you resource for all things shoegaze & dream pop.

you resource for all things shoegaze & dream pop.

31 July 2011

News: Vinyl Junkie Recordings to release charity compilation featuring exclusive material on August 3rd!

The Light Shines into Your Dream is a charity compilation album of shoegazer/dream pop bands for earthquake relief and reconstruction assistance in Japan. It will be presented by Vinyl Junkie Recordings. Available for digital download on August 03, 2011!


Check out the track listing below!

Legendary shoegaze band My Bloody Valentine, Chapterhouse, Astrobright, Fleeting Joys, Coalter of the Deeper, Cruyff In the Bedroom and more! Old and new artists from around the world and unreleased songs will be included. (!)

We share heartfelt sympathy with those who were affected by the earthquake in Japan. We hope for a quick recovery and reconstruction in the East of Japan.

Revenue from this compilation album will be donated in full as earthquake relief.



1. Chapterhouse / Pearl (2009 Recorded Version) (From UK)
2. Deep Cut / Out Of Nothing (From UK)
3. Coaltar Of The Deepers / Hallucination (From JAPAN)
4. Ringo Deathstarr / Every Time I Leave You (From US)
5. Exit Calm / Hope (From UK)
6. Lemon's Chair / Brilliant (From JAPAN)
7. The Deer Tracks / The Archer (Radio Edit Version) (From SWEDEN)
8. Pia Fraus / Birds Still Swing (From ESTONIA)
9. cruyff in the bedroom / Cry (Tokyo Feedback Renaissance Mix) (From JAPAN)
10. The Megaphonic Thrift / Fill Your Cup,Tokyo! (From UK)
11. Astrobrite / New Sun (From US)
12. Fleeting Joys / Between The Light And My Eyes - unreleased track (From US)
13. dip / Ode (To The Mucous Membrane) - Four Pieces Ver. (From JAPAN)
14. Secret Shine / Taking Me Over (From UK)
15. My Bloody Valentine / To Here Knows When (Live Version At Fuji Rock
Festival' 08) (From UK)

Reminder: Amber's Radio Show is Tonight!


Stream it live from 8pm-10pm CST at www.ktru.org, or it will be recorded if you miss it and want to download it later...

New Weekly Feature: The Shoegaze Collective and WTSH team up!

The Shoegaze Collective is essentially a Facebook community devoted to, you guessed it: shoegaze and dream pop music. But it's a lot more than that: we post videos, we promote bands, it's a great resource for new and undiscovered music, and we go far beyond the general limits of what is considered to be shoegaze and dream pop in our discussions about music - it's a very interesting place to interact. The entire gazey operation is run by Mr. Paul Lopez, an all around awesome dude, AND a member of Spell 336 (who's gorgeous track "Silence" was on The First 100,000 Compilation).

But beyond that, we are also a network of enthusiastic friends who like to laugh and have a good time. Which brings me to my point: last week, someone (not sure who) decided we ought to post themed videos all day, and the theme was snow/ice. From that moment on, it was a race to see who could find the most obscure, the most entertaining, and the best fitting tunes with that theme in the title to post on The Shoegaze Collective's wall. At first we started off strictly shoegaze and dream pop, but of course we eventually delved into the realm of the quirky, the absurd, or the just plain strange, and ended up laughing our asses off all day. Basically, it was really fun, so Paul and I (and a few others) decided themed Fridays would now be a weekly event in TSC. We all got such a kick out of it that I had Paul choose his favorite posts of the first official themed Friday, which was July 29, and the theme was "rain". As you'll see, the videos are all over the place, which is what makes it so fun (and funny). So without further ado, here are this week's top videos, chosen by The Shoegaze Collective's Paul Lopez:

RAIN


Purple Rain by Prince: Posted by Kim Welsh.




Rain by Tones On Tail: Posted by William Faith.




Rain On Rooftops by Epic 45: Posted by Scarylady Sarah.




Rainmaker by Sparklehorse: Posted by Rob Turner.




Raindrop by Alison's Halo: Posted by Al Schenkel.




Rainbows by Cranes: Posted by Philly Peroxide.



The Rain Song by Led Zeppelin: Posted by Perry Pelonero.




Dry The Rain by The Beta Band: Posted by Dean Bromley.




Rainy Days And Mondays by The Carpenters: Posted by Amber Crain.



Who Can Stop The Rain by the Thompson Twins: Posted by Perry Pelonero.

30 July 2011

Live Video: Rude 66 performing "I am God" live at the Magic Waves festival.

Rude 66 just sent us a great quality live video of him performing "I am God", the track on the SVI/Rude 66 split 7 inch we just reviewed, at the Magic Waves festival. Holy shit, it's even more awesome live. ADORE.


Album Review: Screen Vinyl Image & Rude 66. Split 7 inch.

Artist(s): Screen Vinyl Image & Rude 66.
Release: Split 7 inch - Tomorrow is Too Far/I am God.
Record Label: Custom Made Music.

Related Posts:
- Read our interview with Screen Vinyl Image HERE.
- Read Screen Vinyl Image's interview they did with Rude 66 for When The Sun Hits HERE.
- Read our Record Label Spotlight feature about Custom Made Music HERE.

