you resource for all things shoegaze & dream pop.

26 September 2018

TONIGHT! WTSH on DKFM: Stream it @ 10pm E/9pm C.

WTSH hits the airwaves in 1 HOUR! 

Stream it live 
10pm E/9pm C/7pm P 
@ or via the app
AND stay tuned for the return of the Somewherecold Radio Hour at 12am E/11pm C tonight!

ALBUM PREMIERE: Zombie Girlfriend | Wind.

Zombie Girlfriend is a Hungarian 4-piece featuring members Benedek Szabó (guitar, vocals), László Sallai (bass), Eszter Kádár (drums) and Dávid Korándi (guitar). The group just dropped their new LP, Wind, which you can preview below and purchase in full on their Bandcamp page.

We’ve been excited about Wind since February, and these new songs 100% live up to our high expectations. On Wind, Zombie Girlfriend hones their garage pop aesthetic to absolute perfection. The songs are catchy and energetic, with just a hint of psychedelia thrown in the mix and, of course, reverb and fuzz for days. We dare you not to love it.

Additionally, I’ve included the band’s description of the album below—because it’s essentially the best album description of all time.

This record is the girl who comes down in her spaceship one summer night when you're fourteen and of course you fall in love with her but she tells you she has to go because her family in the stars is calling her, so she leaves and you grow up, get a job, start a family and you think you'll never see her again, then one night when you visit your old home and just stand in the garden looking at the Milky Way, you see a moving light that seems to be moving closer and closer and finally there she is, unchanged, just as beautiful as you remembered and says, "come now, we can finally be together, I'm sorry I've been away for so long", and you can't believe it and it it's still possible it is only a dream but you know better than to investigate, so you take her by the hand and go walking through the meadows where you used to play when you were a kid and you think ok, I don't know if I deserve this but I am definitely happy now. 

24 September 2018

INTERVIEW: Heavydive.

Canadian trio Heavydive’s recent release, Warn the Dark, immediately caught our attention with its deft, hypnotic blend of shoegaze and post-punk. Equal parts moody and euphoric, the band manages to sonically capture a snapshot of the world around them that feels authentic and powerful. To get a sense of how emotionally compelling the group can sound, just listen to “Room 213” as the song hits the 01:47 mark. Chills. That was the exact moment we knew Heavydive was special.

We’d like to thank Juan, Randall and Santiago for graciously answering our questions. Enjoy getting to know scene newcomers Heavydive in the following interview!

How and when was the band formed?
Juan and Santiago Ortiz are Colombian born brothers who immigrated to Canada at a young age, meeting Calgary-born Randall Squires in high school. The three of us began making music several years after meeting, officially forming Heavydive during the summer of 2016 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Can you tell us what the band has been working on and what you've got forthcoming in the near future (any new releases, tour, etc.)?
At the moment we are gearing up to tour the Canadian west coast at the end of the month! We will be playing alongside some great Canadian bands such as Palm Haze and Sleepy Gonzales. All the information is available on our Facebook page, but we will be performing in Abbotsford, Vancouver, Victoria, and possibly Kelowna.

Do you consider your 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?
We make an effort to make sure our music fits somewhere within the shoegaze scene. While often playing with feelings of edginess and melancholy, we gravitate towards post-punk and often stray away from some of the more traditional shoegaze styles. We feel this makes our music have some distinct characteristics vocally, rhythmically, and melodically. Whatever scene we fit in, we feel that is for our listeners to decide.

What do you think of modern shoegaze/dream pop/psychedelia artists, any favorites?
There are so many modern shoegaze/dream pop/psych bands that we love! Some (but not all) of our favourites are: Bloody Knives, Palm Haze, Nothing, Fleeting Joys, Asobi Seksu, The Foreign Resort, Alvvays, and A Place to Bury Strangers. 

What is the most important piece of gear for your sound? Any particular guitars/pedals/amps that you prefer? 
We—like many bands—consider every aspect of our sound to be important, but if we had to choose one thing it would probably be the bulk of tone that we get out of the guitar. Juan plays one of his many Jazzmasters through a modified 1964 Fender Pro Amp with several guitar pedals, (some of which he has built himself under his brand Tone Hungry Effects) but two of his most defining effects are the Electro-Harmonix Freeze pedal and his Old Blood Noise Dark Star Reverb.

