July 22, 2013

Today's Hotness: Confessions, Landmarks, Steve Hauschildt

Confessions, Jan. 2013 (crop, transform)

​>> Pair up the fronter of a notable Boston dream-pop act and the live drummer from the ranking darkwave act of the day, and that's all the ingredients you need to mix up a tall cool glass of Your Girl, the debut EP from Confessions. Somewhat surprisingly, the Boston-based duo of Amanda Dellevigne and Alex Garcia-Rivera make music that is neither as dreamy as the former's Night Fruit nor as deliciously unsettling as the latter's Cold Cave, but even so the four songs on Your Girl please with a lightness and retro-futurist bent. It's both easy on the ears and a firm footing for further exploration by the two. Although the EP's quasi-title track "I'll Always Be Your Girl" is conventionally pleasing and will draw kicks to the dancefloor in droves, we think the real standout here is "Wonder." The latter tune touts a gently deconstructed and generously reverbed chant that implies a carefree sway despite the repeated rumination, "I'm in trouble now." The Your Girl 12" will be issued on a vinyl 12" and digitally tomorrow by Vanya Records, the sister label to Vanyaland.com, to which -- full disclosure -- this writer contributes. And firsties abound, as this Friday (July 26) Confessions make their live debut at Boston's esteemed Friday night dance party The Pill to celebrate the release of the EP. Your Girl is available for pre-order now via Bandcamp for the digital files or Big Cartel for the 12." Stream all four songs from the EP via the YouTube embed below.

>> Music fans have grown accustomed to flocking to Chicago each summer to take in the likes of Lollapalooza, Pitchfork Fest, Electric Daisy Carnival and Riot Fest. But while those big productions draw prominent national and even international talent, the Windy City for decades has boasted a strong local scene that most of those tourists sadly may never see (or, well, hear). Take, for example, one of Chicago's newer exports, the dream-pop quintet Landmarks. Despite having just three tracks to sample on the Internerds, the act's hit-to-miss ratio impresses. Landmarks evidence on its latest, second single a firm grasp on the classic Creation Records sound. The Public House 7", released May 3 via Public House Sound Recordings, also emphasizes the Chicago five-piece's strong affinity for dream-pop styles more generally as well. The band establishes in the opening moments of its particularly winsome B-side "Overflown" an insistent, krautrock groove, upon which Landmarks gradually layers spiraling, squalling guitar leads and placid keys. It's a sound that also echoes in the work of, say, contemporaries such as Kent, England's It Hugs Back or even, to perhaps a lesser extent, Munich's Lali Puna. The aforementioned groove is driven by a snappy, repetitive bass line that pushes and pulls against the messy, unsettled guitars while offering a formidable melodic counterpoint. "Overflown," along with the more subdued, more somnolent A-side "Cuscutta," is available as a pay-what-you-like download via Landmarks' Bandcamp, and you can stream the tune via the Soundcloud embed below. -- Dillon Riley

>> It is perhaps unfair to the reserved brilliance of Steve Hauschildt's dreamy electropop gem "Enter Return" to say it was the perfect thing to chill out to while we waited for last week's heatwave to break. That's because the tune's gentle rhythm, light beats and steadily cascading melody can surely transfix fans of conventional electronic fare or chillwave with or without the interference of extraordinary weather conditions. Even so, "Enter Return" was just about the only thing that was able to get our mind off the heat engulfing Boston late last week. Mr. Hauschildt's surname and warm analog electronics might lead one to believe he is another talented European producer, but in fact he is based out of Cleveland. He was also a founding member of the apparently influential ambient/experimental act Emerald. "Enter Return" is taken from the forthcoming double CD S/H, a set that collects 32 of Mr. Hauschildt's home-recorded solo tracks -- many of them previously unreleased -- produced between 2005 and 2012. The tune is one of the more recent compositions, having been recorded in Sept. 2012. S/H will be released by Editions Mego Sept. 16, and you can pre-order the collection right here. At 24 euros for the import, the price is a bit steep. But remember: this is a very large program of music, and if "Enter Return" is any indication, it will provide hours upon hours of enjoyment. And don't we all want enjoyment? Stream the tune via the Soundcloud embed below while you think it over.

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