***

Since I am a fanatic about packaging, I'm going to say right off the bat: the packaging for this 7 inch is immaculate and eye catching. Custom Made Music has been doing an absolutely amazing job in recent months with their releases, and this split 7 inch is no exception. It's no secret that I'm a vinyl junkie, so these things are important to me.

Side A: Screen Vinyl Image. Tomorrow is too Far.

With an intro slightly reminiscent of Black Celebration-era Depeche Mode, but with a little more swagger and a lot more attitude, within seconds I'm sold on this track. As it unfolds, the guitar and synth work, flawless from the get go, become more intricate and layered, while the beat takes up residence as the dark backbone of the song. It begins almost subtly, but by mid-song it's already building into something much more powerful, essentially transforming into a straight up darkwave dance track. But while darkness blankets the track, the beat is so right that one doesn't really give a fuck about said "darkness"; it's time to dance. This is what New Order would have sounded like, had Ian Curtis not died and fronted the group instead (never mind that New Order wouldn't have existed without Curtis' death - just suspend your imagination a bit, eh?). Best heard in a dark room, accompanied by a strobe light.

I don't know what to call this music - Doomgaze? Coldwave? Darkgaze? Black Celebration-gaze (I would really like it if this sub genre existed because that sounds too ridiculous NOT to exist)? It really doesn't matter, the point is Screen Vinyl Image can't be lumped into the usual categories that you can assign most bands to. They are unclassifiable, and they probably like it that way. I know I certainly do. It's a stamp of originality. Cheers, SVI, for another impeccable release. You have never failed me, and that's kind of a big deal.



Tomorrow is too Far (live). Footage shot by Ceremony.

***


***

Side B: Rude 66. I am God.

As for side B, I didn't know much about Rude 66, except that he is a Dutch electronic musician living in Amsterdam, so I went in with a fairly blank slate when I flipped the 7 inch over. I was, however, delighted by the track title straightaway - I figured Rude either had balls, a sense of humor, or a huge ego, and since I like all of those things, my interest was piqued.

As soon as the needle hit the first groove, I was greeted by a hard, predatory beat that would be perfectly at home in an industrial track, and a dirty guitar with tons of fucking attitude - I knew I was in for a treat. The dark beat is slow and steady, almost like a march - I hate to draw parallels, but imagine NIN's "Closer" with a more bloodthirsty undertone. Once the eerie synths and vocoder kick in, I am straight up smitten (my adoration and borderline obsession with the vocoder is well documented). Rude 66, you're pushing the right buttons for me. And did I mention the use of the vocoder?

But this isn't a simplistic song, despite the simple elements used; Rude makes every move deliberately, and you just can't argue with a well crafted song. So we have a cold, steady beat, some sort of Dionysian guitar growl going on, and then it comes. The chorus: a robot voice ominously chanting the words "I am God" repeatedly. So pair the elements I've spelled out above with this chorus, an emotionless Robot God repeatedly announcing himself, and the end result is: completely bad ass. A brilliantly put together track, in which almost every element can be seen as a metaphor - but those are your job to puzzle out. I just work here.

A flawless release. //amber

Stream the 7 inch release below via bandcamp (and buy a digital copy for a measly $2), buy the 7 inch via Custom Made Music HERE, and check out a live video of SVI's "Tomorrow is too Far" above and Rude 66's track "Machine" below.



Rude 66. Machine.



29 July 2011

Last Remaining Pinnacle makes a mix tape for Magnet magazine.

Virginia-based Last Remaining Pinnacle concocts a psychedelia-tinged sound with a modern edge that is hard to resist, AND it just so happens that the band features a certain Dave Allison of Custom Made Music among its ranks, as well. We love Dave (read our Custom Made Music Record Label Spotlight HERE) and Last Remaining Pinnacle has an interview with us coming up in the extremely near future, so we are all about these guys right now. I guess what I mean to say is: LRP are bad ass, and not only WE think so, but Magnet magazine also thinks so. And you should think so!

Magnet chose LRP to participate in their regular Mix Tape feature, which basically entails them choosing bands to make them mix tapes and then they share the mixes with their readers. Pretty cool, idea, actually.

Anyway, Magnet's last handpicked band to make a mix tape was none other than Last Remaining Pinnacle. Considering the size of Magnet's reader circulation, LRP must be on cloud 9! And they totally deserve every bit of exposure they are given, because these guys are TALENTED AS HELL.

Without further ado, click HERE to be taken to the Magnet Mix Tape article, featuring Last Remaining Pinnacle. Awesome!!


28 July 2011

Live Show Photos: The Sky Drops. April 28, 2011 in Houston, Texas.

Yes, I realize these photos are almost criminally delayed, but whatever; I love The Sky Drops, so I'm posting them, delayed or not! I was lucky enough to see The Sky Drops (along with Bloody Knives and Love Culture) at Super Happy Fun Land in Houston, Texas on April 28, 2011, and needless to say, it was amazing! Since I was also djing in between sets with Brandon Duhon, I wasn't able to photograph the other bands (who all kicked ass, btw), but managed to snap a few images of The Sky Drops' Rob Montejo and Monika Bullette before returning to my dj duties. As per usual, after one or two normal images, my camera turned on its infamous "gazer setting", hence the increasingly psychedelic photos that followed. I didn't doctor these photos at all, my camera is just notoriously on acid. Enjoy! xo Amber.


