Mark Peters – Switch On The Sky

After the recent reissue of Engineers early releases, I was over the moon to hear that Mark Peters was releasing a new album called Red Sunset Dreams on Sonic Cathedral. I absolutely loved his last solo outing, Innerland, so I was excited to hear what he had in store for us.

“Red Sunset Dreams’ is another album about an imaginary landscape. ‘Innerland’ was inspired by a move back to my hometown of Wigan and the memories it stirred up, but ‘Red Sunset Dreams’ looks out across the Atlantic, inspired by my lifelong obsession with country and Americana music.

I’ll be breaking Red Sunset Dreams down track by track nearer its September 16 release date so watch this space.

In the meantime, Peters is treating us to the first single from the album, its opening track, ‘Switch On The Sky’. For this one he is in illustrious company with One Doves Dot Allison featuring on lead vocals. He has this to say on Allison’s involvement.

“I regard Dot highly as an artist, but it’s her exploration of similar ideas on One Dove’s cover of ‘Jolene’ or BJ Cole playing on ‘Tomorrow Never Comes’ from her first solo album ‘Afterglow’ made me think she would be perfect”. “Our first conversation included the names Gene Clark, Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris, so it was clear that a collaboration would go well.”

The track opens on Allisons hushed tones picking out the verse lyrics with a percussive reverence. The chorus brings in technicolour flourishes with Allison’s vocal treated to a psychedelic filter. The coda of “Now is the time” is sung like a mantra to the early morning sun.

This is a great introduction to the album and I’m sure this will appear on a great many summer playlists. Check out the video for the song here.

You can pre order the new Mark Peters album Red Sunset Dreams now via the Sonic Cathedral Bandcamp page, Rough Trade or your favourite indie record shop.

Mark has recently put a brand new three-piece live band together and will be playing a series of shows following the release of ‘Red Sunset Dreams’. The following dates have just been announced:

September 16 – Bristol – Rough Trade Bristol

September 17 – London – Rough Trade East

September 18 – Nottingham – Rough Trade Nottingham

You can follow Mark Peters on social media here….

Photos courtesy of Robin Clewley.

The Churchill Garden – Always There

Here at Static Sounds Club, I’m no stranger to the music of The Churchill Garden, the transatlantic dreampop duo comprised of Andy Jossi and Krissy Vanderwoude. Their music is a regular on my turntable so I was really happy to hear that new single is being released. I was keen to find out what ‘Always There’ was about, here’s what the band had to say.

“This one will especially appeal to fans of The Chameleons, U2 and Lush. A sweet song about true friendship and the gratitude and reassurance that comes along with finding those loyal friends in life. Big love in the form of a song going out to those “one in a million” friends who are always there, unconditionally.”

For me this sounds just like the optimistic and positive vibe that drew me to the band in the first place.

The song drives along at pace, the lyrics sung with a percussive rhythm that hits the accents on the chiming guitars. On the subject of those guitars, they’re massive. Like stadium big. I see where they were driving at with the U2 reference. As with all the music Jossi makes that’s only one texture on display. The unique sonic recipe he has for his guitar mix always floors me.

Vanderwoude’s vocal is, as always, uplifting and deeply personal. You feel you are in conversation with her. Highly relatable lyrics like “The world could use a few more like you” firmly place you in the song. That is the measure of her sheer skill as a lyricist. Making the listener feel that it’s their song which takes them out of that passive experience. Making them actively feel.

This is yet another buoyant and uplifting track from two of the coolest people in the shoegaze and dream pop world.  

‘Always There’ is out now over on The Churchill Gardens Bandcamp page and all the usual streaming platforms.

You can follow The Churchill Garden on social media here…

Sheer – … And Then There Were Four

Back in 1990 Greenock born musician, Sheer Taft was signed to the world-famous Creation Records label. There he released the cult classic single ‘Cascades’. It was a song out of time, carving its own highly influential spot in Creation history. Fast forward to 2022, now based in Spain, Sheer returns with his first new album since Absolutely Sheer in 1992.

And Then There Were Four is quite different to that low fi, dub/house sound Sheer created back in the 90’s. He has enlisted the help of friends including Ed Chapman; a renowned English artist, members of Primal Scream as well as his good friend and band mate Robert McGovern from The Method One.

Sheer explains how the name of the album came about.

“In 2018 after a particularly messy session involving Pacharan, a Spanish version of Pernod, the name ‘and then there were four’ was bandied around as my fellow travellers fell by the wayside. It sounded like a Spaghetti western, and the idea was hatched.”

And it’s with that very tone we saddle up and head into the opening title track. It’s an expansive and immersive experience evoking the dusty ride of our hero across the dusty plains. It has it all. Spanish guitar, tubular bells, violins and a choir. It’s a real statement of intent and sets the scene nicely for the album as a whole. On how they captured this sound Sheer had this to say.

“We began recording in Artesonao studios in Malaga, myself and Ed Chapman. We were ably assisted by Rachel Hewitt on violin and we recorded a dozen or so tunes in a week. We recruited the services of Darrin Mooney and Martin Duffy of Primal Scream on drums and keys, both of whom just managed to avoid being locked down in Spain as the borders closed at the beginning of the pandemic. Andrew Innes assisted on additional guitars, celeste and bells…lots of bells. Robert McGovern came out to Malaga to play on a few tracks also. We had the voice of Justine Petty – Burrows a Canadian chanteuse to be a foil to my less than acrobatic voice.”

The pace slows for ‘Everybody’s Been Somebody’s Fool’. Sheers rich, deep voice adding gravitas and a world worn atmosphere to this southern fried ballad. There’s a gospel influence in Petty-Burrows backing vocal which lifts the track to another level. Couple that with the country licks from the guitars and the mournful violin complimenting the piano and you have a stone-cold classic.

The lilting instrumental ‘Gypsy River’ follows. I love how this song builds. The song periodically pauses. After each pause new elements join the throng. The violin echoing over the gently strummed and picked acoustic guitars being my personal highlight.

The sun comes out on the next instrumental, ‘After Midnight’. It’s a sunny, soulful trip. Fender Rhodes picks out the melody while a smooth guitar lays down a feelgood groove. This is windows down, cruising down the highway music.

The weather stays the same on ‘The Sun Is Ours’. An acoustic track led by Petty-Burrows gorgeous vocal. Reminiscent of a lost James Taylor or Tim Buckley track it cements a smile on your face. I wanted this one to go on for longer. Surely the sign of a great song.

‘Mezcal Dreams’ maintains the upbeat acoustic vibe with a glorious off kilter counter melody going on from what sounds like a theremin. As soon as this song broke out the ray gun noises in the last 45 seconds or so I flashed on The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band for a moment. A band whose music I love. Which made me wonder what influences Sheer was drawing on when writing this album.

