Scottish band Wozniak is not cut from the same
cloth as other bands deemed shoegaze. Their music escapes the constraints of
traditional gaze and expands upon the form in a good way. Past recordings made
me think they were an instrumental group, but that is not strictly true.
Thundering walls of feedback and beautiful noise surround their work, but
vocals are employed simply, placed where they best make sense. This is the
band’s debut album, recorded with Craig Ross at the Depot Studios in Edinburgh
throughout 2016. It eclipses their previous work (all of it good) in multiple
ways. I hear different elements in their sound, ranging from sweeping post rock
to noise pop (think Sonic Youth circa Daydream Nation) to Krautrock. They are
not afraid to experiment, and that produces a sonic tapestry that is truly
unique. A darkness pervades this recording, but there is enough light to offset
“Shader” ushers listeners in and holds us in
thrall. It is a glistening but deeply dark four minutes of roaring guitar and
thrumming bass. It is on this track that I imagine a bit of Sonic Youth
creeping in, but that may be explained away by the ferocious instrumental
attack. “Ghosting” is watery dream pop, delicate tendrils of sound encasing you
as it unwinds. It is slightly tentative and more hopeful, but do not err in
thinking it will stay this way. For about 90 seconds, it is all peaceful and
laid back, then the energy ramps up and swallows you whole. At times, it
retreats and allows in glimmers of light. “Super Panther” has the cadence of
majestic post rock, and then it erupts and showers psychedelic bliss on our
heads. The bass is mesmerizing, and the guitars shimmer like a mirage.
“Perihelion” is the first single, and it is blistering space rock that
stretches out its arms to past the seven minute mark. Vocals are supplied by
guitarist Sarah Cuthbert-Kerr and float through sweetly.
“Scottish Dancer” is another epic tune, both in
scope and in length. It starts off like Flying Saucer Attack has joined in, but
it morphs into widescreen psychedelia. Sarah’s ethereal, barely there vocals
lend an air of mystery to this excellent tune, with a great, strong main melody
anchoring it to terra firma. I love the way the bass meanders along with the
singer, taking its time to build to incendiary levels. “Natsuko” sounds
instantly familiar and immediately accessible, and clocks in at just under four
minutes. Its dreamy layers ripple with beauty and it ends all too soon.
“Erebus” has a wicked cool bass line and dark guitar shadings. Some of the
instruments I cannot identify, so I am not sure if guitar is being repurposed
to sound like something else. In any event, it’s an interesting listen. “Crush”
has another welcome vocal turn from Sarah, and she should step up to the mic more
often, because it ornaments the music nicely. “Death Suit” is the final tune in
this suite, and it’s an eight minute barn burner. It has that otherworldly,
exotic feel I used to get whenever I heard Black Sun Ensemble years ago. In
summary, I enjoyed listening to this record, which offers up something unique
in an already crowded field.
Courage Reels is available as a download and
limited edition CD on Morningside Youngteam Records as of April 21st. Go out
and feast your ears on this one!
The video for “Oh Child” is the latest from Santiago, Chile’s
Trementina. The track appears on the trio’s new full-length, 810, available
across the spectrum of physical formats from Burger Records and as a download on Bandcamp. It’s an utterly effervescent album that represents a significant
shift in sound for the project, known in the past for wonderfully noisy,
classic guitar-based shoegaze. The new release, relying at least as much on
keyboard as guitar, features gorgeous reverbed organ and steel drum textures and
draws from a palette including Latin rhythms, EDM beats, and Caribbean sounds for
a dream pop excursion both consistent and diverse. As much as we have loved
earlier Trementina efforts, we venture that 810 is the band’s finest—and most
distinctive—moment, with every track effusing a certain radiant, irreducible Trementina
essence. On 810 the band has found its voice in a new way, as “Oh Child” amply
is the Washington, D.C. based four piece of Jon Fetahaj, Gabe Earle, Julian
Earle and Holden Cihelka. They’ve just released their cover of New Order’s iconic
tune, “Ceremony”, which appears both as a
single on their Bandcamp page, as well as on The Blog That Celebrates
Itself’s newest compilation, Rave
On, A Madchester Celebration. Two awesome Bandcamp scores – simultaneously!
Winning at Bandcamp things today.
The quartet directed and released a video to accompany
the single, which you can watch below. We’ve been hyping
this talented group for a while now, and they continue to impress us. Enjoy!
California’s Sugar Candy Mountain is a wellspring of
exquisite dream pop much celebrated here at WTSH; we interviewed the project's core duo of Ash Reiter and Will Halsey on the
cusp of their current European tour. The band played Lisbon Psych Fest this
past Friday. Ash updates us from Spain: “Tour is
great. In Madrid right now. Still have almost a whole more month in Europe!
Then back to US for tour with Kikagaku Moyo.”
The droll new video for “Tired” is
the project’s latest offerring, directed and filmed by Ashley Martinez and Stephen Kral. The track appears on Sugar Candy Mountain's most recent full-length, 666.
My Dark House is the Mississippi-based husband and wife duo of Lindsey and
Will Thornton. Their sound is foundationally post-punk, but fused with strong
elements of shoegaze and dream pop. They first came to our attention last year,
after releasing a string of captivating singles via Bandcamp. We were
intrigued. We’re still intrigued. Enjoy getting to know My Dark House with us.
and when was the band formed?
