Tag: Mazzy Star

Lyric Video: Cincinnati’s Sungaze Releases a Lush and Anthemic New Single

Cincinnati-based dreamgaze married duo Sungaze — Ian Hilvert and Ivory Snow — can trace its origins back to rather humble origins as Hilvert’s solo recording project: After leaving his long-time gig in a metal band, Hilvert wanted to try his hand at writing more dreamy and introspective material. Snow initially joined the band as a temporary keyboardist, but as the act began to play more shows, her influence on the band grew, helping lead to stronger and more confident songwriting — and eventually to the couple writing much more collaboratively and sharing vocal duties. The end result is a unique sound and songwriting approach that mixes each individual member’s artistic influences and passions. Interestingly, their sound features elements of shoegaze, psych rock, dream pop and a tinge of twang.

Generally, their material is written from personal experience and thematically focuses on human nature, while occasionally touching upon the metaphysical and spiritual. But much of their inspiration comes from a sense of place and a desire to capture the landscapes and spaces they both find enchanting.

The Cincinnati-based duo’s full-length debut, 2019’s Light In All Of It was released to praise from The 405, Austin Town Hall, Cincinnati CityBeat and others. The album eventually landed at #91 on the North American College and Community Radio Charts (NACC), remaining on the charts for more than six consecutive weeks. Building upon a growing profile, Sungaze’s sophomore album This Dream is slated for an August 13, 2021 release.

This Dream’s second and latest single “Body In The Mirror” finds the duo further establishing their sound. Centered around lush layers of shimmering and jangling guitars, a rousingly anthemic hook and Snow’s breathy cooing, “Body In The Mirror” is a seamless synthesis of Slowdive-like shoegaze and Mazzy Star/Still Corners-like dream pop — but while lyrically and thematically focusing on the hard self-reckoning that many of us battled with during the height of the pandemic.

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.

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.

“Tired,” Bright‘s latest single is a lush and sunny track, equally indebted to dream pop and shoegaze, centered around shimmering guitars, cavernous drumming, Kim Weldin’s ethereal vocals and rousingly anthemic hooks. Interestingly, “Tired” reminds me of Slowdive’s gorgeous 2017 self-titled album, complete with a similar sonic depth.

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.”

Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstays Junaco — Shahanna Jaffer and Joey LaRosa — derive their name for a term that they say generally means rolling with the pace of life and enjoying the present; living and working with intention, and not just running on autopilot. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you may recall that the band can trace its origins back to the duo having a mutual desire to make music for music’s sake and to write honest songs that meant something for them — and for listeners, as well. Interestingly enough, much like the term that inspired their name, the Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstays have developed a rather deliberate creative approach, deciding to eschew the commonly-held attempts to placate the blogosphere’s short attention span with constant releases of varying quality.

2019’s Omar Yakar-produced EP Awry last year, an effort that featured the lovelorn “Willow,” and the 70s AM Rock meets Maazy Star-like “In Between.” Last year, the duo released a reworking of “In Between,” “In Between (Reprise) ” which was an even more ethereal and softer take on the original, while evoking the confusing sensations of change, uncertainty and progress. The duo’s latest single is their first single of 2021, “Blue Room,” continues a run of gorgeous hook driven indie rock, centered around shimmering guitars and Jaffer’s ethereal vocals. But unlike their previously released material, “Blue Room” is simultaneously a contented sigh and a sigh of frustration, evoked by the fact that home can be a place of safety, security and love, as much as it can be a place of stifling boredom.

“We were coming off a high of recording, playing, working, performing, running, running – running like the rest of the world,” the JOVM mainstays explain. “We knew we wanted our next project to be upbeat and fun and we didn’t yet sink into the reality of the shitiness quickly approaching. We were sitting on this large gray couch, overlooking the hills, beginning to write this song. The cool tones from the gloominess brought the blue into the room. Throughout all of this, a reflection – don’t forget the ground below your feet. A similar, universal feeling everyone was beginning to realize – that there are so many important things we miss when we are running. So many simple things. I think this whole record reflects on that; focusing on the beauty in the simplicity of life.”