My favorite photo of the set. Rob and Monika in a beautiful electric blue blur.

***

Oh, look, here's a normal-ish looking photo before my camera went gazer!

***

And the camera begins it's descent into acid photography. Rob and Monika can certainly make quite a beautiful racket with only two people in the band! Very impressive.

***

Rob - doing what a gazer does best; stomping on those fx pedals.

***
Monika plays drums and sings beautifully simultaneously...NOT an easy feat!

***

Darkness. A green guitar. A ghostly Rob Montejo.

***

Rob (who I may or may not have a crush on), in electric blue.

***

The beautiful Monika Bullette. She bangs the drums, bathed in green light.

***

A clearer photo of Rob doing his thing. Check out the backdrop...that venue is pretty wild.


27 July 2011

5 Band Submissons by Rob Turner.


In case you missed our announcement last week re: our new weekly feature, 5 Band Submission by Rob Turner: This has been something we at WTSH have been trying to figure out for awhile now: the best way to introduce bands that submit content to us and a way to showcase them. Until we get caught up on all of the material we have, it will be called "5 Bands Submissions". In the future, once we're caught up, we will do a "Top 5 Band submissions". : Rob Turner.




1) Secrets Of The Third Planet (S3P) - Out of my mind.



Links:
S3P Bandcamp.
S3P Myspace.


***

2) The Great Wilderness - Dark Horse.




***

3) Ten Million Lights - Fast Asleep (LIVE).




***

4) Teenage Sin Taste - Adrenalin (Feat Adelaide Knees).




***

5) Shimmercore - Devil Surprise.




Free Download: Amber's Shoegaze Radio Show. Aired July 24, 2011.

Click HERE to download Amber's most recent 2 hour shoegaze and dream pop radio show, which aired Sunday, July 24, 2011. Free, naturally! The set list is provided below. It recorded at a lower volume than usual this time (no clue why, so you may need to crank it up louder than usual). Enjoy!

DOWNLOAD.


band name/track title.
----------Hour 1---------------
The Horrors. You Said.
A Place to Bury Strangers. Ego Death.
Cocteau Twins. Wax and Wane.
Bloody Knives. I'll Never Leave You Alone.
A.R. Kane. The Sun Falls Into the Sea.
Wild Nothing. Live in Dreams.
Blonde Redhead. Will There Be Stars?
Jesu. Birth Day.
Belong. Who Told You This Room Exists?
Bell Hollow. Secret Key.
Emeralds. Does It Look Like I'm Here?
Violens. It Couldn't Be Perceived.
Fleeting Joys. Cloudlike Mercury.
--------Hour Two--------------
Deerhunter. Don't Cry.
Ride. Polar Bear.
The Rain Parade. This Can't be Today.
Presents for Sally. Smell Your Scent.
The Voices. Evermore.
Drowner. Chime.
Screen Vinyl Image. The Midnight Sun.
Slowdive. Avalyn 1.
Whirl. Ghost.
Ulrich Schnauss. Ships Will Sail.
800beloved. Colours.
Lush. De-Luxe.


Donate to help get Music for Headphone's album Life.in.Mono on vinyl!

Music for Headphone's release, Life.in.Mono, most certainly tops our list as one of the best releases of 2011, and after garnering much praise from all over the world, MFH wants to raise money to help get this masterpiece pressed onto vinyl - the format it was intended to be heard on. We all know pressing wax is pricey, but the end product is absolutely worth it. Support Music for Headphones by donating to their Kickstarter project...I personally want this album on vinyl BADLY and will be making my donation soon, so let's make it happen gazers!

CLICK HERE to read about the project and to donate! Do your part.




25 July 2011

Tune in TONIGHT to Strangeways Radio for a special announcement!

Tune in TONIGHT to Strangeways Radio at 10pm-11pm (9pm-10pm CST) for DJ Mikey's radio program Halcyon Waves to hear some awesome tunes AND catch a VERY SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT! I'll be hanging out in the chat room, so come talk music with us! And while you're at it, tune in an hour early for DJ Zumby's show, Sound and Vision! Honestly, every time I stream Strangeways I am impressed as hell by what's playing! Class!

xo Amber

NEW MORPHEME! Video & Red Dog EP out on Bandcamp!

This is huge! We've all been waiting, especially after the impeccable "Infection"/"Stratosphere" release, and here it is: A new video from Morpheme (that's Dean Garcia [Curve], Perry Pelonero and Kim Welsh [bliss.city.east and Skylight]) for the track "Red Dog", and the Red Dog EP is out NOW on bandcamp! Fuck yes, gazers, get STOKED!


Also, KIM WELSH IS SO HOT IN THIS (sorry, Kim, it's true).





Brad Laner releases Medicine compilation entitled Remains 1992-1995 via Bandcamp.

Brad Laner of Medicine recently released a compilation via bandcamp called Remains 1992-1995, which is comprised of, in his words, fifteen "non-LP and unreleased tracks, all of which are taken from my personal mastering reference copies. That means these are 'in phase' and sound far superior to the original Creation singles which somehow got reversed in the pressing stage. Oh, the price of coolness."

AWESOME. Go. Get. It.



