Dorias Baracca : Dorias Baracca

You probably haven’t heard the name Dorias Baracca before. They were a shoegaze/dream pop band that formed in Odense, Denmark way back in 2007 by a group of young friends. They were inspired by the giants of the genre that came before them; Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, Ride, and the like. In 2010 Dorias Baracca released a well-regarded EP, one that began to make a name for the band. “…Already light years ahead of many peers who’ve spent entire careers searching for a similar happy medium”, said one well established music site. So in 2011 the band began recording what would be their full-length debut, a record that surely would’ve solidified the band’s future as one of the great new rock bands of the 21st century.

But it was not to be.

In the summer of 2011, the same day that the band had finished recording their stellar debut album, lead singer, guitar player and main songwriter Buster Svendsen passed away. The band with so much promise and fire had ended in the course of a day, and with it that debut LP. For various reasons the recordings Dorias Baracca had created were shelved for years. That is, until now.

Azure Vista Records have released Dorias Baracca’s debut album for the world to hear. Co-produced, mixed, and mastered by Jonas Munk(Causa Sui, Billow Observatory, Manual, Ulrich Schnauss), the album is a testament to the longevity of great music and the youthful heart. It is a blistering shot of shoegaze, psychedelia, and early 90s alternative rock. And it is a fitting tribute to the memory of Buster Svendsen.

In just 38 minutes, Dorias Baracca encapsulates what makes the shoegaze genre such an exciting one. They veer in and out of dreamy pop, jagged guitar noise, and the ethereal pondering that the classics of the genre often influenced us to do. “Handsome Melting Point”, the opening track, brings to mind Ride and Chapterhouse, but with a heavier edge. Where some of those classics, however great, could come across thin in the final mix, here there’s a heft in the dense sonics. There’s more in common here with modern bands like Whirr and Nothing than Lush and Catherine Wheel. “Dean & Dane” is all summer holiday bliss. It’s a breezy car ride to the shore with the top down and someone you could love forever sitting next to you. Munk’s mastering here is near perfection. Where others may have mixed and mastered this to a two-dimensional conclusion, Munk creates an all-encompassing sound experience. Even in the dreamier moments there’s something darker just under the surface. Guitars squealing and whirring halting the good vibes, before things pick back up and the sun peaks out once again from behind the dark clouds. “Fed” is a hard-driving track, recalling a more clear-eyed version of My Bloody Valentine. Svendsen’s vocals have a hint of Kevin Shields here, albeit a more spry version of the shoegaze pioneer. It’s a telling track and one you don’t soon forget. “Shaky Dreams(You and Me Forever)” is haunting. A mix of Lush’ melancholy and Dorias Baracca’s own modern twist. It’s an overwhelmingly beautiful track. young prism’s In Between comes to mind here.

Elsewhere, “Another Day(Without Shoes)” takes the shoegaze feels into more modern territory. When I say this has more in common with bands like Nothing and Whirr, keep in mind this was coming from half a world away and 3 years before Nothing’s full-length debut Guilty Of Everything. There’s elements of dreamy pondering as well as heavier, denser fare scattered throughout that would be the hallmark of Dorias Baracca’s American counterparts a couple of years later. “Goodbye” brings to mind Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, in part with the open, chugging riff. It quickly takes a turn into something you might’ve located hidden in Captured Tracks’ shoegaze archive back in the day. “Wake Me Up(With A Kiss)” is an all-out dream pop beauty. Big drums, jangly guitars, and ethereal vocals layer over one another to create a dense and dreamy ending to this captured musical moment in time.

While Dorias Baracca had their foundations in classic bands, the biggest takeaway here is how they were creating their own voice among a chorus of many. That’s the trick you know, taking your influences and mixing them like paint in your own musical palate; creating new and exciting colors to paint with. On just a mere 7 tracks recorded in the summer of 2011, Dorias Baracca were well on their way to making a name for themselves as an exciting and creatively vital rock band. They had the musicianship and songwriting chops, and they had the drive and creativity to pretty much go as far as they wanted. Unfortunately fate stepped in and all of it ended. Until now, with this debut.

