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The Best of the Best of the Best

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.

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.

The end times are upon us. Okay, that sounds a tad severe. But our final broadcast day on Live365, TuneIn and iTunes is December 31st. It’s our party, and we’ll cry if we want to. We’ll spend over three hours celebrating our favorite discoveries in the genre, as well as our highs and lows of the last four years on Live365.

 

You can help! If you’d like to contribute an audio clip for use in the show, send it straightaway to dkfm@decayfm.com. Tell us what you love about the genre, the station, the DJs, the experience. We’ll get as many as we can into the big finale show. We’ll record it for distribution on Mixcloud the following week, when you (like us) are going through withdrawals. But, as much as anything, this is your station, and your voice should be represented.

So what are you waiting for? Use your iPhone’s “Voice Memo” function, or your favorite home recording device, and send us a clip by Wednesday night. Fans, bands, labels, all are welcome to be a part of our big goofy wake.

What’s hot this month? Our Top Ten Singles, that’s what! Not only that, four of the top ten broke on our air in the last week, and have already charted. Thanks to listener votes, tweets and email feedback, we couldn’t do it without you all.

1. Lightfoils – “Diastolic”
2. Iris – “Fix Me”
3. The Enters – “Sweet Girl”
4. Seasurfer – “Stay” *
5. Wolf Alice – “Moaning Lisa Smile”
6. Flyying Colours – “Not Today” *
7. Odonis Odonis – “Highnote”
8. Cre•scen•do – “Gatsby”
9. Highlands – “Beauty” *
10. Jaguwar – “Breathe Bullets Which Taste Like Pure Fruit” *

Albums June 25
1. Lightfoils – Hierarchy
2. Odonis Odonis – Hard Boiled Soft Boiled
3. Towns – Get By
4. Seasurfer – Dive In *
5. Aerofall – Aerofall
6. Slowness – How to Keep from Falling off a Mountain
7. Gleemer – Holyland USA
8. Black Twig – Heliogram
9. VANIISH – Memory Work
10. Sexores – Historias de Frío

Continued positive listener feedback for Bolywool, Glintshake, Fantasyprom, Contrast and many more. Thank you all for your input, it helps us better serve you!

* Denotes new entry in the last week.

What do you give the smartest, most tasteful, most attractive listening audience on Earth? Sadly, we can’t give you all a car. You’ll have to call Oprah for that. But we do have stickers! We can’t rightly sell them, as one features derivative parody work, but we can give them away (or charge for p&p).

Stickers trace the evolution of DKFM over the last three years, including our first foray into absurdity, “Keep Calm and Gaze at Your Shoes”, moving forward toward the “I Love You But…” series, and of course our trusty DKFM current logo. Stickers are 4×3″, square “I Love You But…” sticker is 3.5×3.5″.

U.S. Residents can get your matched set of three by sending a stamped, self-addressed envelope to:
DKFM Stickers
3846 Chessa Ln
Clovis CA 93619

Internationals (and U.S. Residents who don’t want to mess with self-addressed, stamped envelopes) can simply donate $2 for postage and packaging via the PayPal button below.




As always, thanks for your support! We’re happy to give a little something back.

spp-coverTHIS Wednesday night at 8 Eastern, 5 Pacific, DKFM is extremely proud to present a World Premiere of the new single from Solar Powered People. The new album, The Scars We Own, releases imminently to Kickstarter contributors, with a wider release to follow. We’ve been waiting on this one for rather a long time now. Wanna know what our studio’s been buzzing buy flagyl in the uk about for weeks now? This is it!

New to DKFM? Multiple ways to tune in.
Listen via Live365 here: http://www.live365.com/stations/djdecay
Listen via TuneIn Radio here: http://tunein.com/radio/DKFM-Shoegaze-Radio-s193842/
And, as always, find us on “iTunes Internet Radio” under ‘Eclectic’.

If you love the song, you’re gonna love the album. And Solar Powered People have been doing it like they own it for years now. Welcome back, boys!

It’s a dreamy sound. If you had to compare it to anything, you’d compare it to the sound of Portland rain. The intricate twin-guitar interplay sounds like getting caught in a small but refreshing rain shower. THIS is Soft Shadows. As they prepare for wide distribution of their new full-length disc, Reverb is for Lovers, we sat down with the members of Soft Shadows and asked them about music, philosophy, and life.
Soft Shadows is:
June – vocals, guitar, producer
Thuy – vocals, synth
Ryan – guitar

DKFM
: From a stellar few singles to a full LP. That’s no small jump. What did it take to get there?