And we have a winner for the JPEG contest!

Thank you to everyone that submitted jpegs for our Happy Birthday to WTSH jpeg competition! We will try to post some of the other submissions for your viewing pleasure later, but for now, gaze upon John Gilkey's winning jpeg, complete with an fx pedal setting for our great friend Perry Pelonero's (of morpheme, bliss.city.east, Skylight) infamous flatulence! Perry's well known gas just won you a $25 gift card to iTunes, John! Check your email! Thanks for giving us all a good laugh! :)

CLICK HERE to see the image in FULL SIZE, which is necessary to read the detail at the top of the image...the blog just can't support the full capacity of it's hilarity.

24 July 2011

WTSH Birthday JPEG Contest Reminder! Win an iTunes gift card! Ends at midnight tonight!

Just reminding everyone that our contest for the best Happy Birthday to When the Sun Hits jpeg ends TONIGHT at midnight (CST), so get those photoshop skills working! There are essentially no rules, just go crazy, and make us laugh! Send your submissions to whenthesunhitsblog@gmail.com. We've already received some great ones, so try your hand at it! The winner will receive a $25 gift card to iTunes and have their creation posted on the blog, which will make you instantly famous, of course!



After we review all the submissions, we'll announce the lucky winner on Monday (tomorrow). FUN!


Good Luck!

Submissions to: whenthesunhitsblog@gmail.com

Tonight: Amber's Radio Show. Stream it live!


Sunday nights, as per usual, I'll be spinning shoegaze and dream pop from 8pm-10pm CST. You can stream it live at www.ktru.org, or if you miss it, I'll be recording it, so you can download it at a later date if you'd like! Cheers! Amber.

22 July 2011

Happy 1st Birthday, When The Sun Hits!! Enter our contest to win an iTunes gift card!

Exactly one year ago today, on July 22, 2010, Danny and I decided to stop talking about it and just do it - we were going to start a music blog. I still remember trying to come up with names...we had about 5 contenders, but we BOTH knew "When The Sun Hits" was perfect for us, and adopted it within minutes. We had the idea, we had the name, and after much geeking out and discussion, on that rainy July day the blog as born.

We had NO IDEA WHATSOEVER that the blog would resonate with so many people...we are continually surprised by that to this day. Because truly, we started the blog out of sheer love for music, and a shared enthusiasm for shoegaze and dream pop in particular, and thought it would amount to nothing much but a forum for he and I to nerd out freely. But with every day that passes, more and more dreamers find us, or we find them, and the blog has grown into what you see today. We've interviewed some of our idols, met some amazing people, formed some extremely important friendships, learned about so much music, and shared as much of it as we could with the readers...and we will continue to do so for as long as we can.

We just want to thank everyone who's helped us make it this far. There is no way we could name everyone individually, because there are so many wonderful people and musicians out there who've helped and supported us along the way, or those who've joined the family to help us grow. We love you all, and here's to many more birthdays!

The Contest:

I've been trying to satisfactorily photoshop some shoes or fx pedals onto a nice psychedelic colored birthday cake all day, but I totally suck at that, and the video below is much better anyway!

However, if you think you can create the mother of all blog birthday jpegs, we will send you a $25 gift card for iTunes! We like to laugh, so there's your one helpful hint. Submit your efforts either in the comments below (if possible) or email to whenthesunhitsblog@gmail.com. You have until Sunday, July 24th! There are no specific rules, just make something kick ass! We will then convene, choose a winner, and champion your jpeg magic for all to see! Happy photoshopping!

Love to you all,
Danny, Amber, Rob, and the rest of our WTSH family.



Foxtail Somersault covers the Sugarcubes' track "Birthday".

20 July 2011

Video: Steve Kilbey (of the Church). Fall in Love.

The song is "Fall in Love" by Steve Kilbey (of the Church), from the album Narcosis + More. Stellar is an understatement. Read WTSH's fairly recent interview with Kilbey HERE!

Lyrics provided below the video!
(they are worth typing out and reading, trust me)




Lyrics:

I knew this man, he had some kind of fatal affliction/Each day, a tiny particle, a small drop of his soul, leaked or escaped into the air/out beyond the insipid gray sky and into dead space./The paranormal specialist could find no way to plug the tiny perforations 
which dripped his spirit behind him as he went on down the highway/

Fall in love with me
/Fall in love with me (It's not impossible)
/Fall in love with me
/Fall in love with me (It's not impossible).


It was attributed to hashish and opium addiction/excessive womanizing/lashings of money and flattery/and a charmed, but not charming life/Who can describe the agony of this gradual soul depletion?
/Too cowardly to take his own life, he roamed the cafes and cabarets
/searching out other wretches who shared his most hideous malady/and they spent their days in sophistry and idle banter/as their essence oozed/and the void moved ever closer.



Fred, the man/charlatan bastard, poor piteous doomed puppet/immersed himself in these vices/but this only exacerbated his demise more rapidly.
 Eventually, he could derive pleasure from nothing/
the most lurid pornography or the most holy scriptures
 failed to arouse him from his stupor, his boredom/Great cities/or the endless beautiful plains/stretched out before his jaded gaze/
and disappeared into the nothingness of his feeling.

