you resource for all things shoegaze & dream pop.

28 October 2011

The Spiracles Prep for January Release via Saint Marie Records.

SAINT MARIE RECORDS proudly announces:

The Spiracles
How Things Went Well When I Met You
Release date: January 24, 2012.

End Of The Affair (Field Mice cover)
Fireflies (Elika remix)
Fireflies (Canu Altocamet remix)

For over a decade, Luis Rodriquez has been writing songs and playing guitar for the shoegaze band Resplandor. During this time he has played with Robin Guthrie, The Radio Dept, Airiel, The Ocean Blue, Mark Gardener (Ride), Mahogany, Elika, House Of Love, Altocamet, The Jesus And Mary Chain, Asobi Seksu and many more. Luis brings all of this experience to the forefront, along with the majestic and enigmatic vocals of Aracelli Fernandez, in The Spiracles.

This first EP includes the beautiful indie-pop single “Fireflies”, followed by a mid-tempo “Mercy” and a lovely version of The Field Mice’s “End Of The Affair”. It also includes a remix by the shoegaze/electronica Brooklyn based band Elika and another by Canu, lead singer/DJ from the Argentina band Altocamet.

27 October 2011

Interview: Jonathan Allen and Nikki Roszko of 2060 Chiron.

When The Sun Hits Interviews Jonathan Allen and Nikki Roszko of 2060 Chiron.

2060 Chiron is Jonathan Allen (founding member of WTSH faves Music for Headphones) and his fiancee, Nikki Roszko (former Black Strip Withdrawal member), and they are based in Philadelphia, PA. Their sound is best described as some sort of brilliant space-folk-electropop hybrid, with tendencies towards swirly noise, grooves and hooks; these guys exist within several genres at once, but they are transcending them all with the amazing sounds they create. 2060 Chiron was born out of many late nights listening to records and drinking wine, and we can't think of a better way for a project to be begin. We adore these guys and are anxiously awaiting the debut LP (read below for more info on that). We hope you enjoy getting to know Nikki and Jonathan of 2060 Chiron!

How and when was 2060 Chiron formed? Is there a story behind the band name?

Jonathan: I don't know that we could pinpoint an exact time, but it was probably in the winter of 2010 that we seriously decided to start recording. Of course, anything we did then, fueled by freezing cold temperatures, cabin fever, and wine, are pretty different than what we've let people hear. The concept for the debut record was totally inspired by a certain sci-fi TV show... the answer is in the lyrics...

Nikki: The name "Chiron" popped into my head when we were brainstorming band names. I'm not exactly was snatched from the universe. Chiron is a planet/asteroid that exhibits the behavior of a comet and orbits between Uranus and Saturn. It's from a class of objects known as centaurs. As I further researched Chiron, it just fit perfectly for the type of weird, genre-defying music we create. Also, I am a big Greek mythology geek and astronomy nerd from way back.

Can you tell us what you've been working on and what you've got forthcoming in the near future (new releases, tour, etc)? We know there's an album ready to release...what's the status of that?

Jonathan: Well, the album is almost done, but was temporarily put on hold when Music for Headphones picked up suddenly in October. We should have it completed very soon, I've decided to go back and add some gazey-noisy guitars to all the songs. We are playing at the XD Fest on November 19th in Chicago, so working up the live arrangements of the new songs has brought me to a place where I want to add the guitars back in to the mix. I left them out originally because I was trying to separate my playing in Chiron from that in Music For Headphones, however I think that was detrimental to the songs, so they're going back in. We've already put "Sonar" and "Liftoff" out there, but expect to hear expanded versions on the completed record.

2060 Chiron. Sonar.

Jonathan, you're involved with both Music for Headphones and New Speedway. How do you balance your time between all those projects? The three also sound very different from one another, which we think is awesome. And Nikki, have you done any other musical projects in the past, or is this your first?

Jonathan: Well, I am no longer involved with New Speedway in any way, so that changes the game quite a bit. Before Chiron was the project I worked on my in my super free, hanging out at home time, but that is changing. It's definitely turning into a project I want to focus more on and see where we can take it. Being that its just Nikki and me, we can go pretty much anywhere without much hassle. Chiron very easily exists on the backside of MFH and MFH has talked about taking Nikki out on tour with us and having two built in acts.

Nikki: I have been performing since I was 16. My high school band was Gidget and Potted Plants, a folk-punk duo with surreal lyrics, kinda adorable and heavily influenced by Kill Rockstars bands. It was not long-lived. I played the same type of music solo for many years, often with fabulous sit-in musicians. Nothing really jived as a band though. More recently I was in a post-punk/darkwave band called Black Strip Withdrawal in which I played guitar. Now Chiron, which is by far my favorite project and in which I am exploring music in previously uncharted ways.

2060 Chiron probably isn't what anyone would call traditional shoegaze, but that dreamy undercurrent is nevertheless there. 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?

