Archives for posts with tag: Dream Pop

Russian Baths

You don’t normally associate ‘shoegaze’ music with abrasive guitars. Loads of fuzz and distortion sure, but usually with the edges smoothed and angles blurred by layers of reverb and delay. Russian Baths create a thrillingly brutal variation on shoegaze, their submerged dream-state melodic vocals bound together with layered rasps of metallic guitars that have more in common with Husker Du and Sonic Youth than Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine. As you can hear on “Tracks” it works a treat:

Russian Baths are from Brooklyn, NY and are Jess Rees (guitar, vocals) and Luke Koz (guitar, vocals), with Evan Gill Smith (Bass, Synth), and Jeff Widner (Drums, Synth). “Tracks” is from an album called “Deepfake” out next month on Goodeye Records.

The contrasts between extremes here on “Tracks” are compelling; noise with whispers, harshness with softness, turmoil with tranquility, menace with comfort, dystopia with utopia, darkness with light…

There was one ‘shoegaze’ adjacent band in the 1990s which managed this kind of contrast – Catherine Wheel – but Russian Baths add in additional elements of Gothic rock and Post-Punk along with those hardcore noise-rock guitars to create a distinct kind of musical soundscape.


ToothpasteToothpaste are a London 4-piece mixing shoegaze and dream-pop together like alchemists on this 2019 single “Outside Panucci’s”:

Chief alchemist here in the magical transformation of melody, instruments and voices into something that glides through a heat-haze shimmer is bassist Daisy Edwards who engineered produced and mastered the recording.

Every part of the sound here – arrangement and production – contributes something to the feeling of vague ennui and nostalgic yearning (maybe?) the song is built on, and also captures perfectly the kind of weightlessness Slowdive perfected in their albums and EPs.

I’m a sucker for a good dream-pop/ shoegaze band and intrigued to hear more from Toothpaste. They have the makings of  GREAT dream-pop/shoegaze band on the strength of this song (and recording).


carla dal forno 2019Each stage of Carla dal Forno’s journey from Melbourne’s experimental electronic pop underground via Berlin to London has been matched with an increasing sophistication of her DIY dream-pop electronica.  “Took a Long Time” is the second song shared from dal Forno’s second album – “Look Up Sharp” – ahead of its October release.

On the basis of the two songs from “Look Up Sharp” shared so far, the new album strips even more of the lo-fi atmospheric haze from dal Forno’s sound while still maintaining an edge of detached unease.

“Took A Long Time” finds dal Forno sounding like a atmospheric stand-off between the fidgety crystalline minimalism of Melbourne dub electronica outfit HTRK and the uneasy post-punk electronic dream-pop of Dunedin’s Death and the Maiden.  

“Look Up Sharp” will be released on LP and CD (as well as digital download) on dal Forno’s own label Kallista Records on 4 October 2019.

Lorelle Meets the Obsolete

Lorelle Meets the Obsolete are a duo from Guadalajara, Mexico and “Líneas En Hojas” is a track from their recently released (third?) album “De Facto”:

The track combines melodic dream-pop with tense experimental post-punk tinged psychedelia. That minimal drum, bass, voice, guitar, synth repetition, building up into layered constructions and the contrast between light and dark/ dream and nightmare/ soft and harsh is a feature of many of the songs on this intriguing album.

Lorelle Meets the Obsolete are Lorena Quintanilla (Lorelle) and Alberto González (The Obsolete) with “De Facto” featuring a handful of additional musicians.

Vive la VoidVive la Void is the solo electronic music meditation of Sanae Yamada, co-founder and keyboard player of Portland’s Moon Duo. Here’s five and a half minutes of pulsing motorik dream-pop called “Red Rider”.

Yamada’s vocals are a washed out hazy presence here. Together with the vocal melodies, it imbues the song with the spirit of ghostly incantation.

The repetitive synth and drums backing on “Red Rider” – and throughout the whole album – provides a steady propulsion to these songs which evokes the perpetual motion of Kraftwerk at their darkest best.

The albums was created during years of relentless touring in vans in the US and Europe, which may be why the album carries the rhythms, repetition, drifting thoughts and dislocation of travel in its songs.

Dear Times Waste 2009

Dear Time’s Waste, Dunedin, 2009

Day 28 of PopLib’s 31 Days of May marathon for New Zealand Music month is a trip 9 years back in time to “Clandestine” from the first EP release of now-retired musical entity Dear Time’s Waste

“Clandestine” is the opening track on the 1st release by Dear Time’s Waste – the “Room For Rent” EP, released in March 2009.

It’s a song that transfixed then, and – as some music is inclined to do – transfixes still, nine years later, from the moment those two drum beats herald its start.

Following the “Room for Rent” EP, Claire Duncan, as Dear Time’s Waste – sometimes with a band, sometimes without – released two ambitious, excellent, and essential albums; SPELLS (2010) and Some Kind Of Eden (2012).

Afterwards came the intriguing slow development of a new and darker NZ Gothic enterprise, called i.e. crazy.

“Emerging from a mist of shoegaze in my early twenties, I yearned to discover a stronger mode of communication” explained Claire in this tribute to 5 of her favourite NZ songs published on The Wireless.

While i. e. crazy is certainly a “stronger mode of communication” it’s worth noting that the lyrics and atmosphere of the Dear Time’s Waste right from the start contained many hints of what was to follow, as a careful listening to “Clandestine” reveals.