June
– I would say the biggest influence was the people that we met while playing shows. Every person perceived us differently. To some, we were a rock shoegaze band, and to others we were an electronic act. I like not being able to fit in a mold and doing what we feel we need to do with what we have. I enjoy working under limitations, so we knew going into this record that I didn’t want a completely flawless album. I wanted to leave head room to grow as an artist.
Ryan – For me, I think as a band we felt refreshed with the change in lineup; just an overall excitement to write new material and get into the studio. I love to record new material. It’s like a first date with each song; they start out one way and grow as you spend more time with them.
Thuy – Not sitting on anything too long. It’s one of our pros and cons, like a fickle double-edged sword. We’re constantly being shaped by every passing experience and compounded memories, and what was once a good idea may feel foreign several months later. Song sketches are filenamed by the date they were written because there’s just so many. I’ll say, “Hey, ‘feb 18’ sounds pretty good,” or “What happened to ‘turkey day-2’? It’s a waste if we don’t do something with it.” In the end, if we don’t finish recording something within a certain time range, a song may unfortunately slip through the cracks because we’re just not attached to it anymore. Originally, this was planned to be an EP since we stripped it down from 15+ songs. Chris (Neon Sigh) was bummed to hear this since he loved “A Soft Night,” so we added that along with “Cheap Signals” last minute.

DKFM
: Influences. At times I detect a tip of the cap to The Raveonettes, but so much of this sound is not like any other. And it’s a pretty big leap from your former incarnation, Sundaze. Describe how you arrived at this sound, and what goes into making it?

June – This album sounds less distorted because I wanted the guitars to sound more like guitars back in the 60’s. Sundaze was about hiding behind a haze of distortion and reverb, and I wanted Soft Shadows to have a thinner veil. We might revisit a darker, cloudier theme, but for this debut album, it was very important for us to not sound depressing. I do not believe we are depressing people by nature, so I felt it is important to portray that.
Ryan – Yeah, there is a Raveonettes influence to a degree. Radiohead, hip hop, Stereolab – there are a lot that find their collective ways into our brains but I think what comes out is us and I hope it’s unique. Sound wise it’s fairly simple. Fender amps and guitars mostly and just what we do. Turn the ugly beautiful.
Thuy – We wanted something lighter and cleaner, more air. There are times when June would hit a writing block, and I’d recommend some books to inspire him. Bukowski is one of them. He was a “dirty old man,” but his prose is clean and honest.

DKFM: “Reverb is for Lovers” is probably the album title of the year, right? But we hear that wasn’t the working title. You MUST tell the story!

June – We recorded the album with the idea of calling it A Pile of Smoke in reference to Radiohead. As the album came to a finish, it no longer felt the same from its incarnation in the studio. The mixing process yielded a cleaner body that we didn’t want to hide. We landed on Reverb is for Lovers because it’s our opening track and we felt it’s a good introduction to our band for new listeners, and also an interesting direction for anyone that followed Sundaze.
Thuy – June was pretty excited with that one. He brought up in a conversation, “Why is it that no one has Reverb is for Lovers? Is there a song out there with that title? It’s such a good name!” So naturally, a song had to live up to the name, “Reverb is for Lovers” and became ours. However, as he mentioned earlier, A Pile of Smoke came up as a possible EP name. Not a name that really rolls off the tongue (maybe fumble awkwardly) but he was jazzed about it. A month or two later, I was working on the album art and mocked-up the title A Pile of Smoke on the cover for June to review. Luckily, he agreed maybe it wasn’t a good idea and Reverb is for Lovers reclaimed everything, song and album name.

DKFM: Touring. You’ve got your first out-of-state dates under your belt, having toured much of California. As the new album approaches its official release October 22nd on Neon Sigh, any initial plans about further touring?

Thuy – I’m so glad that we got to tour, finally! It was something we wanted to do for so long (even back as Sundaze) but the gears weren’t clicking all at once. Originally we aimed for Japan during hanami, but opted that perhaps staying in the US was the better move. One of our member’s schedule is blacked out all of fall/winter, so had to act fast to get something together, otherwise it wouldn’t be until Spring 2014. The first tour is the toughest for most bands, but even more so for us since we didn’t have an album out yet and had very little to offer other than a few songs online. Now that Reverb is coming out soon, I’m hoping Spring 2014 we’ll hit the road again.
Ryan – I would love to go to SXSW or the East Coast but we’ll see.

soft-shadows-live
Left to right: Ryan Simon, Thuy-Duong Le, June Kang

DKFM: You’ve launched an Indiegogo buy metronidazole cheap campaign to help promote the new release. Tell us a little about it?