5 Band Submissons by Rob Turner.

As Rob Turner, When The Sun Hits' communications liason/magician, will tell you, the blog gets LOADS of band submissions to our email daily. We've been trying to think of the best way to go through the mountains of submissions and showcase the best bands we discover. Rob had the brilliant idea to do a weekly "5 Band Submissions" to handle all of this traffic, give the bands deserved exposure, and get new music out to everyone. We hope you enjoy it! This is a GREAT way for us and our readers to discover talented under the radar bands. Links are also provided below each submission, so that you can research further into the bands. Cheers all! Amber & Danny.

***

This has been something we at WTSH have been trying to figure out for awhile now: the best way to introduce bands that submit content to us and a way to showcase them. Until we get caught up on all of the material we have, it will be called "5 Bands Submissions". In the future, once we're caught up, we will do a "Top 5 Band submissions". : Rob Turner.

***

1) Quiet Lights - Twice Today.




2) Jane Woodman - Crashing.




***

3) On Volcano - Mission.




***

4) Seafrost - Oscillations.




***

5) Golden Gardens - Paresseux.



Radio Show: DREAM WAVE – Streams Live Tonight @ Midnight (Eastern).

Tune in Tonight @ Midnight (Eastern Time) for the Dream Wave Summertime Playlist on 87.7 FM WNYZ in New York City. Great music, plus tonight's artist features are: Lonesome Ghost, Cassolette, Birdlips, The Black Bear Affair, Spell 336 and lots more...

This is a great shoegaze/dream pop radio program that you should all check out! For more information on the program and to stream it live tonight, FOLLOW THIS LINK!





Interview : Jack Sobel of Black Swan Lane.

This interview is a bit close to my heart, since I have personally been a fan Black Swan Lane or some incarnation of the band since the 90's and then got to see them open up for The Chameleons in 2003. Jack Sobel and John Kolbeck are class guys with an incredible sense of lyric and music writing that has keep me coming back to them for many years and I see no sign of that stopping. Every time I hear something new from them, they are forever growing and changing... : Rob Turner

***

How and when was the band formed (past bands or incarnations)?

I formed a band called The Messengers back in 1990 with Lauren Fay. James Fairey and John Kolbeck joined the group soon after Lauren’s departure and I took over lead vocals. I’ve since learned to actually hum a tune. We had a nice following in the southern states of the US and had some limited radio play and it was revolutionary for the South at the time, which was stuck in southern rock mode. We quit music for four years in early2000 out of sheer frustration until 2004, when I met my idols, The Chameleons UK, which sparked a renewed sense of longing to play music again. Mark Burgess joined us on the last Messengers album, Abundant Sunshine in 2005, which had some amazing songs, but we rushed it and had limitations on time and money, so the production quality did not shine.

We invited Yves Altana (who played with Mark on Invincible), Kwasi Asante (from the last Chameleons Tour) and Mark’s Drummer from Germany, Achim Farber out in late 2005 to record some new stuff and play a show (of Chameleons songs) in Atlanta. During this process it seemed crazy to continue with the name The Messengers. I drove north of Atlanta looking for a change of scenery and stumbled upon a beautiful road named Black Swan Lane. The next area I discovered was named the Aviary. I Googled the name Aviary and the first thing that appeared on my screen was a black swan. Black Swan Lane seemed like a wise choice to go with to name the new project.


The Messengers. Still.

Kind of a personal question, as I am a fan of The Chameleons and Mark Burgess has been an idol of mine since 1983 as a man, a musician and songwriter. What was it like opening for The Chameleons the first time and then befriending Mark Burgess when he agreed to work with Black Swan Lane?

It’s a funny story actually. After I ate dinner with and saw the Chameleons play two nights in Atlanta, I never thought I would see them again. My only goal at the time was to sit next to Mark and chat a bit which was a fantasy already fulfilled. The Chams broke up again right after the US tour and Mark started a solo tour. I got a call out of the blue to ask if we could do an opening slot for him as The Messengers. At the time, I had given up on music and decided I was going to chase the American dream instead. Although I had no band, I answered the call with a resounding yes. After hanging the telephone up, I do believe I freaked out a little bit. Long story short…

John attempted to copy my vocals, I played the drums and we found a familiar face to play bass and we pulled it off. Mark asked me on stage after our set to perform the track, Happy New Life, with him and James Oaks, who coincidentally lent a hand on our second album, The Sun and The Moon Sessions. To this day, it is still surreal to be in the same room with Mark, much less record with him. I have to say it was just as satisfying hanging out, playing and recording with Andy Whitaker and Andy Clegg of The Sun and The Moon. All are wonderful, genuine people.


Can you tell us what the band has been working on and what you've got forthcoming in the near future (new releases, tour, etc)?

We have been working on our fourth release, Staring Down The Path Of Sound, for the last year. The only break we took from it all year was when John jumped on a cruise ship for a week. We have spent more time on this one than any other. Lauren Fay has returned after almost two decades gone and we lost the help of our brothers in Manchester who have all been tied up with other projects at the moment. Chameleons Vox seems to be a hit by the way. I’m hoping to reunite with Mark and the gang soon for additional recordings. I’m also working on re-mixing / mastering the 19 tracks that were cut off the latest album that comes out this August. They were great tracks; they just didn’t flow well with the rest of the new record. We spent weeks at the end of the process lining each of the new 15 tracks up, so they all make sense in the form of an hour long story. After the August 2011 release, we are going to seriously think about doing larger live shows again and hope we can get another whole album out sooner than later.