That “mist of shoegaze” produced two of my favourite albums and this 5-song “Room for Rent” EP which is my equal-favourite 5 song EP along with the 1st Jean Paul Sartre Experience 12″ EP released in 1986.

Mint FieldHailing from Tijuana, Mexico, the duo Mint Field –  Estrella Sanchez (vocals & guitar) and Amor Amezcua (drums & synths) – are about to release their first album “Pasar de las Luces” next week. “Quiero Otoño De Nuevo” (which translates as “I want autumn again”) is one of two tracks available to stream ahead of the release.

It was a difficult choice to pick one to share here as both are very different and also very wonderful. I’m a sucker for a motorik drum-beat though so “Quiero Otoño De Nuevo” wins out over “Ojos on el Carro” which takes more of a post-rock via shoegaze trip through reverb-washed quiet-to-loud territory reminiscent of the early sounds of Icelandic adventurers Sigur Ros.

“Quiero Otoño De Nuevo” channels that Neu! styled drum/ bass groove for sure, but the guitar and vocals here take the song in all sorts of interesting directions – part psychedelic rock, part dream-pop.

These two tracks are a good enough reason to want to hear the rest of the album. Once again it’s a pity the postage costs for both the LP and even the CD format are so expensive so digital format it will have to be.

Jane Weaver_Modern Kosmology“The Architect” is the title track from a new EP from UK musician Jane Weaver which follows her essential album “Modern Kosmology” (which also includes “The Architect”…)

If you haven’t heard “Modern Kosmology” – released earlier this year – you really ought to give it a listen. Or just, you know, BUY IT! On impulse. As I did a few months ago.

It was one of those “Hi-Fidelity” moments, although Dave from Relics in Dunedin is no John Cusack. Still, he was playing a promo CD of the album and I ordered a copy of the LP on the strength of a couple of tracks that had been playing.

It’s quickly become one of my favourite albums of the year. “The Architect” here is one of two tracks to feature drummer Andrew Cheetham. The other is the opening track “H>A>K”. His drumming is fluid, loose, and inventive and gives the futuristic electronic soul-funk of “The Architect” a nicely human mode of propulsion.

There’s nothing else quite like “The Architect” (or “H>A>K”) on “Modern Kosmology” though and that’s one of the reasons the album is such a satisfying experience from beginning to end. It’s a special kind of psychedelic-electronic-dream-pop-motorik trip. A journey through the time & space of Jane Weaver’s imagination.

There are moments throughout the album that remind me of the diverse sounds of Broadcast, Stereoloab, Bachelorette, Fast, Neu, Can, Popol Vuh… goodness knows what else. But the key is these are just moments, and there’s also much here that is floating in its own musical universe… making it a contemporary classic album.

Here’s a wonderful 10 minute video documentary about Jane Weaver and the recording of “Modern Kosmology”.



purple-pilgrims-2016Day 17 of our 31 Days of May New Zealand Music Month marathon comes from Coromandel dream-pop electronica cult Purple Pilgrims

“Come join my esoteric cult/ we don’t watch TV/ don’t eat meat/ but in our arms you’ll feel complete” entreat Purple Pilgrims with menacing hyper-perfect diction in this devotional recruitment song.

This is a new track, released earlier this year, following their glorious 2016 album “Eternal Delight”. It carries some familiar Purple Pilgrims hallmarks, from the minimal electronic music which builds to a siren-warning insistent synth melody towards the end, to the eery trance-like vocals with ethereal chorus harmonies.

The combination of the words and all these musical elements turn an invitation to reside with them into something quite terrifying.

<p><a href=”″>Purple Pilgrims – Drink The Juice</a> from <a href=””>Not Not Fun</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

eyesnoeyes2017Don’t usually post songs that aren’t available on Bandcamp or Soundcloud here, but Auckland band Eyes No Eyes is to good to ignore so please stare at this video image while the music re-arranges the atomic structure of your brain:

Yes, “On TV” is of a style usually referred to as ‘shoegaze’ because it uses guitars with lots of delay and reverb type effects and is kind of slow and dreamy. Which also makes it dream-pop, which I prefer as a more meaningful and accurate and less pejorative music descriptor genre term. Interesting to see that the genres they list on their Eyes No Eyes FaceBook page are Ethereal Darkwave, Alternative, Indie Psych-rock, Dream pop, and, well, something they call Sex whisper.  OK…

Eyes No Eyes are from Auckland and feature Jessie Cassin (guitar/main vocal), Rikki Sutton (guitar/backing vocals), Joel Beeby (bass/backing vocals) Katie Ham (drums/backing vocals). I remember Rikki from another much-loved NZ dream-pop band Dear Time’s Waste. He’s a maestro on the effects pedals and he weaves his layered washes of sonic magic dust all through this.

The song has such a languid unhurried pace and simple, minimal structure, with a chorus which explodes with a burst of euphoric melody. It’s perfectly executed and also incredibly relaxing and de-stressing to listen to. Those are quite useful attributes for a Friday afternoon listen.  Very much looking forward to hearing more from them.

Hopefully they will have a Bandcamp link to share here when they get around to that album later this year. In the meantime you can listen to or buy the song via from one of these options:

iTunes –…

Apple Music –

Amazon –

Deezer –

Google Play –…/music/album/Eyes_No_Eyes_On_T_V…

Spotify –

Read more about Eyes No Eyes in this Under The radar Interview.

Too Tone NZ Music Month

Shop display of re-purposed NZ Music Month poster at Too Tone Records (2010-2017) in Dunedin.