Tag Archives: Dream pop

Wolvon – Folds (2013)

Wolvon - Folds (2013)

Wolvon are Dutch. Forming in 2011, they are relatively new to the scene, but have come with an intense desire to entertain with their own brand of music.

This is a tale of extremes, as pop and noise interweave to devastating effect. Take, for example, Slow Death, what starts off as a quiet outing, changes into a grinding noise-fest like a family dog backed into a corner turning into a snapping vicious beast.

The overall effect is one of disorientation, as dream pop gives way to noise rock, sounding like Sonic Youth or the Velvet Underground, all wrapped up in a bit of an acid trip a la the Butthole Surfers. But it isn’t some undirected soundscape; there is pure inspiration here, polyrhythms galore, and experimental highlights. The backing vocals towards the end of Stagnant is fantastic.

It’s an intense journey that leaves you enervated, but exhilarated. Totally worthwhile.

Favourite tracks: Stagnant, Hesitation Walls, Slow Death

Spotify link: WOLVON – folds.
Bandcamp link: http://wolvon.bandcamp.com/
Sneak peak: 

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Youth Lagoon – Wondrous Bughouse (2013)

Youth Lagoon - Wondrous Bughouse (2013)

Youth Lagoon is the moniker of Trevor Powers from Idaho and Wondrous Bughouse is his second album after 2011’s The Year Of Hibernation.

The album is very dense indie dream pop, layered but also minimalistic.  The overall sound is  very experimental as synth and processed sound interplay to create soundscapes which weave around psychedelic indie pop songs. I am reminded at times of early Radiohead, and also mid-era Beatles and some Pink Floyd. Heavily altered vocals with hints of drone, and slight hints of distuning add to the tension, moving from dream to nightmare and back to dream again.

I really enjoyed this album, it is haunting, psychedelic, experimental, dense and dreamy. A real aural voyage through the mind as it is unbridled by reality and able to travel on it’s own whims.

Favourite tracks: Pelican Man, Dropla, Sleep Paralysis

Spotify link: Youth Lagoon – Wondrous Bughouse
Sneak peak: 

Esben and the Witch – Wash The Sins Not Only The Face (2013)

Esben and the Witch - Wash The Sins Not Only The Face (2013)

Esben and the Witch are nominally a goth pop band from Brighton, UK, named after a Danish faerie tale. Forming in 2008, this is their second album.

Upon putting on this album, my immediate thoughts are towards goth music, but instead towards a related style: dream/noise pop. Opener, Iceland Spar starts with big fuzzy guitars, into dream-pop female vocals and back into fuzz, in a way so typified by The Jesus and Mary Chain, especially on Pyschocandy (1985).

Slow Wave further shows the dream-pop angle, jangly guitars and echoey dreamy vocals, while When That Head Splits is a more modern but darker pop outing, with a somewhat marching drum snare. I get a sense of incorporation of traditional folk at times on this album; not so much in the music, but in the vocal melodies. Deathwaltz is a denser number, which is starkly different to the following track, Yellow Wood, which is, for its most part, a sparse dreamscape. Despair is back to the noisier sound with a metallic twang to the guitars, and the album finishes strongly with the bleak Smashed To Pieces In The Still Of The Night.

Overall, it’s a dense hazy dreamy noise pop record. Not everything on here is to my taste, but I certainly enjoyed some of it. I’m afraid I don’t get the goth pop tag applied to them; sure, some of the song titles are a bit macabre, but this album is definitely more shoe-gaze and dream/noise pop, with jangly guitars contrasting fuzzy guitars and ethereal reverberating vocals.

Favourite tracks: When The Head Splits, Deathwaltz, Smashed To Pieces In The Still Of The Night

Spotify link: Esben and the Witch – Wash the Sins Not Only the Face
Sneak peak: 

Grouper – The Man Who Died In His Boat (2013)

Grouper - The Man Who Died In His Boat (2013)

Somewhere at the intersection between sleep and awake, there is a point at which the real and surreal blend, a point at which the conversations inside and outside your own head collide, a point at which the sensical and nonsensical swap and interfere with each other. Where confusion and understanding are one, where time and space distort to nothing and where the unexpected is familiar. And at that point, you will find Grouper.

Grouper is the nom de plume of American Liz Harris, guitarist and solo electro-ambient/noise artist.

Although I wasn’t aware of it at the time of listening, The Man Who Died In His Boat is a collection of outtakes from a previous album Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill (2008); not that it feels like a collection of outtakes.

Instead, this is a collection of dream-pop tracks, reminiscent to me of Julee Cruise (whose voice graced the Twin Peaks soundtrack), albeit with a more experimental lean. The dreamy synth and vocals mix and swirl into dense layered and reverberating drone. Piano keys echo and bounce in timeless manner on Vanishing Point, while chorus voices drag and intersect at snail’s pace on Difference (Voices). This is a deep ambient album that is easy to get lost in and distorts your sense of time.

While I would have to be in the right mood to put this on, it  certainly is an interesting album. The more experimental tracks certainly hold more interest to me, but overall, there is a lot to be had; these are certainly not cast-offs, and the album feels cohesive despite the genesis of these tracks.

Favourite tracks: STS, Difference (Voices), Vanishing Point

Spotify link: Grouper – The Man Who Died in His Boat
Sneak peak: