Tag: dream pop

New Video: Rising Swedish Act Spunsugar Releases a Mischievous Visual for Brooding “Happier Happyless”

Last year, Spunsugar, a rising Swedish indie act, led by Elin Ramstead released their attention grabbing, genre-bending debut EP Mouth Full Of You, an effort that firmly established their unique genre-bending sound and approach, which features elements of industrial electronica,  post-punk, noise rock, shoegaze and dream pop — while also earning airplay from BBC 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq. 

Slated for for a fall release through Adrian Recordings, the band’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Drive-Through Chapel reportedly finds the band seeking to emulate the sounds of Cocteau Twins, Slowdive, and others — but while simultaneously crafting some of their hardest hitting material to date. “Happier Happyless,” Drive-Through Chapel’s brooding latest single is a perfect taste of what listeners should expect: shimmering synth arpeggios, propulsive industrial beats, swirling guitars, and a soaring and rousingly anthemic hook paired with Ramstead’s ethereal vocals evoking an aching yearning.  While clearly indebted to 4AD Records, goth and shoegaze, the industrial element to their sound finds the rising Swedish act adding themselves to a growing crop of contemporary shoegazers, who are actively pushing the genre’s sonic boundaries — including acts like Lightfoils, BLACKSTONE RNGRS and countless others. 

“’Happier Happyless’ is a sour and sweet song, tackling subjects of pining, happiness and revenge,” the band explains in press notes. “Having a fittingly slower pace than former Spunsugar singles, this song is also an homage to the shunned 2001 slasher movie Valentine, released a little too late in the post-Scream era. Written with the aim to have’ ‘a memorable hook, a thumping synth bass line and a gazey chorus,’ this is a good introduction to the bands debut album, because of the constant switching of emotional tonality.”

The recently released video employs a relatively simple concept — perhaps inspired by our current period of quarantines: the visual primarily features the band’s Ramstead dancing and singing the song in front of white screen or white wall. A  series of colors — red, blue, yellow and green are projected. At various points, we see her bandmates, who throw balled up pieces  of paper at Ramstead, or they just show up to goof off.  So while the song may be brooding, the video reveals a bit of playfulness. 

Advertisements

Deriving their name from a retired racing greyhound that’s since been renamed Jenna, Jetstream Pony is an emerging shoegazer act split between Brighton UK and Croydon UK. Featuring Trembling Blue Stars,’ The Luxembourg Signal‘s and Aberdeen’s Beth Arzy (vocals), The Wedding Present’s and The Popguns‘ Shaun Charman (guitar), Kerry Boettcher (bass) and the band’s newest addition Hannes Müller, the members of the band bonded over their mutual love of post-punk and indie pop.

The band released a few 7 inch singles through Kleine Untergrund Schallplaten, along with a their 12 inch debut EP Self-Destruct EP — both of which received a bit of attention across the shoegazer and indie pop scenes. Building upon growing momentum, the British act’s self-titled, full-length debut is slated for a May 22, 2020 release through Shelflife Records and Kleine Untergrund Schallplaten. Interestingly, the album’s second and latest single “Trapped in Amber” is a shoegazer-like bit of guitar pop that recalls 120 Minutes-era MTV college radio that features an enormous hook, shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, four-on-the-floor drumming and Beth Arzy’s ethereal vocals, delivered with the self-assuredness of old pros.

“‘Trapped in Amber’ is a relationship song, with lyrics by Beth,” the band’s Shaun Charmn explains in an email. “She writes a mixture of prose and verse on virtual scraps of paper. When I have new music, I flick through them to see which fits best, then edit to fit. Beth’s happy for things to be changed, she then edits again for the final version. It does work really well. This song was written at the very last minute before album recording, I was still working it out in the studio as we recorded it, but it was sounding too good to leave off.”

 

 

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays High Waisted Return with a Mischievous and Brightly Colored Visual for Achingly Vulnerable “Modern Love”

Founded back in 2014 by co-founder  Jessica Louise Dye (vocals, guitar) and Jono Bernstein (drums),  New York-based JOVM mainstays High Waisted have received attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere for a sound that draws from surf rock, garage rock, dream pop, Riot Grrl punk and punk rock, for a high-energy live show and their popular DIY concert showcase/booze cruise High Waisted at Sea.

