Posts Tagged ‘Slumberland Records’

 

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We loved New Yorkers Peel Dream Magazine’s recent release Agitprop Alterna, an excellent album that draws from a wide set of post-punk, shoegaze and indie pop influences but still has an assured, unique sound. Now they’re following up with “Moral Panics”, a companion EP that features unreleased songs from the Agitprop Alterna sessions.

The six tracks are, without exception, all top-notch tracks that stand strong on their own, and make an excellent companion to the album.

Brooklyn’s finest Stereolab/My Bloody Valentine hybridizers surprise release a new EP, Surprise! New EP out today via Slumberland Records and Tough Love Records – limited edition lathe cut vinyl via Tough Love from was made available over night but it has sold out. Peel Dream Magazine released the terrific Agitprop Alterna earlier this year and have now released, for Bandcamp Friday, this EP of songs that didn’t quite fit the record. I definitely wouldn’t call these throwaways, and some are new territory of the band. “Verfremdungseffekt” is low-key folk with a krautrock engine, and “Dialectrics” is one of their warmest pop melodies yet, drenched in chugging guitar, drony organ and a lead line right out of the JAMC recipe book. They’re still pulling from Stereolab (“Life at the Movies”) and My Bloody Valentine (“New Culture”), but making it their own.

This is a companion EP that features unreleased songs from the “Agitprop Alterna” sessions. Far from being outtakes, these are all songs that stand strong on their own, and gathered together function as a useful corollary to the album.

The EP’s title comes from Stanley Cohen’s “Folk Devils and Moral Panics,” a pivotal study of the media treatment of the mod movement and the poltical, societal and cultural faultlines that the media panic embodied — it’s a reference that’s quite revealing about some of the ideas behind Peel Dream.

Peel Dream Magazine, the shoegaze and indie-pop project of NYC musician Joe Stevens, released their sophomore album Agitprop Alterna earlier this year, and it showcased a floaty, pensive style of pop. Their new EP Moral Panics isn’t so much a departure from that sound as it is a reaffirmation that they’re one of the best at what they do. Between transportive serenity (“Live at the Movies,” “The Furthest Nearby Place”) and fuzzy potency (“New Culture”), Peel Dream Magazine are masters of stylish, profound songcraft.

Peel Dream Magazine – Moral Panics EP

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Brooklyn baroque shoegazers Peel Dream Magazine have shared another track from their upcoming album Agitprop Alterna which is out April 3rd via Slumberland Records. “Emotional Devotion Creator” chugs along at a quick motorik pace with more than a little Stereolab in there. Frontman Joe Stevens says the song is about “personal liberties and manipulation,” explaining, “an ‘Emotional Devotion Creator’ is a marketer or brand that tries to get you to feel attached to a product in order to get you to buy it. The song is asking, ‘where do you draw the line?’ Does everything have to be something special? Am I supposed to buy my way through everything now?’”

Peel Dream Magazine is the musical vehicle for NYC’s Joe Stevens, who launched the band in 2018 with the critically acclaimed album “Modern Meta Physic,” a mysterious, liminal tribute to the hazy end of ‘90s dream-pop that found its place on numerous “Best of 2018” lists. Now Peel Dream are back with “Agitprop Alterna,” an album that pays homage to the fuzzy, mod-ish pop of acts like My Bloody Valentine and early Stereolab, but it’s also indebted to stateside bands like Yo La Tengo and Rocketship that were cut from a similar cloth. “Agitprop Alterna” finds Stevens channeling the collaborative spirit of the band’s live incarnation in the studio, deepening the connection between the existential and the interpretive first explored on “Modern Meta Physic.” It is a rejection of manipulation in all its forms and a buzzsaw against complacency; it’s a rare trick to agitate without being obvious, and perhaps that makes “Agitprop Alterna” the most Peel Dream Magazine-like statement yet.

Taken from Agitprop Alterna, out 4/3/20 via Slumberland Records.

