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Posts Tagged ‘Dream-pop

Spirituality and affective states

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Dreamy London duo, Labyrinth Ear, release a digital deluxe edition of their debut album, ‘The Orchid Room’ this week.

Fans have been treated to exclusive remixes and a new bonus track, ‘Bitter Almonds’, which is every bit as edgy and trance-inducing as you would expect from the electronic pair.

I see Labyrinth Ear as the only viable, whilst still progressive, successors to Lamb – most likely my favourite ever electronic band. ‘Marble Eyes’ being a perfect example of the similarities between the two groups, particularly in their subtle application of spirituality and affective states in their hazy and dream-like productions. Aikea Guinea directed this video, which I think is just stunning and contextualises the track perfectly.

If you like this, have a listen to ‘Amber’ and ‘White Gold’, two of my personal favourites.

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂


Written by shelleyhanveywriter

September 23, 2014 at 12:59 pm

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Kate Mara and other bright, shiny things courtesy of Broken Bells

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Broken Bells release their second studio album ‘After The Disco’, on February 3rd, 2014. In support of the new release, they have collaborated with The Creators Project and POPfilms to produce a short two-part film, starring Anton Yelchin and Kate Mara. Directed by Jacob Gentry, the film focuses on the meeting and subsequent relationship between the ‘Angel and The Fool’, all set against the backdrop of a futuristic world where dreams and synths weave to create an ethereal and eerie setlist for, what appears to be, the school disco from hell.

Broken Bells is James Mercer (The Shins) and Brian ‘Danger Mouse’ Burton. You may recognise Kate Mara from Brokeback Mountain, she played the equally beautiful Heath Ledger’s daughter, Alma Jr. In this story she plays an elfin-like otherworldly creature, who is awoken by a rather handsome yet shifty character (Yelchin) only to discover that she has no recollection of where she is or how she got there; haven’t we all been a victim of the same fate on holiday after five mango daiquiris and an ill-advised offer to be the human pinata? No? Yep, me neither…



The music clips featured in each film are all taken from ‘After The Disco’, giving an insight in to the kind of shiny dance vibes and chilled out euphoric states that we might expect to experience from future live performances. Actors talk about ‘light and shade’, which is defined as: different parts of the character of a person or the quality of a thing. I think the reason why I love dream-pop so much is its ability to produce something so bright, shimmering and piercing yet which, when opened up,  is filled with the suggestion of sadness and of something much darker. I like this facet of the human character too – that if you allow yourself to be drawn in by something or someone, there is always that moment when you’re afraid that you won’t be able to find your way back, but you do it anyway because you want to believe that the bright, shiny thing is as real and as true as it appears to be. I also have recurrent dreams about falling…maybe they’re related! /

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

January 16, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Abstract art for the ears; the immensely emotive and cinematic work of White Blush @carolrhyu

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I’ve been listening to the work of a hotly-tipped new artist from Los Angeles this week: White Blush.

White Blush is the work of artist Carol Rhyu and producer John Ho. Rhyu’s sound is classic ambient-pop, yet also incorporates and indeed induces trance-like qualities. If you like Beach House and Cibo Matto, you’re more than a little likely to love this artist.

Rhyu, ‘became curious about creating haunting boy choirs over fuzzy synths and drums’, and that curiousity certainly appears to be leading her down her pre-destined path. She is currently working on releasing an EP this year, with the debut single and B-sides already available for free download at White Blush has also just been nominated for LA Deli Magazine’s Artist of the Month Poll.


Ambient-pop is one of my favourite styles of music, it is immensely emotive, cinematic and thought-provoking; qualities I look for generally in life, not just with music. I would class this genre of music as abstract art for the ears; every listener will have a different interpretation of the meaning and inspiration behind the track, with the lyrics tending not to offer any clues or insights. Abstract art depicts a departure from reality and this sums up ambient-pop perfectly.

I look forward to hearing more from White Blush in the coming months and hope to see Rhyu in the UK sometime soon. /

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

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June 25, 2012 at 2:33 pm

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Talented tootsies, gals, lassies and other such sweet things…tracks from Beach House, Marina, Agnes Obel, Paloma Faith, Amy MacDonald and Angus & Julia Stone

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Looking for an apt title to headline a piece about a collection of female singer-songwriters, I happened upon the following synonyms for the word ‘female’: babe, bimbo, dame, dish, doll, floozy, moll and skirt. I just didn’t feel quite right describing such talented and respectable artists as Paloma Faith and Julia Stone as ‘skirts’, so I opted for the slightly less Dickensian and more Gaelic ‘lassie’ and ‘tootsie’…a reference which in no way implies any similarities to the work or wardrobe of Dustin Hoffman. Just so that we’re clear.

