Enter the Enchanted Forest of Jen Gloeckner’s VINE

Iowa-Based Bedroom Pop artist Jen Gloeckner released VINE just earlier this year, and the result is hauntingly stunning. The bedroom-recorded dream-pop album, released on Spinning Head Records, evokes hypnotic, reflective emotions.

The album opens with “Vine,” setting the mood with harp-like synth minor arpeggios and dark atmospheric sounds. Gloeckner’s vocals echo in a simple, eerie melody in which she declares she’s “all right without your love.” “Firefly” swells in a trance-inducing instrumental soundscape. “Breathe” is dreamy yet danceable with an industrial hypnotic vibe. What makes this track stand out is the avant-garde instrumentation — some electronic strings wail just before the halfway point of the song, and the “ahs” in the chorus pair perfectly with the rhythm of the synths. “Ginger Ale” could be straight out of Lana Del Rey’s repertoire with drooping vocals set to an ethereal backdrop. But the instrumental with piano and strings take the track into more complex territory, in a good way.

“The Last Thought” has a dreamy retro-vibe featuring a folk inspired tune, a steady drum beat and swelling strings with cascading guitars. “The last thought of my day / was kissing you goodbye” she sings in a hopeless romantic kind of way. “Blowing Through” has just about the most pronounced vocals Gloeckner will give in the album. She sings a winding tune over dreamy soundscapes and sliding guitars to a ballroom tempo. “Counting Sheep” will certainly get you ready for bed with heavenly harp arpeggios and angelic backing vocals. “Prayers” stretches time by utilizing a quick dance beat and slowing down in the chorus. “Colors” is ambient in nature and share a glimpse of Gloeckner’s despair — “Fill me back in,” she pleads, mourning a lost love. “Row With the Flow” channels the Twin Peaks theme and is another true standout. “Somebody’s sinking way too low / Somebody simply rows with the flow / I know it’s not that easy,” Gloeckner sings undoubtedly about following her passion. “Sold” closes the album on a dreamy yet moving folk note.

Both the lyrics and ambient nature of VINE give the album an art-song, poetic feeling. Listening to it is like stepping into Gloeckner’s enchanting bedroom — a forest-like place to reinvent yourself while you soothe your soul.

Take a listen to the full album here, or purchase VINE on iTunes:

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Shoegaze in Slomo: a Slowdive Review

Slowdive is the shoegaze legend’s newest album since their last release 22 years ago and after emerging on the scene in the ’80s. Compiled of 8 dreamy tracks, Slowdive reveals they haven’t missed a beat in the music scene and also the massive influence they’ve had on emerging bands over the years. Dream pop and post-punk still dominate the indie scene when it comes to quality, and clearly this is where it all started. Continue reading

Happy Cinco de Marco!

It’s a blessed day indeed as Mac Demarco released his fifth album from via Captured Tracks today titled This Old Dog.

The overall theme appears to be growing older and maturing – something Mac-y’s probably not quite ready for as he gives himself a long look in the mirror each morning. But his willingness to “go there” and reveal to his fans what keeps him up at night has really culminated into something special. What he deems as “jizz-jazz” is coming to life with the occasional jazz-influenced chords and the integration of the synth in several of his tracks.

Here are my top five songs from the album: Continue reading

Album Review: Surf Curse – Nothing Yet

If there was an anthem for millennials, this would be a front runner. With driving tracks clocking in at no longer than 3 minutes and track titles like “Doom Generation” and “All is Lost,” Nothing Yet caters to its disengaged youth.

Reno-based lo-fi, surf rock duo Jacob Rubeck  and Nicholas Rattigan’s music captivate and inspire from open to close in Nothing Yet. Sure, there are plenty of groups like this around, but Surf Curse has a rawness and tenderness in its tracks that can only be uniquely described. Continue reading

Black Marble – It’s Immaterial

Fans of dark wave and dream pop will unite over Black Marble’s sophomore album, Immaterial. Self-Described as “just New Order played through a trashcan,” it’s clear that these guys don’t take themselves too seriously and are truly humbled by their following.

I first heard Black Marble while watching the movie, Men, Women, and Children, in which “A Great Design” really struck a chord with me. I immediately Shazam’ed it and proceeded to spend the next month listening to A Different Arrangement in it’s entirety.

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Wild Nothing, Life of Pause

I’m seeing Wild Nothing perform three times this year. I saw them recently at the Constellation Room in Santa Ana, will be seeing them this Friday, May 20 at the Regent in L.A., and finally at Primavera Sound in Barcelona. I was also able to catch their free show with Roses at the Echoplex last year. So, it’s been established that I’m a fan!Wild Nothing

When tracks like “Reichpop and “TV Queen” were leaked preceding the highly anticipated release of Life of Pause in February, it was clear that Wild Nothing would be staying true to their ’80’s inspired indie-rock sound, just more composed and evolved. Reichpop is a nod to  minimalist composer Steve Reich, as it begins with a marimba counterpoint which carries through the entire syncopated song. One of my favorite moments in the album in the moment where Reichpop drops to just bass, marimba, and wailing synth around minute 4.

The album cover suggests a keyhole look into a ’70’s inspired, semi-surreal home, as the Wild Nothing website currently features “To Know You” with Jack Tatum walking endlessly through said room. Continue reading

Porches, Pool

 

homepage_large.577ea3bdPool was released earlier this year by New York-based electro-indie band, Porches. When listening to this album, I’m amazed at how much this artist has evolved since the folky-indie-garage rock style of his first album, Slow Dance in the Cosmos.

Pool definitely embraces Porches’ indie-electronic side, as all the tracks are heavily synthesized. The album crafted by frontman Aaron Maine also features frequent supporting vocals from singer/songwriter and girlfriend, Frankie Cosmos. Maine’s distinctive soft and low voice is at times auto-tuned, although personally I prefer his uninhibited voice. Continue reading

High Highs, Cascades

 

AHH_FA_ITUNES-640x640ustralia native and Brooklyn based band, the High Highs released their latest album, Cascades late last year.
Filled with dreamy-pop tracks and ethereal male voices, Cascades is very similar to their previous album, Open Season. The first few times I listened to this album, I didn’t find it quite so captivating. I went to see the High Highs live, and that’s when I was able to appreciate the level of musicality it requires to produce an album of such subtle qualities.

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Seoul, I Become A Shade

 

SeoulI keep coming back and listening to this stunning album, I Become A Shade by indie dream-pop Montreal band, Seoul. This is one of those albums that really should be listened to in its entirety, as each song’s end leads into the next. The first song, “I Become a Shade” starts with dreamy vocals and ads some M83 inspired inverted arpeggios, this time repeating the verse of the music, then leading into the next song, “the Line” in after less than two minutes, which picks up the tempo of the album. Continue reading