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24 January 2018

INTERVIEW: Eugene Suh of Echodrone | By Elizabeth Klisiewicz.

I had the great pleasure of interviewing all five members (now down to 4 members) back in 2015 around the time their album Five came out. I decided to query guitarist/vocalist Eugene Suh about their brand new release, Past, Preset and Future. He was kind enough to provide some interesting background on this great record.

Why are all the songs 3:33? Is that a take on 33-1/3 for vinyl?
ES: Historically, we've always written a lot of long, sprawling tunes that take time to build and decay.  A lot of reviewers mentioned the length of our songs with our last release, Five.  During the time we were releasing Five, however, I read an article stating that the perfect length of a rock song is 3:30. Anything less is a half-baked idea, anything more is self-indulgent. I challenged myself to write a batch of Echodrone songs that were exactly 3:30 in length (with a 3 second gap in-between each song, hence the 3:33 track length). It was an interesting experiment to see how we sounded in such a concise time frame.

Do you still compose via the Internet for people in different cities? What are the challenges of that? I listen to this music and it's so ethereal and hard to imagine that it was strung together at different times.
ES: We still compose entirely via the Internet/file exchange. Brandon is living in Petaluma, CA, Mike lives in San Luis Obispo, CA, Rachel lives in Austin, and I'm in the Boston area.  Over the years, through trial and error, we've figured out a process that works best for us.  I usually write songs/record guitars and send out the ideas to Mike. He lays the drums down, then sends to Brandon to lay down bass. Once Brandon has put down his bass parts, it comes back to me and/or Rach to add vocals. Once all of the essential parts are in, I usually assess what "sonic space" is left and add guitars/synths/etc. as needed to complete the idea.

In regards to making things sound cohesive, we owe a lot to our engineer, Colin Christian, at The Sound Saloon.  He’s able to take tracks that have been recorded in all different types of environments and make it sound like we were in the same room the whole time.  He’s pretty incredible!!

The hardest challenge is figuring out how to communicate ideas/creativity. It's so much easier to sit in a room and provide instant feedback (i.e. "try hitting the E on that chord" "oh, I liked what you did there with the dynamic build!"). The instantaneous feedback on the 100's of different ideas that occur in one practice is a luxury we don't have. In Echodrone, our ideas have to get thrown out to each other with a healthy dose of trust. I trust that Funk will listen to my ideas and come up with a rhythm that compliments it perfectly, once Funk is finished, we trust that Brandon will come up with the perfect low-end melodies/textures, and so forth.

They are all such great, creative musicians - I'm always blown away by the ideas they add to each song! 
Did you all ever get a chance to play live?
Echodrone has not played live with this current line-up.  Our last show was in 2009 if I remember correctly. We would LOVE to play live someday, though!  Hmmm...I'll have to talk to the other Echodroners :)

10 January 2018

TONIGHT! WTSH on DKFM. Airs @ 10pm ET.

When The Sun Hits airs on DKFM

Fuzzy bits and baubles by Blushing, Soda Lilies, Gliss, The Voices, Mary's Restless Dream, HoneyHead, Swirlpool, Stella, COSme + MORE!

Stream it live
10pm ET / 9pm CT

05 January 2018


Photo by Kurt Schiøtt
Interview with Cosmic Waves

Cosmic Waves’ self-titled debut EP commands attention from the start. Lisbet Randefelt’s distinctive, incantatory vocal presence presides easily over the Copenhagen, Denmark quartet’s combination of punk, shoegaze, and psychedelia. Mia Skjold Tvede Henriksen on bass and Lasse Schiøtt on drums undergird a generally spare, open sound with their tightly-focused, muscular figurations. Guitar contributions from Lisbet and Martin Herskind thread angular single- and dual-note patterns through a spaciousness sometimes broken by lightning-bolt blasts of intense chord work that lend a touch of doom metal atmosphere. The resulting whole leans heavily into post-punk territory while also creating a psychedelic mood worthy of the band name.

The Cosmic Waves EP actualizes a lot of impact for four tracks that play out in under thirteen minutes. We’re delighted to present an interview featuring contributions from all four band members. The project’s very first video, for the song “Sun Doom”, was released on the 1st, allowing us to include it here as well; find it below just after Lisbet’s comments about it.

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How and when was the band formed?
: Martin, Lisbet and Lasse met at a pre-party for an A Place To Bury Strangers concert and bonded straight away over a common love for sixties rock'n'roll, eighties shoegaze and post-punk. They needed a bassist and asked me. I had played several instruments before, but never the bass. I took on the challenge and joined the band on a winter night in 2016. We rehearsed at our Cold War bunker rehearsal space for a few months and came back to the surface in spring 2017 to record our EP.

Can you tell us what the band has been working on?
: Our first music video, for our song Sun Doom, has just been released. It is a collaboration with the fashion company The Insomnia Project from Lisbon, Portugal. We’re confident that peole will find it intriguing and exciting.

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 are part of the Danish music collective Dansk Beton, which revolves around a Cold War bunker from the 1960s, which also houses bands like Techne, Revulva, Mimic Octopus and Søvn. As we are a very new band, it is difficult to say if we already belong to a certain scene. Our music is definitely shaped by shoegaze, post-punk and psych. But I do find it very difficult and limiting to be put into a certain box.

03 January 2018

TONIGHT! Catch WTSH's 2 Hour Special on DKFM | The Best Tracks of 2017.