Where can we buy the new CD available August 2011?

Black Swan Lane Store.
Black Swan Lane on iTunes.

Do you consider Black Swan Lane's music to be part of the current shoegaze & dream pop scene, or any scene? Defining one's sound by genre can be tiresome, but do you feel that the band identifies closely with any genre? How do you feel about genres in music, in a general sense?

I suppose you have to label and classify bands to keep some order in all the chaos, however, it is always a tough question to answer considering our approach to every record we make. Our attempt is to keep the listener engaged in each track until the very end of the song and also to make the entire album interesting and approachable for everyone, not just a select few. Our songs definitely have some shoegaze influences, but also have many different styles. I typically call our music Manchester Alternative Rock. It all started in Manchester, right?

What do you think of modern shoegaze/dreampop/psychedelia artists, any
favorites?

The modern stuff I’m hearing definitely has feeling and emotion, but it seems to lack focus and direction. There is a sameness to a lot of it and I purposely ensure that we don’t pigeonhole ourselves into that. I think the best stuff I’ve heard lately is Exit Calm.

What is the most important piece of gear for your sound? Any particular guitars/pedals/amps that you prefer?


Ironically, a lot of the guitar effects on the last three albums were done with a Rock tron Chameleon rack mount processor. I love making my own signature effects for vocals and guitars but try not to overdue it too much. We have an amazing mixer, Jeff Tomei, who worked on the first Smashing Pumpkins record, who also does an amazing job with the overall sound for the songs. I would feel naked, however, without my lexicon reverb& delay mounts while recording in the studio...


How do you feel about the state of the music industry today? There is no doubt a massive change underway; how do you see it and do you feel it’s positive at all?

The only positive I see is the fact that it is easy to cross oceans these days. The immediate gratification is cool when you see the response of your music from around the globe and fans can reach you quickly to let you know how they felt when they listened to you. The obvious negative is the fact that the Internet is out of control and we have seen our stuff hijacked many times over. The music industry as a whole is still terrible. The majority of popular music that continues to be highlighted by the media makes me want to take a bat to my stereo at times. The few great bands with any talent that sneak through with a major label, typically wind up with nothing or more often than not, owe the record company money by the end. We own the rights to our entire catalogue and have our own publishing company, Wanderland, and we will most likely keep it that way.

Do you prefer vinyl, CD, cassette tape or mp3format when listening to music? Do you have any strong feelings toward any of them?

I still have an extensive vinyl collection and fond memories of buying them and from time to time, I’ll throw a copy of the Beatles on or some Lucy Show, Bauhaus or Dead Can Dance. I love the deep sound and depth of vinyl. I first heard Swamp Thing by the Chameleons on vinyl and almost fell apart. I would love to hear what BSL would sound like on vinyl, but we have never done it. The shipping wouldn’t be practical or ideal. I like cds and hope they stay around for a while, but I think music will be going to usb drives shortly, which will be unfortunate.

What artists (musicians or otherwise) have most influenced your work?

I first learned to play the drums when I was six years old to the Beatles records at home, so I would have to include them. I started writing my own songs shortly after hearing the Chameleons UK for the first time and attempted to teach myself the guitar and piano. I’m still learning. The bands that influenced Black Swan Lane the most are: The Sun and The Moon, Kitchens of Distinction, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Smiths, Cocteau Twins and Joy Division.

Can you tell us a little about what you are currently into (books, films, art, bands, etc)?

I’ve gotten into boating lately. Well, not really. I simply enjoy sitting on the boat, at the dock, writing music. I even tried setting up a secondary studio out there, but it didn’t work out very well. I’m down to a guitar and a small Olympus digital recorder to put ideas down into. A lot of the songs on the last two records were written in the middle of winter on the lake in Georgia, watching the steam rise off the water. I’ve also just purchased my first Mac, so I’m learning the ins and outs right now, especially the video production side of it. I’ve been listening to Black Swan Lane tracks over and over for the last year to ensure they are album worthy. The only other bands I’ve listened to in the car lately are the Doves, Boxer Rebellion, Elbow and some classical pieces by Chopin.

If you had to choose one Black Swan Lane track that was the ultimate definition of your sound, which would it be and why?

Way too hard to do. . . The track that seemed to have the most impact and that has meant a lot to people is "Only I Will Miss" off the album, Things You Know and Love. It is a slower track, but it has a lot of simple beauty and was one of those perfect tracks that came together quickly. "In The Ether" was the easiest and most basic track we ever did and that’s the one that winds up in a major motion picture(Adventure land). My favorite tracks that exemplify BSL are "Leave Me Helpless", "Things You Know and Love", "Adeus" and "Low". "Low" is on the newest album, Staring Down The Path Of Sound.


Black Swan Lane. Only I Will Miss.


Can you tell us a little about the band’s songwriting process?

