I randomly discovered New Zealand born Tamaryn on a generated playlist on some music streaming service, probably based on a shoegaze/dreampop search. It was 2012 and the song was ‘Love Fade’, two years after its album “The Waves” was released. It was a balancing dose of resounding jangly guitar riffs and seraphic synths pulled down by the weight of its melancholy. Tamaryn‘s voice solemnly teetered a line between whispering innocence and raspy savor-faire. I imagined a small array of a traveling band standing together, slowly gazing the ground in unison as the lyrics sing “Fade, love fade, as the sun descends”, with shimmering sunlight peeking through its crevices. I was committed. Anyhow, almost seven years has passed since then. With each album afterwards (2012’s “Tender New Signs” and 2015’s “Cranekiss”), Tamaryn has pivoted from her debut, subtle in some ways and luminous in others. Her fourth album and newest release “Dreaming the Dark” is the epitome of such direction. With the former, she has slowly emerged from the consonant concoction and bliss of guitar and synths echoing each other, but like lounge wear, still cant really let it go, even finding ways to inject life without it inherently sharing her space. And with the latter, she powers through, remnants of old mostly obscured under synth pop and 80s industrial influences. Produced and co-written by Jorge Elbrecht (Violens, Ariel Pink), the result (when they gel) is a blossoming blend of crystalline Cocteau Twins’ inspired cohesion and dark synth pop experiments.
The songs that stood out most on this album were the ones with the repeat-worthy hooks – tracks like ‘Fits of Rage’, ‘Angels of Sweat’, ‘Terrified’ and arguably a potential pop hit in ‘Path to Love’ with its lyrics “I’m choosing a path that leads to love, I’m taking what’s mine and giving it up.” I also liked the heavier ‘Dreaming the Dark’ and another heavier track ‘Paranoia IV’. With these tracks, i imagine her voice as a small plane darting in escape mode, at one point dodging colliding steel and distorted beats and slipping through doom. In contrast, ‘the Jealous Kind’ while it does suggest and even flash an ominous tone, with its circus type feel, is probably the most surprising track – like a mixture of Strawberry Switchblade, Johnny Marr and Stock Aitken & Waterman.
Otherwise, if there’s anything i’d point out that could’ve worked out better is ‘Victim Complex’. It just came across as if there was some push for the Depeche Mode/People Are People drum sound for no real sake. I might change my mind. Overall, “Dreaming the Dark” is a fine release of close influences, with perimeters ranging from Robin Guthrie-like ambient guitars on one end to a mixture of darker synth pop settling around the middle and industrial suggestions on the other end. While not a total departure from its beginnings – actually ‘You’re Adored’ could also resemble a nice connection to the past – “Dreaming the Dark” doesn’t hesitate in its exploration.
Until then, the third song from the newest album was released yesterday. Its called “Path to Love” and its below. Note – there’s also a video but its age restricted on youtube. I did share it on the This is Chill#-the daily chill facebook page.
Sun Glitters, one of the quintessential examples of the coined term chillwave (glo-fi or hypnagogia) over the last decade with its delicious combinations of shoegaze and glitch, dream pop and experiments plus explorations and deviations recently (well last Nov 2018) released its latest album “Lo-Fi-Lo-Ve”. I’m unsure of what number this full release is, but for more info check out the Sun Glitters Bandcamp page. Dont forget the Facebook page too. Created by multimedia artist Victor Ferreira, when comparing his inspirations in the chillwave realm, they apparently differ than your typical modern Christopher Cross/Fleetwood Mac recollections like Small Black for example (nothing wrong with them or that but the difference is noticeable). His hashtag usages of shoegaze and dreampop is more than mere lip service. His collaborations with some female artists are some of the closest you get to the Cocteau Twins and Slowdive. His use of the term glitterswave apparently is to unite them all. As the decade has past, he’s incorporated different ideas – synthwave remixes for example. 2017’s “It Will Be Forever” was a retro-futuristic release inspired by his upbringing in the 1980s. Some of it personally reminded me of a “Stranger Things” soundtrack but i digress. With Sun Glitter’s newest release “Lo-Fi-Lo-Ve”, while for all its intents and purposes is about taking a new step, gives the impression of a welcome home of sorts, but like the welcoming of an old friend, not an overused template.
Maybe its because some of its unintended influences are now front and center. Tracks like ‘The Unexpected’ , ‘No Time to Waste’ and ‘Different the Same’ carried by its floating and dreamy atmosphere also tells a story as similar as Penguin Cafe Orchestra’s “Telephone and Rubber Band”. “Happy Walking” sounds like a fun trip in the reminiscing yet depreciated light perhaps saved by remastering technology, an ode to Sesame Street park segments in mid-tempo stride and a good pick to play on the dance floor unless you’re trying to smash. I like the masking-like background sounds of ‘Don’t Look Back’ especially the beginning, a collage of noise that should be crashing together, but instead is like a symphony warming up, when all of a sudden a booming beat subdued somehow breaks enough to be noticed. The last song ‘Whats Right or Wrong’ is a nice cornucopia of bright tempos and sounds that is firmly MBV Loveless influenced but with random industrial like samples that carry the gravitas of an Orb track.