Seven years on and we can finally hear the promise Dorias Baracca held. Play this loud, and often.

Preorder Dorias Baracca here.

8.4 out of 10

Slowdive : Slowdive

Okay, I must admit that prior to Slowdive’s brand new self-titled album I hadn’t really delved into their music. Yes, I know it’s a travesty and I’m making amends right now by falling completely head over heals for them. I didn’t partake in the shoegaze punch in my younger years(with the exception of Lush’ Spooky back in high school which I adored.) I was a metal guy with Rush and Joe Satriani tendencies and once saw a kid get thrown over the stairs in 11th grade for walking around with a Chapterhouse cassette. I knew I didn’t want that to happen to me so I stayed away from the hazier, dreamier aspects of alternative music. But a funny thing happened on the way to 40 years old, I started listening to those dreamy British bands of the late 80s and early 90s. I loved the worlds they created with guitars and guitar pedals. Sure, there was some synthesizers here and there, but mostly the use of swirling guitar noise and ethereal vocals created walls of beautiful, impenetrable noise that I couldn’t get enough of. I’d listened to Slowdive’s Souvlaki on a whim once and liked it but never returned to it. It felt like there was an equal shot of ambient and dream pop tones as there was the shoegaze “haze” sound.

Well here we are in 2017 and I’m sitting here listening to Slowdive, the band’s first new album in 22 years. It’s a stunning piece of work that works its way into your psyche and you gladly let it sit there in your brain. It’s just an absolute beauty of a record.

“Slomo” opens the record on an ethereal note. The song washes over you like the Atlantic at high tide. The vocals of Neil Halstead and Rachel Goswell act more as another dreamy layer of sound than a lead instrument. Like a conversation in a dream that you can’t quite recall once you wake up. Musically this track is dense and feels all-encompassing as the song fills your head. It’s exquisite. “Star Roving” sounds like that first DNA strand that begat future generations of kids staring at their Chuck Taylors as guitar pedals are engaged. Driving rhythm, spacial guitar riffing, and vocal melodies piercing through the vast sound. This is the song I want to hear when I take that first trip into space with Richard Branson, or Starlord. Whichever opportunity comes first. “Don’t Know Why” lingers in Cocteau Twins territory, which in my book is a great thing. “Sugar For The Pill” is the point where the album comes into delicate focus. The swirls of noise and haze dissipate and allow Slowdive to hone in on the magic. It’s not without moments of dreamy reflection, but here the band lay it all on the line.

Elsewhere, “Everyone Knows” sounds like a view of the world from atop the international space station with a touch of Doves Lost Souls thrown in for good measure. “Go Get It” sounds like Neil Young and Crazy Horse in space with echoes of Tears For Fears sprinkled throughout. That may sound weird but it’s really quite brilliant, trust me. The album closes on the beautifully epic “Falling Ashes”. The piano refrain puts me in mind of the piano in Radiohead’s “Daydreaming”, but slower and slightly more methodical. It slowly builds to Halstead singing “Boy, I’m the man/You’re the ghost in this town/Could this be it/Your final words, your own“. The music lopes and loops onto itself in an almost meditative state. It’s a beautiful way to end 22 years of quiet.

Slowdive is one of those rare instances when a band has two decades of radio silence then reappears just as good, if not better, than they were in their heyday. Slowdive not only capture the dream-like beauty of their early records but engage that sound with a healthy dose of age and wisdom. The result is one of the best albums of the year.

8.7 out of 10


Emotions In Motion : A Conversation With We Love You’s Caleb Lewis

by J. Hubner

Photo by Errick Easterday.


So what’s Marion, Indiana known for? I thought it was just a name on a highway sign off of 13S on the way to Indianapolis. Turns out, there’s more to it. It’s the birthplace of James Dean and Garfield cartoonist Jim Davis(though both were raised in nearby Fairmount.) It’s also where Julia Roberts and Lyle Lovett were married in 1993(weird, right?) Marion is also the home of the great band We Love You. They venture out of the Grant County line to play shows, though. Perhaps you’ve seen them in Fort Wayne or Indianapolis? If not, you need to make a point to check them out.

