Tag: dream pop

New Video: United Ghosts’ Trippy Visuals for Their Shimmering 4AD Records-Inspired New Single

The Los Angeles-based, the dream pop duo United Ghosts, comprised of Sha Shabi, who came to Southern California after stints in New York and San Francisco; and German-born Axel Ray, who spent a 12 year stint in London before relocating to the States — although on some level, it’s a bit of a misnomer, as they’ve received attention for a classic 4AD Records-like sound centered around boy-girl harmonizing and draws from dream pop, psych rock, shoegaze and krautrock.

The duo’s 2013 full-length, self-titled debut and its follow up, Dear Electric Sun EP received airplay from BBC’s Steve Lamacq and Lauren Laverne, KCSN’s Nic Harcourt, KLOS’ Mark Sovel and XFM’s John Kennedy and a number of others. And after three successful UK and European Union tours, a number of Stateside dates that included CMJ and SXSW, followed by an L.A. residency, the duo of Shabi returned to the studio to work on their Mark Rains and Axel Ray co-produced sophomore album, Saturn Days, an album that thematically and lyrically explores modern life, love and disconnect in a world that’s equally dystopian and beautiful, in which hope is laced with paranoia and where dreaming your way out might be the only chance to survive.

Saturn Days’ latest single “Waves,” will further cement the duo’s reputation for crafting material 4AD Records-era dream pop, the prerequisite shimmering guitar chords, motorik grooves, enormous power chord-based soloing and dreamy boy-girl harmonies — but with a subtly modern touch,. 

The recently released video for “Saturn Days” is comprised of performance footage of the members of United Ghosts with their live band shot by Arian Soheli with superimposed drone footage by Steve Payne, underwater footage by Alex V. and images of Saturn courtesy of NASA and the Saturn Cassini mission. 

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Currently comprised of founding member Austin North (vocals, guitar) with Cecilia Otero (bass) and Josh Mendoza (drums), the El Paso, TX-based indie rock/dream pop trio Sleepspent can trace their origins back to when it founding member returned from school in San Diego and started the band with friend and co-writer Aaron Quintalla. Although they’ve gone through a lineup change that has the band as a trio, since their formation, the members of Sleepspent have quickly become one of El Paso’s best, up-and-coming bands; in fact, locally they’ve become one of the area’s go-to bands, opening for a variety of nationally recognized touring bands. And from “Come Smile With Me,” off the El Paso-based band’s Chris Common-produced debut EP It’s Better If You Don’t Speak Or Think, released earlier this year through Slow Start Records, the young band specializes in a sound that draws from shoegaze, dream pop and indie rock. “That can be heard in the alternate tunings used throughout our music as well as the melodic chord progressions and melodies,” the band’s Austin North says in press notes.
Although sonically speaking some of my colleagues may describe the band’s sound as being reminiscent of The Cure and The Smiths, the band’s sound bit reminds me of Forever So and Ruckers Hill-era Husky as the young Texans walk a difficult tightrope between technical craft and earnest emotionality.
The band is currently in the middle of their first tour. Check out the remaining tour dates below.
Tour Dates 
07/09/2018:  Austin, TX @ Cheer Up Charlie’s
07/12/2018: Memphis, TN @ Sounds Good Memphis
07/13/2018: Nashville, TN @ Drifters BBQ
07/14/2018: Cincinnati, OH @ The Comet
07/16/2018: Minneapolis, MN @ Char Bar
07/17/2018: Omaha, NE @ B Bar
07/18/2018: Tulsa, OK @ Soundpony
07/19/2018: Wichita, KS @ Kirby’s Beer Store
07/21/2018: Norman, OK @ Red Brick Bar
07/22/2018: Albuquerque, NM @ Moonlight Lounge

Blood Blush is a rather mysterious New York-based post-punk act, and their latest single, the shimmering and moody “Demon Clout” as the band told me through email is “one on the lines of post-punk and goth but I think we are trying to blur some lines and call it ‘dreamgoth’ or something along those lines.” Interestingly enough, to my ears, Blood Blush’s latest single reminds me a bit of Chain of Flowers, Sisters of Mercy, Siouxsie and the Banshees and others.

