Shoegaze And Dream Pop Albums Of 2014

Shoegaze Dream Pop Songs 2014

Time for our annual shoegaze and dream pop albums of the year *drum roll*! It turns out an EP from last year is our top album for this year – ha! Such is the fickle business of list making. To be fair, the EP in question was released worldwide early in 2014 with a pre-release in Japan last December, so we figure it counts. Plus to ignore EPs in this niche would be sacrilegious! Moving on…

2014 began strong with the news of Slowdive‘s reformation and live shows, it ends with a similar announcement from Ride. Can’t get much bigger for reverb fans! Next year the holy trinity of shoegazin’ forefathers will be operational; MBV, Slowdive and Ride. And let’s not forget Swervedriver! The rock gods have been kind. The long awaited ‘Beautiful Noise’ documentary provided a cherry on top, and a reminder of where it all began.

The gluttony of electronic dream pop bands faded this year, replaced by more organic and natural sounding albums, Be Forest‘s ‘Earthbeat’ is at the top. The post-hardcore/punk sound swept into the shoegaze world via Nothing‘s ‘Guilty Of Everything’ and Whirr‘s ‘Sway’ (among others). The former being the obvious people’s choice, the most talked about and probably the most influential album on the list. We may see a swathe of Nothing band clones in 2015!

Ringo Deathstarr managed to add something new to the genre with ‘Gods Dream’, a twist on expectations. And of course, it’s full of brilliant songs. 2014 also gave us some amazing debut releases, Italian shoegaze trio La Casa al Mare are yet to deliver a full length but their singles are jaw droppers. Another point of note was the Aussie “roo gaze” explosion of 2014, with top shelf tunes from Lowtide, Fait, Roku Music, Kigo, Blush Response and Hideous Towns.

DAVE’S SAY: Another banner year for shoegaze and dream pop in the books (what, me biased?). I’ve got to thank my mate Jimmy and SBWR for the shot to be part of it! Both of my standout favorites came via Italy. Because it didn’t find an apt home on our list, let me first call out La Casa Al Mare’s dual two-trackers as the debut of the year; that there wasn’t a full LP release made the task of sorting the crème-de-la-crème for this season’s list a touch easier! Be Forest’s ‘Earthbeat’ was a transporting, impressionistic masterpiece that has gotten better and better, solidifying itself as one of the most beautifully satisfying albums I’ve heard. Lowtide, Bilinda Butchers, Fait, Sounds of Sputnik And Ummagma, ‘APZOO,’ and Imandra Lake’s releases pointed to the impressive diversity and talent represented in “the scene” from every corner of the globe. There were crushingly reverberant singles from Magic Love, The Hours, My Red Dress, Kigo, 93MMFTS, Blood Sister; Louise Trehy’s long hiatus was broken with an under-appreciated success, and Dead Mellotron’s shorter-term hiatus ended with a yuletide treat. There were more top shelf efforts than we could keep track of, a forecast I expect will last through 2015!

Summing up, we’ve compiled a mixed bag of 2014 faves, combining shoegaze and dream pop. A number of stellar albums were left out due to genre lines. For instance, there were strong psych and post rock records from Alcest, Lorelle Meets The Obsolete and Medicine. No doubt, more gems will be discovered in the coming months that should’ve been included, so please make your recommendations in the comments below. Our songs of the year playlist has been reworked, expanded and re-posted underneath. Plus there’s a recap of the best shoegaze and dream pop records of the past few years (according to Sounds Better). Deep breath, here we go…