We Love You consists of Caleb Lewis(guitar, vocals), Justin Barsha(bass), and Travis Scriba(drums). Caleb sat down and talked with me about the band, the music, and their writing process.

J. Hubner: So tell me about We Love You. How did the band come together?

Caleb Lewis: We Love You started as my secret solo project. I had been writing a ton but was always very nervous to play the songs live by myself. Travis(drummer) and I were in a band called Portland together, and that band had just disbanded, so we really had nothing going at the time. I asked him if he’d like to get together and play some tunes I had been working on and it all went from there. Justin(bassist) and I are cousins so we grew up playing music together, him and I have always been on the same wavelength when it came to playing together, so I knew i needed him to be in this band. I really had no idea that it would be more than a one show kind of band, but it really took off and I’m glad we stuck with it.

J. Hubner: Listening to your Bandcamp I’m hearing a lot of influences musically. Emo and hardcore for sure, but I can even hear bands like Band of Horses, Nothing, Death Cab For Cutie, Built To Spill, and Sunny Day Real Estate to name just a few. Who are some influences on We Love You’s sound? Btw, some great guitar playing.

Caleb Lewis: Thank you for the kind words! Band of Horses are definitely a huge influence on what we do, glad you caught that. I grew up listening to way too much Bright Eyes, so Conor Oberst is probably the biggest influence on my writing style. Pink Floyd is my biggest influence as far as tone and the types of effects we use. But once the band gets together and hashes the songs out, you can start to hear each members influences come out individually.

J. Hubner: We Love You’s based out of Marion. What’s the music scene like in Marion? Do you guys have a crew there you can relate with or do you need to get out of the city limits for that?

Caleb Lewis: The music scene in Marion is definitely not what it used to be. We’ve only played our hometown three times if that tells you anything haha. Two of those times were just in the past couple of months. Our buddy Chris Isaacs just opened up his home to house shows, and they’re are turning out awesome. It’s extremely awesome to see a venue in our small town again, let alone a house venue. There’s not much of scene for our type of music in town, so we definitely have to branch out to Fort Wayne and Indy to hang with our buds. Shade, Ryan Kerr, and Continue The Story from Fort Wayne are all killing it right now. Our friends Anna Sage from Indy just signed with Mutant League Records and are about to blow up. I think we consider ourselves more apart of their music scenes than the one we have in Marion.

J. Hubner: Back to the Bandcamp page, you guys have amassed a nice collection of tunes since 2014. Tell me about the recording process. Where do you record your songs? What’s the writing process like for We Love You?

Caleb Lewis: Our writing process is usually me writing the basic structure of the song then bringing it to practice to really bring it to life. We are actually going to be recording a new EP here in just a couple weeks, and we took a different approach with these songs. We all actually sat in the practice space together and wrote the songs. It was a pretty awesome experience and kind of helped me get a better idea of how the dudes are feeling about certain things. It makes writing a ton more fun having everyone there, its a lot less stressful than sitting down by myself and going mad trying to write the next coolest song. I think we will continue writing more together opposed to me writing alone. Up until our split with Krelboyne I recorded everything you’ve heard on Bandcamp. I have a small studio in my home that I work out of. It was becoming way too stressful doing it all myself, so I branched out to my buddy Matt Riefler. I’d never recorded with anyone outside of myself, so it was pretty nerve-wracking bringing the songs to someone else. But he couldn’t have made us more comfortable, and I still can’t believe how great the songs turned out. He is definitely our go to guy for everything now.

J. Hubner: Listening to the releases, there’s been a real progression in sound over the last two years. There was definitely a hardcore beginning, but by this latest release, April’s ‘Krelboyne/WLY’, the sound has really smoothed out into a very dreamy vibe. “Weed Break” is a killer track. Has a Whirr/Nothing vibe to it. “32 RPM” definitely picks up the pace, but “Away” is a beautiful dream pop track. Do you feel the band going into more of a shoegaze direction?

