Dream Over’s 2012 Wrap Up

Last night I joined Digby and Paul on Dream Over for a yearly wrap up of stellar songs and releases (Sydney’s FBI Radio 94.5fm). Featuring tunes from local and international acts including Still Corners, DIIV, Arc In Round, Astronauts Etc, My Empires, Echo Lake, Castratii and heaps more. Stream the show at FBI Radio or hit play below. A reminder that Sydney folks can catch Skullsquadron, Cabins and Wheat Fields at FBI Social this Friday – should be tops!

 

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Listen to Dream Over @ FBi Radio / Connect @ Facebook.

…more Stand Out Records Of 2012

Following the wrap up of shoegaze and dream pop releases this year, there’s still a whole heap of stand out records to blab about. Here’s a short list of assorted gems from post punk, fuzzy rock to downbeat electronica…

 

…more Stand Out Records Of 2012

 

Erik Blood – ‘Touch Screens’ (Independent)

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Seattle based solo artist that bends genre boundaries to craft a dynamic record that is just so, so good.

Lotus Plaza – ‘Spooky Action At A Distance’ (Kranky)

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Deerhunter’s Lockett Pundt is Lotus Plaza. You will probably fall in love with this record after one first listen.

TOY – ‘Toy’ (Rough Trade)

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Brit guitar rock with buckets of fuzz, vintage synths and loads of hooks!

Tame Impala – ‘Lonerism’ (Modular)

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NME get some things right. Their number one album is ‘Lonerism’, psych rock album of the year and instant classic.

Broken Water – ‘Tempest’ (Hardly Art)

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Olympia trio Broken Water are a must for garage rock and punk fans. Aggressive, fun and memorable.

Bear In Heaven – ‘I Love You, It’s Cool’ (Hometapes/Dead Oceans)

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Huge sounding record from the Brooklyn trio, expect epic arrangements and gigantic synthesizers! A creative highlight.

Holograms – ‘Holograms’ (Captured Tracks)

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Contender for post punk album of the year. The pulsating tension these Swedes create still excites after repeated listens.

The Raveonettes – ‘Observator’ (Vice)

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Producer Richard Gottehrer rejoins the Danish duo for an incredible record, their strongest release since ‘Lust Lust Lust’.

Stumbleine – ‘Spiderwebbed’ (Monotreme)

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Bristol solo producer Stumbleine teams up with vocalists Steffaloo and Coma for an ambient, electronic stunner.

Teen Daze – ‘The Inner Mansions’ (Lefse Records)

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Teen Daze expands on his glo-fi/chillwave roots, collaborating with Frankie Rose and writing some great tunes.

Sleep Party People – ‘We Were Drifting On A Sad Song’ (Blood And Biscuits)

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Danish electronic artist Brian Batz who melds post rock, dream pop and shoegaze into top shelf ear candy.

Disappears – ‘Pre-Language’ (Kranky)

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Chicago rockers Disappears recruit drummer Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth) for album number three. Ripping psych and noise!

Any Stand Out Records Of 2012 to add!? Click through and leave a comment at the bottom of the post.

Best Shoegaze Albums of 2012

Shoegaze is a loaded label, term, genre. And a list of contemporary shoegaze acts must be all about emulating the good ole’ days – right!? Well, hopefully this list proves otherwise. Despite the fact that reverb and noise are in abundance, its still all about the songs. In 2012 there was plenty of golden songs, with or without the tremolo riding, pitch bending tendencies, these songs stand their ground. Without further preaching, here’s SBWR’s Best Shoegaze Albums Of 2012. Please click through and add your favourite record/s so we can all be better informed. Plus, if you missed it, the Best Dream Pop Records of 2012 is right here too.

 

Best Shoegaze Albums of 2012…

 
1. Dead Mellotron – ‘Glitter’ [EP] (Sonic Cathedral) (more)

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So ‘Glitter’ isn’t technically an album but what it lacks in length it makes up for in sonic bliss! This is a special set of songs that won’t leave you wanting more. The American (not British) trio have previously released 2010’s ‘S/T’ and the eight track release ‘Ghost Light Constellation’. Shoegaze fans or better still, rock fans in general, shouldn’t miss it. Sonic Cathedral should be praised for supporting these guys.

2. Arc In Round – ‘Arc In Round’ (La Société Expéditionnaire) (more)

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One of the strongest debut releases of the year. Philadelphia’s Arc In Round have created an album that creeps up on you, then just refuses to get off your speakers. It hits all the right queues and just works. Its also one of the best sounding shoegaze records of the year, audiophiles take note! The work of Jeff Zeigler and co at Uniform Recording paid off.

