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.
Ever feel like you’re playing catch-up? We do! Wheelbarrows full of new music (and great tracks we’ve missed), and we’re shoveling it into the New Tracks Weekend engine as fast as practicable. DIIV, Angel Falls, Be Forest, Burning House (so new, there’s steam rising from it!), Gold Muse, Matt Bartram, Living Hour (on tour), colourwaves, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, flvke, Versing, Teen Divorce, Stellarscope, The Besnard Lakes, classics from Volplane, catching up to Kimono Lights and Jennie Vee, малыш камю, Mothlight, Vidulgi Ooyoo, Iris (not that one, rest in peace, a different one), Maria False… we couldn’t fit in any more if we tried.
That’s not to ignore last weekend’s fresh adds from Magnet School, Brothers in Law, Lazy Legs, Love the Unicorn, Soft Wounds, Dead White Tulips, Elephant Stone, The Love Agenda, Giant Surprise, Sound of Ceres, Your Friends Polymers, M!R!M, A Shoreline Dream and so much more.
And if you’re driving up and down the West Coast of the U.S. this weekend, you can catch LSD & the Search for God record release shows in SF Friday night with Vinyl Williams, or on Sunday at Part Time Punks with Sky Parade and Blood Candy. Don’t forget Saturday night, where we’re presenting an epic bill in Seattle, featuring Blackpool Astronomy, C’est la Mort, Tender Age and Charlatan, to benefit PopNoise PNW. Can’t lose no matter what you choose!
New Tracks Weekend kicks off 8 pm Eastern, 5 pm Pacific, and continuing through Sunday at midnight Eastern, 9 Pacific. It’s the first weekend we’ll spin some of these tracks, and may be the last weekend for some others. Listen via the Radionomy station page at DKFM, on Shoutcast, and on TuneIn Radio for iPhone/Android/Windows. You can even keep up with the new tracks and artists you may have missed: we’re live-scrobbling via our last.fm profile, and live-tweeting every track on our sub-Twitter DKFMTracks account. Now you’ll know what you heard, or catch up on what you missed.
School starts up soon for some, not until September for others. As we approach the last solid month of summer vacation, we present to you our list of the top ten essential summer sounds, suitable for loading up on your iPod and heading to the mountains, or the beach perhaps. We guarantee you’ll find something to fall in love with.
9. Landing – II. Celebrating their 15-year anniversary, Landing does what they do. They do it better than everyone else. Start a groove, build and build upon it, and before you know, you’re hooked. It’s their world, we’re just living in it. Climb on, strap in, take the ride. Landing – II available only on cassette during their summer tour (victory lap?), will be available for wider release on their Bandcamp when they return home.
8. Tape Waves – Tape Waves EP. At first listen, it may seem slight. Jarod Weldin and Kim Hart deliver dream pop hooks with lilt and nuance (and just a hint of Twin Peaks-style dreaminess). Take it to the beach at dusk for maximum impact.
7. Grand Resort – Memory Loss EP. Fresh this month, and seriously sparkly. Jangly guitars and propulsive rhythms carry you away on a wash of melody. Another one we didn’t see coming until it wouldn’t let go.
6. Weekend – Jinx. Sure, it’s designed to reach a mass audience. Sure, it’s more post-punk than shoegaze. Weekend had some big aspirations with this, and they met the challenge. Sure to please the indie kids, the shoegaze-heads, and not offend your mom. Probably.
5. Wild Smiles – Take Me Away EP. These folks write some of the most compelling lo-fi tunes you’ll ever hear. We waited for this one, and it was worth it. Don’t be surprised if your toes start tapping and your head starts bobbing. It’s out of your control. Give in. Wickedly infectious.
4. True Widow – Circumambulation. Dirty. Fuzzy. Scuzzy. Repetitive. Insistent. There’s nothing fresh about this sound, it’s more like a stale, claustrophobic room with the drapes drawn. But you just can’t leave. Yeah, it’s like that. ‘Stonegaze’ is their sound, and they’ve mastered it. You’ve got to hand it to a band that sets their own rules and follows no trend. Aggressively priced for eMusic members at $3.92.
