Boxset "Channel Surf" E.P. (boxsetstereo.bandcamp.com)
I get an uplifting sense of positive energy when I listen to this E.P. from the Philly based band known as Boxset. Headed by Vocalist/guitarist Rob Dunphey and accompanied live by guitarist Ryan Quinn, bassist Evan Simons and drummer Joe Russo these guys make an inspiring impression as their charming brand of lo-fo dream pop just feels right to me. Opening number "Tv Dreams" is like a warm ray of sunshine after a week long stretch of grey filled rainy days. Stand out track "Paint" is my favorite of the bunch. it projects a mood that to me falls somewhere between early Guided By Voices, "Magical Mystery Tour" ear Beatles and Mercury Rev. "After Breakfast" is also a soothing piece of psych tinged bliss that features a variety of highly textured guitar tones that swell with mystery and intrigue. A fun upbeat release that's honest, well crafted and warm.
Krista Van Liew "Air In Fire" E/P. (kristavanliew.bandcamp.com)
Austin by way of Virginia musician krista Van Liew delivers on her latest E.P. "Air In Fire". The delicate wavering feel of "Falling Forward" sets the pace as Krista's beautiful vocal delivery blends well with the shimmering guitar songs and in the pocket rhythm section. "Heartland" is a slower, darker track that features some truly haunting guitar work reflective of The Cure and Cocteau Twins while "Desert Wind" could be from the soundtrack of a lost episode of Twin Peaks. Overall "Air In Fire" is an intense release that takes you down a dark and magical path that leaves me wanting more.
Lev Snowe "Drifting Off" E.P. (levsnowe1.bandcamp.com)
A brilliant effort from Winnipeg's Lev Snowe. There's a cagey aspect that goes well with the 80's like pop sounds that make up "Drifting Off". Opening cut "Now And Then" brings to mind artist like The Psychedelic Furs and The Lightning Seeds while the crystal clear guitar tones of "Daydream 1" paint a beautiful landscape for the tracks soothing vocals that carry the song. "Seeing Things" might be my favorite track of the E.P. as it's friendly energy and eclectic vibes are top notch. "Melting Away' and "Daydream 2" focus even more on the experimental side of the things which I welcome in with open arms. A remarkable release that sounds like it was made to make you swoon.
Movie Brain "Breeder" E.P. (moviebrain.bandcamp.com)
An excellent three song debut from this Tennessee based project who's beautifully well crafted songs channel elements of shoegaze and jangle pop in fine form. The upbeat presence of the title track gets everything going with it's infectious beat and chiming guitar sounds. "Lift" is a bit more moody and features a wash of atmospheric guitars and a pulsating bass line that really drives the track while "Laurels" emits layers of psychedelic vibrancy throughout that are simply delightful. Looking forward to good things from this project in 2016.
Obvious Creature "We Don't Have To Be Afraid Anymore" LP (obviouscreature.bandcamp.com)
This incredible debut from Australia's Obvious Creature opens with the beautiful instrumental "Everything That Happened". It's lush wave of ambient sounds quickly build into a vibrant mix of delightful shimmering tones. The heartfelt and intense feel of "Christmas Eve 08" has a raw openness that is sure to win you over fast. The swirling sounds of "Leave This City Behind You" and "Alleys" feature a lot of brilliant experimentation especially with the unique percussion sounds that are brought to the table while the pulsating flow of "You Were Wrong" ties in elements of coldness that may sound bleak but are positive and inspiring at the same time. Hands down a wonderful album from beginning to end.
Yaman Palak "Cosmic Garden" E.P. (yamanpalak.bandcamp.com)
Hypnotic guitars and cinematic atmospheres flourish throughout this new E.P. from Queens Yaman Palak. From the hypnotic feel of "Former Doubts" to the mysteriousness of "Only More The Same" you will be swept away by the ethereal mood Palak is able to create. "Takeoff While You Can" combines aspects of psychedelia and dream pop with an underlying 70;'s singer songwriter type vibe that I love while the track "Yeni Records" is darker and more intense. The powerful yet laid back sounds of "CHE" round out this release making you wonder what's next as the track comes to a mind bending halt leaving you mesmerized by it's seductive sound.