The New York-based act will be touring throughout the summer and it includes two local dates — July 10, 2018 at Jersey City’s Pet Shop and July 13, 2018 at Bushwick Public House. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.

Tour Dates
J U L Y
07.10.18 JERSEY CITY, NJ at Pet Shop with Diap, Gherdty and Sailor Boyfriend.
07.13.18 BROOKLYN, NY at Bushwick Public House with Live Well, Leight Blumer and Keef Clan.
07.25.18 PHILADELPHIA, PA at Philamoca with NITE, The New Division and Korine.
07.26.18 PITTSBURGH, PA at Belvederes (Coven) with Death Instinct.
07.27.18 BALTIMORE, MD at The Baltimore Free Farm with Carl Gene and The Ward.
A U G U S T
08.16.18 KUTZTOWN, PA at Mind Palace with Reaches.
08.17.18 WILKES BARRE, PA at Karl Hall with Draining Youth, The Ordinals and Mr. Softee.
08.18.18 SYRACUSE, NY at The Spit Fam Haus with Siren’s Image and The Shuvits.
08.19.18 ROCHESTER, NY at Rosen Krown with Jan The Actress and Buffalo Sex Change.
08.20.18 SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY at Desperate Annie’s (Super Dark Collective Showcase).
O C T O B E R
10.19.18 COLUMBUS, OH at No Culture (Video Performance – 5pm).
10.19.18 COLUMBUS, OH at Tree Bar with Master Servos and Child of Night.
10.20.18 INDIANAPOLIS, IN at The Spruce Goose with Tombaugh Regio and Den Dwellers.
10.22.18 HAMMTRACK, MI at The New Dodge Lounge with TBA.
10.24.18 MONTREAL, QE at Mademoiselle with Spring Blades and TBA.
10.25.18 SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY at Desperate Annie’s (Super Dark Collective Showcase) with Spell Runner and Bare Mattress.

Comprised of Michael Young, Ryan Hayes, Ryan Cross, Glen Scheidt and Travis Girton, the Portland, OR-based indie rock quintet King Who will be releasing their Hutch Harris-produced sophomore full-length album Giant Eye through SELF Group on August 17, 2018 — and reportedly, the album finds the up-and-coming quintet expanding upon their sound as they increasingly incorporate elements of New Wave, post-punk and dream pop  while retaining the heavy bass of their full-length debut Us Lights. Interestingly, Giant Eye‘s first single, the slow-burning “Ice Cream” sonically finds the band drawing from shoegaze and dream pop as the song is centered around shimmering guitar chords, a propulsive rhythm section, a soaring hook and Micheal Young’s plaintive falsetto — and while the song draws from 120 Minutes-era all rock, it has a clean, modern production sheen that makes the song a bit anachronistic.

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstay San Mei Releases Surreal Performance-Based Visuals for Anthemic New Single “Wonder”

Throughout the course of this site’s history, I’ve written a quite a bit about the Gold Coast, Australia-based multi-instrumentalist and producer Emily Hamilton and San Mei, which began as a bedroom recording project but quickly received attention from this site and a number of major media outlets including NME, Indie Shuffle, NYLON and Triple J. Interestingly, Hamilton’s debut EP Necessary found Hamilton incorporating more organic instrumentation, reportedly drawing a bit from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Cat Power, and Feist. Essentially, the EP’s material saw Hamilton moving away from the bedroom recorded synth pop that first captured the attention of the blogosphere towards fuzzy yet incredibly self-assured, power chord-based dream pop,

Hamilton met songwriter, producer and musical phenom Oscar Dawson, who has worked with Holy Holy, Alex Lahey, Ali Barter, British India, Robbie Millerand Joyride at BIGSOUND last year, and the pair immediately hit it off. According to Hamilton, taking Dawson on as a producer and collaborator found the duo refining ideas, exploring different soundscapes and laying down the foundation for her — and in turn, San Mei’s — sonic progression. As Hamilton explains in press notes “[Dawson and I] hit it off straight away and it seemed like he understood where I was coming from, even if I had trouble conveying certain ideas in the demos I made at home.”