“The record was a return to my favourite music of my youth, soaking up Dylan, Scott Walker, Tim Buckley, Tim Rose, Tim Hardin and the soundtracks of Morricone, like an old compilation tape from 1986. Ed and I based the record on a screenplay being written by him and his brother Ivan Chapman, a tale of a loner, returning to old haunts with trepidation and an awareness of the inevitable dangers he had left behind.”

We revisit the title track and the main musical motifs of the album on ‘Four Ride Out’. Equally as epic but performed acoustically with a bongo backing. It certainly delivers the goods.

‘Enemigo De Todo’ follows with a grittier more direct attack. Translating as ‘Enemy of Everything’ it conjures up images of our lone gunman on the warpath. A fuzzed-out guitar adds a new texture to the sonic palate of the album. It really makes you sit up and take notice. There’s something of the Arthur Lee’s about this song. I could definitely hear this on a Love album.

The joyful ‘Alegria’ follows. This song is all dancing light through the trees, bouncing off the babbling stream in myriad colours. You can feel your spirit lift from the opening notes.

Sheer draws on his inner Dylan for ‘Chasing Down A Dream’. It’s poetic storytelling in the spirit of the great man himself. Couple that with a killer backing track and you have the recipe for an amazing song. I love how it transforms in the closing minute with that soaring guitar solo.

‘The Ghost’ is an eerie instrumental whose chorus pulses like a heartbeat before drifting back into the dream of the verses. Really pay close attention to all the guitars on this one. There’s some pretty acrobatic playing going on.

We hear the soulful tones of Petty-Burrows again on the wistful ‘Time’. There’s a yearning. A longing in the bones of this song. It sent me back to the beginning over and over to work out what it was. Why was this song affecting me so much? I still don’t fully understand why, maybe it’s the ever-evolving backing track, maybe it’s when Petty-Burrows sings “sometimes” at that key moment. I just don’t know. What I do know is that I bloody love this song and it’s my album stand out track.

‘Requiem for Pablo’ takes us back, once again, to the title track for a fresh spin on the epic musical motifs of this album. You can check it out for yourself here.

We close out the album on the mournful farewell of ‘(There Goes) A Friend Of Mine’. A beautiful vocal again from Petty-Burrows interspersed with spoken word vocals in the style of Johnny Cash. The song is impactful and is the perfect bookend to this album, this whole listening experience.

With ‘And Then There Were Four’ Sheer is stepping away from the sounds we know him for and delving into his musical memory. In the process he’s undoubtedly soaked up the influences of his Spanish surroundings to create something truly unique and special. There’s a tale being told throughout this cohesive and utterly immersive album. Sit down, put the needle on the record and let Sheer tell you all about it.

‘And Then There Were Four’ is out on August 5 2022. The album is available for pre order now from Glass Modern on Bandcamp. You can grab a digital copy or, if you’re quick, there’s a small number of copies left on dark blue vinyl.

Photos by Nick Povan

Label Focus – Sonic Cathedral

There are some labels which I don’t just like, I love them. Like, love them in a ….I need them to exist so I can too kinda way. The bands this label has put out over the years have become some of my absolute favourite go to records. Who am I talking about? Sonic Cathedral of course. It’s in the title innit!

Sonic Cathedral began life as a club night where Nathaniel Cramp would host shoegaze and other dreamy sounding acts to give them a forum. It cannot be under estimated the impact and importance of these nights to the UK shoegaze scene. Cramp was creating a space for the shoegaze sound when all around him had written it off as dead genre. In those early years Sonic Cathedral saw performances from the likes of The Radio Department, Engineers, Mark Peters, iLiKETRAiNS, Secret Machines, Neil Halstead, Spectrum, Maps, Chapterhouse, pretty much every member of Ride ultimately leading to the first show in 20 years from Slowdive.

It was in 2006 that Cramp decided to launch Sonic Cathedral as record label. Initially releasing a series of seven-inch singles from the likes of The Tamborines, Mark Gardner and School of Seven Bells. Since those early days the label has continued on as the standard bearer for the shoegaze scene in the UK and across the world. Let’s have a look at some of the acts who have had their music released by the label over the last few years.


Cramp was quick to spot the potential in this band from Chicago. His keen ear could hear the 90’s aesthetic and gaze influence in their sound and quickly secured their first ever physical single release with ‘Ballroom Dance Scene’ and ‘Sea Life Sandwich Boy’. The band have since released their debut album on Matador records and are busy conquering the world. It all started here though with this pair of magical songs.

Echo Ladies

Hailing from Malmö in Sweden this trio of diehard shoegazers first met Cramp after a Slowdive show in London. This has led to Sonic Cathedral releasing a single, the self-titled EP and of course, their stunning debut album Pink Noise. If you haven’t heard them before they’re like a fuzzy, dreamy blend of Alvvays, The Cure and Stereolab. Pink Noise is an absolutely incredible debut album and has a really timeless sound.

Andy Bell

The Ride guitarist has stepped into the front of stage to release two critically acclaimed albums via Sonic Cathedral, The View From Halfway Down from 2020 and this years Flicker. Bell has carved his own sound with his take on modern pop psychedelia, folk and chiming sixties odysseys. If your only experience of his work is from his Ride back catalogue or his time in Oasis then you really need to check these albums out.


Austrian duo Molly took inspiration from the landscape around their home in the Tyrol in the far west of the country for their sound. Their mountainous and glacial debut album All That Ever Could Have Been is alpine in scale and texture. Each track expansive and immersive, an all-consuming listen and it’s no wonder Sonic Cathedral had to get this album out there.


Sennen fuse the post rock sound with that early 90’s gaze aesthetic to produce a sound that is all their own. Sonic Cathedral reissued their classic debut album Widows in 2021. Remastered and including exclusive additional tracks it was a smash success. They couldn’t have a better home for this release than with Sonic Cathedral.

Pye Corner Audio

Former Mogwai collaborator and electronica specialist Martin Jenkins aka Pye Corner Audio is set to release his second album for Sonic Cathedral. After the runaway success of his Social Dissonance live recording of his set at the labels 15th Birthday party at the Social in London, Let’s Emerge is out on 15 July this year. This one is a less shadowy feeling album with Andy Bell featuring on half the tracks fleshing out the sound. His music never fails to excite so make sure you check him out.

Mildred Maude

Mildred Maude are improvisational geniuses. Able to take a groove and run and evolve it into a 30-minute set which hypnotises and beguiles you as a live band they can’t be beat. Sonic Cathedral managed to get them to bottle that energy and put it out on their sophomore album Sleepover. I caught these guys supporting bdrmm and I was transfixed. If you get the opportunity to see them live grab it! You won’t be disappointed.


