By Nicholas Volpe
Shoegaze and dream pop music have become increasingly popular over the last few years. These two slightly obscure music genres are usually defined by distorted, loud, and heavy guitars and synthesizers while standing in direct contrast to dreamy and soft vocals. This makes an overall sound that is warm and fuzzy, both literally and aesthetically. With the weather changing from a blazing hot to a blistering cold, it’s a good idea to change your daily playlist for something a little more comforting. Here are four bands that you should have on your radar to help get you through the cold months ahead.
First up is Baltimore’s own dream pop legends Beach House. Started between two friends Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally in 2004, Beach House have managed to consistently release quality music over the past 14 years. Their most recent single “Alien” has been released as a limited edition 7” record on the U.K.’s Bella Union label. This is a track that probes your ears and keeps you engaged. Driving drum beats, spacey synths, and distorted guitar wails sets this track apart from Beach House’s previous releases while staying true to their tasteful and beautiful tones and melodies. Incredibly consistent and always compelling, Beach House continue to make incredible music that always manages to sound fresh and current. Seeing as they come out with a new mind-blowing album every year, it is very rewarding to be a fan of this incredible band.
Having debuted as a band live in only March 2017, U.K.’s Slow Crush are quickly gaining international attention. Their first single “Glow” epitomizes the sound that shoegaze bands have been gravitating towards lately: aggressive. With a pounding drum beat and heavy guitars as well as soft and buried vocals, it’s easy to see what all of the buzz has been about. “Glow” is a just a small piece of their recently released album “Aurora,” out now on Holy Roar Records.
It wouldn’t be right to make a playlist of up and coming artists in the dreamy and distorted realm and not include a small taste of everything our local music scene has to offer. Blushing are a relatively new band hailing from Austin, Texas. Their newest pair of singles, “The Truth” and “Sunshine,” are being released as a 7” record by brand new Austin based label The Nothing Song. “Sunshine” is exactly what the name would imply; a bright and colorful song that can be harsh if looked at too closely. With up and coming shows at Barracuda and Hotel Vegas, Blushing manage to stay busy within the local scene.
New Orleans is not especially known for their shoegaze and dream pop scene. Nevertheless, two striking bands have managed to come out of New Orlean’s expansive music scene: the now disbanded Belong and the new and upcoming solo project of Mike Wilkinson known as Marker. Released on Seattle’s Medical Records, Marker’s debut self-titled album is packed with dark and mysterious melodies that can’t help but draw the listener in. Drum machines replace an actual drummer and synthesizers replace guitars, with great results. It’s hard to pick just one track that stands out, but two you should definitely hear are “Identification Of A Woman” and “Come Out.”