Quell is an ambient shoegaze-y/post-rock-y duo from Oregon. They are Tyler Richardson (vocals/guitar/bass) and Hakeem Hashash (drums/bass). I don’t know anything about them. I only know that the self-titled EP is their first. Apparently, this was meant to be a solo project, and it was meant to be an EP. After doing some snooping around on Facebook, we know that Hashish lives in Oregon City, Oregon, which is a small city that lies in the Portland MSA. We know that Richardson is currently studying Japanese at a university in Tokyo. I’m assuming from what I’ve read that this was originally Richardson’s solo project. Whatever the case may be, they ended up releasing the album in March of this year, and it’s pretty dang good.
I learned about this through one of the many shoegaze forums that I linger around in. I played the album stream as background music while I was doing some other writing, but I just couldn’t get very deep into the album because I kept playing this song over and over. It’s the second song on the album.
This is that song
“Drown” by Quell
I love the ambient shoegaze sound of this one. The wave after wave of sound without ever getting anywhere near the area of sonic annihilation. Although it gets a bit heavy at times, it’s always buoyed by Richardson’s hushed, airy vocals. Also, though, the song starts off with a strong post-rock vibe. Anytime you can combine ambient, post-rock, and shoegaze, you’re doing alright in my book. The thing this band is missing is a female vocalist. Everyone knows how partial I am to female vocals. A solid 60% of the stuff that’s in heavy rotation at my house features female vocals. Probably more like 75/%. Although Quell doesn’t sound anything like The Besnard Lakes, that’s a great example to use as a band that has elements of post-rock, ambient rock, shoegaze, AND has female vocals some of the time. And I really love The Besnard Lakes. Their 2013 album Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO was my second favorite Canadian album of 2013 and my eighth favorite album overall that year. See the full list here. I don’t want to make this about 2013, and I don’t want to make this about The Besnard Lakes.
They made some really beautiful hand-made packaging for the CD, and the 52 numbered copies have sold out. You can see the artwork and the layout of the packaging via the bandcamp page, where you can get a digital copy of the album for just $4 USD. The packaging reminds me of the hand-made packaging from the first couple of records by The Rachels.