Thuy – Everything we did so far we came up on our own. We like to keep things “in-house” sort of speak, but it comes with a lot of invested time, money and effort, on top of the actual music itself. The manufacturing of the album, we stayed local so that we could keep in consistent contact to ensure quality production and help keep the money in town, but things like this cost at least double of what you could find if you outsourced somewhere else. We want a good quality product and that’s what we’re delivering. The other half of the equation is actually getting it out there. We believe in non-commercial radio, and it is because of non-commercial radio, such as DKFM, that people hear about us outside of our small city of Portland. There’s so much we can possibly do on our own, as there are over 300+ main radio stations in the US. They are constantly being sent music everyday; what would separate our CD in a pile of hundreds? With the expansion of the internet, there’s so much good music out there to be found. It’d be a shame if all our hard work fell only to a few ears. We hope in finding the right radio promoter who’s in good standing with the radio community, our music can be reached to the stations that would be interested in playing. The Indiegogo campaign is a fun way to do pre-orders for the album coming out next week and to fund for our radio promotion campaign. We included a lot of “thank you so much!” perks like unreleased material, secret cover songs and even artwork I’ll create personally. If you like totoros, you’re in luck.
http://igg.me/at/softshadowsreverb

DKFM: Several tracks from the new LP have gotten quite a bit of buzz, both here and elsewhere, and your California dates are complete. How are folks reacting to the album, and hearing you on tour?

June – I would say the tour was a success and a good starting point for this album. We learned what we like about it, and also what we want to do for our next record. I think it’s very important to take every show seriously and learn from every experience through music.
Ryan – The tour was good in a lot of ways and I think the reaction overall was positive. For me, once the album is done, it is out of my hands. I can only hope people find something in it they can enjoy.
Thuy – We couldn’t have done it without the support of friends and fans. For one, a friend of ours, Jesse Johnstone, in LA played drums for us for that part of the tour, and it was an amazing experience to have flexibility in a live show. It was a treat for not just the LA audience who saw us live, but for us as well to have the pleasure of working with a talented musician and overall great person. Initially, we wanted to tour with our SEA/PDX buds, Jetman Jet Team (if you haven’t heard of them and you love a good modern take of space shoegaze, seriously check them out). Our schedules didn’t match up and they hit the road a month earlier. From them, we learned of Lo-Pie, a great little music publication based in LA that believed in our sound and hooked us up with Venice Music Crawl. It was a lot of fun and showcased the many great bands LA had to offer. Curt from The Bixby Knolls, who shared the stage with us afterwards, imparted with some kind words between breaking-down/set-up. That although our music is different from theirs and not typically something he’d listen to, he really enjoyed our set. It brought back the same atmosphere of feeling he shared with other bands he loved. And that’s what is important, right?

DKFM: “Whatever You Say” marked a major turning point in your sound, and planted the Soft Shadows flag going forward. Then you re-worked your magic differently in re-arranging and re-recording it for the album. Why?

June – The first version of “Whatever You Say” felt like a Sundaze song. I wanted to make it a Soft Shadows song. If you’re lucky enough to have found an early version of “Whatever You Say” on the internet, it would be a perfect example of the difference between Sundaze and Soft Shadows. I will just leave it at that.
Ryan – “Whatever You Say” was for sure a starting point for me coming into the band. It was a song I had seen June and Thuy perform many times while in Sundaze and I always loved it! When I came aboard I just tried to add to the song toward the end and give a bit of a subtle “answer” to June’s “calling” guitar part. Re-recording it just made the album more cohesive I think.

DKFM: Thuy, I’ve noted you’re doing more vocals, and they’re a lovely accent to the sound. Was this your idea, or did you get talked into it?

Thuy – Thanks, I’m worming my way in there. I felt like it was missing feminine harmonies, so I’d add them casually during practice. June ended up having me sing the chorus for “Love is a Dog from Hell” instead of harmonizing, and now we’re trying to incorporate more of that. I still have a lot of work to do be at a comfortable spot, but it’s moving.
June – Expect more vocals from Thuy in the future. I think the chorus for “Love is a Dog from Hell” was one of the highlights of the album for me.
Thuy – Aww.

DKFM: Anything you’d like to share with your new friends and fans as we sign off?