Jonathan: As anyone who's followed MFH would know, I have a really hard time with genre. I can't stay and exist in one place for very long. I can tell you we set out to make a "space folk" record, and it got all dance-y some how. There are some songs on the album that I think you could classify as more traditional shoegaze, we just haven't let anyone hear that part of the record yet. Its a lyrical and musical concept record, so it has a certain flow to it.

Nikki: Traditional genres bore me. I like all types of music and have bounced around quite a bit. I have always enjoyed pushing boundaries and have no preconceived notions as to what Chiron can be.

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

Jonathan: I'll let Nikki answer this one, I don't want to repeat myself to much from the MFH interview we did with WTSH, but I will add that our recent dates with the Foreign Resort blew me away. They are the most dynamic, professional musicians I have seen in ages and the nicest, sweetest guys. Last Remaining Pinnacle were also truly brilliant! Can't wait to play with either of those bands again.

Nikki: There are so many artists in those genres that I am in love with. Morpheme is probably my favorite current shoegaze band. I also absolutely adore Foreign Resort, Tamryn, Spell 336, Drowner and absolutely cannot wait to hear the Bloody Knives live. As for psychedelia, I can't get enough Sleepy Sun or the Warlocks.

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

Jonathan: I have mostly used Rickenbacker guitars for the last 14 years, but occasionally play my Jazzmaster or Casino if I need a change. I've been very seriously considering buying another DiPinto Galaxie and switching back to offset body guitars for the next little while. I miss owning one. The Galaxie and the Jazzmaster were my main guitars 1996, 2006 and 2007. I'm still using my Orange Rocker 30, its super awesome, but I am going to add a second amp back into the mix to fill out the sound. All the boxes on the ground change from time to time, and always will.

Nikki: I have yet to become a gear-head. I have an Alesis Micron that I have been exploring as well as sparkly new guitar sounds. I have a Danelectro and play a Rickenbacker 625.

What recording gear do you use?

Jonathan: Well, that's part of how this Chiron record was recorded. All the MFH stuff is recorded at my studio with "professional" gear. I was curious what I could do with a home set up, I purchased a Focusrite Saffire 6 USB, Pro Tools 9, and a B.L.U.E. Spark and went to work with out all my more expensive pre-amps, microphones, and mixing equipment. However, now that I want to add in all the guitars, I'll be transferring the whole thing into Nuendo at the studio, so I'll probably end up mixing it there, which will give it a different sound.

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?

Jonathan: I'm going to let Nikki answer this one, we are coming into this project from different places.

Nikki: The music industry, like so many other great giants has exploded and in no way resembles what it once was. This is an exciting time to be an artist because it frees us from expectations, binding contracts and the need to fit one's music into a specific genre for the purpose of marketing. At the same time it has created a massive chasm in which it is easy to get quite lost. It is imperative that artists and labels band together to help each other get heard and develop fan bases. It has become much more populist and requires a great deal of work from the artists with little monetary reward. This means that only those in it for the love of it will survive.

When it comes to label releases versus DIY/bandcamp and the like, what is your stance, if any? Do you know if you'll be releasing the 2060 Chiron LP via a label (and if so, who?) or will it be a self release?

Jonathan: Well, MFH exists in both worlds. I release so much material via my own Evol Recordings and primarily use Bandcamp and limited edition physical product, but we are also clearly involved with XD Records who are putting out the new MFH full length next year and it looks like "reissuing" on cassette in the very near future. We honestly haven't given any thought as to who will pay for the Chiron record, but have a an idea of what we want the release to be. We will give some more thought to it in coming months.

Do you prefer vinyl, CD, cassette tape or mp3 format when listening to music? Do you have any strong feelings toward any of them?

Jonathan: I prefer vinyl by quite a lot. There's nothing better than sitting on the couch listening to records and having good conversation. I love DJing as well. However, mp3s get listened to everyday as well. I haven't listened to a cassette in years, but am totally excited about the prospect of releasing music in that format because it takes me back to my DIY high school riot grrl days where we made tape after tape to see in school and at shows. There was something raw about that process and the format that felt so good.

Nikki: For the purpose of hearing the nuances of music, give me vinyl any day. MP3s certainly have their place. There is so much music out there that I would never have heard without the massive pool of MP3s available. It's like a giant mixtape. Of course, I love actual mixtapes as well, for the same reason. I never had much money growing up so I relied heavily on music sharing.

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

Jonathan: Sonic Boom, David Roback, Jason Pierce, William and Jim Reid, Jonathan Donahue, Neil Young, Adrian Utley and Geoff Barrow, Her Space Holiday, Neu! and La Dusseldorf, Thurston Moore, Anton Newcombe, Bobby Hecksher, Peter Holmstrom.... and so many more...

Nikki: God, where do I start? Mazzy Star has been a huge influence on my music like forever. I also am into the Cranes and Tamryn. From the standpoint of vocals, I like the sound of the little girl lost immersed in a sea of sound--noise, fuzz, big electronics. I am also heavily influenced by literature--- Burroughs, Kathy Acker, Debra Levy, Henry Miller.

