The Velvet Hum Goes To England Part II
Written by Mark Anderson on March 22, 2021
Original airing February 25 2021 9 p.m. central/3 p.m. GMT on DKFM
By Marky Anderson
There were so many bands we wanted to play last time; it was decided we hang around in England for one more show. Join me and my travelling companion Deborah Sexton as we get back on the road with The Velvet Hum Radio Show Goes to England.
It won’t surprise you to discover we have been overwhelmed with so much amazing music. This time we have squeezed in more bands for you to discover. As before, we thought it would be fun to tell you a bit about the songs we chose for this show.
White Flowers – Blue May
White Flowers comes from Preston and is made up of Katie Drew and Joey Cobb. Together, they weave the most wonderful soundscapes blending post-punk, goth, dream pop and shoegaze in their own unique way.
“Blue May” comes from the latest Within a Dream EP, and it’s a chilled affair with laid-back vocals and reverb-soaked guitar. It has all the intent of a ’50s ballad couched in the most modern of delivery and production. The swirling outro is pleasantly disorientating and a great way to finish the song.
Within a Dream is available now from Bandcamp.
INDIGOS – Silhouette of You
INDIGOS, the latest export of Bristol’s significant live music scene, signed to the Club AC30 label last year, one of the premiere shoegaze imprints.
Its heavenly self-titled debut EP is an effortless blend of ’90s post-punk grunginess mixed with layers of psychedelic guitars and irresistible pop hooks. It makes INDIGOS an enchanting prospect, steeped in that ever-popular juxtaposition between dark, existential angst and blissful summer licks.
“Silhouette of You,” the lead track from the EP, has the darkness of a Siouxie and the Banshees song blended with the pop hooks of Veruca Salt.
The INDIGOS EP is available on Bandcamp.
Leave the Planet – Forever
Leave the Planet is the musical project of Nathalie Bruno and Jack Milwaukee. While their last release was in 2016, it’s so good we had to share it with you.
“Forever” comes from the six-song EP called Nowhere. Its sound uses a dynamic mix of vintage synths, drum machines and guitars to create a blissful wave of modern shoegaze. Although it hints at past greats on Creation Records in the early ’90s, Leave the Planet definitely sounds fresh and modern.
There is something eerie and unrelentingly romantic about “Forever.” The song has many layers and textures, and it keeps your rapt attention until its dying notes.
Get the Nowhere EP on Bandcamp.
Dreamback – Daze
I’m a huge post-rock fan, and I find myself wallowing in 15-minute instrumental tracks loving every minute. What I really enjoy is when post-rock merges with other genres to create something new and exciting. This is exactly what the debut EP from Staffordshire-based producer/musician Jamie Duddy has achieved with his musical project Dreamback.
Drawing on influences such as My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Slowdive, Japanese Breakfast and Tame Impala, Dreamback combines lush, dreamy reverberation, fuzzy distortion and shimmering acoustic guitar to create layered soundscapes.
We chose the track “Daze” from his debut After Before EP. “Daze” uses an acoustic guitar base to build from. Duddy then strikes a marked contrast with a fuzzed-out guitar playing a wonderful glide part, definitely drawing on his inner Kevin Shields. This song showcases Duddy’s understanding of dynamics and scale in a song. It’s superb.
The After Before EP is available on Bandcamp.
Rapt – None of This Will Matter
Rapt is the alias of Jacob Ware, a musician based in Brighton, England. After eight years in the extreme metal scene and co-founding the death metal band Enslavement, Rapt is an exploration of his other musical passions.
Spanning slowcore, folk, shoegaze, ambient and electronic music, the moniker’s name is intended to be fluid and loose, allowing the project to explore a range of genres. The blog “Tome to the Weather Machine” succinctly described Rapt as “categorically autumnal music.” Rapt’s second album None of This Will Matter, released via Z-Tapes in 2020, was met with positive reviews and sold out of its first run of tapes, warranting a second press and vinyl release.
It’s the title track from this album we have selected for you to enjoy. Fans of Nick Drake, Mojave 3 or Kenny Feinstein will absolutely adore this song. Deborah and I fell for this song big time. The precisely picked acoustic guitar against the hushed, reverb-soaked vocals is beautiful.
Rapt’s upcoming album, Drouth is out via Z-Tapes and marks a return to the electronic roots of the moniker. Rapt’s music is available via its Bandcamp page.
Air Formation – Near Miss
Air Formation is an English indie rock band that debuted with its first 7-inch single in the summer of 1998 under the name b.e.a.b Approved. In early 2000, it was forced to change its name and chose “Air Formation.” Inspired by Flying Saucer Attack, Spacemen 3, and The Jesus and Mary Chain, its music incorporates heavily delayed guitar and feedback, droning keyboards, and soft vocals. To date the band has released five albums, three EPs, and five 7-inch singles.
“Near Miss” is the title track from the 2018 album. The song soars, reminding me of vintage Ride in places and wholly unique in others. You can almost imagine this as the soundtrack for a lost sci-fi movie.
Air Formation’s music is available via its Bandcamp page.
Futurafter – Tears of Love
Futurafter is the enigmatic project of the mysteriously named Taranis and Mir. Two sonic space men producing glorious synth-soaked shoegaze.
This is the definition of future pop with its catchy melodies and out-there sounds. “Tears of Love” may well have been recorded on another planet. Pounding drum machines fight with glitchy synths, electro bass and soaring vocals for your attention. There’s so much to love about this song, in fact, the whole EP.
Futurafter is the latest of a long line of quality acts from Brighton’s Shore Dive Records, and you can find its music on Bandcamp.
