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POSTED: Wednesday, September 26, 2012, 10:42 AM
Filed Under: Phrequency Approved | Pop | Shoegaze
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French artist Melody Prochet crafts gorgeous, haunting dream pop

It might be the eight years of French lessons talking—but I’ve always had a thing for French pop. From the playful vocals of Stereolab to the ass-kicking beats of Yelle (never mind Justice, Daft Punk, and—how could I forget—PHOENIX) there’s a sensibility all these artists share that moves beyond pure country of origin. Rather, these artists are all masters at creating their own identity and world—from Daft Punk’s signature helmets to Justice’s illuminated crosses to Yelle’s trademark bob and rainbow brights.

Fellow Francophile Melody Prochet (aka, Melody’s Echo Chamber) might be a newcomer to the scene, but already is proving she too can craft a unique identity. A classically-trained, 25-year-old, design school drop-out, Prochet’s world is undoubtedly darker and murkier than those of her aforementioned colleagues. But that doesn’t make it any less stunning, as her debut, self-titled record makes clear.

POSTED: Thursday, June 28, 2012, 11:52 AM
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DIIV—formerly known as DIVE—has finally arrived. Now it’s time to dive right in.

Oshin—the debut record from Brooklyn band DIIV—seems like it’s been forever in the making. Really, it’s been less than a year: from the release of first single “Sometime” in October 2011 to Oshin’s release this week. Of course, between then and now, it feels like DIIV has dominated the blogosphere—releasing no less than 6 singles (each one picked up by P’fork) and showingly changing their name from DIVE to DIIV—thus ensuring the greater music world’s investment months before Oshin’s release. “I always intended for DIIV to grow up in the public eye,” explains band leader Zachary Cole Smith to Pitchfork. We say: mission accomplished.

Of course building up hype beforehand can be tricky, should a band fail to live up to expectations—and luckily for all, DIIV more than deliver. Oshin is a thick, dreamy record of blissed-out soundscapes, that conjures feelings of summertime and relaxation, perfect for lazy summer mornings or languid walks around the city.

POSTED: Wednesday, June 13, 2012, 11:02 AM

What can be worse than preparing to head out on a summer day, slipping on those open toed shoes, and looking down only to realize that there is absolutely no way that you can go out in public with those hideous talons that you’ve been neglecting to tend to all winter? You know what we’re talking about. Well Keds and Urban Outfitters have teamed up to save you.

No need to be embarrassed about unkempt feet, because Keds and Urban Outfitters’ brand new collaboration shoes will save you the embarrassment this summer. These seriously rad shoes come in perfect summer shades of orange and purple as well as pink and purple, and get this; they’re tie dye and only $50, um, swoon. They're available at Urban Outfitters online.

POSTED: Wednesday, August 31, 2011, 11:26 AM
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Swedish dream pop duo I Break Horses create perfect morning music: lush synths and spacey, hypnotic beats that help ease the transition from dream world to reality. Formed in 2008 by self-professed hypochondriacs Fredrik Balck (Strip Music) and Maria Lindén (Blackstrap) after meeting in an online medical forum, the pair quickly bonded over a mutual love of ‘90s dream pop and shoegaze (MBV, Cocteau Twins), and set to work crafting gauzy bedroom recordings, which matched surging beats and synths with Lindén’s dreamy, powerful vocals. Those tunes were slowly collected and tweaked over the years, and eventually released as Hearts, their debut record on Bella Union.

Hearts is a beautiful record, and a bewitching debut. Opener “Winter Beats” is a sprawling, pillowy release that builds for 2 minutes: reverb-drenched vocals softening waterfall keys—only to cut out suddenly, then return with intensity. The theme here is supposedly winter, yet the overall mood is exuberant and enveloping, like twirling in slow motion in a snow fall. Follower “Hearts” is dense and buzzy, growing increasingly murky with time, but maintaining a steady (heart?) beat throughout. And third track “Wired” sounds the most like an MBV b-side, anxious guitars and haunted vocals floating above twinkling keys.

Themes of dark and light run throughout the record, with songs growing and morphing organically. “I Kill Your Love, Baby!” warbles slowly like a drugged-out afternoon, eventually shifting into something sweet (but still probably drugged-out) while “Cancer” stews in melancholy beauty. “Pulse” describes Lindén’s bizarre fear of her own pulse/obsession with mortality using hazy synths and unfaltering kick drum punches to “therapeutic” (her word!) effect. And closer “No Way Outro” starts delicate and warbly, only to expand with billowy, bedroom splendor.

