Tag: Slowdive

Influenced by The Cure, Cocteau Twins and Joy Division and others, the rising Swiss-American shoegaze duo The Churchhill Garden — currently, founding member Andy Jossi (guitar) and Whimsical‘s Krissy Vanderwoude (vocals) — was originally founded as a solo recording project back in 2010 as a way for Jossi to plug into his emotions and to focus on writing music without any pressure.

A friend had showed Jossi how to use GarageBand, which he used for some of his earliest recordings. The Swiss guitarist was determined to become a better guitarist and he learned from his mistakes, which helped his musicianship and songwriting flourish and grow. As he was growing as a musician and songwriter, Jossi discovered Logic, which led to an improved and lusher quality to his recordings.

Jossi began to notice that the songs he was writing became more expansive and while inspired by Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound, shoegaze, post punk and jangle pop had gradually revealed his own take on the sounds he had long loved. The Swiss guitarist originally posted his instrumental songs on Myspace without expecting much in return but he was pleasantly surprised and encouraged by the positive response he received. Although Jossi enjoyed writing the songs he had posted on MySpace, he felt that the material was missing something important — vocals.

Hoping to broaden his musical horizons, the Swiss guitarist and songwriter sought out a few local vocalists to collaborate with: his first collaboration was with The Reaction’s Max Burki, one of Jossi’s local musical heroes. Jossi went on to record two more tracks with Eva Tresch. Technological advances — i.e., home recording studios and programs, as well as file sharing — allowed Jossi to collaborate with vocalists outside of his native Switzerland. His first collaboration with a foreign vocalist, “Noisy Butterfly,” which featured Italian vocalist Damiano Rosetti helped expand The Churchhill Garden’s audience and fanbase outside of Switzerland.

Jossi followed “Noisy Butterfly” with more collaborations with international vocalists including Craig Douglas (USA), Alistair Douglas (AUS) and Hideka (Japan). The Swiss guitarist and songwriter first crossed paths with Whimsical’s Krissy Vanderwoude back in 2016. Vanderwoude had been a fan of Jossi’s music for some time: She commented on Jossi’s “Sleepless,” on Facebook, letting him know that she loved his music, had been a big fan and was deeply moved by the emotionality of his work. Her message went on to say that she could “hear his heart” through his work and that they resonated deeply with her.

Vanderwoude and Jossi had a mutual friend, Kev Cleary, who chimed in the comment thread, that the two should work on a song together. The duo were very excited about the idea but didn’t quite know what to expect. Jossi sent Vandewoude files for a couple of different instrumentals and encouraged her to choose which one she wanted to work on. As the story goes, the Whimsical frontwoman gravitated to one of the tracks in particular and remembers being moved to tears when she first heard it. The end result became their first song together “The Same Sky.”

“The Same Sky” was released to an overwhelmingly positive response with people generally commenting that they felt a magical chemistry between the two — and after a couple of songs together, they realized that Vanderwoude should be a permanent and full-time member of The Churchhill Garden. Of course, while Vanderwoude is a permanent fixture in The Churchhill Garden universe, Jossi has continued collaborated with other vocalists, including Seashine’s Demi Haynes and Fables‘ and Swirl’s Ben Aylward.

Churchhill Gardens songs were coming together quickly with a new single being released every few months. With every new release, they found their fanbase steadily growing. And although, they were releasing material through Bandcamp and other DSPs, a growing number of people expressed interest in owning a physical copy of the songs — and they started asking if there would ever be an actual Churchhill Garden album.

Last year, the Swiss-American duo released their full-length debut, a double LP album Heart and Soul. Since the release of Heart and Soul, the duo have been busy working on new material, including the album’s follow-up single — and their first single of the year, the slow-burning and swooning “Fade Away.” Centered around layers of reverb-drenched, shimmering guitars, Vanderwoude’s plaintive and ethereal vocals and soaring hooks “Fade Away” will likely draw comparisons to Souvlaki-era Slowdive, So Tonight That I May See-era Mazzy Star, compete with a similar aching yearning at its core.