If you had to choose one 2060 Chiron track that was the ultimate definition of your sound, which would it be and why?

Jonathan: I think its too early in the process to answer this honestly. I think the whole cycle of songs are necessary to truly get to the essence of what 2060 Chiron is about, but I will say its more like "Liftoff" than "Sonar." Though there is more of the sensuality that permeates "Sonar" throughout the record, there is more a overwhelming feeling of desolation and loss that prevails, Nikki?

Nikki: I would agree. We are still a young band. Liftoff is probably a good illustration of where we are going. I think the juxtaposition of sensuality and desolation between both Sonar and Liftoff best defines our sound.

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

Jonathan: It actually works pretty much the way MFH writes. The musical tracks are all almost completed before Nikki even starts writing the lyrics.

Nikki: I like having a concept when I am writing lyrics, even if I never ever ever tell anyone what it is. I listen to the tracks that Jonathan records over and over again until phrases come together then the songs write themselves.

What is the band’s goal for 2011?

Jonathan: Get to Chicago and blow people's minds!

Nikki: ditto!

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

Jonathan: Everybody knows this is nowhere.

Nikki: Somewhere between Taoism and Buddhism. I go where the river takes me without trying to direct it too much. Sometimes this gets me into tight spots but I always manage to find my way.

26 October 2011

Tonight: The Doomgaze Edition of When The Sun Hits on Strangeways Radio. Hosted by DJ Amber Crain.

Tonight on Strangeways Radio! The Doomdaze Edition of When The Sun Hits. Stream it live, 10pm-11pm EST, HERE. Heads up, local folks, that's 9pm-10pm CST!

Come join me tonight for When The Sun Hits on Strangeways Radio. In celebration of Halloween, this week's show is dedicated to DOOMGAZE. Yes, I've trolled the murky waters of fringe shoegaze for you in order to drag up the darkest, loudest mire possible. Black out the windows, grab your headphones, and go down the rabbit hole tonight on Strangeways Radio. Disclaimer: I am not responsible for any subsequent nightmares you may have. Enjoy All Hallow's Eve.

Expect to hear dark cuts from Nadja, [aftersun], Jesu, and a LOT more.

Don't forget to log in to the Strangeways chatroom during the show to hang out with me and many other awesome people while we talk about the music that is airing in real time and god knows what else...

Tune in live every Wednesday, 10pm-11pm (EST), for When The Sun Hits on Strangeways Radio. Join us in the Strangeways chat room for additional entertainment!

Stream it here:

"When The Sun Hits: Many nude pelvic thrusts will be made tomorrow evening in honor of bad ass music." - David Goffan

25 October 2011

Interview: Anna Conner and Casey Harvey of Thrushes.

When The Sun Hits Interviews Anna Conner and Casey Harvey of Thrushes

The Baltimore-based noise pop quartet Thrushes have been charming gazers since 2007 with the release of their debut album, Sun Come Undone. Members Anna Conner, Casey Harvey, Rachel Harvey and Scott Tiemann, having cut their teeth in the formative Baltimore all-ages indie scene of the mid-90's, came together to form Thrushes, and they've been creating their unique brand of catchy gaze grunge ever since. You can check out their website HERE. Enjoy the interview!

How and when was the band formed? Is there a story behind the band name?

Anna - The band formed in 2005 (?). Casey and Rachel asked me if I wanted to play music while we were playing in a pick-up baseball game with friends. Soon after Matt joined. We’ve been playing ever since.

The name Thrushes was chosen off of a band name list Casey compiled, and it was the name we liked best.

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

Anna - Right now we’d like to focus on writing songs for a third album.

Casey - Yeah, we’ve got about an ep’s worth of new songs that we’d like to expand to a full album. New material is nice step forward for us in terms of song writing and sounds. We added a new drummer this year and that has opened up a lot of new directions for us to play around with.

Do you consider Thrushes' 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?

Anna - I think labeling a band as being under one specific genre can get sticky, especially if you ever plan on evolving musically. I think in general we love the feel of the dream pop scene, and probably would identify with that right now. But who knows where we will be in the future. You never know what will inspire you next and where that will lead.

Casey - I think we’d definitely fall within the shoegaze spectrum in terms of the sounds we play with and gear that we use. However, we maybe have a more punk and classic 90’s “college rock” flavor than some bands on of the dreamier end of the spectrum.

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

Anna - I think there are many new bands who are doing a great job of representing the genre. It’s hard to beat the classics though. Asobi Seksu is def a contemporary band whose doing it well. But Florence and the Machine has some tracks that really master that dreamy/ psychedelic sound.

Casey - We really love a lot of our east coast friends bands like The Vandelles, Screen Vinyl Image, The Sky Drops, 28 Degrees Taurus, etc. On the bigger scene M83 and School of Seven Bells are really excellent!

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

Anna - Refer to Casey...

