Tag: Shelflife Records

Split between Indiana and Florida, dream pop/shoegaze outfit Whimsical — currently Krissy Vanderwoude (vocals) and Neil Burkdoll (guitar, production) — can trace their origins back to 1995 when Vanderwoude and Burkdoll met while attending high school in Indiana.

At the time, Burkdoll, along with Andy Muntean (drums) were members of a local band Mystified Thinking. Mystified Thinking split up when its members graduated from high school and gradually went their own ways. However, Burkdoll decided that he wanted to start a new band that was the complete opposite of what he had been writing with Mystified Thinking, which was primarily centered around depression and sadness.

Over the next handful of years, what eventually became Whimsical went through a few false starts and lineup changes before 1999 when the band settled upon their first lineup — Time Fogle (drums) and Joe Santelik (bass), along with Burkdoll and Vanderwoulde.

Their full-length debut, 2000’s Setting Suns Are Semi-Circles is considered a dream pop cult classic. The act went on to write their debut’s follow-up but they split up after that album was about 90% finished.

In 2015, Vanderwoulde and Burkdoll reunited to complete their long-anticipated sophomore album, the critically applauded Sleep to Dream, an effort that drew comparisons to Lush and The Cranberries, among others. Since the release of Sleep to Dream, the members of Whimsical have been busy: 2019 saw the release of the act’s third album, Bright Smiles and Broken Hearts. In between the release of Sleep to Dream and the writing sessions for their forth album, they also released a series of covers, featuring songs they’ve long wanted to cover including Motorhome’s “Sweet Valentine,” Smashing Pumpkins‘ “Snail,” and The Ocean Blue’s “Cerulean,” which reveals some of their influences.

And if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, Krissy Vanderwoulde’s name may be familiar: she’s one half of the Transatlantic dream pop duo The Churchill Gardens.

Whimsical’s fourth album, the nine-song Melt is slated for an April 1st release through Shelflife Records here in the States and Through Love Records in Germany. Melt reportedly sees the duo pushing their sound in new directions while retaining the elements that their fans have expected and loved — namely, Burkdoll’s incandescent guitar and Vanderwoulde’s lilting and ethereal vocals.

Melt‘s third and latest single, the slow-burning and painterly “Quicksand” is a bit of a trip-hop take on dream pop with the song being centered around skittering beats, twinkling keys and sampled and manipulated guitars paired with Vanderwoulde’s lilting and ethereal vocals. The end result is a song that seems the duo nodding at Massive Attack, Cocteau Twins and A Storm in Heaven simultaneously.

“‘Quicksand’ is the ‘oddball’ on our new album Melt, but it’s also the song we are probably most excited about,” the duo say in press notes. “Sounding mostly electronic, Quicksand is made from our sampled guitars that have been manipulated and repurposed in a new and interesting way.  We were able to expand our sonic palette and try new things with what makes up a Whimsical song.  Initially we were worried that ‘Quicksand’ wouldn’t fit alongside our other songs, but once we realized that our melodies and Krissy’s heartfelt lyrics were in place, we knew that we had created something special and any concerns we had faded away.  We’ve waited a long time for people to finally hear ‘Quicksand’ and we hope they are as excited about it as we are.”

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

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

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

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

Deriving their name from the chain of curves made by the overhead cables seen suspended from pylons or above electric trains, the Kent, UK-based act The Catenary Wires — founding members Amelia Fletcher (vocals, harmonium) and Rob Pursey (vocals, guitar) with Fay Hallam (Hammond organ, backing vocals), Ian Button (drums, backing vocals) and Andy Lewis (bass, production) was founded in 2014 after its founding duo had spent lengthy stints in beloved British cult acts like Tallulah Gosh, Heavenly, Marine Research and Tender Trap. The then-duo’s full-length debut, 2015’s Red Red Skies was a marked departure from the fuzzy, ’60s-inspired, girl-group pop of their previous work, as it featured acoustic-leaning material that was much more melancholy and emotive.

