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Releasing into the wild on 21 July, the first issue from Dut Dut Dut Dut LLC, the Summer of Shimmer 17 mixtape. A project months in the making, Mike Contreras and Co. wanted to simultaneously celebrate the scene that celebrates itself, promote new and emerging artists, and plant a flag to represent their new imprint. Half of these tracks are brand new, never before heard, and exclusive to this compilation. Twelve unique artists, twelve divergent sonic approaches, one limited edition tinted blue cassette tape with digital download code, We’ll run a special program tonight, 10 pm Eastern, 7 Pacific, premiering select tracks from the compilation.

Full Tracklist:

1. Soda Lilies – “Not Like Honey”
2. Red Rosie – “Close My Eyes”
3. The Love Agenda – “Peace In This World”
4. Never Come Downs – “All Alone”
5. You’re Jovian – “Just Say When”
6. Lesvosurf – “Carrefour”
7. Daysee – “The South”
8. Coloresantos – “Rigel”
9. There Are Ghosts – “Yellow and Grey”
10. Coloring Electric Like – “Standing On The Moon”
11. Black Juvenal – “The Sound and the Fury”
12. Vyva Melinkolya – “Snow”

We’ll also be dropping in a choice cut or two from tomorrow’s A Thousand Hours release: Sleep is their second long-player, and it’s a next-level effort. It’s been an honor to work on both projects, mastering both albums with an eye (er, ear) toward broadcast. And we’re happy to trot out fresh premieres from both projects in one happy hour of sonic freshness!

 

We first took notice of Saint Petersburg, Russia’s Blankenberge in March of 2016, as some of the smartest folks we knew were praising their debut self-titled EP. For a debut to feature such an epic, cavernous sound right from the start, well, that’s some confidence right there. While still formative, the seeds were planted for something pretty big.

Since then, Blankenberge got to work. Polishing, amplifying their singular sonic vision, writing and recording their newly-released debut LP, Radiogaze. And it’s a wonder. The sonic caverns are deeper, the vocals more assured, the space they inhabit is fully their own. Already critically lauded as one of the best albums in the genre thus far in 2017, Blankenberge have carved out their own space in a scene that sometimes seems okay with “good enough”. We sat down with these dreamers, to find out more about their sound, approach, and future plans. Noting the language barriers in translation from Russian to English (and vice versa), we’re thrilled to present this first English-language interview with Blankenberge. Press play below, and follow along.


DKFM:
How did Blankenberge come together?

Daniil [guitar, synth]: All of us, except Sergey (our drummer), knew each other before moving to St. Petersburg, even though we were living in different cities in Russia. We were obsessed with guitar effects and mailed them to each other. I bought a pedal «Shoegazer» from Dayan and started playing shoegaze.
Yana [vocals]: Our band originally started in a small city in the south of Siberia, Barnaul, in early 2015. It included Daniil and I and our friends from Barnaul that are not in the band now. Before that, we traveled throughout Europe and visited some cities and towns in Belgium. Blankenberge was one of them. We were so impressed by that trip, especially by the North Sea coast that we called our group Blankenberge in honor of that city. After returning we composed several songs, some of which were included in our first EP. Then that same year, Daniil and I moved to St. Petersburg, because we thought that we would have more opportunities to develop our music. We also think that this is the most beautiful city in Russia and it gives a lot of inspiration to artists. Soon after the move, we found the rest of the current members (Dmitriy – bass, Dayan – guitar, Sergey – drums). We often performed in St. Petersburg and finally in March 2016 we released the self-titled EP.

DKFM: Saint Petersburg, Russia. We know that Pinkshinyultrablast was formed there, but most of the other Russian-origin dream pop and shoegaze bands seem to have come from Moscow. Is there much of an alternative music scene in Saint Petersburg, and what is it like?
Dmitriy [bass]: For me the music scene of St. Petersburg has always seemed more underground than in Moscow. In my opinion, there is a huge number of great bands, which haven’t become popular for some reasons. For example, I like the band «Elektrorebyata», that has unfortunately split up now, I think they are the Russian “Guided by Voices” or “Dinosaur Jr”.
Yana [vocals]: We know a few good bands that are playing shoegaze and dream pop music, and they are all from different cities of Russia, not only Moscow and St. Petersburg. In St. Petersburg I would like to mention some very good post-rock bands, for example «TRNA», «Show me a dinosaur» and «Antethic».