Beach House is a dream pop duo consisting of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally. Legrand hails from France and Scally from Baltimore, US. The duo’s fourth studio album, ‘Bloom’ was released in May 2012 to critical acclaim, following 2010’s ‘Teen Dream’ which has been described as one of the best albums of its year. I have highlighted new album track ‘Lazuli’ below.


Marina And The Diamonds released the follow-up to debut album ‘The Family Jewels’ a couple of weeks ago; ‘Electra Heart.’ ‘Power & Control’ is the second track to be released from the record, which is performing brilliantly in the UK Album Chart. To be fair, there isn’t one weak track to be heard on the album, so it deserved to do well. This is probably my favourite record of the year so far.


I am loving the new high-gloss, high-drama TV series Revenge on E4. I’m not usually a fan of such things (90210, One Tree Hill, The O.C.) as they pretty much bleed in to each other plot-wise. You could accidentally sit on the remote as you reach for your Chipsticks, switch over half-way through and not realise you had actually scooted over the short coastal distance from Beverly Hills to Newport Beach and the cast had all aged about 20 years. Revenge however has the edge…maybe that’s because it’s set on the East Coast? It has a great cast, an addictive plot sequence and very importantly for me, an exciting musical soundtrack.

Agnes Obel‘s track, ‘Avenue’, featured on the pilot episode of Revenge and had a big impact. The track is taken from the Danish singer-songwriter’s debut album ‘Philharmonics’ which was released in September, 2010. Album track ‘Riverside’ has also featured on the hit series; Obel is obviously a personal favourite of the music supervisor.


Paloma Faith released her second album ‘Fall To Grace’ last week; an album which was preceded by the single ‘Picking Up the Pieces.’ The track is Faith’s highest charting single to date. I also really like ‘Just Be’ which Faith performed on Later…with Jools Holland recently. It is surprising and slightly irksome to her followers that Faith hasn’t yet enjoyed the same level of notoriety as some of her peers, particularly Stateside, but I think that this is all set to change with this album.


Amy MacDonald released her third studio album today (June 11th, 2012), ‘Life In A Beautiful Light.’ The album has already garnered several positive comments from the music press and Perez Hilton no less. The album follows in much the same vein as ‘This Is The Life’ and ‘A Curious Thing’, but possesses perhaps a more rose-tinted lyrical glow. MacDonald is no less fiesty in her subject matter, but everything certainly seems to be blooming in her world. Good for her.


Angus and Julia Stone for those who are not in the know, are a brother-sister folk duo from Sydney, Australia. They formed the band in 2005 and have since gone on to release two studio albums, the most recent of which was ‘Down The Way’ in 2010. I re-discovered ‘Hold On’ whilst watching Revenge last week. Angus and Julia are both working on solo projects at the moment, so I don’t think that we can expect any new music anytime soon. / / / / /

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

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June 11, 2012 at 4:29 pm

School of Seven Bells @sviib, making SMG’s mean NYC Ringer streets leap out from the screen

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School of Seven Bells (SVIIB) is an electronic/dream-pop band from New York, consisting of Benjamin Curtis (formerly of Secret Machines) and Alejandra Deheza (formerly of On!Air!Library!). Deheza’s identical twin Claudia left the band in late 2010. After releasing two successful albums in the US (‘Alpinisms‘ (2008) and ‘Disconnect from Desire‘ (2010) ) and touring with Bat for Lashes and Interpol, the band has released their third album, ‘Ghostory‘ (February 28th, 2012) to critical acclaim.

I first heard of the band through one of my new favourite TV programmes,  Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Ringer. Their edgy, ethereal electro sound fits the show perfectly and makes the high-gloss tension of the Martin’s mean NYC streets leap out from the screen. Three of my particular favourite tracks from the record are included below: ‘Lafaye‘, ‘Love Play‘ and ‘The Night.’ ‘Lafaye‘ has an Eyes Wide Shut-feel to it, and is significantly better than the film I might add.