While some tracks struggle a bit in its formation, they find a way to appeal in its own way. First timers who have an affinity for trip-hop should like ‘Secrets – Drop the Gun’ and ‘Wrong Days’ but it certainly didn’t stand out to me like its strongest. At first, it felt beneath him recording it, but both tracks especially the whispering sounds of ‘Wrong Days’ has found its way. While that doesn’t suggest perfection for “Lo-Fi-Lo-Ve”, it does confirm there’s not a track to avoid, especially if you’re a big fan of artists like Sun Glitters. My recommendation if you’re a first timer. After this greatly influences your life, go visit the Sun Glitters page afterwards.
Now that Italian shoegaze/post-punk trio Be Forest have released their long-awaited new album “Knocturne” through the Italian-American label collective We Were Never Being Boring (on February 8th), the band is ready to follow up on a prior announced tour to America in a few days – this Friday actually (March 8th). They’ll start at the New Colossus Festival in Brooklyn before spending four days at SXSW 2019 in Austin, TX (where they’ll be playing at some of the same showcases as fellow Italogaze artist Rev Rev Rev), before touring the rest of the country before apparently closing out back in Brooklyn. In between, they’ll also be at the Treefort Music Festival in Boise, ID. See the dates below for more details.
If you’re not familiar with Be Forest, my initial reaction to them was written on my Catching up with Italogaze write up from last year. I described it as “music that relies on the aesthetics of futuristic preservation”, which happened to be my impression of “Earthbeat” at the time. They are a three-piece band from Pesaro, Italy formed in 2010 consisting of: Costanza Delle Rose (bass, vocals), Erica Terenzi (drums, guitar, vocals) and Nicola Lampredi (drums, guitars). With prior releases (“Cold” and “Earthbeat”), they have oscillated from post punk to dreamy ethereal and shoegaze sprinkled with driven tribal vibes and longing melancholic verses. With their newest release “Knocturne”, Be Forest describes the new release as a response to the sentiments of today’s times of tyranny, sadness and confusion, an evocative album that retreats toward imaginative universes of infinite midnight feels. From the grand curtain rising of “Atto I” to the fantasia free-fall finale of “You, Nothing,” the trio takes the listener upward to solemn, celestial places of endless sky as well as plunging them into the abyss depths of infinitude that defy conventional adjectives and descriptions.
In addition, Be Forest enlisted Steve Scanu to assist with production and mixing duties and mastering came courtesy of Josh Bonati (Mac DeMarco, Zola Jesus, David Lynch).
And the reviews have lined up with positively. The Line of Best Fit calls it”…a pensive yet menacing slice of goth…” and “…gorgeous, ethereal and moody “Bengala” that has some serious Slowdive vibes.” – BrooklynVegan
The movement from the seemingly stable “Earthbeat” to the unknown darkness of “Knocturne” is not uncharted at all, as if the appreciation of our planet, what we have been lucky to experience, is feeling the long dark foreshadowing of what others have experienced all along. With the atmosphere emerging into coldness and the beats drumming primitively into darkness, a line is established crystal clear and it separates from nothingness and yet with “Knocturne” an impressive attempt is in display from crossing into the path of abyss where break down is imminent. The song ‘K’ and ‘Sigfrido” emphasizes this best, icy sounding guitars and life incentive patterns. If you want to further speculate on an artist based on their newest release, give Be Forest and especially this release a chance. In my mini review, i have this slightly obsessive theory to myself that this could be significant in hindsight, maybe moreso than the current climate of Italogaze but the reason is unclear.
Check out the video below. “Knocturne” is available for sale and on all music services.
Upcoming Be Forest Tour Dates
3/08 – New York, NY – Pianos (The New Colossus Festival)
3/09 – New York, NY – Coney Island Baby (The New Colossus Festival)
3/12 – Austin, TX – Barracuda (Part Time Punks SXSW Showcase)
3/13 – Austin, TX – The Velveeta Room (WWNBB SXSW Showcase)
3/14 – Austin, TX – The Catherine
3/16 – Austin, TX – (WWNBB’s 10th Anniversary Boat Party)
3/17 – St Louis, MO – Gaslight
3/18 – Milwaukee, WI – Cactus Club #
3/19 – Chicago, IL – The Empty Bottle #
3/20 – Minneapolis, MN – Kitty Kat Club
3/22 – Denver, CO – 7th Circle Music Collective
3/23 – Boise, ID – Treefort Music Fest
3/27 – Seattle, WA – Lo Fi Performance Gallery
3/29 – Oakland, CA – Starline Social Club
3/30 – San Diego, CA – Tower Bar
3/31 – Los Angeles, CA – The Echoplex
4/03 – Brooklyn, NY – Elsewhere
As i promised, i’m further sharing the playlist for Chill #48’s Best of 2018 edition now on Mixcloud. There wasn’t too much criteria to determine, but one thing is clear – it had to be released in 2018. Some music wasn’t aired on any episodes until the #Bestof2018 episode of Chill #48 so you’ll be hearing it on this show the first time. Anyhow here’s the playlist if you didn’t see it before with some links. By the way, this episode has over one hour of music. Hope you enjoy.
Listening to Pastel Ghost’s “Ethereality” the follow up album to 2015’s “Abyss”, one noticeable change between the two is the new release’s removal or – at the very least – the minimal use of dark bass-like organs and trance synths which wavers between dark electronic and witch house. It has gained her a decent following with Crystal Castles and Salem fans while simultaneously maintaining a modest level of her ethereal offerings. Melding a gritty vibe, “Abyss” eagerly embraced the dance floor longing to mix it up with the decades list of gothic, industrial, ebm, dark wave, synth wave and other past, present and future related spin offs. In the spectrum of it all, it surely belongs albeit slightly more sinister and moving than early Cocteau Twins and Siouxsie and the Banshees, slightly more ominous than your 2000s synth pop but at times can sound organic compared to futurepop especially from Europe.
