Tag: shoegaze

Last year, I wrote about the Orlando, FL-born and-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Matthew Messore. And as you amy recall, after spending a period of time traveling across the country, Messore returned to his hometown to work on music with his solo, bedroom recording project Cathedral Bells.

Since the release of last year’s breakthrough self-titled EP, which received support from David Dean Burkhart and praise from the likes of The Line of Best Fit, who likened the project’s sound to “an exploration of the smudged reds of The Cure, hazy pinks of Chromatics and gluey browns of DIIV,” Messore has been busy releasing new material, including his latest single, the gauzy and swooning “Heavy Rain.” Centered around seemingly unending layers of shimmering guitars, propulsive drum machine-driven beats and Messore’s plaintive and ethereal vocals, the track sonically meshes the classic 4AD Records sound with shoegaze in a way that feels warmly familiar yet novel.

“Sometimes, loneliness can feel like it’s raining down on you and there’s such a storm of emotion, you wonder if anyone can understand,” Messore told FAULT Magazine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New Audio: Brooklyn Shoegazers No Swoon Releases a Shimmering and Lush, Synth-Driven Single

Since their formation in 2016, the Brooklyn-based indie act No Swoon, currently comprised of Tasha Abbott (vocals, guitar) and Zack Nestel-Patt (synths) have received attention locally and elsewhere for a sound that features elements of dream pop, shoegaze, post-punk and ethereal wave. Interestingly, much like BLACKSTONE RNGRS, Lightfoils and others, the Brooklyn-based act have added their name to a growing list of acts that have actively pushed the sonic and aesthetic boundaries of shoegaze and dream pop.

Last year’s critically applauded EP 1 was written in Los Angeles during a self-imposed exile from the East Coast. For Abbott, a native of Ontario, CA, the idea was to get back to her geographic and musical roots with a great deal of time spent driving around the suburbs listening to the goth and new wave that her mom played in the car when Abbott was a little girl (Bauhaus, Love and Rockets, New Order) and the indie rock and punk rock of her teenage years (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The White Stripes).

Now, as you may recall, the duo’s forthcoming Jorge Elbrecht-produced, self-titled debut is slated for a November 1, 2019 release through Substitute Scene Records, and the album reportedly is an ambiguous and urgent affair that thematically touches upon the confusion, frustration and uncertainty of our zeitgeist. And naturally, as a result, the material is at times searingly critical, frustrated and despondent over everything from misogyny to global power imbalance and inequality with each of the song’s narrators seeking answers to questions that may never be resolved. The album also finds the duo collaborating with Robi Gonzalez, best known for his work with A Place to Bury Strangers and This Will Destroy You, contributing drums.

“Don’t Wake Up, Wake Up,” their self-titled debut’s first single and opening track was a Joy Division-like take on shoegaze, centered around layers of fuzzy and distorted power chords, a motorik-like chugging groove, an enormous arena rock-like hook. But at its core, Abbott expresses confusion, unease and frustration while asking uncomfortably familiar, large questions: has the world gone crazier or is it me? Is this real or is this some horrifying and unending nightmare? “Forward,” No Swoon’s second and latest single off their forthcoming full-length debut is a lush, synth-driven track featuring shimmering and arpeggiated synths, thunderous drumming, a soaring hook and Abbot’s ethereal cooing. And while being their most dance floor-like single of their growing catalog, the song expresses frustration about how we haven’t made progress on racism, sexism. homophobia, inequality and so on. 

“You know when you’re talking to someone about how fucked the world is (in many ways) right now and they say ‘but it’s better than it used to be, we’ve come so far!’  I hate that, ‘we’ve come so far,’ it’s such a cop-out,” the band says in a statement. “Sure we’ve made progress, some things are better than before and some things aren’t. It doesn’t mean that racism, sexism, homophobia, abuse (the list goes on), doesn’t exist today or that climate change isn’t a real threat to the world. And if that all still exists, we still have work to do. And that’s what this song, ‘Forward’ stems from. That cop-out of an idea that things are better and great. ‘Are the clouds really breaking, or merely moving over?’ Meaning are we really making progress or is whatever problem just shifting, either to someone else, or in a different form.” 