Lastly, we have the labels runaway success. Hulls finest, bdrmm. Since releasing their debut album Bedroom they have gone from strength to strength. Gone from playing small venues to supporting the likes of Ride and Mogwai on some of the world’s biggest stages. This band have worked incredibly hard, honing their sound and stage show and it really shows. Their latest release ‘Port’ sold out in under 60 seconds on Bandcamp. That is testament to both the talent of the band and the support and nurturing environment fostered by Cramp at Sonic Cathedral.

This is certainly not an exhaustive list of all the acts on Sonic Cathedral but I do hope it has given you a taste of what they have on offer. Make sure you follow Sonic Cathedral on Bandcamp to check out all these amazing acts and much more. Let’s not forget the legendary Shoegazer t-shirts as well!

I’d just like to say a massive thank you to Nat for all the hard work he pours into Sonic Cathedral. Here’s to many more years to come of pioneering gaze and adventures in sound.

You can follow Sonic Cathedral on social media here ….

VIDEO PREMIERE – Fir Cone Children – Cereals and Confidence

If you’ve been following the blog for a while now, you’ll know how much I love Fir Cone Children. Alexander Donat’s passion project exudes positivity and optimism from every note played. I covered his last album Waterslide at 7am back in 2020 when it brightened my lockdown days no end. Back in December 2021 Donat launched his latest album It Chooses You featuring collaborations with my good pals Krissy Vanderwoude and Jackie Kasbohm.

It’s my pleasure to premiere the video to the latest single from that album, ‘Cereals and Confidence’. I asked Alex to tell us a bit about the song itself

“Like all FCC songs this one is about my daughters and how they grow up. After 1st grade I recognized how my first daughter’s self-confidence was taking a leap. The little girl that, in the first weeks, had tears in her eyes when entering the school building suddenly learned arithmetic, and – in no time – became an amazing reader that blew me and my family away.

It was almost as if every spoon of cereal she took in, helped her body grow and her ability to understand complex things. ‘Snowblack’ is the name of her mouse, a pet she dearly loves and cares for. It’s like a companion that additionally helps her in difficult times. Seeing her holding Snowblack, giving her a soft kiss on the head is heart-breaking.”

The song has an eighties, goth art house vibe. The bass could’ve been lifted straight from a Cure track. The lush synths lift and surround the vocals. I love how the song evolves as it progresses, right up to that buoyant, uplifting ending. I’ve listened to this song so many times now and I still can’t get my head around how he created the chorus. The drums alone are stunningly complex. It’s classic Fir Cone Children. Uplifting and life affirming lyrics framed in a killer track.

Before you enjoy the video, I asked Alex a bit about how it came about.

“During last year’s summer holidays, I knew I’d take the opportunity to shoot a video on the west coast of Denmark. The scenery was amazing, the weather perfect, not too cold, not too hot.

When my daughters weren’t too eager to go to the beach after a longer walk in the countryside, my wife asked me: “Wanna shoot the Fir Cone Children video today? Weather’s perfect!”

I went for “Cereals & Confidence” because it’s a song without guest vocals and it was the only one from the “It Chooses You” album where the topic fit to what we could and would shoot: sun, wind, joy, beach, the sea, vast green dunes, happiness. The mind is as wide as an ocean. It made sense, and I really enjoyed running around. The fun was real.”

Here it is, the video for ‘Cereals and Confidence’. Enjoy.

You can grab It Chooses You and all the other great Fir Cone Children albums over on the Blackjack Illuminist Records Bandcamp now.

You can follow Fir Cone Children on social media here,,,

Tren Go! Sound System – Suspended Islands OST

Having been fortunate enough to had a sneak peek at Assessment, the 2021 breath-taking release from Tren Go! Sound System & Ornamental I was buzzing to hear from the good folks at Dirty Filthy Records. Pedro Pestana, the man behind Tren Go! Sound System is poised to release his next record and this time it’s something totally different. Here’s what they have to say about this album.

“Suspended Islands OST. The soundtrack for Wura Moraes and Darya Efrat’s site-specific performance trajectory along Ria de Aveiro, known as the Venice of Portugal.

The audience would attend the small island performances on boats and their route would be accompanied by this contemplative music.

The estuary is the main source of inspiration for this soundtrack. The sweet and salty water’s apparent lack of waves doesn’t hide its own tidal rhythms. It’s a meeting place and we’re invited to visit.”

This does sound like a change from the frenetic energy and pace of Assessment. Let’s chill out and pull on the headphones for this one.

The record opens with the ambient tones of ‘Welcome Aboard!’. With the sound of the wind across the river the song opens and evolves through glimpses of vocal like wails and eerie sonic textures. Eventually the unmistakable tones of Pestana’s guitar appears through the mist and gives this song form and meaning. A soothing and relaxing opening leads us to track two, ‘The Swing of Things’.

We actually begin on a looped guitar riff phasing in and out hypnotically. Over this come more guitars, layering, building, weaving in and out of each other. This song absolutely conjures the mental image of a midnight boat ride. That initial loop is like the percussive sound of the tide against the hull and the glint of the moon on the water. It’s mesmerising stuff.

This takes us to my album highlight ‘The Long Run (Excerpt)’. There’s something unquestionably beautiful about this track. It just feels right. I’m not sure why but it just feels familiar, like an old friend, rediscovered. The stunning guitar has elements of South American folk music with the most restrained fuzz notes played with the utmost care. I could sit and listen to this ebb and flow into my ears for hours quite happily.

The experience completes itself with ‘The Long Run’ itself. An eighteen-minute exploration piece which builds on the tones and themes of the excerpt to craft a monumental aural journey. I would implore you to lie back and let the music carry you away. There’s so much to take in and enjoy along the way but it never overwhelms or vexes you. On the contrary. This is a warm and comforting embrace of a tune, one which the excerpt only alluded to.

Suspended Islands, in it’s four tracks, absolutely captures the feel of that estuary. It is a stunning example of an artist being able to paint pictures in your head with music. The ultimate goal of any soundtrack. It is so far removed from Pestana’s previous work but it’s obviously somewhere he feels totally at home. The comfort is palpable in this music. It literally pours from every note embracing and nurturing our soul. Don’t take my word for it. Cast off and drift on downriver yourself.

Suspended Islands OST is available now on opaque yellow vinyl via Dirty Filthy Records.

You can follow Tren Go! Sound System on social media here…

Soñder – Broken in Place

The last couple of years have been hard for us all and we’re starting to see the experiences of this tumultuous period coming through in the art of today. None more so than the music we are listening to. Such is the preface to the new album from Maryland based musician Sean F. Schultz aka Soñder.

