My Raining Stars – Emptiness

New My Raining Stars’ amazing shoegaze pop song taken from the forthcoming album “Before & After”.

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Picnic – The Weather’s Fine (Shelflife, 2013)

Shelflife presents The Weather’s Fine, the new album by Estonia’s Picnic, coming this May.

Picnic formed in 2006 by Marju Taukar, Andres Soosaar and Rivo Jaervsoo. Marju and Andres were previously in 90s indie band Dreamphish and Rivo is a current member of Seksound label-mates Bad Apples. Picnic released their first album Winter Honey in 2010 and made their Shelflife debut last year with the now sold-out tribute 7″ “We’ve Only Just Begun” b/w “Say a Little Prayer.”

The Weather’s Fine features 11 tracks recorded over the past year. The band decided to take a different approach for this record, primarily using a more relaxed home studio environment and Rivo taking the lead in handling most of the initial tracking himself. They only returned to the studio for final mixing with help from friend Lauri Liivak (from Bizarre), who also worked on Pia Fraus’ Silmi Island.

The warmth of instrumentation on The Weather’s Fine just feels comforting in contrast to the frozen winter landscape in hometown Tallinn. When asked about the title for the album, Rivo explained, “We are quite obsessed with the weather here in Estonia and it shows in the lyrics of the album.”

Picnic have become masters at blending the ethereal and indie pop worlds, surrounding us throughout the album with spacious textures and glimmering soundscapes. The stunning beauty of their arrangements are filled with immaculate dream pop guitars and Marju’s mesmerizing vocals. The Weather’s Fine is an album that really begs to be absorbed all at once, from beginning to end.

The Weather’s Fine is a co-release with Seksound in Estonia.

For fans of: Cocteau Twins, Slowdive, Evening Lights, The Radio Dept., Pia Fraus, Ulrich Schnauss

shelflife.com/catalogue/LIFE101.html

Audio for “Forget Yourself Through The Beauty”

 

Wild Nothing – Empty Estate EP (2013)

 

Jack Tatum‘s gleaming nocturnal synth pop as Wild Nothing produced not only an incredible string of recordings, but also spearheaded a micro-movement of indie-level dream pop more rooted in the ’80s synth reflections of acts like Echo & the Bunnymen or Aztec Camera than the mumbly fractalized bedroom productions coming from chillwave circles. 2010’s brilliant debut Gemini and 2012’s more polished Nocturne were bridged by the piecemeal Golden Haze EP, and now Empty Estate follows that trend with seven new tracks to tide fans over until the release of a third album. While Wild Nothing‘s output up to this point saw various upgrades in production values, they all maintained a certain consistency and overall color. Empty Estate, while every bit as polished (if not more so) than the fancifully recorded Nocturne, sets itself apart by exploring different absent-minded stylistic detours on almost every track.

The set is opened by the swaggering midtempo rock of “The Body in Rainfall,” which sees Tatum applying some subtle Heroes-era Bowie-isms to his jauntily melodic palette. Tracks like the upbeat “Data World” and “A Dancing Shell” come closer to the shimmery ’80s-inspired sounds we’re used to from Wild Nothing, but they’re more curious, with a lot more sequenced electronics and some awkward risky moments. Blurty processed sax solos, robotic vocoder voices, and jagged guitar lines all drop in for segments and then disappear, some of the ideas translating well and others just coming along for the ride. These more straightforward moments are broken up by tracks like the wobbly instrumental bubbling of “On Guyot” or the hypnotic slow-burning faux-Krautrock of “Ride.” Certain moments feel more like tentative experiments, but ultimately any of these tracks could be the jumping-off point for an entire album’s worth of material, and hearing them all together makes for a more interesting presentation. By the time closing track “Hachiko” comes in with its softly ambient strains, Empty Estate has wandered through various modes, ultimately coming off like a thoroughly pleasant but unexpected long walk on a summer evening, with Tatum stopping for a moment to say hello to all his various different inclinations for a moment before moving on. ~ by Fred Thomas, allmusic

Wild Nothing – Empty Estate EP (Captured Tracks, 2013) | DOWNLOAD

Video for “A Dancing Shell”

 

Moose – High Ball Me! (2000)

 

What’s more surprising? That London’s Moose have finally secured a U.S. release for their fourth LP, High Ball Me!, after the first three were undeserved imports? (They were dropped by a hasty Virgin in 1992 after only one release, a cobbled-together, seven-song EP of their earliest, too-formative singles called Sonny and Sam, still the poorest intro to the group.) Or that Moose are still so damn sparkling after a decade, making them four-out-of-four terrific with wonderfully inspired LPs? Or that they’re even still around at all, considering the obscurity they’ve suffered (and the five-year span since their last LP)? Again, nearly all their contemporaries from the 1989-1993 Camden dream pop scene have withered on the vine. But Moose, the group least reliant on that scene for its inspirations and sound (despite a longstanding friendship with Cocteau Twins, who brought Moose over as a support band on their final U.S. tour), have continued to prosper, at least musically. And what a thing of pacific beauty they remain! For High Ball Me! is another proud accomplishment from a group that’s always made beguiling, sunny warm, expertly textured, well-conceived, and well-played LPs (think bossa nova ambience mixed with early Glen Campbell/Jimmy Webb pop gems, a little like Ivy), while covering Wire and Harry Nilsson’s “Everybody’s Talking.”Each new album is like a group of songs to ice-skate to, so cool and menthol, so sweet and gliding, and High Ball Me! is yet another.

