Strange And Unusual

"Strange and Unusual" by Dream Suicides // Strange and Unusual EP (Available Now via Bandcamp)

It is officially early September, which kicks off my favorite time of the year - autumn. It also means that I get to basically double down on listening to the kind of music that i seek out the other ten months of the year, and that includes the haunting sounds of autumnal dream pop and shoegaze. Daniel Romero’s atmospheric dreamwave project, Dream Suicides, hits that nail directly on the head, as he crafts dreamy, hypnotic waves of shimmering beauty that sounds like it exists in some place out of time, between the late 80s and now. “Strange and Unusual” is the title track to his latest EP, and it continues his work building walls of sound that could just as well be the soundtrack to your daydreams romanticizing the what-could-have-beens and the what-will-be’s. It’s lovely, ethereal stuff that may as well be built for your autumn. Highly recommended for fans of Cocteau Twins, Wild Nothing, and Craft Spells.

Love Inks - Shoot 100 Panes Of Glass

"Shoot 100 Panes of Glass" by Love Inks // Exi (Out 9.8.14 via Republic of Music)

The Austin based minimalists, Love Inks, are proof positive that less-is-more can be extremely effective. Here, on the trios new single, “Shoot 100 Panes of Glass”, they need little more than a steady bass rhythm, a hushed drum sample that mimics an elevated heartbeat, and a sparse, shimmering strike of guitar, to set in place a sound that calls to mind both the potently simplistic work of The XX, and the quieter, experimental vibe of Kid A/Amnesiac era Radiohead. Of course, that’s not mentioning the sweetly, airy and confident vocal delivery from frontwoman, Shelly LeBlanc, which is certainly as good a reason as any to fall in love with “Shoot 100 Panes of Glass”. 

