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Sounds

It’s about the music.

Today we’re treated to a new track from Montréal‘s The City Gates. We’d grabbed hold of the EP’s first single, “Checkpoint Charlie” as soon as we’d stumbled upon it. Only seconds in, you’re treated to an airy, expansive, classic feel. Alternately melodic and abrasive, “Checkpoint Charlie” was a reminder that amazing music is being made right now, that appreciates the genre without simply aping it.

These qualities are brought into sharp focus on the EP’s just-released second single, “Maddening Ride”. Cavernous vocals overlay a wall of guitar expanse, and if you’re a fan of the genre you immediately feel right at home. The hook draws you into the soundscape, and this feels like a song you’ve known all your life, even though you’re hearing it for the first time. Lend an ear.

While surely EP to be released soon! is not the final working title, and effective date for full reveal is projected in late summer, the first two tracks are evidence that The City Gates have truly come into their own. They’ve recently shared a bill with shoegaze veterans The Veldt and Funeral Advantage, but it’s no stretch to imagine their headlining slots aren’t far off. Next show of note is in support of NOTHING and TRACES on August 5th at la Sala Rossa, Montréal. Ready for their star turn, to be sure.

Track The City Gates on Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Facebook and Twitter.

Though perhaps not yet well-known outside of their native Ventura County, Captions is preparing to roll out hard. A teaser single dropped on their Bandcamp in September of 2015, and caught attention for both breezy melodies and plaintive vocals. It had been understood that this was prelude to forthcoming LP, already ‘in the can’. A promising opening, to be sure, but even we weren’t prepared for what comes next.

Today Captions debuts their second single, “Recording Silence”, and it tops anything you might have expected. Shimmering and dreamy, there is a polished ease and slacker beauty to this single. Modern meets classic retro. Small flourishes swirl and collide, vocals soar, a time shift in the chorus keeps your attention locked, as Captions take you on a trip, starting on the 805 freeway and ending up in space.

Background? Captions is a four-piece shoegaze/dream pop band formed in the beginning of 2012 after a year of writing, jamming and interchanging band members. They wrote and recorded their first full-length album, ITERATIONS, in the winter of 2014-15.  The group consists of John Figueroa (vocals/guitar), Adam Gangi (guitar/keyboard), Marcus Paquini (bass/vocals/keyboard), and Joshua Zacarias (drums/vocals/keyboard).  Influences? The presser says “…they are influenced by everything from everyday interactions with both friends and strangers, to the near flawless snare drum tone on Radiohead’s ‘All I Need’.” Sounds like a winner to us!

Iterations is due late summer, with a tour of Southern California to follow. If “Recording Silence” is any indication, there will be pressure for a much wider tour.

Follow Captions on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and “follow” their Bandcamp site for releases as they happen.

This month’s new release buzz has all been about Nothing and Pity Sex. And there’s nowt wrong with that. Both are road warriors who’ve earned their audience, and their acclaim. May we add to this esteemed group an artist who has spent years honing and sharpening an amazing sound: Dale Humphries’ Voices From Deep Below. Their fourth studio LP, This Place Will Raise Up, is woozy, tuneful, and fully anthemic. If you’re a fan of this sound (you’d probably not be reading this if you weren’t), we’d frankly dare you not to fall in love. Press play, and read on.

Drop the needle on the album’s opener, “Wait There”, and the journey begins. If it seems that journey has begun with you waking up from a cough syrup hangover, that’s not unintentional. You’re asked to lose your bearings, and give in to dizziness, right from the get-go. Once you’re sufficiently off-balance, as though you’d been spun around blindfolded repeatedly, you’ve got the right state of mind for what follows. Not that “Wait There” is simply to be skipped over, quite the contrary: its lush, watery tones and slow churn make this perhaps the shiniest jewel among the stones. If the whole album sounded like a 40-minute exploration of this structure alone, I don’t think you’d hear many complaints.

“We Are The Same” opens with expansive power chords, accessible hooks, and an overall “bigness” that put this project on par with some of the new heavyweights in the genre. “This Place Will Raise Up” ratchets up the anthemic quality, but without sacrificing any of the delicious quirkiness that makes the effort so rewarding. “Radiate” is the sound of the sun setting over the hills behind the metroplex, expansive and brooding. By the time you reach “Merge”, with its nostalgic feels set to a shuffle beat, if you haven’t fallen yet, we can’t help you.

This is a great album to break up to, to fall in love to, to go on a life adventure with. Voices from Deep Below have been putting out compelling tunes for a while now. If you’ve allowed Dale Humphries’ output to pass by your radar, it’s probably well past time you caught up. The album is a free download, but this is an effort that deserves to have money and praise lavished on it. This Place Will Raise Up is a hidden jewel that shouldn’t be hidden.

