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The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Belong [2011]

Posted in dream pop,indie pop,noise pop,shoegaze by deek on April 25, 2011

Currently the “Best Band With The Worst Name” title holder, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart debuted in 2009 as a twee indie-rock act whose sound owed more than a little to Belle And Sebastian. But Pains showed a stronger propensity for rock, which explains the band’s choice of producer Flood (U2, Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails) and mixer Alan Moulder (The Jesus And Mary Chain, Ride, My Bloody Valentine) for the new Belong. Those guys specialize in big rock sounds, and that’s exactly what Belong delivers in its opening track, “Belong,” which resembles the Pumpkins’ “Today” in its guitar dynamics. The guitars are also gloriously huge on “Even In Dreams,” and “Girl Of 1,000 Dreams” has a Jesus And Mary Chain ferocity, but Belong still has plenty of nuance. Flood also worked with Erasure quite a bit, so synthesizer-heavy songs like “The Body” and “My Terrible Friend”—which would have fit on the Pretty In Pink soundtrack—don’t feel out of place. Those songs, as well as the atmospheric “Anne With An E,” actually suit guitarist-vocalist Kip Berman’s breathy voice better than their more rocking siblings. “Heart In Your Heartbreak,” a perfect example of Pains as a more rocking Belle And Sebastian, hits Berman’s sweet spot vocally. More than anything, Belong shows ambition, with The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart clearly aiming for something bigger—a bigger sound, may be a bigger audience. It nailed the sound part. A larger audience seems inevitable. -avclub

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Hammock – Longest Year (EP) [2010]

Posted in ambient,post-rock,shoegaze by deek on December 11, 2010

Musically, Hammock is a band that trades in the slightest of nuances. To the impatient, this equates to each of their releases — there are nine total since 2004 — sounding roughly the same: Slow, dense, shadowy and possibly outright boring. Frankly, this music isn’t even meant for most modern, iPod-toting listeners (though, undoubtedly, they could be converted). Rather, as best heard on their most recent LP, Chasing After Shadows… Living With the Ghosts, Hammock (as the name infers) is a band worth taking in as a whole. Their work is experiential, crafted to soundtrack more than mere moments, but entire afternoons spent lost in thought or quaint appreciation for some surrounding beauty. Moreover, its impressionistic enough for you to find your own meaning within — album and song titles are the only words invoked to dictate feeling — but, it can’t be ignored that this music reflects its creators’ sober optimism about the world around them. More specifically, Longest Year sits in between Chasing… and its predecessor, Maybe They Will Sing For Us Tomorrow, a minimalistic “live studio performance” album composed specifically for the overseas debut exhibition of Riceboy Sleeps, the art collaboration of Sigur Rós’ Jónsi Birgisson and Parachutes’ Alex Somers. Like Maybe…, Longest Year is beat-less, its rhythms largely conjured from Slocum’s string performances, though rhythm is a relative concept when discussing ambient music, of course. And, like Chasing…, the EP continues Hammock’s interest in creating moments of swollen immensity that reach massive heights without bowing to the now-tired “Explosions formula”: Loud-quiet-loud-quiet-louder. -Consequence of Sound

Warpaint – The Fool [2010]

Posted in dream pop,neo psychedelia,shoegaze by deek on October 27, 2010

Emily Kokal’s singing — backed by bandmates Theresa Wayman and Jenny Lee Lindberg, and awash in reverb — could be mistaken for something ghostly, if Warpaint’s sound wasn’t so vitally alive behind her. Unwilling to coast on the pure beauty of the vocals on The Fool, this all-female quartet builds thick, muscled songs that Kokal’s otherwordly voice beds down in. These songs are expansive without sounding bloated, and noisy yet sharp. In fact, it’s in the pure strength of its noise that Warpaint shows us something new. These musicians know you don’t need to amp up the distortion to be noisy, and you don’t have to make everything blur at the edges to expand. All the songs here clock in around five minutes and build with a skilled patience. “Set Your Arms Down” and “Warpaint” ride on insistent beats while riffs thread clear paths through the track. The guitars often sound watery here, soaked in chorus-pedal effects, but they never lose their precision. Instead, their clarity cuts effectively through the smooth glide of the vocals and atmosphere of keys. The results, particularly in the album’s first half, are both beautiful and subtly heavy. These songs wear on you in the best way, luring you in with simple elements and then burying you deep in the details. “Now I’ve got you in the undertow,” Kokal sings, with a dangerous seduction, on “Undertow” and you can’t help but concede. Because when that song launches into a lean, funky groove, it’s both left-field surprising and completely organic. Similarly, the electro-pop start of “Bees” yields to a flurry of post-punk angles, while “Shadows” starts with humble folk and blows up into industrial-sized drums and Kokal’s shouts like a banshee. Warpaint builds a musical world in which there are no borders between this sound and that one. The band jumps around, indiscriminately, and we go along without looking back. In its intricacy, The Fool is a curiously eccentric pop record. But in its sheer power, it’s also a dynamic rock record. And while things do settle down in the second half, the band members don’t lose sight of their strengths. Sure, “Majesty” is long on the atmosphere of this record without ever earning its own pulse, and closer “Lissie’s Heart Murmur” is a little slow to get going. But next to them, you have a ballad like “Baby,” which, for once, holds onto its fragile start and it works as a counterpart to all the sound-stacking that goes on during the rest of the record. In the end, The Fool’s success comes in not cutting corners. No moment here settles for the cheap thrill, and in building these songs — carefully,and each with its own distinct materials — Warpaint comes off as an awfully confident band, one you should be listening to more often. – prefixmag

Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest [2010]

Posted in dream pop,indie rock,neo psychedelia,psychedelic pop,shoegaze by deek on October 3, 2010


The Atlanta-based quartet’s fourth album combines calm shoegaze pop and noisy punk rock to create a dreamy, psychedelic sound.

Black Tambourine – Black Tambourine (complete compilation) [2010]

Posted in noise pop,shoegaze,twee pop by deek on August 25, 2010

 

Though they only released a handful of songs during their two-year lifetime, Black Tambourine has been hugely influential in the world of indie music. Welding classic pop to waves of guitar noise, they wore their influences on their sleeves: The Jesus & Mary Chain, of course, but also folks like Phil Spector, Smokey Robinson, Love, The Ramones, Shop Assistants, The Pastels, 14 Iced Bears, Orange Juice and the list goes on… Their dark, dreamy sound was consonant with the shoegaze sounds of the day, but the classic 60s-influenced songwriting and Pam’s standout vocals give their tunes a timeless appeal.

Heavïness – S/T [2006]

Posted in shoegaze by deek on May 29, 2010


Heavïness are a shoegaze four-piece hailing for Stockholm, Switzerland, Swaziland, Sweden. They do stick pretty close to the shoegaze ethic, both in terms of sound, aesthetics. The lineup consists of David (the Eagle Cross; guitar+vox), Emma(cello+bass), Daniel(drums) and Rizzler(guitar). It’s hard to say whether the other David is also in the band (it certainly seems like it at times); he does the projections for the shows. David and Daniel used to play together in both Montage and Vacuum Cleaner. -last.fm

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Have a Nice Life – Time of Land EP [2010]

Posted in experimental,post-punk,shoegaze by jheisel on March 17, 2010

SPC ECO – 3-D [2009]

Posted in dream pop,shoegaze by deek on March 9, 2010



download

“A guitar or ten, a box of pedals, a bass a beat and some singing make up SPC ECO. A new venture into the unknown. Come to the party…Joey, Dean and Rose will all be there…Bring a pedal and a lead.” Joey Levenson (So Young) provides the noisy guitarscape samples,  Dean Garcia (Curve)adds more guitar, bass,drums and production. Add Rose Berlin into the fray connecting everything together with her beautiful understated angelic voice, and you get the very unique and special SPC ECO.

Alcest – Écailles de lune [2010]

Posted in atmospheric black metal,dream pop,post-rock,shoegaze by deek on March 9, 2010

download (warning: transcode from 128kbps source)

Formed in 1999 by French black metal multi-instrumentalist Neige (who also worked with Peste Noire, Mortifera, and Amesoeurs), Alcest was originally conceived as a solo project. It would eventually take on the form of a full band as Hegnor (also of Peste Noire) and Arguth joined the fray and released a four-track demo entitled Tristesse Hivernale in 1999. This demo was a more straightforward black metal affair, much different from what would happen next. After that released, Alcest returned to a one-member format, with Neige moving away from the metal overtones of the three-piece and embracing a more atmospheric approach to his work. The 2005 EP release, Le Secret, was more in tune with the project`s ultimate goal, which was to put to ear, as it were, Neige`s fascination with an “otherworld” — of sorts — that had held a fascination for him beginning in his childhood. In 2007, Neige released the first full-length Alcest recording, Souvenirs D`un Autre Monde (Memories of Another World, for those keeping up in English), which was released on Prophecy Productions, and was a critical success. 2007 also saw a split-EP release with Angmar.

Letting Up Despite Great Faults- Letting Up Despite Great Faults [2009]

Posted in indie pop,indietronica,shoegaze by umwut on March 4, 2010



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