Caleb Lewis: It’s funny you say that because those three songs were some of the first songs we wrote as a band. But the newer songs i spoke about earlier are a little dreamier than usual. That’s probably because we’ve been hearing and playing the split songs  so much that we are just on that same vibe. I’ve never really had a set genre for this band, I’ve always just wrote and kind of went with it. I think different songs call for different things. That’s a big part of who we are as a band. I don’t want to limit us to one genre, I want people to be able to listen to different sides of WLY. When people aren’t into the louder side of things, theres always the softer stuff that they may catch their ear. I also don’t want people to expect us to sound the same with each release we put out. It’s fun to surprise people every time we release something new.

J. Hubner: Everything released up to this point has been singles and EPs. Is there a possibility of a We Love You full-length in the near future? I get the immediacy of releasing singles and EPs, but there’s nothing like digging your teeth into an excellent long player.

Caleb Lewis: That’s our next big step. We will be releasing one more EP later this year, then we will begin writing for the full length. I get so excited about the songs we are writing that I just want to record and release them. I’m extremely impatient with these things(laughs).

J. Hubner: What’s the touring schedule look like for We Love You in the near future?

Caleb Lewis: We will be heading out on a week long tour with our friends Plans from Indy. I believe that starts in mid July. Those dates should be announced very soon. We may try to do another week tour sometime in November. We all work full time jobs, so its a very difficult process getting the time off work at the same time. Convincing our bosses to let us off work for a week is probably the hardest part(laughs).

J. Hubner: So what’s the rest of 2016 look like for We Love You? Touring? Recording? Leaving scorched earth in your wake?

Caleb Lewis: We will be spending most of the summer recording, touring the midwest a tad bit, and playing some really rad festivals. We are playing MSM Fest on June 18th, seriously one of the coolest fests to play and attend. Mini Mayhem on June 25th. Then July 30th is Matter Fest, which I’m sure if going to be bigger than ever this year.

Follow We Love You here then check out their music here. Find a date and check them out live.


Nothing : Tired Of Tomorrow

Nothing seem to float in this very unique musical cloud of both inescapable beauty and sharp ugliness. The sounds are both pastoral and urban. Domenic Palermo’snothing sometimes gritty upbringing in the streets of North Philly comes through in the sounds that come through the speakers. A youth soundtracked by both hardcore and shoegaze comes through on Nothing’s records. Even in adulthood the grit followed him through his own hardcore band Horror Show and trouble with the law. Despite the problems he found his way back to music. The debut album Guilty Of Everything was a mix of jagged metal and dreamy, floating guitar chords that brought to mind early UK shoegaze bands(My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, and Chapterhouse come to mind), while still towing the line of hardcore and more extreme metal. What you got was sometimes brutal and sometimes beautiful, but always uniquely Nothing. Over the years the consensus was that shoegaze was this happy, trippy, and dreamy sound, but listen to some of those early records and that’s not quite the case. There was always an element of darkness and danger. An acid trip that was never quite enlightening in the eyes wide open sense, but more in the sense that the dark, ugly truth was exposed and you and you alone were privy to it. Nothing has tapped back into that darkness that was left back somewhere in the early 90s.

Nothing’s newest record, Tired Of Tomorrow, seems to find a middle ground where the dreamy aspects and the darker persuasions collide into a beautiful cloud of disenchantment. It feels inclined to give into the dark passenger and just let whatever happens happen. It’s beautifully heavy and dizzying in it’s hazy dreaminess.