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There’s more than a little Orange Juice in this jangly song from Brooklyn’s Pale Lights (which features members of Comet Gain, Crystal Stilts, The Ladybug Transistor and others). It’s a new 7″ that’s part of Slumberland Records’ 30th Anniversary singles series. Pale Lights formed 2011, in Brooklyn. Lead singer and songwriter Sutton was a founding member of Comet Gain, and has played with a number of groups over the years, mostly drumming for the likes of Velocette, The Soft City, The Projects, Kicker, and Cinema Red and Blue. Adler played bass for Crystal Stilts, and Cinema Red and Blue, Nienaber has been a member of Great Lakes, and Goldstein drummed for Kevin Alvir’s Knight School. Across two albums and a clutch of in-demand singles the band has established themselves as exemplary exponents of a classic style of pop that aligns with them groups like Felt, The Go-Betweens, Lloyd Cole & The Commotions, and just about all of the best bands from the Flying Nun and Creation catalogs.

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In other words, just the sort of band that we love here at Slumberland. “You And I” is Pale Lights‘ contribution to our SLR30 Singles Series and it’s a lovely way to spend three minutes and twelve seconds. Sporting an indelible melody and some very fine guitar strum ‘n’ jangle, it is the sort of tune that 7″ singles were invented. By the time Gary Olson’s trumpet comes in at the mid-way point you know that you’re in the presence of greatness. On the flip “Say You’ll Be The One” is a winner as well, slowing things down for a stately bit of late-night rumination. One of the finest indie-pop singles this month and a very worthy addition to the SLR catalog.
releases April 24th, 2020

Pale Lights are from New York. They are:

Philip Sutton: rhythm guitar and vocals
Suzanne Nienaber: vocals and keyboards
Andy Adler: lead guitar
Maria Pace: bass
Lisa Goldstein: drums

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Peel Dream Magazine, the project of musician Joe Stevens, combines off-center dream pop with classic shoegaze soundscapes. Both their 2018 debut album Modern Meta Physic and forthcoming LP Agitprop Alterna (out on April 3rd via Slumberland Records) exude a hypnotic quiet-loud dynamic, often aided by blurry synths and serene vocals. Mixing the glaring with the pacifying, Peel Dream Magazine are an exercise in dazzling, retro-meets-modern drone. The band’s 2020 follow-up Agitprop Alterna is much broader, thanks in part to the live members that appear here like vocalists Jo-Anne Hyun and Isabella Mingione and drummer Brian Alvarez, and also due to its emphasis on a more dynamic sound. It’s a caressing record with satisfying moments that are felt long after they pass—take for instance the innocent, fluttering keys that close “Brief Inner Mission,” which transition into the wonderfully filtered vocals and blown-out guitars of “NYC Illuminati.” Agitprop Alterna is a loungey, droning, space-age odyssey that might help even the most anxious among us escape for a bit.

It’s not without good reason that people have been likening Peel Dream Magazine to My Bloody Valentine, Stereolab and Yo La Tengo. Helmed by Joe Stevens, one of New York’s finest contemporary players, the outfit makes music that’s tender but savage, powerful but delicate and packed with beautiful discordance hiding its sumptuous melodies. ‘Agitprop Alterna’ is their second full-length release and it certainly adds fuel to the argument that people need to take this lot very seriously. In addition to the aforementioned, here it nods to Velvet Underground (notice the tripped out, opiate-hazed interludes throughout the album) and krautrock-leaning art pop. The record drones, drives, grooves and perplexes on its course, but most of all it unarguably impresses. Or at least that’s what we’ve got to say on the matter

Agitprop Alterna is out everywhere today Shout to everyone who made this possible, most importantly Slumberland Records and Tough Love Records

Jeanines is a compact, breezy distillation of the stripped-down essence of what indie-pop is, and has been, about. On their 16-song, under-30-minute debut album, the duo of Alicia Jeanine and Jed Smith remind us again that sometimes all we need are simple, heartfelt sentiments, sung sweetly to catchy melodies over minimalist guitars and drums.

Brooklyn’s Jeanines specialize in short bursts of energetic but melancholy minor-key pop. With influences that run deep into the most crucial tributaries of DIY pop — Television Personalities, Marine Girls, early Pastels, Dolly Mixture — they’ve crafted a style that is as individual as it is just plain pleasurable. Jeanines specialize in 60s-meet-80s melodies that combine with timeless guitar jangle in a way that recalls the UK’s C86/C88 era, when smart young bands crafted perfect pop gems enlivened by the inspiration of punk. Clearly, with 16 great songs included, there is a lot at work here on this standout debut album. Jeanines have been compared to such cult pop icons as Dear Nora, Black Tambourine, and more recent acts like Veronica Falls and Girl Ray, but their dark, modal melodies and pensive, philosophical lyrics ensure them a place of their own in today’s crowded but boisterously healthy DIY pop scene. Throw in a cover of the Siddeleys‘ classic “Falling Off My Feet Again” and any indie-pop fan should be besotted and besmitten.