“Ethereality” at face value seems to discard most of it. Okay attitude wise, ‘3NDL3SS’ with its title is a reminder to the witch house fans and with the accompanying video she hasnt changed one bit. That said and perhaps why i’m giving this a favorable review, about the entire album emits this cornucopia of whispered recollection only to be drifting and soaring in its bittersweet bliss…a major component missing from her debut. Songs like ‘Iris’, ‘Emotion’, ‘3NDL3SS’, ‘Underwater’ and the album track epitomize this. To be fair, its nothing really extraordinary but anytime i’m reminded of Single Gun Theory, Delerium (especially with Kristy Thirsk), Opus III and other ambient dance music it will not be ignored. That said, face value reviewed, the grit isn’t totally abandoned and her voice is honest to its debut so in that sense she’s still the same, just shaking off a superfluous blanket of dark sounds no matter how it belonged on the dance floor. That said, when its not pushing those boundaries mentioned above, tracks like “Mercury” and “Amethyst” are enjoyable tracks with indietronica influences for fans of synth pop bands like Cut Copy, with the latter track unashamedly lathered in a mixture of seraph harmony and despondent pondering. “Tears” is satisfying in its noir impression, while moderately paced under synth and dream pop influences.
Pastel Ghost’s second album is rewarding overall, a collection of tracks worthy of the dance floor, yet a soundtrack to feel pensive for. I sense the hypnagogia of this decade and a revival at the same time with this release, probably more of the latter because there’s very little experiment of the experiment. I’m also trying to avoid the future direction and to emphasize the album’s possible importance somewhere when reflected on. I think i’ve mentioned twice how much i have favored this album. If you dont get it the third time. Well you know three strikes….
Prior to this, she recorded a remake of “When You Sleep” by My Bloody Valentine. Check it out below.
One of the more profound tracks on the newest album “Color the Weather” from electronic artist Suicideyear is the collaboration with Casey MQ on ‘Said and Done’. The song starts off as classic R&B with James Prudhomme’s filtered trap vibes scattered randomly. It can be argued new soul influences are prevalent too. Then the typical structure of a song takes a nosedive, spiraling in its loop with the tone set for the nether regions before fading out. It left a creepy impression to say the least and i suspect the nihilism wasnt lost on Suicideyear either. It speaks those that dont pay lip service or discard experimentation even within a good beat.
That’s the overall feeling i get from listening to the album. Regardless of how punchy the opening track ‘7 Year Dream’ builds to, its a pleasure to absorb the spacey sounds that control the vibe. It cant be ignored. ‘Momma’ with its perceived reflection of sorts is the same. I like how the melody plays off the trilled beats recalling thoughts of leaving home, with piano sounds emerging before seemingly plunging into the future, more space sounds symbolizing the unknown. ‘Days Forever’ featuring Georgia is another song where the soulful yet vintage piano and strings impress, like watching old videos of parks and ponds. Georgia’s voice is sensed to be framed in a past generation, still relevant to those that remember, dusted up and partially deconstructed for today’s modern sensibilities. In fact, i found myself searching for old Sesame Street video interludes while listening to this.
Speaking of interlude, the titled song ‘Interlude’ might be a throw away song for others, but i like the dub and subtle industrial impression it left on me in addition to its outer space atmospherics, another theme adopted on half of the album if you haven’t noticed. ‘Days Won’t End’ is a nice mix of reflection and the imminent forthcoming, minimal ambient pianos reflecting the past with wonky sampled voices apparently signaling to the future. There’s some tracks on here that don’t catch on fast enough, but i saw some of his great performance at Moogfest 2018 and i’m sure that will change. Overall, the new Suicideyear is a superb combination of trap driven beats and atmospherics, a balancing act of assorted reflections with a tear in the eye and eerie self-prophesies.
Since their formation in 2012, the duo of Jon Nellen and Joe Manzol – known as Ginla – have released a couple of singles (noteworthy ones include ‘What About the Sun’ and ‘Come Down’) that would apparently define their vision they had for their first full release. Flash forward to summer of 2018 and the process before the “Codex” release was set. Beginning with the early summer first single ‘Lomo’ – a laid back electro-acoustic flair of reflections – followed by their mid summer second single ‘Infinite’, an enchanting blend of resonating spaciness and daydream-like yet transparent voices, loosely held by fun drum n bass influences. When i first heard this, I couldn’t help but feel ecstatic for it. That said with the two releases beforehand, my concerns of an otherwise mediocre album set in. After the Sept 7th release (on Terrible Records), I’m happy to say that’s not the case.