SHOEGAZE AND DREAM POP ALBUMS OF 2014

#
Artwork
Artist
Album
Genre
Label
1 Ringo DeathstarrGod's Dream [EP]ShoegazeNeon Sigh/Noyes
2 Be ForestEarthbeatDream PopWWNBB
3 NothingGuilty Of EverythingShoegaze/RockRelapse Records
4CheatahsCheatahsShoegaze/RockWichita Recordings
5A Sunny Day In GlasgowSea When AbsentDream PopLefse Records
6 FaitAtmosphere [EP]Shoegaze/InstrumentalSelf R
7 The Bilinda ButchersHeavenDream Pop/ConceptOrchid Tapes/Fastcut
8 The EntersSmall Town Love [EP]ShoegazeSelf R
9 The Mary OnettesPorticoDream Pop/Jangle PopLabrador
10 We Need SecretsMelancholy And The ArchiveShoegazeSaint Marie Records / Noyes
11 WhirrSwayShoegaze/RockGraveface Records
12 Roku MusicColliderShoegazeSonic Masala Records
13 LightfoilsHierarchyDream Pop/ShoegazeSaint Marie Records
14 LowtideLowtideDream PopLost And Lonesome
15Blush ResponseTelltale [EP]ShoegazeSelf R
16 She SirGo GuitarsDream Pop/Jangle PopShelflife Records
17 Imandra LakeAvaneDream Pop/FolkSeksound
18The Death Of PopFifths [EP]Shoegaze/PsychArt Is Hard
19 Kairon; IRSE!UjubasajubaShoegaze/PsychSelf R
20To The WeddingSilver Currents [EP]Dream PopSelf R
21Viscous LiquidSongs for Jealous Lovers [EP]Shoegaze/SurfOne Note Forever
22WildhoneySeventeen Forever [EP]Shoegaze/RockPhotobooth Records
23 AerofallAerofallShoegazeHands And Moment
24 Dead MellotronWinter 2014 [EP]Dream/Jangle/PsychSelf R
25 Nothing/WhirrWhirr/Nothing Split [EP]Shoegaze/RockRun For Cover Records
26 ReighnbeauHandsShoegaze/ElectronicBridgetown Records
27NeivDecades [EP]Shoegaze/Dream PopSelf R
28 Asalto Al Parque ZoológicoHexadecimalShoegazeCasa del Puente Discos
29The Cherry WaveAvalancherShoegaze/RockSelf R
30CeremonyBirds [EP]Noise Rock/ShoegazeEmerald & Doreen Recordings
31Power PyramidPower PyramidShoegaze/RockSelf R
32
KigoClose (Enough To Kiss) [EP]ShoegazeSelf R
33Sounds of Sputnik Feat. Ummagma New BornShoegaze/Dream PopEar to Ear Records
34Hideous TownsHideous Towns [EP]Dream PopSelf R
35Elastic SleepLeave You [EP]Dream Pop/ShoegazeBig Tea Records
36 Spotlight KidTen Thousand HoursShoegaze/RockSaint Marie Records
37 TuTYou Got Me When I Stare At YouDream Pop/ShoegazeSelf R
38 SnowbirdMoonDream Pop/ACRough Trade/Bella Union
39 Strata FloridaMade Of StarsShoegaze/Dream POpSaint Marie Records
40 MentaleaseIndian SummerShoegaze/RockSelf R

SONGS OF 2014

TOP 20 SHOEGAZE AND DREAM POP ALBUMS OF 2013 (RECAP)

#
Artwork
Artist
Album
Genre
Year
1My Bloody ValentineMBVShoegaze2013
2WeekendJinxShoegaze/Post Punk2013
3 MedicineTo The Happy FewShoegaze/Psych2013
4 No JoyWait To PleasureShoegaze/Rock2013
5 Panda RiotNorthern Automatic MusicShoegaze2013
6 Flyying ColoursFlyying Colours [EP]Shoegaze2013
7 Venera 4Deaf Hearts [EP]Shoegaze2013
8 Brothers In LawHard Times For DreamersDream Pop/Jangle Pop2013
9 OvlovAmShoegaze/Rock2013
10 BeliefsSelf TitledShoegaze/Dream Pop2013
11 DråpeCanicular DaysDream Pop/Psych2013
12 Besnard LakesUntil in Excess, Impercetible UFODream Pop/Psych2013
13 CeremonyDistanceShoegaze/Noise Rock2013
14 Candy ClawsCeres & Calypso In The Deep TimeDream Pop/Shoegaze2013
15 White PoppyS/TShoegaze/Instrumental2013
16 KigoSo Lost NowShoegaze2013
17 WhirrAround [EP]Shoegaze/Rock2013
18 Dead Leaf EchoThought And LanguageShoegaze/Dream Pop2013
19 Black Hearted BrotherStars Are Our HomeShoegaze/Psych2013
20 MiniaturesDIS [EP]Shoegaze/Dream Pop2013

