Here’s the single from Lafayette, IN shoegazers YEARS’ debut album, It Can Kill. “Stay Inside” is a striking pop track which bears strange feelings of nostalgia for the familiar and unfamiliar, while still showing the dizziness of the past, present, and future. Singer/guitarist Jordan Banks’ voice sits comfortably over the wavering verses of foggy guitars and the crystal clear choruses. Even at the third track position on the album, the single acts as somewhat of a beginning, a climax, and a resolution to It Can Kill. The remaining nine tracks leave you to decide which ones fits YEARS best. All of It Can Kill is streaming on their website, and you can order the CD from their store.
Check out a fantastic track from the debut album of Indiana up-and-coming shoegaze-pop outfit, broken light. “Dawn of Nothing” is a soaring fuzz-pop anthem, with touches of Microcastle-era Deerhunter and a guitar melody that would make Yuck jealous. The track, as uplifting as it wants you to feel, leaks with frontman Eric Komenda’s lyrics on emptiness and disarray, but you’ll never feel better yelling out lines like, “Greet the void the slowly swallows/ All your secrets until you’re barren and bleak.” The group recorded The Spring Tide, with Brett Sanderson of Champaign, IL band Headlights and the release date/label is TBA. Head over to their Bandcamp to hear another track from the album, “Nucleo/tides.”
Bloomington shoegaze brother duo Stagnant Pools have signed to Polyvinyl Records, who will release their debut album Temporary Room. “Dead Sailor” is the first single from the album, and like past demos, is a chugging slab of wall-of-noise guitar fuzz that also makes for a fantastic pop anthem with hooking melody. According to Polyvinyl, the bros received a tour van as a recent graduation presents, so expect tours this summer and fall. Temporary Room will be out August 7th and is up for preorder from Polyvinyl’s store on white vinyl (limited to 300), black vinyl, and CD. Watch a video of them playing “Dead Sailor” in my old DIY space in West Lafayette, IN.
One of Indiana’s biggest up-and-comers Stagnant Pools just released the first taste of their upcoming 2012 record, release TBA. “Consistency” is a massive slice of punked-out sky-high shoegaze from the Bloomington brothers, and it definitely gives indications of a fantastic record from these two. Below is a video of the duo playing “Consistency” at my now-defunct basement venue Jurassic Park, and the song sounds just as huge.
About this time last year, I let y’all know of DIY basement venue I was running called Jurassic Park in West Lafayette, IN. Well after a series of unfortunate events, I had to call things off for the rest of the year due to noise violations and neighbors problems. Well I started it up back in January with a different format and it has fit perfectly since. Over the span of four months, I had Reading Rainbow, Cast Spells (Dave from Maps & Atlases), husband&wife, The Modern Electric, Secret Colours, and a whole bunch more. I’ve started it back up after the summer and my friend Chris Loudenslager has come along for the ride to take great photos and high quality videos of some performances. I had Bloomington shoegaze duo Stagnant Pools come play last weekend, who I posted about last month, and they played a couple songs from their forthcoming album.
For those of you getting as antsy as I am for Yuck’s debut out on February 15th, here’s a fuzzilicious gem to hold you over for a little. “Coconut Bible” is the B-side of the upcoming 7″ single for “Holing Out,” which can be heard here along with other fantastic tracks from the album. Preorder the LP through Fat Possum or Insound.
Easily one of my favorite labels of 2010 was Bridgetown Records out of California. From Vehicle Blues’ Changer, to Weed Diamond Carry On + Sweater Kids, to Ancient Crux’s Stage Fright + Live in LA, and to my favorite in the split between Kevin Greenspon and Cloud Nothings, the label doesn’t stop releasing an eclectic mix of pop, ambient, lo-fi, and garage. There Holiday Batch is now available, with releases from Jen Paul / No Lakes, Trudgers, Whirl, and School Knights. Each item is $6 (postage paid), or you can get them all together for $20, and order soon because they are all selling pretty fast. Personally, I can say that the Whirl cassette is terrific, but check out descriptions for each release below along with MP3s.
Bridgetown #34 School Knights – Rush S.K. cdr
During a brief break in output in his other band Weed Diamond, guitarist Michael Stein has paired up with Zack Roif to debut a powerful new pop duo that explores themes of school and youth, stripped down to thick octave chords and heavier drum rhythms not far off from a more punk-influenced Weed Diamond, but still just as carefree and fun-loving. Edition of 100.
