Tag: shoegaze

New Video: Acclaimed Canadian Indie Act Besnard Lakes Release a Surreal and Feverish Video for Slow-Burning “Raindrops”

Deriving their name Besnard Lake in North Central Saskatchewan, the acclaimed, multi-Polaris Music Prize-nominated Montreal-based indie rock act The Besnard Lakes — currently, husband and wife duo Jace Lasek (vocals, guitar, bass, drums, keys) and Olga Goreas (vocals, bass), along with Kevin Laing (drums), Richard White (guitar), Sheenah Ko (keys) and Robbie MacArthuer (guitar) — formed back in 2003. And since their formation, the Canadian indie rock sextet have released five albums of atmospheric and textured shoegaze that some critics have described as magisterial and cinematic.

After the release of their fifth album, 2016’s A Coliseum Complex Museum, the members of The Besnard Lakes and Jagjaguwar, their longtime label home, decided it was time to part and go their separate ways. Naturally, that lead to the band to question whether or not it made sense to even continue together. But fueled by their love for each other and for playing music together, the members of acclaimed Montreal-based act wound up writing and recording what may arguably be their most uncompromising album of their catalog, The Besnard Lakes Are The Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings.

Dispensing with a timeline, the members of The Besnard Lakes took all the time they needed to conceive, write, record and mix the album’s material. Interestingly, some of the songs are old, tracing their origins back to resurrected demos left on the shelf years ago. Others were woodshedded in the cabin behind Lasek and Goreas Riguad Ranch — with the band relishing a rougher, grittier sound. Thematically, the album finds the band contemplating the darkness of dying , the light on the other side, and coming back from the brink: while it touches upon the band’s own story, it’s also remembrance of dear loved ones — particularly Lasek’s father, who died last year. (On vinyl, the album will be a four-side double LP: Side 1 is titled “Near Death.” Side 2 is titled “Death.” Side 3 is titled “After Death.” and Side 4 is titled “Life.”)

From what Lasek observed of his father’s experience, being on one’s deathbed may be the most intense psychedelic trip of anyone’s life: at one point, Lasek’s father surfaced from a morphine-induced dream, talking about how he saw a “window” on his blanket, with “a carpenter inside of it, making objects.” Interestingly, as I read that, I thought of what were Steve Jobs’ last words before dying — him looking past his loved ones and simply saying repeatedly “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.” And as a result that surreal and ethereal quality pervades the album’s sound and aesthetic.

“Raindrops,” the album’s first single is a slow-burning song and patient song with a painterly-like attention to graduation and texture, centered around shimmering reverb-drenched guitars, twinkling and arpeggiated keys, thunderous drumming, ethereal boy-girl harmonies and a euphoric hook. Along with the release of The Besnard Lakes Are The Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warning’s cinematic first single, the band announced that the album is slated for a January 29, 2021 release through Fat Cat Records here in the States and through Flemish Eye in their native Canada. Additionally, they released a surreal, fever-dream of a video directed by Joseph Yarrmush.

“This song and video details a psychedelic flight through the mind while deep in an altered state,” The Besnard Lakes explain. “The song lyrically references the death of Mark Hollis from Talk Talk (‘Garden of Eden spirited’) and also describes the idea of evolution determining the story of the Garden of Eden.

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 Audio: Lost Horizons Teams Up with John Grant on a Slow-Burning and Brooding Meditation of Time and Loss

With the release of their full-length debut 2017’s Ojaiá, (Spanish for “hopefully” or “God willing”) to critical praise, the members of Lost Horizons — Cocteau Twins’ and Bella Union Records label head Simon Raymonde (bass. guitar, keys, production) and Dif Juz’s Richie Thomas (drums, keys, guitar) — ended a 20+ year hiatus from creating music. “These days, we need hope more than ever, for a better world,” Thomas said in press notes at the time. “And this album has given me a lot of hope. To reconnect with music . . . And the hope for another Lost Horizons record!”

The world has gotten even worse. And the possibility of a better world seems — at this moment, at least — increasingly dim. Our political, economic and social systems are in the middle of a slow-burning collapse while entire sections of the world have burned down However, one small portion of Thomas’ hopes have been fulfilled: Raymonde and Thomas will be releasing a new album, In Quiet Moments. Adding to overall sense of doom, fear, heartache and tragedy, as Raymonde and Thomas were about to buckle down and craft the largely improvised instrumental bedrock of the new album’s material, Raymonde’s mother died.

Raymonde threw himself into his work as a way to channel his grief. “The way improvisation works,” he says, “it’s just what’s going on with your body at the time, to let it out.” The duo forged ahead crafting 16 instrumental tracks that they eventually sent to an eclectic array of guest vocalists including Ural Thomas, Penelope Isles’ Jack Wolter, The Hempolics Nubiya Brandon, Tim Smith, Gemma Dunleavy, the innocence mission’s Karen Petts, Horse Thief’s Cameron Neal, Marissa Nadler, Porridge Radio’s Dana Margolin, John Grant, Ballet School’s Rosie Blair, Penelope Isles’ Lily Wolter (as her solo recording project KookieLou) and an impressive list of others. When they sent the instrumental tracks to their then-prospective guest vocalists, Raymonde suggested a guiding theme for their lyrics: “Death and rebirth. Of loved ones, of ideals, at an age when many artists that have inspired us are also dead, and the planet isn’t far behind. But I also said, ‘The most important part is to just do your own thing, and have fun.”