DKFM: Who would you say are your influences? Who has helped shape your sound, your sonic approach?
Daniil [guitar, synth]: In the sound of Blankenberge, I’m guided by «This will destroy you» and «Sigur Rós». Now I also really like the new band of Stuart from «Mogwai» – «Minor Victories». I saw a lot of reviews about our music and some of them are saying that it is similar to «Slowdive», but honestly, I’ve never been a fan of their music.
Dmitriy [bass]: It’s hard to say who are the influences of our current sound because our music tastes are very different, but I really like «Slowdive», «Adorable» and «Swervedriver», they are my own influences.
Yana [vocals]: I think we all listen to different music and it reflects on our music in a good way.

DKFM: Tell us about this group of talents, and what they bring to the songwriting process?
Yana [vocals]: Daniil composes almost all the music. Before that, he composed music in his bands «Every Second of Inertia» and «Век Ноль»(«Vek Nol’»), and he already had a great experience in composing music. Each participant certainly invests something in the process of composing while rehearsing. I write lyrics and compose the vocal melodies. Dayan and Dmitry are well versed in the choice of guitar effects, which greatly affects our sound. Sergey is our drummer and I couldn’t imagine our sound without him.
Daniil [guitar, synth]: Some songs appear spontaneously, for example when I’m on the subway. You know the noise of a subway car is quite melodic. If you put drums there, you will get excellent shoegaze. «We» and «Falling Stars» were definitely composed that way.
Usually we try to compose songs at rehearsals all together shrouded in a shimmering and loud sound. We record all that and then I listen to it at home in silence and under the influence of sound hallucinations, a new track appears.
When I compose music, I just make those sounds that I would like to listen to later.

DKFM: Though they are different bands, with different sonic foundations, some have compared Blankenberge to Pinkshinyultrablast, perhaps because of the angelic vocal layer that rests atop the guitar’s haze. Do YOU see any similarities, or do you find the comparison short-sighted?
Daniil [guitar, synth]: In fact, comparison with «Pinkshinyultrablast» is a compliment for me. When I first heard them, I was really amazed and I told myself – this is what I wanted to hear for a long time, and this is ideal. It was for me something like satori.
It seems to me that we have quite a different structure to the tracks from «Pinkshinyultrablast» and therefore there are more differences than similarities – that’s all that I can say.
Dmitriy [bass]: The first time I heard «Pinkshinyultrablast» was in 2011. It was their EP
«Happy Songs for Happy Zombies». Back then I didn’t even believe that it was a band from Russia, because in those days, popular rock music in Russia was very different. I think that we are influenced by «Pinkshinyultrablast» one way or another, but we never thought about copying their sound.
Yana [vocals]: I think that of course the fact that «Pinkshinyultrablast» comes from St. Petersburg creates a kind of connection between us for everyone who is listening to us. We really like what they do and it is definitely reflected in our music, but there are a lot of bands that have influenced us. For example, I’m very grateful to «Pinkshinyultrablast» for having discovered the «Astrobrite» band for me by naming their band after one of the albums of «Astrobrite». Apart from «Astrobrite», I am inspired by many bands, such as «Mogwai» and «Sigur Rós». Their music is magical.