POSTED: Tuesday, December 21, 2010, 12:42 PM
Filed Under: Indie | Lo-Fi | Shoegaze

It's no secret that Beach House have been pretty much dominating this years "Best Of" lists. Teen Dream has made a serious impact on the young and old and is an album that will transcend into future years as one of those "Oh man, you need to have have this album. It's a classic!" kind of deals.

Check out their performance of "10 Mile Stereo" on Conan and keep your eyes peeled for our own "Best Of" lists in the near future!

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POSTED: Tuesday, October 5, 2010, 2:22 PM
Filed Under: Goth | Pop | Rock | Shoegaze

Last night, The Merriam Theater played host to one of the more hypnotic and beautiful shows that Philadelphia has seen this year. Three groups travelled from far and distant places to perform in a space usually reserved for dance concerts and traveling stage plays, and filled up the concert hall with their wild and inventive sounds.

First up was Zola Jesus, the musical project of 21 year old Nika Rosa Danilova. The Wisconsin bred singer is known for her obsession with 80’s goth synth/rock and 70’s italian movies, and both influences shine through in her music. Her recordings are dark and solitary, creating the feeling of being holed up in a bedroom with tons of Dario Argento movies and a synthesizer. Zola Jesus’ set conjured up some of these textures, and at the best points of their set they reached a cathartic height that referenced the operatic nature of the films that influenced Zola Jesus to make music in the first place.

POSTED: Wednesday, June 9, 2010, 9:48 AM

Chicago’s Light Pollution are a band influenced by the city from which they sprung—a city of cold winters, capricious springs…and bright lights illuminating the evening sky. (“Light pollution, there's a lot of it going on in the big city” explains front man Jim Cicero to Spinner.)

And indeed, light pollution—the urban phenomenon decreasing star visibility across the globe—seems the perfect name for such a band—whose hazy, ethereal melodies are composed of floaty synths and gauzy layers, liable to waft away in the evening sky.

Still, just because they’re light doesn’t mean they’re carefree—and in fact, this sweeping 4-piece is anything but. Their slow rise to fame has been peppered with setbacks—starting back in 2003 when Cicero—at the time just 17 years old—found his guitar locked in the attic, his father insisting he develop more marketable talents.

Luckily for us all, Cicero refused—and continued to play music throughout his college days, eventually forming Light Pollution with friends at Northern Illinois University. Their debut album, Apparitions (out now on Carpark Records) is the product of a year spent isolated in an empty warehouse on the outskirts of DeKalb—where Cicero lived alone, tinkering with natural reverb and vintage organs, crafting the backbone of his sound.

“As far as trends and stuff go, there’s a lot of fun, poppy, surf-y stuff that’s all over the place lately,” says Cicero in an interview with Metromix Chicago. “We love that era of music and we love a ton of that stuff,” he continues—“we just don’t fit into that just ’cause of where we’re from, the weather we’re used to. We’re not going to act like it’s nice outside and we’re all about surfing when we’re from Chicago, living in the s***, you know.”

That’s fine by me. Even without Beach Boys-inspired hooks, Apparitions still offers plenty to love—such as the P'fork-hyped “Good feelings” (also check out: this remix by our buddies in CSLSX)—a dreamy cast of twinkling instruments (is that a theremin?) and sprawling, impassioned vocals.

Track follower “Oh, ivory!” is poppier and more buoyant, with shiny piano juxtaposed with swirling strings and bold drums—while “Drunk kids” is awash in reverb. And then there’s the album closer—the spacey, languorous “Sssslowdreamsss”—which clocks in at over 7 minutes of sleepy vocals and gazy layers perfect for drifting off to sleep to.

Oh Light Pollution. If only your non-musical counterpart were this seductive.

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POSTED: Wednesday, March 31, 2010, 11:19 AM
Filed Under: Alternative | Psychadelia | Shoegaze

The Big Pink has a bunch of things going for them. The reference to The Band in their name (at least I hope I’m thinking of this correctly), a Brit-pop sound that makes sense on any teen movie soundtrack and one of the best alternative rock bands currently playing as their openers. This tour comes to The North Star Bar night.

Joining The Big Pink are nu-gazers A Place To Bury Strangers, who put out one of the best records of last year with Exploding Head. To me, they’re the draw. Fans of 80s rock will love it, indie kids will love it and you’ll probably love it too. Who doesn’t need some effects-heavy chaos in their lives?

Also opening are Bryn Mawr College quartet Post Post.

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