Tag Archives: dreampop

April 11, 2017 — “Blurred” by Voices from Deep Below

Voices from Deep Below

If you only listen to one song today, make it “Blurred” by Voices from Deep Below (2017, from the album I Want to Stand Where the Sun Himself Shakes with Fear).

Voices From Deep below is a shoegaze/dreampop/post-rock recording project of Dale Humphries. He’s a Londoner who relocated to NYC several years ago and has been recording as Voices from Deep Below since. I wrote about this project once before a couple of years ago here, and since He’s just released the fifth album, here we are again.

On the other records, Humphries did most, if not all, of the work. On this one, there’s a full band credited, but I think we still talk about Humphries and the band interchangeably.

Although I haven’t been writing much lately, I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth and I am trying to pay attention to the mailbag. This one came from the mailbag, which is bulging with unread messages and audio files. I’ll get to that some day.

From what I’ve heard, the previous stuff has some ambient edges and I was reminded just a bit of lovesliescrushing and things of that ilk. On this new one, there’s much more noise. Less pillows. More bricks. Also, the other records have songs of “standard” running times. Most are in the five-minute neighbourhood. The new record has just five songs, and they’re all “long”. Today’s song clocks in at 8:48, and it’s the shortest of the lot.

There’s plenty of the aforementioned “noise” and “bricks”, but there’s also some intermittent softness and serenity. It’s not completely devoid of pillows. Although I’m listening on headphones, I’m sure this is fantastic when played loudly through real speakers.

“Blurred” by Voices from Deep Below

I like the vocals, which are provided by Gioia Lea Gerber, and I like some of the Slowdive-esque guitar bits, but I really like the bits that get really loud. All the different layers upon layers of fuzz and heavily affected guitars at 7:01. That’s my favourite part.

As is the case with the other Voices from Deep Below releases, you can download I Want to Stand Where the Sun Himself Shakes with Fear completely free of charge via Bandcamp here.

January 13, 2017 — “Star Roving” by Slowdive



If you only listen to one song today, make it “Star Roving” by Slowdive (2017, from a forthcoming release title to come).
Yesterday, shoegaze/dream pop pioneers Slowdive released a new song, their first in 22 years. They turned a bunch of heads and won favour with the fickle British music press with their 1991 debut Just For a Day. I always liked that record very much, but it’s not my favourite of theirs.

In 1993, Slowdive released their seminal Souvlaki, which was initially given mixed reviews by the press. By that time, shoegaze and dream pop had fallen out of fashion because Britpop was the big thing. It didn’t sell as well or chart as well as Just For a Day, but it was one of my top five records of the decade, and in my top 10 of all time. With the passage of time, the same writers who didn’t like it have come round, and now it’s universally revered.

In 1995, the band released a very strange, very experimental album Pygmalion. It’s really spacey and they used a lot of electronics. There’s a lot of quiet bits and a lot of negative space. It was given nice reviews, but it didn’t sell worth a damn, and I never cared for that record. Shortly after the release of the album, the band was dropped by Creation Records, and shortly after that, the band ceased operations.

After the breakup of Slowdive, principal songwriters Neil Halstead and Rachel Goswell formed the country-tinged Mojave 3 along with Slowdive drummer Ian McCutcheon. They released five albums, but were never as well-known as Slowdive. In 2006, Goswell announced that she would no longer tour with the band because of a sudden, dramatic loss of hearing in her left ear and lingering issues with tinnitus.

Halstead and Goswell each released solo records and they each collaborated with lots of different people, but for years there was never so much as a whisper of a reunion.

In January of 2014, the band announced that they would reunite, and they played a few festival shows to delighted audiences. They said there would eventually be new material, but we didn’t know when we would get it.

Meanwhile, Halstead was working with a few projects, including Black Hearted Brother. Last year, Goswell joined forces with Stuart Braithwaite out of Mogwai to form Minor Victories. Their self-titled debut record absolutely blew me away. It was my favourite record of the year. (Yes, there will eventually be a year-end list). Hearing loss or not, Goswell toured with Minor Victories, and she played those Slowdive shows. All signs were still pointing to new Slowdive material.