Birmingham, UK-based multi-disciplinary artist, multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter Jess Webberely is the creative mastermind behind the rising solo recording project Graywave. Inspired by acts like Men I Trust, Slowdive, Crumb and Widowspeak, Webberley’s work pairs dreamy chords, shoegaze-like guitar leads and powerful vocals in an attempt to create music that makes you feel as though you were floating away to someplace else.

Since the release of Webberley’s debut single “Afternoon Escapism,” the Birmingham-based artist has played shows across the West Midlands region with Slow Crush, Petal, and VENUS –– with a live band that helps properly convey the project’s sound on stage. Adding to a growing profile, Webberley has played shows in Bristol — and “With Me,” which was released back in June, has received radio airplay, including Brum Radio A List and Coventry and Warwickshire BBC Introducing. The track has also seen positive reviews across the blogosphere.

Building upon a growing profile, Webberley will release her debut EP, the five track Planetary Shift, an effort that reportedly finds the Birmingham-based artist making a bold step forward in her songwriting and production. The EP’s first single “Like Heaven” is a slow-burning and brooding track, centered around layers of heavier and muscular guitars played through reverb and feeddback, thunderous drumming and a soaring hook paired with Webberley’s achingly plaintive vocals. Seemingly indebted to Slowdive and A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve, the song reveals a push towards a grittier and more forceful direction.

“‘Like Heaven’ is ultimately about the struggle of light and dark within oneself,” Webberley explains in press notes. “The lyrics aim to capture a sense of self destruction and a strange urge to self sabotage. The song is about that darker side of myself that pushes doubt and lack of self worth to the forefront.”

New Video: Los Angeles’ Sleep Still Releases an Enchanting Visual for Slow-burning “The Panoramic”

Los Angeles based dream pop act Sleep Still, led by Mariam McCarthy (vocals, keys) and Scotty Whelan (vocals, guitar) and featuring Kelly Ehrenberg (bass), Chris Kellogg (guitar) and Jeff Darcy (drums, production) can trace their origins to the two separate paths its leaders began before they met:

McCarthy led Detroit-based Silent Violet, an act that shared bills with Yo La Tengo and Bittersweet, contributed three songs to the Rosie O’Donnell-produced film America. received praise from NPR and landed a spot on the West LA Digital Mixtape.
Whelan was a member of alternative rock act Haste The Day, an act that toured nationally along some of the genre’s top artists while working a day job as a music therapist.

McCarthy and Whelan met in 2017, bonding over a mutual love of Explosions in the Sky, Slowdive, The Cure, The War on Drugs and other acts. The duo started writing and recording material under Sleep Still. “With the fast-paced nature of modern culture, we rarely have a moment to breathe, reflect or recharge,'” Sleep Still’s Mariam McCarthy explains. “With Scotty being a music therapist, I was fascinated by this concept. So rest became a central theme for us.”

McCarthy recruited the Detroit’s Kelly Ehrenberg to join while Whelan recruited Chris Kellogg and Jeff Darcy to complete the band’s lineup. Playing around Los Angeles, the members of Sleep Still quickly developed a natural chemistry.

The Los Angeles-based dream pop quintet’s latest single “The Panoramic” originally played over the end credits off Amazon Prime’s The Protestants, a film for which McCarthy was interviewed on-screen. “The Panoramic” is a slow-burning and cinematic track centered around a lush arrangement of shimmering synths, reverb washed guitars, dramatic drumming that sounds as though it were inspired by Slowdive, paired with McCarthy’s vocals, which are imbued with an aching vulnerability and strength. But at its core, the song is a contented sigh of a narrator, who has achieved a brief but necessary moment of stillness and connectedness.

“I took a short trip to Palm Springs [CA] and stayed at a hotel where the view was so panoramic, I felt swallowed by it,” McCarthy recalls. “I was holding my baby daughter on my hip, and I felt so at rest. All of my muscles relaxed. I wrote the song and brought it to Scotty. It’s about feeling honest and at ease. It’s also about understanding what we can handle and what we can’t handle, being okay with it, and knowing you need someone beside you in those moments.” McCarthy adds, “It’s ok to take time to drop everything. It’s ok to not need validation on social media. It’s ok to not feel like you have to accomplish some ambitious goal. You can take a minute to rest and be okay with whatever’s happening in the present.”