DREAMING IN REVERSE // #005
"Ornamental" by Dakota Suite (1999 // Glitterhouse Records)
I first heard Dakota Suite’s “Ornamental” in the summer of 1999. I had found myself working at a video store, one town over from where I had grown up. This put me in contact with a whole ocean of similarly aged teenagers, that up until then I had never met. One of those people was a girl who reminded me of Winona Ryder and was just nice enough to me to make me run home and immediately start putting together mixtapes that I would later try to casually work into conversations until I was comfortable enough to ask her out without immediately turning into a pile of sweat, nerves, and useless film knowledge. Amazingly, we actually hit it off immediately and we were soon grabbing dinner and hitting movies regularly, and all things seemed to smooth out. In fact, it was her that first gifted me a mixtape. Analog, no less. This scared me. I was the one who gave these things away. I never received one from someone that had my interests. Naturally, disaster struck later that evening when I misplaced the tape after only listening to it’s contents once. When she asked me about it later, she zeroed in on one song, “Ornamental” by Dakota Suite. I had heard it - for sure - but i couldn’t remember it to save my life, so i bluffed and told her that it was amazing and lavished some bland descriptors upon it, so that it seemed like I knew what I was talking about, but I had no clue. Some time passed and summer was ending, and oddly, despite all of the time together, we hadn’t connected physically, which i tried to chalk up to nerves and or anything but the truth. The truth was that she had a boyfriend and didn’t know how to break it to me. He was older and in a band and wore glasses and tight jeans, so it made perfect sense when he showed up one night and introduced himself. He was cooler than me. He was like Ethan Hawke in Reality Bites and I was fucking Duckie, from Pretty in Pink. 
I was devastated. Summer was winding down and everyone was going back to college or just leaving town. She quit work as she was leaving town soon, and I took moping to new heights, previously unseen. Being a dramatic teenager, I decided I needed to clear my head so I drove to California on a whim. Along the way, I discovered her mixtape beneath a seat that had also eaten several bottles in recent hours. 
Somewhere in the middle of Nebraska, under a giant blanket of stars, I slid the tape into the deck and the first song that played was a hauntingly fragile bit of lo-fi chamber pop that was unlike anything that I’d heard recently. I checked the tracklist and sure enough, it was the Dakota Suite track that she’d asked me about. The pain of the situation was absolved through a dozen listens of “Ornamental”. The subtle, jazz-indebted percussion and the whispered vocals and crisp, somber guitars and that goddamned melancholic trumpet - it was everything that I needed to stop feeling like an asshole. I mean, surely, i was still an asshole, but I no longer felt like everything was a total bust. I had came away from the situation with a mixtape. One that contained one of the prettiest, saddest songs that I’d ever heard.
Over the years, I’ve used that track on a dozen or so mixes for other people. It took me ordering an imported copy from Germany, just so that I could retire the analog tape before it wore through from repeated listens. I got over the heartbreak with the help of a heartbreaking song. It was one of those songs that found me at the perfect time, and in turn, has stayed with me ever since. I got over the girl, but i have never gotten over my love for “Ornamental”. It’s a quiet masterpiece and it’s worth looking back on, because there is still a lack of artists that sound anything like Dakota Suite. Lucky for me, I don’t have to go looking for comparable sounds, it’s a one of a kind and i never get tired of it. I hope that someone finds it here and it hits the mark the way it did for me. 
LISTEN to “ORNAMENTAL” by DAKOTA SUITE: Soundcloud
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DREAMING IN REVERSE // #005
"Ornamental" by Dakota Suite (1999 // Glitterhouse Records)
I first heard Dakota Suite’s “Ornamental” in the summer of 1999. I had found myself working at a video store, one town over from where I had grown up. This put me in contact with a whole ocean of similarly aged teenagers, that up until then I had never met. One of those people was a girl who reminded me of Winona Ryder and was just nice enough to me to make me run home and immediately start putting together mixtapes that I would later try to casually work into conversations until I was comfortable enough to ask her out without immediately turning into a pile of sweat, nerves, and useless film knowledge. Amazingly, we actually hit it off immediately and we were soon grabbing dinner and hitting movies regularly, and all things seemed to smooth out. In fact, it was her that first gifted me a mixtape. Analog, no less. This scared me. I was the one who gave these things away. I never received one from someone that had my interests. Naturally, disaster struck later that evening when I misplaced the tape after only listening to it’s contents once. When she asked me about it later, she zeroed in on one song, “Ornamental” by Dakota Suite. I had heard it - for sure - but i couldn’t remember it to save my life, so i bluffed and told her that it was amazing and lavished some bland descriptors upon it, so that it seemed like I knew what I was talking about, but I had no clue. Some time passed and summer was ending, and oddly, despite all of the time together, we hadn’t connected physically, which i tried to chalk up to nerves and or anything but the truth. The truth was that she had a boyfriend and didn’t know how to break it to me. He was older and in a band and wore glasses and tight jeans, so it made perfect sense when he showed up one night and introduced himself. He was cooler than me. He was like Ethan Hawke in Reality Bites and I was fucking Duckie, from Pretty in Pink. 
