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finnish quintet cina polada make a brand of pop music that is dreamy only in terms of the ambiance swirling in the background of any given track; the foreground is often equal parts effervescent and propulsive, with melodic motifs and arpeggios jostling for space amidst busy drum parts and a soaring lead vocal.

all of those components are on display throughout “gloom,” the group’s excellent lead-off single culled from their self-titled debut ep, out september 29th via the swedish imprint strangers candy.  a bass line that would satisfy the progenitors of post-punk ushers in a cascade of guitars and synths which explore the various peaks and valleys of the song’s lush landscape, waning with the arrival of hilla miettinen’s vocals and waxing as they drift out of focus.  the result is one of the most pleasant three minutes of pop to be heard all summer long.

take a listen to “gloom” below.

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greg gonzalez’ perennial sighs echo throughout the cavernous soundscape collectively culled and maintained by the brooklyn quartet cigarettes after sex.  though lyrical intimacy is often at its forefront, the sheer depth of the band’s sonic architecture allows for other, more complex emotions to often permeate through each track’s aesthetic as well, a dual-strength collage of wistfulness capable of settling in for the long haul.

after releasing an impulsive collection of sparse, affecting songs in 2012, cigarettes after sex worked sporadically, putting out one-off singles here and there while retaining a captive, patient audience.  the advent of their latest single, “k.,” tosses any sense of uncertainty and ambiguity about forthcoming material out the window; a full-length album is due out next year via the band’s new home, partisan records.

“k.” is a lush, expansive primer for those experiencing cigarettes after sex for the first time; gonzalez’ lead vocal sits, as always, squarely in the foreground, longing for a lost love while his bandmates create a meditative pulse underneath.  jacob tomsky’s work on the trap set is the unsung glue holding the track together, an adamant kick-snare combination juxtaposed by a whispered ride cymbal pattern that embodies the band’s dichotomy in rhythmic form.

gonzalez’ guitar interludes, when locked in with randy miller’s plaintive bass lines and phillip tubbs’ warm keyboard pads, are the epitome of dream pop’s fluid tendencies, but it’s when those elements largely drop out that “k.” transcends expectations and becomes a masterful exercise in restraint.  take a listen below.

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matt messore marked the end of his tenure in you blew it! with a cross-country move and a new sonic direction.  now headquartered in grand rapids, michigan, messore assembled key personnel, among them steady collaborator victoria ovenden, and began recording dreamy, jangly pop songs as dear tracks.  after turning in their promising debut ep, soft dreams, at the start of the year, messore and ovenden are now armed with a brand-new single as they look ahead to a handful of fall tour dates.

on “aligning with the sun,” dear tracks intertwine a pair of guitar leads that dance effortlessly through watery textures, while pausing occasionally to drone alongside messore’s blissed-out lead vocal.  it’s a perfectly sun-bleached endeavor, a track that lends itself well to the waning hours of summer.

“aligning with the sun” is out now as a limited-edition lathe-cut single via the native sound.  listen in below.

 

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the prescient arrival of the future’s here & it’s terrible was hard to ignore.  2016 had already registered as an extraordinarily bleak year, but the ep – the second from dream-pop duo see you at home – came on the cusp of a defeating and volatile summer, one that’s still in full-swing.  see you at home confronts that bleakness head-on titularly and attempts to reconcile with it sonically, crafting intimate sketches that pulse slowly, allowing for ample introspection amidst sparse guitar soundscapes.  we recently caught up with the duo to talk about their nascent project and longstanding friendship.  check out the transcript below.

see you at home is a relatively new project, at least from a consumer’s perspective.  could you detail a bit of history behind the band?  how long have you two been making music together?

we’ve been playing music for quite a long while now; both of us have known each other since we were four years old, and we’ve been making music together since we were fourteen.  we had another band before this, but eventually that broke apart when some of us went to uni and got jobs.  see you at home kind of spawned when my (josh’s) uni timetable gave me a day off in the week and i decided to try and make some lo fi songs in a bathroom.  it was literally just a guitar and an 808 drum for the beat, and we liked the sound of it so we decided to expand on the idea.

your songs are incredibly intimate and feel effortless in their execution, the byproduct of what must be a very fruitful collaboration.  can you speak a bit on your songwriting process, and if you notice any clear benefits to working as a duo?

thank you so much!  the effortlessness is a product of layers and layers of obsessive production on my (josh’s) end, haha, and then the cool, calm-headed musical ear of arthur.  i would spend hours trying to get certain sounds to come through in the mix properly (to the point of insanity) and then arthur comes in to fix any doubts.  that’s definitely the main benefit for me for working in a duo; it’s hard to tell if a song is good or terrible having worked on it for so long, like when you hear a word too much and it doesn’t sound like a real word anymore. 

a lot of the collaboration and musicality comes from us knowing each other for basically our whole lives, i think.  when we jam out our songs we can usually get into a pretty cool flow quite easily because we share a similar mindset musically.  in terms of our songwriting process, i think it’s quite muddled.  we’ll usually stitch together thoughts and lyrics we’ve had at various points in our life that have a similar theme to try and create coherent songs from honest, sometimes scattered emotions.

titularly, the tone of your two eps couldn’t be more different.  was your collective headspace noticeably different while writing the material for the future’s here & it’s terrible than it was for everything is okay?

definitely.  there was a big shift in our collective emotions going through both eps.  i guess for the first ep we had just left uni and the world felt free and open and we were, to an extent, positive.  the second ep, a few months later, was a shift in tone when we realized the stark reality of real life, haha.  that said, a lot of the underlying themes in everything is okay were still quite sorrowful, but i feel like the way we handled those feelings was with a more optimistic outlook than the second ep.

what five songs would constitute the perfect see you at home mixtape?

ooh, that is a tough question.  there are so many songs that we’d love to put on the mixtape, haha.  i’d say that we’d go for the following eclectic mix, some of which we’ve drawn on for inspiration, and others which have resonated with us at various times in the last couple of years.

deptford goth – “feel real”
la dispute – “nine”
bon iver – “holocene”
brand new – “jesus christ”
julien baker – “sprained ankle”

at the rate you’ve been releasing music, a new ep could potentially surface before the year’s end, but that expectation is admittedly presumptuous.  are there any concrete plans for more see you at home material at this time?

at the moment we’re trying to sort out our live set, as we’d love to do some gigs, but we absolutely want to put out as much music as possible.  while there’s no definitive timeline, we are busy trying to make some skeleton tracks and demos.

both everything is okay and the future’s here & it’s terrible are available to stream and purchase from see you at home’s bandcamp page.  both actions are highly recommended; the duo’s compact catalogue serves as a much-needed refuge from life’s unsavory portions.  indulge.

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photo courtesy of dylan briggs-jones

when he isn’t making music as one-fourth of yumi zouma, sam perry ventures through more psychedelic fields on his own as zen mantra.  his self-titled album is out next friday via flying nun records; after sharing the hook-laden lead single “second skin” at the beginning of march, perry is letting go of a subsequent, more contemplative track today.  “maybe i’ll see you in my dreams” is a rather woozy endeavor, with several detuned melodies working in tandem to jostle the track’s equilibrium.  still, it’s perry’s penchant for an unforgettable vocal hook that ultimately reigns supreme, from the titular chorus to the song’s strong, unexpected coda. “maybe i’ll see you in my dreams” premieres below; take a listen.