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Echodrone

In advance of next week’s release of Echodrone’s fourth full album, Past, Preset and Future, the San Francisco quartet tease the effort with this exclusive streaming premiere of “The Past or the Present”. The third track on the new LP is part post-punk, part cut-through-the-fog rhythm section, with accompaniment by spacey, plinking keyboard patterns. This electric journey culminates in layers of guitar churn and vocal layering, as each element adds counterpoint to the next.

 

Studios have been buzzing about the new directions taken by Echodrone on Past, Preset and Future. Formerly languid epics are now replaced by tightly-focused three-minute opuses, each trying to appeal to broader audiences through more instantaneous gratification. Recorded in fits and starts for the better part of two full years, it never seems like this album is a scattered effort; quite the contrary. Having charted the band’s progress since the release of their self-titled LP a decade ago, it’s the next logical step for Echodrone. Sharpened tunefulness, propulsive rhythms and creative flourishes, this is the evolution of a carefully curated sound. And a promise fulfilled.

Preorders available now, full album releases 23 January, with limited edition vinyl to follow. Keep up with the Echodrone countdown to release via their website, Facebook, and Twitter. Catch up on ALL Echodrone releases via their Bandcamp site.

We pushed them, you picked them. Our week-long poll of the top shoegaze and dream pop albums of 2017 has now effectively closed, and there was much disagreement as to what should take the top spot. Except for one. The grand return of Slowdive, with their self-titled album, bested all comers by a nearly three-to-one margin. And why should it not? Nobody could have predicted even three years ago that Slowdive would ever consider returning in their original incarnation, much less produce an album’s worth of songs that felt both comfortably familiar, and the next logical extension, for this revered band. That Russia’s Blankenberge cracked the top five? We take that as a personal point of pride, as I don’t know anyone who’d pushed as hard for their success this year. Not that it took a lot of arm-twisting, as even limited exposure to Radiogaze seemed to win instant converts. Good for them, good for us.

We’ve limited the list to the top 25, in vote order. But, if you’d like to view the full tally, you can reference it at any time, here. Our tastemakers will weigh in with their personal picks next week, and we’ll just see how they agree or diverge.

Epic gazy gifts support the station!

It’s been a watershed year for shoegaze and dream pop albums in 2017, only made bigger by the releases from the reunited Slowdive and Ride after decades of relative dormancy. We went wide and deep with this year’s candidates, as there’s a literal bounty to choose from. We tried to avoid “genre-adjacent” albums, as that would cause a further layer of unnecessary turmoil, easily avoided. Not much psych in our list, as that’s never been our specialty. If you’re a psych enthusiast, there are professionals like the folks over at Primal who are far better equipped to help than we could ever pretend to be. We’ve tried to stay close to shoegaze and dream pop, with some (mild) crossover.

The rules are simple: each voter gets seven votes (up from last year’s three), as there’s so damn much to choose from. We’ve alphabetized this year, only because the list is so long. If you’re looking for specific artists, this should make it easier to track them. We used to fully randomize the listings, just so no band got a clear advantage by appearing at the top, but that purpose is defeated with a list this large Please note: if you try to vote a second time, the script will thank you for your participation, but let you know you’ve already voted. Poll closes on December 8th, results to be published after. But you should be able to get a live snapshot of results at any time, even while the poll is still active. Enormous thanks to Amber, Jason and Matthew for assistance in stitching this together, and invaluable insight. Happy voting, rep your favorite shoegaze and dream pop bands, and show your love to the artists making great music this year!


 

Epic gazy gifts for the holidays!

Before DKFM became a known name, we were familiar with Kalamazoo’s Crash City Saints. 2010’s epic LP, Glow In The Dark Music, presented a band in full throttle: sweeping, powerful, but always tuneful. Classic singles “A Life Worth Living” and “Cough Syrup” exemplified a band at the top of their game, and poised to take over the world. Bits of Astrobrite, with a sprinkling of Jesus and Mary Chain, Crash City Saints sparked with electric energy, and a stamp on the sound that was both deafening and undeniable.

So what happened to the lads? Other than a 2011 EP, they seemed to have fallen off the radar, much to the dismay of fans everywhere. So there was much rejoicing at the news that they’d signed to Saint Marie Records for their long-awaited followup, due 11 August. But Are You Free? is described as a far more ambitious project than might have been expected. Are You Free? was initially conceived as the shoegaze Quadrophenia. I wanted to tell the story of a teenager growing up in a small town in the early 90s set to songs meant to function as various homages to the bands I loved (the bands that “saved my life” as The Smiths once put it) from that period). However, as with every musical endeavor of mine to date, it soon became clear that my ambitions were bigger than my recording budget, and many song ideas had to be scrapped. Ultimately, this was probably for the best.”

From the opening “folky” bars of “Ice Cream Headache”, you may think you’ve landed in some parallel universe. Once the tuneful haze sets in, you’ve found yourself in familiar territory. Part Arcade Fire, part Beatles, but undeniably Crash City Saints, you’ve started on a journey that’s uniquely their own. Filled with a midwestern cool, and a consistent propulsion throughout, this is a joyous return. If you’re late to the party, this is a great time to catch up. Crash City Saints’ Are You Free? LP releases on 11 August (vinyl, CD, digital), but preorders are live now via Saint Marie Records.

Follow Crash City Saints via their Facebook page, and on Twitter. Go. Now. Do it.

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’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.

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!

half-wozniak-mute-swanIn a surprise announcement, two of the UK’s preeminent sonic sculptors are releasing a split single, with all proceeds to benefit DKFM station operations. Half, via Gateshead, burst on the scene with their first single “Mind Laps”, and immediately caught attention around the globe. Awash in reverb, strummed rhythm and a slowly unfolding progression, “Mind Laps” broke enough genre molds to earn a permanent rotation space in the first month of release. Jonny Gray’s original project has continued to evolve, leading up to the debut LP Here Lies, released this April.

Wozniak, on the other hand, has been experimenting with textures and dynamics since mid-2013. Never predictable, and impossible to pigeonhole, Wozniak draws from post-rock, shoegaze, occasional tribal rhythms, with dashes of psych thrown in for good measure. Always unique, always challenging, and expanding your musical boundaries. That’s what we’ve come to expect from Wozniak.

In this new split-single release, we chatted up Jonny (Half) and Simon (Wozniak) for more info.

DKFM: Tell us about your contribution to this release, and how it came together?

Jonny (Half): I had the guitar parts left over from my album. I still thought they had potential, but wasn’t sure where to take them. I’d been a fan of Wozniak since hearing Snow Effect on DKFM and just sent Simon an email to see if they’d be up for a collaboration – things just progressed from there.

Simon (Wozniak): When Jonny got in touch I was really intrigued to see what we could come up with together. I had originally thought of remixing Mute Swan, but when I began to make some new sounds I really felt like it came together and a collaboration began to feel more natural than a remix. It’s a good mix of Half and Wozniak – hypnotic guitar parts underpinned by modulating drones!

DKFM: What made you take up this banner, and decide to support DKFM?

Jonny (Half): Both Half and Wozniak are super grateful for the support DKFM has shown us in the past and because the station indirectly brought us together, it just felt right. I’m just keen to repay the support in some small way.

We at DKFM couldn’t be more grateful for the support of quality artists, and dedicated listeners. Keep an eye peeled, release of the new “name-your-price” single is imminent, with proceeds benefiting DKFM!

Split single “Mute Swan” preorder link here. Follow Wozniak on Twitter and Facebook. Follow Half on Twitter and Soundcloud.