Friday, December 20, 2019

Best Of 2019: New Music Reviews

As the year 2019 comes to a conclusion, the time to reflect on music reviews composed and compiled by your truly is once again upon us. Original work that appeared here exclusively shares space with Dave Cromwell written reviews published monthly over the past year at The Deli Mag.  For the second year running a loose chronological timeline is somewhat held to for the “DaveCromwellWrites Best Of 2019.”

The early roots of rock and roll are on full display in NYC's Screamin' Rebel Angels sophomore album “Heel Grinder.” Out via this year launched Hey-Lo Records, the full-length was released on 1/24.  Fronted by dynamic, flame haired, tattood and glamorous Laura Palmer, the spirit of Little Richard, Elvis Presley and Patsy Cline are embodied within those 13 recorded tracks.

Lead single “Oh! My Soul” in fact covers the legendary (Little) Richard Penniman, infusing it with it an additional level of barrelhouse, juke joint boogie-woogie. The accompanying video (which can be viewed here) features red-hot Laura and her equally alluring “conjurers” tapping into the spirit world via tarot cards, magic potions, ouija boards and adorable Chihuahau puppies!

Deeper tracks touch on elements of rockabilly (“Hands Off,” “Iris”), early Sun Sessions era Elvis (“I Believe”) and a blusey stroll, torch song raveup (“Something on your Mind”).

Info on their upcoming show A Night of Rockabilly, Rhythm and Blues w/ Screamin' Rebel Angels can be found here.

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Brooklyn psych rock duo GHXST released their latest digital album “Gloom” at the end of 2018.

Playing a select number of hand picked shows at that time, they culminated the new year showcasing that material at the 2019 SXSW music festival.  Lead track “Hunger” immediately establishes a dark, slow-burn foreboding that places emphasis on deep-end howling guitars. Dreamy female vocals come adorned with a level of unsettling doom that David Lynch finds so appealing.

Additional tracks like “Ocean is a Desert” and “Vaquero” continues that vibe while adding elements reminiscent of a band like The Kills. “Bad Blood II” introduces a pulsating electronic synth progression, while “Ride” digs down into a bass-tone heavy groove that A Place To Bury Strangers frequently resides. Final track “Heatwaves” incorporates bended slide-guitar along with its apprehensive vocal delivery, dark ambiance and snaking progression.

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New York City's Lower East Side of Manhattan and the borough of Queens share a unique historical place in the annals of punk rock's evolution ever since The Ramones burst on the scene in the mid 1970's.

That same gritty, blue collar toughness can be found in today's like-minded and similarly situated rockers GIFTSHOP. Their latest EPBig In Astoria” (a February 16th digital release) delivers five searing tracks of updated power-punk with pop styling that would make Joey, Johnny, DeeDee and Tommy proud.

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Equal measures of industrial rock guitar electronica, seductive vocals and fashion model glam come woven together in the music of Turbo Goth. As popularity continues to grow in both their native Philippines and adopted home of nyc, the duo of Paolo Peralta and Sarah Gaugler impressed this past March at another official SXSW showcase.

A new album titled “Master Force” is in the works, with first video single “Love Will Be All There Is” delivering impressive results. High quality close-up imagery focuses on guitar strokes that sound like synth bursts inbetween Sarah's sensual vocals and alluring visuals.

It's forward stomping progression, bass-buzzing crunch and Paolo's slo-mo hair-flying movements are tempered by Sarah's flirtatious come-hither vocals and fashionable tattood figure. Picture a less-pop (and much cooler) Ariana Grande fronting a band like Ministry as a starting point for what this band has to offer.

Catch the band live in the new year on Saturday, January 18 at The Cobra Club in Brooklyn

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Innovative Norwegian artist Mortiis has created a unique catalog of music that dates back to the early 1990's.  Emerging out of the Black Metal scene, Håvard Ellefsen developed a solo project for the longer form music he was creating, complete with a dark and mythical image to accompany it.  Those early releases would see him co-founding a genre known as “dark dungeon synth” with significant solo records released between 1993 and 1999.

