Category Archives: Dream pop

Cold Beat’s sophomore album “Into the Air” shows a band in sync

After a strong showing with their debut LP “Over Me” just last year, punk and electro-pop band Cold Beat is back with “Into the Air.”

Already, the band seems deeply in sync, a feat that could take more than a few albums for a new band to master before they can focus on pushing personal boundaries.

Bassist, vocalist and primary songwriter Hannah Lew, previously with the San Francisco surf-rock trio Grass Widow, easily carries the weight of Cold Beat’s vocals. Her strong yet angelic sound acts as a guiding light for the album’s dark points. Add the rest of the band’s playful pop/synth style, and Cold Beat can embody the punk-crossover rebellion of Blondie or the bleeding-heart shoegaze of Dum Dum Girls.

Lew’s lush voice soars throughout the album — it radiates romantic warmth, mirroring Debbie Harry’s opulent style.

Haunting, isolating melodies and moody soundscapes are what Cold Beat does best, evident in the synthwave wanderings of the instrumental “Clouds” and the drum-machine and space-rock album closer “Ashes.”

But the band can also change its attitude within a song. They build tension with a guitar clang and propulsive drumming on the protopunk “Sisters,” a song that later finds solace in a flowing melody, which was somehow there all along. Compare those textures with the brisk guitar strumming of the straightforward “Am I Dust,” or Lew’s heartbreaking indecision on “Broken Lines,” and Cold Beat’s broad versatility on “Into the Air” becomes even clearer.

The new album, “Into the Air” was on Lew’s label Crime On the Moon on Sept. 4.

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Filed under Dream pop, Electro-pop, Indie Rock, New Wave, Post-punk, Punk, Review, Space rock, Synth pop

Enjoy this stream of Cold Beat’s new album “Into the Air”

The punk electro-pop band Cold Beat is streaming their new album “Into the Air.” The new album, their second LP and out Sept. 4 on Crime On the Moon, shows off the group’s wide range of influences.

Strong vocals throughout, from bassist and vocalist Hanna Lew, embody the rich-sounding youth of early Blondie’s pop nuggets and that punk rock sound, as on “Broken Lines.” Lew’s voice may be the closest to Debby Harry’s as you can get, while still maintaining her own identity. Her vocals soar freely throughout the album, emitting a dreamwave warmth.

The vintage synth sound of “Am I Dust” and the ragged guitar intro and propulsive drumming of the punk-driven “Sisters” both show the band’s broad versatility on the album. They can be haunting, as on the instrumental “Clouds” and moody, on the space-rock closer “Ashes.” Through it all is Lew, who makes the whole thing sound easy. The San Francisco native‘s previous project was with the all-girl outfit Grass Widow.

Cold Beat only has a handful of tour dates, so you’ll have to head to Brooklyn to see them.


Fri. Sept. 18 – Brooklyn, NY @ Union Pool

Sat. Sept. 19 – Brooklyn, NY @ Shea Stadium

Sun. Sept. 20 – New York, NY @ Other Music (7PM)

Sun. Sept. 20 – Brooklyn, NY @ Silent Barn

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Filed under Dream pop, Electro-pop, Indie Rock, New Wave, Punk, Space rock, Synth pop

Pins bears the scars of falling in love with “Wild Nights”

The British all-girl band Pins works the smooth and jagged angles that intersect dream-pop, shoegaze and garage punk to create a highly stylized second album with “Wild Nights.”

The album glorifies those universal moments of lust and danger; later, when they try to clean up the shards of their painful breakups, they wise up and realize love, at least as they’d like to imagine it, is never a sure bet.

The group comes out, guns blazing, on the punk-rock “Baby Bhangs,” and shocked at how good being bad can actually be.

The bright guitar jangle of “Young Girls” embodies what most disheartened teens are going through, living in blank and bleak cement suburbs. Instead of sitting around waiting for their big break to come, Pins suggest breaking out.

Pins-Young Girls vid

By the time you hit the confident ease of the shoegaze sound on Song 3, “Curse These Dreams,” the band establishes itself as heartbroken dreamlovers, moving confidently through “Wild Nights.”

On the more retro biker-chic songs like “If Only,” they storm the genre full-tilt, and singer Faith Holgate declares her loneliness in love.

Holgate can confidently pull off lines like, “I don’t know what to do with myself” and “I tell myself I’m OK, but honestly, I don’t believe me,” and sounds sure of, and resigned in, her femininity.

Pins has shown way more dimension than what can be expressed through anger and straight punk chords.

Through Sophie Galpin’s pounding drums that richly and glumly sound the beat, Holgate’s richly romantic voice, and solid talent from bassist Anna Donigan and guitarist Lois McDonald, the band lets songs breathe and flow, and then slowly build momentum, until you feel their loss too.

Pins’ “Wild Nights” is out on Bella Union.

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Filed under Dream pop, Punk, Punk-rock, Review, Shoegaze

Seoul streams “I Become A Shade”

Seoul’s upcoming album “I Become A Shade,” is streaming now via Spin. It’s set for release June 9 on Grand Jury.

Based on what we’ve heard here from Seoul, this new album should begin its rightful climb up the charts. It’s hazy sound should be the perfect foil for those chilly days in August.

Listen to the easygoing swirl of “White Morning,” which evokes 70s dream-pop. The soft, whispery vocals are accented by tiny pinpricks of synth notes, and covered all over with a beautiful guitar fingerwork.

They’ll be playing a few record release shows, including a free one in Brooklyn, before heading back to Montreal.

