Tag: shoegaze

Lyric Video: JOVM Mainstays No Swoon Share Introspective New Single

Formed back in 2016, JOVM mainstays No Swoon — Tasha Abbott (vocals, guitar) and Zack Nestel-Patt (synths, baas) — have developed an established sound that sees the pair meshing elements of dream pop, shoegaze, post-punk and ethereal wave through two releases, 2018’s EP 1 and 2019’s ’s Jorge Elbrecht-produced, self-titled full-length debut. 

Much like countless others across the world, the COVID-19 pandemic, threw the the lives and plans of the JOVM mainstays into disarray” their planned tour to support their full-length debut had to be scrapped entirely. After spending the past five years in Brooklyn, the duo relocated to Los Angeles. And understandably, spending over a year in quarantine-imposed isolation forced the pair to step back and think about their lives in new ways — and to examine the intricacies of going through life as we know it.

The duo managed fro released a couple of singles during the pandemic, including the Siamese Dream era Smashing Pumpkins meets Slowdive like Again,” a single that marked massive, life-altering transitions for the duo: their aforementioned return back West paired with a reworked sound and approach.

As the JOVM mainstays explained in press notes, “This song is about when days begin and end with no real definition. About being stuck in the loop of our life and we can’t get out. It may come to no surprise that this song was written early on in the Pandemic. Before everything shut down, I (Tasha) was constantly moving: work, music, sleep, etc., and being at stand-still all of a sudden was definitely strange (on top of the already terror and stress of the pandemic).”

Interestingly, “Again” will appear on the band’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Take Your Time. Slated for an April 8, 2022 release, the lion share of Take Your Time was recorded by the band in Western Massachusetts, amidst the isolation of pandemic related quarantine — with the band’s Nestel-Patt taking up engineering duties during the initial recording sessions. The album features guest spots from longtime collaborator Jon Smith (drums), along with Furrows‘ and Olden Yolk’s Peter Wagner (guitar). Jake Aaron contributed some additional production and Chris Coady mixed the album, pushing the material into something otherworldly. 

Take Your Time‘s material was conceived and written during both personal and global transitions and turmoil — but while celebrating a joyful acceptance of the paths that have lead each of us to where we are right now. About the album’s themes, No Swoon’s Abbott contends, “We are so hard on ourselves for decisions we made years ago. I have plenty of regrets, but I also see it as a process, and it’s ok that I didn’t realize the hopes and dreams of 20-year old me. What did she know anyways?” 

Last month, I wrote about Take Your Time‘s first official single “Besides.” Centered around Abbott’s plaintive and breathy falsetto, a propulsive rhythm section and intertwined buzzing power chords and twinkling, reverb-drenched synths, “Besides” sonically nods at Beach House, but as the band’s Tasha Abbott explains, the song was inspired by a wild, enigmatic dream she once had in which, while exploring a mysterious cavern, she stumbled upon a secret apparently blissful cult with ambiguous intentions.

“I have some really weird dreams,” Abbott said in press notes. “They are often these wide-ranging sci-fi stories. This song is part 2 of the same dream that inspired a song on our first record ‘Don’t wake up, wake up‘. That dream had ended with meandering into a cave that turned out to be the home to a cult where everyone looked the same and seemed very ‘happy.’ Though, obviously they were not very happy because it was a cult. I eventually got out.”

“Wait to See,” Take Your Time‘s brooding third and latest single is centered around a maelstrom of synths, driving percussion, blown out bass with Abbott’s ethereal vocals floating over the mix, to create a mesmerizing song that’s simultaneously bruising and dreamily introspective.

“This song is about growing up,” No Swoon’s Abbott says in press notes. “
We’re talking to our younger selves who had very specific dreams and ideas of how our lives would pan out. But as we all know, the hopes and dreams we had at 15 are usually not our realities when we grow up.. We could look back and be upset that we didn’t become who we had hoped to be, or we could relish the new ideas and new dreams, and be ok with where we are. This song is about how looking back now, you can see the path that led to where we are now and how we wish we could tell our younger selves to be kind to who we will grow up to be.”