Those 90's era releases make up what is known as his Era 1 material, which encompasses extended ambient musical pieces that are equal parts cinematic and beat driven. After touring this solo material throughout Europe, Russia, Australia, Mexico and South America, Mortiis performed his Era 1 material in USA and Canada for the first time in 20 years earlier this year.  Engaging in an email interview with the artist just prior to his arrival on North American shores for those shows, a number of questions presented allow for a further look into this musical universe.

The artist is now set to release “Spirit Of Rebellion,” a re-interpreted expansion and continuation of the 1994 Era I classic Ånden som Gjorde Opprør on January 24th, 2020 via Omnipresence Productions / Dead Seed Productions.

A new video for the track “A Dark Horizon” has been unleashed and can be viewed here.

Additionally, MORTIIS will be returning to North America for an Era I headline run in early 2020,supported by avant-garde black metal hybrid T.O.M.B. The 15-date strong US tour kicks off on January 24th at The Whiskey Junction in Minneapolis and finishes on February 9th at San Louis Obispo's The Graduate(NB the last date is without T.O.M.B.)

Tickets to all shows are on sale now at:

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Dreampop continues to evolve in a variety of interesting and often unexpected ways. Brooklyn's Teen Body has taken this classic staple of introspective rock and added an emo element to it all. The results are quite intoxicating on their 2019 released album “Dreamo” via NYC label Broken Circles.

As the album title combines those two descriptive genres into one single word, so does the music represented on the eight songs it contains. “Fell Off” immediately strikes a wistful mood through melancholy chords and Shannon Lee's sweet vocal delivery. “Act Yr Age” opts for a more angular progression to support its over six minutes in length and lyrically dense story on the complications of romantic interaction. “Ballad of Tomboy Jerry” continues the record's pattern of initially restrained instrumentation that ultimately builds to a crescendo combined with Ms Lee's singular voice. Another vocalist eventually emerges with bassist Xela French providing the storytelling on “The Draag,” while both singers shine in tandem on the uptempo “Validation.” The penultimate title track pulls all of these elements together via exultant guitar hooks, deep resonant bass, slow-groove drumming and those emotive tandem vocals. Access “Dreamo” via the currently popular listening services here.

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The music of Sophie Ellis Bextor has been featured here at DaveCromwellWrites for the entire ten years of it's existence. However, initial interest in her recorded works and live appearances pre-dates the creation of this site by eight years. In 2001, official website forums served as the gathering place and proving grounds for ambitious writers and excited fans alike to discuss their best-loved artists. At that time Sophie was enjoying rising popularity in her home country England as well as throughout Europe and Australia, riding a wave of back-to-back hit records, “Groovejet” and “Murder On The Dance Floor.” Appearances on the legendary long running music show Top Of The Pops (frequently shown in the USA on import channel BBC America) helped to create pockets of loyal State side overseas fans as well.

In 2019 the time came for Sophie to look back on her storied career and celebrate it with her greatest hits album “The Song Diaries.” Not content to simply cobble together a collection of the already recorded tracks that typically constitutes a “greatest hits” album, Sophie embarked on a bold journey of re-recording every song from scratch and placing them in an orchestral setting. That ambitious undertaking resulted in 15 chronological order hits spanning from the very first solo single through all six of her studio albums (this now being her seventh) along with four bonus tracks encompassing significant historical reference points and/or enhanced alternate takes.

The entire detailed track-by-track review of Sophie Ellis Bextor's “The Song Diaries” can be found here.

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There's a lot more “hot pink” than anything really “satanic” in the songwriting and provocative live show of Hot Pink Satan.  Formed by the seductive Mollie Black (a/k/a Clea Cutthroat) and sonic maestro Jeremy Creamer (a/k/a allinaline – we all have multiple names now it seems), the duo strikes a perfect blend of industrial rhythms and sexually charged attitude.

Providing the musical blueprint for their wildly magnetic live show are a number of electrifying songs off of recent full-length release “Spells.”

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Pioneering psychedelic space rockers The Telescopes touched down in Brooklyn at The Knitting Factory in 2019 and put on a one of a kind hallucinogenic show. In the midst of their “Exploding Head Tour” (named after their current album “Exploding Head Syndrome”) founder and frontman Stephen Lawrie enlisted support act The Cult Of Lip to flesh out his live band. What transpired was a wave of swelling sonic drone where the structure of fully complete songs would emerge inside of. Rounding out noteworthy DaveCromwellWrites reviews at this time were deep-dive analysis of Dinowalrus, Odonis Odonis, Public Memory, The Carvels and The Hell Yeah Babies.

