Posts Tagged ‘Dreampop’

Papercuts – “Blues Run The Game”

Last year’s Paralell Universe Blues was a highlight among Papercuts’ fairly stuffed catalog, adding a dose of hazy gaze to Jason Quever’s always welcome folk-pop. On the eve of embarking on a European tour supporting Steve Gun, the band is releasing the EP Kathleen Says, which rounds up that standout from the 2018 LP alongside a dreamy version of the Jackson C. Frank classic “Blues Run The Game” and a stripped down version of new song, “Comb In Your Hair.”

Long covered as a folk staple, Quever gives Frank’s version a lush treatment that lets glints of sun in through billowing clouds. Though its hard to stand out among versions by everyone from Bert Jansch to Nick Drake, Papercuts gives the song a modern update that’s swirled in closing time twinges of sadness – the purple stage lights flickering and just a taste of dry ice on the air as the last of the bottle caps are swept into the corner. The EP is out this Friday and the tour heads out on the 19th. Give a first listen to the cover below.

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Lorelle Meets The Obsolete

Mexican shoegazers Lorelle Meets The Obsolete have been something of a fixture on RSTB for some time, so it was great news when I got wind the band had knocked down much of their past writing habits, built an album largely around synths and started up their own imprint to release it. De Facto‘s a biting bit of tongue in cheek, given that this is anything but a stock Lorelle album. While it shares the band’s love of obfuscation and crackling walls of sound, the album is at once more experimental and more pop than they’ve ever let on before. The band broke away from the pervasiveness of a screaming guitar build and buried vocals on 2016’s Balance, but that still bore a pretty heavy footprint of where they’d been. De Facto cracks open the door slowly, with “Ana” creeping in on almost nothing at all, just a skeletal pulse and Lorena Quintanilla’s silken vocals. The track is a bit of a red herring, as the band immediately jettisons the restraint by the next track, pinning their dreampop to a pulsing beat and a sweaty pop pound before winding their way through stylistic nooks over the next seven tracks.

While they’ve long included their native tongue in their works, De Facto is also notable for being their first album to feature no trace of English and it feels like the band embracing themselves like never before. This is the unfiltered Obsolete, not afraid to walk away from the corner they’ve been painted into by years of expectation. There’s often been a squirm of discomfort in their songs, even when easing into the ether, but here it feels like they’re finally letting the tension melt and with it letting the listener melt along with them. The album pools in gossamer puddles that swell to flooded fields once the band flips the switch to deluge. Their unparalleled ease only makes the fuzzed payoffs more satisfying once they finally loosen the hatches here. With each listen, De Facto opens itself to more shimmering moments shoegaze/dreampop perfection. Both genres have long been maligned by a generation of half-assed accolytes, but Lorelle Meets the Obsolete prove that there’s still juice in the tank when its done without reservations.

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Lorelle Meets The Obsolete – “Lineas En Hojas”

Perennial RSTB favorite Lorelle Meets The Obsolete have a new album, De Facto, on the way in January and a hypnotic new video to get you excited for said album. The band plowed into the studio after touring their last album, Balance, and began a new process of writing that relied more on synths than guitars, an aesthetic shift for the band who’s often used the feedback-rich foundations of MBV and Jesus and Mary Chain as a starting point. “Lineas En Hojas” is gauzy and gazey at the same time, luxuriating in verses that are airy and, yes, decidedly synth heavy. They don’t throw out their distortion pedals and amps altogether though, as they surface again during the toughened chorus. The band pairs the song with a blissful beach walking video focusing on the pull of the waves. Be sure to check out the new album when it hits on Jan. 11th.

