Lead single “Laura” is a gem of a pop song: clocking in at a scant two minutes and forty-one seconds, the track only lingers long enough to make an impression. A propulsive drumbeat, hypnotic guitar melody, and lush synthesizer set the backdrop for Shusterich to craft yet another earwarm melody, in which she finds new ways to stretch out the name “Laura.”
Pinkshinyultrablast make no secret of their influences: the band’s very name is taken from an album by Astrobrite, one of the many projects by shoegaze guitar god Scott Cortez (Loveliescrushing, STAR). Cortez’s love of multilayered guitar textures is present and accounted for in the gloriously loud sound of Pinkshinyultrablast. Despite hailing from the unlikely birthplace of St. Petersburg, Russia, the band prove that shoegaze is a universal language with their new single, “Kiddy Pool Dreams.”
If The Raveonettes swapped their Jesus & Mary Chain records for the entire Depeche Mode catalog, the result might be something like “Heartbeat,” the second track on Pale Reflections and arguably its most accessible. Airy synthesizers and a slinky bass-line set the stage for the chorus to break out in a danceable electronic beat as vocalist Victoria Cecilia, backed by a layer of washed out guitars, declares, “I got a beating heart/I got a beating heart for you, girl.”
Unlike some noise pop acts who think turning the volume knob all the way up is enough to compensate for any songwriting deficiencies, Westkust possess a keen melodic sensibility, not to mention a romantic yearning that aligns them with Buzz Buzz Buzz era The Primitives. With their penchant for plaintive lyrics and jagged guitar noise,Westkust are the rare act that should unite both fans of vintage shoegaze bands like My Bloody Valentine as well as anyone who still cherishes their C86 cassette.
Pure Phase Ensemble 4 is amazing. This project oozes with enough jangle and harmony to keep every listener within the fringes of Shoegaze and Dreampop happy, and there’s enough credit to make it a draw to those who enjoy that style of music, even without ever hearing a sample of the project. Mark Gardener from Ride, Ray Dickaty, an ex member of Spiritualized, and Karol Schwarz (KSAS), who manages Poland’s Nasiono Records front this version of the ever evolving Pure Phase Ensemble project, that pulls acts from various stellar indie bands with each new incarnation.
The Julia/Spring 7″ from Melbourne’s Lowtide will appeal to fans of the 80’s UK Post-Punk sound made popular by Chameleons UK, Echo and The Bunnymen and The Sound. The 2 track single melds the Post-Punk sound with 90’s Shoegaze a la Kitchens Of Distinction and Slowdive.
A very low-fi jangle of Post Punk guitars gives way to a fuller, dreamier song about 12 seconds in. However, the magic really happens when the ethereal vocals of Rebekkah Castellanos wash over the track. As things evolve, Cocteau Twins are the first band that comes to mind.
For those of you eagerly awaiting a new Slowdive record, this release may just tide you over! Pure Phase Ensemble is a collective of musicians including Ride frontman Mark Gardener (how refreshing to not have to say FORMER), Raymond Dickaty (a member of Spiritualized from 1997-2002), Jacek Rezner (Wilga), Kamil Hordyniec (Wilga), Michał Pydo (Hatifnats), Michał ‘Kostek’ Stolc (Cisza nocna) and Karol Schwarz (KSAS).
This last song from Star Horse is a new site favorite, with roots deep in the Shoegaze/Dreampop category. It’s a wonderfully blissed out mellow track, with vocals that feature ethereal female vocals for the verses, layered male/female harmornies for the chorus and perfectly fuzzed out, catchy guitar riffs.
Well, now this is a surprise! Beach House, known for it’s dreamy, languid tunes apparently picked up some feedback pedals at the flea market. Their new single, Sparks, opens with some MBV-esque distortion before a squelch of guitar that wouldn’t be out of place on Smashing Pumpkins’ debut LP, Gish. When the dust settles, and…