With album art sporting a noose, I didn’t expect whatfunlifewas to be a cheery listen. Add to that they’ve named themselves after slowcore band Bedhead’s 1994 album of the same name. Preconceptions aside, the songs on whatfunlifewas’ ‘Stumbling Towards Purgatory‘ are exceptional. The Oakland-based rock act left an email body simply stating “bluntly nihilistic shoegaze” and yes, it may be bleak but the songs are brilliant. Listening to the elaborately titled ‘Unyielding Abyssic Hatespawn’ draws to mind The Radio Dept’s delicate vocals, tethered against the fuzz of Dinosaur Jr. Great work.
whatfunlifewas – ‘Unyielding Abyssic Hatespawn’
Download whatfunlifewas @ Bandcamp.
A unique tune from Dublin courtesy of Feather Beds. ‘Walter‘ will be released on the forthcoming album ‘The Skeletal System’ (out September 2). The experimental solo-project has so far been compared to Liars, Sigur Rós, Four Tet and Panda Bear. Its hard to define, as soon as you get comfortable ‘Walter’ starts to trip out. Either way, this infinitely dreamy creation pricked my ears up – accompanied by a fresh video created by Greg Corcoran.
Feather Beds – ‘Walter’
Visit Feather Beds @ Soundcloud @ Bandcamp @ Facebook.
Scandinavian noise poppers Follow The Sea give us ‘Stargaze’ from the two track digital release (with the b-side ‘Blå’) – download here. The duo combine scuzzy distortion with post punk and shoegaze – there’s plenty of phaser action too! Despite the noise, Follow The Sea have catchy hooks that are easily accessible.
Follow The Sea – ‘Stargazer’
Visit Follow The Sea @ Bandcamp.
The familiar guitar squall of Kigo fades into existence on ‘Dress’ to kick off his new EP ‘Chance’ – released today (download here). The Brisbane-based solo artist builds on his previous EP ‘Some Other Place’, this time with more subtle melodies and less full frontal, shoegaze noise! Audiocred described previous EP cut ‘I Won’t (I Can’t)’, as “the closest thing I’ve heard to the grandioseness of Loveless…an understated triumph”.
Kigo – ‘Dress’
‘Chance’ marks Kigo’s fifth EP this year and since many SBWR readers are music makers themselves, I thought I’d ask Kigo what his secret to swift songwriting is? And where does that giant guitar sound come from?
“My song writing process is really simple; when I wake up, I pick up my guitar and play. I record the first thing that comes out. I guess I write songs in this way because it feels like I am tapping into a feeling that is more honest or real, unencumbered by anything that I have seen or felt during the time I am awake.
I usually start with the guitar and drums, then add the synth and bass parts. I add vocals after I have mixed everything. I like to put the songs together in this way, as it gives me more time to think about how the vocals will fit in with the overall mood of the song. I spend a lot of time thinking about the mood, and feeling of the songs I write, as to me that’s more important than lyrics or vocals.
Kigo – ‘When You Look’
As for the guitar sound, I use a lot of delay to make the guitar sound bigger, and lots of distortion and reverse reverb. I don’t really use alternate tunings or anything like that at all, but I do like to use heaps of pitch bending on the master track as it gives the song a weird, sort of warble to it.
As for how I write songs so quickly, I guess I just try to write songs as an escape. I’m not really running from anything in my life; my life is happy, and full of great people, but sometimes it is great to sort of disappear, and hide away within your own thought space. I think I write as a way to share these thoughts, dreams, and feelings with people. Hopefully this feeling comes across when listening to my songs.”
Yuck release the first single ‘Rebirth’ (free download) from their forthcoming sophomore album! The London-based fuzz rockers are now operating as a trio following the departure of lead singer Daniel Blumberg in April. Surprisingly, Yuck are still sounding solid – rebirth indeed! Clearly it was not a one man show. No word on an album release date as yet. Meanwhile, check out Daniel Blumberg’s solo project Hebronix (out now through ATP Recordings).
Yuck – ‘Rebirth’
Cardiff noise poppers Joanna Gruesome deliver their debut LP ‘Weird Sister‘ on September 10 via Slumberland Records (US) and Fortuna POP! (EU). The five piece showcase their reverby fuzz and garage punk ways on their latest single ‘Secret Surprise’. Reportedly written (the PR states) “during a month long stay in a seedy west Brighton hotel (now closed down) called The Hell House. The residents were pretty strange, kept attempting occult rituals/using Ouija boards etc and many of the songs were written to distract from the weirdness.” Rock n’ roll.
Joanna Gruesome – ‘Secret Surprise’
Visit Joanna Gruesome @ Bandcamp @ Slumberland Records @ Fortuna POP! @ Facebook.
Pre-orders are live (Saint Marie Records) for Drowner‘s new LP ‘You’re Beautiful, I Forgive You’ – available from August 13. The Texans push beyond last year’s self-titled release into territory not wholly dominated by a dream pop haze and one that should appeal to a wider audience. Of course, album opener ‘Glow’ isn’t bereft of the multi-layered textures, melodies and shadowy pop hooks that made the five piece turn heads in the first place. For fans of High Violets, The Sundays and The Fauns.
Drowner – ‘Glow’ [Premiere]
Visit Drowner online @ Saint Marie Records @ Facebook.
2013 started strong with My Bloody Valentine’s ‘MBV’ (still astonished) and it hasn’t stopped. Here’s a playlist of my personal faves (shoegaze, dream pop, psych and everything in between). All of these tunes have been posted on SBWR over the past six months, some are from forthcoming albums, some are out already. With so many must listens I hope you find something that flips your eggs i.e. Grouper, Whirr, Lorelle Meets The Obsolete, Weekend or Implodes. Plus a handful of fresh Aussie acts including Flyying Colours, Kigo, High Highs and Archdukes that you may have overlooked. And for those tunes missing… please click through and add a comment. Thanks.
Shoegaze And Dream Pop Songs Of 2013…
More Dream Pop / Shoegaze etc @ Sounds Better With Reverb online @ Soundcloud @ Hype Machine @ Shuffler FM @ Twitter @ Facebook.
Dallas stoner/shoegaze trio True Widow give us their third LP ‘Circumambulation’ on July 23 via Relapse Records – stream it via Advance now! Album cut ‘Four Teeth’ follows lead single ‘HW:R’ and opener ‘Creeper’ – all with that trademark slow-motion guitar chugging action! The haunting ‘Four Teeth’ is a slow burner that contrasts female vocals against a persistent feeling of being dragged under the speakers. If the guitar was tuned any lower the strings would fall off! True Widow haven’t re-invented themselves on ‘Circumambulation’ but they consistently deliver quality tunes.
True Widow – ‘Four Teeth’
Visit True Widow online @ Relapse Records @ Facebook.
The intergoogle has gone nuts over Mazzy Star’s new single ‘California’ and the announcement that the veteran duo will deliver a new album called ‘Seasons Of Your Day’ on September 24 through Rhymes Of An Hour Records (pre-order CD/LP). The acoustic piece is sparse and progressive, running at over five minutes. But more importantly, ‘California’ indicates Mazzy Star’s comeback LP will be solid! Of course, the news doesn’t come out of left field – we did have the new single ‘Common Burn’ back in 2011 with the promise of a new album (originally expected last year).
Mazzy Star – ‘California’
J Mascis – ‘Fade Into You’ (Mazzy Star Cover)