TOP 20 SHOEGAZE AND DREAM POP ALBUMS OF 2012 (RECAP)

#
Artwork
Artist
Album
Genre
Year
1 Dead MellotronGlitter [EP]Shoegaze2012
2 DiivOshinDream Pop/Jangle Pop2012
3 Arc In RoundArc In RoundShoegaze2012
4 Ringo DeathstarrMauveShoegaze2012
5 Echo LakeWild PeaceDream Pop2012
6 TamarynTender New SignsDream Pop/Shoegaze2012
7A Place To Bury StrangersWorshipShoegaze/Noise Rock2012
8Wild NothingNocturneDream Pop/Jangle Pop2012
9SnøskredWhiteoutShoegaze2012
10AirielKid Games [EP]Shoegaze/Dream Pop2012
11 WhirrPipe DreamsShoegaze/Rock2012
12Young PrismsIn BetweenShoegaze2012
13Death And VanillaDeath And VanillaDream Pop/Psych Pop2012
14Frankie RoseInterstellarDream Pop2012
15Beach HouseBloomDream Pop2012
16 Melody's Echo ChamberMelody's Echo ChamberDream Pop/Psych Pop2012
17HighlandsSingularityShoegaze/Psych2012
1893millionmilesfromthesunTowards The LightShoegaze/Noise Rock2012
19Observer DriftCorridorsDream Pop2012
20 ViolensTrueDream Pop/Pop2012

So that’s our Shoegaze And Dream Pop Albums of 2014, but what’s next!? We’re expecting a number of amazing records in 2015, with known releases from The Black Ryder, Tamaryn, Venera 4, Wildhoney, 93MMFTS, La Casa al Mare, Cheatahs, Dead Leaf Echo, She’s So Rad, Pinkyshinyultrablast, Cloakroom and more. See more end of year lists at our Hall Of Fame page/s.

Pinkshinyultrablast Discuss Debut LP, Saint Petersburg & Thunder Pop!

pinkshinyultrablast-interview

Five years after the release of their debut EP, Russian five piece Pinkshinyultrablast are ready to deliver their first full length ‘Everything Else Matters‘! The band sat down for an interview ahead of it’s release next month to discuss the songwriting process, their native Russia, Strymon FX pedals and the inspiration that Nicki Minaj brings! A thankyou to bassist Igor, singer Lyubov, drummer Sergey, electronic wiz Rustam and guitarist Roman.

First off, I love your single ‘Umi’ – definitely one of my favorite dream pop tunes of the year! Lyubov’s vocals sound amazing. What was the inspiration for the song?

Thanks so much! It’s a tough question to answer. There are definitely songs on the album that somehow descend from one or the other particular musical inspiration that we, ourselves, can track down. ‘Umi’ is not really the case. We had a question in one of our previous interviews whether we chase after a song, or let it chase us. I think ‘Umi’ really is the latter, it’s one of the songs we had very little struggle with, where the melody appeared naturally and with ease, and without any particular source of inspiration. Maybe it requires a bit more distance though, to find references. Music critics and listeners would probably be better judges than us here.

What’s the Pinkshinyultrablast creation story? How did the band first form?

Well, I guess it just kind of happened at some point. We were all kids, freshmen to senior years of college, living on the same block, hanging together, all friends. We realized we each really wanted to make music, our future drummer and bassist already being involved in a project at the time, wanting to do something different though. So we figured, why not give it a shot? We found a space and began to practice regularly. In terms of how much we practiced, our band has always been a noticeable commitment to each one of us. Over the years, the initial structure of the band has transformed, as it often happens with bands. Now it’s the five of us.

Rewinding back for a moment, were you surprised how well your debut EP ‘Happy Songs For Happy Zombies’ was received internationally? There’s a lot of love for those songs.

We’re definitely surprised! We weren’t really expecting anything much, just recorded whatever it was we had on our hands and felt like at the moment. The whole process took up three days, we kept it pretty lo-fi. It was important for us to have the EP released somewhere outside Russia, since we knew it didn’t have much potential here.

You must be excited to finally release your debut album ‘Everything Else Matters’- congratulations! What went into making the record? Has it really been five years?

