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SG36: Kekko - Dreaming Life [EP]

JUN 11, 2021

Reverb-Soaked Psychedelic Shoegaze out of Singapore

Dreaming Life is the debut EP from Singapore-based dream pop duo Kekko. The project is the psychedelic lovechild of vocalist Cherie, and Tim, composer and producer of otherworldly, atmospheric soundscapes that brilliantly accompany her soft, dreamy, shoegaze inspired tone. Heavily steeped in spirituality and Eastern philosophy, the duo desires to express the inexpressible in their music, striving to house the energy of the universe in all its dimensions, to pinpoint the magic of achieving internal transcendence. Warmth exudes effortlessly from each track on Dreaming Life, beginning with the opener and title track; hefty synth creates a foundation for Cherie’s vocals to shine.

However, there is a clear tonal shift after “Within You,” an aura of melancholy that’s present in the latter half of the EP. Here, a darker tone nestles in breathless tandem with the bright, shimmery instrumentals; “Timelessness” and “Past Lives” have jagged edges that are near tangible on the ear, unleashing a subtle catharsis that sounds both breathless and stunningly buoyant. “It’s all a hazy dream,” Cherie croons in “Past Lives,” but like the rest of the album, it’s more hope than resignation.

Listen / Stream - Instagram


SG35: Aldous Baker - Parcades [EP]

APR 30, 2021

Shimmertraps Member & Producer, Brodie Cole, Releases Solo EP

Aldous Baker, also known as the solo project of Seattle-based artist Brodie Cole, shares his stunning solo EP Parcades. As both member and producer of the psych-synth quartet Shimmertraps (who released their gorgeous debut album 'LOOK!' in 2020), Cole is no stranger to composition, especially when it comes to the layering of multiple tonal textures.

Seamlessly blending together ‘70s r&b funk, ‘60s melodies, and ‘50s barbershop harmonies, Parcades sounds just as bright and colorful as its album cover. It’s easy to imagine, for instance, the blue bubbles (from the looks of it, suspended in sweet orange crush) floating and popping in tandem with “Acrobat,” the phaser-like synth and falsetto vocals creating an unpredictable atmosphere that echoes throughout the release. The smooth, lounge-rock energy of “Without” bleeds into the instrumental closer “Bandages,” almost locking hands with the title track and opener.

Every listen to the EP allows you to pinpoint different flourishes – 8 bit effects, piano riffs, audio samples. There’s finesse within Cole’s silky smooth production that gives new meaning to the phrase “less is more” – and yet, ironically, the sheer subtlety in the slight synth whines in between verses, and later, the supersonic effects at its close, all work together to create an expanse vast and unpredictable, calm yet volatile.

Listen / Stream - Instagram - Cassette Tape


SG34: Chloe Berry - Blueberry Jams [EP]

APR 09, 2021

Blueberry Jams is the debut EP from Chloe Berry. Raised and based in New York City, the 21 year-old half-Asian indie musician writes, records, and produces all her music from her bedroom, flawlessly achieving a dreamy, DIY lo-fi sound that wonderfully accompanies her bright vocals in every track. With lyrics centering on everything from mental health to the inner workings of various relationships, Berry doesn’t shy away from vulnerability or frustration, instead directly approaching each with vibrant energy. She admits to being a hopeless romantic in the quirky, minimal “Breakfast,” explaining that “even when the night was not okay,” “I’ll make breakfast anyways,” the accompanying video co-starring her partner and producer Sam Poon.

The sentiment is continued in the stand-out single “Sweeter Honey,” where Berry is at her most serious; “Fed Up With You,” on the other hand, has Berry telling someone exactly what she thinks of them (“fed up with you/ being a jerk/ trying to tear me down”) alongside a melody interspersed with whimsical trumpet melodies. Closer “Most My Days” has Berry returning to a place of solemnity, rounding out the sentiments shared on the LP with gritty, grunge inspired guitars and calm, self-assured vocals. Ultimately true to its name, Blueberry Jams is a sweet and nostalgic spread of dream pop melodies and refreshingly earnest lyrics, the perfect accompaniment to a breezy summer afternoon.