The band’s Bryan Pugh-produced full-length debut On Ludlow further cemented their reputation for scuzzy, party ’til you drop rock — but just under the surface, the material revealed vulnerability and ache.  The JOVM mainstays spent most of 2016 and 2017 on a relentless tour schedule across the country opening for the likes of Brazilian Girls, Shannon and the Clams, Titus Andronicus, The Donkeys, Har Mar Superstar, JOVM mainstays The Coathangers, Jessica Hernandez, La Sera, Diarrhea Planet and La Luz, as well Riot Fest in both Chicago and Denver.

The JOVM mainstays have received praise from the likes of Consequence of Sound, Noisey, Paste, NME, who named them a “Buzz Band to Watch”  GQ, who declared them “The Ultimate Party Band” and they were named one of the buzziest bands of SXSW in 2018 and 2019 — all of which have helped to firmly cement their long-held reputation for being a non-stop party machine, while going through a series of lineup changes.

Since the release of On Ludlow, the the band contributed “Firebomb,” a scuzzy, ass-kicking, power chord-driven Lita Ford and Motley Crüe-like single to a split single with The Coax, which they supported with further relentless touring with Hundred Hounds, Beechwood and others.

Despite being badly injured in a car accident while biking in NYC last summer, Dye, Bernstein and company have remaining rather busy: they appeared in a NYLON feature, contributed to a Record Store Day release compilation with Bikini Kill, Lenny Kaye, and Atmosphere, wrote a song for NPR’s More Perfect and were featured on their podcast, played a headline show at Las Vegas’ Hard Rock Hotel and wrapped up their successful  High Waisted at Sea booze cruise and showcase, released four music videos on Left Bank Magazine  — and completed work on their highly anticipated sophomore album Sick of Being Sorry.

Slated for a May 22, 2020 release, the JOVM mainstay’s sophomore album continues their ongoing collaboration with Tad Kubler — and thematically, the album focuses on finding hope in hopeless situations and having the strength to get up after being knocked down and having the world scream at you to stay down. Now, as you may recall, earlier this month, I wrote about album opener “Boys Can’t Dance,” a rousing, party anthem centered around a plucky, heart-on-your-sleeve earnestness while further establishing the sound that has won them attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere: a seamless hook-driven mix of surf rock, Riot Grrl punk, dream pop, garage rock and 60s pop. 

“Modern Love” Sick of Being Sorry’s latest single features a surf pop-like arrangement of shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, a strutting bass line and propulsive drumming   — and while continuing in a similar sonic vein as its immediate predecessor, the song may arguably be one of the most achingly vulnerable and tender songs in their growing catalog. Much like all love songs, “Modern Love” is centered around longing that familiar desperate longing for that object of affection but with the recognition that love in any and all forms is a sort of surrender to something other than yourself. But there’s an underlying irony to the song: love ain’t easy, because it’s full of contradictions and often makes very little sense. And as a result, you have to figure out a way to be protect yourself while figuring out how to remaining vulnerable and true to yourself. 

Directed by Jenni Lang and Logan Seaman, the recently released video for “Modern Love” is a mischievous mix of live action and brightly colored and lysergic animation and imagery as we follow the band’s Jessica Louise Dye through a fantastic adventure. “Jenni found a quote that says ‘to love is to destroy and to be loved is to be destroyed.’ That really inspired us to write a story about love and power. Jess would be the heroine in the story, not only because she looks badass on the stage, but because she represents many modern women. As her character lives a happy and love-filled life, she encounters situations where she needs to step out of her comfort zone in order to protect her love. It’s a metaphor for modern love. You can’t just live happily ever after like in the movies. There are moments in which we struggle. It’s a journey of learning to be yourself, and most importantly to be brave.”

Lyric Video: Gateway Drugs Releases a Shimmering and Heartbreaking Ballad

Formed in 2010, the rising Los Angeles-based act Gateway Drugs — siblings Gabe, Noa and Liv Niles, who all share vocal and instrumental duties, and their longtime friend James Sanderson (bass) — emerged into the psych rock scene with the 2015 release of their full-length debut, Magick Spells, an album that helped to establish their noisey and melodic take on shoegaze that Hellbound has likened to “The Stooges meets My Bloody Valentine and The Brian Jonestown Massacre — a little dark, a little eerie and a little grainy and all intoxicating.”