 

With the release of their full-length debut Colors, the Galveston, TX-based act El Lago — Lauren Eddy, Jacob Villarreal, Charles Eddy and Jaron Hal — quickly established an unhurried and reverb-drenched take on dream pop, which resulted in a lengthy tour that included stops across the national festival circuit, sharing stages with the likes of Stereolab‘s Laetitia Sadier, JOVM mainstays Sylvan Esso, The Black Angels and Blushing, Holy Wave and Crumb.

Slated for release later this year through Wallflower Records, El Lago’s forthcoming sophomore effort Pyramid reportedly finds the band’s sound and approach evolving in  new direction as they increasingly incorporated elements of post-punk and New Wave into the dream pop and shoegazer-like sound that won them attention, essentially adding a darker element to their sound.  Interestingly, Pyramid‘s latest single “Endless” is centered by the prerequisite layers of fuzzy and distorted guitars and ethereal vocals of shoegaze within an expansive song structure — but with a muscular and forceful insistence.

Largely inspired by the likes of My Bloody Valentine, Lush, Cocteau Twins, Stereolab and a collection of contemporary shoe gazers, the Brooklyn-based shoegazer act 4Vesta have committed themselves to developing a swirling, mind-bending wall of sound — with a modern touch.

Interestingly,  the slow-burning”Evening Star,” the latest single off the band’s debut EP Light & Chemicals. which was recorded, mixed and mastered at the band’s own studio finds the up-and-coming Brooklyn-based act striving to capture and modernize the one of My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless by adding layers upon layers of heavily pedal effected, pitch bending guitars with a subtly motorik-like groove, a soaring hook and ethereal vocals submerged into the trippy yet gorgeous mix.

 

 

New Video: Hull’s bdrmm Releases a Trippy Visual for Arena Rock-Friendly Single “Shame”

Last year, I wrote about the up-and-coming Hull, UK-based indie rock act bdrmm. And as you may recall, the act which initially started as the bedroom recording project of singer/songwriter and guitarist Ryan Smith during the end of 2016 quickly became a full-fledged band when Smith recruited his brother Jordan (bass), Joe Vickers (guitar), Daniel Hull (synth, backing vocals) and Luke Irvin (drums) to complete the band’s lineup. 

The band went on to cut their teeth playing shows across Northern England before releasing their first two singles “kare” and “the way i want,” which quickly caught the attention of MTV, Clash Magazine and DORK, as well as airplay from BBC Radio 1 and Amazing Radio. The Hull-based quintet has opened for Trudy & The Romance, Her’s, FEHM and Horsey — and as a result, they caught the attention of London-based indie label Permanent Creeps, who released the 4AD Records-like “C.U.” Since then, they’ve opened for JOVM mainstays pizzagirl and Amber Arcades, as well Gengahr. Additionally, they’ve played sets at a number of British festivals including Gold Sounds, Humber Street Sesh, and Live at Leeds, which have added to a rapidly growing national profile. 

Their highly-anticipated Alex Greaves-produced debut EP If Not When? is slated for an October 11, 2019 release through Sonic Cathedral Records — and the EP, which has seen physical pre-orders quickly sell out is largely influenced by the likes of DIIV, Slowdive and Beach House, as well as an up-and-coming crop of British post-punk acts including Squid, YOWL, Black Country and New Road. Interestingly, the EP’s first single “Shame” find the band retaining the shimmering post-punk tinged shoegazer sound of their previous releases — but with a forceful and propulsive groove and an ambitious arena rock-like feel, reminiscent of The Cure and others. 

“‘Shame’ is about the heartache of having to tell someone you can about the most that being together can’t work for whatever reason — having to be the person, who takes it upon themselves to do the right thing, even though it feels so wrong,” the band’s Ryan Smith explains in press notes. 