Broken in Place is an album created to heal and to process the grief from the loss of his father. This is a pain and journey we will all face in our lives. One which we’ll all need help and support through.

The journey begins in the digitised intro to ‘SubUrban Sprawl’. Soon the drums and synths lift us into a majestic soundscape evoking a futuristic city. There’s a lovely section mid song where the track takes a quiet break making the build to the end all the more dramatic and ominous. Glorious start to the album.

‘Alarm #2’ is next. It’s a discombobulating, panic attack in musical form. It captures the anxious energy and then very cleverly flips the mood half way through a couple of times. It erupts into this purposeful, driving number before settling back into a nervous moment and back again. This one really keeps you on your toes.

The signposts are clear in the next track ‘Organ Donor’. The guitars are literally crying, screaming with the grief of loss. The song even samples the life support machines final bleeps. The pace doesn’t let up, as life doesn’t. We must process what we are hearing as you would the loss itself. Damn, this is clever songwriting.

Following this is ‘Monster Trucker’ it’s a groove driven piece with sumptuous layered guitars punctuated by glassy then creamy dark synth tones. The intensity of this music is overwhelming at times, as is grief. The cries of “is anyone out there, anyone” are utterly heart-breaking in the closing section.

The expressive guitar playing steps up a notch in ‘a Maze in’. they genuinely sound like the cries of anguish, of confusion. Shultz is pushing his playing to the extreme on this track. Guitars soar and dive around and over each other interspersed with a spoken word track.

‘1984’ arrive awash with the most impressive synth wall of sound so far. Sounding far more uplifting and cohesive than the previous tracks, almost like a moment of calm or lucidity has befallen Schultz and his optimism is shining through.

It’s with a heavy wink of the eye Shultz names ‘Black Notes Matter’. Thundering piano notes pound as the guitars and drums scrap it out. After a short peaceful interlude, the track kicks back in and escalates to frenetic workout. This occurs a couple more times. The quiet section only making the louder piece more potent, more powerful.

We head down to the ‘Underground’ next. Traversing this song in the regular rhythm of the carriage as it moves steadily, station to station. There’s a palpable sense of contemplation here. Almost like we are taking some time out to ponder our place in life. Sombre synth tones carry the bass notes while the guitars and drums add that metallic element to the soundtrack of this journey. It’s a really effective use of music to convey imagery to the listener.

‘Horror Bull’ has us back in that anxious mode. The descending bass adds a claustrophobia hitherto untapped on this album. This leaves the synths and guitars free reign to play with our panic and existential dread. It’s a heavy, unrelenting and unforgiving track. All the more effective that way. To me it signals the very nature of grief.

Next up is ‘Outer Lude 4.24’. This is an upwards facing song, like screaming to the heavens at night. Where the drums have dictated the pace throughout the album it’s the synths stepping into that role here. Could this be symbolic of the head taking control again from the emotional beat of the heart? I’ll let you decide.

We close out the album on a more chilled note with ‘S.O.B.’. It’s almost balladlike in contrast to the extremes of the preceding tracks. Whilst there is a kind of acceptance in the pace and more stripped back nature if this song there remains that undercurrent of anxiety. To me this says that grief isn’t a process you go through. It’s something that lives with us forever. Sometimes it’s there at the forefront of our minds, bringing us to our knees. Other days it’s there to remind us of the good times and to keep our loved ones close forever.

In Broken in Place Schultz has crafted a deeply thought-provoking album that challenges all our pre conceptions of loss and our reactions to it. It is immensely affecting and will reward repeat listening’s with more layers of meaning. More discoveries in its stunning mix of synths and guitars.

Broken in Place is available now on CD and digital via Bandcamp.

You can follow Soñder on social media here.

Dead Rituals – Sober

I’m a sucker for a hook and punchy guitar riffs. Which is why I was buzzing to get a mail from my pal Andrea Caccese of Italian band Dead Rituals. Last March I covered the release of a killer acoustic track from the band called ‘When The Lights Are Out’. They have just dropped their latest single ‘Sober’. Of the band Caccese had this to say.

“Dead Rituals is a band with a focus on creating music that blurs the lines between punk, dream-pop and shoegaze. The group’s music is often notable for its darker, angsty tones, but this new track dives into a brighter, uplifting vibe. “Sober” is no-frills, colourful and fun, embracing the band’s yearning to just get out there and play music.”

I couldn’t wait to dive in.

The track opens on delicately picked guitar and gently sung lyrics. It’s not long though until the song explodes with ricochet drums and powerful guitars. Then there’s the chorus.

Wow! It just takes off and soars! The backing vocals of Brita Penfold adding that extra something that just lifts the song even higher. ’Sober’ just screams hit! This track deserves to be charting all over the globe.

Check out the video here then head on over to Bandcamp and buy the song and while you’re there check out Dead Rituals back catalogue.

Follow Dead Rituals here…

Intentions // Get Well EP

El Paso Texas is a simmering hotbed of musical talent. I seem to be mentioning the town more and more in my blogs and radio shows. Hailing from the border town come two amazing shoegaze bands, joining forces to release a split EP.

First up we have Get Well. I’ll let them introduce themselves.

“Get Well are a four-piece band fronted by Julian Martinez. Julian’s themes of growing pains and heartbreak drive the songs that don’t sound familiar, but feel familiar.

This family filled band distinguishes genres of Midwest emo and Shoegaze to an organic blend of music.”

Secondly, we have the power quintet Intentions. Here’s what they have to say.

“Intentions combine slow, incoherent tones and warm embraces of reverb to artfully establish the link between heavy guitars and heart-breaking nostalgic themes. With the crashing undertones and gloomy melodies, Intentions builds a distinctive connection that pushes the envelope of Shoegaze and Slowcore.”

Ok guys I’m sold. Let’s dive in and see what this EP sounds like.

Get Well get us underway with the percussive gaze of ‘Death Floatz’. Drawing influence from the Relapse Records stable of bands like Nothing and Cloakroom this is reassuringly heavy. The blissed-out fuzz washing over the breathy vocals. The rifle crack drums and muted bass, it’s all that good stuff. We’re off to a great start.

‘Bleed With You’ draws more on The Jesus and Mary Chain as influence. That said, it’s a gloriously strident song. Triumphant in parts even. The song makes great use of dynamics to keep the listener on their toes. Without doubt my favourite of their two songs on show here.

They hand the baton to Intentions with their song ‘Home’. This band have a dreamier approach with the song opening over heavily modulated guitars and softly sung vocals. That calm is quickly punctured in the choruses with an onslaught of fuzz and distortion. I absolutely love how the song builds and builds in intensity.