Slated for a May 8, 2020 release through Future Shock Records, the Los Angeles-based psych rock quartet’s, ten song, Sune Rose Wagner-produced sophomore effort PSA was recorded during a 12 day recording session at Josh Homme’s Pink Duck Studio. Centered around what the band says was some of the quickest and most direct songwriting process of their young careers, the album as the band told Foxes Mag “. . . is much more intimate and raw than our first album. All of the songs were recorded live for the most part.”

While further establishing their noisy and melodic take on psych rock, the material reportedly finds the band writing more introspective material, drawing from a wild and chaotic few years for the band — and for the world at large. According to the members of Gateway Drugs, the album reflects “everything that is wrong in the here and now: the weakness of the world laid bare, and the almost total state of apathy we all find ourselves in due to feeling powerless to effect any change with respect to all of this. PSA is an attempt to connect with others, who feel the same way and regain a sense of our ability to change things for the better.”

Now, as you may recall, last week, I wrote about, the brooding and hook-driven  “Slumber,” PSA’s second single, a track that reminded me a bit of the aforementioned Brian Jonestown Massacre, Riot City Blues-era Primal Scream, while being an earnest reflection on unrequited love that focused on the rejection and heartbreak of a jilted suitor. PSA’s third and latest single is the slow-burning ballad “I’m Always Around.” Centered around shimmering guitars, the song was written and sung by the band’s Liv Niles — and is essentially, a bitter and heartbreaking goodbye letter to a lover ad a relationship that seems bound to come to a close. 

“The song reflects my nostalgia at the time towards my relationship that was failing, my sadness knowing he would hate me one day for choosing myself over him,” the band’s Liv Niles explains in press notes. 

New Audio: Los Angeles’ The Know Covers The Jesus and Mary Chain

Los Angeles-based dream pop/shoegaze duo The Know, married couple and collaborators Daniel Knowles and Jennifer Farmer, can trace their origins to late 2018, when Knowles suggested to Farmer that instead of traveling home for the holidays — the UK and Texas respectively — that they stay put in Los Angeles and try to write music together, just the two of them. And the material they would write would be their gift to themselves.

Over a couple of weeks, they isolated themselves in their home studio with no real plan but they shared a mutual love of Beach House, Julee Cruise, ye ye, The Jesus and Mary Chain, 60s girl groups, Patsy Cline and The National. Interestingly, the first batch of material they wrote together, included their debut single “143.” Inspired by Tom Waits‘ “(Looking for) The Heart of Saturday Night,” “143” found the duo meshing the autobiographical with the fantastic: focusing on the hazy half-remembered recollections of a wild night out paired with an instrumental arrangement that seemed indebted to Beach House and 60s girl groups.

Their second single “Hold Me Like You Know Me,” a personal account of the intense feelings of loneliness and isolation that the band’s Farmer felt over the past year, received favorably comparisons to David Lynch’s Twin Peaks and Phil Spector‘s Wall of Sound production.

Both of those singles will be included on the duo’s forthcoming debut EP, wearetheknow. Slated for a May 18, 2020 release, the EP finds the duo fully embracing a DIY ethos: the EP was produced, mixed and mastered by the band’s Knowles with Farmer handling the band’s visual side, including their videos and visual content. And as a result, the duo ensure that they have complete creative control over what they do. Thematically, the EP delves into the duo’s personal lives with the material touching upon their relationship and their experiences  — paired with a kaleidoscopic soundscape. 

Now, as you may recall, last month, I wrote about “Someday Maybe,” a track that continued a run of material based on their personal experiences while sonically meshing Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound with The Stone Roses and others as it featured swooning boy-girl harmonies paired with layers of swirling and buzzing guitars and pedal effects.  Interestingly, the duo’s latest single, a cover of The Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Sometimes Always” was inspired by quarantine-induced boredom — and was initially just intended for their own amusement and ears. After completing the track, the duo liked the way it came out, so they sent it to their CLUB 143 fan club an exclusive listen and feedback. The feedback was so positive that the and decided to squeeze in another single before the release of their debut EP. 

The Know’s cover of “Sometimes Always” the first song in which Knowles takes on lead vocal duties — but the cover is a deceptive, sonic detour with the duo taking one of The Jesus and Mary Chain’s more pop-leaning songs and playing it in the style of the influential act’s psychedelic leaning material.  And yet, it still manages to hew closely to the spirit and overall vibe of the original. 