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Combining elements of pop, jazz, soul and heavy rock into an appealing progressive mix sees Brooklyn's Kleptokrat expanding local alternative rock parameters. Their 2019 released sophomore EP “Momentarily, to Grace” boasts five impeccably recorded, genre-twisting tracks. Soulful horns and sweet, jazzy female lead vocals establish the mood on opening song “The Great Leap Forward.”

Over the tracks four minutes, precise, angular structures give way to floating ambient interludes that merge together with beguiling charm. “Jumping Ship” applies those light and airy vocals to a lyrically dense story of relationships coming undone, punctuated by heavy bass, sax and drums. “Kleptocito” further adds touches of latin rhythms to what becomes an over five minute instrumental tour-de-force. Final cuts “The View at Bethlehem” and “Body in the Room” bring back those engaging, honeyed vocals over alternately dreamy-to-frenzied compositions.

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Animated band movements playing along with their explosive two-minute power-pop song is a can't-miss combination, and that's just what you get with Kissed by an Animal's 2019 release “The Good Times Are Here Again.”  Guitarist/vocalist Dima Drjuchin applies the technique of Rotoscoping to live action footage while adding a steady flow of flames, hearts, flowers, skulls, birds, bunnies and more to the Peter Max style psychedelic imagery.

Self-directed and drawn over in Adobe Animate, the track is a power-pop treat with crunchy guitar, hard-edge drumming and a fluid bassline. The first hook is reached just :30 seconds in via a descending progression that goes “sometimes hard to be a friend when the good times are here again.” An even bigger hook arrives with the chorus stating “when no one see's you, no one is holding you back,” that get's turned into “there IS no holding back.”

The riff breaks lean towards the heavy and tight Dinosaur Jr variety, adding a dramatic accent breaks and a touch of pitch-bended warped guitar tones. Big dreamy background “ahhh's” lift it higher into near dream-gaze territory.

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Explosive drop-D grunge-metal guitars and thundering drums introduce the August 2019 Citris single release “Hell Is a Place on Earth.” Written and performed by Angelina Torreano (guitar/vocals) and recorded/mixed and mastered by Chris Krasnow (who also contributes drums/bass and guitar) the track is a heavy rumination on personal failings against larger global issues.

Too selfish to die, too right to be happy, too weak to be leaned on. Leave it to me to destroy everything that is good,” the singer laments The title line chorus benefits from vocal layering, adding a big-studio sheen to that hook, as well as additional lines “give me your love, then take it away.” A pivotal statement arrives a minute in when the instruments drop out for the solo vocals declaration “I don't look back in anger.”

While that progression cycles through again (with alternate lyrical content), a sophisticated angular, prog-metal break emerges around the 3rd minute and takes the track to it's conclusion. This initial release served as an introduction to the full-length album “Delusions of Glamour,” which is out now on all digital platforms.

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Brooklyn dreampop band 4Vesta released their digital EP “Light and Chemicals” in 2019, underscoring the timeless appeal and continuing influence of a style created in the early 1990's on emerging musicians nearly 30 years later. Featured opening track “Evening Star” serves as an homage to the pitch-bended, layered guitars and submerged vocals on Kevin Shields' MBV masterpiece “Loveless.”

In fact, the songs title hearkens back two decades earlier to the guitar-looped ambiance of Fripp and Eno's 1975 album of the same name. This new track moves at a deliberately melancholy pace before exploding into forceful walls of guitars and voices, synonymous with a blissful state-of-mind. More discernible male vocals appear on “Full Spectrum” approximating Neil Halstead's low-key approach with Slowdive. “Autophase” doubles-down on the warped and warbly atmosphere, striking a middle ground between Colm O'Ciosig's Loveless contribution “Touched” and some of Ringo Deathstarr's recent output. Final track “Sea Plastic” serves up a five minute meditation on churning guitar textures, ethereal vocals and distant percussion. The EP is available for streaming on Spotify.

