Teen Ravine – “Hall of Horrors”

After sharing it late last year, this week Toronto dream pop duo Teen Ravine have released the music video for “Hall of Horrors,” the first track off their upcoming debut album. The album, described by members Nick Rose and Dan Griffin “as an exploration of physical and emotional alienation,” introduces these themes in the first track, composed of both light and heavy instrumental elements to create a potent aura of melancholy. Lush orchestrals, chimes, and soft guitar strums intertwine with a deep underlying bassline, individual rivers that all seem to converge into the deep ocean that is the bridge – where everything suddenly gets heavier seemingly both physically and emotionally. But it is the hazy, half-desperate, half-spellbound vocals that truly separates Teen Ravine from the rest, bordering on everything from impassioned to tired to haunting in the flick of a wrist. Perhaps the multi-faceted nature of the vocals comes from the track’s lyrical narrative, which deals with wanting to escape the past but not without being reminded of it every step of the way – hence the “hall of horrors,” a fun-house carnival attraction without the reward of the exit sign.

Teen Ravine:

In this song, we tried to capture the disoriented feeling of waking up in the middle of the night and not knowing where you are. Struggling to fall back asleep as your mind wanders to uncomfortable places. Feeling lost and reaching out for someone who’s no longer there. 

We live in a noisy world and it can be hard to find intimacy and compassion. It’s easy to emotionally detach and drift along aimlessly, a passenger in your own life. We wanted to create music for people to sink into themselves as they float in a warm bath staring down at their own weird naked body.

Teen Ravine will release their debut self-titled album on October 18th.


photo courtesy of artist

Tennis – “I Miss That Feeling”

Earlier this year, Tennis released their stunning fourth full-length album Yours Conditionally, a breezy, pastel-tinged recollection of husband-wife duo Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley’s relationship as well as Moore’s own inner thoughts and emotions on being her own person despite being attached to another. “I Miss That Feeling,” the second single from Tennis’s upcoming EP We Can Die Happy, is a beautiful continuation of Moore’s vocal gift – which, here, sounds more beautifully fragile and delicate as ever – as well as Riley’s dreamy, yet expertly focused guitar melodies. Moore’s underlying piano evokes the subtle dexterity and delicacy of Tobias Jesso Jr., emulating that soft, hazy 70’s vibe flawlessly. Riley, in turn, dances around her via his calculated guitar swells – if you’ve ever seen them live, the image of him swaying to her every word as if in a trance definitely comes to mind. With this track, Moore also holds onto her title as the queen of rhyme – where else but in a Tennis song could you half-rhyme “every little thing starts trembling” and “needle of an EKG” and still manage to get away with it?

We Can Die Happy will be released on 11/10.


photo via noisey

Garbanotas Bosistas – “Last Summer’s Day”

Lithuanian indie quartet Garbanotas Bosistas have released their first new track in two years, following the previously released psychedelic debut album Above Us as well as their sparse, minimal debut EP Venera. The dreamy, experimental “Last Summer’s Day” – the first taste of their upcoming sophomore album – bids a bittersweet farewell to the warm season, with soft, almost warm pastel synth swells and a beautifully nostalgic narrative courtesy of vocalist Šarukas Joneikis. Lyrically, it both romanticizes and fights the feelings of wanting to stay in that warmth, Joneikis lamenting “Lord, I really need to get moving on,” his voice lingering with each word that escapes his lips. The instrumentals, slow and saccharine sweet at the beginning, are perfectly in step with the vocals like a waltz, only to condense and explode in a cacophony of sound, a last hurrah both passionate and reverential in nature.


photo courtesy of artist

Winston Surfshirt – “Same Same”

Last Friday, Syndey-based six-piece Winston Surfshirt released their debut album Sponge Cake. The album expands further on their unique aesthetic, which can only be described as the energy of  hip-hop married to the mellow vibes of dream pop and chillwave. The bizarre combination of these two genres surprisingly makes for highly textured, complex tracks, sometimes even unpredictable in nature. “Same Same,” one of the standout tracks on the new album, begins with bouncy, phaser-like synth, yet also incorporates elements of funk and jazz, the hazy, breathy vocals acting like the glue that holds everything together. In a moment of reflection, he explains acapella that “you can be my fantasy/ changing places with reality” before solidifying that desire with a potent burst of sound that maintains its fervid, bubbling energy to the very end.


