Category Archives: Dream Pop

CHINA MOON: ‘Sleep Talking’ EP

Manchester three-piece, China Moon, are, I confidently predict, a band you will soon be hearing about on national radio.

Certainly, based on the evidence of the new five-track ‘Sleep Talking‘ EP, they are a perfect fit for Radio 6 Music.

There you go – colours to the mast!

Their music is new to me, but it is such a fresh amalgam of sounds that I was instantly drawn into the first track. ‘Nebula,’ portrays a deep sense of frustration and anger – at least it does to me – with the thumping beat and the vocal delivery in short stanzas. This impression is backed up with the video produced for the track.

The band’s second single release, ‘Lonely Game,’ is also on the new EP. It differs big time from ‘Nebula.‘ It’s perhaps not quite so ‘instant,’ and may appear a bit disjointed on first listen – but stick with it. There’s some lovely little surprises throughout its near four minutes duration.

Next up is ‘She Won’t Go Back To You.’ Again, different.
The song has a more conventional structure than the first two, but the harmonies rise and fall like a fairground carousel; a fairground carousel with slightly demented horses flaring their nostrils, the only mare among them being your nightmare.

Free Fall‘ I’ll be honest, I’m rather unsure about. I’m not convinced. I’m no musician. And I’m no technician either. But I think this could do with a bit of a remix. The vocal delivery doesn’t really work for me.

Final track, ‘Like That,’ is more upbeat and again shows what China Moon are capable of. There would appear to be some Arctic Monkeys echoes in this one.

But overall, China Moon give me the same feeling as did The Savage Nomads (now Artbreak) back in the day. Discordant flashes of guitar; staccato delivery and off kilter drums combine with a light Eastern / Indian style to create something original and exciting.

And hey – maybe you’ll like ‘Free Fall.’ Maybe it’s just a ‘me’ thing.

CULTDREAMS: ‘Not My Generation.’

Cultdreams, who until March of this year were known as Kamikaze Girls, have released their new single, ‘Not My Generation‘ – this being a precursor to their second album release come mid-August.

After five years and one album under their previous name, the two-piece band from Brighton and Antwerp, whose songs reflect a distinct social conscience, decided they couldn’t risk anyone being offended by their old moniker. They had actually been drawn to the name by a novel about the friendship of two girls in the Japanese countryside. That, and the literal translation of the word meaning, ‘divine wind’ in English, but it also being used to portray wreckless and chaotic behaviour, which they reasoned was an accurate of their music at that time.

Anyway – that’s the back-story – now to this release.

The new album ‘Things That Hurt’ by vocalist Lucinda Livingstone’s own admission, has “… a different vibe to the last one.” It’s darker and more melodic, she says.

As you’d probably expect though, the lyrics, if those of the single are any indication, will still seek to highlight the injustices in the world as well as reassuring listeners that it’s OK to not feel OK. It’s music with principles, in short.

Musically, ‘Not My Generation‘ is a swirling soundscape which in some ways reminds me of the massively underrated Flowered Up, from back in the day, with Lucinda spitting out the words like really pissed off Kate Tempest.

It’s a winner, I tells ya!

(‘Things That Hurt’ will be released through Big Scary Monsters on 16th August 2019)

the black watch: ‘Mad.’

With all the music that’s sent here to LOUD HORIZON HQ, there generally has to be something unique about a track that’s going to attract my attention and prompt me to write a few words about it.

But in this case, it was a familiarity that drew me to this song, the lead single from the forthcoming new album from Los Angeles based band, the black watch.

Vocals aside, the backing reminds me so much of a track released by one of my lads’ bands back in 2011.

I loved the sound then – and I love it all over again with this single, ‘Mad.

Prior to reading the PR blurb, I always listen to a band’s music so my opinion is not influenced in any way. On this occasion, the words ‘joyous,’ ‘jangling guitars,’ and ‘reverb’ sprang to mind.

Then lo! Two of these words are indeed mentioned in the PR material. I doubt I’ll many arguments over their use.

As the review blogger, I feel it’s incumbent upon me to make some sort of lame and lazy comparison to other bands. I could just copy those mentioned in the PR, but I disagree. Taken in isolation at least, I’d suggest ‘Mad‘ could easily be the bastard creation of an illicit relationship between Teenage Fanclub and Real Estate.

I’m sure you’ll tell me if I’m wrong.

Magic Johnson‘ from which this track is lifted, is the band’s seventeenth album release and due for an 8th August release here in the UK. The taster, ‘Mad’ however, is available from 21st June.

Makes you wanna go check out that extensive back catalogue while you’re waiting, right?

(Oh yeah. My son’s band? Silver Caves. Still on Bandcamp somewhere. Track #4)