Casey – Reverb, Echo, Fuzz! Really love Dr. Scientist Radical Red Reverbator pedal. On the echo side I had been using vintage RE-201 Space Echo, but they were really inconsistent live, sounding wildly different at different temperatures and environments. I switched to the RE-20 pedal version which we pretty close, but I’ve recently replaced it with a Strymon El Capistan tape echo which is AMAZING! For fuzz I use some DBA pedals and the LAL Super Oscillo Fuzz 88 is pretty awesome. I started playing out of 2 amps a couple of years ago and it really fills out the sound live.

Thrushes. Heartbeats.

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?

Anna - I think that bands have to redefine how they will write music, tour, and sell their music now that record sales no longer define a band’s popularity. It can be positive if the band is willing to embrace change and find new ways to market themselves and gain a fanbase. Touring is essential.

Casey - On the plus side it’s soooo easy to make decent records and release them on your own without label infrastructure, but the drawback is the speed with which the public seems to eat up and spit out “new” bands. It really feels like a constant battle to keep your name out there these days.

When it comes to label releases versus DIY/bandcamp and the like, what is your stance, if any?

Anna - Well, we don’t have a label. So the only way I know how to release an album is to save up money and do it ourselves. I think labels are great because they have more venues to publicize their bands and can get elusive touring gigs. Then again, I understand why so many bands have reverted away from labels because it gives them absolute control over their own music. Both have pros and cons.

Casey - I think labels per se are pretty much over. It’d be interesting if labels took a more curatorial approach and sign bands to single releases or something like that. Managers and agents have taken on a lot of the traditional label roles of publicity and press and with recording getting cheaper and the decline of physical pressing, there really isn’t much of a need for labels to invest in that end of the project.

Do you prefer vinyl, CD, cassette tape or mp3 format when listening to music? Do you have any strong feelings toward any of them?

Anna - I prefer cds. I spend so much time driving that I listen to most of my music in the car, on the cd player.

Casey - I still prefer to have physical stuff like cd’s or records.

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

Anna - For me I listened to a lot of death cab for cutie, Feist, John Doe, and the velvet underground when writing for the past two albums. I love musicians with sincere voices and stories to tell.

Casey - Roy Orbison, Link Wray, Ramones, Buddy Holly, Sonic Youth, Spector Girl Groups like the Ronettes & Crystals, The Cure, Beach Boys, surf and early rock n roll guitar sounds.

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

Anna - Right now I like botanical prints and vintage fairy tale illustrations. Anything that has some sort of slightly off kilter appearance and a bit of nostalgia. I’ve been listening to a lot of talking heads and david bowie.

Casey - I’m really digging Anna Calvi right now, great guitar work, singing and cool style. Jarred Alterman’s “Convento” is a really gorgeous new film about an incredible artist working in an old Portugese convent. He makes these kind of bizarre automaton hybrids with amazing little gears and motors and repurposed animal parts and remains. A type of steampunk taxidermy I guess, pretty amazing!

Thrushes. Aidan Quinn.

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

Anna - Aidan Quinn. Because emotion is at the heart of the sound.

Casey - Into the Woods. Good dynamics, cool melody, slightly creepy

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

Anna - Our songs start as a jam session. When we find something we like, we map it out on a white board. If we’re lucky the lyrics come on the spot during the jam. Usually I find a few phrases I like, and build on it at home. When we get back together we finish the song with lyrics and tighten it up.

What is the band’s goal for 2011?

Anna - Well, 2011 will be over soon. Our goal is always to keep writing and creating.

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

Anna - Probably my favorite anecdote is “how do you eat an elephant? One piece at a time.” No matter how hard things seem or how difficult life gets, you will get through it. though it may take a little while.

Top 5 Doomgaze Records of the Month.

In celebration of Halloween, this month's picks for Top 5 Records were chosen with a special focus in mind: DOOMGAZE. Yes, we've trolled the murky waters of fringe shoegaze for you in order to drag up the darkest mire possible. Black out the windows, grab your headphones, and go down the rabbit hole listening through this list. I've always held fast to the theory that inside every shoegazer lies a secret goth; our lists might be the proof. Either way, we aren't responsible for any subsequent nightmares you may have. Enjoy All Hallow's Eve.

Amber's Top 5 Doomgaze Records for October

1. Haunted Leather. Desert Spells. (2011)

2. Was She A Vampire. No Promises. (2011)

3. thisquietarmy. A Picture of a Picture. (2009)

4. The Angelic Process. Sigh. (2006)

5. Nadja. Bliss Torn From Emptiness. (2005)

Danny's Top 5 Doomgaze Records for October

1. Be Forest. Colder. (2011)

2. sansyou. When We Became Ghosts. (2011)

3. Swans. Children of God. (1987)

4. Cat's Eye's. Cat's Eyes. (2011)

5. Sun Devoured Earth. Autumn Songs. (2011)

Rob's Top 5 Doomgaze Records for October

1. An Autumn for Crippled Children. Everything. (2011)

2. Heretoir. Heretoir. (2011)

3. Woods of Desolation. Torn Beyond Reason. (2011)

4. Deaf Heaven. Roads to Judah. (2011)

5. Verwustung. Beyond the Watercolor Sunset, We Feel New Life. (2011)

24 October 2011

Album Review: Bloody Knives. Disappear.