3. Ringo Deathstarr – ‘Mauve’ (Club AC30) (more)

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As long as Ringo Deathstarr keeps making records they’ll keep making the list. The Texas-based band have been a dependable force, consistently delivering lovable rock n’ roll. ‘Mauve’ is a mix of shoegaze pop, garage punk and wall of sound rock. At the rate Ringo Deathstarr is releasing music they’re likely to eclipse their forefathers catalogues in no time.

4. A Place To Bury Strangers – ‘Worship’ (Dead Oceans) (more)

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The noise rock record of the year without question. Arguably one of the most influential for guitarists seeking new levels of creative distortion. The amount of effects pedal dancing required to bring ‘Worship’ to life makes this a worthy inclusion. Pack your ear plugs!

5. Snøskred – ‘Whiteout’ (Riot Factory) (more)

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With five singers, tremolo heavy guitars and a solid debut single, there was little to stop Snøskred’s debut LP ‘Whiteout’ from being great. The Norwegian shoegaze act (Avalanche in English) produce catchy hooks with crossover indie pop appeal. A lot of love has gone into making this record and it’s audible on every track.

6. Airiel – ‘Kid Games’ [EP] (Shelflife) (more)

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The perfect mix of electronics and swooning guitars. Jeremy Wrenn’s Airiel changed up their sound and nailed it. After fifteen years of sonic wizardry the Chicago shoegazers struck a brilliant balance between strong songwriting, lush synth work and shimmering guitars.

7. Whirr – ‘Pipe Dreams’ (Tee Pee) (more)

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Droning fuzz rock from the Northern Californian six piece! Since the release of the well loved track ‘Junebouvier’ and the ‘Distressor’ EP before it, Whirr’s debut LP seemed forever on the horizon. ‘Pipe Dreams’ eventually saw the light of day following a signing to New York’s Tee Pee Records.

8. Young Prisms – ‘In Between’ (Kanine Records) (more)

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‘In Between’ is delivered with an honesty that makes it hard to pass up. Perhaps underrated due to a lack of production gloss, the naval gazing tone or simply because it isn’t the happiest of records. The San Francisco-based quartet produced a solid follow up to ‘Friends For Now’ and its worth checking out.

9. Highlands – ‘Singularity’ (Independent) (more)

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Psych clashes with shoegaze awesomeness on ‘Singularity’. The SoCal rockers push out waves of guitars and vocal harmonies all wrapped in warm reverb. Highlands are a band that could easily explode if given the means to do so.

10. 93millionmilesfromthesun – ‘Towards The Light’ (In At The Eye Records) (more)

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Doncaster noise makers 93millionmilesfromthesun released their third record ‘Towards The Light’ this year. It’s a loud one. Verging all the way from shoegazey textures to extreme signal mangling, the trio fully embrace their effects units! Perhaps not for the casual listener, but an experience nonetheless.

Best Shoegaze Albums Of 2012 (Notable mentions): Stagnant Pools, Sea Dweller, Crocodiles, No Joy, Indoor Voices, Carousels, SPC ECO, Panda Riot, Conduits.

What’s missing? Click through to the Best Shoegaze Albums of 2012 and add to the list.

Best Dream Pop Albums Of 2012

The musical gods were kind to fans of dream pop in 2012, there were big blessings for reverb drenched indie lovers and spaced out psych pop enthusiasts! In a crowded genre of talented musicians, this is a shortlist to spark your ears. Here’s the Best Dream Pop Albums Of 2012 according to Sounds Better With Reverb. Note there are bound to be some great records that are missed, so click through and leave a comment at the bottom of the page… or some harshly worded abuse. Stand by for the Shoegaze list, coming shortly.

 

Best Dream Pop Albums Of 2012…

 
1. DIIV – ‘Oshin’ (Captured Tracks) (more)

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DIIV’s debut sits at the top of many end of year lists, so this is little surprise. The New Yorkers came together after Beach Fossils guitarist Zachary Cole Smith decided to start a side project. Now its one of Captured Tracks most lauded acts.’Oshin’ managed to cross the genre divide and connect with a broad audience. Its simple, understated and yet it stays with you. Best digested as a whole, this is a record you need to sit down with.

2. Echo Lake – ‘Wild Peace’ (No Pain In Pop/Slumberland) (more)

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Echo Lake released an incredibly mature debut in ‘Wild Peace’. From start to finish there’s pure pop melodies performed in an otherworldly light, if only mainstream chart acts could write this well. The South Londoners crafted a special album during an uncertain time, due to the illness and passing of drummer Pete Hayes.

3. Tamaryn – ‘Tender New Signs’ (Mexican Summer) (more)

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Another much loved record of 2012. Tamaryn’s brand of sedated dream pop is easily digestible and slowly infectious. The only misstep on ‘Tender New Signs’ is that it doesn’t change gears enough. If there were a few dramatic spikes in energy or instrumentation this would’ve claimed the top spot.

