Richmond • March 1, 2016
Trip-hop and jazz instrumentals combine in harmonius convergence on Dreamscapes, Nico Doreste’s new full-length album. Constructing complicated arpeggiations of samples and enthralling beats, Doreste has created a smooth monster of an LP through the incorporation of varied sounds while maintaining a solid flow. At points reminiscent of Shigeto or Thievery Corporation with their innovative use of breakbeats and guitar loops, Dreamscapes lives up to its namesake by creating an ethereal listening experience that would be best suited as a neo film-noir soundtrack.
Doreste’s broad aural palette is perhaps the most satisfying part of Dreamscapes as he deftly switches between auxiliary instruments samples (harp, trumpet, etc.) in little more than a measure or two. This diversity of sound brings an analog richness to the 24 tracks, something that is often missing in electronic music, and creates an aural synthesis on the level of Air or Zero 7. Doreste walks the line between intimate and detached by balancing more “out there” moments with a straightforward presentation, turning what could be divisive elements into ones of cohesion. In short, Dreamscapes brings the best of several musical styles together, creating something breathtaking where they meet.
Richmond • February 26, 2016
There’s nothing quite like good, straight-up indie rock, and on No Burden, Lucy Dacus has provided us with just that. Awash in sublime sunny tones tinged with Americana and folk influence, crooning vocals, and sensible production, these nine songs seem lost in a golden summery haze. While sharing some similarities with her popular contemporaries like Courtney Barnett and Best Coast, Dacus sets herself apart with a more honest approach akin to Angel Olsen or Lady Lamb. Without frills and excess, No Burden is a grounded, sensitive introspection on the insecurities we all share. Available now via Egghunt Records.
Skin & Bones
Harrisonburg • February 18, 2016
Synthesizers run amuck on the latest Jaguardini EP, Skin & Bones, reminding us that the 80s never really died. Sometimes sounding like a new wave cassette left in a hot car for too long or a Super Nintendo game soundtrack, this release is a natural progression from the “-wave” music that dominated the first half of this decade. Desperate vocals overlay glitchy elements like those of Com Truise, paired with the 80s revival-isms of synthpop artists like Wayphaser and Teeel. On Skin & Bones, Jaguardini takes us back to the future envisioned 30-odd years ago and heads straight into its technocultural underbelly.
House of Spirits
Charlottesville • January 7, 2016
Shimmer serves up a healthy portion of lo-fi art-school folk on this first EP. House of Spirits is raw feelings whispered over quiet acoustic guitar, underscored with 8kbps drones, washed out with thick reverb. Its spacious atmosphere, melancholy tone, and unconventional approach bring depth to this seemingly simple genre. The sparsely populated notes and occasional accents of violin and piano put Shimmer in the same league as R.L. Kelly, Kissing Fractures, and Infinity Crush. On House of Spirits, Shimmer conjures an art film romance shot on warm 8mm, a dreamy respite from the stresses of modernity.
Charlottesville • January 7, 2016
Immersing the listener in a blissful fuzz, Porcelain creates a calm, but not-so-composed, combination of classic punk and shoegaze on their self-titled EP. Through vocals rife with reverb and overdriven guitars, Porcelain’s lo-fidelity production achieves a less contrived sound than that of their contemporaries, Wildhoney and Infinity Girl, opting instead for a Waxahatchee-esque approach. Contained in these four songs are meaningful lyricism and the tasteful, but not overindulgent, use of effects. It’s a nice niche that Porcelain has claimed for themselves – let’s see how they cultivate it on the full-length.