With Bloody Knives' Blood remix EP set to be released this week (October 28th) on XD Records, we thought we'd get you amped for it with a review of the Disappear EP they released in May because it, too, is brilliant. A review of the remix EP is coming soon, so stay tuned for that, as well as an announcement for Fall tour dates!

When The Sun Hits Reviews Bloody Knives'

Reviewed by Guest Writer Jason M. Miller.

Band Name:
Bloody Knives
Album Title: Disappear.
Release Date: May 2011

Bloody Knives from Austin, Texas are one of those groups whose sound grabs you from the first tone and you can’t help but hold on! I first heard this group in a mix tape setting and they definitely stood out with their energy and sheer noisy bliss!

The band’s latest release, Disappear, blends elements of punk, psychedelic and shoegaze into a melodic noise collage that churns inside your head. Their energy does not relent through the five songs on this new release. The first song, “You Know You Want To”, is fantastic, with its use of a punk rock drum beat that cleverly runs contrary to the obscured and languid vocal melody.

The song “I’ll Never Leave You Alone” introduces textures of electro with its use of squiggly synthesizer lines. “My Blood Is In Your Veins” has a huge distorted bassline that drives the song to a crescendo before dissolving into the creative use of electronic sound effects that the song concludes with.

Disappear is available for download on their bandcamp site at:

Review by: Jason M. Miller

20 October 2011

Interview: Chris Taylor of the Workhouse by Wayne Guskind.

Originally from Oxford, London guitar-bliss architects The Workhouse formed in 1996 but didn't start releasing singles until three years later. By 2001, the Workhouse's lineup had finalized to guitarists Mark Baker and Andy Dakeyne, bassist Chris Taylor, and drummer Peter Lazell.

Their debut album, The End of the Pier, had a U.K. release late in 2003. It was also released in the U.S. by Devil in the Woods the following year, boasting a resequenced and expanded track listing that included tracks with Baker and Taylor handling vocal duties. That fall and winter, the Workhouse began work on their second album, Flyover, which was released in 2006 on the Bearos label. It wasn’t long after the release of Flyover that I penned this review at

If there ever was a band that has gone criminally unnoticed, The Workhouse has to earn first prize. It is impossible to summarize what an outstanding record this is from start to finish and everywhere in between. It has it all - big sound / quiet moments / incredible musicianship / heartfelt lyrics. These guys are unquestionable masters of their craft - delving in and out of styles (like the Western tinge on Sellafield - just stellar) effortlessly. There are big rushes mixed such solitude that make you realize how special this music is. This is a total composition / music with such poise and purpose. The "world is truly a better place" because of The Workhouse.

Over the last few years I have become friendly with the band members through a mutual friend and fan of the band, Michael Brandon. Michael saw the band play live back in 2007 and, fortunately for us, he video-taped several of their songs and posted them on youtube. I can’t tell you how many times I have watched these videos!

Their third album, The Coldroom Sessions, was just released earlier this week by Hungry Audio in the U.K. and has already received acclaim. The new album still has many of The Workhouse’s trademark sound which has been described as a wondrous combination of influences from early Factory Records, The Chameleons and 90s shoegaze. The band mix effects-driven mayhem with warm psychedelia to produce a rich melodic sound that builds layer upon layer eventually creating a dense landscape of mesmerizing beauty.

I believe Michael Brandon summed it up best at the end of his stunning review of The End of the Pier - “It is hard to imagine anyone not loving anything this beautiful.”

Now a three-piece with a new drummer, Steve Hands, the band has been in the studio and plans on releasing another album in the near future.

When The Sun Hits Interviews Chris Taylor of The Workhouse. Interview conducted by: Wayne Guskind

How and when was The Workhouse formed?

The band originally formed in 1994, I think it was through an NME advert.

The Workhouse. The End of the Pier.

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

We have just released on album called The Coldroom Sessions. which we recorded ourselves. The album is dedicated to Rich Haines, a good friend who recorded our first two albums, who sadly passed away a couple of years ago. This was our last album with the band's original drummer. We now have a new drummer, and we are recording our next album with a producer called Paul Tipler. He's worked with some great bands, particularly Stereolab, Idlewild, Elastica and many others. He also worked with some of the original shoegazing bands in the early 90's. The recording is going really well, Paul is great to work with.

Do you consider The Workhouse'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?

Clearly, we are seen by anyone who's heard of us as part of the shoegazing/post-rock scene, and that's fine - that's what our music sounds like and there's no point in trying to claim that we're completely original! Despite that, I do hope that we bring at least something new to the type of music that we do. I don't have any strong feelings about genres, most bands now probably fit into one.