4. Wild Nothing – ‘Nocturne’ (Bella Union/Captured Tracks) (more)

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Wild Nothing’s ‘Gemini’ LP was universally praised, a brilliant debut. Since making those solo recordings in 2010, Jack Tatum assembled a touring band that would record the follow up EP ‘Golden Haze’ and this year’s ‘Nocturne’. Wild Nothing’s sound has changed over the past few years but the songwriting remains strong. Tatum successfully avoided the dreaded second album flop. ‘Nocturne’ is exceptional.

5. Death And Vanilla – ‘Death And Vanilla’ (Hands In The Dark/Kalligrammofon) (more)

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One of the most underrated releases of the year. On first listen ‘Death And Vanilla’ paints a vivid picture that’s cinematic in scope, like a classic soundtrack waiting to happen. A perfect concoction of dreamy psych pop with vintage sounds and sharply composed songs. A must for any fan of the genre.

6. Frankie Rose – ‘Interstellar’ (Memphis Industries/Slumberland) (more)

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Brooklyn’s Frankie Rose (formerly Frankie Rose and the Outs) won over fans again on ‘Interstellar’. The girl pop veteran (Vivian Girls, Dum Dum Girls) relied less on reverb this time around, instead producing a new wave leaning record. Its full of haunting, melodramatic pop gold – her best work to date.

7. Beach House – ‘Bloom’ (Sub Pop) (more)

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Beach House received so many accolades for their 2010 LP ‘Teen Dream’ that any follow up was destined to fall short. And sure, it’s not ‘Teen Dream’ but ‘Bloom’ is a great listen nonetheless. The Baltimore dream pop duo were criticized for a lack of edge but with stunners like ‘Myth’, ‘The Hours’ and ‘Lazuli’ its too good to ignore.

8. Melody’s Echo Chamber – ‘Melody’s Echo Chamber’ (Fat Possum) (more)

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A suprising debut from solo artist Melody Prochet, a collection of songs where psych meets dream pop. No doubt influenced by the guiding hand of producer Kevin Parker (best known for his work with Tame Impala). The Parisian’s vocals are the perfect match for vintage sounds and trippy instrumentation.

9. Observer Drift – ‘Corridors’ (Forged Artifacts) (more)

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Recorded in a Minneapolis bedroom, ‘Corridors’ is an honest lo-fi release that’s worthy of praise. In some ways ‘Corridors’ is reminiscent of Wild Nothing’s ‘Gemini’. Observer Drift (artist Collin Ward) produced a very personal debut and each song feels well lived in. The rough edges only add to the charm.

10. Violens – ‘True’ (Slumberland) (more)

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New York’s Violens released their super catchy single ‘Totally True’ in April and expectations were set high for the album release. Perhaps too high. ‘True’ is at times too pretty for its own good but there are moments of brilliance. It’ll either strike you or not, that simple.

Dream Pop Albums Of 2012 (notable mentions): Astronauts Etc, Craft Spells, Memoryhouse, Letting Up Despite Great Faults, Fight Bite, Shoreline Is.

Is there a gross over sight here? Click through to the Best Dream Pop Albums Of 2012 and get typing.

Stand out albums of 2012…so far

I’ll admit, I was a little concerned about 2012 in the early months. It was a slow start in music land. Thankfully the releases are now flowing in like crazy. So, before we get stuck into the latter half of the year. Here are some stand out releases you may have missed. In chronological order! And please, speak up about any glaring omissions – recommend, comment away!

 

Whirr – ‘Pipe Dreams’ (13/03/12)

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Young Prisms – ‘In Between’ (27/03/12)

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Lotus Plaza – ‘Spooky Action At A Distance’ (02/04/12)

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Airiel – ‘Kid Games’ (01/05/12) [EP]

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Beach House – ‘Bloom’ (15/05/12)

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Violens – ‘True’ (15/05/12)

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Dead Mellotron – ‘Glitter’ (21/05/12)

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Broken Water – ‘Tempest’ (29/05/12)

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Crocodiles – ‘Endless Flowers’ (04/06/12)

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A Place To Bury Strangers – ‘Worship’ (26/6/12)*

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So what’s to look forward to? Ringo Deathstarr have sent their second record off for mastering, The Laurels ‘Plain’ is sounding great (out July 13), Arc In Round arrives later in the month, plus Echo Lake, DIIV, Twin Shadow, Wild Nothing and who knows, My Bloody Valentine might deliver a new LP!? Its in the lap of the rock gods for now… fingers, toes and eyes crossed.