Intensely is how their second number, ‘V’, opens. Sludgy and gloomed out chords ring out before receding and the gentle flow of the verse takes over. It’s only temporary though as the chorus brings the noise. This song is paced beautifully. Everything has its space and there’s absolute clarity in the mix. Even though this track clocks in at over six minutes, it just doesn’t seem long enough. I loved this track, definitely my favourite of the two.

These two bands really complement each other’s styles and if heavy gaze is your jam, then this EP will make you very happy indeed.

The Intentions // Get Well EP is out on June 3rd and is available over on Bandcamp.

You can follow Intentions on social media here.

You can follow Get Well on social media here.

The Rosie Varela Project – What Remains

You will undoubtedly know Rosie Varela from her outstanding band Eep. Now she has stepped into the spotlight with her solo album What Remains. A native of El Paso, Texas she has drawn on the musicality and creativity of her band mates and friends to help her realise her vison. Joining her are Ross Ingram, Sebastian Estrada, Serge Carrasco, and Lawrence Brown III from EEP with the addition of Aldo Portillo on guitar and keys.

About the process of creating the songs for What Remains Varela has this to say.

“These are songs that didn’t quite fit the shoegaze genre of EEP and in fact, they weren’t meant to be genre-specific at all. This is a fusion not just of musical influences, but of life experiences.

At its core, The Project is about simplicity – simple song structures that leave room for free studio experimentation and innovation.”

Knowing the calibre of this team’s song writing makes me eager to dive in, so let’s do that now.

We open on the gentle sway to and fro of ‘Louise’. The tender musical backing belying the dark subject matter of a sabotaged relationship. Straight away we are hearing a band at play. Living in the creative moment. The textures and sounds effects around this song are there because the creators understand that sound affects. Everything has a place and purpose.

We segue neatly into ‘Wound’, a heartfelt cry from an America on fire. The rise of the divisive right, the splintering of society, racial abuse, school shootings. This is a deeply affecting song. You can feel the helplessness in Varela’s delivery. The band do a wonderful job of giving that feeling room to express itself in the song. Of ‘Wound’ Varela says

“This is a song about someone who feels helpless, crying out for a miracle to change the fear, and hatred that the narrator is witnessing and experiencing within themselves as they spiral downwards emotionally. The last two lines offer hope as the narrator comes to grips with saving themselves by saying, “give me your hand, I think I can pull you out again.”

‘Night Sky’ blooms on the speakers next. Like a beautiful flower it slowly unfurls and shows us its gorgeous multi-coloured, multi textured form. There are songs you instantly connect with and for me ‘Night Sky’ is one of those songs. We’ve all gazed up at the starry sky in awe and pondered our place in the cosmos. This song perfectly captures that feeling. From the stunning call and response of the verses to the overlapping vocals in the latter sections of the track. We are transported.

Next is the deeply harrowing lyric of ‘What Remains’. This song, the intensely personal exorcism of the emotional damage from childhood sexual abuse, is profoundly moving. You cannot help but feel the hurt and despair of the child. That then turns to rage as you know you cannot help them. The song is quite a sparse arrangement allowing Varela’s vocal performance to deliver the emotional punch that floors you every time. Full credit to the band for their parts here, particularly Brown’s wonderfully beguiling drums.

The sound of the desert is all over ‘Leave Me Alone’. Like a lost Eagles or America track it brings to mind a woman walking out of the desert of a bad relationship into the sun. Again, this genius band take the simplest of structures and add in textures and lovely harmony singing to elevate it to something really quite beautiful.

‘Fault Line’ comes in like a Bond theme. Incredibly cinematic and boy does it get widescreen in scope. This track has a Beatles level recording story involving reverse tracking, learning to play the song backwards and of course, mellotron strings. The song is about being able to spot the red flags around toxic people (mainly men). It’s sung with a steely determination and you can sense this comes from lived experience. As the song heads into its final stretch, it explodes into bloom. Full on psychedelia follows with reverse guitars and Beatle-esque strings like Strawberry Fields Forever. These aren’t the sounds we’re used to hearing from Varela but she owns it. The creativity and sonic dexterity on display could only have come from her heart and head.

‘My Sunshine’ tries to fool us with its subdued, melodic intro. As the vocals kick in, we hit the accelerator and we’re off. There are some glorious musical flourishes on show here. From the various synth tones to the western influenced guitars. It all comes together beautifully to lift the song all the way to the conversation style outro. You just never know what’s coming next and that’s a major strength of this band.

There are so many points on the album where you can identify with the lyrics. None more so I’m sure, than on ‘Foolish Things’.

“He came to me. A wolf in wolf’s clothing. But I couldn’t see. I was naïve. And love makes you do. Foolish things”

Of the song Varela says

“’Foolish Things’ is about that destructive relationship, that crazy love that you can feel for someone that nearly destroys you. I experienced a relationship like that that devastated me to the point of a complete nervous breakdown and a failed attempt to end my life. The abrupt ending of the song reflects the moment in which I cracked.”

The song has a woozy, off kilter theme throughout putting you straight into the writer’s head space. This is a where superb songwriting meets an arranger who knows exactly how to extract the most emotion from each and every note.

The album closes out with the meditative ‘Surrender’. This improvised piece, set against a series of loops and bass, feels like the warm embrace of goodbye, for now.  Certainly not final but the closing of a chapter. It’s the perfect end to this album.

An album of songs this definitely is. You may enjoy dipping in and out to savour your favourite tracks however, if you will accept my counsel, this is an album made to be listened start to finish. It’s an experience and one that rewards repeat listens. Varela bares her soul to us, trusting the listener with her very heart. In doing so she allows us to join her and her band mates, collaborators and friends on a journey of self-discovery. I wonder what you’ll find.

What Remains is released via Hogar Records on 3rd June. You can grab a copy on 180g translucent red vinyl, CD and digital. Head over to Bandcamp or, if you’re in the UK you can grab a physical copy from Plastic Head Megastore.

Follow The Rosie Varela Project here…

Dreamback – Sometimes

UK-based producer/musician Jamie Duddy has been quite prolific of late. You’ll remember I covered his Asleep EP back in January. That was a woozy, dreamy trip of an EP leaning heavily into shoegaze and dreampop. Now he’s back with a new single and a whole new vibe too. I was really keen to hear the results so let’s dive in.

Immediately in the introduction to ‘Sometimes’ you know this is a different type of Dreamback song. Whilst retaining that dreamy drone behind the song the first thing that strikes you is, this is a pop hit! It’s sugary, and addictive and most importantly, it’s an ear worm. It’s also a true duet from start to finish with the vocals of Duddy’s wife, Laura Beth, adding her sparkle to the mix.

There was a feel of latter-day Primitives about the production I really liked. It’s a very summery track, buoyant and uplifting belying the darker subject matter of the song (liars and sunburn).