The recently released video by Jordan Smith is a dizzying visual that’s one part lyric video with some psychedelic imagery. 

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Blackwater Holylight Release a Shimmering, Shoegazer Take on Heavy Psych

Led by founding member Allison “Sunny” Faris (vocals, bass), the acclaimed Portland, OR-based heavy psych act Blackwater Holylight was formed after Faris’ previous band broke up as a way to begin experimenting with what her own version of “heavy” should and could be both sonically and emotionally — while celebrating vulnerability in all of its forms. The primary idea for the project was to have vulnerability be in the driver’s seat when it came to the creative process. And secondly, Faris, who was often the only female in many of her bands, desperately wanted to see how it was to work exclusively with women. 

Blackwater Holylight released their critically applauded self-titled, full-length debut last year, and as a result of extensive touring to support it, the band has managed to hone their sound and identity — with their sound evolving to the point that their live show has become about the slow build.  And as a heavy band, the members of the Portland-based JOVM mainstays sonically and structurally do something unlike their peers: their songs aren’t anchored to riffs, but rather riffs come and go in rippling and undulating waves that surface through material that’s generally meditative and entrancing. Additionally, the band focuses on building tension and intrigue through the song and its structure. 

Now, as you may recall, the band’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Veils of Winter is slated for an October 11, 2019 release through RidingEasy Records. The album finds the band with a different lineup — Faris (bass, vocals), Laura Hopkins (guitar/vocals) and Sarah McKenna (synths) along with the band’s newest members Mikayla Mayhew (guitar) Eliese Dorsay (drums) and perhaps as a result of their new lineup, their sound and writing process has changed quite a bit. “The process of this album was vastly different from our first record,” says Faris. “One, because we recorded it over the course of a few weeks, whereas the first record was over the course of about a year. And two, this album was a true collaboration between the five of us. Each of us had extremely equal parts in writing and producing, we all bounced ideas off each together, and we all had a say in what was going on during every part of the process.”

“One of our favorite things about this album is that because it was so collaborative, we didn’t compartmentalize ourselves into one vibe.” She continues. “It’s heavy, psychedelic, pop, shoegaze, doom, grunge, melodic and more. The whole process was extremely organic and natural for us, we were just being ourselves.”

While album single “Motorcycle”  featured fuzzy power chords, gorgeous melodies and a motorik groove and found the band crafting a song that was one part doom metal and one part shoegaze, the album’s latest single “Death Realms” is a decidedly straightforward, shoegazey affair centered around shimmering guitars, twinkling synths, propulsive drumming, ethereal vocals and a soaring hook. But the thing that “Death Realms” shares with its predecessor is that it’s an incredible nuanced song that you can sway and headband along to. 

New Video: Seattle’s Moon Palace Releases a Contemplative Visual for Shimmering and Dance Floor Friendly “Bold”

Last month, I wrote about the Seattle-based indie rock act Moon Palace. The act which is led by twin sisters Cat (guitar, vocals) and Carrie Biell (bass, vocals) and joined by Jude Miqueli (drums) and Darcey Zoller (cello, synth) can trace some of their origins back to the unique musical bond the Biell Sisters cultivated as the children of deaf parents. And with the release of 2017’s self-titled full-length debut, the band drew comparisons to JOVM mainstays to Beach House and Warpaint, as they crafted hook-driven material centered around sometimes discordant guitars and gorgeous dual harmonies. Along with receiving praise from the likes of City Arts Magazine and KEXP, Moon Palace has shared stages with Thunderpussy, Y La Bamba and Sera Cahoone among others.

Thematically, the Seattle-based quartet’s recently released sophomore album Shadowcast finds a balance between light and dark. “Shadow self and trying to be positive through interactions with people you love,” the members of the band elaborate in press notes. “Outer world to the innermost personal world. Balancing the sun sign and moon sign. Knowing your inner personal self within the context of the universe.” Throughout the recording sessions, band members would text each other songs by Sonic Youth, Talking Heads, Duran Duran and Big Thief, all of which inspired and shaped the album’s sound and overall aesthetic.

