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I’ve got some punky alt-rock, dark ‘n’ heavy atmospheric rock, whirling shoegaze/dreamrock (Is there a difference?), swirling dreampop, and delicate alt-folk music this time around.
Transporting and/or absorbing tunes that will give you a kicky, cathartic release (An oxymoron?), or whisk you away to escapist climes for the summertime, or pull you to the inner depths with their magnetic and all-encompassing spell…
1. Drinking Boys And Girls Choir – “I Am Not A Machine”
I already featured this South Korean fun-punk band in my previous Top 10 Songs, but this number is such a short, sharp jolt of electricity and the perfect jump-start for this tracklist that I just had to include it.
They’ll be releasing new album Marriage License on Jul 21st via Damnably and Electric Muse.
2. Blood Red Shoes – “On The Hook”
This track (and the whole new 6-song LP/EP titled 0 with a slash through it) is a surprise to me, coming from an alternative rock duo from Brighton, England who have been expanding their sound/style on successive records.
While I mainly prefer their earlier output that hewed to a raw and rudimentary White Stripes-like set-up (guitar, drums, vocals), I do appreciate Laura-Mary Carter and Steven Ansell branching out, like on this deadpan noir and relentless number.
MY ALBUM REVIEW of Blood Red Shoes, the pair’s 4th LP, at Rebel Noise.
3. Garbage – “No Gods, No Masters”
The trio need no intro, so I’ll just say that lyrics-wise their new album of the same name is uber-timely and relevant, the compositions are cool and stylistically varied, and Shirley Manson is in fine vocal/emotive form – and a star in the best sense of the word.
Kevin Burke’s ALBUM REVIEW of No Gods No Masters.
4. King Woman – “Morning Star”
IMHO dark and atmospheric singer, songwriter, and producer Kristina Esfandiari can do no wrong musically through her various projects/bands (Dalmatian, Miserable, and NGHTCRWLR, Sugar High, this one).
King Woman will release new album Celestial Blues on July 30th via Relapse Records.
Jeff Alexander’s INTERVIEW with Kristina E.
5. Quicksand – “Missile Command”
This NYC-located post-hardcore band will unveil their upcoming album, Distant Populations, on August 13th via Epitaph. The record will lyrically explore individual relationships and societal connections in relation to alienation and loneliness.
There’s a comforting familiarity to this track that doesn’t push any boundaries per se, but is passionate and well-structured nonetheless.
6. Deafheaven – “Great Mass of Color”
Wow, this opus is brill IMHO, and a showcase for the San Francisco-located post-metal band’s wide range as it moves from lighter and melodic shoegaze to pummeling and aggressive dream-metal (Eh? Or maybe nightmare metal!) at song’s end.
Upcoming album Infinite Granite arrives August 20th via Sargent House.
7. Jekyll – “Tear Ourselves In Two”
This indie rock outfit is from Blackpool, England and have been circulating for the past few years, and this new single is out via indie label Fierce Panda.
This track harks back to ’90s British bands when earnest young frontmen with mellifluous and rueful vocals that also have a sharp tang to them as well (Suede, Gene, Geneva, Mansun…) would sing their hearts out.
A bit repetitive structurally, but the nostalgia factor is high, and the heartfelt emotions strike the right chord.
8. Un.Real – “Kids are Astronauts”/“Drones”
I found out about this Puerto Rican shoegaze/psych-pop band through Brett’s Ramblings show via Eardrumbuzz.net.
Their new album ISLANDS floated ashore this past May.
9. Whimsical – “Gravity”
A true melding of swirling, densely textured, guitar-centered shoegaze and melodic composition of dreampop with delightfully uplifting vocals, courtesy of Neil Burkdoll (sonics) of LoveBlind, Dirty Dead, P.O.O.R., and Fatalist, and Krissy Vanderwoude (vocals, lyrics).
Neil Burkdoll is currently posting video interviews with members of current shoegaze/dreampop bands on YouTube. His intriguing and in-depth interview series is called Among the Clouds, and so far he’s chatting at length with Jeff Kandefer (The Daysleepers, Pliocene) and Elliot Frazier (Ringo Deathstarr), with many more episodes coming up!
MY SONG PREMIERE of 2-song 7” single “Gravity”/“Float,” out via Shelflife Records.
MY ALBUM PREMIERE of Bright Smiles & Broken Hearts from 2019
10. Dot Allison – “Can You Hear Nature Sing?”
I rarely use the word beautiful as a descriptor because it can encompass so much, but I’ll use it for this poignant and pristine ode to nature and the cycle of life.
As many may recall, Dot Allison fronted the Scottish electro/ambient outfit One Dove and is an accomplished solo artist with several albums to her name, including latest Heart-Shaped Scars out July 30th via SA Recordings.
MY lyrics VIDEO PREMIERE of “Can You Hear Nature Sing?”
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