DKFM: There are eleven-time zones in Russia. Do you get to tour the country at all, given the geographical challenges involved? And are there any plans for an international tour?
Yana [vocals]: Apart from Sergey, the members of our band come from different cities. We dream of touring inside Russia and playing in our home cities too. So far, we have only played in St. Petersburg and Moscow. We also would like to tour Europe, but so far, we cannot name exact dates.
Daniil [guitar, synth]: My big dream is to tour the world and play my music. We really want to go somewhere in the near future, to Blankenberge for example. (*laughs*)

DKFM: Talk about what it took to put together this full album: the songwriting process, the recording process. Also, where did the album’s title, ‘Radiogaze’ come from? Almost seems like it was made for us radio DJs playing shoegaze!
Daniil [guitar, synth]: The process of composing and recording was very difficult and long, but I really enjoyed doing it, even though there were a lot of issues. It took us a few fuzz and reverb pedals and a good sound engineer. The album came out and I like it. This is my first work that I’m really happy with and I can say this without modesty.
Yana [vocals]: The first songs from «Radiogaze» appeared almost immediately after the release of our first self-tittled EP at the beginning of 2016. For a year we composed songs with six months left for recording and mixing. We wanted to make a lighter and dancier album than the previous EP, but we didn’t want to step far from shoegaze, so we tried to mix shoegaze with dream pop. We tried to select the best of what we liked in the songs of our favorite bands and put it together in our songs. «Radiogaze» is a word derived from some associations. The noise of analog radio is for us associated to the noise that we hear in shoegaze music. It’s simply saying it’s something like “A radio, which plays shoegaze”.

DKFM: What comes next for Blankenberge? The album is a critical success, largely based on word-of-mouth, as well as stations and blogs like ours who have championed your sound. Any upcoming plans?
Yana [vocals]: Now we are planning to publish the album on physical media – tapes, CDs, vinyl. Then we want to tour the cities of Russia and other countries and make noise in clubs outside St. Petersburg, where we often perform. Of course, we will also compose new music and try to make it even more perfect, in our understanding of that.
Daniil [guitar, synth]: We want to take advantage of the existing experience to make something new, surprise ourselves and make something louder than what we have already made. And of course, we want to get some new guitar pedals.

Yana [vocals]: Thanks to DKFM for this interview! We often listen to your radio and there’s always very good music. A real paradise for lovers of shoegaze and dream pop music all over the world!

Get your own copy of Blankenberge Radiogaze LP via their Bandcamp site. Follow Blankenberge on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and VK (from which images in this interview are sourced).

We’re honored to trot out a number of world broadcast premieres from TBTCI Records. Renato Malizia has once again outdone himself, stitching together a new and exclusive compilation of dreamy, bendy tunes entitled, Come On Feel The NoiZe, BraZil Class ’17, released on Bandcamp June 9th. If you listen to DKFM, you’ll be well familiar with most of these artists: The Sorry Shop, Kid Foguete, Céus de Abril, Justine Never Knew The Rules, Loomer, Duelectrum, The Us and so many more. These are the artists who’ve spent the last half-decade lighting up Latin America, and lighting up our airwaves. Carefully curated (as usual) by Renato Malizia, this stands as a testimonial to the “deep bench” and incredible talent of these breakthrough artists.

From 10 am to 5 pm PDT (1p-8p Eastern), DJs Heretic and Ariel will season our regular programming with multiple world premieres from this landmark compilation. Of course, you’ll hear all of it during the New Tracks Weekend extravaganza, but, on the day of its release, it seems appropriate to call attention to and celebrate this unique album, and the hard work being done by TBTCI and these top-quality artists.

The full album is available June 9th, via the TBTCI Records Bandcamp site, and it’s a jewel. Congratulations to Renato for pulling together another epic release!

24 June 2014. That’s the last time we heard new music from Jeff Kandefer’s The Daysleepers. The single, “Dream Within a Dreamworld” was big news then, and we wrote it up as such, saying, “Let’s hope this is the first of much new music to come.” Fast forward nearly three years later, and it finally seems we have much to look forward to. The first hint: a classic Smiths cover is released this Friday. And we have the world broadcast premiere on Wednesday afternoon. While we’d usually not get our hopes up too high, it would seem this is just a taster for a full forthcoming album. A release date is not yet set, but The Daysleepers Creation LP will follow several single releases over the coming months. This is no fluke, nor is it small news. It seems Kandefer and Co. have finally settled into their own recording studio, getting everything dialed in, and have promised that “…the best is yet to come.”  Given the evidence thus far, we’d be hard pressed to disagree.