MP3: || “Cliques” ||
Bridgetown #35 Trudgers – Bedrooms On Fire cdr
Dark, catchy and haunting stories of self-imposed tragedy. While others have taken the safe road and played by the limiting rules within the confines of goth revival genres, Brently Mitzner blends elements from a wider variety of musical styles to form a unique and authentic document of youthful despair and trite optimism. Revived from the original 4-tracked cassette masters for a Goaty Tapes release recorded in 2008. Edition of 75, includes lyric sheet.
MP3: || “Crashing In Your Car” ||
Bridgetown #36 Whirl – Distressor cassette
Debut album of dense, swirling shoegaze from this new 6 piece with members strewn about the San Francisco bay area. 7 songs of soothing, razor sharp guitar textures backed by soft, pillowy female vocals, anchored by a keen sense of timing and composition. Edition of 100 pro-duplicated cassettes with metallic imprinting and packaged in white cases with pro-printed j-cards.
MP3: || “Leave” ||
Bridgetown #38 Jen Paul / No Lakes – 1965 Ghost + Cherry Sap cdr
4-tracked shoegaze that stretches from hazy dreams to just shy of fleeting nightmares, told by guitar drenched in a blur of reverb and smeared on ferric tape. Jen Paul’s first CD and longest release to date, totaling 16 songs, all new material written after her split 12″ LP with Jeans Wilder on La Station Radar. Includes an out of print cassette available digitally for the first time from the original masters backed with a new album called Cherry Sap. Edition of 75.
MP3: || “Bottled Ships” ||
Genre: Fuzz-Pop, Indie Pop, Shoegaze, Indie Rock
Label: Fat Possum MySpace
Rolling with great buzz in 2010, Yuck are set to have a big breakout year in 2011 with their self-titled debut. Yuck, out in February on Fat Possum, is bound to be overflowing with feel-good mega-fuzz-pop tracks, as choosing between the song below is like choosing between a Snickers and Three Musketeers! You can grab the MP3 for the indie rock epic “Rubber,” as well as a link to go download the Mogwai remix from RCRD LBL. Also check out the vintage racing video for “Georgia” and the stream of the newest single from the album, “Holing Out.” No preorder is up for the album yet, but you can order the already-released “Georgia” 7″ from Fat Possum, as well as check out their upcoming US dates with Smith Westerns here!
Following one of the best albums in 2009, Each and Everyone, Northeast Ohio big shoegazers Annabel come back with a new EP, Here We Are Tomorrow. The 5-song EP is a continuation of their unique brand of fist-pumping skygaze, with a heavy pop backbone, and their best production to date. Check out “The Forgetting of Names of Faces” above, or head over to Shock Mountain to download the entire EP. Four of the five songs are getting an official 7″ release from Tiny Engines, with 300 copies on blue/white vinyl and 200 on maroon/white. You can order one here for $6, or both of them for $10.
Genre: Shoegaze, Dream Pop, Indie Pop
Location: Virginia, USA
Label: Captured Tracks Myspace
01. Live In Dreams
02. Summer Holiday
05. O, Lilac
06. Bored Games
08. The Witching Hour
09. My Angel Lonely
11. Our Composition Book
After some exceptional 7″s including “Summer Holiday” and “Cloudbusting”, Wild Nothing’s Jack Tatum has had much buzz and anticipation around his debut album, Gemini. Even I have been longing for this record, with it being one of my top anticipated records for this year. So far, Gemini is proving to be a thorough and safe step for Tatum, sticking to his familiar formula. Dream pop standouts, “Summer Holiday” and “Chinatown”, give the album its punch, but 80s nostalgia on “Drifter” and “Confirmation” fill in the personality for Gemini. This is available on May 25th from Captured Tracks and you can order it on clear vinyl with the new Beach Fossil record!
Genre: Psychedelic, Lo-fi, Shoegaze, Chillwave
Location: San Francisco, CA
Label: Olde English Spelling Bee MySpace
01. Deerfield Village
02. Golden Triangles
03. Bear Creek
04. Brook Meadows
05. Glen Carin
06. Out Past Curfew
07. Woodland Hills
08. Ross Downs
09. Bel Air
10. Dome City
11. Airport Lights
San Franciscoan Joe Knight heads Rangers, a blend of psych/lo-fi/shoegaze that ultimately screams chillwave. Expect the grooviness of Neon Indian mixed with the foggy tone of Real Estate. Much like fellow Olde English Spelling Bee mates, Ducktails, Rangers fills your ears with hazy glo-fi beats dripping with watery guitar licks and psychedelic bass riffs. Watch out for the guitar jams on “Brook Meadows”, the funkiness of “Out Past Curfew”, or the radiant synths in ending track “Airport Lights”. Overall, it’s a very enjoyable album, especially for the upcoming summer time!