Yesterday, we finally, officially got a new song. This is that song.
“Star Roving” by Slowdive

At this point, we don’t know any details about a forthcoming album, but they’ve certainly suggested that one is on the way.

I like this a lot, and I’m thrilled that they’ve gotten back to the tasty, noisy stuff. In a way, it’s like a perfect medium between the beautiful melodies of Just For a Day and the beautiful noise of Souvlaki. I can’t wait to hear more.

January 10, 2017 — “Tether” by Blushing



If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Tether” by Blushing (2017, from the forthcoming EP Tether).

Blushing is a dream-pop/shoegaze quartet from Austin. They formed in 2015 when Michelle Soto (guitar/vocals) and Christina Carmona (vocals/bass) joined forces, then brought their husbands Jake Soto (drums) and Noe Carmona (guitar/keyboards) into the mix. Their debut EP Tether is coming out this Friday, January 13.

I don’t know any of their backstory other than that Christina Carmona is a classically trained vocalist. I got something in the mailbag yesterday about this, and their list of influences caught my eye: Cocteau Twins, The Sundays, Belly, Beach House, and Real Estate. The truth is that I was already sold before I even heard a note of their music. When I finally did listen, it was just a formality. Yes. I like this.

Tonight’s song is the first song and the title track from the forthcoming EP. This is that song:

“Tether” by Blushing

Indeed I’m reminded quite a bit of Beach House. I don’t hear much of the other bands that they say they’re influenced by, but I hear something that also reminds me a bit of Memoryhouse.

No matter what, I like this a lot.

The song is marked by a lot of dreamy vocals and soft, delicate, gauzy guitar effects, there’s also just a bit of muscular, fuzzy guitar at the very end. I really appreciate that balance.

The EP will be out on January 13. You can pre-order a digital download, compact disc, or cassette tape of the release here. Although I really hate the cassette tape trend that refuses to go away, I have to admit that the packaging on that format is really cool. It’s packed in a VCR-like case.

December 6, 2016 — “Chain of Pink” by Lazy Legs

Lazy Legs

Lazy Legs

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Chain of Pink” by Lazy Legs (2016, from the forthcoming EP Chain of Pink).

Lazy Legs is a shoegaze/ambient trio from Chicago. You may remember that I wrote about their “Lipstick Prick” single last November, ahead of their self-titled debut EP, which came out in January of this year. They also released their first LP —Visiondeath— in July. Frontman Michael Tenzer, who is also occupied with a couple of other bands (Savage Sister, and Eyes Behind the Veil), wasn’t done with 2016, though. The band has released a couple of singles from a forthcoming EP, and everything I’ve heard has been right up my alley.

I haven’t written about anything in quite some time, and as the year winds down, I aim to rectify that. But I have been listening. And I’ve been listening to this a lot. This is that song.

“Chain of Pink” by Lazy Legs

It starts off all lovely and ambient. It’s melty and gooey and warm. Then at 0:43, there’s a big sonic crush. It gets much bigger and much fuzzier and much louder. And we really like that.

As with other Lazy Legs songs, Tenzer’s vocals and Laura Wagner’s vocals sort of blend together like some delicious Australian blend of shiraz and cab that I would have known about in 2001 when I used to drink red wine.

I love the wall of noise. I love the warm fuzz. I love the weight of it all. I also love the way there’s a sudden stop at 3:50, followed by a bit of a delay and fade out. It’s a lovely, and strangely soothing way to end the song. It’s pillowy and soothing at the start and at the end, with a bunch of beautiful noise in the middle. It’s a tried and true recipe for success in my book.

The Chain of Pink EP will be released on December 16 via Tenzer’s own Wild Patterns Records. For now, you can download the “Chain of Pink” single via Bandcamp by naming your price here. Proceeds from all sales will be evenly distributed between Planned Parenthood, The Sierra Club, and the American Civil Liberties Union.

August 30, 2016 — “Veronica” by Phoebe’s Guitar

Phoebe’s Guitar

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Veronica” by Phoebe’s Guitar.

Phoebe’s Guitar is a shoegaze/dreampop band from the Los Angeles area. The only thing I know about them is that they’re from a small town called Diamond Bar. I think there are three band members, and it looks like they’re just getting this project off the ground. There’s not much about them on the interwebs, and just a few songs on SoundCloud and Bandcamp. Their Facebook page doesn’t give anything away in the biography department. The band name may or may not be a reference to the TV show “Friends”.