New Video: Mexico City’s Howless Shares a Trippy Visual for Anthemic “Unlucky”

Rising Mexico City, Mexico-based noise pop/shoegaze quartet Howless, led by co-lead vocalists Dominique Sanchez and Mauricio Tinejro, will be releasing their highly anticipated, full-length debut To Repel Ghosts on Friday through Static Blooms Records.

To Repel Ghosts will reportedly see the Mexican shoegazer outfit grappling with big themes, striking different levels of consciousness throughout the album’s eight crafted and dynamic songs while also hinting at nervous foreboding. The album’s eight songs were specifically written and recorded so that they seamlessly transition into the next one — and are performed with the sort of self-assuredness and effortless aplomb of grizzled, old pros.

In the lead up to the album’s release, I’ve written about two of the album’s previously released singles:

  • Levels,” which saw the Mexican shoegazers pairing old-fashioned pop craftsmanship and textured soundscapes with an uncanny knack for razor sharp hooks.
  • Rain and Ice,” s a slick synthesis of Garlands era Cocteau Twins-like atmospherics and A Storm in Heaven-like textures that manages to be the one of the album’s heaviest and darkest songs — both sonically and thematically.

To Repel Ghosts‘ third and latest single “Unlucky,” is a punchy and rousingly anthemic song centered around relentless thump, driving bass lines, glistening keys, shimmering guitars and Sanchez’s plaintive and ethereal vocals paired with enormous, crowd-pleasing hooks. The song lyrically makes reference to self-sabotage and the manifestation of one own’s bad luck — primarily based on terrible decision making.

Directed and edited by Azael Arroyo, the recently released video for “Unlucky” follows three young Mexicans — a Blossom outfitted young woman, who we first see roller skating and hanging out at a skateboard park, a young man wearing almost all black and a third young woman with a camcorder and old iPhone. The action goes both forward and backwards as we see each of these young people going through their day. They wind up at the same skate park but never interact with each other — but they all seem plagued by the possibility of shitty luck if one thing or another goes wrong.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays No Swoon Share a Dream-like Visual for Uptempo “Besides”

Formed back in 2016, JOVM mainstays No Swoon — Tasha Abbott (vocals, guitar) and Zack Nestel-Patt (synths, baas) — have quickly established a blogosphere winning attention sound that meshes elements of dream pop, shoegaze, post-punk and ethereal wave with the release of 2018’s EP 1 and 2019’s ’s Jorge Elbrecht-produced, self-titled full-length debut.

Much like countless others across the world, the COVID-19 pandemic, the members of the JOVM mainstay act found their lives and plans thrown into disarray: their planned tour to support their full-length debut had to be scrapped. And after spending the past five years in Brooklyn, the duo relocated to Los Angeles. Understandably, spending over a year in quarantine-imposed isolation forced the pair to take a step back and think about their lives in new ways — and to examine the intricacies of going through life as we know it.

The band managed to release a couple of singles throughout the bulk of the pandemic, including “Again,” a single that marked massive, life-altering transitions for the duo: their aforementioned return back West. And along with their relocation, the band reworked their sound and approach. The Siamese Dream era Smashing Pumpkins meets Slowdive like “Again” was deeply inspired by life during the pandemic. As the JOVM mainstays explained in press notes, “This song is about when days begin and end with no real definition. About being stuck in the loop of our life and we can’t get out. It may come to no surprise that this song was written early on in the Pandemic. Before everything shut down, I (Tasha) was constantly moving: work, music, sleep, etc., and being at stand-still all of a sudden was definitely strange (on top of the already terror and stress of the pandemic).”