The songs? There’s a lot to choose from, really. From the big anthem-ish opener of “Fever Queen” to the concise pop beauty of “The Dead Are Dumb” and the Cure-like dream pop splatter of “Vertigo Flowers”, the record opens like a vein spraying paisley designs on the wall. It seems the pitch black dread of Guilty Of Everything has been replaced with a sunnier disposition? Well, not really. “A.C.D.(Abcessive Compulsive Disorder)” finds some noisier guitar and that soulful lament back in Nick Palermo’s voice that weighed heavily on earlier fare. “Curse Of the Sun” is an overdriven crush of a track that brings back some of that “Bent Nail” vibe from Guilty Of Everything. “Eaten By Worms” sounds a touch of Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box” during the quiet moments before trudging through sludgy riffs and sorrowful vocals in the chorus. Piano peppers the quieter moments towards the middle of the song giving the song a gothic feel. It’s an absolute highlight here. This song is like that girl you pined for in high school; she was quiet, dark, and uniquely beautiful, yet you never had the nerve to say anything to her. This song is that regret, in music form.

But still, this album has plenty of dreamy moments. “Nineteen Ninety Heaven” could be a slow dance song at a prom somewhere in the states. It sways just right, and has just the right amount of heart string pulling in it to get all those weird, sad feelings bubbling up inside. “Everyone Is Happy”, ironic title aside, is a beautifully constructed dream pop track, and it’s nearly one of their most beautiful tracks to date. Piano only adds to this tracks ethereal beauty. The title track closes out the album with a mournful piano and Palermo’s whispered hush of a voice. It’s very reminiscent of early NIN. “Something I Can Never Have” comes to mind. It’s one hell of a way to close an already stunning record.

Nothing’s Tired Of Tomorrow isn’t promising things are gonna get better for us. Maybe even the opposite. But it’s an amazing record, filled with all the stuff amazing records are filled with; angst, sadness, contempt, and the will to fight. And it’s a next level kind of album for a North Philly punk. They may be tired of tomorrow, but not too tired to care.

8.2 out of 10



sun less sea

Over the years I’ve grown an affinity for shoegaze music. When it made its presence known back in the late 80s and earlyIMG_0797 90s I didn’t get it. That was essentially my high school years and I was too busy listening to Rush, hair metal, and speed metal to be concerned with a bunch of mopey Brits staring at the floor as swirls of distortion and reverb filled the space around them. One of my really good friends did buy My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless. I think he saw a video on 120 Minutes and felt compelled to purchase it. From what I remember I thought it sounded like white noise. “Where’s the guitar solo?” “Where’s the ballad?” Where’s the breakneck tempo changes and stories based on Ayn Rand novels?” Yes, these were actual thoughts in my head at the time.

So needless to say, shoegaze wasn’t my bag at the age of 17 years old.

Fast forward to 2006 and on a whim I ordered Loveless from Amazon. I’d read a few articles about the making of the record and had gotten a keen interest in the debacle and madness that went into creation of such a noisy album. Turns out I had to grow up a bit to find some angst in middle age to appreciate the music called shoegaze(this happened with me and NIN as well. In 2005 after years of not caring for Trent Reznor, all of a sudden NIN clicked for me. Thanks middle age and parenthood. Thanks responsibility.) Now, I did quite like Lush back in the day. Their album Spooky played quite a bit in my 1977 Chevy Nova, but I think the pop and melanchoy aspects appealed to my teenage dystopia more than anything.

Anyways, back to the relative present.

In 2012 I discovered the New York record label Captured Tracks. I found many bands to love that year on that label; The Soft Moon, Wild Nothing, Diiv, and Thieves Like Us to name a few. Perusing their website I found a section called Shoegaze Archives. This was a group of sorta forgotten, lesser known shoegaze bands from the early 90s and Captured Tracks reissued some of their seminal records. Medicine was one that I discovered on there. I ended up ordering both albums Captured Tracks reissued of theirs(as well as buying both of their reunion albums in 2013 and 2014.) They’re now one of my absolute favorite bands, and I’ve interviewed their singer/guitarist/songwriter Brad Laner twice. Super nice guy and an absolute studio wizard. Anyways, another band I discovered on there was Half String. Now the idea is that most of the great shoegaze bands come from the UK, and I’d say the vibe of shoegaze certainly originated across the pond. But I would also argue that there are a few US bands that took that idea and, while not improving it, gave the genre a unique twist. Medicine was a California band, while Half String came from Phoenix, Arizona. Not the mecca you’d imagine that would inspire the love of overwhelming noise and atmosphere, but listening to their excellent Maps For Sleep record you’d be hard pressed to imagine this band coming from anywhere but Manchester, UK.