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

I love The Low Lows and Thee More Shallows; I'm not sure that they completely fit into those categories, but they are wonderful. The latest music I have completely fallen for is the piano music of Dustin O'Halloran, it is absolutely beautiful.

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

My favourite pedal is the Boss DM2 analog delay, and we probably use it more than any other pedal. It's got a lovely warm and dark sound. I generally like the sound of analog delays, but I use digital delays as well, including ones with analog simulation, I'm not a snob about it. Apart from that, it's mainly just Boss pedals of various types - chorus, tremolo, etc. and I use a Rat distortion occasionally. We used a Voodoo Vibe for tremolo once. Andy, one of the guitarists, used to use an Alesis nanoverb a lot, which was great for high, angelic sounds. On our first two albums, we used normal Peavey solid state amps. The guitars on the third album were all done through an amp simulator/pre-amp called the Sessionmaster JD10, which is great and cheap. With a bit of reverb added, it gives a brilliant sound which comes pretty close to the sound of a really nice valve amp. It's particularly good for those "inbetween sounds", not totally clean but not distorted. On the new album, we are using a Peavey valve amp. Our guitars are basically a strat, an Epiphone Les Paul and a couple of semi-acoustics. I have recently bought an Epiphone Riviera, which is a nice guitar.

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?

There seems to be a whole load of great music around, and it seems really varied. I listen to shows on BBC 6music, particularly Marc Riley, Tom Ravenscroft and Gideon Coe, and I hear some wonderful new sounds. Recording is much easier now, good equipment is cheaper and anyone can put their music on the internet for the world to hear. I suppose that means you get a lot of mediocre music as well, but that's just the way it is. We are a band that gained a little bit of prominence in an era where the internet was nowhere near as influential - our first single came out in 1999. Then, there was only a tiny number of places where you could hear or read about indie music - basically just NME and Melody Maker, and a few radio shows, such as John Peel. Now, it is just endless, it is sometimes hard to know where to begin, and where to find good stuff. That's why it's so good to come across blogs like this one.

The Workhouse. Trading Estate.

When it comes to label releases versus DIY/bandcamp and the like, what is your stance, if any?

It's good to have the validation of a label saying they want to release something by you, and it's satisfying to have your music on a physical format, whether it's CD or vinyl. But I'm happy just putting tracks up on the internet as well.

Do you prefer vinyl, CD, cassette tape or mp3 format when listening to music? Do you have any strong feelings toward any of them?

I listen to CDs, and mp3s sometimes. Vinyl is nice, it's got aesthetic and tactile qualities that more modern formats lack, but I hardly ever listen to it now. I only use cassettes for my four-track multitracker.

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

Probably all the ones you'd expect - The Chameleons. Joy Division, The Cure, post-punk generally. Talk Talk. Slowdive, Ride and most of the other shoegazing bands.

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

Music: The artists I mentioned above, also The National, Arcade Fire, Low. There's a band I love called Junior Elvis, who I don't think anyone else has ever heard of, but they are amazing, I would describe them as a kind of cross between The Smiths and The Divine Comedy, but that's possibly not that accurate. The quality of the songwriting is just breathtaking, it's very sad, mature and deep music.

Art: George Shaw. He paints pictures of desolate suburban scenes that are very moving, both sad and somewhat disturbing. He uses paint that is usually used for model aircraft, which gives the paintings a unique and evocative quality. My description probably doesn't do them justice - you really need to see them.

Web: When The Sun Hits, of course! I'm generally not into blogs; I know there are some great ones, but sometimes I find the sheer number of them a bit overwhelming. However, Martin Newell's blog The Wildman of Wivenhoe is something I always read. He's a poet and musician (formerly in a psychedelic type band called The Cleaners From Venus), and the blog is full of stories and observations on life that are funny and moving.

The Workhouse. Shake Hands.

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

"Ice Cream Van" from the first album. I don't really know why, I just think it sums up best what we do. It's an atmospheric instrumental song, but it's also fast, which I suppose is slightly unusual.

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

One of us will come up with an idea, usually something very basic, and we just play it over and over again until it takes on some kind of form. That's it really.

What is the band’s goal for 2011?

We want to finish the next album and release it. We would very much like to do more music for film and television - we recently had a track used on Ideal, a BBC series.

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

"Have a good time - all the time". No, not really. I think that if you usually expect the worst, anything better than that will be a nice surprise.

19 October 2011

Tonight! When The Sun Hits on Strangeways Radio. Hosted by DJ Amber Crain.

Tonight is When The Sun Hits, the new shoegaze and dream pop program to hit Strangeways Radio, and will be hosted by DJ Amber Crain, co-creator of this blog. If you haven't checked out Strangeways Radio before, now is the time! It boasts awesome weekly shows such as Beneath The Surface, hosted by Simon Raymonde of the Cocteau Twins & Bella Union, Halcyon Waves with DJ Mikey, Sound and Vision with DJ Zumby, and a lot more.

