Posts Tagged shoegaze

new music: Tomten; American Opera

Tomten, “Weissnichtwo”

I’ve been listening to the new Ride and Slowdive albums quite a bit lately and this song falls in nicely with its Brit-influenced shoegaze, swirly sound. There’s lots of layers with the opening part establishing a gentle calm while an underlying guttural churning bubbles up to maintain the soothing vibe. The Seattle pop band also mixes in organ, electric piano and analog synthesizers for its electro-folk sound. The artistic, eclectic result works on several levels on the upcoming album—some songs ring a bit clearer than this track, others are much more upbeat and there’s lots of wistfulness. Tomten is: Brian Noyes-Watkins (keys, guitar, vocals); Jake Brady (drums) and Dillon Sturtevant (bass, vocals).  The trio will release its third full-length Cremation Songs [ Plume Records] on July 7th, 2017 on CD, vinyl, and digital formats.

“I first thought of the name Cremation Songs as a bit of a joke to poke fun at our previous record The Farewell Party,” says Brian Noyes-Watkins. “It later dawned on me that it fit the songs well, seeing as most are vaguely about death in some way or another, excluding ‘First Song of Spring’ and ‘Mette’s Tune.’ I just hope our next record doesn’t mark the Born Again / Embracing a Cult phase.”

“I became obsessed with drawing extended arms (usually blue) posing inside of little boxes,” Noyes-Watkins reveals about the cover artwork. “I did a few versions: a hand drowning in the sea, another with a crystal ball, one juggling a rainbow. I settled on the apple/applecore because I liked the idea of having a sunrise/sunset theme on the jacket. I’m hoping to complete a collection of 20 or so to release in a booklet for a limited edition of the record.”

American Opera, “Monsters Among Men”

A beautifully melodic and thoughtful song with powerful vocals and an urgency in its message, reminiscent of Joan Osborne’s “One of Us.”  American Opera is New York singer/songwriter John Bee’s project. He said that  “Monsters Among Men” is: “about getting older while trying to stay true to who you were when you were young. I was raised in the church. Three things happened in my life that made me question everything I ever believed. My friend took his own life, my cousin’s life was taken from him, and the Sandy Hook shooting. I still don’t know what to believe. But I know what I want to believe.”

American Opera’s full-length album Small Victories is out June 30, 2017.

 

 

Advertisements

, , , , , ,

Leave a comment

music review: The Light Gathering Lens EP

light gathering lens

There’s a bit of comfort in knowing that we are not alone in our despair, sadness or frustration. Meditative Shoegaze-y instrumentation and layered arrangements safely engulf you and transport you into a beautiful aural solace. The Light Gathering Lens is the music project of singer/songwriter and wildlife scientist Eric Burnham. He was in the 80s/90s bands Weather Theater and Ministry of Love. 24 years ago he recorded these songs and re-discovered them and decided to release the EP which comes out on April 21, 2017.

“Shenandoah” with its humming base and relaxing tone reminds me of some music that accompanies guided meditations. Overlapping vocal rounds on “Seeing Stars Part One” harmonizes like Buddhist chanting. That blends into the psychedelic tinged instrumental of “Seeing Stars Part Two.” Beautiful murky vocals and Middle Eastern elements gorgeously blend on “The Terror Time” which is Burnham’s stunning interpretation of a folk song first written by Ewan MacColl. I’m positive I could mediate to this. The songs on the EP provide the soothing, meditative timbre that we sometimes (or often) crave and that possibly will connect with your chakras [if you dig that sort of thing].

Eric Burnham explained:

 I started playing the trombone when I was seven years old, but I didn’t pick up a guitar until my freshman year in college. I first learned to play classical guitar, and a little bit of flamenco. Flamenco music still is an influence for me, along with near and middle eastern traditional music. I have always loved psychedelic music, and the first album I bought was Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band when I was 10 years old.

I have struggled with clinical depression for all of my adult life, and this has affected my art. I believe that my music is about all of the struggles with mental illness, and about finally finding redemption after many years of bleak desolation.

I had been a wildlife scientist and my research had been aimed at conserving gray wolves in the western U.S. I had spent much time alone in the wilderness tracking wolf movements, and analyzing their kill sites, and I think that this experience also inspires my art.

 

 

 

, ,

Leave a comment

new music: Sydney Eloise and the Palms; Operator

sydney eloise

Sydney Eloise and the Palms, “Sorry Not Sorry”

Sydney Eloise possesses retro yet modern vocals that both move and soothe. This song conveys resilience and strength. I’ve been listening to the entire album for a bit and it’s so comforting and dynamic. If you like Neko Case, First Aid Kit and She and Him you’ll definitely appreciate Sydney Eloise and the Palms. The Atlanta musician gathered local musicians to fill out the band, including Paul Stevens (Grand Vapids), Jenna Shea Mobley (Book Club) and Matt Jarrard (Royal Thunder, Spirits and the Melchizedek Children).