This Place Will Raise Up is available for download at the Voices from Deep Below Bandcamp, follow them at their website, on Twitter and Facebook. Fall right now.

Tribal drums, guitars that churn and slash. On their fourth EP, Vow, Hermetic Delight meld classic post punk with shoegaze accents, infused with desperate insistence. Due 15 April on October Tone (Musicast Distribution), Hermetic Delight kick it up another notch, demanding your undivided attention. And right from the opening anthem (elegy? processional?) of “War is Closer”, you can tell that Vow isn’t quite like anything else. Press play and read on.

While “War is Closer” sets the cornerstone for the new EP, it only serves as a guidepost, not the endpoint. “Circles” wails with Siouxsie-like insistence and a fever-dream buildup, and feels like it might have been right at home on your early eighties mixtape alongside Xmal Deutschland. With its less-than-evocative title, “Interlude” might seem a toss-off, a bridge between the worlds. Don’t get comfortable. This brief but beautiful mess polishes psych, tribal noise, and an almost Doorsian bent, just to keep you on your toes.

“Vow” and “Murderbeat” follow this interlude, and the proceedings have buy cheap metronidazole online built to this particular moment. “Vow” feels all like love and betrayal, with Zey’s vocals sprawling over the top of the guitar haze. “Murderbeat” is an exercise in tension-building and unease-making, the natural conclusion of spending too much time contemplating the punishment for betrayal.

“Marian” is a jewel of dark goth-gaze pop, layered exquisitely, and you may well end up putting this track on repeat, just to get lost in the feeling. The elegaic”Outro” really is the only fitting ending to this EP, looping back to the opener “War is Closer”, but running its main theme through a Lynch/Badalamenti ‘mood processor’. Well thought-out, brilliantly executed, this is a fine taste of what Hermetic Delight is capable of. If you’re looking for something emotionally engaging, a bit more ambitious than your standard fare, Hermetic Delight welcomes you to their parlor on Vow. Be warned, however, there may be no escape.

Visit Hermetic Delight via their website, where Vow is available for preorder, and follow them on Facebook. Photo Credit: Gauthier Humbert.

Oakland’s Night Shapes today graced us with the premiere of their latest single, “Breathe”. It’s a heady mixture of psych, old-school punk, surf rock and reverb. The track was recorded by front person Jim Morose, then mixed and mastered at Oakland’s Secret Bathroom by engineer Andrew Oswald.


Self-described as “four dudes playing rock & roll with delay and stuff,” Night Shapes are influenced by bands like The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Fugazi, Jesus Lizard, and My Bloody Valentine. Towards the end of their new track you can hear a strong influence by The Jesus and Mary metronidazole medication online Chain.

We’ve seen their live show, and it’s always full of propulsion, energy and electricity. Night Shapes will be on the road starting with the much anticipated DreamGaze Festival in LA with headliners like No Age, Brothers In Law, and Part Time on 4/2 at secret locations downtown LA. Download “Breathe” for free (name-your-price model) on their Bandcamp page.

Upcoming Shows:

3/26 SF @ The Cave (Freak Nest Fest)
4/2 LA @ DreamGaze Festival LA
4/3 SD @ Tree House
4/5 LA @ Ham & Eggs Tavern
4/29 Davis @ Dads Place (KVDS)

Follow Night Shapes via their website, on Bandcamp, Facebook and Twitter. Photo courtesy Cyn Malditos.

We’ve been following Toronto’s Soft Wounds since their first demo EP release, and were lined up in anticipation of the first proper long-player. It’s no cookie-cutter shoegaze or dream pop release, as it features some solid songwriting, using genre identifiers only to draw curious listeners into their sonic world. The reverb is warm and generous, the feels are real.


“Baby Blue”, the teaser single released last week, gives a pretty good idea where this project is headed, with a respectful nod to forbears like Ride, and the soft/loud dynamics of Teenage Fanclub. It’s an anthem for the cool kids, who wouldn’t be caught dead listening to generic indie dreck at frat parties.


The real highlight of Soft Wounds is the churning storm of “You Can’t Stay Here”. The hook is undeniable. It feels both familiar and classic, but without being a rehash/recycle, and jangles to a full stop after a rollicking ride. Probably a lock for regular airplay rotation in no time.

It’s not a perfectly-formed album, by any means. Not all the choices make immediate sense, but the songs grow on you. There are ebbs and flows to Soft Wounds, as hard-charging tunes give way to slow-burn torch songs, but the imprint here is strong, the identity fixed. Soft Wounds does what they do, and are fully comfortable expressing themselves within the parameters they’ve set. They’re not looking to reinvent the sound, but they will draw you in to their version of it.

So has Toronto become Canada’s shoegaze capital? Hard to argue, with a list of luminaries like Indoor Voices, Beliefs, Iris (R.I.P.), Rituals, Elsa, RLMDL and Lust. Whatever’s got into the water in Toronto, we’ll have some of that.