Make no mistake this is drastic change in direction for Dreamback, but one that has paid off in spades. If Duddy decides that this is the path he’ll be taking Dreamback in I’m sure the Top 40 beckons!

‘Sometimes’ will be out on Friday 20 May over on the Dreamback Bandcamp page.

Follow Dreamback here…….

Perpetual Void – The White Room

Perpetual Void is a shoegaze/dream pop band creating ethereal, emotive soundscapes. Originating from Glasgow, Scotland, the band solely consists of Scottish songwriter and guitarist Graeme Gray. I first encountered Gray back in 2020 when he released his debut single now the lead track on this album. I remember being struck at the time by the ambition shown and was keen to hear more. Two years later here we are with his debut album The White Room. Let’s dive in and see what delights are in store.

As I said the album kicks off with his debut single “The Sea”. It’s a richly textured, reverb-soaked wash of bliss. The programmed drums, reminiscent of Cocteau Twins, sit behind the simply stunning guitars and Graeme’s impassioned vocals. Melancholic yet hopeful, sounds evoke pain and struggle while the lush reverberating guitar invites the listener inwards, leaving them with a sincere sense of optimism.

We next relax into ‘Dream’, aptly named as its warm, inviting soundscape evokes that moment of deep sleep where you dream your most vivid dreams. I would urge you to close your eyes to fully soak this one in.

The second single, ‘Trapped’, follows and brings some gorgeous chiming guitars to the mix. They punctuate Gray’s ambient vocals restlessly. At around the halfway mark we start to hear more layers of sound building to crescendo which crashes like waves on the shore and ebbs away.

‘Icicles’ is a true ambient piece, evoking a frozen landscape, jagged and unforgiving. You can almost feel the wind on your face. Gray is a master at creating moods and pictures using his music.

Speaking of which ‘Everyway’ whilst starting sombre and quiet soon blossoms into this joyous noise. I just got lost in this track and I found myself skipping back and listening a few times to its hypnotic charms.  

‘Climb’ taps into that Slowdive, atmospheric sound. Expansive guitars play off a steady and steadfast drum beat before evolving into the soundtrack for your favourite sci fi movie. The transition is fleeting and we return to the peaceful sound of the intro again. Just a beautiful track.

‘Awaken’ arrives with its joyful sunrise. The guitars feel like the warmth of the sun’s rays on your face. The first rays as you pull back the curtains on a summer’s morning. Gray taps into your imaginations at every turn leaving you with a smile a mile wide.

The wonderfully titled ‘Cloud Paddling’ is the sound of the air. Light and ever moving the track carries us high into the heavens to live among the clouds, if only for a few minutes. This is the very definition of ethereal.

The next track is titled with my favourite word. ‘Hope’ is a warmly subtle tone poem. As it chords slowly cycle Gray introduces more and more heavenly textures. He never loses that relaxing dreamlike quality, just enough to delight your ears.

The album closes out on the epic ‘FND’. Clocking in at nearly ten minutes it’s an adventurous composition, unnerving at times and comforting at others. Surrendering to the journey is the only way. Enjoy its many surprises, twists and turns. What a gloriously heady way to end this collection of ambient odysseys.

If you are looking for music to calm your soul and lift your spirits look no further. In The White Room Perpetual Void have created another world. A world where you are safe and alone but never lonely. A place where you can be yourself and explore your own mind. Gray seems to accomplish this with consummate ease, so what are you waiting for. The White Room is waiting, the doors open.

Head on over to Bandcamp to grab your copy of the album now.

You can follow Perpetual Void here…

Fabriccio De la Mora – Grand Unified Theories

Back in August 2020 when I started Static Sounds Club, the first band I wrote about were Par Ásito who come from Guadalajara, Mexico They combined space rock, post rock, shoegaze and a passion for space exploration into something quite unique for their album Singularity. I love that album to this day and so you imagine how happy I was to hear from Fabriccio De la Mora from the band about his new solo album.

Grand Unified Theories is De la Mora’s first solo effort. Of the album he says…

“These compositions are characterized by the spatial noise extracted from Par Ásito, with conceptual and structural details typical of my interest in astrophysics, the search for the theory of everything and its possible tonal implications.”

Now that’s what you call an intro. Let’s get into this album and see what’s what.

The opener ‘Causal Fermion Systems’ is named for an approach to describe fundamental physics. It’s a pacy and spacey ride through the cosmos. The drums lead the way with a steady pounding whilst a sci-fi keyboard motif picks out the gaps. Soon they are joined by edgy guitars providing a satisfying foil to the drum’s rhythm. The wonderfully off kilter lead guitar line completes the soundscape and we are off and running.  This is exactly what I was hoping to hear.

‘Technicolor Models’ takes the pace and volume way down and presents us with something quite different. It’s a gentle float through the universe observing the sound and listening to the song of suns and stars. A gently picked and muted guitar plays a beautiful lullaby as the various whirrs, bloops and bleeps pass our field of hearing. This is a very relaxing experience and one I will enjoy time and time again.

We are back up to pace for ‘String Theory’. Sounding like the theme tune for a lost sixties sci-fi serial TV programme this track opens with an air of familiarity. Fans of Singularity will adore this one, with its groovy aesthetic and fresh take on space rock. It’s what I’d call a palette cleanser of a track. Really fresh sounding, I can imagine a sea of bodies dancing along to this at live shows.  

At the midway point we are introduced to ‘Little Higgs’. This is a brutalist sound experiment. A heavily compressed guitar struggles to be heard through the sonic void and collapses over its own event horizon.

We head into heavy psyche territory next with ‘M-Theory’. De la Mora’s obsession with physics manifests again, the title a unifying theory in that world. This is a glorious wig out jam that transports us away on the tail of a comet, blasting through the cosmos. I love how nimble the drums are on this track. They really take the opportunity to fill every corner of the song right up until the last note.

We stay in the physics class for ‘Loop Quantum Gravity’. This is a theory that postulates that space and time are composed of finite loops all woven together. The intro has us leaping from loop to loop as the song seeks to find its feet. It isn’t long before we find our way in. Two guitars, one chiming, the other featuring the heaviest, scuzziest fuzz ever play off each other. Meanwhile the drums are off playing the most complex time signature ever, almost like jazz but good. This is such a treat, there’s so much to explore and revisit on this track.

We close out the album with ‘Causal Dynamical Triangulation’. No surprises that this is another approach that attempts to show how the spacetime fabric itself evolves. Another spacey jam with the catchiest riff being played out over his signature interstellar hyperspace soundtrack.