I was devastated. Summer was winding down and everyone was going back to college or just leaving town. She quit work as she was leaving town soon, and I took moping to new heights, previously unseen. Being a dramatic teenager, I decided I needed to clear my head so I drove to California on a whim. Along the way, I discovered her mixtape beneath a seat that had also eaten several bottles in recent hours. 
Somewhere in the middle of Nebraska, under a giant blanket of stars, I slid the tape into the deck and the first song that played was a hauntingly fragile bit of lo-fi chamber pop that was unlike anything that I’d heard recently. I checked the tracklist and sure enough, it was the Dakota Suite track that she’d asked me about. The pain of the situation was absolved through a dozen listens of “Ornamental”. The subtle, jazz-indebted percussion and the whispered vocals and crisp, somber guitars and that goddamned melancholic trumpet - it was everything that I needed to stop feeling like an asshole. I mean, surely, i was still an asshole, but I no longer felt like everything was a total bust. I had came away from the situation with a mixtape. One that contained one of the prettiest, saddest songs that I’d ever heard.
Over the years, I’ve used that track on a dozen or so mixes for other people. It took me ordering an imported copy from Germany, just so that I could retire the analog tape before it wore through from repeated listens. I got over the heartbreak with the help of a heartbreaking song. It was one of those songs that found me at the perfect time, and in turn, has stayed with me ever since. I got over the girl, but i have never gotten over my love for “Ornamental”. It’s a quiet masterpiece and it’s worth looking back on, because there is still a lack of artists that sound anything like Dakota Suite. Lucky for me, I don’t have to go looking for comparable sounds, it’s a one of a kind and i never get tired of it. I hope that someone finds it here and it hits the mark the way it did for me. 
LISTEN to “ORNAMENTAL” by DAKOTA SUITE: Soundcloud
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DREAMING IN REVERSE // #005
"Ornamental" by Dakota Suite (1999 // Glitterhouse Records)
I first heard Dakota Suite’s “Ornamental” in the summer of 1999. I had found myself working at a video store, one town over from where I had grown up. This put me in contact with a whole ocean of similarly aged teenagers, that up until then I had never met. One of those people was a girl who reminded me of Winona Ryder and was just nice enough to me to make me run home and immediately start putting together mixtapes that I would later try to casually work into conversations until I was comfortable enough to ask her out without immediately turning into a pile of sweat, nerves, and useless film knowledge. Amazingly, we actually hit it off immediately and we were soon grabbing dinner and hitting movies regularly, and all things seemed to smooth out. In fact, it was her that first gifted me a mixtape. Analog, no less. This scared me. I was the one who gave these things away. I never received one from someone that had my interests. Naturally, disaster struck later that evening when I misplaced the tape after only listening to it’s contents once. When she asked me about it later, she zeroed in on one song, “Ornamental” by Dakota Suite. I had heard it - for sure - but i couldn’t remember it to save my life, so i bluffed and told her that it was amazing and lavished some bland descriptors upon it, so that it seemed like I knew what I was talking about, but I had no clue. Some time passed and summer was ending, and oddly, despite all of the time together, we hadn’t connected physically, which i tried to chalk up to nerves and or anything but the truth. The truth was that she had a boyfriend and didn’t know how to break it to me. He was older and in a band and wore glasses and tight jeans, so it made perfect sense when he showed up one night and introduced himself. He was cooler than me. He was like Ethan Hawke in Reality Bites and I was fucking Duckie, from Pretty in Pink. 
I was devastated. Summer was winding down and everyone was going back to college or just leaving town. She quit work as she was leaving town soon, and I took moping to new heights, previously unseen. Being a dramatic teenager, I decided I needed to clear my head so I drove to California on a whim. Along the way, I discovered her mixtape beneath a seat that had also eaten several bottles in recent hours. 
Somewhere in the middle of Nebraska, under a giant blanket of stars, I slid the tape into the deck and the first song that played was a hauntingly fragile bit of lo-fi chamber pop that was unlike anything that I’d heard recently. I checked the tracklist and sure enough, it was the Dakota Suite track that she’d asked me about. The pain of the situation was absolved through a dozen listens of “Ornamental”. The subtle, jazz-indebted percussion and the whispered vocals and crisp, somber guitars and that goddamned melancholic trumpet - it was everything that I needed to stop feeling like an asshole. I mean, surely, i was still an asshole, but I no longer felt like everything was a total bust. I had came away from the situation with a mixtape. One that contained one of the prettiest, saddest songs that I’d ever heard.
Over the years, I’ve used that track on a dozen or so mixes for other people. It took me ordering an imported copy from Germany, just so that I could retire the analog tape before it wore through from repeated listens. I got over the heartbreak with the help of a heartbreaking song. It was one of those songs that found me at the perfect time, and in turn, has stayed with me ever since. I got over the girl, but i have never gotten over my love for “Ornamental”. It’s a quiet masterpiece and it’s worth looking back on, because there is still a lack of artists that sound anything like Dakota Suite. Lucky for me, I don’t have to go looking for comparable sounds, it’s a one of a kind and i never get tired of it. I hope that someone finds it here and it hits the mark the way it did for me. 
LISTEN to “ORNAMENTAL” by DAKOTA SUITE: Soundcloud
ZoomInfo