The band are currently touring the US, but I’d love to see some UK festival dates throughout the summer. I predict big things for this dreamy twosome. /

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

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March 10, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Cosmic commentaries courtesy of m83’s stellar double album ‘Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming’

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m83  is an electro/synth-pop outfit, which centres around the mind and merits of French musician, Anthony Gonzalez. ‘Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming’ is the band’s sixth studio album and first ever double album, containing a total of 23 tracks.

‘Midnight City’ was the first single to be released from the record and has achieved great things both Stateside and in the UK/Europe.


The album is the highest charting release from the band to date; testament to the calibre of craftsmanship in its content. Gonzalez described the album as a mix between the synth-pop of fifth album ‘Saturdays=Youth’ (2008) and the more serene sounds of third album, ‘Before the Dawn Heals Us’ (2005). A perfect combination I think you’ll agree.


‘Reunion’ is rumoured to be the second single from the album, set for an iminent release. The 80’s influences are ever present on this track, yet m83 manages to continually refresh its sound, giving the band a much-needed modern, glossy and enticing edge when pitted against similar outfits.

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂


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February 27, 2012 at 5:13 pm

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Jonsi and Lykke Li; the aurora borealis isn’t the only bright light on the northern horizon

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The aurora borealis (or the northern lights) is a natural light display in the sky, which occurs when energetic charged particles collide with atoms in the high altitude atmosphere of the northern latitudes. Iceland and Sweden offer several particularly stunning vantage points to see this phenomenon, but this isn’t the only glaringly bright light on the northern horizon…introducing Jonsi and Lykke Li.

Jonsi is a Icelandic singer-songwriter, most famous for his work with post-rock band, Sigur Ros. Taking the lead on vocals and guitar, Jonsi’s was the falsetto tone that typified the band’s sound and direction; not surprising therefore that he has taken with him many of the followers he has amassed since the band’s emergence on to the scene in 1992. You may be familiar with the track  above, ‘Around Us‘, which is taken from Jonsi’s debut solo album, ‘Go‘ (released in  the UK on April 5th, 2010).

Jonsi’s music does not enable a straightforward categorisation; it encompasses ambient, baroque pop, world fusion and post-rock, all the while delivering striking and evocative lyrical imagery that jumps off the page and in to your senses. Another one of my favourite tracks off the album would be ‘Animal Arithmetic‘; a more frenetic, fast-paced sound than many on the album, this track carries the listener off a dream-like journey across glacial pools, through dazzling lights and frozen landscapes. Definitely one for the repeat button.

Boy Lilikoi‘ is another track from the album which would slot perfectly and succinctly on to the soundtrack of any big-budget celluloid fantasy adventure and that it just might; Jonsi has recently written and performed the track ‘Sticks and Stones’ , for inclusion in a hugely popular DreamWorks cinematic animation.  ‘Boy Lilikoi‘ is uplifting, powerful and enchanting; the same can certainly be said of the album in its entirety.


Lykke Li is a Swedish singer-songwriter, currently enjoying huge success in America after several critically acclaimed live tv appearances. Fusing indie rock with electronica, Li manages to straddle several genres, committing to none,  with her intoxicating blend of raspy soul tones and sultry, yet strong feminist statements.

Love Out of Lust‘ is one of my favourite tracks from Li’s new album ‘Wounded Rhymes‘ (released in the UK on February 28th, 2011). The slow drum build-up to the astral chorus does just what it intended here – captivates and hooks the listener, leading them in to that trance-like state before sleep and awakening, between knowing and nothing. I also like the sentiment of romantic possibility about this track; love, too often rarely emerging from pure and carnal lust.

Continuing the strong, sexual theme, ‘Get Some’ was the first track to be released as a single from the album. The track features on a lingerie advert, which is slightly ironic, yet still manages to make sense. I love the addictiveness of this track, aided in no small part by those same heavy drums which form the main instrumentation throughout.

The latest single to be released from the album is ‘Rich Kid Blues.‘ A good example of the diversity shown on the record as a whole, this track leans towards a more indie-rock sound, with a few flecks of blues notes in there for good measure.  This track has been getting a lot of airplay at the moment, so you may be familiar, if not why not?! Definitely a sound for the – as yet non-existent –  summer of 2011.


Written by shelleyhanveywriter

July 20, 2011 at 4:38 pm

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