Ryan – Thank you for supporting independent music and to everyone through California that made the tour a success!
June – I would like to thank Greg at DKFM for being so interested and helpful to us both on the internet and in person. If it wasn’t for Greg, we wouldn’t have been able to play our Fresno show, and I think that show was one of the highlights of our west coast tour.
Thuy – Very much so DKFM. He’s our first official tour drummer. 🙂

DKFM: *blushes* Find Soft Shadows via their website, their label Neon Sigh, follow them on Facebook and Twitter. And share their Indiegogo campaign! http://igg.me/at/softshadowsreverb

Jordannah Elizabeth wraps up her second season of TPR Psych Nights with an interview from Weird Owl, freshly signed to Anton Newcombe’s label and ready to take on the world. You’ll get to hear some choice cuts from Weird Owl, both old and new, plus cheap metronidazole online treasures from The Warlocks, Apollo Heights, Gun/Her, 185668232, The Vandelles, Spice Mouse, The Dalai Lama Rama Fa Fa Fa, Jordanna Elizabeth and more!

DKFM is grateful for the contribution of Jordannah Elizabeth, and this finale is well worth your attention! We’ll all be there…

tprfinalefull

If you’ve had the kind of week you’d like to throw back, we can fix that. Invigorating, refreshing and soothing dream pop and shoegaze sounds all weekend, with our newest contributions from Nothing, unreleased sounds from SF’s Balms, a healthy sampling of Grand Resort, fresh and breezy sounds from Everything By Electricity, plus The Proctors, Hints, Velvet Mornings, Medicine, Pretty City, Bored Spies, Teenage Daydreams, Wozniak, Berserker Children Club, Painted In, Black City Lights, Elephant Stone, Happy Families, Minks, Venusians, Laundry League, Quiet Lights, Ice Cream Cathedral and much more!

The relief begins at 8 pm Eastern, 5 Pacific Friday night, continuing all weekend. Live365 listeners: it’s your votes that count! Your thumbs-up / thumbs down ratings determine what is kept in permanent rotation. For some of these tracks, it’s the last weekend for you to give them some love, or consign them to history. Listen via the Live365 station page at DKFM, on iTunes Radio under “Eclectic”, and on TuneIn Radio and for iPhone/Android/Windows. 5 PM Pacific (8 PM Eastern), til we switch off the lights Sunday night. Full alpha artist listing follows:

[aftersun]
A Grave, No Name
AEROFALL
Balms
Beach Volleyball
Berserker Children Club
Black City Lights
Blemishes
Blood Sister
Bored Spies
Car Crash Sisters
circle hour
Cosmetic
crisis arm
crystal coast
Demontré
divepool
Dråpe
Drowning Dreams
Edweena
Elephant Stone
Erik Blood
Everything By Electricity
Evil Eyes
ex wife
Fear Club
Fight Bite
Fixing Bayonets
Follow the Sea
Gauntlet Hair
Georgian Waters
Glaswen
Grand Resort
Grooms
Happy Families
Heaven
Heliotropes
Hints
i am your captain
Ice Cream Cathedral
Invisible Days
Jesus On Heroine
Jetman Jet Team
Keep Shelly In Athens
kigo
Lali Puna
Landing
Laundry League
Le Thug
Lights That Change
LOVELOVELOVE
Lowlife
M83
Medicine
Midnight Faces
Miners of Pala
Minks
Moon King
Moonlight Bride
My Red Dress
My Violent Ego
Night Flowers
Nite Jewel
nothing
Pacific Air
Painted In
Paradise
PASTEL GHOST
Picnic
Postiljonen
Pretty City
Quiet Lights
Schonwald
sexinadream
Sir. O
Soft Continent
Soft shadows
SOLO Major
South Central & A Place To Bury Strangers
Spaceships
Spirits of Leo
Stumbleine
Suā
Syd Lane
Tape Waves
Tashaki Miyaki
Tea Leigh & Luke Reed
Teenage Daydreams
THE BALCONY STARS
The Cherry Wave
the Maccabees
The Machine Room
The Pocket Rockets
The Proctors
Trementina
True Widow
Vaadat Charigim
Velvet Mornings
Velveteen
Venusians
Vidulgi OoyoO
Washed Out
Weekend
Western Lows
Westkust
Whirr
Whitely
Wild Eyes
Wild Smiles
WL
Wozniak
Young Light
Yuck
Zeit
Zen Mantra

© 2017 DKFM Shoegaze Radio