“Codex” is an achievement in blissful lullabies, addicting at times, lovingly soothing the soul, fluctuating in pace that elates but remains true to itself. Songs like ‘Crown II(feat. Naima)’ represents the reflective side; with its shadowy organ, pensive strum of the chord and clumsy clashing of found sounds and xylophone. The lyrics sing about a reluctant plea to eternal love and eventually letting go. ‘Infinite’ is on the opposite, with Brian Eno keyboard sounds briskly conveyed by subtle drum n bass taps, lyrics delivered from the point of view of a daydreamer yet confidently voiced above the murk – imagine a dream pop Elliot Smith? I can’t help but repeat how much superlatives this song deserves. I also like ‘Between’ with the start of distant ambient echoes and the acoustic guitar loops eventually morphing into midi guitar loops at the end. With the two singles being released before, i felt the placement of ‘Infinite’ set the entire mood for the album, quickly picking up the pace from the interlude sounding first song ‘Codex’ – the title of the album. Its arguable if ‘Lomo’ was placed before ‘Infinite’, it would’ve created a more nuanced build up, but jumping into it wasn’t a bad idea either.
Beyond that, i was impressed with the jazzy organ ambient sounds of ‘Irridescent’ and the spacey acoustic guitars of ‘Interlude’. With ‘Cub’ its acoustic driven riff inspires a hook that suggests a ballad, yet with subdued slightly quirky beats influencing enough to nod your head in rhythm. ‘Know Yourself’ starts off with sampled drum patterns and melancholic organs echoing not far behind, with lyrics “the keys on the counter stove, the words you forgot to say” forging into satisfying clarity highlighted by impressive doses of electro, ambient and IDM.
Honestly i was hard pressed in finding a flaw with this album. That said there’s bits and pieces that seemed odd. ‘Crown’ with its faster than normal drum n’bass influences appears to feel out of place as it advances to the slower reflective ‘Lomo’ – the first single released. Still its not really bad they did this. If i want to hear a good drum n’ bass track, i know where to press play. Of course, there’s ‘Crown II’ so i guess they need to stick together. The positive of it all is more music right? Anyways “Codex” is a stirring debut that should appeal to those who still have faith in the existence of chillwave and it won’t end this decade. At the very least, it could be their contribution because who knows what will happen next? For now, its a worthy 2018 release.
The album is out now. Most of the links will forward to the fan link.
According to Hanna Kost’s soundcloud page – well at least as of this date – the 24 year old makes music, but can’t decide on a sound so she jumps around. Based in Santa Monica, her wide range of influences, from Brit pop to 60’s French yéyé to indie rock, Hanna combines her classical piano background with her love of pop music. Before the new single, she spent her college years on the east coast, releasing 4-track EP called “Spectrum,” a title that reflects songs ranging in style from dreamy indie pop to more straight indie rock. Her one-off single, Monte Carlo, was #1 on the online indie charts and played throughout the US, South America, and Europe.
Sometimes jumping around and exploring the gamut of styles lands you with a song like “Tired of the Sunshine”, a drifty ode to the demanding expectations of sunny weather. As she declares her weariness on her sleeve, the slightly buzzy guitar riffs settle below giving way to echoing bells and piano takes that waver between clever cynicism and a reverie of desires, ambitions and probably even relief considering its the dog days of summer right now. The build up to the chorus says it all.
Expect her debut album Gossamer to be released Summer of 2018. Until then check out the youtube video – audio only Its also available on the major digital sites too.
note – sources of some of the article courtesy of press release
Hamburg, Germany shoegaze/dream pop performing artists Seasurfer returns with their first release since 2017’s full length album “Under the Milkyway…Who Cares” with the 4 song EP titled “Vampires” available August 4th on Saint Marie Records. Formed by ex-Dark Orange member Dirk Knight, they have collected its share of their shoegaze and dream pop predecessors influences and set a path for themselves as an enjoyable source fans of My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive and other related bands can look forward to adding to their collection. Since its 2014 debut “Dive In”, they’ve also impressed with their ability to combine pulsing post punk rhythms, beautiful reverberated guitar noise and melodramatic female voices. The “dream punk’ concept by the founding member recalls Siouxsie and the Banshees, pre-Simon Raymonde Cocteau Twins and Lowlife.
With “Vampires”, some of the so called punk influences have been scaled back a little. Perhaps this explanation from Dirk’s press release explains it – “This EP, with my new Hamburg-based singer Apolonia, has the voice that I’ve been looking for for years: Ethereal, shimmering yet strong, hook lines that get stuck.”
It doesn’t mean they’re recording “Victorialand” – far from that. “Sad Song” still demonstrates the power Seasurfer has relied on from its inception, yet with voices that sprinkle and assert on a bittersweet wall of sound. Otherwise, the rest of the EP is song after song of pleasant harmonies, conveyed by satisfactory midtempo beats, with the prevalent guitars subdued behind vocalist Apolonia’s musings or converted into Robin Guthrie-like goodness in “Bring Me His Head”. The titles of the songs maybe perceived as nihilistic but perhaps its meant as an end of an era, not the end of the world. Add their Static Wave 6’s single with Krissy Vanderwoude “Blind Me” and its a solid five song collection of bed friendly songs to escape to on a lonely day – or night.
Watch their video “Into the Dust” from the EP “Vampires” available August 4th.
feature image courtesy of (Photo By: Alana Dersken)
A couple of weeks ago, electronic duo Ginla released their first single and only video from the upcoming debut album “Codex” out September 7th on Terrible Records. The good impression left on me led to hopes of a promising outlook when the album is finally out. Well apparently a decision was made to release another single titled “Infinite” on youtube and other major digital formats. Oh my! I’ll step back and give it another listen again to make sure, but hearing this is compelling me to label this in some superlative land nothing deserves. So I’ll shy away from that and praise its airy melancholy vibes and surprisingly moving drum n bass inspired beats (but then submerging beats is my specialty). They say its suffusing benchmarks of the UK electronic tradition through their pillow-talk pop, echoes of Brian Eno’s resplendent ambiance curling up against flickering drum’n’bass breaks and the wide-open release of Four Tet’s garage house. I’ll add if this is cliche so be it, but listening to the bridge for “Infinite” is the harmony of dreams my friend. Anyways check it out!
