A rare find, ‘Someday Sun’ is a brilliant piece of songwriting. Astronaut Husband isn’t the catchiest of names, and to be honest, the new EP ‘Supergiant Blues‘ doesn’t sport the strongest artwork either, but with songs this good it doesn’t matter. Astronaut Husband is the solo project of Alec Grefe, a musician from Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Alec writes chilled out dream pop (of sorts) and is influenced by Beach House, Wild Nothing, Justin Vernon and the like. Alec is also a member of Haunter who are well worth checking out.
Astronaut Husband – ‘Someday Sun’
Visit Astronaut Husband @ Bandcamp @ Soundcloud @ Facebook.
NME noted Wolf Alice ”have more than a hint of Elastica about them”, Pigeons And Planes said that ‘Fluffy‘ “starts out like a Pixies track”. What do you think? In a sea of pseudo-ecstatic, tropical twee rock, the old fashioned moody rock song suddenly stands out again. I’m not sure whether we’re getting too sterile or whether teenagers just don’t get pissed at their parents anymore. Tangent much!? London quartet Wolf Alice release their debut single through Chess Club Records on February 11, complete with romantic artwork.
Wolf Alice – ‘Fluffy’
Visit Wolf Alice @ Chess Club Records @ Facebook.
Fresh tunes from Angelica’s Elegy, a Norwegian quartet with spaced -out pop on offer! ‘Fuse And A Spark’ is the first single from their debut LP ‘Gold Celeste’, coming soon through Riot Factory‘s Sad Songs For Happy People. Recorded late 2012 by the band and mastered by Brian Lucey (Black Keys, Sigur Ros, David Lynch).
Angelica’s Elegy – ‘Fuse And A Spark’
Visit Angelica’s Elegy @ Riot Factory @ Facebook.
‘Antigravity‘ is a diverse listen, at times straightforward pop, occasionally abstract and as a Soundcloud comment aptly notes “Holy early 4AD”! Ummagma is a duo (Alexx Kretov of the Ukraine and Shauna McLarnon of Canada) who formed in Moscow a decade ago. The pair didn’t release their debut album, or should I say albums, until mid last year (the self-titled twelve track LP and ‘Antigravity‘). ‘Kiev’ is a song taken from the latter, influenced by the likes of the Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance and The Sundays.
Ummagma – ‘Kiev’
Visit Ummagma @ Bandcamp @ Soundcloud @ Facebook.
The harmonic melodies of indie duo High Highs have been ruminating for several years in Brooklyn, but now the Sydney natives have delivered. High Highs debut album ‘Open Season’ is released this week (Jan 29 US) through Fine Time Records (OZ) and online (UK/USA) featuring the single ‘In A Dream’. Click here for tour dates.
High Highs – ‘In A Dream’
Download ‘Open Season’ @ iTunes / Visit High Highs online @ Soundcloud @ Facebook.
Modern Outsider Records released the new album by Gliss this week. ‘Langsom Dans’ (Slow Dance) features the atmospheric dream popper ‘Weight Of Love’, mixed by Michael Patterson (Trent Reznor/NIN, How To Destroy Angels, Beck, Ladytron). The trio from Copenhagen and Los Angeles produce accessible downbeat pop, backed by solid production (for fans of The Raveonettes, SPC ECO, Echo Lake).
Gliss – ‘Weight Of Love’
Visit Gliss online @ Modern Outsider @ Bandcamp @ Facebook.
Instrumental post rockers Apricot Rail release their second album ‘Quarrels’ featuring ‘Basket Press‘ (free download) on February 25 via Hidden Shoal Recordings. The Perth-based six piece shift between pretty melodies and different textures… when was the last time you heard woodwinds on a post rock tune!? The “soft, soft, oh my gawd crescendo” moments are avoided in place of a more reflective listening experience. Thumbs up.
Apricot Rail – ‘Basket Press’
Visit Apricot Rail @ Hidden Shoal Recordings @ Facebook.
Following the ‘Blissed Out In Italy‘ feature come the Roman shoegaze band Weird. Their impressive debut album ‘Desert Love For Lonely Graves’ is available for free download now! Weird formed as a trio in 2011 before writing and recording this seven song collection with Marco Barzetti. Take a listen to their spacious rock styling on ‘Dark Was The Sky, Cold Was The Rain’.
Weird – ‘Dark Was The Sky, Cold Was The Rain’
Melbourne-based songwriter Fergus Miller (better known as Bored Nothing) delivered his debut LP on Spunk Records last year and I’m just catching up. Fergus recorded the entire thing himself but has since assembled a touring outfit. ’Bliss‘ is an example of his songwriting and style, full of lo-fi grit, contemplation and honesty. All of the things that make bedroom productions such a pleasure to listen to.
Bored Nothing – ‘Bliss’
Visit Bored Nothing @ Spunk Records @ Bandcamp @ Tumblr @ Facebook.
As promised, here’s the very first guest post @ SBWR from the super talented PSYCHIC HEARTS! PSYCHIC HEARTS is a CA/NY-based writer of sorts who loves obese cats and used records. You can read more reviews, features, and commentary from her music site <here> dedicated to shoegaze / dreampop / garage / synthwave. Big thanks for the work put into this feature! Blissed Out In Italy shines a light on our Italian friends and a bunch of new acts to keep an ear on.