Genre: Shoegaze, Psychedelic, Drone
Label: Enemies List Recordings MySpace
01. You Glow
02. The Woods
04. Back To Land
08. Empty Space
09. I Try
At the beginning of the year, Hamish Duncan contacted me about his release Pyramid, which seemed to find its way all across the internet. In my writeup, I said to keep on a lookout for more of his project Sleep In. No more than four months later did I get his newest release, Carnival. Sleep In leaned heavy on the industrial rock side of things on Pyramid, and while it’s definitely still there for Carnival, Duncan’s lessened it to make way for a barrage of new styles. His mold of shoegaze/drone/psychedelic is not only engaging, but keeps you on your toes for each coming track. “The Woods” is a behemoth of a track, with a nasty drone that feel like it surrounds you. The unexpected surprise of “Steady” brings a solid psychedelic riff with swirling tones above. Duncan pulls out his acoustic side for a few songs, including back-to-back tracks “Back To Land” and “Amorous”, for what I guess you could call dark ballads. All roads lead to “Spared”, a tense and sporadic climax to another incredible album from Duncan. Both Pyramid and Carnival are going to be getting an official release on Enemies List Home Recordings, so make sure to keep a close eye on Sleep In.
It’s funny how some bands fall right back into your lap after some time. Sometime last year, I drove down to Bloomington, IN with my best buddy to go see Knoxville, TN crazies I Need Sleep. After they kicked major ass, we considered leaving, but we decided to stick around for this Chicago band Light Pollution. The crowd was quiet, the stage dimly lit, and their music enveloped us like the air itself. We were breathless to say the least. So just about two weeks ago, their newest track “Good Feelings” popped up on Pitchfork, on Forkcast and some good words on The Playlist. This all leads to their debut album, Apparitions, being released on Carpark Records. Opener, “Good Feelings”, fades in perfect balance between gloomy shoegaze and sky-high indie rock, proving to be one of the best tracks of 2010 thus far. The rest of the tracks feel like rays of bright sunshine, alongside front man James Cicero’s beautiful and provocative voice. Watch for big things for Light Pollution come June, when Apparitions gets its official release. Until then, check their Myspace for some upcoming shows with Best Coast, Delorean, Memoryhouse, Keepaway, and Tanlines.
Genre: Shoegaze, Dream Pop
Location: Virginia, USA
Label: Captured Tracks Myspace
A few weeks ago, I posted the 7″ track “Summer Holiday” from one-man bedroom project Wild Nothing, and since then it hasn’t stopped spinning in my head. “Cloudbusting” is the newest 7″ from Jack Tatum, the man behind Wild Nothing, and one of the newest release for Captured Tracks. Check out his soaring rendition of Kate Bush’s “Cloudbusting”, along with dreamy b-side “Promise”. Look out for a debut LP sometime this year, it should be something to be excited about.
01. Like The Ocean, Like The Innocent Pt. 1: The Ocean
02. Like the Ocean, Like The Innocent Pt. 2: The Innocent
03. Chicago Train
05. Glass Printer
06. Land Of Living Skies Pt.1: The Land
07. Land Of Living Skies Pt. 2: The Living Skies
08. And This Is What We Call Progress
09. Light Up The Night
10. The Lonely Moan
So I’m going to be making the trek home to CLEVELAND tonight, and I needed some quality music to listen to. I had heard about the Besnard Lakes after seeing a bunch of their vinyl in records stores, so I decided to check them out. I haven’t really listened to this much yet, but judging by their incredible reviews for their 2007 album The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse, they’re on Jagjaguwar, and they album art is sweet, I have no doubt in my mind this is going to be a great record. This will be released on March 9th, so pre-order a copy or pick up the 12″ for “Albatross”.
