Venera 4 – ‘Eidôlon’

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Venera 4‘s debut album ‘Eidôlon’ is out this week thanks to Requiem Pour Un Twister! The Paris-based shoegazers are Morgane (on lead vocals/guitar), Annabelle (singer/guitarist), Yann (guitarist and backing vocalist), with Frederic on bass. The four piece formed in 2012 and haven’t rush released a long player. Instead, we’ve enjoyed a slow progression from their debut single ‘Seabed Terror’, to their much praised ‘Deaf Hearts’ EP in 2013. They’ve resisted the urge to include any of these foundational singles on the album, so ‘Eidôlon’ is an entirely new beast.

‘Pygmalion’ opens proceedings, (a head nod to Slowdive’s 1995 album of the same name). But unlike Slowdive’s diversion to a more ambient sound for ‘Pygmalion’, Venera 4 do the opposite, it’s a full tilt shoegaze overture with all the trimmings! It leads into ‘Red Blooms’, which could’ve been a lead single in its own right (with its danceable groove and sugary vocals), a modern take on the Cocteau Twins.

The actual lead single ‘Black Paws’ follows, which is equally groovy (for lack of a better word). The syncopated back beat gives the shoegazey guitars a poppy sway that’s infectious. This, combined with Venera 4′s vocal delivery is what makes them stand out from the rest. Of course, it’s beneficial having everybody in the band able to sing (except for Frederic), sorry Fred! Point is, the shared boy/girl vocals have long been an important ingredient for noise pop acts and Venera 4 excel at this.

It’s refreshing to hear the French language vocals come out on the title track ‘Eidôlon’. It doesn’t feel out of place and contrasts the stormy atmosphere. The latter half of the album is a more textural, cinematic listening experience. And while the catchiness of it’s opening is loads of fun, I love the quieter moments like ’3 Studies For A Portrait’ and ‘Colored Fields’. It’s difficult to find fault with this record, it’s a big achievement and one of the strongest shoegaze records of 2015 so far. Venera 4 make noise that’s so damn classy – it’s Gucci-gaze! Download a copy of ‘Eidôlon’ or pick up the vinyl through Bandcamp.

Venera 4 – ‘Eidôlon’ [Album Stream]

Visit Venera 4 @ Bandcamp @ Tumblr @ Facebook.

Venera 4 - 'Eidôlon'
SONGWRITING
SOUND & PRODUCTION
REVERB RATING
PRO'S
  • Brilliant debut album
  • Danceable shoegaze n' dream pop
  • Girl/boy/girl vocals are great!
CON'S
  • Hard to fault (score may be adjusted)
4.0Overall Score
Reader Rating: (11 Votes)

Fever Dream – ‘Serotonin Hit’

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Here’s a fresh blast of noise pop from Fever Dream‘s forthcoming debut album ‘Moyamoya’, out April 27 through the dependable Club AC30! The London-based trio go all out on ‘Serotonin Hit’, it packs the same kind of energy and melody that made Ringo Deathstarr so loveable! Influenced by alt rock, post punk and shoegaze classics, Fever Dream define themselves more by their pop hooks and noise rather than genre trademarks. Looking forward to hearing the rest next month.

 
Fever Dream – ‘Serotonin Hit’

Fever Dream UK Tour Dates:

MARCH 27th BRIGHTON: The Joker
MARCH 29th CAMBRIDGE: Portland Arms
APRIL 5th BRISTOL: Roll For The Soul
APRIL 6th NOTTINGHAM: The Maze
APRIL 7th LEEDS: Wharf Chambers
APRIL 8th EDINBURGH: Henry’s
APRIL 9th NEWCASTLE: Lit & Phil Library
APRIL 10th MANCHESTER: The Castle
APRIL 11th YORK: Fulford Arms
MAY 1st LONDON: Shacklewell Arms (Album Launch / Oddbox Weekender)
MAY 31st LONDON: The Lexington

Visit Fever Dream @ Club AC30 @ Facebook.

Tremble Out – ‘The Shore’

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Shoegaze and math rock combine on Tremble Out‘s new five track release ‘Based On Our Situation’ (download). It’s a bizarre blend at times, take a listen to the opener ‘The Shore’ which transitions from a downer indie rock feel to frenetic math rock and back again. The idea being that the EP “captures all of the intensity and grandeur of internal daily emotions without leaving out the insecurities of just getting by”. It’s based literally on their situation, and paints a vivid, cerebral picture. There’s some beautiful songs to be discovered in the stream below, impressive work from the Austin foursome.

