Tag: dream pop

New Video: Wings of Desire Share Dreamy, Krautrock-Inspired “Runnin'”

Rising British indie duo Wings of Desire — James Taylor and Chloe Little — draw inspiration from several eclectic sources, including early 00s New York post punk, Factory Records, krautrock and the work of philosophers like Alan Watts, Noam Chomsky and Wim Wenders.

Sonically, they attempt to key into a specific lived in experience: “We were inspired by a trip to Berlin where we visited the legendary Hansa Studios, and got drunk at Neues Ufer. Built in 1913, the building was later used as a cabaret and chamber music hall during the Weimar era, and converted to a recording studio in the early 1970s. Because of its outstanding acoustics, the studio has played host to David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Brian Eno, U2, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Depeche Mode, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Killing Joke, Manic Street Preachers, R.E.M. and Living Things among others. It’s been said that Bowie wrote “Heroes” at a window of the studio, from which he saw his producer and longtime collaborator Tony Visconti kiss backing vocalist Antonia Maass, by the Berlin Wall, an image that’s referenced in the song’s lyrics.

Hansa Studios is a spiritual home for the rising British duo as they specialize in a gritty take on dream pop rooted in earnest, lived-in emotion. So far, the duo have received praise from Stereogum, BrooklynVegan, The Line of Best Fit, DIY, Clash Magazine, Dork, The Independent and others. They’ve received airplay from BBC 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq and Lauren Laverne and Radio X’s John Kennedy. And last year they’ve opened for JOVM mainstays Nation of Language.

Building upon a growing profile, the duo share a new single, the expansive “Runnin,'” which will appear on effort slated for release later this year. Featuring shimmering and reverb-drenched, angular guitar attack, atmospheric synths and a relentless motorik groove paired with Taylor’s plaintive vocal and rousingly anthemic hooks, “Runnin” to these ears, sounds like a sleek synthesis of Berlin Trilogy-era David Bowie and The Jesus and Mary Chain, but rooted in incisive observation of the contemporary human experience.

With their new single, the duo offers a much-needed reminder, that there’s more to life than what we’re being served and fed on a daily basis through the algorithm. “Running endlessly in circles under the tight grip of a culture designed to distract us from ourselves,” the band explains. “Do we still believe that the internet knows what’s best for us? Maybe it’s time to get off the wheel and see what’s outside.”

The accompanying video featured slickly edited stock footage — of natural and man-made disasters, news broadcasts, the Wall Street trading floor, people in internet cafes and elsewhere. All of them feeling desperately empty, inadequate, lonely and desiring earnest connections that they don’t know how to achieve. It’s as much of a critique of the social media world, as it is of capitalism.

New Video: Montréal’s Bodywash Shares Woozy and Uneasy “Massif Central”

Montréal-based shoegazers Bodywash — Chris Steward and Rosie Long Dector — can trace their origins back to when the pair met while attending McGill University. But when they met, the pair didn’t immediately share a common musical language: Steward grew up in London listening to celestial dream pop while Dector grew up in Toronto listening to folk and Canadiana. The music they began writing together saw the pair bridging their influences. And with the release of 2016’s self-titled EP and 2019’s full-length debut, Comforter, the Montréal-based duo firmly established their sound — slow-burning and dreamy material centered around ethereal vocals, intricate guitar lines and pulsating synths. 

The Canadian shoegazers’ sophomore album I Held the Shape While I Could is slated for an April 14, 2023 release through Light Organ Records. . When touring to support Comforter was cut short by the pandemic, the duo used the unexpected hiatus to write new material, which was darker, more experimental and more invigorating than its predecessor, and managed to reflect on Steward’s and Long Dector’s separate and shared experiences of losing a sense of place, the way something once solid can slip between your fingers, and their attempts to build something new from the psychological and emotional fallout.

Late last year, I wrote about the sophomore album’s expansive first single, “Kind of Light.” Beginning with a slow-burning and elegiac intro featuring glistening organ and a skittering yet propulsive kick pattern that slow builds up and breaks into a high energy boom bap-like breakbeat paired with scorching guitar squealing and wobbling bass synths. Long Decter’s ethereal and achingly plaintive vocals expressing profound, heart-wrenching despair — and hope. The song suggests that while loss is natural and sadly expected there can be hope; that there are only a handful of things in our lives that are truly permanent. And that ultimately for the most part, it can get better.

