January 22, 2013

Today's Hotness: Winter, Spectral Park, Panda Riot

Winter -- Daydreaming

>> One marvel of the modern age is the speed at which technology continually reinvents ways for artists to conceive, collaborate and record music together. Case in point: Boston's new dream-pop concern, Winter. The band's terrific new EP Daydreaming is a collaboration between Infinity Girl fronter Nolan Eley and singer and songwriter Samira Winter. "She would write the songs, and send me demos she recorded on her iPhone. Then, I would arrange and produce them, record all the instruments and have her come [in and] sing," Mr. Eley told us late last month. The result is a deft synthesis of shoegaze atmospheres and vintage girl-group vocals. What makes the pair's artistic partnership remarkable is how fully-formed and well-realized the songs are: at no point do the four songs comprising Daydreaming sound like anything other than a group that has tested the mettle of the compositions to the point of comfort and ease on stage. Throughout the EP, glassy guitars brush gently against cloudy vocals that sway with a sunny disorientation. Highlight and closer "Nothing" adds bouncy, slinky keyboard textures and buzzing, treble-kicking fuzz before the song breaches a sleepy but catchy chorus. The tune comes undone in a coda that affords Eley the opportunity to stare in the distance with some Loveless-styled reverse guitar washes. Hopefully, Daydreaming is but the first instance of collaboration between a pair that really do work together so naturally. Grab it for any price via Bandcamp right here. Winter makes what very well may be its live debut Jan. 28 at Great Scott in Boston. Dig the Facebook event page right here. Stream the EP via the embed below, and also check out the video for the title track. -- Edward Charlton

>> Southampton, England's Spectral Park raised our eyebrow with news of its upcoming self-titled full-length due next week. Little is known of the zany band's history, beyond a two-song demo on Bandcamp, but the bio on label Mexican Summer's website indicates Spectral Park is actually the product of a lone man, Luke Donovan. Leveraging loops and samples scraped from 45s Donovan liberated from the trash, the result is a masterful fusion of unhinged garage rock and bizarre sound effects. In lead single "L'appel du Vide" (translation: call of the void), a heavily reverbed click erupts into a manic verse and a short, Jefferson Airplane- echoing chorus. The tune then cycles between the two with abandon. Perhaps the label summarized what's going on here best at its web site, calling Spectral Park's music "clear-eyed flower child reveries of pop chaos." Indeed, Mr. Donovan's music would seem to offer a glimpse into a time (in the '60s) when musicians were still astounded and perplexed by analog electronic wizardry (The Electric Prunes, anyone?). The result is Spectral Park at times sounds like MGMT covering lost Syd Barrett cuts. Clicky Clicky applauds the stylish, higher-profile Mexican Summer for taking a gamble on something like this. After all, with the cheesy organs and buried drum beat, "L'appel du Vide" (stream embedded below) may not be very "of-the-moment" for a youth culture that coexists with dubstep -- but perhaps it should be. Mexican Summer releases Spectral Park Jan. 29; buy the vinyl here. -- Edward Charlton

>> >> Rising, Chicago-based dream-pop powers Panda Riot will release Feb. 19 the full-length Northern Automatic Music. Doing the honors will be Saint Marie Records, the outfit that previously issued Panda Riot's exemplary single "Serious Radical Girls," which we wrote about here last summer. A lush and deliriously beautiful preview single from the forthcoming collection titled "Black Pyramids" indicates the band persists in purveying an alluring mixture of electronic drums, shoegaze textures and palpable distortion. The rhythm tracks here are augmented by new addition to the group, drummer Jose Rodriguez. Digital, endless "ahhhs" serve as a returning riff in "Black Pyramid," then explode in the outro. Indeed, the upbeat build to that all-too-brief climax is a highlight of the number, with Rebecca Scott's sweet lilt providing a nice counterpoint to the group's stormy instrumentation. Also, the brief sing-along breakdown evidences atypical aural elements that Panda Riot occasionally incorporates –- always with one eye on the positive ecstasy that the rhythms bear repeating. Pre-order Northern Automatic Music from Saint Marie here, and stream "Black Pyramids" via the embed below. -- Edward Charlton


DanP said...

Thanks Edward. I'm a huge fan of Panda Riot by way of their previous full-length, She Bares All Things, of which I purchased the very last single copy available on Amazon at the time! I've preordered Northern Automatic Music and am really looking forward to it. Thanks for the foretaste!

DanP said...

And on the strength of your recommendation
I went & grabbed the Winter EP for a buck!!! :D

DanP said...

...And now I'm a huge Samira Winter fan. The Daydreaming EP is great and the demo EP Dandelions is very worthy also. Have you checked out any of her photography? Some of it's just exquisite...check out the Alternate Realities series on her web site. She appears to be working with old fashioned multiple exposures tho I can't be absolutely sure. http://www.samirawinter.com/#!photography/c16wb