For music lovers like us, the inquisitive mind never rests, nor should it. You can visit the popular website, rely on your friends, randomly catch a show, hoping to strike gold. Or… you can dig. After hearing Be Forest’s acclaimed debut ‘Cold’, I discovered their label We Were Never Being Boring, which led me to unearth more DIY labels such as Keep It Yours (Rome), Upside Down Recordings (Rome), and Tannen (Verona). Their rosters include English-singing bands that have toured and played alongside the Japandroids, Dum Dum Girls, Moon Duo, and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, as well as epic festivals such as Spacefest! And so, we at SBWR think the following artists from Italy should definitely be on your radar this year…
BE FOREST (We Were Never Being Boring .,Pesaro)
Dreamy, warm, atmospheric music from the Adriatic coast. BE FOREST features two female singers and spent the remaining part of 2012 touring Europe with the Japandroids. That last part should pretty much confirm their awesomeness! If you like BLOUSE, Slowdive, and the ethereal vocals of Elizabeth Harris of GROUPER, listen to BE FOREST’S stunning debut, ‘Cold’ @ Bandcamp / Facebook / WWNBB as well as their latest single, ‘Hanged Man’ and what was voted as Decay FM Radio’s 2012 shoegaze song of the year, ‘I Quit Girls‘ (Japandroids cover).
Be Forest – ‘Florence’
Be Forest – ‘Wild Brain’
Be Forest – ‘Hanged Man’
HOLiDAYS (Keep it Yours .,Rome)
A sunny bucolic daydream, drenched in reverb and lovelorn lyrics. HOLiDAYS are a dreampop quartet from Rome with songs and DIY-visuals inspired by their European travels, Roman summers, and youthful nostalgia. Though they are not even close to completing their second LP, the leaks so far sound incredible and very different from ‘Young Love’ – with more fuzz and dreamier soundscapes. If you like Wild Nothing, Real Estate, Blueboy, and Mood Rings, listen to HOLiDAYS’ debut, ‘Young Love’ @ Bandcamp / Facebook / iTunes.
HOLiDAYS – ‘Holes’
HOLiDAYS – ‘Only in Dreams’
HOLiDAYS – ‘Sleepless’
BROTHERS IN LAW (Tannen /WWNBB/ CF/ CoCo Heart .,Pesaro)
Shimmery, c-86 inspired surf pop featuring Nicola Lampredi of BE FOREST. BiL’s ‘Gray Days‘ EP is an ironic misnomer, considering each song is a loud, jangly haze of fuzz and melody. Their debut, ‘Hard Times for Dreamers’ drops this year on WWNBB, CF and COCOHEART Records (Japan); they will follow the release with a series of shows in New York and Austin for SXSW 2013 (dates). Be sure to check them out if you are attending this year, and pre-order their new album via Musicraiser. If you like Crocodiles, Dum Dum Girls, Beach Fossils, and/or Best Coast, listen to BROTHERS IN LAW @ Bandcamp / Facebook.
BROTHERS IN LAW – ‘Ode to Love’
BROTHERS IN LAW – ‘Shadow II’
BROTHERS IN LAW – ‘Holy Weekend’
HIS CLANCYNESS (Independent .,Bologna)
Nothing can be written about Italy’s indie rock scene without mentioning, Jonathan Clancy of His Clancyness and A Classic Education, who is perhaps the most well-known Italian indie rocker to crossover in recent years. Indeed, the last few years have definitely been a whirlwind with what seems like a non-stop itinerary of US/EU tours and marathon recording sessions with Jarvis Taveniere (Woods) and Chris Koltay (Lotus Plaza, Atlas Sound, Akron/Family), but thoughtful and prolific as always – Clancy continues to gift us with a steady stream of late night, lo-fi recordings perfect for any jilted lover’s mixtape (like his cover of ‘I Can’t Talk About It’ by El Perro Del Mar). You can catch HIS CLANCYNESS at SXSW this year, along side BROTHERS IN LAW this March in Austin. If you like The Microphones, Minks, Weed Diamond, or anything off K Records listen to HIS CLANCYNESS @ Bandcamp / iTUNES / Soundcloud / Facebook.
HIS CLANCYNESS – ‘How It’s Done In Italy’
HIS CLANCYNESS – ‘Summer Majestic’
HIS CLANCYNESS – ‘Carve A Peach’
SEA DWELLER (Upside Down Recordings .,Rome)
I die whenever I hear this band. Beautiful, ecstasy and what have you. They are so underrated, under-appreciated, and incredibly talented, but thankfully well known in this very esoteric world of ethereal guitars and heavy distortion. With alternating male and female vox, SEA DWELLER probably has the most classic, recognizable sound highlighted in this feature, with noise reminiscent of Ride, early LILYS, and the Telescopes. They were recently invited to play alongside the likes of Mark Gardener and Pure Phase Ensemble at Spacefest! (an epic shoegaze fest in Poland). You can stream their entire last album, ‘Signs of a Perfect Disaster’ @ Bandcamp and order their gorgeous, limited edition yellow vinyl of ‘Signs’ @ Sea Dweller Music @ Facebook.
SEA DWELLER – ‘Marion’
SEA DWELLER – ‘Slow Down’
SEA DWELLER – ‘I See The Sea From Her’
GENERAL DECAY (Milan)
All I know is that this very fuzzy, garage pop band is supremely awesome, but sadly defunct. Oh, and everyone loves them!
More @ PSYCHIC HEARTS.