dewr, dream pop is over

dewr, dream pop is over

Indie-pop act DEWR, consisting of songwriter Brian Dawer, is set to release his new EP Dream Pop Is Over on January 31st.

This release differs from his past works because the EP shies away from the regular indie-pop formula. While DEWR’s previous releases seem cluttered and unorganized, Dream Pop Is Over, is anything but. 

This 5-song EP flows like a stream of consciousness giving Dewar the space to be honest.

Accompanied by swaying rhythms and dynamic changes, this EP is both unique and listenable. The opening track “Front Line” drops listeners into Dewar’s mind, and every song following continues this exploration. Through these 5 songs, listeners are exposed to Dewar’s inner turmoils as he comes to terms with the idea that you can’t have it all, and that life keeps moving forward.

The EP’s title feels like a play on words. While his other works fall victim to indie-pop tropes of being over digitally-enhanced, Dream Pop Is Over feels natural and organic.

Keep up with DEWR here.

mae muller, “therapist”

mae muller, “therapist”

Emerging singer-songwriter Mae Muller releases her newest track “Therapist”. Muller says the song comes from her inner feelings of what is means to be a ‘good’ girlfriend. Specifically emphasizing the notion that “We are not here to teach men how to behave, we are not their mothers, or their therapists, and we shouldn’t have to take on that pressure! Especially when we receive nothing in return.”

She continues by talking about the song specifically saying, “In this particular song, it was about a situation where I really wanted to make it work but realized that this person did not need a relationship, and I couldn’t give him what he needed no matter how hard I tried.”

Muller’s sound is influenced by artists like H.E.R and Julia Michaels. She considers her songs are “emotion-based,” a concept she believes people have a hard time understanding. Muller’s music talks about what people are actually thinking or feeling, not metaphorically covering the topic. “Therapist” is no stranger to this style, pulling in listeners emotionally into a topic many can connect with.

Keep up with Mae Muller here.

pet shop boys, hotspot

pet shop boys, hotspot

After 35 years in the game, English synth-pop duo Pet Shop Boys (comprised of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe) have just released their 14th studio album, Hotspot. The album was recorded primarily at the Hansa Studios in Berlin, which is where the duo has written most of their music over the past ten years. The record is the third and final in a trilogy produced by electro-pop titan Stuart Price (The Killers). While the previous two records seemed to stay in a similar lane, Hotspot does an exceptional job at introducing a little taste of all of the different flavors that keep Pet Shop Boys at the top of their game after so long in the industry. Despite the longevity of their career, the Pet Shop Boys have lost none of their edge, and they deliver in both their trademark wit and lyricism as well as a subtly diverse bag of tricks musically.

The Pet Shop Boys are more than a little deserving of some recognition on their ability to deliver another interesting album after 35 years in the game, and their time here has been anything but insignificant. Listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the most successful duo in UK music history, they’ve acquired a staggering 44 UK top-40 hits as well as charting 12 songs on the US Billboard Hot 100. They’re also the fifth most successful act on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart of all Time, only falling behind acts like Madonna and Janet Jackson.

The album’s lead single, “Dreamland”, a collaboration with Olly Alexander of Years and Years, showcases the Pet Shop Boys’ sweet spot. While on the surface the track seems like an  up-tempo electro-anthem that feels almost euphoric, it also subtly takes digs at both Brexit and U.S. immigration policies without laying it on with a heavy hand. In the track, Tennant imagines an idyllic land where everyone is welcome and where “you don’t need a visa / you can come and go and still be here”. The track feels both empowered and carefree at the same time and features a larger-than life disco-inspired chorus alongside an intense longing for true freedom.

Tracks like electro funk-pop number “Monkey Business” hit a little different. “We’ve actually written, almost for the first time in our career, a groove song” said Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe in a statement about the song. The lyrics themselves are as delightedly light-hearted and playful as the party track: “Bring me margaritas / Champagne and red wine / We’re gonna have a party / Where we all cross the line / I’m looking for monkey business.” “Wedding in Berlin”, a techno-wedding march mash-up, falls in the same vein. Featuring sections of Mendelssohn’s infamous march itself, it’s for the most part a one-liner (“We’re getting married”) but at the same time feels like it was created with some reflection in mind.

In a surprise twist for a group that has suggested we entertain the idea of banning the acoustic guitar, “Burning the heather” strips back some of the electro layers in exchange for, in an insane twist, what appears to be some lovely acoustic guitar parts (courtesy of The Suede’s Bernard Butler). Folky and fresh, the track is chock-full of deep and compelling lyricism and twinkling sound effects. It’s a refreshing reminder of the diversity of the duo (even if they don’t support the legality of all instruments featured).

Hotspot is out now and the Pet Shop Boys will begin a greatest hits tour on May 28th at the O2 Arena in London. Keep up with the duo here.
ciel, “the shore”

ciel, “the shore”

Brighton, UK act CIEL released the lead single “The Shore” off their upcoming album Movement, set to be released this Spring. “The Shore” gives the first glimpse of their dreamy alt-pop world with interwoven guitars, pulsing bass-lines, and intriguing vocal harmonies. 

Lead singer Michelle Hindriks describes the song as “feeling stuck in your life and waiting for it to ‘really’ begin; yet at the same time, your realize it’s just an illusion and your life has already begun and you’re living it right now”. Continuing “losing the connection with that essence can feel extremely frustrating”.

Overall, CIEL’s sound is one that feels nostalgic while also being innovative. Bringing both these things together only adds to their mystique.

Keep up with CIEL here.

novelty island, “saturn alarms”

novelty island, “saturn alarms”

Saturn alarms are ringing out, but don’t be alarmed; it’s not time for the alien takeover quite yet. It is, however, time to take a deep dive into outer space, courtesy of Tom McConnell, mastermind behind a little project called Novelty Island. The new single entitled (yep, you guessed it) “Saturn Alarms” dropped January 24th and is the follow-up to the group’s debut track, “Magdapio Falls”.

In an intergalactic pop-epic of a track, mind-bending synths and ethereal harmonies accompany coded imagery of the destruction of our apparently ever-so-delicate solar system. “The cuts are causing cracks around the galaxy / they’re jeopardizing our solar security / and I find myself eternally orbiting / the stars are melting down and I can see the strings.” The song was apparently inspired by some random graffiti that McConnell’s saw on the back of his mom’s house, but he chose to accept his mission as much more and took it upon himself to craft a grand and sky-scraping track that is also notably catchy. Bowie would be proud.

Novelty Island will be at The Social in London on March 19th and Shipping Forecast in Liverpool on March 26th. Their debut EP, Welcome to Novelty Island., will be released March of 2020 via Ditto Music. Keep up with the project here.

wire, “primed & ready”

wire, “primed & ready”

Post-punk group Wire release second single “Primed & Ready” from upcoming album Mind Hive, set to be released January 24th through the band’s own label pinkflag. 

In the band’s 40-year career, they have continued to grow and release a steady stream of music to keep their name on the map. Mind Hive will be the band’s seventh studio album, and continues to prove the influence and dominance of Wire.

The band’s music has always stretched the confines of the rock format while also showcases the genre’s essence. That again is proven with the newest track “Primed & Ready”. Lead vocalist Colin Newman notes the simplicity of the song’s structure. Stating that the song was easy to write and that the chord sequence and structure is relatively basic, with only 3 chords used throughout the whole song.

Mind Hive follows the band’s 2017 release Silver/Lead, which career sales and amazing reviews for the band. From just this first look, its seems Mind Hive easily reaches the high bar set from previous releases.

Keep up with Wire here.