Interestingly, “Again” will appear on the band’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Take Your Time. Slated for an April 8, 2022 release, the lion share of Take Your Time was recorded by the band in Western Massachusetts, amidst the isolation of pandemic related quarantine — with the band’s Nestel-Patt taking up engineering duties during the initial recording sessions. The album features guest spots from longtime collaborator Jon Smith (drums), along with Furrows‘ and Olden Yolk’s Peter Wagner (guitar). Jake Aaron contributed some additional production and Chris Coady mixed the album, pushing the material into something otherworldly.

Take Your Time‘s material was conceived and written during both personal and global transitions and turmoil — but while celebrating a joyful acceptance of the paths that have lead each of us to where we are right now. About the album’s themes, No Swoon’s Abbott contends, “We are so hard on ourselves for decisions we made years ago. I have plenty of regrets, but I also see it as a process, and it’s ok that I didn’t realize the hopes and dreams of 20-year old me. What did she know anyways?” 

The album’s first official single, the uptempo “Besides” is centered around Abbott’s plaintive and breathy falsetto, a propulsive rhythm section and intertwined buzzing power chords and twinkling, reverb-drenched synths. While sonically nodding at fellow JOVM mainstays Beach House, “Besides” as the band’s Abbott explains was inspired by a wild, enigmatic dream she once had in which, while exploring a mysterious cavern, she stumbled upon a secret, apparently blissful cult with ambiguous intentions.

“I have some really weird dreams,” Abbott says in press notes. “They are often these wide-ranging sci-fi stories. This song is part 2 of the same dream that inspired a song on our first record ‘Don’t wake up, wake up‘. That dream had ended with meandering into a cave that turned out to be the home to a cult where everyone looked the same and seemed very ‘happy.’ Though, obviously they were not very happy because it was a cult. I eventually got out.”

Shot and edited by the duo, the accompanying visual for “Beside” emphasizes the song’s dream-like air: The viewer is placed in a forest, where we see the duo walking towards us in a seemingly infinite loop.

New Video: The Acharis Share a Trippy Video for Brooding “False Positive”

Oakland-based shoegazer outfit The Acharis — life partners Shaun Wagner and Mila Puccini — features Bay Area music scene vets, who have played in a number of different bands over the years. Back in 2015, Wagner and Puccini decided to create something together, that was entirely theirs.

2017’s full-length debut, Lost in the Vortex saw the pair sharing vocal and songwriting duties, as well as playing every instrument on the album. The duo’s John Fryer-produced sophomore album Blue Sky/Grey Heaven finds Wagner and Puccini collaborating with a newly recruited live band crafting a much darker sound with a studio polish that stylistically ranges from fragile noise pop to fuzzed out shoeaze. The album’s material also sees the band delivering a wider spectrum of moods.

“False Positive,” Blue Sky/Grey Heaven‘s first single is a brooding and decidedly 120 Minutes MTV era-like anthem centered around fuzzy power chords, thunderous drumming, ethereal boy-girl harmonies and an alternating quiet verse, loud chorus song structure. Sonically, “False Positive” seems to recall My Bloody Valentine, early Smashing Pumpkins and In Utereo era Nirvana — with a nasty, pissed off vibe.

“I came up with this riff when I was a teenager and it’s been bouncing around in my head ever since. The inspiration came from the huge sounding guitars on the first 2 Smashing Pumpkins albums. The original title was ‘Elephant’ as a nod to the Pumpkins track ‘Rhinoceros,'” the band explains in press notes. “When It came time to write the lyrics, I was walking around just being fucking bummed and wondering what I could possibly have to say to the world that would matter. I feel like often there is pressure to reveal some great truth or intelligent insight in a 3 minute rock song, which is just kind of ridiculous. I remember Kurt Cobain talking about how ‘Pennyroyal Tea‘ was about just being hopelessly depressed. So I took inspiration from that and just wrote about how I was feeling at the time. It has that kind of slacker 90’s vibe like yeah, everything is fucked, so what? It all comes full circle in the unintelligible screaming at the end of the song “There’s an elephant in the room. A rhinoceros. A hippopotamus. It’s true” 

The accompanying video for “False Positive” sees the duo performing and wandering in a trippy Victorian house, where they encounter surreal and mind-bending decor and backdrops.