Now, as you may recall I wrote about the shimmering, Beach House-like “Who You Are,” a track found the band effortlessly balancing intimate emotions within an atmospheric and cinematic song. At its core, the song focused on navigating difficult and uneasy relationships and questioning whether the other is showing their true self or not. Interestingly, the album’s latest single “Bold” is a dance-floor friendly take on shoegaze, centered around a propulsive, disco-like bass line, shimmering guitars, atmospheric synths ethereal vocals and a soaring hook — but as the band’s Cat Biell explains the song harkens back to that “nostalgic feeling to a time when you felt more care free.” And as a result, the song is imbued with a bittersweet air. 

The recently released video by Elope Productions stars Loren Othón  and Georgia Maxine, who contribute expressive and contemplative dance movements in a variety of different settings including a verdant field, urban rooftops and parking lots, which also helps to emphasize the nostalgia within the song.

I’ve written about and have photographed the Northeastern Pennsylvania-based shoegazers and JOVM mainstays The Stargazer Lilies quite a bit over the years. And as you may recall, the act which is comprised of founding and married duo John Cep (guitar, bass, vocals, drums, production) and Kim Field (bass, vocals) and a rotating cast of live drummers can trace its origins to when Cep’s and Field’s previous band Soundpool broke up.

Although Soundpool had built up a national profile, touring with Chapterhouse, Ulrich Schnauss, A Place to Bury Strangers, School of Seven Bells, Black Moth Super Rainbow, TOBACCO, and a list of others, Cep and Field desired a change in sonic direction. With Stargazer Lilies’ full-length debut, We Are The Dreamers, the duo established a signature sound, which meshed elements of dream pop, shoegaze — but with a muscular forcefulness. Their sophomore album, 2016’s Door to the Sun firmly cemented their sound and approach while expanding upon it. Since the release of Door to the Sun, Cep and Field have been relentlessly touring as both an opener and headliner, frequently with JOVM mainstay TOBACCO and his Black Moth Super Rainbow, and a list of others.

Slated for a November 1, 2019 release through Rad Cult Records, the band’s long-awaited third full-length album Occabot finds the duo collaborating with their frequent tourmate TOBACCO (a.k.a Tom Fec). Interestingly, their collaboration with TOBACCO can be traced to a Stargazer Lilies show a couple of years ago. “It just hit me they were way heavier than they seem,” TOBACCO explains in press notes. “And that wasn’t translating in their recordings. Their old stuff is panoramic and smooth; I wanted 3D and bumpy.”

Wanting to help get the duo where they all felt they wanted to be, Fec signed the band to his Rad Cult Records imprint and agreed to work on their third album. But not right away though. He let Cep and Field work on the material in their own idiosyncratic image first.  When the members of Stargazer Lilies had completed things on their end with eight raw and primal tracks, Fec then stepped in to distort, bend and burn the material’s overall sound even further.

Cep likens the creative process behind Occabot to what Andy Warhol did with pop art prints and The Velvet Undgeround and Nico. “Lou [Reed] said Andy was the best producer because he basically let the group do whatever the fuck they wanted. Tom did a similar thing with us; he let us have complete creative control, then added splashes of color and made it rough around the edges. Those embellishments make his artistic stamp on the project unmistakable, but leave the essence of our music very much intact.”

“Living Work of Art,” Occabot‘s boundary pushing single finds TOBACCO scrubbing the song with sandpaper then mangling Field’s and Cep’s work in a blender and throwing it into an acid bath while still retaining the hazy shoegazer quality of their previous work. Sonically you’ll hear blasts of hi-hat driven drums skittering across a thick wave of heavily distorted guitars that sound like broken and fuzzy synths while Field’s vocals ethereally float over the mix. It’s shoegaze for the impending end of the world.