Genre: Shoegaze, Psychedelic
Label: Enemies List Recordings MySpace
01. (Untitled I)
02. One Thing (For Me)
05. Heckler’s Venom
06. (Untitled II)
08. Sonic Mass
09. Washed Away
10. Two Hands
Sleep In is the project of Australian mastermind Hamish Duncan. He self-described this release as “ten tracks of pop, pysch, alt-rock shoegazy dreamyness!” It’s hard to argue with that, and it’s hard to argue with the fact that Duncan has some incredibly deep skills. His sounds keeps you listening, as he changes between shoegaze and drone and psych-pop. It doesn’t surprise me that Nine Inch Nails falls under his top friends on Myspace, as “Skin” and “Sonic Mass” pull some eerie industrial-rock strings. The album starts pretty slow but quickly picks up in the second half, where most of the music is. Note the self-production of Duncan, which stands out tremendously on the Untitled tracks. It seems that this release leaked onto the internet sometime in mid-2009, but is getting a 2010 release from Enemies List Recordings, a home-recording label. Duncan seems to put much time into his project, so always be on the lookout for more of Sleep In.
02. Repeat It
03. French Rocking Horse
04. The Spark Is Sweet
05. Reprise It
06. Morning’s Call
08. Middle of a Field
09. Strange Town
10. Free Fall
Much like a newspaper and political candidate, The Noise Is throws their full support behind Cleveland’s Mystery Of Two. I had heard much about them over the internet waves, but I had never heard their music before. So I made a trip to the record store and picked up their self-titled LP without hearing any of their music. I made an excellent call. When I first started listening to them, I wrote on my personal twitter, “Mystery Of Two sounds like a mix of Devo and Sonic Youth. I’m really liking it. Good job Exit Stencil.” They get thrown under the experimental genre, which really doesn’t make sense except for one thing, Ryan Weitzel’s voice. He throws his dramatic baritone over post-punky rhythms, along with charging shoegaze breakdowns. So more story time, a few hours before my radio show at school, my co-host bailed one me. I had enough music to make up for his absence, but I wanted to have something special in the show. So the first thing that popped into my mind was an on-air interview, and the first band I thought of was my newly-discovered trio, Mystery Of Two. So I got a hold of Ryan, and he agreed to the interview. Long story short, the interview went incredibly well, and I could not have been happier. Mystery Of Two are one of the seven bands playing the pre-Christmas holiday show at Beachland. Just one more reason to get away from your family and see some great music! Pick up this record from Cleveland’s own Exit Stencil Recordings.
I just realized in the past few hours that I have a huge weakness for 7″ singles and such, I had to get another one. I’ve been listening to SVIIB quite a lot over the past few weeks so I was pretty pumped to get the B-side “Caldo”. First off, “Half Asleep” is pure bliss, no more needs to be said. “Caldo” is actually a step away from what I was expecting. Rather than rely on electronics for background haze and dreamy soundscapes, SVIIB turns to acoustics which makes for a pleasant surprise. The harmonies are still there thank god.
Genre: Shoegaze, Post-Rock
Location: London, UK
Label: The Social Registry Myspace
01. Love That Moves the Sun
03. Through Air Over Water
04. Close To the Ground
05. Grow Again, Repeat
06. Troubled, Shaken Etc.
07. First Song – Angelina
11. To Thine Own Self Be True
12. The Low Lights
Most acts on The Social Registry break out into the most experimental sounds imaginable (which is a good thing), so it’s really nice to have a band come around that takes that influence and expands it into something beautiful. It’s hard to call Sian Alice Group specifically a shoegaze band, because they put out so many different styles and tones that it’s hard to pinpoint them. From post-rock, to jazz, to ambient, to minimalist, even pop, all of these styles project gloriously. While the musicianship is top-notch, the trump factor is definitely the vocals of Sian Ahern. They are absolutely haunting and gorgeous at the same time.
02. Face To Face On High Places
03. Half Asleep
04. Wired For Light
05. For Kalaja Mari
06. White Elephant Coat
10. Prince Of Peace
11. My Cabal
12. Iamundernodisguise (Alternate Version)
Remember when Coors Light basically said that twins make everything better? Well…they were completely right. School of Seven Bells is made up of Benjamin Curtis, and twins Alejandra and Claudia Dehez, who’s voices basically make this album. The biggest accomplishment of this album is the fact that every song sounds beautiful. Opening track, “Iamundernodisguise”, is a hazy tribal percussive beat with incredible harmonizing vocals. Following songs, “Face To Face On High Places” and “Half Asleep”, are my personal favorites with their blissful layers and flawless vocals. Alejandra and Claudia’s harmonies show up on about every track, like I said, they are the reason this album is so good. The only thing better than the music might be the album art.
P.S. SVIIB are releasing a deluxe edition of Alpinisms and I included the one bonus track I have, an alternate version of “Iamundernodisguise”.