Graywave – Like Heaven
Graywave is the solo musical venture of Birmingham-based multi-instrumentalist Jess Webberley. Influenced by the likes of Men I Trust, Slowdive, Crumb, and Widowspeak, Graywave aims to create music to make you feel as though you are elsewhere. The combination of dreamy chords, shoegaze-inspired guitar leads and powerful vocals create a distinctive, recognisable sound.
“In Heaven” is a powerful statement of intent. The grungy chords pounding out while gentile Robin-Guthrie-like guitar chimes over the top. I would love to see Graywave on a bill with Grivo or Slow Crush as they have such complementing styles.
Graywave’s music is available on her Bandcamp page.
Jetstream Pony – Trapped in Amber
Jetstream Pony comes from a love of indie-pop and post-punk and is based in Brighton and Croydon, UK. The band features Beth Arzy (The Luxembourg Signal, Trembling Blue Stars, Lightning in a Twilight Hour, Aberdeen) on vocals, Shaun Charman (The Wedding Present, The Popguns) on guitar, Kerry Boettcher (Turbocat) on bass, and Hannes Mueller (The BV’s, Endlich Bluete) on drums.
“Trapped in Amber” comes from its 2020 self-titled album. It is a joyous slice of indie jangle pop with dreamy vocals that only a singer of Arzy’s calibre can deliver.
It’s hard not to smile while listening to this band. It’s obvious from the sounds it makes that it pours love into each note. Having played the album through a few times, I am hooked. Fans of Slowdive, The Primitives and Lush will want to explore this band further.
“Trapped in Amber” is available via its Bandcamp page.
Southwest Hotel – On and On
Exeter-based, shoegaze, post-punk Southwest Hotel is no stranger to DKFM, but this is its Velvet Hum debut.
“On and On” opens with a bass line that The Cure would kill for. I love the use of light and shade throughout this track. The guitar textures vary from verse to chorus to middle eight building to a roaring, fuzzed-out crescendo. This band is creating a noise fit for the largest of stages, and I can imagine seeing them blowing festival audiences away once we are allowed such things again.
“On and On” is available via its Bandcamp page.
Leontini Vernacular – Mortal Bore
It’s back to the blooming music scene of Bristol for The Leontini Vernacular, a side project of Gregory Jameswood, the guitarist of Nossiennes.
“Mortal Bore” come from its Anthropause EP released in January on Shore Dive Records.
Carried along on a pulsating, walking bassline; the song casually morphs from a shoegaze anthem to a moody electro pop goth opera without missing a step. This is really clever stuff and has you reaching for the play again button again and again.
The six-track EP is available via Shore Dive Records on Bandcamp.
Code Ascending – Thermite
Code Ascending come exploding out of the gate with “Thermite” from its 2019 album dark taxa. Featuring drummer James Harrison from Air Formation, this band loves its music loud and in your face. The opening riff gives way to a screeching wall of feedback the Reid brothers would be proud of. The song is driven by the melodic bass while guitars come in hard on the choruses. It’s a wonderful racket, and I was immediately drawn in to explore the rest of the album.
The band has two other EPs for you discover over on its Bandcamp page.
Paper Birch – Summer Daze
Paper Birch is set to release its stunning debut album, MORNINGHAIRWATER on vinyl via Reckless Yes in the UK. It was written under lockdown between May and June 2020. A fervent correspondence of lyrics, ideas and sounds between musicians Fergus Lawrie of cult band Urusei Yatsura and Dee Sada of NEUMES/An Experiment on A Bird in The Air Pump.
“Summer Daze” is an extreme noise experiment against the gentlest of vocal deliveries. Its almost like Sonic Youth teamed up with Vashti Bunyan. Totally exhilarating and enthralling, you won’t be able to do anything but focus on the sounds coming from your speakers.
You can find out more about Paper Birch and its upcoming album release over on its website.
Peachblood – Stay
Brighton’s Peachblood is another act from the Shore Dive Records stable. Like a glorious mashup of The Cranberries and Slowdive, it weaves a wonderfully dreamy sound.
Vocals come from Dutch singer Tyscha Wagemans, whose performance is truly unique. Smoky and distant, she commands your attention from start to finish. The band behind her has no slack either, creating a glorious waltz-time backing, chiming and shining like stars.
This song is sheer joy from start to finish, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.
You can check out “Stay” and Peachblood’s other songs on its Bandcamp page.
Dreams of Empire – Space Invader
Dreams of Empire was created by Andrew and Jane Craig in 2018 when they started writing and releasing a string of well-received singles from their home near Brighton, England.
They now play as a four piece with Ian Moss (drums) and Becky Allen (bass) and are hoping to play live online and in person later in 2021 once lockdown relaxes.
“Space Invader” is the opening track from its 2020 album Encapsulation. It’s a fast-paced and undeniably catchy romp of a song. The shaking tambourine and driving bass carry the song along as the guitars provide this wave of sound that races along behind. All the while Jane provides a soaring vocal that lifts the song to new heights.
Right now, the band is writing and recording new tracks that it plans to release this summer.
Fun fact: Dreams of Empire’s name is a tongue-in-cheek reflection of the band’s understated ambition, literally meaning “the aimless longing for glory.”
“Space Invader” is available via the band’s Bandcamp page.
Coming up, we are heading over to Wales to find out what sonic delights await us in the valleys. When will that be? Stay tuned to DKFM Shoegaze Radio and The Velvet Hum to find out. If you’d like to nominate your favorite British artist, or you are a band located in the UK, feel free to contact me at email@example.com or Deborah Sexton at firstname.lastname@example.org.