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Releasing their brand new album “Occabot” on November 1, 2019 via Rad Cult Records, The Stargazer Lilies re-imagined their previously established heavy stoner-doom/dreamgaze sound into something new.  Paragon Cause released their latest EPLies Between Us” in 2019, combining dream pop, indie, electronic, industrial, trip hop and alternative rock with soaring, passionate vocals. Emerging out of UK's growing glam-rock revival scene, Birmingham's TREMENDOUS released single “Copycat Killer” in 2019.

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Creating their own quirky blend of noisy dual-guitar dreampop, Russian Baths shared their latest single “Wrong” in advance of their debut full-length album “Deepfake.”  A crisp, syncopated drum pattern and bassline set up momentary jolting guitars, introducing soft-spoken lyrics “what's that effect you hear? Keep it in control.”

Elongated vocals emphasize the songs title with the refrain “I – was – wrong,” as atmospheric guitar textures rise in the background, momentary exploding, at other times chiming like town square bells. A sonic ascension begins midway through this nearly 5 minute track, creating a wall of hammered guitar chords against the single word songtitle “wrong.” One more quite plateau is reached, as clean dual guitar interplay engages over a simple, basic drum beat. Deepfake was released on 11/8 and is available now everywhere.

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Based out of Austin, Texas, Blushing released their ten track debut LP this past September. Australia's Trillion put out their six song record “When I Wake” in MayEngland's The Suncharms contributed their track “Jet Plane” to an ongoing compilation series in November.  Pacific coast darkwave duo Lunar Twin have been advancing tracks in anticipation of a brand new album “Ghost Moon Ritual.”  Puerto Rican musicians Sin Tribu (aka Warren Santiago), Boston, MA's Federico Balducci, Héctor Caolo's Sueño con belugas, Tom Lugo's Stellarscope, 3 Robots Records SELENES and Meviu§ all feature in the DaveCromwellWrites Year End Best Of review.

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Friday, November 22, 2019

Record Reviews: Blushing, Trillion, The Suncharms, Lunar Twin, Stellarscope, Selenes

Deep dives into newly recorded works serves as primary motivation for this month's DaveCromwellWrites Features. While some new-to-this-site artists receive close listen analysis (inspired by the guiding hand production work of a respected, previously featured sonic master), others found their way in by simply reaching out. Oftentimes the most basic and sincere forms of communication and recognition yield the best results. That level of respect fuels a reason-to-care motivation leading to an ultimate appreciation of each individual recorded achievement.

Based out of Austin, Texas, Blushing makes modern dreamgaze music that pays homage to the 90's era sound originated by bands like The Cocteau Twins and Lush. Built around the female frontline of Michelle Soto (guitar, vocals) and Christina Carmona (vocals, bass) the four-piece band is completed with husbands Jake Soto (drums) and Noe Carmona (guitar). Their ten track debut LP was recorded, mixed and produced by Elliott Frazier of Ringo Deathstarr. Elliot's work with his own brilliant band has been featured on this site numerous times, with a complete review of their last album here. Employing his studio abilities with Blushing's songwriting, playing and vocals has made for a winning combination and receives a full track-by-track review now as well.

Opening track “So Many” starts out in an understated manner, with gently strummed, flanged guitar chords providing initial instrumental focus. Female vocals soon emerge out of wind-rush tunnels and celestial space, delivering lines “when the weight of the world is not enough to motivate.” Bright cymbals and drums enter the mix at a minute-and-a-half, providing a pulse under the lyrical story that continues to unfold. It all advances to build for another minute before a huge ambient expanse is opened, filling in across the entire sonic field with deep space guitar and punched-up percussion.

Stomping right out of the gate on tom-toms and more aggressively strummed, chorused guitars, “Dream Merchants” take an introspective look at the mind during (and after) sleep. “When you wake up - Feel your dreams around - They can change your mind - Leave it all unwound.” Extended note guitar squalls snake their way through significant segments of the track, providing a segue to overlapping vocals that approximate the quick fluctuation of a dream-like state. “Taking you places that you’ve never been - Not really sure if that’s what you intend,” ultimately leads to “Giving you what you needed to begin - They can change your mind.”

A churning percussive undercurrent and chiming guitars provide the instrumental springboard for “The Last Time.” There's a light and airy feel to the vocal presentation on the verses, while the choruses come on more forceful over a rubbery bassline and rat-a-tat percussion. Of particular note is the dreamy mid-point interlude that unfolds in cascading layered voices. Elements of the bands Lush and The Cocteau Twins come to mind while listening to this.

