If you only listen to one song today, make it “Under an Impressive Sky” by Echodrone (2012, from the album Bon Voyage). Echodrone is a dreampop/shoegaze quartet based in San Francisco who have been around since 2005. They just self-released their second album, entitled Bon Voyage, at the end of June.
Although I call them “a San Francisco band”, it’s not entirely accurate. Eugene Suh (guitars, vocals, electronics) lives in Baltimore, and Meredith Gibbons (guitar, vocals) lives in Oregon. Brandon Dudley (bass) and Mark Tarlton (drums, sound tech) live in the Bay area. I don’t know how the logistics of that work out, but they spent enough time together to make a pretty good record.
Their sound is a little bit spacey and psychedelic. It’s a lot dreamy and soothing.
They cite Yo La Tengo and Spiritualized among their influences, and I get Yo La Tengo, to an extent. I can hear a little bit of And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out. What I hear more of is Slowdive. The way Suh and Gibbons harmonize, it’s a lot like Neil Halstead and Rachel Goswell. I especially hear that in the Echodrone song “Cold Snap”
As much as I really like that song, and as much as it sounds like it ought to be on Souvlaki, it’s not your song of the day. In case I haven’t mentioned it lately, Souvlaki is one of my favorite albums. Ever. Maybe in my top six. Just to remind you, here’s what I said about it in my Slowdive post:
…Souvlaki is incredible. It’s by far my favorite record of theirs and one of my “most favorite” records of that decade. Or any decade, for that matter.
Anyway, the order of business today isn’t “Cold Snap”. You get that one for free. Today, it’s about “Under An Impressive Sky”. This is that song:
I love that this is sort of a marriage between über-dreamy airiness and the shoegaze-y volume bursts. The first 17 seconds of the song, actually, sound like one of those luxury sedan commercials. You know, the ones where they’re lauding the technology and the sound system available at your fingertips, almost as if the actual mechanical performance of the car is an afterthought. You know, the ones where the car is driving down a deserted city street late at night. Those ones.
I love the bit at 0:54 when the loud guitars come bursting in. It’s almost exactly like an alarm clock suddenly and forcefully pulling you out of a lovely dream. I don’t love it because I love being woken from dreams. I love it because of the sharp contrast. Then at 1:31, as suddenly as the volume burst came in, the dreamy bit nudges back in. Again, it’s a wonderful contrast of two brilliant bits. That goes back and forth a couple of times. So in that respect, I guess it’s quite like the alarm going off, hitting the snooze button, and so on.
You should buy a digital copy of Bon Voyage from the Echodrone bandcamp page.
About the mailbag. I encourage submissions and I listen to and evaluate everything that comes in. I can’t write features about everything that comes in, but I will listen. I strongly suggest the inclusion of an electronic press kit or a one-sheet with photos and some sort of biographical information about your band (or the band that you represent).