New Audio: Deserta Shares Slow-Burning and Woozy “Where Did You Go?”

Singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Matthew Doty has had a lengthy 20+ year career as a musician: He co-founded Philadelphia-based post-rock outfit Saxon Shore with Father John Misty’s Josh Tillman, and the act went out to release four full-length albums — 2002’s Be a Bright Blue, 2003’s Four Months of Darkness, 2005’s The Exquisite Death of Saxon Shore and 2009’s It Doesn’t Matter — before splitting up.

Doty went on to form the Los Angeles-based (via Grand Rapids, MI) synth-pop outfit Midnight Faces with Philip Stancil. During their run, Midnight Faces released three albums –2013’s Fornication, 2014’s The Fire Is Gone and 2016’s Heavenly Bodies — to critical acclaim from the likes of Spin Magazine, The AV Club, Consequence, Vice and a lengthy list of others.

Doty stepped out into the limelight as a solo artist with his solo recording project Deserta back in 2020. Doty’s sophomore Deserta album, Every Moment, Everything You Need is slated for a February 25, 2022 digital and CD release and a June 10, 2022 vinyl release through Felte Records. Mixed by David Fridmann and engineered by Chris Coady, Every Moment, Everything You Need features guest spots by James McAliser, who has worked with Taylor Swift, Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner, The National, Big Red Machine and a list of others and vocals from Mice Parade‘s Caroline Lufkin on a track.

Every Moment, Everything You Need‘s latest single “Where Did You Go” is slow-burning and woozy bit of shoegaze with A Storm in Heaven-like textures: swirling reverb and feedback-drenched layers of guitar, glistening synths, forceful boom bap with ethereally cooed vocals buried deep into the mix, but aching to burst free from their confinement. And at its core, the song seems to evoke a yearning for someone and a moment that just can’t possibly happen again.

“‘Where Did You Go’ marks the third time Caroline [Lufkin] and I have worked together,” Deserta’s Matthew Doty says in press notes. ‘Going back to 2008, Oliver Chapoy (who, also appears on the new Deserta album) and I contributed a remix for her album, Murmurs. The following year, Caroline sang on Saxon Shore’s “This Place” (also produced/mixed by Dave Fridmann). We kept in touch over the years, always trying to connect on something new, but life happens and timing is often hard to get right. With the unpredictability of the last year, I think it was comforting to finally reconnect with some of my favorite collaborators, even from a distance.”

New Video: Howless Shares a “120 Minutes” MTV-like Visual for Brooding “Rain and Ice”

Led by co-lead vocalists Dominique Sanchez and Mauricio Tinejro, the rising Mexico City, Mexico-based noise pop/shoegaze quartet Howless will be releasing their highly-anticipated full-length debut, To Repel Ghosts on February 18, 2022 through Static Blooms Records.

Reportedly, To Repel Ghosts will see the Mexican shoegaze outfit grappling with big themes, while hinting at nervous foreboding and striking different levels of consciousness throughout the album’s eight crafted and dynamic songs. Sonically, the album’s songs seamlessly transition into the next — and are performed with the self-assuredness and effortless aplomb of a group of old pros.

Late last year, I wrote about album single “Levels.” Lyrically inspired by William Garvey’s “Goodbye Horses,” “Levels” saw the members of Howless pairing old-fashioned pop craftmanship and textured soundscapes with an uncanny ability to write a razor sharp hook.

“Rain and Ice,” To Repel Ghosts‘ brooding, new single is a slick synthesis of Garlands era Cocteau Twins-like atmospherics and A Storm in Heaven-like, painterly textures with the song featuring a glistening synth intro, layers of chiming, reverb-drenched guitars and forceful chug and thunderous drumming paired with Sanchez’s and Tinejro’s languid and beguiling harmonies. Perhaps one of the Mexican outfit’s heaviest and darkest songs — both sonically and thematically — of their growing catalog, “Rain and Ice” further establishes the band’s ability to craft melodic and hook-driven material while evoking the sensation of a flop sweat inducing fever dream.

The recently released video for “Rain and Ice” was shot on a VHS camcorder — for that grainy, analog quality. And as a child of of the 80s and 90s, the video reminds me of 120 Minutes MTV alt rock, complete with the band members standing and/or moving in front of trippy projections.

New Video: Basement Revolver Shares Cathartic “Circles”

Formed back in 2016, Hamilton, Ontario-based dreamgaze outfit Basement Revolver — currently, Nimal Agalawatte (bass, keys), Chrisy Hurn (vocals, guitar), Jonathan Malström (guitar) and Levi Kertesz (drums) — can trace their origins back quite a bit earlier, to the longtime friendship between Hurn-Morrison and Agalawatte.

The band hit the ground running with the 2016 release of breakout single “Johnny Pt. 2,” which led to the band signing to British label Fear of Missing Out and later, Canadian label Sonic Unyon Records. The Canadian dreamgazers closed out that year with their self-titled EP. Over the next couple of years, Basement Revolver were remarkably prolific with the release of 2017’s Agatha EP, 2018’s full-length debut Heavy Eyes and 2019’s Wax and Digital EP. The band supported their recorded output with touring across Ontario, the States, the UK, and Germany.

2020 was a tumultuous year for much of the world — and unsurprisingly, it was tumultuous year for the Canadian quartet: They had written and recorded a bunch of songs. They had gone through a lineup change in which one member left and was replaced by another. But because of the pandemic and pandemic-related restrictions, they couldn’t rehearse or record in the way they had been long accustomed. And of course touring was completely off the table for much of 2020 and 2021.

The gap between their work and being alone, naturally resulted in serious introspection for the members of the band — including a reconsideration of who and what the band was. According to the band’s Agalawatte, the band had planned on making their sophomore album last year. But they wound up waiting and working out what to do, eventually making changes to what they had written. “The world was shifting around us – and there was some global trauma – with that, we decided we wanted to fully express ourselves. So far we had kind of held off sharing political views, but we were realizing that our silence was actually just violence. We realized that to be who we are fully and authentically, we needed to share our voice.”

For the band’s members, they felt the need to share things in public, that they had long held private: Agalawatte came out. Hurn came out. According to Hurn-Morrison, the pair came out against what she describes as homophobic and transphobic environments, much like Redeemer University, a private Calvinist university, which has been the birthplace of countless local acts.

Back in 2020, Redeemer University announced a policy that would discipline students for any sexual behavior outside heterosexual marriage. “While we were in the studio, the CBC released an article about Redeemer University, and their homophobic and transphobic policies. I realized then and there, I had to come out. I had to share my experience with being bi,” Hurn-Morrison explains.

Basment Revolver’s sophomore album Embody is slated for a February 18, 2022 release through Sonic Unyon Records. Thematically, the album sees the band wrestling with questions of identity, sexuality, faith and mental illness in an explicit, honest, and self-aware fashion. Sonically, the album’s material reveals a much deeper sound paired with a crisper production. And while arguably being the most personal album of their growing catalog to date, the album’s material is rooted in hope and hopeful waiting — to physically be with your friends, to tour and to engage with the world with this newfound understanding of yourself and your place within the world.

Embody‘s fourth and latest single “Circles” is a slow-burning and expansive bit of shoegazy dream pop featuring swirling layers of shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, atmospheric synths, Hurn’s achingly plaintive vocals and a driving rhythm section. And while sonically bearing a resemblance to A Storm in Heaven era The Verve and The Sundays, “Circles” is a deeply personal song in which it’s narrator openly struggles in the aftermath of being raped, and — sadly — informed by Hurn-Morrison’s personal experiences.

According to Chrisy Hurn, the song captures the feeling of “trying to do everything in your power to get better, but there is just that one thing that it always comes back to — knowing that it is a slow and long journey.

