My discovery of Drowner was the result of some kind of screwup with my revived Twitter account. Somehow, Drowner ended up on the list of bands I was following, and in trying to clear that up, I managed to open up their website. I was about to close the page, when I recognized the SMR logo in the banner. I knew that Saint Marie Records was the home of Vibrato alums The Sunshine Factory, Sway, Bloody Knives, and Jetman Jet Team, so I decided to give the music of Drowner a listen. I was knocked out by what I heard. I liked it so much, I wished that I was still putting compilations together so that I could help spread the word about this band.
The next day, I was browsing Bandcamp and came across two songs from the six-song, self-titled release by Modern Charms. My enthusiasm for both songs inspired me to say to myself, “okay, I’m going to ask these guys for a song and, if they give it to me, I’ll do another compilation, if not, I’ll stay retired.” Obviously, permission was obtained.
While trying to figure out how to contact Drowner, I discovered that broaddaylight had not only become their labelmates at SMR, but had also put out a second EP in 2009 that I had somehow failed to detect. After listening to Stars Out, I knew I wanted a song from them as well, and with the aid of Wyatt Parkins at SMR, I was able to get songs from both bands.
The fourth band, Miniatures, is another one of those hidden gems that makes digging through Bandcamp worthwhile. A spokesman for the band claims that the four-song, self-titled EP is badly in need of polishing, but I like it very much. It is one free download for which I would gladly have paid.
Download: Link expired 10 April 2012
The title of this post refers to the female vocals found in the songs of the two bands that lured me out of retirement.
My original intention was to have Vibrato12.01 be a ten-song compilation, and I did get as far as collecting nine songs: four Dream Pop, four wall-of-sound Shoegaze, and one that landed somewhere in-between. I had considered dividing the songs into a virtual A-side/B-side (“soft”/”hard”) kind of arrangement, but then things started to go south with the Shoegaze contingent: one band pulled out for fear that being included here might complicate their search for a label, and two others are experiencing difficulties getting their songs mastered. So, this turned out to be a four-song, Dream Pop EP. Hopefully, the other songs will be ready to go on Vibrato 12.02 in a couple of weeks or so.
Special thanks to Wyatt at Saint Marie Records for his help. I would encourage the reader to visit SMR‘s (constantly growing) Artists page; there you will find the above mentioned Vibrato alums, as well as personal, local and regional favorites: The High Violets and Trespassers William respectively.
01. “Point Dume” by Drowner from Drowner (©2012 Saint Marie Records)
Hailing from Houston, Texas, Drowner features the talents of Darren Emanuel on guitar/drums/keys, Sean Evans on guitar, Mike Brewer on bass, and Anna Bouchard on vocals. Their big, atmospheric sound draws on influences as varied as Shoegaze, Dream Pop, and Post-Rock. Their expanded, self-titled EP was released this morning, 13 March 2012.
SMR | Facebook | soundcloud | website
02. “Everything” by broaddaylight from Stars Out (©2009 broaddaylight)
broaddaylight was formed in Los Angeles in 2005 by James and Sarah Eakins. They were joined at some point by guitarist Henry Bennet, and together they have released two EPs—both mastered by Robin Guthrie—and are currently working on a third release. The two EPs: The Bell Jar EP (2006) and Stars Out (2009) are both available for download in a variety of formats from Bandcamp. Brady Renick is credited as the bass player on “Everything”.
SMR | Facebook | Bandcamp
03. “When We Get There ” by Modern Charms from Modern Charms (©2012 Modern Charms)
Modern Charms is a trio formed in San Francisco, California with geographical tendrils spreading outward to the Pacific Northwest and far-reaching aesthetic roots in Dream Pop and fuzzy, blissed-out Rock. The band’s debut recording―soaked in the grey marine layers of San Francisco’s Ocean Beach, where much of this record was composed―glides through six tracks of gorgeous guitar damage and crystalline, female vocal melodies. Modern Charms temper atmospherics with confidence and clarity to sweetly excoriate your eardrums.
Bandcamp | website
04. “Midwinter (Air)” by Miniatures from Miniatures EP (©2012 Miniatures)
Originally conceived as a solo project of Christchurch, New Zealand native Ché Walden, Miniatures drifted through various directions and ensembles until a partnership with Annemarie Duff set things properly in motion. Steven Marr later rounded out the group as a bassist, while an extensive bank of effects-laden (though personality-devoid) programmed tracks continues to serve in lieu of a drummer. Miniatures is relatively new to performing, with only a handful of shows under its belt, but over the last twelve months the band has managed to record the four songs found on its self-titled EP―available now as a free download from Bandcamp.
Facebook | Bandcamp
All copyrighted materials used with the permission of the copyright holders.