"Composer Jonathan Haskell released his first batch of ambient instrumental music under the Seven Saturdays name eight years ago, and in various incarnations he’s been coaxing cinematic marvels of his Rhodes ever since. His last official Seven Saturdays release was five years ago, but in collaboration with two singer-songwriters, he has released music under the names POLLA (with Zoe-Ruth Erwin of Little Red Lung) and Glasz (with Jim Evens of Helen Stellar). Both of them have guested on Seven Saturdays releases, too, so it gets confusing. But suffice to say that if Haskell has a chewy center as a composer, it would be in the instrumental music like on his first EP.
Seven Saturdays lives again, today releasing the new single “Vertigo” — but even in doing so he enjoys an almost-incidental contribution from one of his collaborators. There are two versions of the new single, one instrumental and one with vocals from ZÖE (Erwin’s new nom de tune). Both are equally stunning.
“I initially set out to make a record that sounded like ‘A Beautiful Day’ [a song from the first EP] because musically, that’s the space where I’ve always felt the most free and inspired,” Haskell explains. “Since the last official Seven Saturdays release, I’d been focusing on other projects. … It had become a fun experiment to collaborate full time, but after a while, I started to want to return to form and explore the depths of instrumental music again.”
Working with producer Steve Kaye (Sunking Studios) and utilizing the talents of drummer Chris Allis and bassist Keith Joyner, Haskell finished the 6-minute instrumental. But funny things happen when you share work with friends, right? Especially when they happen to be living in Iceland with a studio handy.
“Upon hearing the final version, Zoe offered to sing on it as a trial. Just to see,” Haskell says. “And of course when she sent the tracks back from her studio in Iceland, the song was transformed into something entirely new. Something that I never could have imagined and only she could have done. Zoe is one of the most creative people I’ve ever met, and her vocals have this otherworldly quality to them that’s hard to describe.”
So, Haskell says, “I decided to put both out as the single “Vertigo’ — one featuring Zoe, and [the other] as the original instrumental as it was first dreamt. Everybody wins.”"
Showcasing a deft mix of jangle-pop and synth-laden pop, "Human" is a captivating new track from dream-pop trio Raised By Dinosaurs . Think Wild Nothing's guitar work combined with the lush nocturnal synth edge of Chromatics. A South American dream-pop trio based in San Francisco, Raised By Dinosaurs exist to ponder the “everyday fear of being irrelevant.” Their first EP 'Night Terrors' (released 11/23/17) is a tragically upbeat exploration of a wiser yet more jaded persona that evolves as youth and vitality begin to fade. Collaborating remotely from Brazil, guitarist Henrique St.Clair incorporates an experimental dreamy tone to the melodies, distancing the group away from the upbeat nature of pop and towards a gloomier, more self-reflective vibe. Singer/songwriter Marcello Manso haunts lead vocalist Sol Diaz through each track like the shadow of a memory she struggles to let go of, her own voice gradually degenerating into the electronic composition of the songs, becoming like technology and trends, unavoidably obsolete.
Raised By Dinosaurs is the creative brain child of longtime friends Marcello and Henrique. As Henrique entered into a new phase of his life, becoming a father, the two took it upon themselves to record music that addressed the fear we all must deal with in time, the anxiety of that life is perhaps meaningless. “Human “ was written to express empathy to the new generation that will eventually also become obsolete. “Human” is soothing and sweet, a lullaby from one generation to the next.
Gibberish is the experimental-psych duo of Derek and Lorie Bromley. Formed in their spare bedroom in Arkansas before moving to Los Angeles (where they now reside), Gibberish started out with looping live drums through effects, with Lorie playing bass and keys and Derek rounding things out with a melody and guitar after looping some sort of distorted beat. They enjoy surrounding their songs in textured, spacey blankets, but having a core of rhythmic, lo-fi percussive sounds anchoring the wafty synths and sparkling guitars.
“The new album Kneehigh was written right after we moved from Arkansas to Los Angeles,” the duo explains. “It’s about being in a sort of survival mode that we also felt was mirrored in a lot of ways by society at large around this time.”
“Feet Wet” begins in a luxurious psych-pop haze, gently leading to mellow vocals just prior to the one-minute mark, after an exotic and shimmering introduction of fluttering acoustics and sweeping vocal harmonies. The next four minutes showcase a budding, gorgeous sound that breaks around 02:23, though just briefly until it unleashes cathedral-sized psych-pop bliss in the final minute. It’s an excellent, majestic effort that shows what Gibberish do well: developmental psych-pop with a magical feel.
New Jersey's Blood Cultures conjures majestic pop fireballs and zaps your senses with dreamy, summery synth sounds evident in the debut album release "Happy Birthday." Washed Out's ethereal vocals meets Neon Indian's fuzzed out synth sounds in the 12-track release that's so far seen the success of singles including "Indian Summer," "Moon," and "Detroit."
"Happy Birthday" is officially out tomorrow and be sure to catch Blood Cultures' debut live performance at Rough Trade NYC on August 9th.
Berlina are an alt-rock band based in Madrid, Spain, which formed in 2007. Their music touches upon a wide variety of genres, from shoegaze to dream pop, post-rock to psychedelic. Despite the undeniable pop influence, Berlina's music tends to drift towards the experimental. Texture plays a vital role in the band's sound, formed by layers of distortions, ethereal vocals, atmospheric soundscapes and ambitious instrumentals. Composer Alfonso Herrero's lyrics are quite introspective and deal with the constant struggle with shifting emotional states. They have often been compared to Slowdive, Lower Dens, Autolux, Deerhunter, and early The Verve.
Their debut album Desértico has been released by Grabaciones a Montones (Spain) and The Burros Discos (Colombia) in the current year, and was produced by Manuel Cabezalí (Havalina), as well as their previous works. “Desértico” features eleven new songs and represent a personal approach to genres such as shoegaze, dreampop, psychedelia and post-rock.
A combination of retro aesthetics, enduring lyrics and alt-rock grit.
The best music happens when artists refuse to remain stuck in their own comfort zones and creative boxes. Whenever this happens, they are free to give full range to their vision, and they can really come up with something that’s groundbreaking and personable. This is certainly the case here with Tommy Red and his brand new EP release, “I Wanna Be Exploited.”
Marva Von Theo is an Electropop / Synthwave duo formed in 2016 by the Athens-based singer-songwriter Marva Voulgari and the Vienna-based composer-producer Theo Foinidis.
Their Debut Album “Dream within a Dream” was released early in 2018. The 12 songs on their Album, lean towards an electronic sound that incorporates a variety of influences ranging from the music of the 80’s until today. Darkwave sounds, Jazz harmonies, Rock and Dance drum beats resonate together and mature into something darkly romantic.