“I wrote ‘Kind of Light’ in bed,” Long Decter says. ““It was the fall of 2018 and Chris and I were both going through experiences of learning not to trust what feels like home. He sent me a plugin for a new organ sound, suggesting it might provide inspiration. I sent him back chords, a kick pattern, and some vocals about trying to pull your legs back; trying to take your energy out of the wreckage and put it into yourself. The process of deciding what’s worth keeping, what can be reworked and what gets tossed in the fire. A process that is devastating and also weirdly invigorating, because you can see new possibilities opening up in front of you. And you can start to look for light somewhere else.”

I Held the Shape While I Could‘s second single, the woozy “Massif Central” features glistening synth bursts, shimmering and angular post punk-meets-shoegaeze-like textures paired with a relentless motorik groove, stormy guitar feedback and Steward’s ethereal whispers recounting an experience of Kafka-esque, bureaucratic purgatory: a typo in a government letter caused Steward to lose his legal work status in Canada. The song manages to evoke the sensation of having your life flipped upside down, then being hopelessly stuck and having no say or agency in your situation.

“After eight years living in Canada, in the Spring of 2021, a government clerical error caused me to lose my legal status here,” Steward explains. “As a UK national, I lost my right to work. My savings trickled away during months where I could do little but pace the corners of my apartment. I was prepared to pack my bags and leave as the life I’d hoped to construct for myself seemed to vanish into a bureaucratic abyss.”
 
“‘Massif’ is the sound of wailing into a cliff and not knowing if you’ll hear an echo,” continued Steward. “The spoken word is inspired by a squirrel that was trapped in the wall behind my bed, clawing its way to salvation. With the help of friends, family, music, and a few immigration lawyers (and the rest of my savings), I’m now a permanent resident here. But this song remains as testament to my experience with an exploitative institution.”

Directed by Jordan Allen, the accompanying video for “Massif Central” is a dizzying collage of live footage, directed by Brandon Kaufman, distorted VHS-like visuals and eerie. retro-futuristic -inspired graphics. “With ‘Massif Central,’ we wanted to encapsulate the panic and urgency that Chris experienced, and have the abstracts portray the anxiety and hopelessness one can feel at the hands of bureaucracy,” Allen explains. “I chose graphics that heavily leaned into feelings of being lost in a maze, with towering structures and horizon lines pulling you into them. The idea was that the camera would be both a CCTV view of the band, but also glitching to reveal the more emotionally internal visual aspects.”

Lyric Video: Caroline Loveglow Shares Woozy and Atmospheric “Patience, Etc.”

Caroline Loveglow is a Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who specializes in a meditative dream pop informed by long nights spent at home getting lost in her own head. Sitting in front of her computer, she’d spend her time twisting and contorting familiar sounds into something otherworldly and surreal — pianos could be stretched out into an eerie drone or swirling guitar parts are played through clouds of distortion and reverb. Her dreamy vocals float over the song’s arrangement in an ethereal haze.

Thematically, the Los Angeles-based artist’s work sees her pondering the big existential questions, her own innermost turmoil and what it really means to be human in a mad, mad, mad world.

“Patience, Etc.” appears on Loveglow’s self-produced, full-length debut, Strawberry, which was released earlier this year. Featuring woozy synth arpeggios, a tweeter and woofer rattling boom bap-like breakbeat, distorted and reverb-drenched guitars paired with the Los Angeles-based artist’s ethereal cooing, “Patience” sonically brings The xx, The Horrors, Amber Arcades, and others to mind — but while rooted in yearning and heartbreakingly lived-in lyricism.

Founded back in 1980, the Sydney-based ARIA Hall of Fame inductees The Church — currently founder member Steve Kilbey (vocals, bass, guitar); longtime collaborator and producer Tim Powles (drums), who joined the band in 1994 and has contributed to 17 albums; Ian Haug (guitar), a former member of Aussie rock outfit Powderfinger, who joined the band in 2013; multi-instrumentalist Jeffery Cain, a former member of Remy Zero and touring member of the band, who joined the band full-time after Peter Koppes left the band in early 2020; and their newest member, Ashley Naylor (guitar), a long-time member of Paul Kelly’s touring band and one of Australia’s most respected guitarists — was initially associated with their hometown’s New Wave, neo-psychedelic and indie rock scenes. But they became increasingly associated with dream pop and post-rock as their material took on slower tempos and surreal, shimmering soundscapes paired with their now, long-held reputation for an uncompromising approach to both their songwriting and sound. 

