Posts Tagged ‘Slumberland’

The Reds, Pinks & Purples – “I’d Rather Astral Project”

I can’t resist a chance to post The Reds, Pinks & Purples and while the band’s upcoming new LP for Slumberland is still a ways off, they’ve worked up a nice animated vid for one of the myriad singles that have packed their Bandcamp over the last few months. The message in “I’d Rather Astral Project” seems a bit more prescient now with physical shows in indefinite hiatus it would seem more convenient to take up the astral plane as the new venue. As usual the band wraps their wry thoughts in the jangled melancholia that’s made them so steady on the speakers over here. Check out the Jem Fanvu directed vid above.



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Peel Dream Magazine

The narcotic pulse of Peel Dream Magazine envelops all on their second album for indie pop powerhouse Slumberland. The album drips further into the shoegaze showcase than most of the label’s fare but the band lets its roots creep out much further than the overarching banner of the genre might otherwise imply. With a heavy dose of Stereolab, Spectrum, and Seefeel built into their DNA, the group mixes propulsion with haze for a sound that’s beset with vertigo, but pulled from the whirlpool with a knotted rope of rhythm. Songs lock into circular structures that become dizzying as they unfurl, but ultimately delightful in their barrage of muted colors and dancing lights. Like carnival rides narcotized beyond recognition, the band’s sound is permanently protracted through a fisheye lens of ‘90s nostalgia. Its draped in oversaturated tones and the faint smell of dry ice creeping in from the corners of the mind, but all of the pieces lock together with a satisfyingly soft snap.

They took the rhythmic rites from Krautrock, as passed down through generations of bands bleaching out the original brittleness. They pad the sound further with pillowy, woolen riffs that run the guitars and organ through a dozen mazes of wires before they blanket the listener like a weighted quilt that eases the tension of daily — a pair of arms always ready to receive woes, qualms, and tears alike. The album is comfort food for a certain strain of listener that’s been traversing the haze their whole lives in search of permanent limbo — locking away pain, anxiety, and creeping dread in a womb of rippling mauve haze. The band’s debut had a lot of the same pieces working for it, but it left me wanting more. They’ve found the missing pieces on this one, though and its clear that from here on out they’re looking to steady the balance of comfortable cool and memorable hooks.




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Odd Hope – “All The Things”

It’s been a good week for limited singles collections. Following two stellar entries to Sub Pop’s singles club, the next couple of entries from the Slumberland 30 collection hit the internet today and included is an absolute gem from RSTB faves Odd Hope. The band, fronted by Portland songwriter Tim Tinderholt, has had an album and previous single on Fruits & Flowers, both solid and highly recommended. This single follows in fine fashion, picking up Tim’s thickly frothed jangle-pop, spreading some early summer vibes while there’s still frost clinging to the branches. “All The Things” is pinned to a hard charging guitar line that wouldn’t be out of place on a Power Pop comp, but it’s offset by spindly jangles and Tinderholt’s lightly warped croon, making this an indie pop gem that won’t crawl out from under your skin soon. On the flip, the more languid and lankier “What’s Your Part Of It makes for a fine companion. Pick this one up now. More people need to be singing the praises of Odd Hope.




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Peel Dream Magazine – “Pill”

Without fully emerging from their haze, Peel Dream Magazine’s sound comes into focus on their second LP for Slumberland. Following an EP that began the process of finding clarity from the shoegaze soup, the band edges closer to a sound that they’ve been hinting at – mixing the murk of Chapterhouse and Adorable with the propulsive charms of Stereolab. The video accompanying “Pill” is a mash of purples and oranges rendered under hypnotic distortion. The visual is a perfect pairing for the song’s subtle crush of fuzz, a sound that creeps up from the feet and is on top of the listener before they can slow its hold. Lock into the band’s pillowy riffs and somnambulant cool in the video above.

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East Village – Hotrod Hotel

Slumberland has been crushing it with the reissues lately, bringing back the lost singles of The Springfields, issuing a complete compendium of Wolfhounds John Peel sessions, and now they’re shining a light on East Village, another band worthy of adoration. The band got some light around here when James Hoare featured them in a Hidden Gems piece a few years back, and his recommendation still stands. The band, as proves too often the case, suffered from a series of setbacks that would derail them permanently. The band began under the name Episode 4 before swapping to East Village. Their sound touched on a strain of jangle-pop that was slightly out of form with the time, but they found contemporaries in bands like McCarthy, and even toured with House of Love for a bit. They’d released singles on the short-lived Sub Aqua label in 1988, but the label folded before they could finance a proper full-length.

This would lead to a string of labels that would pick up singles (Caff Corporation, Heavenly, Sumershine) before Heavenly would eventually put out their sole EP Drop Out in 1993. That same year they’d break up onstage at a London show, effectively ending their career just as it began to take off. The following year Summershine wrangled up many of those singles and b-sides for this compilation, Hotrod Hotel, only issuing it on CD. Now Slumberland has given the comp its due with a gorgeous new issue on LP with packed liners on the band. If they’ve managed to evade your ears for this whole time, this is a fine chance to add this one on the shelf next to yer Loft, Jasmine Minks, and Weather Prophets records.