With the release of Oceans EP, Blonde Maze, the acclaimed recording project of New York-based singer/songwriter. electronic music artist and producer Amanda Steckler received attention from this site and elsewhere across the blogosphere for slickly produced synth pop centered around earnest lyricism, documenting her experiences, feelings and thoughts. Since Oceans EP, Steckler has released a handful of singles including “Antartica,” “Thunder” and others to praise from Billboard Pride, DJMag, XLR8R, Impose Magazine and many others, as well as love and support from BBC1, MrSuicideSheep, and MTV Radar.

Adding to a growing profile, Steckler’s material has landed on several Spotify and Apple Music playlists, including Spotify’s US Viral 50, as well as landing at #1 on Hype Machine‘s No Remixes chart. LADYGUNN named her an “artist you should’ve seen at SXSW 2018″ — and she’s opened for the likes of The Shadowboxers, Elderbrook and Vallis Alps. During that same period of time, the JOVM mainstay also released collaborations with a number of established and up-and-coming electronic music producers including including the Iowa City, IA-born, Duluth, MN-based electronic music artist and producer Kyle Stern, best known as Attom. 

The New York-based electronic music artist, electronic music producer and JOVM mainstay begins her 2021 with a cover of Mazzy Star‘s beloved, 1993 smash hit “Fade Into You.” While replacing the jangling guitars, twinkling keys and tambourine of the beloved original with shimmering and atmospheric synths, synth click and skittering beats, the Blonde Maze cover retains both vocal melody and the swooning and urgent yearning of the original — but the end result is more of a contented sigh.

“IMO it’s kind of a blissful/happy take on the beautifully yearning original,” Steckler wrote to me in an email. “I’ve been listening to the original for years — probably a decade now — and still love it. Hope Sandoval and David Roback really created a gem.”



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.

A friend had showed Jossi how to use GarageBand, which he 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.

Jossi began to notice that the songs he was writing became more expansive and while inspired by Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound, shoegaze, post punk and jangle pop had gradually revealed his own take on the sounds he had long loved. The Swiss guitarist originally posted his instrumental songs on Myspace without expecting much in return but he was pleasantly surprised and encouraged by the positive response he received. Although Jossi enjoyed writing the songs he had posted on MySpace, he felt that the material was missing something 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). The Swiss guitarist and songwriter first crossed paths with Whimsical’s Krissy Vanderwoude back in 2016. Vanderwoude had been a fan of Jossi’s music for some time: She 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 they resonated deeply with her.

Vanderwoude and Jossi had a mutual friend, Kev Cleary, who chimed in 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 Vandewoude files for a couple of different instrumentals and encouraged her to choose which one she wanted to work on. As the story goes, 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 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’s 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 busy working on new material, including the album’s follow-up single — and their first single of the year, the slow-burning and swooning “Fade Away.” Centered around layers of reverb-drenched, shimmering guitars, Vanderwoude’s plaintive and ethereal vocals and soaring hooks “Fade Away” will likely draw comparisons to Souvlaki-era Slowdive, So Tonight That I May See-era Mazzy Star, compete with a similar aching yearning at its core.

New Video: AMAARA Releases a Cinematic and Expressive Visual for “Desert Storm”

Kaelen Ohm is a British Columbia-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, musician, actor and award-winning filmmaker. As an actor, Ohm is known for roles in AMC’s Hell on Wheels, NBC’s Taken, MGM’s Condor, Lifetime Network’s Flint and several others. Ohm is also the creative mastermind behind the the multimedia project AMAARA. Interestingly, upon receiving the news that she was cast as a series regular in the Netflix original series Hit and Run, Ohm left Calgary with six songs off her forthcoming album Heartspeak completed. (Of course, much like everything else Hit and Run was impacted by COVID-19: the series’ first season was filmed in NYC last fall and they were filming in Israel when pandemic-related quarantines put this on hiatus, four weeks out from wrapping up thee season.)