BonFire Records · Wolf & Moon – A Tape Called Life

With last year’s full-length debut Before It Gets Dark, which was released through German label AdP Records in Europe and BonFire Records in North America,  the Berlin-based pop duo Wolf & Moon received attention across Germany and elsewhere for a sound that they described on their Facebook fan page as “somewhere between the folky sound of Angus and Julia Stone and the electronic influences of The xx . . ..” Adding to a big year, they played sets at SXSW and Reeperbahn Festival, where they received a Best Newcomer Award nomination at the festival’s VIA Indie Awards. Adding to a growing profile, they received airplay on Dutch radio stations 3FM-FX, ZuidWestFM, BredaNu, A-FM and Indie XL, Chicago’s WGN, and German radio stations Sputnik, DETEKTOR FM and SWR3 — and they’ve been featured in  The Guardian.

The duo — Dennis and Stef — have also developed and maintained a reputation for relentless touring with a minimal live set up — generally,  a travel guitar, electronic drum machine, a mini Casio keyboard and their voices. Late last year, the Berlin-based duo were approached for an export grant from the Dutch Music Exchange, which helped the duo record and produce their highly-anticipated sophomore album slated for release in September.

“A Tape Called Life,” the second single off the duo’s sophomore album is a carefully crafted bit of dream pop featuring shimmering guitars, rapid fire beats, the duo’s hushed boy-girl harmonies and an infectious hook, continuing a run of material that will likely draw comparisons to JOVM mainstays Geowulf and Moonbabies. Interestingly, the track is deceptively breezy; thematically, the track explores the difficulties of aging and growing older. The duo asks the listener to look back upon their youth with rose colored glasses — but while acknowledging that in doing so, that the present may not seem as beautiful or perfect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

e

New Video: The Know Releases a Wistful and Nostalgic Visual for Swooning “Someday Maybe”

Los Angeles-based dream pop/shoegaze duo The Know, married couple and collaborators Daniel Knowles and Jennifer Farmer, can trace their origins to late 2018, when Knowles suggested to Farmer that instead of traveling home for the holidays — the UK and Texas respectively — that they stay put in Los Angeles and try to write music together, just the two of them. And the material they would write would be their gift to themselves. 

Over a couple of weeks, they isolated themselves in their home studio with no real plan but they shared a mutual love of Beach House, Julee Cruise, ye ye, The Jesus and Mary Chain, 60s girl groups, Patsy Cline and The National. Interestingly, the first batch of material they wrote together, was their debut single “143.” Inspired by Tom Waits‘ “(Looking for) The Heart of Saturday Night,” “143” found the duo meshing the autobiographical with the fantastic: focusing on the hazy half-remembered recollections of a wild night out paired with an instrumental arrangement that seemed indebted to Beach House and 60s girl groups. 

Their second single “Hold Me Like You Know Me,” a personal account of the intense feelings of loneliness and isolation that the band’s Farmer felt over the past year, received favorably comparisons to David Lynch’s Twin Peaks and Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound production. 

Both of those singles will be included on the duo’s forthcoming debut EP, wearetheknow. Slated for a May 18, 2020 release, the EP finds the duo fully embracing a DIY ethos: the EP was produced, mixed and mastered by the band’s Knowles with Farmer handling the band’s visual side, including their videos and visual content. And as a result, the duo ensure that they have complete creative control over what they do. Thematically, the EP delves into the duo’s personal lives with the material touching upon their relationship and their experiences  — paired with a kaleidoscopic soundscape. 

Interestingly, the EP’s third and latest single “Someday Maybe” finds the duo continuing  a run of material that thematically is based on their personal experiences — while sonically meshing Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound with The Stone Roses and others. In other words, swooning melodies with layers upon layers of swirling and buzzing guitars, and pedal effects. As the duo explains the song “is about the potential you feel when you first meet someone you connect deeply with.” 

Directed by the band’s Jennifer Farmer, the recently released video stars Los Angeles music scene personality Howard Mordoh as The LA Rocker, along with the members of The Know as themselves, Kris Correa, Lauren Womack, Skylar Francise and Colin Coleman — and is set at barbecue/backyard party.  Of course, the video has me dreaming of the day that we all can get together at a party, drink tons of cheap beer, dance and listen to music all day and night. 