1981’s full-length debut Of Skins and Hearts, was a commercial and critical success thanks in part to the success of their first radio hit, “The Unguarded Moment.” And as a result, the legendary Aussie outfit was signed to major labels in Australia, Europe and The States. However, their American label was dissatisfied with their sophomore album and dropped the band without releasing it in the States. 

Although being dropped from their American label managed to slow down some of the international momentum surrounding the band a bit, 1988’s Starfish managed to be a smash hit, thanks to their only US Top 40 hit, “Under the Milky Way.” “Under the Milky Way,” received attention once again with its appearance in 2001’s cult-favorited film Donnie Darko.

While mainstream success has been a bit elusive, since the release of Starfish, the acclaimed Aussie outfit have developed a devoted, international cult following while being incredibly prolific. The bands 25th album, 2017’s Man Woman Life Death Infinity was released to critical praise from the likes of PopMatters, who called the album “a 21st-century masterpiece, a bright beam of light amid a generic musical landscape, and truly one of the Church’s greatest releases.” 

The highly-anticipated follow-up to 2017’s Man Woman Life Death Infinity — and their 26th album — The Hypnogogue is slated for a February 24, 2023 release through Communicating Vessels/Unorthodox. The album is the band’s first full-length concept album: Set in 2054, the album follows its protagonist Eros Zeta, the biggest rock star of his era, who travels from his home in Antarctica to use the titular Hypnogogue to help him revive his flagging and moribund fortunes. “The Hypnogogue is set in 2054… a dystopian and broken down future,” The Church’s Steve Kilbey explains. “Invented by Sun Kim Jong, a North Korean scientist and occult dabbler, it is a machine and a process that pulls music straight of dreams.”

Centered around the band’s unique swirling and textured guitar-driven sound paired with Kilbey’s imitable delivery, the album’s expansive and brooding title track and first single, “The Hypnogogue,” introduces listeners to the album’s characters — Eros Zeta and Sun Kim — while following Zeta, travel to meet Kim, and during the toxic and weird process, wind up falling in love with Kim, As Kilbey says, “. . . it all ends tragically (of course . .. as these things often do).

The Hypnogogue‘s second and latest single, the jangling and deceptively upbeat “C’est La Vie” continues the album’s narrative: Zeta’s agent warns him not to mess with that Hypnogogue. “His manager has heard some bad rumors about it, and he doesn’t want his boy all strung out on this unknown thing,” The Church’s Steve Kilbey explains. The song ends with a gorgeous, shimmering fade out. “Musically, the song is a fast-paced rocker very much initiated by our guitarist Ian Haug. But it has plenty of twists and turns and ends up fading away in a delicate and winsome way.”


The Hypnogogue is the most prog rock thing we have ever done,” Kilbey says. “We’ve also never had a concept album before,” he says. “It is the most ‘teamwork record’ we have ever had. Everyone in the band is so justifiably proud of this record and everyone helped to make sure it was as good as it could be. Personally, I think it’s in our top three records.”

Out Run — singer/songwriter Ginevra Abbarchini and producers Niccolò “2Crimes” Messeri and Lawrence “Mouth Water” Messeri — formed earlier this year with the intent of crating material that meshes elements of dream pop and electro pop.

The trio’s first singles the slow-burning “Meet Me On The Road” is centered around glistening synth arpeggios, Abbarchni’s sultry delivery, skittering trap-like beats and well-placed, razor sharp hooks. The end result is a song that seems to sonically nod at Dead Blue-era Still Corners and Washed Out and others.

Andrea Aguilar is a Venezuelan-born, New York-based signer/songwriter, arranger and visual artist. Growing up in a deeply musical family, Aguilar started writing her own songs when she was just six. Around the same time, she developed an interest in the visual arts, and specializes in acrylic painting.

As a singer/songwriter and musician, Aguilar’s work draws from dream pop, alternative pop and electro pop. Her work is frequently sees her expressing raw emotions through melancholic metaphors, dreamy atmospherics paired with ethereal melodies.

Last year, the Venezuelan-born, New York-based artist graduated from Berklee College of Music with a degree in composition and music business. To date, Aguilar has collaborated on a number of projects as a singer/songwriter, co-producer and/or illustrator, including with her own music: Each song of hers features a cover with her artwork, along with videos directed and edited by her.