Taken from their self-titled debut album, out now on Slumberland Records.

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Hailing from Brooklyn, Jeanines are the indie-pop duo of Alicia and Jed. After catching the ear of many with their recent self-titled LP, released via the legendary Slumberland Records, the band are currently plotting touring plans for 2020. This week the band have shared their first ever, “proper”, music video, for their seasonally titled, album stand-out, Winter In The Dark.

Brooklyn’s Jeanines specialize in short bursts of energetic but melancholy minor-key pop. With influences that run deep into the most crucial tributaries of DIY pop — Television Personalities, Marine Girls, early Pastels, Dolly Mixture  they’ve crafted a style that is as individual as it is just plain pleasurable. Jeanines specialize in 60s-meet-80s melodies that combine with timeless guitar jangle in a way that recalls the UK’s C86/C88 era, when smart young bands crafted perfect pop gems enlivened by the inspiration of punk. Clearly, with 16 great songs included, there is a lot at work here on this standout debut album. Jeanines have been compared to such cult pop icons as Dear Nora, Black Tambourine, and more recent acts like Veronica Falls and Girl Ray, but their dark, modal melodies and pensive, philosophical lyrics ensure them a place of their own in today’s crowded but boisterously healthy DIY pop scene.

Winter In The Dark is a fine example of Jeanines’ sound, a style pitched between 60’s pysch-folk and C-86 jangle-pop, Alicia spits out her words like a stream of consciousness, as bright airy guitars sit beneath contrasting the sublime bass-runs and urgent rhythms. With Slumberland turning thirty in December, you’d forgive them a little nostalgic naval gazing, instead with bands like Jeanines, they remain as exciting and forward thinking as ever, here’s to another thirty!

The Jeanines’ self-titled LP is out now via Slumberland Records. Taken from their self-titled debut album, out now.

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Opening with a brisk, dynamic, and hummable instrumental riff, “How To Quit Smoking” advances quickly from there into a verse so confidently melodic as to recall some lovely, imaginative amalgam of Belle & Sebastian and The Smiths. Papercuts’ master mind Jason Quever sings with the barest hint of a British accent that he actually doesn’t have and a baked-in wistfulness augmented by vocals that are mixed down into the center of the rhythm section. He sounds to me like someone singing on a budding spring day about how he actually misses the autumn.

This one is propelled by a classic backbeat as well, but note what a different vibe. Despite Quever’s gentle presence the song bounds forward with a determination reinforced every time the opening riff cycles back through. There’s an extra songwriting trick in here that, to my ear, adds to the song’s pluck: the way that in most of the verses, the third lyrical line picks up without any rhythmic space from the second line—listen at 0:36 for an example (the second line ends with the words “on the ceiling,” the third begins with “Read a book,” directly on the next beat, in the same measure). This is a small gesture that you’re probably not intended to notice, but it’s a wonderful flow-enhancer in just the right place.

Quever has been recording as Papercuts since 2004, including one record for Sub Pop in 2011. Long based in San Francisco, he recently moved to Los Angeles. His latest album is Parallel Universe Blues, on which “How To Quit Smoking” is the third track. It was released on Slumberland Records in October 2018. You can listen to the whole thing on Bandcamp, and then buy it there in your preferred format (digital, CD, vinyl).

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One of the more true inheritors of the mantle of Stereolab to emerge in some time, this debut album from Joe Stevens under his Peel Dream Magazine name (note the John Peel reference) was significant enough to gather the interest of Slumberland Records, a fact which on its own is enough to make an aware listener know an artist is worth a chance. In a year full of great albums packed with great individual songs, Modern Meta Physic is an album of an evolving mood, spending its 40 minute run time putting you in a place that is as much a creation of some abstract sense of past as it is a channeling of the present.

Peel Dream Magazine is the nom de plume of New York City-based musician Joe Stevens. A nod to BBC Radio 1 legend John Peel, arbiter of all things underground, Peel Dream Magazine is highly evocative of a certain strain of independent music. As Stevens explains, “I wanted to create an outlet for subcultural wanderers. Something you can subscribe to.”