Half String’s music is decidedly more low key, down tempo than say MBV, Ride, Catherine Wheel, or the aforementioned Medicine. Their music sounded more like The Cure in lilting form. Lots of heavy reverb, chorused guitars, and sadsack vocals courtesy of singer/guitarist Brandon Capps. Now if you’re not a fan of melancholy, sadsack, heavily reverbed music, then maybe this isn’t for you. Maybe this world isn’t for you, as melancholy and sadsack are two things this world is about. So go take your happy, good times music elsewhere, pal. We’re all about moping and staring at the floor. Sorry, something came over me. I’m not quite sure what it was. Maybe the spirit of overwhelming doom, sculpted into a wall of beautiful noise? Or I just haven’t had enough coffee.

The songs on Maps For Sleep are what you’d imagine them to be: big, lush, cavernous reverb, and plenty of jangly guitar. Vocals are of the sleepy variety, while the drums have that dance-y “Madchester” feel to them. First track “Eclipse” has a dance vibe while still feeling overwhelmingly downbeat. It’s like a sigh put to music. I think the DNA that went into bands like Diiv and Wild Nothing’s music definitely derived from a record like Maps For Sleep. Title track “Maps For Sleep” opens quietly and then has a nice build-up, revving up to some big emotional release. That Fender single coil guitar sound is in full swing here. The song slows down a bit before getting back in full swing with some Robin Guthrie-like guitar noise. Speaking of Guthrie, Cocteau Twins must’ve made a big impression on Half String as those dreamy swirls of delay and chorused guitar echo some Cocteau love for sure.

So this album isn’t breaking new ground, and honestly there are far better shoegaze and dream pop records out there. For me I just love the love and time that was put into reissuing this album by Captured Tracks. They took a band that was seemingly lost in the overwhelming wave of 90s alternative bands and gave them a little bit of the spotlight they deserved. It’s a better-than-average shoegaze album, with some great moments of musical grandeur dispersed throughout. There is also a second LP included with several songs that were never released for public consumption that show the potential for greatness that was there. I think singer/guitarist was said to have a shoebox filled with 56 tunes he never put out, and these bonus tracks were culled from those songs. Pretty cool stuff.

Half String’s Maps For Sleep reissue is well worth checking out. A great shoegaze band that never quite got the recognition they deserved. Thanks to Captured Tracks, and the internet, they may have gotten a bit of that recognition now. At the very least they sold a record to this guy right here.


No Joy : More Faithful

I can’t remember the first time I heard No Joy. I know it was sometime in 2013 when they had justno-joy-more-faithful put out their excellent Wait To Pleasure. Something about that album was immediate and in-the-moment so I was compelled to have it. The guitar and vocal interplay between Jasamine White-Gluz and Laura Lloyd has a very classic sound to it. It’s one of those magical musical things that seems as if they’ve been here all along, since the beginning of this thing we call “shoegaze”. They have this thing where there voices intermingle and become one singular sound. And their guitar playing is intricate and fluid. It’s not three-note power chords and fuzz pedals(though there’s plenty of fuzz happening.) Its’ slippery, wavy, and hard to pin down just what the hell they’re doing. The melodies that emerge from these guitar excursions are also some of the catchiest you’ll likely hear.

With their new album More Faithful, this Canadian quartet has cemented their place among the greats of shoegaze, noise, and dream pop. It’s dreamy, psychedelic, aggressive, and technical enough to keep those guitar dorks(like me) guessing and in awe.

