you resource for all things shoegaze & dream pop.

27 February 2014

News: Brightness/Contrast EP announced by Au Revoir Simone.

Ascendant New York-based dream pop trio Au Revoir Simone, presently touring in support of Broken Bells, have announced the release of an EP called Brightness/Contrast for digital download on iTunes on March 4th. The album consists of remixes of five Au Revoir Simone tracks by artists including David Lynch and Todd Rundgren.  

can be ordered here.

Goodbye Butterfly || Demo from The Brian Jonestown Massacre.

WTSH found out about this track by way of a tweet sent out 
by Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell.

24 February 2014

WTSH Top 5 Records of the Week.

Dan's Top 5 Records of the Week

The Stargazer Lilies || We Are the Dreamers (2013)

The Casket Girls || True Love Kills the Fairy Tale (2014)

Ringo Deathstarr || Gods Dream (2013 Japanese version)

Dum Dum Girls || Too True (2014)

Cosmic Dealer || Crystallization (1971)

Amber’s Top 5 Records of the Week

I Break Horses || Chiaroscuro (2014)

Lowlife || Rain (1985)

Airiel || Winks & Kisses box set (2004)

Curve || Doppelganger (1992)

Air Formation || Nothing To Wish For (Nothing to Lose) (2010)

WTSH Top Track of 2013: Venera 4 || Haunted Summer.

WTSH Top Track of 2013:
Venera 4 || Haunted Summer

With 2013 now rapidly receding in the collective rear view mirror, we’d like to bring your attention to one of our very favorite tracks of that year. “Haunted Summer” is a tour de force of fuzzy, ‘gazey, dark and droney neo-psychedelia released in April by Paris quartet Venera 4.

This nine-minute track has a spacious vastness—established immediately by the shimmering synth-string chords and synth bends and oscillations opening the song—that you can really get lost in and that is sustained throughout its epic duration by fairly minimal instrumentation and perhaps only four or five chords (but plenty of reverb). 

The command of atmosphere here is in fact phenomenal. Despite the airy expansiveness, the track is still texturally complex, a tricky combination to pull off. Another difficult balance that’s perfectly managed: the song is spaced out and trippy, but also very controlled. The reins are momentarily loosened periodically throughout so that it feels briefly as if things are spinning out of control—and then the threads are deftly pulled back together, focus is restored and incipient vertigo relieved. This pattern is very characteristic of classic shoegaze; this band knows what it’s doing. 

That Venera 4 is very much about both space and atmosphere is in fact completely confirmed by a little research into the origin of the band name. Venera is the Russian word for Venus, and Venera 4 is the name of a 1967 Russian Venus probe, the first spacecraft to succeed in analyzing a planet’s atmosphere from within. The soundscape of “Haunted Summer” is indeed Venusian, easily evoking a misty, sweltering otherworld.

The female lead vocals, which don’t commence until after two full minutes of slowly building introductory instrumental shifts and changes, are sung, spoken, and whispered with a very low-key delivery that for all its affective restraint still serves up an unmistakable swagger and a simmer of both menace and sensuality. The track’s chorus, which doesn’t appear in full glory until three and a half minutes along, approaches anthemic power despite its hazy setting and may stick in your head even though you probably won’t be able to discern a single lyric. (Fortunately you don’t need to; you can consult the handy transcription that the band has so generously provided for WTSH.)

While the overall vibe and feel remain very consistent, the sound and arrangement morph continually throughout. The two instrumental bridges, for instance, are very different. In fact, aside from the three full iterations of the chorus, no section duplicates another, not even in terms of the backing tracks for the verses.

Despite the ample duration and all the shifts and experiments along the way, we don’t experience any cringes or “Yikes, they shouldn’t have done that” moments. Which means this song is in the running for being considered perfectly crafted. NICE!

Above and beyond the various other strong points we’ve mentioned, the real achievement of “Haunted Summer” is in the realm of mood. It’s a supernatural slow jam made of ectoplasm, Xanax and eerie spaceship sounds. While the mood is creepy and druggy and unnerving, it’s also fascinating and even a little sultry.

It doesn’t matter that the mood doesn’t sharply change across the considerable length of the song, because we’re delighted to hang out in the unique space we’re taken to for the duration. If this is what it’s like to be haunted, sign us up for some paranormal activity. Preferably the kind that occurs on alien crafts that routinely visit humid dimensions populated with interstellar ghosts and French girls singing woozy stoner space chants.

“Haunted Summer” now closes out Deaf Hearts, Venera 4’s outstanding debut EP, which came out from Requiem Pour Un Twister last fall and can be purchased as a digital download here and in a limited 12” vinyl edition (with download) here. And don’t miss Venera 4’s free holiday gift, the hushed and lovely Winter Sessions.

–Amber & Dan

Haunted Summer (Official Lyrics)
I don’t even know your name,
but my faith is still the same.
I don’t even know your face,
and the pictures of past faint.