The band lists Slowdive, MBV, and Bowery Electric among their influences, and that’s pretty obvious from the sound of this song.

I had never heard of this band until I saw one of their songs in my SoundCloud feed. After a few seconds, I knew that I liked them, and I tried to do some research on them. Unfortunately, I came up empty. There’s a Facebook comment that suggests that there are several songs in the can, but for now, there’s just three wonderfully dreamgazey songs on SoundCloud. Tonight’s song was just uploaded a few days ago.

This is that song:
“Veronica” by Phoebe’s Guitar

This reminds me of a bunch of packing peanuts wrapped in gossamer and sent on an escalator ride. You think it’s gonna float away, but it doesn’t. You think it’s going to reach the top or the bottom, but it doesn’t. You even think that it’s going to eventually get crushed by something big, but it doesn’t. It just keeps churning around. It’s light and dreamy and the loop-y, drone-y element creates a bit of an intoxicating tractor beam. That’s precisely what I always loved about the Bowery Electric song “Beat” (1996, from the album Beat). Like “Beat”, this song is well over seven minutes in length, but it doesn’t even seem like it.

We’ll keep our ears open for more stuff from Phoebe’s Guitar. For now, check out the three songs available on SoundCloud here

April 19, 2016 — “Chaos For You” by Hyla


If you only listen to one song today, make it “Chaos For You” by Hyla (2016, from the “Chaos For You” single).

Hyla is a shoegaze/noise/dream pop quartet from Perth. I don’t know much about them. The guys have been friends for a long time and have been around the music industry for about a decade, but they only formed Hyla in 2014 or so. They released a self-titled EP in early 2014, then the Fever Calls Late EP last June. They draw influence from the heavyweights of the UK shoegaze scene in the 80s and 90s. The Mary Chain, the Valentines, Ride, Slowdive. You get the idea. However, instead of fitting into one of those molds, they have their own sound and they’re stamping their own seal on things. Along the way, they’ve generated quite a buzz in the Aussie indie music press and on Triple J radio down there. I had never heard of them until I was sorting through some emails and reading some of my resources for new Australian music. It didn’t take long for me to decide that I like this very much. Again, I don’t know much about this band, and I can’t dig up very much, but it sounds like they’re planning to release an album sometime in 2016.

Today’s song has a bit of musky, sweaty, smokey overtones. It’s also got some shimmery brightness and some melody. It’s dark and it’s light. It’s cold and it’s warm. It’s like a tiny, battered boat weathering rough sea: it should capsize, but it doesn’t.

Without further ado, this is that song:
“Chaos For You” by Hyla

You can get the “Chaos For You” single backed with an older song called “Thousands” via Bandcamp. Go here to name your own price. And be on the lookout for a full length from them later this year.

09.10.2015 — “Finland” by Vet Trip

Vet Trip — “Finland”

If you only listen to one song today, make it “Finland” by Vet Trip (2014, from a standalone digital single).

Vet Trip is a shoegaze/dream pop band from Austin, Texas. I know absolutely nothing about them, and I just found out about them via Soundcloud. I sort of assume that this is a duo, and I do know that the guy is named Thomas Blank. I have no idea about the woman. He’s recorded some stuff under his own name, plus six Vet Trip songs on Soundcloud, including a really dreamy, slowed-down cover of the Joy Division song “Transmission”. I highly recommend that you listen to that here.

Today’s song is a perfect blend of dream pop and shoegaze. That description might bring Slowdive to mind, and this will certainly be appealing to Slowdive fans, but this doesn’t sound a whole lot like Slowdive. This sounds like its own thing, and it sounds great to me.

“Finland” by Vet Trip

Lots of bright sounds, tons of delay, a lot of waves and undertow. And noise. Beautiful noise. At the very end, there’s that part where they lifted some Finnish-language spoken word stuff. I don’t know if it’s from a teevee show or a movie, or just some stuff being spoken.

The band has no internet presence that I could find, other than the Soundcloud page with those six songs. I have no idea if there’s a forthcoming release of any kind, but I really hope that there is.

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