Officially released today through Lady Moon Records, Heartspeak continues her ongoing collaboration with Reuben and the Dark‘s Brock Geier, and the album is the result of ten days of stream-of-consciousness-based songwriting, recording and production in Geiger’s bedroom studio. The material can trace its origins to the British Columbia-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, musician, actor and filmmaker sitting at the piano or with a guitar first thing each morning until a song was found — with the two collaborating on production and instrumental work, spending each day laying down tracks. But at its core, the album’s material was written as the culmination of life-changing heartbreak and the end of a marriage, and was a result is a deeply lived-in meditation on love, grief and self-evaluation. 

I’ve written about two of the album’s singles so far: the slow-burning and brooding “Awake” and the shoegazy Mazzy Star and Lightfoils-like “Gone,” both of which came from a place of lived-in grief and heartache, in which each narrator learns to accept them as a natural part of life that have to be lived with and through. “Desert Storm,”  the album’s third single is an brooding track that has two clearly delineated sections: a sparsely arranged introduction with twinkling keys, that slowly builds up into a brooding and cinematic bit of synth pop with thumping beats, fluttering synths; but the song is held together by atmospheric electronics and Ohm’s achingly plaintive vocals.  Much like the previously released material, “Desert Storm” is informed by heartache — in particular, life altering moments that wound up deeply changing us and the paths our lives will take. And while in the middle immeasurable pain, we don’t see that what we’re going through at that moment is profoundly important. 

Directed, produced and edited by Ohm, the incredibly cinematic visual is shot in the middle of the desert and features the Canadian-born artist expressively dancing with a collective of acclaimed dancers including Denzel Chisolm, Sohey Sugihara, Alekz Samone, Sarah Francis Jones dancing an expressive, hip-hop tinged moves choreographed by Tatiana Parker. Each and every moment from the dancers feels like a cathartic release of something previously pent up. 

New Video: AMAARA Releases Two Gorgeous and Dreamy Videos

Kaelen Ohm is a British Columbia-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, musician, actor and award-winning filmmaker. As an actor, Ohm is known for roles in AMC’s Hell on Wheels, NBC’s Taken, MGM’s Condor, Lifetime Network’s Flint and several others. In 2018, Ohm appeared in Charles Wahl’s short film Little Grey Bubbles, which premiered at ten Oscar qualifying festivals worldwide, including SXSW. The film was featured as a Staff Pick on Vimeo, earned best actress and best short film award nominations and received widespread praise from critics and blogs across the globe. 

Ohm is also the creative mastermind behind the the multimedia project AMAARA. Upon getting the news that she was cast a series regular in the new Netflix original series Hit and Run, Ohm left Calgary with six songs off her forthcoming album Heartspeak completed. Hit and Run was filmed in New York last fall and was filming in Israel and  was put on pause, four weeks out from wrapping up their first season as a result of COVID-19 quarantines and social distancing guidelines. 

Heartspeak, which continues her ongoing collaboration with Reuben and the Dark’s Brock Geier, is the result of ten days of stream-of-consciousness songwriting, recording and production in Geiger’s bedroom studio. Written completely by Ohm, the material can trace its origins to the British Columbia-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, musician, actor and filmmaker sitting at the piano or with a guitar first thing each morning until a song was found — with the two collaborating on production and instrumental work, spending each day laying down tracks. Written as a culmination of a life-changing heartbreak and the end of a marriage, the album’s material is a meditation on love, grief, freedom and self-evaluation. 

Slated for an August 14, 2020 release through Lady Moon Records, Ohm and Geier have released two singles from the album. “Awake,” a slow-burning and brooding single centered around shimmering guitar, twinkling keys, a soaring hook and Ohm’s plaintive vocals — and “Gone,” a decidedly shoegazey track featuring shimmering synth arpeggios, thumping beats. And while respectively bringing Mazzy Star and Lightfoils to mind, both tracks come from a place of lived-in grief and heartache, accepting them as a natural part of life that one experiences and learns to live with — and through. 

The accompanying videos were directed and by Ohm. “Gone” employs a simple concept of Ohm performing the song by herself in the desert — but the video features a cinematic sweep that makes its creator seem tiny. “Awake,” features Ohm traveling a surreal and unusually empty New York. And while capturing the experience of wandering New York during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s a commentary of on how the jarring experience of realizing one’s own illusion of perfection can be an awakening experience.