Pia Fraus – ‘Field Ceremony’

After nearly a decade between albums, Pia Fraus dropped ‘Field Ceremony’ this October through Seksound (Europe) / Vinyl-Junkie (Japan) / Shelflife (U.S.A). Its awesomeness is no surprise. The Estonians spent the past few years sharing singles from the album, including: ‘Autumn Winds’; ‘Cloudy Eyes/Outer Otherness’; and ‘That’s Not All’. In 2016 the Tallinn vets also delivered an extensive repressing of their back catalogue on vinyl. In other words, Pia Fraus have kept busy!

Much of the original 1998 art school line-up remain on ‘Field Ceremony’. Former members help out the core group, which consists of Eve Komp (on vocals and keys), Rein Fuks (on guitars, vocals, percussion), Kärt Ojavee (on synths), Margus Voolpriit (on drums) and Reijo Tagapere on bass. Pia Fraus’ main game is melodically-driven dream pop. However, their sound blends shoegaze textures, slowcore tempos and indie pop appeal. Two crowd-pleasing shoegazers bookend the album; ‘It’s Over Now’ and ‘That’s Not All’. Gotta admit, I’m a sucker for these two. I love both of them.

At its heart, ‘Field Ceremony’ offers fantastic melodies. The vocals of Rein and Eve are interchangeable. You’d be forgiven not to notice that its not just one voice. I’m a big fan of guy/girl vocals and they do it so well. It keeps the record sounding diverse, with each song changing the balance. ‘Brutal Truth Of The World’ is one example. Here Pia Fraus use typically loud and swoony sounds and make them sound quiet, delicate. It’s the complete opposite of what you’d expect. Instead of confronting the listener with a wall of noise they use the noise to lull you in. That’s the genius of it. Great album, one of 2017’s best.

Pia Fraus – ‘Field Ceremony’ [Stream]

Visit Pia Fraus @ Seksound @ Shelflife @ Facebook.

Airiel – ‘Molten Young Lovers’

In a year of multiple comebacks, Airiel‘s full-length return (the successor to 2012’s ‘Kid Games’ EP) is one of the highlights. ‘Molten Young Lovers’ has been in our hands for a few months now (arriving in October via Shelflife Records). Strange to think this is only the second album from the band in twenty years. It’s a big deal! Thankfully the Chicago shoegazers (led by Jeremy Wrenn) gave fans exactly what they want; a carefully-conceived album that doesn’t divert from the script.

Our first taste arrived months back with the ‘Cloudburst’ single. Its indicative of the quality ‘gazey indie pop we’ve come to expect from Airiel. The album kicks off with an unrepentant drum machine intro on ‘This Is Permanent’. The electronic drums give the record an 80s feel, especially on the snare-heavy opener. It’s a textured attention grabber that carefully weaves simple melodic ideas into one sonic mass. The artful arrangement of said noise is consistent throughout, it plays out as one body of work. Which is no small achievement given it was put together over several years.

‘Your Lips, Your Mouth’ is a beautiful ode that wanders off into the cinematic, with an instrumental break to vibe out to. The middle section of the album provides some great shoegaze power ballads! Airiel aren’t afraid to let the pretty vocals hang out there, opting not to sink them into the mix. The bittersweet vocals and airy synths are another head nod to the 80s new wave.

I love the record but tracks like ‘Song For You’ are too sentimental for my tastes. I needed an emotional “tea break” at the midpoint. However, ‘Red Car’ and ‘The Painkillers’ quickly came to the rescue, both confident space rockers. Overall, ‘Molten Young Lovers’ deserves plenty of play, it’s arguably Airiel’s most accomplished work. An album fans can return to. Which is important, because it may be awhile before we get a follow up.

Airiel – ‘Molten Young Lovers’ [Stream]

Visit Airiel @ Shelflife Records @ Facebook.

Airiel – ‘Cloudburst’

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Airiel return in shimmering fashion with the dreamy jangle popper ‘Cloudburst’! The all-new single is backed by a Navigateur remix (as premiered by KCRW last week). The Chicago-based shoegazers have also announced that their long, long, long awaited new full length (called ‘Molten Young Lovers’) is on the way! It follows 2012’s ‘Kid Games’ EP and their 2007 LP ‘The Battle of Sealand’. There’s no release date on the album as yet but you can download the single now from Shelflife Records. Enjoy!

 
Airiel – ‘Cloudburst’

Visit Airiel @ Web @ Shelflife Records @ Facebook.

Talking Bush – ‘Overgrow’

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Shelflife Records recently released a charming debut four tracker from Talking Bush. It’s the moniker of Nikita Bushmanov, a St. Petersburg native who transitions several genres. ‘Overgrow’ blends new wave and synth pop into this catchy creation! The ‘Ordinary Unusual’ EP serves as a taster for his debut album, planned for 2016.

 
Talking Bush – ‘Overgrow’

Visit Talking Bush @ Shelflife Records @ Facebook.

Airiel – New Album Preview

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Chicago shoegaze vets Airiel will deliver a new LP later this year! The band have posted a “rough mix” of four songs from the album, and it’s sounding lovely. Hard to believe it’s been three years since the foursome (founded by Jeremy Wrenn in ’97) released the ‘Kid Games’ EP – so its welcome news. There’s also a refreshed ‘Winks & Kisses’ vinyl set on the way with new remixes (including this).

 
Ariel – New Album Preview

Airiel – ‘Flashlight Tag’ [from ‘Kid Games’]

Visit Airiel @ Web @ Facebook.

Flyying Colours – ‘Running Late’ [Video]

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British fans can catch Flyying Colours on tour this week with Pinkshinyultrablast! The quartet are set to deliver their new EP ‘Roygbiv’ next week via Club AC30 (UK) / Shelflife Records (USA). Take a peek at the newly released video for ‘Running Late’ below.

Flyying Colours – ‘Running Late’ [Video]

Flyying Colours – UK / EU Tour – May 2015
06 May – CARDIFF – Clwb Ifor Bach with Pinkshinyultrablast
07 May – BIRMINGHAM – The Temple with Pinkshinyultrablast
08 May – NOTTINGHAM – Lofthouse with Pinkshinyultrablast
09 May – LEICESTER – Scholar Bar with Pinkshinyultrablast
11 May – LONDON – Hoxton Bar & Kitchen with Pinkshinyultrablast
13 May – RAMSGATE – Music Hall with Pinkshinyultrablast
15 May – BRIGHTON – The Great Escape Festival – The Hope
22 May – PRAGUE – 007 Venue
23 May – HAMBURG – Molotiv

Visit Flyying Colours @ Club AC30 @ Shelflife Records @ Facebook.