Echo Lake – ‘Era’


The big week of album releases continues with Echo Lake‘s second LP ‘Era’, out now via No Pain In Pop (CD/Vinyl) or download through iTunes. The British band delivered their much loved debut album ‘Wild Peace’ in 2012, a mix of swirling, dream pop anthems. However, it was a bittersweet time due to the passing of drummer Peter Hayes right before release. Do they disband or regroup? The following year singer Linda Jarvis and guitarist Thom Hill resurfaced to begin work on their new ‘Era’ with Misha Herring at Hackney’s Holy Mountain Studio. Their first time working with a producer who could help expand the Echo Lake sound.

‘Era’ is far less pop centric than ‘Wild Peace’, this time round the songs are more ambitious, with open-ended structures that span up to ten minutes. Which is why there’s only seven songs on the 45 minute album. There’s a much stronger psych rock influence and overall, an emphasis on atmosphere rather than melody. The naivety, and even positivity of ‘Wild Peace’ is replaced by a more serious and commanding tone. This evolution may divide existing fans who are looking for a blast of catchy dream pop.

The album begins with ‘Light Sleeper’, a slow building, cinematic epic. Linda’s vocals interject and overlap each other, much like a chant. It’s hard to predict where the song is going, which is one of the album’s big strengths. However, for all the mood setting we need a payoff, and that’s where the lead single ‘Waves’ comes in. A reminder of how brilliant this band are! A near flawless combination of melody, mood and rock n’ roll. The title track is equally impressive, a slight step back in intensity.

The psych pop slow burner ‘Dröm’ is another highlight, even though the lengthy introduction is somewhat superfluous after hearing a similar build in ‘Light Sleeper’, that said, it’s a trippy mood setter. ‘Sun’ and ‘Nothing Lasts’ are the most light hearted moments on the record but aren’t the most compelling. Whereas the closer ‘Heavy Dreaming’ cements Echo Lake’s transition to free flowing psychedelia. It’s the most hypnotic Echo Lake have ever sounded, it’s fantastic to hear them return with such ambition and scope. Not every song rewards you for taking the journey but it’s an otherwise enjoyable trip.

Echo Lake – ‘Era’ [Album Stream]

Visit Echo Lake @ No Pain In Pop @ Facebook.

Echo Lake - 'Era'
  • Ambitious new sound
  • Epic arrangements
  • Something for psych fans
  • Less pop appeal than 'Wild Peace'
3.7Overall Score
Reader Rating: (10 Votes)

Au.Ra – ‘Jane’s Lament’


After several years collaborating, Tom Crandles & Tim Jenkins officially release their debut album as Au.Ra next week through Felte. ‘Jane’s Lament’ is nine tracks of dream pop bliss, with added shades of psychedelia and shoegaze. It’s no surprise that the LP plays out with an unassuming confidence, after all, they’ve both honed their creative powers through previous projects. Tim in Parades and Tom under many monikers, but perhaps best known as Colours.

‘Jane’s Lament’ was conceived following improvised jam sessions and then recorded between Sydney and London. The duo’s free flowing, relaxed approach rubs off in the music. There’s no fixed formula or predictable structure. Instead, the songs weave their way into your head, which makes it a very easy album to listen to. ‘Sun’ is one example, a beautiful tune that introduces a simple melody with a slacker delivery, then evolves into a psych’ed out instrumental with reversed guitars. It’s all so smoothly done, you may find yourself drifting off.

‘Pyramid’ is brilliantly understated, with bendy melodies and a shoegazey mid section that makes you forget where the song began. Later in the album these experimental sojourns get longer with ‘Talk Show’ and ‘Spare The Thought’. It gives the album great pacing even though much of it ambles around the same tempo. Au.Ra are so good at creating atmospheres, textures and moods that ‘Jane’s Lament’ has a meditative effect. It’s one of the most enjoyable listens I’ve had in 2015, another must for fans of jangle pop, psych or dream pop. There’s so many stellar albums coming out, next week we dive into new LP’s from Echo Lake, Venera 4 and Swervedriver! In the meantime, jump into the album stream below…

Au.Ra – ‘Jane’s Lament’

Visit Au.Ra @ felte @ Facebook.


Au.Ra - 'Jane's Lament'
  • Brilliant mix of psych & dream pop
  • Unpredictable songwriting
  • Nope!
4.0Overall Score
Reader Rating: (6 Votes)

Echo Lake – ‘Dröm’


The world needs more epic intros, ‘Dröm’ provides! It’s the second taste from Echo Lake‘s sophomore album ‘Era’, out March 2 via No Pain In Pop (pre-sale). The London-based band show their experimental side on this track, which opens up into a cascading psych pop feel with hypnotic, overlapping vocals. It follows the lead single ‘Waves’ (video below) and has me counting the days til ‘Era’ lands.

Echo Lake – ‘Dröm’

Visit Echo Lake online @ No Pain In Pop @ Facebook.

The Mary Onettes – ‘Sharkbrains’ (Skewed Studio Takeout)


The Mary Onettes are giving away an unreleased track to celebrate their first tour of the USA in almost six years. It’s sobering that the Swedish dream poppers outtakes are actually better than most folks singles! Download a copy at Soundcloud. The quartet are touring on the back of their fourth album ‘Portico’ (updated dates below).

The Mary Onettes – ‘Sharkbrains’ (Skewed Studio Takeout)

The Mary Onettes USA Tour Dates:

Feb 12 (Thursday) – NYC @ Cameo Gallery
Feb 13 (Friday) – DC @ House of Sweden
Feb 14 (Saturday) – Chicago @ Empty Bottle (2H)
Feb 18 (Wednesday) – Seattle, WA @ Barboza
Feb 20 (Friday) – San Francisco @ Rickshaw Stop
Feb 21 (Saturday) – Los Angeles @ Bootleg Bar
Feb 22 (Sunday) – San Diego @ Soda Bar
Feb 23 (Monday) – Phoenix @ Pub Rock

Visit The Mary Onettes @ Labrador @ Facebook.

Venera 4 – ‘Colored Fields’


Venera 4‘s debut full length ‘Eidôlon‘ arrives on March 3 with the lead single ‘Black Paws’ and the new single/video ‘Colored Fields’. The French shoegazers first got our attention with ‘Seabed Terror’ in 2012, before delivering their much praised ‘Deaf Hearts’ EP the following year. ‘Colored Fields’ showcases the quartet’s guy/girl vocals and pop appeal, with a mix of genres expected on the eleven track release. Pre-sale is on now with limited white vinyl (shop).

Venera 4 – ‘Colored Fields’

Visit Venera 4 @ Bandcamp @ Facebook.

The Bilinda Butchers On Tour With Craft Spells


The Bilinda Butchers are hitting the road this month for an epic tour of the USA and Canada! The San Francisco-based trio delivered one of the best (and most memorable) albums of 2014 with ‘Heaven’, a concept album that weaved dream pop with shoegaze and spoken word. Orchid Tapes’ first vinyl pressing sold out before release but there’s a new run shipping early next month (pre-sale online). The trio hope to have these available on tour, along with Japanese CD copies. Fellow Californian’s Craft Spells will be joining them on the road, a great mix musically. Who knows, maybe there’ll be a collaboration before too long!? *wink wink, nudge nudge*

The Bilinda Butchers – ‘The Lover’s Suicide’ [Video]

The Bilinda Butchers Tour Dates:

2-25-15 (Wed) San Francisco, CA-GAMH w/ Craft Spells (Noise Pop show)
2-26-15: (Thu) Santa Barbara, CA – SOhO w/ Craft Spells
2-27-15: (Fri) LA, CA- Echoplex w/ Craft Spells & Meishi Smile
2-28-15: (Sat) San Diego, CA The Hideout w/ Craft Spells
3-01-15: (Sun) Phoenix, AZ- Crescent Ballroom w/ Craft Spells & Celebration Guns
3-03-15: (Tue) Austin, TX- Red 7, w/ Craft Spells & White Walls
3-4-15: Dallas, TX- Club Dada w/ Craft Spells & Glasir
3-5-15 Nashville, TN- The High Watt w/ Craft Spells & the Keeps
3-07-15: Atlanta, GA-529 Club w/ Craft Spells & Twin Studies
3-08-15: Asheville, NC- The Mothlight w/ Craft Spells
3-10-15: Washington DC- Comet Ping Pong “La Luz, Craft Spells, The Sivas & The Bilinda Butchers”
3-12-15: Philadelphia, PA- Boot & Saddle w/ Craft Spells & Suburban Living
3-13-15: New York, NY- Mercury Lounge w/ Craft Spells & Ski Lodge
3-14-15: Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Night Bazaar w/ Craft Spells
3-15-15: Allston, MA- Great Scott w/ Craft Spells &Funeral Advantage
3-17-15: Toronto, ON- Hard Luck Bar w/ Craft Spells
3-18-15: Ann Arbor, MI-Blind Pig w/ Craft Spells & Gosh Pith
3-19-15: Chicago, IL- Schuba’s Tavern w/ Craft Spells& Tiny Fireflies
3-20-15: Minneapolis, MN-First Avenue w/ Craft Spells
3-21-15: Lincoln, NE w/ Craft Spells w/ Craft Spells & Yesh
3-23-15: Denver, CO-Hi-Dive w/ Craft Spells & Pillar Point
3-24-15: Salt Lake City, UT-Kilby Court w/ CraftSpells & KoalaTemple
3-25-15: Boise, ID-The Crux- Treeport Music Fest w/ 350 bands including TV on the Radio, Built to Spill
3-26-15: Portland, OR- Mississippi Studios w/ Craft Spells & Appendixes
3-27-15: Vancouver, BC- Electric Owl w/ Craft Spells
3-28-15: Seattle, WA- Neumos w/ Craft Spells

Visit The Bilinda Butchers @ Orchid Tapes @ Bandcamp @ Facebook.