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.

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.
little dume, waking up

little dume, waking up

Anybody else ready to see an improvement in climate change law and the way we take advantage of our precious baby Earth? Alt-pop collective Little Dume has taken their environmentally conscious thoughts and placed them in their first 5 track EP, Waking Up. Theatrical and intense, the entirety of the release could be found in the soundtrack to a romance novel-turned modern major motion picture. Perhaps it’s their location in Malibu that brings the message of the environment to us disguised within sticky sweet pop sounds, either way we’re falling in love with their musicianship while “Waking Up” to the beauty to be lost.

A true love song, “As Always” showcases a raspier, slightly grittier soundscape. It utilizes the metaphor of natural disaster alongside descriptions of other gorgeous scenery to play with the meaning of love and the collective, it seems. Don’t be disappointed that Beyonce doesn’t make an appearance on “Halo”, the song itself is more Coldplay than anything else sonically (fight me). It’s gorgeous, and plays with the meaning of “bad” and “good”.

For some reason, we get quick flashbacks to music from The Cab with the opening of “That Could Be Me”, another clear love ballad that is hopeful and emotional, vocals that rip to your very core. “Kings and Saints” wraps up the EP smartly. It can be classified as a leisurely then powerful self-reflective and, once again, hopeful song, reminiscent of the energy of recent Top 40 releases. (Cough cough nudge nudge.)

What do you think? Share with us on our Facebook page!

Keep up with Little Dume here.

the innocence mission, see you tomorrow

the innocence mission, see you tomorrow

After making music for over 30 years, Lancaster, Pennsylvania’s The Innocence Mission has yet another hauntingly beautiful album to offer up to the public. The band, led by married couple Kerin and Don Perris, is set to release their twelfth studio album on January 17th via Thérèse Records. The alternative folk band’s newest project is eleven tracks long and includes a rich collection of instrumentation, with guitars, piano, pump organ, accordion, electric bass, melodica, drums, timpani, upright bass, mellotron, and an old prototype strings sampler keyboard all gracing the songs in clever and achingly beautiful arrangements in addition to Kerin’s unique and aching vocals and Don’s well-placed harmonies.
The album’s introductory track, “The Brothers William Said”, is one of the standouts on the album. Soft and sweet piano combined with Kerin’s airy vocals alone carry us through the first half of the song, and her beautiful lyricism could easily be mistaken for poetry. “The kindness of your face / Does not go unrecognized / Has not refused to shine / In this most difficult time” she sings, bringing hope and understanding to a song meant to shed light on those who are often misunderstood due to their quiet nature. “I’m drawn to titles that are phrases, especially ones that seem to be a fragment from a conversation. “See you tomorrow” is the phrase that turns the song around to possibility and hopefulness.” says Karen about the song that yielded the albums title. While the track starts off sparse instrumentally, it builds to include a myriad of beautifully arranged instrumentation before dropping back off to finish the way it started with solo piano.

“St. Francis and the Future”, like many songs on the album, deals with themes of change and the passage of time. In this track Karen sings of how a painting she viewed on a family trip with her children came to represent looming changes that she wasn’t ready to face. In “John as Well”, echoey vocal layering and heavenly background vocals flirt with the lead vocal as the song builds. This track, as well as “At Lake Maureen”, gently but firmly reminds us of the importance of getting to know the true selves of those around us and the necessity of being understood ourselves. The album’s conclusion, “Would be There”,is a twinkly blend of Karen’s light-as-a-feather vocals and skillfully arranged, thickly-textured sections skillfully building to the outro, where the album goes back to basics and ends the same way it started; with a charming piano outro that subtly lets the listener know that it’s time to slip back into reality.

Keep up with The Innocence Mission here.
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written by: madi toman
the adobe collective, all the space that there is

the adobe collective, all the space that there is

Today is incredible. We made it to Friday, it’s the second weekend of the new year. Whatever trials and tribulations we have experienced in the last few days, we made it through the week and things are looking up! So now it’s time to celebrate, and we see no better way than with the transfixing sounds of Joshua Tree-based The Adobe Collective‘s new album All The Space That There Is.

“Carousel” reels you into the tranquil sounds of the band, while “Blind” begins a bit more frantically, and carries more energy with it. It is here that we realize the album is largely going to be a love piece, with relatable twists and turns and a reliable smooth as honey soundscape, regardless of how much the tempo and instrumentals vary. “To Ourselves” further proves this point, occurring at the pace of a 60s rock track. And that guitar? It melts our souls. But then when “You’ll Never Tell” sets in, it brings with it more of an old western vibe instrumentally, confrontational and beautiful in its message.

“Warm To Me” feels like a beach in the summertime, and we’re pretty sure that was on purpose so we’ll just leave it at that. (Ok we lied. Listen to it if you want to bring that chin up a bit, truly.) “All I Know” follows with more of a quick country clip, a simple and fun song you could certainly dance to. “Sky Starts At The Ground” leads with whirring guitars, and is perhaps the song most likely to be placed in a successful romantic comedy. (So do that.)

“Shine On” is a heavy song lyrically. As positive as it can be in its chorus’ message, the verses take shots at discussing life’s pitfalls. It’s bittersweet in its existence, highly relatable, but perhaps not the song to play at a party. “Taking Time” brings your heart rate back down, well-harmonized and beautifully framing the album, prepping you for the final track “So Happy That It Hurts.” The song’s title is endlessly uplifting. The song is slow, concerted, with very little melodically spoken words, blending into the instrumentals as though all are one, largely. Fragmented in its disposition, it is the perfect way to wind down from something so tragic, beautiful, and inspiring. In that way, it gives us time to reflect on the fragments that make up the whole.

Keep up with The Adobe Collective here.

wilson hernandez, last sunday

wilson hernandez, last sunday

Tennis Club’s Wilson Hernandez embarks on his solo project with the release of new EP Last Sunday today. Released on birthdiy (spirit goth), Last Sunday boasts 5 quick, new tracks that almost glow their way out of the speakers. With a nostalgic sound, the Joplin-based musician has encapsulated his work in reverb for days, making the entire collection a relaxing, beautiful soundscape to play at your holiday parties. Try it on for size below, and then let us know what you think over on our Facebook page!