Baltimore band, Talking ToShadows, is sceduled to drop a new EP, in June called Lost and May the 12th, saw the release of the single “Soma“, off said EP.
There are periods between that are in hushed reverence for the whispered female vocals, before the drums come crashing through, thunderous when the languid guitar changes mode to join the guitar. All the while, the vocals wave their way between causing goosebumps
Soma is Latin, and its literal meaning is body, and this is an ode to how love eff3ects every fibre. The shoegaze style is reminicent of Lush or Curve, and as you can rightly imagine, is it simply gorgeous. If you are looking for a track that lifts your heart and makes it burst forth with joy, then “Soma” by Talking To Shadows is worth adding to your collection.
When I received an email from someone called Emperor Of Ice Cream…. well my eyebrows did go up a fair way. I was to find out that this is not a person, but rather a collective, from Cork in Ireland and they were releasing their newest single, “Winter Pages“, on November the 18th. John ‘Haggis’ Hegarty (vocals), GrahamFinn (guitar), Edward Butt (bass) and Colum Young (drums) are the Emperor Of Ice Cream, and they are on the label, FIFA Records. These guys have been a thing since the early 90s but are only put out their debut album in 2020, which came out under the title, No Sound Ever Dies.
A chiming wall of guitar embraces your senses, dragging away your thoughts and the singing is as sweet as the nicest of memories of love, entangles you in the sonic web of glorious noise. They reach into a place where longing and loss are powerful body blows, leaving you in the cold.
Wow. Just ohmygod….wow. You would never think anyone calling themselves Emperor Of Ice Cream would sound like that. They truly did blow me away with that one song. Utterly beautiful in both lyrics and musically. Shoegaze, when done correctly, is magical and in many ways, these guys remind me of early Ride, whom I consider to have been the pinnacle of creating amazing walls of tone and sighing harmonics that take you away to some other place. Play it, play it, play it and then play it again. The Emperor Of Ice Cream has gifted you “Winter Pages“.
The 15th of April, 2022 saw the release of Danish, post-punk musician, (((S)))’s single, “Mama, Do You Think It’s GonnaRain All Day?”, out on Aenaos Records. The title is attributed to the Danish poet, Poul Borum, as something he was heard to say his mother at age four. Later, Borum would be involved in the punk movement of the 80s in Copenhagen.
(((S))) has a very delicate touch and this track is genuinely sweet and full of light. The guitars are subdued in the beginning and eventually become a powerfully joyful affair, while his vocals convey a hopefulness.
There is no reproach or shadows in this track, far more a child’s wonder of a world and guidance from his mother. It is kind of refreshing to hear a song that speaks of childlike qualities that all of us have somewhere within, no matter how old we become and (((S))) proves this in spades.
I am going to tell you a little about AMMO and then you will need to listen to her music. She is a director, photographer, a composer/singer/musician and a voice whom has been at the fore of helping women and LBGTQ+ people tell their stories. So AMMO has dropped the video for the single “A Cold War City“, this month, on the label Mourning Sun Records, which was co-produced and recorded with Alex Posell, whom also contributes on percussion.
“A Cold War City is an exploration of human memory and its fickle nature. We rewrite details of past experience over and over until eventually a fiction replaces our recollection. We are the authors of our own memoirs which are under constant revision,” says AMMO.
This track is so utterly beautiful and you can hear there is that nucleus of darkness and doubt, in this devastatingly ethereal track. Her soft and entrancing vocals glide effortlessly into the void of echoing and reverberating sound that seems ever so expansive. The layers of vocals are an added angelic sprinkling.
I think the metaphor of using the cold war is a clever one. The time of the cold war was marked by secret agents, spies, double agents, propaganda and misinformation, where people were second guessing themselves. In essence, this is what this track is about. Are you memories real or just influenced by everything around you, so can you trust those memories? Dreams become self perception. Definitely a song you should check out if you are a fan of shoegaze, dream pop and ethereal wave like Cocteau Twins. AMMO is hauntingly perfect.
If you are old enough or a devotee to the 4AD label, the name Robin Guthrie brings up memories of dreamy guitars and iconic melodies due to being a driving force of the eternally beautiful Cocteau Twins. Since the end of Cocteau, Scottish born Guthrie has still been involved in the music scene with solo projects and working with other artists. Now based in France, he released the EP, Mockingbird Love on October the 15th, 2021.
There are four instrumental tracks, which starts with “Copper“. Slow, near sensual piano strokes, whilst eventually the guitar chimes in. It is unhurried and simple and flows into “Eight East” which feels like a stream of consciousness, as it floats through, though a part of my mind is aware of a tinge of sorrow.
Again, “In Love And At War” bathes in a warm light and still a darkness slips through in the background. Something so beautiful as love can make hardships better and yet break your heart when that bond is stretched or broken. There is definitely a yearning in the the piano lines. Last track, “My Courtesan“, just speaks of passion and longing. It is the most verbose of the tracks and it swirls away like the sands of time.
I can hear what made the Cocteau Twins sound so unique still in this EP. Guthrie has always had this amazing talent for filling in the spaces with nearly imperceivable, harmonic noises.The EP is gorgeous with the ambient, ethereal sweetness based in real life and it is almost too short.. well that’s my complaint because I was enjoying it far too much. Luckily for us, Robin Guthrie will be giving us an album on November the 5th, called Pearl Diving. In the end this is a graceful and sublime release, however one cannot help but wonder if the title Mockingbird Love refers to the birds that hide the product of their mating in other bird’s nest…maybe that interpretation is up to you.
June saw the release of the debut single, “Rose+ Crown” for AMMO as a solo artist. AMMO, located in Los Angeles, has previously been in bands such as Black Flamingo and currently with Brass Box, as well as pursuing artistic outlets such as film making and photography.
The title track starts with a lonely guitar which is highly reminicent of start of the New Model Army piece, “Wonderful Way To Go“, though that is as far as the similarity goes. This is light and airy, with jangly guitar within an epic swirling sound scape. AMMO’s voice sits comfortably at the centre, luring you to sit and listen longer. This is shoegaze without the brashness of overt walls of noise.
The ‘b’ side is “TotalRecall“, written originally by Adrian Borland of the legendary 80s British, post punk band, The Sound. It was already a wonderful track and AMMO brings a sweetness to it. A song of longing and being out of time, that is achingly beautiful, especially with the knowledge that Borland suffered mental health issues which eventually lead to his suicide.
Along with drummer, Alex Posell, a former bandmate of Black Flamingo, who helped co-produce and record, AMMO is creating lush sounds that may at first seem bleak, but warm the soul. Mourning Sun Records, which is AMMO’s label, plans to release a future album called, The Great Chaos however the meantime enjoy “Rose + Crown“.