“Wonder” is the first single since the release of Necessary, and while the single continues along a somewhat similar vein as the EP, it also manages to be a subtle refinement of her sound and songwriting that finds Hamilton creating an anthemic track, centered around a razor sharp, radio friendly hook, fuzzy shoegazer rock-like power chords and propulsive drumming — but interestingly, the song is arguably one of her most earnest songs, as it evokes the swooning, butterflies in the stomach sensation when someone who’s unknown to you captures your attention and you can’t quite pin down why. That unknown person becomes part of a mysterious daydream to you, in which you begin to wonder everything about them — and yet, there’s a part of you that isn’t certain if you want them to become more than just some brief, intoxicating illusion.

Directed by Jennifer Embelton, the recently released video for “Wonder” is centered on performance footage shot in an empty studio with a red background: the video begins with Hamilton getting up from the floor, and strumming the introductory chords before slowly pulling out to reveal Hamilton and her backing band. The video ends with the backing band packing up to go home while Hamilton remains in the studio, alone and in her dreams. 

New Video: Still Corners Release Gorgeously Cinematic Visuals for Shimmering and Brooding New Single

Over the course of their first three albums, 2012’s Creatures of an Hour, 2013’s Strange Pleasures and 2016’s Dead Blue, the London-based duo Still Corners, comprised of vocalist Tessa Murray and multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter Greg Hughes, have developed a reputation for crafting incredibly atmospheric and moody dream pop/synth pop centered around Murray’s smoky vocals and shimmering atmospherics.

Deriving its name from the sultry Texas summer days and nights and slated for an August 17, 2018 release through their own Wrecking Light label, the duo’s fourth album Slow Air was written in Austin, TX, and the album reportedly finds the band making a decided return to early form, as the band leans heavily towards arrangements that emphasize both eclectic and acoustic guitars, live drumming and a minimal use of synthesizers. Recorded in a new studio designed by Hughes, the recorded sessions inspired a minimalist and fluid approach in which they used a variety of old and new microphones while making sure that they didn’t overthink the process; in fact, they’ve managed to keep the inevitable mistakes on the album to remind the listener of the material’s emotionality — and the fact that living, breathing, feeling humans made it. Interestingly, the band recorded and mixed the album in three months, the fastest they’ve ever done, and as you’ll hear on the “Black Lagoon,” the song possesses a previously unheard urgency while retaining the shimmering and moody atmospherics that they’ve been known for. As Tessa Murray says of the album in press notes, “we wanted to hear beautiful guitar and drums and an otherworldliness, something about indefinable, along with a classic songwriting vibe. We’re always trying to get the sound we hear inside of ourselves, so we moved fast to avoid our brains getting in the way too much. The name Slow Air evokes the feel of the album to me, steady, eerie and beautiful.”

Directed and filmed by the members of Still Corners on a small handheld cinema camera, the recently released and stunningly cinematic video follows Murray and Hughes as they they travel across the deserts of Texas, Arizona and California to the ocean in a classic, white convertible Mustang.  And goddamn it, is it gorgeous.

Patrick Phillips is a Portland, OR-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, DJ and multi-instrumentalist, and creative mastermind behind the dream pop/indie pop/psych pop recording project Water Slice. In some way, the project can trace its origins back to when Philips realized that his life in Portland was beginning to closely resemble an unending Portlandia sketch as he worked at a hip gastropub, played packed local gigs and DJ’ed obscure African music. With that realization, Phillips decide it was time to leave Portland, eventually relocating to Los Angeles. In 2014, he moved into an idyllic artist house located in the hills of the Echo Park section — and as the story goes, Phillips would spend a great deal of time on the house’s rooftop, overlooking the city’s landscape in the shade of a  giant rubber tree, contemplating life and writing songs, partially influenced by his surroundings.