 
Tremble Out – ‘The Shore’

Visit The Shore @ Bandcamp @ Facebook.

Panda Panda – ‘What Are You Waiting For?’

panda-panda-what-are-you-waiting-for

Meet Panda Panda, a new rock act out of Norway who posted an impressive tune this month called ‘What Are You Waiting For?’. They sound like a band that should be on the Riot Factory roster alongside Dråpe and Snøskred. Same town right? So perhaps there’s a connection that I’m not privy to! Great tune, more to come.

 
Panda Panda – ‘What Are You Waiting For?’

Visit Panda Panda @ Soundcloud @ Facebook.

Swervedriver – ‘I Wasn’t Born To Lose You’

swervedriver-i wasn't born to lose you-artwork

Swervedriver fans lap up fresh tunes this week, as the British rock vets unleash their fifth full length ‘I Wasn’t Born To Lose You’ (stream via NPR). The release begins a March long USA tour (including a stop at SXSW) before hitting the UK this May. The LP is a big deal for the band, their first since ’99th Dream’ in 1998. It’s also the culmination of work that began with their 2008 reunion tour, and a clear indication that it wasn’t just a nostalgia trip but a continuing work in progress. And thankfully, ‘I Wasn’t Born To Lose You’ delivers.

Much of the music press has been quick to draw comparisons between Swervedriver and the renaissance of Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine and Ride. It’s understandable, but an awkward fit, just like the shoegaze label they landed when signing to Creation. Early on there were just as many musical similarities to the punk acts that influenced their youth (like The Stooges, The Ramones or MC5). But you are the company you keep, and whatever the term used, it’s loud guitar music either way! Lead single ‘Deep Wound’ arrived back in 2013, and hinted that perhaps the band were ready to revisit the early rockin’ days of 91′s ‘Raise’. It’s a brilliant fuzz filled tune, that sounds like it always existed but just showed up!

However, the reality is that ‘I Wasn’t Born To Lose You’ is more of an extension of ’99th Dream’ than a revival of ‘Mezcal Head’. While it doesn’t have the same raw intensity, it’s the next creative step for the band. And as far as songwriting goes, Swervedriver have more to give. The slow burning mid tempo track ‘Autodidact’ opens the record, there’s so much to this song, it takes a few listens to absorb it’s brilliance. It leads into the sunny ‘Last Rites’, a tune that could win over Dinosaur Jr. fans and a reminder of how effortlessly melodic Swervedriver are.

Despite the hiatus, they haven’t been idle creatively (as individuals). Their song writing and tastes have matured, and as a result we have gems like ‘Setting Sun’ and ‘Red Queen Arms Race’. The latter is armed with bluesy rock riffs and an overblown chorus. Closing track ‘I Wonder’ descends into experimental noise and will no doubt sound amazing on tour. Overall, there’s enough strong songs to please existing fans, the album touches on the Swervedriver of old without sacrificing where they’re at in 2015. What more could you want? Pick up ‘I Wasn’t Born To Lose You’ via Amazon UK or Insound (there’s also red, orange and purple vinyl available).

Visit Swervedriver online @ Amazon UK @ Facebook.

Swervedriver - 'I Wasn't Born To Lose You'
SONGWRITING
SOUND & PRODUCTION
REVERB RATING
PRO'S
  • A fitting return for the vets!
  • A mix of old and new
CON'S
  • Some fans will miss the hard edges
3.8Overall Score
Reader Rating: (6 Votes)

Weird. – ‘A Long Period Of Blindness’ [Album Premiere]

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It’s a pleasure to present the first public stream of Weird‘s forthcoming album ‘A Long Period Of Blindness’. It’s an ambient rock feast with psych swagger, shoegaze swoon and epic slow burners! The record is highlighted by some monumental tunes, namely ‘Gaze’, ‘The Sound Of Your Heartbreak’ and the single ‘Infinite Decay’. It follows Weird’s 2013 debut LP, ‘Desert Love For Lonely Graves‘ and a tour of their native Italy. The Roman band formed in 2011 with front man Marco Barzetti (guitar/vocals), together with drummer Massimiliano Pecci and Giovanni Romano (bass). ‘A Long Period Of Blindness’ will be available from March 2 via Lady Sometimes Records (pre-order here).

 
Weird. – ‘A Long Period Of Blindness’ [Album Premiere]

Visit Weird. @ Lady Sometimes Records @ Bandcamp @ Facebook.