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
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
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
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
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
TOPS’ sophomore album Picture You Staring might be one of the most consistently satisfying albums out there, half based on the fact that they know exactly how to compose flawless, catchy riffs, and half due to the soft, bright nature of Jane Penny’s vocals. The Montreal based dream pop band will soon release their third album, and, along with the news, have also shared the first single. “Petals” is funkier and geared more towards pure soft rock, but the carefree, breezy TOPS spirit is still there, complete with a choral vocal line oozing with charm.
Sugar At The Gate will be released on June 9th.
photo by Takuroh Toyama
Next month, Oakland-based multi-instrumentalist Melinda Duterte will release Everybody Works, her official debut album as Jay Som. Of course, the album follows her excellent bedroom-recorded release Turn Into, which unleashed her atmospheric, gossamer-like dream pop onto the world. The new album’s first two singles, “1 Billion Dogs” and “The Bus Song,” expanded on that same aesthetic, complete with thick, foggy guitars and . “Baybee,” however, may be her most delicate and refined track to date, solely based on the magical way in which all the elements merge together. Her vocals are the star of the entire track, hovering gently on elastic twangs of guitar and supersonic effects, narrating the complexities of emotions within a relationship frustratingly based on them, portraying happiness as a dual effort from both parties. It’s somehow both soothing and exhilarating, two contradicting feelings which will surely make the debut that much more of a stunner.
Everybody Works will be released on March 10th.
photo by Cara Robbins
Danish dream-pop quintet Lowly recently released their debut album Heba, chock full of dark, gorgeously rich instrumentals and somber, ethereal vocals provided by Nanna Schannong and Soffie Viemose. When listening to the album in full, its hard to believe that this is the group’s first album; the potent emotion in the lyrics and the half-shimmering, half-shuddering flourishes in production point to a band that know their abilities to a point of brilliance. There are moments of glitchy synth and warped guitars, others with anxious, splashy drums and wavering vocals, but, as evident in “No Hands,” always seems to return to something ethereal, large, and brooding. It’s a rather slow build, but with beautifully shrill vocals and almost quaint, polka-dotted synth, it’s absolutely worth it in the end, where everything swells to meet the desperate voice that has brought you all this way.
(“No Hands” begins at 28:35, but we highly suggest you get there organically.)
photo via bella union
Methyl Ethel’s debut album Oh Inhuman Spectacle was a shining example of just how charming and intimate dream-pop can be, full of shimmering synth and frontman Jake Webb’s sharp, flinty vocals. At it’s core, the Perth trio’s debut was passionate and focused, and that same passion now carries over into their newest release, “Ubu,” the second teaser from their upcoming sophomore album Everything Is Forgotten. Like the first single, “No. 28,” it’s more upbeat and complex in its instrumentals, swapping out soft and intimate for direct and acerbic. Webb’s vocals are elastic and buoyant, with the bassline thick and brooding underneath. It’s a track that grows on you the more you listen to it, and the groove it provides is making us anxious for the new album’s release.
Everything Is Forgotten will be released on March 3rd.
photo by Anna Victoria Best/ 4AD
Teen Daze, also known as Canadian artist Jamison Isaak, has returned with a stunning new single, as well as news of a forthcoming album. “Cycle” is his first release since last year’s Morning World, an album which made use of a sun-bleached, giddy dream pop aesthetic. The new track feels more ambient and experimental than his past work, with layered, choral like vocals that float over the instrumentals with ease. It almost sounds like a rejuvenation of emotions, a rebirth of ideas and thought, both bright and shadowed at the same time. Towards the end of the track, the synth oscillates wildly, with Isaak’s soft oohs soothing the listener into submission.
Teen Daze’s newest album Themes for Dying Earth will be released in February.
photo by Landon Speers