Devilish Dear – ‘These Sunny Days’

Can’t help but smile at Devilish Dear‘s ‘These Sunny Days’. It’s such an odd listen. The opener ‘Face Without Eyes’ gives you an indication of the warped brand of shoegaze that lies within. It sounds like two songs playing together, with one intentionally out of tune. The album will challenge some listeners, it ain’t background music. Devilish Dear drag the conventions of the genre straight off a cliff. It’s damn weird! But wow, don’t overlook it. The Brazilian trio (Braulio Almeida, Rômulo Collopy and Michelle Modesto) originally released the album independently back in 2015, before Midsummer Madness picked it up and repackaged it for a 2017 release.

Many of Michelle Modesto’s vocal lines sound like they were written in complete isolation to the music itself (take ‘Time To Live A Little’ for example). I’m guessing this isn’t the case but they’re often treated like samples rather than melodic anchors in the song. From that standpoint, if you want originality, this is it. Braulio Almeida’s pays the bills working in animation and sound design, I’m guessing the former is a significant influence on these compositions. That, and the fact that Braulio mixed ten years of archival recordings to make ‘These Sunny Days’! Devilish Dear’s creative heart is pumping, and I’m so glad this album exists. Imagine walking into a room and hearing someone blasting ‘Pointless Status’, you’d be like “what… the. f**k. is. this!?” And rightly so. Its the most interesting record I’ve heard in a long time.

Devilish Dear – ‘These Sunny Days’ [Stream]

Visit Devilish Dear @ Bandcamp @ Midsummer Madness.

Makthaverskan – ‘Ill’

Run For Cover / Luxury Records delivered Makthaverskan‘s third long player ‘Ill‘ this October. The Swedish four-piece mix post punk and dream pop with stunning results. The Gothenburg natives sound absolutely brilliant on ‘In My Dreams’, it’s an instant classic. Makthaverskan contrast aggression and anguish with beautiful melodies and catchy hooks. It’s an easy record to fall for. Maja Milner’s vocals steal the spotlight, and sound like they’re from another era. Producer Hans Olsson Brookes spent three years crafting the album with the band. ‘Ill’ benefits from his focused approach, its cohesive and without filler. A 2017 must-listen, love it.

Makthaverskan – ‘Ill’ [Stream]

Visit Makthaverskan @ Run For Cover @ Facebook.

Deafcult – ‘Auras’

Late June was a great time to be a shoegaze fan. Colour Of Spring released their self-titled EP, Blankenberge gave us the highly-praised ‘Radiogaze’, Au.Ra returned with ‘Cultivations’, and Deafcult unveiled a full length. ‘Auras’ is a must-listen debut (out now via Adelaide’s Hobbledehoy). It sits among my yearly faves. In fact, it was the soundtrack to many testing moments during 2017! The Brisbane-based shoegazers have grown plenty since turning heads with their brilliant self-titled EP back in 2015. The sextet (featuring members from The Gifthorse, Nuclear Summer and Roku Music) have some fresh recruits. Deafcult is now Innez Tulloch (on vocals/ guitar), Stevie Scott (on vocals/guitar and synth), Kelly Hanlon (guitar), Matt Bach (guitar), Allan McGregor (bass) and Nathan Crust on drums. That’s a lot of guitars!

The strength of ‘Auras’ is that it doesn’t rest on the formula that made their self-titled EP so popular. They could’ve thrown together a whole album of relentless noise pop but instead chose to test the waters. It’s packaged with a diverse collection of songs: from the slow building ‘Lemonade Beauty’; the poppy ‘Summertime’; the alt-rocking ‘Sparkle’ (hello Smashing Pumpkins); the title track (an electronic curveball); the synth-heavy ‘Echoes’ and the sedate dream pop of ‘Urusai’. Clearly Deafcult aren’t lacking inspiration or the ability to turn their ideas into ear candy. Such a treat, hope a follow-up comes quickly.

Deafcult – ‘Auras’ [Stream]

Visit Deafcult @ Bandcamp @ Facebook.