Directed by JWH, the recently released visual, features dancer and choreographer Xin Ying, who came up with enchanting and expressionistic moves to accompany the song. And much like the song, Ying’s movements are fluid, delicate, graceful and haunting.

Initially founded in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico by Estrella del Sol Sanchez and Amor Amezcua, the Mexican shoegazer act Mint Field 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,” and the lushly textured  Pink Floyd-like “Delicadeza.

“Aterrizar,” Sentimiento Mundial‘s fourth and latest continues a run of slow-burning, painterly material, centered around shimmering yet angular guitars, propulsive drumming, del Sol Sanchez’s plaintive and ethereal vocals and a soaring hook. Interestingly, the track manages to recall Slowdive and The Verve-like shoegaze — but imbued with an aching nostalgia for a seemingly innocent past that we can’t get back.

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.”

Lyric Video: Nashville’s In Parallel Releases an Ambitious and Rousingly Anthemic Single

Nashville-based indie act In Parallel — Lance Black, Jesse Fine, Ryan Parrish and Mark Nash, former members of Celebrity and Hopesfall — can trace it origins back to when the members of the band got together in the back room of a local picture frame shop. That night with nothing more than a looped electronic drum sample and a few guitars, the first notes they played became the framework of the project’s first song “Bridge and Tunnel.” 

Inspired by 80s pop, 90s shoegaze, and post-hardcore, the band aims to balance contrasting melodic, expansive and ambient moments within their material. Interestingly, it took them multiple recordings for the band to get the material on their debut Broken Codes correct; in fact, they had scrapped the first two version of the EP altogether. Thematically, the seven song EP touched upon power, control and human connection. 

The Nashville-based indie act’s sophomore EP, Fashioner is slated for a September 4, 2020 release through Wiretap Records. Recorded last year in the band’s home studio, the EP was supported with the help of successful crowdfunding campaign funded by the fans of their previous projects. And as the band claims, bypassing the traditional music industry structure gave them the freedom to lean into technology — and to push their sound and approach into new territory. 

Fashioner’s latest single “Deep Dark” is an expansive and ambitious  track, centered around shimmering guitars, atmospheric synths, an angular bass line and earnest songwriting which manages to reveal an unerring knack for a rousingly anthemic hook. And while managing to bring Slowdive, Lightfoils and Foals to mind, the track possesses a swooning and urgent romanticism that evokes being simultaneously lost and desperately in love. 

Adrian Recordings · Spunsugar – Run

With the release of last year’s attention-grabbing debut EP Mouth Full of You. the rising Swedish act Spunsugar firmly established a unique, genre-blurring sound and approach. which features elements of industrial electronica, post-punk, noise rock, shoegaze and dream pop. And as as a result, the band earned airplay from BBC 6 Music‘s Steve Lamacq.

Building upon their growing profile, the Swedish indie rock act’s highly-anticipated, Joakim Lindberg-produced,  full-length debut Drive-Through Chapel is slated for an October 2, 2020 release through Adrian Recordings.  The album reportedly finds the rising Swedish act seeking to emulate the sounds of beloved acts like Cocteau Twins, Slowdive, and others — but while simultaneously crafting some of their hardest hitting material to date. Earlier this year, I wrote about the brooding single Happier Happyless,” a track that sonically recalled 4AD Records while also nodding at contemporary acts like Lightfoils, BLACKSTONE RNGRS and countless others, who have actively pushed the sonic boundaries of shoegaze and dream pop. 

“Run,” Drive-Through Chapel‘s latest single is centered around layers of blazing. pedal effected guitars, a forcefully insistent, industrial thump, rousingly anthemic hooks and earnest songwriting. The end result is a breakneck banger that recalls Lightfoils, The Sisters of Mercy, Chain of Flowers and others — but while possessing the swooning urgency of youth.