Available now. Buy Soft Wounds debut S/T LP on Bandcamp, and follow their exploits on Facebook.

Outside of classic Curve, who’s ever heard of great shoegaze you can dance to? A Shoreline Dream premieres their upcoming single, “Revolvist”, and it may have you disoriented from the opening bars. Shoegaze meets postpunk meets dark, gothy undertones in this propulsive track. Guitar that sounds like a hazy Lycia soundscape meets a Sisters of Mercy (or early Cocteau Twins) bassline, and goth heaven is achieved, without losing sight of the signature sound that makes A Shoreline Dream one of the leading lights of the neo-shoegaze movement.


Is “Revolvist” a new direction for A Shoreline buy flagyl Dream? Doubtful. Just another facet in the diamond for this well-accomplished, multifaceted band. We’ll take more of this any damn day. Digital release available 04 March, pre-order now through both Amazon (international) and iTunes.

The video for “Revolvist” is an extension of the song itself, featuring Denver side-show performing legends “The Scissor Sweethearts”, Siara Gray and Serana Rose. Filmed entirely on location in the outdoor set of Shoreline Studios, which resides in the very neighborhood named after infamous circus madman PT Barnum.

Follow A Shoreline Dream at their website, via their Latenight Weeknight Records label, on Facebook and Twitter.

What shoegaze / dream pop albums rocked your soul in 2015? It’s our 2015 Album of the Year Poll! C’mon, you know you missed it. Each voter gets three votes per person. No EPs or singles are represented in this poll, those will come down later (most likely next week for the EPs). Share your love of great music and vote! Don’t let those of lesser taste (or generic indie hipsters) take advantage, and skew the results.


Results due in one week! Vote responsibly. Don’t drink and vote. We suspect we’ll do three shows, including album of the year, EP of the year, all leading up to our annual clusterbomb Song of the Year program in January 2016. Because we’re masochists, and live on stress and caffeine.

Crescendo took the West Coast by storm last year with the album Lost Thoughts, anchored by tunes full of optimism and longing. It’s been a long wait since then. Personnel changes, one false start and much songwriting later, Crescendo has finally revealed “Repulsor”, the first track from Unless, their first album for Italy’s respected We Were Never Being Boring label. The same joy, churning and frenetic pace you loved from the Lost Thoughts LP, you’ll find that and more on Unless.

 

Chief visionary Gregory Cole found common cause with new Crescendo members Olive Kimoto and Jess Rojas, who add another layer of dreamy romanticism to the sound and the vocals. “Writing music has always metronidazole buy online australia been the way for my subconscious to communicate with me,” says Cole. “When I’m put on the spot to write lyrics for a composition, my heart will force out my dearest thoughts that aren’t always known to me.” Whatever the formula is, it’s obviously working.

Preorders are now live for Unless, via We Were Never Being Boring, available on colored heavy splatter transparent vinyl, digital and compact disc.

Upcoming live dates:

11/18-11/20 TEDMED House Band (private event);
Coachella, CA 11/24 The Hideout with Millionyoung;
San Diego, CA 11/25 Harvard & Stone DreamGaze Festival Presents: The New Division[DJ Set] + PART TIME + Millionyoung & Crescendo; Los Angeles, CA

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Follow Crescendo via Facebook and Twitter for all the updates, and preorder Unless here.

June 2014. Last we’d heard from Virginia’s Keep, Hypnosis for Sleep had just been released. A tasty blend of atmospherics and power chords, Keep was clearly inspired by bands like Nothing and Cloakroom, but with a clear vision of what their sound should be. And the nagging hook from “Old Man” never lets go (graduated to our permanent rotation in one day). Describing this as a punk/shoegaze hybrid really sells Keep short, as it ignores the mastery of what they do with the space between. There’s power in the chords, but there’s beauty in the spaces.

 
Now Keep returns for their first release after signing with Ohio’s Mayfly Records, and it seems like they’ve found a natural home there. Psychorama opens with the reverb-drenched vistas of “Latch”, and invites you on a journey into the heart of the sound. Elements of shoegaze, ambient, even classic doom metal are all perfectly balanced, so that no one voice dominates the others. The always-haunting vocals bring the humanity to the project, fueled by longing and loss.

 

You can sense a progression, and an attention to detail, that makes Keep a band to be reckoned with. They’re exploring the contours of their own sound, and finding new depths of feeling. Rumor has it that the three tracks that make up Psychorama took nine months to complete. But the finished product proves the effort was worth the work, and the wait.

Psychorama is available for preorder now, with a vinyl first pressing limited to 300 on Coke-Bottle Clear, expected to ship November 20, and exclusively from Mayfly Records.

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Follow Keep via Twitter, and keep up with Mayfly Records at their website, and via Facebook and Twitter.