We run a radio station. Traditionally, couldn’t care less about video releases. Sorry, but it’s true. But then… one of our favorite bands polishes up one of their recent classics, and makes a video for it. And the whole studio starts to buzz. This is certainly the case with Melbourne’s Arbes, who released one of the sparkling EPs of last year, and the song that cracked #15 on our Top Tracks of 2016 chart. “Sun On My Back” is one of those perennial summer songs that’s difficult not to adore.
In a world full of DIIV knockoffs (and outright parodies), this awkward anthem is everything you could want guitar-based dream pop to evolve into. Sam Pannifex lays down the angular, even mathy guitar riffs, while Jess Zanoni overlays all with a vocal line with warmth and precision. That they’ve configured a hook-laden follow-up to 2015’s “45” should be no surprise. This summer groove didn’t just evolve in L.A., or even Brooklyn. Melbourne doesn’t need schooling on how to bring the sparkly summer vibe. Arbes has been doing it for years now.
With a new single for 2017, Flying Cape Experience practice their unique brand of enchantment once again. Out now on El Vals del Conejo, “Fire Between Us” again sports an acoustic foundation, leaving the dream pop accents to the production and vocals, and a Moody Blues-like orchestration for the song’s climax. The art direction is classic, returning to simpler, gentler times.
“Fire Between Us” released 28 July, but the video accompaniment became available late yesterday. Follow Flying Cape Experience on Twitter and Facebook, and catch up with their back catalogue through the label page at El Vals del Conejo.
Celldweller may not be the first name that comes to mind when you’re thinking of shoegaze or dream pop. A long career with highlights and chart successes in industrial metal and electronic rock, multi-instrumentalist and sonic visionary Klayton (Celldweller) has been universally known for signature driving beats and crunchy guitar riffs. So when he announced his forthcoming LP, Offworld would draw from a variety of shoegaze influences he’s loved, some of his fans may have come away puzzled. More Daysleepers than Deftones, previews of Offworld featured watery reverb, and perhaps a greater emotional depth than previous releases.
For us, the crown jewel of this new effort is “Echoes”. At once powerful and deeply personal, “Echoes” seems a perfect fusion of Celldweller’s epic aspirations and classic shoegaze flourishes. “This song really captured the shoegaze sound I have loved for years,” Klayton said. “Where I had sprinkled elements of shoegaze throughout the album, this song was 100% unapologetically shoegaze.” We’ll take unapologetic shoegaze any day of the week.
We asked about the new sound, the sonic new approach, and the gear it took to make this album a reality.
“This album is like no other Celldweller album I’ve ever made which was completely intentional. While exploring the idea of Offworld and contemplating what I wanted it to say musically, I found myself wanting the music to be a more organic, breathing & evolving thing. This made me approach songwriting by first picking up a guitar instead of a synthesizer and processing them through a vast world of guitar pedals. Further mangling organic sources and Infusing the tracks with my traditional electronic sound design resulted in an album I’m really proud of.
I bought a bevy of guitar pedals that I felt would inspire new ideas and help navigate uncharted musical directions for me and then went to work. I used pedals from Strymon, Red Panda, Earthquaker Devices, Boss, Dwarfcraft, Electro-Harmonix, Frantone & Eventide and found huge amounts of inspiration there.
I’ve been a longtime fan of ’90s Shoegaze artists but never really had a place to produce in that style on my own tracks. This was the perfect place to infuse those vibes across some of the tracks. I approached other songs with more of an Acoustic Guitar backbone and even delved into some Blackgaze inspired stuff to bring in the heavier side of things. I used some great software on the release. The Eventide suite of plugins (Blackhole!!) Valhalla reverbs, Soundtoys effects and Fabfilter Pro-Q 2 and Pro-MB everywhere. I used an assortment of guitars through Various amps – Vox, Mesa Boogie & Saldono as well as the occasional Native Instruments Guitar Rig for in-the-box stuff.
There were no production rules per-se. My only goal was to create an album that had a consistent feel – one I would have wanted as a teen, driving around on cold winter nights while lost in thought. To me there was an escape in that music and I wanted to create that same environment for someone else. You and I will go Offworld tonight…”– Klayton (Celldweller)
In the wee small hours of this morning, Mumrunner posted their first-ever music video, for ‘Cascais’. One of several standout tracks from their top-rated Gentle Slopes EP, Mumrunner have added a compelling visual imprint to their already intense musical imprint. And, at least around these studios, Mumrunner has been dominating the charts for compelling new music. It’s great to see such an impressive band stretch their boundaries visually.
The band discussed the genesis of this video: “The idea of the video was to put the band members amongst the scenario and scenery of World War II. The video was shot with an old 16mm film camera from the early 1960s to achieve a similar feeling and picture quality with the used archive material, so it’s hard to tell which shots are old and which are new.”
Director Otto Heikola continued: “The inspiration for the song had come from an actual event in which boyish behaviour led to tragedy. In the music video we decided to do something thematically similar, but on a much larger scale, set in the violent events of World War II, with the band becoming part of the action.”
We can’t tell you why it works. Just as we can’t tell you why Mumrunner can’t fail at producing great music. It just works, and they just do. We’d go so far as to say, Mumrunner is the most compelling new band of the last three years, and every new music announcement is a date to mark on our calendars. Solti has got another winner on their hands.
In advance of their forthcoming debut LP, due 24 March, Vikings in Tibet unleash its first single, “Silver Years”. Part of the Pelican Sessions series, this sees Vikings in Tibet in live session, recreating the angular math-inflected dream pop they’re known for. This energetic restlessness is captured in full force here: harsh verses are thrown at you one after the other, building up towards a conclusive chorus. The song oscillates between a dry groove and cinematic interludes, but always plaintive and tuneful. Check out the video, below.
Big things are expected of this combo, and their unique stamp on indie dream rock. Follow Vikings in Tibet at their website, and check out the full Pelican Sessions series here.
Over the weekend, Seattle’s most respected musician and producer debuted the first single from his upcoming third full LP, Lost in Slow Motion, releasing April 29th. Erik Blood’s “Quiet” is a most unusual creature, in that it seems to present a dream pop anthem (two terms you don’t generally see together). Simultaneously released with a video produced by Kyle Porter of Unsound America, the visual layers overlap in much the same way Erik Blood’s sonic elements overlap, merge, then disconnect. Layers of synth wash set warm tones, chimes add tasteful sparkle, and slowly building choruses give way to a grimy guitar flourish at song’s end, punctuating the proceedings.
Erik Blood’s “Quiet” is now available for free download via his Soundcloud site, and will genuinely pique your curiosity as to how the album will unfold. Lost in Slow Motion is available 29 April, 2016, on vinyl through Homeskillet Records, and on cassette from No Genre Tapes.
Austin’s incomparable Bloody Knives released the first single and video for their forthcoming EP, I Will Cut Your Heart Out For This. Tuneful, compelling, bleak, nobody makes an amazingly joyless noise like Bloody Knives. Your closest comparison is A Place To Bury Strangers, and still, this is not that. Signed to Saint Marie Records since forever ago, Bloody Knives have brought a controlled chaos to their output that is strong enough to peel paint from the wall near your hotplate. This single only amplifies the band’s aesthetic, and stakes a claim to dominate the noisier axis of shoegaze in 2016. “Reflection Lies” is all that and a bag of crack. All hail the kings.
Plans for a Spring tour are in the works, including several dates along the West Coast. We’ll keep you posted as we learn them, because we (like you) really don’t want to miss this live show.
Today Shojo Winter released their debut video, for the single “chosen terrors”. The lead track from their forthcoming second EP somewhere else, this single further explores Cure-era textures and moods they’d dabbled in on their first EP. They’ve described it as dreampostgothwave, so obviously they’re going for an entirely different feel than you’re used to. Though Shojo Winter is fronted by Crisis Arm members Kevin and Pat, this is an exploration of an entirely different moody world. “Chosen Terrors” is shot entirely by Pat and Kevin on VHS and color reprocessed, with Cameron and Chris of Crisis Arm providing editing and finishing services.
The track “chosen terrors” itself is haunting, almost impenetrable, but grows more and more with repeated listenings. The song itself is about being uprooted, leaving the home you’ve known for years, and stepping out into the unknown.
The new single from Italy’s The Yellow Traffic Light dropped today on WWNBB Collective. Sharing some similarities with the jangly DIIV sound, and bringing an energy and tunefulness all their own, “Cole Drives Too Fast” delivers a mildly controlled chaos, much like an out-of-control driver on a highway late at night (even the drums seem near to flying away at times!). The video itself premiered last week on rockit.it, the single is now available worldwide through your favorite retailer. It’s the first salvo from their new EP, scheduled for release on We Were Never Being Boring in September. Another fine signing by a well-respected label.
The Yellow Traffic Light charted at #32 in our year-end Songs of 2014 list with the epic “Care”, so we can only hope they continue to bring the jangle and shimmer before the year is out!
Powerful forces dwell just beneath the murk. In the case of Maria False, the power is in the songcraft, snatches of attitude and confident lead lines, buried beneath the murk of light distortion and heavy tape manipulation, layer upon layer. It’s a heady confection, to be sure, but it draws you in even as it makes you dizzy. You may lose your bearings, but Maria False has become too adept at guiding you through the haze to simply leave you lost. The lead single from their new album When is a prime example of this mastery. “Shoot It” is the sound of a confident band who knows the sound from the inside out, and sculpts a work from the fragments of dreams.
Like the song, the video for “Shoot It” is woozy and layered. Motion, open fields and architecture all compete for supremacy through bokeh filters and pale green hues. DKFM is proud to present the video premiere for the Maria False single, “Shoot It”.
“Shoot It” is one of the most compelling songs on When, in an album full of compelling tracks, and is sure to end up on our year-end “Best Of” lists. Right from the opening chord of “Shoot It”, Maria False reminds you why you love this music.