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East Village Reissue on Slumberland

Slumberland is rolling out the essential reissues of late. Alongside their recent Springfields retrospective they’re reissuing a previously CD-only singles collection from late, great jangle-pop band East Village. The band showed up in these pages a while back as a Hidden Gems pick from James Hoare, but that album is only half the picture. The band’s album was released posthumously after they broke up on stage, but they’d left a catalog of singles up to that point that finally found a collective home on Summershine Records, but it has remained an ellusive pickup ever since its 1994 release. Great then to have Slumberland issue this on LP for the first time, giving the band another day in the sun. If you’re unfamiliar, I’d recommend letting James give a few reasons on what the band is all about or take a listen to a couple of singles tracks below.



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The Springfields – Singles 1986-1991

Its absolutely fitting that The Springfields compilation should come out on Slumberland. The label had long attempted to release a single from the band, but their tenure ended before the connection could ever come to fruition. With Slumberland as the epicenter of a sound that long looked to the indiepop wave across the sea, The Springfields would have proven their quintessential band. They were American indiepop rooted deep in English sounds — not a common commodity in the timeframe of 1987-1991 as documented here. he Springfields were the first U.S. act to snag a single on that hub of UK pop activity, Sarah Records, with 1988’s “Sunflower.” They’d follow it up with releases on short-lived US levels Picture Book and Seminal Twang, but despite reaching out to UK fans and even Australia with a Sumershine release, they didn’t become part of the Slumberland family until now. Essentially, its just nice to see two American conduits of jangled joy coming together after all these years.

To some the band is also the polar half of Choo Choo Train, which served as the training grounds for much of Matthew Sweet’s circle of collaborators. Choo Choo Train was home to songwriters Paul Chastain and Rick Menck, but most of the same band members in CCT would come to release music withThe Springfields. The idea was that in Choo Choo Train the songwriting fall mostly to Chastain (and occasionally Sweet) and the The Springfields would become Menck’s banner, chasing the same influences that drove his favorite UK pop bands. Sweet rears his head again in The Springfields, documented here on the b-side “Are We Gonna Be Alright?” Mostly, though, this is a celebration of Menck’s output before the core would crumble and he’d go on to work under Sweet and Chastain would form Velvet Crush. In that regard, this is the flashpoint for so many power pop and indie pop points of origin. That alone makes it absolutely amazing to have these singles back in print and collected for the masses that haven’t heard them (of which, there are undoubtedly many).

The collection also winds up as a bit of a love letter to quite a few other bands that didn’t get their due on the first pass in The States, with quite a few of the b-sides winding up covers of bands that Menck enjoyed. The collection here contains covers of an unreleased Primal Scream track, (“Tomorrow Ends Today”), The Clouds (“Tranquil”), and The Pastels (“Million Tears”). Menck does each one justice and hopefully send listeners scrambling into the arms of those bands as well. There’s a Hollies cover thrown in as well, but they didn’t necessarily need the push the others did. There are hundreds of reissues sliding down the belts these days, but this one’s ranking pretty high on the necessary scale. Any jangle pop fan should have pushed ‘purchase’ around that first paragraph.



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Peel Dream Magazine – “Up and Up”

I’d been into Peel Dream Magazine’s debut, though it always seemed like the prelude to something – a faded photo of what they wanted to be in another time. With a new LP on the way, the band gives a preview of what that might be with an EP for Tough Love Records. Chasing the tail of Stereolab through the labyrinth of soft-focus psychedelia, “Up and Up” is a hazed strummer laced with melancholic keys and a faraway look in its eyes. The song swoons until it gets lost in the clouds, dissolving into the shimmer off of the water vapor world it occupies until the band becomes one with the glimmer. High hopes on what’s next with the introduction of this track. The EP lands at Tough Love on November 29th with promises of more to come from the label and band on the horizons.




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Failed Flowers – “Faces”

Slumberland continues to keep their latest singles series sprinkled with compelling reasons to funnel $100+ bucks into their pockets. They announce two more this week including the reappearance of Failed Flowers, Michigan’s indie pop sweethearts. The band, which holds Anna Burch and Fred Thomas as members delivered a solid, Sarah Records-soaked debut in 2016 and has remained largely silent ever since. This is likely due to Burch’s own solo career and Thomas’ busy schedule, but they roar back with two sides of C86 jangle that should put a smile right across your sourpuss. “Faces” is bright and sunny, janglin’ in twin guitar glory and ringing with the autumnal vocals of Burch that seep under the skin. If there was any doubt that the band still had that magic spark, this is proof positive. Gonna keep this one on repeat for the rest of the day.


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Slumberland To Release The Springfields Singles Compilation

If you were an American indie pop fan in 1988, chances are you may have felt a little alone. While the C86 movement and sound took hold in the UK, here the prescription was likely grunge and lots of it, with the more aloof arms of College Rock and general “Alternative” not quite swooning at the idea of ’60 indebted sounds. Out west The Paisley Undergound had given way to some purchase for the same sounds, but even among those ranks the twee sounds of Sarah, Sha La La, Postcard, and Creation weren’t making the same impact here as at home. Thankfully there were a few homegrown outposts like Bus Stop and Picturebook that were giving the twee hearts of US bands a place to hang and, of course, just a year later Slumberland themselves would enter the fray and give a home to bands like Honeybunch, Velocity Girl, and Black Tambourine.

The label never released a Springfields release during the band’s original run, but now they’re gathering up the essential singles from the band’s short run and giving them a much-needed compilation and overview of this American indie-pop band’s impact on the sound. The band, notably included Ric Menck and Paul Chastain who would go on to work with Velvet Crush, Bag O’ Shells, Choo Choo Train and The Big Maybe. Should go without saying, but you need this one. You really do.



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