Aguilar’s second and latest single,”Pociones,” is her first Spanish language song. Centered around the Venezuelan-born, New York-based artist’s beguilingly ethereal delivery paired with glistening and atmospheric synths, a propulsive backbeat and a soaring, euphoria-inducing hook, the swooning and”Pociones” brings to mind JOVM mainstays Still Corners. While seemingly rooted in a wistful and aching nostalgia, the song evokes the sweet feeling of being in love, as though a spell has secretly been cast on the listener.

New Audio: Montreal’s Bodywash Shares a Meditation on Loss and Hope

Montreal-based shoegazers Bodywash — Chris Steward and Rosie Long Dector — can trace their origins back to when the pair met while attending McGill University. But when they met, the pair didn’t immediately share a common musical language: Steward grew up in London listening to celestial dream pop while Dector grew up in Toronto listening to folk and Canadiana. The music they began writing together saw the pair bridging their influences, and with the release of 2016’s self-titled EP and 2019’s full-length debut, Comforter Steward and Rector firmly establishing slow-burning and dreamy material centered around ethereal vocals, intricate guitar lines and pulsating synths.

When touring to support their full-length debut was cut short by the pandemic, Long Decter and Steward used the unexpected hiatus to write. And they wound up writing material that was darker, more experimental and more invigorating than the material on Comforter. Last year, they took the songs into the studio with longtime drummer Ryan White and The Besnard Lakes‘ Jace Lasek, who helped record and engineer the album, which will be released through Light Organ Records.

“Kind of Light,” the forthcoming album’s first single is an expansive track that begins with a slow-burning and elegiac intro featuring glistening organs and a skittering yet propulsive kick pattern that slowly builds up and breaks into a high energy, boom bap-like breakbeat paired with scorching guitar squealing and wobbling bass synths. Front and center is Long Decter’s ethereal and achingly plaintive vocals express profound, heart-wrenching despair, and hope. The song suggests that while loss is natural and expected, there can be hope; that there are only a handful of things that in our lives that are truly permanent — and that for the most part, it can get better.

“I wrote ‘Kind of Light’ in bed,” Long Decter says. ““It was the fall of 2018 and Chris and I were both going through experiences of learning not to trust what feels like home. He sent me a plugin for a new organ sound, suggesting it might provide inspiration. I sent him back chords, a kick pattern, and some vocals about trying to pull your legs back; trying to take your energy out of the wreckage and put it into yourself. The process of deciding what’s worth keeping, what can be reworked and what gets tossed in the fire. A process that is devastating and also weirdly invigorating, because you can see new possibilities opening up in front of you. And you can start to look for light somewhere else.”

New Video: MARBLES Shares Breezy and Bittersweet “One of a Kind”

Kolbotn, Norway-based dream pop outfit MARBLES — Ferdinand Widmer (vocals, bass), Marius Ringen (drums), Adrian Sandberg (synths) and Marcus Widmer (guitar) — features members, who come from a variety of musical backgrounds with many of the band’s members also playing in the black metal bands that the city is best known for internationally. 

When the band started, its members were initially unsure exactly what sound and genre this new music would be, but they quickly discovered a shred interest in dream pop, indie and disco styles, and they were able to capture a unique vibe together in their jam sessions. That unique vibe was immediately present on their debut single “European Dream.” And from there, the Norwegian outfit quickly honed and built upon the blueprint that song set out for their overall sound.

The Norwegian pop outfit’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Humour is slated for a February 10, 2012 through Playground Music. The album will feature three singles released over the course of this year, including “World Inside Me,” a deliberately crafted mid-tempo and breezy Washed Out and Brothertiger-like bop that’s underpinned by a deep-seated — and perhaps hard won — introspection.

“‘World Inside Me’was written in our most isolated period through the pandemic. It tries to describe a feeling of loneliness that is mostly conjured by our own mind. Even though there are options and offers from the outside world, sometimes you just feel better in your own sphere,” the Norwegian dream pop outfit explains. “Living in your own little world (or bubble) can feel both pleasant and safe, but also quickly turn into a lonesome and desperate state of mind.” 