During the writing and recording process, COVID-19 paralyzed and frightened the entire world. And while about half of the album’s lyrics were written in the middle of pandemic-related lockdowns, Raymonde in particular, saw a silver lining: people were slowing down and taking stock of their lives. Having heard a lyric written by the aforementioned Ural Thomas, Raymonde singled out one phrase “in quiet moments” and thought it would be the perfect album title. “It just made sense,” he says. “This moment of contemplation in life is really beautiful.”

While generally centered around loss, the album’s material is more specifically tied to hope — and as a result, the album is more about rebirth than death. “I think it’s more joyous than Ojalá,” Thomas says. “But both albums have a great energy about them.” That shouldn’t be surprising as both Lost Horizons albums find the duo and their various collaborators undulating across a dizzying array of moods and voices. In Quiet Moments’ latest single, the lush “Cordelia.” Centered around atmospheric synths, some gorgeous steel pedal guitar from David Rothon, elegant strings from Fiona Brice, paired with John Grant’s layered and brooding vocals, the song is a painterly (and brooding) meditation on the passing of time, the changing of seasons and of loss — but with the tacit understanding and acceptance of the fact that all things are transient.

“This was one of the last tracks recorded for the album, though it came from the ashes of one the first improv sessions Richie (Thomas) and I had,” Raymonde explains in press notes. “Listening back to what we started with, I jettisoned the drums and most of the guitars but salvaged a small part of it and turned it into something brand new. Then I had the amazing David Rothon, who I had seen play live with Marissa Nadler a few nights before — and long-time collaborator Fiona Brice add pedal steel and strings respectively. Sitting quietly in the studio with our spacey slice of instrumental swirl, I closed my eyes to imagine a voice. While much of his recent work involves synths and crunchy beats, how he magnificently handles cinematic melancholy in his own work, and specifically in the Scott Walker Prom for the BBC, I knew my dear friend John Grant would nail this. I hoped he might enjoy the freedom of creating some melodic magic alongside elegant emotional lyrics. I sent him the piece, aware that he is always so incredibly busy, and tried to keep my expectations low, in case he had to turn it down, but to my utter and continuing delight he said yes and I’ll have to admit to shedding a tear or two when he sent me back the completed vocal a few weeks later.”

John Grant adds, “I really loved doing this track with Simon. I’d had the idea for this song for a long time and when he sent me the instrumental, I immediately thought: ‘CORDELIA’ – so happy to have found such a beautiful home for this track!”

In Quiet Moments is slated for for a two part release through Bella Union. The first part will be released on December 4, 2020. The second part will be released on February 26, 2021 with the physical release of the entire album.

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 Audio: Bodywash Releases a Slow-burning and Shimmering New Single

Bodywash is a Montreal-based dream pop act, that can trace its origins back to when its founding (and core) duo — Chris Steward (vocals, guitar) and Rosie Long Decter (vocals, synths) — were students at McGill University. Bonding over a mutual love of shoegaze and dream pop, Steward and Decter quickly found an immediate musical and creative simpatico when they started jamming together in at a McGill University basement rehearsal room.

Last year, the Montreal-based dream pop act released their full-length debut Comforter, and the album firmly established their sound: slow-burning, contemplative and hazy dream pop centered around atmospheric electronics, shimmering synths, effect pedaled guitar. plaintive and ethereal vocals and trip-hop-like beats that seemed to bring Slowdive, and Lightfoils to mind.

Bodywash’s latest single “Follow” is the first bit of new material from the band since last year’s Comforter and the track is a slow-burning, Sade/Quiet Storm-like take on shoegaze centered around shimmering and bluesy guitar lines, atmospheric electronics, stuttering beats and a soaring hook. But at its core, is a steadfast desire to stop repeating patterns that end up in heartache and bitterness, to proudly move forward as best as you can.

“Follow comes from a lot of things: a gig gone wrong; a run-in at a birthday party; a coat rack I was too lazy to put up,” the duo explain. “I wrote it during a period when I was realizing that a lot of my relationships were rooted in trying to ‘help’ or change people. Mostly, it’s about wanting to break that pattern, and to make peace with the fact that some people are better off apart. Sometimes you have to let go and hope that the person you miss is doing well, wherever they are.”