DREAMING IN REVERSE // #005

"Ornamental" by Dakota Suite (1999 // Glitterhouse Records)

I first heard Dakota Suite’s “Ornamental” in the summer of 1999. I had found myself working at a video store, one town over from where I had grown up. This put me in contact with a whole ocean of similarly aged teenagers, that up until then I had never met. One of those people was a girl who reminded me of Winona Ryder and was just nice enough to me to make me run home and immediately start putting together mixtapes that I would later try to casually work into conversations until I was comfortable enough to ask her out without immediately turning into a pile of sweat, nerves, and useless film knowledge. Amazingly, we actually hit it off immediately and we were soon grabbing dinner and hitting movies regularly, and all things seemed to smooth out. In fact, it was her that first gifted me a mixtape. Analog, no less. This scared me. I was the one who gave these things away. I never received one from someone that had my interests. Naturally, disaster struck later that evening when I misplaced the tape after only listening to it’s contents once. When she asked me about it later, she zeroed in on one song, “Ornamental” by Dakota Suite. I had heard it - for sure - but i couldn’t remember it to save my life, so i bluffed and told her that it was amazing and lavished some bland descriptors upon it, so that it seemed like I knew what I was talking about, but I had no clue. Some time passed and summer was ending, and oddly, despite all of the time together, we hadn’t connected physically, which i tried to chalk up to nerves and or anything but the truth. The truth was that she had a boyfriend and didn’t know how to break it to me. He was older and in a band and wore glasses and tight jeans, so it made perfect sense when he showed up one night and introduced himself. He was cooler than me. He was like Ethan Hawke in Reality Bites and I was fucking Duckie, from Pretty in Pink. 

I was devastated. Summer was winding down and everyone was going back to college or just leaving town. She quit work as she was leaving town soon, and I took moping to new heights, previously unseen. Being a dramatic teenager, I decided I needed to clear my head so I drove to California on a whim. Along the way, I discovered her mixtape beneath a seat that had also eaten several bottles in recent hours. 

Somewhere in the middle of Nebraska, under a giant blanket of stars, I slid the tape into the deck and the first song that played was a hauntingly fragile bit of lo-fi chamber pop that was unlike anything that I’d heard recently. I checked the tracklist and sure enough, it was the Dakota Suite track that she’d asked me about. The pain of the situation was absolved through a dozen listens of “Ornamental”. The subtle, jazz-indebted percussion and the whispered vocals and crisp, somber guitars and that goddamned melancholic trumpet - it was everything that I needed to stop feeling like an asshole. I mean, surely, i was still an asshole, but I no longer felt like everything was a total bust. I had came away from the situation with a mixtape. One that contained one of the prettiest, saddest songs that I’d ever heard.

Over the years, I’ve used that track on a dozen or so mixes for other people. It took me ordering an imported copy from Germany, just so that I could retire the analog tape before it wore through from repeated listens. I got over the heartbreak with the help of a heartbreaking song. It was one of those songs that found me at the perfect time, and in turn, has stayed with me ever since. I got over the girl, but i have never gotten over my love for “Ornamental”. It’s a quiet masterpiece and it’s worth looking back on, because there is still a lack of artists that sound anything like Dakota Suite. Lucky for me, I don’t have to go looking for comparable sounds, it’s a one of a kind and i never get tired of it. I hope that someone finds it here and it hits the mark the way it did for me. 

LISTEN to “ORNAMENTAL” by DAKOTA SUITE: Soundcloud

"Dangerous Days" by Zola Jesus // Dir. Tim Saccenti

This fall sees the release of a new album from Zola Jesus, and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s been incredible to see the evolution of Nika Roza Danilova's musical project from start till now. Of course, it's never easy to anticipate her next move, but after hearing “Dangerous Days” earlier this summer, it's very easy to be excited by the promise of new material. In the meantime, we can marvel at Tim Saccenti's stunning new music video for the album's fist single. Enjoy.