Chiming open note chords and thumping toms provide the opening textures for retro goth feel “Control.” Soft whisp female vocals float into the progression, stating “can't control you – You're not around. Can't escape the bind you found.” Bolder guitar strokes delivered in quicker time usher in the change “I'll wait for you – you cling to me – we look away – to set us free.” Opulent layers of voices cascade together in subsequent passes through, occasionally emphasizing flatter vocal notes (Minor? Fifth? Seventh notes?) revealing more complexity than initially anticipated. Bass guitar gets a featured moment just past the midway point, before rumbling toms and retro guitar textures join in.

Riding an immediate rhythmic curve that enunciates the first four syllables of each verse sentence (“we'll – for – get – they”, before the full band crashes in on the final word “know”), “The Truth” emphasizes big, bold strokes. Vocals cascade and blur into a swirling mix of instruments, with a clearly defined chorus stating “I know why you're like this. I feel how it returns. Can't say that I blame you. I know how this will end.” After two passes through the songs mid-point features a dreamy Lynchian passage (complete with ghostly background “Ahhh ahhhh's) declaring “Get used to it. Get used to the end. Just take the deal – and feel something real right now.” A brilliant guitar passage leads the song out to its conclusion.

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A beautiful, elongated e-bowed guitar line serves as the centerpiece on “Pressure.” Underneath that dominating sound, the band thunders along as dream-gaze vocals “going on – a run around again – looking for the answers” hover just above the submerged line. The pace and intensity quickens and a frantic guitar figure surfaces before the low rumbling fade-out.

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A gentle 1-2-3 waltz pattern introduces the Cocteau Twins influenced “Sunshine.” With vocal lines echoed in rapid succession (and lower toned, “flatter” harmonies) the nod of recognition to Liz Fraser and Robin Guthrie's innovative style is unmistakable. The layering and tonal quality of the female voices also bring to mind one of Ringo Deathstarr's own layered masterpieces - “Guilt.” A balance develops between specific guitar-bass chords alternating with floating lyrics “when I was down - you went away. Now you’re back - Sunshine stay.” A lovely minute-and-a-half instrumental coda lifts everything skyward.

Listen to that track here:

Regret and longing are the lyrical themes of the gently starting and powerfully finishing power ballad “Running.” Its carefully measured intro allows for a clearer vocal style on delicate introductory lyrics. A handful of weighty 90's era Projekt Records artists like Love Spirals Downwards, Soul Whirling Somewhere and Loveliescrushing come rushing back to mind while listening to this. This story of love never attained - “I'll never know – all that could've been – and the moment is gone – there won't be another day” is riddled with regret over “the words I didn't say.” A powerful chorus leaves some room for hope with the sentiment “If you want me to – I'll give it all for you. If you want me to – I'd lose it all for you.”

Romantic dreampop is the order of the day on the swirling”Me With You.” With shimmering downward strumming on it's dynamic intro, a spacious bass and drums only segment is soon met with brightly struck guitar figures before concise, poetic lyrics begin. “Could it be that you’re too far. Could it be that I’m not where you are. Pull me closer to you now. Holding on.”

A momentary dramatic pause is held as voices rise, before a more forceful chorus arrives. “Out of nowhere I fell in love. I don’t know why you couldn’t see. Out of nowhere I fell in love.I don’t know why I couldn’t keep.” Leading back into the downward driving intro chords. There an audible quality to the tone and combined females voices on this (mostly) pop song that reminds of (and this is meant in the most complimentary way) The Bangles. Yes, the Susanna Hoffs band. There was a distinct quality to the way that group harmonized, and elements of that are perceptible here as well.

Digital delay provides sonic effect on the introductory notes for final track “Her.” As the full sonic spectrum rapidly fills with a powerfully leading bassline and echo-canyon snare drum shots, extended length guitar lines fill in over top. Verses come in hushed tones, with percussion pulled back deep into the mix, leaving voice and guitar as primary focus. Those dynamics allow for fuller band enhancements under penultimate lines “there would never be enough time with you. I’ll take comfort in the days that we knew.” A final minute-and-a-half instrumental lift-off serves as the ultimate statement on the albums gorgeous sonic quality overall.


Catching up with old friends and making new one's too!

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Making it's way onto the DaveCromwellWrites landscape is the six song EPWhen I Wake” from Sydney, Australia's Trillion.  The five piece unit released this magnificent record in 2019, establishing a level of dreampop and gazey songcraft celebrating that style's enduring universal appeal. Each of the songs has been given a deep listen and now receives a detailed Cromwell analysis.

From the opening notes of intro (and title) track “When I Wake,” the listener is immediately immersed into a multiple layered guitar-centric dreamgaze world. One might expect this with the band listing not one, not two, but three active guitarists participating in this musics creation. Drums and bass soon enter the mix, providing a muscular undercurrent. Dual male-female tandem vocals deliver lyrics while a wall of pitch-bended guitars churn relentlessly underneath. The tracks midpoint ushers in a solid change, before heading back into the initial charging progression. There's room for riffing over top of that, creating ear-pleasing melodies before the eventual fade-out.

Reverberated canyons are the guitar texture approximations on the more deliberately measured “Slow Down.” Vocals come in that quieter, reverential style that Rachel Goswell and Neil Halstead did (and still do) so well on those classic Slowdive recordings. Gentle floating waves of guitar riffs are fortified by a commanding bassline and strong drumming. A lovely downward progression change develops halfway through, leading to an aggressive instrumental segment that brings “Ummagumma”-era Pink Floyd to mind. As the original, shuffling progression returns, softly sung lines like “take the time to shine” surfaces against angelic higher register background vocals.

Buzzing bee guitars and quick paced percussion are the order of the day on “Circles Around Me.” Swirling like an angry hive bearing down on a field of flowers, space is given for some brief vocal lines before the colony sound returns. Snaking guitar lines are woven in over top, reinforcing the necessity of the bands triple guitar approach. There's an atonal quality to the meshing of voices and bee-buzz guitar wash that creates an additional level of satisfaction. Not content to stop there, a jacked-up instrumental segment features emphatic guitar lead forays over throttling bass and drums.

Open note chords and deep rumbling drone usher in the dreamy “Walk Away.” That low pitched bass is distinctive, giving the track a bit of Jesus and Mary Chain feel. The bass gets busier on instrumental interludes that feature sinewy guitar lines weaving their way over top. Female vocals are pushed more prominently in the mix, with the male counterpart providing the shadow harmonies. Clocking in a minute shorter than the previous three songs, there's an overall poppier feel to this one.

The My Bloody Valentine-esque pitch-bended, overdriven guitars return on “Gone In Your Smile.” Vocals roll out in similarly submerged fashion, with the bright snare drum and cymbals paying perfect homage to the brilliant Colm Ó Cíosóig. The track is somewhat closer to the just-before Loveless MBV, with it's structured pop leanings enhanced by coming levels of murk and mayhem.

Final cut “Houhui” takes a decidedly different approach with the tracks opening strains sounding like a high pitched violin-like instrument. Overdriven guitars come floating in underneath and slowly take over the entire sonic spectrum. It's orchestral in feel and beatless – with those initial high pitched tones reappearing in the mix, providing a melody of sort on top of modulating glazed and gazey guitars.
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Keep up to date with all things Trillion via their bandcamp, which provides links to all of their social media platforms.

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Contributing a newly recorded track to the Amsterdam, Netherlands label fadeawayradiate records latest F.A.R. OUT curated digital compilation (now their third), The Suncharms finds their song in perfectly matched company of fellow upbeat pop (with a hint of psychedelia) artists.

Exploding out of a whip-crack snare drum and cymbals-on-bass-drum intro, “Jet Plane” takes off on a instantly catchy guitar riff loaded with nostalgic charm. The kind of upbeat melody that immediately embeds in your soul, bringing to mind carefree days of sun on your face and the promise of new adventures. A briskly strummed acoustic guitar churns away underneath, adding depth to the bass guitar and drums already in full flight. Vocals come on with a touch raspy, life-having-been-lived experience, weaving a tale of flyover air travel and the stories embedded within them. The bridge change arrives a minute in, with the dominant melody guitar line matching the vocals in note-for-note equal measure. “I am watching sunshine as it bursts through the rain” serves as just one lyrical metaphor depicting a feel good sensation. While that can't-miss hook-laden guitar riff cycles through again, additional sonic elements begin to find their way into the mix.. What sounds like a pedal-steel guitar is audible on the following verse, where the vocals are delivered in a softer, more conversational way. The final :45 second instrumental end-out keeps that happy feeling going, capping off a near-perfect three and a half minute pop song.

For further info on The Suncharms, check out their bandcamp link here.

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Making their long awaited return to the DCW universe are the pacific coast darkwave duo Lunar Twin.  Having previously covered their 2017 record “Night Tides” here, advance tracks are now being released in anticipation of a brand new album. The Cromwell dive down into one of those tracks follows below.

Soft piano introduces the near five minute in length track “Electric Lights.” A deep, introspective voice begins to sing in that up-close-in-your-ear style that Mark Lanegan mines so well. “It's past 4 am, still sittin' here. Drinkin' in (held in elongated vowels) the atmosphere.” Orchestral components materialize underneath, initially with lush keyboard strings and marimba-toned, sharp-struck melodies. Another buzzy synth tone materializes into the mix, providing one more counter balance to an ongoing mystical lyrical story. Inserting subtle, but noticeable structural changes allows for descending chord progressions augmented by deep, distant percussion. However, those changing undercurrents serve only to intensify the continuing lyrical story over top. At three minutes in, a more traditional drum progression commences, providing additional balance via a bona fide “beat.” That soon drops out, returning primary focus to lyrics stating “you're still a stranger” and “there is no imminent danger.” With the beat returning, vocal lines still flow: “rest with the sunset – sweet like the ocean – you can live forever and dream – electric like me - Electric light dreams.”

The forthcoming full length album “Ghost Moon Ritual” will be released in Vinyl, CD and Digital formats on February 16th, 2020 via the duos new imprint Tropical Depression/Desert Heat.

Follow the lead up to that release and everything else about the band here.

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On Wednesday November 13, 2019 3 Robots Records and Popnoise Fest presented a night of ambient and sonic explorations by Puerto Rican artists at Muchmore's in Brooklyn.

Performing on this night was an acoustic set from Sin Tribu (aka Warren Santiago); experimental ambient soundscapes from Boston, MA's Federico Balducci; a post ambient acoustic project by Héctor Caolo of pioneering shoegaze band Un.Real dubbed Sueño con belugas as part of the Selenes collective; a gazey set from Panophonic - the noise-pop project by Tom Lugo of Philadelphia’s post-punk/indie rock band Stellarscope; and DJ Meviu§ playing shoegaze, dreampop, indiepop in between sets.

Stellarscope have a new album on the way, scheduled for a January 2020 release.  Their first single "Sweet Surrender" is available now, and the track impresses on a number of levels.

Quick rhythmic tom-tom fueled drumming sets the pace as deep resonant guitar chords chime down in bold strokes. “Waiting on something, other than the dark days of life” is the opening lyrical refrain. Guitar and bass kick in at a more frantic pace, with quick strum buzzing guitars in constant motion. In under a minute the tracks essential hook is reached with the lines “Oh, I will never tell you lies. Oh, I will never let you down.” Those vocals are stylized and delivered with a diction and processing effects that bring to mind Peter Murphy's classic output. The instrumental delivery is far more forceful however, driving forward to its hyper-charged conclusion.

Listen to the track right here, with links to the many other band related resources here.

3 Robots Records is making available for free download a newly released album titled SELENES

The album is a collaboration between friends and colleagues from the independent music scene in Puerto Rico. It was put together by the artists sending tracks back and forth over the internet, recording, mixing and adding ideas in this modern way music is now often made. The name SELENES comes from the word “Selas” which describes the light and brightness emanating from the moon. In ancient Greek mythology, Selene is the name used to describe the moon goddess.

There is a wonderful, dreamy atmosphere to all of the tracks. Gently strummed flanged guitars and dreamy female vocals come wrapped in vast surroundings on the particularly standout track “Lead the Fire.” A male harmony vocal joins in on the delicate chorus, providing counterpoint to it all. Comprised of ten tracks in total, many are purely instrumental sonic explorations into a dream-like state. It's introspective music, but there are enough structural changes on a number of lengthier tomes (with “Planet Vortex” and “Surface Vibrations” in particular) to more than hold the listeners interest.

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