The duo followed up with a one-off 7 inch single, 2018’s “What About The Rings?”/”Was That Love.” But by the time the Pursey and Hallam began writing and recording their sophomore album, 2019’s ‘Til The Morning, the band expanded into a quintet with the additions of Hallam, Button and Lewis. The album’s material was centered around a much bigger sound while retaining the focus on the dual, boy-girl vocals of Fletcher and Pursey.

The newly-minted quintet have just completed their third album, Birling Gap, which is slated for a June 2021 through Shelflife Records here in the States and the band’s own label Skep Wax throughout the UK and the rest of the world. Their forthcoming album will further cement the band’s reputation for crafting songs for grown-up indie kids: maybe their knees and the backs hurt a bit from time to time, maybe their hair is receding or they’re bald or have some other sign of getting older. So, they’ll openly admit that their 20s are far in the rearview mirror –but they fondly remember what it was like. Fueled by their experience and wisdom, their material touches upon innocence and the loss of innocence, joy, egret, experience and so on.

The members of The Catenary Wires will be guest DJ’ing at a virtual indie pop disco held by the folks at How Does It Feel To Be Loved next Saturday — March 27, 2021 — and to promote the DJ set, the act released a cover of The Human League’s smash hit “Fascination” that sees the band rearranging the song so that the main synth-based melody with harmonium and strummed guitar while retaining the dueling boy-girl vocals. And as a result of the new arrangement, the song possesses a nostalgic feel, as though its narrators are looking back at their younger selves through the bittersweet prism of experience. Of course, the bigger point here is that great songs manage to be timeless — to the point that a completely different generation can find something of themselves in it.

You can check out more information about the DJ set here: https://www.facebook.com/events/448872316317961

 

With the release of 2014’s self-titled debut through Shelflife Records, the trans-national based shoegazer/dream pop act The Luxembourg Signal — currently, Beth Arzy (vocals), Betsy Moyer (vocals), Johnny Joyner (guitar), Brian Espinoza (drums), Ginny Pitchford (keys), Daniel Kumiega (bass) and Kelly Davis (guitar) — quickly attracted a loyal following while receiving overwhelmingly breathless praise for crating material centered around ethereal vocals and lush soundscapes, paired with a pop sensibility. 

The band, which features members split in LondonLos Angeles and San Diego returned to the studio with Mark Rains to write and record their upcoming third, full-length album The Long Now. Deriving its name from a phrase coined by the legendary Brian Eno, the title refers to a long-term way of perceiving time, that’s an alternative to the accelerated way we often experience our lives. Essentially, viewing our lives this way allow us to make sense of our brief and noisy time together, by understanding our place in a much larger timeline with history playing its own course. Slated for release next week through Shelflife Records and Spinout Nuggets, the 10 song album  thematically sees the trans-national septet imagining a blurred horizon that lies between light and dark and the fleeting nature of — well, everything. 

I’ve managed to write a quite a bit about the trans-national shoegazer/dream pop act over the past handful of years — and recently, I’ve written about two of The Long Now‘s released singles: the anthemic and breakneck “2:22,” a track that further cements their sound and approach — lush soundscapes paired with ethereal vocals. But a subtle bit of grime and grit gives the song an emotional wallop, which shouldn’t be surprising as the song tackles the overwhelming and confusing array of emotions that being constantly plugged in evokes. The album’s second single, the rousingly upbeat “The Morning After,” which features the band’s Betsy Moyer taking up vocal duties is a jangling, hook-driven track that thematically focuses on renewed possibilities the hopes of new beginnings. And as a result it’s a much-needed bit of hope in our dire time.

“Mourning Moon” The Long Now‘s third and latest single is a jangling and hazy shoegaze, centered around reverb-drenched guitars, propulsive drumming, breathy and ethereal harmonizing and a soaring hook. And while continuing a remarkable run of lush yet anthem material, “Mourning Moon” may arguably be one of the more brooding tracks on the album. While featuring fairly vague lyrics, the song was written to conjure memories that are often vague and highly ambivalent — in particular, fundamental disagreements with a dear friend over a history between you that can’t be unwritten. And in many ways, the friendship may be on the line.