Note – some info collected from press release sources
Electronic music artist Ross From Friends released a new video today (July 17th) from the forthcoming debut album “Family Portrait”. Titled “Pale Blue Dot”, the lofi house track used footage from his mom’s video shot in 1990.
To quote from the press release “Constructed from home footage – shot by “Ross’s” (future) mum – the video tells the story of the spontaneous raves his parents set up on a bus trip around Europe in 1990!”
Thats almost 30 years ago! Anyhow the video looks nice and scenic, the quality has held up and in parts even keeps it modernism intact. Personally my time was spent watching hardcore, metal and industrial bands in concert and spending my nights at the all ages alternative music night club when i wasnt going to school or working part time. I didnt feel outdated. How time flies. Shame i dont have those videos or photos.
On June 22nd, Toronto based duo Gill Bondy – released their first single “12 Days.” on all digital service providers. Comprised of Hayden Stewart and Binod Singh – both self styled multi-instrumental producers and composers, their description of the single is a cultivated refreshing tone, highlighted by a steady percussion; paired with smooth vocal harmonies and mellow synth undertones, reminiscent of a long summer day in the city.
An important influence on the duo is Ariel Pink, as they take great pleasure of taking somewhat classic song writing ideas and flipping them on their heads. They also like to create an interplay between thoughtful, unexpected arrangements paired with sonic textures, harmonious vocals, and the melodies that accompany them. Some of their classic artist influences they mention include George Harrison, David Bowie and Nick Drake, while more modern influences range from The Shins to Gorillaz and MGMT.
As for the song, it seems like yesterday when Neon Indian released their well known debut “Deadbeat Summer”, one of the songs that would define the beginning of chill wave. That was nine years ago. While the quirkiness in “12 Days” isn’t obvious compared to “Deadbeat Summer”, some of the Ariel Pink influences are, which is good news for fans of the subgenre. The lyrics also deliver in some uncanny soulful melodramatic fashion as well. Its not impossible to imagine the great live performers of our time romanticizing the lyrics “At 32 days I’m making up my mind, If all of this is really worth my time, At 22 days I’m starting to lose my mind, But I always wait it out” like its their own….or at the very least it can be fun karaoke too.
Expect more from them later this year. Check out the video below.
Note – original source from press release, article updated from original 6/23 write up
Based on the new music i’m receiving as of late, its apparent summer is an ideal time for new single releases as their full albums won’t be out until the end of the year. Another one comes from Nashville’s Future Thieves. Featuring Elliot Collett (vocals/Guitar), Austin McCool (Guitar), Nick Goss (Bassist), and Gianni Gibson (Drums), the band released the single “Dark Spin” earlier this month and just recently made an official video for it. At least the wait for the new album won’t be too long as their self titled new album is scheduled for September 7th.
The new single has apparently defined its segmented departure from what has been described as their Americana influenced rock debut three years ago. After that, they released “Sucker” which introduced what Billboard called “an infusion of electro-grooves” and an appearance on the Fallon Show. With this single, vocalist Elliott Collett has gravitated towards a softer approach as has the rest of the band. They describe it as dreamy soundscapes and hypnotic grooves with ethereal synthesizers, vintage drum machines, and shimmering guitars…and i tend to agree….with assistance from producer and longtime collaborator Alex Jarvis. It was recorded at the Sonic Ranch in El Paso, TX.
“Dark Spin” breezes through like a rare nice day and if you watch the video you’ll know why. The Netflix TV show “Stranger Things” is what i can’t stop thinking of when i hear this song regardless, highlighted by the airy arp synthesizer grasping tightly to whatever light that is slowly dimming. Listening to vocalist Elliot Collet you might recognize a poor man’s John Mayer back there but then with lyrics like “I’m looking trying to find who’s got what was mine” that’s not possible. If you don’t really pay attention to the lyrics, its a friendly transition between two sides of hell. If you do then it sounds like revenge. Its an unusual creepy undertone that steadily emerges, but kept under wraps by functioning bright tones.
Note – parts of the article are from a press release
The new single “When You’re Ugly (feat Genevieve Artadi)” by multi-instrumentalist Louis Cole was released earlier today June 28th. A plea to humanity spiced with some funky vibes and dreamy high octave bells, it comes from the new album Time available August 10th on the Brainfeeder label. Click the video below or watch it on youtube.
He’ll be performing with an 18 piece brass band at the Newport Jazz Festival in August.
Toronto recording artists Bernice have sort of been experiencing good news as of late – maybe like on a roll of sorts. Their new album Puff In the air without a shape – their first release in seven years – was nominated for the Polaris Music Prize. They made the long list. They just finished touring with Washed Out in Montreal and Toronto and between all of this they were able to shoot a video of one of their experimental pop songs “One Garden” from their acclaimed new album.
“Our goal was to capture how we really sound,” says Robin Dann of the new album. “Some people in a room, playing music together.”