DKFM is proud to roll out the world broadcast premiere of the new Daysleepers single in the noon hour, PDT (3 pm Eastern), and you’ll surely hear it on our air a great deal going forward. And we couldn’t be more excited to hear what comes next!

Website/blog might not have arrived yet, but When The Sun Hits blog has two classic interviews, from 2010 and 2013, to catch up on while we wait for the new news.

First drop the needle on Sleep to Dream, the long-awaited return from Whimsical, you’d get the impression you’ve received the pre-mastered version. It’s the sound of the band practice down the hall, barely heard through three walls, and over the street noise. You’ve been had. This opening interlude is just the setup for the sonic bust-out, almost a metaphor for a long-buried and unheard album finally bursting forth with a 21st century sheen. Buried guitar squall emerges into cascading guitar waves. Guitarist Neil Burkdoll intertwines these guitar waves with another layer of glossy filigree, as suddenly multiple guitar lines are having a conversation from different sonic angles. Vocalist Krissy Vanderwoude overlays the proceedings with a crisp and clear-eyed vocal that comes off as both experienced and optimistic.

Track Two, “Lost and Found” opens with a guitar coda that seems almost immediately familiar (though this reviewer can’t for the life of him draw its parallel). But this familiarity branches off into new colors and directions, all founded on a bedrock guitar churn, as you’re led into unfamiliar but comfortable territory.

By the time you get to the LP’s third track, “Surreal”, new sonic vistas have opened up. You can no longer simply assume direct references. There’s some Lush here, a dash of Robin Guthrie, even a bit of late 80’s twee pop guitar work, but the distillation of all these only reinforces Whimsical’s unique sonic imprint. This combination of rhythm, guitar and vocal is now become instantly recognizable as Whimsical. The song structures all put the “pop” back in “dream pop”: these are song-centric dream pop confections carefully crafted by adults.

It’s tempting to go through a track-by-track dissection, but this is one of those albums you simply fall into. If the assembled palette hasn’t grabbed you by track three, this brand is not for you. The strength of Whimsical is in the songs and the arrangements, carefully balanced, hauntingly lovely.

The foundation for all these songs has existed for over 15 years, with recorded bits lying dormant on a lost hard drive for all that time. At the time of first recording, Whimsical consisted of Krissy Vanderwoude (vox), Neil Burkdoll (guitar, sounds), Mark Milliron (guitar), Brian Booher (bass), and Andy Muntean (drums). Neil later added keyboard flourishes, re-edited drums based on today’s music software technology, and produced a final packaged presentation. Focused, polished, re-recorded and overdubbed, the songs on Sleep to Dream all have the freshness of now. Which is only unfortunate for guitarist Neil Burkdoll, as he’s recently admitted in an interview that he doesn’t listen to new music. To the rest of us, this is the new music. To paraphrase Mick Jagger, we know it’s not rock and roll, but we love it.

Sleep to Dream releases 24 February on Saint Marie Records (order link here). Follow Whimsical on Twitter and Facebook, and get in on the ground floor… fifteen years later. Don’t worry, in this case no one will judge.

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.

Follow Mumrunner on Facebook and Twitter, and pick up your own copy of Gentle Slopes at their Bandcamp.

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.

Finally available for streaming at your convenience: our top shoegaze and dream pop tracks of 2016. Published with ranked list and links, so that KEXP and KCRW can catch up, but more importantly, so that you can track them down and purchase a copy for your own library. Rankings derived from total spins, social feedback, and especially listener votes via the DKFM app. Thanks for your participation, and support of great new artists and music. Listen in, and follow along!