Album Faces [The Cottage Recording Co.] out 9/22

Sydney stated: “I feel like I’m just tapping into myself as a musician, just now honing my sound and my voice. This is the first project I’ve worked on where I was pushed to the limit, and I could see my full potential blossoming. I’ve been waiting for this moment—this record truly represents who I am, where I am, and how much work I put in leading up to it. I feel like I’m meant to be here, now, with these people, my best friends, doing exactly this.”

Operator

Operator, “I, Banana”

starts with an intense, infectious beat and lots of cool synth grooves. Vocals kick in giving the song a very British shoegaze vibe. Overall fantastic track with lots going on. The Brooklyn quartet plays mellow synth-pop similar to Stereolab and blends synth grooves, noise pop, krautrock, dreamy indie rock, and shoegaze.

Operator is:

Dara Hirsch (guitar/synth/vox)
Jared Hiller (guitar/synth/vox)
Adrian Price-Whelan (bass)
Landen Griffith (drums)

Puzzlephonics I EP out October 9th

, , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Fall Tour: 90s shoegazers Ride

Ride now

Ride now


Ride then

Ride then

As a GenXer, music fan, Anglophile and music critic I listened to Ride quite a bit in the 90s along with Jesus Jones, The Charlatans UK, Swervedriver, Curve and Lush. shoegaze. Swirling and churning guitar. psychedelic-laced indie rock. Indelibly hypnotic. Thrilled that the band has reunited nearly twenty years after breaking up and will be touring this fall beginning on September 17 at the 9:30 Club in Washington D.C. and closing out November 19 in Hawaii on with a date in Boston on October 3 at The Paradise Rock Club.

The band formed when the members were teenagers in Oxford, England in 1988. The band released several influential albums including 1990’s Nowhere and 1992’s Going Blank Again. They broke up in 1996, following the release of Tarantula.

Ride is:

guitarist Andy Bell
singer Mark Gardener
drummer Laurence “Loz” Colbert
bassist Steve Queralt

Tour Dates:

9/17 – 9:30 Club, Washington DC
9/18 – College Street Music Hall, New Haven
9/19- Theatre of Living Arts, Philadelphia
9/21 – Irving Plaza, New York
9/22 – Irving Plaza, New York
9/23 – The Stone Pony, Asbury Park
9/25 – The Riviera Theater, Chicago
9/26 – MidPoint Festival, Cincinnati
9/27 – Pygmalion Festival, Champaign
9/29 – Mill City, Minneapolis
10/01 – St Andrews Hall, Detroit
10/02- House of Blues, Cleveland
10/03- Paradise Rock Club, Boston
11/06 – Saturn – Birmingham, AL
11/07 – Fun Fun Fun Festival – Austin, TX
11/09 – Crescent Ballroom – Phoenix, AZ
11/10 – House of Blues – Las Vegas, NV
11/12 – The Wiltern – Los Angeles, CA
11/14 – The Catalyst – Santa Cruz, CA
11/15 – Crystal Ballroom – Portland, OR
11/16 – Neptune – Seattle, WA
11/17 – Commodore Ballroom – Vancouver, BC
11/19 – The Republik – Honolulu, HI

, , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

music review: Field Mouse

_field_mouse_-_HSL_1500_300

Fitting for the album to open with “A Place You Return to in a Dream” because there’s a cool, effusive fuzzy guitar hook and then the entire album proceeds to put you in a blissful reverie state. Dreamy pop that I play again and again. It’s easy to get caught up in the mesmerizing shoegazing hazy chords with vocalist/guitarist Rachel Browne’s euphonious blurred vocals woven throughout.

Browne formed Field Mouse in 2010 as a duo with producer/guitarist Andrew Futral then they expanded into a four-piece with the addition of bassist Saysha Heinzman and drummer Tim McCoy. Field Mouse beautifully infuses edgy hooks with subtler elements. So there’s the darkness and light combination that’s so compelling if you think of bands like Lush, Curve or Swervedriver.

“Tomorrow is Yesterday” has a grooving bass riff. Browne’s vocals sound a bit like Letters to Cleo’s Kay Hanley, sweet yet storied. Staggering edgy guitar, blurrier lilting vocals and a hypnotic melody on “Two Ships.” Speed picks up on “Everyone but You.” This is a talented band creating indie pop deliciousness with near-perfection. Closing track “Water in the Valley” is bittersweet and lulling with guitar feedback. Spot-on. This is one of my favorite albums of the year.

Hold Still Life
Topshelf Records
release date: July 22, 2014

–review by Amy Steele

Facebook

Twitter

purchase at Amazon: Hold Still Life

, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: