnes (guitar), Jorge Bela (bass), Jack Watkins (drums)

New Video: The Money War Releases a Brooding Visual for Yearning “Miles Away”

Perth-based dream pop duo The Money War — married duo Carmen and Dylan Ollivierre — can trace their origins to a road trip that the pair took across the States back in 2015. Inspired by the trip, the duo wrote and record ton of iPhone demos. After a chance meeting with producers Thom Monahan and Arne Frager in a San Francisco dive bar, the duo were convinced of the value of their demos together, and began to further flesh out their material, eventually leading to their full-length debut, 2019’s Home.

Since forming in 2016, the Perth-based duo have attained a national and international profile: They’ve toured with Meg Mac, Dope Lemon, Holy Holy, and Neil Finn across Australia and they’ve received an Australian Music Prize nomination for their full-length debut. They’ve made the rounds of the global festival circuit with stops at SXSW and BIGSOUND among others. The duo has received radio airplay nationally and globally with Double J, Triple J, BBC 6, KCRW, NPR — and they’ve cracked Stateside college radio charts. And in their native Australia they’ve been covered by Rolling Stone Australia, Tone Deaf, Pile Rats, and theMusic.

Last year was a busy year for the acclaimed Aussie duo. They released their sophomore album Morning People. They signed a global publishing deal with Mirror Music/BMG — and they had a baby. Continuing upon that momentum, the duo released their latest single, the slow-burning and brooding “Miles Away.” Centered around a gorgeous yet sparse arrangement of strummed acoustic guitar, gently padded drumming, and a mournful sax solo paired with Carmen Ollivierre’s plaintive vocals, “Miles Away” is fueled by longing for someone, who you can’t be with — because of distance and/or timing. Sonically “Miles Away” is a slick and soulful mesh of Still Corners and 80s Bruce Springsteen.

Money War’s Carmen Ollivierre driving down a country road, as though driving to the shore to think and reflect. We also see Dylan Ollivierre getting dressed in a jacket and tie, before heading to the beach for a stroll — and perhaps to hopefully meet his beloved.

21 year-old Amsterdam-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Nadine Appeldoorn is the creative mastermind behind the rising indie pop recording project Mazey Haze. Growing up surrounded by the music of ABBA, Tears for Fears, Talk Talk, Fleetwood Mac and The Bee Gees, the rising Dutch artist started writing her own original material when she was 13. By the time, she turned 16, Appeldoorn started recording full demos on her laptop that found her experimenting with different genres, sounds, decades and production elements.

Eventually, Appeldoorn settled on a guitar-driven indie pop sound that some have compared to acclaimed and beloved acts like Alvvays, Beach House, Camera Obscura and Men I Trust paired with reflective, insightful, often wistful and unashamedly honest songwriting, fueled by her desire to connect with the listener and make them feel less alone.

The rising Dutch artist’s highly anticipated debut EP, Always Dancing, which will feature lead single “Sad Lonely Groove” is slated for an October 22, 2021 release through LUSTRE. Discussing what listeners should expect from the EP, Appeldoorn explains, “Human feelings and thoughts. Total honesty about a very vulnerable and fearful chapter of my life. Unfiltered lyrics that came straight out at moments I felt the lowest I have ever felt. At times cynical and sarcastic. Thoughts and feelings we all experience but which are also very private and personal. An EP about me struggling through my first breakup(s) and trying to figure out who I am, for the first time ever. Sound-wise the EP is also strongly guided by my gut-feeling and intuition. The music accompanies the lyrics as it matches the strong and deep feeling I had at the time. The EP is sonically straightforward but detailed as well. Dynamic and layered. Groovy and dreamy. For me, this EP is the beginning of floating through the unknown, forever.”

Building upon the attention of “Sad Lonely Groove,” Appeldoorn and LUSTRE released the second and latest single off the EP, “Headspin.” Featuring shimmering guitars, a supple bass line, atmospheric synths, propulsive drumming and Appledoorn’s plaintive vocals paired with a soaring hook, “Headspin” manages to capture a narrator caught in an uneasy storm of conflicting and confusing emotions of a bitter breakup while sonically bearing a resemblance to Cannonball EP-era Amber Arcades and Beach House.

“I wrote ‘Headspin’ in the same period of my life as ‘Sad Lonely Groove’. The song for me was an outlet of my doubts and fears at that time,” Appeldoorn explains in press notes. “I broke up with my first ever partner in life and wasn’t sure if I’d done the right thing, because I didn’t know how to take care of myself. I didn’t know who I was on my own. It was very scary and I felt very lonely. The only person I really had was him. I felt a lot of frustration. Some moments I did think it was the right thing because I felt that I couldn’t be there for him, I didn’t feel the same anymore. All these different thoughts were making me tired. It was the first time I let go of someone I cared about alot. But I couldn’t still fully let him go.”