John came by the studio last year to listen to a demo I did and said, “It’s a good thing you don’t know what you are doing.” He did actually enjoy that track and I’m still not sure if he was kidding or not. John and I try to find guitar chords, different tuning methods and patterns that are not typical or haven’t been done before. I’m the main writer, but each album is complex. I incorporate other band members into the songs based on their strengths. John has an amazing ear for things, so he has come into a completed song and made things a hundred times better. Other times, we simply add harmonies and guitar parts to existing demos. Some of the best songs we have created, however, have been together in a room on the floor with two acoustics, a piece of paper and a pen. Mark has a completely different process when writing together; we typically have to watch an English soccer match first.. Some of the best times of my life were recording in the same room with Mark Burgess, Andy Clegg & Andy Whitaker. The first two BSL albums were definitely more experimental in nature and were done while completely under the influence. Our newest record coming out this August will be the first record done completely sober and level headed. At the very least, it will all be in tune.

What is the band’s goal for 2011?

Invent a time machine. Travel back 20 years and record the previous albums properly. Seriously…Obviously, John and I have always been the main fixtures in Black Swan Lane, and there have been 11 other incredible musicians involved in the recording process. I would love to put a solid, talented backing band together and do a US tour and then make it to the UK.

What is your philosophy (on life), if any, that you live by?

Surround yourself with happiness and try not to have a fucking heart attack.




18 July 2011

Interview: Martin Sleeman, EJ Hagen, and Alex White of The Morning After Girls/Highspire/The Starcharts.

The Morning After Girls consists of 5 members: Sacha Lucashenko, Martin B. Sleeman,
Alexander White, E.J. Hagen, and Anthony Johnson, and since 2003, have released consistently solid EPs and LPs to critical acclaim. Alexander White and E.J. Hagen have a separate project together that is also highly lauded - Highspire, whose music we adore equally. Below, Danny chats with three of the MAGs - Martin, Alex, and EJ: three down-to-earth guys with tons of talent between them. Keep that mouse scrolling in a downward fashion and learn about how the MAGs formed, their thoughts on the music industry, their future and their various side projects. For more research, follow the links at the bottom!


How was The Morning After Girls formed?


Martin: Two people coming together when they needed each other most.
Alex: That could be a one night stand.
Martin: Well, then it's become a pretty good night. The greatest night we've ever had.

Where did the name "The Morning After Girls" come from?

M: Contempt and disdain for those who place importance on names and labels.
A: Ha, well said!

How did you guys meet EJ and Alex from Highspire and how did they become members of the band?

M: We had a mutual friend who introduced us.
A: Martin was staying with this lovely mutual friend when he moved to NYC and she contacted me as a potential band member. Marty and I hit it off pretty much right away. And then Sacha and I hit it off soon after. Once I was in, they pressed me for a bassist and I recommended EJ for the job rather than possibly being stuck with someone I didn't like hanging around with.

This is for EJ and Martin, what is the status of your side project, The Starcharts? When can we expect a release?

A: EJ has twelve step plan to release this fine work of art. When you think that will be there, Hagen?

EJ: Things have been going well with The Starcharts material. In fact, so well that we decided to do two albums instead of one. We're just entering the final mixing stage for both now. I'd say the first one could be out by late spring/early summer, second one later in the year. Although that might depend on how/who releases it/them.


The Morning After Girls. Lazy Greys.

Do you feel like the MAG's are part of the shoegaze/dream pop scene, or any scene?

A: This question is the hardest for me. You really never want to be boxed in, so I'd say no. However, it's really what the listener takes away from the music that categorizes it in their own mind. So it's up to the individual listener to decide.

What do you think of modern shoegaze/dream pop artists, any favorites?

A: Exit Calm is good. The Radio Dept.
EJ: There's loads of bands doing cool music influenced by those sounds these days. But to be honest I haven't really listened to much music this year so far other than what I've been working on.

What have you guys been listening to/reading/watching lately?

A: Various Pink Floyd songs from The Wall and Wish You Were Here.
M: A great short film - which is a silent film - called "A Day with the Boys." Please watch. It's incredible, man.

When can we expect a new MAG's release?

M: We're working on pre-production for 15 to 20 songs at the moment that we hope to have finished by mid year. And once our tour schedule allows, we will finish them off.


The Morning After Girls. Slowdown.

What is the most important piece of gear for your sound ? Any particular guitar/pedals/amps you prefer?

A: I have a Telecaster Texas Highway 1, which Martin plays. We both love that guitar.
M: The Boss DM2 that was stolen from me when I first moved to New York. It was all over the album.

Which artists have most influenced your work?

M: Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Bach... that's all I grew up with.
A: Beethoven, have you heard of him?
M: Never.

What was it like working with legendary producer Alan Moulder on your latest album?

M: It was one of the easiest relationships we've ever had in sharing the vision we started off with.

What is the deal with the new label you guys started, Xemu? Why did you decide to start your own label?

M: We didn't start Xemu actually. It was started by a guy called Cevin Soling and has managed to sign Dead Meadow, Spindrift, and us.

A: Really good forward thinking label. We'd be proud to own it, but alas we don't.

M: We just have privilege of being a part of it.

What do you think of the state of the music industry today? How do you feel about free downloading?

M: It's too expensive.
A: We're more or less in a feudal period for the music industry. It's every man and band for himself.


The Morning After Girls. Run For Our Lives.

What song do you think best represents the band's sound?

