New York’s Peel Dream Magazine capture the noise and beauty of late 80s Creation Records better than anyone I’ve heard in a long time. The boy/girl vocals interplay, the wall of Big Muff distortion, and the noise rock squall all come together beautifully. Bands like Lush, My Bloody Valentine, Chapterhouse, and Medicine echo in the songs on Peel Dream Magazine’s debut album, 2018s Modern Meta Physic. It’s a mood that when it hits you can’t go wrong with PDM.
On the NYC shoegaze band’s newest album, the tight and buzzing Agitprop Alterna, Peel Dream Magazine continue to evolve their shoegaze/dream pop sound. Adding touches of Yo La Tengo, Velvet Underground, and even Belle and Sebastian, PDM add just the right amount of sweetness to the rough edges to make a stunning 40 minutes of music.
My Bloody Valentine play big into Peel Dream Magazine’s overall sound, but not Loveless MBV. It’s the tight pop delights of Isn’t Anything and Kevin Shields’ stunning run of EPs that act as a framework for PDM. “Pill” burns bright as an album opener to remember. Exploding with dissonant distortion, it’s countered with ethereal vocal harmonies courtesy of PDM brainchild Joe Stevens and Jo-Anne Hyun. “Emotional Devotion Creator” continues those vibes, but with more of a drone-y vibe, like if Moon Duo went on a Zombies kick. “It’s My Body” is reminiscent of Yo La Tengo, giving us more of a late-60s psych pop feel. The sweetness in the vocal interplay gives it a dreamy quality. “Escalator Ism” bumps up the MBV with some serious Glider noise pop feels.
It’s not all noise and woozy tinnitus-inducing volume. The short-but-sweet “Brief Inner Mission” brings to mind The Owls and even Olivia Tremor Control while “The Bertolt Brecht Society” lingers in the air with organ, vocals, and quietly strummed guitar. “Up and Up” closes the record with touches of Happy Mondays and Stereolab, but with a decidedly New York jangle.
The musical world of Peel Dream Magazine is a very specific one. If you came up in the late 80s getting your music education from college radio and 120 Minutes then Agitprop Alterna will connect with you. Even if you came up in the late 2000s on bands like A Place To Bury Strangers, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, Cymbals Eat Guitars, and Belle and Sebastian you will also find an in with Joe Stevens musical world. Agitprop Alterna is nostalgic but in an endearing and satisfying way. It’s intellectual noise rock for the discerning musicphile.
7.7 out of 10