3. Picnic –The Weather’s Fine. Dense, dreamy, textured, lovely. A surprise staple that crept into rotation and hung on. It’s a beautiful dreamscape to visit, you’ll want to move there if you could.
2. Pity Sex – Feast of Love. You might be tempted to dismiss a release that came with this much hype attached before the actual release. Pity Sex BROUGHT IT, and proved the doubters wrong. Angular and chaotic at times, but compelling, always.
1. suā – Twins EP. With “Welcome” and “Twins” acting as cornerstones, this EP sometimes softly caresses, sometimes sandpapers you, but always demands your attention and admiration. The band has no weak links, their songwriting has become stellar, and they don’t compromise. That’s good news for the rest of us. Brooklyn owns the summer, if not the year, in 2013.
What will the fall bring? Look forward to The Stargazer Lilies new album, possible new DIIV, long-awaited Solar Powered People, new music from Crisis Arm, more from Nothing, plus Slowdive’s Neil Halstead and Seefeel’s Mark Van Hoen collaborate on their new project, Black Hearted Brother, offered here:
Happy listening, and here’s to a great year in shoegaze and dream pop music!
Their first single, “Strange Feeling” charted in the Top 50 of 2012 in our listener poll, pretty impressive for a debut single. On the heels of their new release, “Hold Your Hand”, we chatted with Caleb of Bear State about their growing notoriety and future plans. So, Bear State is currently based in the dream pop capital of North America… Phoenix, Arizona (sarcasm). Phoenix is known for a LOT of things, but not necessarily shoegaze or dream pop. How in the heck did THAT come about? It’s actually funny that you say that. I can totally feel it. It is definitely not the AZ ‘buzz’. The crazy thing is, “Half String” totally came out of Phoenix, and they are totally rad shoe-gazers. It’s just not what is cool here, I guess. How did it come about? Hmmm… It really clicked with me, especially with where I was at. I was super heavy into folk/psychedelic stuff, and at that time I was lacking inspiration. A dry spell. I ran into artist after artist that was a part of these genres, and couldn’t help but want to be a part of it. How long have you guys known each other, and how did you get together? Well, my brother (Micah) plays guitar. We have been playing together forever. Jon and I grew up in this tiny town, Lompoc, in California. We grew up around each other. We started playing together, a few years ago. I met Jesse at an old job a few years ago. We hit it off really well. He played in a punk band a long time ago. We are good friends, and he was down to play bass. It worked out well. Your music has been compared favorably to artists like Beach Fossils and DIIV. What influences have informed your unique, dreamy sound? That’s so awesome. They are great, so that is sick. It actually started with Yuck for me, then it goes on an on. It’s kind of weird, because they aren’t classics, but it was so good. New single, a remaster of “Hold Your Hand” is credited to bearstate instead of Bear State. Are we changing up, changing direction, or… Ha! Good catch. My bad. I think it defaulted to that. I didn’t have any plans on changing it, but it might be cooler that way. Especially since there is another band named, Bear State. A hardcore band from Cali. We get quite a few emails from people thinking we are them. I know you’ve been playing locally, any plans for wider touring? I think we would all love to. We all have really good jobs, and some of us are starting families. Right now I am super focused on making good tracks. The “Strange Feeling” single made our listeners’ Top 50 list last year, and they seem to have taken to “Hold Your Hand” right out of the box. Are we expecting a full EP soon? What are your recording plans, and what do we have to look forward to? That is so awesome! We were so pumped. An album might be in the works at some point. Right now, I am working on putting out a 7″. It will be 2 new tracks. I am stoked about it. It is a bit more aggressive sounding so far. Besides encouraging them to listen, like, and SHARE, what would you like to tell your fans among our audience? Honestly, there are so many sick bands amongst our audience, and we don’t even come close. I am just stoked to be a part of people’s playlists.