Words by Tim Anderl
Tim Anderl is a Dayton, Ohio-based writer whose work has published in Alternative Press, Strength Skateboarding, Ghettoblaster, New Noise Magazine among other alternative weekly newspapers, magazines and online publications/blogs. He’s the former host of the Sound Check Chat podcast and runs a boutique PR firm, Sweet Cheetah Publicity. Growing up in the rich culture of the ’80s lead Tim to a life-long love of music, including post-punk, new wave, darkwave, goth, dream pop.
For me, although the isolation accompanying stay at home orders has felt predominantly overwhelming and mentally taxing, the fresh sounds that have been slipping into my inbox have reminded me of the a slice of wisdom once offered up by Billy Idol. Sometimes music is best enjoyed while we sink another drink, gives ourselves time to think, and with nothing to lose and nothing to prove, rediscover the joy of dancing with ourselves.
That said, Shadow-Plays is ready to take a look at the latest vibrations from a variety of genres that will likely remain largely off-the-dial, but on steady rotation on my family room dance floor.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based dream pop band Suburban Living have shared a new single, “Glow,” a song that taps into the concept of being happily lonely, from their forthcoming album, How to Be Human. Suburban Living navigates reverb-washed territory that is well tread by contemporaries Death Bells and DIIV. “Glow” is the second single, following “Main Street,” from the LP that is due out August 28 via Egghunt Records, a label best known for discovering Lucy Dacus.
Chicago’s Ganser announced that their forthcoming LP, Just Look at That Sky, arrives July 31 via Felte. The LP shows just how far the band has pushed their craft, evoking a palette of post-punk and art rock influences that includes X-Ray Specs, Shellac, Bikini Kill and Fugazi, as well as Wire. Fans of Shame will appreciate the way the band leans into dangerous curves with a palpable disregard for safety. Take your chance with the video for “Lucky,” which premiered earlier this month.
With “Friend Machine,” Brooklyn-based synth-pop trio Nation of Language shared another single from their forthcoming debut, Introduction, Presence, which is due out May 22. The song tackles the duality of connectivity via technology, which can be both comforting and unhealthy. Nation of Language drinks from a pool of influences that includes the hi-fi ’80s synth pop as well as the dance-punk and electro-pop of the ’00s, without sacrificing their own unique musical exploration and songwriting aptitude. If these early singles are any indication, Nation of Language are one to watch closely in the future.
Glaare have been a burgeoning force on the new darkwave and dream pop scene since their formation in Los Angeles in 2012. With a myriad of releases under their belts already, they have announced the follow-up to 2017’s, To Deaf and A Day, will be available this Summer via Weyrd Son Records. Glaare released Your Hellbound Hearts‘ first single and music video, “Mirrors,” a powerful and intense reflective companion to the immersive and hooky song.
Glaare-adjacent band Bizou, relead their latest EP, Stillifeburing, an effort that calls to mind both ’80s pop and ’90s shoegaze sensibilities. The band is fronted by singer Marisa Prietto (Wax Idols / Glaare), and features the talents of multi-instrumentalist/producer Josiah Mazzaschi (Light FM), Nicole Fiorentino (one-half of the duo the Cold and Lovely and former bassist for Smashing Pumpkins and Veruca Salt, among others) and guitarist Nicki Nevlin (Light FM). Their combined sensibilities, which nod to Jesus and Mary Chain and Slowdive, are on full display, via their single “Crashing Sky,” which highlights the band’s aptitude for mashing the bleak with the beautiful.
On April 10, Oakland, California-based dark post-punk band Fearing released Shadow via Funeral Party Records. Shadow showcases a quartet who is adept at fearlessly exploring their unique sonic territory, and seamlessly blending elements of French coldwave, European post-punk, and the first wave of shoegaze to create something truly unique in today’s rising dark music scene.
On her new LP, Forever, Midwife concocts a nuanced mix of reverb-soaked, ambient dream pop that is both melancholy and moving. Denver, Colorado, multi-instrumentalist Madeline Johnson creates weaves threads of sound, leaving ample space for light-piercing melodies to shine through the dense, droning waves of guitar. Forever became available via The Flenser on April 10.
Deathlist, the solo project of Portland-based multi-instrumentalist Jenny Logan, shared the video for the title track from her forthcoming album, You Won’t Be Here For Long, a record that explores themes of loss and grief, as well as, survival, love and pursuit of dreams. Fans of New Order and Suicide should mark their calendars for this one, which sees release May 29.
Choir Boy have released another infectious pop single, “Toxic Eye,” from their forthcoming LP, Gathering Swans, for Dais Records (out May 18). With a feast of languid hooks and angelic vocals from frontman Adam Klopp, the moody, yet danceable track asks “What can be done when paranoia and negativity pervade every aspect of your life?” The simple solution: Gouge your toxic eye”.
Finally, there has been a shift in the release date for the highly-anticipated, forthcoming studio album from The Psychedelic Furs. Made of Rain has been rescheduled for release on July 31 via Cooking Vinyl.
As the world returns to some semblance of normal during the next few months, and we’re once again allowed to “ask the world to dance,” don’t forget those lovely nights where dancing with yourself offered a welcome escape from the crowded lonely nights.