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The Holydrug Couple – “I’ll Only Say This”

Chilean duo The Holydrug Couple created one of the softest visions of psych pop this year, echoing Mercury Rev and The Flaming Lips with equal skill. Their single “I’ll Only Say This” was a soft-touch, tender-hearted stunner from the album and they’ve given it an appropriately lush video treatment as well. The band lounges, the colors are dark and glorious and the song still hits home after all these months. If you’ve waited to get into their latest LP for Sacred Bones, there’s still plenty of time before the year’s sewn up. There’s something very comforting and warm about the duo’s music and in the coming months that’s going to be a welcome feeling when the bone-chill air starts to bite.



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Papercuts

Jason Quever has done the indie arc, working up from charming scrappers like Antenna Farm and Gnomonsong to bigger players like Sub Pop and Easy Sound. Now he’s settling into his seventh album for Slumberland and it feels like a perfect fit. Quever has always straddled the lines between folk-pop and dream pop but he’s never quite blurred the borders like he has here. The record opens with the narcotic, hazy strains of “Mattress on the Floor,” a half-dreamt attempt to work the sleep out of his eyes, but from there he grabs hold of hooks like a man with conviction. Quever conjures melodies to his aid with the deft hand of a seasoned musician, The album is full of strums and swoons, heartbreaks and hubris and each piece of the puzzle has the potential to hook into listeners with a wave of primrose pinpricks. Its an album about leaving behind a life that was supposed to pan out for a new venture that’s no sure thing. As Quever is crushed, so are we but he’s not always playing his hand straight.

The soft focus approach here is what gives Papercuts such purchase in the Slumberland ranks. There’s a jangled core that’s not too far from the folk shores he’s often populated, but this time each song is smudged at the edges like a photo faded by time, colored by the orange and brown hues that eat at old Kodak prints, clouded by dust and fingerprints to the point where the shapes remain, but the details are lost. In the same way he looks back on a relationship set adrift, the mistakes smudged the same as his strums and the details lost by one’s own dusty biases and emotional gaslighting. Parallel Universe Blues is a strong entry to the Papercuts catalog – dreamy and working its way into your life with subtle earworms that are as strong as any at his command. While the album is about leaving pain behind, its also a comforting companion to those who ache and a salve in times of need. Its proof that Quever was never just a tangential folk voice, but a vital one that never quite got his day.



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Papercuts – “Laughing Man”

Slumberland’s having quite a year so far and with new releases on the way from Peel Dream Magazine, Wolfhounds and now Papercuts, its looking to get that much better. Its been about four years since Jason Quever graced the world with a Papercuts LP, though he’s been plenty busy in the meantime – working with Luna, Beach House, Elisa Ambrogio and producing this year’s great Massage LP. After bouncing around from Gnomonsong to Sub Pop and Easy Sound, Slumberland seems like a good fit for the lush sounds of Parallel Universe Blues. The first cut from the album, “Laughing Man,” sees Quever working under a gorgeous haze. The song steps down on muted jangles but they’re lost in an elusive tangle of warm fuzz and echoed bliss. Good to have Jason back on the scene and looking forward to where the rest of Blues leads.



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Matchess

With Sacracorpa Whitney Johnson brings to a close her trilogy exploring perspectives on perception. The final album nudges her sound out into the open, augmenting her windswept noisescapes with a twinge of pop via skittering beats and mournful synths. The album, even more than her previous two, envelops the listener, blotting out the periphery with a blinding dazzle of light obscuring the eyes until through the squint only hazed shapes and dizzying sparkles remain. The album winds up kindred spirits with fellow static surfers Grouper and Circuit des Yeux, shrouded in mystery and pulled through the darkness by longing, but Johnson’s brought her own take to the gauze-bound brand of dreampop that’s been tied to her peers. The record has a quiet hope rather than a sandblasted desperation. Her songs glow like a beacon in the whiteout whirling all around, gasping in the depleted oxygen, but fighting for something beautiful in the crushing din.

