Balms is a “dark pop”/shoegaze trio from San Francisco. As far as I know, this is their first release. I got something in the mailbag the other day. Although I haven’t written in a couple of days, I have been keeping up the best intentions of writing. Fielding emails, listening to the mountains of mp3s and soundcloud files. To be completely honest, though, I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to organize my digital library. When I bought the new laptop in September, the transfer of music files from the old laptop to the new one was nothing short of disastrous. Some files didn’t make the jump. Some made the jump in duplicate or triplicate. A lot of things went wrong and it’s a big mess. That, however, is a pretty lame excuse for my failure to write.
Anyway, the email that I got from Balms was about as terse as could be. Not much in the way of self-description. Essentially, it just said “We are Balms. Here are some songs”. I didn’t have to listen very long to know that this was up my alley.
“Grave” by Balms
Right away, I like the loop of heavily delayed and layered guitar. It’s somewhat reminiscent of “To Here Knows When” by My Bloody Valentine (from their stellar 1992 album Loveless). While a lot of bands make the lofty claim that their music harkens MBV, these guys actually pull it off without making a scene about it. After the brief intro, it moves away from that sound and closer actually to dream pop. Really airy, clear vocals while everything else is washed in lots of delay and reverb.
I also like the really fuzzy pink noise fade-out.
I imagine listening to this song in the spring. Playing it loud with the windows open and the fresh air breezing through the house. Early in the morning.
The cd single is a VERY limited run of 20 copies, and they each come with a hand-made cover. An instant download comes with the suggested purchase price of $5 (or more). You can grab one of those from the bandcamp page here.