DKFM Best Shoegaze and Dream Pop Songs of 2016

36. Danxia – Closer
35. Vivienne Eastwood – Snooze
34. Whimsical – Never Come Down (2016)
33. Manic Sheep – No More Anger
32. Heavy Heart – Pretty Thing
31. Bleak House – Sun Down
30. Petal Head – Melt
29. A Shoreline Dream – Whirlwind
28. Panda Riot – June 20th
27. The Stargazer Lilies – Golden Key
26. Crescendo – Pressure (Feat. Frankie Soto)
25. Airiel – Cloudburst (Single Mix)
24. Queridas – Pasantia
23. Magnet School – The Double Agent
22. Fawns of Love – Girls
21. Lush – Burnham Beeches
20. Kindling – Blinding Wave
19. Sheer – Room
18. Big Deal – Hold Your Fire
17. Pinkshinyultrablast – The Cherry Pit
16. Mercury Girls – All That Heaven Allows
15. Arbes – Sun On My Back
14. Voices from Deep Below – Wait There
13. Seeing Hands – I Knew You
12. Mumrunner – Shawshank
11. Nothing – A.C.D. (Abcessive Compulsive Disorder)
10. Hazel English – Never Going Home
09. Minor Victories – A Hundred Ropes
08. DIIV – Dopamine
07. No Joy – A Thorn In Garland’s Side
06. Good Personalities – Itch
05. Newmoon – Head of Stone
04. The Kestrels – No Alternative
03. Magnet School – British Monuments
02. Soft Wounds – You Can’t Stay Here
01. Miniatures – What You Want

Many tracks released late in the year only began catching fire as the calendar turned, and seem to be building on early success. As such, disappointing that we weren’t able to plug in breakout performances from Blushing, RUBUR and others. With luck, they’ll appear as is appropriate on next year’s chart show. Assuming the world hasn’t blown up by then. I mean, right?

Music for headphones.

Premiering Wednesday night, January 11th, immediately following When The Sun Hits, the first in our irregular series, DKFM Broadcast Masters. What’s all this then? Funny you should ask. Some quality bands in our space suffer from a mastering job that sounds like your favorite musicians were recorded from the outside of a shoebox they’re playing in. To varying degrees, these lower-fi recordings are short on brightness and presence, by modern recording standards. Some radio stations will add a “universal compression” to all sound recordings they broadcast, which boosts loudness, but loses any semblance of nuance. We actually spent five months of this year with a broadcast pre-compression, normalizing loudness across tracks. A few liked this approach, but those with sharper hearing were nonplussed. While we’ve always tried to maintain volume consistency, this compression was a step backward.

Starting last year, we’d been working on “classic video remasters”, or more specifically, restoring audio from classic live performances from aged VHS source. This led us to an invitation to do the mastering for the forthcoming Fawns of Love album, due in March. As that was a smashing sonic success, we turned back inwards, wondering what our existing skill set could do for the songs we already play.

We’ve revisited our on-air catalogue, testing our skill set on rotation staples, with varying degrees of success. Gradually, we are replacing some of these classics with freshly-remastered tracks from our super-secret sound labs. This one-hour program showcases just a small sample of our ongoing work, from some of our favorite artists. In our debut episode, join us as we revisit (and reimagine) tracks from Lowtide, Wray, Be Forest, Surfing, Soft Wounds, Indoor Voices and much more.

Incredible hubris on our part? Probably. But busting sonic barriers has been a bit of a specialty of late. And this is the music that made us, that we made popular, and that we owe our very existence to. “Efforting” on our part is motivated by love, not hubris. And our efforts to polish and shine the sound of DKFM never ends. The artists deserve it, the audience deserves it.

Another bloody poll. But we’ve done it for years now, might as well subject you to at least something positive out of 2016. Albums of the Year, with much to choose from. You are limited to FIVE choices (up from three in previous years) of the LPs that moved you most. We expect some to try and game the system, it happens every year. Though we do have IP blocks in place to try and minimize that possibility.

You can add items to the poll, so long as they are full albums, and not duplicates. We’ll plug ’em in and push ’em out. Tried to cover everything our braintrust recalls about this year’s releases, but old age and sheer volume may be a factor. Enough preamble! You have a week to vote. Hopefully Vladimir Putin doesn’t hack us, right?

Thanks for your participation, as always!