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Category Archives: Shoegaze Spotlight

Shoegaze Spotlight is a weekly post highlight and up and coming, or sometimes established artist in the realm of Shoegaze and Dreampop. These posts are all contributed from our friends at the WhenTheSunHits blog.

blackheartedbrointro

Shoegaze Spotlight: Black Hearted Brother

Black Hearted Brother is a new project that features Neil Halstead (Slowdive, Mojave 3), Mark Van Hoen (Locust, Seefeel) and Nick Holton (Holton’s Opulent Oog). The three musicians have worked together on a variety of projects over the years; friendship, talent and experience brought them together again for the Black Hearted Brother project, and the trio recently released their debut LP, Stars Are Our Home, on Slumberland Records (USA) and Sonic Cathedral (UK & Europe).
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veronica falls

Shoegaze Spotlight: Veronica Falls

Veronica Falls is an English dream pop band that formed in London in 2009. The band consists of Roxanne Clifford and James Hoare, both on vocals and guitar, Marion Herbain on bass and Patrick Doyle on drums and back vocals.

Veronica Falls started to gain notoriety in 2010 with the Captured Tracks release of 2 singles, “Found Love in a Graveyard” and “Beachy Head”. The band followed those up with a self-titled debut album in 2011, which entered the UK Albums Chart at No. 150. Veronica Falls was released by Slumberland Records in the United States and Simon Raymonde’s label Bella Union in the UK, to positive reviews.
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aftersun

Shoegaze Spotlight: [aftersun]

[aftersun] was first formed in 2010 by Stephan Cherkashin (Telltale, Audn) as a solo studio project. Crafting a sound that exists somewhere between coldwave and shoegaze, Cherkashin went on to release a debut EP titled Pain Sounds the following year. After the addition of Adam Humphreys (Denner, Of The Between), the band began writing songs for an upcoming debut album. Combining a mixture of influences including 80′s coldwave and early 90′s dreampop, the duo have created a sound which is both deeply textured and melodic. Heavy guitars, cavernous ambient textures, dark post-punk and a moody atmosphere make for a rich listening experience.
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Still Corners

Shoegaze Spotlight: Still Corners

Still Corners is the musical project of songwriter/producer Greg Hughes and vocalist Tessa Murray. The London-based duo’s story began 10 years ago, when Greg Hughes (a native of Austin, Texas and the driving force behind Still Corners) was preparing to move to Brooklyn to further his musical ambitions. Fate intervened, as it often does, when he fell in love with an English girl and crossed the Atlantic to begin a new adventure. It was in London, after getting off a train at the wrong station, that Hughes’ path first crossed with that of vocalist Tessa Murray, and after this suitably cinematic encounter, the missing piece fell into place and Still Corners was born.
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Medicine

Shoegaze Spotlight: Medicine

Medicine is a shoegaze/noisepop band from Los Angeles, CA. The band is generally considered to have had two distinct incarnations. The band was first formed in 1991 by guitarist, vocalist and programmer Brad Laner (aka Electric Company), based on some four track recordings Laner was working on in 1990. After showing the tapes to some industry people, he was told that if he formed a band that sounded like the tapes, he could get a record deal. Laner then assembled a band of musicians from the L.A. music scene. Medicine’s early lineup included Laner, drummer Jim Goodall, guitarist Jim Putnam, bassist Eddie Ruscha, and singer Annette Zilinskas, an original member of The Bangles. Putnam, Ruscha, and Zilinskas eventually left; the latter was replaced by former Fourwaycross singer Beth Thompson. On the basis of the original demo, the band got signed to Creation Records, becoming the first American band to do so.
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Nightmare Air

Shoegaze Spotlight: Nightmare Air

Nightmare Air is an LA-based trio fronted by the dynastic duo of Dave Dupuis (guitar, vocals) and Swaan Miller (bass, vocals). Dupuis, a veteran of L.A. shoegazers Film School (Beggars Banquet) and Miller, whose stark early-2000s acoustic album on Important Records melted hearts and faces everywhere, meticulously layer indie boy-girl harmonies, psych noise loops, fuzz-ripped bass and howling rock power into a fresh, upbeat sound all their own. In 2012 Dave and Swaan teamed up with Detroit heavy hitter Jimmy Lucido on drums to create a live show that is not to be missed.
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The Daysleepers

Shoegaze Spotlight: The Daysleepers

The Daysleepers formed in November 2004 in Buffalo, New York by Jeff Kandefer. The band came together when Jeff (Vocals/Guitars/Bass VI/E-Bow) gathered some friends – Scott Beckstein (Bass/Keyboards/Bass VI), Elizabeth Kandefer (Vocals/Keyboards/Bass) and Mario Gimbrone (Drums/Percussion) – from other bands in the local music scene that shared his love of ambient, ethereal indie rock.

The Daysleepers self-released their first two EPs, Hide Your Eyes (December 2005) and The Soft Attack (October 2006), on their Rain Delay Music imprint. Hide Your Eyes (possible an homage to Slowdive’s Hide Yer Eyes) won the band many fans around the world, selling out the first pressing, as well as garnered praise from shoegaze legends such as Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins), Rachel Goswell and Neil Halstead of Slowdive. It also hit No. 1 for several weeks on Tonevendor’s Top 20 Record Sales list. The Soft Attack EP showed a heavier side of the band’s sound, with ethereal guitars spinning way into outer space, and vocal melodies that hauntingly soar to new heights.
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MEC

Shoegaze Spotlight: Melody’s Echo Chamber

Melody Prochet, French pop aficionado and multi-instrumentalist (formerly of The Narcoleptic Dancers and My Bee’s Garden), has embraced dream pop with her Melody’s Echo Chamber project. The classically trained Parisian recruited Tame Impala front man Kevin Parker to produce her … Continue reading

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Engineers

Shoegaze Spotlight: Engineers

Engineers are a British shoegaze/dream pop band, formed in London in 2003 by Simon Phipps (singer, guitarist), Mark Peters (bassist, guitarist, keyboardist), Dan MacBean (bassist, guitarist) and Andrew Sweeney (drummer). After the release of their second album Three Fact Fader in 2009, MacBean and Sweeney left the band, and were replaced by well-known electronic musician Ulrich Schnauss, bassist Daniel Land (who also fronts the band Daniel Land & the Modern Painters), and drummer Matthew Linley (who also records under the name Gilbert), making up the current line-up of the band. Engineers’ sound has been described as “hazy, ethereal, and atmospheric,” and the band often cites the works of Brian Eno, Cocteau Twins, Spiritualized, and Pink Floyd as influences.
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AR Kane

Shoegaze Spotlight: A.R. Kane

Formed in London in 1986, A.R. Kane was essentially the partnership of Alex Ayuli and Rudi Tambala. Arguably the most criminally under-recognized band of their era and often credited as the creators of dream pop, the British duo A.R. Kane anticipated virtually all of the key musical breakthroughs of the 1990s a decade before the fact, with the roots of everything from shoegazing to trip-hop to ambient dub — even those of post-rock — lying in their dreamy, oceanic sound. Their lyrics, which frequently dealt with such topics as water/oceans, love, colours, childhood, and dreams, were often surrealist. Their music was usually danceable, due in part to its strong dub influence, and ethereal. Ayuli and Tambala were also part of the one-off recording collective M|A|R|R|S, which included the group Colourbox, in 1987. Their song “Pump Up the Volume” became a surprise worldwide number one chart hit.
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Belong

Shoegaze Spotlight: Belong

Born in the dense heat of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States in 2002, Belong is a collaborative effort between experimental music duo Turk Dietrich* and Michael Jones. The duo’s sound blends ambient and glitch styles, with a focus on guitar textures. Comparisons have been made to current electronica artists like Fennesz and Tim Hecker, as well as the early 1990s shoegazing sound attributed to bands such as My Bloody Valentine and The Jesus and Mary Chain. Guitars and synthesizers are run through various effects to produce the band’s unique sound. Melodies are enveloped in a sort of aural atrophy, forever repeating their blurring calls. At the end, all that remains is a noise so potent it leaves the sonic equivalent of the sun’s imprint on a retina.
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Tamaryn