Tonight expect to hear a new, unreleased track from Ringo Deathstarr's upcoming EP, as well as tracks from Should, Dead Leaf Echo, Hazy Mountains - and a lot more!

When The Sun Hits
will air every Wednesday night, 10pm-11pm EST, and can be streamed live by going to the Strangeways Radio website. There is also a portal to the Strangeways chat room there, where Amber will be hanging out during the airing of the show, and where you are welcome to also hang out! See you there!

18 October 2011

Captured Tracks to Launch Shoegaze Archives Next Month with Releases from Should and deardarkhead.

Captured Tracks is one of our very favorite record labels - home to acts such as Wild Nothing and Beach Fossils - and just when we thought they couldn't possibly get any cooler, we received the press release for their launch of Shoegaze Archives. Shoegaze Archives will focus on re-releasing some of the hidden classic gems in the history of shoegaze, giving exposure to bands with underground cult followings whose original albums are impossible-to-find rarities. Any of you who've searched desperately in dusty record shops for classic shoegaze records knows how frustrating this can be - we're bloody THRILLED about this, and you should be, too! Not only that, but many of these releases will feature previously unreleased and special material, making them ultimate collector's items. WIN!

Shoegaze Archives will kick off with the release of Should's incredible album, A Folding Sieve, and the excellent deardarkhead's Oceanside: 1991-1993. Both of these are top notch, and we cannot wait to see what Shoegaze Archives has in store.

Here is a bit more detail about the first SA releases, both out Nov. 29th via Captured Tracks. Neither of these have previously been released on vinyl (all releases available in vinyl, cassette and extended CD formats):


Should’s shoegaze classic A Folding Sieve was originally released in 1995 under the name shiFt by the Austin-based record label N D. Words on Music re-released the album in 2002 with double the number of tracks as the original album. These new songs included covers of the Jean Paul Sartre Experience song “Own Two Feet” and the 18th Dye song “Merger”, as well as unreleased songs recorded between 1995 and 1996. The Captured Tracks LP release of A Folding Sieve will include the original release’s tracks as well as “Faded” and “Own Two Feet”. The CD will include previously unreleased material.

deardarkhead - Oceanside: 1991-1993

deardarkhead takes its name from an anonymously written Irish poem of the 18th century "Cean Dubh Dilis", about a beautiful girl with black hair. They formed in 1988 on the banks of New Jersey. Over the years DDH has played with the likes of The Lilys, The Psychedelic Furs and Supergrass. This release, Oceanside: 1991-1993, will have something new for loyal fans as well as new ears. Their sound is a blend of post-punk guitar experimentalism as well as a heavy atmospheric dreampop aura.

The Consolation Project Releases 15th Full Length of 2011.

It's been a few months since we last spoke of Ron Cavagnaro's solo vehicle The Consolation Project, but that doesn't mean Ron hasn't been busy! A few weeks ago, he released his 15th full length album of 2011 - no shit (it's the 16th LP since December 2010) - and it's entitled Face Your Demons. This is the first time since Glaciers (the album that originally got me hooked on band) that TCP has released something truly brand new, and it's top shelf, as always! You can go to The Consolation Project's bandcamp page to stream it (and it's 15 predecessors) for free, and then shell out the meager $10 for your own copy. Support independent artists! Cover art (above left) by Allie Hartley and Ron Cavagnaro. Read Ron's brief press release statement about the new LP below:

The Consolation Project PROUDLY presents the NEW album FACE YOUR DEMONS. It has been over a year that I had been working on making something new since "Glaciers". MAKE IT YOUR NEW SOUNDTRACK FOR THIS BEAUTIFUL AUTUMN SEASON! Free to listen, $10 to support and own your digital copy.

17 October 2011

Dead Leaf Echo Announce New Single for November Release on Custom Made Music.

Dead Leaf Echo announce the new single, "Kingmaker", for November release on 7" vinyl and digital on Custom Made Music. Debut LP early next year!

Dead Leaf Echo is a NYC band that has just finished recording their debut LP which was mixed by John Fryer (Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode). The album is scheduled for release in early 2012. Their first single, "Kingmaker", will come out on 7" vinyl and digital this fall on Custom Made Music.

The band toured the US this summer in support of their 3rd EP, Verisimilitude (released on May 31st), featuring remixes and collaborations from Mark Van Hoen, John Fryer (This Mortal Coil, Depeche Mode), Elika, RxGibbs and Remarkably Spry!

The band played the Escape to NY Festival and SXSW on bills with The Psychedelic Furs, A Place To Bury Strangers and And Your Will Know Us By the Trail Of the Dead. They also played sold out shows last year opening for the reunited Chapterhouse and Ulrich Schnauss.


Mazzy Star to Release 2 New Tracks on Halloween. Limited Edition Colored Vinyl to Follow on November 8th.