Well, as i listen to this and to some of the Puff LP, her quote about some people playing in a room seems understated. They will do what it takes to sustain the pop aesthetic – pile on hooks, melodies, chorus, whatever is essential in pop music onto one song…not just an album…but each and every song and it doesn’t sound like a parody of itself either. I sense there’s a common conclusion that they dont want to get caught in the typical trappings of a pop cliche. As for vocalist Dann – her goal is to apparently obtain as many hook, line and sinker phrases in a hot minute. There’s not much wall of sound, the atmospheric sounds resemble a jazzy mix of xylophone and piano spaced in between, sometimes elements of dream like sounds make cascading appearances and the drum play is there when its call upon. At the same time, there’s no urgent need either and when you think they’ve run out of ideas they surprise. Listening to “Glue” epitomizes this. I didn’t really pay too much attention to the lyrics at first, because i was floored in awe of where all this so-called subtlety was going. Is this what experimental pop is all about?
Check out the new video above. If you aren’t able to collect hundreds and thousands of albums due this year, consider this as a highlight purchase for 2018. I was surprised too.
The cross-border collaboration between Jon Nellen and Joe Manzol known as ginla released their impressive new single ‘LOMO’ on June 27th. With its commingling of bedroom style and dreamy musings coupled with subtle yet earthly undulations that satisfyingly take notice, its a song i recommend to keep – moving into the dog days of summer 2018, perhaps as part of a soundtrack for pensive reflection – whether its standing in one spot and staring into space or nodding your head and showing everyone you may or may not have rhythm.
Ginla also shot a lyric filled video for its release. It is comprised of lo-fi footage of Joe walking thru a field towards an empty chair as lyrics from the song appear in sequence across the screen. You can watch the video below or on youtube.
After stints with various acts in the Los Angeles scene from Hobart W Fink to LA Nova, Lauren Lakis has moved on to the singer/songwriting route – with candid storytelling and unique vocal prowess- her debut album Ferocious is set for release June 22nd on Cavity Search Records.
Born in Baltimore, Lakis set to strike out on her own without forgetting the fatalistic spirit of the city she was raised in. “I always aspired to embody those qualities, to strike out on my own, boldly go where no one in my family has gone, to love harder and more passionately” reveals Lakis.
Her songwriting has been culled from years spent around the world, writing poetry with junkies in abandoned warehouses to working as a stripper and teaching yoga in Tokyo. Lakis also helped as a mentor for kids with Autism. According to her, these challenges gave her a whole new understanding of empathy and compassion for others.
All of this has led to her album “Ferocious”, which she calls a product of passion. In collaboration with producer Billy Burke, Lakis chose this moment to share her experiences and personal tragedy. Against a backdrop of shoegaze inspired guitars, haunting synth swells, deep-driving beats, and lyrics imparted with true candor, she narrates the album in stages of grief in chronological order. She also isn’t afraid to say the things most people feel uncomfortable about,”whether it’s a lost love, or a new love that sets me ablaze, both are equally inspiring to me”.
All instrumentals were written and performed by Lakis with the exception of AJ Brown on drums and additional guitars by Chris Garcia and Alex Stills. Additional engineering tasked to the talented Chris Kasych (Adele [Grammy], Phantogram, Cee Lo Green), with mixing and mastering also performed by Billy Burke.
Speaking of which, from the singles i’ve heard, i anticipate her debut at the very least flash a range of styles without veering into boredom. While her shoegaze influences are far from MBV and Slowdive, they do resemble more of Best Coast without her commanding presence. That said the stirring “Ferocious” and her latest single “Lead Us On” seem to lie on the opposite sides, one taking the control of the proverbial mantle at sweeping levels, owing a debt of gratitude to dream pop glory and the other sharing her space with chugging guitars layering over each other, as if she’s just with the band – life continuing its road weary path. We’ll see how all this works out June 22nd.
Until then check out “Ferocious” which is posted above – featuring a choreography between two lovers, which is described as the motions resembling the trials and tribulations that relationships go through.
UPDATE – After a brief sneak previews, their Bandcamp site restored it to their original release date of June 4th
Bizarre was amongst the first music acts in the newly created Estonian shoegaze and dreampop scene (which included Pia Fraus, She Bit Her Lip and Picnic) born out of the transition from Soviet occupation to independence. Consisting of Inga Jagomäe (vocals), Mart Eller (vocals), Anti Aaver (guitar), Tristan Priimägi (guitar) and Lauri Liivak (electronica), the band was originated in 1992 out of Tartu.
With clear inspiration from bands such as Slowdive and post MBV dream pop, Bizarre released their debut album ‘Beautica’ in 1994. Their first full release brought them significant attention in the shoegaze scene. Never wanting to be labeled, much less be exclusively known as a shoegaze or dream pop band, they developed a fondness for electronics and various writing structures. The result was their followup, Café de Flor (1996), which retained much of it’s shoegaze roots, while adding in more 60s influenced poppy sounds and sample based rhythms. This was also released not long after Brian Eno produced and remixed some of Slowvide’s “Souvlaki” recordings and arguably created a split in the genre – invoked by the subtleties of ambient electronics. All in all, it was a nice foundation going forward.