Stevens harkens back to the early 1990s, when The Velvet Underground resurged as an inspiration to a new set of bands wielding synthesizers, off-set guitars, and a political bent. The Peel Dream experience is defined by a gentle, fuzzy psychedelia —it’s a hypnotic bit of mod-ish lo-fi pop, recalling the best of early Stereolab, Lilys, and other shaggy haired kids with vintage fuzz pedals, slim trousers, and good record collections. Stevens conjures a distinctly 90s vision of the 60s. Not the actual 60s, mind you, but perhaps a 60s daydreamed about from the creature comforts of a suburban living room. An abstraction. Shag carpet turned to bowl cut. Jean jackets — disaffected but wholesome youth. It’s not irony, exactly. It’s the love that comes from loving. And a bit of whimsy. It’s the 90s, again. Post-post.

Written and recorded over a four-week period in the fall of 2017, Peel Dream Magazine’s debut album “Modern Meta Physic” fixates on the New Age universe of the Catskills region of New York. Stevens deals in generic bohemian fare — Far East philosophy, Native American tradition, mid-century modern cool — as he appraises the world according to privileged urban expats who increasingly call the upstate paradise home.

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Leading off the album, “Qi Velocity” is a metronomic take on French pop that yields to a lush chorus reminiscent of Belle and Sebastian. “Deetjen’s,” named after the much-loved bed & breakfast in Big Sur, would fit snugly on Unrest’s best Teen Beat material. “Due to Advances in Modern Tourism” displays a soft take on Neu!, while the organ that enters could be a sly wink to Steve Reich’s “Four Organs.” There is an economy to these tracks — everything is distilled down to it’s essential elements, no gestures are wasted, no superfluous ornamentation taking up space.

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While Stevens is more than happy to show his influences on his sleeve — mind you, they’re great influences — it’s clear Peel Dream Magazine isn’t just a “sound.” The guy can write songs. Where he goes next is anybody’s guess.

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“Modern Meta Physic” is the debut album of Peel Dream Magazine, the nom de plume of New York City-based musician Joe Stevens. Stevens, a talented multi-instrumentalist, wrote, played, recorded, and mixed the album in his apartment in Brooklyn — quite surprising, considering how much “Modern Meta Physic” sounds like it was played by a tour-seasoned band.

A nod to BBC Radio 1 legend John Peel, arbiter of all things underground, all things quality, and all things — it must be said — “cool,” Peel Dream Magazine is highly evocative of a certain strain of independent music. As Stevens explains, “I wanted to conjure media . . . to create an outlet for subcultural wanderers. Something you can subscribe to.”

Exhausted by what he thinks of as the manipulative aspects of contemporary pop music, Stevens harkens back to the early 1990s, when The Velvet Underground resurged as an inspiration to a new set of bands wielding synthesizers, off-set guitars, and a political bent. The Peel Dream experience is defined by a gentle, fuzzy psychedelia, largely indebted to London’s onetime “Scene that Celebrates Itself.” It’s a hypnotic bit of mod-ish lo-fi pop, recalling the best of early Stereolab, Lilys, and other shaggy haired kids with vintage fuzz pedals, slim trousers, and good record collections. Stevens conjures a distinctly 90s vision of the 60s. Not the actual 60s, mind you, but perhaps a 60s daydreamed about from the creature comforts of a suburban living room. An abstraction. Shag carpet turned to bowl cut. Jean jackets — disaffected but wholesome youth. It’s not irony, exactly. It’s the love that comes from loving. And a bit of whimsy. It’s the 90s, again. Post-post.

Written and recorded over a four-week period in the fall of 2017, “Modern Meta Physic” fixates on the New Age universe of the Catskills region of New York. Stevens deals in generic bohemian fare — Far East philosophy, Native American tradition, mid-century modern cool — as he appraises the world according to privileged urban expats who increasingly call the upstate paradise home.

Not everything is tongue-in-cheek, however. Stevens also pays homage to Catskills as a place replete with natural wonder — a place of self-discovery and impromptu adventure. “I wanted to convey the Catskills the way that Brian Wilson conveyed Northern California on the post-Smile records. It’s a little trippy, a little childlike, but the feeling is real.” In “Living Room.” Steven’s surrenders to Mother Nature in a bit of dada-esque worship, transfixed by “sound, sight and weather.” On “Don’t Pick Up Slackers,” Stevens settles into a woodland getaway home as he tries to make sense of his neighbor’s “fruit diet.” One might get lost in the nostalgia of aimless road trips and cabin retreats, but there are moments where Stevens ventures on to new topics. On “Art Today,” he opines on what he sees as the maddening and thankless task of committing oneself to making art. “Us for Chanel, all are to sell. I want to tell, some days are well.”