Your name is an untamed word,
the sound of your voice is blurred.
Dark sunbeams are gone.
Memories lay eyes on me.

I will keep it wild,
haunter by my side
I will keep it wild

I will keep it wild,
haunter by my side
I will keep it wild
for you…

Find out more:

23 February 2014

Ryan Graveface: Things That Meant Something To Me In 2013.

The best-known project associated with Savannah, Georgia multi-instrumentalist Ryan Graveface is almost certainly Black Moth Super Rainbow, a wryly enigmatic experimental electronic psych-pop outfit known for being cagey about its exact Western Pennsylvania geography, for concealing individual identities behind masks and aliases, and for successive albums on which the super spacey vintage vocoder effect has been used on all the vocals, all the time. As unlikely a formula for success as these elements may seem, BMSR, formed in 2002, has over the years become a popular, prolific indie weirdness institution. The band emerged into prominence through The House of Apples and Eyeballs, a 2006 collaboration with Austin’s The Octopus project, and a performance at SXSW the same year. The following year saw the release of the celebrated full-length Dandelion Gum and a tour in support of The Flaming Lips. The first thousand copies of Dandelion Gum sported a scratch-and-sniff cover, while supporters of the Kickstarter campaign for 2012’s Cobra Juicy were rewarded with grotesque masks with flash drives for teeth.

As the founder, owner, and sole employee of one of WTSH’s favorite labels, Graveface Records—the word “Graveface” somehow emerged out of a night’s dreaming that also involved fishing and miniature golf—Ryan is responsible for the release late last year of The Stargazer Lilies’ full-length debut We Are The Dreamers in a package exquisite on all levels: visual, musical, and sonic. The label, which issued its first record in 2002 and got fully underway with the 2005 release of BMSR’s Lost Picking Flowers in the Woods in both LP and CD formats, is presently home to Whirr, Xiu Xiu, Serengeti, Experimental Aircraft and a score of other worthy artists.

Graveface Records has a one-of-a-kind sister business in Savannah, a bricks-n-mortar retail establishment called Graveface Records & Curiosities, offering such diverse categories of merchandise as vinyl, cocktail supplies, effects pedals, taxidermy, and more.

One of our favorite Graveface Records artists is The Casket Girls, who have wowed us with the haunting (and haunted) electronic dreampop of  their 2012 debut full-length Sleepwalking, which evinces a sensibility that is morbid-tinged but still somehow ultimately upbeat. Ryan himself is the musical engine that drives The Casket Girls, composing and performing all of the backing tracks, which are characterized by a rich signature fuzzed keyboard sound, while sisters Elsa and Phaedra Greene, whom Ryan first came across singing strange songs together under a tree in a Savannah park space, provide melodies, lyrics, and beautifully blended pop vocals. We posted the delightfully demented video for Sleepwalking’s title track here; you can view the completely amazing clip for “Heartless” from the same album here. We’re very excited about The Casket Girls’ sophomore LP, True Love Kills the Fairy Tale, released by Graveface on February 11th, 2014, and we’ve posted singles from that record here and here.

Ryan’s primary musical outlet is a shoegaze/post-rock project called Dreamend, with an impressive discography of its own including a two-piece epic that tells the true story of a serial killer’s life (Ryan bought the murderer’s journals at auction years ago) on the full-length albums So I Ate Myself, Bite By Bite (2010) and And the Tears Washed Me, Wave After Cowardly Wave (2012).

The Casket Girls, The Stargazer Lilies, Dreamend, and Dott have joined forces for the colossal Graveface Roadshow 2014, a tour that began in Atlanta on February 14th, 2014.

With even more projects up his sleeve than we’ve managed to mention, we can only imagine that Ryan Graveface is one of the busiest, most energetic people alive, not to mention pretty damn talented and probably the only guy you’ll run into who seems to have named himself after his company instead of the other way around. With humble awe we thank him for taking time out from all that to share with us this list of things that meant something to him in 2013.

Ryan Graveface:
Things That Meant Something To Me In 2013

Ryan says:
As the “pusher” of all things Graveface, I tend to listen to A LOT of Graveface stuff throughout the year. This year we had a jam-packed release schedule with LPs from The Appleseed Cast, Serengeti, Xiu Xiu, Stargazer Lilies, Dosh, Whirr, Hospital Ships and many more. It was crazy. So my list is certainly biased but I tried to throw in a few non-Graveface related tracks so it doesn't seem like a sales pitch. There's no order to anything. Some stuff isn't new but that doesn't matter to me. Additionally, I threw in some food/drink/fun that impacted me in a positive way. These meant something to me in 2013:



Buying the prom photo of Bradley Scott Pauley at the Mission in Sav. It's a salvation army like place and this was $1. I opened the back and inside was a prom invitation, hence me discovering his name. I did some digging and found he's now a lawyer in CA and I attempted to contact him multiple times with no luck. He won't write back. I may have freaked him out with my initial pitch. Haha.

The monster cereals coming back (Fruity Yummy Mummy etc.)