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With the release of 2014’s self-titled debut through Shelflife Records, the trans-national based shoegazer/dream pop act The Luxembourg Signal — currently, Beth Arzy (vocals), Betsy Moyer (vocals), Johnny Joyner (guitar), Brian Espinoza (drums), Ginny Pitchford (keys), Daniel Kumiega (bass) and Kelly Davis (guitar) — quickly attracted a loyal following while receiving overwhelmingly breathless praise for crating material centered around ethereal vocals and lush soundscapes, paired with a pop sensibility. 

The band, which features members split in LondonLos Angeles and San Diego returned to the studio with Mark Rains to write and record their upcoming third, full-length album The Long Now. Deriving its name from a phrase coined by the legendary Brian Eno, the title refers to a long-term way of perceiving time, that’s an alternative to the accelerated way we often experience our lives. Essentially, viewing our lives this way allow us to make sense of our brief and noisy time together, by understanding our place in a much larger timeline with history playing its own course. The 10 song album which is slated for an October 23, 2020 release through Shelflife Records and Spinout Nuggets thematically sees the trans-national septet imagining a blurred horizon that lies between light and dark and the fleeting nature of — well, everything. 

Earlier this week, I wrote about The Long Now’s first single “2:22,” an anthemic and breakneck song that clocks in at exactly 2:22 and finds the act further cementing their sound and approach — lush soundscapes paired with ethereal vocals. However, there’s a subtle bit of grime and grit at them edges of the song, which give it an emotional wallop. Thematically, the song deals with the emotional and mental paralysis and insecurities of our digital world the evokes the overwhelming and confusion array of emotions that constantly being plugged in evokes.

The album’s second single “The Morning After” is a rousingly upbeat track, centered around jangling guitars, a propulsive rhythm section, a Pixies-like bass line and an enormous hook as the song finds the band slowly adding instruments until the song’s galloping coda. Interestingly, the album’s second single is the first single off the album to feature the band’s Betsy Moyer taking up lead vocal duties — and thematically, the upbeat track focuses on the renewed possibilities and hopes that the dawn of a new day carries; a clean slate, a new beginning. Admittedly, it’s a much-needed blast of hope and uplift when things seem so dire and so bleak. 

“The song was written shortly after the completion of the Blue Field LP and became one of the building blocks for the new LP The Long Now,” the band explains in press notes. 

 

Photo Credit: Leah Zeis

 

 

 

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New Video: The Luxembourg Signal Releases a Nostalgia Inducing Visual for Anthemic “2:22”

With the release of 2014’s self-titled debut through Shelflife Records, the trans-national based shoegazer/dream pop act The Luxembourg Signal — currently, Beth Arzy (vocals), Betsy Moyer (vocals), Johnny Joyner (guitar), Brian Espinoza (drums), Ginny Pitchford (keys), Daniel Kumiega (bass) and Kelly Davis (guitar) — quickly attracted a loyal following while receiving overwhelmingly breathless praise for crating material centered around ethereal vocals and lush soundscapes, paired with a pop sensibility.
The Luxembourg Signal’s sophomore album 2017’s Blue Field saw the band’s sound moving towards a much more developed, darker and bolder sound — perhaps as a result of the band expanding to their current lineup.

The band, which features members split in London, Los Angeles and San Diego returned to the studio with Mark Rains to write and record their upcoming third, full-length album The Long Now. Deriving its name from a phrase coined by the legendary Brian Eno, the title refers to a long-term way of perceiving time, that’s an alternative to the accelerated way we often experience our lives. Essentially, viewing our lives this way allow us to make sense of our brief and noisy time together, by understanding our place in a much larger timeline with history playing its own course. Interestingly, the 10 song album which is slated for an October 23, 2020 release through Shelflife Records and Spinout Nuggets thematically sees the trans-national septet imagining a blurred horizon that lies between light and dark and the fleeting nature of — well, everything.

The Long Now’s latest single “2:22,” which coincidentally has a runtime of 2:22 is an anthemic and breakneck song that sees the act further cementing their reputation for crafting lush soundscapes paired with ethereal vocals — but in this case, there’s a subtle bit of grit and grime at edges that gives the song an emotional punch. Thematically, the song deals with the emotional and mental paralysis and insecurities of our digital world the evokes the overwhelming and confusion array of emotions that constantly being plugged in evokes.

