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Sunday, April 3, 2016

Discoverer 141: new indie findings

What about a Sunday devoted to dreampop & shoegaze? With this trio of new proposals in our discoverer seriesyou're about to be floating in space (don't forget to go down later) Enjoy!

Phosphene. Haling from Oakland, CA, the band origins can be traced around 2008, when Rachel Frankel (vocals/guitar) and Matt Hemmerich (drums) met in class San Francisco. The bound keep growing as the two began dating in ’10 and decided to try writing music together, putting out a little EP a year later (not much info about it). But the move forward came in the fall of 2013, when the duo met Kevin Kaw (bassist/guitarist) at a songwriting event featuring The National's Aaron Dessner (beat that, it was clear I had to love them!), who completed the band. Now as a trio, they recorded their s/t debut LP,  out in July 2014 and this April, they have 'Breaker' EP, a stunning follow-up ready for your listening pleasure. Combining dreampop, indie-rock and shoegaze, always presided by Rachel's killing vocals, Phosphene's songs turn on the lights in the darkest corners, evoking ethereal sonic landscapes while tightening them up with the brooding drum patterns and driving guitars. A slow but unstoppable burst. A quiet but assured arrival to the heirs of the glimmering world. A festival, a parade of music.

Deardarkhead. A very very late finding, I admit. Formed in 1988, the veteran New Jersey band consisted of guitarist Kevin Harrington, drummer Robert Weiss, and bassist/singer Michael Amper, who recorded, under their own label Fertile Crescent, two initial tapes, the mini-album 'Greetings from the Infernal Village' in 1988, and the EP 'Spiral Down and Vibrate', in 1991, followed by EPs 'Melt Away Too Soon' in 1992 and 'Ultraviolet' a year later. In what can be considered a first long hiatus, the group didn't come back to action until 1998, when first LP 'Unlock the Valves of Feeling' appeared, vanishing again throughout the 2000s and somewhat reforming as an instrumental trio after the departure of Amper in 2009, with new bassist Kevin McCauley joining in 2010. In 2012 Captured Tracks compiled the group's three EPs in the album 'Oceanside: 1991-1993', second installment of the label's Shoegaze Archives series, pushing the momentum back for the band. And now the trio is back with their first proper release in nearly two decades, the instrumental EP 'Strange Weather', out via Saint Marie Records since this March. Kaleidoscopic, cinematic, moody and slightly psychedelic yet elegant, Deardarkhead are here to provide you the soundtrack of your emotions.

Soft Wounds. And we end in Toronto to meet this quartet formed around 2012. With some demos surfacing at their bandcamp in late 2014, first glimpses of what sort of band we were going to enjoy started the buzz rolling. But nothing compared with January 2016, with superb tune 'Baby Blue' anticipating their debut, eponymous album, out that month. Addictive fuzzy songs, sounding classic and fresh at the same time, sometimes recalling Ride in their ability of penning pop anthems soaked in reverb, but walking their own path with cracking guitars and a rough edge, adding a much intriguing poignancy to the well-known shoegazing dreamscapes. Band to follow, band to cure the scars.

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