A year or two later would’ve been appropriate for the third Bizarre release. And yet recorded in 1997 and 1998, what is now named “Necro” became a collection of ten songs – some appeared on compilations, while others have remained unreleased until now – courtesy of the Estonian cult indie label Seksound. Influenced from their gigs with British electronic band Spring Heel Jack in 1997, it seemed to mark both a natural evolution in their sound, and a new avenue of music to be explored by a band that refuses to conform to a genre. At its very core, it continues the path of soft atmospheric spacey lullabies, with found sounds sampled and re-processed before arpeggiated towards the air castles, with trip hop and drum n bass like influences hushed under its own whim and dissonant songscapes conveying a peaceful vibe. Listening to “Waters” is like a vignette of an illuminated pool surrounded by hazy night. You find yourself swimming in its fantasy, oblivious to reality or any darkness that may come. The male/female chorus duet is every bit like unity highlighted by “Any Day” a song that could easily be mistaken for the Beloved if they decided to venture more into “Sweet Harmony”. Sure at times tracks like “Never Ever” would return to its ‘Beautica’ debut roots, “Summer Rain” would flash a little glam, while “International Love Affair” experimented with an infusion of funk never thought of for a Bizarre release, but hence the name Bizarre right? The next step of an otherworldly inspired yet versatile group awaits. Unfortunately, Bizarre broke up soon afterwards. Regardless the collection of songs that makes Necro is a fascinating retrospective into a transition that never came to be.
Like their previous albums Beautica (1994) and Café de Flor (1996), the third album Necro was scheduled for release on June 4th from Seksound in Europe and Darla for the US and the rest of the world…but is now available as of May 28th. For Spotify subscribers, the first two Bizarre releases are available on US versions.
Here’s a link of their first album uploaded on youtube.
Also Moogfest 2019 announced : scheduled for April 25th to April 28th, 2019 and update on ticket prices
Moogfest 2018 is now in the history books. It will immediately be remembered as the year the rain took over. A tropical disturbance formed in South Florida that was forecast to affect the Carolina’s in a big way and it wasn’t lost on downtown Durham. Waning thunderstorms aside, the rain was plentiful albeit intermittent throughout. Friday night felt the most affected to the point my opportunity to bounce to as many venues in one night was throttled.
First off, if you want to know what its all about, instead of explaining what Moogfest is, i suggest the The Five to look forward to at Moogfest 2018 to catch up. If that’s not enough there’s a couple of articles leading up to it.
Next this won’t be a review of the macro concept, collection of ideas, theories, blueprints and theories and the results of them all, nor the microcosmic details of what made Moogfest work and what didn’t and how one affected the other. I went because the line up looked impressive at least at the supportive or feature act level and yes i would count Chelsea Manning’s discussion as part of the line up too. Still I wanted to merge as many workshops, installments, discussions and movies as possible knowing my limitations -access, distance and time. I could argue those with an engineer pass would probably have an impossible time juggling a 9am to 2am schedule too. Speaking of engineer passes and day workshops, now is a good time to share some pictures from the day workshops mostly exclusive to engineer pass holders.
That said there’s good articles discussing Moogfest at that level though should you wish to partake.
Besides Moogfest is ubiquitous for better or worse. At one moment, a workshop is happening on one side of the festival and a 4 hour durational is happening at another. Performances are staggered at different times and venues. Some decide to settle at one place and others like myself move around because two performances of interest happened to be part of the staggering. The inclement weather didn’t help either. Also the common discussion i overheard relating Moogfest was that its a ritual involving little sleep. Unfortunately sleep won out despite the attempts and trust me, effort was made to experience more than what i was here for(chill related site) and what i personally anticipated….to transcend the landscape of the Moogfest itinerary. And to ease that, I was kinda thankful the top end of the performance line up wasn’t that eye opening or rare. It definitely wasn’t like 2016. KRS-One already toured Orlando twice this decade. Kelela has impressive write ups and reviews but perception wise doesnt match with where Grimes and Odesza was at that year. That said, that freed up opportunities to focus on the under card and admittedly even that was overwhelming. I understand Jon Hopkins and Mouse on Mars was part of the headline but that’s glorified in my view so i label them high under card – anything to prove my narrative. All jokes aside, definitely more impressive in my opinion than 2017. To use a cliche, its a good problem to have.
Although there was so much to anticipate and revel in, here’s my list of highlights.
Randhaus Stage – Thursday afternoon set from 4pm to 7pm
photo by Ryan Bell IG-Rybell9
photo by George Entenman IG-Zabouti
Miniluv photo by Dennis Szerszen IG-dszfoto
After publishing my Moogfest preview, I made sure to check out the Randhaus Stage to start off the festival and i wasn’t disappointed. The Parts and Labor’s old garage style made for a good set up for a spring festival and the Randhaus label lived up to its billing – although to be honest i wasn’t able to check out Nay Fong or any of the Randhaus roster afterwards. That said, it was a fun, brisk and hazy sample of ambient, soul and experimental vibes by the line up of Miniluv, ABZ, AXNT, Tony G, Kyōju and Gappa Mighty. During one set its haziness approached a standstill, with guitar riffs of Miniluv reflecting off the partially humid afternoon offset by some comforting breeze, evoking a Robin Guthrie/dream pop style that took me by surprise for a bit as i took a sip of the adult beverage to cool off. This was chill.
photo by Meg Cowan IG megcowan
The atmospheric chip tune samples of No Eyes continued the brisk and hazy theme of Thursday afternoon towards the evening. That said, some of the witch house and ambient influences faded out and thrusted into subdued drum n bass and overall happy beats. The insistence to dance was there and some of the audience had no issue in picking up on it. From the stage on Thursday to the classroom an otherwise slow but weather improved Sunday afternoon, his Introduction to Chiptune and Nanoloops was a class worth staying until the end regardless of the technical difficulties between the Super Nintendo and the overhead projector.
