With one of the most experimental revivalist approaches to Shoegaze known to the airwaves, the Perth-based outfit, Sonica, easily set their lush reverb-swathed tones apart from the rest. Intent on not being another Lush, Ride, or Curve replica act, Sonica found innovative ways of distorting their dream pop melodies without bursting the semi-lucid bubble
The bleeding vocals from Claire Turton stand up to the mesmeric plate, containing the same ethereal beguile as Cocteau Twins and Siouxsie and the Banshees in the moody standout single, Wait for Me, which pushes grungy tones into the midst of the euphonic kaleidoscopic accordance. Leaving ample space for the gritty and cold timbre of 80s post-punk, the four-piece revisited the golden era of shoegaze by taking a route never tread before.
Wait for Me is now available to stream on Spotify.
Rochester, NY multi-instrumentalist, artist and producer, Agaaze reached the pinnacle of sonically sugared electronic dream pop with his latest single, Cinnamon Paradise.
With tropic pop textures adding temperate soul by the smorgasbord, the dreamy release envelopes you with the pure pining emotion which inspired the love letter to his crush. For six sweet minutes, the breakthrough artist takes you on a psychedelic trip through his innocent affection while the genre-fluid instrumentals break the monocultural mould.
Currently attending the University of Michigan, Agaaze built the foundations for his music career at age six while learning classical guitar. In the coming years, he experimented with jazz guitar, trumpet and South Indian Carnatic vocal lessons, winning classical and jazz guitar awards along the way, in addition to performing at the Rochester Jazz Festival and playing classical guitar on WXXI radio in 2019.
In 2020, Agaaze started to compose his own music, inspired by an eclectic array of artists, including Tame Impala, Tyler, the Creator and Pink Floyd. His debut EP, A Portal Inside, arrived in December 2021.
Cinnamon Paradise is now available to stream on Spotify, along with the sophomore single, For You, which dropped on December 30th.
Brooklyn-based Singer-songwriter, Honeyyycrush (Alexandra Antonopoulos) established herself as one of the most underrated artists of her generation with the launch of her hauntingly soul-stirring single, Belly Empty.
The dark Southern Gothic meets alt-pop single entwines shoegazey guitars with ritualistic percussion and, of course, the evocatively efficacious nature of her ephemeral vocal timbre that meanders with the grungy slowcore melodies.
By building Belly Empty into one of the most arresting crescendos I’ve heard in a long time after grippingly raw lyrical confessionalism which features a vulnerable reprise of “you don’t know me like I do”, this progressively beguiling single is one born of understood isolation and sheer innovation. We can’t wait to hear her forthcoming EP, Milk Teeth.
Belly Empty will officially release on November 4th. Check it out on SoundCloud.
The angular indie ambience in the latest single, Enso, from the Philadelphian bedroom producer Fleeting is something for every alt-90s fan to get excited about.
Beyond the Gorillaz and Radiohead influences are the hazy textures of dream pop and Slowdive-Esque shoegaze guitars spliced with the trippy discord of the downtempo artfully placed breakbeats that keep you centred in the mostly instrumental mix. For even more catharsis, turn to the other 24 artfully orchestrated hits in his 2022 self-titled album. We know we will. Repeatedly.
NYC-hailing singer-songwriter, Mallaigh Ashton, made the alt-90s her own in her indie dream-pop release, With a Song. Reminiscences of Mazzy Star are there, but nothing about With a Song feels fractionally assimilative. There’s a real sense that part of the alchemy in this track is from Ashton’s creative passion and unfiltered poetry spilling into a mic.
Her vocals get just enough prominence in the release to give the cutting lyricism on in-love-anxiety a firm hold on your heartstrings but there’s still enough synergy with the soft shoegaze guitars to give With a Song an almost phantasmal mellifluous air as it alludes to just how fragile love can make you.
As a staunch shoegaze fan, it is always daunting discovering new up and coming artists borrowing tones from the alt 90s, but the cynicism soon faded after hitting play on With a Song. Mallaigh Ashton is a matchlessly breath-taking artist.
With a Song is due for official release on March 4th; you can check it out for yourselves via SoundCloud and Spotify.
Claudia’s Graces is the solo experimental pop music project of Claudia Hinsdale, a 22 year-old singer, songwriter, and producer from Ohio. With a degree in Technology in Music and Related Arts from Ohio’s prestigious Oberlin Conservatory (ranked fifth in the world in Holloywood Reporter’s Top 25 Music Schools). That should give you an idea of the sort of quality we’re looking at here; our collective expectations were high, then, and we’re very pleased to report that ‘Crystals’ certainly doesn’t disappoint.