For sure, we’re really excited! It took so long! In part because for quite a while we lived in different places, in part since we haven’t always had enough money for the studio, the sound engineer and all that involves more or less a decent recording. These factors delayed the whole process by a lot. Over the course of the years certain things have transformed and only recently took their final form, so, in a way, the music only benefited from the delay. We don’t really regret anything.

Was it a collaborative writing process? Or has Pinkshinyultrablast got a chief songwriter!?

Always a collaboration. One of us can pitch an idea for a song, but it then would always be reviewed collectively. Making songs is a multi-step process for us, with first the carcass of a song taking form - bass, drums and guitar, then vocals and keyboards taking up their places. The final version of a song can differ from the initial draft quite drastically, and it’s always a matter of some collective consequent decisions.

It’s an extremely dynamic record, with spacious dream pop songs as well as explosive, aggressive rock songs. Was it a conscious decision to cover a lot of ground stylistically?

Well, it’s hard to tell, it’s just that the songs turned out being quite diverse from the very beginning. We did want to move away from the stylistic solidity of our first EP though. At the same time, during the final stage of working on the LP, we were trying to make the record become somewhat more wholesome. It was great to had been able to play dream pop during the times of our first EP, but at a certain point, while working on this album, we realized we don’t want to limit ourselves to only the means of shoegaze. In short, we’ve always wanted to play pop music with an explosive character, that is, what we call it, “thunder pop”.

How did you end up partnering with Club AC30 (a London-based label) for the new album?

We emailed Robin from Club AC30, wondering if he would be, by any chance, interested in working with us, since we had some new material ready. We weren’t hoping for much, since we aren’t really known, and lots of labels often don’t even respond to these kinds of emails. To our surprise though, not only Robin responded, but said they knew who we were and would be interested in checking out the stuff we’ve got. And then we just wound up being signed.

What are your most loved pieces of gear?

At some point each of us (except the drummer *laughs*) has become loyal to Strymon FX pedals. The five of us have a bunch of Big Skies, a Timeline and an El Capistan. While mixing, we used all those to work on spacial sound processing, plus an Eventide reverb. We aren’t really gear geeks though. We like effects, but don’t actually use that many different ones. We just like to have our melodies immersed in reverb. By the way, speaking of reverb, we used almost no digital processing for the drums when making the record - live room, hall, or even church. We are planning on keeping it that way in the future.

You’ve said previously that the Saint Petersburg music scene isn’t very inspiring. Can you elaborate a little on how the city affects the band creatively?

It definitely is a bizarre place - a bit of solid mystical dybbuky feel from Gogol, a bit of creepy bloody background from Dostoyevsky. It has a distinct sense of decay and former splendor. It’s a small place, where (geographically) everything is within reach, and young people mostly know each other. The pace of life here is slow and summers feel long. Maybe it’s the simultaneous sense of a dead end and, strangely enough, room to make new things, the ambiguity of being on the margin, and not in the center of the global scene. As much as we sometimes feel isolated from the global musical scene, we also get a sense of inner freedom from its judgments and structures, which, in turn, probably enables us to explore more.

Russia produces some great shoegaze and dream pop bands. I’m thinking of Aerofall, Motorama, Sounds Of Sputnik and Lava Lite! Any reason for that? The weather perhaps!?

Perhaps the weather indeed, to which the occasional feeling of absolute reclusion and isolation must be adding up. But also, these bands are more of an exception, than a rule.

pinkshinyultrablast-interview-2

If you could assemble a fantasy band – who would be in it?

Here’s one from Igor (our bass player):

Vocals – Udo Dirkschneider

Guitar – Ricthie Blackmore

Guitar – Kirk Hammett

Bass – Marcus Miller

Drums – Tico “The Hit Man” Torres

You’re obviously fans of Astrobrite, taking your name from his 2002 LP ‘Pinkshinyultrablast’. What are your biggest musical influences?

Among those would be Stereolab, Landing, Stars of the Lid, Cocteau Twins, Steve Reich and Astrobrite indeed. Sonic Coaster Pop, Coalter of the Deepers,Windy and Carl, Ponytail, Pterodactyl and Pre should be mentioned here. There are so many more though. In fact, pretty much anything we like and listen to has a certain amount of influence on us, be it 90s Hip-Hop or Death Metal.

