June 9, 2012

Today's Hotness: Mooncreatures, Lorelei, Icebreaker/BJ Cole

Mooncreatures -- Mooncreatures / EP

>> Mooncreatures' recent, remarkably evocative and eponymous EP feels out of place among this season's promise of sun and pool-side radiance. Compiling the virtually anonymous London-based act's first recordings, the Mooncreatures / EP presents a refreshing assemblage of delayed guitar, rolling drum-machine beats and spoke-sung vocals. And, indeed, the collection's six tracks of superlative dreampop seem to instead long for days of cold rains, wave-blasted rock faces and woolen warmth. Even something as straightforward as the song titles speak to the essence of the band: "Meet The Ocean," "Coasting," and "Coast (Road)": clearly, this is indie rock for soggy and pristine English waterfronts. It's an aural environment previously mapped by the likes of The Engineers, Flying Saucer Attack and A Sunny Day In Glasgow, to name but a moody few. There are more recent analogues, of course, as Mooncreatures also traffics in recent dream-pop sonics, as elements of their songs recall the more avant drones of Belong’s excellent 2011 album Common Era and even the deadpan tightness of Brooklyn rockers Beach Fossils. The Mooncreatures / EP opener "Lakedrainers," embedded for listening below, commences with a drippy effect pedal exercise, but eventually blossoms into a steady lope with a clean guitar chord cycle and restrained use of wide-open synthesizers. Mooncreatures / EP was released April 16 digitally and in a limited edition of 50 cassettes by London-based indie label Italian Beach Babes; buy it here. With their case so succinctly made by this EP, we're hopeful for a new collection of Mooncreatures material in time for 2012's first winter frosts. -- Edward Charlton

>> Revered label Slumberland Records, which has already released tons of ace titles this year, announced this week that '90s dream pop heroes Lorelei will release a sophomore set 17 years on from its last long-player. The new collection is titled Enterprising Sidewalks and it will be issued in August. D.C.-based Lorelei formed in 1990 as a quintet and eventually released one of Clicky Clicky's favorite EPs, the now-out-of-print Asleep, in 1994; the full-length release Everyone Must Touch The Stove followed in 1995. The band, now a trio after a line-up change or changes -- treks to California later this month for its first-ever West Coast shows, including a slot June 24 on the Part Time Punks Shoegaze Festival that features Ride's Mark Gardener, Whirr, Astrobrite and others. Lorelei will be selling a limited-edition vinyl version of Enterprising Sidewalks at the California shows. Full dates posted in this Facebook Note; why not friend the label while you are poring over its words? And, in case you missed it, throw some coffee on and sit down with our recent interview with Slumberland honcho Mike Schulman, which is right here.

>> We certainly weren't sitting around waiting for someone (let alone an ensemble) to record Brian Eno's Apollo, and wouldn't have been too interested in same unless that person is Brian Eno. But even so, we were excited to listen to a new version of our favorite song from the album, "An Ending (Ascent) II." Apollo was recently recently re-recorded by the collaboration of dozen-or-so-piece collective (there's gotta be a word for that...) Icebreaker and pedal steel guitarist BJ Cole. The collaboration was apparently commission in 2009 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the moon landing, and a series of live performances of the resulting music, as arranged by South Korean composer Woojun Lee, led up to this recording. It has been quite some time since we last thought about Icebreaker, who featured on Morr Music's blindingly brilliant Slowdive tribute compilation Blue Skied An' Clear -- which we reviewed here 10 (!) years ago -- working with Manual on the second disc's non-cover "Into Forever." Icebreaker and Cole's Apollo is already available via ITunes and will be released in physical format by Cantaloupe Music June 26. Order the record here, and catch the stream of "An Ending (Ascent) II" below.

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