While the trilogy’s albums function together as a larger take, Sarcracorpa can easily be divorced into a standalone that stands atop her discography. The strangled throes of pop on display here are Johnson’s best and they constantly wage an environmental battle to break out of their respirator cage and shimmer free in an unpolluted air. Trouble in Mind has been on a bit of a popular tear lately, but with Matchess they’re proving that complexity isn’t lost in on a label that’s constantly looking to the fringes of pop rather than dragging the net down the middle of the road. The album is a hushed gem working hard to shake the curse of outsider status. As the heatwave summer bears down on the world with little empathy, you’d do well to embrace the sweat with Matchess’ beautiful plea for serenity.




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Grouper

Days were when Liz Harris had a new album on the way it was the rippling fringe that was excited. Now by the grace of gauziness, Grouper is practically a household name (ok maybe not quite) and expectations are high going into Grid of Points. From the very first moments those expectations are met. Harris’ voice is still battling with hiss for prominence, but this time it’s winning out handily, soaring in a heartbreaking lilt over “Parking Lot’s” somber refrain and soaking the album through with a confessional nature that pushes her past the markers of dreampop and noise that used to pen her in. There’s still that natural warmth that makes Grouper Grouper, but it seems over time Liz Harris has seen fit to let us further into her world with an intimacy that’s palpable in every moment of the new record.

It’s almost too bad that warmer climes and sunny skies are on their way because every inch of Grid of Points makes me want to hollow out a couch cushion and bunker down to weather frigid gloom for another few months. The album is, as is usual with Grouper, haunting in its ability to draw sadness out like a fragile divining rod. Even without the cocoon of aural foam and tape hiss that’s ever present, there’s a feeling that just Harris and a piano would command rapt attention for an album twice this length. If anything, the problem is the album’s brevity leaves the listener wanting more – needing Harris to commiserate and tug gently at the toothache of longing just a little while longer.

I’ll take what I can get though, and this is Harris at her best, showing an artist willing to evolve, even if that evolution is just a gradual peek from behind the curtain over time. If there’s a shred of sadness looking for relief inside of you, then Grouper is here to rub salt in the wound. The pain is real, but the sparkle is worth it.



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Landings – “Nod”

Oh man, Landing are back and like a good friend they’re still kicking up the same psych fallout that endeared them to me over all these years. The band turns up on the great El Paraiso Records, taking their Connecticut psych to the Danish hub and slotting in nicely alongside the label’s packed roster of home country haze wranglers (Mythic Sunship, Causa Sui). The track is pure dreamop reverberation weaponized by the low-slung rumble of guitar thunder. The motorik chug and woofer pushing volume slides this out of the wispy territory that can often trap dreampop like a pothole, instead balancing Adrienne Snow’s delicate vocals and the instrumental shred in perfect proportion. Produced by Justin Pizzoferrato (Dino Jr., Elder) the album looks to pack a pretty heavy punch when it lands in May.


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Moon Duo

As the sequel, or rather, better half to their Occult Architecture Vol.1 from earlier this year, Vol. 2 acts as the softer side of the band’s motorik psych-punk universe. Where the first volume was steeped in anxiety, tension and darkness; the second volume is by turns blissful, celebratory even. Its still chugging along with a chainsaw grind and lysergic stabs of guitar via Ripley Johnson, but now the tone is relaxed and surprisingly languid. The albums form a duality or a complete picture, but taken on its own merits, Vol. 2 is still pushing into Moon Duo’s best work.

There are strums, I think perhaps a first for Moon Duo, or even Wooden Shjips’ catalog. There are genuine moments of resplendence, flipping the band’s Kosmiche switch from throb to fizz. The pair submerge into a milky bath of sound that’s pulsating with light and love and all the Springtime green feelings that may have eluded their grasp in the pursuit of Krautrock edge in the past. Instead, this is pure dreampop, a silken submergence into ionic bliss that can’t hold back its own giddiness. Sanae Yamada’s synths emerge as a key component here, floating in waves of magenta majesty primed to induce shudders in the listener. As part of the band’s Yin and Yang concept, this fills the bill nicely, but even left to its own devices, it’ll sate your hunger for higher consciousness grind for months to come.




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