Fittingly, the recently released video for “2.22” is a necessary dose of nostalgia as we follow the members of the The Luxembourg Signal hanging out in Brighton and various other locales, rushing off to tour stops with gear in tow via train, bus and car. Throughout, there are very small, very human moments of going places with with dear friends, playing music and just being here now. And in light of our lives during this pandemic, it’s those small moments — like of sharing a bottle of beer with new friends in Montreal, of dancing with strangers at shows and nightclubs, of exploring some new place as a stranger and so much more that I miss so very much.

With the release of 2014’s self-titled debut through Shelflife Records, the trans-national based shoegazer/dream pop act The Luxembourg Signal — currently, Beth Arzy (vocals), Betsy Moyer (vocals), Johnny Joyner (guitar), Brian Espinoza (drums), Ginny Pitchford (keys), Daniel Kumiega (bass) and Kelly Davis (guitar) — quickly attracted a loyal following while receiving overwhelmingly breathless praise for crating material centered around ethereal vocals and lush soundscapes, paired with a pop sensibility. 

The Luxembourg Signal’s sophomore album 2017’s Blue Field saw the band’s sound moving towards a much more developed, darker and bolder sound — perhaps as a result of the band expanding to their current lineup. 

The band, which features members split in London, Los Angeles and San Diego returned to the studio with Mark Rains to write and record their upcoming third, full-length album The Long Now. Deriving its name from a phrase coined by the legendary Brian Eno, the title refers to a long-term way of perceiving time, that’s an alternative to the accelerated way we often experience our lives. Essentially, viewing our lives this way allow us to make sense of our brief and noisy time together, by understanding our place in a much larger timeline with history playing its own course.  Interestingly, the 10 song album which is slated for an October 23, 2020 release through Shelflife Records and Spinout Nuggets thematically sees the trans-national septet imagining a blurred horizon that lies between light and dark and the fleeting nature of — well, everything. 

The Long Now’s latest single “2:22,” which coincidentally has a runtime of 2:22 is an anthemic and breakneck song that sees the act further cementing their reputation for crafting lush soundscapes paired with ethereal vocals — but in this case, there’s a subtle bit of grit and grime at edges that gives the song an emotional punch. Thematically, the song deals with the emotional and mental paralysis and insecurities of our digital world the evokes the overwhelming and confusion array of emotions that constantly being plugged in evokes.

New Video: Scotland’s Close Lobsters Release a Meditative Visual for Jangling “Godless”

Formed back in the mid 80s, the Paisley, Scotland, UK-based alt rock/indie rock act Close Lobsters— Andrew Burnett, Bob Burnett, Tom Donnelly, and Stewart McFayden — first came to prominence with “Firestation Towers,” a track that appeared on NME‘s C86 compilation.

Shortly, after the release of that compilation, the Scottish alt rock quartet signed to Fire Records, who released their debut single “Going To Heaven To See If It Rains” in October 1986. Their second single “Never Seen Before” was released in April 1987 and the single managed to establish the act as one of the region’s leading emerging indie bands at that time. Building upon a growing profile, the band went on to release two albums: 1987’s Foxheads Stalk This Land, which was released to praise from Rolling Stone, who wrote that the album was “first-rate guitar pop from a top-shelf band. Close Lobsters could have been just another jangle group, but they have a lot more going for them than just chiming Rickenbackers” — and 1989’s Headache Rhetoric. 

By 1989, the band’s popularity on US college radio led to an appearance at that year’s New Music Seminar and an extensive Stateside tour. After successful tours across the UK, Germany, the States and Canada, the band went on an extended hiatus. Fire Records released the Forever, Until Victory! singles retrospective in October 2009. (Interestingly, the retrospective’s title is derived from the reputed last sign-off in a letter Ernesto “Che” Guevara, who wrote to Fidel Castro, “¡Hasta la victoria siempre!”)

