Film School | Fission A Review

There is pleasure to be found in the ambient hum generally found in American Shoegazer, not so drab as to bring on depression and not too up beat either. If anything this style of music should elicit a certain level of excitement. The San Francisco based band Film School is one of these bands, with a style which relies very heavily on synth effects and the ability to create an overwhelming sense that movement is inevitable. With their fourth offering of the album Fission, Film School has made a finely tunes piece that has elements reminiscent of Jesus and Mary Chain and The Smiths, but any initial impression that you might get from this album will be painted with nostalgia. Don’t let this matured 60s garage band sound of theirs allow you to think the band is without its own merit, it is one thing to take inspiration from musicians that have come before you and it’s another to make something not new but renewed out of it. And that is what Film School has done with Fission.     


Dreamend | A Review of So I Ate Myself, Bite By Bite

The Chicago based shoegazer band Dreamend has released its fantastically titled album So I Ate Myself, Bite By Bite. In it, Dreamend takes the listener on a banjo laden low-fi joyride that ranges from folksy numbers to more standard alternative rock tracks. So I Ate Myself, Bite By Bite maintains a steady level of energy throughout the album with a tone that is slightly dark while keeping things from falling into an EMO pit of despair. Unlike most other folk inspired albums Dreamend’s new one incorporates a healthy amount  of distortion (which requires the shoe to be gazed upon in order to work the effects) to take up the background of some tracks, curiously the combination of banjo, distortion and vocal harmonies makes for a very pleasant musical experience, such as with the track A Thought. Ryan Graveface who is the only person in Dreamend (unless you count a synthesizer as backup) and delivers like quartet’s worth.  As for the album as a whole there is a certain quality to it which makes it one of those albums that will no doubt have people taking notice.  
Note: If you were wondering who designed the album art for So I Ate Myself, Bite By Bite it was William Schaff who is an artist based out of Providence, Rhode Island. 


The Walkmen | A Review of Lisbon

In their sixth studio album The Walkmen have risen to the occasion and produced a very impressive album with Lisbon. Lisbon is a slow paced atmosphere piece which creates a tone and texture that incites a sense of reflective calm.  The tinny guitar portions have a kind of low-fi effect and set up lead singer Hamilton Leithauser nicely and continue to do so throughout the album. For a band that has been doing this for a decade now, The Walkmen don’t seem to be slowing down and have made a memorable album with Lisbon. 


The Band In Heaven | Taking a Look at Their Collection Of Demos

Hailing from West Palm Beach, Florida The Band In Heaven is a self proclaimed shoegazer band that seems to draw their inspiration straight from the background hum of the universe itself.  In their collection of demos (available for download on their site) the band walks us through their distortion riddled world of drone. A Tunnel into Your Dreams is the opening cut off of this album and it sets a tone, the background always infused with a shaky distortion heavy melody, the vocal portions incite a sense of subtle possession which draws in the listener for more.
What is striking about The Band In Heaven is not really its influences which lay somewhere between Velvet Underground and The Jesus and Mary Chain, but it is in their contemporaries. The only other band that comes to mind that has been able to recently pull off this style of music is The Big Pink from Britain. The Big Pink like The Band In Heaven have a handle on this highly enjoyable style of music. Both bands are definitely worth your time and a listen.
As for just The Band In Heaven, if this album is just a taste of what they can do, it’s exciting to think what a full length album of theirs might consist of. 
There are a number of highlights on this album but the standouts are: A Tunnel into Your Dreams, Dreams (Cranberries Cover) and High Low.