New Video: Rising Aussie Act Poppongene Releases a Hilarious Ode to Dating and Settling Romantically

Sophie Treloar is a Bryon Bay, Australia-born, Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter and multi-disciplinary artist and creative mastermind behind the rising act Poppongene, an Aussie dream pop project that finds Treloar performing both as a solo artist and with a band featuring Skube Burnell, Gemma Helms, Justin Kuchel and Deanna Ramsey. Last year, Treloar released three critically applauded singles in her native Australia “Do It, Girl,” “Belgravey,” and “Esky” — and as a result of the growing buzz surrounding the project, Treloar and company wound up opening for Lucy Dacus, Weyes Blood and Slow Dancer.

Slated for a July 3, 2020 release through Our Golden Friend, Treloar’s Tim Harvey-produced Futures Unsure reportedly marks a distinct step forward in the rising Aussie singer/songwriter’s artistic and musical development. Now, as you may recall, EP single “Not Wrong”  was a shimmering and slow-burning, Still Corners-like track centered around Treloar’s achingly tender vocals that thematically focused on the initial pangs of infatuation, and of the equal thrill and uncertainty of attraction. And as a result, the song was imbued with equal parts blind hope and despair. The EP’s latest single “Eternally Alone” is a deceptively upbeat and dreamy ode to romantic and dating complacence and of hopes of effortless connections centered around jangling guitars, twinkling keys, an infectious hook, an infectious hook and Treloar’s coquettish vocal delivery. But the song is built with a playfully  ironic reasoning — that maybe being alone ain’t so bad. 

“It’s a humorous pop song about wanting warm connection without warped compromise,” Treloar explains in press notes. “It’s me daydreaming about a lovely shimmering romance the I don’t have time for. Less morbid than the title suggests, much more about poking fun at my priorities.”

Directed by Clancy Walker, the recently released video features Treloar heading to a speed dating event at local bar that quickly turns into a frustrating and unsatisfying nightmare that includes a selfie taking jock type, a paranoid spy, a pompous, wine drinking magician, an incredibly nervous woman, who laughs inappropriately, drinks too quickly — and spills a drink all over everything. And with each meeting, you can see Treloar’s character feeling as though her soul is being sucked away from her. “The video is a humorous depiction of the pure chaos faced when seeking a romantic human connection,” Treloar says in press notes. 

Grace Joyner is an emerging singer/songwriter, who has spent the bulk of her career as a harmony and backing singer for several  bands in the Charleston, SC area. In 2014, Joyner stepped out into the spotlight as a solo artist with the release of her debut EP, 2014’s Young Fools, an effort that reflected on a difficult yet important time in her life — and inspired her own songwriting. “I think there is something valuable in admitting your mistakes, as well as recognizing the power within you to leave them behind.  Somewhere in the middle of learning that getting hurt does not make you weak, I started the healing process — I started writing music,” Joyner said at the time.

Joyner’s full-length debt, 2016’s Wolfgang Zimmerman-produced Maybe Sometimes in C wound up being a way for the Charleston-based singer/songwriter to further define her musical perspective and showcase her maturation and growth as a songwriter, with the material thematically focusing on moving from heartbreak and into a place of independence and self-assurance. Her forthcoming sophomore album Settle In continues her ongoing collaboration with producer and engineer Wolfgang Zimmernan — and the album reportedly finds Joyner taking bigger risks with the material exploring much more personal topics including her romantic failures, her family and her relationship to her career. Building upon a growing profile, Joyner has made appearances across the national festival circuit with sets at SXSW and Savannah Stopover. She has also recorded sessions for Daytrotter and Breakthru Radio — and most importantly, “Dreams” appeared on The CW’s Riverdale

Her soon-to-be released sophomore album Settle In finds the Charleston-based singer/songwriter continuing her ongoing collaboration with Wolfgang Zimmeran while furthering her development as an artist and songwriter. “I took my time with Settle In. This record covers a lot of ground for me. I took bigger risks in my songwriting process and pushed personal boundaries by exploring content around my romantic struggles, my family, and my relationship with the pursuit of music itself,” Joyner explains in press notes. ” But, ultimately, you can’t choose what or who you love, and if you don’t give it a fair shot you might never know what could have been.”

“Fake Girlfriend,” Settle In‘s second single is a mesmerizing and swooning song featuring  a sinuous bass line, shimmering synth arpeggios, shuffling four-on-the-floor,  Joyner’s achingly plaintive vocals and an infectious hook, reminiscent of Stevie Nicks‘ “Stand Back” and Sylvan Esso. Centered around a slick, dance floor friendly production, the track finds Joyner and Zimmerman creating ambitious yet remarkably accessible disco-influenced dream pop.