Album single “One of Kind” is a subdued, introspective and woozy bop centered around glistening synth arpeggios, skittering four-on-the-floor paired with Widmer’s ethereal vocals and the band’s unerring knack for well-crafted, catchy hooks. But the song is rooted in bittersweet, lived-in experience: MARBLES’ Ferdinand Widmer explains that “One of a Kind” is all about the experience of realizing that a relationship in your life — whether it be a friend, family member or romantic partner — and coming to terms with the fact that you are moving in different directions.

“Our message with ‘One of a Kind’ is that – sometimes it’s ok to lose contact with someone close in your life. Maybe you evolve differently or go down different paths. You come to the point in a relationship where both parts have moved on, and you´re still trying to accept it for a good thing. Doing your best to cherish their accomplishments in life. You’ll never find someone similar, and that’s just life. You still want the best for them. And you understand that ‘forever regretfulness’ can be a curse.”

The accompanying video for “One of a Kind” features the band’s Ferdinand Widmer and a green screen backdrop. Leaning hard into the goofiness and obvious fakery of its setup, Widmer is inserted into the screensaver type of backdrops like the photo booth karaoke machines you’d see at your local mall.

New Video: Minneapolis’ LUMARI Shares Swirling Shoegaze Anthem “Neon Mirror”

Minneapolis-based dream pop/shoegaze outfit Lumari — twin siblings Dave West (drums) and Dan West (guitar, bass), Margo Pearson (vocals, keys) and Robert Caple (guitar, bass) — can trace their origins back to the relationship between the West Brothers: Dave West and Dan West have played together in a number of different national and internationally touring projects over the course of several decades.

As the story goes, the West Brothers had the fortune of finding Pearson and Caple, who gamely completed Lumari’s lineup. Along with award-winning producer/engineer Eric Olsen, the Minneapolis-based sheogazers wrote and recorded an album’s worth of material that sets the groundwork for the band’s sound and approach.

The quartet’s debut single, and presumably, their album’s first single, “Neon Mirror” is centered around reverb-drenched, swirling guitar textures, thunderous and propulsive drumming, a supple bass line and enormous choruses paired with Pearson’s ethereal vocals. Sonically. the song strikes me a slick synthesis of Meat is Murder-era The Smiths, Cocteau Twins, Slowdive and RIDE — with a modern production sheen.

Co-directed by Sara Fox and the members of Lumari, the accompanying video was shot in the Catskills and follows Leslie Cuyjet wandering through the hilly forests, when she discovers an ornate, old fashioned mirror in the moss. We see the woman twirling through the forest pathways with her mirror before shifting to an ornate house. In one way, the video can be red as a modern day extrapolation of the old Greek myth of Narcissus — but while going through a lysergic and nightmarish funhouse mirror.

Kolbotn, Norway-based dream pop outfit MARBLES — Ferdinand Widmer (vocals, bass), Marius Ringen (drums), Adrian Sandberg (synths) and Marcus Widmer (guitar) — features members, who come from a variety of musical backgrounds with many of the band’s member also playing in the black metal bands that the city is best known for internationally.

When the band started, its members were initially unsure exactly what sound and genre this new music would be, but they quickly discovered a shred interest in dream pop, indie and disco styles, and they were able to capture a unique vibe together in their jam sessions. That unique vibe was immediately present on their debut single “European Dream.” And from there, the Norwegian outfit quickly honed and built upon the blueprint that song set out for their overall sound.

2020’s self-titled, full-length debut featured songs like “Woman,” She’s So” and the previously released single “Baby Don’t You Get It.”

The band has released two singles this year, which will appear on their soon-to-be announced sophomore EP which is currently slated for an early 2023 release through Playground Music. “World Inside Me,” is MARBLES’ third and latest single of the year — and will also appear on the forthcoming album. “World Inside Me” is deliberately crafted, mid tempo that brings Washed Out and Brothertiger to mind, centered around atmospheric synths textures, a chugging groove, a glistening guitar solo paired with the act’s unerring knack for well-placed hooks and dreamy vocals. But underneath it’s breeziness, the song is underpinned by a deep-seated — and perhaps hard won — introspection

“‘World Inside Me’was written in our most isolated period through the pandemic. It tries to describe a feeling of loneliness that is mostly conjured by our own mind. Even though there are options and offers from the outside world, sometimes you just feel better in your own sphere,” the Norwegian dream pop outfit explains. “Living in your own little world (or bubble) can feel both pleasant and safe, but also quickly turn into a lonesome and desperate state of mind.”