M: I don't think that's a valid question as I don't think there's one song. The reason a band makes an album is to make different songs. There's not one moment or song in time that defines someone. It is the combination of many things which define someone thus we choose to focus on an album rather than a song.

What are your philosophies on life, if any, that you live by?

M: Act according to what you can't describe and live according to what you'll never know. Love what you can't feel. Reach for what you can't touch.
A: Don't buy anything you can't pay for.



17 July 2011

Live Show: Patrick Overway talks about meeting Robin Guthrie at a recent Guthrie/ Brendan Perry (Dead Can Dance) gig. Exclusive info, photos & video!

When the Sun Hits reader and all-around awesome guy Patrick Overway recently got in touch with us regarding a live performance he'd just attended: On June 5, 2011, at the Metro venue in Chicago, Patrick watched Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins) and Brendan Perry (Dead Can Dance) make sonic magic onstage. We'll let him tell you in his own words about his experiences at the performance, his peek of Guthrie's gear set up, and about meeting his idol, Guthrie himself. All photographs and the short video that appear in this feature were all taken by Patrick Overway (unless otherwise indicated). They are copyrighted and watermarked, so no thievery, please. Many thanks to Patrick for sharing such cool stuff and for being patient about our posting of it (last month was crazy!). You're the best, Patrick!
******
June 5, 2011:

My girlfriend (Stephanie) and I drove 3 hours to see Robin Guthrie and Brendan Perry play at the Metro on Sunday night in Chicago.


Once there, we grabbed a drink at the bar, and without so much as a peep from the audience, Robin walked on stage and started playing a short solo, while Galerie played in the background. Band mates Antii Makinen and Steve Wheeler stepped onstage, and away we go.


Words fall short when describing his set. I knew most of the songs, but I hadn't heard Emeralds yet; and the version of "Thunderbird Road" was so incredible. He played through the entire Galerie film and then a bit more.


For all you gear sluts out there, Robin was playing a green Chandler, and using (what I believe) a Line 6 M9 stomp box modeler attached to possibly a pair of POD X3 Pro rack mounts tied together with his trusty Mac laptop. Robin makes all this look like child's play, but you know he's always thinking 5 steps ahead.


While my head was still spinning over all the ambiance, sonic beauty and glow from Guthrie's set, it took a mere 15 minutes for Brendan and his crew to step right up and start playing. Here's the highlight of my existence, ready!? Brendan brings out Robin, and they do a duet of "Song to the Siren"! Life is good, friends.


I have to make a comment here on Brendan's Gibson SG, because well, I'm a gear slut too. This thing was absolutely gorgeous! Bone tuners and bone whammy bar, guh... big time droolage! Now, I knew Brendan had some pipes, but man maybe I didn't know, ya know? He told the audience he was drinking whiskey flavored tea, so that's up for analysis, however, he played a couple of Dead Can Dance songs with twists and played more off of Ark.

Anyways, while I'm taking in the experience of Brendan Perry, Stephanie was busy talking to the road crew and Antii Makinen (drummer for Guthrie). Stephanie says that Antii told her his name several times, but she couldn't understand his thick Scottish accent. Finally, Antii proclaimed,"First we smoke! Then we go find Robin." After a few minutes, they did just that.

Stephanie met Joy first, who I believe is Robin's assistant, and she explained that Robin wasn't feeling well. Stephanie asked Joy if Robin would consider signing a few things for her boyfriend. Joy looked at the Cocteau Twins Snow EP (which had previously been signed by Elizabeth back in 94 on the Four Calendar Cafe tour) and said, "I don't know about this one, but the pedal and the Imperial CD for sure!" Stephanie follows Joy to Robin, and when Robin went to sign my Chorus pedal, his face lit up and said, "well, this is a first" as he signed the pedal, and then the Imperial CD, too. He looked at the Snow EP, opened it, giggled a bit and sighed, and signed the opposite corner of the CD. That's a tragic comedy right there, kids!


The concert is over after an exceptionally strong encore from Perry, and we sadly move to the exit door.
We had a 3 hour drive ahead of us, otherwise we would have stayed around to meet Brendan. Just as we turn the corner, Stephanie hip-checks me, and points. "Hey, there's Robin!" I'm freaking starstruck! Like a deer in the headlights. I know the guy is shy, and I'm a bit bigger than a set of car keys, so I approach my life long idol, and say,"Hi Mr. Guthrie, my name is Patrick, you just signed my Chorus pedal, would you mind if my girlfriend took our picture?" He replies, "So you're the one, aye? You're catching me at a bad time, mate. I'm not feeling that well, but I'm ok for one picture."

I thanked him for everything and wished him good health. He was immediately mobbed by every person in the entry way. People making goofy faces while posing with a guitar legend is embarrassing to even watch. I honestly felt bad for him! All he wanted to do was play, sign a few things and go to bed, I'm sure.

I hope Robin and/or Brendan will come back around to the Chicago area again. Maybe next year. I'll never forget this experience and the opportunity I had to shake hands with the man that got me absolutely geeked to play guitar and stomp on pedals over 25 years ago. It wasn't Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, David Gilmour, or Stevie Ray Vaughan. It was Robin Guthrie!




Thanks again, Robin!







Story, photos, and video by: Patrick Overway.