After a 23-year hiatus, the members of the Scottish indie rock act reunited to play 2012’s Madrid Popfest, Glasgow Popfest and Popfest Berlin, which they followed up with 2013’s NYC Popfest.  May 2014 saw the band playing Copenhagen Popfest, and the release of the first batch of new recorded material from the band in 25 years, that year’s Kunstwerk in Spacetime EP, which featured the attention grabbing lead single “Now Time.” After releasing one more single in 2015, the band went back on hiatus.

Released earlier this year through Last Night From Glasgow and Shelflife Records in the States, Close Lobsters’ John Rivers-produced Post Neo Anti is the first full-length album from the Scottish indie rock band in 31 years.  Recorded between 2014 and 2019, the Roberts-produced album finds them collaborating with the producer of their 1986 debut — and in some way the long-awaited album is a sort of return to form. “Godless,” Post Neo  Anti’s second and latest single is a slow-burning and jangling bit of guitar pop that brings Starfish-era The Church to mind — in particular, Hotel Womb.”  Interestingly, the song manages to capture the desperate, exhausting, infuriating and uncertain air of our moment, but with the hopes that we’ll able to tour our morally bankrupt world into a better, fairer place. 

The recently released video is part lyric video, and part stylish and brooding mediation and part live performance footage with an eerie quality. Throughout there’s this sense of absence and longing. 

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.”

 

 

 

Formed back in the mid 80s, the Paisley, Scotland, UK-based alt rock/indie rock act Close Lobsters — Andrew Burnett, Bob Burnett, Tom Donnelly, and Stewart McFayden — first came to prominence with “Firestation Towers,” a track that appeared on NME‘s C86 compilation.

Shortly, after the release of that compilation, the Scottish alt rock quartet signed to Fire Records, who released their debut single “Going To Heaven To See If It Rains” in October 1986. Their second single “Never Seen Before” was released in April 1987 and the single managed to further cement their reputation as one of the region’s leading emerging indie bands at that time. Building upon a growing profile, the band went on to release two albums: 1987’s Foxheads Stalk This Land, which was released to praise from Rolling Stone, who wrote that the album was “first-rate guitar pop from a top-shelf band. Close Lobsters could have been just another jangle group, but they have a lot more going for them than just chiming Rickenbackers” — and 1989’s Headache Rhetoric. 

By 1989, the band’s popularity on US college radio led to an appearance at that year’s New Music Seminar and an extensive Stateside tour. After successful tours across the UK, Germany, the States and Canada, the band went on an extended hiatus. Fire Records released the Forever, Until Victory! singles retrospective in October 2009. (Interestingly, the retrospective’s title is derived from the reputed last sign-off in a letter Ernesto “Che” Guevara wrote to Fidel Castro, “¡Hasta la victoria siempre!”)

After a 23-year hiatus, the members of the Scottish indie rock act reunited to play 2012’s Madrid Popfest, Glasgow Popfest and Popfest Berlin, which they followed up with 2013’s NYC Popfest.  May 2014 saw the band playing Copenhagen Popfest, and the release of the first batch of new recorded material from the band in 25 years, that year’s Kunstwerk in Spacetime EP. The EP’s lead single “Now Time” received quite a bit of attention. After releasing one more single in 2015, the band went back on hiatus.

Slated for a February 28, 2020 release through Last Night From Glasgow and Shelflife Records in the States, the john Rivers-produced Post Neo Anti is the first full-length album from the Scottish indie rock band in 31 years.  Recorded between 2014 and 2019, Close Lobsters’ forthcoming album finds the band collaborating with the producer of their 1986 debut — and in some way, the album reportedly is a long-awaited return to form. Now, as you may recall, last month I wrote about “All Compasses Go Wild,” Post Neo Anti‘s first single, an anthemic bit of jangle pop that brought Starfish-era The Church and The Smithereens to mind. Continuing in a similar vein, the album’s second and latest single, the slow-burning, jangle pop “Godless.” And while managing to recall The Church — I think of “Hotel Womb” off Starfish in particular — the song captures the desperate and uncertain times we currently live in, and the hopes that many of us have for a better, fairer place. (Will it happen? That I don’t have a ton of faith in. But there’s work to be done.)