My Dark House was a largely abandoned project of
mine from around 2013, but after my wife expressed interest in learning to play
the bass guitar, I decided to start it back up. She picked up the instrument
very quickly, and we settled on the idea of being a duo. We decided to use a
drum machine, and keep in-line with a minimal approach to our music.
you tell us what the band has been working on and what you’ve got forthcoming
in the near future (any new releases, tour, etc.)?
We’ve just released an EP, titled I Heard You Crying, and have already
begun writing a full length that we plan on releasing sometime in late
spring/early summer. The two of us have finally found the direction and sound
we have been looking for, so we are pouring all of our efforts into putting out
an album that we’re excited about.
Seasurfer is a German ethereal
dream pop outfit launched
by Dirk Knight, formerly of Dark Orange, in 2013. The band made a splash
immediately with their debut LP, Dive In,
via Saint Marie Records in 2014
and have since become a fixture in the scene. The band’s excellent forthcoming
The Milkyway… Who Cares, is set for release this Friday; you can read
our review of the album here.
We hope you enjoy the following interview with Seasurfer’s creator and
principle force, Dirk Knight.
How and when was the band formed? I believe it
was in 2012 when we did a sound check for my dream-pop band Dark Orange here in
Hamburg in a club called "Der grüne Jäger". We performed a fast and
noisy song and the barkeep who didn’t know our band came over said:
"Fucking great, I thought you were a school band, but that was cool shoegaze
stuff". It also felt great diving into a fuzzy wall of sound. That was the
moment I decided to start a new band...and Seasurfer was born.
Can you tell us what the band has been
working on and what you've got forthcoming in the near future (any new
releases, tour, etc.)? We released our
first album, Dive In, in 2014. In 2015, we did a club tour together with Last Leaf
Down and The History of Colour TV, performed live at the well-known WGT-Festival
in Leipzig, and released a 4-track EP In
The Headlights via a successful crowdfunding campaign. Last year we
recorded and mixed our new album which will be out this month on the great Saint
Marie Records. We have our first live shows in Germany scheduled for the autumn.
is a band that has seen a lot of personnel changes. Most notable was the loss
of original singer Dorian E, replaced by the sultry tones of Julia Beyer.
Barely missing a beat, they have stomped forward and carved out their own space
in a crowded shoegaze scene. More punk than other bands labelled as shoegazers,
they also have a noise pop elements that will please headbangers. But deep in
the heart of all their music is an upwelling of heavenly hooks and stunning
soundscapes. Leader Dirk Knight wields a mean guitar, but only in the sense
that he has the chops. His sense of the genres he straddles stylistically is
wise and he makes the right choices in his use of effects. Bassist Volker
Zacharias is all over the grooves on this record, with thick, rubbery bass
lines that bounce inside your brain like a slingshot. And as for drums, I am
not sure who is responsible for playing the parts here, but it all works well.
Lead in track “Tricolore” is bizarre, jarring, and
noisy. Words in French tumble through and you wonder what it’s all about.
Frenzied percussion wars with bass and fuzzed out guitar, and then it turns
strangely quiet as it fades to a close. “Too Late For Goodbye” continues the
fast moving pace, only with Julia stepping up to the mic and offering a pretty
vocal. It’s like a silvery dream turned inside out, and it reveals the band’s
love for noisier structures. Still, it hovers between dream pop and its noisier
shoegaze cousin, without quite being either one. “Falling” is glorious, dark
shoegaze. It’s slightly over six minutes, and it’s still not long enough. It’s
a dream that you want to last forever, and is possibly the best track here. “If
You Leave” starts up with a lead synth line that knocks you off kilter, and
it’s only eclipsed by Julia’s beautiful voice and Dirk’s glistening layers of
guitar drenched with reverb. And wow, that guitar solo will launch you straight
into orbit. Really cool work! “The Roads We Take” sounds like their older work,
and that is by no means a criticism. It falls closer to the traditional
constructs of shoegaze, something that always works for this band. It floats and
soothes even while it shreds. Very nice!
“By The River” starts off with a Space
Invaders-like sound and morphs into Julia emoting in French. No matter the
intent of the lyrics, it’s more about the feeling it evokes in you. It’s a head
rush of sound, one that never lets up over roughly four minutes. It truly
demands a good set of headphones to appreciate the maze of sonics, which are
fascinating and always beautiful. “Confusion” is punk with psychedelic
inflections, and beneath the shimmering wave of sound is a massive hook. And
boy, the bass work here is stellar. “Symetrie” could write the playbook on
dream pop, it so perfectly defines the noisier side of that genre. Drums beat
gently like a heartbeat over Julia’s sweet voice, and guitar is way back in the
mix. Then at two minutes, the drums comes smashing through the mix and keep you
transfixed to the song’s end. “Trust the Path Unseen” is another gorgeous tune,
piled high with the shimmering haze of Dirk’s guitar and Julia’s darkly angelic
vocals. The band dials it back a bit and reveals a soft, billowy center to this
song. It ends a challenging yet wonderful suite of songs that should please all
Seasurfer fans, and anyone else who wants to ride the sonic waves with this