photo courtesy of niche productions

The fin. – “Pale Blue”

Based on their three stunning EPs, Kobe, Japan-based trio The fin. seem to have mastered the delicate art of balancing the genres of synth-pop, chillwave, and dream-pop to the point of creating something multi-faceted, unpredictable, and most importantly, effortlessly gorgeous. Their newest batch of singles from their upcoming fourth EP includes “Pale Blue,” an ambient masterpiece that mimics the lucidity and calm of wading in cool, clear water and walking until its to your shoulders, with frontman Yuto Uchino’s soft, assuring vocals as your guide to the unknown. Psychedelic synth swells and phases in and out of existence, guitars chime in with gauzy riffs, and metallic effects round everything out, leaving you to float happily in the waves of sound, without a care in the world.

Also make sure to check out their most recent single “Heat,” a sparse, yet mesmerizing, surreal track that flawlessly mimics its namesake.


photo courtesy of artist

Alvvays – “In Undertow”

Back in 2014, Toronto-based indie quartet Alvvays released their self-titled debut album, its jaunty, complex tracks like the comical, yet heartfelt “Archie, Marry Me,” and the edgy, emotional “Party Police” flawlessly expressing their own quirky, colorful brand of dream pop laced with shoegaze, surf rock, and everything in between. Now, three years later, the group is back with the first single from their upcoming sophomore album Antisocialities. “In Undertow,” evocative of shoegaze, is definitely heavier and more delicate than their past work, the most different being the softer vocals from Molly Rankin. It’s mellow and simple, with a stoic tone that only expands as the track plays on.

Antisocialities will be released on September 8th.


photo by Arden Wray

Cloud Control – “Rainbow City”

Australian indie group Cloud Control have returned with a new single, their first since the departure of bassist and founding member Jeremy Kelshaw. While still technically riding the line into dream pop, “Rainbow City” evokes a far different sound than anything in 2013’s Dream Cave, swapping out hazy, even borderline psychedelic melodies and echoed vocals with something more gritty and unrefined. Alister Wright yelps out his vocals as if tortured by something threatening and inexplicable, then mellows out during the chorus, where Heidi and Ulrich Lenifer provide haunting background vocals, and a silvery guitar solo burrows itself between chords. There’s a surreal quality to this part in the track, as if you lose your space and time and wander the world Cloud Control has created.


photo courtesy of artist

From Indian Lakes – “Sunlight”

Late last year, dream pop group From Indian Lakes – the project of Joey Vannucchi – released their debut album Everything Feels Better Now, and they’re back with the new video for their shimmering track “Sunlight.” The instrumentals are intricate and complex, all wonderfully faded and awash with synth effects like an overly enamored garment worn by the sun, creating something even more beautiful as a result. The track is delicate yet passionate, as Vannucchi wishes to be “the dream you see at night” and “the one who could save your life.” With vocals like those, he just might be.


photo by Marshall McKinley

Cende – “Bed”

This week, Brooklyn-based group Cende (featuring members of Porches and LVL UP) have announced the upcoming release of their debut album #1 Hit Single, and have shared the first peek into their unique sound. “Bed” flawlessly combines both dream pop and emo rock, with muted guitar and rapid drums. Frontman Cameron Wisch’s vocals are raw, visceral, and unhinged, appropriate due to the lyrical narrative of the track, which has the protagonist hesitant to leave the safety of their bed due to the fear of failure. It’s a sentiment all too familiar for most, and the pure honesty in Wisch’s voice mixed with the simplicity of the lyrics make the song that safe little nook in which to find solace, much like its namesake.

#1 Hit Single will be released on May 26th.


photo courtesy of artist

Hoops – “On Top”

Last month, Indiana dream poppers Hoops announced the release of their upcoming debut album Routines as well as shared the first energetic single “Rules,” and now they’re back with the newest tease. “On Top,” written by bassist Kevin Krauter (who also released a fantastic solo EP last year) slows things down just a touch, but with the same hazy vocals and bright, muted guitar melodies to express a shameless, feel good sound. The layers of synth and instrumentals build then flourish after the chorus, where they seem to radiate like rays of sunshine.

Routines will be released on May 5th.


photo courtesy of artist/ fat possum records