Emily Sprague and Pamelia Stickney at First Presbyterian Church
Pamelia Stickney photo by Stephanie Leathers IG-itsfeathers
As i stated in the preview, a highlight of Moogfest will always involve a performance at the First Presbyterian Church. Last year, Colleen’s performance at the church was arguably the best of the festival. Although Thursday evening’s line up was sparsely attended, it was an opportunity for the seekers of aural levitating bliss to satisfy their desire for the ambience and the atmospheric. It first started off with Emily Sprague’s liquidy and luscious synth loops under a sea of blue flooding the high end of cathedral. Pamelia Stickney went on next and would do the same, as the thereminist’s sounds would levitate in a sea of multi colors. While i missed the Tesseellatum appearance by Nadia Sirota and Liam Byrne of the Bedroom Community afterwards, it apparently would be the shape of things to come for their sleep concert later.
Author and Punisher
photo by Brian Livingstone -IG blivingst
photo by Brian Livingstone -IG blivingst
The doom industrial Author and Punisher was the first performance i viewed under the Spatial Sound/A3 set up at the Armory. Its a surround sound set up with 24 separate outputs meaning more splicing, more extraction of sounds and directing them to different outputs in the set up. Keep in mind, some of Moog’s durationals are surrounded with four speakers which made for a splendid late night at the sleep concert that hosted 50. This was 24 outputs engulfing a venue that holds less than 1000 at a distance of over 100 feet with the speakers probably 10 to 20 feet high. Although the intent of the set up was to focus on the sounds surrounded within, the audience will always be interested in watching the performer, whether they have a joystick, a guitar, a laptop or a theremin. That said, with his distorted crunchy low bit guitar riffs overwhelming the stage, some of the audience realized its best to experiment his doomsday devices in the middle of the GA floor. Out of all the performances, i was pleasantly surprised with this one. Throughout, I could only think of the Justin Broadrick remix of Agoraphora Nosebleed.
If there’s anyone at Moogfest 2018 that greatly benefited from appearing, it had to be the Icelandic record label/collective Bedroom Community. They seemingly performed at almost every venue, participated in conversation and screening of their documentary appropriately named “Everything Everywhere All the Time” and topped it off with an impressive Saturday night Spatial Sound/A3 programming showing at the Armory by Liam Byrne and the label founder Valgeir Sigurðsson named Dissonance, unleashing its symphony inspired soundscape unto the 360 degree sound system each meticulously fed into the 24 independent sources. Joined by Francesco Fabris they even returned the annual sleep concert durational back to its Robert Rich envisioned theme (minus the no tolerance for cameras at any time) and away from the meditation focused Larajji concept, by taking their moody soundscapes and reducing them into ghostlike afterthoughts. At times the spacey sounds gave into soft sweeping violins before alternating back meshes of crumbling undertones, with four speakers surrounding the lines of mattresses provided by Nest Bedding which were comfortable by the way. At three and a half hours, it was the longest i’ve stayed at a sleep concert.
photo by Jake Thomas IG-Bandwayrules
photo by Jake Thomas IG-Bandwayrules
photo by Pierce Rogers IG-piercejohnrogers
In my opinion, Yves Tumor in his post apocalyptic anti hero set up carried the aura of stardom at Moogfest. It didnt matter that his seminal ambient subtleties, his gothic “ruined” mixes of Alice Glass were crushed into rubbish, drum looped into caustic lawnmowing bits. It was of no concern that he took early Boyd Rice/Non influences, of looping toy sounds drizzled with the asphalt jungle – not necessarily influences popular with the mainstream – and redid God and Beast, while camped outside the noisiest of Roger Karmanik and Cold Meat Industry. He commanded the Armory stage even as he demanded the lights turned down for a song or two. I knew i was in for the set, but was surprised many stuck around. I was thinking to myself why? Maybe it was the Spatial Sound. Maybe it was the rain. It was interesting at the very least. It was definitely a highlight of Moogfest 2018.
photo by George Entenman IG__zabouti_
photo by Brian Livingstone IG-blivingst
photo by Brian Livingstone IG-blivingst
This was more of a sentimental choice. I wasn’t old enough or living in the right city or scene to know about Genesis P-Orridge when it “mattered to me”. Sure they ended up on some Wax Trax releases, but then he joined the Acid House movement around the time i was locked into Industrial and other underground related genres. I was curious if his set would resort to that but thankfully it didnt, but then again perhaps i’d have a change of mind. Anyways, although his health has been deteriorating due to Leukemia, he looked delighted to be on stage performing over a selection of “300 releases over the years.” At one point after a song, he treats them as a memory he’d forgotten but happy to revisit again.
Next year, Moogfest 2019 celebrates its 15th year and this time will move up to April 25th to April 28th in Downtown Durham. Short term discount tickets were offered to those who attended Moogfest 2018 for $80 General and $120 VIP That expired midnight May 22nd. UPDATE: Tickets at early bird rates are available as of May 23rd. Check out the Moogfest 2019 Eventbrite link but only good for a limited time only.