What is your process for recording your music? What gear and/or software do you use? What would you recommend for others?
We record live off the floor using our stage amps and instruments when we are songwriting and recording demos. When doing so we have had good results with using only 5 drum mics on the drum kit, 1 Shure SM57 on the guitar, and recording the bass with a DI. We used Logic Pro X to mix our demos, but we recommend hiring a professional sound engineer to track, mix, and master.

When it comes to label releases versus DIY/Bandcamp and the like, what is your stance, if any?
We think it’s important for anyone to get their hands dirty when it comes to pursuing something they love. We often tinker with sound, whether it be through improvisation or gear selection/modification. Ultimately though, we believe that certain tasks are best left to experienced professionals, and most labels will likely do a better job releasing an album than we ever will.

Do you prefer vinyl, CD, cassette tape or mp3 format when listening to music? Do you have any strong feelings toward any of them?
All three of us love vinyl but are chronic streamers. Even though vinyl is our preferred method of listening to music, internet radio, podcasts, and certain streaming services are our main form for digesting and discovering new music.

What artists (musicians or otherwise) have most influenced your work?
There are so many artists that have influenced us, but (if we had to narrow it down) we would say: Nothing, A Place to Bury Strangers, The Killers, and Savages.

What is your philosophy (on life), if any, that you live by?
Honestly, we just believe in the merits of hard work.

WTSH 137 and 138 are streaming on Mixcloud!

21 September 2018

The Chills’ Snow Bound: A Pop Confection Drenched in Social Critique and Self-Reflection. Reviewed by Jenny Andreotti.

There’s an episode of Twilight Zone called “The Obsolete Man” that has always left a deep and lasting mark upon my psyche. The episode’s portrayal of an authoritarian government that judges librarians (alongside other free thinkers and caretakers of knowledge) as “obsolete” chills me to the bone to this day. The tone of The Chills’ new album Snow Bound leaves me with a similar impression.

For example, with the lead single “Complex” Phillipps explores the danger of a rapidly changing world and how lines of communication have deteriorated to the point that the essentials of life run the risk of becoming “obsolete” as people have increasingly become too focused on petty differences.  The music video for “Complex” is one-part American Horror Story: Asylum and one part The Seventh Seal, and beautifully captures the song’s feeling of existential dread turned hideous nightmare. Hence, with Snow Bound one gets the impression that Martin Phillipps isn’t so much on the outside looking in as he’s on the inside looking out and not too sure about what he sees. As a result, from start to end Snow Bound is instantaneously catchy and enjoyable, yet throughout there is an undercurrent of deep social critique and self-reflection that gives it a beautiful weight and depth.

Lyrically, Phillipps covers some interesting ground. With “Bad Sugar” he shows an understanding of why people turn to religion (even if it is fervently so) while with “Deep Belief” he examines the difficulty of keeping or defining faith and being confronted with mortality which is beautifully expressed by my favorite line from the album, “And so I pray-somedays, sort of.” Similarly, with “Lord of All I Survey” he fondly remembers a love lost while with “Easy Peasy” he tackles the topic of suicide with the deepest of empathy.

Musically, The Chills have often been celebrated for their eclectic sound, in contrast recent reviews have applauded Snow Bound for its’ cohesiveness. The Chills tendency to style jump within a single record has always been I believe one of their greatest strengths, and while I agree Snow Bound is the most cohesive Chills records to date it is still subtly eclectic which I find delightful. For instance, “Complex” has an aggressive post punk feel to it, while “Time to Atone” combines the sounds of Harry Nilsson’s “Coconut” with The Who’s “Substitute” with a heavy dose of Ventures guitar, while “The Greatest Guide” (my personal favorite) pulsates and shimmers glam-rock style (very appropriate for a song that is in tribute to Bowie amongst other lost talents).

Vocally, Phillipps continues to impress. He is, after all, the man who gave us one of the most astonishing indie rock vocal performances of the 1990s with “Water Wolves.” I think of Phillipps as the post punk/indie rock equivalent to Art Garfunkel (Simon and Garfunkel era). Both artists have similar tones, slinky vocals, a love of reverb, and play with soft and hard melodies.

Lastly, the design and artwork of the album features a snow globe containing a cabin with a single glowing light that neatly sits atop a shelf in a dilapidated room. The cover accompanies the album nicely, as it visually represents the Snow Bound theme of social critique and self-reflection. I highly recommend Snow Bound especially the white splattered vinyl that is absolutely stunning in person.