You’ll Never Get To Heaven – ‘Images’

Canada’s You’ll Never Get To Heaven served up their third album ‘Images‘ on Yellow K earlier this year. It turned out to be one of the most compelling ambient/dream pop releases of 2017. The duo is Alice Hansen (singer and classically trained pianist/violinist), together with Chuck Blazevic (producer and monome master). Together they crafted 2012’s self-titled debut and the follow-up ‘Adorn’ in 2014. Their latest is a little less abstract, with ghostly compositions showered in reverb and hypnotic vocals. ‘Images’ has several interludes and surprises wedged between more pop-centric creations (such as the title track and ‘Beyond The Clouds’). The latter is a simple but brilliant tune, that sounds a little like something The Cure might’ve done in their early days. ‘Images’ is unrepentantly chill, which may turn off some listeners. However, ambient fans can go in knowing what to expect, because if you’re in the right mood then ‘Images’ is a meditative marvel. Stream in full below…

You’ll Never Get To Heaven – ‘Images’ [Stream]

Visit You’ll Never Get To Heaven @ Yellow K Records @ Facebook.

Reighnbeau – ‘Hide’ EP

Reighnbeau constantly drops new tunes and 2017’s ‘Hide’ EP further cemented his impressive catalogue. The Albuquerque, New Mexico-based artist (Bryce Hample) teamed up with Madeline Johnston (Sister Grotto) for the recording and subsequent tour. Madeline’s voice is all over the hypnotic EP. Reighnbeau’s work uses electronic/ambient sounds with layered, glitchy styling. Fans of Ulrich Schnauss or Mark Peters should find something to like here.

Hample explains the creative process; “the title track started with my voice (me recording while improvising in my practice space) and developed fully when Madeline and I started rehearsing live for a tour. The other songs all grew out of sounds from this song. The synths on ‘Grey’ are my voice run through my guitar pedals.” If ‘Hide’ scrambles your eggs, check out Reighnbeau’s Bandcamp page because there’s plenty to discover.

Reighnbeau – ‘Hide’ EP [Stream]

Visit Reighnbeau @ Bandcamp @ Facebook.

Airiel – ‘Molten Young Lovers’

In a year of multiple comebacks, Airiel‘s full-length return (the successor to 2012’s ‘Kid Games’ EP) is one of the highlights. ‘Molten Young Lovers’ has been in our hands for a few months now (arriving in October via Shelflife Records). Strange to think this is only the second album from the band in twenty years. It’s a big deal! Thankfully the Chicago shoegazers (led by Jeremy Wrenn) gave fans exactly what they want; a carefully-conceived album that doesn’t divert from the script.

Our first taste arrived months back with the ‘Cloudburst’ single. Its indicative of the quality ‘gazey indie pop we’ve come to expect from Airiel. The album kicks off with an unrepentant drum machine intro on ‘This Is Permanent’. The electronic drums give the record an 80s feel, especially on the snare-heavy opener. It’s a textured attention grabber that carefully weaves simple melodic ideas into one sonic mass. The artful arrangement of said noise is consistent throughout, it plays out as one body of work. Which is no small achievement given it was put together over several years.

‘Your Lips, Your Mouth’ is a beautiful ode that wanders off into the cinematic, with an instrumental break to vibe out to. The middle section of the album provides some great shoegaze power ballads! Airiel aren’t afraid to let the pretty vocals hang out there, opting not to sink them into the mix. The bittersweet vocals and airy synths are another head nod to the 80s new wave.

I love the record but tracks like ‘Song For You’ are too sentimental for my tastes. I needed an emotional “tea break” at the midpoint. However, ‘Red Car’ and ‘The Painkillers’ quickly came to the rescue, both confident space rockers. Overall, ‘Molten Young Lovers’ deserves plenty of play, it’s arguably Airiel’s most accomplished work. An album fans can return to. Which is important, because it may be awhile before we get a follow up.

Airiel – ‘Molten Young Lovers’ [Stream]

Visit Airiel @ Shelflife Records @ Facebook.