Don't miss this 2 hour special TONIGHT on DKFM, highlighting the best shoegaze and dream pop tunes from 2017! Presenting the cream of this year's watershed crop, just for you.

Stream it live
10pm ET | 9pm CT | 7pm PT
Repeats 12 hours later!

ALBUM REVIEW: Kindling | Hush. By Elizabeth Klisiewicz.

Easthampton, MA is home to Lloyd Cole (whom I love) and a great shoegaze 5 piece called Kindling. Hush is their second album, and it finds the band branching out a bit into more subtle textures and instrumentation (sitar and mellotron) than their earlier work. The band started in 2014 as the recording project of Stephen Pierce and Gretchen Williams, and it has evolved into an active, full-fledged group with a full length and multiple EPs under their belt. The band worked with engineer Justin Pizzoferrato to track the album and Josh Bonati for mastering, and this teamwork produced the sonic gem that dropped this fall. This is all well and good, but in a crowded field of ‘gaze bands, it’s hard to stand out. However, Kindling manages this with a series of good to great songs on this release.

“For Olive” is a solid opener with an ear bleeding sonic assault married to some sweet vocals way in the backdrop. It’s a technique that works well for the band, and reminds me a bit of Smashing Pumpkins. “Destroy Yrself” is even grander, mastered loud with the hammer jammed down. Definitely a standout track in this collection!

“Pantone Blue” dials it back a bit in the opening sequence, but you are quickly pummeled by cascades of furious guitar. They use this ebb and flow approach to good success on this track. “Everywhere” has an entrancing hook at its heart, and while initially it took a little time to lure me in, once it hit, it got me hook, line, and sinker.

“Wait” is heavy duty gaze, thick waves of guitar and pounding percussion, while “Rain” meanders into lovely dream pop territory. “Wherever” amps up the punkish energy to 11, and a bit of Corganesque guitar wafts in. The remaining tunes work their magic, leaving me with ringing ears and a smile on my face. Recommended for all shoegaze fans who like it loud!

02 January 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: Infinity Girl | Somewhere Nice, Someday. By Edward Charlton.

Few releases of the past year were met with such a conflicting cocktail of jubilation and heartbreak as Somewhere Nice, Someday, the latest and final album from Brooklyn-based guitar manglers Infinity Girl, following 2015’s excellent Harm. The band—comprised of Nolan Eley (guitar, vocals), Kyle Oppenheimer (guitar, vocals), Mitchell Stewart (bass) and Sebastian Modak (drums)—announced before the drop that the latest collection would be their last. Somewhere, recorded before the band decided to retire, delivers as the greatest example of what the group have excelled at over their lifespan in a fitting final statement.

Opening drum-less strummer “The Comfort of What I Had” sets the overall mood. While a pensive and regretful introspection colors the entire track, the repetition of the chord changes and Eley’s diaphanous vocals find a thorny beauty even in the song’s most bummer moments.

Second track and single “But I’m Slow” brings in the rest of the band for a downcast singalong featuring the layering and upfront detail that characterized Harm. While many shoegaze and dream-pop bands have mastered studio craft, Eley and company always seem able to take it one step further. On “Slow” the range of frequencies in the fuzz pedals are so full and immediate that their textures seem tangible beyond the speakers. The album lends itself well to hi-fi listening, with a level of subtle detail that repeatedly impresses and rewards.

Infinity Girl imbue their compositions with many little dynamic shifts in a way that lends complexity and freshness even to basic song structures. Check out, for instance, the slow upward wave of volume at the twenty-second mark that precedes the final downstroke into the first verse of “Slow”. Eley’s declarations of exhaustion in the chorus are sung with such hushed breathlessness that they can be heard as foreshadowings of the band’s end, which came about because the project had become too demanding to leave enough space for the rest of the musicians’ lives.

Quicker numbers like “Don’t Believe, “Derail Me” and “Redder” show the band’s roots with frenetic, punky blasts of noise inspired by Isn’t Anything-era My Bloody Valentine and Boston’s mighty Swirlies. These songs contrast well with the more experimental and explorative pieces on the album, anchoring the band to the DIY, house show tradition from which they arose.

“The Color of Wine” brings in a surprising dash of twee acoustic guitar picking before blooming into yet another swooning pop tune. “Anything” takes the misty weightlessness of Infinity Girl’s more ethereal pieces to its most lilting, airless expression.

“Millgate”, penned by Oppenheimer and Modak, hints at a possible future direction the band might have taken, where heavily treated guitar brushes against a relatively relaxed post-rock groove, the project’s characteristic distortion absent. At times the song’s twinkling, crack-of-dawn atmosphere recalls Laughing Stock-era Talk Talk.

Closer “The Winner Always Talks” brings in a dash of celebratory piano to mingle with bleak mantras and noise breakdowns. The final wind ups of guitar and crashing drums create an expectation of one final lap for the gang, but of course it can’t be that simple, as the track is then cut off by an ending too abrupt to permit any real sense of closure. 

Somewhere Nice, Someday so fully solidifies Infinity Girl’s unique, twisting and contradictory character that one can only be thankful for it even as a last release. The band have clearly not just “thrown in the towel", but loudly and confidently ended on their highest note.

Somewhere Nice, Someday was released by Disposable America in a sold out cassette edition in September. It’s now available as a name-your-price download on Bandcamp.