Mazzy Star returns! Hope Sandoval and David Roback will release 2 digital tracks on Halloween - "Common Burn" + "Lay Myself Down", followed by a limited edition, color vinyl release on November 8th. Excitement!

Northern Star Records to release The Nova Saints' Debut LP on October 31st, 2011.

The Nova Saints are pleased to announce that their debut album, Newfoundland, will be released through Northern Star Records on 31st October. Newfoundland features 12 songs written over the course of the band’s first 3 years together and is a mixture of brand new recordings of previously unheard songs and re-recordings of Nova Saints ‘classics’, all recorded between 2009 and 2011 by Mat Sampson at Bink Bonk, Bristol.

*When The Sun Hits has both a review of Newfoundland and an interview with the Nova Saints coming SOON!*

NEWFOUNDLAND is currently available for pre-order. All pre-orders will receive a free download of the previously unreleased original version of 'Far Out' only available from Northern Star. The first pressing will be cased in a beautifully packaged limited edition digi-pack. To ensure your copy, pre-order NOW!!!

If you are in the UK, check out the launch party event on October 28 (see flyer, below)!

16 October 2011

Artist Spotlight:: 2 Hearts and Chemicals.

Who: 2 Hearts and Chemicals
Debut EP, Coming Home
Where: XD Records and 2 Hearts & Chemicals bandcamp page
When: November 11, 2011 (pre-orders currently being taken)

On November 11th, 2011, XD Records will be releasing 2 Hearts and Chemicals debut EP, Coming Home, worldwide.

You can pre-order it now from Bandcamp, along with a free download of their cover of Placebo’s “Teenage Angst”.

About 2 Hearts and Chemicals:

2 Hearts and Chemicals is a bi-coastal band comprised of musicians Eli Lhymn, based in Los Angeles, and Stephen Biebel, currently based in New York City. The duo originally hail from Pennsylvania, and met when they were just 13 years old.

Eli Lhymn began playing guitar in 7th grade, learning his first chords from none other than Stephen Biebel in music class. After learning some basic guitar playing, Lhymn found a keen interest in sculpting sounds and effects to transform music to add an atmospheric aspect – and hasn’t looked back since. Lhymn is heavily influenced by the works of great ambient artists, including Sigur Ros, Ulrich Schnauss, and Brian Eno. After moving to Los Angeles, Lhymn quickly joined several bands and began pursuing his career intently, working with many great producers. He became part of the cult-favorite band Helen Stellar, and inspired by the work of Brian Eno and David Byrne, cultivated a similar process in an effort to bring a more widescreen feeling to his work with Biebel on 2 Hearts and Chemicals.

Stephen Biebel began playing music when he was just 6 years old, finally picking up a guitar at age 13. After coaching Lhymn on basic guitar chords, Biebel played in early bands with Paul Holmes (now a member of Brooklyn-based indie band Merrickans) and started writing his own songs at age 19, eventually recording and releasing them under the name Mor Amour in 2006. Heavily influenced by 1990s British music, Biebel has found inspiration from Suede, The Verve, Radiohead, and Longpigs, shoegaze band Slowdive, as well as classic rock songwriters David Bowie and Marc Bolan.

After the inception of their initial vehicle Chemicolour, Lhymn and Biebel evolved their collaboration into what is now 2 Hearts and Chemicals, the name itself derived from their early work together; an homage to their past, upgraded in a constantly evolving intellectual take on modern music.

Bittersweet Blissfest: Feat. DJ Peroxide + Live Performances by Astrobrite, & New Canyons! October 20th, Late Bar, Chicago, Illinois.

DJ Peroxide presents BITTERSWEET BLISSFEST at Late Bar - an evening celebrating local Chicago bliss bands and celebrating his birthday, too! This event will feature live performances by Bliss.City.East, New Canyons & the return of Astrobrite for their first show in ten years!

Bliss.City.East are the nugaze/electrogaze trio of Perry Pelonero (guitar/bass/keyboards), Kim Welsh (vocals) & Eric D'Asto (bass). Perry and Kim have also been working with shoegaze pioneer Dean Garcia (Curve, SPC ECO) on a new project called Morpheme.

New Canyons are an electronic/ambient duo consisting of Andrew Marrah (guitar/synth) and Adam Stilton (vocals/synth/guitar), teetering on the genres of shoegaze, dreampop & noise.

Astrobrite is the candy-colored, shoegaze-pop project fronted by Scott Cortez, who’s better known for his snowblinded guitar driftscapes in Lovesliescrushing. Andrew Prinz & Jaclyn Slimm of Mahogany will be accompanying him during this special performance.

Giveaways courtesy of BLVD Records, who will be issuing new releases for Astrobrite & New Canyons in the winter.

Free compilation sampler CDs of new dark alternative music prepared by DJ Peroxide.

Vee Sonnets & Melissa pour $4 Kir Royale & Mimosa champagne cocktails.

Thursday, October 20th, 2011
Late Bar, 3534 W Belmont Ave., Chicago
$5 cover (for the bands)