When the news broke last year that Claudia Dehaza was going to be leaving the Brooklyn-based trio School of Seven Bells, my heart sank a little. It’s hardly a secret that I’m a big fan of their luxurious, shoegazey dream pop…they’ve been featured on The List three times before, HERE, HERE and HERE…and God knows I’ve pretty much worn out their albums, Disconnect From Desire and Alpinisms, so it’s understandable that I couldn’t imagine how the band could continue without the harmonic melodies Claudia and her twin Alejandra spun into their songs. But the new duo of Benjamin Curtis and Alejandra Dehaza have recently completed a new album, Ghostory, which is scheduled for a February release. With a bit of creative knob-twiddling, Alejandra is able to harmonize with herself while Benjamin stays at the top of his game assembling layer upon layer of guitars, synthesizers and frantic drumwork into what is unmistakably the SVIIB sound.
You can follow School of Seven Bells on their website and if you’re into planning ahead, the Album Release show is gonna be February 28th at The Mercury Lounge
It’s been about 8 months since I gave you guys a taste of Cameras when I offered up ‘Polarise’ from their self-titled EP, but last week they finally released their first album, In Your Room, and I’ve had it locked on ‘repeat’ all day. I simply can’t get enough of Eleanor Dunlop’s beautiful, mystically dreamy voice and the way she can take the lyrics and swirl & spin them into her own shimmering, gossamer instrument. I dare you to decypher what she is singing on the first go-round, but once you figure it out you will melt…
I traded my heart
For a new one
I stole I stole I stole
Away away away…
If you know me at all, you know I’m a sucker for exactly this type of lush, layered, shoegazey Pop, but I’ve been jonesing for this record from the moment I first heard ‘Polarise’, and these guys really delivered! I strongly advise a trip to the iTunes Store to pick this one up and then head over to facebook and ‘Like’ Cameras.
I had every intention of kicking out something rocky and dark and loud today, but I’ve had a headache since breakfast, so I’ve been quietly humming along all morning to this dream-poppy number from Brooklyn-based Aussies, Sherlocks Daughter. I first discovered these guys last month when I saw bandmembers Tim Maybury and Tanya Horo on the cover of the Village Voice in a real estate feature. Based on that bit of notoriety, I don’t know what convinced me to check them out, but I’m glad I did ‘cuz I love this kinda stuff. I find it very relaxing to be enveloped by waves of feedback-drenched shoegazey guitars, moderately self-important electronica and a softly swirling nondescript female vocal. They’ve caught the ears of the downtown music intelligentsia since even Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore is a fan…which, now that I think of it, sorta makes sense since Tanya’s voice is a lot like a softer version of Kim Gordon’s. Sonic Youth producer John Agnello is apparently twiddling the knobs on their debut album, due out later this Spring. In the meantime, head over to their MySpace Page to hear a few more tracks.
There are songs that can draw me in simply because of a visceral mood they create…songs where the lyrics and music blend so perfectly that reality gets momentarily turned off and I’m suddenly carried away by an aural wave of emotion…songs like this. I first heard ‘Polarise’ on Alt Nation and was immediately transported into a Cocteau Twins/Slowdive/Lush/My Bloody Valentine/Jesus & Mary Chain universe of dark, melancholy keyboard melodies, swirling atmospheric guitar runs, and an almost cinematic sense of dire importance. At the 40 second mark when that tinkling guitar sneaks up on Eleanor Dunlop’s hypnotic vocal, it actually raised the hairs on my neck.
Cameras are from Sydney, Australia and besides singing, Dunlop also handles the keyboards, while Fraser Harvey plays guitar & bass and Ben Mason is on drums. You really gotta check these guys out on MySpace or on their Facebook Page and you can get the Cameras EP on iTunes
I swear as God is my witness, it was just this morning as I was taking my shower, I was wondering, “When the Hell is Blonde Redhead gonna put out something new?!!”, and Voila!…a leak from their next album drops in my lap a few short hours later! The trio of Kazu Makino and the Pace twins (Simone and Amedeo) have been making music together since 1993 and have released seven full-length albums, but noting since 2007 and for dream-pop junkies like myself, that’s far too long. ‘Here Sometimes’ is apparently gonna be the first track on Penny Sparkle, due out September on 4AD, and if this is representative of the rest of the album, it’s far more synth-heavy than their previous effort, 23.
“I am not sure what Penny Sparkle is but I hope I offered to them as much as they offered me. I know that we have never made a record this way and if I could go back in time, I would do it exactly the same way again…”
For more of Blonde Redhead, hit ’em on their website or over on MySpace or sit back and enjoy the video for ’23’…..
A couple of weeks ago, the New York Times Magazine ran a fascinating cover story on Spike Jonze and his struggle bringing Where The Wild Things Are to the screen, but near the end of the piece, in describing his ‘Go Big or Go Home’ and ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if . . . ?’ attitude when directing music videos, and that “…his music videos don’t tell stories; they capture a feeling…”…..and went on to describe how he took this trippy, dream-pop song off of the ‘Fully Flared’ Soundtrack by James Lavelle & Pablo Clements, otherwise known as UNKLE, and turned it into a big-budget extravaganza of slo-mo effects & explosions…just ‘cuz he can!!! Well, I have a feeling Andrew Hetherington read the story too and just like me, was thinking of Heaven, because in his blog post yesterday he accompanied a stop-action video of his recent on-assignment travels with the song as background music…..and it got me thinkin’, I should send this beauty out to the rest of you.
Check out what’s up with UNKLE on their MySpace page and make sure to watch the ‘Heaven’ video below….it’s guaranteed to blow your mind!