What are your top records of the year so far?

R.: This year I was quite impressed by several records: Snowmine’s ‘Dialects’, the Fresh and Onlys ‘House of Spirits’ and I thought Wye Oak had a pretty cool album ‘Shriek’. These are the ones that first come to mind. I was really waiting for the YOB new album, which actually turned out to be slightly disappointing.   

I.: Wye Oak – ‘Shriek’; Todd Terje – ‘It`s Album Time’; Scott Walker & Sunn O))) – ‘Soused’;  A Winged Victory for the Sullen – ‘Atomos’.

L.: Oh, I’m mainly just waiting for the new Nicki Minaj album, which comes out in a few days.

What’s next for Pinkshinyultrablast? Is an overseas tour on the cards?

We wouldn’t really want to give premature promises and talk about things that are yet too abstract. We’re trying to put things together, and will be informing everybody as things actually do come up. But hey, keep an eye on the updates! :)

Will do. Thanks for the interview Pinkshinys! 

pinkshiny-ultrablast-everything-else-matters-artwork

***Pinkshinyultrablast’s ‘Everything Else Matters’ LP is available from January 26 through Club AC30(UK), Shelflife (USA) or Vinyl Junkie (Japan)***

Visit Pinkshinyultrablast @ Soundcloud @ Instagram @ Facebook.

Doorbells – ‘Rivers Bend’ / ‘Ambitions’

doorbells-river-bend-artwork

Here’s a beautiful new slacker pop tune, wrapped in reverb. ‘Rivers Bend’ comes courtesy of Brooklyn-based trio Doorbells (free download). It’s backed by ‘Ambitions’, a jangle pop meets new wave number. Also good. For more, check out the recently released Doorbells five track EP ‘Afterlife‘.

 
Doorbells – ‘Rivers Bend’ / ‘Ambitions’

Visit Doorbells @ Soundcloud @ Bandcamp @ Facebook.

Indoor Voices Feat. Maja Thunberg – ‘Say’ [Video]

indoor-voices-Auratic

Indoor Voices are on our list of most anticipated 2015 titles, the Toronto dreamers are set to give us a new EP called ‘Auratic’. The recently released first single ‘Say’ features the vocal talents of Sweden’s Maja Thunberg (of Star Horse fame). Each song will feature a different guest singer and have a music video to match. The ‘Say’ video features imagery taken from Maja’s cell phone. If you haven’t heard Indoor Voices 2012 self-titled EP then check out the stream beneath… and prepare to melt. It’s a keeper.

 
Indoor Voices Feat. Maja Thunberg – ‘Say’ [Video]

Visit Indoor Voices online @ Bandcamp @ Facebook.

Asalto Al Parque Zoológico – ‘Hexadecimal’

apzoo-hexadecimal-artwork

Asalto Al Parque Zoológico‘s latest LP ‘Hexadecimal’ has been heating up my hard drive for weeks! The Buenos Aires five piece delivered the strongest shoegaze record to come out of South America this year, featuring the lead track ‘Sonnen’. The band are otherwise known as “Assault The Zoo” or APZOO for short, forming in 2008 with a shared love of 80s/90s guitar rock a la Slowdive and The Telescopes. Earlier this month Apzoo opened for Thurston Moore’s band (featuring Debbie from MBV). ‘Hexadecimal’ deserves all the praise coming to it, stream or download via Casa del Puente Discos.

 
Asalto Al Parque Zoológico – ‘Hexadecimal’

Visit Asalto Al Parque Zoológico online @ Casa del Puente Discos @ Facebook.

TuT – ‘You Got Me When I Stare At You’

tut-you-got-me-when-i-stare-at-you-artwork

Earlier this month Taiwan shoegazers Tut released their debut full length ‘You Got Me When I Stare At You‘. It’s an impressive achievement from the Taipei foursome (who only formed in February of 2013). The guy/girl vocals are a stand out on the title track, ‘Send Me’ and ‘Sorry’. Stream/download here.

 
TuT – ‘You Got Me When I Stare At You’

Visit TuT @ Bandcamp @ Facebook.