New Audio: Portland’s Lore City Releases a Shimmering and Mesmerizing New Single

Currently based in Portland, the indie rock duo Lore City can trace its origins back to 2011 to when Laura Mariposa and Eric Bessel met in Brooklyn and started the band. The duo’s forthcoming third album Alchemical Task is the first batch of new material from the band in six years — and while it’s the follow-up to their sophomore album, 2014’s Kill Your Dreams, the album also finds the duo going through a radical change in sonic direction with their sound incorporation elements of psych rock, post rock and dream pop. 

“Lore City’s music is born from the transformational power of sound. We hand over words, instruments and rhythms; trading back and forth until everything belongs to both of us,” the duo explain in a statement. “Until we are indistinguishable. We create from the belief that we are all one, and that we’ve been here before. Song fragments are shimmering all around us, ready to transport. We tune in and transcribe. Deep knowing, alongside the unfathomable unknown is where we reside. Sonic soundscapes give way to archetypical figures and voices materialize. Sometimes we are just singing along with the ghosts that emerge from our chorus of effect pedals.” 

The duo go on to explain that their six song album “expresses how we are spiritual beings have a human experience — that’s our alchemical task.” The album’s latest single is the mesmerizing and expansive “Into Your Blue.” Centered around a repeated polyrhythmic pattern, layers of shimmering and droning synths and ethereal vocals, “Into Your Blue” is a slow-burning song meant to dial up and tune into a higher plane of existence. 

 

HANYA · Texas

With the release of their debut EP last year’s I Used to Love You, Now I Don’t, the rapidly rising Brighton-based dream pop act Hanya — Heather Sheret (vocal, guitar), Benjamin Varnes (guitar), Dylan Fanger (bass) and Jack Watkins (drums) — received attention nationally for a sound that meshes 90s dream pop and shoegaze.

Much like countless other bands across the globe, the members of Hanya were building upon a rapidly growing national and international profile: earlier this year, they released their acclaimed sophomore EP Sea Shoes and they made their Stateside debut at the 2nd Annual New Colossus Festival back in March. Since then, the band has been busy working on new material remotely, including their latest single “Texas.” Centered around shimmering guitars, Sheret’s ethereal yet plaintive vocals and a soaring hook, the slow-burning track continues a run of 90s inspired dream pop and shoegaze with subtle hints of 70s AM rock. And at its core is the familiar swooning, longing and excitement of a new crush/new love/new situationship.

“‘Texas’ was entirely written and recorded during lockdown, testing ourselves to work remotely as a group,” the Brighton-based quartet explain in press notes. ‘The track explores the feeling of wanting to run away with someone when you first meet them — the head-over-heels uncertainty, the self-doubt and desire to know each other entirely.”

 

 

 

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Mint Field Release a Cinematic and Mediative Visual for Lush and Slow-Burning Single “Delicadeza”

Initially founded in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico by Estrella del Sol Sanchez and Amor Amezcua, the Mexican shoegazer act quickly received international attention with the release of their debut EP Primeras Salidas, eventually playing sets across the North American festival circuit, including Coachella and SXSW, as well as venues across both the States and their native Mexico. Building upon a growing profile, Mint Field’s full-length debut, 2018’s Pasar De Las Luces found the act establishing a clearer sense of what they wanted to do sonically — primarily, as a result of finally having access to the tools to do so. The end result was an album’s worth of material that drew from dream pop, krautrock, stoner rock and shoegaze, imbued with sorrow and nostalgia. 

The past couple of years since the release of Pasar De Las Luces has been rather eventful for the Mexican shoegazer act: they’ve toured extensively across the North America and the European Union, playing over 100 shows. Continuing that momentum, the band recorded Pasar De Las Luces’ follow-up, last year’s  Mientras Esperas EP, which they supported with further touring across the States, Canada and Mexico — with two sold out shows in Mexico City .

During that same period, the band relocated to Mexico City and upon relocating to the Mexican capital, the band went through a massive lineup change: Amor Amezcua left the band, and the band then expanded into a trio with the addition of Sebastian Neyra and the band’s newest member, Ulrika Spacek’s Callum Brown. Capping off a series of monumental changes for the acclaimed Mexican act, they signed to Los Angeles-based post punk label Felte Records,

Slated for a September 25, 2020 release, the band’s Syd Kemp-produced sophomore album Sentimiento Mundial was recorded at London’s Wilton Way Studio, and the album reportedly sees the band’s sound shifting towards a decidedly minimal, rhythmically focused approach. The album will feature the meditative “Natural,” and the motorik groove-driven “Contingencia,” which were both released earlier this year. Sentimiento Mundal’s third and latest single “Delicadeza” is a lushly textured song centered around del Sol Sanchez’s ethereal vocals, swirling and shimmering, pedal effected guitars and propulsive drumming that manages to recall the lengthy introductory sections to Pink Floyd’s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V)” and A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve– but while being fittingly delicate. 

Directed and shot by 26 year-old Mexico City-based filmmaker Santiago Padilla Arouesty, the recently released video is a cinematic and meditative portrait of our zeitgeist — one in which our sanity, well-being and humanity are held together by an extremely delicate thread.