After dropping The Last Exit this past January, Still Corners return with a reminder of their dreamier side on the new single “Heavy Days.” Synth lines dance in and out of the verses, propelling the song along with the rhythm section pushing forward. Guitars are mostly absent here, though they appear in expansive form in between the verses, serving as a great link between this tune and their last LP. The song’s lyrics serve as a wonderful reminder for all of us to “turn it off to stay sane,” which is as solid a motto as there can be for those of us hooked on our socials. So, listen to the song, then turn it off!
You thought they were done! But no, one of my favorite Austin bands, Letting Up Despite Great Faults, have found the time to come up with another album, and we’ve got that first single below here. I love the dense nature of this tune; the way the synth work stabs through the walls of guitar noise creates like this extra outer layer you have to swim through just to find Mike Lee’s melodic whispers in the dark. While the guitars have that dreamy front, a careful ear will reveal just the slightest jangling underbelly, which you know gets to the heart of my listening habits. What a stellar way to make a return to the fray. Be on the look out for more news about a forthcoming LP!
I’ve been a fan of the work that Parrot Dream have been putting together since I first heard some of the singles from 2018’s Light Goes. The group, now slimmed down to a duo, have just dropped this delicious new number. It all begins with this real heavy beat, looped so that it kind of tricks your mind into following it along its darkened synth pathway. Christina Appel’s vocals hit all the right notes, kind of hiding a bit just behind the front of the song with this sort of smoky billowing. Inside the song you get a bit of a rise and fall, some moments swelling to this grand nature, while others moments pull back and play with nuance. Hopefully we get to hear more from the band as this year goes forward!
UK quartet Mirror Trash have made their way onto these pages before, and it’s high time we gave them another run with their striking new single, “Faraway.” The song features a minute of dreamy guitar meandering, wondering through the atmospheric universe. Those notes hang just on the edge of jangling, the way I like them. Then, these solemn vocals into the foray, almost disinterested, up until the chorus. There, you get this little attitude adjustment that should certainly charm as the guitars take back the lead and shimmer into the foreground. The band are slated to release a new EP early next year, and this is our first sneak peak at what’s ahead!
The title of this song seems to fit the story of the latest album from Damon & Naomi with Kurihara; the whole of the record seems like a letter to their friend and collaborator, Kurihara. Here we’ve got dreamy vocals from Naomi, riding on the crest of waves, crossing that vast distance of ocean in order to reach the shores of Japan. I love how there’s a guitar that cascades across the song’s middle, like another shared memory among companions, being told by another narrator, though clearly tied to the storytelling of both song and LP. You can feel the song reaching across the distances, yearning to find solace in long-lasting companionship. You’ll hear this tune on A Sky Record, out August 6th via 20-20-20.
CIEL wowed me when the dropped their debut EP; it featured one of my favorite tunes of 2020, so seeing them continue with that success in 2021 has been huge. This latest single is like taking the dreamiest elements of what Alvvays does, building in a more shoegaze guitar sound, giving it a heavier vibe, albeit one with this sparkling light star in the song’s horizon. That star is Michelle Hendriks, opening up to the audience on some of the demons that lurk in her past; it’s a dark subject matter matching the song’s tone, though the band’s approach make sure it never shies to far from great pop moments. Keep on keeping on, CIEL.
Sort of stuck on those middle of the week vibes, so I’m being totally consumed by the latest track from Hong Kong’s Lucid Express. Don’t let the dreaminess of the song’s opening minute fool you, however, as you’ll soon be greeted with a wall of distortion that is likely to shake your speakers (there’s even distortion knifing through the distortion!). I just love how the song feels like this weird movement, like lava flowing over blackened igneous rock fields, just creeping along until it explodes into a mass of water. Pretty special way to work through this week if you ask me; look for the band’s debut album July 16th via Kanine Records.
I think one of the things I love about listening to Tape Waves is how safe (no-frills, comforting, etc) their brand of dream pop is, meaning that in the best way! You get folks over indulging in beats, or minimizing the strum of a guitar, and maybe even sometimes coating the vocals in too much of a studio wash. But here, as you can hear with their latest single, Tape Waves don’t need to employ any of those little textures; their songs succeed on their own merit. And, you can hear light guitar strums, steady drum bounce, and Kim’s wonderful voice fitting right into it all; they’ve managed to balance in such a way that you might even just call normalize it by calling it some of the best pop music all around. Good songs supersede technological studio tricks, in my mind anyways. Plus, the video’s adorable, featuring cats, ice cream and a couple going through their record collection! Bright is out soon via Emotional Response!
I’ve been covering Tape Waves since their earliest days on Bleeding Gold Records, so its great to hear that the band have signed up with one of our favorite labels Emotional Response for their next LP. And, because you can’t really announce a new record without a single, they’ve thrown us one of those to boot! The song’s got this steady rhythmic bounce to it, giving the song a sturdy background that enables Kim and Jarod to craft the perfect slice of Friday dream pop. Kim’s voice are perfectly softened against the crystalline guitars sparkling behind her; this feels like a very Sarah adjacent pop sound, along the lines of early Heavenly or recent acts like Luxembourg Signal. Some sharpened guitar chords dance about in the song’s middle, giving a nice dose of joy to the listener as the tune fades to a close. Look for Bright on June 4th!
As you settle into the day, its always nice to have something that lets you take on more of that contemplative mood, like this track from Seattle’s Coral Grief. The song has this prominent heartbeat, pulsing beneath the mix in matching step with a snare hit to really let your mind focus on the guitars and vocals. In the guitars, you get that crisp jangling that fades into the air, sort of like Spring showers falling intermittently all around you. Lena Farr-Morrissey has this wondrous voice, it kind of seems like its stretching itself around every nook and cranny of the track, but for my basic bitch ears, I couldn’t hear a place where she went wrong. You’ll find this tune on the group’s self-titled EP, which is out on May 14th.