New Man

"New Man" by Pale // The Comeback EP (Coming Soon / Self-Release)

The London based minimalist-electronic duo, Pale, has been gathering steam (and press) as of late while en route to the release of their forthcoming EP, The Comeback. A couple of tracks have already made their way to Soundcloud, and in turn dozens of blogs, and now we can add “New Man” to the conversation. This new track finds Pale pushing further into the shadowy world of minimalist electronic sounds. “New Man” is no bright, shiny affair - not by a long shot. In fact, the new track feels like it’s built from the influences of 80’s industrial and darkwave soundscapes. There’s a potent darkness within the song that makes it stand out among the duo’s other singles. You definitely want to check out what Pale is serving up this time. You won’t be disappointed. Highly recommended for fans of TV on the Radio, Cold Cave, and Banks

Your Design

"Your Design" by Grace Mitchell // Your Design - Single (2014)

This is one of those instances where you hear a song without any knowledge of who’s responsible, and then when you find out - you’re even more impressed. The opening moments of “Your Design” unfolds with a hushed electronic pulse just beneath a whispered vocal, and it’s immediately engaging in it’s simplicity, but it’s just a beat - maybe thirty seconds, before the pieces start to shift alive. Louder, confident, focused and before you can settle in, it takes another leap up and out, and just like that the song launches into a powerhouse, widescreen, electro-pop anthem that is the perfect delivery method for the astounding vocals of a sure-fire star in the making, Grace Mitchell. Of course, there’s always a hook, and this song has a wonderful one that will be stuck in  your head for days. Once you come down from the audio high of listening to “Your Design” a couple dozen times, stop to take a moment to process that the pop beauty is the work of a 16 year old girl from Portland, not some globe trotting pop icon (at least not yet). It’s a remarkably confident and powerful introduction to the world at large and if there is any level of fairness, this girl will be the next big thing before the year is out. It’s a fantastic track from a stunning new voice. 

Parrot DreamSound & Light

"Sound and Light" by Parrot Dream // Set Sail Someday EP (Available Now via Bandcamp)

Sometimes you  just need one track to launch a mini-obsession. That’s definitely the case here with Parrot Dream, the young New York based trio and their gorgeous track, “Sound & Light”. The song kicks off the band’s debut EP, and sets the pace for a stellar collection of dreamwave gems. Parrot Dream layer warm, steady guitars with majestic synth lines and airy, melodic vocals to build a sound that alternates between sun-draped daydream and hazy lullaby. Think about The Sundays crossed with Beach Fossils and you’re almost there. It’s a wonderful sound, and you can sample and purchase now at the band’s Bandcamp page. Highly recommended. 

Ashrae Fax - "CHKN"

"CHKN" by Ashrae Fax // Never Really Been Into It (Out 9.25.14 via Mexican Summer)

We’re sputtering toward the end of Summer, and despite being in the thick of the dog days, it’s a fine time to atually see the arrival of several highly anticipated albums, but you’d be hard pressed to find one that feels more suited to soundtrack your brisk, chilled autumnal evenings, than the new album from North Carolina based dream pop crew wdh is available for streaming right now. But how does it all sound? For starters, it feels and sounds like some long lost beauty from the halls of 80’s era 4AD - crisp percussion, glimmering synth atmospheres, dreamy guitars, and haunted, ethereal vocals that are part Elisabeth Fraser, part Siouxsie Sioux. The bands sound is right there, somewhere mixed with the goth pop romanticism of The Cure and the waves of dreamy pop that Cocteau Twins perfected. Highest recommendation!

RUNNING UP THAT HILL : The Kate Bush Story (BBC Documentary)

As Kate Bush preps her return to the stage after 35 years, the BBC has put together this wonderful documentary on her career and the influence she’s had over pop culture for decades. Featuring interviews with a plethora of artists across all genres, including Annie Clark, Big Boi, Neil Gaiman, Steve Coogan, Natasha Khan, Brett Anderson, Tricky, Peter Gabriel, Elton John, and many more. 