“As much as it is about this heavy, shitty thing that happened, I feel resilient. I feel a little bit stronger every time I hear it — a little bit more like I can stop hiding parts of myself.” Of course, while being cathartic for the band’s Hurn, she has the hope that it will help listeners, who may be going through similar experiences.

The recently released video is split between symbolic imagery of Hurn struggling with depression and anxiety — and seemingly gathering the courage to perform such a devastatingly honest song with her bandmates. The video’s color palette capture the brooding and serious nature of the song.

Led by founder and creative mastermind L.G. Galleon, the Brooklyn-based music and art collective, and longtime JOVM mainstays Dead Leaf Echo emerged into the shoegaze scene with their full-length debut, 2013’s Thought and Language, an album deeply influenced by 4AD Records — with the album mixed by John Fryer, and artwork by 4AD’s legendary designer, V23’s Vaughan Oliver.

Since the release of their debut effort, the Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays have developed and maintained a distinctive ethos in which they embrace their influences while forging ahead with their own sound. 

Back in 2019, the members of Dead Leaf Echo had wrapped up a West Coast tour, which featured a performance on on KEXP’s John in the Morning. They returned home to New York to begin recording their highly-anticipated — and long-awaited — third album The Mercy of Women. As Dead Leaf Echo were preparing the album for release last year, with plans for a European tour that fall to support it, L.G. Galleon went on tour with his other project Clone, just before COVID-19 pandemic struck across the world. 

Galleon wound up retreating to the Poconos, where his friends The Stargazer Lilies have a compound. While staying with The Stargazer Lillies, Galleon began writing new material, which eventually would comprise their forthcoming EP Milk.Blue.Kisses.and Whalebone.Wishes. Much like countless other acts across the globe, the members of the Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays recorded the EP’s material virtually — with material recorded at home and the practice studio. James Arapacio mixed the EP’s title track while Galleon produced the remaining five EP tracks. Charles Neiland mastered the EP. 

Slated for a January 21, 2022 digital and vinyl release through Moon Sound RecordsMilk.Blue.Kisses and Whalebone.Wishes will feature artwork from V23’s Timothy O’Donnell. Thematically, the album touches upon anxiety, sex and never selling your worth for less than its true value. “Overloading your body with sex is both a physical act and a drug that can simultaneously stimulate and depredate your physical and mental well being,” Dead Leaf Echo’s Galleon says in press notes. “The over sexualization of America can often be an unconscious struggle in the dream of everlasting beauty that is sold to the youth in this world. This is a call to realization of our role as consumers and how it could possibly ruin our place in society.”

Sonically, the EP is a bit of a departure from the JOVM mainstays’ previously released material with the effort being much more ambient and relaxed. Each song title is a play on words of the EP’s title with themes of winter, ice and the female form represented in some form. 

Late last year, I wrote about the EP,’s first single, the slow-burning “Milk.Blue.Kisses,” a song that brought Garlands era Cocteau Twins but with an uneasy and desperate yearning at its core. The EP’s second and latest single “And.Projecting.Windows.Of.Ice.And.Misconduct” is a slow-burning and brooding instrumental centered around shimmering and swirling, reverb-drenched guitars, thunderous drumming, industrial clang and clatter and delicate percussion. The end result is a song that — to me, at least — evokes brisk wintry days and nights with the gentle crunch of snow at your feet. But just under the surface, a hint of recrimination and accusation.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Blushing Return with Brooding “The Fires”

Featuring two married couples — Christina Carmona (vocals, bass) and Noe Carmona (guitar, keys) and Michelle Soto (guitar, vocals) and Jacob Soto (drums), the  Austin-based dream pop/shoegazer outfit and JOVM mainstays Blushing can actually trace its roots back to El Paso, where Jacob Soto and Noe Carrmona grew up as lifelong friends and musical partners. 

Jacob Soto and Noe Carmona relocated to Austin around 2009. Coincidentally, they both met their wives at The Side Bar and according to the band, “naturally all four of us became close friends.” As Michelle Soto was learning guitar, she also began writing material, creating guitar parts and vocal melodies in her bedroom. Christina Carmona, who is a classically trained vocalist, was recruited by Michelle Soto to contribute vocals; but Christina then taught herself bass and helped flesh out Michelle’s songs. Shortly after, Jacob and Noe began to notice how much potential the material had, and they joined in on a practice session to help further flesh out their arrangements. And from that point on, Blushing was a full-fledged band. Their natural simpatico and like-minded musical influences helped to solidify their ongoing creative process. 

The members of the Austin-based shoegazer outfit spent the bulk of 2016 writing and refining material, which eventually led to their debut EP, 2017’s Tether. Tether was released to positive reviews across the blogosphere, including this site.

Building upon a growing profile in the shoegaze and dream pop scenes, the members of Blushing returned to the studio to write and record their sophomore EP, 2018’s Weak, an effort that saw them cementing a sound indebted to LushCocteau Twins and The Sundays but while also being a subtle refinement. They ended that year with the Elliot Frazier-produced and mixed “The Truth”/”Sunshine” 7 inch, which featured what may arguably be the most muscular and direct song of their catalog to date. The Austin-based shoegazers supported their recorded output with several tours, sharing stages with Snail MailSunflower BeanLa LuzBRONCHOIlluminati Hotties, JOVM mainstays Yumi Zouma and others.

2019 saw the release of their self-titled, full-length debut, which they supported with an extensive US tour with Ringo Deathstarr that included a stop at Saint Vitus Bar that November. Although touring was on an indefinite hiatus until the middle of last year, the Austin JOVM mainstays have been busy: they signed to Kanine Records, who will be releasing their highly anticipated Elliot Frazier-produced, sophomore album Possessions

Slated for a February 18, 2022 release, Possessions is an album born out of incredible patience and perseverance: The earliest tracking sessions started in 2019 and continued in fits and starts through the quarantines, lockdowns and re-openings of the COVID-19 pandemic. There was a break in production while Frazier welcomed his second child, and that was followed by the massive blackouts across Texas as a result of last February’s winter storm that wrecked havoc across the region.

When it was finally finished, the album revealed itself as being heavier at points and at other points much lighter. Thematically and lyrically, the album reportedly sees the band embracing the full and complicated spectrum of life and relationships but while recognizing the need for escape and whimsy. The album also sees the band collaborating with two shoegazer legends — Lush and Piroshka‘s Miki Berenyi, who contributes vocals on “Blame” and RIDE‘s Mark Gardener, who mastered the album at his OX4 Sound in the UK.

In the lead up to the album’s release next month, I’ve written about two of the album’s singles:

  • Blame,” which fittingly features Miki Berenyi is a lush, densely layered song featuring glistening and reverb drenched guitars, an enormous hook and some eerily spectral harmonies and counter melodies between Christina Carmona, Michelle Soto and Berenyi. But just under the shimmering surface is a subtle sense of menace, expressed by the refrain “Stick around and find out . . . “
  • Sour Punch,” a woozy and seamless synthesis of 90s indie pop and grunge centered around reverb-drenched guitars, crunchy power chords, propulsive drumming and hazy yet ethereal vocals. But underneath the shimmering melody and power chords, “Sour Punch” as the band explains explores inequality and striving for independence in a relationship. You can feel the song’s narrator bristling from being hemmed in while desiring some space to herself, to be herself. 

Possessions‘ third and final single “The Fires” may arguably be the darkest and most brooding track on the album. Featuring Michelle Soto’s chiming reverb-drenched guitars and a motorik groove built around Christina Carmona’s propulsive bass line and Jacob Soto’s metronomic four on the floor, “Fires” sees the JOVM mainstays pushing their sound into post-punk, goth and even coldwave territory while retaining their unerring knack for rousing hooks and ethereal harmonies.

The recently released video for “The Fires” also serves as a counterpoint to its brightly colored counterpart “Sour Punch” with the video featuring the band’s co-vocalists and the rest of the band in a brooding monochromatic color schemes.