Light, shimmery, ephemeral, lying somewhere between folk and outright avant-garde, ‘Crystals’ is that rare beast; a track that’s hard to pigeon-hole or to draw easy comparisons for. Hinsdale’s free-form, stream of consciousness lyrics sit over layered, effected strings, keys, and unusual percussion, her vocal delivery sing-song and high register, almost choral at times, early music-like at others, folky and gentle yet with a definite commercial quality too. There’s vague allusions to Amanda Palmer, Tori Amos, or Emilie Autumn, but it’s much more than that – almost spoken word performance art set to a haunting, brittle backdrop, sparkling, glasslike, and…well, yes. Like crystals.
Carving a unique niche in the overly-effected and saturated tones of the current Shoegaze scene is a tricky call, but that’s pretty much what Scarborough’s Pleasure Centre have managed to do with ‘Blue (Bertha)’, mixing up old-school Slowdive, Ride, My Bloody Valentine, Cocteau Twins, and BDRMM with Beach House, bits of Bloc Party, and a touch of Morrissey’s vocal vibrato and lazy delivery. Add in some Psychocandy-era Jesus and Mary Chain, a touch of Swervedriver, and a liberal sprinkling of Fleeting Joys, and you get ‘Blue (Bertha) – a gentle, ephemeral thing of beauty, all chiming chorused guitars, pushing, background-soaking bass, and layered, reverb-drenched vocals. Melancholic, ephemeral, and echoing, this is a floaty, ethereal take on post-rock dreampop that – for all its delicacy – really deserves to be played loud.
Based out of Brooklyn, NYC, Pray4Diego is an independent recording artist and producer; new single ‘Forget You’ is a great mix of higher-tempo, hi-hat-focussed beats, tenderly picked electric guitar, and gentle, laid-back rap groove from Pray4Diego’s chilled, controlled delivery. Lyrically, it’s a plea to an ex-lover, where regret mingles with hope and a plea for another chance to make things right. It’s a well put-together track, nicely balanced between upbeat and longing, entreaty and repentance, all set to a simple backing of bass, hats, and that cute little repeating guitar line. The simplicity of the music and melody makes the track work, focussing the listener on the vocal line and lyrical flow, encouraging us to listen and take in Pray4Diego’s appeal. It’s tidy, it’s tasty, and it’d genuinely got soul.
With the evocative sensibilities of Thrice, the harmoniously enrapturing pull of The Beach Boys and the neo-psych dreampop inclinations of Beach House, ‘Patriarch’, the title single from Seven Layer Piano Cakes’ EP was never going to fall flat.
We’ve all had plenty more time to get in touch with our emotions recently, Patriarch will ensure that it is time well spent as it acts as an efficacious dreampop guide to meditative affable reflection. With the lyrical sparsity, there are plenty of opportunities to sit back and drink in the choral indietronica tones with a sense of optimism instilled by the harmoniously layered instantly enamouring feat of pop.
Seven Layer Piano Cakes is the project of LA law professor and attorney, Justin Hoyt. With his eclectic array of influences and his aptitude with atypical chord progressions and consoling vocal charisma, there’s very little getting in his way as a breaking artist. Get him on your radar.
The musical vehicle for London-native singer-songwriter Neil Phillimore, Brave New Broken Hearts Club new single – released on the 29th January, and the first track from the forthcoming new album – is a delicate, melancholy semi-acoustic number; a tremolo-laden picked guitar part sits atop closed hi hats and Phillimore’s unapologetically character-filled vocals. Think of a ‘Country House’ era Damon Albarn, a North London wash delivering a evocative narrative of tainted love and shattered expectations.
It’s a great track, pretty and self-aware at the same time, downbeat without being downtrodden. Phillimore’s Suggs-like delivery perfectly suits the lyrical content, there’s some beautiful harmonies courtesy of Peckham folk singer Pearl Fish, and the repeating guitar motif adds weight throughout the track. Overall, ‘Love Is On Its Way’ is heartfelt, hopeful, and emotive, a perfect introduction to Brace New Broken Hearts Club – with two more singles scheduled before the release of the debut album later this year, it looks as though success, for sure, is on its way.
Love is On Its Way is available to stream from January 29th, you can pre-save the single on Spotify via this link.