During his first month in town, Phillips met James Supercave‘s Joaquin Pastor and spent the next 2 years as that band’s bassist. After leaving James Supercave, the Portland-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist had time to process his past life in Portland and to dive back into his record collection of power-pop, post-punk and world psychedelia — and this period was for him, the definitive spark that led him to write his own material under the moniker Water Slice. Of course, the material he had begun to write drew deeply from his own personal experience — particularly, a lengthy romantic relationship that dissolved and friendships that fell by the wayside (as many do), and the lingering ache and confusion of a past that’s continually just out of reach and the acceptance of a present that barely makes sense.

With the release of “This Way,” the first single off his forthcoming self-titled debut EP, slated for an August 10, 2018 release, Philips quickly received attention for a sound that pairs buoyant and breezy grooves with dark lyrical content. As Philips told Ones to Watch, “Many of my favorite tunes, whether post-punk, power-pop, or reggae, are stories of suffering, while staying undeniably groovy. I love this contrast of heavy lyrics with otherwise sunny music, and I kept this tradition in mind when writing ‘This Way.’ At the time I was stuck deep in a rut, ‘This Way’ is about accepting my flaws and pushing into the future with the people I love.” Interestingly, the EP’s second and latest single “Please Remember” is the only track produced by Gus Seyffert, best known for his work with Roger Waters, Beck, The Black Keys, Dr. Dog and James Supercave, and while the single will further cement Philips’ growing reputation for crafting breezy and buoyant pop with a wistful and nostalgic air; but there’s also an underlying acceptance and celebration of how life seems to constantly shift around you, forcing you to shift lanes, change direction  or stop whatever it was you were doing In the first place. After all, no one really has an answer to anything and nothing really works the way it’s supposed to — and yet, we usually find a way.

 

 

 

 

Now, over the past few years, I’ve written a quite a bit about  JOVM mainstay David Alexander, an internationally renowned, Swedish singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, and as you may recall, his solo electro pop recording project  Summer Heart has received attention both here and across the blogosphere for a sound that at points has been compared to CaribouWashed OutIn Ghost Colours-era Cut CopyPainted Palms and others. Along with that, Alexander has long been  considered among the first wave of Sweden’s contemporary electro pop/dream pop/pop movement, which also includes MoonbabiesThe Land BelowHey ElbowBlind Lake and Emerald Park.

With his 12 Songs of Summer, Alexander adds his name to an increasing number of artists, who have adopted a single of the month series over the past couple of years, and as you can imagine doing so manages to make a helluva lot of sense creatively, financially, and marketing-wise in the blogosphere age. Creatively speaking, the artist isn’t constrained by having the pressure of writing material with a  cohesive style or theme in mind, as they would if they were writing for an EP or a full-length album; however, in order for the concept to work, they are required to come up with material within relatively strict and regularly occurring deadlines. Financially, independent artists, who may be struggling to find ways to fund their efforts to record and tour, can put out material quickly — and in the blogosphere age, it can ensure that the artist can receive some sort of attention over the course of year, outside of the album cycle. As Alexander explained in press notes, “The idea behind this project is to show people what I am currently working on instead of what I was doing two years ago, which can be the case when you release an album. It’s definitely a way of challenging myself, thinking less and having more fun creating music!”

“I Got This Thing For You” is the latest single in Alexander’s 12 Songs of Summer project and the single meshes slickly produced thumping house music with arpeggiated synths and anthemic hooks, bursts of Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar and swooning dream pop. Interestingly, both lyrically and sonically, the track is the sort of track that manages to simultaneously be an early blast of summer while reminding the listener of the first, uncertain pangs of a summer fling. As Alexander says of the song ” It is a track that during a short period of time has changed a lot! It started as a small loop and the lyrics ‘I got this thing for you.’ I wasn’t sure where to take the track so I showed it to my friend Joakim Buddee, who asked if he could play around with it. I gave him a carte blanche, and he came back to me with a version of the track that we both really liked. Big ups to Joakim Buddee for all his work on this one!”