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Leading off the album, “Qi Velocity” is a metronomic take on French pop that yields to a lush, twee chorus reminiscent of Belle and Sebastian. “Deetjen’s,” named after the much-loved bed & breakfast in Big Sur, would fit snugly on Unrest’s best Teen Beat material. The ambient “Levitating Between 2 Chords” suggests Oval in “94 Diskont” mode. There is an economy to these tracks — everything is distilled down to it’s essential elements, no gestures are wasted, no superfluous ornamentation taking up space. Where some might add effects, Stevens removes them, opting for surprisingly straight-forward arrangements of Farfisa, monosynth and guitar. “Due to Advances in Modern Tourism” displays a soft take on Neu!, while the organ that enters could be a sly wink to Steve Reich’s “Four Organs” or even Terry Riley’s West Coast take on minimalism. “Wood Paneling” is a lysergic trip, a memory of a memory of an experience not lived but learned — how can something feel so relaxing yet so … uneasy?

While Stevens is more than happy to show his influences on his sleeve — mind you, they’re great influences — it’s clear Peel Dream Magazine isn’t just a “sound”. The guy can write songs. And when he wants to hit a target, he hits it. Where he goes next is anybody’s guess.

Released October 5th, 2018

Peel Dream Magazine is the nom de plume of New York City-based musician Joe Stevens. A nod to BBC Radio 1 legend John Peel, arbiter of all things underground, Peel Dream Magazine is highly evocative of a certain strain of independent music. Stevens harkens back to the early 1990s, when The Velvet Underground resurged as an inspiration to a new set of bands wielding synthesizers, off-set guitars, and a political bent. The Peel Dream experience is defined by a gentle, fuzzy psychedelia —it’s a hypnotic bit of mod-ish lo-fi pop, recalling the best of early Stereolab, Lilys, and other shaggy haired kids with vintage fuzz pedals, slim trousers, and good record collections.

Written and recorded over a four-week period in the fall of 2017, Peel Dream Magazine’s debut album “Modern Meta Physic” fixates on the New Age universe of the Catskills region of New York. Stevens deals in esoteric bohemian fare — Far East philosophy, Native American tradition, mid-century modern cool — as he appraises the world according to privileged urban expats who increasingly call the upstate paradise home.

Leading off the album, “Qi Velocity” is a metronomic take on French pop that yields to a lush chorus reminiscent of Belle and Sebastian. “Deetjen’s,” named after the much-loved bed & breakfast in Big Sur, would fit snugly on Unrest’s best Teen Beat material. “Due to Advances in Modern Tourism” displays a soft take on Neu!, while the organ that enters could be a sly wink to Steve Reich’s “Four Organs.”

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There is an economy to these tracks — everything is distilled down to it’s essential elements, no gestures are wasted, no superfluous ornamentation taking up space. While Stevens is more than happy to show his influences on his sleeve — mind you, they’re great influences — it’s clear Peel Dream Magazine isn’t just a “sound.” The guy can write songs. Where he goes next is anybody’s guess.

While the influence of John Peel has never been in doubt, we must admit we were a little surprised to hear that a young, New York based songwriter, would have named his band after the great man – yet that’s exactly what Joe Stevens did. That band, Peel Dream Magazine, are set to release their latest record, Modern Meta Physic in October, and listening to the latest cut from it, Qi Velocity, we are certainly transported back to late nights in the late 1990’s listening to that wonderful strain of indie music Mr Ravenscroft Senior used to play to us so regularly.

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Peel Dream Magazine’s sound is a winning blend of pop-drenched melodies and fuzzy production, marking them out as part of the same lineage of The Velvet Underground through to Jesus & Mary Chain and Belle & Sebastian. The trick here, on Qi Velocity, is the way nothing is wasted, nothing is superfluous, just an expertly judged production that flows perfectly. Biting guitars provide bursts of energy one second, then warm buzzes of organs and electronic twinkles offer moments of dreamy escapism, the whole thing held together by Joe’s unwavering, almost unemotive vocal. Old influences, stitched together into a perfect modern tapestry, in our opinion, Peel Dream Magazine are doing music exactly the way it should be done.

Modern Meta Physic is out October 5th via Slumberland Records.