All I can picture when I listen to the music of Fabriccio De la Mora is barrelling through the galaxies in a rocket ship. It’s a real skill to be able to paint such vivid pictures in your listeners imaginations. For De la Mora it appears to occur so very free and easy. That’s something I really admire.

Grand Unified Theories is available now over at Bandcamp and all good streaming sites.

  1. Causal Fermion Systems
  2. Technicolor Models
  3. String Theory
  4. Little Higgs
  5. M-theory
  6. Loop Quantum Gravity
  7. Causal Dynamical Triangulation

You can follow Fabriccio De la Mora here…

Waves Crashing – high / low

This week I was on the hunt for some new tunes when into my inbox dropped Josh Calisti with news of the release of his band’s new maxi single. Hailing from Olympia, Washington Waves Crashing are a post wave / shoegaze quartet featuring the aforementioned Calisti (guitar, vocals), Bryce Albright (drums), Luke Ogden (bass, backing vocals) and Landon Young (lead guitar).

The band have released a number of singles over the last two years to much critical acclaim, my DKFM sister Krissy Vanderwoude has also played them on her show.  So, with that pedigree I just had to dive in.

The high / low maxi single kicks off with the title track. There’s a real Bossanova era Pixies vibe about this track. Off kilter chords with a gentle vocal performance exploding into sublime instrumental passages. It’s a great taster for what’s to come.

‘in my head’ comes in next on a powerful uppercut of an intro. Drums pound while guitars soar and fill your ears with the most stunning soundscapes. I particularly enjoyed the contrast between the chorus and verses.

The single concludes with a reworking of a track from 2020. ‘Capsized (reimagined)’ is a song painted on a big canvas, proper widescreen music. Built on a foundation of a purring fuzzed out guitar the song plays with some glorious textures. Glacial lead guitar, haunting backing vocals, pulsing bass and it all comes together beautifully.

The single high / low is available now over on the groups Bandcamp page. While you’re there check out their extensive back catalogue.

Just Mustard – Mirrors

I have made no secret of the fact I adore Dundalk’s finest musical export, Just Mustard. Out on May 27th Heart Under is the long awaited follow up to their landmark debut album Wednesday. I had reported last month on the stunning teaser single ‘Still’. A dark affair, with massive bass and raging guitars it blew my mind!

Today they have dropped another single from the album. ‘Mirrors’ with its watery, swelling guitar chords showcasing the softer, dreamier side of the band in contrast with the aggressive industrial tones found on ‘Still’.

Guitarist and ‘Mirrors’ co-vocalist David Noonan says of the single: “‘Mirrors’ was one of the final songs to be written for Heart Under, the lyrics and music arrived together in what felt like one moment and we wanted to keep the feeling of one thought or moment constant throughout the song”.

Right now, Heart Under is stacking up to claim album of the year by a country mile.

You can pre-order the album now from the band’s website or your choice of indie retailer.

The band are out on tour throughout 2022. Check out the dates below to see if they are playing near you.

1. 23

2. Still

3. I Am You

4. Seed

5. Blue Chalk

6. Early

7. Sore

8. Mirrors

9. In Shade

10. Rivers

Just Mustard Live 2022

Apr-21 – Washington, D.C. – 9:30 Club *

Apr-22 – Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts *

Apr-23 – Asbury Park, NJ – Wonder Bar *

Apr-25 – Boston, MA – Paradise Rock Club *

Apr-26 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Steel *

Apr-27 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Steel *

Apr-29 – Columbus, OH – The A&R Music Bar *

Apr-30 – Cleveland, OH – The Beachland Ballroom *

May-2 – Montreal, QC – Corona Theatre *

May-3 – Toronto, ON – The Phoenix *

May-5 – Detroit, MI – St. Andrew’s Hall *

May-6 – Chicago, IL – The Vic Theatre *

May-7 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue *

May-9 – Denver, CO – Ogden Theatre *

May-10 – Salt Lake City, UT – Soundwell *

May-12 – Portland, OR – Revolution Hall *

May-13 – Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theatre *

May-14 – Seattle, WA – Showbox SoDo *

May-16 – San Francisco, CA – The Regency Ballroom *

May-18 – Los Angeles, CA – The Regent Theater *

May-27 – Rough Trade East – London, UK (in-store)

May-30 – Resident – Brighton, UK (in-store)

May-31 – Rough Trade – Bristol, UK (in-store)

June 1 – Rough Trade – Nottingham, UK (in-store)

June 2 – Jumbo Records – Leeds, UK (in-store)

June 20 – Banquet @ The Fighting Cocks – Kingston upon Thames, UK (out-store)

Jun-3 – Dublin, Ireland – The Academy

Jun-4 – Dundalk, Ireland – Spirit Store

Jun-8 – Cork, Ireland – Cyprus Avenue

Jun-10 – Berlin, Germany – Tempelhof Sounds Festival

Jun-11 – Hilvarenbeek, Netherlands, Best Kept Secret Festival

Jun-13 – Belfast, Northern Ireland – Limelight

Jun-15 – Limerick City, Ireland – Dolans Warehouse

Jun-16 – Galway, Ireland – Roisin Dubh

Jul 17 – Cologne, Live Music Hall DE*

Jul 18 – Munich, Neue Theaterfabrik DE*

Jul 20 – Berlin, Astra DE*

Jul 21 – Gruenspan, Hamburg DE*

Aug 23 – Longhorn, Stuttgart DE*

Aug 24 – Wiesbaden, Schlachthof DE*

Sept 11 – Ramsgate, Kent, England – Ramsgate Music Hall

Sept 13 – London, England – Village Underground

Sept 14 – Bristol, England – The Exchange

Sept 15 – Brighton, England – Patterns

Sep 16 – Southampton, England – The Loft

Sept 17 – Norwich, England – Voodoo Daddys

Sept 20 – Liverpool, England – Jimmy’s

Sept 21 – Nottingham, England – The Bodega Social Club

Sept 22 – Manchester, England – Band On The Wall

Sept 23 – Glasgow, Scotland – Broadcast

Sept 25 – Leeds, England – Brudenell Social Club

Oct 5 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Paradiso

Oct 6 – Nijmegen, Netherlands – Merleyn

Oct 7 – Utrecht, Netherlands – Ekko

Oct 10 – Munich, Germany – Orangehouse

Oct 11 – Vienna, Austria – Das Werk

Oct 12 – Leipzig, Germany – Moritzbastei

Oct 14 – Berlin, Germany – Privatclub

Oct 15 – Hamburg, Germany – Molotow

Oct 16 – Cologne, Germany – Artheater

Oct 18 – Luxembourg, Luxembourg – Rotondes

Oct 19 – Brussels, Belgium – Botanique

Oct 21 – Paris, France – Hasard Ludique

Oct 23 – Winterthur, Switzerland – Albani Music Club

Oct 25 – Barcelona, Spain – Sidecar

Oct 26 – Madrid, Spain – Wurlitzer Ballroom

Oct 28 – Porto, Portugal –

*w/ Fontaines D.C.

