you resource for all things shoegaze & dream pop.

you resource for all things shoegaze & dream pop.

18 April 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Wozniak | Courage Reels. By Elizabeth Klisiewicz.

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 the sorrow.

“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!

15 April 2017

NEW VIDEO: Trementina | Oh Child.

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 demonstrates.

11 April 2017

NEW VIDEO: Venn | Ceremony (New Order cover).

VENN 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!

VIDEO: Sugar Candy Mountain | Tired.

Sugar Candy Mountain in Portugal. Photo by João Pimenta.
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.

08 April 2017

BANDCAMP TRACK OF THE DAY: Dream Rimmy - Oxygen.

"Oxygen" is taken from this Australian psychgaze group's forthcoming EP, Heavy, set for release on May 5. You can pre-order Heavy here.

27 March 2017

INTERVIEW: My Dark House.

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.

How 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.

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’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.

21 March 2017

INTERVIEW: Seasurfer.

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 LP, Under 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.

20 March 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Seasurfer | Under the Milky Way... Who Cares.

Release Date: March 24, 2017
Saint Marie Records

Germany’s Seasurfer 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 great band.