Shoegaze Spotlight: Tamaryn

Tamaryn are a shoegaze and dream pop duo from San Francisco, formed in 2008. The band is fronted by Tamaryn, originally from New Zealand, in partnership with her longtime collaborator and San Francisco native Rex John Shelverton. The roots of this musical partnership started growing over a decade ago. “Rex and I met in New York City where I was living in the early ‘00s,” says Tamaryn. “We bonded instantly and over time started sharing ideas for songs. Eventually we began to collaborate on some recordings, traveling between coasts until the project inspired me to move to California indefinitely.” These activities culminated in a slew of singles and the Led Astray, Washed Ashore EP. In 2010, record label Mexican Summer released Tamaryn’s critically acclaimed LP The Waves, a collision of hypnotic psychedelia and bittersweet dream pop.
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trr

Shoegaze Spotlight: Tears Run Rings

Tears Run Rings is a four piece American shoegaze band consisting of members Laura Watling (vocals & bass), Matthew Bice (vocals & guitar), Ed Mazzucco (guitar) and Dwayne Palasek (drums). Dwayne, Laura, and Ed have been collaborating in various incarnations since the mid-1990s, most notably in the indie twee-pop outfit The Autocollants. Tears Run Rings was born out of an Autocollants reunion show in 2005.

In 2007 the band released their first EP as Tears Run Rings, called A Question and an Answer. One year later they teamed up with Matthew Bice and released their debut full length album, Always, Sometimes, Seldom, Never, which was released on the beloved shoegaze label Clairecords in April 2008. Matthew and Ed also founded the well-known indie record label Shelflife Records together, which boasts acts such as Thieves Like Us and The Radio Dept. Tears Run Rings has a talent for marrying hauntingly beautiful textures and pop melodies, and Always, Sometimes, Seldom, Never was very well received, drawing comparisons to classic gaze bands like Slowdive, Moose, Chapterhouse and Kitchens of Distinction.
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Young Prisms

Shoegaze Spotlight: Young Prisms

Young Prisms is the San Franciscan quintet of Jordan Silbert, Matt Allen, Stef Hodapp, Ashley Thomas and Gio Betteo. Despite the “stoner-slacker” reputation the band picked up upon arriving on the scene in 2009, it was clear by the time their debut LP, Friends for Now, was released in 2011 (Kanine Records), that this band was anything but a collective of lazy couch surfing stoners. In the space of 3 short years, the band has released four split 7 inches, a handful of 12 inches, a cassette single, a full length of demos and extras, as well as two LPs – the above-mentioned Friends for Now, and 2012’s gorgeous In Between (Kanine Records). If “slacker” means “purveyor of angst-ridden badass psychedelic rock”, then the Young Prisms technically do qualify.
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Echo Lake

Shoegaze Spotlight: Echo Lake

Echo Lake is the songwriting and recording duo Thom Hill and Linda Jarvis, who met studying at art school in South London. Upon realizing Linda’s ex-choir girl’s voice perfectly suited Thom’s Brian Wilson-meets-Galaxie 500 productions, the two set about working on the new project, forming Echo Lake in late 2010. The act was picked up by cult London blog/label No Pain In Pop and the resulting, acclaimed debut EP Young Silence quickly caused a press feeding frenzy.

Fourteen months later (June 2012) the band released their debut album, Wild Peace, via Slumberland Records in the US (and co-released with No Pain In Pop in Europe). The debut LP is a considered, singular work brashly proving right all the hype. Marrying Thom Hill’s huge, dense production style with countless interweaving layers of Linda Jarvis’ emotive and cavernous voice, the tracks seem to float like the densest of mirages, maintaining a majestic indie-rock classicism. It’s a uniquely direct and committed take on the melodic side of psychedelia’s pop frontier; the sound of a band flying close to the sun with just their debut release.
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