Image – Olaf Grind

Teenage Fanclub – I Left A Light On

Bellshill boys Teenage Fanclub have, arguably, had a tempestuous few years. The departure of songwriting genius and core member Gerry Love, two polarising albums, Norman Blakes marriage coming to an end and all the problems Covid has brought with it, it’s been hard for our boys.

That’s why it was so heartening and uplifting to open my inbox this morning to see the new single ‘I Left A Light On’. Written by Blake during the Endless Arcade mixing session, the band didn’t record it at that time as the album was pretty much finished at that point.

Instead, they returned to the studio to record it recently, and boy I’m glad they did.

Starting like a lost Beatles track on piano the song blossoms gently. It is a very gentle song. You can draw comparisons to the band during their Songs From Northern Britain era. It builds to a warm hug of a ending leaving you wanting more of the same. Thankfully it sounds like this is in plan with Blake being quoted saying “As a band we’ve already started thinking about another new album, this song is the first signpost towards that”.

Grab a brew, sit back and enjoy ‘I Left A Light On’ by Teenage Fanclub.

The Rosie Varela Project – Fault Line

If the name Rosie Varela sounds familiar, you’d be right. Rosie is the primo mover and shaker from Texas based gazers Eep. She’s now launching her debut solo album under the name The Rosie Varela Project. What Remains is up for pre order now over on Bandcamp however we’ll circle back to that in another blog very soon.

Varela has released the single ‘Fault Line’ as a taster of what is on offer. Opening on a simple acoustic guitar and vocal line the song quickly blossoms. Drums beckon in a chiming xylophone and lush complimentary backing vocals.

As the song heads into its final stretch, it explodes into full bloom. Full on psychedelia follows with reverse guitars and Beatle-esque strings like Strawberry Fields Forever.  

These aren’t the sounds we’re used to hearing from Varela but she owns it. The creativity and sonic dexterity on display could only have come from her heart and head. The musicians (and close friends of Varela’s) who play on this track have given us a tease of the magic that’s ahead of us on this album.

I’ll be back with a full breakdown of the album soon (spoiler alert…….it’s amazing). Until then head on over to Bandcamp and get it pre-ordered. While you’re there check out her albums with Eep too.

Here’s the video for the single. Enjoy!

Sun Shines Cold – Temporal Solace EP

I’ve a massive love for the sonic soundscapes of post rock. Imagine my joy when fellow Scots, Sun Shines Cold, dropped their latest EP this month.

Edinburgh based Colan Miles and Brian Jordan have been making music together for a long time now. Their musical partnership has nurtured a musical shorthand that’s evident on the ‘Temporal Solace EP’.

The first piece, ‘Finding Solace’, has all the hallmarks of a great post rock track. The elemental swells and falls. The sweeping six string flourishes, ebbing and flowing. The build, build, build to the wall of fuzzed out sonic ecstasy. There’s an icy uneasiness driving throughout this number keeping the listener on edge and awaiting that release the closing segment brings. It brings to mind being swept out to sea from the calm shore to the crashing waves of the ocean. This is music to lose yourself in.

Moving into the second piece the unease is replaced with a sense of endless space. A journey unending. ‘Temporal Shift’ is built upon the interplay between the pulsing bass and reverb-soaked guitars. There’s a restrained beauty on show here, Miles and Jordan giving the song the delicate touch it needs to keep it driving along. Driving? Maybe that should be floating along, as this piece brings to mind the exploration of the heavens.

The ’Temporal Solace’ EP is without doubt the bands most accomplished tracks to date. A quick dip into their Bandcamp page will attest to how high a compliment that is. Sun Shines Cold create music that excites me. It’s music that captures and holds your attention. I’d love to see a long player from these guys someday. What a sonic journey that would be.

Head on over to the Sun Shines Cold Bandcamp page to download and stream the ‘Temporal Solace EP’ now.

T.G. Shand – Little Sieve

As a big Miniatures fan, I was so happy when lead singer Annemarie Duff returned with her solo project T.G Shand.  Hailing from Ōtautahi New Zealand she is creating some sublime dreampop. Her 2021 singles ‘Lemony’ and ‘Seats’ signalled her as a real contender for Liz Frasers crown.

Now she is back with a new track for 2022. ‘Little Sieve’. It’s beautifully understated. Coming in on a chilled-out shuffle beat it evokes sunsets at the beach with its guitar lick dripping in watery reverb and laid-back vocal delivery. Annemarie’s voice is such a treasure. It’s the magic ingredient that makes this glorious little pot of sunshine fly.

‘Little Sieve’ is available now over on her Bandcamp page along with her other amazing music. If you’re quick you might be able to snag a copy of the single on lathe cut clear vinyl.

Arcade Fire – The Lightning I, II

After a long five years away Arcade Fire return with a new single and the news we’ve all been waiting for. Their latest studio album We will be released on May 6. After the heady disco vibes on Everything Now what would this new music sound like? I was so excited to find out. Like you, I was there at 6pm UK time waiting for the new single ‘Lightning I, II’ to drop. That’s when we found out about the album too. After some frantic pre-ordering I settled down and hit play on the video you see below.

Directed by friend of the band, Emily Kai Bock, the video expresses the feeling of the last two years: trying to make grand plans only to have the storms of life force you to improvise.

Straight out the gate we find an Arcade Fire sounding nostalgic for the sound that built them. The epic swells of the Neon Bible era underpin this opening section. It just feels so good to hear Win and Regine sing together again. It’s at the halfway point when the track double times your heart just explodes. This is why I love Arcade Fire.

It’s so obvious how much love, care and attention has been poured into this song. When Win sings “A Day, a week, a month, a year, every second brings me here” you absolutely feel his longing because you have felt it too. We all have. The last two years have been hellish. The lack of connection, community, belonging. It’s taken its toll on us all.

This appears to be the theme of We. You only have to look at the song titles.

01 Age of Anxiety I
02 Age of Anxiety II (Rabbit Hole)
03 End of the Empire I-IV
04 The Lightning I, II
05 Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)
06 Unconditional II (Race and Religion)
07 We

The albums seven tracks are split into two halves. The first half ‘I’ deals with matters of the self and our personal anxieties. The second half ‘WE’ is about the power of community and what we can achieve together.

That communal spirit has always been Arcade Fires strength. It’s the backbone of their live shows. It’s so good to see them embrace that again and in such a full throated and loving way.

You can pre-order We now on a number of different formats from Arcade Fires link tree here.