“Remember Nothing” comes blaring out of the speakers like a post-punk fit of rage before the vocals come in and give the song a push into the ethereal. It sounds as if Lush is trapped in a guitar squall vacuum. Enough cannot be said for the rhythm section of Michael Farsky and Garland Hastings. Hastings drum attack is quick, masterful, and raw, while Farsky lays down some great low end, giving the track some solid footing allowing the White-Gluz/Lloyd guitar team to get as noisy as they like. “Everything New” comes rolling in like a sweet breeze. It’s an absolutely beautiful song that would make Elizabeth Fraser weep. Seriously, this is the song that should be blaring out of every car during those summer road trips. “Hollywood Teeth” is a perfect example of how No Joy have cultivated their own sound. Everything feels familiar here, yet it’s nothing you’ve ever heard. Driving, aggressive, yet light thanks to the harmonies in the vocals. At about the 1:20 mark it sounds like the song melts mid jam. Like things start to slow down unnaturally before the song kicks back in. This is something I want to hear live. “Moon in my Mouth” is one of those technical beauties. White-Gluz and Lloyd intertwine their voices dreamily as the guitars banter back and forth. Almost jazz-inflected, this track is as tricky as it is amazing.

No Joy front load this record like no other. Every single is gotten through in the first four songs. Most of the time that might not be a good thing, but with a band like No Joy we’re just getting started. “Burial in Twos” harkens back to some classic 4AD sounds, bringing Cocteau Twins’ Blue Bell Knoll to mind before the guitars and intricate drum beat come in and things get noisy and hazy. “Corpo Daemon” is a punk-inflected rocker with a great pop chorus. Some amazing drumming by Garland Hastings here. “Rude Films” is another musical twist. Subtle and catchy as hell. Another example of the versatility of this band. “I am an Eye Machine” rolls along like a cross between The Motels and Deerhunter, before things blow up a little over halfway through. “Judith” closes the album on a big and harmonious note.

It’s gotten to the point where No Joy have distinguished themselves from their peers. No one sounds like No Joy except for No Joy. White-Gluz, Lloyd, Hastings, and Farsky have found the perfect balance between guitar squall, sweet harmonies, and angular riffage. They have taken their influences and have meshed them perfectly with their own sound, so as to make comparing them with others a hard thing to do(though I tried a little.) More Faithful is an excellent album, and No Joy’s best yet.

8.5 out of 10




My Drunken Haze :: My Drunken Haze

hazeOne listen to Athens, Greece quintet My Drunken Haze and their self-titled debut, you can tell they’ve done their homework. Their sound is colored with hues found on a late-60s psychedelic color wheel. They veer more on the side of pop than rock, but that’s not to say a fuzz pedal isn’t engaged here and there.

While we’re on the subject of fuzz pedals, “Gambling Woman” sounds almost giddy with it’s blues runs, farfisa organ, and singer Matina Sous Peau’s reverbed and distorted yelps. That’s not to say she can’t sound sweet; check out opening track “Carol Wait” and the neo-psych pop of “Yellow Balloon” for further proof of her sultry, vocal prowess. “Girl Who Looks Like A Boy” is a mixed bag of pure pop confection and drug haze bliss, with Spir Frelini’s songwriting really shining through the dense haze. “Pleasing Illusions” is the centerpiece track on this debut, as it should be. It’s a crawling desert death trip(both literally and existentially) as the tambourine and echoplex work overtime in this dense seven minute opus. Lots of synth noise and percussion move the song along as the band does some great harmonizing vocally. “Reflections Of Your Mind” has a more modern sound, with Silversun Pickups coming to mind. “Paper Planes” sounds like a cross between Melody’s Echo Chamber and Mazzy Star. The longing is undeniable in this great song. Peau really shines here as the track shows her strength as the voice of My Drunken Haze. “Endless Fairytale” closes out this strong debut on a cloud of harpsichord, electric piano, and Peau’s reverbed, distant vocals.

My Drunken Haze dabble in 60s pop, psychedelic haze, dream pop, and even shoegaze at times. When they take all of those influences and mix it with their own mojo, they make something quite lovely, dense, and easy to get lost in.

7.9 out of 10