HOUNDS OF LOVE (Kate Bush cover)

"Hounds of Love" by Nite Jewel // Originally by Kate Bush 

The October issue of Mojo features a special tribute entitled “The Dreamers”, which will feature artists putting their own spin on the works of Kate Bush. That’s enough reason to get excited, but when you see that some of the artists lining up to participate include The War on Drugs, Caribou, I Break Horses, and much more - including this electro-ethereal take on “Hounds of Love” by Nite Jewel. It’s a must-listen for many reasons, but mostly because Nite Jewel takes it in a completely fresh direction that maintains the heart of the original, but otherwise is an entirely new beast. And a lovely beast at that. Highly recommended. 

"Lower Your Eyelids to Die with the Sun" by M83 // Before the Dawn Heals Us - Deluxe Edition (Out 8.25.14 via Mute)

Next week, Mute is going to be re-releasing the first three albums from M83 for the first time available in their entirety on digital platforms. To celebrate the release, frontman Anthony Gonzalez has dug out a previously unreleased music video for the stunning closing track to Before the Dawn Heals Us, “Lower Your Eyelids to Die with the Sun”. It’s loaded with gorgeous visuals and is a firm reminder of just how impressive M83 has been since the start. 

Invisible Arguments

"Invisible Arguments" by Ballerina Black // Injureless EP (Free Download Now via Soundcloud)

The Los Angeles based post-punk quartet, Ballerina Black, are in the process of prepping the release of their new full length, and in the lead-up they are sharing b-sides and demos cut over the past couple of years. Up first is the gorgeous, shadowy ballad, “Invisible Arguments”. On this track, the band shifts gears into more of a glimmering slice of new wave balladry that feels like it could have been some massive hit from an alternate universe where The Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees were the biggest bands of the 80’s. That’s not saying that the song sounds dated. Not at all in fact. It’s actually one of the best tracks that I’ve ever heard from the band, and I’m a big fan. You can grab a free HQ download of the track from the band’s Soundcloud page. Be sure to check back on that page for a new b-side every week until the new album drops. Highest recommendation!

Real Estate - Linger // AV Undercover

"Linger" by Real Estate // Originally by The Cranberries (AV Undercover / Series 5)

This is just a case of two of my favorite things crossing paths. Real Estate stopped into the AV Club recently for an episode of AV Undercover and they chose one of my all time favorite songs to cover, “Linger” by the Cranberries. They don’t mess with the formula at all, but that’s a great thing as the song ends up sounding like it could be one of Real Estate’s own gems. You can see the video of the band performance at AV Undercover

Bishop Allen - "Why I Had To Go"

"Why I Had to Go" by Bishop Allen // Lights Out (Out 8.19.14 via Dead Oceans)

It’s been a handful of years since Bishop Allen dropped an album, and thankfully, that came to an end today with the release of their new full length, Lights Out. A few weeks back, the band dropped the lovely, nostalgic pop gem, “Why I Had to Go”. I didn’t get around to writing it up then, but with today’s release, it’s as good a time as any to take a stroll back through the wistful world of folk pop by-way-of synth pop. The band’s frontman, Justin Rice has said that the track is inspired by the feeling he was getting when he would return to New York City after having moved upstate - that feeling of sweet nostalgia that only lasts as long as it takes to remember the reasons that you moved on in the first place. That is certainly a feeling in which I can relate. So, hit play and check out one of the prettier tracks to come down the aisle in months. Highly recommended. 

The Twilight Sad - There's A Girl In The Corner

"There’s a Girl in the Corner" by The Twilight Sad // Nobody Wants to be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave (Out Soon via Fat Cat Records)

It’s been a couple of years since we last heard new material from The Twilight Sad, so the release of a new single in anticipation of a new, forthcoming LP, is great news. What’s even better is that “There’s a Girl in the Corner” finds the band at their absolute best. The new track doesn’t shy away from the heavy emotional weight of many of the band’s best songs, but it does deliver those emotions in a stalking, ominous sound built on an eerie piano refrain and a focused, heavy drum beat. It’s a gorgeous autumnal sound, and the shadowy tone makes it all the more intriguing. Highest recommendation.