Brooklyn band School of Seven Bells proves that shoegaze is alive and well in 2008. Taken from their debut album. Alpinisms, "Connjur" is a dreamy pop tune anchored in swirling guitar melodies and highlighted by the soaring vocals of twin frontwomen Alejandra and Claudia Dehaza. While the song recalls classic acts like Cocteau Twins and Slowdive, the band's subtle use of glitchy electronics and low-end fuzz puts a refreshing modern spin on the oft-imitated genre. Shawn Reynaldo
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This track unfolds a bit like a day smack in the middle of January would–slowly, softly, and with melancholy undertones. Off The Sight Below's soon-to-be-released album, Glider, "Life's Fading Light" is a dreamy blend of barely touched acoustic guitars and echoing loops laid over a beat that mimics a human heartbeat. Sunny music this is not, but it's easy to picture the reclusive, unnamed producer behind the album hard at work in drizzly Seattle. Glider will arrive in full on November 11, just in time for winter. Glider 01 At First Touch 02 Dour 03 Without Motion 04 Life's Fading Light 05 Further Away 06 The Sunset Passage 07 Already There 08 A Fractured Smile 09 Nowhere
The oh-so-stylish members of White Fang are starting to make some noise beyond the borders of their hometown of Portland, OR. The band just completed its first major tour, playing alongside Rob Walmart and White Rainbow, headlined Portland's PDX Pop Now! festival, and, two weeks ago, unleashed its debut album, Pure Evil. Like its cover, the 11-track release is a palate of organized chaos. Guitar chords meet crashing drums without any seeming rhyme or reason, but all the parts seem to fit together in the end. Our favorite part of this track is the chorus. Just listen to the band shouting "Waaaaa!!!" in unison and see if it doesn't put a smile on your face.
Marnie Stern's well known for her skills on the guitar, and she proves her abilities once again on this track, off her latest album, This Is It and I Am It and You Are It and So Is That and He Is It and She Is It and It Is It and That Is That. The title of the release might be long-winded, but with "Transformer," Stern proves she can blaze through a hot guitar riff in a very short amount of time, as she tears up and down the old fretboard and gives us what sounds like 50 chords in just over two minutes. She would most definitely kick anyone's ass in a Guitar Hero competition.
Having just released its self-titled debut album earlier this month, Lemonade is now offering a bevy of reworkings from fellow Bay Area cohorts like Lazer Sword, Ghosts on Tape, and C.L.A.W.S. on a remixtape. Ambient dub duo Shades (Tim Saputo and Richard Toomer), who are finally going public with their recordings, contribute a shoegaze version of “Blissout.” The song opens with dream synths rolling in like a rising fog, haunted by distant echoes of Lemonade vocalist Callan Clendenin’s softened voice. A third of the way into the song, delicate chords begin to ripple across the distilled composition. The song breathes and transforms slowly in soft focus until it fades into a gentle crackle. If the original song wasn’t blissful enough, it is now. Lulu McAllister
Produced by his older brother and industry go-to beat man, the late James Yancey (known to everyone outside the fam as J Dilla), Illa J’s first official offerings incorporates some of his big bro’s last. Preceding the November 4 release of his debut album, Yancey Boys, L.A.-based Illa J (John Yancey) puts forth his debut single in collaboration with fellow Detroit native Guilty Simpson. With his casually melodic delivery, Illa “shakes haterz like dice.” Likewise, Guilty Simpson steps in to bear witness to Illa J’s fresh talent, while showing a little love to the 313. Lulu McAllister. Photo by Pete Ambrose.
Spanish-born Javier Barrero has performed in a thrash-punk-pop band and crafted soundtracks for pornos and short films. Here, we find him as muto, the alter ego to his other alias, Logical Disorder. On “You Know,” rhythm thumps dully into a crisp snare beat and crinkling electronic accents in the background. Then, currents of candied synths drive in and a new wave tremolo paints across the infectious multi-layered instrumental. The song inhales, pulling back for a bridge and then rebuilds, sighing blissfully with rising vapors of nuanced pop. Lulu McAllister
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