Tag: The Psychedelic Furs

New Video: The Darkly Surreal Visuals and Shimmering Shoegazer Rock of Dead Leaf Echo’s “Lemonheart”

“Lemonheart,” will further cement their burgeoning reputation for crafting lush and shimmering shoegazer-like dream pop in the vein of RIDE, Swervedriver and Slowdive — or in other words, layers upon layers of shimmering guitar chords played through gentle amounts of reverb, a propulsive motorik-like groove paired with ethereal and wistful vocals.

The recently released video for “Lemonheart” employs a surreal and nightmarish logic as it features a beautiful young woman selling lemonade at a child’s lemonade stand, cutting lemons for lemonade, and occasionally sucking on a lemon when she encounters a man dressed as a lemon mascot, who’s devastated upon seeing the carnage inflicted on his fellow lemons. Running away, he encounters a female lemon who captures his attention and they return to get revenge on our lemonade stand girl.

Comprised of Brisbane, Australia-born and Houston, TX-based Andrew Bower (vocals, guitar), Bower’s Brisbane, Australia-born and based brother Sean Bower (bass), along with Dan McNaulty (drums), The Valery Trails are a Trans-Pacific trio that over the past couple of years have received national attention for a sound that owes a major debt to early 90s/120 Minutes-era MTV rock, as previously released singles have managed to channel the likes of R.E.M., The Church, The Psychedelic Furs and others.

Now, it’s been a couple of years since I’ve actually written about them; however, the Trans-Pacific trio’s forthcoming album Chameleon Bones is slated for an August 5, 2016 release and the new album was recorded in a similar fashion to their two previous releases — with Andrew Bower recording demos in his home studio in Houston, then sending along his demos to bandmates Sean Bower and Dan McNaulty, who would then track bass and drums before returning the files to Andrew, who would then record guitars and vocals in a local commercial studio. As you can imagine, each song went back and forth to Brisbane for final overdubs, which created a variety of issues in the recording process. And as Andrew Bower explains in press notes, “The major obstacle, or more of a disadvantage, really, is that we don’t get the benefit of everyone being in the room together to agree on decisions that come up during recording.” Sean, Dan and the recording engineer had to commit to bass and drums sounds and arrangements without Andrew being able to weigh in — and without having a budget to re-record if he didn’t like it either. However, interestingly enough, this process also helps a band avoid the temptation of overanalyzing and obsessing to death over a minor issue at the expense of the overall freshness of the songs.


Chameleon Bones‘ first single “OK” is comprised of an anthemic hook paired with a jangling alt country/alt rock sound — in other words, slightly fuzzy guitars fed through subtle effects pedals, thunderous and propulsive drumming along with a throbbing bass line in a song that sounds as though it was channeling Big Star, The Smithereens, Murmur-era R.E.M., Dinosaur, Jr., The Church and others, complete with a radio-friendly, arena rock friendly air. But what distinguishes The Valery Trails from those familiar sources is that this particular single also manages to channel shoegazer rock and 90s Brit Pop in a way that puts a subtle new twist on a beloved sound.















Much ink has been spilled on the London-based quartet The Psychedelic Furs of the course of their almost 40 year recording career. And if you were a child of the 80s as I was, the band will likely hold a dear place in your heard — especially if you loved Pretty in Pink. “Love My Way” is one my favorite Psychedelic Furs songs — and interestingly, Grace Vonderkuhn, a Wilmington, DE-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, developing a reputation for a sound that meshes psych rock, garage rock and pop recently covered “Love My Way.”

Vonderkuhn’s cover retains the song’s familiar melody and anthemic hooks but slows the song’s tempo down to a slow-burning, trippy shuffle consisting of layers of feedback, blistering guitar work and thundering drum, turning the song into a broodingly bluesy wail.

If you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the past couple of years, you will likely be pretty familiar with the Brooklyn-based music and art collective Dead Leaf Echo. The band has a growing national and international profile as they’ve made appearances at SXSW, CMJ, NXNE, Northside Festival and the Beautiful Noise Festival, toured with and/or played one off shows with The Wedding PresentA Place to Bury Strangers, . . . And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, The Psychedelic Furs, Chapterhouse, Ulrich SchnaussWeekend, Lorelei, The Ocean Blue, The Warlocks, Beach Fossils, and The Telescopes. They’ve had a number of singles top CMJ’s Top 20 Indie charts and have appeared on renowned indie station KEXP‘s John in the Morning twice, and on Nic Harcourt’s KCSN show. 

Their 4AD Records-inspired full-length debut Thought and Language, a concept album that followed a child from his conception, through birth until he grasps thought and language was released to critical praise across the blogosphere. The follow-up to their debut full-length, true.deep.sleeper was produced by Monte Vallier, who’s best known for his work with Weekend and Wax Idols was released last year.

Currently, the members of Dead Leaf Echo are in the studio working on their sophomore full-length effort, with Vallier taking up production duties. But in the meantime, the band released a 7 inch single last month and made an appearance at the Desert Stars Festival on a bill that included Swervedriver and The Lemonheads. “Lemonheart” is the first single from the 7 inch and the song reveals a subtle change in their songwriting arppaoch as the gorgeously shimmering guitar chords jangle so subtly and are paired with forceful percussion and ethereal vocals floating just above the mix, while still remaining faithful to the shoegaze sound that has captured the attention of the blogosphere.