June 24 —  NYC– At Berlin
June 25 — Brooklyn, NYC — Brooklyn Vegan Rooftop Films– free show.
June 26 — Montreal — At The Plant

About “I Become A Shade,” the band says:

I Become A Shade is a dream-ode to banality, isolation, sidelong glances, and rented rooms. Despite its tendency to dwell on such feelings of anxiety and loneliness, I Become A Shade attempts to transcend its land-locked desperateness, arriving briefly at ecstatic junctures of self-discovery and growth. All the while, the rain continues to fall.”

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Filed under Ambient, Dream pop, Synth pop

Seoul streaming dream-poppy single “Real June”

The Montreal trio Seoul, has released a bright new song with just enough lift to start off summer. “Real June” is electro-dream pop with an instantly likeable, swirly pop-vocal background.

Seoul’s new single, “Real June” is streaming now on SoundCloud. Listen below:

Seoul’s debut “I Become A Shade” is out June 9 on Grand Jury.

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Filed under Dream pop, New Music, Synth pop

Chillwave genius Memory Tapes’ new single drops next week


Memory Tapes’ latest single, “Fallout,” is the newest piece of music to come from the synth-pop genius since his “Sunday Morning Mix” last August. “Fallout” is the A-side of a single he’ll release on Carpark Records at the end of this month — the B-side of which is “House On Fire.”

According to, Memory Tapes (Dayve Hawk) is also announcing a summer tour that begins July 25 at Baby’s All Right with Computer Magic.

Hawk, of New Jersey, is formerly leader of the Philadelphia-based group Hail Social, now defunct. Listen to “Fallout,” along with the rest of his music, at Memory Tapes’ blog site.

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Filed under Chillwave, Dance-Synth, Dream pop, Electronic, New Music, Synth pop

In Tall Buildings release another song off “Driver”

InTallBuildings CalebCondit1

Photo of Erik Hall by Caleb Condit

In Tall Buildings (Erik Hall’s project) has released another song off his upcoming album “Driver.”

“Unmistakable” is cut from the same cloth as the first single, “Flare Gun.” It puts forth the same yearning and honesty, with crisp acoustic notes supporting Hall’s vocals. The song ends in a burst of drums and guitar.

Listen to “Unmistakable,” and compare it with the slightly softer “Flare Gun.”

Check out the dream-pop of the City Center remix of “Flare Gun,” which features Dina Bankole.

“Driver” is out Feb. 17 on Western Vinyl.

In Tall Buildings - "Driver" out Feb. 17 on Western  Vinyl.

In Tall Buildings – “Driver” out Feb. 17 on Western Vinyl.

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Filed under Acoustic, Dream pop, Electro-pop, New Music

Nite Fields release gorgeous track “Prescription”

Nite Fields have released another beautiful love song in the form of “Prescription,” off their debut LP “Depersonalisation.” “Prescription” is among a host of songs the quartet of Danny Venzin, Chris Campion, Liza Harvey and Michael Whitney recorded over four years in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

The lyrics of post-punk bitterness of “Prescription” are wrapped in an intricate, exquisite guitar melody that’s their signature. “You wanna break my stride, you wanna rule the tides, you wanna rip the heart from my insides,” Venzin drolly sings.

The Aussie band’s much-awaited album is out Feb. 3 on felte.

Listen to “Prescription” on Soundcloud. And in case you missed it, check out the previously released “You I Never Knew.”

Nite Fields have plenty of European dates to choose from:
01/22: Petrozavodsk, RU @ Amsterdam Club
01/23: St Petersburg, RU @ More Club
01/24: Moscow, RU @ Powerhouse
01/27: Kharkov, UA @ Akuna Matata
01/29: Kiev, UA @ Closer
01/30: Athens, GR @ Death Disco
01/31: Larissa, GR @ Sto Peripou
02/01: Thessaloniki, GR @ Mavri Tripya
02/04: Skopje, MK @ MKC
02/05: Sofia, BG @ Mixtape 5
02/07: Bucharest, RO @ Question Mark
02/12: Tallinn, EE @ Sinilind
02/13: Tartu, EE @ Genialistide Club
02/14: Riga, LV @ Depo
02/18: Vilnius @ Kablys
02/20: Zurich, CH @ Exil
02/21: Paris, FR @ Espace B
02/23: London, UK @ The Old Blue Last

02/26: Essen, DE @ Goethebunker

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Filed under DIY, Dream pop, Garage rock, New Music, Post-punk

Listen to Nite Fields’ new single, “You I Never Knew”

Nite Fields: Depersonalization is out Feb. 3 on felte

Nite Fields: Depersonalization is out Feb. 3 on felte

Nite Fields are readying their debut LP, “Depersonalisation,” due Feb. 3 on felte.
The recording for “Depersonalisation” came about in myriad places — from a basement, to bedrooms, to studios, stairwells and garages – more than 20 locales. The nine-song debut was produced by Nigel-Lee Yang of HTRK.

Listen to the first single by this Australian shoegaze-dreampop band, “You I Never Knew.” The song is packed full of romance and guitar-hook tenderness. It’s a bit like The Church’s “Under the Milky Way,” and that frilly era of late ’80s spun-sugar alternative.

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Filed under alternative, Dream pop, New Music

In Tall Buildings releases mellow single “Flare Gun”

In Tall Buildings - "Driver" out Feb. 17 on Western  Vinyl.

In Tall Buildings – “Driver” out Feb. 17 on Western Vinyl.

Chicago’s Eric Hall, or, In Tall Buildings, has released the mellow but pretty electro-pop song “Flare Gun,” off his sophomore release “Driver,” out Feb. 17 on Western Vinyl.

Hall studied percussion and audio engineering in college, while working in the afro-funk band NOMO, and more recently dream-pop band Wild Belle. Hall split his time between a farmhouse in Michigan and his home studio for four years to create “Driver.”

Listen to “Flare Gun,” on which Hall sounds like a youthful Peter Gabriel, but a lot more welcoming.

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Filed under Dream pop, New Music, Synth pop