One just falls for still-vintage Moose handiwork in “Keeping Up with You,” “Pretend We Never Met,” “The Only Man in Town” (previewed on Saltwater Records’ teaser EP, Baby It’s Over), like a secret schoolgirl crush. Ditto the sultry, snake-charming, violin-trimmed pop of the most unique offering, “Lily la Tigresse.” Moose mainmen K.J. “Moose” McKillop and Russell Yates remain consummate stylists, infecting every selection with charm, and most of all, seductive hooks. When “Lily la Tigresse” asks, with luscious sexual entreaty, “Why can’t we be as nature planned?,” it sums up the grace of the LP as a whole. Few albums can match this one for sublime elegance, save for Moose’s own — …XYZ (1992), and especially Honey Bee (1993), and Live a Little, Love a Lot (1995). Get them all, it says here. When one thinks of the numerous groups doing lighter lush-pop barely half as good as this one, it’s a shame. But here’s hoping that the allure of their adeptness, the radiance of their production, the crisp, fresh guitars, lithe bass, and nimble drums and accompanying touches, and the intelligent, loving tunes finally find their deserved home in the U.S. — now that a prized LP of theirs can finally be had at a domestic price. High Ball Me! is not the sound of a tired band giving up its hard-won dream; it’s the sound of musicians who are still following the most grand sounds in their heads. Lovely! ~ by Jack Rabid, allmusic

Moose – High Ball Me! (LGM, 2000) | DOWNLOAD

Video for “The Only Man In Town”

 

Broadcast – The Noise Made by People (2000) – DOWNLOAD

After being mired in the studio for nearly three years, Broadcast returned with their first proper full-length album, The Noise Made by People, a collection of more shimmering, weightless pop that is nostalgic for yesterday’s visions of the future but remains on the cutting edge of contemporary music. Where their early singles (collected on 1997’s Work and Non-Work) painted small, quaint portraits of their retro-futurism, The Noise Made by People delivers their sound in widescreen, filmic grandeur. Richly layered yet airy pieces like the album bookends, “Long Was the Year” and “Dead the Long Year,” seamlessly blend symphonic, electronic, and pop elements into smoky, evocative epics, while synth-based interludes such as “Minus One” and “The Tower of Our Tuning” present Broadcast’s more detached, scientific side. Likewise, Trish Keenan’s air-conditioned vocals sometime suggest a robotized Sandie Shaw or Cilla Black, but her humanity peeks out on “Come on Let’s Go” and “Papercuts.” “Echo’s Answer” and “Until Then” are two of the other highlights from the album, which despite all of its chilly unearthliness, is a noise made by (very talented) people. ~ by Heather Phares, AMG

Shelflife is excited to announce a very special release by one of our long time favorite bands Pia Fraus. Silmi Island is a celebration of their ten year history featuring 13 of their very best tracks from 1998-2008 and presented on limited LP+CD format. All tracks were completely re-recorded or remastered and appearing on vinyl for the very first time. There is also two bonus tracks included on the enclosed CD — one being a surprise My Bloody Valentine cover!

The band formed in Tallinn, Estonia in 1998 by a group of art-school students Rein Fuks, Reijo Tagapere, Tõnis Kenkmaa, Kärt Ojavee, Kristel Loide and Joosep Volk. Eve Komp and Margus Voolpriit later joined replacing Kristel and Joosep. They all shared their common love for early 90s shoegaze and US noise / indie rock groups and instantly began writing songs and playing live. Since then they have released four albums and numerous singles (on Clairecords, Vinyl Junkie and Seksound), have been produced by Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake and Ulrich Schnauss, and have remixed the likes of Hood, Teenage Fanclub, His Name Is Alive, Future Pilot Aka, Seeland and International Airport.

Pia Fraus have become well-known for their perfect blend of dream pop — mixing guitars, vocals and organ layers masterfully. They’ve been hitting their reverb pedals way before it was so trendy to do so and have paved the way to the modern dream pop genre. Silmi Island is a must have for any Pia Fraus fan’s collection and also a perfect introduction to the band for those who have been missing out.

Silmi Island is a co-release with Seksound in Estonia in a limited edition of 500 hand-numbered 180 gram LP (with included CD) copies worldwide.

For fans of: Stereolab, My Bloody Valentine, Pale Saints, Unrest, Sonic Youth, and of course – Pia Fraus!