Listen / Stream - Instagram - TikTok - Cassette Tape


SG33: freddyboy - 'Vignette002' [EP]

FEB 26, 2021

 

Vignettes are typically portrayed through one of two mediums. Spoken or written down, they are brief, yet highly evocative descriptions, accounts, or episodes; visually, on the other hand, they are images that slowly blur and fade into darkness at the edges and corners, never possessing a discernible border. Both, of course, tell a vivid story in only a handful of creative elements, and this is exactly what Toronto-based artist Freddy Kwon, under the name freddyboy, accomplishes. Kwon’s sophomore EP Vignette002 comes one year after his debut Vignette001, both releases beautifully expressing his unique multi-textured and maximalist take on lo-fi dream pop.

In just three tracks, Vignette002 plots out an entire world where the air is a perfumed breeze, and where you’re taken through various tonal terrain. The elements Kwon include interlock perfectly; for instance, the flutters of harp-like synth in the smooth, sultry “Way I Feel” brilliantly offsets the rumination in the lyrics: “constantly reminded/existential crisis / but it's the way I feel / oftentimes I’m blinded / barely at my finest / but it's the way I feel.” The static fuzz of closer “Will It Ever” beautifully illustrates the tension and hesitation evoked. “Every little thing will even out” / that’s what I’m telling myself,” Kwon admits, his voice melting slightly at every last syllable. However, it’s the vivid, saturated color within the EP, initially manifested with the dreamy opener “Makes Me Feel,” that makes Vignette002 that much more striking; its warmth and nostalgia, condensed.

Stream - Bandcamp - Instagram - Cassette


SG32: Cathedral Bells - Ether [LP]

JAN 29, 2021

Cathedral Bells just released their second full-length album 'Ether' as a follow-up to their 2020 release 'Velvet Spirit'. Premiered by Brooklyn Vegan, the new record is described as being in the "hazy dream pop realm, but with a harder-hitting, shoegazier edge at times too." Cassettes & vinyl are on our store now! 

Stream - YouTubeBandcamp - Instagram - Vinyl/Cassette/CD


SG30: Vansire - After Fillmore County [EP]

OCT 16, 2020

 

Two years after their wildly successful full-length album 'Angel Youth' Vansire is back with a new, highly anticipated EP. Currently available on 10" vinyl, cassette, & CD.

Stream - YouTubeBandcamp - Instagram - Vinyl/Cassette/CD


SG31: CASTLEBEAT - Melodrama [LP]

OCT 16, 2020

In 37 short minutes, CASTLEBEAT’s Melodrama transforms what used to be speedy tempos and beach-rock riffs into a smooth, electric new sound.  When he eventually got bored of his acoustic guitar and moved to the eccentric neighborhood of Bushwick from the small bouts of Orange County, his music went along with him. 

Synthesizers and light drums overtake the first four tracks of Melodrama, yet there are remnants of Castlebeat’s first two albums, VHS and CASTLEBEAT. “Summertime”, like his eponymous album’s first track “Dreamgaze”, takes its time to explore the vague relativity of time; those moments where some moments seem to drag out longer than others. Middle tracks “Shoulder” and “Who You Are” stick to the beachy melodies that his fans adore. However, the rest of the album is completely unexpected.
As the album title suggests, the rest of the tracks are slower and a bit melancholic, perhaps meant for evening walks around the city rather than top-down road trips. “Part” is a standout track. After four seconds, the song hits with a heavy drop of electronic bass and drums. Reminiscent of “Eyes Without a Face” by Billy Idol, this track fills itself with emotional weight while carrying itself with such simplicity.  

 

 

Castlebeat released the last track, “East Coast”, in late 2019, written while he had still lived in Brooklyn. “East Coast” is one of the only tracks that is neither pure synths nor pure guitar, but both. Here, his roots and his new experiences merge into a well-rounded ending track. “I’m leaving without you / I’m on the east coast” encapsulates the themes of Melodrama perfectly— the independence that comes with trying something new. 

Written by Aleah Antonio, of ALTANGELES

Stream - YouTube - Bandcamp - Vinyl/Cassette/CD


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