Our homeboy and all around cool dude, Dream Koala (who we interviewed in the fall) just played the Boiler Room in London yesterday (for those of you that couldn’t tune in it was really really awesome) and today he just released his first all-original song since his Blur EP. On Blur and in his live shows we saw Dream Koala beginning to experiment very successfully with adding his own vocals to his music, and now for “Ocean” he has brought them front and center. Dream Koala’s production was already really great on its own but the vocals improve upon it further with brief appearances that build upon his music’s always heavy vibes and then disappear to let his production shine through. Overall I’m really excited to see where Dream Koala takes this new addition to his sound.
When I’m going through our email in search of some good new music, I honestly tend to start to look for things that wow me within the first few seconds. Astronaut Husband did not do that. Instead, Astronaut Husband opens up his new EP Supergiant Blues with the three minute slowburner “Spatial”. Although I could have easily skipped through the song to see if the sparse instrumentation and shoegaze vibes developed into anything, “Spatial” held me down with beautiful atmospherics that don’t come from mediocre artists. As the track develops, the pay off I was waiting for comes exactly how it should: slowly and quietly. Supergiant Blues is full of similarly slow building tracks that have a distinctively folk and country influence that isn’t often heard in shoegaze.
Over the course of our extraordinarily impressive career as music taste makers, Terence and I have seen plenty of lo-fi rock bands fade into the endless obscurity of non-relevance. However, one band that only seems to get better with each new track is UK shoegazers Honeyslide. Pulling on clear influences from Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine, “Black Dolphin” may be their most stunning and memorable track yet. Clocking in at just under 7 minutes, “Black Dolphin” is a slow and heavily atmospheric listen with only hints at their grunge and punk-based routes. With Honeyslide maturing their sound this well, it’s hard to imagine that they’ll be fated to fade away.
Spirit Spine recently graduated from college, and to celebrate he’s released this new album pretty unexpectedly Atlantic Downs. If you’re familiar with his previous album Glossalia, you may be expecting a dense, shoe-gazey album with few hooks and pop-filled moments, however, Atlantic Downs completely takes Spirit Spine in a new direction with a new-wave and synth-pop heavy sound. The result is often stunning and surprising, I had no clue that Deney could write tradition pop-songs like this. Atlantic Downs isn’t your cookie cutter hipster 80s throwback music though, instead, Spirit Spine packs the album full of dense tracks that channel something between New Order and Clams Casino instrumentals. Deney’s bassy croon is also front in center on this album, and it all sounds great. Atlantic Downs is definitely one of my favorite surprise releases of the year. Stream two highlights below and check out the entire album here.
Nostalgia never gets old, especially if you’re a hipster and the nostalgia sounds this good. The nostalgic heart of Raja’s ‘That Girl’ emerges out of a cloud of haze and reverb carried on walking pace bass and drum lines. The bass, guitar and vocals on ‘That Girl’ are provided by Starchild who does a great job crafting an authentically old-fashioned vibe that the song pulls off so well. This song is not a total embrace of old sounds however, as Raja’s atmospherics make ‘That Girl’ sound like it was recorded on a tape and left out in the sun for about 50 years only to be discovered and cherished by bloggers.
It’s getting nice and sunny outside so for all the synth-pop jams that I am anticipating to explode over the coming warm months I’m also looking forward to an equal amount of grungy basement-rock. While Honeyslide’s sound is much more in the style of Jesus and the Mary Chain than Beach Fossils, their music could easily soundtrack any humid, beach-going day… or of course it could be played through some old speakers in a basement. Regardless, Honeyslide are making some great vibes and hopefully we’ll be hearing more soon.